Why everyone over 40 should do pilates and how to start

Are you eager to prolong the strength and flexibility of your body and live your best life for many years to come… Yes? Well Pilates is for you and in this article with Romanas Pilates Expert, Kirstin Ferrie we’re going to share why everyone over 40 should do pilates and how to start.

If you have never had an introduction to Pilates, it’s never too late to start! With an increasingly ageing population and so many of us determined to live longer and stronger than ever before, strength and conditioning habits like Pilates, are high on our daily agendas and are a big reason why everyone over 40 should do pilated. With the additional holistic benefits of breath work and mindfulness, Pilates is a fabulous way to increase fitness, protect ourselves from injury, maintain flexibility and prolong the lifetime of the things we enjoy most; whether that’s intense sport, staying active with the family or simply enjoying optimum core strength and good posture. 

As our bodies age, we’re more prone to; weight gain, muscle loss, and stiffening up in our joints. Pilates is a fabulous way to combat all of these. With the use of the springs and our own body it is the perfect form of exercise to do after 40. For women as our oestrogen levels decrease we need to this type of exercise to keep our joints and bone density healthy. Pilates makes everything else we do easier so for those still wanting to continue contact or impact sports this method is a must after 40.

Romanas Pilates is the classical method of Pilates, named after Romana Kryranoskwa, who took over running the original studio after Joseph Pilates’ death. The Pilates method is based around reshaping and strengthening the body, strengthening the core, realigning the body and posture and improving flexibility, without stressing the joints. It’s all about strength, stretch and control.

If you’re just starting out on your Pilates journey there are some great habits to consider and get you started:

Fresh air and breath work

If I had to pick one exercise from Pilates mat work, one that ticks all the boxes is ‘Hundreds’ – this exercise focuses on breath, strength and gets circulation pumping. Joe (Pilates) always said to get out and get some fresh air.

Listen to your body

You know your body better than anyone, listen to it. More often than not you’re right. If you are tired, rest. If you know you’re just feeling lazy, a short walk in the fresh air will get all your endorphins going and you’ll probably find yourself more motivated as a result. Allowing yourself to feel is really important and we encourage that within Pilates. We cannot separate ourselves out, so whilst we might think the main aim of our work is physical, the emotional and mental benefits will be evident too. If it feels good and right it will always be beautiful. 

over 40 should do pilates

Find a recommended instructor

One of my personal aims is to establish a centre of excellence in the North, because when Pilates is taught properly, it can be life changing. I want to invest in instructors so that many more people can access Pilates in its purest form. You should have complete confidence in your instructor!  Romana’s Pilates has a network of teachers around the globe, as do other classical schools. When searching for teachers and studios in your area, the main things to look out for are class sizes; they should always be small. Ask where the teachers are trained and how long this took them. On average a fully qualified teacher will have been actively in a program for at least 18months, but most are over 2 years. If you are going for an injury, make sure the teacher has experience with this and you are confident. Pilates should always be safe, other than normal muscle working feeling you should never ever feel pain. A matwork class is not suitable for most injuries, you need to be seen privately first before joining a class. Any good teacher will welcome your questions, I am always happy to answer or help someone and quite often get DM’s to our Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/purepilatesilkley ) asking for advice both from clients looking for a teacher or from people starting their journey to become a teacher.

Keep moving

You just can’t beat really simple Pilates mat work done well – if you just did the basic seven exercises, you are definitely going to release endorphins, work out and stand up off that mat with beautiful posture, standing tall and feeling confident. 

Be prepared to throw yourself in

Pilates classes can become your community. It’s not surprising to find yourself laughing and crying in a class, because Pilates is a deep and meaningful exercise, connecting your heart, mind and body; therefore strong bonds are developed and friendships formed. The more you are prepared to invest in yourself and your journey, the more you’ll benefit from a healthy body, a happy heart, and a mind at peace,

over 40 should do pilates

Consider food and nutrition

If I eat well and fuel my body properly, I feel better. Putting the good stuff in means feeling better in every sense. Taking the time to cook and enjoy food, rather than it being a purely functional exercise or eating ‘on the go’ benefits my overall wellbeing too, so that the hard work I’m putting into Pilates is reflected in every part of my life.  

Pilates has the power to restore us to ourselves. Pilates can provide us with an holistic rhythm for life, positively impacting every part of our lives; emotionally, physically, mentally and even socially as our body confidence soars. 

Pilates has taught me that the best way of living is holistic living and I like to think that, when we look after ourselves and one another we all stand to gain.

Romanas Pilates Expert, Kirstin Ferrie, 42 is a passionate Pilates Instructor and the Founder of Pure Pilates, having herself followed a robust journey of training and development having travelled worldwide to learn from the very best; Kirstin is Romanas Pilates trained, following in the footsteps of the creator of Pilates, Joseph Pilates. With over 20 years experience, having taught Pilates around the world she has a long list of impressive clients including well-known names from the worlds of sports and dance, celebrities and royalty. Kirstin is passionate about highlighting the true power of strength-based Pilates for mind, body and soul, working with strength, control and stretch techniques, which ultimately give her clients renewed confidence and agility. To find out more about Kirstin please visit her website or connect with her on Instagram. 

