-By Gina Formica, Director of the Becoming Center
Reaching the 50th year milestone is often a big event for many people; often it brings with it a mixed bag of emotions from sadness to depression and anxiety of aging. As I approached 50, I thought about what that meant to me. As the Director of the Becoming Center, it occurred to me that this was a great chance to make a statement about my philosophy of wellness, how it has impacted my life, and how it can make a difference in the lives of those that I serve. Also, I wanted Becoming Center members and people in the community to know that it doesn’t matter what age you are, or what your physical limitations, you can still be fit and push the envelope, so to speak, on what we expect of our bodies.
You may look at me and say “what physical limitations does she have?” But you would be surprised! At the ripe age of one, I developed joint sepsis in my left hip due to Chicken Pox. This led to multiple surgeries, modifications in physical activities and sports as a youth and an eventual hip replacement in 2000. I’ve been where many of my clients are now deciding on joint replacements, or trying to exercise and minimize their pain. I’ve continually modified my exercise program to meet the changes in my body, but by no means does that mean that I was limited! In my late teens I decided to try Karate to exercise and stay fit. Despite a significant range of motion issues I experienced in my left hip, by the age of 25 I made it onto the USA Karate Team and placed 3rd in the World at the World Championships in Cairo, Egypt. That was somewhere I never expected to be knowing what issues I struggled with through my life. It was critical that I didn’t limit myself to the possibilities.
In January of 2013, I was staring down by 50th birthday. It had been 25 years since my days as a karate champion and now I had three children (and three stepchildren) and a 13-year old hip replacement. I decided that I wanted to get down to my “fighting weight,” to be in the fittest shape, allowing me to do 50 pushups to celebrate. My personal journey involved a modification of my diet, weight training, biking and of course, push-ups! On August 29th, my 50th birthday, I completed my 50-Pushup Challenge! To top off the challenge, I also embarked on a 50-mile bike ride. What a beautiful day full of fun and LIVING!!
I feel great about where I am physically (only 5 pounds away from my “fighting weight” when I was 25) and what I’ve accomplished. I hope my energy and enthusiasm for being fit at 50 will inspire others to “push the envelope” a bit! It is possible to challenge our bodies, no matter what the age or the limitation. We just have to modify how we do it to meet our needs. Staying fit can increase your energy levels, decrease health risks, fight off depression and improve your overall well-being. And as we just saw Diana Nyad complete her 53-hour swim from Cuba to Florida on Labor Day, we can say you are never too old to be fit and reach unexpected goals!
Check out a VIDEO of Gina’s PUSH-UP Challenge!
About The Becoming Center
Since 1994, the Becoming Center has offered personalized, comprehensive, preventive and restorative holistic wellness for active adults seeking to improve their fitness and overall well-being. The Becoming Center, a service of Liberty Lutheran, located on the campus of Artman in Ambler, offers a variety of services and amenities to suit your individual needs and health objectives including a fully-equipped gym, heated pool, yoga and exercise room, as well as private treatment rooms for alternative therapies and massage.