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Exercise and the Change of Life

As many of you know I turned 50 last month, with it brought a lot of life assessment and I am sure some of you know exactly what I am talking about!

However, turning 50 was a pretty big deal to me, I was quite anxious leading up to it, like something was going to happen overnight. I knew it wasn’t, but I think its that age when you realise you are definitely mid-life and you look around and ask ‘is this it?’

Changes had been happening to my body for a while and I have certainly noticed the signs of aging. Because of this I have been reading more and more about the changes with the body throughout this time of life and one thing that comes up in EVERY thing I read, is how important EXERCISE is!

There have been a few things that have really hit home for me, so I want to share them with you.

OK some of you are probably nowhere near mid-life, some of you have past it and some of you are men. I still think it is a very interesting topic how exercise can help.

With saying some of you are a men…………………well, there have been recent studies saying that men can also go through a change in life – their symptoms are pretty similar women:

  1. Hot flashes

  2. Moodiness and irritability

  3. Accumulation of fat around the abdomen and the chest

  4. Loss of muscle mass

  5. Dry and thin skin

  6. Excessive sweating

  7. Reduced concentration span

  8. Decreased energy

In a man, the changes are less abrupt. They emerge slowly and subtly with the decrease in the levels of the male hormone testosterone (‘Medical News Today, 7 October 2016 by Christian Nordqvist’)

So, why is exercise so important even more so at this time of life?

Exercise, along with a healthy diet provides the foundation to get your body ready for the transition. If you haven’t started before the hormones decline, it will be that much harder to start later on (‘Medium.com, May 2018 by Rebecca Levy-Gantt’) This in particular really struck a chord with me, wow! Let me repeat that again so it sinks in “If you haven’t started before the hormones decline, it will be that much harder to start later on. ” But, really it’s never too late!, you know the saying "Better late than never!".

Exercise is general can help keep your body at a healthy weight, keep your bones strong, reduce your risk of cancer, reduce your risk of heart disease, decrease the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, reduce high blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol, increase energy levels, helps your brain and memory, helps with sleep quality and makes you happier.

Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost endurance. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to our tissues and helps our cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores. You do not need to be doing high impact exercise or 'cardio' as some people call it - I am going to digress a little - 'cardio' means: exercising the heart muscle. Essentrics is cardio, its just not high impact, we are exercising the heart muscle, our heart rate goes up and down during class.

"Exercise is the best medicine and the best preventative medicine. Just like taking your car for regular maintenance, the regular maintenance for our bodies is to do regular activity" (Randy Steinfeldt)

So why wouldn’t you exercise? Why is it, some people are so scared of it or don't even try?

Another important thing especially during the change of life, is stress management and taking class helps with that too :) Exercise and physical activity produce endorphins, these are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. They also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.

I must share with you, it never ceases to amaze me how many times I get emails and texts saying “I won’t be coming to class because I am too tired, or because I have had a hard day” Honestly, this is when you NEED to come to class the most. You will feel so much better afterwards. There are times too when I don’t want to teach a class, things happen in my life too BUT I am always so pleased that I do as I always feel 100% better – its those endorphins!!!

As you know I take a record of who attend my classes. When I compare all my classes with the amount of people away each week, the one class that usually has a 90% turn out (unless they are travelling overseas) is my class that has 99% of participants over the age of 50.

They “get it”, they understand WHY its so good to exercise, the importance of it and I must mention they could give many of my younger class participants a run for their money! They look absolutely amazing doing Essentrics and the strength they have in their legs from doing lunges and plies would blow a lot of you away. They come because they appreciate what they get out of it, they don't give up after a few classes or a term, they keep coming. What’s more they enjoy coming to class. Not only do they build strength, balance and flexibility but it is a very friendly and social class that assists in the stress management side of things.

So, the ONE lifestyle decision you can make to live longer and healthier is to exercise. You can exercise as much as you like or as little. But you MUST keep moving! A lot of people don’t realise this or only do something about it when their bodies show signs of not being able to move, like I said above, its never too late.

I am going to leave you with this quote to ponder from Medium.com by Rebecca Levy-Gantt – she says she saw this in a doctors office -

“Those who think they have not the time for bodily exercise, will sooner or later have to find the time for illness”.