4 natural remedies for PMS and how to use them

PMS is often an unwelcome but inevitable accompaniment to periods. However, some people experience particularly bad symptoms that can thoroughly disrupt day-to-day life. Painkillers are the most common go-to treatment for PMS symptoms, however there are some powerful natural remedies for PMS including natural botanicals that can ease PMS just as well, if not better, than manufactured chemicals and consequently are better for your body overall. This article explores the four best natural remedies for PMS and ingredients you can use to combat PMS and how to use them effectively so that you can stop dreading ‘that time of the month’.

4 key natural ingredients

Chaste tree berries, evening primrose, red clover and Dong Quai are four natural ingredients and powerful naturl remedies for PMS which can be used individually or combined in a tea or tonic to help with pain, mood swings and headaches. Although you can buy over the counter medication, these botanicals contain an active natural ingredient which can be purchased and can be used as a natural product by itself.

How to make

To use these natural remedies for PMS, firstly, to make a tea which combines all 4 of the above ingredients you will need; 2 cups of organic peppermint tea, 2 tablespoons of organic chaste tree berries, 2 tablespoons of dong quai and 2 tablespoons of black haw. Now for the easy bit; all you need to do is blend the ingredients together and store in an airtight container and your prep is done! When it comes to using the tea, what you need to do is use 2 tablespoons for a pot and one teaspoon for a cup and drink it hot as a tea. Pour boiling water into the pot or cup and let it brew for 2-4 minutes then drink once cool enough to do so. Do this every morning and night a few days before your period is due and during to ensure you get the best benefits. Alternatively, you can store it in the fridge and have it as a shot, again every morning and night before and during your period. This method is perfect for when you’re on the go and don’t have time to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea.

The power of evening primrose

As aforementioned, these natural remedies for PMS can also be used individually to treat isolated symptoms of PMS. For example, evening primrose oil can be purchased in easy to swallow vitamin form which you can take orally. This can be incorporated into your daily vitamin intake, and you can take in the morning or evening with food for the best results. Alternatively, evening primrose oil can also be purchased as an oil, 15 drops of which (1ml) can be taken daily with food. Evening primrose oil is specifically good for treating mood swings which is a common symptom of PMS, furthermore this natural ingredient can also be highly beneficial for those going through menopause, as mood swings can also be a severe symptom here too.

Spotlight on red clover and dong quai

In addition, red clover and dong quai can also be made into individual teas. Red clover is highly beneficial in maintaining estrogen levels which can be disrupted during PMS and your period. The same method can be applied here, simply fill a jar with red clover blossoms and fill to the top with boiling water. Let this brew for 4-10 hours then strain and enjoy 2-4 cups a day. Dong quai is excellent when dealing with cramps and bloating, arguably two of the worst symptoms of PMS. Dong quai is alternatively known as female ginseng as it is widely used to treat female reproductive health problems including PMS as well as the menopause. Dong quai can be found in supplement form which can be taken orally, however if you are looking for a homemade remedy, you can also make Dong quai tea. Dried Dong quai root can be purchased from a wide range of health stores and herbalists and you can boil the root for 2 to 4 minutes then strain to make your own homemade Dong quai tea.

A great tip which can be applied to all of the above remedies for PMS is to spice up your tea and add other flavours to make the tea more to your taste. Some other naturally sweet ingredients include liquorice, cinnamon, ginger, verbena and lemon.

In conclusion, there are many natural remedies for PMS and alternatives which you can use to help alleviate symptoms of PMS as well as the menopause. They are easy to use and have the same if not stronger effects on your symptoms. It’s called mother nature for a reason!

Charlotte Rasmussen is the author of From Earth: A guide to creating a natural apothecary, published by Rockpool Publishing, on 4th August 2022, priced £18.99.

natural remedies for PMS

Four questions to ask yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed

There’s so much going on in your 40s. You may be starting to experience symptoms of perimenopause, and if you’ve had children they could be going through their own hormonal changes. Combine that with caring for ageing parents, keeping a long term relationship alive or not (40-49 is the most common age group for separating) and climbing the career ladder, your fifth decade can become the perfect storm leaving you feeling overwhelmed.

And it’s no surprise that juggling all these responsibilities can feel overwhelming. When I feel overwhelmed, I feel a tightness in my chest and break out in a sweat. I find it hard to focus on anything and just don’t know where to start. So I don’t. I procrastinate and I do the ‘easy’ things that aren’t going to make a difference to the big projects I need to move forward.

(As a side note, I love this Ted Talk by Tim Urban on procrastination, which I found when I was putting off doing something!)

So, next time you notice that you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to ask yourself these questions…

Where are you focusing your energy? 

