As we approach the end of the year, New Year’s resolutions are on many people’s minds. For some, getting fit and healthy will be at the top of their list.
However, for a number of our readers, they are already ahead of the curve.
From nutrition to changing one’s mindset to discovering new forms of exercise, they have shared their journeys into healthy living and divulged their best keep fit advice in response to The Telegraph’s Midlife Fitness Files.
Below we reveal a collection of the best health and fitness tips from readers over the course of the year.
For some, 2022 was the year of achieving a healthy weight. Although this may become more challenging as one ages, a number of readers have proven that it is not impossible.
Reader Philip Smith, for example, shared how, approaching his 50th birthday, he decided enough was enough. Philip says, “I weighed 20 stone, wore XXL shirts and 42-44″ trousers.”
From October 6, 2021 to date, Philip has lost nine stone.
He goes on to reveal what it was that worked for him: “Cutting out binge eating, using a popular food tracking/calorie counter app (MyFitnessPal) to monitor intake and getting out for a walk every single day. As the weight dropped off, I used the free trials off Apple Fitness to do core and strength exercises at home which helped tone the saggy bits.
“I eat normal food in healthy amounts and my body has adjusted well. I still walk every day and I am able to supplement the walks by getting out on the mountain bike as well.
“Today I am 11 stone, I have a 28-30″ waist and feel great.”
Similarly to Philip, Paul Murray and John Dawkins combined daily exercise (even if it is just a walk a day) with cutting out binge eating and steering clear of “excesses” – just having simple meals. This allowed Paul to maintain a trim weight of 11.5 stone for over 28 years and has meant John, who is in his early 70s, is the size he was at 20 – 10.5 stone with a 31” waist.
One’s mindset is also key for Philip and Anne Marie Lowndes. Anne suggests that “portion control and being aware of just what you are eating and how it may impact on overall food intake” is the easiest way to maintain a healthy weight.
Philip says: “It just takes will power and work. You need to want to be healthy more than you want that next drink or snack and be true to yourself when logging your food and drink intake.”
Another reader, William Blaney, advised: “You have to get mentally and physically started. This is the difficult bit, but once you do this everything and anything will bring some benefits.”
Whereas some focused on losing weight, others’ attention was on recovery.
It seems for two of our readers, Mary Loughlin and Fiona Stewart, specific forms of exercise have helped.
Mary – who is 68 – resumed swimming to aid her back pain.
She says she swims for half an hour three times a week and she does a lot of dog walking the rest of the time.
Along with her swimming, she was referred to a fitness instructor by her doctor who told her that she should have 90 grams of protein daily. “It’s far higher than the usual daily recommendations, but it has certainly worked for me,” she said.
However, Mary doesn’t like protein powders (neither does her doctor), so she derives her protein from natural fat free yogurt, lean meat, cheese, eggs and milk – “just basic, natural, healthy and nutritious food.”
Now, she feels very well. “It seems diet and exercise are essential at any age”, she concludes.
Meanwhile, Fiona shares her experience of pilates: “I started pilates six years ago. It got me through breast cancer and a bowel resection. My only regret is that I didn’t start it earlier.”
Even Fiona’s sporty 66 year-old husband is a total convert and recommends it to anyone of any age.
Mental and physical wellbeing
For others, improving their mental and physical wellbeing was the goal – and for the majority of readers discovering a form of exercise they enjoy has helped them achieve this.
Edwina Fowler shared how she exercises on a regular basis and her chosen form of exercise is hula hooping.
“I have been hooping for around 17 years. It is such good cardio all round body exercise…There are so many transitions from on to off body that allows you to move and feel a real sense of wellbeing”, she says.