Dame Kelly Holmes: 'I'm in denial about ageing – I don't like it'

Dame Kelly Holmes grinning at a table
Dame Kelly Holmes says midlife is a new opportunity

At 54, Dame Kelly Holmes is a force to be reckoned with. Twenty years on from her Olympic Gold win, the elite athlete says she's more competitive than ever – and has no plans to slow down any time soon.

"I don't want to stop," she says. "I want women to know they can get more from themselves post-40 and be fitter and happier rather than go the opposite way.

"At this age, we're taking control and feeling empowered. I want the message to younger women to be that the best is yet to come, not that we have to slow down."

Kelly Holmes in blue at the London Marathon 2024
Kelly Holmes is as active as ever (Getty)

Kelly's approach to growing older is refreshing, with the Loose Women star vehemently disagreeing with the adage, 'Ageing is a privilege.'

"I don't want to age," she says adamantly. "It's a privilege to get older, but it is not a privilege to age, ageing isn't nice! I'll do whatever it is to combat the ageing process."

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Kelly hasn't had an easy ride when it comes to getting older, sharing that at one point she was in so much pain she couldn't even do one press-up. "I've had a lot of injuries in my career, and I know the difference between injuries as a sports person and body pain, so I knew something was up," she says.

Kelly's doctor suggested it could have been perimenopause and prescribed her HRT, which failed to help alleviate her body pain, leading her to take a holistic approach to her perimenopause symptoms.

 EXCLUSIVE: Dame Kelly Holmes opens up about her health on HELLO!'s In A Good Place podcast

"I started taking collagen supplements for my joints, my muscles and my tendons and now I'm obsessed because the body pains are gone," she enthuses.

supplements in a lit up corner
Kelly rates Ancient + Brave's Noble collagen

"Since taking Ancient + Brave's Noble Collagen I'm running more, I've got more endurance and I feel strong and my body pain is alleviated."

While collagen is best known for keeping our skin healthy and glowing, it’s also an essential ingredient for our joints, as immunologist Dr. Jenna Macciochi explains.

"We don't often appreciate how much we put our joints through during our lifetime."

Kelly Holmes running
Kelly Holmes has put her body through a lot (Gary M. Prior)

They are taking that wear and tear every day, and they're essential for allowing you to move with ease, keeping you mobile and flexible," Dr. Jenna says of the importance of caring for our joints.

As well as her physical health, Kelly notes that staying active is crucial for her mental wellbeing as she ages, sharing: "Being active makes me feel good, it benefits my mental and physical health and helps me feel empowered because I'm in control."

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Kelly says she does weekly Park Runs on a Saturday, as well as a long run during the week, and weight training. "I don't want to get injured as it would really impact my mental health to not be able to be active, and collagen helps prevent injury.

"I'm not slowing down, I'm more competitive than ever – I don't want anyone in my age group to beat me!"