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, you may think that taking the time to look at the bigger picture stops you making progress. But when you’re deep in overwhelm, it’s hard to know what the right thing to do is. So take time to list out and prioritise everything you’ve got on. What’s necessary? What can you reschedule or delegate? What’s driving any deadlines? Some clients like to map their tasks into an urgent/important matrix to make it really clear. 

What support do you need? 

For tasks that can’t be delegated, what support do you need? A shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen, or something more practical? Which friends or family can help you? Where else can you find support? A coach or therapist can help you get clarity, or if it’s causing medical issues speak to a doctor or healthcare professional. 

How are you fuelling yourself? 

Food, exercise and sleep are all so important for your body and mind to function well. But when I’m feeling overwhelmed they are the first things to go. 

If, like me, feelings of overwhelm and stress lead to you standing in front of the cupboard or fridge, how can you encourage yourself to pick up the healthy snacks instead of the crisps or biscuits? I create little snack packs at the beginning of the week. A little pot of nuts and fruit, some carrot sticks and a portion of hummus, a ready peeled boiled egg. If I make it easy to grab something healthy (and hide the biscuits right at the back of the cupboard) then I know I’m fuelling my body with healthy energy. 

As for exercise, I have a couple of friends that I love running with. During super busy times I may only go once a week, but it’s running (at a speed I can still chat) and it feels cathartic for me. What can you do to get moving and get out in the fresh air? 

Sleep for me is still a work in progress. Reminding myself to settle my mind with a book instead of my phone. Not taking my phone into the bedroom. Writing down anything that’s swirling around in my head before bed. I’m getting there, slowly. 

What is good in your life? 

Different studies have proven that practising gratitude can lead to deeper and healthier sleep, reduce levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), reduce negative emotions, and change neural structures in the brain to help us feel more content. 

So, before you go to sleep at night, think of three things you are grateful for that day. Some days it’s really easy, and the things are big, like my daughter bouncing through the front door after an epic first day of secondary school (fingers crossed for September!). Some days it’s harder – my slightly aloof cat deciding to sit next to me. Going to sleep thinking of the good things can help you wake refreshed and ready for the new day. 

The first step with anything is noticing. So when you do notice feelings of overwhelm, return to these questions. 

If it’s hard to stop, find a way to come back into the moment. The 54321 tool may help. Sitting with your feet planted on the floor and breathing deeply, think of 5 things you can see, 4 you can feel, 3 you can hear, 2 you can smell and 1 you can taste. Utilising all of your senses is very grounding. 

And a final thought. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to a friend.

Sophy Wells is a ICF certified coach, helping people reflect, refocus and reconnect to what’s important, and feel inspired about work and life again.

Understanding your anxiety symptoms + how to break the cycle

If you’re experiencing anxiety symptoms, it’s vital to understand the root of the problem. As someone who has battled with my own anxiety for the last decade, I know very well from first hand experience that in order to break the cycle of anxiety, you have to understand the cause and how to break it. It was onlt when I went for therapy that I truly understood the triggers for my anxiety (like many others, they stemmed from my childhood). If you’re struggling with anxiety symptoms, this Mental Health Awarness Week then today Love Island’s wellbeing and mental health coach Kamran Bedi – author of The Anxiety Antidote – shares his incisive tips for understanding your anxiety symptoms and how to break the cycle.

The importance of self awareness

Self awareness is the main ingredient for breaking the cycle of anxiety, but the determining factor that is key is being aware of HOW to break the cycle.  Most people are aware that they feel anxious, but no so much for how to make any sort of change. So I guess an increased awareness of how to make changes is what I offer in my work and through the Anxiety Antidote book.

Becoming more self aware

In my book one of the areas I guide the reader to consider is the ‘cause’ of their anxiety. Quite often people can get lost in the feelings and emotions, the physical changes and challenges that can feel overwhelming, but it can be very straight forward in identifying the cause of the anxiety and then dealing with the cause. It usually falls into two areas. Firstly, the cause could be mental and the anxiety is being formed through the persons thinking, secondly it could be a situation that is present in the person’s life that they need to address and deal with for the anxiety to be reduced or eliminated. The cause is always a key aspect to become aware of to then work on, whether its mental or actual.

The key to breaking the cycle of anxiety

The key to breaking the cycle is with working on the cause. If it is a mental cause and a set of thoughts, then interrupting the thought patterns and developing a more positive relationship with the mind can be key to breaking the cycle. I outline a variety of methods and awareness in the Anxiety Antidote that can really help readers become and feel more present, more mindful of their thoughts as well as how to take action anywhere inside their own headspace, to have more positive power and influence over their thoughts.

Staying mentally present

Mindfulness is the key to addressing anxiety symptoms as is awareness. In developing a daily practice of mindfulness, readers can learn to incorporate it into their daily lives so they are not then held captive to their thoughts that can often feel overwhelming.

