This blog has always been more than just the charity shop shopping and the clothes I wear.  It’s also about women and ageing, and how we can age well and all the positive things we can do to be healthy and (yes, I like this word) comfortable as we age. And when I’m feeling negative I absolutely rage at our lack of an honest debate about how society cares for the older frailer population, which, I think, amongst other things (which I won’t go into here) leads to our NHS going through a ‘winter crisis’ every single winter.

But looking on the bright side I believe passionately that women can continue to be and do as we please into our 70s and 80s. We can wear those heels, makeup and, really, what we damn well please, and we don’t need any young fashion journo to tell us otherwise. But I am aware that genes and luck come into it and that one can get ill or become a caregiver to a partner or child or grandchild even. Life is tough no matter what age we are. And at every age we should take care of ourselves, but we don’t do we? Family and children come first and then the job that puts meals on the table and the house over your head. But once we’re past those early caregiving years and the working life, it is even more important to say, this is what I need to do, hey, let’s do it!

So this is all about what an incredibly positive experience it has been working with the Personal Trainer. OK it’s only one week (!) and this is just the start of the whole process and you can judge whether it’s been a success if a year later I’m still working with her on my fitness – but I don’t see why I won’t be.  I don’t know what other people have experienced but this PT came to my flat and we worked on my issues, and then going round the flat using furniture and walls as props a programme of exercises was devised.  And we go on from there with many other parts to the Starter Package I bought. Yes, it costs and as you know my pension isn’t good, but I think this is all great value for money, particularly as this is about preserving and improving my health, and not just getting a set of rippling muscles, which, however, is actually one of my aims as I’d so like to look like Rosie the Riveter – well, why ever not!

However, I’d also like to say that the work I’m doing with the PT is also about adjusting to the energy I’m expending with the amount I’m eating.  Tbh, I think I’ve been on an endorphin and adrenaline high for several days (the latter due to a great Saturday evening out – more about that in the next post) and now I’m coming down from this and feel really tired, but in a good way.  I’ve been advised to eat more carbs before and after exercise.  And although I shall aim to be healthy, I do love cake and will eat the occasional bun with relish.

You see I’m also doing Couch to 5K.  Now, no worries. This is not too much as I’m taking this really, really slowly and I’m going to spend much longer doing it than the 9 weeks they say it should take.   Anyway, someone asked about what leggings I was wearing for the running. Actually ha, ha, running?! You should see me ‘run’. I don’t do more than a very gentle jog, and nor should you at the beginning of this programme.

But here is what I’m wearing. I’m dressed from head to toe in gear from Peacocks which is definitely in the less expensive end of the UK High Street, and probably (as I’ve had this outfit for a couple of years now) both jacket and track suit bottoms came in well under £20. Actually, I’m not quite head to toe in cheap stuff as my shoes are proper Nike running shoes at £99. You have to protect your knees with the best shoes you can afford and that’s where my money’s gone.

Under the jacket is this t-shirt, which is a charity shop specimen, but can’t remember how much I spent – it wouldn’t have been much.

And before any of you say, you don’t need any of this because you’re so slim, the whole thing is about strength and stamina, which I really need to improve, and is nothing whatsoever about losing weight. Actually, I’d like to put weight on, with more muscle, along with being more flexible and less stiff, and those are my aims.  I’ll keep you posted on how I progress and hope also that this encourages you to look at what you can do.

That’s all for now

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper

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39 thoughts on “An update on the fitness thing

  • 23rd April 2018 at 7:55 am

    More power to your elbow, leg, foot and all the other stuff you use!

    • 25th April 2018 at 8:28 am

      Thank you Mary! Got some weights, a mat, plus a blanket to fold and sit on!

  • 23rd April 2018 at 8:29 am

    You look the part and that is half the battle.

    • 25th April 2018 at 8:29 am

      Thanks Anne – the proof of the pudding will be if I’ll be doing this the following year – I think I will!

  • 23rd April 2018 at 8:51 am

    Hi Penny, love your hair.That hot pink colour really suits you too. I couldn’t agree with you more about the exercise and particularly putting on weight. I am 5’5 and have always been slim not from anything in particular although I have always walked and ridden my bike for pure enjoyment. Unfortunately I lost quite a bit of weight due to stress and became quite thin, I hate it, I think it’s important as you age to have a reserve of at least 5kg, it makes your face look nicer, your neck less haggard and you can wear shorter sleeves if your arms are rounded. If you do become ill you have a safety margin, I hate the thought of becoming ill and losing more weight. I know this is probably an issue that seems trivial if anyone has struggled with their weight but at my age 73 I would prefer to add another 5 kg. I do weights
    Every second day and my muscles are building so that’s encouraging. My mother was softly plump all her life, she always dressed beautifully, wore make up and had pretty hair, she looked lovely, so for anyone who is concerned about being overweight remember that skinny women on the whole, look older are more fragile and often die younger, just love what you have and look after it.
    Warm regards from Australia ,Carol

    • 25th April 2018 at 4:24 pm

      I do agree with you that we do need surplus flesh to act as that safety margin, and actually a bit round the face would also help. I could do with a few more kilos, but like you am hoping that I can do that through the weights. I’m just starting the weight training and will keep you posted on how I get on – warm regards to you too!

