We love living in the centre of Brighton and this has made quite a difference to our cultural life.  Last Sunday we went to a gig. OK, it was in the afternoon, but it was a right rock-on affair with the Alter Eagles showcasing all the original Eagles songs. Who remembers the Eagles? Probably most of the audience – tee hee – as we were all of a certain age!  Check them out on this link. And two days before, on Friday, we went out late to see a recorded live performance of Fleabag at our local independent cinema, the Duke of York’s. Wow, excellent, but to see something that starts at 9.0pm is such a change in our lives. In the old place we would never, ever, have gone out that late as 9.0pm was the time we started getting ready for bed! Mind you, we get up early (6.30am) so while I admit to being an early to bed type I’m a lark in the morning as we never sleep in. And Pheobe Waller-Bridge’s performance?  Amazing – no words. She so deserves all those awards.

Not bought anything at all this month. So here I am walking along the seafront on Fleabag Friday in 2-yrs-old black jeans, denim jacket (bought in a charity shop in France), white (charity shop) beret and white (Peacock’s) plimsolls. I had lots of layers which I didn’t really need.

Here’s another look at that sunset.

Yeh, look at me, striding out there and enjoying the stimulating walk. And then…..  You see the thing is, I fully intended to walk all the way to the Duke of York’s (which would be around half an hour and a normal amount of walking, normally!) but after 15 minutes, without warning the back tightened and my walking was impaired and we had to get a bus.  And that’s a pattern that I’m repeating over and over. No pain, btw, but tight, so very tight and not able to stride along as I usually do.

And you know why that has happened? Yes, of course, it was the move and the bending to undo and unpack the boxes, but it is also the lack of consistency re: attending my exercise class and doing my daily exercises.  Because I just didn’t do the classes over the move and the holiday. Actually holidays are a bit of a dilemma, they take you away from the stress of ordinary life, but in some ways an ordinary life (and the ordinary exercise regime you do) keeps you going. Yup, I missed 6 Pilates classes and didn’t do my usual warm-ups and weights. Well, if this hasn’t taught me that I must, I mean I simply MUST do both my classes and my daily exercises, then nothing will.  Because strong muscles are there to protect your joints and at the time of the move, those muscles and that strong core – they just weren’t there.

Enough about me, how are your muscles?  How is your movement?  Movement of any kind, doing a class, taking exercise that suits you and, indeed, doing resistance exercises and weights matters, and significantly so, as we age. It’s not just something we think we should do based on our anecdotal bodily feelings as there is so much research out there.  The latest is from England’s Chief Medical Officer (more bona fide you could not find) so do have a look at this summary on how strength-based exercise (that’s weights and resistance) is a must, and there’s another link to take you to the full guidance.

OK, it’s official – you have to do it.  But how?  See, I know what I have to do, I know what I should do, yet it’s not easy. What is easy is slipping, slippage, and sliding away from the exercises because, you know, you have such a good excuse. So here’s a few things I am doing and if it helps just one person to find a Personal Trainer and start exercising, that’ll be good.

In the acute phase, which I’m in, do get some help. Me, I go to a tried and trusted osteopath who has diagnosed that a lower lumber joint is damaged with consequent muscle tightening if I do too much, which then actually traps the nerves to my legs – hence the slower walking.

In the acute phase take the necessary painkillers, but also take control.  What about acupuncture? I had a session on board ship – my word, it worked.

Return to your class when you feel you can. Upon returning to my class I did not enjoy the first 4 classes – and who’s fault was that! And remember Pilates is about strengthening the core so this is the right exercise class for me. For you, it could be a different type of class.

Talk about your needs with a Personal Trainer who knows your body. That might mean searching for one, because don’t go to just anyone.  All the daily warm-up exercises I do are personal to me – they’re not random. And I have different areas that need working on, e.g. as well as the lower lumber joint, my feet need a lot of work. And incidentally, the feet are not arthritic, again, they’re tight so the calves need work, as in daily work.

Yes, that last bit, I have to, I must do these exercises daily. The trick will be to continue once I’m mended!

Then when out of the acute phase get the personal trainer to give you weights and resistance exercises that are personal to your body only.  I have recommenced kitchen work-surface push-ups. If you engage your core whilst doing these you don’t damage your back but only start these under supervision. And note, you don’t have to go to a gym for your daily exercises, you can use furniture, walls and door surfaces for resistance.