Patterns of anxiety

There can be both physical patterns as well as mental patterns of anxiety. Usually on a physical level the body can enter into fight, flight or freeze. A person may have a fast heart rate and short fast breaths. This can usually be accelerated by the thoughts that cause this to literally switch on in the body, as what you think, you will feel. The mind has a very powerful influence over the physical and emotional state of the body, and in changing the thought patterns or even stopping them and then being more mindfully present, the person can end or reduce the anxiety experience and quite quickly.

Techniques and strategies for self-action to address anxiety symptoms

In my book, I cover how to work with your inner voice, how to be present and mindful, how to breathe to calm your nervous system, how to stop any mental movies playing over and over in your mind and also how to work with anxiety triggers in my book. The in-depth knowledge and the clear steps outlined in the book will really help any reader increase their awareness and improve how they think, feel and live and quite quickly.

Changing mindset

It’s important to work on the thoughts and anxiety and not avoid it on a daily basis. A lot of people will keep anxiety  inside of them and not deal with it, which can make the anxiety grow in strength. The key is to use the methods available in the book and to work on your mind on a daily basis. A daily practice of mindfulness and working with your thoughts and anxiety is as important as brushing your teeth twice a day.

A pep talk for those living with anxiety 

My advice from personal and professional experience is to work on, with and through your anxiety and to not avoid it. I see too many people who have suffered for years who have not worked on their anxiety. The trouble is for many, they have lived with it and lost out on years of their lives. Anxiety can stop you from travelling, being social, and it can affect your relationships and your health. In working on it with the methods available in my book, you can increase your understanding of what is happening in your mind and body but really transform your life.

Hereditary Cancer Awareness Risk: Why you should know your risk

This week marks Heriditary Cancer Week. If you’ve been following 40 Now What you will know that last year I discovered that I had the genetic mutation of the BRCA1 gene, which means that I have a high lifetime risk or developing breast and ovarian cancer.

The last year has not been easy and has involved a lot of research, medical appointments, discussions with my support network and soul searching.

The honest truth is that a year down the line beyond having a surgery scheduled to have my fallopian tubes removed and having a good old check down there for any signs of cancerous tissue I am still not certain of my course action or any precise timelines of action.

But what is certain that I know that I am at greater risk, I am in the system and being monitored by some of the best professionals in the world, and I am being checked routinely. And that in itself is worth its weight in gold. I know I am incredibly lucky to have that knowledge, and often think about all the people who might also have this mutation, but do not know. Especially as we are now in our 40s and before we know it we’ll be in the age bracket where general cancer incidence rates rise steeply (from around age 55-59).

The role of genes in cancer

According to Cancer Research UK, our genes play a big role in our risk of cancer. It’s estimated up to 10% of all cancers diagnosed are linked to a genetic fault that can be passed from one generation to the next. Ovarian, breast, prostate, pancreatic and bowel are some of the cancer types you’re more likely to get if you carry a BRCA mutation or Lynch syndrome.

But despite the hereditary cancer risks, according to Target Ovarian Cancer’s latest research 75% of the general public have never heard of BRCA and 84% of people have never heard of Lynch syndrome. What’s more many are unaware that a family history of cancer could put them at risk of these genetic faults. It’s time to change that.

What can you do

Use Target Ovarian’s risk tool

Knowledge is power, and using the tool will help you understand your risk and what to do next. So take a few minutes to complete it here. It could change your life and help you take control.

Be mindful if you’re of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage

People of Ashkenazi Jewish descent have a 1 in 40 chance of carrying a BRCA mutation, making them 10 times as likely to carry a BRCA mutation as someone in the general population. Whether you’re a man or a woman, if you have BRCA1/2 mutation then there is a 50% chance of passing the mutation on to your children, whether they are boys or girls.

Check out Target Ovarian’s newly launched hub to give anyone with Ashkenazi Jewish heritage all the information and support they need – stories from those who’ve had to make difficult choices, important information about your risk and what do next, and videos to help you understand more about your risk.

Spread the word about hereditary cancer

Awareness is key here. I know just how important it is to know your status, and then be in the system and be duly monitored. By sharing this article, raising awareness or mentioning this to somebody today, you could be making a life-changing difference.

Useful links about hereditary cancer

BRCA & Lynch syndrome FAQ

Facing Our Risk website

Inherited genes and cancer types

NHS guide to predictive genetic tests for cancer

Have you heard BRCA or Lynch syndrome? Or have you ever had genetic testing for hereditary cancer?

Career advice for the over 40s: How to handle career setbacks

When you experience career setbacks and things are not going the way you hoped in your career – perhaps you are being blocked for a promotion or restructuring has affected your career path; you need a way forward. So what can you do to handle career setbacks like these?

Be realistic, be ready to adapt, be versatile. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of ‘good enough’; play the cards you are dealt and find the advantage in your current career situation, because there is always some way to turn career setbacks to your advantage if you have the right mindset.

Failure is part of life, and something we should embrace as part of the learning experience. The starting point for development is the adoption of an attitude whereby you seek to stretch yourself and persevere even; especially when things are not going well, this is the hallmark of the growth mindset.

