Doing Yoga Classes With My Grandmother Taught Me To Love Fitness

Even though she’s in her 70s, my grandma still turns the heads of men years younger than her. She’s thin and gorgeous, her skin is radiant, and she probably has more energy than I do. So, I obviously had to ask her how she was this way at her age, especially when most of the old people I know are grumpy and never leave the house.

Grandma takes classes at the local YMCA. She likes a variety, so she does walking, aquatic exercises and even yoga throughout each week. If there’s ever a time that she can’t make it to classes, she has a little routine that she does at home. Given that half of women aged 75 and over do no physical activity at all, I’d say that this is quite an achievement!

She told me that a lot of the health problems that we all think are because of aging are actually due to a lack of physical activity. This made me take a look at my own life. I have to admit that I have never been big into working out. I used to lack motivation and value time on the couch with a good book more than being on some machine at the gym. But my grandmother inspired me to change. When I get to her age, I also want to be the one turning heads, not someone who is surrounded by my cats, reluctant to leave the house.

Grandma invited me to come with her to one of her classes. I chose yoga since that seemed to be more my style. It’s easy-going, perfect for someone whose exercise level until now was walking 10 paces from the couch to the fridge. It’s also indoors, so something that I can do all year round without having to worry about bad weather “forcing” me to stay home and watch Netflix. Oh, and speaking of style, committing to working out means you can justify buying cute workout clothes. Just saying.

Anyway, I headed into her yoga class expecting to be greeted by flabby old people and a glacial-paced workout. But they were all just as enthusiastic—if not even more so—than my grandmother. The instructor was so excited that I was there with her. Apparently, it’s not common for granddaughters to tag along. It was also pretty fun to see my grandma hanging out with her friends, reminding me that you’re never too old to meet new people and try something different.

Honestly, I was surprised at how much I liked it. I didn’t expect much of a workout, but I was sweating by the end of it (more than my grandma). She was definitely more in shape than me. It also made me happy that I could get a good workout without having to use machines and all that other junk.

From then on, I started going to class with Grandma once a week—and finding some other options that were for people my age as well. I go to a spinning class with some of my girlfriends. It’s a little fast and furious, but it really makes me feel energized, even if my legs tend to buckle slightly when walking out of the building! As a group, we push each other to workout harder and are there to pull each other out of bed on the days when we really don’t want to hit the gym. We play hard, too, and reward ourselves with delicious—yet still healthy—fruit smoothies after class. Spinning also gives me a great balance each week, both in terms of the pace and who I go with. It’s so much fun knowing that I have a dedicated time for seeing all the people who matter to me most.

I’ve also branched out to find workouts that I can do at home. With a full-time job, I don’t always have time to get myself to the YMCA. I have to have something fun and upbeat, so I’ve been dancing my way to a healthier lifestyle. I try to find YouTube playlists that have songs I love to jam to and it’s actually super enjoyable! I’ve also recently started trying pilates at home on the days that are too busy to squeeze in more than a 20-minute stretch. Just getting up and moving my body, even for a short amount of time, feels so rewarding.

I never thought that I would be the type to be so into working out—but my grandma made it possible. I never knew the health impacts of being so sedentary and I want to make sure that I’m going to be as healthy and vibrant as her when I’m older! Plus, yoga gives me an excuse to spend even more time with that awesome woman. I’ll take it.

How does your grandma inspire you? Tweet us @LitDarling!

Photo by Patrick Hendry

Holly Whitman

Holly Whitman is a freelance writer and journalist, originally from the UK but now based in Washington D.C. When she's not striving to be one of the best women political writers online with her thoughts on feminism and elections, she can usually be found sprawled on the floor with her two cats, garnering baffled looks from her long-suffering and wonderfully-patient husband.
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