Gold herself became sedentary and piled on the pounds in the lead-up to her marriage breakdown in her late 40s; fortunately, her home in San Diego had a communal heated pool, and swimming laps helped her to rediscover the active life she had enjoyed in her 20s, overhauling her lifestyle to become a born-again marathon runner. Now, she’s a self-proclaimed “midlife weekend warrior”, and intends to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro before she hits 60.
But fear not: you don’t need a pool or an ambition to scale mountains – she has ideas for rented flats and home updaters, as well as for full renovations. “You may not own your own home, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve the healthiest living space possible,” she tells me (over Zoom). “We meal-prep and cook in our kitchens, unwind in our bathrooms and restore our energy in our bedrooms,” she explains. “The home should support us in our everyday endeavours.”
When it comes to fitness spaces, she points out light, portable fitness gear can be used anywhere. “Just having fitness equipment at home makes it more achievable – but a barre, mirror and stylish storage can help create a welcoming, well-equipped yoga space.”
Simple changes to things like lighting and storage can make a difference to how you feel and function, argues Gold, whose “wellness equation” has five key tenets, to apply in the home: accessibility (enjoying your home unimpeded by injury, illness, disability or age); safety (security, good indoor air quality, ventilation in the kitchen and bathroom, slip-resistant floors); functionality (optimising rooms for peak performance, whether eating, working or sleeping); decor (the details that enhance physical and emotional wellness, inspiring comfort and joy, like a wool rug to soften a wooden floor, mood-lifting family photos or in Gold’s case, a display of race medals); and, finally, connections to nature (this might include plants, soothing water features and an abundance of natural light, to purify the air and encourage an in-tune sleep cycle – even shells from the beach).
Sophie Attwood, who runs interiors company Husoe Home, also recommends growing indoor plants in your home to boost wellbeing, purify the air and improve your WFH set-up. “The days are getting darker, and spending more time inside than out can leave many of us struggling with mood. It’s not just the weather – the chaos of Covid-19 has had a significant impact on how stressed we’re feeling. Greenery and nature helps us to clear our heads and feel calm. Incorporating plants into your decor at home can improve mood and diminish stress: studies have shown that indoor plants improve concentration and productivity by up to 15 per cent.”
Plants are also scientifically proven to increase air quality: research by Nasa has revealed that certain houseplants can remove up to 87 per cent of air toxins in 24 hours. For an abundance of natural light, Rebecca Snowden, interior style adviser at Furniture Choice, suggests placing a mirror opposite the window to reflect and double the sunshine coming in. “This might also be a good time to shift your workspace to be as close to the window as possible, to take advantage of the light and rest your eyes by looking outside,” she says.