Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mature Fashion:Life Changes and New Beginnings

According to a long ago study, the most serious threats to a person's health were, moving from one home to another, death in the family, a divorce, or a job change. (That last one, job change, always has intrigued me because a whopping 80% of the working population is reported to not like their job!!) It also affects me personally at this time because I have just left a job I have had for eight years. Yes, a good part of my daily existence, the errands I run, the clothes I wear, and my daily routine are all going to be affected; major upsets to the familiar are always disruptive. They can also be catharctic and free our mind for "be all you can be".

Major life changes are never easy; that is the reason so many people will remain in a marriage or job for years without getting the fulfillment necessary for optimum quality of life.

We spend most of our energy on the immediate concerns of daily living, our household tasks, the needs and routines of our families, pets, projects. Most of us are more comfortable with the known and are a bit fearful of an unknown future, even if we wish to change a part of our lives .  Many of us may be afraid to chase the dreams we say we have because we know at some level they are unrealistic.  Even if we decide to chase a dream,  many of us give up the dream too soon, or persist in chasing it when we actually should quit.  Optimum mental health is achieved when we evaluate ourselves honestly, and can be reached when we know the correct balance.

Fortunately, it is never too late to re-invent oneself; people CAN and DO make themselves more the people we would like to become.  (Yes, that means into our 60's, 70's. etc. it just takes a little longer) Before we can do that, we must understand who we actually are before we can grow in the direction we choose. All too many of us chases goals that are not by choice; we simply drift.  Our future is influenced or determined by other people's needs, core values,  and desires; (women are more guilty of this than men-but I really did not have to tell you that). It is still true that women are "expected" to put the needs of their family before their own, even when destructive to themselves. It is also true that men, when faced with the same needs of family members are given a "pass" .

Research (University of Rochester) shows significant lack of depression in persons who work toward the things they find fulfilling.  Research at the University of Missouri also showed that people working toward a personal goal are also likely to reach that goal. or at least make progress toward it in spite obstacles and distractions.  

We have to morph our identities as we go through life. We need to define what we want out of our life and set realistic and achievable goals (losing 10 pounds!!-not trying to have the figure of 50 years ago) We feel pride and a sense of accomplishment, and a sense of satisfaction when we reach our goal. Working toward things that matter to us, our personal goals, and knowing what we want to achieve is the best way to truly "rock age".

P.S.....I lost another half pound!!! 7.7 to go!!!!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Mature Fashion: Strength Training

Most women know they need aerobic exercise to keep fit, and many +40 women are actually pretty good about doing some regular walking, etc. to keep their hearts and lungs fit.  Many of us are also attend to our 10,000 steps per day guidelines for overall physical health, as well as other exercise programs at either the gym or an at home routine such as my AARP 15 minute overall fitness program they recommend for minimum all over fitness.  However, more and more information is available to suggest that weight lifting may be the greatest benefactor to physically "Rocking Our Age". Of course, women who regularly engage in a fitness program at the gym have a heads up for a strength training program.  Many of us do not belong nor wish to do our exercise program at a gym.

Before I continue, I want to post a disclaimer; On this post I want to make it perfectly clear that absolutely no person should engage in a weight lifting or strength building program without consulting their personal medical doctor(s).  There is simply too great a risk of physical injury, especially for people who are not in top physical shape now or who may be hampered by physical limitations based on age or disability.  I will post the generalizations recognized by most of the literature I have read or in an audience regarding this health issue, but that is all.  No physical and medicinal information should be acted upon without discussion with and must be approved by the reader's doctor (s). Do not rely upon advice given by employees of health or sports clubs as the employee may or may not have appropriate credentials for dispensing advice.   I am NOT a health professional, and this information is just that, information gleaned from a variety of articles, and should never be acted upon without advice from your personal physician(s)!! I have absolutely no recommendation except for dispensing the information a woman should consult with her licensed medical doctor(s) regarding the advisability of beginning or beginning such a program.  (There, I have posted my disclaimer..)

According to several sources (medical and sports professionals), most of us do not engage in strength building for several reasons, one of the greatest fears is "bulking up", and "looking like a man".  Several sources say that this cannot happen, but most of us have seen an example or two of women who are obvious weight lifters, etc.  I don't want to look that way, either.  I do know that many of the female "body builders" do take diet additives such as steroids to accomplish this but I have also seen women who are more "buff" than I want for my body.  I believe the key factor here is how much is too much?

My greatest fear is hurting myself.  I have actually hurt both of my rotator cuffs which had to be surgically repaired;  I have a relatively weak upper body (okay, I know: I'm working on it!!) I have been (reasonably) consistent about doing some push-ups every week, but I feel I need to practice my overall strength exercises, and I am trying to learn as much as I can because I want to do this all at home, not at a gym.  Although I am not particularly self conscious (another fear many women have at a gym), I don't like waiting for equipment, nor am I particularly handy with machinery...and I don't like prepping them after use by other members; my regular exercising programs have to be at home to fit into my life. 

The major reason most women do not focus on building their strength is a lack of knowledge as to how important strength training is.  Most of the focus on physical exercise has been on aerobic motion and endurance (loength of time, etc.). According to all I have read (and heard lately), maintaining body strength is just as important, if not more so to "Rock Age".  

The major acknowledged benefits of  strength building exercise is an increased metabolism and the resulting fat burn, toning and sculpting for a healthy set of muscles, (and looking more youthful).  According to medical professionals, building muscle also accounts for significant drops in blood pressure, holding off or preventing heart disease and diabetes, and building stronger bones. (Bone breakage is a major health hazard in the senior population, mostly as a result of weak bones).  I, for one, am vowing to increase this activity.

BTW, I weighed 132.1 this morning!  (I weighed a day early, so I wouldn't forget to me incentive)  I have lost 1.8 pounds this past week; I still have 8.2 to go to reach my goal....very much like a tortoise, but I plan on getting there!..

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Mature Fashion: Banish Wrinkle Worry

Women worry about getting and having wrinkles because of the built in assumption that wrinkles are telltale proof that we have lost our youth and look "old".  Au contraire; While wrinkles  are indicators that the first bloom of youth has past, they are not the most aging feature a woman has to "face". (little play on words there...).

There is a reason we call those brown spots that appear on our face, hands, and arms are called "age" spots; they are a dead give-a-way that we are aging.  The pigmentation changes as we age (sometimes during pregnancy some women face the beginning of this problem). 

Unfortunately, this is the very time that so many women begin to neglect skin care. Many feel, "why bother" when the wrinkles begin and the skin begins to lose some of its elasticity. Others may start piling on the cosmetics improperly to cover up and fill in wrinkles and spots.

Although there are often too many preservatives and additives to our cosmetics, there is a tremendous selection of  safe cosmetics,  including the natural home made remedies we have discussed in other posts, that can be safely used to balance skin tone and minimize the appearance of wrinkles.  (most of them are simply skin plumpers that retain water under the skin).  These products solve most of the problem of uneven skin color; the most significant appearance of aging. 

However, facial exercises can minimize the sagging that occurs as we age (there is that gravity again!), help retain the tone, and can actually delay some wrinkles.  I have found several blogs and web-site that describe specific exercises for helping drooping eyelids, minimizing "double chins", delaying wrinkles around the mouth, etc.  A quick Google search will produce several repetitive facial movements that are claimed to work. I have been trying some of them, and I swear, I do believe I see improvement, especially in puffiness around the chin area...One more example of exercise helping me to "Rock my age".