  • 23rd April 2018 at 8:56 am

    Hi Penny! First I have to say how great you look in your exercise gear. Peacocks has some surprising treasures. Secondly, your recent posts have struck a chord with me as I have just been told I have very high cholesterol. This was a real shock, as I am not overweight, I go to dance classes twice a week, walk a lot and I’m talking seven miles plus, eat a healthy diet – ask my family. It’s looking as if it’s inherited. I go back to see the Dr next week. I’ve been looking into what else I can do to improve my lifestyle and one is to do more cardio based exercise. When I was working I did have a PT and she was fantastic and I’m thinking of trying to find another one. I think it could be well worth the investment. As they say over here ‘ Alley-z et bon courage, Penny’!

    • 25th April 2018 at 4:29 pm

      To have high cholesterol must be a shock if you aren’t overweight. My other half had high scores, and was advised that his was the inherited type and that no matter how much he exercised and dieted it wouldn’t change that much, so he accepted the statins, doesn’t have any side effects and has lowered his cholesterol. Good luck with that issue June.

      It’s the first time I’ve ever had a PT and it’s going to be so good mainly as having one keeps you on the straight and narrow and keeps you at the exercises. I’m glad I found her!

      • 26th April 2018 at 9:49 am

        It was a total shock, Penny. It’s reassuring to know that your other half takes statins and that they haven’t had any side effects. I’ve read quite a lot about them and opinions seem to vary. However, if it is inherited high cholesterol, I think that I will definitely take them if they do the trick.

        It’s finding the ‘right’ PT that I think is important. I’m imagining that there’s a fair amount of choice in Brighton & Hove? I’m hoping to find someone who understands a more mature body!!

        • 26th April 2018 at 11:06 am

          My other half is very happy with his statins. I mean everyone is different, and everyone will have their particular reaction, but if advised it’ll be wise to give them a try. Best of luck there!

          And I’m sure there are a lot of PTs in Brighton & Hove. Actually I didn’t look very hard, instead I was just on the ‘lookout’ for the right one. So it is luck, as I said to someone else you have to just ferret around for one 🙂

  • 23rd April 2018 at 9:00 am

    Hi Penny
    Your blogs are always so encouraging! I have been thinking about a personal trainer too and wondered how do you go about finding someone who is ‘age appropriate’ and recognises the issues ladies of a certain age might have?

    • 25th April 2018 at 4:38 pm

      I think the thing is I’ve never seen a female personal trainer attached to a gym and most personal trainers you come across are young men. And no matter how empathetic they are, you feel they won’t quite get what the body of a 70 year-old woman is truly like. So I was clear in my mind that I wanted a female PT. I also wanted this PT to understand the older woman’s body. It took around a year to find her. Over a year, I visited two gyms and looked at different websites. I liked this particular gym I go to now (for classes – I haven’t joined). It was friendly and reasonably priced. But this was the 4th different class I’d attended at this particular gym and there she was the perfect PT.

      In your area there must be lists and websites – you just have to ferret around. Best of luck with this 🙂

  • 23rd April 2018 at 12:44 pm

    As a lifelong “skinny” woman (a term I hate btw – why do people feel they can use that term to a slim person but they wouldn’t dream of calling someone a “fatty” to their face?) I’m no fragile weakling. I’m a fit, strong 59 year old. I do all the heavy stuff in the garden and I do weights in the gym, I run, dance and swim. As for looking older and dying sooner than a “plumper” version? Not even going to go there. We make sweeping assumptions about people based on their weight. Surely the main thing is to remain feeling good and well (comfortable) in the skin you’re in, no matter how much of you there is or how old you are? Good for you to go for a PT if that makes you feel good. I hope you continue to enjoy it and feel the benefit and, most important, to inspire others with your real world blog.

    • 25th April 2018 at 4:41 pm

      Yes, the most important thing is to work towards feeling good about your body. And it just makes sense to be as active as possible for as long as possible. Thanks so much of commenting.

