By Lynette Doele
After having spent many years working out in a traditional fitness center, using a variety of machines for weight lifting, treadmills, stationary bikes and a swimming pool, I was stuck in a rut. It was pretty boring going in to work out by myself, doing the same routine over and over again literally for years. I thought I was in relatively good shape, but I was beginning to be plagued with joint pain that threatened to sabotage my goal of maintaining a level of fitness that would allow me to continue hiking and biking. After a series of visits to a doctor for injections in my shoulder, hip or back, I was encouraged by my son Regan to give CrossFit a try.
He was sure I would benefit from it. The focus on strength and mobility has been revolutionary for me. After 18 months of doing CrossFit three times a week, I am pain free. And I love it! The encouragement and community in a CrossFit gym can’t be beat. I love the motto, “Scale, don’t fail”. Any level of fitness is welcomed and members are encouraged to set and obtain goals. I never feel pressured to do something I think is beyond me because there is always an alternative move to achieve the same effect. The coaches have guided me carefully to learn new movements and techniques prior to ever adding weight or resistance.
I have been physically active in some form all my life. Making fitness a part of my lifestyle is critical to maintaining a healthy body and mind. It’s not easy; nothing worth doing is, but the rewards are well worth it. It is never too late to start. The hardest part of fitness is the first step…get up and do it!
Start small and be positive. Get involved in an activity that you enjoy. Join a group that holds you accountable and that gives you incentive to stay involved. CrossFit has done that for me. The people there are so friendly, positive and genuinely excited to see people improve. We all start somewhere. Incorporating a daily walk into your routine is a good way to get going; then build up from there.
People of my age benefit greatly from exercise. Not only does it improve your physical health by controlling weight, cholesterol and strength, it improves balance and mobility and sharpens your mind and improves your outlook on life. Another benefit of CrossFit has been the constant change-up of physical challenges that helps to stimulate the mind-body connection as well. At my age, loss of mobility through arthritis or just plain inactivity is a real hazard. Young people are less focused on this issue and spend less time mobilizing before or after a workout with the rollers or the lacrosse balls, but I always make time for it with each visit to the gym. I feel so much better for doing so! It reduces muscle soreness and definitely helps to improve joint range of motion.
CrossFit has given me the advantage of being stronger and more flexible to enjoy the activities that I love doing, like hiking and biking. I am not at all intimidated by the prospect of a long hike or bike ride because I know I have the physical capability to do it. I get out and see and do things that bring me joy and satisfaction because I am physically fit.
I can keep up with, and often out pace younger people with no problem: I don’t get left behind! My family and friends invite me on their hiking or biking excursions and we have great fun together. I don’t fear growing older. As a retiree, I have embraced my freedom to enjoy life; being with my family or friends and sharing incredible adventures like hiking, biking and snowshoeing in the mountains and the hill country of Michigan. I even hiked the 96 miles of the Highland Trail in Scotland! None of that would be possible without being physically fit. The future is definitely something to look forward to.
Boomer Contributor: Lynette Doele
Lynette is a retired nurse and turns 65 this month. She lives in Michigan with her husband Harry and has been married forty-three years. They have two children and two grand children. Their daughter and grand daughter live close to them in Michigan while their son and grandson live in Phoenix, Arizona. Lynette and her husband split their time between Michigan and Arizona.