Kathy, 73: Strengthening Bones, Muscles, and Mind
Meet Kathy Molloy. She’s one of the 2023 Senior Planet Sponsored Athletes, and she’ll be sharing updates on her health and wellness journey through the rest of this year. Kathy, age 73, considered herself to be in good physical condition for most of her life. But after receiving some shocking health news in her late 50s, Kathy kickstarted a new phase of fitness that has made her stronger, healthier, and happier than ever before.
I have always been physically active — doing a lot of walking, playing racquetball, and going to the gym. So, imagine my surprise during my late 50s when a bone density study revealed that I had osteoporosis with risk for fracture in my lower spine! My doctor put me on osteoporosis medication right away and told me to continue walking and to start lifting weights. I chose to get involved with CrossFit at my son’s suggestion. He believed the combination of conditioning and strength work would really help me.
For those not familiar with CrossFit, it is a form of high-intensity interval training. CrossFit uses functional fitness movements such as squatting, pulling, pushing and weightlifting to help build muscle, endurance, and, in my case, better bone density. The beauty of CrossFit is that all workouts are scalable, and movements can be modified for all fitness levels. Additionally, all sessions are led by a certified coach, and groups are typically small. It’s almost like having a personal trainer!
Getting the Hang of It
My CrossFit motto is “I may not be the fastest or strongest, but I will always finish.”
I will admit that my first few visits to the gym were a bit intimidating. Everyone was a bit younger than me — mostly between the ages of 20 and 40 — and here I was, at almost age 60, wanting to try CrossFit! Fortunately, everyone was friendly and encouraged me to keep coming. During workouts, I typically would be the last one to finish, but everyone in the group would encourage me by saying things like “You can do this!” or “Do just one more rep!”, which was so helpful. My CrossFit motto is “I may not be the fastest or strongest, but I will always finish.”
In addition to CrossFit and continuing my walking, I worked on improving my nutrition by eating more fresh vegetables, meat, and fish, and limiting my alcohol intake. Improvement in my osteoporosis was slow but steady. After five years, I was able to stop taking medication. I continue taking supplements like calcium and vitamin D.
It’s All About Balance
Fast-forward 14 years later, and I have stopped the progression of osteoporosis, and I am no longer at risk for fracture in my lower spine. And I LOVE CrossFit! I enjoy the challenge and the varied workouts every day. I like that I can scale or modify any workout and walk away feeling that I have worked up a sweat and done something healthy for me. Plus, it is a very supportive community.
I tend to worry a lot or get anxious over the littlest things, and exercising helps me keep a more balanced view of what is happening in my life.
The benefits are more mental than physical. When I finish a WOD (Workout of the Day), my state of mind is so much better. The challenging workouts release the chemicals endorphins and serotonin that improve my mood. I tend to worry a lot or get anxious over the littlest things, and exercising helps me keep a more balanced view of what is happening in my life. I especially like the CrossFit community. My husband and I travel quite a bit, but no matter where we go, I’m able to find a CrossFit box/gym and be welcomed into their group and feel comfortable.
Getting involved in different types of activities has added a new dimension to my life in retirement and allows me to stay healthy.
I still golf, but not as much since I have discovered the game of pickleball! Pickleball complements my CrossFit routine in that it provides more opportunity for side-to-side movement which. I believe this has helped with my cardio, balance, knee strength, and stability — plus, it is a nice change. There is an old saying that “Diversity is the spice of life.” Getting involved in different types of activities has added a new dimension to my life in retirement and allows me to stay healthy.
In need of a little motivation to get moving? Join our free online exercise programs, get the latest fitness updates from Senior Planet by signing up for our health and wellness 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!
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