Amy Bradshaw, aka “the old lady skater,” has the mentality of anything but an old lady. Her positive attitude and self-care regimen keep her rolling forward and feeling young.
Q: Amy, it’s great to talk with you. Tell us about your skating history.
A: I skated as a small kid. I had five sisters, and we had every wheel thing available to ride. My oldest sister had a skateboard with metal wheels that I rode when I was probably five or six years old, but I really got into it when I was 10. I could leave my house and wander through the neighborhood at that point. We lived near the San Gabriele River, a big concrete-banked riverbed flowing through LA and Orange Counties, California. I just got in the habit of skating down that from ages 9-15. Then I took a break when I went to high school, did traditional sports, got married, and had three kids. I started again at about age 42.
Q: That’s a pretty big gap. What piqued your interest in skating again?
A: When you’ve skated, it just gets in your head. Everywhere you go, everything you see is a surface to skate. So even when I wasn’t skating, I’d go under a freeway underpass and see a skateable transition. I’d tell my husband, “I could skate that!” I worked at a grocery store, and when we went on strike, the box boys brought their skateboards to the picket line. That’s when I stepped on it again and started thinking, “I can do this.” I’ve always been active in playing soccer, basketball, and running, and I never really stopped moving. So, when I went back to skating, the muscle memory was still there as if I had never stopped. I didn’t have to relearn. I just picked it back up after 30 years.
Q: That’s impressive. What advice would you give someone trying to get out of their comfort zone and pick up a sport or activity they’ve tried in the past?
A: You should work on your fitness first. You must have good balance and learn to trust it before tackling something new. That will only come from working out and being fit. So, start there. The healthier you are, the easier it will be to pick something up.
Q: So, you are age 59 on paper, but how old do you feel?
A: Honestly, it’s weird because when I look in the mirror, I could say, “I’m an old lady,” but I don’t feel that way. I still feel the same as when I was a kid. Physically I probably feel 35 or 40. In my head, though, I am still 15. I don’t know what feeling “old” would feel like. I think it’s all a mindset, anyway. I think it’s like, once you decide you can or can’t do something, then you can or can’t do it.
Q: You have proven that you CAN do it. What advice would you give the younger generation to help them reach this mindset?
A: Be good to yourself and start young. Start taking care of yourself now. Self-care is an intimate thing we take for granted when we’re younger. Even the smallest little things feel great, like pedicures and massaging your legs when sore. It just feels lovely to treat yourself well. We all need to do that more often, and if we didn’t wait until we got old to indulge in a proper self-care routine, we’d probably live healthier lives well into our old age.
Q: Self-care is definitely a key to longevity and healthy aging. What does the future hold for skater grandma Amy Bradshaw?
A: I’m hoping my grandkids will start skating, and I can skate with them. That’d be cool. But even if they don’t decide to skate, I just want to play with them. I’m in a position where I can crawl around with them on the floor and not worry about breaking a hip. I will definitely keep skating. Whenever people ask me, when are you going to stop skating? I always say, well, not tomorrow. I am going to do it as long as I can.
Q: Your grandkids must think you’re pretty cool. Is this a good assumption?
A: My oldest granddaughter is six. I was trying to get her to learn to skate, and she thought that’s something only “old” people do. So, the first time I took her to the skate park, she said, “Hey! There are kids here?”.
That’s when she realized that kids skate too, and it’s not just a sport for grandmas.
Thanks, Amy. You are an inspiration to all of us here at Timeless.
Disclaimer: This article was edited and condensed.