Yoga can transform you into a more confident woman who’s not afraid to meet life’s challenges. Not only will you become stronger, more flexible, and more agile, but yoga will also affect your mind as you cultivate patience. Yoga can help prepare you to face life’s changes with love, respect, and belief in yourself, and will strengthen you in all the choices you make.
Through yoga, you will learn to listen more to yourself, and trust your self-assessments. As you set the boundaries that work for this phase of life, you will hone your ability to take one day at a time and stay at the present moment. Not tomorrow or yesterday, but now.
Yoga takes your values and thoughts and turns them upside down. If you’ve harbored negative thoughts about yourself, you’ll find yourself becoming a more positive person who values the experiences life has to offer.
In the past, women approaching their 50’s lowered their expectations of what their bodies could do. Perhaps due to cultural pressures and perceptions, women’s self-esteem at this age could suffer. Stress adds tension, especially at the shoulders and neck, which can affect breathing. Once women learn to breathe deeply, their shoulders relax and you can see them start to settle into their own bodies as they learn how to use their entire lungs when they breathe.
No matter what age we are, we have to believe that we are good enough just the way we are. It has to be repeated over and over so that it manifests itself in the mind, because it is the truth. We have to accept and love ourselves for who we are. We don’t need to be perfect – we just have to like who we are. But we sometimes need a little bit of help, because the pressure from the external world is powerful. Yoga can be that friend that provides help.
Yoga is a powerful practice that encourages wellbeing on so many levels. It enables us to age with grace and beauty, and makes the aging process more pleasurable and meaningful.
If you are new to yoga and don’t know where to begin, the following video is for you. It is a sequence of 8 yoga postures specifically for beginners.
More cool info about Lexi: She instructs Yoga videos on her YouTube channel and actively works on her website LexiYoga.com. Her life mainly consists of – Eat, Sleep & Yoga. Follow her to learn more about the healing power and benefits of yoga.
Photo Credits: Lexi Yoga
At 55 years old, I have had 7 plus years of experience with the “change.” Women can begin having hormone changes from the early 40’s into the 50’s with numerous symptoms from irritability to night sweats to hot flashes to depression to anger to hair growth – just to name a few! I KNOW – aren’t you all looking forward to this if you are not there yet?
As much as all of the above symptoms are a pain in the arse, I think the one part of changing hormones that drives women crazy the most is the dreaded weight gain! We are minding our own business and living a healthy life when all of a sudden our bodies decide to fight us!
I started perimenopause in my late 40’s. It was not too bad then. Once I hit 50, well, all hell broke loose! I could do a whole other post on symptoms beyond weight gain, which come and go and come and go and come and go for years. For this guest post, I am going to focus on weight gain and what we can do to manage and reverse it.
For me, I was already doing all of the above. I was weight training with intensity. I was doing cardio sessions with intensity. I was already eating very cleanly – lean protein, healthy fats, the carbs that the experts were saying to eat to manage the weight. It was frustrating to know I was already doing everything I was supposed to do and still gaining weight, so I had to find a way to make it work for me.
I was already a person in tune with my body. I like to say I “listen” to what my body tells me in terms of how exercise and food affect it. I make sure to notice how my body changes when I eat certain foods. Learn to get more in tune with your body rather than going through the motions.
I started to SLOWLY change some of the foods as well as the ratio of protein to carbs to fats. I reduced the calorie intake – SLOWLY – I would say every 6 months or so starting at age 50. Sometimes the changes were less than every 6 months and there were times it was more than every 6 months. This is where that “LISTEN TO YOUR BODY” comes into play – so important!
There were times when absolutely nothing I did mattered & the body just refused to change. PATIENCE is your friend! Don’t give up and work through this!
Also, pay attention to how your body looks and how your clothes fit. The scale, if you do weigh yourself, may not move but your clothes may fit tighter. The weight on your body starts to shift to different places during perimenopause to menopause so be aware of this otherwise the scale and/or your clothes are going to provide a rude awakening one day! 😉
You are going to have to decide what is most important to you in terms of how hard you are willing to work to maintain your pre-perimenopause/menopause body. From experience, I can tell you it is very very hard to keep the weight down and the same body appearance as we age. Only you can decide how hard you are willing to work to keep the weight in a range that is comfortable for you.
I know this all sounds depressing and you want to say, “screw it all”! This is life for women. Some have it worse than others but we all will go through it. All you can do is accept it for what it is and decide what you are willing to do, how hard you are willing to work and honestly, how important it is for you to stay at your pre “change of life” weight. It is hard to stay there so it is not a bad thing if you decide that 5 pounds’ extra is OK. Everything in life is relative to what works for you long term
I have found a couple wonderful sources of information I would like to share with you.
