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Active Women Interview – meet Kerry Brown

This is number 15 in my Active Women series and there is no let up in the inspiration and motivation that I get from hearing the stories of these amazing women. I’d like to introduce Kerry Brown. I absolutely love the photo she sent me to go with her interview, this picture to me stands for excitement, freedom and a good bit of grit. Kerry first came to my attention in her stunning cover photo for Women’s Running magazine and I then followed her on Twitter and have been enjoying her posts and blog ever since. You can follow her too @ukrungirl and ukrungirl.com

When did you decide to start exercising regularly and why was that?

I’ve been exercising since a very young age. I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy and took part in predominantly ‘male’ sports.  The first sport I took part in was football.  I was the only girl on the team and the boys never used to pass to me.  I was very good at athletics at school but at that time I hated running. I then took up basketball at 14 and played for women’s national league, and a local Portsmouth division in a mixed team. I gave up at about age 34 and started running when I was 38!

What activities have you tried and what’s your favourite?

I’m always one to give new things a go. I’ve recently tried surfing and stand up paddling and realised that I had a knack for them.  I now have my own boards and try and get out on the water at the weekends.
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What has been the biggest barrier you’ve had to overcome in your fitness journey?

Injuries!!!!! I am a forefoot runner and I find that my calves and Achilles really take a battering.  The frustrating thing about this is that I have usually just got confident again with my pace and mileage and am then hit with an injury.  During this time, I still stay involved by volunteering at my local parkrun and run club.
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 Have you had any negative comments and how have you dealt with them?

When I got into the London Marathon, my family couldn’t understand my excitement and why I wanted to do it.  There were a lot of comments about my age from friends who asked when I would be slowing down.  When I am physically unable to is my answer!

 What goals have you set and have you reached any of them yet?

To run a marathon  – which I achieved in April.  When I joined the Fareham Crusaders in 2013, I vowed never to take part in any races.  I now have two racks of medals and am so pleased with my achievements.  My next mission is to take on the Lochness in Scotland.  Oh and to run a half marathon – I’ve not actually done this yet!

What benefits has being active brought you?

I am much fitter and have more energy than my 17 year old nephew who doesn’t exercise! I have also found that the social aspects of being active and meeting people at classes at the gym and run club are absolutely amazing.  In fact, I have made some friends for life.

What advice would you give to other women who want to start exercising?

Quite simply, “What are you waiting for?”
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drjulietmcgrattan.com #activewomen

Active Women Interview – meet Dr Becca Moore

Get yourself a cuppa and prepare to be motivated and inspired by this Active Woman Interview. From life threatening asthma to post natal depression, from being a role model to pre-menstrual syndrome, Dr Becca Moore covers it all and gives some fantastic advice for women who want to get active too.

Tell us a bit about yourself Becca.

I am a perinatal psychiatrist with 20 years expertise of working with women, pre during and post pregnancy. I work in the NHS and privately and I work very holistically aiming to give women as many treatment options and choices as possible to develop a collaborative treatment plan. This includes thinking about diet, exercise, hormones and complementary treatments as a standard part of care alongside more traditional treatments such as therapy and/or medication.

I lecture and blog widely and run an annual Birth Trauma Training Day in London, the next one is 5/1/18 (contact me at Rebecca.moore2@nhs.net for booking). I am writing my first book on reducing psychological birth trauma due to be published 2018. I am a Winston Churchill Fellow 2017 funded to travel to the USA to meet with peers working in the perinatal field. I am also a 70/30 Ambassador, a nationwide campaign aiming to reduce child maltreatment by 70% by 2030.

You can follow me on Twitter @dr_bjm

When did you decide to start exercising regularly and why was that?

I have always exercised on and off but after having my children was exercising far less than before and I felt really unfit, fatigued, sore and overweight.

As a child I was pretty sporty and loved swimming, hockey, horse riding and netball.

In Spring 2014 I had a massive asthma attack and I nearly died. I have had asthma since childhood and am well aware of how to manage my symptoms but this came out of the blue and within minutes I was really fighting to breathe. The ambulance journey to hospital was one of the scariest events of my life and I thought I would die on the way to hospital, I just kept thinking of my children and trying to breathe a little.

