Healthy at 50 | Getting Back in the Saddle

I’m not ashamed to admit that this year my weight has crept up and I’m about 8-9 pounds heavier than I usually am and I’m certainly feeling it and I ain’t happy about it.

Being short and short waisted, it feels more like 8-9 stone than pounds.  Some of my clothes now make me feel like I’ve been shrunk wrapped by clingfilm – a bizarre and somewhat uncomfortable feeling, not be recommended.

Why has this happened, I pondered recently?  Well, it’s been a combination of things.  Not having a kitchen for nearly 2 months earlier this year meant eating properly was a challenge and we also had a total, unashamed blow out on holiday in Copenhagen at the end of May.  My stress levels have increased undoubtedly, especially recently with my parents having so many health concerns and stress has a HUGE impact on weight.

On top of that, this year the menopause has kicked in, bringing with it the delights of increased appetite, a slower metabolism and joy of joys, a thickening waist.  It’s a bastard that menopause!

And it doesn’t help that I love food; ‘foodie’ is stamped throughout my DNA!

Many women hitting 50 find their weight quietly increases and it’s often due to a number of factors some of which are menopause related, some not.

And I think it’s fair to say, that this is definitely the case with me.

But Petite Vix, surely as a Pilates teacher you’re fit and you must work out?  Well yes, I do! The irony is though, as many fitness / movement professionals will tell, is that you spend so much time teaching other people to stay fit and well, you don’t have quite as much time to do it for yourself!

It’s not as if I’m unfit – far from it and I am strong.  I wouldn’t have been able to pass my studio Pilates certificate 18 months ago if I wasn’t!  I had to be strong to be able to demonstrate the advance repertoire on the apparatus.  But if I want to get back to where I was 18 months ago a few things need to change.

I need to eat better and healthier and move more 

are certainly two.

The question is, how am I going to achieve this?

I’m not remotely interested in fad diets or extreme fitness plans.
I’m not remotely interested in joining a gym.

Do you find that last one shocking coming from someone who works in the fitness industry?

You see I’m not a gym bunny – never have been, never will be.  They’re just not the right environment for me. I hate the loud music, I don’t enjoy using gym equipment.

I’d rather do an hour’s dance class than do a 30 minute workout at the gym.
I’d rather do a 3 hour cycle ride in the fresh air, even in the rain and cold than do a 30 minute workout at the gym.
I’d rather do a 2 hour kick ass Reformer class with one of my Pilates mentors than do a 30 minute workout at the gym.
I’d rather do anything than do a 30 minute workout at the gym!

I think you’re getting the picture, right?

The key is to do physical activities you enjoy.  

I mean if you hate the gym, what’s the point of joining one?  You’ll only set yourself up to fail.  

But I do enjoy being on two wheels.  In fact I’m very happy on two wheels.  Far happier than running on two feet – unless it’s running for a bus, or a train, or running away from a woolly mammoth, then it’s just about bearable and necessary to do.

A few years ago, Tall Brown Fox and I went on a cycling holiday in Provence.  I conquered many hills.  It’s far hillier in the South of France than you can imagine.

And here I am cycling across Sydney Harbour Bridge on my honeymoon.  Yes, indeed, hold onto your helmets; it was buttock clenchingly HIGH up there!  

And I’m not good with heights, even on a bridge with high fencing and barbed wire on the top.  But I conquered it.

Tall Brown Fox and I realised that the last time we did any kind of cycling was on holiday last May – I mean LAST MAY for pity’s sake!  That’s far, far, far too long.  Did I say far, far, far too long? Good, because that’s really far, far, far too long!

We visited Ile de Porquerolles, off the coast of the South of France.  We hired bikes for the day and zoomed around every nook and cranny of the island, finding wonderful coves, small beaches and stunning views.

Sadly, none of the boats behind me are mine.

Clearly, I needed to get back on me bike.  Pump the heart, move my legs.  With that in mind, Tall Brown Fox and I decided to get on both our bikes, get back in the saddle!

