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Hello <<First Name>>  Rosemary Conley CBE

I hope this newsletter finds you in good spirits and that you are enjoying the sunshine. There is nothing like needing to shed some of our layers to keep us cool to make us conscious of whether or not we need to shed a few lbs. The good news is that with the longer days and beautiful weather, we are much more inclined to walk more, enjoy the garden and perhaps eat more super-fresh food.

This week we are talking feet – a part of our body we so take for granted yet they play such a vital role. They are our transport system and provide the means for us to balance and stay upright. Coming in all shapes and sizes, some feet are attractive some are not.  Some feet are trouble-free and some are anything but.

Our feet are wonderful until things start to change as we get older or we have an accident. With this in mind we are going to look at both the aesthetics and some of the medical dilemmas that we may have to face as well as potential solutions.

Following on from last week when we were focussing on how to Dress to Flatter your Figure shape, the shoes we wear make a big difference to our overall appearance and this week we have added two new videos to our website - Shoes to Enhance your Look - which styles will help your legs look longer and slimmer - and Fashion Trainers - how we can be comfortable and fashionable at the same time.

Under the Health section you may like to check out our videos on the Orthopaedic Surgery page. In Preparing for Surgery I chat with Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mr Maneesh Bhatia. We also discuss being Overweight with Foot Problems in which he explains how being overweight can seriously affect our feet. I also talk to Physiotherapist Judith Pitt-Brooke who explains how we can help ourselves by Preparing for Surgery and Judith also demonstrates a selection of Foot Surgery – Pre-op Exercises which I did personally before and after my foot surgery in 2019.

For those who are living with Arthritis we have several videos that I hope you will find helpful too and again, you can find that page in the Health section of the site.
Testing your Fitness – Week 2
I am guessing that the main reason for you visiting my website is because you care about your health and fitness, particularly as the years creep on. Following last week’s first Fitness Test set by Mary Morris (as featured originally in The 28-Day Immunity Plan), this week Mary focuses on upper body strength. As we continue with this series, it is well worth taking the time to test yourself to see which parts of your fitness need more work and then specifically work them to enhance your stamina, strength and suppleness.
Mary's Weekly Challenge

This week we are focusing on your upper body strength.  You may ask why you need to do exercises that give you a strong upper body but modern living, with assisted power on most domestic appliances, and even having power steering on most cars, means we use our upper body muscles far less than we used to. 

Many of us think we are doing enough activity by walking regularly, maybe adding a bit of swimming and even the occasional bike ride. It is true that your cardiovascular system will be well maintained and improved if you work hard enough and all that walking will ensure you have reasonable leg strength. 

That’s great, but imagine this:

You have just slipped outside the supermarket and ended up prostrate on the ground. Suddenly you realise that without a lot of help from several people rushing to your aid, you could not have managed to get back up again!  Why? Because your 'pushing' muscles of the chest and the back of the arms have, over time, become very weak. Or maybe you go to pick something up that is heavier than usual and you drop it mid-flow. That would be because your 'carrying' muscles of the shoulders and front of arms are very weak.

So, what can we do?  We need to adopt a whole-body approach to build and maintain our strength to enable us to keep up a good level of muscle-power for our everyday activities.

This week, let's test how strong your bicep muscle is (front of arm) as an indicator of upper body strength. 

Find a buddy to time you for 30 seconds as you take the test and then compare your result with the norms according to your age (see table below).  If you find you are below average then you need to follow the upper body exercises from weeks 1 - 4 of The 28-Day Immunity Plan Exercises, particularly the Shoulder Strengthener and the Press Ups to give you valuable exercises that will improve your upper body strength or for more of a challenging workout do the  Advanced Whole Body Strength Programme.  The second and fifth exercises offer a really great strength workout for your upper body.


1.      Find a Buddy
Once again for this week’s challenge you will need to have a helping hand to time you and count the number of repetitions you do. Ideally, someone who is as enthusiastic as you for the challenge.  Meeting up on a weekly basis to do these tests may become a regular feature of your week for both of you!

