Weighty advice delivered with a light touch - Janet Christie's Mum's the Word

Fit for life with a new exercise philosophy

Mum's the Word. Pic: Adobe
Mum's the Word. Pic: Adobe

A screen break sees me walking along the leafy old railway line pathway, listening to a podcast as I go and a runner overtakes at an cracking pace. Impressed, I entertain a fleeting thought about how to get my knee strong enough to run again.

“That woman running…” an IRL voice breaks into my podcast. It belongs to a woman who has approached briskly from the opposite direction. She taps me on the arm as she speaks, and I pull out my earbuds. Had the runner fallen? What’s occuring?

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“She’s what I call a MODERN runner,” she announces.

“What’s that?” I say.

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“Running in makeup, carrying a little bag in her hand. A MODERN runner,” says the woman.

I’m hoping she’s not going to start ripping into the runner. I can’t be bothered with judge-y.

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“I was just impressed at her running. She looked fit,” I say,

“She did!” she agrees. “I do that too, put on lipstick when I’m running. I run every day, and do weights.”

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So not judge-y, just an observation. The kind of thing pre-social media era people still say in passing to anyone around. I say pre-social media, but the woman could be anything between 40 and 80, healthy, with makeup, shades and up-to-the minute style.

“We’ve got to build muscle as we age,” she says, firmly tapping my arm again, and I hope it doesn’t wobble, “because we lose it, and weights are the way.”

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“Well, I used to run but I hurt my knee…” I say. “So now I just walk.”

“Yes,” she says. “I hurt my knee and had to do exercises and weights to get the muscle around it back and it worked. I’m 75, run every day. Lost my bingo wings too,” she says and smiles, displaying impressive arms, then lifts her dress to show her knees, and the muscles above. “And I skip when I‘m walking too. It’s exercise and it makes you happy,” she says and laughs.

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She has me with skipping.

“I could start with skipping, then build up to weights, maybe,” I say.

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“Yes. Where do you live?” she says, then supplies the location for my nearest weights gym, before turning on her heel, and powering off, a spring in her step.

Left in her wake, I proceed, starting with a skip.

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