After 50 years of disciplined exercising, I was faced with the inevitable challenges of aging and had to change my routine in order to continue working out. I’ve ran marathons in my 20s, and in mid-life gone for morning jogs in the fields of Bali, in Bangkok and New Delhi traffic, and on mountain paths in Nepal. Then for the last decade I’ve been hooked on CrossFit. But everything changed this year when I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis in my lower spine, a disease that weakens your bones. All of a sudden, CrossFit workouts became painful.
I started working out when I was attending grad school at the University of Toronto. My classmates and I decided to start a running group as a way to survive our school work. It soon became a therapeutic social event, a much needed break from the stress of being a student. But it also turned out that I loved it! If I wasn’t in school or studying, I was running.
By the time I was middle aged and a sociology professor at the University of Alberta, I developed Chronic Bursitis in my right heel. This classic runner injury caused pain and swelling, which made it difficult for me to continue following my passion of regular distance running.
After I moved to Kelowna, I discovered CrossFit and became the fittest I’ve ever been. However, considering my age, I developed arthritis in my shoulders and osteoporosis in my lower spine. So the ‘workouts of the day’ became too intense. I’ve always lived by the mantra of wanting to stay ‘Fit for Life’ and was determined to find a new way to keep active at the age of 71.
I decided it was time for something new and checked out the Downtown Y. I was familiar with the YMCA since my three grandkids attended and loved Little Scholars at Okanagan College. As soon as I walked into the Downtown Y, I felt a sense of belonging. From the beginning, it was obvious that the equipment was being used by people with all types of abilities. An active senior on a treadmill, a heavy lifter in a wheelchair, and a group of fitness enthusiasts. It felt so welcoming.
I knew that I needed some support with speciality workout routines and took a one-hour Coaching Session with Tristen, who is a kinesiologist. I still use the tips and sequences he taught me as I go about my daily routine. I work on cardio, back stretching exercises, and strength. I also participate in yoga, core strength and high intensity classes – all of which are incredible!
It has been a pleasure dealing with staff at the Y, who are very friendly and professional. It’s obvious that they believe in the work they do for our community. I am an Organizational Consultant and have written a book on the subject - Creating Healthy Organizations. It talks about creating healthy and sustainable organizations from a human perspective. When the culture of an organization supports employees to thrive, clients or customers benefit from outstanding service. This is the feeling I get at the Y.
Although I can no longer do long runs or CrossFit, the YMCA has helped me remain ‘Fit for Life’ as I age, something I value whole heartedly. I love the welcoming atmosphere, the friendly staff, and the coaching I received. They have provided me with many options for adapting my fitness routine. For people like myself, the seniors’ membership rate is a great bargain! Whenever I go for a workout at the Y, I feel part of a welcoming community.