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Exercising when you're not quite straight out of your P.E. kit

So when you see a poster for a gym or a class, inevitably it's loads of ripped 20-30 year olds stroking their abs and looking smug as f##k. Thing is, in real life, this age bracket are just as likely to be smothered in a vat of wine and Jagerbombs than they are to be smashing out the exercise....and its possibly those who are plus 30 and beyond who have realised they need to look after their body in order to live as long and healthy a life as humanly possible.

There aren't many people who popped out of the womb and got their burpee on.... for most people we have had to learn to love exercise. Even me.... I frigging hated exercising as a teenager and then I went to uni, realised it was actually quite nice to balance my 4 bottles of wine a week with a few gym workouts a week... and from there it grew.

We have a tendency to think 'oh I suck at that' and then just stop going... but that;s absolute horseshit.... when you first ever learnt to walk you fell over, landed on your ass about 600 times before you managed a few steps. And it is NO different with any new skill, you cannot expect to suddenly turn into a ninja after 1 class.... it takes dedication... and staying power..... and that can be harder to find when we are used to be good at everything we do already.

Exercising isnt just for young people. Its imperative to maintain through the WHOLE of your life.... whether it's to the same level or not is another thing, but the truth is exercise both cardio & resistance helps to improve quality of life, longevity of life and also improves mental health. Now who can argue with those facts.

Choosing an exercise class is like choosing a new face creme.... you have to try a few until you find one that works for you. You might not like the first one you go to, which is fine, get back on Google and find another one. Ideally you SHOULD be performing some form of cardio to keep your heart and lungs healthy and you SHOULD be performing some form of resistance training eg. LBT, weights, Body Pump, HIIT etc to slow down any decrease in muscle that the aging process meddles with and helps to prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Fellow females, listen to that one.... you NEED to touch the occasional weight. And no its not allowed to be a 0.5kg dumbell that you could carry in between your teeth. Long gone are the days when you should be bicep curling a twig for 2 hours..... the fitness industry knows more and it has never been more on top of it's game! Resistance training is good for you, your bone health, your metabolism, injury prevention, overall appearance and strength. Lets be honest, noone wants to be the person who needs help lifting a box at work/unloading their shopping from the car/getting up off the floor. If you have the opportunity to maintain your physical strength and mobilty then you owe it to yourself and to those around you to do so for as long as possible.

I've said this before but I've got scoliosis and when I see an old lady with a big rib hump or clear spinal issues it makes me go all funny inside. I DO NOT want to be that person, It literally scares the sh#t out of me that I'll be hobbling around the supermarket unable to get things of the bottom shelf (its happened before, I have to do a funny lunge to reach everything dammit) or unable to bend over to unload my own trolley onto the conveyor belt. And that's why I think its so important to maintain your fitness & mobility levels.. I watch my Mum who comes to all my classes (she's 65) and that's how I want to be.... she literally doesn't give a shit. She smashes it out and she feels better for it. Now Im not saying that every 65 year old should be in the front row of a HIIT class laying out 50 back to back burpees (that's an acuumulation of several years of exercise) HOWEVER everyone who can should be doing something to maintain their own physical fitness.

So to conclude my part - find something you like. Ditch your mates who wont go and get involved - whether its a local keep fit class, a running club, an outdoor swimming team WHATEVER it is. Get moving and start thinking about what else you can do for your body. Exercise is NOT just for 20 year olds.... you just need to shop around until you find the right instructor for you!

And here is a note from my Mum, the 65 year old nut job!

What is it like to be the oldest girl on the AMF block?

Just the other day a newcomer asked me if I have always been fit. Well the answer to that is NO! I started getting fit in my 20s when I met my other half….sport mad he was and still is!

I was a bit plump and kept on trying wonder diets that weren’t sustainable. Over the years I started eating sensibly, running, going to aerobics, yoga, walking everywhere but never once did I think of strength work and developing my weak arm muscles.

Over the last decade I have had such good advice from AMF and have focussed on body weight strengthening exercises as well as working with weights. I have also had great dietary advice. I am not super fit or anything but proud of the fitness levels I have achieved.

I have had my setbacks like everyone else…: I am hypothyroid: had a pretty rough menopause: was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 with an operation and radiotherapy: knee problems etc! But what I have gained from enjoying fitness classes and the gym is confidence, a feeling of well-being, new friends of all ages and such positivity about life. I can tell you from the heart that when I had the big ‘C’ diagnosis I thought I might not get to meet my Grandchildren so I sure as hell want to make sure I stay as fit and healthy as I can to spend quality time with them and my amazing family.

Never think you are too old to get fitter. I am 65 years old and proud of it and intend to keep going with my fitness journey as long as I can