In our new series on shaping up, Healthy Food Guide’s art director Tina Betts starts on her journey towards a proper exercise plan to supplement her day-to-day walking…
By Tina Betts
How did it happen? I’m 43, and things are starting to sag. I haven’t changed my eating and drinking habits, so age is starting to catch up with me. I inherited my ‘walk everywhere’ gene from my Dad. I don’t have a car, so think nothing of whizzing down to Sainsbury’s with my trolley bag. But despite frequent trolley dashes, there’s a big but – my big butt, in fact! I’m lucky that I’ve always been a healthy weight, but it’s starting to creep up, the muffin top is rising steadily and there’s no way I’m going to fit into my dream 40th birthday dress again, at least not the way things are going.
My fear of exercise means I’ve never liked the gym or classes. It’s the classic ‘I was always the last to be picked’ for the team at school. It’s made me a tad anxious in sporting environments.
But that all changed a few weeks ago. As part of a work feature, I tried a yoga class for the first time with my work colleagues. And I could see the attraction of exercising as a group. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. And so, Tina tries… was born. It’s a week by week log of my mission to get fit - and get me back into that party dress.
My first stop was the Health Check at Nuffield Health at their flagship centre at London’s Cannon Street (it’s really more hip hotel than soulless gym). All members go through checks before starting their fitness plan.
Nuffield Health’s senior wellbeing adviser Katarina Berceliova took me through my body MOT, checking my BMI, resting heart rate, blood glucose levels (all healthy) and quizzed me about my sleep patterns (fine) and lifestyle habits (cholesterol and alcohol quotas not so fine). Generally, at 5ft 5in and 9 stone 3lb, my BMI at 21.2 is very good and my blood pressure spot on. But I know I need to do something about my fitness levels – I’ve reached the age where you can’t take anything for granted.
I came away feeling optimistic with three main Wellbeing Action points: to monitor my blood cholesterol, up my water consumption and increase my activity and fitness levels.
Come back next week to read about my first ever session with my personal trainer. I have to admit, just those words make me nervous…