Joan MacDonald: get into fitness in her 70s and getting stronger each year

Joan MacDonald started working out to improve her health and has now become an influencer with over 1 million Instagram followers.

In Ontario, Canada just before Christmas in 2016, Joan MacDonald was overjoyed to have her daughter and son-in-law visit. Joan MacDonald was 70 years old and weighed 198 pounds at the time, and was having difficulties getting up and down the stairs. Her daughter, Michelle MacDonald, spotted this and asked Joan MacDonald about her health, so Joan MacDonald spilled the news that she was on medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and acid reflux. Wanting her mother to be around, Michelle MacDonald wanted to intervene, and Michelle MacDonald agreed. Luckily, Michelle MacDonald happens to be a fitness trainer and coach. “Michelle challenged me, and I’m not one to back down from a challenge!” MacDonald said.

Only a few weeks later, in January 2017, MacDonald joined one of her daughter’s transformation groups, along with ten other women who were equally driven to improve their looks and abilities. The only difference was that MacDonald was much older than the rest of the group. By changing her diet, physical activity, and even sleep habits, MacDonald was able to improve her health sufficiently to quit using her blood pressure medication within a year. MacDonald is now over 76 years old, medication-free, and 60 pounds lighter and slimmer than she was as a teenager.

The few first weeks was the hardest, “I wanted to throw in the towel many, many times,” she admitted. she gets used to it; at the same time, she begins to follow her daughter’s instructions on diet and hydration. Shifting from two or three meals a day (plus snacking) to five smaller meals a day with a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and good fats, and always trying to drink almost a gallon of water per day. Sleeping routines also change from seven hours a night to eight. Adding weight training to the schedule helped keep MacDonald’s bones strong, a major plus for women in her age category. MacDonald laughed that with her increased level of activity, she’s taken plenty of falls but has yet to break a bone. In fact, her bone density hasn’t changed in eight years. MacDonald now spends the summers in her Canadian home and the winters with her daughter in Tulum. But wherever she resides, she goes to the gym five days a week, doing two days of cardio and three days of cardio and strength training. When in Tulum, she routinely rides her bicycle to the beach for 30 minutes each way.

During those years working out, Joan MacDonald was introduced to social media. Her daughter encouraged her to start an Instagram account to demonstrate that physical transformation is possible at any age. Now she also owns a YouTube channel and a “Train with Joan” app. Her journey to get fit and healthy gained over a million followers on Instagram and inspired countless others to do the same. MacDonald said “As women, we’ve been conditioned to accept the life we have without question—that we have to go through menopause, we’re going to get fat, everything’s going to fall apart after we’re 40. But that’s not true. That’s definitely not true.”

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