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Beth Tweddle MBE

Britain's Greatest ever Female Gymnast


5 September 2013Beth Tweddle health interview

Olympian Beth Tweddle may have retired from professional gymnastics but it doesn't mean she's turning her back on it. We speak to the athlete about health, fitness and what's coming next

You helped to launch the new Bupa centre this week, why did you want to get involved with this?

You know what Bupa have helped me a lot through my career; I’ve been on one of their policies for about 10 years now. When I’ve had injuries I’ve had to have scans and I’ve had operations, it’s essential really when I had competitions coming up.

Why is it important for us to listen to our bodies when working out?

Even if you’ve just got a small niggle, and you get on top of it and listen to it straight away and go and see someone about it, it won’t escalate. Whereas if you leave it, it could turn into something much bigger and more impactful.

When we’re working out what sort of signs should we look out for that we’re going too far?

Obviously if your body is hurting you’ve got to listen to it and seek medical advice to find out why it is hurting, it might just be a case of your body not being used to exercise and your body needs to adapt to it. But if you’ve got an on-going problem, it’s time to get it checked out.

What sort of things can we do to protect ourselves when exercising?

Obviously if you’ve had any problems previously get them checked out prior to exercise by visiting your local GP or your physic. And don’t go head full in straight away, ease yourself into your workout.

You announced your retirement from gymnastics last month, how hard of a decision was that to make?

Obviously it was a hard decision. I’ll never walk away from gymnastics completely, but on the competitive side I couldn’t do the hours that I needed to do to be at the top anymore so I decided to walk away from that level of it. It took me a year though to even make that decision.

You’ve got the Beth Tweddle Academy opening soon; tell us a little bit about that?

Basically it’s already been set up and I’m adding a new one to it. It will be in the Olympic Village, I just want to give every child their first opportunity of trying gymnastics. By setting up academies on doorsteps around the country it just allows the kids the access to it.

You said you’re never going to walk away from gymnastics, so other than the academy how are you going to be involved?

My federation are nominating me to be Athlete Representative on the International Federation for Gymnastics and obviously I’m flying out to the World Championships next month to support the girls and boys out there and hopefully do a bit of work with the BBC.

Other than gymnastics and your Academies what sort of things are you hoping to pursue in the future?

At the minute I’m just taking each day as it comes and I’m not looking too far ahead. Everything I’ve always done has always been very structured and I’m just enjoying living for the minute at the moment.

Beth opened the new Bupa Health Centre on Basinghall Street in the City of London. www.bupa.co.uk/basinghall