As my blog evolves, I always intended to start to introduce other women bloggers and with the M of Menopause being about Movement, it was obvious to ask the wonderful Alison Graham to share her thoughts on why physical movement should be part of our daily life to bring a richness to our lifestyle.

Well to be straight to the point yes it does matter, let’s discuss the reasons why it matters especially so in pre and post menopause and the years beyond.

There are the medical factors of bones density and strength including the great buzz words core strength.

Then there’s the Psychological factor of your independence that you get to keep.

Finally, the social factor of being able to carry doing the activities with the people you enjoy doing them with. These favourite activities may change over the years but your desire to do them may never wane.

I am beginning with medical reasoning because it is where most people begin, and I mentioned it first. I like to split the medical factor into 3 areas, bone density, strength and range of movement. Bone density is important for women after menopause when we have stopped producing Oestrogen, the hormone needed to build bones. We can improve or bone density with both weight bearing, this would be skipping, hopping, running and jumping style exercises or with strength training which is lifting weights or using body weight exercises. Although these exercises may seem hard, they can be easily included in your day starting in 10-minute slots, start within your abilities and keep improving. I use skipping a lot with my clients and it is quick to show improvements in their skill. Improving your bone density protects against brittle bones and fewer breakages.

Gaining more strength comes as soon as you begin to exercise. Besides being stronger you will feel stronger, a bit of inner confidence that you are okay. Strength training also helps with improving bone density and again you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to start feeling the improvements, 10 – 20 minutes each day will start those changes, but you need to be consistent, it’s a daily thing.

The range of movement is the other key factor here. The more we can move the more we can move, it sounds silly but as we get older the aches and pains begin and we need to keep them at bay for as long as possible. Here’s a little mantra of mine, ‘we are not supposed to live in pain’, get it sorted. Pains and changes can creep up on us slowly and we learn to live with them very quickly when we should be pushing them back and looking to live pain-free. Keeping as much range of movement in your body as joints is one of the most important things you can do.

The psychological aspect to our health and fitness is perhaps the most important, to me anyway. Since the day I was born, I think I was striving for independence, to be able to look after myself. As we get older that can become less easy but knowing that you are strong, you’ve done the best for your bones and you can still reach the top shelf or down to tie your shoelaces is a massive boost to your own inner voice and chatter. Hang on to that independence for as long as possible.

I said at the beginning about the social factor of being able to do the activities that we enjoy with the people you enjoy doing them with. When we feel life is a bit of an uphill struggle it can be easy to let things slip and we get to our new way of life, our circles tend to shrink a small bit at a time, but they shrink. I talk to my clients about keeping the depth of your world out there as long as possible.

Here’s an analogy that I think explains how one thing not managed can impact the rest of your life.

You’re playing tennis and pulled a muscle in your shoulder and it feels so sore, you’ve given it enough time to rest and heal and it’s not feeling better. ‘That’s it’, you think there’s no more tennis for me and start to make changes to manage your situation. You ask someone to help you move your tea and coffee cups into a lower cupboard so you can reach them, your independence is slipping. You stop going to tennis (or another social event) because you can’t play, and you begin to lose touch with those friends. You’re not playing tennis and you begin to lose the fitness esp. the weight bearing, strength and range of movement that goes with it. And soon the depth of your world begins to reduce ever so slightly but it is the beginning…

Don’t leave it to chance, do something every day that you can enjoy and that fits in with your schedule daily, most of all be consistent.

Here are images of me working with my client Lisa, she came to me after falling and breaking her arm, she wanted to improve her confidence to use that arm and also feeling stronger and although she was still horse riding she wanted to get back to jumping too. It would easy to think that Lisa’s main focus was weight loss, it came 4th on the list.

 

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Lisa always wanted to try boxing but never thought she would be able to do it after breaking her arm. It’s helped improve her confidence in her arm, she feels strong and can pack quite a punch. Lisa shares the skills she has learnt with me, with the children at the riding stable, helping them to develop their core and their riding seat.

 

Alison Graham, Feeling Fantastic over Forty.

Alison is passionate about women getting the right information on how to look after themselves. Since joining the fitness industry she has been disappointed at the amount of conflicting information for women’s health fitness and wellbeing, most of it is based on how you look rather than how you feel.

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Life is about being around for a long time and also a good time, Alison wants to be the crazy old lady that dances in the street!

Alison works with women over 40 of any ability to facilitate them gaining strength, improving confidence in themselves, their bodies and self-belief. Her clients include those who want to feel stronger and more confident, obese clients, post breast cancer surgery, wheelchair tennis player with ms, managing fatigue, hate gyms, can’t go to the gym and diabetics.

You can work with Alison to help you feel fantastic, either in person and online. Make enquiries directly to alison@feelingfantasticoverforty.co.uk

Alternatively, you can join Alison’s exclusive online (Facebook) daily exercise group The 100 Club. It’s especially good if you want some ideas, don’t like the gym, want to workout with others but not in the same room. It’s £5/month, full of variety and the videos stay live within the group.

It’s only too late if you don’t start now.