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Linda’s Fit Over 50: ‘Loch Swimming is my HRT’

Written by Fiona

August 29 2019

Linda Wilson is 52 and lives in Helensburgh. She has three children aged 19, 21 and 23 and she is the director of a busy family building and window company.

Although she says she has always been relatively fit, it was in her mid-30s after having a family that she began to focus more on fitness and health.

She says: “After my third pregnancy I decided it was time to get rid of the excess pounds and just generally get fitter.  I was watching the Great North Run and decided that’s what I wanted to do, having never run before.”

Looking back, Linda is proud of her running achievements. She says: “I am most proud of doing the things I never thought I would or could. For example, after my first 10k running race I cried! But then this led to the half-marathon distance Great North Run and then the London Marathon. 

“I had not thought any of these were possible aged 30 but by 40 I had nailed them all.”

Linda, right, with her Loch Lomond swimming friends.
Linda running with her dog Fingal in Shetland, where she hails from.

50s and changes

Now in her early 50s, Linda has noticed a number of physical changes. She says: “I have noticed quite a lot of changes in the last few years, but it’s the weight gain and a change in body shape that has had the most impact on me and is the hardest to deal with. 

“Although I keep fit and eat relatively healthy it’s hard accepting that nothing shifts the excess weight. I am now attending gym sessions to see if that makes any difference.

“I actually thought the changes were down to the stresses and strains of running a business, the kids going through exams etc  but in the last year I have realised it is more likely because of the menopause.

“However, saying all this, I am still very much just a get-on-with-things sort of person.”

Linda, second from left. The swimmers’ ages range from age range 40 to 65.

Fit, fiesty @ 50

Linda is keen to stay as fit as she can as she gets older. Her mantra is Fit, Fiesty @ Fifty.

She says: “My aim is to keep doing what I enjoy. Running was my thing for so long but weight gain has put more pressure on my knees and bigger boobs make longer distances, not unachievable, but uncomfortable so I opt for less running but more swimming and cycling.” 

Linda is a keen open water swimmer and  regularly takes to the waters of Loch Lomond. She says: “The loch swimming has been a life changer for all sorts of reasons. I  love the cool water – that’s my HRT! – ands I swim with great like-minded friends.

“Also,  I don’t think you can beat a 6am swim with a view to start your day.”

Linda has enjoyed swimming while on holiday in her family’s boat. She says: “We cruise along the west coast of Scotland and I have found some amazing places to swim, such as in surreal pools and bays. I also enjoy walking, running or cycling  around the remotest of islands.”

Cruising and swimming.
Linda. left, with her friend Lesley, after competing in the Outlaw ironman distance triathlon.

But again, Linda never imagined she would be a keen open water swimmer. She says: “I was never a great swimmer but somehow eight years ago I became involved in joining an intrepid team of  ladies, The Maids of the Loch.  They are such an amazing, inspirational bunch of ladies. 

“We became the first all-female relay team to swim Loch Lomond without wetsuits in 2013 – this is by far my proudest moment – and then this month we did it all again.”  

In between, Linda joined the Lomond Masters swimming group and continued to get as much swim coaching as she could. This led to her taking part in triathlon events.

She says: “I’m not one of those triathletes that competes all the time.  I entered a couple of shorter distances then I did the Outlaw half-ironman distance.  After that, I said never let me go longer. 

“Low and behold in 2017 I successfully completed an Ironman distance triathlon, The Outlaw, with my all time good friend and buddy Lesley. Now that was a major moment in time, with a few tears at the end, too, especially since I beat my husband and his pal by well over an hour ”

Sharing good times with friends is very important to Linda. The pants (worn over the top!) are a prize for finishing The Outlaw.

In general, Linda is philosophical about this stage in her life. She says: “Now that I have recognised – and accepted – the menopause, for me it’s all about dealing with it and try to keep doing all the things I enjoy.

“I try to embrace a healthy lifestyle and that is all the better for having good like-minded friends to spend time with. My greatest enjoyment is being active with good friends around me.”

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