And this business of taking control, as in not being passive. I mean I even see going to an osteopath as passive (you’re just lying there waiting to be sorted) but I was on the verge of taking painkillers this morning, because annoyingly one day I can feel fine and then I walk slightly too much and bingo the tightness returns, Anyway, instead instead of painkillers I did my warm-up exercises (geez, so stiff), but afterwards, less stiff, more upright (I’m quite crooked in the morning) and no need for painkillers.

That’s enough about my woes, which are so minor anyway, and know that I know that this will pass. Coughs apologetically and puts hand to mouth, because I’ve done this before. More than anything the one thing I should do is, not move again! Anyway, I expect all of you are very aware that exercise is key to us ageing well – do let me know how you are doing 🙂

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper


36 thoughts on “The continuing impact of the move and how I’m dealing with it

  • 25th September 2019 at 11:08 am

    So true! I normally play tennis (badly) but am, for the first time, suffering from tennis elbow so can’t play and I’m not doing anything else and I am really feeling it. I have to tell you that inspired/encouraged by you, I’ve just signed up to a local Pilates class for the over 55s. Never done Pilates before but it must be better than couch to 5k or the gym.

    • 26th September 2019 at 7:34 am

      Hi Scarlett, sorry about the tennis elbow and the resultant loss of your usual exercise. Pilates is great but it is as you would imagine very dependent on the teaching of it. If your teacher just wants you to copy her I’d think twice (been there at that kind of class) because hopefully your teacher will get up and walk around most of the time. She/he should demonstrate and then check that you’re getting it right. You should also be asked about your physical condition and issues. Enjoy!

  • 25th September 2019 at 11:16 am

    Love your blog and I must empathise, as I have also had back trouble recently. After an x ray and mammogram, I am no wiser as ti what caused it. I will try some of your
    As to your musical treat. I am so jealous,
    as my love of Hotel California has been longstanding .No one to beat The Eagles
    for great songs and performance.

    • 26th September 2019 at 7:42 am

      Hotel California; Your Lying Eyes; Desperado; Take it to the Limit. When this gig was suggested I thought I didn’t know the Eagles but as soon as I heard the songs I went, oh wow, yesssss!

      Sorry about the back and all those investigations. I know exactly what caused this latest back thing. After my initial post-move pain I re-injured myself twice (each time after I thought I was well recovered) and the second time was cleaning the shower screen – up, down, up, down, up and halfway down – ouch!!!! And this time I can’t shift it. Blast!

  • 25th September 2019 at 1:01 pm

    The original reason I was advised to do exercise – in my thirties – was not for my physical health but for my mental well being. It was a revelation and I have kept up the exercise ever since; yoga, pilates, running, cycling, walking, swimming. Doing yoga and pilates has built and maintained strength and resilience which really helps and protects my body as it ages. I no longer do distance running as I adjust to being kinder to my body whilst keeping it flexible and strong. At 60 I’m pretty fit and do as much as I can to keep it that way for as long as possible. My husband, with Parkinson’s also continues to be as active and fit as he can be. With no cure, this is still the best advice from the medical profession on how to slow down the progression. Our local gym has been amazingly supportive and they host a weekly Parkinson’s group which is fun and helps people get back their mobility. You don’t have to be a gym bunny to enjoy a bit of movement – even if its just rolling your eyes at our continued political shambles!

    • 26th September 2019 at 7:47 am

      Oh yes, to your last point!!!!

      Exercise is so good in so many ways one of which I hadn’t mentioned – mental wellbeing. The movement makes you feel good and in addition I’ve found that the classes themselves become like small communities – we all ask after each other and exchange greetings. It won’t be long before we start meeting outside the classes, I think.

  • 25th September 2019 at 1:19 pm

    I’ve now got a personal trainer having found her on a local website. She is in her fifties but very fit and slim of course. Most of her private clients are older people, the oldest being 76 so I feel I’m in safe hands. She comes weekly and she also gives me a bit of massage. I do a couple of sessions in between with music which makes it a bit more enjoyable. I know I need to do something every day, even if it’s just 15 mins. I also do circle dancing twice a month and I’m having some ballroom dancing lessons before our next cruise so I can dance with the ‘gentleman hosts’ as well as do a bit of disco! I walk quite a lot so I’m hoping that all of this will help keep me on my feet generally. I’ve got fibromyalgia so always in some level of pain but determined to push through it.

