9 Key changes Necessary for fitness later in Life & better mood
I have been getting a lot of feedback from women on wanting to know what they should do, for exercise, and movement but not being able to get their mind right about doing it. Plus they also wanted to know more on mood, and wanting to feel better.
First I want to say, I think it is normal to not feel our best everyday, we are going to have days we feel down, our moods change depending on so many things, like our hormones, the weather, sleep, our diets, exercise, and our social envirement to name a few. What about hot flashes that keep you awake all night? that will certainly effect your mood right? who can feel in a good mood if you are awake all night, I certainly don’t miss those days of hot flashes 🙂
As for exercise it did not always come easy for me either, I did not start exercising regularly until I was 41. I was fat and out of shape, but I knew deep down that I needed to do something about my weight and start getting in some movement, and exercise.
I felt if I did not start doing something about those two issues by the time I was in my 60’s and beyond, I would be a walking time bomb for a stroke, heart attack or some other health issues. It was not easy getting out there in public being so fat, but I took it one step at a time.
I have talked about this to my husband Joe many times, that imagine me now if I had been too embarrassed to start walking? Where would I be now?
I saw in my own family, what inactivity can do to your body and your mind. Even knowing that it took me a number of years to take action and do something about my situation.
I have been thinking about this more to, as my mother was active until her mid 70’s working and walking all over NYC. Then she retired, as she was having some hip issues, and pain.
I never thought I would see this with my mother, but now she can’t even walk without a walker, and the stairs forget it. She has not been able to walk her stairs since she stopped walking and working. Yes, I know she is now 87, but this started in her late 70’s.
That is not normal, even though we think aging has to be we get weaker and not be able to lose weight.
I see women, and men every day at the pond where I walk and I stopped and asked one of the guys what he thought the secret was to still being able to walk the stairs, walk the pond, and do his own yard work.
Both men and women told me, that keeping active by walking the pond everyday and doing some exercise for their strength helped their body and their brains.
I said how does it help your brain? It is just being active they said, and the social aspect that keeps them young.
I would say it is being outside in the sunshine too. I feel that being stuck in your house all day with no social interaction, no family or friends around would be depressing or certainly not help your mind. My mother certainly perks up when she hears from me, I wish some of her girlfriends were still around, they have all passed away now.
I have found for me finding the right balance of exercise and movement, is key for the body and my brain as I have aged. It does not stay the same either, as we age we must then find a new balance.
Every decade, I find I need to keep evolving, but for my brain type, I think I do very well with lots of exercise, but lasting very short 20-30 minutes. With lots of outdoor activity in the sun, plus making sure it is a form of exercise I love. BUT, I also need to balance that with activities I love to do, as well as making sure I get enough quality sleep every night, is huge too.
I just found out again this week about the value of sleep. It is not the first time it has happened to me not getting enough sleep. You would think I would know better by now, how sleeping only 5-6 hours will effect my mood, my appetite, and recovery from exercise for days, now that I’m almost 64.
I do really need for someone to knock me on the head sometimes, or gently remind me of that. When I act like I’m 30 :-), I’m human and love to have fun with the best of them.
Aging healthfully, the majority of women I talk with, think they don’t need to do strength training, and can’t get their minds around taking time for themselves either. I include myself here to, for the part about not taking time for self care sometimes.
Don’t you find we feel guilty taking time for ourselves? Almost all the women I know put themselves last.
We need to customize a nutrition and exercise program that is optimal for our bodies. It will be different for all of us, as our hormones decline, it will look different for each 40 year old, each 50 year old, and so on.
3 key strategies I have found helpful for fitness as we age
- Lift heavy weights 2-3 days a week. Because it helps our bones, it will help our mood, our brains, it will help you able to walk stairs, help you feel more confident, and help your metabolism as well. We need to stay strong. Think about if you were hospitalized for an operation, or for some sickness the more muscle you have, and the fitter you are will help your recovery. My doctor said when I drove myself for my first follow up office visit after my foot surgery, my fitness level helped me recover faster, and my good diet. He did scold me for driving myself, but hey it was not my driving foot.
- Burst training, interval training is good for your body and your brain as well. You go all out for YOUR body for about 15-60 seconds, then go easy for a minute or so until you are able to go hard again.
- Walking is one of the most powerful, if you have never walked you can start with walking, and build up slowly. I have found some people who have not walked for movement, and start a walking program can get sore calfs, or just muscle soreness. Always start slow and build up, just like I had to do when I started a running program when I was 41, I had to build up my distance slowly. Start now, it will help you form a new beneficial habit, which will flow into better eating, and better mood.
6 Strategies for Mood
- Our hormones can effect our mood, I would get them checked.
Low thyroid can effect mood, food sensitivities, lack of sleep, lack of sunshine, being isolated, no social support, to much exercise, and not enough exercise, your diet what you eat, all these things can effect our mood.
- Sugar can robe your brain of your feel good hormones, such as dopamine, and serotonin. Cut down on all sugars and see how you feel.
- Supplements, Fish oil can help, with mood and inflammation. Look for a good quality fish oil. www.nutrasource.ca you can find a good fish oil, free of pollutants, or check to see rather, if yours is on the list of good ones. Some life extension brand ones are good, I buy the Exos omega 3 liquid, which is by Throne Research. Precision Nutrition has a blog that is titled approved supplements you can find at www.precisionnutrition.com/supplements they have a list of fish oil brands and other supplements.
- Get your vitamin D checked, it is really a pro hormone and can effect everything in our bodies. Make sure you keep it around 50-80, not barley sufficient like my husbands, as it can effect our immune systems, mood, brain, and weight to name a few.
- Walking can also help our mood, and our hormones, and is huge to for our mood, and being able to handle stress better. We are just not as resilient as we age to handle stress, no matter where it is coming from.
- a small amount of cardio, can help with mood as it raises the feel good hormones
I wanted to say just one more thing about our hormones, our hormones are intertwined with our metabolisms.
If we are under stress, progesterone can be converted cortisol. That can lead to estrogen dominance. As it is our progesterone levels that drop first, and at a much faster rate than our estrogens. So we do not need high cortisol levels to be robbing us of our progesterone as well. (progesterone helps to relax us )
So keeping our stress levels under control for us to feel good, and lose fat is really important. Higher cortisol levels can cause excess belly fat too. It is so hard to feel optimal and lose body fat when our hormones are not in an optimal range for our bodies.
Having an optimal diet, of less sugar and processed food can really help to balance our hormones, and help us better control our weight too.
Our thoughts and feelings also effect our hormones, and our overall health. The body just does not care, or know where stress is coming from, our diets, our exercise, sleep etc…all effect our being able to lose weight and feel our best.
We really need to be thinking at this time in our lives, about having more fun and relaxation.
I’m going to be talking about hormones and intermittent fasting in my upcoming newsletter, to my tribe. If you are not on my exclusive list you can “ADD YOURSELF HERE” to get my best strategies, and insights that I don’t share anywhere else