Super Fit Gran is determined to “look sexy” in her 70s

Image copyright PA Real Life Image caption Julie, 69, wants to encourage all women to feel good

Grandma Julie Ford says she is determined to look – and feel – as good in her 70s as she did in her 20s.

The 69-year-old swipes her abs in a bikini and loves to flaunt her toned body in crop tops, saying that she refuses to ‘become invisible’ as she gets older.

As a part-time PE teacher, she urges other women her age to exercise.

Julie, founder of the Walking Resistance Band, InstepHe wants to prove that you can still “look sexy” at your advanced age.

Julie, who lives in Eastbourne with her husband, Jerry Armstrong, 67, says: “I’ve done the ‘Cool ’50s and ‘Exciting ’60s and now I plan on doing the ‘Cool ’70s.”

“I always make sure I look sexy when I wear things like patterned crop tops.

“I’ve spent my whole life flaunting my body, not because I messed up but because I feel so good.”

From a young age, Jolie has always been active.

Julie looks amazing (Credits: PA Real Life)

She says, ‘I was never very academic in school, I always wanted to run outside.

“About 11 years ago, I knew I wanted to become a physical education teacher.”

But even outside of her job as a teacher, Jolie has always enjoyed participating in sports.

“Outside of work, I taught Jane Fonda exercise classes in the ’80s for adults, as well as playing hockey, netball, running, cycling and walking,” she says.

“I still run, bike and walk but had to give up netball and hockey a few years ago because I was busy on the weekends.”

Having her son, Matthew Armstrong Ford, 33, and daughter Christina Armstrong Ford, 30, in her 30s, didn’t limit her love of fitness either.

She says, “I kept working as a physical education teacher but outside of school, I worked on weight training classes and dance classes.

The children were either joined or dragged to watch netball and hockey games.

While Jolie loved the “fuss” of exercise, she also found that it gave her a lot of confidence in her body.

She is the creator of the resistance band Instepp (Credits: PA Real Life)

“I worked hard at being fit and healthy, to look good,” she says.

“I used to be known as the lady in the village who cycled everywhere and hardly wore any clothes because I only wore shorts and a blouse.”

In September 2016, when she was 63, Jolie was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer — but it didn’t hold her back.

“It was a routine mammogram appointment and they spotted something and called me again,” she says.

“When they said it was stage 2 breast cancer, I couldn’t believe it because I felt so healthy.”

Jolie, who underwent a month of radiotherapy, said she was fortunate to “have fun through” her treatment.

She says: ‘It’s still hard to believe I had cancer, because I felt so healthy all the time.

“I didn’t want to give up my job, so I timed my treatment in the fall semester so I could carry on.”

While Julie has gone through her treatment relatively easily, her attitude to exercise has changed.

“When I got back to the gym, I just thought ‘I don’t want to be here,'” she said.

“Life is too short and I just wanted to be outside and make every day count.”

Jolie traded the gym for long walks in the country, and Jolie realized she wanted something more – and began to experiment.

She said, “I wanted something to keep my upper body strong and toned.

I tried using weights, but at the end of the walk I would look like an orangutan, because my arms would be too tired from carrying weights.

I dug around the garage and found some rubber resistance tubes and an old wetsuit, and I started trying to tie them to my shoes so I could hold them and create pressure.

“I went through about 30 different designs over the course of the year until I found the final product.”

Impressed with her creativity designed to tone and strengthen the body when combining resistance and movement, Jolie launched the versatile Walking Resistance Bands in March 2018, called Instepp.

She said, “I was so excited that I made something that was so good—you can walk with the bands or move around with them anytime, anywhere, whoever you are.

Jolie says women her age shouldn’t feel invisible (Credits: PA Real Life)

“I’ve used it near the sea in Croatia, on the edge of a cliff in Cornwall or by a pool in Mexico.”

Jolie said her resistance bands while walking kept her in great shape.

“They often say that once you reach 50 you become invisible but I make sure I am not,” she said.

“My friends jokingly tell me they hate me and ask, ‘Why do you look so good?’ “

“I don’t know if you’ve blessed me with aging well or if that’s what comes from being positive — but I think, if you’re feeling good, you look good.”

As Jules approaches her 70th in February 2023, she’s planning to celebrate in style.

“It’s weird thinking I’ll be 70 because I don’t feel like it at all,” she says.

In addition to being nominated as a Personal Trainer for Retirees by Inspired Villages, the operator and developer of Subsequent Living Communities in the UK, Jolie is also looking to train the next generation of her family, having become a grandmother for the first time.

The energetic mega-grandmother said: ‘My granddaughter Friga is only 13 months old at the moment so she’s not running around yet.

“But I can’t wait to take her on the bike and she can walk or bike with me.”

visit instepp.co.uk for further information.

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