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Go for the Gold, my Golden Friends

First, thank you, SHAPE!  It's great to see a group dedicated to concerns of those of us enjoying the best years of life--although "golden" may suggest too much a quaint rest home.

The "golden" among us on SHAPE are not rest home material!  They have some remarkable stories of remaking and reshaping themselves, and I hope to see those stories shared with this group.

But, for many of us, the years beyond 40 provide not only freedom to take care of ourselves and confidence that doesn't rely on how we look.  The toll of time--whether it's too much of the wrong kind of exercise, chronic medical or physical conditions, long-held bad habits or all of the above--presents us with challenges that many younger women don't have to deal with in developing their exercise and diet plans.

So, not only do we have an opportunity to share successes that would be gold-medal worthy at any age, but we have an opportunity to discuss whatever comes with age that hampers flexibility, activity, maintaining cardio-vascular fitness.  Diet constraints may be important to some of us, whether it's because of diabetes or other conditions.

Since this is my first blog post, I'll tell you a bit about myself and why I urged SHAPE to set up a dedicated group for the 40-up crowd.  I'm (gasp--can this really be?) 62 years old, quite active and relatively fit.  But, years of business lunches and dinners have accumulated around my middle, and I'm about 40 pounds above where I ought to be.  I joined SHAPE couple of months ago to try to get my exercise and diet more focused (greatly appreciate the virtual trainer--when it's working).  My goal is better overall fitness, through habits that will serve me for the next 30 years.  That includes quitting the cigarettes (I've smoked the last 15 years), making diet and exercise more systematic--and losing at least 25 of those extra pounds.

Into my SHAPE-up second week, I decided up the intensity of my morning walk (which ranges from 20 to 45 minutes, depending on what else is going on) by adding a sprint, rather than a jog.  BIG mistake; left knee started hurting the next morning and continued to get worse.  Two orthopaedists and 5 physical therapy sessions later, I'm getting better but still advised to stick to swimming and water exercise to minimize impact on the knee.

How am I doing?  I lost about 5 pounds in the first 3 weeks, although with less activity, my weight plateaued.  Bummer, since one of my younger SHAPE friends has challenged me to a 2-week weight loss competition with the weigh-in scheduled for September 30--her goal is a pound a day, mine is 2 lbs/week.  I've cut down on cigarettes, although I have to admit that I haven't quit.  My work-outs include lots of stretching (the knee problems appear at least partially to have continued because of tight muscles), and more focused upper-body work every other day. 

Wish me luck on the weight challenge.  As for the knee, it will take more than luck, but it feels like it's getting back to normal.

Now, your turn!




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