You're Never Too Old to Get Fit
(ARA) - If you think you're too old to benefit from a
fitness regimen that includes weight training, think
Seven years ago, Beatrice Maullin read about the
Crown Valley Senior Olympics competition in her
hometown of Pasadena, Calif. She had been working
out at a local gym doing aerobics, machine weights
and free weights. Thinking that there was no sport
in which she could compete, she called to volunteer
for the Senior Olympics. But when she saw that one
of the events was powerlifting, an exercise in which
she had become interested, she decided to enter the
competition, despite having only two weeks to practice
the proper form.
In April 1995, Beatrice won her first powerlifting
gold medal. By the way, at the time she was 74.
Today, at 80, Beatrice has won 25 gold medals, holds
the powerlifting world record for her age group
(82.5 pounds), and is the oldest woman in the United
States to compete in the bench press. She has won
the "best overall" title in weight lifting for the
past six years and has been featured locally and
nationally in newspapers, magazines and television,
advocating weight training for women of all ages.
Beatrice was not a fitness enthusiast all her life.
"I took dance as a young girl, raised two boys, and
ran my own businesses, but it's not the same as
working out," she said. "I don't know why I waited
this long to finally do something just for myself.
There must have been some magic plan waiting for me
to take that first step. I can't believe all this
excitement and fuss started when I was in my 70s,"
she says. "I've never had so much fun."
Studies consistently show that weight training
for seniors is beneficial in many ways. Increased
strength can help improve balance, reduce blood
pressure, stabilize blood sugar levels and lower
cholesterol. A separate study also shows that
women who take up weight training increase their
metabolism for a longer period of time -- and
therefore burn more calories -- by training with
weights, as compared to jogging or other aerobic
And increasingly, fitness clubs are catering to
seniors, who often are their most committed
members and are by far the fastest growing
segment of the health club market. For example,
Gold's Gym offers discounts to seniors, including
25 to 50 percent off enrollment fees, and many
instructors take special training to accommodate
the needs of the older fitness club members, says
Derek Barton, vice president of Public Relations
and Communications for Gold's Gym International.
"Our mission at Gold's is to help all of our
members fulfill their human potential," Barton
says, "and that includes seniors. We want them
to go for it. We not only have a growing number
of seniors enrolling in our clubs, but also a
growing number of seniors doing great things,
Beatrice says that although the recognition and
gold medals are nice, those aren't what keep her
coming back to the weight room.
"I feel healthier, more exuberant, happier about
the time I spend in the gym," she says. "I love
meeting people of all ages at the gym, because
they understand the dedication it takes to stay
in good health. Of course, going to the gym to
work out, you must allow extra time to exercise
your jaw muscles, too!"
Beatrice has no plans to retire any time soon.
In fact, she tries to get out and speak to women's
groups as much as possible to spread the word
about the benefits of weight training, even
though she realizes it may create some competition
in her age bracket.
"These new baby boomers are in for a big surprise
when it comes to getting older if they have not
been keeping fit by exercising," she says.
If they have not, the fit seniors will beat
them mile for mile."
Courtesy of ARA Content, www.ARAcontent.com,