We recently got to chat with our friend Rachel Ridgeway, Founder of Ridge Senior Fitness. Rachel is a Certified Personal Trainer and Senior Fitness Specialist, with a life-long passion for working with seniors. She offers in-home and virtual personal training, walking companion services and group fitness classes in the Denver area.
Q: Hi Rachel! We're so happy to get to connect with you and introduce you to our community! Tell us a little about yourself and what inspired you to start Ridge Senior Fitness.
A: I’ve had a passion for working with seniors since I was 16. I got my first job as a waitress at a local senior living community and something just clicked for me. After college, I spent almost 7 years in the corporate world and just felt so unfulfilled. I kept thinking back to my time as a trainer and realized how happy that job truly made me. So, I decided to quit my job, started Ridge Senior Fitness, and I haven’t looked back since! Seniors are so often overlooked and ignored in the fitness space, and that is why I have dedicated my company to serve those 70 years and better.
Q: I love how you say “70 years and better” -- that’s beautiful.
A: To me, the word “older” so often has a negative connotation with it. The reality is that we will all age - it’s inevitable. Why not reframe the process in our minds to see it as something to celebrate instead of dread? Simply changing the word “older” to “better” makes you view that statement in a more positive light.
Q: What inspired you to start your own company, Ridge Senior Fitness?
A: When I decided to switch back to personal training, I looked into the market to see how common the idea of a “seniors only” trainer was. Turns out, not very. Many companies will include senior fitness as an arm of their training services, but very few have it as their sole focus. I knew I only wanted to work with that population, so I decided to start my own company to ensure that was the case.
Q: Through your company Ridge Senior Fitness, how have you worked to destigmatize aging for women?
A: I make it a goal to amplify the message that anyone can be fit and strong - no matter what your age is. Aging doesn’t need to be this big scary thing that we all avoid thinking about. I use my social media as a platform to showcase my amazing clients and some exercises we work on together. If seeing some examples of healthy aging in action helps ease that fear for others in some small way, then I’m doing my job.
Q: How can women stay motivated to exercise during the pandemic? Any tips?
A: I would say the most important factor is to find a type of exercise you actually enjoy and stick with that. There is so much information out there about the “best” types of workouts, that I think it can often overwhelm many of us. You may not have access to the things you are used to having while exercising at home, so get creative! If you don’t feel like doing weighted exercises one day, go for a brisk walk outside! The important thing is to move your body and to not be afraid to try something new.
Q: What health and wellness tips do you recommend every woman add to her daily routine?
A: Stretch, stretch, stretch! Especially now with the pandemic, we are all sitting much more than normal. Regular stretching can help to keep our muscles flexible, healthy, and strong. When you neglect to do this, your muscles can shorten and tighten up, which often leads to pain and/or injury. This is something you can do while watching TV or before getting into bed. Your body will start to feel so much better after just a few weeks.
Q: What’s the one thing you wish everyone knew about aging and fitness?
A: That we should all - especially women - be doing strength exercises on a regular basis. I know so many women who are afraid to lift weights out of fear they will become too “bulky” or muscular. Strength training has endless benefits for the aging woman. One of the most notable is that regular weight lifting can help prevent the onset of osteoporosis. It has even been shown to help rebuild new bone in women who have already been diagnosed with this condition. Not to mention, it can help maintain or improve our balance, which declines as we age. Do not be afraid to add weights to your exercise routine! If you're looking for ideas, I often post easy-to-follow videos of strength training you can do on your own and in the safety of your own home to my Instagram.
Q: Is there anything additional you'd like to share with our readers?
A: Always prioritize your health and wellness. Taking care of yourself is never selfish. I think many women are so focused on caring for everyone else around them that they often neglect themselves. It’s okay to fall off the wagon, as long as you always find a way to get back on. Find some sort of exercise you love and just be consistent with it. Your future self will thank you for it!