See your doctor for a check-up. Know your numbers—your cholesterol, your pulse, your blood pressure, etc. If there are problems, catch them early and address them. It’s stupid to do the “what I don’t know won’t hurt me” attitude. Yeah, what you don’t know could hurt you, or kill you. Especially see your doc before any of the below (except the breakfast thang, y’all!).
Eat breakfast. Stop it—stop your whining about how you aren’t hungry. Your body has gone without food for many hours and needs fuel. If you do not eat breakfast, you will over-eat later on, and usually in the form of processed/sugary carbohydrates and fat. Start small and work up to it, but eat a little protein and carb in the morning—for example, I have a piece of whole grain toast with all-natural peanut butter (no added sugar), and raisins on top; one of my doctors eats this same breakfast. Here is more on that subject: The Many Benefits of Breakfast (WebMD)
Strengthen your muscles. As we age, our muscles can begin to atrophy (personal trainer speak for shrink). Guess what takes its place? Flabbiness, yes, but as well, we will become unable to do the things we want, and need, to do. Our muscles aren’t there just to make us look good (and oh but they do make us look good!), but are there to keep us strong enough to do for ourselves, even the simplest of things like lifting your own groceries and taking them into the house; holding your children/grandchildren; pulling yourself up a mountain; taking yourself places you want to go and doing things you want to do on a strong muscular/skeletal body, and protecting you from injury and infirmity. And especially women: strengthening muscle means strengthening bone; who wants brittle bones if they can help not to have that? There are many ways to strengthen your muscles, for example: weight training with weights, using your body weight, rubber tubing, kettle balls, etc. More on the subject: The Importance of Strength Training (Reader’s Digest)
Cardio is our friend. I never thought I’d say that, for I was a die-hard strength training personal trainer. I detested cardio—until I began doing more and more of it in my fifties and found that “High” that comes from cardiovascular training/endurance. Not only has my heart function improved, but so has my lung function, and as a side benefit, I lost fat on my body and gained muscle-tone. I’m much leaner, have more energy. Another added benefit is stress-reduction–I don’t think about deadlines or book sales when I’m kicking ass on the treadmill: put on your earbuds with fave music while running, jumping, skipping, hopping, aerobic dancing—whatever high-energy cardio you like—and let the world go away for a while. (Note: If you exercise outdoors, listening to music is tricky and I don’t really recommend it as you can’t hear what’s around you—including traffic.) I hop on the treadmill 3 times a week and do an intense “interval training” session of running, hopping, skipping, jumping, and other aerobic “dance” –it’s not for everyone (my other days are less intense but I still MOVE). More on Cardio: A List of the Benefits of Cardiovascular Endurance (Livestrong)
Here is an example of something I do on the treadmill (except I don’t go backwards on it, lawd no):
Stretching and Balance is as important as the above! Before every intense treadmill workout, I warm up for around ten minutes, and then I do a quick series of gentle but active stretches before I do my cardio. After cardio, I stretch more deeply, and then go over to my matt work where I do a series of strength, balance, and stretching exercises—it’s a fusion of the three that, coupled with my cardio, has greatly improved my balance, flexibility, and strength. I fuse yoga, pilates, and strength training—using my body weight, balance ball or some other device, dumbbells, or rubber tubing—to keep my body looking and feeling optimal. Stretching and balance will further benefit us as we age—I don’t want to be one of those feeble “old ladies” who falls and breaks a hip because I have lost my strength, flexibility, and balance. For more on this, see: Slideshow, A Guide to 10 Basic Stretches (Mayo Clinic), and Yoga Moves for Beginners (Fitness Magazine) and Resistance Training for beginnings (Better Health Channel) and a vid for beginner’s pilates (there are also “professional” ones I do recommend – like Suzanne Deason and Yodney Yee, but you have to purchase those–worth it though!).
All of the above will not only make you feel better, have more energy, be leaner, but I can guarantee you that your sex life will be better (stronger more intense orgasms, better control, more confidence–Wheehaw and Hot Dang!), and you can go into your “Golden Years” feeling Kick Ass, sexy, alive, energetic, strong, independent, ready to take on the world! If you are called a milf, that’s cool, but if someone calls you a gmilf, well . . . . teeheehee.
As an aside, for you women out there in Menopause land, I have a couple of items that have helped me tremendously. They aren’t for everyone and you must see your doctor, but hot damn, I like them. I was completely against any hormone or anything “not natural” but sometimes we do need a little help:
Testosterone 2% compound. Menopause can sap our energy, make us foggy headed, and our libido can take a train ride to “whatever, I’m not interested much lately” land. Testosterone really has helped me with those things. I “tested” it by taking myself off of it—and those “symptoms” returned, only to alleviate when I began the testosterone therapy again. I’ve been on it several years without side-effects—I’m me, but more me. More on that, Testosterone therapy, really? Yes, really. Menopause don’t gots to suck, y’allses (my blog post).
And finally, Estrogen thereapy. Now, hold on for those who want to go natural. So did I. I never thought I’d do this, but recently a new doctor I went to for recurrent UTI’s (I had an operation on my bladder neck as a child, so have dealt with these all my life—recently, they were increasing) suggested I try Estrogen therapy and she gave me a prescription for Premarin cream. It’s a mild dose and I use a little three times a week. Well, y’allses, I’m moistier! Yup, it has helped my vaginal health and sexiness in a way that I didn’t expect, along with so far so good on the No UTI symptoms—wheehaw! It may do more, I have yet to see, but, just that one full-moist thang and the help with my cranky bladder has me all tee-heeing and crooking my finger to GMR. Yeah. There’s all kinds of information out there, here’s one from Mayo Clinic to start with.
Both of the above are by prescription. Talk to your doctor. See what works for you.
I also take a Pro-Biotic every day, a fish oil supplement, and a multi-vitamin for “over 50” women. I “upped” my protein intake (because of my kick-ass workouts), and eat mostly good healthy carbs (meaning, rarely do I eat “white carbs” such as white rice, white bread, white crackers, and instead go for whole grains.)
Another word on the Pro-Biotic: if you have had to be on an antibiotic, especially for a long period of time as I was for those recurrent UTI’s, then consider a probiotic. I was having problems eating, and my stomach Was Not Happy so that my weight was dropping to where I did not want it to (too much weight loss and you lose much-needed muscle! We need fuel!). Well, only thing I could think of that changed was all the nasty Cipro I’d been on. Antibiotics not only kill the bad guy bacteria, but the good guy bacteria, too, and your gut will not be happy. Ask your doctor. Do some research, as in here: Fact Sheet: Probiotics (Dr. Oz)
There is no reason to feel bad, to go about life uninspired and unhealthy and weak. Yes, there are things that happen to us out of our control, but when we can control it, why not do so? Take control of your health, your body, your food, your muscles, your heart/lungs/skeleton. Be strong and kick ass. Start small and work up. One choice at a time, my friends. You can do this.