Luckily I received amazing NHS care from King’s College London, as per usual and made a quick and full recovery. As soon as I got home I made a promise to start regular exercise as part of my life and looking after my health so I signed up with a local personal trainer and started a weekly hour long session with her.

What activities have you tried and what’s your favourite?

Since returning to exercise I have tried boxing, swimming, weights, yoga, HIIT classes, circuit training and numerous gym classes.

I absolutely love boxing, it’s such an amazing workout, really tough and sweaty and a great way to get rid of stress and take any gripes out on a bag. It’s also a great way to do cardio work but in quite a static way which is good for me with my asthma.

I think using weights is really important for women over forty, I have found it has made a huge difference to my overall strength and fitness and with a family history of osteoporosis I think is vital to do this.

I could not function without yoga, my weekly class with my wonderful teacher Eleanor de Zoysa is one of the highlights of my week. I relish the opportunity to not think about anything for 90 minutes but simply to flow in and out of postures and I feel so mentally refreshed afterwards. It feels like mental detox and reboot for me each week.

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The other thing I can’t live without is walking, I walk everywhere and often walk to work at least once a week which is a seven mile start to my day, I find walking meditative and I tend to listen to podcasts as I walk. I find if I haven’t walked for a few days I crave it, I love looking at London and exploring new routes as I walk and once I get in my stride my mind seems to just stop and I am just in the moment walking.

What has been the biggest barrier you’ve had to overcome in your fitness journey?

The biggest barrier to my exercise is my asthma. There are some things I just can’t do, running for example, and some weeks when my asthma flares up I have to battle my mind and not be too hard on myself and recognise it will pass and next week will be better. I have learned over time not to think too negatively and spiral into being self critical and feeling like giving up but to simply allow a bad week or two, continue with slower gentler exercise and then pick up the pace when I feel better again.

Have you had any negative comments and how have you dealt with them?

I genuinely haven’t had any recent negative comments, I have found returning to exercise in my forties I am surrounded by passionate and supportive fellow exercisers! I find that women my age are really dedicated to their exercise routine as part of their life, I think perhaps we see exercise as a key to ageing well and maintaining optimal health, rather than something to do primarily to lose weight.

If I look back to childhood there is one negative comment that really sticks in my mind, I had horses as a child and was very active, aged 16 I had a huge asthma attack and needed ventilating in ITU. As a result my parents sold my horse and abruptly I stopped riding. I was very low about the huge change in my life and piled on weight. I remember getting pains in my legs when I walked for a while and I went to see my family GP who told me there was nothing wrong with me I was just getting fat. Not the most tactful or kind thing to say to a 17 year old feeling lost in her life who as a result then started to restrict her food in a way I never had before. The power of language and words can never be underestimated!

What goals have you set and have you reached any of them yet?

I set myself really simple goals such as to commit to regular exercise, I do, three to five times per week, week in week out.

For me it wasn’t about weight loss but about good health but I have lost some weight which was a nice bonus.

Most importantly I wanted to reduce my asthma attacks and touch wood since 2014, I haven’t had another hospital admission.

The other goal was to show my children that exercise is part of daily life, it should be something we all do to look after our health and it’s fun. I want my kids to see that I care about my own health, I take responsibility for my own health and that I commit to exercise and exercise consistently. I try to get them to walk and scoot everywhere as much as possible and they have tried out boxing too which they loved plus they go to Karate twice a week every week.

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My goals for this year remain simple, in Yoga I want to perfect my headstand and I want to work up to a five minute plank!

What benefits has being active brought you?

The benefits of exercise are huge for me, I feel so much happier and less stressed, I have always struggled with PMS and periods of low mood and these episodes have really reduced. I have a full time emotionally demanding job and I need exercise to help me unwind and be emotionally fresh, I really notice if I miss even a week of exercise.

