Staying Active and Healthy Beyond 60 with Susan


About Susan
Susan, 62, a grandmother, has always been interested in exercising and staying fit. She ran track in high school and stopped for the longest time. She’s had this idea of being able to run a marathon, but time has gotten the best of her. Now with her kids older, she finally decided to join a marathon. She teamed up with Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training program for a Disney Marathon in 2003. She walked fast through it and was able to get her medal. She was walking for a while as an exercise and got tired of it until she discovered Jeff Galloway’s program.

At the time during this podcast, Susan had been working with Matt on nutrition counseling and this has been the longest that she had been doing her best with her diet, working on eating the best food, taking in the proper calories, proteins, and carbs to name a few. 

Susan has been with Bent On Better for a little over two years now and has lost 20 pounds of body fat but in the past eight weeks, she had lost a little over eight pounds of body fat. You can lose weight real fast, maybe not eat for a day and do a lot of cardio but to lose eight pounds of body fat in a little over two months mean something. Susan, she has gotten tired of losing and then gaining some weight that she decided to ask Matt for help with her nutrition as she was already at the age where she wanted to have more control over her health so she can be her best self for her family and with her grandson especially.

Jeff Galloway’s Run Walk Program
Susan walked for a while as her exercise and had been doing different things like the Blue Cross Broad Street Run, which she did twice and stopped and finally saw something about Jeff Galloway. 

Jeff Galloway, a former Olympian runner, is a motivational speaker and author. He competed in the 10,000 meters at the 1972 Summer Olympics for the United States. Galloway became a leading ambassador for running by lecturing at running conferences and races about improving one’s running skills. Many of the books that Galloway has authored cover everything from how to start running to training for certain race distances and how to fuel your body appropriately for running. 

Susan joined their group in 2007 and joined five half-marathons with them. Among these runs, Susan’s favorite was the Marine Marathon’s MCM10K because her son is in the marines. Running the Marine Marathon was one of Susan’s emotional runs, as this gave her the chance to connect with her son’s good friend. Friends and family members who encourage you to keep going are just as important as the medal itself in making the experience of completing a marathon worthwhile.

Susan (front) and Kathy as Bent On Better’s Dynamic Duo for 2020. Friendship inspires greatness.

Finding Bent On Better
In 2019, Susan found Bent On Better on Facebook, and during that time, she was still in another gym which is more for high-intensity interval training. For the four months that Susan was at this other gym, she just could not get connected; they were incredibly fit, size two people that when she contacted Matt of Bent On Better, she made sure it isn’t one of those places that everyone’s super fit and size two. 

Susan went in to check Bent On Better and finally saw that this was the kind of gym, program, and atmosphere she was looking for. She signed in that night and was welcomed by the rest of the members. She also met a gym buddy who started the same night as her, and they were awarded as the Dynamic Duo for 2020.

Everyone was incredibly warm and encouraging of one other, and there was a sense of camaraderie. Susan gave it two weeks to see if it was indeed what it claimed to be, and indeed, she made the right choice.

Some Physical Concerns
Susan claims she is the kind of person who gets the weirdest physical conditions. First, she got eye cancer which could potentially affect her vision, but she was able to deal with it. A couple of years later, in 2008, she woke up with a swollen left leg and was told she had an acute blood clot and had to go through surgery. She had three stents to remove as many blood clots as they could. When she got back to walking and then joining marathons, she literally had to learn to walk again because of how bad it was. 

Susan was determined to get back to exercising, and when she saw a leg specialist, she was told that walking had helped save her leg. Walking had helped promote healthy blood flow, and while she couldn’t get away with her swollen left leg, it wasn’t as bad as before. Most people with the clot that bad don’t usually work out or exercise because of how bad it could get, but Susan was determined or maybe stubborn enough to really pursue what she wanted to do in life.

An Unexplained Drooping face
In 2017, while Susan was getting ready for work, she suddenly noticed that her right face was drooping. She just went to work as usual, but her boss had asked her to call her doctor. She rushed to the ER as they were unsure if it was a stroke, but they found out that it was Bell’s Palsy after running some tests. According to mayoclinic.org, Bell’s palsy is a disorder that produces sudden paralysis in the muscles on one side of the face. Most of the time, the weakness is temporary and improves considerably within a few weeks. The weakening makes half of the face appear to droop, smiles are one-sided, and the eye on the affected side resists shutting.

Susan had to take medicines, tried acupuncture, and used Kansa wand facial massager, and though she is getting better, she still can’t completely smile up to this day. This is part of why she was reluctant at first to join Bent On Better, as she may not feel welcomed because she can’t smile, just like what happened at the first gym that she went to.

Committed to your growth? Find a gym that you’re excited to come back to every day.

Find a Good Gym (and other tips)
Susan attributed her condition as somehow caused by stress at work. This is why she advises finding a good gym to get through day-to-day stress. She also appreciated the fact that she finally found a community that was ready to welcome her and coaches who challenged her and made her do things she thought she wouldn’t be capable of doing.

One thing she also learned while working out at the gym is being accountable for her nutrition. Susan became conscious of what she is putting in her body, especially knowing herself, she is an emotional eater who tends to eat uncontrollably when under stress. Susan learned to take control of what she was eating and cut back on junk food and processed foods. She chose healthier foods, and learned to eat food in moderation, and when to eat them so she gets to maximize all the nutrients.

Realize What You Are Capable Of
Susan also learned to be mindful of her water intake, and to drink enough water, knowing how much she needed to supplement her diet, and this helped her balance out any cravings she might have.

By making these small changes—drinking water before meals, keeping track of exercise and water intake, exercising regularly, eating a better variety of fruits and vegetables, and moving more throughout the day—Susan has learned a healthy routine that supports her lifestyle and is seeing progress in terms of her health.

“Don’t Let Your Age Stop You.”
At 62 years old, Susan had exceeded her own expectations. She learned to push her limits, that despite age and some physical conditions, she is determined to reach her goals, be it at deadlift and going heavier or enduring marathons, or simply getting the best shape for her grandson.

Being active is something that Susan simply cannot do without. Being active gave her the impetus to follow her dreams, the accomplishments that came with the risks she has taken, and the knowledge that old age is not an excuse to stop trying. In short, being active made Susan realize that old age can be challenging but it must not stop you from doing all the things that really matter to you in life.

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