Joyce Coats: I made a promise I’d stay as healthy as possible
Continuing my Fit Over 50 series, I asked Joyce Coats, of Edinburgh, what has kept her fit and healthy in her fifties.
When Joyce was aged 29 her mother died. She was only 54. Joyce said: “My mother had a heart attack. I was going through a divorce at the same time and I made a promise to my kids that I’d stay as healthy as possible because I wanted to see my grandchildren get married.”
Now aged almost 58, Joyce has kept this promise. The personal assistant has two children, aged 38 and 39, and two grandchildren, aged seven and 11.
Joyce said she is fortunate because she has always felt fit and healthy, although she faced an early menopause aged 38. She says: “I went on HRT because of the early menopause and stayed on it for 19 years, only stopping in January 2018.
“Now I have all the symptoms of going through the menopause and I think that using HRT has simply prolonged the natural process.
“I know others do recommend HRT, but I wouldn’t unless hysterectomy has been necessary.”
Joyce exercises daily
Joyce says: “I like to do something every day, whether it’s a cycle to and from work, go to the gym, do free weights, attend a HIIT class or body pump, swim or run 5k to 15k outdoors.
“I like to have a goal to train for, too. I participate in obstacle course races (OCRs) and run half marathon races on the road and trails.
“Last February, I learned to swim and went on to complete a short triathlon at night-time in the dark, including my first experience of mountain biking.
“I also take part in cycling sportives and the most I have cycled on one day has been 66 miles.
“This March, I am going to attempt to cycle from Porto to Lisbon, in Portugal, over 10 to 14 days. It will be an adventure because I will carry all my own kit and stay in hostels or camp.”
Tips for staying fit over 50
Joyce believes that age is only a number. She says: “Go out, do whatever you can or want one step at a time and never feel too old to start.
“If you have grandchildren share your activities and hobbies with them because it’s great fun.
“Also, I personally love to mix up my activities as I’ve met new friends who are interested in all kinds of different sports and that keeps my social life active, too.”