78 year-old triathlete says you’re never too old to exercise!
For some, fitness is a lifetime passion. That's especially true for Joan Lund, a 78-year-old triathlete!
Joan began her career as a high school physical education teacher. After raising her family, she earned master's and doctoral degrees and continued to teach exercise, swimming, and tennis courses while serving in managerial roles at area colleges and universities. And physical fitness is still keeping Joan busy in her "fifth career" as a SeniorFITness instructor at Saratoga Grove Retirement Living in Downers Grove, Illinois.
Not only is Joan helping seniors maintain their fitness and independence – she also stays physically fit as a triathlete. Since 1982, Joan has done an individual triathlon every year and sometimes participates in a second triathlon with family or friends. "I've always been a swimmer and then got into biking and running," says Joan. "I did my first triathlon with my daughter when she was in college and have also done team triathlons with my sister and my friends."
To prepare for her first triathlon, Joan began doing open water swimming, extra biking, and "bricks" that combine biking and running. "Your legs are like Jell-O after biking, which makes it hard to run," says Joan. "So I had to practice doing the two sports together before I could do a triathlon."
At age 78, Joan still enjoys the challenge of doing triathlons – she usually wins first or second place in her age category – and the opportunity to see women of all ages and sizes participating. She's also taken part in triathlons to benefit causes that she cares about, such as breast cancer.
Joan is passionate about the benefits of staying fit for seniors. At Saratoga Grove, the average age of her students is 89 – and one student just turned 100. "All of the seniors I work with see how being fit helps with strength, flexibility, endurance, and balance to help prevent falls," according to Joan. "It's never too late to start exercising and you're never too old to exercise."