And a big thank you for the thoughtful comments on my last post, which looked at climate change. I think it’s critically important that we don’t get too depressed about the situation. While there are huge issues to tackle (constant growth, transport including the car and flights, the use of fossil fuels to power our energy/light/heating) I believe we can all do our bit.  So I’ll return to this subject as personally I feel that I have to be as radical as I was when I was younger.  But this post is not about that, so I’ll stop now!

Yes, I’m forever tinkering with the idea that I could write a book. I like writing, but my stumbling block is always on what subject? Should it be on clothes, beauty or healthy living? I start a structure and then it peters out as life gets in the way. Then I get another urge to write ‘that’ book. I do some research and read a lot on those subjects and the result is I think, really, everything I want to write about has already been written!

Currently I’ve just finished reading The Age Well Project by Annabel Streets and Susan Saunders – gosh it’s good. And I say that having read many books around this subject including shorter, self-help books. Can’t say I really like a ‘self-help’ book as I see them lacking a solid research and evidence base for their assertions to do this or that with your life. This is different. It really is well-researched and well-written and, therefore, easy to read. And btw, Streets and Saunders are bloggers and they’ve worked and written on this subject for several years and the link above is to their blog – do have a look.

The book is 354 pages long so not a particularly short read, but I can boil it down to a few pointers which are:

  • Eat well
  • Exercise
  • Stay engaged
  • Get a good night’s sleep

Well, that’s obvious, we all know that, don’t we? But yet, do we always act on these? So here’s what I’m  doing for myself.

Food and eating well: What with Mr F’s heart scare (albeit it’s quite common) I’ve been doing some thinking about our diet. So it’s no more potatoes whatsoever, because of Mr F’s pre-diabetic status and also a far more low-sugar diet.  Mind you I do love cake, not that I bake anything these days but I’m looking at recipes for low-sugar cake but not, I hasten to add, using artificial sweeteners as they have a dire effect on me! Also we definitely now eat more unrefined foods than we did pre-heart scare, and meat is just once a week, if that. Yes, we are far more vegan in our eating, and wow there are some great recipes out there. Btw, I don’t usually buy recipe books I just google for ideas, although I did get The Green Roasting Tin for my birthday and the recipes are lovely.  Vegan and vegetarian food really can be delicious.

Exercise: You know me, I still do slightly more exercises in my head than in actuality and the weights have rather been neglected. But I do a Pilates class twice a week and this has transformed my life and my body. And the weights and exercises at home are still done twice a week, but I could do more.  The minute I have to bare my arms I shall be toning them up pronto. But gosh the weather in the UK is dire – it’s almost back to winter gear. Here I am back to my pleather jacket, fleece and long sleeved top. Honestly, flaming June it is not!

Then just the fleece.

And finally, I’m ready for Pilates.

But no short sleeves – brrr!

What I don’t do is all that much aerobic exercise, but that is going to change as I’ve discovered a class I can take an hour before my Pilates class, and I will be joining it shortly. Equally Mr F has promised to do more exercise and build muscle as that helps with both diabetes and the heart. Don’t of course, start any exercise without a health check – just saying.

Stay engaged: I have plans to join a choir and there are other things coming along to help us stay engaged that I’ll reveal very soon.

Sleep: Ah yes, I don’t sleep all that well at the best of times, and just lately…… However, I’ll tell you something that really, really has helped. We now have our own duvets! So, this is the thing, we’re still sleeping in the same bed (!) but with our own single duvets, so that means when someone turns over or gets out of bed the duvet we’re sleeping under doesn’t move.  Also I used to constantly tug the duvet up and Mr F used to push it down. Really, I don’t know how we’ve managed all these years with one duvet! But having two duvets has solved this, which has been a revelation to us, and definitely has helped to improve our sleep a lot.