Career planning

Your career is your responsibility and it’s smart to have a plan for the near future, but you may need a re-think if:

  1. You are bored and feel your job lacks challenge, appeal and fun
  2. Promotion and/or development opportunities are limited
  3. You don’t feel you are learning anything new, it’s all routine
  4. Your talent and skill seem to be going to waste
  5. You are stressed or feel unappreciated, unengaged, disconnected

Successful career management is built on identification of your values, interests and skills and then developing those and investing time and effort in a chosen career path. Aim to build and grow, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that years of experience are what counts. If you are not fully invested in career development, there’s danger of ending up with 10 years of experience that is, effectively, one year of experience replicated 10 times.

So when facing career setbacks, be honest with yourself, call on your resilience and apply some self-awareness to navigating the challenges and setbacks you face.

Bounce back from career setbacks with a growth mindset

People with a “growth mindset” relish challenge, strive to learn, and consistently see the potential to develop new skills and uncover new opportunities. I suggest a threefold approach:

  • Check your assumptions – challenge the standard perspective, keep an open mind and resist the temptation to blindly accept the status quo; instead, be willing to consider the options and embrace the possibilities.
  • Value diversity – a broad range of perspectives and backgrounds can facilitate creative and innovative approaches and reactions to barriers and challenges.
  • Seek out training, development and networking opportunities – aim for wide-ranging interaction throughout and beyond your organisation, seek out work assignments that take you out of your usual work environment, learn from colleagues and embrace knowledge-sharing as these are all ways to broaden your horizons and spark new ideas.

Now do some goal-setting

Some of the benefits of setting goals:

  • Increased motivation when goals are realistic and attainable.
  • Provides a performance focus.
  • Bolsters the work ethic and fosters perseverance with a goal in sight.
  • Facilitates feedback and benchmarking.

Settle on some realistic targets where you can measure progress; if you have a clear view of where you want to be, it is easier to evaluate forward momentum. By setting and taking action towards your goals, you will bolster your self-confidence. If you need to make changes, then bite the bullet and take control – a healthier work-life balance will result in greater productivity and motivation.

Design a clear plan of action, chunk big goals into the milestones needed to achieve your overall goal. Plan smaller objectives into your daily to-do list and create momentum with regular work towards your goal. Each small change paves the way for bigger changes; so, every day ask yourself what can I do today that helps me reach my goal?

Make a change

Learning agility helps us find new ways to tackle setbacks and challenges. When it is no longer a question of doing better what you did before – when running harder and faster doesn’t help – what you need are new behaviours and innovative solutions. Reframe your reference points in order to develop radical and creative responses is crucial.

To grow professionally, you need to challenge your perspectives, biases and opinions. The greater the diversity of your experience and the wider the range of your network, the better the career opportunities you are likely to encounter. Look for opportunities that will enable your development; don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice, ask to work on projects that interest you or with people who inspire you.

The stronger your professional network, the more likely you are to meet people who will help your career growth. Aim to make new contacts and build a robust professional; don’t lose contact with former co-workers or bosses. Attend events, trade shows, and conferences that will help you meet and exchange contacts with other professionals.

Liz Sebag-Montefiore is the Co-founder and Director of 10Eighty,  helping individuals and organisations to maximise their potential.  To excel your career., improve performance and give a sense of focus in terms of career direction why not get a coach? Find one here.

Disturbed sleep? 5 tips to improve your sleep during perimenopause

It’s no big secret that sleep is a crucial part of our health and wellbeing. It’s a key component of human life that we need to survive – like food and water. But in a world of digital distraction, rising mental health issues and an increase in working from home. In our 40s, many of us struggle with disturbed sleep, with sleep often the first element of our daily life to get neglected and to suffer.

If you are suffering from disturbed sleep, whether ongoing or for a short period of time, it’s important to remember that things can change and that it is possible to get the rest your mind and body needs to thrive. 

Wh sleep so important for your health

Sleep helps the mind and body repair, regenerate and recover. It allows us to wake up feeling refreshed, re-energised and ready to take on the day ahead. And not only does a good night’s rest add a positive spring to our step – it has many other benefits too. 

Sleep is essential for various aspects of brain function. Cognition, concentration, productivity, and performance are all negatively affected by sleep deprivation. In turn, this affects our decision-making and problem-solving skills, ability to focus, memory and general day-to-day motivation. 

And on the physical side? 

Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy, and a lack of it can result in you struggling to fight off common infections. Sleep also supports the healing of your heart and blood vessels, the repairing of cells and tissues, whilst maintaining a healthy balance of hormones

We know that sleep helps the body in many ways and is critical for our overall health. And we also know the damage that sleep deficiency can have on our health and wellbeing instantly and over time. 

As individuals, we all have a unique pattern and requirements when it comes to sleep. And it’s all about finding what works for you! But the general recommendation for adults is between 7-9 hours a day. 

