AN EASY BREATHING EXERCISE
- Breathe in for a count of four, out for a count of six.
- Repeat ten times.
- That’s it.
- This exercise will calm your nervous system down and put it into a different state, allowing your mind to move on and your body to regulate itself.
- Practice it regularly, for example when you are out alone for a walk or when you’re awake at night
I do this exercise every day. It helps to calm anxiety, rage or irritability and to help with insomnia.
MINDFUL WALKING IN NATURE
- Many women in midlife discover a love of nature we never realised we had.
- Leave your headphones at home and find a park or forest or any patch of green near where you live.
- Practice walking there with all your senses open.
- That means looking, listening, smelling, noticing, even touching what’s around you. When your mind wanders, don’t worry, just bring your senses back to your surroundings.
This practice will calm your mind and give you a true break from all the noise of life.
I discovered a love of dancing when I was 47 years old! Before that I always said I didn’t and couldn’t dance. The stories we tell ourselves sometimes… Now I dance almost every day. When I dance, I often find myself smiling and even laughing out loud. Several of my friends and I are fans of Misty Tripoli’s Bodygroove, which offers daily 30-minute workouts broken down into fun bite-size chunks. They’re designed for all body types and ages and are really easy to do at home in your living room. They truly get you “dancing like nobody is looking”.
EXERCISE AND MENOPAUSE
As a lifelong exerciser and sportsperson, I like to think I know what my body needs. During this transitional phase of life I’ve been focusing on activities like walking, yoga, dancing and, more recently, weightlifting. I like to make exercise fun, which in my case means going on YouTube and finding a new routine to do each time. It also makes me change things up instead of repeating the same moves again and again. Being gentle with yourself at this time in life is more important than achieving a certain goal. Listen to your body and what it needs, wants and enjoys, and then do that.
Here are some exercises to integrate into your exercise routine to keep your muscles supple and your
- 1. Squats: A fundamental exercise that targets your quads, hamstrings,and glutes. Start with bodyweight squats and gradually introduce weights as you build strength. I started doing 10 squats each morning and within ten days I progressed from huffing and puffing and struggling to bouncing up and down like a ten-year-old. And I no longer make those blowing-out noises when I stand up from sitting down. Result!
- 2. Lunges: Great for working the muscles in your legs and hips. Try variations such as forward, backward, and lateral lunges to engage different muscle groups. If you do yoga, you’re potentially doing plenty of lunges already.
- 3. Push-Ups: An excellent exercise to build upper body strength, focusing on the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Modify as needed, starting with wall push-ups or knee push-ups as you build strength. Again, the yogis have the advantage here as any yoga class I’ve ever done has included plenty of this kind of exercise.
- 4. Planks: Strengthen your core with planks, which can also help to improve posture and stability. Did I mention yoga…?
- 5. Bicep Curls: Focus on your biceps by incorporating curls with light weights, gradually increasing as you build strength. A friend of mine told me she keeps her dumbbells on the desk beside her as she works and when she takes a little break she does some bicep curls – great idea!
- 6. Tricep Dips: Target the triceps with dips, which can be done on a stable chair or bench. A short weights workout on YouTube will also usually include triceps work. Here’s one of my favourite channels: https://youtube.com/@LiftwithCee
- 7. Deadlifts: A full-body exercise that targets your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. Start with a light weight and focus on proper form to avoid injury. Best done at a gym with a trainer at first, to make sure you’re doing it properly.
MEDITATION AND MENOPAUSE
Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start with meditation. My go-to meditation is called Yoga Nidra (even though it’s not what we usually think of as yoga, since you’re lying on your back throughout;)). It’s easier than some other kinds of meditation as it guides you through a body scan that puts you into a deeply relaxed “wakeful sleep”. I do it during the day or at night when I can’t sleep. It’s great for energy recuperation and general well-being during the day and insomnia at night. Check YouTube for lots of free Yoga Nidra meditations.