I have recently started a series of interviews with people with a wealth of expertise or experience on the topic of ageing with health and energy.
I was asked to share my own philosophies too, so I am asking myself the same questions that I have been asking other health and wellbeing practitioners!
This is the interview with yours truly, a 70 year grandmother, personal trainer, health coach and lover of life… I hope you enjoy it!
Q: What is your philosophy on ageing?
Ingrid: At the age of 70 I have had a few years to think about this!
The inescapable truth is that we all get older. Some people choose to spend their time dwelling on the past and what could have been. I think this is a sad and tragic end to one’s existence.
Personally I do not focus on the years I have lived, but on the years I have ahead. I am interested in doing what I need to do to have a fulfilling life right up to the moment I pass into another world.
With this in mind, I don’t believe we are ever too old to start something new – in fact I embrace the new. Every era has its specialty. Every year has new potential.
Every year of your life you have the opportunity to work on having better health than the year before. Can I be healthier at 70 than I was at 69? Can I be fitter or have more energy? Why not?!
Q: What does it take to be fit and healthy at 70?
Ingrid: Being fit and healthy at any age is a combination of many things. Of course the foundation is being motivated, eating to nourish the body and regular exercise.
Then there are the things that people are not so quick to associate with health, like being happy! Being happy and fulfilled in your life is something you need to work on, constantly!
We all have to deal with challenges; unhealthy relationships, unhealthy beliefs, unhealthy situations we may find ourselves in.
Every once in a while we take a leap forward into the unknown in the search for happiness. Sometimes this means a big change like cutting ties with someone you rely on. This is scary.
Moving out of your comfort zone without financial support is very difficult. I have been there and done that twice, many women do, and many don’t too.
I have learned that you must keep in mind that “this is YOUR life” – the stakes are high if you are tolerating situations that make you unhappy.
If you are brave enough to make the hard decisions that give you happiness, and combine this with nourishing food, and regular exercise, you will be healthier than most of the people in your age group.
Q: Can anyone at any age lose weight?
Ingrid: The quick answer is yes! Of course a small percentage of people who have medical conditions like thyroid problems, may struggle.
But on the whole, most people are capable of much more than they give themselves credit for.
I have worked with people who have assured me that weight loss was impossible, and have seen them transform, both physically and mentally.
I have worked with people who have struggled with obesity and diabetes for decades who, with support and small changes to their daily routine have experienced rapid changes to their health, weight and energy levels.
It’s so exciting as a personal trainer to see that moment when a client first notices their pants are loose, or when they wake up feeling refreshed for the first time in years.
Most people don’t eat the right foods, eat too much and exercise too little. The most important factor to weight loss, is actually your desire to lose weight. If you really are determined to lose weight and make the changes necessary, you can!
Of course it has to be a program that is sustainable for you and your family. Better health should be a communal journey.
Q: What are your tips for ageing with health?
Imagine yourself in 10 years time. You have been living the way you are living right now for a decade.
Is that 10 years of healthy or unhealthy eating? Is that 10 years of medication? Is that 10 years of exercise and mobility, or did you spend most of your time sitting down?
10 years may seem like a long time for you, but it passes. Sometimes very quickly!
Fortunately the body is very good in healing itself if you treat it with love and respect.
Here are my tips that your future you will thank you for.
1. Understand how food works
If you walk into a supermarket, much of the packaged food is full of hard to pronounce ingredients that came out of a lab, or processed foods that are cheaper than the healthy alternatives.
Try to avoid supermarkets if possible and find a great local fruit and vegetable shop and a great local butcher. If you take the time to cook your own food from scratch now, you will save yourself time and money in the future visiting the doctor… or worse.
Let food be your medicine.
To maintain your body, you need to move it! You need to break a sweat on a regular basis, you need to have muscle tone. We live in an age where we spend our time in front of screens. We drive to the shops.
Don’t compare your exercise to other peoples, just do it. If you are obese or have mobility issues, you can do a high impact workout while sitting on a chair with the right techniques. Many of my clients start on a chair and as their fitness and mobility improves so does their range of exercises.
Challenge yourself over the next 10 years and you may have new levels of fitness that may seem impossible right now. You could be throwing the grandchildren around or even running a marathon!
3. Manage your mindset
You have probably heard the saying – you are as old as you think. Well it’s true!
If I think about the main thing that has kept my physically healthy and strong it is probably my total disregard for age!
I have met people in their 50’s who consider themselves over the hill. After a decade of being a certain size or fitness level, they believe they are stuck with it. If I had allowed myself to think this way I would not have ran my first marathon at age 59 (and my last at 62).
If I had spent a moment pondering my lack of years ahead, I would not have become a personal trainer and fitness coach. And I certainly would not be doing courses and gaining qualifications in my 70’s. I believe you should never stop learning!
My big tip for mindset is not to be afraid to leap out of your comfort zone.
One day, at some stage in your life, you will have no control over how you impact your health. This day is not defined by age, you may be 4, 18, 35 or 89 or 103. Luckily if you are reading this, today is not that day!
You can become someone who prioritises their health and fitness. Today you can make the determination that you will look back on with gratitude for slowing the ageing process and giving yourself the ultimate gift.
The question is: will you do it?