5 top tips for a better night’s sleep

1) Limit caffeine and alcohol

Enjoy a coffee or two in the morning? Go for it! But try to avoid drinking much past lunchtime, as caffeine stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night. If you do crave an afternoon coffee, try decaf as an alternative.

Alcohol is also one to be avoided or limited before bed to reduce the chance of disturbed sleep. It may assist with feeling sleepy at first, but is known to disrupt sleep patterns, increase snoring and reduce night time melatonin production. And we already know that’s vital for a good night’s sleep! 

2) Add exercise into your daily routine

We all know the positive effect exercising can have on our mind and body. But did you know it can improve our sleep too? Not only does it increase sleep quality but it decreases the risk of excessive weight gain, which can be a cause for sleep deprivation in itself.  Whether it’s going for a walk, jog, swim or doing yoga – make sure it’s something you enjoy!

3) Reduce screen time before bed

With most of us keeping our phones by our bed, it’s tempting to indulge in screentime until we choose to close our eyes. But blue light emitted by our phones and laptops trick our body into thinking it’s daytime – reducing hormones like melatonin, which help us relax and get into a deep sleep and and can result in disturbed sleep. Try to eliminate any screentime in the hour before bed. Use this hour as an opportunity to read, relax and indulge in some self-care. You deserve it!

4) Get comfortable in bed

This may seem like an obvious one to some, but our bed and environment must support us in our mission to sleep. If you wake up feeling uncomfortable, you may need a new mattress and/or pillows. Always invest in a good quality mattress and bedding – we spend a third of our life in our bed!

5) Take high-quality natural supplements

The Herbtender’s Doze & Dream (The Sleep Mix), is our tranquil adaptogen blend that promotes uninterrupted rest when you need to switch off and recharge. Designed to gently ease you into sleep, our bedtime supplement sees Ashwagandha, one of the few non-stimulating adaptogens, join forces with calming Reishi, as well as Lavender and Chamomile. Better nights lead to better days!

 

 

 

 

Life advice for your 40s: how to rewrite your story

Our 40s are a period of reflection. As we come up for air from the first half of our life, we then begin to wonder what we should do with our lives in the next half? There are lessons to be learned, changes to be made, and a whole bunch of potential awaits, for both late-bloomers and people who have been living it large already. So what’s the life advice for your 40s you need to know? We spoke to, Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse, master storyteller, who has devoted her life to helping others rewrite their stories whose latest book Storytelling Legacy: Everyone Has Stories—What are Yours? to get her essential life advice for your 40s, as well as her perspective on what being a woman in her 40s in today’s world looks like with the benefits of hindsight.

What are some things you would go back and tell your 40-something year own self? 

At 40, be very good to yourself. Self-care (sleep, regular eating, lots of exercise and healthy connections) will determine how the rest of your life will go.  40’s and 50’s are “turning point” ages. 

What are some of the biggest issues women in their 40s are facing today? 

Overwhelm, not enough time, clock ticking in relationships, life is operating “at its peak”. 

What can we do about them?

Remembering that overwhelm is simply a sign of “not” making enough choices, clutter is about “not making choices” and not enough hours in the days is about “not making enough choices”.  Theme here, “go forward and choose along the way”. It means getting comfortable with “letting go “ of people, activities and things. 

advice for your 40s

What are some life lessons you’d like to impart on women turning or progressing into their 40s? 

Simplify.  In order to find all the good things and the things that make you happy, your job is to “make room” by living more simply. 

What is the best way to conquer your 40s? 

Don’t see them as “something to conquer”. I see the forties as rich time to change direction and look forward to each decade as it comes along. Sometimes the best focus for the 40’s is to turn the sail of your private ship and decide which directions (s) you want to go. 

What are some of the things we should do before turning 50?  

The best tools are daily exercise goals, getting one’s body ready for the next few decades, let go of worn out relationships and make plans for the next chapter in life.  The 40’s are the perfect evaluation, choices and directions you want for yourself as the ships starts sailing in a new direction. 

What should we stop doing in our 40s? 

Hanging on to old relationships from which one has grown, hanging on to lifestyles that aren’t preparing for a healthy future.  Buying things that one will need to downsize from in the 40’s and 50’s.  This is not a good time to accumulate. It is a time to evaluate. 

advice for your 40s

Any advice for women wanting to totally rewrite their own story in their 40s?

I would suggest that the 40’s is a perfect time to rewrite one’s life.  Take each of your past experiences. Choose to either celebrate it, document it (pictures, videos and stories) and hang on to them, and also know what, who and how to eliminate what you don’t want to repeat, take along or plan to enjoy.  This is the evaluation decade. 

Do you have any particular story you would like to share which you think would resonate with our readership?

My forties were the end and the beginning of many things.  It was the end of accumulating things of no current value or sparks of joy. It is important to understand that I have kept many things and some are reaching vintage.  However, I don’t keep anything that doesn’t invoke a “spark of joy”.  

