Getting Inspired by Other Older Women

When I read a story about a woman who is in the second half of life, who is knocking it out of the park, I get inspired!

I don’t about you, but I can’t do what I did when I was younger… but I can do different things now! And finding out about other older women who are working to become fit and strong is a big motivation.

When Jill and I first started Becoming Elli, we were inspired by Elli, the Norse Goddess of Aging, who beat Thor in a wrestling match. Aging is a funny thing. A lot of people complain about it. My 88 year old mom says, “It’s better than the alternative.” I am motivated by women who embrace it.

Every day I am inspired by reading articles, listening to podcasts and watching videos about real-life, older women who are doing amazing things like these:

  • Joan Benoit Samuelson, 61 years old, ran the Boston Marathon on Monday, finishing the challenging 26.2 mile course in only 3 hours, 4 minutes! When her time is adjusted for her age using the age-graded calculator, she actually won the Boston Marathon this year! She uses the power of story to motivate herself, and set her goal to run “40 minutes slower than 40 years ago” when she won with a finish of 2:35:15 in 1979. She mentioned she did a lot of cross training with Nordic skiing to improve fitness and strengthen her upper body without too much pounding on her legs.
  • Ernestine Shepherd, age 81, who started working out and exercising at a gym at age 56. Fulfilling a promise she made to her sister right before her sister passed away from a brain aneurysm, Ernestine achieved the world record as the oldest competitive body builder. She is a personal trainer and remembers the mantra from her sister, “Determined, Dedicated, Disciplined.”
  • Julia Hawkins, 102 years old, who took up competitive running at 100 and competitive cycling at 75 years old. Her children are in their 60’s and 70’s. She does a lot of work in her garden and runs inside when she hears the telephone ring.

What’s their secret? It’s hard to say, but in my opinion, they look forward, not back. They set little goals, then bigger goals. They stay active. They do what they can, when they can.

Exercising with other people is social. Competing helps to set goals. Trying new things helps me to not compare myself with what I did when I was younger. Becoming inspired by other older women makes me feel hopeful and motivated.

How about you? What motivates you? Do you know of another older woman who is doing something that inspires you? Let us know by sending an email: or by posting on our social media!

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