Want to be nifty at fifty?


WHEN LORRAINE Bond and Theresa Connolly showed their friends the publicity photograph for their new lifestyle courses, Mind & Bodyworks, some of them asked why they didn’t airbrush out the wrinkles in the woman’s face on the front of their brochure.

That’s exactly what they didn’t want to do, according to Bond, a svelte 46 year old who, together with the more petite Connolly (51), want to bring a bit of realism into how you look and feel in your late 40s and 50s.

“When we started to look for books for women in their 50s, all we could find were self-help books. Most of our friends are heading for 50 and there was a general consensus that we don’t exist in terms of the media – fashion programmes and magazines,” says Bond.

And so they set about devising night courses for women in their late 40s and 50s to help them chart the stormy waters of mid-life.

“What we want to do is give women information about how to eat healthily, look after their skin and do exercises that help tone their bodies. It’s not about getting up and putting on a leotard every morning,” says Bond.

Bond and Connolly have specifically targeted this age group because there is so much going on for them.

“Our aim is to advise and inspire women through the challenges of mid-life and help them develop a more positive outlook towards getting older,” says Connolly.

“Many of these women will have spent a number of years dealing with children and husbands who get home from work late. Now, they may have more free time and some of them will have gone back to work. Some of them have children moving out and others will have faced separation.”

Bond, who is a personal fitness trainer, make-up artist and hairdresser, is adamant that exercise – and more specifically, resistance training – is a key to feeling and looking well as you get older.

“Running and walking are great for your head, but resistance training [using your body weight in a sequence of exercises such as press-ups, sit-ups, etc] is the key to toning your body,” she says.

Like many other fitness trainers, she says that resistance training boosts the metabolism and builds bone mass, which can play a role in warding off osteoporosis in post-menopausal women.

She also believes that dieting per se is of no value. “There are millions of women on diets and they don’t work. It’s about eating little and often, and sticking to the good stuff. Don’t be obsessed with calories,” says Bond. “And I never allow women to have weighing scales. Go by your clothes and how you feel, not by your weight.”

Connolly trained as a beautician and is “big into” looking after her skin. “It’s about eating lots of fruit and vegetables, a little lean red meat, fish and chicken, and always wearing sun screen on your face every day,” she says.

The twosome have taken on other health and beauty experts to help them deliver their courses.

And then, of course, there’s the whole psychological side of coping with the changes at this stage of life.

“Your mindset is really important. Basically, you can have a different life if you look at things differently,” says Bond.

Connolly and Bond also hope that their courses will build into a community of women who can chat and network via their website and Facebook pages.

Age-old advice: Facing the future with confidence

One of the great things about internet shopping is that you can track down books that are either out of print or simply impossible to find in your nearest bookshop.

One such book is UltraAge – Everywoman’s Guide to Facing the Future by Mary Spillane and Victoria McKee (MacMillan, 1999).

It’s one of those encyclopaedia-type books that covers ageing in an uplifting yet realistic way.

Here’s a sample of the many tips it offers, adapted from a section on Image in Keeping Pace at Work.

Image enhancers:Modern grooming

Image detractors:No make-up

Image enhancers:Fit ‘n’ trim

Image detractors:Not necessarily trim

Image enhancers:Healthy and energetic

Image detractors:Ailments

Image enhancers:Smart, ageless clothes

Image detractors:Time-warp ensembles

Image enhancers:Flattering styles

Image detractors:Too uncomfortable or too comfortable styles

Image enhancers:Interesting accessories

Image detractors:Granny gems

Image enhancers: Smart, yet comfortable, shoes

Image detractors:Stout, inappropriate shoes

Image enhancers:Chic, contemporary hairstyle

Image detractors:Self coloured or stiff hair

See mindandbodyworks.iefor details of courses which begin on March 26th in the Hilton Hotel, Malahide Road, Dublin.