The forties were also the time that I cemented in my “need to exercise and move”.  Whether I was in my neighborhood, along a country road, living in a city or sailing on a ship. walking each day became as regular as brushing my teeth.  I still walk 2 miles a day and if all my miles were laid out in a row, maybe I’ve walked across the US.  It is as familiar as breathing. It was the time that I decided to never work again. Mind you, there have been many 12 hour days of work, but I don’t consider it work IF I love what I am doing. That way my activities become my passion and I am very passionate about life.   

One of my favourite stories is:  Walking through an airport in Chicago, a little boy came running up to me and said, “you are the lady in the red dress”.  I said “yes, I am”.  At that time, I had made a movie and made a decision to always wear something bright and different in each major presentation I made publicly. I could repeat the outfits, but each was chosen for a reason.    Never again, did I wear grey, brown or anything dull.  Later in life, I kept the same plan for zoom calls, interviews, family movies etc.  Women and children may not always hear or be interested in “what you said”, but they rarely forgot what you wore. I was also the lady with the striped green and white dress who wore glasses that also had green and white frames. The moral of this story is “stand out, own your space and enjoy it”.  You matter! 

Anything more life advice for your 40s to add? 

Enjoy the 40’s and remember.  “You are the captain of “your ship”.   Sail away! 

Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse has devoted her life to helping others rewrite their stories, and is a master storyteller. In her latest book, Storytelling Legacy: Everyone Has Stories—What are Yours?, Sharon finally shares her story, with tales of celebrity, culture, humor, spirituality, travels and much more. She is a nationally known consultant, family therapist and author of 23 books on everything from personal development to relationships to caregiving.

What to know before adopting in your 40s

Adopting a child can be a wonderful and rewarding experience however, sometimes the process can be complicated. In this article, we’re going to discuss what you need to know before adopting in your 40s.

Some people may wish to spend the first 40 years of their lives focusing on themselves rather than having children. Perhaps they wanted to spend their younger years travelling, focusing on their career, or spending quality time with a family, friends or even a love interest. 

You might get to a point later down the line where you decide you want to have children, and that’s okay. It comes as no surprise that having children in your 40s is later than most others, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to do. There are many options available to those wanting to start or grow their family, including pregnancy, surrogacy, or even adoption. 

While adoption is a fantastic way to provide a safe and loving home for a child, the process can be complicated, but there are also many things to know about adopting in your 40s. To ensure everything is handled correctly, seeking guidance from a family law solicitors is recommended. To learn more about adopting in your 40s, keep reading… 

Is Adopting in Your 40s Fair to the Child? 

Unfortunately, older parents are often subject to criticism from other parents and professionals for having children later in life, but does that mean it is unfair to the child? 

Many people are now living till they’re 81. Meaning there is a high possibility of 40-plus years spent with your child. It is, however, realistic to say that life circumstances can undoubtedly alter and that none of us know what the future has in line for us. However, these unforeseeable situations shouldn’t prevent you from starting your own family nor does it mean that it will be unfair to the child if you adopt in your 40s. 

What do You Need to Know Before Adopting a Child in Your 40s?

There is no Upper Age Limit 

There is a common misconception that there is an age limit when it comes to adopting, but this is a complete myth. There is no upper age limit to adopting a child. So long as the person adopting a child is in good health and has the energy to provide appropriate care for a child, they should be eligible to adopt. 

However, it is worth keeping in mind that there are some situations where, if you are in your 40s that you may be matched with an older child rather than a baby or a younger child. 

You Are Not Alone 

If you have never had a child previously, it can be quite scary being a first-time parent with no idea what to expect, especially if you are older than the average parent. 

It is easy to feel like you are alone in your late parenthood and that you can’t relate to other parents because you are not in the same age bracket, but this is far from the truth. More than ever are individuals choosing to have children later in life, focusing on other aspects, such as their career, buying property, building wealth, travelling and more. 

An article posted in 2013 on Coram stated, “66% of parents who adopted through Coram in the last five years were aged 40 and over.” While this was released nine years ago, another article posted on the Independent in 2020 after statistics were released from the Office for National Statistics suggests a similar thing, with about half of women born in 1989 not being mothers. This shows that even seven years later, many people choose to have children later in life. 

The Adoption Process Can be Lengthy 

If you do decide to proceed forward with adopting a child, it’s wise to note that the process of adoption can take a considerable amount of time, meaning while you are currently a certain age, by the time your adoption is finalised, you could be a couple of years older. 

This does, however, completely depend on the circumstances of the adoption. On average, a straightforward adoption takes between six to 12 months, but it is highly likely that the process could take even longer in some situations. 

There Are Lots of Steps Involved

Before you can adopt a child, there are a number of steps involved in the process to ensure that you are suitable and fit to be an adoptive parent. Examples of the adoption steps include: 

  • Assessments
  • Training 
  • Series of home visits

You can learn more about the adoption process on first4adoption to help you prepare.  

