New Year's Day-and the start of Active January

Active January

The Belles pledged to be as active as they could during January

A difficult month for everyone, and about 40 Belles challenged themselves to be as active as they possibly could for the whole month. As can be seen from this small selection of all the photos submitted to the dedicated WhatsApp group, they were extremely inventive in what could be classed as ‘active’. From what all Belles do, that is cycling in all weathers, to paddle boarding in the antipodes or wild swimming locally. Dog and Baby walking, to making adventurous use of climbing walls. and when all else failed, Darts, Tramway rides and Pilates. 

Here is Catherine Tonge's take on our initiative

I joined the Bingley Belles last summer after about 18 months when I couldn’t cycle at all, following a long illness. I’d mostly cycled to get to and from work before, so have really enjoyed the group rides – and the café stops!

By the end of the year I was cycling regularly again, going walking and had taken up Park Running. However, I still didn’t feel like I had my old level of fitness back. Also, the menopause has well and truly struck. I’m tired all the time and can no longer get away with eating whatever I want. I’d been reading about doing more strength – type exercise but hadn’t quite found the motivation to do it. So, I joined the Active January group.

The group was so encouraging, we had a lively Whatsapp group where people shared what exercise they had done that day and really encouraged each other, especially on days when someone couldn’t do much. There was also the challenge of a lot of bad weather!

I was off work for two weeks with stress during the month, I didn’t tell anyone but was so encouraged and, despite some snow and ice, made sure I got out walking and enjoying the fresh air for a few hours each day which really helped.

Being in the group gave me the motivation to do more yoga, which I’ve enjoyed for years but don’t do enough of. I also took various tips from people and have now started a regular habit of strength exercises – nothing fancy just sit ups, bridges, lunges and a wall press-up that I might have just made up. I’ll add to this as time goes on. Everyone seems to recommend HIIT (high intensity interval training) for the ‘menopausal lady’, which always just sounded a bit scary (and boring) but I’ve got as far as looking at a lot of YouTube videos, picking two that look doable and saving them on my phone. I haven’t actually tried one yet, but the motivation is there and I definitely will soon.

I can gradually feel my muscles getting that little bit stronger, but mostly I feel more positive and motivated, and really enjoyed being a part of the group.–

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