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  1. You Got to Have Friends

    Exercising with a group helps ensure success.

    Some people prefer to get fit alone. Others are joiners – happiest when they’re working out and playing with friends or other folks.

    “Being in a group appeals to me – I like to sign up!”

    That’s Diane Firmani, a 64-year-old multi-athlete who stays active outdoors all year long in Wasilla, Alaska.

    In summer, she runs 5Ks and half-marathons. Year-round, she travels all over to compete in triathlons.

    And in the winter, when she’s not out with friends riding fat-tire bikes over snow and frozen lakes, the retired school librarian is on the hockey rink, playing with her women’s team that includes five members over age 50.

    All the real fun took a severe and spiritual turn in the last year. Diane has been taking care of her husband since a debilitating stroke.

    “It has been a challenging year,” Diane says.

    “And those girls have stood by me. They support me. They’re true blues.”

    Diane’s experiences prove all kinds of points about staying fit after 50. It’s fun. It’s social. You can diversify your workouts no matter where you are.

    Exercising with Others: It Works!

    And by staying active in groups, Diane personifies what experts say : Exercising with a friend or group dramatically raises your chances of sticking to it.

    That’s true across the board. Studies show:

    Working with a partner or on a team improves performance and double workout times, according to The Society of Behavioral Medicine

    Ninety-five percent of people who participated in a group weight-loss program finished it, compared to 76 percent who participated alone.

    Working out with others is simply more fun, a University of Southern California  study found.

    That’s why we offer a range of options for people who want to exercise with other people. Talk to us about the possibilities.

    ‘I don’t think of myself as old.’

    Diane’s team recently made it to the championship match of the C Cup Women’s Hockey Classic, which brings together women from across the state.

    “Sometimes people say you’re too old, or women shouldn’t play hockey, but I don’t care,” Diane says. 

    “I don’t think of myself as old. I don’t feel old.”

    “I used to have more of a grandma image in my head – white hair and a walker… But I’m nothing like that.”

    Neither are the other women over 50 on her team, including Ironman triathlete Sammye Pokryfki, 58.

    “Playing hockey on my women’s team expresses so many of my core values — staying active, being part of a team, challenging myself, and spending time with friends. But the most important thing that keeps me coming back? It’s just so much fun.”

    Their advice to people over 50 who don’t know how to start getting fit?

    No. 1: Get moving.

    “And for me, get a friend, get a buddy,” Diane says. 

    “You keep each other motivated, and you hold each other accountable.”

    “Since my husband’s stroke, there are days when it’s hard, and it’s easier not to go play or workout. That’s where my friends come in. That’s my tribe. That’s who I count on.”


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