If you’re a woman over 50, you already know that your body is changing, with regard to menopause, your metabolism and your moods. But how can you make the most of Mother Nature’s changes to keep feeling strong, healthy and powerful in your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond? Well, my friend, I’ve got three simple lifestyle changes you can implement TODAY that’ll help you feel vibrant and looking forward to the future.
*Quick disclaimer: I am not a medical professional; please consult with your doctor before undertaking any significant lifestyle change.
1. Change Up Your Exercise Routine to Focus on Recovery
Remember when you were in your twenties, thirties and even into your forties, how you worked out hard and felt amazing afterward–at least most of the time? Maybe you trained for a marathon, did hot yoga until you collapsed, or hit the gym daily for some high-intensity workouts on the elliptical and the treadmill.
And your body totally responded! It was (more or less) easy to maintain your weight, or knock out a 5k whenever you wanted to.
Well, life is different here in “Menopauseland.”
With dwindling estrogen comes longer recovery times (because estrogen has been helping to clear inflammation and build your muscles and bones all these years – who knew?), and that means it’s time to dial things back a bit.
Now, I’m not saying that you should never run another marathon or that your plans for that century ride should be nixed. I’m saying that nowadays, you have to focus on recovery in ways you didn’t used to.
So, if you’re looking to lose weight over 50, this means you’ll want to exercise moderately every day. Stressing your body with high intensity exercise can actually lead to fat storage rather than fat loss, so keeping things nice and gentle every day means you’re always recovered and ready for tomorrow’s workout.
And no matter if you’re losing weight or simply looking to get and stay healthy over 50, your best bet is a weekly routine that includes cardio, strength, and balance. And yes, you really do need workouts that help with all three. I’ll say it again, for those of you who need to hear it: cardio, strength, and balance (not just your favorite one of these three😉).
Why cardio, strength, and balance? Cardio keeps your heart, lungs, and circulatory system in good shape. It also helps with mood and reduces your risk of metabolic diseases that can occur as our menopausal bodies adjust to life without estrogen.
Cardio is fantastic and it feels so good, but women over 50 also need to include strength training to protect our bones. Fun fact: strength training not only slows down bone loss as we age, it has also been shown to increase bone mineral density, and the two of those things together greatly reduce your risk of injuring yourself in a fall. Aim for two to three days every week of strength and resistance training in your routine.
Cardio and strength – that makes sense. But why balance?
Balance exercises keep us steady, stable, and strong for the long haul. Starting well before the age of 50, we begin to lose our ability to maintain balance the way we could when we were in our twenties and thirties.
According to Peter Wayne from Harvard Medical School, “Balance is not just a matter of how well the vestibular system of the inner ear is working. Declines in strength, flexibility, vision, touch and mental functioning can all contribute to balance problems.” Including even a few minutes of balance exercises into your workout routine will improve your balance and help you feel more confident as you age.
2. Change Up How You Eat to Fuel Your Changing Body
Nope, I’m not suggesting that you go keto, or try intermittent fasting, or eat vegan, carnivore, or paleo. In fact, I’m not suggesting a specific type of diet at all. When it comes to what you eat, you do you–as long as it feels like self-love.
In fact, the best lifestyle change a woman over 50 can make is to stop thinking about “dieting” and start thinking about eating the right amount of food to fuel your changing body.
For some of us that means eating less, but for a surprising number of us, that actually means eating more.
Cutting calories too much or too quickly triggers a stress response, which slows down your metabolism, which can then lead your body to store fat instead of burning it! And yes, what I’m saying here is that eating too little can cause you to gain weight. Mind. Blown. 🤯
For a full conversation about finding the right number of calories for women over 50 to lose weight, check out this video, where I’m chatting about using a variety of calorie calculators to help you find the number that’s right for you.
3. Change Up Your Mindset with Journaling
This one is the biggest–and best!–lifestyle change a woman over 50 can make, and honestly? It’s the simplest, too. My friend, changing your mindset is as easy as grabbing a pen and a piece of paper to journal about your thoughts.
I know you might be having flashbacks to your primary school diary days, but journaling at a “certain age” serves an incredible purpose. In fact, it might be the most revolutionary act of love you do for yourself. Changing your mindset impacts everything – including how you eat, how you exercise, how you see yourself and how you see the world.
Wanna know how easy it is to “change your mindset?” We really dig deep into this work in the Get Your Goal Coaching + Accountability group, but the gist of it is just this:
Step 1: Find your thoughts (by journaling)
Step 2: Decide if they’re helpful (by asking yourself how they feel)
And, yes, it’s truly as simple as that!
My friend, weight loss goals, fitness goals, and really, ALL goals come down to creating a mindset that empowers you.
So, are you ready to start implementing these three lifestyle changes now that you’re over 50? Awesome! These are the stepping stones to making peace with your menopausal body and living your best life for the rest of your life. Let’s GO!