A few months ago Tone asked us to write a piece about how we tried to stay healthy and fit. The answer, we think, is to listen to people like Tone when they make suggestions, and to explore as many different routes as possible to stay active and engaged.
Nearly thirty years ago a friend advised us to try homoeopathy for the bouts of tonsillitis that our eldest son used to suffer. This was a great success and so when I hurt my hip I took our homoeopath Hilery Dorrian’s advice to go to a chiropractor, and that chiropractor was Tone. She treated me and my sons – one of whom fell out of a tree! – and then my husband came along for various treatments. I developed Menieres Disease, a condition of the inner ear, and Tone suggested trying the Alexander Technique with Gemma Taylor in Guildford. This worked well in tandem with medication and also helped me improve my posture greatly. It also puts you in touch with your body so you are aware of your ‘use’ in everyday life and can avoid strain and injury. As well as ongoing homeopathic treatment, acupuncture with Francois de Menthon at the Castle Clinic has proved a great help to manage the condition. Graham, like many musicians, uses Alexander Technique to avoid strain when playing.
Returning to Luck’s Yard for treatment for my feet, I saw Nic, since Tone was not available. He recognised the glaringly obvious fact that I was not fit enough and – I won’t say ‘pushed’ – strongly advised me to find a Pilates teacher to do a few one-to-one lessons to get me going. Another friend recommended Jo Yearwood, who for five years now has given a lesson to us both every six weeks or so. I have not been so fit since my teens!
Another milestone was buying a decent sports bra! This made running a possibility. My husband had said he would like to do more walking when he retired and I thought that Pilates had given us enough strength to try running, so three years ago, at 58 (me) and 67 (my husband) we started together, following the programme in ‘Running Made Easy’, taking two weeks instead of one over each challenge. Early morning is our favourite time before lots of dogs and their walkers are out on the Downs. Running on grass and paths or tracks is kinder to the legs and feet and the unevenness challenges the balance in a good way!
Since then we have done some ballroom dancing and bought bicycles to take on holiday in the campervan so we can visit towns at home and abroad without taking the van out of the campsite. When we go to London we try to walk from Waterloo to our destination and not take the Tube. Tone sent us to Pippa Mitchell, Nutritional Therapist at Luck’s Yard and we have changed our diet for the better. Most recently we have started Tai Chi while our Pilates teacher was away, and started High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT while it has been frosty or raining too much to go running.
I’ve not talked about mental exercise. Tone’s always passing on the latest research and quite rightly says that doing new things keeps you young! Our latest foray has been a cryptic crossword course at the Guildford Institute. I’ve gone back to some drawing and painting and Graham is learning the last and most difficult book of J.S.Bach’s organ works.
Being fit has enabled us to get far more enjoyment out of everything we do, whether physical or mental exercise. So our recommendation is to try everything, follow up suggestions – and don’t sit down!
Jane and Graham
Here are some of the articles we have done this year on active and healthy aging, super ager syndrome and the Luck’s Yard Heroes.