  • 23rd April 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Hello Penny,
    I have been reading your blogs for some time and often agree with your comments but I found your ideas and aims in this one ringing true for myself. You are so right that we should do everything we can to look after our own health and well being. I had to abandon my exercise classes after having a slipped disc – the effects of which lasted nearly 2 years. Last year we returned to UK after fifteen years of living in France. The return has been particularly difficult for me. Living with friends, then in a rented flat we have only very recently moved into our own home which needed complete renovation.
    I have now been lucky enough to find a Silver Swans ballet class which I am really enjoying but it has highlighted that I am no longer fit or supple! I also need to build more muscle and get more stamina but don’t think funds will stretch to a personal trainer just yet. However, I feel motivated to look for exercises on the internet – if there are any for Over 70’s and to try and improve my diet.
    I have waffled on – but thank you for your motivational blog. I love every one and just wanted to let you know how I enjoy reading them. It’s like hearing news from a friend.
    Good luck, keep up the good work.

    • 23rd April 2018 at 6:32 pm

      Do have a look on YouTube, Pauline – you will be pleasantly surprised to find exercises which you can do. The Americans are a bit more forward-thinking than we are, so all the PTs are American. I have been to an exercise and slimming place in America where there were many people over 70 – I think they even had a 92 year old once. They used to tell us that exercise was optional for the under 65s but after that it was essential! If you like dance, then you will probably like “Walk at Home”, and there are plenty of stretching, flexibility, body sculpting and barre videos too. A little daily work and I’m sure you will soon be supple. My stamina is improving but I do get more tired than I used to, so I often find myself needing a rest.

      • 24th April 2018 at 9:33 am

        Hi Christine, thanks for those tips. I feel more encouraged to get going. It’s so nice to hear from others who are already motivated and moving! P.

        • 24th April 2018 at 1:05 pm

          I’m glad to be of help, Pauline. And there are the psychological and emotional benefits too – vigorous activity lifts the spirits, drowns out sorrows and generally helps with powering through. Older British people seem to be culturally programmed to think that a little gentle stretching or pilates is the maximum that they can expect to do.

          • 26th April 2018 at 7:42 am

            Christine thanks so much for your comments, which I found so very interesting. And you know I agree with you absolutely about the programming we encounter about exercise for the older person which is always about stretching and never vigorous. Actually if we build up to it we can do the vigorous and so we should.

            Also it was just lovely that you answered Pauline’s queries – our internet provider was off-line (on and off and mostly off) for 2 days! Drove me nuts and was so frustrating! But there you were with your experience of exercise gained through YouTube, which helped a lot. Like you I get tired, but I think my stamina will build. Thanks again for all your comments.

          • 26th April 2018 at 9:08 am

            I think this site is wonderful! How much we can learn from each other by sharing our experiences. So many people of our age seem to be reluctant to learn new things.

    • 26th April 2018 at 7:47 am

      Hi Pauline and thanks for the above comment – the Silver Swans sounds interesting and I’ll have to look out for that. But I agree, building muscle and stamina is also essential as we age, and for the moment that’s what I’m concentrating on. Good luck with your search for the right exercises for you – I’m sure you’ll find some.

      Moving back from France must have been so very physically and emotionally stressful. I do hope it’s all coming together, and with a house to renovate, although that is stressful it can be quite creative – very best wishes for all of that 🙂

  • 23rd April 2018 at 2:32 pm

    I was 61 when I first entered a gym. I thought that over-60s weren’t “allowed” to go, and I started crying when I first saw the machines. But I persevered for five happy years with a personal trainer twice a week. This arrangement came to an end when I went on the list for a knee replacement. It took a long time after surgery for the knee swelling to go down, but then I started working out again – this time on my own, in my living room, and at a cost of absolutely nothing. There are masses of suitable exercise channels on YouTube. At the beginning I looked for keywords like seated, seniors and low impact. I worked up through the very fun “Walk at Home” and am now doing an hour a day of the most challenging cardio and strength routines that I can manage. There are various ways of getting YouTube workouts onto a big TV screen. I use my tablet to select a routine, then cast it on to my (non-smart) TV via a Now box. I workout every day. My surplus weight is falling off without a diet – just sensible eating – and the way that exercise works on the brain is said to be equivalent to mood-enhancing drugs. Although I am pushing 70, my posture is great, my skin is good, and I look way younger than my age.

    • 23rd April 2018 at 3:32 pm

      That’s encouraging for me – I’ll look on U-Tube too.

