• Pauline Cound

Self-esteem and confidence were plummeting. Age was defeating me.

I never thought that aging could crush my self-esteem and confidence. After all, I worked for 42 years in a fast paced, high stress medical career and at age 60, could still outperform my age 20 something colleagues. In a span of 4 years I suffered a blood clot in my leg, 2 torn rotator cuffs and a mild heart attack. Each time my Dr. said – you must exercise. Your muscles are weak. You need to get that blood pumping. I did think about that but always had a myriad of excuses – too busy, too tired, not enough time and I frankly just did not want to.

Then I retired and moved to a new city for the sole purpose of relaxing in retirement and babysitting my grandchildren. But soon I discovered that I no longer had work achievements to carry my self-esteem and confidence. Instead, I was exhausted looking after grandchildren, could not squat down to pick up a baby and have the strength in my legs to get back up.

One day I came across a Facebook posting for an exercise/boot camp class for ages 60+. In the spur of the moment, I signed up. I had never been in a gym before or attended a fitness class of any kind. I was 62. I walked in that first day and was welcomed into a fitness family. I looked around and was amazed…how can these people, most of whom were older than me, lift those weights and bend like that? It was a hard the first month but, I was committed. After all, I was on a 3-month trial and surely, I could do that much. Close to the end of those 3 months I realized that my energy had come back, and I felt I really had accomplished something. Self-esteem and confidence were on the rise.

Fast forward to today, 16 months later. My coach and my fitness family mean the world to me. Even though life sometimes gets in the way, I try to attend 5 days a week. It is engrained in me now. I find myself cooking dinner standing on one leg to work on my balance. I will squat down to pick something up and stay in that squat a little longer just because I can. I can keep up with the grandkids and enjoy every moment so much more.

We do not compete but, I compete with myself. I push to get stronger, more agile. Over time, with commitment, it happens. I have gone from barely being able to use the 5 and 8 lb weights to almost exclusively using 12, 15 and 20lbs.

I no longer feel “old.” I feel great about myself. I made the choice to change and will forever be fit

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