Chris Zaremba is WatchFit’s regular contributor on fitness for the over 50’s. He turned his life, health and shape around after reaching 50 to become a physique champion. Here he moves the age range along and looks at the fitness life of someone who can add another 27 years to the first fifty!

When I start thinking of my articles, I usually have in mind that many readers will be in the same age decade as me – between the ages of 50 and 60.

Despite that I always try to make my articles inclusive and to be relevant to people outside of this age bracket too, in both directions.


There’s no age limit to fitness!

In this particular article, I want to perhaps extend the range even further than normal, as I want to focus on someone who is only three years short of her 80th birthday.

I believe her life has considerable relevance to others whatever age they are. I’ve certainly learnt a few things in fitness – and in life generally – from Jane, and it is a pleasure to pass some of these on here.

Who is Jane?

Jane is a friend of mine. She lives with her husband Will in a small town in Wisconsin where the winters are harsh and the summers are hot. It is about 300 miles north-west of Chicago.

She is one of the most contented people I know, very happy with all aspects of her life, and keeping herself active physically and alert mentally over the decades has contributed massively to this level of contentment.

Twice a week she wakes early to go the local gym and joins in their spinning class. And I do mean early. Most of the class go to jobs afterwards, so the session runs from 6am until 7am.

Jane has built many friendships in the spinning group and – apart from trips away from home – she hasn’t missed a spinning session in 15 years!

My wife Jenny and I join in whenever we are staying – we have the benefits of jet lag to help us with the early start!

50 years old_2Resistance training at any age

Jane is also a visitor twice a week to the weights area of her local gym, where she is a regular user of a variety of resistance machines to maintain muscle mass.

For safety: she uses machines rather than free weights and she is now at the point where there aren’t too many personal records being broken in terms of pounds being shifted – but she is keen not to lighten the load either.

I agree with her view that progress for someone in this age range is lifting the same at age 80 as they did at 70.

Jane was into this resistance training before I met her, so I don’t have to give her my rather firm views on why people of past-middle age really should become familiar with the weights room at the gym.

Keeping active with regular walks

A lot of Wisconsin is rural and Jane makes the most of this. Will and Jane walk miles as they go goose hunting in season (which usually leads to a great Christmas dinner), and they continue to enjoy the scenery into the snowy winter.

They regularly go snowshoe trekking on what is locally known as Rib Mountain, at 1200ft it is not the highest mountain in the US – but it is the loftiest point in the State.

Exercise needn’t be boring

When the skiing season is underway, not only are Jane and Will both keen skiers, Jane is actually an instructor at the ski school there.

She mentioned to me that she taught a group class of six youngsters last winter, and she was older than all of them put together!

In the summer months, as well as hiking, Jane enjoys kayaking.

She undertakes trips of 75-100 miles in length, including camping on the way. She regrets not having done such a trip since turning 75, not because she can’t, she just can’t find the time!

In Part 2 tomorrow Chris tells us more about this remarkable lady and sets out the lessons we can learn from somebody who has kept mind and body so alive and engaged well into later life.

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