Ellen Dolgen at http://www.shmirshky.com/ is an expert in this field. Her website has resources to help you through this along with a directory of doctors specific to “the change”. She has also written books that will make you laugh out loud while still giving you the information you need to manage this time in your life.
If you are looking for sleepwear to help you through the night sweats & hot flashes, check out Dry Babe at http://www.drybabe.com/.
I am open to questions if any of you want to email directly at email@example.com. I could have written another 5 pages on “my life during perimenopause & menopause” but I am sure this has gone on way too long already!
Bio: For those who don’t know me, my name is Jody Goldenfield & I blog at Truth2BeingFit, http://www.truth2beingfit.com. I am 55 years old and have been working out for over 30 years. I love to weight train but I also do my cardio! I admit to having done many things wrong when I was younger but I learned from those mistakes. My motto is “always learning” and “always a work in progress.” I plan to continue to challenge myself each and every day no matter what age. Age is just a number!
Thank you to Kymberly & Alexandra for allowing me to guest post here today!
We hope and suggest that you check out Jody’s blog. You’ll start each week out positively with her “Gratitude Monday.” You’ll end your week pumped up by a woman whose enthusiasm for resistance training will motivate you. Hop over now!
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The dieting world is a multi-billion dollar industry enticing you at every turn to invest in miracle weight loss program. Unfortunately for about 95% of the population these diets rarely work. This leaves dieters feeling frustrated, perhaps a bit betrayed, and most detrimental, like a failure.
To start on the road to a healthier you, discover the 5 nutrition mistakes you need to avoid in order to reclaim your health and body! No more diets, just a healthier, happier you!
We can all agree that diets for the most part do not work. Typically they are short lived as few people can sustain the type of deprivation that many diets require. Or if results don’t happen as quickly as we’d like the diet ends.
Weight loss is not an enigma if approached correctly. Believe enough in your ability to make the right call when it comes to what you put in your mouth. You know what’s healthy and what isn’t. You know what enhances your health and what detracts from it.
If diets worked, obesity would be eliminated. Today with so many options, food is confusing. But if you think about the way our grandparents ate it was pretty simple. They didn’t have the abundance of junk food, fast food, and processed foods that we have today. So why not eat like your grandparents? Include more fruits and veggies. Get rid of snacks, especially processed ones. Make sure your grains are whole grains and your proteins are lean. Watching portions with all food groups is vital for your success!
I’m still amazed with the number of people I meet who skip breakfast. In all my years of training, the clients who struggled the most with weight loss were the ones who didn’t eat a morning meal. I know you’ve heard this a million times, but it bears repeating: when you skip breakfast it wreaks havoc with your metabolism. When you eat breakfast, it’s like throwing wood in a fireplace; it ignites the fire (metabolism). Eating breakfast also keeps your body working efficiently, i.e. burning calories versus storing them. If you want to drop some weight, eat breakfast and skip the fancy latte.
Sugar-free products continue to grow and share space in Americans’ cupboards. Between soda pop, yogurts, cookies, etc. sugar free does not mean healthy. In fact, very often the calories can be higher in sugar free items because they have to kick up an ingredient like fat to make it taste better. The best thing you can do for your body and weight loss efforts is to review #1. The body doesn’t like processed foods which many of the sugar free products are. If you’re looking for sugar free, you’ll be able to find plenty of whole, fresh foods that are void of chemical flavors with a whole lot more nutrition.
Watch out for trends. Fat-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, carb-free and on and on. What’s a woman to do? Whenever there is a trend that promises to be the latest answer to weight loss, people jump all over it. Though there are certain people with pre-existing disease who need a special diet, most of us don’t need to go gluten-free or carb-free to get healthy. Again, trendy foods can be processed and full of things your body doesn’t need. So the next time a trend hits a magazine cover, remember it isn’t the answer to your weight loss woes.
This is probably the most important part of the weight loss puzzle. Be realistic about what you want to attain. It’s unfortunate that so many women want desperately to lose weight yet just can’t seem to find what works. Lofty goals are frequently set and rarely met. Start off with eliminating one unhealthy food. Once you’ve mastered that, move on to the next. That’s realistic! The best thing you can do for yourself is to honor your body by giving it whole, fresh foods as often as possible. Giving up certain foods can be very hard, but once you start eating better the craving for less healthy foods dissipates. Trust me. As someone who lived on fast-food, the idea of giving it up was tough.