2.      Test your Strength
At the start of the week set a time and place to take the 30-second test. Before you begin find the DIY Fitness Test video (on the Boosting Immunity - Exercise page) and click on the second marker on the video timer to take you straight to Fitness Test 2 - Arm Curls. Watch the video (or refer to p270 in The 28-Day Immunity Plan book) to see what you have to do. Then do Fitness Test 2 – Arm Curls and see how many repetitions you can do in 30 seconds. Record your result in a notebook or on the chart at the back of the book and date it.

3.      Select This Week's Strength Workout
Next, go to Boosting Immunity - Exercises – Advanced Whole Body Strength Programme (or p257 in the book)  and try to repeat that workout three times throughout the week.  If you find this workout too challenging, refer back to Weeks 1-4 of the programme and select the level you can manage - but it still needs to challenge you.

4.      Focus on Upper Body Strength (Exercises 2 and 5)
Keep repeating the exercise from Fitness Test 2 - Arm Curls but do it with both arms (one at a time) then add in exercises 2 and 5 from the Advanced Whole Body Strength Programme to help you increase your upper body strength. By focussing on your upper body strength throughout the week you will find that you will almost certainly be able to increase your number of Arm-Curl repetitions when you test yourself again at the end of the week.

5.      Keep Walking, Swimming or Cycling
Your cardiovascular work such as walking, swimming and cycling is the cornerstone of your exercise regime.  It is important to do 30 minutes of one of these activities on a daily basis.  If you can vary the activity throughout the week, that would be perfect.

6.      Test Yourself Again!
Ideally, at the same time the following week, get together with your buddy to repeat Fitness Test 2 - Arm Curls. Using the same arm as you did at the start of the week, see if you can increase your number of repetitions. Note down your result and compare! 

Here are the standard norms depending on your age and fitness.

Fitness Test 2 – Arm Curls (No. of repetitions in 30 seconds)
Age Group 60+ Female 60+
Excellent 19+ 22+ 17+ 21+ 16+ 19+ 13+ 14+
Above Average 17 20 16 19 14 17 12 13
Average 16 18 14 17 12 15 10 12
Below Average 14 17 12 15 11 14 9 10
Needs Practice 11 14 10 12 9 12 7 8
Recipe of the Week

This recipe originates from my Step-By-Step Low-Fat Cookbook published in 2005 which featured recipes created by Chef Dean Simpole-Clarke. Here we have updated the recipe to include kale in place of spinach which was used in the original recipe.

Baked Smoked Haddock with Kale, Tomato & Ginger

Serves 4
Per serving 191 calories 2g fat
Prep time 25 mins
Cooking time 35 minutes


3 baby leeks, finely chopped
150ml (1⁄4 pint) dry white wine
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1 x 2.5cm (1in) piece ginger, finely chopped (or 1teaspoon EasyGinger)
2 tsps vegetable bouillon stock powder
250g (8oz) fresh kale (or spinach)
4 smoked haddock fillets

1. Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F, Gas Mark 4.

2. Preheat a non-stick pan and spray with Fry Light rapeseed oil. Add the chopped leeks and dry-fry until soft. Add the wine, tomatoes, ginger and stock powder and simmer gently for 15 minutes until the sauce has reduced.

3. Chop the kale (or spinach) and place in the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Season the fish on both sides with black pepper and place on top of the kale/spinach.

4. Pour the sauce over the fish and cover with a piece of greaseproof paper.

5. Bake in the oven for 6–8 minutes until firm but not overcooked.

The simple and versatile tomato sauce used here is very low in fat. It is ideal for coating oven-baked fish or to use as a topping sauce for pasta.

For more recipes click here to visit the website

Did you know...

In addition to the calories you burn by being alive, just look at how many extra calories you will burn from these activities:

15 minutes on your exercise bike will burn around 125 calories.

60 minutes of ironing will burn around 80 calories.

30 minutes of mowing the lawn will burn 125 calories.

60 minutes of doing housework will burn around 170 calories.

2,000 steps on your FitBit or pedometer will burn an extra 100 calories.

[Figures are approximate as they depend on age, weight and gender]

Over the next week there will be a lot of football on our screens. If you love football, great, but if not, you have the perfect excuse to exercise on your own and become super fit! And if you want a good series to watch on BBC iPlayer, I recommend ‘The Pact’ which recently appeared on BBC1. We ‘binge-watched’ it last weekend and loved it.

Have a great week and stay safe, fit, and healthy.

With love and best wishes,

Rosemary Conley CBE DL


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