Train For It

Do you set goals? It always helps me keep on the right path and stay motivated if I develop a plan. Whether it was to pay all my debts by the time I turned sixty or lose five pounds by May, setting a goal and having a plan helped me stay on track.

In my early twenties, I started going to a gym and sometimes became obsessed with working out. While doing four sets of twelve crunches on an incline bench, a man passing by asked, “What are you training for?” Without missing a crunch, I answered, “Life.”

I haven’t always been in control of my weight, and my health suffered physically and emotionally, but during the past decade, I’ve been healthy, happy, and strong. As I age, I plan to stay as physically active and flexible as possible. Caring for aging parents and other loved ones has taught me to devote myself to that endeavor.

Starting each day with a five-plus mile walk at 6 am and the fastest pace I can maintain helps me deal with stressful life situations, and I’m much calmer for the remainder of the day. Of course, eating primarily vegetables and drinking lots of water is part of the master plan as well.

If you pass by at the break of dawn, you may see me warming up for or cooling down after my long walk. This is one of the few times I wear leggings and a man’s tee with a ball cap or sunhat. This look serves me well for comfort, flexibility, and safety. I never want to draw unwanted attention, so I purposely dress down and always carry mace. You will never see me wearing just colorful spandex shorts and a sports bra.

My goals for aging well include remaining flexible, having good balance, and maintaining a lean, healthy body. Those results require daily conscious effort. I no longer spend hours in the gym daily but thoroughly enjoy my morning walks.

My tips for my younger self would include: Start with knowledge. Learn all you can about that which you wish to achieve. Follow up with action. Discipline is always the key to long-term results.

The only thing from this post that is a recent purchase is the cute handbag here. Similar items include jeans here, a white top here, red block-heel sandals here, a men’s tee here, leggings here, running shoes here, hiking socks here, and a hat here.

Shopping links on this site may allow me to earn a small commission without cost to you.

  1. I understand it is reality, but what a world we live in when walking early in the morning requires one to “dress down and carry mace”. How long does it take you to walk 5 miles, and what do you do when it rains? (Miserable weather here in central NC!)

  2. Thank you so much for this post, Susan! When I was younger I spent time in the gym as well, but now at age 65 I love walking around the neighborhood. I aim for 5-7 miles per day, usually broken down into 2 walks. Thank you for the sock recommendation, I’m planning to order. I hope you have a nice weekend.

  3. I love this post. Makes so much sense. I also try to walk every morning but only one mile. Your post inspires me to do more! Will check out these men’s tees. You look great though even dressed down!

  4. I dress the same way on my morning walks. I need to break my walk in two parts, but I get it done which to me is the main thing! I aim for one hour a day plus stretching. We’ve had a miserable spring but its finally warming up. I don’t mind walking in a summer rain. A very good msg in this post today.

  5. Looking after yourself is so important. My hematologist tells me that I am the most disciplined person he has ever known. I firmly believe, as does he, that if I had not been a five day a week exerciser/yoga practitioner and very active otherwise, that I would not have lived through my stem cell transplant for acute myeloid leukemia or gotten into remission at all. So many people my age (71) have many co morbidities such as diabetes, obesity, other heart issues, kidney problems. But the regular physical exercise and eating healthy foods can help forestall these and perhaps prepare you for the fight of (and for) your life.
    We will all leave this world someday, but enjoy every day while you can, in good spirits and in the best health possible! Happy holiday to you.

  6. As I turn 74, I’ve decided to stop kidding myself and truly embrace a healthier diet. I have been on and off restrictive diets for years and weigh exactly the same as 15 years ago. I admire your walking regimen, but I have been doing a variety of classes at our local YMCA for fitness. I’m feeling so much better and plan to continue at this pace.

  7. I am trying to motivate myself towards a regular walking routine. When you walk that early, do you eat or drink anything prior? I’m afraid I would get lightheaded if I didn’t eat something first, but also would not want to cause cramps when I walk if I eat first.

  8. For people limited by chronic health conditions, don’t feel bad. We do our best. Painkillers taken at the right time enabled me to walk 3 miles yesterday. Couldn’t repeat that today of course but maybe one day next week.

  9. Nothing helps my emotional health like a vigorous walk. In my younger days I was an avid runner. “Runner’s Knee” has slowed me down, but my walks are essential. I get so lost in contemplation that I probably would not be aware enough to use the mace.

