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TEST: Will Exercise REALLY Help You Look and Feel Your Best?

HighBorn Blog


'No thanks!'

At least that would have been my answer about 15 years ago. I clearly remember in the early 2000's as Henry would send himself off for a jog around the block trying to stave off his looming 'beer belly'. 

I wasn't too bothered but it bothered him having always prided himself on being fit and healthy in his teens and earlier twenties.

And then, he slowly but surely encouraged me to join him! What a cheek! Was he suggesting I was piling on the pounds? 'Hahahaha'!

Sure, we'd got a little cosy and enjoyed perhaps the world's largest roast chicken dinner two or three times a week ... but no need for that!

Not that I or indeed any of us need telling when we feel our clothes shrinking and see the sizes growing when we buy more! 

But  ... as in the words of Coco Chanel:

'Nature gives you the face you have at 20; it's up to you to merit the one you have at 50.'

And of course that's just exercise but nutrition, not too much sun, alcohol, smoking etc, etc. 

Anyway, I joined Henry for a few jogs and absolutely despised it! Awful! What a miserable, painful, slow way to get fit. 

So I joined the gym ... not much better ... just a little more in the way of people watching to amuse me.

Fast forward about 13 years and before I was diagnosed with breast cancer I did do a little 'fun' jogging - more than anything because it made me feel good.

Then of course in 2015 I was walloped with breast cancer and had a bigger fight on my hands than my waistline.

Somehow, so thankfully I made it through that, ran the London Marathon for Against Breast Cancer a few months after and ran the Purbeck Marathon in 2017 AND the Lulworth Ultra Marathon (over 33 miles). DESPITE having never previously really enjoyed running. 

Now, I ran all of those with Henry which has been lovely because we get to spend the training and race time together. He now has a crazy plan to run from Portland Bill on the south coast to Old Harry Rocks in Dorset (over 46 miles) in May and wants me to run it with him.

Shall I?

I don't fancy it much but perhaps if enough people wish to sponsor me for Against Breast Cancer I will (mention in the comments if you'd like to see me face the pain of 46 miles!)


The whole point of this blog post is not to impress you with my running (trust me I don't feel impressed by it, most of the time I have to literally drag myself out to do it).

I do it because I read that latest research suggest regular exercise can reduce the chance of cancer coming back by 30% of more. And I'll take that odds boost any day!

The point of this blog post is to say no matter how much or how little exercise you do or don't do, HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT IT?

Try these quick questions; they might just ignite a little something:

  1. Before, during and after exercise, you should do slow, static stretches. True/False
  2. Not exercising regularly can be a major factor in premature ageing, illness and death. True/False
  3. It's dangerous to exercise if you are over the age of 40. True/False
  4. I've started to exercise, but I've gained weight. The exercise I'm doing isn't working. True/False
  5. I would have to exercise for at least 30 minutes, three times a week to experience any benefits. True/False
  6. Exercise won't do anything for my appearance and stress levels. True/False
  7. Women don't build up muscle through exercise because they don't have enough testosterone. True/False
  8. If you want to lose weight, you should exercise in the afternoon. True/False
  9. Exercise has to be hard work or it's not doing any good. True/False
  10. Working with weights build muscle but does nothing for your heart. True/False

Keep a little mental note of your answers and check them here: 

