Refusing the Sidelines: Laurie Fan’s Fit After Fifty Story

by Alison McIrvin
Woman posing at the top of a mountain with hiking gear on

After a lifetime of hard work and a successful career as a dentist, Laurie Fan is taking full advantage of retirement. Three days a week, you will find her hiking local trails, and she participates in twice-weekly weight training and an aerobics class at the gym as well. Weekends and summer months are reserved for longer hikes and backpacking trips with friends.

This was not always her approach, and getting there took some determination. It all started in high school when she began to “feel pudgy.” Following her marathoner father’s example, Laurie started to run, at first just a quarter-mile at a time. Those quarter-miles turned into marathons in her adult life, and now Laurie feels sluggish if she’s not moving actively at least four or five days a week.

Laurie tends to eat well, avoiding high-sugar foods, soda, and processed foods. She credits her mom for instilling good, healthy eating habits in her when she was young. She does enjoy occasional desserts and wine, but strives for moderation. When going out with friends, Laurie usually chooses a variety of salad, unless a long hike is planned for the next day — then she treats herself!

Unfortunately, an acute episode with her back forced Laurie to give up running in 2009. Hiking was the only activity that loosened up her back and improved her core strength.

Laurie was sidelined again in 2011 with a broken ankle, which put her out of commission for three months. Many others in their 50s would begin to admit defeat at that point, but not Laurie. She continued to look forward to the estimated date for resuming activities and slowly worked to regain her fitness. Home kettlebell workouts, aerobics at the gym, and carefully easing her way back on the hiking trail resulted in her best hiking summer later that year.

Post-retirement, Laurie has also been challenged with taking care of her aging parents and their medical needs. She does all she can to be there for them, but that can sometimes mean not getting critical hiking or workout time in.

Recognizing the importance of staying active, Laurie has found that she needs to find a way to squeeze in some sort of activity.

She must be right in making fitness a priority, since her blood panels are better than they were in her 30s!

Hacks that work:

  • Immediately after injury or surgery, circle the projected date for recovery on the calendar.
  • Take a class with a friend or partner.
  • Do some sort of movement each day, even if it is just a walk with friends.
  • Don’t keep trigger foods in the house.
  • Plan activities such as hikes with friends for accountability
  • Use weights and fitness DVDs at home for variety or a short workout.

Laurie will be the first to tell you that staying active has helped her age better and has kept her off the sidelines so that she can continue to do the things that she loves.

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1 comment

Kellie January 3, 2019 - 11:45 pm

Laurie Fan is an incredible person and such an inspiration!!


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