Nishrin Parikh is an icon of fitness for ageing women. She began bodybuilding in mid-life and is determined to bust the myth that ageing is a downward spiral.

Age is just a number for 51 year old bodybuilder Nishrin Parikh. Tough, lithe and sexy, she is a regular on the dance floor. “It’s no good being young at heart, if your health and energy level doesn’t match up,” she says.

A certified fitness instructor, mother and wife, Nishrin has always been passionate about bodybuilding. To prove her point, she participated in last month’s Seoul bodybuilding international contest as the ‘oldest’ woman bodybuilder. “I was pitted against 20 year olds,” she says, with a laugh.

Her motivation? “I wanted to inspire other other women to get into shape!” She feels this message is especially pertinent for ageing women. “We can improve the experience of ageing by eating better food, and staying in shape. It’s nice to look good throughout your life.”

Competition is in her blood

This karate black belt holder is not new to the competitive arena. Last year, she participated in the ‘Bikini Athlete’ contest, and previous to this, she won accolades for her role as a fitness instructor from various agencies, including the Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Federation. She was also crowned Gladrags Mrs India, earlier this year.

Nishrin’s tips

#1 Stop overeating. “Change the food in your house. Eat less- your stomach is so small.” Also, she suggests we stop making life revolve around meals. “Don’t make eating a social activity. Meet and play a game instead, or go for a movie.”

#2 Eat less grain. We aren’t construction workers, to digest this, she says. Go for more protein based foods instead, and drink water between meals, to stay hydrated and healthy. Have your fill of healthy food such as eggs, seeds, fruit, salad and veggies before you go out to party. And make sure you take your vitamin supplements, to counter deficiencies.

#3 Make daily exercise a habit. Nishrin says that we should be as much in the habit of exercise, as we are about tooth-brushing and bathing. In the end, activity fuels more activity. So, push yourself out of your sedentary mode.

#4 Change for the better. Aspire to have a better body, to avoid diabetes and heart disease. “We are here to enjoy ourselves, so keeping our bodies in an optimum condition is important,”emphasizes Nishin.

Foreverfit- Nishriin Parikh

#5 Stop loss of muscle that accompanies ageing. All of us are bound to lose muscle, as we get older. So, stall the process, do some bodybuilding with weights, daily squats, lunges and push-ups! Or Swim, cycle, walk…. Just move!

#6 Don’t let your anxiety and irritability grow. Again, Nishrin points out that ageing drives crankiness, since it is often accompanied by life changes, such as retirement and the empty nest syndrome. So, get busy doing something, she says. Don’t hang around and moan!

#8 Be an inspiration for others. Rather than succumbing to the downward spiral of age, she suggests we alter our lifestyles and attitudes. “Be the most wanted person around, even at your age. Instead of being a bore, be an inspiration, and let everyone feel the joy at seeing you,” she says.