    • 26th September 2019 at 7:52 am

      So pleased about the personal trainer – my personal trainer is fit and slim but actually that’s what you want. She’s also not one of those young PTs who have no understanding of an ageing body which is very reassuring too. Well done you re: the fibromyalgia which always sounds so challenging. My back is a teensy bit debilitating but I should recover, so it’s a minor thing albeit really annoying at the moment.

  • 25th September 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Thank you for this motivational speech! I need to hear it. I normally do a daily workout at home called “Essentrics” which are by a Canadian woman, Miranda Esmonde-White, a former ballerina who studied the pain body and has been teaching this mode of exercise for many years. I first saw her on PBS. All that to say, I have had a sad year and had the slippage you talked about. This September I signed up for Yoga-lates through our community recreation in an effort to renew my commitment.
    The three classes I have attended are so much harder than I expected. Yikes! Core strength is mandatory for ageing well and I’m back on the path. I’m so pleased to read this today because I was just about to skip my daily workout because… well, I went to the gym yesterday, right??? HA! Slippery slope indeed!

    • 26th September 2019 at 7:58 am

      Hi Karen and how interesting about your daily workout – I shall check this woman out, thanks. And yes on returning to my Pilates class which I had been well used to, indeed, yikes, it was so hard!!!! Consistency is everything – thanks so much for your comment 🙂

  • 25th September 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Such perfect timing on this post, Penny! Yes, writing you from a small “beach town” in So. California. After 34 years in the same home near Los Angeles, we have moved closer to our church and grandchildren. It is a painfully slow process for us as we just have too, too much stuff! We’ve been here since August 10th and are still unpacking boxes and organizing this smaller space. Like you, we are not unpacking everyday but enjoying the proximity to the ocean and our family.
    Yes, I’m with you in not exercising since July 9th! I have taken a walk here and there when I just needed a break but I can feel the weight adding on. And I’m concerned about losing any muscle tone. Met with a trainer but costs are prohibitive. So now I will look at the local YMCA again. Thank you for this reminder that I MUST do something!

    • 26th September 2019 at 8:07 am

      Personal Trainer costs can be prohibitive and I couldn’t afford a weekly session which some people have. I paid a big fee upfront but as that turned my life around I thought it well worth it and for that fee I got a lot of personal attention and several one-hour sessions plus follow up. Thereafter there is a fee for a weekly session but, and it’s a big but, she teaches the Pilates sessions I go to at a gym that has exceedingly low costs including classes at £5 a session for over 65s – that is such good price for Brighton – so feeling quite blessed and lucky to have found the gym and through the gym the Personal Trainer. Don’t forget I took a long time to find her so could be the same for you. Yes, do look at the YMCA as you have no idea where it might lead you – while doing nothing leads you nowhere.

      And great that you’re nearer your family. Although superficially we look unpacked there is still much to do and I bet it’ll take a couple of years to get everything finished. But totally happy about where we’ve moved – was the right decision as it is for you. Have a lovely rest of the week – raining +++ here 🙂

      • 26th September 2019 at 11:16 am

        Thank you, Penny! So appreciate you and your writing!

  • 25th September 2019 at 2:38 pm

    I totally agree with everything fitness related even though I have problems with both back and hips but I try my best.
    As regards Fleabag, I am so over looking forward to plays, films etc. only to find they are unwatchable due to offensive language. Why do we encourage these productions which inevitably encourage the use of such vile language in everyday speech. Victoria Wood was one of our most talented writers who never needed to cheapen her work in this way. Likewise Ronnie Barker who was such a clever wordsmith and many others sadly no longer with us.

    • 26th September 2019 at 3:54 pm

      Exercise and movement is so important. I downloaded the Chief Medical Officer’s full report and printed out an excerpt re: over 65s and I can see I’m not doing enough aerobic exercise – something for me to think about.

      Re: Fleabag. It was definitely filthy. But it’s not a funny. It’s not a comedy. The protagonist, you soon learn, or certainly by the end you learn, is a sad sap. Not sure quite what you’d call this genre. But I can’t help myself – I loved it, I really did. I want women to say it how it is. Btw, the audience was full of women and and Mr F was very much in the minority. We were also without a doubt the oldest in the audience. But it was to my taste. Just as I don’t do light literature I don’t like light comedy or anything ‘safe’. We are all so different (especially as we age) and here we must agree to differ. But that’s good. There should be much more agreement to agreeably disagree – and don’t you think a certain place that I’ll be writing about very shortly should do the same!!!!!!