I eat and sleep well now, plus I eat more than ever but don’t gain much weight which is a bonus for a foodie like me! I have so much more energy and I feel less sluggish and tired, I really notice this with my kids and am so happy I can be active with them.

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What advice would you give to other women who want to start exercising?

My advice for women is to start small and build in simple goals you can achieve. I talk to the women I work with in the postnatal period as seeing exercise as part of their treatment alongside therapy and/or medication, there’s a wealth of evidence that regular exercise is effective in treating depression and anxiety. This might initially be a 15-30 minute walk around the block with the baby twice a week and that’s brilliant, start small and keep going. Do it with a friend and it can also build social networks postnatally which will impact on mood as well.

It can be so hard to find the time as busy women with jobs, families and partners but there is always a slot somewhere and you have to really commit initially. Pick a fixed day of the week and time, tell your partner and make it part of your life and it will soon be a routine, I started out with a session at 6.30am with my trainer and I was home by the time everyone was waking up. It felt brutal in the dark and cold of winter but it felt so good afterwards and I had to turn up as my trainer was making the effort for me to be there early as well. I found as I got used to my weekly session I felt so good afterwards I just wanted to try and fit in more exercise and gradually I found spaces for me to achieve this.

There are so many high quality short HIIT or exercise videos free on the internet now such as Fitness Blender for example, you could do these when the baby is asleep or after the kids are in bed. Even doing a short 10 minute HIIT workout once or twice a week will make a huge difference over time. Some gyms offer Creches for children or there are lots of Mum and Baby exercise classes now too with Yoga or Zumba for example.

www.drjulietmcgrattan.com

Celebrating International Day of the Girl with the Bloomsbury Institute

Today, 11th October is International Day of the Girl #IDG2017. I was honoured to be asked to sit on a panel at the Bloomsbury Institute last night to discuss the challenges that girls face today and how we can help them to thrive.

I was a little nervous to say the least. Bloomsbury is a grand venue where book shelves packed with works of importance line the walls. Seeing my book on sale for those attending the event was another ‘pinch me’ moment.

My fellow panellists were:

Emma France; Global and Strategic Development Director of mothers2mothers. Proceeds from the evening went to mothers2mothers, a non-profit with a mission to create a generation free from HIV and to create healthy families and communities in Africa.

Anna Williamson; TV presenter, life coach, counsellor, NLP practitioner and best selling author of Breaking Mad the insiders guide to conquering anxiety. 

Our discussion was chaired by Harriet Minter; journalist and broadcaster, founder of the Guardian’s Women In Leadership section and host of The Badass Women’s Hour on Talk Radio.

I needn’t have worried. As soon as I met the other panellists they were warm and passionate about the very things that are important to me and I knew the evening was going to be great. Harriet is a very experienced chair and seemed to have a knack of directing the right questions to the right panel member.

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So, what did we discuss? Well the topics were varied, ranging from who are heroines are to why we needed an International Day of the Girl at all? What changes did we want to see before IDG2018 and how did we feel our childhood was different from that of girls today?

It was both impressive and humbling to hear how mothers2mothers have virtually eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the clients they work with. Emma reminded us of some of the extreme problems girls face such as gender-based violence, no access to family planning, sexual exploitation and child marriage.

Anna shared how her own experience of anxiety had lead her to write her book. The book that she wished she’d had access to at the time of her ‘major meltdown’. We discussed how anxiety is more and more common and interestingly Anna said that it isn’t actually more common in girls than boys, it’s just that girls talk about it more. We all agreed that demands from social media, whether it be to simply keep up with conversations between peers, or the pressures that come from trying to reach the unachievable perfection in life that many portray online, can have an adverse effect on mental health.

I was able to share the statistics that girls are less active than boys and the astounding fact that only 23% of five to seven year olds do the recommended amount of daily physical activity (60 minutes per day) AND even more worryingly that by age 13 to 15 only 8% meet that target. This lead to discussion about why this is and what we can do to address it. There were lots of nods from the audience when school cross country was mentioned as the nail in the coffin for many women’s sporting experience! I hope that my book Sorted: The Active Women’s Guide to Health will go some way to help women rediscover their love of movement and be able to share that with their daughters.