As women we have everything we need to be a healthy weight and it starts with trust. Trust yourself enough to know that you have the ability to make the right choices for your body. Diets don’t know you or your lifestyle; only you do. Take it slow, make gradual changes and I can guarantee that a year from now you’ll be better off than you’d be if you had been through a series of diets. Take charge of your health and nutrition mistakes will be a thing of the past!
Nicki Anderson entered the fitness industry over 25 years ago after losing close to 50 pounds. Fast forward to 2008/2009 when she was named IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, after succeeding as a business owner, fitness pro, and club customer service consultant. Learn more from her about reaching your fitness goals via her books, the most recent of which is, Nicki Anderson’s Single Step Weight Loss; 101 No-Nonsense Tips for Healthy Living, Weight Loss and a Diet-Free Life. But why stop there when you can enjoy her blog, Thoughts on Health, Family, and Life After 50. You can also find and friend her on Facebook. We warn you – she’s funny!
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In December of 2006, at the age of 53, I was given the life altering diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular condition. A survivor of paralytic polio at age 5 and traumatic childhood events, the years of despising my challenged body finally caught up with me. Over there <——– is a picture of me in December of 2007. I’m smiling because I had just quit my full time award-winning career as a social worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs to heal my life, and had published my first book of inspirational poetry. Deep down in my soul I knew that great things were waiting for me on the other side of my office door and my diagnosis.
“When you get a diagnosis, don’t play to the result, take it day by day.” – Michael J Fox
After being discharged from outpatient treatment, I hired a personal trainer. Oh my goodness, do I ever remember my first session with her. I was so weak and deconditioned that I couldn’t even complete parts of the assessment. By the second session, it was game on. Everything hurt after we finished, but I had made a decision. If I was going to feel pain, I might as well experience pain on the side of health and strength, rather than the pain of disuse and being sedentary.
By February of 2008, I had met and surpassed my trainer’s initial goals for me. She asked what my next goals would now be. “Oh,” I answered, “I’d like to feel free in my body, go outside and take a walk, dance ….” She feverishly wrote down these goals. Her bag was packed and her hand on the door knob when I said, “Oh, there’s one more goal to add. I want to run the Boston Marathon.” That was quite a leap from having an initial goal of being able to get up off of a low seat.
On April 20 2009, 7 hours and 49 minutes after the gun went off in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, I crossed the finish line of the 113th Boston Marathon as a mobility impaired runner and raised $10,535 for Spaulding Rehab Hospital, where I had taken the first steps on my healing journey. My daughter and husband ran by my side every step of the way – from the grueling training through the winter of 2009 and the 26.2 mile course.
After running the marathon, my symptoms recurred, so I went back into outpatient treatment. In January of 2011 I came to my yoga mat. In May of 2011, I discovered the healing power of a form of body work called Structural Integration. For more information you can visit Anatomy Trains. From our second session, my body worker, David Vendetti talked to me about what happens in yoga teacher training. I was there for body work. “What does any of this have to do with yoga teacher training,” I would repeatedly ask myself.
I soon found out. On January 13, 2013 – don’t you love the lucky number 13 – I ran the 113th Boston Marathon and graduated from yoga teacher training. I am now a certified yoga teacher.
I bring all the gifts and treasures of wisdom I have learned on my healing journey to others through teaching yoga. At the age of 59, I feel more vibrant, healthy and fully present in my body than ever before. And as for that progressive neuromuscular disease that was going to get a lot worse with age – well, they say one picture is worth a thousand words, so consider this picture an essay!
This baby boomer is blooming!
Alas, unlike wine, muscular strength does not improve with age.
From about age 30 onward, we lose strength at a rate of approximately 10% each year. Recent studies suggest that not all muscle groups are equally affected. In women, the loss of hip flexor and hip abductor strength is significantly more pronounced than that in any other muscle group.
The iliopsoas, rectus femoris and tensor fasciae latae (collectively referred to as the “hip flexors”), connect the lower spine and pelvis to the thigh bone, thereby allowing you to bend at the hip (for example, during a sit-up) and to raise and lower your legs (while standing or lying flat on your back).
While often the focus of intense stretching (most of us have chronically tight hip flexors from running, cycling, driving, sitting and heck, just engaging in 21st century life), the hip flexors are rarely targeted in strength training programs.
In fact, many of the courses I’ve attended as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor have specifically discouraged the inclusion of hip flexor strengthening movements in both group fitness and on-on-one training settings – “Stretch, not strengthen” being the main take home message.
