66-year-old Pushpa Keya Bhatt works out 17 to 20 hours a week!
This, she says, is important as she is an active partaker in marathons, with nine ultra-marathons and 11 full marathons under her belt.
But despite all that she has achieved, Pushpa’s journey hasn’t been the easiest one.
An HR professional, Pushpa says the sedentary lifestyle of the corporate world took a toll on her and she began developing back and knee issues.
This was when she heard about a 7-km ‘dream run’ being conducted in Mumbai by Standard Chartered and decided to participate.
After figuring out that it was no piece of cake, Pushpa began running every day in an attempt to improve her stamina.
At the age of 46, she says she started gymming, and at the age of 60, learnt cycling.
“In 2020, I started pilates and yoga, and during the lockdown, I completed a Clinical Nutrition course in Manali that taught me medical nutrition,” she says.
Her challenges include
72 km Khardung La High Altitude Challenge
Berlin Major (2019)
Tata Mumbai Marathon
Satara Hill Half Marathon
World Majors in New York (2018).
When asked if it comes easy, she says, “Certainly not. Often, people only see the wins. But there is a lot of work that goes into these wins.”
Today, Pushpa is among the oldest to complete the Khardung La 72 km challenge.
For senior citizens out there, Pushpa shares tips that have kept her going.
“Correct your circadian rhythm,” she advises, adding that it is important to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
What has worked for Pushpa all these years is going out in the sunlight as soon as she is up. “It energises you and makes you feel ready to take on the day,” she says.
“Brisk walking is okay, but alongside, engage in some form of vigorous exercise,” she says.
Substitute the caffeine with warm water.
“Try eating more homemade food,” advises Pushpa. “Let’s say you’re ordering out five times a week. Reduce this to two times. Work towards one cheat meal a week.”
Pushpa says that often, senior citizens are made to believe that they have worked hard in life and need to sit back at 60.
“Women do not need to choose to take a backseat and be second citizens in their own lives,” she says. “Make yourself your own project.”