Episode 1 of Out Of The Bubble podcast is out and I got to talk to the inspiring Jo Moseley otherwise known on social media as HealthyHappy50. Here are some of the best bits!
I've known Jo for about 12 years, our children went to the same primary school together and then we both went through similar lifestyle changes, also known as divorce. I've been quietly watching and admiring the work Jo has been doing and her journey. She has grown and changed over the years and I have full on admiration on how she has transformed her life and what she has achieved so far, although I have a feeling she has only just getting started.
How do you describe yourself?
I still describe myself as a mum first and foremost and as a single mum that will always be my biggest thing. I have a very normal day job. I'm developing an interest in adventure, little adventures, environmental aspects and all the things about wellness and well-being around being outside and doing fun little adventures.
You say 'little adventures' but some of the things that you've done to date I wouldn't class as little. Can you tell everyone what your first challenge was and how you got started.
The first challenge was probably the biggest. In 2013 my mum died of Lymphoma, four days before Christmas and I decided to do something in her memory. The only real sport I did at the time was indoor rowing so I rode a million metres and a marathon, which basically means rowing 10,000 metres every other night for 8 months. We raised just over £10,000 for the MacMillan charity.It was a great way to honour her memory and it was great for me to help work through the grief and turn it in to something positive. So I started with something big and now I do lots of little adventures, wild swimming, paddle boarding, running, picking up litter and surfing.
How did you start indoor rowing in the first place?
A few months before I had been crying in the supermarket, with my sons when I just had one of those moments when I put my bags down and said I just cant do this anymore.I wasn't sleeping, I was really stressed, mum and dad were going through chemo, a friend lent me a rowing machine which really started to help me sleep and it started from there.
So most people might do a challenge and then think okay I've done it, that's fantastic and then go have a cup of tea and put their feet up. You didn't do that did you?
No I think I realised how much better I felt, I was 48 and i think some of the crying wasn't just life overwhelming but it was the early stages of the menopause but I didn't realise it. I never asked my mum about the menopause, it just wasn't talked about. The symptoms were creeping up on me without me knowing so I did some research and realised these symptoms, crying, aching joints, not sleeping, feeling more anxious were symptoms of the menopause.I realised exercise had really helped me feel better and it would be silly of me not to continue.These self care routines to get me through the day became more enjoyable so once I was swimming, running and eventually paddle boarding they were activities that were so much fun, why wouldn't I want to do these things on a daily basis.
How did you get involved in the This Girl Can, Sport of England campaign?
The first time was after completing the Great North Swim and I took a picture with these really huge goggles on and they had this thing where you could upload an image and choose a slogan , one of the slogans was 'Damn right I look hot'. So there is me a 50 year old woman with massive goggles and a yellow cap and they saw it and chose me, I did a little bit of radio interviews and they were just broadening it out to fifty year old's and moving way from focusing on younger women.
The second time recently I wrote to them and told them my story thinking they wouldn't necessarily be interested but it was more about me being brave. I had this idea that if I wrote to people , the more I got no's the less it would worry me and they said yes.They put it out there and so many women said thank you for sharing the tough times and being so honest, I realised the more honest I was about the crying and difficult times and being injured the more normal I was, the more relatable I was the more It inspired people.
Were you sporty when you were younger?
When I was little up to secondary school age I was doing all the things i'm doing now, I didn't think they were sporty , I was called a tomboy, now I would have been called a sporty girl.I would be out climbing trees, throw myself in to the sea, try and skateboard, ride my bike. I've got a picture of me on my Chopper looking cool in my Bay City Roller tartan trousers but then when I got to school it was all very formal and that just turned me off.I loved gymnastics, doing headstands and cartwheels but school stuff just turned me off. From my late twenties to my late forties I did just about nothing, maybe one 5k walk and I did the Moonwalk when my marriage was collapsing.So its always been in me but for many years it was dormant.
So after all these challenges you've now discovered this real passion for paddle boarding , is that your main love?
