Practicing survival self-care during the COVID-19 pandemic

be lift move Apr 07, 2020

My parents were children when the Second World War broke out. They were both separated from their parents, lived through rationing, and regularly woke up to bombed-out streets. Although they didn't talk much about the hardships until we were much older, their early lives would have been considered in many ways, horrific by modern standards.

Looking back at my parent's time during the war, I know that their focus was simply on getting through the day. The battle was a signal that they were in a crisis and survival was key.

We may not be facing the same wartime violence, but the COVID-19 pandemic is a massive global change, and we are facing uncertainty, financial worries, and a growing list of causalities; there is still an enemy lurking.

We're all trying to find ways to get through this, and if you're anything like me, you might find yourself in a cycle of consuming. Consuming lots of unnecessary news feeds, way too much Netflix, and snacking on all sorts of things that wouldn't...

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Six ways to stay motivated to exercise in the new year.

lift move Dec 14, 2019

As the days get shorter and the holidays are now almost in full swing, I understand how hard it is to get motivated to exercise. It’s likely, however, that in January, many women will find themselves wanting a fresh start. The new year is always a great time to get back to an active lifestyle.

If you’re one of the people trying to make a change, I want you to be successful. Last week I talked about ways that you can deal with the issue of not having enough time in your schedule for physical activity. Today, I want to help you get over the second most-cited barrier to exercise; lack of motivation.

In a really interesting study looking at women who adhere to exercise long-term versus those who don’t, the researchers found some impressive results. The first issue for those who didn’t stick with exercise was attributed to them not having good enough fitness classes to attend. When researchers looked at why the classes might be an issue, they found that classes...

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Why is yoga is such a popular choice for the ageing body?

be lift move Nov 09, 2019

Yoga is by far the most popular exercise program used by Age Sisters around the world. Many women tell me that, as they get older, yoga seems to work for their bodies and lifestyles. Why does this ancient practice enhance the modern ageing body? Let’s explore.

In recent years, yoga has moved from a niche activity to a mainstream exercise craze. Yoga’s popularity comes from both mental and physical health benefits. Yoga is a combination of focus on mind, body, and spirit. The practise of yoga integrates these three elements to foster compassion, well-being and inner peace.

Pain Management

Many women over 50 manage chronic pain conditions. Few find complete relief from medications, and many are looking for additional ways to better deal with aches and soreness. As a result, many studies have been conducted to look at the use of exercise to manage pain.

When researchers looked at the results of a study of using different types of exercise to control pain, they initially...

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Twelve ways to increase safety when starting an exercise program.

lift move Oct 11, 2019

One of the things that I hear most often from women wanting more guidance in their programs is that they want to know how to exercise safely. But to clarify, this can mean many things to different people (e.g. the design of the program, type of exercise, outdoor safety etc.). Keeping general safety considerations in mind, here is a run down on some of the basics to think about when you’re getting started.

If you are interested in having support, I would recommend that you start by working with someone who is certified and qualified to design a comprehensive program. Depending on where you live, qualifications may vary. You should look for a minimum of an undergraduate degree in exercise science and a national level certification. You will also want to look for someone who has experience and qualifications that are specific to women over 50.

Let’s assume you are taking on a program on your own. Here are 12 ways that you can help increase how safely you are approaching...

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Achy joints over 50? The causes may suprise you.

eat lift move Sep 20, 2019

This week goes out to one of my favourite Age Sisters, Gail, who asked me to write about the association between menopause and joint pain. I have to be honest - these are two things that I had never linked together. Intrigued, I set out to find out more about the pain and menopause connection.

The research

When I searched through the research, what I found was a collection of studies about something called “menopausal arthralgia”. This phenomenon is thought to occur around the time of menopause and may or may not relate to a common condition of aging, osteoarthritis.

Many studies have found a significant change in joint pain and stiffness when comparing pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women; regular pain and stiffness seems to be more severe during and after menopause. In fact, in one of the most comprehensive studies done on joint pain and menopause, post-menopausal women were twice as likely to report joint pain and stiffness as premenopausal women. Reported levels...

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A little heart to heart from your sister in health

be lift move Aug 09, 2019

OK sisters, it’s time to get serious for a moment. Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women worldwide, and that more women lose their lives to heart disease every year than all cancers combined?[1] Women have different issues with heart disease than men, and our experiences with related illness are complex. Some tough love here: one of the biggest reasons that we are not more effectively reducing our risks, is that we seem to know less about heart disease than we think we do.

Women involved in a study at the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre (CWHHC) showed low levels of awareness about heart disease in general, symptoms unique to women, personal risk factors, and the major lifestyle risks. This tells me that we need to get some facts sorted. Here’s what you need to know:

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of premature death of women

-Women who have a heart attack are more likely to die when compared to men

-Half as...

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The 10 best ways to travel like a true Age Sister

lift move Jul 11, 2019

Way back in the year 2000, I had a crazy idea (one of many, it turns out). I said to a girlfriend, “Wouldn’t it be great if you could go on a guided running tour when you were away on vacation?” Her response? “You should build that service.” A year later, and after several meetings with a somewhat perplexed loans officer at the bank, the first guided running tour company in the world was born.

Ultimately, we offered in-bound (tours of the city on foot) and outbound (tours for groups to different countries) travel services. What that great little business taught me the most was the importance of keeping up your health routine while on vacation. So, what did I learn from all those folks who stayed consistent while travelling? They planned for their health in the same way that they planned for things like meals, tours of museums, and transportation.

Habits for health

I know, I know, vacations are meant to be relaxing. Typically, holidays are several...

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More good news from the physical activity and aging front lines

lift move Jul 05, 2019

I have pre-empted the blog post I had planned for this week to talk about two very important pieces of recently released research. I wanted to write about these two studies in the same post because the results show a really important health trend in the course of aging. Warning: here comes a little more evangelizing on the merits of physical activity. 

A study of more movement in middle age

The first study was done on a large group of people in the UK, who were between the ages of 49-70 [1]. The research began in 1993 and concluded in 2016. These were folks from all walks of life with differing lifestyles and health conditions. Unlike other many other studies in physical activity, those who had existing heart disease and cancer were included in the project. The study team also controlled (meaning they accounted for) the known health impacts of age, sex, smoking, drinking alcohol, education, social class, diet, weight, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.

Regardless of...

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Can a woman in her 50's build muscle? Hell yes.

lift move strength Jun 29, 2019

Well sisters, I’m once again feeling compelled to write about the important topic of strength-training. In my last post on this subject, I introduced you to the idea of sarcopenia and how strength-training can help to reverse the effects. If you didn’t read the previous post, I have included this brief synopsis: 

A normal (but avoidable) part of aging is a process called sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is the progression of our muscles becoming smaller over time. The longer you live, the smaller the circumference of your muscles become, if you do nothing to reverse the process. 

Hormonal changes, individual protein requirements, and inactive lifestyles can also make some women much more susceptible to the changes that occur as a result of sarcopenia. Because of muscle loss, women tend to lose strength in their hips and legs, and with reduced strength in these areas comes slow and insidious changes in mobility and balance, which can eventually pose a risk for...

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How to Build a Better Pelvic Floor

balance lift move Jun 06, 2019

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...

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