The conversation kept returning to women rather than girls. I think this is just a marker of the responsibility we all feel towards shaping the girls of today into the women of tomorrow. Positive role models are vital. There was one girl in the audience and one man too (I wish there’d been more). A question for the panel was, “What can fathers do to help girls to thrive?” A simple question but one that certainly had me thinking. Giving them time, leading by example and taking care not to stereotype were our answers but really, how is that different from what mothers can offer? I’d be interested in your thoughts on this one.

A stimulating and thought provoking evening and i enjoyed it very much. I’ll leave you with my children’s responses when I asked them what they felt girls needed to thrive:

My son said, “To be able to try different things without worrying they might not be any good at them and to have choice”.

My daughter said, “To laugh and make good memories”.

www.drjulietmcgrattan.com

You can read more about mothers2mothers here and find them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram . Anna’s book Breaking Mad is available here. She’s on Twitter and Instagram. My book Sorted is available here and you know where to find me!

www.drjulietmcgrattan.com #activewomen

Active Women Interview – meet Joanna Bott

Cancer Research UK tells us that 1 in 8 women in the UK will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. You might have heard that if you regularly exercise for half an hour five times a week, then you can reduce your risk of breast cancer by up to 20%. What many people don’t know is that physical activity can also help to ease symptoms during breast cancer treatment, such as fatigue and lymphoedema (tissue swelling) and reduce the risk of the cancer coming back after treatment. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Jo who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 26. She is a wonderful example of an active woman who is using the power of physical activity to optimise her health and to give her the energy to help others affected by breast cancer too.

Tell us a bit about yourself Jo

My name is Jo and I live with my husband, one cat, one rat and one fish. I’m a Head Veterinary Nurse having been nursing for the past 14 years now.

Back in 2011 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was 26. I didn’t feel a lump but more an uneveness to my breast. I was lucky that I had always checked them and equally fortunate that my doctors took me seriously.

I ended up needing a mastectomy and removal of my lymph nodes, six rounds of chemotherapy and weeks of radiotherapy. I am now on hormone therapy for the rest of my life.

I became a media volunteer for Breast Cancer Care during treatment and did a few interviews for national magazines. I also became a lingerie model for a mastectomy bra company. Things I would never have done beforehand!

Currently I am a patient representative for my local hospital and have helped to fundraise for, design and open a new dedicated Breast Care Unit by appearing in local newspapers, magazines and even being on the local radio. I am extremely proud of this achievement.

I also play an active part on Twitter (@cattyfizzle) and am part of Breast Cancer Chat Worldwide (@Bccww). We chat every tuesday night 9pm GMT about a variety of topics and also try to meet once or twice a year. Anyone can join in, it’s not just for patients.

When did you decide to start exercising regularly and why was that?

I started climbing regularly in 2005 as my boyfriend (now husband!) went regularly and persuaded me to go along. I carried on climbing throughout my treatment for Breast Cancer in 2011 but sadly stopped two years ago due to a change in work location.

My husband had started running during my treatment and is now participating in ultra marathons. Needing something else to keep me active I decided to try and start running and going the gym instead.

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What activities have you tried and what’s your favourite?

Rock Climbing, Ice Climbing, Via Ferrata, Running, Kayaking, Long Distance Walking, Kettlebells, Cycling, Nordic Walking to name a few!

Climbing is by far my favourite- it’s a whole body and mind workout!

www.drjulietmcgrattan.com #activewomen

What has been the biggest barrier you’ve had to overcome in your fitness journey?

Treatment for Breast Cancer and subsequent long term side effects have been my biggest barrier. I have to be careful with what I do as I have lymphoedema in my arm which can be quite painful and peripheral neuropathy in my hands and feet so have little sensation in them. I have also become asthmatic.

It can be very frustrating when I feel like I should be able to do something but can’t. I have had to learn to not be so hard on myself and to rest when needed.

Have you had any negative comments and how have you dealt with them?

