Aging like Fine Wine Unveiling the Secret to Maintaining Fitness at 70 Years Old and Running My 44th Marathon
70 Years Young And Still Going Strong My 44th Marathon and The Secrets to Aging Gracefully
Image by Gisela Perez/ New York Road Runners
Gisela Perez fell head over heels for running the moment her shoes hit the pavement. Growing up in the Bronx, she ran competitively in college and rediscovered her love for the sport after becoming a mother. Running has become her faithful companion through life’s ups and downs, and at the age of 70, she is gearing up to conquer her 24th New York marathon and 44th marathon overall.
But it’s not just her accomplishments that make Gisela Perez so remarkable. She is also a coach for two very diverse running groups: Run for the Future, for high schoolers, and Striders, for older adults looking to stay fit. Her motto? There’s no age limit to exercise!
So, how has she managed to keep running for so long? Let’s dive into her secret strategies that have helped her endure and thrive:
1. She’s formed a community around running
When Gisela started running, she was one of the few women in her neighborhood to do so. Undeterred, she joined a group of guys who called themselves the “weekend warriors.” They pushed each other, ran together, and became a tight-knit clan pounding the pavement. Nowadays, the running community in New York is a vibrant tapestry, welcoming individuals of all genders, backgrounds, ages, and body types. Gisela explains, “When you run with a group, they offer you a safety net and a social outlet. You also have accountability. On days when you don’t feel like running, you think, ‘Oh wait, there’s a group out there, and they’re probably waiting for me.’”
2. She’s revved up her cross-training
In her younger years, Gisela could run six days in a row without a break. Nowadays, she’s added cross-training into her routine to keep her body strong and injury-free. She’s not going to push her body to the limit day after day, no sir! On her off days, she’ll indulge in light yoga, resistance band exercises, or go for a long walk. As she gracefully ages, she knows the importance of maintaining muscle mass, and weight training and spinning are some of her go-to activities.
3. She’s prioritized beauty sleep
Sleep, glorious sleep! It’s no secret that good rest helps us recover and rejuvenate, and Gisela is a firm believer in its power. She cherishes her sleep after long runs to help her muscles heal. Sleep is like a magic elixir that reduces the risk of injury and keeps those muscles happy. Plus, regular exercise, like running, improves sleep quality and helps banish those pesky episodes of insomnia.
4. She’s been diligent about eating enough protein
Protein is Gisela’s secret weapon for recovery. Right after a run, she makes sure to fuel her body with a protein-packed meal to aid in muscle repair. Research confirms that consuming 25 to 30 grams of protein after a workout is essential for maximizing muscle growth and recovery. From protein shakes to smoothies to her guilty pleasure, chocolate milk, Gisela knows that protein is her running buddy.
5. She’s leaned on mantras and visualizations
Running is not just a physical feat but also a mental game. Gisela has harnessed the power of personal mantras to conquer the challenges that come her way. She whispers to herself, “You got this. You can do this, Gisela. You’ve done hard things before, and all things are possible.” Alongside mantras, visualizations play a key role in her mental preparation. The night before races, she envisions herself conquering every difficult stretch of the course, arriving at the start line feeling strong and confident.
6. She’s challenged herself regularly
In addition to completing an impressive 43 marathons, Gisela has tackled over 100 half marathons and countless 10Ks and 5Ks. She loves a challenge! Racing helps her maintain her speed and showcases the results of her hard work. Races are the ultimate reward for all the sweat and tears she pours into her training.
As Gisela prepares for her 24th New York marathon, she’s taking this week easy and reminiscing about all the remarkable ways running has shaped her life. “Running is my saving grace. It’s my everything,” she declares. “It’s my escape. It’s my ‘me’ time. Running is my passion.”
So, dear fashion-loving friends, let’s take a page from Gisela Perez’s book. Let’s lace up our sneakers, join running groups, indulge in cross-training, prioritize beauty sleep, savor protein-packed meals, create mantras, and challenge ourselves regularly. Let’s make running our way of life, our escape, and our passion.
Now go forth, embrace the pavement, and let your love story with running unfold, just like Gisela’s. The road is calling, my friend!