And having given away perhaps a little too much about my personal life (!) I’ll just add two more ideas. I’d say, first, to age well, you need to be aware of your body.  Now that might sound odd. And, of course, you are. But I’m saying here that body awareness includes being absolutely clear what your body is telling you. And not being in denial. When I get up in the morning and I’m slanted to the one side (oh yes, I look very odd and tbh, much older) and stiff, and so, so stiff, my body is telling me to move and exercise.  So I don’t do the exercises and Pilates because I’m being good, I’m doing these because it’s essential.  But that’s me. What’s your body telling you and, more importantly, what can you do about it? Do you go for that checkup about that worry that’s nagging you?  Are you getting that operation, which is actually not life-threatening but you know you do need. I speak here of course from a country that will give you that operation whatever your financial circumstances – for now. All I’m saying is be body aware and that includes caring for yourself in a way that nurtures you now, and your future older self.

And then your attitude to ageing is, I think, is so key to ageing well.  Have you come across Grandma Williams? She’s a blogger in her 80s and my word does she have attitude. She’s very much of the belief that we should be shouting out from the rooftops that being older is great. Be positive about ageing, she says, and let’s start a campaign to tackle this.  For example, in the UK we’ve got a road sign with two old people bent double over their sticks to supposedly slow down car users.  Well, Grandma Williams being an ex-physiotherapist would say, you shouldn’t be bent in the first place. Not everyone will do that as they age. Do have a look at her posts – she’s quite a role model for one’s 80s!

That’s all for now but, if you do anything take care of your core! That’s my motto for now and the future!

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper




30 thoughts on “Healthy Living – we all know how!

  • 17th June 2019 at 1:54 pm

    I love how you approach a subject Penny!! Because it’s not TMI if it’s something that would help the rest of us too!!
    Rob always says I commandeer the blankets, and yet of course he’s wrong…LOL!! But what a great idea to have our own that way. Last year we got a new mattress that I don’t feel him moving around or getting up which is also SO helpful. Because I think we don’t always realize how sleep is SO important.
    But moving is too, and I need to get off my butt. We were just talking we need to incorporate some weights again.

    • 18th June 2019 at 9:11 am

      I love doing weights and actually since a few weeks back I have been flexing those arms more than I have over the last few months, as in, I’ve gone from once a week to three times a week – the aim is to be consistent in this!! And having single duvets have been such a revelation and led to quite an improvement in our sleep – which is so important. Thank you Jodie and have a great week xxx

  • 17th June 2019 at 2:26 pm

    Thanks so much for your lovely review, Penny! So pleased you enjoyed the book (and so pleased to have found your fantastic blog!)

    • 18th June 2019 at 9:21 am

      A pleasure, Susan! I recognise a good book when I see it, and yours absolutely ticked all the boxes!!!

      Btw, I love the look of your blog and have followed you so I look forward to getting your posts in my in-box. Have a good week 🙂

  • 17th June 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Thanks so much for your lovely review, Penny! So pleased you enjoyed the book (and so pleased to have found your fantastic blog!)

    Susan x

  • 17th June 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Hello Penny, Rejecting ageism is a constant in our house.
    Thanks for generous uplifted sharing. Judy @fancified.ca

    • 18th June 2019 at 9:22 am

      You are another role model for me Judy. I need to be encouraged to be slightly more wacky than I am and you definitely do that 🙂

  • 17th June 2019 at 3:47 pm

    We’ve had separate duvets for years now – got the idea from hotels abroad – I tell lots of people that this will help. We also have two mattresses zipped together, one softer for me. They are foam which I find more comfortable than springs.
    The book sounds very interesting; like you I’m a ‘show me the evidence’ person. I’ve just started circle dancing but it’s only fortnightly so I need to do more than that. I was very put off Pilates by a teacher who was very worried about my osteoporosis and said that I had to have individual sessions at £50 a time but I will try again if I can find another teacher. My body always seems to be telling me to rest but I’m not listening very hard!
    I sing in an acappella choir in term time and I’ve been on singing weekends which are really wonderful. ( look at http://www.naturalvoice.net). For the first time I’m going on a singing holiday in Spain in October- second flight of the year I’m afraid.
    As for food we are eating less and less but still quite a lot of meat. I’ve cut back my alcohol intake as I thought it was getting too much of a habit. I have ‘no gin and tonic’ with ice and lemon in a nice glass and I tell myself it’s just as good! I do not like the depredations of age and I can’t say I’m very optimistic about the future in health terms but I’m just keeping going as best I can.

