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Q&A with Rosemary Conley on her new website to support older people to live happier and healthier lives

Rosemary Conley CBE is one of the UK’s most successful diet and fitness experts with 50 years’ experience. She has recently launched an exciting new video-based website – www.rosemaryconley.com. All content on the website is free, and it has been created to help support and motivate older people to live longer, healthier and happier lives.

Here we talk to Rosemary, who is also Editor-in-Chief of our Retirement resident magazine, Life & Style, about her motivation for launching the website and how she sees it supporting others.

Q: What made you want to launch the website?

The idea for the website has been at the back of my mind for two or three years now.

I have a wonderful following of people who have watched my fitness videos, followed by eating plans and shared my recipes over the years, and, as baby boomers born after the second world war, we’re now reaching the age where it is particularly important to keep well. Being a fit older person will make your life more independent, hopefully happier, and it will significantly improve your health.

I wanted to put all the things I have learnt over the years in one place, so I can share my motivation to motivate others. I passionately believe in the benefits of eating well and being more active as we get older, and these are two strong themes across the website. When I say, ‘being active’, I’m not talking about running a marathon, but if you sit on the sofa for a lot of the time, why not go for two fifteen-minute walks every day? These little changes can transform your health and your life.

Q: Was it a ‘pandemic project’ or something you have been working on for a while?

When the pandemic hit, I decided to write a book on something related to the pandemic. The result was an eBook (and later a paperback version) about immunity – The 28-day Immunity Plan – which we turned around in about six weeks. All the royalties from the sale of the eBook go to the NHS Charities Together.

The website then followed on as a place to share this advice as well as a whole host of other content. It has been great fun getting the site ready for launch. Initially we were making videos once a week – we would record about 15 videos in a single day. We continue to keep it fresh and up to date with new videos being created every fortnight. The next shoot is at the end of April and is with my foot surgeon who treated my arthritis. It is very important to me that I bring medical people in to give frontline advice so that people can hear from the professionals. I also have a physiotherapist and a neuro-physio contributing to the site discussing other medical issues such as stroke and Parkinson’s Disease and what can be done to help them make progress.

Q: Do you think older people enjoy accessing your video content?

I completely understand that negotiating the internet can be challenging the older we get, particularly if there is no one else there to help, but we have deliberately designed the site to be super-easy to navigate. We are so aware these days of internet safety, but I like to think that coming to my site is a very safe and non-intimidating place. We have specifically designed it for older people, and we’ve had great feedback on how easy it is to navigate.

Q: You cover a lot of different topics – what has been the most popular?

Historically, people have loved my recipes and food-related content. Just last week I did some filming of eight new recipes, which I think will be very popular when they are released in a few weeks’ time.

People also enjoy the exercise videos. They particularly like the 4-week progressive strength programme that is suitable for everyone and you can follow it in real time.

Some of the exercises are very short so can be done quite quickly and we even have seated workouts. My aunty Pauline, who is 93, does her exercises three times a day.

Q: In the ‘Ask Rosemary’ section, can you give us an example of the sort of things you’ve been asked?

It is such a lovely section of the website as people have the opportunity to chat with me online and ask anything they like, and I try my best to answer.  I am surprised by two people who ask me for old recipes, from old books that they no longer have. I was able to find them, thankfully, and emailed over the recipes to them.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is struggling to get motivated?

 I think that if you’ve come through the last year relatively well you are in a brilliant position. What will have changed is self-confidence because we have not been as socially active.  We are socially and, in some cases, physically unfit as we haven’t been getting out and about as normal. That combination can have a knock-on effect to someone’s confidence.

I believe that we should celebrate the fact that we are now coming out the other side of the pandemic. What a perfect time to make some changes that will mean you can live the rest of your life healthily and happily.

Wellbeing is so important.  I have just finished 28-day Immunity Plan trial with Leicestershire Police. The average weight loss of the 30 people who took part was 10.5 lbs, but more importantly, they were asked at the beginning what they felt their wellness level was. On average, they started at 5-6, and at the end of the four weeks they were scoring 9-10!

Q: Will you be sharing some of the content from the website with our Life & Style readers?

Absolutely. I love sharing and interpreting the information I learn from experts I work with for the Life & Style readers, as they are exactly the audience my www.rosemaryconley.com website is designed for. I have had some lovely feedback which is really encouraging.