  10. A very inspirational post today about being and doing our best. That can certainly change for some of us with the passage of time and health issues. I’m approaching 78 and always enjoy my walks. While still in the corporate world it was a different kind of stress. The first part of my walk was dedicated to thinking about what needed to be addressed. The second part of my walk was strictly no thoughts but to be in communion with nature. When I retired, I enjoyed so many classes in various interests and that can be done through your local library, senior centers and so on. I still do. We find out what works best for us or otherwise we won’t stick to the plan and goals to nourish our mind and body. My former dentist told me something when I was younger that stuck with me, to learn something new every day.
    I still go to cardio classes with handheld weights and yoga classes with meditation. My inspiration is a lady who arrives in a wheelchair with an assistant. She shows up to do chair yoga (seated and standing).
    My mother is testament to a life with discipline on exercise and healthy meals. She is on her way to 99 years young and in independent living where she is a very social person. Up until the pandemic began, she and her gentleman friend went dancing twice per week, going on group day trips and many other activities. Being grateful for every day and look for the small blessings in life. Her example of living life has been her greatest gift to me.
    This community is such a great place to connect with others. Susan, thank you for all that you do.

  11. Thank you for this wise advice! I just turned 60, and I can already tell that I need to step up my game. You are an inspiration and a wonderful role model.

  12. I needed this! I have not been walking at all. I also need to stretch more!
    Susan, what time do you usually go to bed? To wake at 4:00, I’m assuming you’re going to bed early.
    Thank you for this healthy motivation!

  13. Thank you for this post, Susan. I might add, don’t forget about upper body strength. I was a figure skater my whole life. At age 62 I fell doing a simple warm up exercise and broke my femur. It required surgery to put a rod and screws in the bone. I couldn’t do anything weight bearing. The first time I had to pull myself up on my Walker I couldn’t believe how weak my arms were!

  14. I love your positive attitude towards life, One I aspire to. I enjoy walking but need to be more disciplined. You’re encouraging me today with this post. Wishing you have a beautiful day! Thank you so much!

  15. While I enjoyed many of your posts, I needed this one. I need to change my diet and move more. Setting goals is a real motivator. Thanks for all you do to help so many. This is a great community that you created.

  16. I’m with you, Susan, but firstly two things – thank you for talking about the importance of being physically engaged daily and also, thank you for keeping everything real by appearing with no makeup.
    I heard a lovely expression the other day – You rest, You rust. It makes such sense.
    At nearly 72, I’ve always been active and whilst not quite at the speed I used to, I walk about 5 miles a day (two walks with my active terrier rain, hail or shine), attend a classical ballet class weekly, do all my own housework and garden (we have about 3/4’s of an acre of garden) and enjoy nature. In fact it’s being in nature that I find the most therapeutic.
    We also child-mind our little grandson x2 weekly and both my beloved husband and self have interests to keep our minds busy. At 72, he’s still a media consultant and I’m a fiction writer. I also embroider which is lovely down time. I think these things, along with being outdoors, keep our minds exercised and it helps to alleviate the inevitable stress that life brings to us all.
    Cheers and best wishes.

  17. Do you take just mace with you when you walk? I wear a small fanny pack for my keys, phone, and tissues. I also carry my water bottle. Wish I could walk with less stuff. I so enjoy your motivational pieces.

  18. My word Susan I swear you look younger and prettier as each post goes along. I admire your self discipline and to all the other ladies who have
    sent comments regarding their healthy life styles. I was touched by the lady called Susan who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia and her final
    sentence about us all leaving the world one day but enjoy each day as much as you can. Clearly a brave lady and I wish her well.
    I remember many years ago you when you showed yourself over weight and 50, you don’t look like the same person what a remarkable journey you
    have been on with your self discipline to get where you are now.
    I hope you don’t think it’s a pertinent question but what do you weigh now ? You seem even more tiny possibly this last 6 mths or so, its a weight you
    are at now looks perfect.. not so long ago you wouldn’t even tuck a top in your jeans, your walking and health life style has given you a tiny waist.
    This is turning into a compliment to Susan reply and why not. One last thing you don’t do silly Botox to your lips to make them plumper or younger, I personality
    think it’s a daft look the trout pout , why older women do it I willl never know. But as I always say each to their own. Some actresses who are very pretty
    do it to make themselves look younger and it just doesn’t look right .You knock spots of them , no wonder you were Miss Tennessee , what did you Wright then compared to now .
    So I think we all agree a healthy life style lots of walking and fresh air, and drinking good old fashion water is the key. Even if in a
    Wheelchair or Leukaemia or chronic pain try and try again to get the best out of each day, life is fragile and we need to nurture our life.
    Take care Susan and Mr Mickey too , we haven’t had a feel good post about his socks lately , come on Mr Mickey get walking with Susan and sport some
    wild and wonderful themed athletic socks lol.
    Best wishes Pamela from Wales UK.

