So, what did happen when you turned 40? 45? 50? Do you look in the mirror and ask, “Whose body is that?” Did diet and exercise get a lot harder… with less result? Does weight loss not happen like it once did in your 20’s and 30’s?

We need a new approach to health and fitness as we age, and I can help you find yours.

Here are some facts: Women on average lose 3- 5% of their muscle mass every decade past the age of 40. When we diet aggressively, we risk losing more muscle mass, which lowers our metabolism (muscle burns calories at a higher rate than fat). We begin to lose our proprioception as we age, which is key for balance. Our endurance wanes over the years, and unless we are actively pursuing our flexibility, it too will become a thing of the past. As we age our hormone levels shift from a nice rhythmic ebb and flow to what feels more like all or nothing. This happens to both men and women!

GOOD NEWS!!!! We can still be fit, active, vibrant, strong, flexible, and well balanced as we age. We do not need to take aging lying down. We can get out there and hike hills, ride bikes, swim with grandchildren. Let’s put fitness in a whole new light!!

I’m 54 years old. I have had a fitness program all of my adult life. Many older, wiser women told me over the years, “It’s so much harder to maintain fitness and to lose weight in your 50’s.” I’m ashamed to say, I thought these gals were simply not working as hard as they once did. I didn’t get it until now, now that I am living it!

With this in mind, I offer a six-week program that addresses getting and staying fit as we age. It’s focus is on balance, strength, flexibility, and endurance.

My program is for you if: you have never worked out, you are getting started after a break, or you are just frustrated by following programs geared toward the 20-30 something’s. It is a simple to follow exercise program, which also includes easy to live with eating strategies. More than anything else, I offer you information, encouragement, and support as you wade through the sometimes-turbulent waters of aging and menopause.

I have always recognized the value of support and accountability. This site gives you the opportunity to be part of a private Facebook page; to chat and compare notes with women of the same age. It offers a way to challenge, uplift, educate, and even commiserate with other women with the same challenges you face.

I also offer private coaching sessions if the 6 week program is not what you are seeking at this time.

6 week program learn more Life Coaching learn more

Balance

Did you know each year over 1.8 million people go to the emergency room as a result of a fall? A bad fall can result in broken bones, hospital bills, or even a loss of independence.

According to federal data, an estimated 6.2 million Americans report chronic problems with balance, dizziness, or both. As noted above, a worst-case scenario for the loss of balance or stability is a fall. However, what about when this instability results in uncertainty when trying to do activities that you have always enjoyed. Activities such as hiking, skiing, bike riding, or walking along a creek bed while fishing.

Our sense of balance relies on the interplay of three regions; our vision, a maze-like structure in the inner ear, and the muscles and joints running from our feet, legs, and then up our spines. This interplay is called proprioception, knowing where our body is at any given time. As we age, there are several factors that contribute to the decline of balance; declining vision, loss of leg muscle strength, and the loss of strength and mobility in the stabilizer muscles of our feet. Dizziness can also be caused by a Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. This is due to small calcium carbonate crystals, sometimes referred to as ear rocks, collecting within a section of the inner ear.

We may not be able to do a lot about “ear rocks,” and we are limited on what we can do with our aging eyes. However, we can work on keeping our bodies strong! We can do specific exercises for the stability of our ankles and feet, as well as stabilize our back muscles by developing our core strength. Something as simple as sitting on a stability ball or standing on a Bosu will offer great gains in stability. And of course, YOGA is one of the best activities for regaining and maintaining our balance and flexibility.

My 6 week program includes workouts that will help your balance, flexibility, strength and endurance! CHECK IT OUT! LEARN MORE

Endurance

Three years ago, I was invited to attend a forum for elite female runners. The main focus was: what it took to be elite athletes, the enjoyment of the race, the happiness of the win, and the solid friendships made. I recall a member of the audience asking one of the older (40ish) women, what her biggest challenges were at this point in her career. She replied, “no matter what, with age, I will slow down.” And, in fact, had already begun to slow down. The truth is, with age, it happens to us all. This isn’t a “use it or lose it case,” it is just a fact!

Since then, I read an interesting study about resting as a strategy to maintain speed and endurance. Two groups of men in their 50’s, who had been runners for approximately the same time period, were training for a 5K. All the men had the same complaint, they simply could not run a 5K as fast as they used to. One group was instructed to run 5 times per week, the other group 3 times per week. The results were striking in that the second group all had better times in the race than their counterparts who had trained more.

