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Hello <<First Name>>  Rosemary Conley CBE

If you have visited our website for a while, you will probably have heard me mention my husband Mike’s Auntie Pauline. At age 92, Auntie Pauline is an inspiration – mentally sharp with a wit to match. But around 18 months ago Pauline had a fall and broke her hip. As she was recovering from that, she fell again and she agreed that she needed to go into a Care Home in Grimsby where she could be looked after around the clock and she has remained there ever since.

It was about 10 months ago she told me that the district nurse had been round to give her what she described as a blood pressure flow test. (Apparently this is a means of testing the ankle brachial pressure index which is widely used to diagnose Peripheral Arterial Disease.) On this day the nurse had struggled to even take a reading because her blood was so thick. Pauline had ulcers on her legs and these were heavily bandaged.

When Pauline told me this, I suggested that she should start exercising and, over the phone, we went through some simple exercises for her to practise every day. I also sent her one of our Toning Bands to help her strengthen her muscles. Ever since I have called her every other day to see how she is progressing. She is a perfect student and I love our chats.

One day she told me about a scam phone call she had received. The caller said they were calling as she ‘had recently had a car accident’. Pauline decided to have a bit of fun with them. ‘Yes!’ she said, ‘I did. It was a really serious one.’ To which the caller asked ‘Were you badly hurt?’ ‘Yes, very badly’, she said, ‘in fact, I had to go to hospital – and then I died!’ at which point the caller rang off! After her long career with the Humberside Police, she doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

Over time Pauline started walking and exercising more and more and her ulcers completely healed and the bandages have gone. Ever since, she has kept up with her daily exercises, survived getting Covid and is now doing brilliantly.

This month, Pauline moves into a flat to live on her own again. Before she leaves the care home she is increasing her walking practise to boost her fitness. She has organised a ‘personal alarm’, called the Department of Work & Pensions to organise for her care allowance to be reinstated and for her to receive meals on wheels. And the care home staff are delighted that she is now so well enough that she can live independently again – though they say they will miss her as she made them laugh!

So, why am I telling you this story? Whether it is you who is feeling your age, or you have an elderly relative who you care for, I want to emphasise the vital importance of activity - no matter what our age. For those who find walking difficult, like Pauline, doing seated exercises, as demonstrated by Mary Morris on our site or by following my Forever Young Workout, will all help keep the blood flowing, the joints moving and the muscles stronger.  Always remember, activity is the key to our health and our independence so don’t ever give it up!

Here are some videos that you might like to watch that explain why exercise is so important as we age: Exercise when OlderAgeing and ActivitySo why bother Exercising? The exercises that I taught Auntie Pauline you will find in The Forever Young Workout and Flexibility. Take a look at  Mary’s fitness challenge this week for more seated workouts.

Recipe of the Week

Mackerel Pâté

This quick and easy Mackerel Pâté is really delicious and ideal to serve with crispbreads or on a jacket potato as a lunch or as a starter for a dinner party.

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Per portion: 185 calories

1 pack of two fillets of boneless smoked mackerel
250g 0% fat live plain yogurt
3 heaped teaspoons horseradish sauce

  1. Remove the skin from the smoked mackerel fillets and break into pieces into a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the live plain yogurt and the horseradish sauce and stir well until the fish is well-mixed and the pâté is smooth.
  3. Place the pâté in individual ramekin dishes and chill until served.
For more recipes click here to visit the website
Fun, Facts & Fitness from Mary Morris MSc.

The story of Pauline is a joy to read.  To hear that a consistent, disciplined approach to an exercise programme can reap such enormous benefits is inspiring.  She could have just ended up in that Care Home forever but with sheer determination to follow Rosemary's advice she can now return to living independently. 

The key to Pauline's success lies in the support she received and her personal motivation. The fact that she was set an appropriate programme of exercise to suit her ability, and then that she was being monitored to check that she was actually doing it, gave Pauline the motivation to make the effort.

Numerous research studies have been done over many years on the elderly living in sheltered accommodation and consistently they present amazing results and the reasons why? It is because they are part of a study and so are supported over possibly many weeks.  In one such study 94% of those enlisted stuck to the exercise programme resulting in leg strength being increased by a HUGE 113%.  That meant they were able to significantly increase their walking speed and stair climbing.  Everything you want an older person to be able to do!

Now, I assume we are nowhere near ready to go into a Care Home but what we can take from this is to use the same principles on our own journey to health and fitness. But we need to be motivated to make it happen.

The only way to really motivate ourselves to exercise is to start with one very important step – we need to make a PLAN!   Only we can make it happen. We can’t just wait for it to happen.

Here are a few tips:

  • Set yourself a GOAL and write it down. Ask yourself what you want the exercise to achieve for you.  Lose weight? Tone up? Feel better about yourself?  This is your GOAL!
  • Find an activity you like doing.  Forget about what you think you should do and do something you can tolerate and hopefully enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it. Walking is always a good place to start.
  • Find some support.  Something as simple as a text message to an exercise 'buddy' is a strong motivator.  Keep in touch even when you have lost motivation. Try setting a regular day or evening for a catch-up call as this helps you to stay focussed and have a goal for each week.
  • Be prepared to make a change to your original plan.  There’s nothing cast in stone. Adapt your plan as you progress.  Not everything will work for you and that's normal.
  • Be flexible.  Some days you are more motivated than others but try to establish a regular plan over a week so it is more likely to become a habit over time and in turn, more enjoyable.
  • Reward yourself for every workout you do.  It can be something quite small initially but as you stick to your plan and get the results you want, your rewards can get bigger.


  1. Let's go back to basics and write down all the exercise you plan to do this week in your diary, on your mobile or on your home notice board.
  2. It must include a daily walk of a duration you can manage and at an intensity that pushes you so that it gives you greater benefit. Try to increase the distance or intensity a little each day.
  3. If you are more comfortable exercising from a chair, this week do the Seated Warm UpSeated Strength Workout and Seated Aerobics twice this week or alternatively, choose your favourite fitness DVD and do it twice this week.
  4. For your strength workout choose either the Pilates programmes or the Advanced Whole Body Strength Programme on the website.  Do it twice (or one of each) this week on the days you are not doing the DVD.

Packed with protein, smoked mackerel is great for our heart and is full of brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids as well as minerals and vitamins.

Omega-3 is a good fat found in oily fish and plays an essential role in keeping our heart healthy while aiding brain function and development. We should all eat one portion a week within our regular diet to aid our heart health.

And Finally...

No matter what our age it is important to adopt a positive mental attitude, particularly when it comes to our fitness and activity. It really is worth the effort!

Have a great week.
With love and best wishes,

Rosemary Conley CBE DL


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