The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

My Journey from the Couch to Fitness

Published by Nigel Pritchard on Dec 11, 2023

It appears I am in good company. Robert Burns, who, in his poem “To a Mouse” said “The best laid plans of mice and men,”an expression that has withstood the test of time. Even entering popular literature, in John Steinbeck’s novel “Of Mice and Men”. So, like the mouse and the farmer in the poem, I have seen my fitness plans thwarted, from the get-go.

Thwarted, is too strong a word and suggests failure, or a blockage that is difficult to overcome. As my wife often says, I shouldn’t be melodramatic, all I have suffered is a stutter in my fitness journey.

So, to quote a well-known phrase “what’s occurring”. No sooner had I started at the gym and in my humble opinion, doing well, I caught “man flu”. Now as most men know this is a terrible state of affairs. Not well understood by our partners or the medical professionals. Usually leading us to be laid low, unable to participate in daily life and needing copious amounts of attention. Or as my wife would say I am ‘gilding the lily’ to optimise the level of sympathy received. Which, I can honestly say, in our household is to no avail.

That said, it has held me back and I felt terrible for over a week. Leaving me low on energy, coughing a lot and finding it difficult to breathe. So, learning from the past and rather than overextending and pushing too hard, decided that hiding under the duvet and getting well was the priority.

There was one saving grace, it wasn’t Covid. Which by all accounts is running at a faster pace as we enter the winter season. Thank goodness, as a nation, we are in a much better position to understand it, cope with it, mitigate the risks and be able to support people when they are most affected. 

Happily, last week, I felt much better and started doing some exercise at home, just some light strengthening and flexibility work. Then, on Wednesday afternoon, not the mythical tomorrow, I made it to the gym.

Reflecting on that gym session. It’s amazing to think that gym’s are underappreciated and underrated as a social, community hub. During my visit, I had a long chat with the TheBoldAge’s co-founder Steve Foreman, whose gym it is, and plenty of banter with other boldies. In fact it was quite the natter. This social aspect, though, was something, that until now, I had not fully appreciated. Gyms are not just about the physical but are a social network that can boost our mental wellbeing. And yes, i did get some exercise in, in fact better than expected. Plenty of weights, kettlebell work, stretching, and a gentle jog on the treadmill for 15 minutes. One-minute jogs and one minute walking.

So, with my mental and physical boost, I was back in the gym on Thursday. Though for a shorter 30 minutes. And i am looking forwards to next week’s sessions. hopefully with a round of golf in between.

Come on Boldies your never too old to start your fitness journey, its highly recommended.

We would love to hear your stories.  You can drop us a line at

Useful Links:

Exercise and keep fit classes for seniors | Age UK

Boldies: we are never too old – TheBoldAge

Boldies: It’s never too late to take up cycling – TheBoldAge

Joe Wicks’ workouts for seniors +16 more workouts for over 50s (

Thanks for the Photo, taken by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash