Various studies have shown us that we’re at our unhappiest in middle age, however, there are also a lot of stories that prove that midlife is a time when we should embrace change and try things we’ve never tried before, pursuing an interest we may have abandoned over the years, or an ambition we always meant to fulfil.
I have had the pleasure of meeting an incredibly inspiring and lovely person, Jo Moseley, from Skipton who has opened my eyes as to how we can take full control of our lives and turn them around to live a happy and fulfilling lifestyle during midlife and beyond. Sit back and get ready to be amazed by Jo's story.
Jo Moseley, 55, is a Mum of two sons, aged 23 & 19, flying solo with them for the last 13 years. They live on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. She describes herself as a beach cleaner, joy encourager & midlife adventurer.
In August 2019, Jo became the first woman to SUP (stand up paddleboard) coast to coast 162 miles along the Leeds Liverpool Canal, picking up litter & fundraising. She loves writing, speaking about adventure and wellbeing and making tiny films about the joy of the outdoors for our mental health after losing her Mum and a difficult menopause. Her films Finding Joy https://youtu.be/SV50jEhfmpk and Found at Sea have both won awards.
Alongside her lovely day job, Jo teaches hydro jog at Craven Leisure in Skipton and plans to train as a paddleboard instructor to share the joy of SUP with other women.
You can find out more at www.jomoseley.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @healthyhappy50.
What made you decide to change your lifestyle?
Bursting into tears in Tesco’s Skipton in the biscuit aisle with my two sons!
It was May 2013, I was 48, overwhelmed, anxious and desperate for a good night’s sleep. Sobbing, I dropped my bags, looked at the chocolate Hob Nobs and thought “how did my life come to this?”.
I didn’t realise it at the time but as well as being a busy single Mum and trying to support my parents who were both undergoing chemotherapy, I was also experiencing symptoms of the perimenopause.
How did you get started - what did you do?
I mentioned what had happened to a girlfriend and she asked how much exercise I did. She knew the answer already! Not much and certainly nothing on a regular basis. She lent me an old rowing machine that was otherwise destined for the tip, saying that exercise might help me sleep. Within two weeks of rowing in my kitchen, I was sleeping through the night again and my life was brighter and better!
How did you find the courage and motivation to start new things?
My personal “wellbeing” motivation is always sleep, to feel good and keep my anxiety at bay. I know exercise helps me with all 3 so it’s very much part of my self-care and being kind to myself.
Like many of us, I’ve also lost a number of friends who died in their 40s and early 50s and I think that focusses the mind on just how short and precious life is and how important it is we find joy in the 'everyday' and learn new things whilst we can.
I also combine how I move with purpose, fundraising for charity or litter picking when I’m hiking or paddleboarding. Having a goal beyond me helps keep me motivated too.
What is your routine now?
As we ease out of lockdown, I’m enjoying more time on my paddleboard on the sea and local reservoir.
I’m also an Ambassador for the Ramblers, Britain’s walking charity, for their summer #FeelMore campaign so I’m walking and hiking lots too.
My local pool, where I teach hydro jog and aqua fit, has opened for lane swimming and it’s an absolute joy to be in the water again. I have some weights at home too for online videos and spending more time stretching.
What has made the biggest difference to you through your journey?
Simply putting my wellbeing on 'The Priority List' and focussing on joy and how my body and mind feel when I move.
Looking back would you have done anything differently?
I think the way I returned to exercise was the right one for me. Breaking that link I grew up with between exercise and weight loss/aesthetics has allowed me to find real joy and internal motivation that will, I hope, last me into my golden years!
That said, the two things I would have started sooner and included more of, and which I’m working on now, are:
a) strength training for my bone and muscle health and
b) stretching and flexibility.
I’m now 55 and post menopausal and feel I’ve entered a new wellbeing chapter. If I could change anything it would be to have incorporated both into my life sooner. Pilates, yoga, weights etc.
If you were to give 3 pieces of advice what would it be?
1. Put Yourself First
You don’t need anyone else’s permission to put yourself, your joy and wellbeing on The Priority List. Do it for you.
1. Do Things You'll Enjoy
Find forms of movement (exercise, sport, fitness - call it what you will!) that bring you joy and make you feel good. Carve out time for them in your everyday life.
3. Stick To Your Sleep Routine
Create a sleep routine that works for you and protect it fiercely! There’s a great podcast I recommend that sums up why sleep is so important and what may help you in midlife. It’s part of a series by a friend Jackie Lynch called The Happy Menopause and it’s fabulous. Full disclaimer she interviewed me recently about joy and adventure in midlife!
Do you have any plans for the bank holiday weekend coming up?
I’m hoping to be at the coast and dependent on the weather and sea conditions, I’ll either be paddleboarding, bodyboarding or sea swimming. I’ll also walk along the cliffs for the amazing sea views and do my #2minutebeachclean! Books, delicious food and family and friends and then an early night. For me, that’s a perfect weekend whatever the weather!
Has Jo's story made you think about your life?
Well, it's certainly made me think and given me some motivation to be brave and not be afraid of starting new things. I hope to join Jo paddleboarding soon.
Here at Space Fitness & Wellbeing we can help you get started with a fitness and wellbeing routine that is tailored around your needs.
The beauty of our live, online fitness classes is that you can join us straight from your living room or your garden or even when you're away on holiday. As we're online together we are able to communicate throughout the class. We offer the following classes:
Pilates - Beginners Pilates - Improver's Pilates
Barre Express - Barre Pilates
30 min HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
30 min Weights
Take a look at our full timetable here: https://www.spacefitnessandwellbeing.co.uk/book-online
We are currently putting a programme of wellbeing events together which we are excited to launch as soon as we ease further out of lockdown https://www.spacefitnessandwellbeing.co.uk/events
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