As we move through the seasons of life, it’s essential to maintain an active lifestyle to keep our bodies healthy, strong and mobile. In this feature, we’ll introduce you to three inspirational women proving to themselves and others that age is simply a number and your health is your wealth.
Running the Derbyshire Hills, starting each morning with a 10-mile Peloton session, trekking across the world for charity and wild swimming in the cold sea off the coast of Cornwall are just some of the favourite past times of three real women aged 50 and beyond who together aspire to remain active throughout the years to come.
But to remain active and feel confident in their body’s ability to participate in these inspiring activities, the gold is found in their everyday smaller choices and decisions regarding their health and well-being.
These three women show that staying active and healthy is possible as we age, and by finding activities to enjoy and taking steps to protect our health, anyone can stay active and vibrant in their 50s and beyond.
Below they share how they do it and how walking 10,000 steps a day, eating a nutrient-dense diet, having a good sleep routine and taking very good care of their joints are common threads in the tips and advice they share to help inspire others too. Let’s find out what secrets they have tucked up their sleeves to keep their body and mind sharp as they transition into their 50s and beyond.
Charity challenger: Kelsey Barrie
Kelsey Barrie lives in Sheffield and has just turned 50 this year. In November, Kelsey and seven other women, nicknamed themselves ‘The Intrepid 8’, are participating in a charity walk from Petra to Jordan, which involves trekking for nine hours a day for five days straight to raise money for a Children’s Hospital. Aside from training for this challenge, Kelsey rides her Peloton every day.
- The day doesn’t start for me until one cycle 10 miles on my Peloton.
- Movement is most definitely medicine.
- I feel a varied and balanced diet helps my body get all the nutrients it needs, but I take supplements such as vitamin C, D3, and magnesium to maintain joint health.
- Healthy Joints are essential; there’s no way I’d be able to be as active as I am if I didn’t take very good care of them.
- Rarely I’ll not do some form of exercise each day, even if it’s just a short walk – I don’t think there’s anything better sometimes than taking a walk in nature on your own, with your own thoughts, and just tuning in to what’s going on around you.
- Health is wealth, exercise regularly, eat well and remember that wellbeing doesn’t just cover your physical and mental health. Self-care is never selfish.
Hill runner: Sarah Guise
Sarah is in her mid-50s and lives in Buxton Derbyshire with her teenage son and dog. She is a Kore Therapist, keen runner, and dog walker of the Derbyshire Hills. She runs thrice weekly, walks the dog twice daily, and cycles.
- Healthy Joints to me means I can enjoy running downhill on rough ground, which is exhilarating and a confidence booster. I feel secure on my two feet and like challenging myself to leap onto rocks and logs.
- I sometimes use therabands to strengthen my knee joints and aim to sit on an invisible ‘chair’ while cleaning my teeth ( 2 x 2 minutes per day. Tick!) to strengthen the quads.
- I buy local, seasonal, and organic where I can. Suppose I’m training for a race or under the weather. In that case, I take extra care with my diet and ensure I get enough antioxidants, vitamins C, D, B, Essential Fatty Acids and Magnesium.
- I’m naturally not much of a drinker, but I seriously need to increase my water intake if I do. I find that pain of any kind is reduced with hydration.
- I rarely do fewer than 10,000 steps per day and, on a Saturday, can easily double that.
- Grief, stress and lockdown knocked my ability to push myself. I always kept walking and gently trotted or jogged as therapy. I listened to my body. And my mind. I never force myself to exercise and am grateful for just ‘getting out’ or managing whatever I manage.
- I hope to keep running half marathons at least when I’m 65. Being happily active is a way of life I don’t see being affected by age.
- Don’t wait for your health to deteriorate! Invest in a healthy balanced diet and exercise plan. I would have advised the teenage me to attend to my gut health and not wait til I was 50. Better late than never, though.
Wild swimmer: Naomi Smith
Naomi is 53 and lives in Cornwall with her husband and two grown-up sons. She is an avid cold-water swimmer (and yoga teacher!) She is part of a swimming group that swims out from the beaches in Cornwall, even in winter.
- Trying something new and being open-minded about how to stay active is important. Starting chill swimming the summer before Covid struck was a saving grace in meeting new people and forming strong friendships quickly.
- Keeping my muscles and joints happy and immunity strong are the most important things to me. So I’d say the most important nutrients are enough protein, omega oils and a good range of vitamins, especially vitamin D.
- In a typical week, I hold three yoga classes, see several people for wellness consultations, swim three or four times and go for two or three good walks. I also Morris dance weekly, which is great for memory coordination and not taking yourself too seriously.
- I enjoy getting in the water regularly all year round. It is different every time, the conditions, the company and how it appeals to your senses. It makes you extremely present. Watching the waves, deciding on your strategy to stay safe, and checking in with those around you. I call it my factory reset; I love adventure, risk within reason and prioritising my well-being.
Joint rejuvenating smoothie recipe
A smoothie rich with vitamins, minerals, protein, phytoestrogens and award-winning collagen from Cytoplan; designed by Karen Newby to show your joints a little TLC:
Ingredients and method
- Handful of frozen cherries (pitted) – rich in vitamin C rich to help collagen synthesis and antioxidants, including flavonoids which can inhibit cartilage breakdown
- 3 florets of fresh or frozen cauliflower – a liver-loving brassica containing indole three carbinol which helps the liver detox our hormones effectively. Cauliflower is also a source of manganese – as the expression goes, ‘clicky knees, more manganese!’
- A handful of walnuts – a great source of anti-inflammatory omega 3, manganese and protein
- 1 tbsp of linseed/flaxseed – another rich source of phytoestrogens in the form of lignans
- 1 level teaspoon of Cytoplan’s Marine Collagen or open a capsule of Cytoplan’s Vegan Collagen.
- 200ml of organic plant milk – organic soya milk for phytoestrogens to help support collagen synthesis
- Optional: One date to sweeten and/or add more water to get your perfect consistency
- Pop everything into your blender of choice, blend and serve.