    1. We will soon celebrate Mr. Mickey’s 89th birthday so he doesn’t do much walking these days. I weight 140 pounds at 5’6″ tall. I don’t think about getting Botox or any other such thing to try to look younger.

  19. I love this……I lost my husband eight years ago and after letting myself go. for a bit, I finally began to eat better, do lots of activity, and just plain better taking care of myself. One day at the fitness center my instructor asked me what I was training for and I too said “life”; living healthy and in hopes of a long long healthy and fit life.

  20. Gosh Mr Mickey doesn’t look his age , well done to him for looking so good and even though as you said not much walking, but men quarter his age
    could take a leaf out of his book at looking tip top for his age . You are both an inspiration . You look lighter than 140 lbs,, and women quarter your age could do with a leaf out of your book too. Tattoos , Trout Pouts , half dressed, skirts up to bottoms and bralett tops not a nice look at all.
    OK Over & Out, it’s very late in U K and I certainly need my beauty sleep, up at 4 am a definite no . Take care x one for Mr Mickey as well x God Bless

  21. This is something I really needed. I’ve been thinking about doing something about my health but of course have not set any goals. I have been thinking about a comment you made in the last post about walking 5 miles a day. That is something I would like to work towards that. I was going to ask if you do it all at once but I guess you do. I’m on a trip right now but when I get back I’m going to set a goal of walking at least one mile then work up to 5. My daughter has asked me numerous times to walk with her and her dog and I turn her down because I know I can’t do it. I really want to spend that time with her so this was a post that has spoke to me. Thank you!!

  22. Thank you Susan, you look beautiful and I’m so glad you are thinking about keeping safe with your walking gear – you will still catch people’s eye with your lovely face!
    I love the idea of goals. I am not ready to retire yet but have many things I’d like to work on while I am still earning.
    Like you, I’ve spend years and years caring for a disabled parent. Mum passed away last year with covid.
    As well as physical care, I work towards mental health also. Resilience and peace were things that kept my mother strong until the end.
    You guide us and I’m very grateful

  23. Susan,
    Such a motivational post. Thank you so much.
    I lost 30 pounds 4 years ago, but unfortunately put back on 15. Time for me to get back at it.
    I’m wondering which size canister of mace you carry? Can you post a link, please?

  24. After total left knee surgery I promised myself to start walking daily. Your story gives me the push I needed. BTW what type of underware do you wear for walking? I started wearing non underwire bras while recuperating from surgery. Big mistake, or maybe I’m just losing muscle tone. The Hanes cotton undies have became so uncomfortable! Thanks!

  25. Hi Susan

    I really admire your eating and workout routine. I have never been a walker, but here are some of my suggestions.

    I am 88 years old, 5 feet 9 and 159 pounds. I work out in the swimming pool at my local YMCA regularly. Right now my daughter is visiting and we go ever day. Otherwise, I go three times a week. I absolutely love, love, love it. I invite friends to go with me but I usually get these comments. “You get up at 5 or 5 a.m.–in the winter, in the dark, and go to the swimming pool?” They just cannot do it. They do not even try it. I think the YMCA is Joliet, Illinois’ best kept secret! But, I also feel you have to find an exercise that you really like. It is the pool for me. When I leave the YMCA (and a good cup of coffee there) I feel so good. I care for my own home. I shovel in the winter. I mow the grass in the summer (just bought an automatic lawn mower–turn the automatic power off when going downhill though–I found that out after almost hitting a tree) and just love it. The previous service I hired rode the grass down to the ground in spots with a big heavy riding lawnmower and I was furious. The grass is growing back in now because of my careful manuvers (and a lot of grass planting)!!! I am so proud of myself.

    I am not one to diet. I have an addiction to sea salt carmels, but never eat cake, pie, cookiies. I do not gain weight but I think the exercise controls my weight.

    Find an exercise you like is my motto! Very safe at the YMCA.


