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Thursday 13 June, 7:52am
Hello! Thank you for inviting me to chat with you & your community! I’m 54 & live on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. I have two sons, 21 & 18. I work for a lovely independent business & also teach Aquafit & deep water running!
HH50 began as a blog after I had completed a huge fundraising challenge for Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of my Mum, rowing a million metres & marathon on an indoor rowing machine. I rowed the marathon 5 days before my 50th birthday. I realised that exercise & having such a strong purpose had helped me through the grief of losing Mum & my menopause. I wanted to meet other women in their 50s who enjoyed exercise, learn how it helped them & celebrate their adventures.
For me it’s a place to learn, grow and celebrate other women in their midlife. It’s also a personal journey as my own interests blossom and a place I can share my adventures as a mother in the sandwich generation & looking ahead to when my youngest son leaves for university.
I’ve had a couple of injuries over the last 3 years - a fall where I injured my knee (indoors) and frozen shoulders. As a consequence, I set myself a project to go outside every day and do some sort of exercise which I called #RainOrShine30 - 30 mins every day whatever the weather! Often this is simply walking briskly on errands (sometimes broken up into 3 x 10 mins walks!), or running in my village or cycling. I also love swimming in the sea with my fins, paddleboarding, bodyboarding & this summer, I learned to surf (for 4 seconds I rode a wave and screamed with joy all the way!).
I also have a project to do a 2 minute litter pick or beach clean each day, so that is a great motivator to ensure I spend time outdoors.
Ultimately, I just remember how much better I feel physically, emotionally & mentally after being outside and that encourages me even when I don’t feel like it!
Plogging is a Swedish concept that comes from plocka upp - meaning to pick up and jogging. It’s quite simply picking up litter as you’re running and is one of the new words to enter the dictionary in 2018! It’s something that I do when I’m running in the hills, round my village, on the beach or after my local Parkrun. It’s added something special to my life so much so that I made a short film about it called Small Things, Great Love, which was screened at a film festival in London recently.
For me being active is all about how it makes me feel, so tapping into that is key. I know I will feel better afterwards - more positive, calmer, confident & destressed! I started indoor rowing back in 2013 simply because I wasn’t sleeping, was overwhelmed and anxious about life. Within a couple of weeks I was sleeping and everything felt immeasurably brighter. So feeling better & being able to sleep are my prime motivations!
I also think it’s helped to set long term goals that I can chip away at on a daily basis. My #RainorShine30 (getting outdoors each day for 30 mins whatever the weather) was so helpful even when the only thing I could realistically do was walk & hike. In 2018 I sat myself a goal to run 1000km. As a I had only just finished Couch to 5k in December 2017, this was a huge step. I don’t think realistically I will reach 1000km by December 31st but it’s meant I will have done a lot more than I would have otherwise and made running an important part of my routine. I’m happy with that!
Oh friendship has played a huge part in different ways.
First, it was a friend who lent me her old rowing machine when I mentioned that I had not been sleeping and was so tired & anxious I had burst into tears in Tescos! If she hadn’t suggested it might help me sleep I might still be crying in the aisles!
Second, I met so many wonderful people online & in real life who encouraged me to reach the million metres and marathon row.
Third, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many of my social media friends from Twitter & Instagram “in real life” (as we have!) and this has enriched my life enormously. Sharing goals & dreams and supporting each other - in particular given I started running later in life.
Fourth, the confidence that I’ve gained has helped me invite friends & neighbours to run with me. I would never have done this in the past but we now run in our village and go to Parkrun together. These friendships mean a great deal to me. I also suggest meeting friends for walks instead of coffee sometimes - combining exercise & chat.
Fifth, exercising has given me the confidence to train to be an Aquafit coach & I’ve made lots of friends through my classes.
It can be tricky to make new friends in our fifties which is why togetherfriends is such a brilliant idea. Bringing new friendship & exercising is a great way to build new circles and keep us feeling happy & nourished.
If you are keen to get active outdoors but feel that you would like share the experience and get motivated with an outdoor buddy, why not join togetherfriends and find a friend for shared motivation!