June is 65 and a regular at the gym that I go to. She’s there most days and she’s intentional with her exercise. One day she mentioned that until recently exercise hadn’t been part of her life at all. I was keen to know what shifted.
She’s been a stay-at-home mum, and she says, “a real procrastinator”.
June knew her bone density was low, but she’d done nothing about it. Then in 2016 her scan showed that it had fallen low enough to be classified as osteoporosis.
Her doctor put her on a health care plan and referred her to an exercise physiologist. She describes that arrangement as low-key. She saw him once or twice a week, “but it was sporadic”.
After just over a year, the physiologist moved away and June had to decide what to do next.
“I wanted to take control and be responsible for my own health,” she says. “My mum had osteoporosis and was bent over. I didn’t want to end up like that if I could avoid it. And there’s no point leaving it until you’re in your 90s.”
She joined the gym at the start of 2018 because it was handy to where she lives.
“I didn’t have a plan, but I’d worked with the physiologist for long enough that I knew how to do the exercises. I thought I’d try to go twice a week.
“I did that, and I felt good. For me it’s as much mental as physical. My time at the gym is my time. It’s my little bubble. And I always come away feeling good, even when I’ve had a lousy sleep and I’m tired. Which I’d never have expected.
“I’ve gradually increased it so that I usually go every day from Monday to Friday and give my body a break at the weekends. I’m not regimented about what time I go though, and if I have to miss a day I’m not worried.”
Her 2018 scan showed that her bone density had ‘significantly improved’.
“But I said to myself before I knew the result, ‘June, even if it’s not good, don’t give up. Keep going.’”
“This is about more than my bones. Coming to the gym gives me energy and confidence. It’s shown me that I can do things, without going overboard.
“I’ve done the female martyr thing, but at the end of the day, this is my life. When you’ve got a problem, sitting around isn’t going to help.”