Perspective is a powerful thing. Making its way into the zeitgeist in 2023 was the new (and very necessary!) term: pro-aging. And our prediction is it’s here to stay. So, what exactly does pro-aging mean? For us, it’s embracing the many benefits of growing older: a greater sense of self-acceptance for yourself and others, wisdom, clearer priorities, and more meaningful relationships to name a few. This article in The New York Times states the pros of thinking positively about aging may also include living a longer and healthier life. What if the best days of our lives are ahead of us?
We often hear stories of women who say that getting older has given them the confidence to explore their own strength and creative expression in new ways. Signing up for ballet classes in their 50s, learning boxing in their 70s, and incorporating weight training into their fitness practice in their 80s has got them feeling stronger, happier, and more fulfilled than ever. Now, that’s something worth celebrating!
Here are some of our favorite movement icons who are living well and aging better.
At 64, British actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson has found guidance on aging from observing her mother and daughter. In The Guardian, she wrote that watching her mother navigate her body’s frailty and bentness is a daily learning. “She taught me to walk when I was a baby, and now, she teaches me how I will walk when I am old: how to reach for this, bend for that, move around the obstacles like an ancient, patient stream.” She goes on to say, “We are constantly exchanging ever-altering resonances, and balance occurs. Not perfectly–nothing’s perfect–but, consistently, we change and reset one another’s state. So instead of grieving my mother’s aging, instead of envying my daughter’s youth, I find I am buoyed up and calmed down by turn.”
When you Google the Emmy-winning actress and producer Viola Davis, you’ll get results with headlines that promise to share her age-defying beauty secrets and the serum she swears by. In an interview with InStyle magazine, 58-year-old Davis had this to say about aging: “What’s released me most from the fear of aging is self-awareness … I’ve never determined my value based on my looks or anything physical. I’ve been through a lot in life, and what has gotten me through is strength of character and faith.”
World-renowned yoga teacher Kate Potter cites movement, spending time in nature, and connecting with her community as things that keep her moving at 62. And in an interview with Movement magazine, she recommended that you should spend more time on the floor. “That’s a problem for a lot of people my age and older—they don’t relate to the floor. A lot of people can’t get up from the floor without worrying about hurting themselves. I think it’s great if you have a grandkid and you just get down on the floor with them, however we can get ourselves on the floor!” Kate shares that push ups are a good way to get down to the ground. “Push ups are good because it’s core too, and you can do them in a couple of different ways … You’ve got all these modifications, and it’s just one easy movement.”
Try this free Restorative Weighted Yoga Class and follow Kate as she guides you through calming floor stretches.
Sandra Oh, Canadian actress and star of Killing Eve and Grey’s Anatomy, reflected on growing older in W Magazine and how in her younger years she was much more insecure. Oh shares that “Aging is the greatest … It really gives you more space to be that person in the mirrored dress who has always been inside.” She points out that it’s easier now at 52 to let go of things and rest: “Now, I sleep, and I feel older, wiser, much more chill.”
Sylvia Ozbalt, 65, has been helping people add more movement to their lives since 1980 when she taught her very first aerobic dance class. In Movement magazine, she says that at any age it’s important to honor your body and its uniqueness: “I think we’re all built to move differently … I believe in honoring your body, exactly where it is, and being amazed by the uniqueness that is you. We are differently abled, different bodies, different injuries. I move whatever I can, and in ways that I can, and I try to inspire and encourage others to have that attitude.” This is advice that you can (and should!) apply at any stage of life.
Pull up a chair and join Sylvia in this free 10-Minute Beginner Strength class that infuses chair exercises with creativity.