Fitness Magazine

Age Before Beauty – Hope for the Veteran Rower

By Girlontheriver @girlontheriver

It was a sight that made my veteran heart sink. Lined up along the back of the room, a fresh-faced, dewy-skinned group of teenagers, waiting for the exercise class to start.

As word has got around that the middle-aged mothers in town are, one by one, getting in shape thanks to cruel-to-be-kind torture methods of boot camp, our classes have exploded with new members, including increasing numbers of the young and lithe. Once the preserve of women who, let’s just say, would be steadily working their way down the alphabet of the Masters categories, the average age has dropped dramatically.

This is great news for the class as a whole, but it does mean that the more, ahem, senior members of the group are reminded of their age as they see the flawless bodies of the next generation looking lovely in lycra.

Anyway, back to yesterday’s session. The music started pumping and with it came a new routine – the utterly evil “accumulator”, in which one 30-second set of pain (prisoner squats) is gradually added to with a second (hill climbers), a third (burpees), fourth (press-ups) and so on, culminating in a non-stop three-minute torture session (it sounds like this). Don’t think 3 minutes sounds like much? Please do join us next week.

It wasn’t long before long I was puffing and sweating and bellowing with the pain (I’m not very ladylike, I’m afraid). And it was then that I noticed it. During one of the hill climbers, I glanced through my legs (see what I mean about the ladylike bit?) and spotted those fit, sporty, gorgeous youngsters at the back doing… nothing. They’d just stopped. There was the occasional twitch but apart from that, nada.

In front of them, a mother (my age) was stoically carrying on, driving through the lactic acid (she used to be a rower – enough said). To my right, another brave soul of a certain age was manfully forcing herself to finish. I was getting gradually feebler but I was still carrying on. The older we were, it seemed, the more determined we were.

What did I learn from this? I learned that we veterans may not have the smooth skin and perfect silhouette of the juniors. We may not have the explosive power and speed, and we certainly don’t look as good in an all-in-one. But if what you’re looking for in a rower is grit and courage and sheer, bloody-minded staying power, look no further than the veteran section. Beauty, it seems, is no match for age.


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