      I love a discussion – thank you for your comment.

      • 26th September 2019 at 4:09 pm

        I haven’t seen the Fleabag film yet but I loved the TV series – I didn’t expect to after the first 5 minutes of the first episode but I’m glad I persevered because the ‘filth’ all seemed in context, it was part of her personality.

        Re the Chief Medical Officer’s full report – I downloaded it but couldn’t find a section on over 65s. Could you point me in the right direction, please. Many thanks. (PS: I hit that milestone earlier this year and have just received my state pension this month, finally, woohoo!).

        • 26th September 2019 at 4:43 pm

          Did you download the link in the link I gave you?! If you see what I mean! It’s a very long document and I didn’t want to put it as a link as some people still have old PCs. Here it is and the over 65s advice is on page 39


          The Fleabag we watched was Pheobe W-B’s Edinburgh Festival monologue which she has revived for the London theatre. An hour and a half, on her own, just amazing. Yes, all swearing totally in context. And also very interesting to pick up on what was developed for the TV series and what was discarded. It was shown in the cinema as part of the NT Live productions – booking for other stuff as a result of watching this.

  • 25th September 2019 at 6:24 pm

    A brilliant post – it’s so easy to find an excuse not to do exercise isn’t it? I go to a Zumba Gold class, and that’s not gold as in it’s the most difficult one you can do (far from it!) but Zumba for the over 55s! It’s so much fun but the teacher is so adamant that the things we should concentrate on are strength and balance so each week we do at least 15 minutes of routines with resistance bands or dance routines that involve standing on one leg for some of the song. My balance was rubbish but is getting so much better! After all lack of balance can only lead to falls and that is a downward spiral isn’t it? Sorry to hear your back has been complaining about you missing your classes but it sounds like you know the routine you need to get back on the straight and narrow!

    • 26th September 2019 at 4:01 pm

      Oh great re; Zumba Gold and the balance. My balance is awful but have I been working on it every day? No I have not. The balance is not helped by my very high arches and bent toes but that’s why I must work on my feet – so essential.

      I do know what I have to do, and half an hour’s Pilates practice on my own at home today really helped. Thanks so much for your comment 🙂

  • 25th September 2019 at 6:37 pm

    Well, I’ve now added a weekly swim to my physical activity. I walk 3 times a week for between 1 -3 hours each time. With the swimming I’m aiming for 40 lengths maximum = 2 kilometres. At the moment I’m up to 22 so plan to do 30 lengths on my next visit.

    I, too, am very bad at doing my daily 10 minutes of yoga exercise and must, must, must re start it and keep to it!

    Good luck with your regime and hope you have less stiffness…

    • 26th September 2019 at 4:05 pm

      Hi Veronica – and amazing the amount of walking you do. Walking is something you just take for granted that you can do – it’s a normal activity – so it’s quite scary when you slow down because the legs just won’t go any faster. Osteopath, reassured me though – phew!

  • 25th September 2019 at 6:52 pm

    You always talk about such great points Penny. We’ve gotten out of the habit of working out and it’s terrible. It’s one of those things that are so easy to get out of the habit, but hard to get back into it.
    But we did go to a Yoga class yesterday, and we are on a mission to find some other classes now that we are kinda settled.
    It is SO important!!

    • 26th September 2019 at 4:09 pm

      Well the thing is Jodie the back and how it’s been behaving has really has been a bit of a struggle. It’s a minor thing but annoying and a teensy bit debilitating. And all because I missed 6 Pilates classes – it’s a very big lesson learnt. Half an hour done by myself at home today really helped though. I shall continue the daily exercises because if I don’t I know where it leads!!!!!!

      Thanks Jodie xxxx

  • 25th September 2019 at 8:41 pm

    Penny. You have definitely started the conversation about exercise. Seeking stillness is my natural energy. BUT Thanks for the encouragement! Biking in our dreamy Stanley Park always literally lifts up my body and soul. Plus, I will love those great Eagle tunes forever! Hearing that you are enjoying your new city environment is terrific! Judy

    • 26th September 2019 at 4:14 pm

      Ah the Eagles – such great songs. And the Alter Eagles were really spot on and very good indeed.

