An open letter to women in their 60s about exercise

July 9, 2022

When you’ve worked with and helped as many people as we have at Range of Motion, you pick up on a lot of common problems.

And there’s no population of people who need an individualised, health first approach, more than women in their early 60s.

Every week, we sit down and chat with ladies in this age group who’ve sought out our help.

And every week, we hear the same stories. Happy stories. We hear the stories of their family. Stories of their new grandkids. Stories of babysitting as the highlight of the week.

But we hear the unhappy stories too.

Women tell us that they can’t get off the floor without an embarrassing crawl to the nearest chair for assistance.

And that they avoid low chairs because they’re scared they might never get back up.

They tell us about how active they used to be and the sports they used to play. About how fit and strong they used to be. And about how it all seems to be slowly slipping away. And the struggle they have with this loss of identity – strong and active memories stuck inside a body that can’t do what it used to do.

People tell us about how they don’t feel as sure and stable on their feet, and how their confidence has taken a hit as their balance has worsened.

Or about getting out of breath walking up a set of stairs they’d have bounded up just a few years ago.

We hear stories of appointments with specialists about painful knees, hips, shoulders and lower backs. And about bone scans with concerning results.

And with all the stories people tell us, the pattern is consistent. They tells us that this slow but certain downward spiral of their health has only really begun to pick up steam in the last three years. And women are scared that they’ve left it too late. And they’re scared that, given a few more years like this, the slow downward spiral will be irreversible. They feel like this is their last chance.

And almost everyone tells us they can’t quite put their finger on it, but that they ‘don’t feel like themselves’, that ‘their energy seems to have drained away’, that their ‘vitality has gone’, that they suddenly ‘feel old’.

And all of these worrying stories relate back to the happy stories – the limiting effects that a slowly ageing body can have on enjoying that beautiful time of being a grandparent.

Here’s the thing. These stories are SO common. They come with clockwork predictability.

There’s a whole generation of women who feel like they’re the only one with these problems. They feel alone, and (to be honest) a little scared about they future and what their body will allow them to do.

But the sheer number of people who approach us with these problems means they are far from alone.

And when you help solve the same problems over and over again, you learn a few things about how to solve them.

So here is our advice to women in their 60s who are looking to turn things around.

1) It is not too late. You would be astounded at the difference you will feel from only a few weeks of training. Years of slow decline can be halted almost immediately.

2) You shouldn’t be exercising for the sake of exercise. No one needs to be ‘good at going to the gym’. You need to be good at ‘life’ (whatever that looks like). If your exercise isn’t improving your ability to live life outside the gym, you need to change your exercise. The exercises you do should look like the movements you want to improve in your life. If you look at the exercises you do, and they look nothing like the movements you do every day, it’s time for a change.

3) It’s easier than you think to get strong. No matter its age, the body has a remarkable ability to adapt to the exercise you throw at it. You can expect to feel your strength returning almost immediately.

4) Consistency is more important than anything else. It doesn’t matter how much weight you lift, or how many times you lift it. What matters is that you keep coming back to lift it every week.

5) One size does not fit all. Your exercise program should be individually tailored to you. 

6) There’s no rush (sort of). It’s important you get started as soon as you can. The older we get, the more work we need to do to get the same results. That being said, once you’ve started, take it slow. There’s no rush to get better – it will happen even with a slow, measured approach.

7) Starting is the hardest part. Do everything in your power to muster up the bravery to take that first step. It’s scary to reach out for help. It gets easier from there.

You’re not alone. 

There is hope. 

You deserve to feel optimistic about the future of your body, because you have more power to control it than you think.

Dan Williams

Dan Williams


Dan Williams is the Director of Range of Motion and leads a team of Exercise Physiologists, Sports Scientists, Physiotherapists and Coaches. He has a Bachelor of Science (Exercise and Health Science) and a Postgraduate Bachelor of Exercise Rehabilitation Science from The University of Western Australia, with minors in Biomechanics and Sport Psychology.

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