Will you be ready if adventure beckons?
For Rich and Liz Clapp, the answer was a resounding “Yes!” Their journey to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa wasn’t just a testament to their physical fitness, but also to the commitment they share to embracing life’s opportunities, no matter their age.
At 66 years old, they both have been dedicated to fitness for almost a decade, working out four times a week now. Their fitness routine includes strength training, endurance exercises, and Pilates at our studio!
“We try to stay active on days when we’re not working out at Full Circle,” Liz says. “We’re both in better shape than we’ve ever been. And we hope to maintain this and live independently as long as possible.”
While they may not consider themselves super-athletes, they embody the spirit of embracing life on your own terms — even if you never want to travel around the world and climb a mountain.
A Question of Why Not?
The pair have gone on long hikes in other countries before, like Peru and New Zealand. But those were just warmups for the 19,341-foot-high Kilimanjaro. The iconic African peak had never crossed their minds, let alone appeared on their bucket list.
But when I (Rosa) pitched the idea for a family expedition, Rich and Liz were all in. They knew they were capable of the rigors of traveling so far, and of going on a guided tour up the mountain.
The youngest in the climbing group was 39, the oldest 79.
The climbing wasn’t as difficult as some might imagine, they said, but it was increasingly cold the higher they went.
And the lack of oxygen that high meant Liz had to stop just short of the top. Rich and I made it to the summit just as the sun was rising and were rewarded with spectacular vistas.
“The thing that motivated me was seeing the other people. They weren’t super-human. I said, Hey, we can do this,” Rich says. “It’s an amazing feat to get up there. There are glaciers. The horizon is very long and dramatic… The emotion was overwhelming.”
Ready for Life
The adventure reinforced the Clapps’ love of life and staying active – and the awareness that the strength, endurance and agility they gain in the gym is essential for living a fulfilling life.
For peers who are out of shape and afraid to start exercising, the Clapps have heartfelt advice. They believe there’s still a lot of adventure awaiting them, and they don’t want to miss a thing.
“I hear people say, ‘I’m old, I’m 60, I can’t do those things now,’” Liz says. “I would like to encourage people. You don’t have to go to a gym and lift heavy weights. It’s just moving our bodies, getting up and down, traveling or just playing with our grandchildren.”
“People need to get past the fear and live life,” she says. “I don’t need to be 20. I can be 66 and still achieve what I want to do.”
How Many Steps?
No one’s sure where we got the idea that 10,000 is the ideal number of steps everybody should take every day. It doesn’t seem to be based on anything scientific or medical. And the number might be daunting to people who are new to the idea of daily exercise.
But a new analysis says the magic number is just 4,000 steps a day to reduce the risk of dying of any cause.
A team of Polish researchers analyzed 17 studies that followed more than 200,000 people for an average of just over seven years.
“The analysis showed that benefits began at around 2,300 steps per day, which was associated with a significant reduced risk of dying of cardiovascular disease. At around 4,000 steps, the risk of dying of any cause also began to fall significantly. Both figures — which represent medians — are under the 5,000-step limit for what the study notes is normally considered to be a sedentary lifestyle,” The Washington Post reported.
“But there were benefits beyond these numbers: Every extra 1,000 steps was associated with a 15 percent reduction in the risk of dying of any cause, while an increase of 500 steps per day was associated with a 7 percent reduction in the risk of death of cardiovascular disease, the study said.”
Any movement is good – but remember that walking is just the first step (no pun intended) to fitness and health. Come see us today and we’ll show you what’s next.