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5 tips for the fat and fifty

Plus a bimble around Lee Valley Country Park

Anita Kerwin-Nye By Anita Kerwin-Nye

One of GetOutside Champion, Anita Kerwin-Nye's aims is to help those who are fat and fifty, rather than fit and fleecy, feel more confident in the outdoors. Here's her top 5 tips to get out there and enjoy it.

I am off the scale fat. My fall from fitness – for I was once fit and fleecy – has been, well, a little bit rubbish.

But the outdoors is part of the answer for both my physical and mental well-being. And I hope in sharing my experiences I can help show that the outdoors really is for all. It mirrors my day job at YHA where increasing access to nature and the outdoors is a core priority for the charity and my work with Every Child Should.

So here, through the lens of a recent walk in the wonderful Lee Valley Country Park, are my first 5 tips for those of us for whom Couch to 5K starts too early with Couch!

1. Flat is your friend

Hills are great. Views are wonderful. And, of course, an incline adds to the work out. But as a starting point flat is fabulous. Feel no guilt at the lack of an uphill.

This route is entirely flat, mostly on paths and has many points at which you can stop and admire one of Lee Valley Park’s great sculptures or the teeming wildlife.

Sculptures at Lee Valley

2. Stopping is fine

The sculptures on this route are handy excuses for stopping (see also ‘admiring the view’ ‘goodness is that a Great Crested Newt’ and ‘whoops I have dropped my keys can we find them’).

But in truth if you are walking with people who care about you it is fine to say ‘I need to stop now because if I don’t this moves from stretching and fun to fainting and stress’.

Anita's orange shoes

3. Drink. Lots. Water matters.

Take what you think you need and then take more. As places open up there are more options for filling up your water bottles (open youth hostels have water refill stations).

4. Choose things to make you smile

For me bright orange shoes. And capturing nature on camera, noticing those small details of a butterfly or a bloom or a cloud, personally motivates me much more than a boot camp podcast.

5. Gadgets can help – but don’t be defined by them

Obviously I love the OS Map App – as a family we are starting to capture our own routes to it.

I also use My Fitness Pal and capture my steps via Mi Fit. But while these are great – and a good way to start to understand habits good and bad – it is as important to connect directly to how you are feeling rather than always relying on a digital interface. The comparison for me was the midwife who told me the contraction that sent me through the roof ‘didn’t look that bad on the monitor’.

Anita on a beach

Visiting Lee Valley Country Park

Here's where we walked

If you're local to Lee Valley and current government restrictions allow, it's definitely worth a visit. We stayed at YHA Lee Valley in an en-suite family room. The hostel is 5 minutes (slow person) walk from Cheshunt station and sits within Lee Valley Country Park.

For more information about managing obesity visit the NHS website.

Lee Valley YHA

Published 10/11/2020

Anita Kerwin-Nye By Anita Kerwin-Nye


Anita is self-professed fat & fifty not fit & fleecy - outdoors for life.

Find out more about Anita Kerwin-Nye.