Irongran on the importance of exercise

12 January 2022

Blogs

Liv Ambassador, Edwina Brocklesby, is here to say "it's never too late to change your lifestyle and become more active".

Edwina Brocklesby, also known as Irongran, had a surprisingly un-sporty youth and only started running at the age of 50! In 2015, at the age of 72, the incredible role model became the oldest British woman to complete an Ironman Triathlon (hence the awesome nickname, Irongran).

Edwina is a huge advocate for staying fit and healthy. Below, she has noted down some of her favourite activities that help keep her fit. The incredible athlete hopes that this will inspire and motivate others to exercise more often.

Running

“I was a full-time social worker and hadn’t even done anything remotely like a 5k, in fact when I first thought about doing a race, I recall my husband saying “you won’t be able to run a mile” And so of course the challenge began… I then started slowly running with a friend.

Following on from above, here is my first piece of advice when it comes to making simple life changes for a healthier you – get those steps in! Find family members or friends to share the fun with, set yourself challenges and enjoy the distance and time spent with your nearest and dearest”.

Cycling

“I‘d never cycled until I went on holiday, hired a bike and realised just how much fun it was, I just loved getting out into the countryside. Coffee stops are essential when and I found some great stops and cakes, I’m confident I used some of those calories up when spinning”.

Swimming

“I could only swim the width of a pool but a few lessons helped me gain a bit of water-confidence. I will never forget the joy of swimming my first 100 metres! There’s such a feel-good factor when you get out of the water, perhaps it’s because we spend the most peaceful 9 months of our lives, surrounded by water?  Research shows just immersing yourself in water increases blood flow to the brain, improving memory, mood, concentration, and cognitive function in general. Wow, if that isn't an advert to start swimming, I don’t know what is".

Regular Strength Training 

“Some regular strength-training and key stretches are also beneficial when it comes to keeping fit. Remaining active can help you lose weight, maintain a healthy weight and can reduce the risk of many different illnesses including cancer, this is something that I can relate to on a personal level as I sadly lost my mother to breast cancer.

Being active not only aids good sleep, but keeps your body and mind healthy, prevents disease and has so many other benefits, especially mental health after our long periods of lock down.

So, why not initiate a regular walk with a friend instead of just coffee and biscuits? Of course, diet matters - I’ve always tried to keep an eye on calories consumed and used whilst exercising.  Perhaps a bit more focus on eating fruit, veg and fish could be key to you pursuing a healthier lifestyle".

How Edwina personally promotes healthy habbits

“After the London 2012 Olympics I passionately wanted to promote more physical activity for older people. We set up the Silverfit charity and now offer weekly sessions with everything from Pilates to Walking Football, Badminton, Bollywood dance and Silver Cheerleading.

People meet up socially, do an activity and then socialise again – our social sandwich is key to our success. If people are enjoying activity, and laughing, then they're more likely to stay physically active. FUN is key

So, let’s place a greater emphasis on physical activity and overcome social isolation. Let’s find ways to help people live not only healthier lives, but happier ones.

Start small - you never know where you will end up. At 60, I could only swim with my head above water, able to do five strokes. It is all about taking that first step, having fun, and doing it with other people”.

Wow, thank you Edwina – that was extremely informative AND inspirational! We hope you enjoyed this blog post and feel motivated to kickstart a healthier life.

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