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. 

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.

Tried and Tested Summer 2022

Hold the phone everybody! Our Tried and Tested feature is back by popular demand this summer. If you want to know what products have landed on our desk that are worth checking out then read on friends as we give our Tried and Tested stamp of approval to all things beauty, wellness and food that we have fallen in love with. This summer we’ve been….

Beautifying with….

Vibrant Skin Serums

Vibrant Skin is a natural skincare brand, founded by two lovely sisters – Sarah Owen & Kelly Owen – after a personal journey that took them on a quest to discover exceptional, active, and natural ingredients that would support and rebuild the skin. They are on a mission to show people how beautiful their skin can be, and their serums are science-driven, brilliant quality, evidence-based and unlock nature’s powerful healing properties providing intrinsic protection and deep hydration. We’ve tried all three serums – Energising Vitamin Serum, Time Repair Serum, and Hydra B5 & Hyaluronic Acid Serum – and can truly say that they have left our skin looking healthy and radiant, leaving us feeling fabulously empowered! The Vibrant Skin Serum range starts at £40, discover their products here.

tried and tested

Glo32 Teeth Whitening System with Coconut Oil

Over 40 years on the planet does not for white teeth maketh. Our previous experience with tooth whiteners has been HARSH which is why they have never previously made it into our Tried and Tested feature. But we have to say we love Glo 32’s Advance Teeth Whitening System with Coconut Oil. Formulated with Coconut Oil for a healthy and gentler way to achieve a whiter, brighter smile. We used these easy-to-apply strips every day for a month and our teeth were visibly whiter. No need to get your teeth done professionally. Just purchase one of their home whitening kits instead! Glo 32’s Advance Teeth Whitening System with Coconut Oil costs £20 and is available from Boots and Amazon.

tried and tested

The DA Group’s Luxury Hair Oil

Hair can dry out in extreme temperatures and with increased UV exposure in the summer months or while you’re on holiday. If your locks are looking anything but luscious it’s time to give them some extra TLC. The DA Group’s Luxury Hair Oil is perfect for doing just that. Made from ethically sourced, organic ingredients, we’ve been using their pre-wash treatment once a week resulting in noticeably smooth and softened hair. Their luxurious blend of oils nourishes, treats, and repairs your hair from root to tip and is perfect for taking care of dry hair during the summer months. The DA Group’s Luxury Hair Oil costs £19.99 and is available to buy from thedagroup.com.

tried and tested

Lola’s Lashes Rose Quartz Magnetic Lashes

Because you’re never too old to wear lashes. If you are no idea how to wear lashes (much like us), then Lola’s lashes are a good place to start. Their Rose Quartz Magnetic Lashes will have you cheating on your mascara. Ridiculously easy to apply without any faff, they are the perfect style to complement an everyday or going out-out makeup with just enough subtle lift, length and volume to enhance your eyes. They’re so quick and easy to apply that you can even wear them daily – even if you are completely cack-handed like us! Lola’s Lashes Rose Quartz Magnetic Lashes cost £20 and are available from lolaslashes.co.uk.

Dr Paw Paw Tinted True Coral Balm 

Remember when Dr Paw Paw first entered our lives and we went absolutely mad for it? Well, they’re making waves again – this time with their Tinted True Coral Balm. The perfect summer do-it-all. This small but mighty baby can be used to as a lip balm, lip tint, cheek tint, highlighter and eyeshadow. Full of pawpaw (papaya) fruit, aloe vera and olive oil, it’s suitable for all skin types and skin tones including sensitive skin, and subtle peach pink colour. It hydrates and nourishes and is the perfect way to either enhance your natural lip colour or build a bolder look. It’s become our summer go-to and there isn’t a day we haven’t been using this little multi-purpose hero balm. Dr Paw Paw Tinted True Coral Balm costs £6 and is available to buy from Waitrose, Marks & Spencer from 4th August and www.drpawpaw.com.


skinChemists Youth Series & Hada Labo Tokyo Face Sun Creams

You know one thing that drives us mad in the summer months? Having to apply a sun cream over our moisturiser because our current one either doesn’t include an SPF or has one but it isn’t high enough. But hurrah that’s a thing of the past now thanks to two products we’ve recently discovered.

The first is skinChemists Youth Series Wrinkle Killer, an SPF 50 Sun Protection Day Cream that goes beyond being a typical moisturiser with added SPF 50 (also available with SPF 30). The new range offers intense hydration, as well as protection from the sun, helping you beat wrinkles and enjoy summertime. Years in the making, skinChemist’s SPFs are unscented and won’t leave white residue, making it perfect for all skin tones and no weird white face afterwards!

The second is Hada Labo’s Face Sun Cream, a water-resistant moisturising sunscreen lotion SPF50 specifically for the face. We love how light this lotion is – it’s non-greasy, quickly-absorbed and has a dry-touch consistency that can be used even on wet skin. Youth Series Wrinkle Killer, SPF 50 and SPF 30 Sun Protection Day Cream RRP £34.99 is available at  www.skinchemists.com or www.feelunique.com ; Hada Labo Tokyo Face Sun Cream SPF50 now £11.29 at Superdrug.

