Edit: When I wrote this at the beginning of 2020 I had grand plans for ticking hiking bucket lists off. Who knew we’d be hit with months of a pandemic and quarantines! Self care and staying fit are even more important! The healthier you and your lungs are the better your chances of fighting off sickness and disease.
Taking care of myself is something I should’ve excelled at when I became an empty nester. At the time, I was traveling nationwide for work and that wasn’t ideal for self care. Now that I have a semi-normal job, I’m able to have set schedules and less excuses for necessary maintenance habits.
The older I get the more I realize how important health is. Now matter how radiant I keep my skin, if I can’t touch my toes or get out of bed without feeling like the tin man, old age isn’t going to be fun for me.
The biggest concerns on my mind are movement and flexibility. I wasn’t kidding about not being able to touch my toes. I slacked off exercise during the holidays, overindulged while celebrating turning 50, and during a warm up I seriously couldn’t reach my toes. It’s alarming how quickly our health will deteriorate if we don’t stay on top of it.
Let me ask if the following phrases have come out of your mouth:
I don’t have time, I hate exercise, I’ll start after…..(enter lame excuse here), it’s too late, it’s too painful, etc. We can always talk ourselves out of the things we really don’t want to do.
I’ve found doing the following items helps me to get off my hiney and get moving.
- Get out of bed and hit the ground running. Don’t stay in pajamas, immediately put on workout clothes.
- Don’t reach for the phone or turn on the TV, until you’ve accomplished whatever your morning ritual is. Having my coffee while reading for 30 minutes is just enough to wake up and then complete a 30 minute workout.
- I was constantly complaining that I didn’t have time on work days. Now I get up an hour earlier, I wasn’t sleeping much anyways with my crazy hormonal activity, but I’m getting to bed earlier and it feels great.
Some Free Ideas
The type of movement you do will depend on your situation. Since moving back to California, I’ve become a lover of hiking. When I lived in Texas, just walking to get the mail could leave me smelling like wet dog. However, weather should never be an excuse to be lazy.
For those of you that have a disability or injury, exercise will look different. I found these helpful ideas. Be sure to consult your doctor first. If you aren’t already seeing one, an appointment with a physical therapist could help.
As much as possible, get out in nature to walk and clear your mind. If that’s not an option plenty of people mall walk or use free YouTube videos. If you like to avoid the sun and heat, can you swim at night? These are all great because they’re free and I’m not one to spend money on a gym membership.
Maybe you’re already ahead of the game and feel super fit. Are you stretching enough? My hubby is a workout fanatic but he’s always saying he did enough stretching before the workout. I like to remind him that’s a recipe for an injury. I’m a huge fan of foam rolling, especially after a hike when glutes feel super tight. You can read more about it here.
We need to remember as we age, stretching, staying flexible, and holding our balance are going to be vital for pain free living ahead. I want to make sure that my posture stays upright as having a hunchback isn’t my goal. Did you just straighten up as you read that?
Some Ideas That Cost a Little
If you already have a gym membership you should definitely make use of it. Taking classes usually works better than trying to go solo, there’s more accountability built in and slight peer pressure in a good way.
As mentioned, I don’t like gyms, I have a fitness center where I live and hardly ever use it. I do love working out at home using an app with programs ranging from 21 days to several months. The biggest hurdle to overcome is pressing play! Once you get your mindset handled, your body will fall in line.
For a list of recommended apps read The Best Fitness Apps for 2020. I personally love Beachbody on Demand because my hubby pays for it so it’s free for me. I’m on week three of 21 Day Fix and am proud to say I can touch my toes again. Whew!
You know the best part about starting a fitness routine? It has a domino effect in other areas of your life. You’re more likely to eat healthier when you’re working out. Exercise triggers mood boosting endorphins that cause positive feelings. If you’re struggling with anxiety, which is common during menopause, exercise is a great way to take your mind off your troubles.
Last but not least, exercise makes your blood pump more, which increases the circulation of oxygen and gives your skin a healthy glow.