    • 26th April 2018 at 7:54 am

      Hello again Christine, aah the knees, they’re so tricky. I had a knee tendon repair op about 15 years ago and it took me ages to recover from that, and I still have some issues with that knee. I’ve never looked at YouTube but will now although I do have my PT’s exercises. I think the thing with me getting the Starter Package with this PT is that it’s set me off on my own particular road to recovery, which was of course just pure neglect on my part. We each have our own ‘journey’ to take and it’s great that we’re encouraging each other to do this. Thanks again for all your comments 🙂

  • 23rd April 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Great inspiring post Penny. I’m sure you will go from strength to strength. I’ve had a trainer a couple of times in the past and they really do motivate you. One problem with exercise, I find, is that I get a lot more hungry. So strangely, although I’ve been exercising more than ever this year, I have put on weight! And it’s so hard to do as you get older, darn it.

    • 26th April 2018 at 8:01 am

      Hi Gail, I’ve wanted to work with a PT for some time and now I’ve found the right PT for me, she has indeed set me off on a path to better exercise routines – very pleased so far! Actually I don’t eat much between the midday meal and the evening meal and that has to change as I ran (literally) out of energy last week when I tried a tiny weeny run (still on week 1) for Couch to 5k. so I have to eat more! It’s finding the right balance, isn’t it.

    • 30th April 2018 at 5:11 pm

      Dear Gail…I don’t know if you will ever see this later comment to your concern about weight gain while exercising but I want to let you know that muscle tissue is heavier than fat! Yes, as you exercise and firm up your muscles there will be some weight gain. I’ve heard this from my exercise teacher and colleagues.
      Hope you get this!
      Charlene H

  • 23rd April 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Nice that this post came today. Living in the country, a personal trainer is sort of out of the question. I would have to drive too far. But I was going to get off my stepper and go outside to jog/run for the first time since November. I’ve never do a 5K but I know we need to keep our strength up on top of watching the cholesterol and blood pressure. You look great in your new joggers-

    • 26th April 2018 at 8:07 am

      Thanks Terri, yes, I’m aiming to do 5k runs by the end of summer. Apart from fitness, I’m doing this because in many areas of the UK we have 5k park runs – these are free organised (volunteer run) events that are actually very popular. They’re not races and all sorts of people of all shapes and sizes and ages take part with lots of encouragement. They’ve been going I think for only a couple of years now but some research has found that they’re not only good for your physical health but they make you happier – makes sense really. Do you have park runs in the States? I’m thinking of your vast continent – here in the Uk we’re never far from a park!

  • 23rd April 2018 at 7:58 pm

    How good of you! I answered you on Instagram, did you read it?

    • 26th April 2018 at 8:13 am

      Hello Nancy! Just got back to my blog to answer – our internet provider was having problems these last few days – so frustrating. The exercises I’m doing are going to be so good for me.

      I’ll message you again on Instagram 🙂

  • 23rd April 2018 at 9:48 pm

    Looking good whilst one is exercising: inspiring! I walk; use some bits and pieces which I’ve picked up at op shops: light weights, stretchy things, tubing, stepper; 2 -3 times a week, and regularly do some yoga. But I do think that being active and moving a lot is the most important.

    • 26th April 2018 at 8:14 am

      Wow, you do loads of exercise! Very well done, you! I agree, being active and continuing that for as long as possible – it is so important.

  • 23rd April 2018 at 11:01 pm

    Good for you! How wonderful to hear you say it’s not about weight loss, but about strength and stamina! That’s so true! It’s about the quality of our lives! Well done! Keep it up!

    • 26th April 2018 at 8:15 am

      Yes, this whole exercise – ha – is all about strength and stamina and building my muscles. I will keep it up!

  • 24th April 2018 at 10:23 pm

    What a great post and good for you in getting to grips with a new fitness regime. I have fallen off the wagon the last few weeks due to family issues and just needed this today to remind me to get back on that wagon! I do appreciate your writing about this other stuff we encounter as we age. Love your hair and that fitness outfit looks great on you.

    • 26th April 2018 at 8:16 am

      Thank you so much Christine – and thank you also for your feedback on the blog which is very much appreciated.

  • 27th April 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Good luck and you’re off to a fab start with such a positive attitude! I like your exercise outfit and your hair is looking lovely. Have a great weekend!

  • 28th April 2018 at 9:44 am

    Sounds like your PT has done the trick and you are back on the fitness track. You have inspired me to up my exercise . A friend and I go to Zumba classes twice a week and have done so for quite a few years. We are probably the oldest in the classes and we modify some of the exercises to suit us(we both have some knee problems) but it is so good for mind and body and quite social too. Weights are something I do (mostly) a couple of times a week using a DVD that I have had for ages. I agree that exercise is important for keeping our bodies flexible as we age and also for bone strength . I will follow your progress with interest Penny.

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