Last night I went to my first group exercise class in about 6 months. It was kind of daunting to step into but really fun to do and I left feeling physically and mentally boosted.
One thing hadn’t changed – yet again I was the oldest in the class, by a long way. I could’ve been the parent of anybody in that Bodytone class. Possibly even grandparent if I’d got started early enough.
I think I was about 44 when I noticed that I was often the oldest in my fitness classes. Now that I’m 52 that is pretty much the case all the time. My gym is directly opposite a student hall of residence, so most of the time it’s time it’s packed with der yoof, plus me hanging around like I’ve come to give my kid a lift home.
But you know what? I don’t give a shiny shit about it. I really don’t. If anything, I think it’s a good thing. No point in complaining about the invisibility of middle aged women if you’re not prepared to be at least a bit visible yourself. Stand up and challenge what it means to be a fiftysomething, and fling a few kettlebells about you when you’re at it.
If you can’t fit in, stand out
I get that many people feel self conscious in gyms if they don’t fit the so-called accepted aesthetic norm. We’re all ‘too’ something – too old, too big, too small, too unfit, whatever. I realised a long time ago that the gym cares about none of that. All it cares about is whether you’ve paid your entry fee or not. And once you have, you’ve got exactly the same right as anybody else to be there. No one is looking at you. No one cares. They’re too busy in their own heads, dealing with their own stuff.
I looked for some stats on the benefits of exercise as we age, and it turns out that there’s no aspect of health – from brain to heart to bones to balance – that won’t benefit from a bit of movement, no matter how old you are.
Also, check out Joan. I love Joan:
Really, there’s no such thing as too late until you’re dead, or nearly dead. At that point, admittedly, time and energy are not on your side.
But at any other point in your life?
It’s not too late yet. It’s only today.