    • 18th June 2019 at 9:34 am

      The separate duvets has been amazing and I don’t know why we didn’t do this years ago. I had read about it and now have actually done it – good!!! As for singing I’m longing to join a choir and I will. More news about that and other stuff soon. Dancing is good and circle dancing sounds interesting.

      The book is good, really good, although a lot of it is ‘common sense’ but often we just need a push. I thoroughly enjoyed the read though and have signed up for their blog.

      I think countering ageing is quite hard work (not talking about anti-ageing) just the things that mount up. But onwards and upwards! Thanks Lynda – have a good week 🙂

  • 17th June 2019 at 4:14 pm

    This is another great post Penny. Definitely not TMI as I do appreciate the reminders and the further info. I think your idea of separate duvets is an excellent one and one that I had forgotten so thanks for the reminder and I shall look into implementing.

    • 18th June 2019 at 9:39 am

      The separate duvets has changed that constant movement of the duvet that I’m sure used to wake both of us up. Now the single duvets snuggle around us and don’t move as the other person gets up – it’s so good 🙂

  • 17th June 2019 at 6:43 pm

    All very sound advice and advice that I’m happy to say I already practise except I need to do more yoga/Pilates stretches on a daily basis and I need to stop having such a sweet tooth…

    I like the sound of the 80 odd year old blogger; I will check her out.

    Hope you have a great week

    • 18th June 2019 at 9:45 am

      Oh yes, do check Grandma Williams out. She was on Good Morning some weeks ago and caused a sensation by not only talking about sex, she stopped Philip Schofield in his tracks when he said, she looked good for her age. Can I stop you there, she said, and then challenged him for being ageist. He’d obviously never thought that the phrase implies that it’s better to be young. She’s great! She has a lot to say about furniture and settings that don’t fit/suit older people – being a physio makes her think that way.

      You have a lovely week too 🙂

  • 17th June 2019 at 7:20 pm

    Hello Penny
    Good post! But, I’m afraid you’re wrong in assuming our health service is still an open door for everyone. Not quite: I fear that ageism is creeping into the NHS and getting ‘seen to’ isn’t always a given for oldies these days. My (lovely) GP was quite adamant a while ago about a place on my face. No chance of the NHS sorting it out, he said, but he could send me to a private consultant. I inferred from that that I was too old to fret over a facial eyesore and want to look presentable again. I’m assuming my thing didn’t look evil as he’s good about stuff like that, and the NHS per se is consistently delivering excellent services in other areas so no real gripe. Just a tad disappointed as I’ve rarely needed treatment (touch wood!) but hoped maybe this time… Anyway, I keep my hair long to hide as much as I can and life goes on…
    Vain? At my age? Moi?!
    Have a good week x

    • 18th June 2019 at 9:54 am

      Oh there’s a lot wrong with the NHS and sadly nothing to do with the medics but all to do with ‘rationing’ and funding and politicians of all varieties. And there’s a lot that has changed since my days in a starched apron and frilly lace cap. I remember when it was the norm to have wards filled with women having varicose veins done – and now? No veins done on the NHS. That has to be a false economy if as you age you develop leg ulcers due to poor circulation!

