Influencer Joan MacDonald on Starting ‘Train with Joan’ in Her 70s

MacDonald shares how people of any age can start their fitness journey.

Influencer Joan MacDonald started her blog, Train with Joan, when she was 70 years old. With over one million followers on Instagram, MacDonald wants to let people of all ages know that you’re never too old to get fit. 

Health sat down with MacDonald to learn more about what inspired her to begin her fitness journey, as well as her key fitness tips and favorite exercises.

Courtesy of MacDonald

Why Did You Start Your Fitness Journey?

In November 2016, I had an appointment with my [healthcare provider], and they told me they wanted to up my medications. My blood pressure was really bad. I had terrible acid reflux. I always felt like I was being choked. 

My daughter Michelle noticed how bad a shape I was in going up and down stairs. When I told her what the [healthcare provider] said, she goes, "Look, you've got to do something here because you're going to end up in a nursing home or in a hospital."

She encouraged me to join her health and fitness group [Your Healthy Hedonista], so it would make me more accountable. It would give me support. Almost a year later, I started the Instagram account. My daughter introduced me to that part.

What Do You Hope To Accomplish With Your Platform?

I want to encourage people to take care of their health with workouts, nutrition, and mindset. I have found that a lot of people have changed their lives completely by following what I do. I don't think there's a continent that I haven't had a response from.

Why Is It Important for People Your Age To See Themselves Reflected in the Fitness Industry?

Older people need to know that they're worthwhile. Their lives are still worthwhile, and they can get healthier.

What’s Next for You?

We've got a new app that's coming out. [As of March 2023, the Train with Joan app is available to download.] I'm doing the exercises for that. People can see that as an older person, if I can do it, they can do it.

We're going to start off with limited-range-of-movement exercises for people that have never exercised before. Eventually, we'll add workouts that are for people who are more advanced. To get it off the ground, we want to get at the people that really need it.

What Are the Most Important Lessons You’ve Learned About Getting Fit?

Eating five meals a day, like smaller meals targeted to protein, carbs, and good fats. Getting enough sleep. Seven to eight hours of sleep per day is so important. Hydrating and making sure you have at least three liters of water a day. When I don't do it, I get headaches, and I feel lethargic. 

Working out in the morning gives me a kickstart. I like to start my day off that way. Then, the rest of the day is mine.

What Is Your Favorite Form of Exercise?

Bicycling. I don't even bother with a car unless I'm going on a long trip. I'm discovering more and more routes. I can get lost sometimes. Then, I find where I'm going after a while. I'm working on my inner compass.

Where Do You See Yourself in 10 Years?

I hope I am as strong as or stronger than I am now. I hope to be as active, too. I just can't see myself getting old. My mindset is that when you're retired, and you're looking after yourself, you've got time. Spend it wisely on yourself so that you get more time with others.

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