Physical exercise is paramount to wellbeing. Why is it that when working Mums get busy with family and work commitments, it’s the first thing that gets dropped off the list? Should it even be on the to do list in the first place? Shouldn’t exercise be as habitual as brushing your teeth?
We’re all guilty of it. Something has to give and it’s “easier” to give up your things than other people’s. But that’s just short term thinking. In the long run, we’re no good to anyone if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. To ignore that fact has tripped up lots of extremely able women I know, including myself at times.
Lately I’ve been rejigging my priorities (again) and alongside that, reviewing the types of exercise I do. Living by the beach means I always walk – almost daily – and have been a runner of sorts over the years too. But as the days get shorter and the nights longer, the appeal of running often wanes. Then there’s the inevitable middle age wear and tear that sets in making me wonder if running really is the way to go.
Recently some friends and I attended a seminar on menopause management by the awesome Wendy Sweet. The presentation had sage advice based on comprehensive research and personal experience on how to prepare for and manage the transition from menstruation to menopause.
Not surprisingly, nutrition, sleep and exercise are all key to managing health as women transition through different stages of their lives. Wendy runs 12 week online programmes to support women through the transition. It’s definitely something I’ll look into in the future.
Wendy’s advice really resonated and confirmed what I already suspected. High impact, cardio focused regimes will not serve us well as our bodies age. Some cardio is fine (and necessary) but it is more effective when balanced with a variety of physical activity.
My “routine” which is not set in concrete (therefore not really a routine at all) now includes:
- Short walks 20-30 minutes on the beach or nearby domain
- Longer walks with hand weights of around 60 minutes
- Runs of 30-50 minutes twice a week
- Yoga daily at home via the fantastic You tube series led by Adriene
- Aqua jogging on Sunday morning with a friend for 60 minutes followed by coffee so ticks social elements of well being too! (my Instagram page has pics of our favourite cafes)
So my bad knee is holding its own. My “good” knee is aching less and a shoulder injury sustained earlier this year is slowly coming right. I feel more inclined to exercise due to the variety of activities I’m doing – some indoor, some outdoor, some solo, some with friends – and feel like I’m improving strength which, according to Wendy, is really important. Oh and I might almost be breathing better but that’s a “work on” …
What I’ve slowly learned over the years is that exercise shouldn’t be a rigmarole. If it’s cold, stay in. If you’re already tired, don’t do cardio. It also doesn’t have to cost the earth (yoga mat, hand weights, shoes) and in order to be sustainable, it has be enjoyable.