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HealthyHappy50: Jo Moseley

Written by Fiona

October 07 2018

Jo Moseley is known as HappyHealthy50 on Instagram. She is 53 and lives on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. She has two sons aged 21 and 17. She is practice manager for an engineering company and has recently started teaching deep water running, hydro jog and aqua fit.

I’ll let Jo tell you her story of fitness and health.

Jo goes stand-up paddle boarding as often as she can.

48 – and things changed

Jo says: “I’ve always tried to be healthy and for many years I focused on my weight and what I was eating. However, I rarely exercised other than walking, on my own or with my sons and swimming on holiday. This changed when I was 48 and I haven’t looked back since!

At 48, I was feeling very overwhelmed. I wasn’t sleeping and I felt very stressed. My parents were both going through chemotherapy and I was a working mum flying solo with my sons.

However, in hindsight and with greater knowledge, I believe I was also experiencing symptoms of the peri-menopause. I just didn’t realise it at the time.

The biggest impact of the menopause for me was increased feelings of anxiety. I’m a natural worrier but it became worse. Plus I was not sleeping. I have found exercise, better nutrition, a really good sleep routine and practising gratitude very helpful.

It is not about times or medals but about enjoying the time outdoors.

What works for me

I started running in October 2017, finishing the “Couch to 5k” programme just before my 53rd birthday. I have now set myself a goal to run 1000km in 2018. It’s a cliché, but it’s very much about the journey and understanding myself through the process.

I take part in parkrun as often as I can (if I’m at home) and I have started Plogging (litter picking while jogging) afterwards.

I train at the gym lifting weights two to three times a week.

I swim and I do deep-water running every couple of weeks as I love the classes. I don’t get to participate as much as used to now I’m teaching it!

This summer, I practised headstands, yoga and stretching each day.

If I’m by the coast, I do stand-up paddle boarding, bodyboard or tread water with my fins in the sea depending on the waves. I am there once every three weekends.

I also go on my paddleboard on the reservoir/river at home in the Dales.

Jo is very proud of this moment… standing up on a surf board.

I am learning to surf and my 53rd birthday gift was three days at surf camp in Wales at Surf Snowdonia.

I recently remembered how much fun it was to ride my bike and will do more.

Gym work is an important part of Jo’s week.

Health in my 50s

In terms of exercise, I believe in following your joy, being grateful, nourishing yourself well, going to bed early and spending time outside moving in the fresh air.

Exercise is for your mental and emotional wellbeing as much as your physical health.

I think that bringing exercise/movement into your life in your 50s is a fabulous gift to yourself. We have so many things on our plate, juggling work, careers, home, children, family and perhaps elderly parents, so the time set aside to look after yourself helps you to handle all these demands.

Exercise is also a great way to make new friends and expand your sense of community if you are at the stage when your children are moving away to university.

Spend as much time outdoors as you can.

Tips for health and fitness in your 50s

Find an exercise or sport that you enjoy. There is no point doing something because it’s trendy or everyone else loves it if you don’t. It just becomes another thing on your To Do List and we don’t need that.

Try different things until you find what brings you joy and suits your budget and lifestyle.

I love watersports, including bodyboarding, snorkelling, stand-up paddle boarding and learning to surf. However, I live more than two hours from the sea.

So, when I’m at home, I run and go to the gym and also hydro jog. Having all the elements in my life enriches it – and there is always something I can do.

Don’t work too hard. I’m very aware of injury after I fell (nothing to do with exercise) and injured my knee and then developed a frozen shoulder. So I do all sorts of things to avoid overworking any particular part of my body.

Running for joy.

Joy not medals. I’m not driven by times or medals. I am motivated by joy and headspace and having purpose to my running, SUP and cycling.

I pick up litter (Plogging) when I do the above and it really adds an extra level of enjoyment for me.

Early to bed. I go to bed early a few nights a week.

Be positive. I try to talk to myself in a positive way when doing my activities. I really needed this learning to surf!

Have lots of healthy food. But don’t get focused on a restrictive diet.

Be good to yourself.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Especially those may see on social media. That might be women who are either much younger or those who put a high value on the aesthetic results of exercise.

Practise gratitude. Remember what your body has been through (maybe pregnancy, miscarriage, grief, illness) and focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. Be patient and consistent and celebrate your successes.

Go for strong. Add weights, resistance training and stretching to your routine. I lift weights because my mum had osteoporosis and I know bone health is important as we age. A lot of women are realising how important it is and yet also worry about bulking up, which, or course, doesn’t happen.

Follow Joanna on Instagram and Twitter @HappyHealthy50

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