      The thing that has changed most is that i) people stayed for days, often up to 2 weeks after their op waiting for their stitches to be taken out and ii) we saw the ‘outside world’ as a really dirty environment, so we were horrified when a consultant began to send patients home before their stitches were out – gosh we thought, how dreadful, they were sure to catch a bug out in that dirty world. The opposite is true now! People get sent home really early to get out of the dirty hospital environment!!!!!

  • 17th June 2019 at 10:33 pm

    Hi Penny,
    It’s good to hear that you and your husband are taking action to address the issues that have crept up on you over time.
    Have you come across the book called How Not to Die, by Dr Michael Greger? It is available through the public library system – if you’re lucky enough to still have one. (I don’t have any connection to the author or publisher or any booksellers!) I was recommended it by a friend, got it from the library and then bought a copy.
    I think it’s amazing and that everyone could benefit from it. “Discover the foods scientifically proven to prevent and reverse disease”. It is very thorough, with almost 200 pages of Notes at the back citing the research papers informing the content. The author does not profit personally from sales, but donates to charity. He examines the top causes of premature death – heart disease, cancers and diabetes and explains how nutritional and lifestyle interventions can sometimes trump prescription pills and other pharmaceutical and surgical approaches. This is done in a very accessible way, with a nice humorous touch. There are also many videos on You Tube.
    Dr Greger has devised a really helpful free app called Daily Dozen where you tick off the foods you eat each day from the list provided, and can see your daily average. I find it really exciting that plants are so powerfully beneficial, and that we really don’t need most of the processed stuff filling the supermarket shelves. It also feels like a much more sustainable way of eating, which seems desperately important right now.
    I hope this might be of help!

    • 18th June 2019 at 9:19 am

      Mmm……. While I applaud the extensively researched background to this book for me it sounds a bit too much for me! I really could not be bothered to tick off the foods I eat every day; maybe I’m just lazy. Plants are amazing in their health promoting & therapeutic properties – we would not be here now if our ancestors hadn’t known this – but I think we often overlook the effects of our genetic inheritance. I have conditions with strong genetic associations, not because there is necessarily a determinative link but more on the level of a predisposition to develop certain disorders. My sister, a nurse, says that you ‘can’t outrun your genes’ and in our family at least this seems to be the case. Not that I just accept this and give up trying to help myself by eating well & keeping active, controlling my weight of course but at nearly 67 I don’t think anything I could do now would ‘cancel out’ what has already happened. I may well be wrong about this and I’m very aware of the evidence showing how even elderly people can benefit from diet and lifestyle interventions but perhaps they are starting at quite a low level. The vital importance of the environment in every sense cannot be underestimated.

    • 18th June 2019 at 10:03 am

      I’m sure we all know that we really should cut down on red meat along with processed meats like bacon and ham, and eat more veg, it’s the doing it that’s the challenge. I really like the recipes I’ve found and am more vegan than I was before. I’ll still eat quality meat once a week though. Thanks for the tip – I’ll check the author out.

  • 18th June 2019 at 10:25 am

    I’m just about to turn 60 and decided to see how far I could run in the gym, last Sunday,.. 5 miles then strength training. I don’t think I’m that fit because I like a drink and getting out and about enjoying myself. The trouble is, a lot of people seem to reach this age and decide to become old and not do much. Grandma Williams is a fabulous example of good, positive attitude. Great post, thanks.

    • 22nd June 2019 at 8:55 am

      Hi and wow! 5 miles plus strength training sounds great! Grandma Williams is amazing – a good role model for ones 80s. Thanks for your comment and have a lovely weekend 🙂

  • 19th June 2019 at 9:50 am

    I so enjoyed this post Penny , you are so right , we do know what we really should do for our best health and I know I do most of the time. Like you I seem to do more exercise in my head than seems to eventuate but am looking at changing that. I have been vegetarian for quite some time and there are many excellent resources for interesting recipes. I am a fan of Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstal’s veg books. The Ageing Well book sounds interesting , must check out their blog too.
    Your idea of a book sounds interesting but finding a different take on the subjects you mentioned is the challenge, there are so many books out there, many on my book shelf and I agree many lack the research. All the best Penny.

