By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Celebrity fitness trainer Malin Svensson believes everyone should have a chance at a healthy life — especially the 50-plus demographic.
Growing up in Sweden, she learned that lesson at age 12, when her father turned 50. He was gifted a painting that depicted life from birth to death. An arc ascended to age 50, after which it went downhill.
“I was shaking my head. That wasn’t the way I was going to live my life,” she recalls.
“I said I am going to live life as an ascending staircase. Each decade is about growth, wisdom and new adventures. I guess I already knew then that my passion and contribution to the world would be to empower the 50-plus to live a fun, healthy and fulfilling life.”
After moving to LA in 1989, she founded Nordic Body and, admittedly, “fell into that target audience.”
“People say, ‘Oh, I’m 50. It’s over.’ I say, ‘Oh, no way. You have at least 50 more years — especially in today’s society.’ We could live to be 100, but what is the quality of that life going to be?
“You want to make sure you invest into your health and make sure you do it wisely and correctly.”
Nordic Body is a walking and fitness club committed to inspire the 50-plus crowd to live a fun, healthy and fulfilling life by providing 360-degree support.
“I developed my own system and, for the last 30 years, I’ve worked to improve the body and mind of those 50-plus.”
The Nordic Body system has two exercise tracks — strength training and cardio training, which includes walking with poles.
Her strength training program corrects muscular imbalances to decrease pain and to prevent injuries while building strength.
With Svensson’s walking program, clients burn more calories, strengthen the upper body, and take stress off the joints.
“I make sure that people move correctly, and our signature approach is reducing aches and pains and preventing potential injuries while getting stronger bodies and minds,” she says.
She outlines her program in the 2020 book “WAKE UP Your Body + Mind After 50!” It was written during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It has my whole philosophy,” she says.
“It’s impossible to cover everything with someone just one on one for an hour. That’s why I had fitness retreats based on my system, so people could absorb the whole holistic approach to health. A lot of people think they’re 50 so they’re over the hill and everything is downhill. I try to improve people’s attitude to make it more positive towards aging. Mindset is such a big thing. The mind is very powerful. Every thought you think affects your body.
“If you have the right mindset, everything is possible.”
The book continues by diving deep into the subconscious mind, where 95% of your decisions are made. Work on the inner, and the outer will follow.
In her program and book, Svensson shares the secrets to both rewiring your mind as well as your body. You’ll create better habits, and your body’s muscles and nerves can better work together thereby reducing aches and pains. “Dysfunctional muscles become more functional,” she says.
“When it comes to eating, I keep it simple — eat as clean as you can, reduce sugar intake and, based on doctor approval, try intermittent fasting. It’s really good for the brain. I’m not a nutritionist, but I believe it is very important to focus on brain health when you make food choices.”
A support system is important as well — with one key person in mind.
“You have to be your biggest cheerleader and you need to surround yourself with people who will support your new health journey,” she adds. “We’re building a community for the 50-plus both online and in person so people can be supported by other active and like-minded members.”
Svensson says the key to aging well is to have a purpose in life.
“I make sure people who work with me know that,” she says. “Jane Fonda is a client of mine. At 86, she still has such a drive to make a difference in the world. It’s all about what is the next thing you want to do. Some people think retirement at 60 is about getting out, traveling and seeing the world. When you’ve done that, what’s next?
“It’s not only about how long you live but how well you live. Having a purpose in life can enhance the quality of your life. It can be as small as having a garden to care for.”
The 50-plus demographic is overlooked, adds Svensson, whose clients include Fonda, Jamie Lee Curtis and Maria Shriver. The media caters to those ages 20 to 30, who work out as hard as possible.
The motivation slows down a bit in the 40s and 50s, but now is the time to actually work out more than ever to keep the muscles and bones strong. The focus should now be more on working out correctly, efficiently and productively, she says.
Svensson works with clients one on one in person and with groups online. It was, in fact, Lily Tomlin who suggested that Svensson offer online workouts.
Svensson doesn’t have brick-and-mortar facilities. However, in 2024, she will launch the Nordic Body Program in gyms, 55-plus communities and other fitness centers that would like to have the resources to reach the 50-plus demographic.
“It’s a plug-in program, so it’s super easy for any manager to add it to their fitness menu. We have an online certificate program for fitness professionals,” she says.
“We will train the staff, provide the strength training and walking program. In a few years down the road, the plan is to open our first franchise.”
For now, she’s happy in Playa Vista, which was designed for walkability.
“I moved from Santa Monica to Playa Vista, mainly for the community,” she says. I’m big on building community — my own personal community, my clients and my fitness professionals. Playa Vista lends itself to building a community here. Be part of it and join us for a walk.”
Nordic Body: Walking & Fitness Club 50+