A short rant about my bright red beetroot face

This morning I accidentally went to an old lady aerobics class.

I belong to this group of council gyms you see, with a very vague programme. I’ve been to two different ‘dance aerobics’ classes for instance – in one of them I was given glow sticks and made to bounce around in the dark to 90s dance music, and in the other I turned up to find everyone is professional dance shoes, ready for their hour of salsa.

This morning then I had taken a chance by signing up to a class just called ‘aerobics’.

On the way in, I bumped into the woman who normally teaches my yoga group, who it turns out was covering the class.

‘You’re not here for the aerobics are you?’ she said, eyeing me suspiciously.

‘Yes,’ I said, and quickly added ‘I’ve not been before,’ as though that would excuse me from whatever blunder I’d inadvertently made.

‘Only I think it’s more of a senior class,’ she said, ‘I’m not sure how much aerobics will be actually going on.’

Super. Old lady aerobics. I didn’t actually mind, because I imagined it would be more my pace, and I am going to be a granny in a few months after all. So there I was, in a room full of senior women many of whom, to be fair, looked in much better shape than me. And I was right, it turns out they WERE in much better shape than me, or at least they LOOKED it, because they don’t have my BRIGHT RED BEETROOT FACE.

This is after 20 minutes of floor stretches and a walk in the cold air back to the car, so it has calmed down massively.

My bright red beetroot face has been a lifelong affliction, and one that did NOT serve me well during secondary school. For starters, I was the WORST blusher. You really just had to look at me and say ‘are you blushing?’ for me to suddenly look like my face was about to explode. If you knew me at around 14 years old you will be able to testify that this is not an exaggeration. This was not an adorable pink tinge in my cheeks, this was RED, all over, with actual heat radiating.

The same effect happens with any kind of exercise. I don’t even need to get sweaty or out of breath, or even find something particularly hard work, which is frustrating, because everyone else assumes you’re about to pass out when actually it’s just a defective face.

About half way through the class the teacher gave me a slightly concerned look and actually turned on the air conditioning. I wanted to say ‘I’m fine honestly, I’m not about to have a stroke, this is just my weird skin,’ but I felt like that might draw attention to it.

It’s worse when it’s something new that I’ve never done before, i.e. old lady aerobics, because I think my face goes into panic mode and goes even redder, just to be on the safe side. You can see this in the post I wrote about giving up running – the earlier photos are more beetroot, fading as I get more used to it. I was more of a top left at the old lady aerobics midway point. You can see why she turned on the air conditioning.

Obviously it’s much less of an issue now I’m 40 and not 14, and don’t care what anyone actually thinks of me anymore, but it’s still annoying, especially when you’re in an aerobics class with a dozen senior citizens, none of whom have so much as broken a sweat.

So there we go.

Any other beetroot faces out there who can sympathise with me?

If you liked this post you might also like this rant about the hairdresser where everything is £11, this rant about the man online who called me a liar, or this one about car air fresheners.



  1. msedollyp
    14 March, 2019 / 2:48 pm

    Me!! just a walk outside and my cheeks and nose turn red!! My dad was affectionately known as the smiling beetroot I blame genes!

    • Jo Middleton
      14 March, 2019 / 2:50 pm

      Oh God, don’t even get me started on my nose! That’s red all the time, like Rudolph. I’m totally the same with the cold though.

  2. 14 March, 2019 / 4:50 pm

    Yes me too!Gym instructors used to come and ask if I was alright(I was I’m reasonably fit!)I was born with red hair and I have the skin colour to go with it!

    • Jo Middleton
      15 March, 2019 / 10:56 am

      Perhaps I need to get t-shirts made – ‘I’m honestly not finding this workout that hard’, something like that?

      • 15 March, 2019 / 11:11 am

        Sounds good!Or I could add it to my ‘underestimate me at your peril’order?!

  3. 14 March, 2019 / 10:00 pm

    Fellow beetroot face here too From any form of exercise, the sun coming out getting embarrassed or crying. Everyone around me seems to do all these things gracefully, not me… Beetroot face!

    • Jo Middleton
      15 March, 2019 / 10:58 am

      It’s so annoying isn’t it? Fortunately the blushing part has gradually got better as I’ve got older (probably because I care less) but sometimes it catches me off guard and I blush at a totally random moment and think ‘blimey, what MUST the person I’m talking to be thinking right now??’ I’m NOT looking forward to the menopause and hot flushes…

  4. 14 March, 2019 / 10:28 pm

    I too suffer with the red face – it looks on my face like I did a marathon after only a 5 km park run. People keep asking me at the gym “are you ok?” “yes, I just look like this when I exercise” is my usual reply – ok, the panting alongside probably doesn’t help :-)

    Anyway on the plus side I think I don’t pour with sweat as a result of my red face, like some folk do (this is my chosen defence or looking on the bright side!). I like to think all the heat goes to my face not my sweaty spots (hardly ever use a sweat towel. Also as a result of my “high colour” as my mother called it, she used to never dress me in red which I think might have also been an 80s blessing in disguise!

    • Jo Middleton
      15 March, 2019 / 10:55 am

      ‘High colour’ :-) I’d like to say I was the same on the sweating front, but my body seems to enjoy both in equal measure!

  5. 14 March, 2019 / 11:58 pm

    I am like this at work, everybody things I am ready for a heart attack with my bright red face. I have rosacea and started treating it with cream from the GP.

  6. Jo James
    18 March, 2019 / 9:10 pm

    I definitely ‘beet’ you at this. The reasons my face goes red are endless.. slight anxiety/awkwardness, stress, cold to hot, being put on the spot, talking in public, exercise that mildly raises my heart beat, central heating, sunshine, wind, you name it.. apparently drinking less alcohol and caffeine helps…I think having had people in the past say oh look you’ve gone bright red at awkward moments meant that for years I’d be anxious about going red which made the whole thing so much worse but like you I care much less than I used to.

    • Jo Middleton
      20 March, 2019 / 12:19 pm

      God yes, that’s so unhelpful isn’t it? ‘Oh look at you and how awkward you now feel!’

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