Joan MacDonald has redefined old age and proven that older women are not to be underestimated as she attracted more followers to her Instagram page.
The vibrant old lady was in her 70s when she had the idea to start inspiring other women on fitness routines which she wanted to share on Instagram although she had no idea how to use social media. [When I was younger] married women didn’t belong to gyms, they just didn’t, until later on, she says. Today, Macdonald has enviable biceps and nearly a million followers.
MacDonald’s space has warmed hearts and coming from a septuagenarian who is full of life, she has managed to win a lot of people to subscribe to her philosophy.
She told reporters, It’s a challenge to our ideas of who older women are allowed to be. “Older women have a lot to offer. There are a lot of older women out here older than I am that are really strong, amazing people. Older women have a voice and we need to be listened to. People think, Oh Grandma, what does she know? But you’d be amazed at what Grandma can do.
McDonald’s fitness journey began like many people’s: with a visit to the doctor. “They said they were going to increase my medications because my blood pressure was not being controlled properly, but I didn’t like to be on medication,” she says.
Her daughter Michelle, a health coach helped her along the line with professional counselling. With her doctor’s blessing, she started to learn the basics, reading up on nutrition and fitness.
I had to learn how to use apps, she says. I had to learn how to use a computer properly and and iPad and the iPhone, and eventually, Instagram which Michelle thought would be a great way for her mom to stay connected to a healthy community.
Those early workouts had gotten MacDonald’s blood pressure in check, and her doctor was reducing her meds—maybe she could even use Instagram to help other women get healthy, her daughter suggested. “I thought that was a bit far-fetched at the time,” MacDonald says.
A workout plan was one thing, but social media was entirely new territory for a woman in her 70s. “No one likes to be doing something that you’ve never done before and have it be made public.
That was really hard. It still is in a way—but I started getting people communicating with me, so I would chat back [with my story],” she says. “They said I was ‘influencing’ them and I’m going, Really? When I got to a thousand followers, I thought that was really fabulous.”
Three years later, Train With Joan has become a community fueled by the idea that when women take time for themselves, a radical shift happens. “As a woman, you’re always giving of yourself for your family,” MacDonald says.
“My kids were always more important than what I wanted to do. But just because you’ve raised a family doesn’t mean you have nothing else to offer.”