      Biking – ooh, don’t think I’ll do that as the although the city council tries to put in those cycle lanes really there is too much traffic. But I intend to jog along the prom. Thank you Judy 🙂

  • 25th September 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Yey, Penny! Thank you for your wonderful insights and wisdom (from experience!). Bless you and keep on bloggin’… 🙂 Kate (Northwest USA)

    • 26th September 2019 at 4:15 pm

      Thank you Kate – yes, I learnt a very hard lesson that I must never skip Pilates 🙂

  • 26th September 2019 at 1:40 pm

    This week, I haven’t gone to the gym but I have moved it other ways! I hope to get back to my regular schedule next week. Life gets busy sometimes! I am glad to get back to walking once a week outdoors with a friend though, it is so much nicer to enjoy the outdoors!

    • 26th September 2019 at 4:16 pm

      Exactly! A little movement of any kind is the way to go – the gym or out doors or both!

  • 26th September 2019 at 7:20 pm

    There you have it- what happens if you don’t do the stretches and exercise. Very motivating Penny to get your honest spin on this, and to hear the ways you actively tackle the back and calf problems. I do a lot of strength work but not as much Pilates or yoga as I should. You make me want to get back to it.

    • 27th September 2019 at 6:48 am

      Oh thanks Gail, gosh I do feel it’s important to never move again – but you know what, I won’t say it as gosh you never know. But hey this area and actually this flat is the business. But we’d forgotten (just as well) how very physically demanding it is to move. Please remind me if I ever………

      Have a lovely weekend 🙂

  • 26th September 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Beautiful sunset. When I was in my early twenties and very unfit, I went to my first yoga class. The teacher was 78 and was so supple and strong. An inspiration. He did what he called ‘flexibilities” which he had learnt from an Indian yogi. Every. single. day. Into his mid nineties, and he passed away soon after that. And some postures. None of it was like the awful gymnastic, or stretch (and scream) yoga of today, but it was doable. Now that I am of an (ahem) very certain age, I’ve gone back to doing those flexibilities and more simple, but authentic, poses. It feels good and stops my back seizing up each morning. I enjoy your posts on health and fitness, Penny. they make sense.

    • 27th September 2019 at 6:42 am

      Thank you so much – yes there are many Pilates classes (and yoga classes) in Brighton. It’s a challenge to find the right one. Many are run and taught by young people (that’s OK of course) but if they just do the poses and encourage you to ‘stretchhhhhh’ – and I’ve been to one of those – it really is almost dangerous. It’s so good to have found the right one and then, after a time, know what you can do at home so you can do it daily.

      Thanks again 🙂

  • 27th September 2019 at 12:37 am

    I thought all cruise ships have gyms on them these days and exercise classes – but I am not blaming you I would feel exactly the same! I need to take myself in hand re exercise and health, my mobility is appalling and I am ashamed to say that I cant get up off the floor without holding onto something, a relatively recent development. And I am far younger than you! But planning some lifestyle changes so this will hopefully improve.

    Just interested to know why you wouldn’t have gone to a 9pm performance at the Duke of York cinema from your old flat, I’d have thought it would be closer than where you are now?

    • 27th September 2019 at 6:37 am

      The cruise ship we were on was small so it had a small gym down in the bowels of the ship – not really visited by many. (Very different on the large American cruise ship where the gym was practically on the top deck and rows of machines faced the window – and always full of people of all ages) On this small ship I went to one ‘Pilates’ class and it was just awful and not what I experience as Pilates. On the cruise we walked a lot, but at that point I didn’t realise that my back responds best to targeted exercise and the Pilates that we practice in the class I go to, and as I feel my core getting stronger so my back improves.

      The thing about living where we did in Withdean and not going out in the evening was that it was all psychological. It was so leafy green and quiet (which is what people wanted of course) but there was an actual feeling of shutdown as the evening went on. And we began to do the same. And always the bus. Yes, the bus from the Duke of York to that block would have not been more than 10 minutes but don’t forget you have to wait for it, and so we just felt even the D of Y’s was too far – which was ridiculous. Here we feel part of the city – so out we go!!!!! Or even if we don’t go out – we leave the curtains open and see the life out there and it’s brilliant!

  • 6th October 2019 at 6:05 pm

    Hi Penny,

    Have just caught up with your recent blogs, good to see them especially the lovely pics of your Norway cruise. Good luck (and perseverance !) with improving your muscle tone etc.
    I find that Pilates once a week and a few exercises when I get up really help to keep me reasonably flexible, though could do with more energy as the day wears on!

Comments are closed.