At 64, Sharon’s putting her size sevens through old age...
Since being diagnosed with arthritis 10 years ago, my joints had been stiffer than my evening G&T.
‘I feel ancient,’ I wailed to my hubby, Alwyn, 63, as I inched my way to the sun lounger.
We had a holiday home in Turkey we’d visit a couple of times a year.
But not even sun and cocktails could perk me up.
The only thing that could comfort me was food. Cornettos and Big Macs usually calmed me down if I got upset with it all.
I had a loving, supportive husband and eight marvellous grandchildren, but still I was depressed.
I couldn’t shake the misery.
At 59, I felt ready for the scrapheap. And you’d need a crane to get me on it, as
I was 11st 8lb at 5ft 2in! ‘Come on, Mum, let’s go to Terkan’s gym,’ my son, Carl,
39, suggested when he flew over to visit us in Turkey in October 2013. The Kickbox Club? ‘Not a chance,’ I laughed, trying to find excuses. ‘I’ve got no gear!’ Carl was a lean machine, a former Brit champion at Thai kickboxing.
‘Just give it a go,’ he urged. ‘All you need is a pair of leggings.’
It sounded ridiculous to me.
I was a gran, for goodness’ sake!
I’d be damned if I was the type to just knit, bake and snooze, but this was pushing it!
But, that afternoon, there I was, giving the bag a few wallops and a little kick. I must’ve looked stupid, but I walked out with a smile.
A few weeks later, back home in England, it all seemed like a distant memory.
Then I remembered how good that class had made me feel.
So, I headed to Touchgloves, four miles down the road.
I must’ve been the oldest person there by about 20 years!
But I didn’t let it stop me. I was doing cardio and learning how to kick and punch properly.
‘Kickboxing? You?’ chuckled my granddaughter, Amani, eight.
‘I’m a cool gran now,’ I laughed, undaunted.
Soon, I was going three times a week, powering through two classes in one night!
I was doing squat jumps, burpees, jumping jacks – and that was just my warm-up!
Five years on, I’m only a year off my pension and bus pass, but I’m the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been. I’ve lost more than 3st and gone from a size 16 to an 8.
‘You’re the fittest one in the whole family,’ Alwyn joked.
Certainly, my arthritis is no longer giving me gyp.
I still get aches and pains, but I’m off the medication.
It knows better now than to mess with ‘Thai Kickboxing Gran’, as I’ve called myself on a Facebook page I set up, where I post videos of me in the ring.
You lose a bit of confidence in yourself when you get older, but I hope I’m living proof that you can box clever at any age. Sharon Garner, 64, Penzance, Cornwall
Me and a mate before I got moving
I’ve booted out my blues!