I think I love all of them, I love anything to do with the water.Paddle boarding is easy in the sense that I live near a reservoir so I can do it in my everyday, whereas surfing and body boarding I have to go to the sea.
One of the things I don't think you realise is the impact your social media posts have on other people, I see your posts out running, picking up litter being outdoors it makes me want to get out and do something.I think social media for the over 40's is a really inspiring place. How do you find social media?
I love Twitter because everyone was so supportive, it's quite quick and you can learn lots of news things about conferences and events. Instagram is very pretty and very supportive and kind. You can curate a really kind environment and I've made loads of friends that I've actually met. You can't make friends over night but this is a different group of friends built upon shared goals and dreams and that brings them alive. I've not met anyone that I've then gone away and thought I'm so glad I met.
I would say it takes a lot of confidence to get out there and meet new people, have you always had that confidence or has it come with everything you've been doing?
I think I've had it and lost it. I think babies, marriages, miscarriages, divorce, grief, they dampen who you are, it's just a case of excavating through all those difficult situations and revealing who you probably are. I am more in my fifties like I was aged 9 or10 than I have ever been.I'm totally cool with the idea that I'm uncool. I'll never be the one who walks in to a room and they'll think wow she's so glamorous, they'll probably think when did she brush her hair but I'm cool with that just as I was when I was at nine or ten without the angst of teenage years. There's a real liberation now. I think your thirties and forties are really difficult because you are establishing who you are and there's a lot of keeping upness which if I was back there again I would say don't even try, follow your own thing. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing, it's just not relevant to your life and I still have to say that to myself sometimes.
Do you still get scared when you are doing new things? How do you over come it?
I think i've learnt you only have to be brave enough to do the next thing, you don't have to climb the mountain just take the next step. You've just got to believe in yourself and see what happens. I'm going to give it everything I've got but not necessarily attach it to the outcome.
You've got quite involved in litter picking, plogging and environmental issues. Can you tell us more about it?
I have always loved the sea, my dissertation was about the environment back in the 1980's, I've been more aware of the problems with plastic and like most people watched David Attenborough. It's just been a rediscovery of something that I was interested in when I was younger. At the beginning of the year I decided to do a litter pick or beach clean every day and post pictures and see if anyone else would join in. The first thing I got invited to talk about what I was doing was at a running festival, it was just one of those relationships that I had built on Twitter. It always amazes me that people are watching you from a distance without you realising in a good way and thinking she's quite consistent about the subject, then someone comes along and says would you like to be involved in this, I never imagined it. It's interesting because at the beginning of the year I had written a list of crazy goals for the year,when I looked back a lot of them had come true, even if from a slightly different angle.
Do you think you've found your purpose other than being a mum and a daughter?
Yes massively. In fact I see the link between the environment and well-being is the link I want to share with people. Particularly at our age there is so much about our own well being, going through the menopause, the mental changes and there are so many things that we can do with a purpose to help bring everything together. So much of the environmental and adventure world is dominated by younger people and I just want to say look actually we have a contribution and we can have these little adventures that can be hugely enjoyable.
What's your current challenge and what's next?
I am running a 1000km this year, so I'm currently on about 750km. I'm thinking of doing a longer run next, possibly picking litter. Maybe there is one big thing in me when my boys have left, we'll see!
What song motivates you?
This Is Me from The Greatest Showmen by Keala Settle
What book inspired you?
Playing Big by Tara Mohr or anything written by Brene Brown
Who inspires you?
Taryn Brumfitt, founder of the Body Image Movement
Since speaking with Jo in 2018 she has gone on to write a best selling book- Stand-up Paddleboarding in Great Britain.
You can follow Jo over on Instagram and Twitter @healthyhappy50 or on her website www.healthyhappy50.com
To listen to the audible podcast please click on the podcast link -
I'll be back in two weeks when I talk with Zoe McNulty from School Of Strut.
In the meantime...keep being fabulous x