Aging is often used as an excuse for many thing especially when it comes to a lack of physical activity. I have heard people from 30+ on up, use being too old to start, among the many reasons as to why they are inactive. The interview this week is one of the best examples of age not being an excuse to be sedentary. I asked Marion Fuller to be a part of the MCBMI campaign because she goes to the gym religiously and never misses unless she is on vacation with her husband or traveling cross country on a road trip with her son. She is so inspiring to me because she is energetic and genuinely has a true zest for life. She has a youthful spirit and spark that is undeniable and in speaking with her, she is current on world activities and pop culture.
In the interview, she mentions two classes she takes at the gym, one of them is a trampoline class which can be very intense, yet she rarely misses. There is a gentle yoga class that begins 30 minutes before the trampoline class and meets directly across the hall. The class is full of people in their 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s and when class lets out every week, like clock work, one or two of the participants will come over and look through the window and longingly watch the trampoline class. I often think how easy it would be for Marion to take gentle yoga instead of trampoline, but I believe there are two basic types of people in the world, those that jump and those that watch. Jumpers, control their lives as much as possible, while watchers, let life control them. Controlling your life begins with choices regarding your overall health and well being and it starts early on. I want to control my life and only hope as I age, I am like Marion, still in the classroom jumping and not on the outside looking in as I tell myself I’m too old. Please read Marion’s interview and make the decision to jump through life, not stand and watch.
Activities: Running, weight training, trampoline, hiking
Q: Are you a native New Yorker? If not, where did you grow up?
I was born and grew up in a small town in New Jersey. At 18, I moved to New York for college and have lived here ever since.
Q: Were you active as a child? Did you play sports? If so, what did you play?
I was very active as a child. I cannot remember a time when my friends and I were not outdoors running around, playing running bases, roller and ice skating, biking, and more. In high school I played intra mural basketball and volleyball.
Q: What influenced you to stay active as and adult?
Although I did a lot of walking with my two kids, I really wasn’t very active. After my divorce, I became more serious about the walking and gradually turned it into running. I met a track coach who later became my husband and running with him did wonders for my motivation, and still does.
Q: How many years have you been exercising?
I have been at it for over 30 years, except for a few breaks due to minor injuries.
Q: How many days do you go to the gym and what does your exercise regime consist of?
Usually I am at the gym 3 days a week, but every morning when I get up, I do my own 20 minute warm up consisting of sit ups, stretches, lunges, squats, and various pilates moves. When I arrive at the gym, whether I am on my own or in a class, I do a second warm up on the bike or elliptic trainer. I then try and do a whole body work out every time I’m there. I take fitness classes two of those days, and along with the classes, I lift weights and do cardio. Outside of the gym, I also run for about 45 minutes two separate days a week, and I try to get one more solid walk in as well.
Q: At a time in your life when many of your peers are slowing down and becoming more sedentary, what keeps you going?
Actually, my friends are still pretty active. We compare notes, encourage each other, and sometimes hike together. I like to think I am totally self-motivated but having a partner’s encouragement goes a long way.
Q: What are some of the benefits you’ve noticed in being consistent with exercise?
The last 10 years or so since I have retired and gotten into more regular weight training, I have lost weight, been generally healthier, and feel great. Active vacations like hiking, zip lining, and road trips are possible as well.
Q: Many people in the fitness industry believe exercise is the “fountain of youth.” Do you agree with this?
I totally agree with this. My parents lived long but not active lives. I look forward to workouts every day and still have the energy and desire for cultural and social activities. Hey, I am still having a great time with my husband of 25 years!
Q: The physical benefits of exercise are evident; what do you believe the mental benefits are?
When I am exercising, I really have to use all my mental abilities to follow the instructions, be aware of several different parts of my body at once, keep my balance, and remember left from right (ha ha). I am amazed at myself for still being able to remember and be interested in a myriad of books, plays, exhibits, TV shows, movies and concerts I frequently enjoy. I think all the action keeps blood flowing to my brain keeping my mind sharp, but I don’t know if this is actual science.
Q: Do you find it hard to convince anyone in your life how important being active is?
My hardest convert is my daughter. Although she is seriously overweight, she is not really committed to regular activity. She knows she should be moving more, but hasn’t been able to convert this into a daily routine.
Q: Do you notice differences between yourself and any of your friends that are sedentary?
One friend who is becoming much less active and my daughter have one thing in common, a reluctance to walk the extra block (or more). It seems to be easier to give in once you get into that habit you just do less and less.
Q: If you could do one thing different in your life, what would it be?
Rather than give in to the easy way, I try to do one more exercise, or up the weight a little, or go a little longer or faster on my run. I hope that I can improve on that attitude. At my age I am lucky to have few regrets.
Q: Why did you agree to be part of the MCBMI campaign?
It is important to me that women understand how physical activity empowers them. I would like to inspire younger women to accept healthy active living as a wonder and a privilege.