Age no bar: Finding fitness later in life

Age no bar: Finding fitness later in life

Lavina Mehta was awarded an MBE for services to health and fitness during Covid-19. She is an award-winning, personal trainer and wellness coach, regularly on TV and radio passionately promoting the health benefits of exercise to treat, prevent and reduce risks of common chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis. She is also a big advocate of the mental health benefits of exercise.

In her brand-new series with ‘iGlobal’, she will be sharing stories from her journey into fitness, workout tips and announcements about her upcoming online sessions. This first column explores how Lavina Mehta MBE found her love of fitness.

I’ll be honest that I wasn’t a particularly sporty child and just did the usual school sports. When I was 26, I had my own personal health scare which really shaped and initiated my wellness journey, as I hadn’t put much effort into exercise and eating healthily before.

My mum is a huge inspiration to me, and we have embraced our health and wellness journeys with food and exercise together. She became a cookery teacher and writer for magazines and books, and she found her passion at a similar age to me, when her children settled into secondary education. When I decided not to return to my corporate career after maternity leave with my youngest son, who is now 13, we self-published another book together ‘Feel Good with Food’. As a biochemist, mum researched super foods and antioxidants, how to eat healthily and simply explain how diseases and cancers could be prevented and reduced by eating a good diet. My brand, ‘Feel Good with Lavina’, stems from my mother’s book, which I helped her with as a sous-chef, photographer, and typist. It gave me so much insight into nutrition and understanding why food is so important - this has been incredibly beneficial for my own wellness journey and helping my clients, because fitness and healthy eating go hand in hand.

When my youngest son joined school I was a typical gym goer mum, attending classes and more social than seriously working out! It was only when I got myself my own personal trainer and I was introduced to the world of strength training, which transformed my body and my mind, and it got me through some challenging personal times. I wanted to educate myself on the power of exercise so I started home study courses in the evening, once my children were asleep, just for my own knowledge. I never imagined that it would turn into the path it has for me…

I think it’s important for people to know that I have been through my own wellness, what I call “Feel Good Journey” so that I can relate and understand, especially as a woman and a mother. I want it to be sustainable and a long term lifestyle change, not a quick transformation, so I work with my clients on implementing slow, long-term changes.

I have designed a session of chair exercises that are low impact, with standing options, to help our less mobile, elderly and vulnerable from home. The workouts cover mobility, cardio, strength training and stretch. No fancy equipment is necessary. I am accompanied by my 73-year-old sasu (mother-in-law), Nishaben Mahendra Mehta.

It is no secret that Covid-19 has disproportionately affected our communities, so having my mother-in-law in the videos translating into Gujarati means that we can continue to do our bit to support the community during this time.

Tune into Lavina’s free seniors workout sessions every Friday at 10am GMT on Zoom. Lavina also has 60+ saved sessions you can replay anytime that suits you, many translated into Gujarati with her mother-in-law on YouTube.

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