Healthy Fitness Tips for the Natural Gran

I grew up in the 50s and 60s in rural Saskatchewan where 'healthy fitness tips' included "You get out there right now and weed that row of beets" or "You missed the schoolbus? Well, better hoof it!"

Sometimes we didn't have a vehicle. We didn't have electricity-- so no TV-- until I was 12, and in the winter we hung out at the skating rink until closing time every night (they called us "rink rats").

We were very active. It was natural for us to be enthusiastic about life, slim, fit and fueled by home-grown veggies and store-bought chocolate bars (sorry, I'm not going to lie here).

In elementary school I can recall only one or two obese children in any of my classrooms, and they suffered from insensitive taunts and teasing.


In high school, if we weren't select athletes, girls frequently dropped out of sports we had enjoyed in elementary school. Unlike today's teen who might have a job at a fast food joint, my peers and I either did home or farm chores after school, or most of us girls did babysitting to earn money for college. We likely still did a little skating and swimming, but we certainly cut back on our pre-teen physical activity levels. We often worked hard at being "feminine" to meet the criteria of the day, and that meant, lots of the time, not doing anything that might produce a visible muscle.

The Yo-Yo Adult Fitness Buff

Over our adult years we might have flirted with yoga, step-aerobics, bicycling, weight-training, curling, hiking, or ski-ing, but I think many of us settled in to a routine that precluded any real beneficial regular exercise. We drove our cars a block to pick up a loaf of bread. We celebrated a week of cortisol-pumping sedentary work with a night on the couch watching the latest mini-series or video. Boomers invented salad bars and other excuses for overeating in public. It is possible that your life was quite different, but this is what I have experienced and many of my friends can relate.

When our nests emptied out our adult kids, we were left with computers we didn't know too much about and some of us had begun to develop diseases that we typically characterized as something our grandparents 'had before they died'.

Swimming, stretch classes, yoga and pilates started to become the domains of mature women. Of course, all of us know women of age who canoe, kayak, and run marathons, but in my circle of 50+ year-old friends, those are exceptions.

There IS a Way Back to the Garden of our Healthy Fit Youth, but it is a rougher path to tread

I have learned a lot about fitness over the years, and I've experimented with many of the foregoing activities looking for something that really 'worked' for me: a regular healthy exercise that I would enjoy enough to do everyday or several times a week. The activities that work for me might not work for you. That's okay. The point is to HAVE some healthy fitness and exercise in your life.

This Natural Gran's Healthy Fitness Tips are:

1. Pick something that doesn't make you bored or sore.

2. Pick something that you will be able to do, on some level, when you are 80 or older.

3. Pick something that takes you out among people at least three days a week if you are an extrovert, or that you can do by yourself in your own home or yard, if you are an introvert.

4. Pick something that isn't too expensive if funds are an issue-- take into account both gear and dues.

5. Pick something you've never tried before and give it a good 'go' (attend at least three sessions) before dropping out.

6. Pick something a little more brisk than what you think you can handle and a little less grueling than what your 30-something neighbor is urging you to try.

The activities that I am suggesting are ones that work for me because they fit the above criteria (which I happen to have generated...hehe). Again, you might find them too flakey, bland, or just plain not your thing... and that's okay. But DO find yourself some form of healthy physical exercise... generate your own Healthy Fitness Tips.

Here are the fitness principles that I follow at 55+:

Healthy Fitness Tips for REBOUNDING BACK INTO LIFE