When it comes to self improvement, consistency outweighs intent.
For Elisabeth Waters, her fitness routine isn’t the product of accomplishing a goal. It’s more the manifestation of a forming a habit.
Waters is a an active presence on Sarasota’s social circuit. A Sarasota resident since 1992, she maintains an admittedly rigorous routine — one borne from years of intentional attention to her health.
“It was a lifetime,” she said. “Even when I worked hard and had my own business, there was always one hour I have spent in the fitness center.”
Now a retired chemical engineer, Waters, 66, exercises six times a week, taking one day a week for rest.
“I do pure barre,” she said. “I do Bikram yoga, which is the hot yoga, and then I do Orangetheory.”
It’s a routine, Waters said, that sustains her.
“I really love Bikram yoga. It takes all the pain away,” Waters, 66, said. “As you get older you need the flexibility. The pure barre is for the small muscles. I usually go first to pure barre and then I do the yoga.”
Yet, she concedes her routine isn’t entirely a delight. She prefers her strength and stretching exercises to her cardio components like Orangetheory, which is a one-hour interval cardio class.
“The Orangetheory is the one I dislike most,” she said. “I know I need the cardio so that’s why I do Orangetheory, and I only do it twice a week.”
The important thing, she said, is to keep going. Many times people set goals so high they burn themselves out before they can achieve them.
“Six days is a little much, but I’m retired,” she said. “It’s more of a thing of the discipline. People always start doing things, and after a week or two weeks they stop. Then they over do it again when they start again.”
“It’s more of a thing of the discipline. People always start doing things, and after a week or two weeks they stop.
For Waters, the social and psychological benefits have kept her committed to her regimen.
“It prevents me from going to a psychiatrist, and it prevents me from starting to drink,” she said with a laugh.
More seriously, she said her consistency has created a community of like-minded women who inspire and motivate her.
“It’s really amazing the people that go and work out on a regular basis,” Waters said. “Most of them are very disciplined like me. It’s nice because you push each other even if I don’t want to go that day.”
As the calendar wains and many look toward the next year with intentions to improve, Waters said she her sights are set on consistency. Being her best self, she said, isn’t a product of doing a lot for a little. It’s the product of doing what she can for as long as she can.
“I wouldn’t stay young, but it keeps your body in shape,” she said. “It makes you feel good. It’s just something you do, and you’re proud that you're doing it and you still can do it.”