I Move For Me: Elaine Greenberg
Written by Elaine Greenberg
Elaine is Mother of two grown up children (including Her Move founder Sabrina!) She runs a small family business full time, loves the opera and ballet and supports opera students at the Royal College of Music.
I have always been an active person, ever since I was a child.
I was sent to ballet and tap classes at the age of four and I continued twice a week until the age of fifteen. It wasn’t done with exercise in mind but as an extra-curricular activity, to make friends and learn a discipline and skill. The same went for piano lessons, to widen my horizons.
Summer holidays were spent riding my bike up to the local park. Playing on the swings, climbing trees and generally burning excess energy until it was time to go home for tea!
After my children were born I found a Hatha Yoga class which suited me very well. The gentle stretching, the breath and meditation helped my wellbeing in body and mind. Looking after two children and running a home was exercise in itself, you can certainly work up a sweat doing your own housework!!
I am aware that mum’s today have to work and find it increasingly difficult to fit any form of exercise into their busy schedule. There weren’t the same pressures for new mums to return to their pre baby weight after giving birth. We took our time. Breast feeding helped considerably and walking with a pram on a daily basis was all I really needed.
From all I have been saying you probably guess I am an older woman!
In fact I am 64 years young, but am noticing my body is experiencing wear and tear issues. A regular check-up lead me to have a bone density scan and I was diagnosed being osteoporotic. So not full blown osteoporosis, but potentially heading that way. It was discovered in my lower spine and the neck of both hips.
I was prescribed medication and told to take vitamin D and to increase my calcium intake, but nothing was mentioned about how to go about the load bearing exercise that was part of the prescribed treatment plan. I knew I had to do this but didn’t want to go to a gym and I hated the thought of running.
I had heard my daughter talking about the training she had undertaken at a small boutique gym close to where she lived. It sounded like you had to be very strong to even begin to attempt the drills she was undertaking, and when I saw what they were doing, there was no way I would even contemplate making an attempt.
This was totally beyond anything I knew, especially for a woman of my age. My comfort zone was yoga and dance, not deadlifts and kettle bells!! I was concerned that I would be injuring myself that I would develop female weight lifters muscles and a six pack stomach!!
This particular gym at that time looked like a torture chamber with metal racks on the walls & ropes hanging from the ceiling. if my daughter hadn’t been with me I would have run a mile!! The language was pretty blue and the music thumping out had words that would have a xxx rating! This was not the environment I wanted to train in!
Never-the-less my daughter convinced me that the coaches were excellent and that they cared about their clients. So I gave it a go.
I was given a male coach who knew his onions! He first of all carried out a full assessment of my capabilities. This including looking at the bone density scans to see where the problems were. He then tailor made the sort of mobility exercises that were beneficial to get my body into a position that I could start a functional fitness programme. This took several months, but he was very patient with me and was so encouraging that I developed a quiet determination to progress. It wasn’t a competition with anyone else, just me!
Over time he gradually introduced me to weights. To practice the position you need to start dead lifting he gave me a stick! There are nuisance’s to the body’s position, there is the breath to consider and so we practised this. He then gave me the bar with out any weight. When I was comfortable with this he started to add weights.
Over time I gained confidence and started to enjoy my sessions. I also found that these exercises help in my everyday life. I was able to lift things in the proper manner with out hurting my back. Prime example was lifting a bag of soil in the garden centre. A young man rushed over to take it off me but I felt so pleased with myself knowing I could do this on my own.
My daughter had shown me a YouTube video of woman older than myself training. She stated she wanted to be able to carry her grandchild and to be fit enough to run around with him. That did it for me! I too want to be in this position and its that thought that keeps me going when I am too tired to even contemplate going to my sessions.
When I watch the classes at the gym I have so much admiration for these ladies who take part, they are such strong women. They do not have body builder bodies but are of all shapes and sizes. They are training for themselves, for a healthy outlook both physically and mentally.
Everyone has a different reason for training, mine is to keep active for longer, hopefully to stave off osteoporosis and prevent falls and breakages, which are harder to heal as you get older.
I now genuinely look forward to my sessions which have subtly changed. Less of the dead lifts and more exercise’s to activate the glutes, cardio using the sk-erg, which is very important aspect of training as you get older, and using the sled/prowler which works all the muscle groups.
I feel much more confident in myself knowing I have come a long way from standing in the doorway of the gym preparing to run!
Movement is so important. You don’t have to be a marathon runner, if that’s not your thing. Find something that gives you joy and do it for yourself, not because you have to look like some celebrity, or have to wear what they are selling or eat what they eat. The competition is too great, and it sets us up for failure.
Do this for yourself at your own pace. A pair of leggings and a t shirt will do. Never mind what others might think. It’s your health and wellbeing that’s important.
At the ‘Her Move’s’ launch party, this 64 year old lady, got back onto a trampoline and bounced!!