Telling your storiesfrom the stables to the fields

06 November,2017

Too Old – Never!

I was in my thirties and pretty under-active.  I was scared of water and scared of heights into the bargain, too. At 35, I started riding, at 40 I started running, at 51 I did my first full Tough Mudder (through endless water challenges) and at 52 I started lead climbing, overcoming some major fears along the way.  

Exercise is known to be a major contributing factor in health and longevity.  Who wants to get old and just fester away. Sometimes, with health problems, people don’t really have a choice, but if we, as relatively healthy individuals just sit back and let our joints seize up and our tendons and ligaments become taut, we face an uphill battle as the years motor on.  

When I started riding, I was of average fitness. I’d use the lift more often than the stairs at work. I ran around after my young kids but then enjoyed sitting in front of the TV to wind down, I liked to read and work on my laptop, all sedentary activities.  I liked cakes and pasta and chocolate and was partial to a glass or three of wine, too!  I say ‘was’. I still am! The difference is, I’m now simply fitter. I still enjoy apple crumble with custard, mashed potato, macaroni cheese, Lindt chocolate and a bottle of Chablis, but I also enjoy a nice salad and flavoured natural yoghurt.  Now, I’m no dietician and I think my diet might be slammed by many, but I am a sporty 50-something who is extremely active. I compete actively on my horse in jumping and dressage competitions. Eventing can be a tough sport, especially when coming to it as a late starter, but with excellent training and some pretty special horses, I’ve ridden successfully up to BE100 level and recently reached a national unaffiliated Eventers Challenge final at Hickstead, finishing in the top ten.  I climb at least once a week. I’ve got fingers that, through injury and arthritis won’t clench into a fist, I’ve got sciatic pain in my leg and a shoulder that clicks, sometimes painfully, as a result of a previous dislocation. Still, I can crack on and enjoy my sports. I’m never going to be a high achiever, but I fix my own goals that, for me, set a focus and keep me going.

I am actually slightly overweight for my height (although I might badge myself as too short for my weight), with muscles that need strengthening and twinges and creaks in many areas across my body.  I could be leaner if I laid off the cakes and wine. Does that mean I can’t be active? No.  I can and I am.  I am because I choose to be. It is a choice.  So, Google some sports.  Check out what you fancy doing and get out there and get it started!  Try something. If you don’t like it, try something else.  It’s a cliche to say that we have one life but it’s a cliche for a reason.

So, no matter what shape you’re in, active sport is most definitely open to you, if you choose to have a go!  You don’t have to be a super-fit, high-achiever.  There are friends to be made, fun to be had and benefits to be gained by getting out there and giving it a try!

Josie King

Author of Planet Fran – Population One & Just a Little Unstable


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