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Julie Jones: Age is no barrier to fitness

If I tell you that Julie Jones is 79 years old, had a hip replacement followed by three revisions and two breaks in the last three decades, you'll probably picture a frail old lady sitting in her chair. But you haven't met Julie.

At an age when many people have resigned themselves to a slow decline, Julie is still very much in control of her overall health and fitness.

When, in her late forties, this passionate English teacher and mum of three had suffered enough from her left hip, she insisted on a replacement. The surgeon expressed doubts. But for Julie, not being able to stand in front of her pupils wasn't an option - so she simply overruled him.

In truth, at the time it was unlikely that the prosthesis would see her to the end of her life. But with family duties and eager students needing her, she took her chances and was proven right.

She met Focus Health physiotherapist Gerard Guillen, who helped her regain strength in her leg. Although any surgeon would have deemed her as recovered, Julie still yearned for more.

Fitness is at the core of her existence. She wanted to ski and participate in all family activities. When she asked Gerard how she could improve further, he invited her to join his Pilates class.

“The classes are ideal for people like me who lack the self-discipline to do it alone. Pilates sets the basis for a fitness programme that you can also do at home,” says Julie.

“It's excellent for core strength and therefore really helps with balance, which can become a challenge as we get older and can no longer afford to fall. There are some exercises you can do standing at the kitchen bench.”

When asked what she says to people who think they are too old to exercise, Julie says:

“Come along with me to Pilates! The class participants vary greatly in age and agility. There is great camaraderie but emphasis on concentration to ensure we all gain from each exercise. Age certainly has its challenges, but we don't have to give in to it. My husband and I walk most days and we love seeing other people our age doing the same. We go walking under the pretence of getting a coffee - use whatever reason motivates you!"

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