Why self-care needs to be part of your midlife fitness routine

All of my fitness coaching clients are midlife women.

Most come to me for help with exercise and eating. Wanting to know how to make the best use of their workout time and how to best fuel their bodies to support their midlife health and fitness goals.

Many are surprised that, in addition to providing individualized exercise plans and tools for improving nutrition, I also focus on less obvious aspects of wellness, including sleep, stress and self-care.

Our bi-weekly coaching calls are just as likely to include discussions about non-exercise activities, (including mind-body practices, hobbies and preventative health practices) as they are strength training PR’s and dietary macros.

In my experience, it’s these self-care activities that many midlife women tend to be missing.

Activities that can enhance the benefits of the exercise and eating habits they’re working to improve.

Most often it’s because they’re busy. Juggling work, children’s schedules, aging parents and household chores. Just fitting in their weekly menu planning, food prep and workouts is challenging enough.

Sometimes, though, it’s also because they view self-care as being ‘selfish’. As if by taking time out of their schedule to meditate, practice yoga, knit, read a book, bake bread, paint or go for a massage means that they’re less committed to their husband, children and job.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

By making time for activities that require you to slow down, connect with your creative side and be mindful and present you reduce the production of stress hormones. Hormones that contribute to midlife-middle-of-the-body weight gain even when you exercise consistently and pay attention to nutrition.

Plus, regular self-care makes you a nicer person to spend time with 😉

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Just like exercise, we don’t find time for self-care, we make time.

This week I challenge you to find 10 minutes in your day for a non-exercise activity that both calms and energizes you.

Perhaps it’s something you enjoyed doing as a child. Or something you stopped doing when you had children, thinking you’d get back to it when they were grown and your time was your own, once again.

If you need me, I’ll be over in the corner doing ‘yoga with two needles’…

Are you guilty of feeling guilty when you take time for self-care?

What’s your favourite self-care activity?

 

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Comments

  1. Not any more! I am so much nicer and more effective when I take time for myself. Lately I’ve been napping. 🙂

  2. Everyday I try to take a “time-out”. I either kick back and set a timer to take a short nap or I read a little. I always have an easy to read fiction book going among my personal development reading so I can just read, no highlighter in hand.

    • LOL! I know what you mean about the highlighter. It is a constant companion of mine when reading too. Unless I’m on the Kindle; then I use the virtual highlighter… 🙂

  3. great post! The older I get the more I don’t feel bad about making time for myself, I have earned it! and deserve it 🙂

    • Thanks! Why does it take until we’re older to realize this? Or perhaps we just don’t think of it as ‘self-care’ when we’re in our 20’s…

  4. Heather says:

    I see exercise as my self-care time, and I’m selfish about that time. The family knows my run schedule, and I try very hard not to deviate from it. That said, I am making a conscious effort to read more this winter. I’m not always successful at that, and do feel guilty about carving that time out. The 10 hour work days probably aren’t helping either!

    • Heather, I do agree with you that exercise is self-care time, but I also think that we can benefit from non-exercise self-care activities as well. I think of those as the ‘yin’ to my exercise ‘yang’. I don’t envy you your long work days 🙁

  5. This is so important, but something that I often skimp on for the reasons you’ve noted – or out of sheer exhaustion!

    • I hear you! You are so busy with work and running and travel. But I bet you could find 2 minutes a day to just sit quietly with your thoughts 🙂

  6. Not being a midlife woman, I’ll leave the hormone issue alone. Being a midlife man, walking in nature, slowly and with little purpose for an hour a day is the single best habit I have folded into my adult life.

    Much love, Sister!

    • Ha! You are sooooo lucky about the hormone issue… Those morning hikes at the Ranch were absolutely divine. I’m waiting until the rainy season ends here to implement them at home. xo

  7. Lessons learned in life & a necessity!!!

  8. My latest self care has been a Sunday early evening Restorative Yoga class. It is all relaxation. I love it. Have to remind myself that I don’t always need to be productive 🙂

  9. Hello girls!! I appreciate that you picked this article to be published, for me is a struggle everyday. I go to the gym 3 times a week, and for 3 months I runned every morning beacuse i wanted to loose some weight from my vacations. I started to feel frustrated because I was making a lot of exercise and didn’t see any result but later on I realized that my rutine wasn’t the problem, it was my stress, I was so focused on so many things that I forgot about myself care, and I realized how important is the effect not only in my mind but in my body too, so i took it serious and started to meditate, I wanted to have a space dedicated to relax and meditate, i thought to have a spa room at home but my house doesn’t have a room available for that, so I hired an interior designer and I transformed my bathroom into a spa, and you don’t have idea how much it helps to relax and meditate. This was my solution and I wanted to share it with you girls so it may inspire you.