Welcome back to this special series featuring the stories of the Senior Planet Sponsored Athletes as they pursue their fitness goals in 2021. You can find all of our Sponsored Athletes’ stories here.
Hollis Wagenstein-Hurturk, age 70, is a senior athlete and an advocate for adaptive functional fitness training. She’s using it to square off against the challenges of aging and disability. By sharing accessible fitness routines and resources, Hollis hopes that everyone, no matter their ability level, can discover new ways to increase their healthspan and lifespan. Read Hollis’ previous blog posts here, and enjoy the final update from her wellness journey:
“Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.” -Julie Andrews
Former British PM Margaret Thatcher nailed it when someone asked her about her five-year plan. “I could be here, I could be twanging a harp.” (My statistical chances of twanging a heavenly harp are limited more by bad behavior than by reduced life expectancy.) That said, my “bucket list” is now a “kick-the-bucket list.” It’s a reality we all must face, and we can face it with either humor and grace, or with fear and anguish. But we need not face it alone! And in the realm of sports and exercise, that means supportive workout buddies and skilled trainers.
Why personal training?
You don’t need personal training to stay fit. You can leverage free video content on YouTube and the free classes offered by Senior Planet and others. But private personal training, as expensive as it may seem, could be the “secret sauce” that elevates your performance, refines your technique, and yields the maximum possible results. It has certainly worked for me.
Are you doing the “same old” on auto-pilot, or improving and progressing?
There are plenty of reasons to work with a personal trainer. Among them are accountability, customization, and precise feedback. Are you doing the “same old” on auto-pilot, or improving and progressing? Are you treating exercise as a chore, or as a learning experience? Trainers monitor your form and posture, spot you to prevent injury, and focus on your specific goals. A skilled trainer knows when to push you further and when to dial it down a notch, something you may not intuit on your own.
My Senior Planet Sponsored Athlete presentation on functional fitness, featuring Dr. Edward Jackowski of Exude Fitness and personal trainer Robin Friedman Stuelpner (pictured alongside me at the top of this post!)
Finding the right fit
How do you find the right trainer? Ask around; a referral from another satisfied client is optimal. Ask your favorite class trainer if they offer private sessions. Personal training sessions, while traditionally performed in a gym using pro-caliber equipment, are now also being offered online (generally via Zoom); using hand weights, exercise bands, and other equipment scaled for home use.
Sometimes, random luck leads you to a great fitness connection. I’ve gotten lucky simply by clicking on Facebook ads. That’s how I found trainer Holly Perkins. I find her methods to be buildable, scalable, and adaptable. No more excuses! Online research may also pay off. Keep searching until you find someone who’s the right fit for you.
Everyone’s journey is unique
In a couple of parting notes, I’d like to share a poignant article about former NFL All-American Tim Green, now sidelined by ALS. No diet, no exercise regime, no privileged access to today’s best medical treatments could spare him. Disability is no respecter of time, talent or treasure. It can strike anyone, at any time.
Another athlete who actually beat the odds, although not back to his original level is marathon runner Tommy Rivers Puzey. In his case, rigorous training allowed him to survive and regain some semblance of normalcy after a catastrophic illness.
The best choice we can make is to work that body, whatever that body is — and functional fitness gives all of us a path.
Mercifully, few of us will suffer random and life-shattering catastrophes. But many of us will lead lesser lives than we hoped for, often because of choices we’ve made along the way. One bad choice is to give up on exercise and physical activity simply because you can’t keep up with the pros you see in TV ads or at the gym. The best choice we can make is to work that body, whatever that body is — and functional fitness gives all of us a path.
Sponsored Athlete reflections…
In previous posts we talked about the tools and accoutrements that enhance our exercise routines. Marketers are catching on to the power and potential of senior athletes. We are a force to be reckoned with! And Senior Planet is on the frontier edge.
As this is my final post as a 2021 Senior Planet Sponsored Athlete, I’d like to say a quick farewell to all those who have honored me by reading my posts. If I could sum up my message in three short riffs:
- Exercise is important for everyone, and accessible to anyone.
- You don’t need to spend a dime to create a great workout routine, but there are helpful tools at every price point to enrich your experience.
- Functional fitness covers a wide range of activities (strength, flexibility, endurance, balance) that can help everyone, from the confirmed couch potato to the committed athlete.
Even with the challenges of aging, I am probably in better relative shape than I have ever been.
Serving as a Sponsored Athlete has been one of the signal honors in my adult life, and it has changed me for better and for good. It propelled my commitment to fitness into hyperdrive. Even with the challenges of aging, I am probably in better relative shape than I have ever been. I have met some awesome, awesome new friends along the way. And my fitness journey is nowhere near over.
Hope to meet you on the road! I raise my glass… nope, I hoist my hand weight… to you!
In need of a little motivation to get moving? Join our daily health and wellness programs, stay tuned to the latest news and articles from SeniorPlanet.org by signing up for The Orbit weekly newsletter, and follow us on social media (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram) to get to know these awe-inspiring athletes. You might just find a new love for fitness along the way!