Only when I fractured my ankle climbing! My family were naturally concerned and would rather I didn’t do such crazy things.

What goals have you set and have you reached any of them yet?

Last year I aimed to run a 10k which I completed for charity in September. This year I have increased the distance and my target is a half marathon in my home town in October, again running for charity.

I have signed up for a variety of runs and races and am hoping to do 12 events in 12 months.

I’m also hoping to get a sub 30 minute parkrun PB.

www.drjulietmcgrattan.com #activewomen

What benefits has being active brought you?

Weight loss and strength are the main two. It has also definitely helped keep my lymphoedema under control.

I’ve found being active helps with my mood and stress levels. I sadly lost my Dad to cancer last year and also had unsuccessful IVF treatment. Running allowed me space and time to go out and clear my head when I needed to.

Having joined parkrun I’ve also met some lovely friends along the way who have really encouraged me.

What advice would you give to other women who want to start exercising?

Don’t be afraid. Start wherever you can with whichever activity feels most comfortable.

I joined my local parkrun two years ago and did a Couch to 5k program. I’ve become a regular volunteer and recently I have been helping to get people running by helping as a pacer for a walk2run scheme.

I have also invested in a personal trainer so I can have someone plan appropriately for me, motivate me and to make sure I am doing things correctly! This has been so so helpful over the years.

www.drjulietmcgrattan.com

261 Fearless drjulietmcgrattan.com

Fearless in Minneapolis… next stop… London!

What a week it’s been! I’m just back from a quick trip to Minnesota where I was teaching on the latest 261 Fearless Train the Trainer course. One thing that I can guarantee about these courses is that I will leave exhausted but also happy, inspired and motivated. There’s something very special about being with a bunch of women who want to do their bit to improve the world by helping other women to get active and start running. So much laughter, positivity and unity which is wonderful medicine in what feels like an increasingly divided world.

So what happened in Minneapolis and how you can get involved and experience a little of this fearless magic?

Running is a great way to see a new place so never having been to Minneapolis before I started with a sight-seeing run in the streets around my hotel (ps I can highly recommend the Westin Edina Galleria). It’s an active-person-friendly city and in many places there are separate paths for pedestrians and bikes which I think is a great idea. The Centennial Lakes Park was right on my doorstep and was a perfect place for a run each morning before breakfast.

Active women. drjulietmcgrattan.com

Then it was down to business in the board room at the hotel. I love meeting the new candidates on our courses; they come from far and wide. It’s also a chance to catch up with the other master coaches who share the teaching; over the last couple of years we have all become firm friends.

261 Fearless drjuietmcgrattan.com

It was pretty hot in Minneapolis but not so hot that we couldn’t enjoy our practical sessions. There was a perfect park a short run away and we could take shade under the huge trees when we needed to.

261 Fearless drjulietmcgrattan.com

261 Fearless drjulietmcgrattan.com

I really enjoy teaching. It was great to share my knowledge about how the female running body is different to the male and how you can specifically train it to reduce injury risk and improve running technique.

261 Fearless drjulietmcgrattan.com

261 Fearless drjulietmcgrattan.com

In the evenings we had a chance to look around the city. The food was a real highlight, everywhere we ate it was so fresh and it was really easy to eat healthily. The landscape is certainly different from my Lancashire village!

261 Fearless drjulietmcgrattan.com

More theory and practical sessions followed. You can see the candidates knowledge and confidence increasing as the days go by. One thing that always happens is a LOT of laughter! We have some crazy games and drills that have us in fits but work us hard at the same time.

261 Fearless drjulietmcgrattan.com

261 Fearless drjulietmcgrattan.com

Strong bonds and friendships form through the course and what’s great about 261 Fearless is that they have a private communication platform where club leaders and members can chat to each other, share tips and ideas and get support and further education.

It’s so wonderful to have friends all over the world. Being part of this movement has really opened up the globe and been such an enriching experience for me personally. The opportunities it has created go far beyond just running.

261 Fearless drjulietmcgrattan.com

These amazing women will now go and start their own 261 Fearless clubs where they can help other women to find their strength through running. I did it and I know what a great experience it is starting a club, bringing women together each week and helping them to realise that they can run.