Being in Your 40s is Not Too Old to Adopt 

What we can conclude from this article is that while adopting a child is a big commitment at any age, being in your 40s doesn’t mean you are any less able than other parents who are perhaps younger. 

The process of adoption remains the same, there are no extra checks, and most importantly, you aren’t alone. Thousands of other parents are in their 40s and becoming first-time parents. 

Have you adopted a child later in life? What are your suggestions to other parents looking to do the same? Let us know in the comment box below.

Photos by Kenny Eliason, Picsea, Guillaume de Germain from Unsplash

Staying strong and fit in your 40s and beyond

As we move into our forties there is a lot to celebrate! We have seen quite a bit of life, and as a result, we are wiser, more centred, and are ready to conquer the next half of our lifetime. But in the midst of all of this empowerment, our bodies are changing. As our hormones start to fluctuate we can experience disrupted sleep, night sweats, bloating, fatigue, and recurring muscle aches and injuries. Often we feel that despite our exercise and eating patterns not changing, our shapes are, particularly around our middle and this can be disheartening when you are trying to stay strong and fit in your 40s.

What is happening and how can you stay strong and fit in your 40s and beyond?

Your regular menstrual cycle starts to change in your forties where our hormones are in a state of flux, with oestrogen becoming dominant. We start to have more anovulatory cycles, meaning that as an egg isn’t being released, there isn’t the stimulus to produce progesterone, so causing a hormonal discrepancy. This is where we start to feel those confusing changes in our bodies, and the closer we get to the actual cessation of our periods, the worse these become.

How does this affect our training and body composition?

Oestrogen often promotes inflammation. This leads to an increase in total body inflammation, and a poor ability to adapt and respond, with a predisposition to things like iron deficiency, sore joints, puffiness, picking up respiratory tract infections and so on.  We also have a decreased sensitivity to insulin, and how they moderate blood sugar control. This is what can cause that storage of belly fat.

What can we do?

We should approach this as the new, positive chapter in our lives that it is. Women do have the capacity to continue to be strong, powerful and fit in your 40s and beyond. However, if inactive, around 3% of lean muscle mass can decrease each decade from the age of 30. 

But the good news is, it is never too late to start, we just need to look at ways to train and maintain that neuromuscular stimulation and muscle integrity. Here are some key considerations we need to take into account when planning our training so you can stay strong and fit in your 40s:

Lift heavy

We really need to build in some quality resistance training, low-rep heavy weights. Not only does this help with neuromuscular action, it also increases the stress on the bone and helps with bone turnover, increasing or preserving bone density. Here we are looking at exercises like squats and deadlifts, to a maximum of 5 or 6 reps.  Safety is a key factor here of course and you should work with a professional when you are learning to do this to ensure you are lifting correctly.

fit in your 40s

High intensity interval training 

One of the best ways to stimulate muscle production, these short, sharp interval workouts prompt your body to build lean muscle and shrink visceral fat more effectively than a slow burn endurance workout. It also helps your body to process insulin efficiently, making you less prone to insulin resistance, or becoming overweight. These intervals can be built into most types of exercise, from running to cycling, rowing etc and work with very short (20 to 90 seconds maximum) of high intensity exercise, followed by longer recoveries. The good news is that if these are done correctly, the total workout shouldn’t last more than about 30 minutes.

Plyometrics 

These exercises include exercises like jumping, hopping or bounding, or otherwise giving your bones and muscles the extra stimulus that comes when you push off against gravity and land back down. The key here is the multi-directional aspect rather than running, with exercises such as jumping jacks, side hops, skipping and so on which improve muscular strength, bone health, body composition, posture and physical performance.

fit in your 40s

Do less volume and more intensity 

This is the area where a lot of people struggle. The tendency at this time is to push harder and longer to get rid of this newly acquired body fat, but ultimately that backfires, putting you into a state of low-energy, high stress cortisol cycling. Encouragingly, women have that inherent ability to go long because of the sex differences within the muscle enzyme activity, as well as the body being predisposed to endurance. So if you want to keep in those long, social workouts, make them just that, keeping in your lower heart rate zones where you can still hold a conversation.

In summary

All of these specific interventions work to not only to decrease visceral abdominal fat, increase our insulin sensitivity, increase our lean-mass development and the way our muscles fire, they also build stability around the joints. When we do this, we increase the ability of the muscles around the joint to withstand heavy weight and withstand the pressures of lifting and moving through resistance, not only with exercise, but everyday life.

fit in your 40s

Working with a coach

If you are keen to work towards a goal of staying strong and fit in your 40s, or simply be the best version of yourself in your forties and beyond, then it is worth considering working with a coach. Denise Yeats works in a very holistic way, advising on diet and nutrition in tandem with exercise, and constantly listening to her clients and the way they are adapting not only physically, but also mentally to the training she is setting them. 

Denise Yeats is a triathlete and IRONMAN Certified Coach with a passion for personal development of women in the perimenopausal and menopausal stages of their lives. Find out more at www.deniseyeats.co.uk.