Here at Lumity we loved reading the story about 84-year-old ‘superager’ Irene Obera who is not only still running despite being in her ninth decade, but who also manages to tear strips off her younger competitors. A Californian inspiration, Irene is the fastest woman on earth for her age, having spent the past 30 or 40 years breaking records in Masters athletics.
While we’ve no aspirations to come up against Irene on a track any time soon, it did get us thinking about what the human body is capable of if you keep it in peak condition and made our protestations that our joints were achy or our running days were behind us seem a little weak!
According to personal trainer Nadya Fairweather, who trains celebs and royals, and helped get Britain’s Princess Beatrice in top form form to become the first royal to ever run a marathon, you’re never too old to run.
The founder of U-Shape fitness gives us her top 10 tips for transforming yourself from a couch potato to a ‘superager’ in no time.
1. First – don’t run! Take up an activity that you can continue with your whole life, like yoga – it’s a great way to start getting active and get you used to regular exercise
2. Next, get social and join a walking club. If you meet up with friends and do exercise together you’re more likely to stick to it
3. Hire a personal trainer to get you started. They can teach you great technique and provide you with a program to do on your own. A block of 5-10 sessions are worth their weight in gold
4. Write a weekly plan which starts with power walking. Each week add on one minute of running. By six months you will be running half an hour and by the end of the year you can build up to an hour – 30 minutes running, 30 minutes power walking.
5. Choose an activity that can complement your running such as swimming which has no impact on your joints but will help strengthen your cardiovascular fitness which you need for running
6. Be active everyday, whether it’s walking, running, yoga or swimming, and keep an activity diary to log it
7. Sign up for 5 x 5km charity run/ walks within the year with a friend to give you something to work towards. Do the first one walking, the second one walk/ running and with each one try to do less walking and more running.
8. Now you’re really in your stride it’s time to join a running club
9. Join a support group to give you a feel-good reason for sticking to your runs. it’s fitness with a purpose and gives you a double rush of ‘feel good’ hormones.
10. Be realistic about your goal. Write it down and place it somewhere prominent which forces you to look at it everyday – like on a mirror or fridge. Embrace the U-Shape motto: Dream it, Chase it, Become it!