The next Train the Trainer course is going to be in London from Sept 15th to the 17th. Would you like to get involved? Have a look at the 261 Fearless website and click on the Join 261 tab, here you’ll find more information about our clubs. You can make an application for London direct from here or you can send an email to 261fearlessuk@gmail.com with any queries or further information you need. Think you might want to? Feeling scared? Just be fearless …

Photo credits: Horst von Bohlen (except the selfie and city scape)

 

Jo Moseley. drjulietmcgrattan.com

Active Women Interview – Meet Jo Moseley

 

I’m excited to introduce you to Jo Moseley who has been such an inspiration to me with her regular postings on social media. She has such a thirst for activity and an infectious enthusiasm. I was so happy when she agreed to contribute to my book, ‘Sorted: The Active Woman’s Guide to Health’ as she is such a shining example of how getting older doesn’t mean doing less. Read how an indoor rowing machine helped transform her life and hear about her new goal of being a surfer. She’s a true #ActiveWoman.

Tell us a bit about yourself Jo.

I’m a 52 year old working Mum of two teenage boys living on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. You can follow me on Twitter & Instagram or join me at Healthy Happy 50 for stories, tips, news and inspiration for sporty women #womenover50.

When did you decide to start exercising regularly and why was that?

I started exercising regularly when I was 48. I was finding life stressful and wasn’t sleeping well. Looking back I realise I may well also have been peri-menopausal but didn’t know. I told a friend that I was tearful, anxious and tired and she offered me an old indoor rowing machine to see if exercising might help. It did! I began sleeping once more and everything started to feel less overwhelming.

What activities have you tried and what’s your favourite?

Since then I have started cycling and bodyboarding again as I did as a little girl, I began running Couch to 5k, have taken up stand up paddleboarding (SUP) and swam a mile in the Lakes. A picture I took at the Great North Swim was used in a poster campaign for This Girl Can in the summer of 2015 which was totally unexpected but such a confidence boost!

Jo Moseley #thisgirlcan
I have rediscovered my love of being in the sea so I think bodyboarding and SUP are my favourite. I live two hours from the coast so they are very much special treats. I have also been really surprised by how much I have enjoyed running in the fields and muddy trails near where I live.

What has been the biggest barrier you’ve had to overcome on your fitness journey?

The biggest barrier has been – to my surprise – injury. I fell in early spring 2016 (not whilst doing any sport!) and badly injured my knee. A few months after that I developed tendinitis and bursitis in my shoulder which has been really painful and debilitating. Neither were sport’s injuries but have really limited what I can do.

However, the two lessons I have learned from this are a) to be patient and imaginative with what’s still possible (swimming with my arms when my knee was injured and walking a lot when my shoulder is painful!) and b) how important it is to keep building my fitness, core stability and strength as I get older.

I want to do more yoga, stretching and strength training in addition to the outdoor fun. It’s giving me more impetus to be active in future despite slowing me down now!

Have you had any negative comments and how have you dealt with them?

No, I can honestly say no-one has ever been negative towards me. In fact, I have always found people are very supportive and encouraging. Family, friends, contacts on social media or people I meet on my adventures in the sea, gym, beach or fields.

What goals have you set and have you reached any of them yet?

My biggest goal by far has been to row a million metres and marathon on the rowing machine in 2014 fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support to thank them for everything they have done for both my parents who have had cancer. My Mum died in December 2013 of Lymphoma and from May 2014 to December 2014 I rowed 10km every other day for 200 days (after work and whilst looking after my sons and our home etc). Five days before my fiftieth birthday and on the first anniversary of my Mum’s death, I rowed a marathon. We raised over £10,000 which was way more than I had ever imagined we could achieve. Having not exercised consistently to any degree for decades, it was quite a surprise to me to even set, never mind achieve this rowing challenge. The indoor rowing machine will always have a special place in my heart.