  26. Susan, you are an inspiration! Do you get “hat hair” like I do? If so, do you have any tips? Do you count steps? Thank you for sharing all that you do!

  27. Hi Susan, Interesting post. I was surprised to learn you carry mace on your walks, even in your neighborhood? Good tip and I understand it. These days, you never know. I have admired your “life ethic” for awhile now, and I have a running joke with my husband. I’ve been telling him for about 6 months, maybe more, that I’m going to be making “Susan’s porridge” and eating salads for lunch. Haven’t done it yet. Also, I’ve been “threatening” to walk every day, but haven’t gotten to that yet either. I must set goals!
    I’m curious, you mention your parents often, and I’m wondering how old they are? My mother, who is 102 lives with us, and has for 10 years now, and I think I use that as an excuse to not set goals and do these things. I’m just so tired. We do have help, but just the same, we have been slaves to her schedule. It’s not the most ideal situation.
    Anyway, that’s one of the reasons I enjoy your blog so much and delve into fashion. I do love it too, when you do posts about food and your health. Such great advice in all realms! Thanks Susan!

  28. Susan, Thank you for your service & I thank the Lord for those men & women who willingly gave their lives , that we could remain free. I remember & am grateful for their sacrifice this Memorial Day 2023.

  29. I’m always encouraged by what I see and read on your blog. You offer such good, reasonable advice, much of which I am striving to incorporate into my life. My goal: to be more like “Susan after 60.” Thank you, Diana

  30. Hi Susan,

    I don’t know for the life of me why my responses never go through to you. I try not to get frustrated but lately after writing to you it never goes through, Yikes, go figure. I do respond from my iPhone. I’m not on my computer in the office very much anymore. I was on it this morning and just on a whip I decided to see if this will work. In case it does you ROCK with how you take care of yourself. Love your new Tom Ford readers. I’m sure the size does not show what they truly look like. You have such good taste I’m sure you chose very well.

  31. Hello Susan! Today’s writing is the best. The comments your followers noted about their livelihood are informative and inspirational. I treasure all of the good feelings they evoke. At age 67, I’m a runner. Those exercise endorphins take the win!

  32. Once again you have inspired me to set a goal of being healthier and more active. I was doing these tips but fell off a few months ago because of a slight depression. It is difficult for me to regain my motivation until I read your post. I’m going to get up and move again. Thank you. Bobbie

  33. Similar to goals, I’m a List Lady. I keep lists on my phone for actions I need or want to take, headed “today and tomorrow”, “the coming week or so”, “the next month or so” and “yearly events” (for example, birthdays, health check-ups, renewal of insurances). As the days roll on, I simply move the relevant items from one list to another. And as each is dealt with, I move it to the “things done” list, scrolling through which is a reward in itself when I see all I’ve accomplished. This system helps me to stay present and enjoy the here and now – I don’t have to worry that I’ll forget something.
    I also have longer-term lists for non time-critical wishes, for example my travel bucket list and items for my wardrobe that I need to add/renew.
    So far as exercise goes, any of my longer-term friends will tell you that I was probably the least sport/exercise minded person they knew! However, during lockdown and to ease my insomnia I started going for walks within an hour or so of waking. Not very far, but for half an hour or so in the beautiful countryside. Then, as I had a fitness tracker, I thought I might as well use the time to try to do some cardio by increasing my heart rate. I started by walking faster, then after a while I found I had to jog a short distance intermittently to achieve the same increase. The distances became longer and longer until now every day I run 2-3km the whole way. And last summer I completed a Park Run, coming first in my age group, which was nothing short of amazing. So in effect I did couch to 5k completely by accident! Just goes to show what can be achieved, no matter what your age ….

  34. Hi Susan~ this is not in regards to your great article on “Train for It” which was very inspiring to me! But there is an ad floating on the internet for a facial product that claims to be endorsed by you (as well as others). It caught my eye because they use your picture sans name but attribute a quote to you touting the product. Since I rely on your advice I was intrigued BUT there is no information on this company at all.

    I thought you should be alerted to this in case it is NOT something that you promote: LUMINA LUXE FACE CREAM

    It is even on Amazon without any reviews.

    Thank you,

    1. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. This is another case of stealing my images to hawk a product that may not exist. Sometimes the purpose of the ad is to get clicks; sometimes, they are trying to harvest charge card numbers when you buy what you think is a valid item. Please do buy from that company! I did not authorize them to use my image; I know nothing about those products.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.