Time for a bike ride at the weekend and that’s just what we did.

A little bike maintenance was required before we started.  Never a bad idea to check your brakes and as Tall Brown Fox had put new tyres on for me the day before, we wanted to make sure everything worked smoothly.

I put my new gel saddle cover on for extra comfort which I prophetically bought a couple of weeks ago for a bargain.  Although it’s been a while, I can still remember what it feels like to be saddle sore!

It’s not pleasant!

I put on my cycling shorts which hurrah, hurrah still fitted me!

Lots of handy pockets for bike lock keys, front door keys, phone and some cash.

Helmet on,

Cycle gloves on,

Sunnies on and 

We were ready to RIDE!

We did a 20 minute ride to a big, local park, did a few laps around the park, dodged kids on scooters, dodged toddlers on tricycles, dodged runners panting and running dogs yapping.

No man, child or beast was injured in this bike ride.

We had a pit stop for a cup of tea and then it was back on the bikes for the 20 minute ride home.

And the benefits of getting the wheels out, beyond exercising for my physical health, were many and not just confined to

absorbing the wonderful views across parkland,
breathing in fresh air,
appreciating a big blue sky above you,
feeling the wind in your hair and on your skin,
revelling in the sense of freedom.

And more often than not, you stumble across interesting sights such as this fungi covered tree trunk. 


Back home after our ride.  Feeling VICTORIOUS!

Endorphins racing around my body faster than Mo Farrah in his sprint finish to win the 10k gold in Rio.

You may now play me the British National Anthem.

Back in the Saddle Footnote

I’ve always been an active person, even when I was a kid when I swam like a fish, pirouetted like a mini Margot Fonteyn in ballet lessons and tapped like a female Fred Astaire in tap class.  I climbed trees, spent hours kicking a football around with my siblings, zoomed around the neighbour on my bike and the only time I really sat down was either to read or eat!

I’m a huge believer in exercise being fun.  

Because the likelihood of you sticking at it go through the roof.  Statistical fact!

And you don’t have to take part in conventional exercise either!

Of course, one bike ride ain’t gonna change the world or my shape, and losing weight is more about diet (please note, NOT dieting) than exercise but getting my cycling mojo back is going to help, plus it’ll keep my heart healthy and boost my mental well being.  Win, win, I say.

Although I won’t be entering the Tour de France any time soon – besides yellow isn’t necessarily a great colour on me – I’ll definitely be spinning my wheels again on a regular basis!

Are you going to get on your bike – real or metaphorical?  What exercise keeps you moving and happy???

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  1. August 15, 2016 / 7:51 pm

    You are right…it is important to do something that you like and motivates you!! My husband and I love to walk—it's almost the same as biking in that you get outside and enjoy the lovely nature—but not as much maintenance. Besides it's hard to talk to each other on bicycles. (although I did just see one the other day where both people were sitting side by side in a recumbent bike—now that would be interesting!)
    Good for you for getting back on the saddle—it is good for us!!

    • August 15, 2016 / 9:12 pm

      Nothing quite beats being in the great outdoors, does it? I think TBF and I like walking as much as biking but yes, the downside of biking, is that one often has to be behind the other making conversation impossible! Ha, ha, I would've loved to have seen the side by side recumbent bike!

  2. August 20, 2016 / 10:01 am

    I think that's were alot of people go wrong – they end up doing exercise they don't enjoy which in turn makes them not want to stick at it. And as for walking one of the great benefits you mention is really appreciating the changing of the seasons which I love.

    And you make another good point – it can be hard to do fitness for it's own sake. Seeing beyond that give you much more motivation. And I give you a 'High Five for Fitness' right back at ya! xx

  3. September 11, 2016 / 9:01 pm

    Ha, I am exactly the same with the gym! I worked in one and could use it for free and I went 5 times in 2 years!!x

    • September 11, 2016 / 9:16 pm

      I think that's a record, Kezzie! I'm not sure I'd go even if it was free, either.

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