    • 22nd June 2019 at 8:54 am

      Yes, do look at the Ageing Well blog – got my first post this week and enjoyed the read. Their book really does have the research to backup what they say and it’s readable as well.

      Thanks so much Jill – have a lovely weekend. Btw, it’s actually warm at the moment – woo hoo!

  • 19th June 2019 at 6:31 pm

    A free ‘now you’ve turned 60’ routine blood test indicated that I was heading towards pre-diabetic and my goodness how that affected my meal planning – what a shock! (How lucky that our NHS funds such things, I had no symptoms so if I hadn’t had the call for testing I wouldn’t have thought to ask for one) So I was nodding my head in agreement to this post! Red meat only once a week, at least one veggie meal a week, white fish once, oily fish once and chicken a couple of times are now routine. Within 3 months of that first blood test, I had lost half a stone and the 2nd test showed I was within normal range again – now to keep up all the good work!
    I go to a Zumba Gold class (Zumba for ladies of a certain age!) and our instructor is absolutely adamant that as well as keeping the aerobic exercises going, balance and muscle strength are so important as we get older. Boy do we groan when she mentions that this week we are concentrating on our arms …

    • 22nd June 2019 at 8:51 am

      So glad you go to a class – I think there’s one for everyone as it doesn’t have to be Pilates , it’s just what suits me. Yes, I so get what you’re saying as even though I thought we ate quite well I knew we could tweak it to be even better which I’m attempting. And the tests are so good, and as well as giving us better health it must save the nation so much. Long may these continue!

  • 21st June 2019 at 6:42 am

    There’s definitely a book in you Penny. You just need to find the topic. Joining a choir sounds great – I would love to do that! Thanks for joining #WowOnWednesday.

    • 22nd June 2019 at 8:48 am

      The thing is I think everyone has a book in them – it’s getting it out on paper that’s the trick 😉

      Have a great weekend xxx

  • 21st June 2019 at 10:31 am

    I love your attitude toward aging, Penny, and absolutely agree that attitude and being in tune with your body and listening to what it is telling you are essential! I’m a few years behind you at 64, but every day that passes I learn more about myself and the importance of self awareness and self care. I’m going to check out Grandma Williams site, too…that’s a new one for me! #fancyfridaylinkup

    • 22nd June 2019 at 8:47 am

      Hello Candi – how nice to meet you and thank you so much for your comment. Grandma Williams is amazing and quite a TV and media star 🙂

  • 21st June 2019 at 9:25 pm

    Hi Penny I like your good outlook on getting older. I was wondering what are (specifically) the weights and exercises that you do at home. I prefer to do my exercise in privacy, but that’s just me.

    • 22nd June 2019 at 8:40 am

      I was actually thinking of doing my exercises and weights for a YouTube video, which I have neglected somewhat lately, YouTube that is. But I warm up first with lots of shoulder rolls and arm stretches and leg raises and standing on one-leg (with arm on door) turns. Then door press-ups x10 (which I’ve lowered now to table height), chair dips x10, crossed arms/squats to chair x10. Then 3k weights moving soon to 4k, just very simple stuff. Then repeat the whole x3 Also I strengthen the muscles around my knee by sitting with legs full length on a couch and raising them 100 times. I do this most weeks x2. Feel guilty if it goes down to x1. Would like to do it x3 but rarely achieve this. The result of this plus the Pilates is that I feel I have far more strength and my upper arms look so much better.

      Now, here’s the thing, when I started this I could barely do anything. Start slow and just do warm-ups and the thing is just move. But ALL the above was given to me by an expert. Do get good one-to-one advice first. Fair warning – I got a nasty trapped nerve/shoulder injury from a gym class instructor who didn’t have a good idea of what people could and couldn’t do. Ditto for YouTube videos – they could damage your health!!!

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