16 Jun Keeping Fit at Midlife
Thank Goodness its Friday! We have had some beautiful days here in Charlotte over the past several week, cool breezes and the sun shining. It really does make a difference in my mood if there are a multitude of grey days and rain. That is one of the reason I left Pittsburgh. I love my hometown, don’t get me wrong, but I prefer bright sunny days over cloudy. Speaking of sun, bathing suit season is here, so I hope to share with you some suits that you might enjoy if you’re in the market for a new one.
I thought I would get your thoughts on staying fit at midlife. I know we read about “middle-age spread”, requiring less fuel( food) as we get older, what parts are sagging and drooping due to genetics and lack of exercise. For me, I have always loved sports. I was involved in softball, swimming, weight lifting etc as a teenager and kid, and also enjoyed hiking and biking. One of the reasons we moved to Charlotte was the proximity to the mountains and our enjoyment of hiking in the woods.
When we first got here I was going to spinning class bright and early three days a week and loved it. I enjoyed challenging myself and trying to “kick my own butt” on the bike. Classes were great as I felt the time flew and it was a better way for me to keep my mind on the activity. This was, however, before I felt the symptoms of EDS and started to have physical problems.
After EDS, I was unable to bike, due to the strenuous nature of using my leg muscles and my hypermobility. However, I thought to myself, I was not going to succumb to being unable to exercise, but rather find something I was able to do and that was more gentle on my body. So, for me, moderate exercise and eating healthy was a lifestyle that was pretty easy to adhere to. I do believe in order to be fit, or keep healthy in midlife, there were certain things I was going to have to do.
According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adults can gain substantial health benefits with just:
- 2.5 hours (150 minutes) moderate aerobic activity per week. That’s just 21 minutes each day of the week or 50 minutes of activity 3 days a week.
- Or, just 1.25 hours (75 minutes) of vigorous aerobic activity per week. That’s just 10 minutes each day of the week or just 25 minutes 3 days a week.
- Find an activity you enjoy. For me, I have always loved swimming. I am not crazy about the amount of time it can take to prepare for it, ( if going to a gym) but once in the pool, I use pool weights and dumbbells, that help strengthen without worry of injury or pushing myself too much. I vary between doing some laps and pool exercises, which are easier on my muscles and joints.
- In my 20s I would do back to back classes of step class or ride a bike for 45 minutes and then take a class + lift weights. The reality is, I think I was overexercising. I don’t feel a need for this to keep fit at this point in my life.
- Weight lifting even lightly, will help prevent bone loss. Osteopenia and Osteoperosis is more prevalent in later years, I can try to prevent this.
- Moderation is key. I don’t deprive myself of things I enjoy, but don’t eat a huge portions. I have Gastroperesis, ( food moves slowly through my body) so I really can’t anyway. I love ice cream, but often choose frozen yogurt, or a small portion. I feel life is too short to not have some of the things I enjoy!
- Walk with a friend or spouse. I think companionship is a great way to exercise. Some people love the focus and structure of a class, but it can be just as rewarding and fun going to walk in the outdoors with your friend or spouse. I enjoy being outside more than in, so this works for me.
- Don’t live by the scale. I know everyone has a certain weight they feel good about, in clothes etc, but don’t let a few pounds destroy your day. I am 5 foot 9 and 121 pounds, but try more to focus on how my clothes feel and how comfortable I am. I find myself, that if I eat healthy, I continue to crave healthier food choices.
- Take care of yourself. Staying fit means you have the energy to do so, so getting enough sleep is very important.
- It used to be said that your metabolism slows down as you age. In a recent study, they found this to be false. *The metabolism doesn’t slow down, but many people become complacent about working out or exercising at all; thus it is more about eating more and exercising less. In order to continue to be fit, eating in moderation and exercising is the healhtier way when we age. * MayoClinic
- I like eating mini- meals throughout the day. For me, it helps with digestion, and also keeps the metabolism fired up throughout the day. Small portions.
Speaking of staying fit, now that the weather is nice, we have a great pool at our HOA. Besides having to do a photoshoot there, I will be swimming this weekend and using pool weights to increase upper body strength. I bought these and these for use in the pool. ( dumbbells and gloves)
Have a wonderful weekend!