So what’s with the name FitzFox Fitness? Simple. My husband’s name is Michael Fitzgerald. I’m Sylvia Fox. We’ve been called the FitzFox’s forever.
Exercise and movement have always been a passion for me, starting in elementary school with creative dance and any sport I could join in. Especially if it was outside. I’ve spent a lifetime keeping myself moving, following many fitness trends – daily jogging, working with a trainer in the gym, dance aerobics. A big factor deciding where to live has been based on the location of a favorite fitness club.
By my 50th birthday, my husband and I began cruising our 48′ sailboat off the Pacific Coast from San Francisco to Southern Mexico. As amazing as cruising was, finding a way to get daily exercise on a 48′ boat was a challenge. I became a Zumba instructor right before we left California because of my love of dance and as a way to meet people and to keep a cardio program going. I had a blast teaching Zumba on a lot of beaches along the Mexican coast.
Always an organizer, as soon as we arrived in an anchorage I would invite other boaters over the VHF radio to join the just-founded Tenacatita or Zihuatanejo Women’s Swim Team. We would meet afternoons off the stern of our sailboat. Then a dozen or so of us would swim through the surf to shore, with my husband and others acting as safety patrol in dinghies. We would jog or walk up and down the beach until it was time to join our husbands/partners who were drinking beer in the shade on shore and playing bocce or volleyball.
Then after a lifetime of travel and writing and teaching journalism at Cal State Sacramento, we bumbled into the wonderful community of Point Richmond, California, in the San Francisco Bay area and Body Wisdom Studio. Body Wisdom Owner Nancy Burns encouraged me – and a small tribe of studio members – to enter a two-year Restorative Exercise certification program with Biomechanic and author Katy Bowman. The Restorative Exercise program made head-slapping sense to me. Finally, an approach to exercise and movement that would take into account weight-bearing activities as I moved throughout my day, not just in the gym. An alignment approach that could perhaps discourage my body from leaning into what I perceived as ‘old age’ but rather a lifetime of repetitive habits that discouraged and restricted flexibility and mobility as I aged. And it wasn’t too late to change!
Halfway through my first year of the certification program, Katy Bowman’s book, Dynamic Aging, was published. The hook for me was set. Written by Katy and four women in their 70s (now in their 80s), the book is a simple, practical approach. It provides a foundation for movement to include in all movement practices, whether yoga, pilates, dance or in the gym. And it’s inspiring.
My passion is to share what I now know and practice and to help others move into (and through) what we used to think of as old age. My mentors are older than I am but stronger, more flexible, have a ton of energy, and aren’t showing any signs of stopping soon.
I hope you’ll consider how our daily habits might not be our best habits. And there’s time to re-energize ourselves as we grow older, if we start today. Adopt my new mantra: ‘Never Too Old!”
The FitzFox portrait by artist Jim DeWitt.