Article by Ceri Wheeldon
I caught up with Cheryl Baker, who will forever be associated with Bucks Fizz and their Eurovision routine (and win!) , to talk about life and fitness after 50!
Has your approach to fitness changed since turning 50?
I think my approach to fitness really changed when I was in my 40s. I had my children late (an my 40s) and felt I owed it to them to be fit and healthy – it forced me to take stock, although I did start running a lot more in my 50s. When I started it running I never intended to run more than 5 miles but then I became a little more ambitious. I ran my first half marathon in Prague – I cane last and was even beaten by a man who only had one leg. At that point I decided that if I was going to run at events I would have to take my training more seriously! I think I’m fitter now than I’ve ever been.
You have an incredibly busy schedule – how do find the time to train?
You have to find the time. It is very easy to be lazy and find excuses not to do something – in fact putting on your exercise gear can be the hardest part. For instance at the moment I’m appearing in Happy Days in Cardiff- I’m staying in a guest house that has some amazing parks between me and the theatre – it’s a good half hour brisk walk so I do that rather than drive. You have to make a conscious effort. If you arrange to run with friends you make a date and time and stick to it. You have to discipline yourself. Once I had signed up for the London Marathon I had to train – I had no option not to!
Has fitness always been part of your life?
My father was a PE instructor in the war. We were always a sociable family but none of us ever put too much weight on. With my family now my husband is very fit and active. My one daughter is a dancer and the other belongs to a girls football team. She’s off to a summer camp in the states soon. They are both very active and thrilled that I’m active. when I ran the marathon they went to 5 or 6 stages to support and cheer me on. I might be an older mother but I don’t want to be seen as one. I became a mother when others around me my age were becoming grandmothers.
I was the oldest mum at primary school, but I think keeping fit and healthy kept my brain in the right place!
How do you manage to eat healthily when you travel so much?
When I’m on tour it is very social and you do eat out a lot. You have to try to choose the right foods. If I have a busy day like yesterday where we did the sound checks at 4 and the performance starting at 7:30 you don’t really have time for a meal – so I will go and buy a super salad from M&S, but then this morning I had a full English breakfast – without the meat- as I knew I hadn’t eaten enough yesterday. I always drink lots of water.
How do you see life after 50?
I really believe that older is wiser. I had my 60th birthday last month and my family wrote lovely cards. They threw a party and said lovely things. In fact my children still invite my husband and I to their birthday parties – and one daughter even booked and paid for a holiday for the whole family to be in Turkey together – I’m thrilled that they still want to spend time with me. I very proud and very pleased.
Tips for women over 50?
Live life as fully as possible. Enjoy it – be fit so that you are able to. I can’t believe that I am already 60! Get yourself checked physically – when we’re younger we tend to think that we’re invincible – we’re not. I have all the tests I’m entitled to – I just received my bowel cancer test kit. If you feel aches and pains don’t just assume it’s wear and tear – get it checked out. My husband had a problem with his knee – he loved his sport- he went to the doctor and has now had the right ops so that he can continue to be active – he enjoys his golf and tennis and there was no need for him to give up – he just had to get the problem sorted.
In my case I seemed to have started every stage of my life later than everyone else – my career, my children so I am hoping that will apply to ageing as well. You just have to enjoy life!
A fabulous thank you to Cheryl who took time out of her incredibly hectic schedule to share her thoughts with Fab after Fifty. Cheryl is currently an ambassador for BMI Healthcare helping to raise awareness of preventative healthcare.