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Barbara Kendall on ageing and being confident in her own skin

The Olympic athlete shares her thoughts on ageing and body confidence.

What does Barbara Kendall love most about her body? The fact she can walk the Tongariro Crossing – a 19.4km day trek through the national park – and come away with slightly sore knees and a tired sense of satisfaction.
Retiring from competitive boardsailing in 2010, after a highly decorated and much-celebrated career in the sport, the Olympic medallist no longer feels the pressure to maintain her athletic body, but that doesn't mean she's taken her foot off the fitness pedal.
"I found it hard to retire because I didn't have a goal any more. Now I'm just trying to eat healthily and do a reasonable amount of exercise. It's a gentle, nurturing and sustainable approach – I still want to be able to do yoga when I'm 85."
"I'm just trying to eat healthily and do a reasonable amount of exercise... I want to be able to do yoga when I'm 85."
As Barbara gets older, she's begun to feel more confident in her own skin – something that wasn't easily achieved in her teenage years.
Barbara made a name for herself at age 25, when she became the first New Zealand woman to win a gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics for windsurfing.
"I had quite a bit of acne," she reflects. "And I was in a male-dominated sport. I felt very self-conscious."
That said, being in a swimsuit for the water sports star has never been an issue – and, in fact, her best days were spent in a bikini!
"I love when you go to places such as Greece or Brazil and you see all these larger ladies in bikinis and they just don't care! We should take a leaf out of their books. New Zealanders can be quite prudish."
Barbara flat out refuses to believe in the concept of "a perfect body", and isn't keen to try cosmetic procedures to maintain a youthful appearance. Instead, she's determined to age gracefully and prefers to do a natural detox every six months to eliminate toxins from her body. "You are what you eat – that's my motto," she insists.
"If you spend too much time looking in the mirror, you become paranoid, so I just don't do that."

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