A Leicester woman has taken home a gold medal in the first major competition focused solely on celebrating fitness over the age of 50 – and is hoping to inspire more people her age to get fit too.
Highlighting that nobody is ever too old to hit a new personal best, the unique ‘Over 50s’ competition was hosted by PureGym and saw fitness fanatics aged 50 and over competing in strength and endurance events.
Leicester-based Heather Avul, 50, took home first place in the women’s category of the ‘Full Body Fitness Sprint’ – a gruelling mix of running, rowing and weight based exercises.
In order to complete the challenge, competitors were required to tackle a 1km run and 1km row alongside a sled push, farmer’s carry and gruelling 500m ski-erg on their way to the finish line.
Heather completed it in an impressive time of 13 minutes 49 seconds.
When asked about her fitness and tips for others of a similar age, she said: “Just go for it. I started running in my 40’s and I’m 50 now and running the London Marathon a second time. Get up there and do it, because it’s never too late to be able to get fit.”
The event, which attracted competitors from across the country earlier this month, was held in London and supported by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
Research funded by the organisation has shown that keeping active as you age lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and osteoporosis.
When it comes to the heart, exercise can reduce your risk of heart and circulatory diseases by up to 35 per cent, they say.
Regular exercise can also help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol; two factors which can increase your risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases as we get older.
Sophie Overall, Partnerships Manager at the British Heart Foundation, said: “It was such a fantastic day, and we were glad we could be there to see the competition as well as share information about blood pressure.
“Our partnership provides an exciting opportunity for PureGym and the BHF to combine our expertise on fitness and heart health together and to the public just how intrinsically they’re entwined.
“This competition was an excellent way to showcase that age is just a number and with the right support, anyone can start their exercise journey.”