All over the place I’m seeing ads and articles and posts about people working on their “summer body” or their “bikini body”, talking about how it’s still not too late! I’m not working on either of these. Everyday I’m working on something MUCH more important than this, I’m working on my old lady body! Who’s with me?
I genuinely don’t understand the temporary nature of the concept of getting “summer body ready”, why would you not want to keep it once you have it firstly, and secondly, the ‘rush’ to do this often means in order to achieve this in a short space of time, you need to do things that really aren’t sustainable or healthy.
For me, this realisation has come with age, I was certainly guilty in my 20s for example of trying to slim down for something specific. These days I’m way more interested in being strong, fit, healthy and all-over resilient. That is way more appealing to me. I want to build muscle, to keep my bones strong as I age and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. I want to keep flexible so I can get on the floor and play with my grandchildren one day and I think working in my 40s with this as the vision has much more meaning than how I look in a bikini this summer. Anyone else?
So how can we work on our old lady bodies? Here are a few things to consider.
I honestly think that balance is everything when it comes to how we eat. Eating a rainbow of colours each week is a great place to start. I began ordering a fruit and veg box delivered to our door a few months ago and it’s been hugely beneficial in getting us all to eat a much broader range of fruits and vegetables.
I think we tend to pick up the same ones from the supermarket without thinking a lot of the time. We need the diversity to support our microbiome, so it’s really important to try new things.
Eating as many ‘plants’ as possible every week is really important and by ‘plants’ I’m including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, pulses etc. Of particular importance, is to eat foods high in antioxidants, such as berries and those that can produce nitric oxide (no) in the body, such as beets and dark leafy vegetables. These all help to reduce inflammation in the body and increase blood flow around the body, thereby keeping us healthier for longer.
We all know the importance of staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water, yet many of us struggle with this, myself included.
I have to constantly work at this on a daily basis. Often we think we are hungry when really we are thirsty, so try drinking a glass of water before you eat something first. Don’t add sugar to your drinks and try to switch to drinks with added health benefits like green tea and other herbal teas. If you don’t like plain water, try adding lemon juice.
Don’t assume diet drinks are good for you because they have the word ‘diet’ in them! Many diet drinks contain aspartame which has been linked to everything from depression and anxiety, to headaches, ADHD, MS and Alzheimer’s. If you regularly add this type of sweetener to tea or coffee, try switching to a natural sweetener such as Stevia.
Moving our bodies regularly, especially as we age is vital. A sedentary lifestyle can literally kill a person, so movement and exercise really are key, Sundaise can help. There is no one way to do this, find a way that works for you and that you can enjoy.
If you can fit in regular dedicated time then great, but if not, don’t dismiss the idea and convince yourself you are too busy to exercise. Something is always better than nothing when it comes to movement, so if you are time poor, try the exercise ‘snacking’ approach. This isn’t eating snacks whilst you exercise – sorry! This is inserting small pockets of exercise into your day, where you can.
For example, running up the stairs, walking around the block quickly at lunch, 20 push ups before your shower, 50 squats whilst the kettle boils and so on. It’s literally the way I’ve been exercising for years since I had children. I’d love to spend a few hours in the gym, but I don’t have that option, so this is how I manage things to keep my body moving. I keep a kettle bell and a resistance band under my desk and live in activewear sets for women, what’s under your desk? Give it a go!
The critical thing is to be consistent. If you exercise regularly, not just in January; if you eat well MOST of the time, not just before you go on holiday; and if you stay well hydrated and avoid anything toxic you can improve your health.
Don’t make it just for the summer though – what a waste – make it forever!
Remember- Old Lady Body Ready NOT Bikini Body Ready!