Kay Willoughby turns 75 in November. In just the last decade, she’s been fishing in Alaska, scuba diving in the Florida Keys, and hiking through the great cities of Europe.
But on a recent river cruise in Russia, she was sad for some of her peers who lacked the stamina to go on walking tours through St. Petersburg and the fabled palace of Catherine the Great.
“That was really too bad for them, after they spent so much money to get there,” Kay says. “I didn’t have any trouble walking around and seeing everything – all the castles and the gold and how extravagant everything was back then.”
Kay walks almost every day, and also incorporates resistance training and balance exercises. We heard about Kay’s story from our friend Jackie, who trains her at Evolution Fitness & Wellness in Houston. Like us, Jackie helps people stay fit and healthy after 50, so they can enjoy the life they want to lead.
For millions of mature people, that desired lifestyle includes travel. And fitness is key to traveling well, whether you’re driving to play with grandkids, hiking in the tropics, or examining the Louvre’s masterpieces up close.
Active adults are doing it all, according to these statistics published by AARP:
- Most (99 percent) go on at least one leisure trip a year
- The average Baby Boomer takes five trips annually
- Most of that travel is domestic, but 43 percent is international
- Bucket-list trips are popular – and no one wants to be too hobbled to finally take that big trip they’ve been dreaming about for decades
- And more and more active adults want “authentic experiences,” just like travelers in all demographics.
Stamina, strength and balance
Which brings us back to Kay.
Gritty determination and a sunny disposition characterize everything she does, Jackie tells us. Kay had polio as a youth, which required her to be physically active from a young age. One leg still gives her trouble, and she works hard to maintain good balance and avoid falls. Her husband died when she was young, leaving Kay to raise their children. And she still works in childcare services, often on the floor with babies and lifting them up.
“She has never entered the gym with anything less than a smile and ‘can-do’ attitude,” Jackie says. “She is always willing to try dynamic movements, knowing that she may not be able to pull them off — but she’s determined to give it a whirl anyway.”
We encourage that kind of behavior for anyone wanting to regain their strength, balance and stamina, no matter what their age or goals.
And Kay tells people her age that they should be walking, lifting and working on balance regularly. That will help them travel safely and confidently, even if they’re not interested in Kay’s adventurous style.
“I like to travel – I’ve always been that way,” she says. “If I didn’t exercise regularly, I wouldn’t able to do everything you have to do when you’re traveling – just climbing stairs, running through the airport, carrying bags and all that stuff.”
And that applies no matter where you’re going or what you want to do when you get there. Come see us and tell us about your travel plans, and whatever concerns you have about your physical ability to follow through with them. We’ll get you on track to make your travel dreams come true.
For Kay, Portugal is next.
“That’s why I keep this up,” she says about exercising. “Because I want to keep going where I want to go and doing what I want to do.”