The fifties are such an interesting decade for many reasons. This time signals many changes in lifestyle and probably most notable is the shift in hormones. For women, hormones - or rather, the symptoms that hormones create - play such a significant role in our lives that I consider them like imaginary friends because we have an intense and intimate relationship with them. For some of us, these symptoms are probably more like frienemies! The next few years mark major changes in your relationship with your hormones.
Each decade of your life brings new and unique health considerations. Here are a few areas to explore if you are in your forties.
Most women sail through their twenties with ease in regard to fitness, health and weight management. Their busy lifestyles and high metabolisms keep them burning hot. As our lives shifts from social to work and family focus, so does our activity level. There is a natural shift usually unrecognized by most of us in the direction of sitting more each day. The thirties are big years for personal change and development. I've had the pleasure of witnessing this in many of my clients. Here are a few common threads that I see consistently in women in their thirties.
Every stage of life brings unique opportunities, challenges and lessons. The decade after college for most women is monumentally important. These are the years when you navigate the exciting labyrinth of your career, social life, spiritual perspective, relationship needs, and overall worldview. These are the years when most women define themselves. These are also years filled with non stop busy-ness in respect to social and work life. Life moves fast in your twenties and its valuable to pause for a moment to assess a few things regarding your health and ensure that your actions are in line with your goals.
Two days after a glorious, speedy run, I found myself staring down at the pavement, my hands on my knees. Panting heavily, I wondered why some runs seem so difficult when others are a piece of cake.
I only had three miles to go, and I was fading fast. The annual Miracle Miles 15K in Orlando, Florida was one of my favorite races, but with every pounding step I took, I couldn't help but curse the event. It was hot, I was crabby and tired, and my goal of crushing my personal record by five minutes was clearly not going to happen. All I wanted to do was sit down on the curb and quit.
For over 16 years I have worked one-on-one with hundreds of people to help them navigate their journey toward better health and fitness. While their reasons for hiring me vary from weight loss to marathon training, the core of their goals really comes down to one thing: to take action to better themselves. As humans, it is in our being to constantly seek progress. We want to be "better."
Most people exercise either to be fit or to lose weight. While there are other motivations, the real essence boils down to one of these two goals. Proper food strategy is extremely important to support your efforts and help you reach your goals as efficiently as possible. The human body has complex and intelligent systems designed to protect vital body processes. While exercise is beneficial, the body experiences it as stress and sets in motion biochemical interplay to either foster adaptation or inspire preservation. Simply, this means that you will get the best fitness results if you are calculated in your habits before and after workouts. One decision can make or break your exercise efforts.
In addition to being the New Balance Fitness Ambassador, I work everyday with private clients as a personal trainer and fitness coach. It's funny to me how ideas and themes seem to present themselves from many directions at certain times in my life. Recently, the value of strength training was presenting itself over and over with almost every one of my clients. Specifically, three clients stood out:
The year is a quarter over—have you kept your New Year's resolution?
Man, I hate the gym. I just do. I'm not a runner, not a weight lifter. But I remember a time when I forced myself to go to the gym every day. People thought I was really dedicated, but I hated every second of it. And I didn't see results in my body. I was like, why isn't this working?!
Wow, doesn't she look peaceful and strong. This is what I often think when I wander by a yoga studio. Then I decide to take a class, and I spend most of the time wondering why I went. When those yoga peeps go on and on about how yoga has changed their lives, I can't help but laugh to myself – that's so not me! I want to love it, but sadly that never happened, so I just chalk it up to my monkey mind (I was told I had one by a scary Qi Gong instructor I encountered) and move on. I'm okay with it – me and my monkey mind will head out and try something new. Trying new things and approaching them like a complete beginner, blank and without expectations and fears, opens me up to new experiences that I'd otherwise have never tried. So what's on my list, you ask? Just a few things that I must try:
It's difficult to imagine, today, heroic sports achievement without a soundtrack. From the crunch-time organ rendition of Elton John's 'Benny and the Jets' at Los Angeles Lakers home games to the hand-picked at-bat songs of Major League baseball players to an entire series of marathons set to a rock soundtrack, music is a proven motivational tool for athletes and spectators alike.
People frequently ask me "Taylor, how do you DO all that you do, with five kids? Do you ever sleep?"
I like the word "fit." It feels somehow more kind and gentle than other words describing a similar state. It doesn't feel akin to the eating disorders and body disorders that plague our nation. It feels balanced in a Zen sort of way.
You're an experienced runner. You've heard all the advice. Apply RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) to most running injuries. Warm up at the start. Stretch as you cool down. Listen to your body. It's all, of course, true. And very important. But after reading and hearing the same things over and over again, it all tends to wash over you. What does listening to your body really mean or look like? What's it like for someone who truly lives to run and runs to live? How does a world-class athlete know when to play through the pain and when it's time to stop, change up the routine and let things heal? We sat down with national champion Jenny Barringer, one of Team New Balance's elite multi-event runners who is currently in training to recover from a femoral stress reaction, to talk about how she tells the difference between pain that's ok to train through and pain that sends up warning flags that should be heeded immediately. For Barringer, it's all about balance – between training and competition, cross-training and running, confidence and humility and even the two sides of one's own body.
By now, spring has quickly sprung into summer weather, with sunshiny days and temperatures steadily climbing through the 80s into the 90s. The warm weather can definitely motivate you to get outside and exercise more, but the sudden high temps mixed with humidity can also kick your butt. Here are some tips to make working out in the heat safe and more bearable.
You know exactly who I'm talking about, so don't front. There is a veritable litany of gym junkies, aka gym rats, the lineup of which is a study in the patchwork quilt that makes up the American people. Every gym has the Buff Grandma, the '80s Bodybuilder, the Scantily Clad Teen and the Over-Zealous Spinning Instructor. You've rubbed sweaty shoulders with the Lithe Yogi Girl who glides around barefoot, unfazed by the same demons that haunt Lysol-Misting Germophobe Guy. My parents are some of the worst offenders: Old People in Matching '80s Windsuits.
Given the increasing demands on our time and energy, achieving a personal goal or making a lifestyle change can be really tough. Leaning on people who are striving to meet a similar goal or lifestyle change for support can give you the benefit of motivation, encouragement and comfort in knowing you're not in it alone. Now more than ever, the Internet is making it a lot easier to find and connect with others who share similar goals as well as locate helpful tools to plan and track your progress against those goals. There are websites that center on a specific activity, like running. Or if you're looking for support from other people working towards a specific goal, say weight loss or getting back in shape, there are sites for that too. Or maybe you don't need an intense amount of support or the ability to track your progress in great detail, but want to share your progress with others -- there are ways to achieve that as well. Just as giving is better than receiving, the added benefit of any of these sites is that in the process of getting your own support, you could end up being a vital part of someone's support system.