Age is just a number, and with every crunch and flex and hop these oh-so-fit tricity women are proving just that!
For Jaspal Kaur Bhatia (58), head librarian at Dev Samaj College, going to the gym is a way of life. “People say weight increases with age. I don’t believe this. Our fitness is in our hands. I want to stay active, so I stay active,” says Kaur, who has been going to the gym for almost 20 years. “Regular exercising helps me relax my mind,” adds Bhatia, who is set to become a grandmother in a couple of months.
Bhatia is part of the feisty tribe of women past 50 who are determined to stay fighting fit. Chandigarh Golf Club gym trainer Naveen Kala (33) testifies to this trend. “It seems women have finally understood that more exercise means fewer pains. That is why we now see more women above 50 coming in and gymming with a lot of discipline,” says Kala, who trains around 10 women in this age bracket.
Opinder Kaur Sekhon wants to serve as a role model for her children in the health department.
(Sikander Singh Chopra/HT)
Friends and fitness-freaks, as they call themselves, Opinder Kaur Sekhon (56) and Renu Bains (54) want to set an example for their children with their healthy lifestyles. “I believe parents need to be role models, if we are obese and lazy, why will our kids want to lead healthy lives,” says Sekhon, who has been a regular at the gym for over 10 years and feels “guilty” when she has to give it a miss.
“Regular gymming has made me disciplined when it comes to our diet as well. Each time I want to have something sweet or fattening, I am reminded of the hard work I put in the gym. This helps me control my diet,” says Bains.
Parveen Kaur (52) has been receiving a plethora of compliments since she started going to the gym, and has no intention of stopping anytime soon. “I started as I wanted to lose weight. I have already lost 4 kg and am happy with my progress,” Kaur says, adding that her energy levels are also at an all time high these days.
Parveen Kaur (52), who has been receiving a plethora of compliments since she started going to the gym, has no intentions of stopping.
Harvinder Virk (82), who has been going to the gym for six months now, “loves” it. “I am enjoying gymming so much! I finish all the household chores as soon as I can, and rush to the gym,” says Virk, who retired as a teacher-educator.
According to Tejinder Dhaliwal, partner-owner at Ozi Gym and Spa, gyms are no longer the place where guys go to bulk up. “Five years back, only guys came to the gym to make muscles. This has changed. From a 75:25 male-female ratio five years ago, it is 60:40 now.” Dhaliwal says their centres across the tricity have over 45 women above the age of 50, some even grandmothers. “Age is no longer a factor, it all depends on how an individual views fitness,” he adds.
Chandigarh MC’s first all-woman gym at Mahila Bhawan in Sector 38-C has also seen an increase in enrolment every month since it was inaugurated in December. “Currently around 35 women in the 50-plus age bracket train here regularly,” says gym in charge Chanchal Panesar Sharma, adding that more are waiting to join.
Anu Kohli (left) says focusing on health was a very conscious decision; and for Meena Opal, attitude matters.
High on yoga
Grandmothers in the tricity are also leading by example in the yoga department, often outperforming youngsters in difficult asanas.
Meena Opal, 60, says “attitude matters”. “I have been doing yoga for almost 15 years and exercising regularly since my twenties. I believe whatever one does, one should do it happily.” Opal says she gets motivated from the younger lot. “I feel if they can do it, so can I,” she says.
Just a few months shy of 60, Anu Kohli has always had health high up on her list of priorities. “You can call me a fitness freak, I have always been very active,” says Kohli, who has been doing yoga regularly for two years now.
“I was a regular at the gym in the early 2000s and have been doing yoga on my own for many, many years. Keeping myself healthy was a very conscious decision,” says Kohli, who learnt how to swim in her 50s. “I would see others having so much fun in the water, I just had to learn swimming,” she laughs.
Kohli says yoga is the best workout as it includes both mental and muscle exercises. “My husband and I try to motivate others around us to focus on their fitness,” she says.
Work out to boost quality of life
Gynaecologist Dr Mangla Dogra believes lifestyle modifications such as gymming and yoga are “crucial” for middle-aged women. “After menopause, muscles become limp and need strengthening, regular exercise is crucial. The growing awareness among women regarding their health is important, and will help them improve their quality of life,” she says, adding that the new generation should push the older generation to exercise more.