I like to keep my intellect in good repair. Whenever the Vicar finishes a chick-lit novel I bag it for my bedside table. I'm serious about my looks. Every six months or so, when my hair can no longer be restrained by my bath hat, I pour a friend a gin and she shears it for me. I have, though, never given much thought to my fitness.

It came as a shock, when I hit 40, to realise I could no longer do a forward roll, but I found other evening pastimes that respected my unbending joints.

When my back began protesting at tasks I used to take for granted, I was regretful...

…but I failed to heed the warning signs. It was only when I struggled to heave myself off our sagging  sofa that I decided I must face what the other school-gate mums embraced routinely and embark on a fitness regime. They all subscribe to David Lloyd, but I reckon no gym can beat The Vicarage with its state-of the-art facilities and 24/7 opportunities for body-honing. My daily workout has made a new matron of me. Why, the churchwarden, when trying to estimate my antiquity last week, only added a year to my age!

The Stepper

I usually spend twenty minutes a day on a stepping routine to boost my cardiovascular fitness and strengthen my quads, glutes and hamstrings. Adding a weight-bearing element helps slow bone mineral loss.

The Treadmill

The sprint to 9am Sunday School at 9.04am each week has improved the flexibility of my joints, invigorated my circulation and helped fight cellulite.  And this vigorous church treadmill is, of course, so very good for the heart.

Rowing Machine

The forward and backwards motion raises the heart rate and increases oxygen uptake, but the real beneficiaries are my rhomboids, trapezius and lats as I flex my back and shoulders. Thighs and calves also get a surprisingly thorough workout as I brace for the thrust. Traditionally, of course, this exercise is performed sitting down...


Regular resistance training can increase your basal metabolic rate by up to 15 per cent and for every additional pound of muscle burns 50 calories a day.

Press ups

Every evening I extract the cats from under the beds in order to shut them in the kitchen for the night. This lowering and lifting from plank position engages arms, chest, abdominals and other core stabilisers and so strengthens the upper body muscles. The New York Times decreed it 'the ultimate barometer of fitness'.

Aerobic Dance

The nightly ritual of dish-washing has an important impact on heart and lung efficiency and releases endorphins to improve mental health. For maximum effect, stick Elvis Presley on the stereo, grab a mic (a hand whisk or potato masher are useful for this) and start boogying round that tea towel while you're drying the pans.

How do you keep fit?


  1. It's no wonder you've got such a fab figure with workouts like that :)

  2. Amazing workout! I just had my cardio vascular workout chasing a frog out of the kitchen helped enormously by two cats and a dog. I am now exercising my bicep by lifting a very heavy cup of tea.

    1. That's a failsafe manoeuvre, although a pint of beer has more beneficial effect (on the biceps, that is!)

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