Hi I’m Laura Walker, founder of 50’s Fitness Ways.
I am from Wales, born in the Rhondda valley, the heart of Wales and moved extensively around the Valleys until my parents eventually settled in Penarth. I was lucky enough to attend a Welsh speaking school, as Welsh is my first language, and loved the cultural experience I received at school. I learned to play the harp, entered recitation contents and sang throughout my school career. I’m passionate about the culture, language and individuality that growing up in a small community gives a person. I’ve always loved being in front of people performing.
I have lived in Aberdeen for nearly 30 years and always thought I’d go back to Wales, but here I still, am.
In 1990 I met my husband, 1991 I moved to Aberdeen and by 1992 I was married.
We now have 4 beautiful children, who are all enjoying working in their chosen fields.
I started in the fitness Industry 23 years ago, after just giving birth to my second child. I only wanted to deliver 1 class a week, but because I enjoyed it so much, I ended up working 20 hours a week and children’s parties on the weekends within a few years.
Today I run my own business delivering safe, effective and appropriate fitness for health to specialist postulations, including women through menopause. My programmes are bespoke, client-centred and accessible.
One of the things I love about my job is guiding people through the simple process of changing alignment. I don’t always have to see the person, I just need to ask the right questions to identify the problem. There is usually an easy solution.
When the kids were young I did my training, with the support of my husband, either on weekends or late at night when the kids were in bed. I was fascinated by the information I was learning. I always had questions and wanted to learn more.
After 23 years of continuous training, I have managed to group it all together to put my own combination of assessments in place and use it to understand someone’s movement pattern to benefit their health.
Back when I was in school I hated PE. We played netball and I was always goal defence because I was tall. My fitness wasn’t great and which meant I never really enjoyed being active.
I became a fitness Instructor because I knew I had to stay fit and healthy for my children. I also needed a job to fit around my young family.
My interests lay in how fitness impacted health. I worked with cardiac rehabilitation clients discharge from hospital; designed and delivered a bespoke programme to people with diabetes at ARI and NHS within the Grampian region. People who were losing balance and wished to prevent falling were referred to me from the city hospital in Aberdeen.
Clients who had joint replacements and still had arthritis somewhere in their body, making movement necessary but challenging, were also referred.
It was my job to figure out a way to get them safely moving in a way that would bring health benefits in an appropriate manner. This is a part of my job which I passionately love doing.
Like Bridget Jones, I will always be ‘that little bit fat’. Following pregnancy I was 4 stone overweight. With focus on my unhealthy diet, I changed my eating habits and managed to lose that weight; I felt so energetic when demonstrating to clients, and myself, that my advice worked. Now I’m through menopause, I’m exceptionally mindful of keeping the healthy habits I gained 17 years ago. I work very hard to keep my metabolic rate as high as possible with exercise and my daily nutritional load is beneficial to balancing hormones, which keep my waistline in check.
When the symptoms of menopause started I was 40 years of age and totally in the dark about symptoms and how to deal with them. Some years later I asked a doctor if this was menopause and I was told “no, you’re too young”. At that time, one of my training providers had launched a new training course for fitness industry professionals to understand how to ensure safe and effective advice for women experiencing menopause. It was only once completing this professional training that I understood what I was going through. Nutrition was now my focus, not weight loss, and it worked really well for me.
Relaxation is so important for me. When I take time to relax, my stress level drops completely. For me, it’s as simple as a taking a bath. Knowing the right relaxation tool that works for me to reduce stress, is key to understanding how my body works.
My family are all grown now, but still need mum and dad at times, which I’m pleased about. Relaxing weekends with my girls are an absolute pleasure for me and chatting over a coffee is a special time to share with family.
Lower back pain was a massive issue for me back in 2016. I went to hospital as an emergency case overnight, spent the night being assessed and nothing sinister was found, but later found out that this is very common for women at the menopause stage. My unique understanding of personal experience, the effect of hormone changes, the right set of questions and exercise technique advice gives me an exclusive set of skills to help others.
I believe many women are like me and experience the same lower back discomfort. I wanted to find the right solution to an individual problem at a distinctive time in my life. To exercise in a way that is appropriate for me, not necessarily slower, but different.
Exercising is a fabulous way of slowing down the speed at which we age. So why wouldn’t we do it? My exclusive skills lie in exercise technique for safety, appropriate exercise for ages and stages and delivering an accessible safe and effective range of programmes.
I firmly believe, as women, we get to a stage in life when ‘dieting’ becomes tiresome and we want something better. I know I certainly did.
Once again, I gathered the knowledge I have and decided to crowd out the foods which were not beneficial to me. I have a sweet tooth, always have and always will. To avoid eating refined foods I started to make my own ‘energy balls’ and sweet bakes with no sugar and no flour. It has worked for me for the last 6 years with results that are extremely beneficial in balancing hormones with a positive side effect of managing my waistline.
Fitness is not just an action, it’s a community of like minded people who want to stay as active and as healthy as possible to have a long and enjoyable, disease free life. This includes enjoying their time with family, being fit and healthy and keeping up with the younger generations as best they can.
I just happen to be in the business of helping them achieve their fitness goals.