  1. False. Stood at the start of the Purbeck Marathon I watched as 10's of eager runners followed instructions to stretch while I casually jogged on the spot. And let me tell you, the number of moans, groans. 'ouches' and 'whoops, I've pulled something' was significant! You see, before and during your workout, slow, static stretching can lead to injuries. Warm up slowly instead and do a little stretching after. 
  2. True. You need physical activity to stay healthy throughout your life, even if you might no realise it when you're young! Every system in your body is affected by exercise or the LACK of it!
  3. False. You're never to old to start increasing your activity, as long as you're sensible and don't put your body under huge stress if you're not used to it. When Henry began losing weight just over three years ago (he won't mind me saying he was 4 stone over where he should have been) he walked slow to begin with ... he told me he'd see other people his age jogging and hoped he'd get back like them one day. Just over 6 weeks ago he ran the Lulworth Ultra Marathon with me and was ready for more at the end! You see the benefits of beginning to exercise will almost certainly outweigh the risks; BUT check with your doctor.  
  4. False. Putting on weight can actually be a good sign. You may well have lessened body fat and increased muscle mass and density; a step in the right direction! Rather than constantly checking the scales focus more on how you feel, how much energy you have and how much easier you find exercise. 
  5. False. Any exercise is better than none! Even five minutes of brisk walking has been shown to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure while increasing bone density, stimulating your brain and making you look and feel better! . 
  6. False. Exercise can help you reduce stress, sleep better and feel more energised.
  7. False. Testosterone is a factor in muscle development, but muscle size increase is more to do with genetics. If you tend to build bulk use small weights and do more reps. Regular exercise helps balance hormone levels and helps you remain looking youthful.
  8. True. At about 3pm some of your hormone levels peak, making this an optimal period for weight loss. The later afternoon is also a good time to achieve high performance. 
  9. False. What do you think I am? Some kind of masochist? Strenuous exercise may improve aerobic capacity faster than light or moderate workouts, but light to moderate exercise is just a good, if not better, at reducing stress, lowering high blood pressure and aiding weight control. In fact over 80% of the training Henry and I do is at a pace which means we can chat away to eachother while jogging!
  10. False. Give your heart a treat by combining strength and aerobic activity training. Both work in different ways to keep arteries clear and both improve blood pressure, stress levels and stamina, all of which are important for a healthy heart. 

So there yo have it!

How did you do?

It doesn't really matter.

All I hope is perhaps you've added to your own inspiration, motivation to keep yourself as fit and healthy as you can while of course having time for all the other wonderful things in life.

Thanks for reading, keep smiling and remember ... you are AMAZING!

Tracey x


Sarah on August 06 2018 at 07:21AM

A year ago I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. I had chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy and targeted therapy which is ongoing for another 5 months. I signed up for Race for Life 5k and to make it a serious challenge decided to try and run it. The week before starting radiotherapy I started a couch to 5 k training app – I struggled to run for 60 seconds initially but 8 weeks later could run continuously for 30 minutes. That was in May – I still run about 5k 2 or 3 times a week. Sometimes it’s really hard but I feel really good afterwards and recover quickly. I’m 62 I’ve never been into exercising or in the least bit sporty! I feel better and less tired for doing it and would urge anyone in my situation to get off the sofa and try to do something even when you feel awful.
I didn’t know about the best time for exercise but will put this to the test thank you Tracey

Nicola Sykes on January 16 2018 at 06:24PM

Hi Tracey
Thanks for sharing such an inspirational blog.
I finished my treatment for Breast Cancer in October and have just started exercising with a Personal Trainer. She is taking things very slowly until my stamina & overall fitness improves.
Reading your blog has really inspired me and made me realise anything is possible post diagnosis. Thank you!
I currently use your serum and eye gel which are both fabulous products.
Good Luck with your next running challenge! X

Ruth on January 16 2018 at 05:22PM

I am 63 and have just started doing couch to 5k running. I have always exercised and in between runs I do bouncing on my bellicon rebounder. Great fun. I can recommend it. I too am loving the products. Are you thinking of extending into an all natural makeup range? Hint hint. ?

Victoria Taylor on January 16 2018 at 02:43PM

Hi Tracey, go for it!! Just started using your products and they truly make my skin feel great, and make-up glides on! Seeing your blog on exercise is timely, when this week I’m starting a circuits class with my 13 year old daughter. Used to be soooo fit, but let myself go a little, and nearing 52 have decided to get back on it. Keep the blogs coming, they’re a real motivator.

Good luck with the training. Victoria xx

Lorraine on January 16 2018 at 01:29PM

I finally finished my treatment for BC in November. I walk/slow jog 5 miles a day at present. I am seriously impressed with your achievements. I put so much weight on whilst having treatment plus the letozole tablets I have to take can make you gain weight one of the many side effects. But I have promised myself that I wi get fitter, healthier in 2018. I have ypur full range of Highborn products which have really made a difference to my very dry skin. Thank you x

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