Out of the lot of us – that’s my Mum, Dad and big brother – my mum was always the least sporty. While my brother played football obsessively until, well now, and my Dad was always cycling to and from work, and I also danced and delivered papers every day on my bike. My mum was the anomaly. Always out at work, reading her New Scientist magazine or listening to French language tapes in the car.
That’s not to say she didn’t enjoy exercise. I remember at one of her jobs she would go swimming during her lunch hour and regularly played squash at the club adjoining to the science site. She was never really that into it. Until now.
Since mum retired around 8 years ago, she started taking activity more seriously, got herself a personal trainer and now regularly forwards on emails from Women’s Health about what I should eat, how to get more sleep, why Yoga is good for you, and what I should be eating to ensure I stock up on protein. She’s even joined Instagram to share her exploits with the world – go to @katepatbry to see pictures of mum and my brother’s dog Percy in action.
She’s living proof that you can turn your life around at any age. To celebrate my 60-something Mum, I asked her a few questions about exercising in your third age.
Mum, tell me about what’s motivated you recently
For the Love of Running (on Facebook) ran a FREE 14 day programme to help overweight and inactive women fall in love with the sport of running.
Being part of this group motivated me to run to and from my gym classes. I completed 11 out of 14 days running and increased my distance from 3 to 5 miles loop. I also learnt more about my Garmin stats. Plus I enjoyed sharing my results on Facebook plus daily tips and challenges.
What are the challenges of exercising in your 60s?
Well, if you don’t use it you lose it! Apart from suffering disapproving comments ie why and what are you doing that for, plus a husband who constantly tells me to walk slower when doing 10 miles with ramblers and complains that I go to the gym too much. (Sounds familiar.)
How did you get to your current level of fitness?
Since 55 I’ve invested in a PT to motivate and help build my legs so that I could walk in the Dolomites, as I had found 6 hour walks at high altitude nearly killed me. I struggled to get into what were easy yoga poses and energy bursts were less than frequent.
What motivates you? (And this is another one that mum constantly bangs on about.)
My Vitality health insurance gives me points for activities, healthy cholesterol, glucose and blood pressure. By maintaining platinum status I get rewards ( eg free cinema ticket; half price Garmin HR; half price sweatshop trainers). I also get a free health check. Fitbug, my daughters then company, logged steps and I logged my diet so for the first time in my life my BMI dropped to 19 as I realised I needed to eat more protein, and cut out sugar and salt. My premium stays low, as demonstrate that I keep my numbers low and exercise regularly.
Fitbug, my daughters then company, logged steps and I logged my diet so for the first time in my life my BMI dropped to 19. I realised I needed to eat more protein, and cut out sugar and salt. My premium stays low, as I demonstrated that I keep my numbers low and exercise regularly.
Next I used a Fitbit, and now a Garmin HR without which I couldn’t have collected Vitality points.
OK, so what next Mum?
I want to get 12,500 Steps or run for an hour a day to acheive maximum Vitality points (obsessed?!?Hmm).
I want to do a 10K in the summer with my daughter and I’ve also signed up with my PT’s running group, so maybe half marathon.
Who inspires you?
My daughter and son both inspire me. She runs 10 miles to work, cycles home and is an ultra runner who completed the Marathon des Sables in the Sahara desert. Always taking me to festivals –Yoga, Befit etc.
He cycles 12 miles to and from work, works out at gym, plays football and was a body double for David Beckham in Pepsi adverts.He bought me Wii fit when I retired and an exercise bike for Dad.
My PT also has been brilliant. She got me to skip for the first time in 20 years. If I can, you can too.
There was also 55-year-old Rosemary, a marathon runner who I knew 30 years ago. She took me and 2-year-old daughter ice skating. I always hated running and couldn’t understand why she ran!!!
Then there’s the 80-year-old guy who does marathons? (Mum’s totally responsible for the emoji.)
Thanks Mum and Happy Mother’s Day