But what I suggest might not be what you expect, bearing in mind I’m aiming for HEALTHY, FIT and SLIMMER (with a dash of sexier!), without bootcamps.
The thing is I’m over 40, the body is doing really well after 2 kids, but it isn’t quite what it was.
Plus I watched my mother spend the last 5yrs of her life in a wheel chair, not because of an accident or illness, but because she didn’t ‘use it‘, she ‘lost it‘. You don’t want me to be explicit about how gruesome it can be when you are in a wheel chair and waiting for someone to come to your house to get you to the loo.
When you are 80/90/100 years old, do you know what is going to be your biggest fitness problem? Running 10k? No, it’s much more likely to be falling over because your posture is so bad you can only take tiny steps or your flexibility is rubbish.
So whatever exercise you do, PLEASE (I’m kind of passionate and shouty about this!) make sure that it includes core fitness and flexibility. If you do nothing else, just pick something from one of these exercises.
- Dancing (e.g. Zumba, Body Jam, Belly Dancing, Pole Dancing)
Even better about all of these exercises is that they have a huge Mind/Body/Spirit kind of connection too, where you don’t just get to be fitter, but you also get a healthier mind and more balanced emotions. You get an improvement with all exercise, but it’s greater with the ones that require some kind of co-ordination of the arms and legs, and that specifically affect your spirits or feeling about yourself.
Dancing is my personal favourite because it also adds in a bit of sparkle and feeling sexier, which is definitely a good thing for us Mums. Plus, it’s an efficient use of time because you get more for your hour; exercise, lengthening of the muscles, flexibility, laughter (most of us being quite unco-ordinated), fun and a dash of sexiness.
You can measure your the number of steps you take a day if you get a pedometer (really cheap). But did you know that you are aiming for 10,000 steps? Yes that’s TEN THOUSAND, not one thousand! That’s an eye opener isn’t it about what a recommended amount of exercise per day would be.
Don’t run if you are overweight, you are going to kill your body! Walk fast instead and run later when you have lost some weight. Plus, although it is a cheap sport, if you are older like me you really need to go to one of those shops that can see your running style and fit you with a good pair of shoes. However, running is great and everyone can do it, you just start slowly and build up. It can be really therapeutic to get some frustration out, plus it’s lovely to get fresh air and have some time to ourselves.
If you are a pear/curvy height challenged/short woman like me, be careful of exercises that will make you stockier. In my experience I don’t need weights exercises for my legs or Body Pump or anything like that! What you want is lengthening exercises like the ones I’ve already mentioned. I promise you there was a time in my life when I was exercising like crazy and eating really well, but I was so stocky that I looked better when I stopped; how gutting was that! Of course if you are a more of a skinny/boy shape, then these are the perfect exercises for you.
If you can afford at least to join a gym and get a plan written up that might be a good idea. But remember to ask how long they have been working as a personal trainer. If you have struggled for a few years with weight loss, then you don’t want the standard ‘I’ve been doing it for 3 yrs’ type of person and their standard fitness regime.
If you can’t afford the monthly bills for a gym, but could do a one-off, then many people are finding the Wii Fit and Xbox kinect very helpful. For me the xbox wins, partially because it’s got Zumba and partially because I don’t have to worry about getting out the hand thingy’s, finding batteries because they’ve always run out and finding the plate thing to stand on (yes, I’m a bit lazy when it comes to extra faffing).
If you have a bit more money and fancy the most amazing holiday (and your kids are old enough to take or leave behind), then check out these Wild Fitness Holidays. I did their first ever trip years ago, and it was incredible. I learnt tonnes, it was beautiful, and although I didn’t come back a size 10, I came back with the most amazing memories and the knowledge to sort a lot of my problems. I can’t wait until they do a more child friendly version, I’d love to go back, even if I cant make it to Kenya, they now do a european version as well.
If it’s your tummy that is the problem (the muffin top, ugh!), especially one of those tummy’s that kind of fold over, then there are two easy things that you can do:
- Buy one of those fit balls, sit on it when watching TV or working. Spend a couple of minutes a day balancing on it with your feet off the ground, and if you have a personal trainer get them to teach you how to do sit ups on them. Two weeks of doing this on that holiday I mentioned and the difference was tremendous.
- Get a piece of string, stand up straight and tie it around your waist. Now whenever you let your posture go as the day progresses, you’ll feel the string and remember to breathe in. Cheap and effective!
Lastly remember with all exercise to warm up, cool down and stretch afterwards. It doesn’t need to take ages, but it is really important. Without it you can damage yourself and then stop your weight loss for weeks. Even worse is you could seriously damage yourself and end up putting weight on. Remember to take days off, so that your muscles get time to rest.
If you have problems with motivating yourself, then make sure you don’t force yourself to do something that doesn’t really suit you, instead take into account your personality. Are you a loner (needing time to yourself; go for a walk/run/swim)? Are you sociable (go for a class)? Do you miss your clubbing days (find a dance class)? Are you more of a Zen type of person (try yoga, pilates or walking)? You can always go back to the 15 minute ‘how to get your head in the game‘ video to give yourself a boost.
p.s. I’ve nagged you about hydration before, but please make sure you drink water while you exercise.
Update: since writing this post I’ve created a whole blog series about exercise which is worth you checking out.
Update: since writing this post I’ve been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. From what I’ve now learnt about my body I know now that this post is even more right that I thought it was. Take care of yourself and your body, it’s important. Don’t beat up your body, you will need it for a long time!
If you find these tips helpful, feel free to sign up for my RSS feed or get my posts by email so that you don’t miss any, tell your mates, and join my facebook fan page.