Heath health blogger warns: ‘It’s time to take healthy living seriously’

Hampstead fitness blogger Tracey McAlpine. Picture: Denise Quinlan / Seymour PR

Hampstead fitness blogger Tracey McAlpine. Picture: Denise Quinlan / Seymour PR - Credit: Archant

Running on the Heath can be, quite literally, the first step in making a transformative lifestyle change, according to Hampstead blogger Tracey McAlpine.

Tracey, 58, has been running health blog Fighting Fifty since she hit the half-century, and is now working with health company Bupa on a national campaign to encourage people hitting milestone birthdays to use the fear of ageing to inspire a new outlook on life.

Her message is: it’s not all downhill once you’ve left your 40s.

Tracey’s site encompasses beauty, health and fitness tips, along with general lifestyle and product advice.

Tracey told the Ham&High: “I started the site because as soon as I turned 50 I started to get adverts targeting me that seemed to suggest all I could look forward to was pensions and dying.

“As a woman who’d always tried to keep fit and who, with children leaving home, was finally getting my life back to myself – this just didn’t seem to fit how my life was.

“I just didn’t feel like my life was almost over.”

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Now, supported by her neighbours around the Heath, she’s seen the site go from strength to strength.

The landmark birthday was, she said, the motivation behind setting up the website, and it prompted her to re-evaluate her own health and wellbeing.

She said: “I looked carefully at what I ate and added more fruit, vegetables and pulses into my diet.

“And I started to train with weights to retain muscle mass and took up pilates to help with flexibility.”

Although Fighting Fifty’s audience is largely women, Tracey said she had spotted a notable increase in men visiting, and more generally in men starting to take their health seriously in the same way.

Tracey’s focus now is on highlighting that, as she did, using what public health researchers have called “the zero effect” of a big birthday to make lifestyle changes is key to improving wellbeing.

For Tracey, though, who raised a family in north London, Hampstead has been the perfect place to set a lifestyle kick.

She said: “I’ve been so lucky. I live on the edge of West Heath and have almost always lived within striking distance of Hampstead Heath. I can run on the Heath every day.”