At the age of 50, Eddie Brocklesby decided to run her first half marathon. Until that point, she’d done little running, and her exercise regime consisted of little more than chauffeuring her children to their own sports clubs. In common with so many people, any interest she’d shown in sport in her childhood had diminished as her adult life progressed, with spare time becoming ever more limited in the face of work and family commitments.
After that event, and following the loss of her husband of thirty years to cancer, she completed a marathon. Now, 76 years old, the past twenty years has seen Eddie take part in marathons, triathlons and Ironman races across the globe and she has accrued many medals and awards.
At age 72 she became the oldest British woman to complete Iron-distance triathlon.
The Irongran story
In her book, Irongran, published in 2018, Eddie looks back on her life and explains just how she’s managed to develop the energy to match the enthusiasm she’s always had for an active lifestyle.
She shares the difficulties she’s experienced in her sporting endeavours, and explains how she’s managed to overcome them.
Eddie is passionate about the health and wellbeing of a population which is living longer and provides up to date research about why keeping active in later years is so important, along with guidance about how to remain full of life in your later years.
Helping us age whilst remaining fit and healthy
Eddie helped to found Silverfit in 2013 a charity promoting lifelong fitness and fun, raising awareness of the benefits of physical activity and social inclusion for the over 50s. Data analysis is revealing great outcomes: – high retention rates and reduced demands on the NHS and social care.
Silverfit is helping inactive older people to live life to the full, independently and happily and has expanded rapidly, providing weekly opportunities for physical activity in ten varied locations across London. Using volunteer Silverfit Ambassadors and skilled instructors, Silver Days offer a choice of activities according to venue.
Eddie was recently awarded the British Empire Medal, the BEM for `Services to the Health and Wellbeing of Older People’, in recognition for all her charitable work with the older generation.
The importance of social interaction
Eddie comments on Silverfit: “The greatest cost to the NHS is probably falling over in older people and I think if we can help people get their strength up in their muscles and avoid falling over and also getting out of the house and avoiding the loneliness of ageing too, that’s really, really important.
We’ve got very good evidence that it does make a difference. Part of our mission would be to campaign as an organisation that’s run by older people, for older people, I think that’s quite a useful one; that we started off with that it’s never too late to start and change your lifestyle and adopt a happier, social and more physically active lifestyle as we age.”
They welcome people from the age of 45 upwards, but the average age is currently 68.
Sessions start with a meet and greet, followed by an activity of some sort – from Nordic walking, to Pilates to the Silver Cheerleading – then most importantly, there’s a social gathering afterwards. Eddie knows that the social element is what keeps people coming back time and again. It’s just so important for our ageing society.
You can hear Eddie’s full interview on The Retirement Café Podcast from Tuesday 7th May 2019.