I had a similar experience last year while training for a marathon. It was my 6th marathon and, although I had NEVER been a particularly fast runner, I felt I had slowed down even more since my last one at 50 years of age. In truth, this was a race I should never have taken on. However, my daughter really wanted to run in it, and I have never been good at saying no to her. So, I agreed. There were some weeks when I had time for only my long run. Surprisingly, those runs were not only in good time, they WERE a good time! I mean, I really enjoyed those training runs! Throughout my whole training, and then during the marathon itself, I never had an injury. And, although it wasn’t my fastest marathon, it was NOT my slowest either, and I must say, it was certainly my most enjoyable!!

Do you find yourself cringing, when asked to do anything active, for fear you don’t have the stamina? Maybe you don’t want to run a marathon, or run at all for that matter. However, you do want to go for a hike, cross-country ski, or even power shop with friends.

My 6 week program will help by challenging you with stamina building activities. Come try them out!!

Flexibility

In physiological terms, flexibility is the ability to move muscles and joints through their complete range of motion. It’s an ability we’re born with, that most of us lose, due to lack of movement. Even if we’re active, our bodies will dehydrate and stiffen with age. By the time we become adults, our tissues have lost about 15 percent of their moisture content, becoming less supple and more prone to injury. Our muscle fibers have begun to adhere to each other, developing cellular cross-links that prevent parallel fibers from moving independently. Slowly, our elastic fibers get bound up with collagenous connective tissues, becoming more and more unyielding.

Don’t throw in the towel just yet!!! Flexibility, with the right work, is something we can actually improve in our elder years! Take my story, I did a bit of gymnastics in my pre-teens but then, nothing. When I was 33, I took my first yoga class. Yikes!!! I was so tight in my hamstrings I was 2 feet from touching the floor in a forward bend. I attended class only once a week, and worked on my stretching poses 3-4 times a week. I was able to forward fold, with my hands flat on the floor, within a few short months. I attended yoga for nine years and then we moved to Helena, I put yoga on the shelf for 8 years. When I started back, it wasn’t quite like starting at the beginning, but it was close! Now, after 3 years of regular practice, I can do even more than before. And, more importantly, I rarely have running or lifting injuries. Flexibility, along with balance, allows us to stop a fall before it happens, to reach the top shelf without pulling a muscle, and to climb in and out of our cars without tweaking our backs!

So, a yoga class isn’t your thing? Feel intimidated by going into a room full of people that can twist like a pretzel? Well, I get it! My six week program includes some basic yoga moves, such as the Sun Salutation, that will improve your flexibility, as well as your balance, strength and breath! Join me to increase your flexibility today. LEARN MORE

Strength

As we age, our bones tend to shrink in size and density. This weakens them and makes them more susceptible to fracture. Our muscles lose density, flexibility, and strength as well. The progressive loss of skeletal muscles during aging, known as sarcopenia, underlies limitations in physical function and mobility. This bone and muscle loss due to aging, makes all of us vulnerable to falls.

Exercise is one of the best ways to slow or prevent problems with the muscles, joints, and bones. Weight bearing exercises help you maintain muscle strength, balance, and flexibility. They also help the bones stay strong and slows the process of osteoporosis, which is especially important for menopausal women

According to Dr. LeBrasseur of the Mayo Clinic, we achieve peak muscle mass by our early 40’s. After that, we begin a subtle decline. By age 50, if we do nothing to maintain muscle mass and strength, we will be losing on average, 5% a year!!! Muscles burn calories at a higher rate than fat, so when we lose muscle mass, metabolism drops. Therefore, although you may be the same weight at 50 years old as you were at 30, you can’t eat the same way without gaining weight!

One of the major reasons, for this decline in muscle size and strength, is aging affects the way muscles respond to insulin. Insulin drives amino acids into the muscles, helping them to maintain their size and recover from exercise. Research found this process is much more effective in 25-year olds than 60-year olds. It also found, the increased blood flow in younger legs supplies far more nutrients and hormones.

By adding weight bearing exercises and weight lifting 3 times a week, you will increase the blood flow, and stop the loss of size and strength, in your aging bones and muscles. The stronger your bones the less likely you are to fracture them. The stronger your muscles, the more stamina you have, and the better able you are to prevent falls. Also, the greater your muscle mass, the higher your metabolism to help maintain your ideal weight.

I combine weightlifting, balance, cardio, and stretching into each complete workout, as part of my comprehensive six week program. Come join me!!