Jo Moseley Active Woman drjulietmcgrattan.com
My Couch to 5k running goal has been put on hold whilst my frozen shoulder heals but still remains important to me. I’m determined to start again when I can, simply because I enjoyed it so much. That was such a revelation to me as I hated athletics lessons at school and had tried running in my twenties, thirties and forties and never found any pleasure in it at all!

My current goal is to exercise outdoors every day for a year for 30 minutes – something I post on Instagram & Twitter as #rainorshine30. I’m now on Day 235 and am really enjoying it. Even simply walking for half an hour a day is a great boost to me – physically, emotionally and mentally.

My biggest goal for the future is to learn to surf. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but felt was beyond me physically. I’ve also been concerned that I don’t fit the profile or image of a surfer and that it’s off limits to someone like me – a middle aged Mum starting to learn in the cold, grey North Sea!

However, after following campaigns like This Girl Can, reading Anna Kessel’s book Eat, Sweat, Play and being inspired by so many wonderful women (like yourself Juliet and your 261Fearless team), I feel more confident about dismissing this worry from my mind. I have no idea whether I will be any ‘good’ at surfing, but when my shoulder and knee are strong enough, I will book some lessons and at least give myself the opportunity to find out. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

What benefits has being active brought you?

Oh so many benefits! Physically, I feel and sleep better when I exercise and so far, my peri-menopausal symptoms seem quite manageable.

I also find my mental and emotional well being has benefitted. I’m naturally an anxious person – I can worry for England! As part of the sandwich generation (working and supporting my two sons whilst also being there for my Dad) there’s always something or someone on my mind. Exercising, especially outside and on a daily basis, has really helped me feel calmer and more positive. When I couldn’t move well because of my knee last year for a few months I was tearful, anxious and much less positive about life. Once I was told I could build up my walking, swimming, cycling etc I began to feel so much better. I began #RainOrShine30 at that point to give myself half an hour a day (or two blocks of 15 minutes) to regain my positive attitude as well as physical strength. Something simple each day has been a big part of my recovery.

I’m convinced all the rowing I did after my Mum died played a part in helping me work through my grief.

Jo Moseley Active Women drjulietmcgrattan.com

What advice would you give to other women who want to start exercising?

I would say the hardest bit is just getting started! Think about what you feel would suit you best and try that. And if you don’t feel it’s for you, try something else. And then try something else until you find something that fills you with joy and you feel you can continue with. This isn’t school! You don’t have to continue if you don’t like it!

Don’t worry what people think – nobody else’s opinions matters and they are most likely too busy being focussed on what they are doing to notice you anyway!

Start where you are with what you have and build up. Find online or IRL groups to give you support and ideas if you feel that would help. I have always found other women especially to be hugely supportive.

Good luck and enjoy taking the time to look after your health and well being. As the ad says, you’re worth it!

Jo Moseley Active Women drjulietmcgrattan.com

You can finally get SORTED!

At last, book publication day is here! My book, ‘Sorted: The Active Woman’s Guide to Health’ is on the shelves. I can’t quite believe it. Writing a book is a very long process and it’s actually over two years since I pitched my idea to Bloomsbury and they gave me the green light to go ahead and write this for them. That two years has gone painstakingly slowly at times and whizzed by in a flash at others.  Read More

Why running a marathon is a team event

Marathon number six is only five weeks away for me now and it will be swiftly followed by number seven, five weeks after that. What I’ve learnt from my past marathons and current training is that me running a marathon is NOT just about me. Yes, I’m the one who has to put one foot in front of the other but this wouldn’t be possible without an enormous number of other people. It really is a team event. Here are some of the members of my team and how they’re helping me. I really wanted to give them a shout out and thank them because without them I wouldn’t be able to do this. Read More

credit Horst von Bohlen 261 Fearless

Active Women Interview – meet Carol Wilson

The women I speak to give many different reasons for why they started exercising. For some it’s been a photograph they didn’t like, for others, just the desire to be healthier. For Carol it was an imminent wedding but being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes was the thing that really triggered her health drive. Here she tells me how exercise has done way more for her than just lower her blood sugar.   Read More