Blog, Energy

Fit & Fabulous When You’re Over The Hill

This week’s Women’s Health Talk post is from guest blogger and personal trainer, Tricia Duffield. 

When it comes to motivation and inspiration, this is someone with serious bucketfuls of both. There is very little she doesn’t know about how to get fit and stay that way, no matter  what age you are. She’s a qualified personal trainer and group exercise leader with a particular interest in the positive emotional benefits of movement, and as a super fit woman in her mid-fifties, she is extraordinary testament to her mantra.

Tricia is also an experienced print and broadcast journalist and before her media career, she was a classical ballet dancer with the West Australian Ballet Company.

Her skills as a communicator, teacher, dancer and athlete inspire others to stay healthy and active. She believes in the power of natural products for kick-starting health and vitality. Her articles on DIY Fitness via her blog, Hearts & Bones Fitness give new hope to those who thought that the only way to get fit was to become a gym junkie. Take it away Tricia!

There are train spotters and plane spotters, bird watchers and celebrity watchers. The obsession may differ but the basic make-up of any spotter is the same. They are dedicated collectors, observers and note-takers, in the extreme. I am neither a bird watcher nor a train geek but I am a dedicated hill spotter and stair chaser.

The reason I have become so expert at hill spotting is because the hill is a trainer’s greatest tool. The hill can do for a runner what distance can’t. The hill can act like a set of weights, like a sprint training track, like a sculpt class. It’s that good. Adding gradient to gravity equals one tough way to work out. Run up a hill, walk up a hill backwards or sidewards, carry a load up a hill, ride a bike up a hill or push a pram up a hill and you have multiplied the energy expenditure of your training by – well, a lot.

A set of stairs is equally effective and if you want to make the most of the built environment where you live, become a dedicated stair spotter. I am a great believer in using whatever is at hand as your training equipment. It’s great if you have a terrific gym and can afford a membership but fitness doesn’t just happen in a fitness centre. You can get fit anywhere, any time, using virtually anything as your equipment.

I don’t like being hitched up to a piece of industrial equipment, counting reps while I’m attached to a bank of monitors. The gym experience for me is just too artificial, boring and unsustainable. Give me the wide open space of the great outdoors any day. If I can find a hill, a tree and an open patch of grass, I can train. Add to it a bench, a seat, a low fence or any other simple, day to day obstacle and you can replicate just about anything you’ll find in a gym.

Once you realise how versatile outdoor space can be, there really is nothing stopping you from getting fit other than your own desire to do so, your own willpower. When people say “Oh, I can’t afford to get fit”, I tell them that fitness is free. Gym memberships aren’t, but then  again, a gym membership won’t guarantee you’ll get fit anyway. It just guarantees a monthly deduction from your bank account. The fitness is and always will be, up to you.

So become a spotter. Have a look around your neighbourhood and find things you can run up, walk up, jump over, step onto, push off or plank on and then hitch up the willpower, set some goals and go.

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