My days are spent working as a personal fitness trainer. It allows me to work with people of many different ages. My client Mildred is the oldest, and one of the most fascinating women I have ever worked with. She is 97 years old, and blind. Her body is quite frail after so many years of various health issues, injuries, and surgeries. Mildred does what she can to keep her body mobile and strong. Her mind works perfectly, she always seems up on world events and can discuss details about her life either current, or from many decades ago, with complete clarity.
When Mildred and I first started having exercise sessions together once a week, she could only stand up by herself for about 25 seconds. The day she made it to 60 seconds, the Giants had just won the World Series, and there was a parade with people celebrating wildly on the television in the background.
As we excitedly cheered out loud together that she had stood by herself for over 60 seconds, she turned to me with a huge smile and said, “Well, it is not like winning the World Series.” She was plenty proud of herself though. To show improvement instead of decline is an exciting feeling at any age and amazing at her age.
Recently we’ve gotten up to two sets of standing per session and our highest counts for the same day are 85 and 72 seconds. What does that mean? Well, for Mildred it means that her daughter can take her out to public events and restaurants without putting her own back at risk trying to stabilize her mother. The attendants at the senior facility where Mildred lives have said that it is now much easier to help her dress, and getting her to meals has also been made easier. Perhaps most importantly, Mildred is much less likely to fall and injure herself when she gets out of bed or needs to use the restroom alone.
Hopefully I will be able to get a photo of Mildred to share with you. For now, I’ll leave you with a short post about how it is possible to improve the quality of life at any age, especially with regular exercise.
Want more information about being an adult athlete? Check out this video of me answering a few questions at an event in San Francisco, CA.