What’s the most important strengthening exercise for women over 50? The squat? The dead-lift? Hip strengthening? These are all great exercises for functional strength, but I would argue that exercises of equal importance (and ones that can be done concurrently with other activities) are the ones that nobody will ever see you doing – pelvic floor strengthening.
The pelvic floor is an extremely important group of muscles that acts like a sling or hammock to support the uterus, bladder, and bowel. The pelvic floor muscles also have an important role in controlling bladder and bowel functions and are a key player in pleasure during sex.
Painful sex is one of the biggest complaints of peri and post-menopausal women. In some studies, almost 60% of post-menopausal women reported pain during sex. Although the pain is typically attributed to lowering levels of estrogen, it can also be related to changes in pelvic floor function.
Researchers believe that painful sex for many...
Recently, I was diagnosed with an injury that has benched me from my regular exercise. Couple this with the impending onslaught of eggs, bunnies, and other chocolate wonders that appear this time of year and not surprisingly, my attention has turned to the possibility of weight gain.
Weight gain in peri and post menopausal women is a significant health issue. We know that women in late middle age have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) that rivals men, and that carrying too much excess fat is a significant contributor to CVD. In our age group, carrying too much weight can also increase the risk of things like problems with metabolism, cognitive decline, arthritis, urinary incontinence, cataracts, and cancer. Good times.
Many women have been conditioned since an early age to weigh themselves regularly, but using weight as a measurement becomes more problematic over 50. Most importantly, the number on a scale doesn’t reflect the loss of what we...
As we get older the range of motion around our joints, along with our muscle flexibility gradually declines. Loss of flexibility can eventually lead to issues with balance, increased progression of some disabilities, greater risk of falls, and a reduced ability to complete certain tasks.
Like sarcopenia (the gradual loss of muscle mass over time), loss of flexibility is a usual part of aging. Although flexibility is joint-specific, meaning that each joint has its own range of motion based on the type of joint and many other factors, aging typically leads to increased stiffness in all of our joints. When our joints become stiffer, we lose the ability to move them through a full range of motion.
Where is this the biggest problem in women over 50? Believe it or not, one of the most significant areas of range of motion loss is in the ankle. Women between 50-85 years old can lose as much as 50 percent of their ankle range of motion. Although this may not seem like a big deal,...
“Life is a balance between holding on and letting go”
As I gingerly picked my way through the snow and ice this morning, I was reminded about how women of my age start to have insidious changes in their balance system (this is the nerdy stuff I think about on my commute to work). I took a bad fall on black ice a few years ago and am definitely more careful about how I get around in winter weather.
What about you? Have you ever felt that funny feeling of suddenly slowing down descending a flight of steps, or of being less confident on an uneven surface? These are the small changes that creep into our balance as we age.
The balance system is a complex (and amazing, really) part of our body that many of us largely ignore until it becomes problematic. Most people become much more aware of their balance after having a fall or having a change in their mobility. Falls and mobility changes may seem like something reserved for much older people but subtle changes...
“Design your life to minimize your reliance on willpower ”Behavior Scientist, Stanford University
This is it. This is the year you will become more physically active. You will go to the gym five days a week and in six months you will be magically transformed into a thinner, happier, and more toned version of you. The fleshy additions of the holiday fun will magically melt away and you will take full control of your fitness…Sound familiar?
How about this year, instead of beating ourselves up with unattainable resolutions, we all practice a huge dose of self-compassion and start exactly where we are. Let’s keep the goals small, manageable, and sustainable.
I’m a huge fan of making small, steady changes to improve health. I know that this type of change, especially when matched to an existing habit, really works!
So, here are some realistic, “micro” but effective things you can do to get on the road to a healthier...
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