‘One of the most important things to consider as we age is to keep our bodies strong and supple,’ says Harriet Griffey author of Sit Strong (Hardie Grant, £10). ‘Strong muscles are like the guy ropes on a tent, keeping our bodies supported and upright.’
The only way to keep fit is with regular exercise – but this can be harder as we get older. Over the last decade, the combination of a bad back and a more sedentary (24-7) freelance working life has meant that, for me, staying fit and supple has been a struggle. At 40, I was sporty – completing The Great North Run in a respectable time. These days (I’ve just turned 55), I spend a marathon amount of time sitting at my computer, and that’s just before lunch….
Lynne Robinson founder of Body Control Pilates recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week emphasizing the importance of posture, ‘Nothing is more ageing than a stoop. Clothes look so much better on someone with good posture. Pilates gives you the inner strength to maintain good posture throughout the day.’
The good news is that once you have your fitness regime sorted, there’s plenty of lovely sportswear available; I’m starting the New Year with a new pair of snazzy leggings. From aerobics to zumba, having the right kit makes all the difference – in my opinion, no woman should be without a supportive bra and decent trainers (my favourite shoes for running are Asics)– see this as investing in your future.
‘The trick, really, is to consider this as training for old age,’ continues Griffey, ‘– it’s no place for sissies, as Bette Davis memorably said. While finding the time for a regular commitment to exercise can be difficult, it needs to be prioritised because it will pay dividends in the end.’
After a concerted effort, at the end of last year, I was pleased when the combination of regular Pilates and short runs paid off. I completed my very first Park Run. Give that woman a medal.
Three of the best water bottles
Another important investment worth making is that of looking after our planet. As everyone who watched Saint David on Blue Planet knows, single-use plastic is the devil’s work. Drink more water and do your bit with a reusable bottle.
This premium grade stainless steel bottle has a double layer and is designed to keep drinks cold for up to 24-hours (and hot for 12).
Sport soft touch bottle, £35, S'well at Amara
Dishwasher safe and fits most cup holders, here’s a water bottle that can be used in the car, should you choose not to walk to the gym…
Glass and silicone water bottle (500ml), £28, BKR
The replaceable filtration cap on this Bobble Bottle filters water as you drink. Nifty, eh?
Bobble bottle, £9.99, Lakeland