Ironically, as we get older, the hip flexors are precisely the muscles we need to actively strengthen. They not only help with balance and postural stability, strong hip flexors can also keep us from tripping and falling. The stronger your hip flexors, the more likely you’ll be able to lift your leg to avoid tripping and the fewer the number of steps required to regain your balance during a fall.As we get older, we need to actively strengthen the hip flexors for balance & postural stability. Click To Tweet
Join me as I demonstrate my three favorite hip flexor strengthening exercises. Add them to your current strength training program, aiming for 12 to 15 repetitions of each move per side, two to three times per week.
Strengthen your hip flexors and I guarantee, the only trips you’ll be taking will be to warm, sunny climes!
Don’t forget to stretch when you’re done! Alexandra and Kymberly will be happy to show you the right and wrong way to perform a hip flexor stretch.
Tamara believes that exercise and healthy eating need to be part of everyone’s life and aims to inspire and motivate others by showing them that if she can do it, anyone can. She blogs about fitness, food, family and fiber (knitting fiber, that is) at fitknitchick.com and is always thrilled when you comment on her posts. Please follow her on Twitter @fitknitchick_1.
Photo Credits: Tamara Grand
You know you’re in for a good experience when the first thing you see in the Press Room is a Gifting Suite!
Top Left: Alpina USA Greek Yogurt with Granola (We went to an Alpina test kitchen event. More on that in a future post)
Top Right: Debbie from Premium Gold Flax
Middle Right: Curtain at the Stonyfield Farm booth made from yogurt lids
Bottom Right & Bottom Left: Extremely unique chocolate from Lilie Belle Artisan Chocolates (yes, that really is bacon in the chocolate, and yes, you should NOT eat this bar unless you like super spicy)
Bottom Center: Daisy from Carmela’s Food Company (her marinara recipe comes straight from her Italian emigrant grandmother, Nana Carmela)
Center: Lotus Aroma is a French-Canadian company that makes skin care products that are devoid of crap (and the owner has a great sense of humor)
Right: Organic Valley has come out with even more yummy items in their grass-fed line (sisters not included). They put on a rockin’ 25th anniversary party too!
Left: Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA Fitness Journal. She knows food and fitness, oh yes!
Top Right: We met our FitFluential friend Jody of Truth2BeingFit. She is super fit and super fun.
Bottom Right: That is my former UCSB student Will. He now works for CORE Foods. Buy their stuff.
Left: Artists from Hugo Naturals creating soap
Center: We like balance so that’s what we did with Chandra, founder of Drink Chia. We support woman-owned businesses like crazy.
Right: Someone has to win this beehive from Attune Foods, and Alexandra wants to be that someone.
Photo Credits: Alexandra and Kymberly’s Instagrams.
Please click to visit us at FunandFit.org, subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and follow us on twitter: @KymberlyFunFit and@AlexandraFunFit. See our instagram pics at: @AlexandraFunFit and @KymberlyFunFit. We follow back!
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
We met Phyllis 28 years ago when we were newbie guest instructors at Rancho la Puerta Fitness Resort, located just south of the border in Tecate, Mexico. At the time we knew her as the Group Fitness Director and well loved and respected yoga teacher. But we knew very little about yoga except that it seemed for the fringe and oohie woohie sorts, nor that Phyllis had lived in many countries and through war horrors. She was always so nurturing, funny, warm, and positive that we never imagined her history. That fact alone bespeaks the effect that yoga and meditation can have.
Bring some of those same positive feelings into your practice by listening to Phyllis’s story. Can’t wait to listen? Click on the radio episode and finish reading this post later. Not only will you appreciate what yoga can do to improve your life, but also you’ll get a kick out Phyllis’s sense of humor and English “elocution.” Then read the book she wrote of her childhood prison experiences, The Hidden Passport, which was easy to read and fast paced.
Given the hardships and cruelty she faced as a child imprisoned in Japanese war camps, Phyllis is especially appreciative of the ways yoga brought joy and awareness back into her life. “Yoga offers Balance, Compassion,and Gratitude,” she asserts. “Yoga is not just what you do; it’s also who you are.” Some of the benefits yoga or meditation include:
Looking for the ultimate yoga or guided meditation treat? Head to Rancho la Puerta, a place we hold near and dear to our hearts. Take Phyllis’s classes in person. Discover an entire range of fitness classes, hikes, cardio workouts, art classes, and top quality instructors. (Side note: if you are thinking of going to “the Ranch” let us know as we can save you $250).
Please click to visit us at FunandFit.org, subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and follow us on twitter: @KymberlyFunFit and @AlexandraFunFit. See our instagram pics at: @KymberlyFunFit and @AlexandraFunFit. We follow back!
We were not compensated in any way for this post. Our goal is for you to listen to our radio show and have a healthier, happier life. For more on yoga, take a look at our post, Yoga: For Flexibility? Weight Loss? Animals?