Not news to you that our lives do not end at 40. For some of us, they may begin in the fifth decade of life. Let’s look at how can we stick around and enjoy the fruits of our labor as we head toward retirement and possibly to being a grandparent? It may be time to take up rugby, ski jumping, or ice hockey, especially if you’ve never broken a bone. <wink> Just kidding, although our active days are not necessarily over. If you are experienced in a sport, you are more likely to be able to keep going as long as your doctor feels like it’s a good idea. An athletic uncle of mine stopped playing tennis at 75. He stopped skiing at 80.
I will share my workout, as a 50+ woman, and give examples of the healthiest people I know past forty years of age. I’ll talk about the most common pitfalls and how we can avoid them. In the last section, I’ll include a special focus on women’s health and osteoporosis. I’ll end with a discussion of how media use can keep us motionless and an invitation to share your exercise routines.
My Health Maintenance
My core workout is 15 minutes of yoga and stretches first thing in the morning. I also to walk for an hour with friends 4 times a week. In addition, I garden several days a week, dance in my kitchen while cooking dinner (salsa, tango, and flamenco–¡Olé!), and swim about once a week. I bike for transportation two times a week in the summer. I have installed a chin-up bar at the entrance to the kitchen to work on my upper body strength and posture. In the past I have lifted weights to work on muscle tone and as Covid slinks into the past, I may return.
- Downward dog to plank (yoga all body stretch and arm strength)
- Torso lifts (cobra without arm support/stomach muscles)
- Pointing cross body arm and leg (balance)
- Twist lying on floor (back)
- Leg lifts (thigh strength)
- Ankle on knee lifts (hip stretch)
- Arm corner stretch (opens chest muscles)
- Hang from chin up bar (arms and shoulders)
The healthiest people I know walk an hour a day, every day of the week. They walk with friends, making it fun and good exercise. They are my models for health over 65+. Running is not as practical as time goes on and may be discouraged after 70 by your doctor. Walking is golden, if you are able to get out and about, stride on. Humans evolved to walk 3+ miles per day. It is a good cardio-vascular work out, good for muscle tone in the whole body, and excellent for our digestion.
Sitting most of the day is the most common pitfall of age. It imperils our posture, our muscle tone, and our longevity. As a fit 84 year old says, “Sitting is the new smoking.” The friends of my parents’ generation who stopped moving around, are no longer around. Harsh, but true. Which friends, neighbors, countrymen (or women) could you invite on a walk today?
Two easy mistakes: sign up for a gym that’s more than 15 minutes away or pick an activity you don’t really like because you think you should like it. Studies show your gym must be close to your house or work place for you to go regularly. Which activity? If you like Zumba, great. If you prefer Tai Chi, that’s cool too. When I go to an exercise class with a friend, my attendance is more regular.
For women after 40, weight-bearing exercise is important to guard against osteoporosis. Walking, dancing, cycling and Tai Chi are a few examples.
What if you’ve never exercised? Or haven’t for decades? In the example of my friend’s father, in his 60s he began to walk a mile at the mall daily. After a year, he’d lost 75 pounds! Experts say 20 minutes a day of walking is an excellent maintenance exercise. We don’t need to run marathons, thank goodness. I’m not a big runner.
An important health factor is, How much do I stare at a screen? As a parent of a teenager, I think about their screen time. What I rarely count is my own. I spend about 4 hours daily on my blog, email, and writing. I spend 1-2 hours watching PBS (Public Television) nature and science shows with my family about five times a week. How’s your screen time?
That’s it for this guest blog. Thanks, Devang for the opportunity to write for FGW. Hope these examples were helpful. I’d like to hear from you all:
What is your exercise routine?
How much time do you view screens per day?
I invite you to visit Fake Flamenco. ¡Olé! –Rebecca
So, this was a guest blog shared by Rebecca Cuningham. She is a fellow blogger. She loves to write in 2 languages, share poems, conduct poetry challenges, talk proudly about history, and represent her culture.
If for some reason you are not aware of her work, then I invite you to check out her work.
For more such guest blogs, click here.
Until next time, remember to SMILE.