When you imagine what a fitness influencer looks like, an 81-year-old great-grandma probably isn't what pops into your mind. Chances are, you picture a young, spry 20-something in a leotard instead, but that's only because you haven't met Erika Rischko yet!
Erika lives in Langenfeld, Germany, with her husband. She never used to be athletic, but after her two kids grew up and left the house, the homemaker found herself bored and lonely.
Luckily, her daughter signed her up for a gym membership, and she started going a few times a week. At first, her workouts were short and perfunctory, but within a few years, her passion for fitness began to thrive!
"The first five years, I was not as 'addicted.' Then, I slowly started to do more and even joined some three- to four-hour spin class challenges and rowing competitions," Erika told Good Morning America.
It has been 20 years since Erika first set foot inside that gym. These days, she works out twice a day most — if not all — days of the week.
When the novel coronavirus pandemic began, she had to find a new way to satisfy her workout cravings. That's when her daughter introduced her to TikTok and Instagram!
The 81-year-old started participating in various workout challenges, and it didn't take long before people noticed her. As her internet following grew, Erika became the poster child for staying fit into your golden years.
"If I can change the stereotype of old people being boring or not being active just a bit, that makes me very happy," she said.
She enjoys getting to know younger folks through her social networks, and she's intent on spreading the joy of fitness with as many people as she can.
"I would have never expected to get this many uplifting comments and followers," Erika added. "Both apps [Instagram and TikTok] have helped me to stay up-to-date with technology and what the younger generations are up to these days."
The best advice she can give people who are working on their fitness levels is to constantly try new things so you don't get bored. "I mix it up all the time, so that I get a different intensity and/or duration," she said. "It is important to change your workout routine to get stronger and not waste your time."
She also advises everyone to start now instead of waiting several years like she did. But most of all, she said moderation and being kind to yourself is crucial! Eat well, but don't beat yourself up or obsess over every calorie. Start slowly, and honor your body.
"And figure out what works for you," she concluded. "Find a sports activity that you enjoy because if you do not enjoy it, you will not last, and if you are not as disciplined as I am, find a workout partner as it is not that easy to cancel on somebody."
Talk about inspiring! Erika is showing everyone how important it is to grow and evolve in our lifetimes. Twenty years ago, she never imagined that she would be motivating people half her age on social media. It just proves that we never know where life might lead us!
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