Blessings in Disguise: Carol Weaver’s Fit After Fifty Story

by Alison McIrvin
Carol Weaver posing with her bike

Carol Weaver has had a lifetime of exercise. As a former collegiate basketball athlete, she knew the importance of fitness. And having had congenital abnormalities since childhood made it imperative that she stay in shape at all times.

A serious foot injury in 2009 required surgery and immobilized Carol with a boot. A month later, her back went out so badly that she was bedridden for five weeks.

Although she didn’t realize it at the time, this became a blessing in disguise. It forced Carol to find a great osteopath and physical therapist, who helped her see that wearing improper orthotics since college was creating significant muscle imbalance and doing more harm than good.

Carol going down a slide into a pool
Water walking helped Carol regain her strength after throwing out her back.

Carol started a program to rebuild her strength with water walking, physical therapy, and a gentle Pilates class. Soon, Carol was able to walk on land; and by April 2011, she was surfing in Mexico! That same month at age 51, she completed a triathlon, beating her 20-something friends and winning the 50+ division.

[Related: Strength and Stamina After 50: Senior Fitness Tips]

“I credit that success to doing Pilates on a regular basis,” Carol said, “as it has helped me with overall muscle balance, flexibility, and strength on all planes of motion. I do all other activities from that base of strength.”

Carol’s recent fitness journey has been to work out on all planes of motion for greater muscle balance. She keeps herself accountable by teaching Pilates at Oregon State University and also at a local health and fitness club.

Carol practicing Pilates
Pilates helps Carol maintain overall muscle balance.

Initially, Carol’s experience with Pilates was through DVDs at home. She loved the approach and focus of an overall body workout on all planes of motion, incorporating the principles of breath, concentration, core, precision, and flow. This led her to classes at fitness clubs, and eventually Carol was asked to consider Pilates certification so that she could teach.

In addition to her Pilates certification, Carol also attained NASM certification as a personal trainer. Once she started teaching, she was leading classical Pilates six times a week and loving it!

[Related: How to Choose a Personal Trainer for Senior Fitness]

“I am passionate about helping young college students prevent injuries and teaching older clients corrective exercise techniques to free them from a life of pain.”

The injuries took Carol down her path to her current certification and finally freedom from pain. Carol has added weight training to her regime, and sees how her base of Pilates has helped prevent injuries with this and other activities. She commutes by bike to work two days a week and walks as much as possible when doing errands. In addition, Carol takes a cardio weight training class twice weekly, swims, hikes, and works out on the elliptical.

Carol running in a race
Carol loves being pain-free and being able to do all the activities she loves.

Hacks that work:

  • Roll yourself out with a roller and stretch one to two times daily.
  • Use the Lose It! app with friends to hold each other accountable for your nutrition.
  • Walk somewhere every day.
  • Do breathing and relaxation exercises to release tension.
  • Set your fitness watch to remind you to get up and move every 25 to 50 minutes while working at the computer

Carol’s current weekly calendar involves all the above as well as dancing mornings and evenings. Getting both of her certifications in 2015 was the start of her pain-free life; and the ability to keep up with younger people has been a wonderful additional benefit.

Injuries and pain were debilitating for Carol at the time, but the blessings that resulted made them worth it. How have setbacks impacted your fitness journey?

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