Eating and drinking…

Good4U Salad Topper

Summer is all about salads, but what if we told you there was away to elevate your salads to seriously satisfying levels? We recently discovered the Good4U Salad Topper range and are firm Tried and Tested fans. Their range of salad toppers are not only designed to power up the nutritional value of your salad, but they also level it up both in terms of flavour and texture. With Garlic & Chilli, Super Seeds, Garlic & Herb and Caesar Crumbles, there’s pretty much not a day that goes by where we don’t use these on our meals. And yes, they can be used on so much more than just salads too! Good4U Salad Toppers cost £2 for a packet and are available from leading supermarkets and direct via their online store.

Tried and Tested

OHMG Magnesium Water

Looking for that perfect summer drink to take the edge off? No we don’t mean a G&T. We’re talking about OHMG Magnesiums Water! OHMG Magnesium Water is a delicious range of still and sparkling water infused with Magnesium, fruit extracts and botanicals. 100% natural, containing no sugars, no sweeteners and no calories. Magnesium is known as the relaxation mineral and an essential nutrient responsible for more than 300+ functions inside our body. Studies have shown that up to 75% of us are depleted in Magnesium. Meanwhile, every can of OHMG Magnesium Water contains 56mg. So guess what we have been reaching for some Tried and Tested relaxation canned daily….A 12 can variety pack of OHMG Magnesium Water costs £23.99 and is available from ohmgwater.com.

Tried and Tested

Sheese Cheese Alternative

Our experience of cheese alternatives has so far left us yearning for the real stuff. That is until we locked our chops around Sheese’s dairy free cheeses! Somehow they have absolutely nailed it in terms of taste and texture – so it’s no wonder they are award-winning. But what we love about these guys is that they go so much beyond the traditional cheese slice or grated packs. While these are great, for us the real stars of the show are their Blue Cheese and Wenselydale editions which are just so ridiculously moreish. We are not sure how they achieved such wizadry with a base of coconut oil but at this point in time we don’t even care! If you are looking to cut back on or replace dairy in your diet then it’s Sheese for the win. Sheese is available at all good supermarkets. Prices typically start at £2.50 for a pack. Check out their range here.

Nick’s Bars

We all love a good snack, but we also know that finding snacks that are healthy, yummy and won’t leave you feeling hateful thereafter are hard to come by. That is unless you know about Nick’s who have quite simply made snacking better. Their range of chocolate bars are sugar free, gluten free, palm oil free and pretty much guilt free. We countdown the hours to our 3pm rendez-vous with our stash of Nick’s Bars and currently crushing on their Peanuts N Fudge Bar and protein bar range big time. Currently with 20% off site wide check out the Nick’s range. here.

Eat Well for Less: Happy & Healthy

Food is getting expensive, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip on eating well. Despite the ever-increased basket pricing of our weekly shops, there is still a way to eat well on a budget. Including simple, common sense advice which many have come to expect from the BBC Series Eat Well For Less this book is packed full of light lunches, simple suppers and weekend nosh that are quick, easy and won’t break the bank. It has helped us revisit some old classics over at Tried and Tested but also try out new spins and takes also with ingredients we already have knocking around in our fridge or kitchen. Perfect for knocking up something without having to spend money on extra ingredients you will only use once which is the problem with so many other recipes we find! Eat Well for Less: Happy & Healthy is currently available from Amazon for £8 (RRP £14.99)

Tried and Tested

Aktar at Home

Let’s face it – eating out has become astronomically expensive and takeaways are not exactly cheap these days. That said, we love a good curry and have found the perfect solution from Aktar At Home, freezable curry boxes by Aktar Islam, Michelin star chef which makes for a generous and delicious feast. All Meals are freezable so you can have your fill one day and more another, and another after that. A Mixed Box includes a whole variety of mouth-watering curries including two chicken, one mutton, one vegetarian/vegan, and an abundance of pilau rice and the most epic naans we’ve ever seen! We loved every mouthful and will be coming back for more. A Mixed Box Deal costs £70 and is available from aktarathome.co.uk.

VAHDAM® Tumeric Teas

The health benefits of tumeric tea are seemingly endless, which is why we are big Tried and Tested fans. But then add in the mix a climate and plastic-neutral element and premium-quality Indian turmeric with superfoods like Ginger, Ashwagandha, Moringa, and an array of spices which are 100% natural, pure and caffeine free that you get with VAHDAM and now you’re really talking. Stemming from Ayurveda, turmeric has been known for its powerful healing properties for over 5,000 years. From being a fix for seasonal colds to healing wounds, providing anti-inflammatory benefits and boosting immunity, turmeric has a myriad of health-promoting benefits. We are especially in love with VAHDAM’s Ashwagandha Herbal Tea Bags – which includes the ancient herb renowned for helping the body manage stress, perfect for unwinding with before sleep and their Tumeric Spiced Tea Bags which are like a hug in a mug. The full range of VAHDAM Teas is available at hollandandbarrett.com, Amazon and other online retailers from £4.99.

Tried and Tested

Supplementing with…

Heaven Collagen Drops

We wouldn’t be a day without collagen supplementation which in our view is an absolute must when you hit your 40s. Cue Heaven Collagen Drops, so intensely concentrated that you only need to add a few drops to your morning glass of water. Super easy to use, you can either ingest them or also mix in with your daily creams for healthy glowing skin as well as lustrous shiny hair. Founder of Heaven Skincare Deborah Mitchell has been creating and testing these potent skincare supplements since 2013 as part of her Inner Beauty collection. Thanks to a clever blend of high levels of marine collagen, glucosamine, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and Biotin they leave you looking – and feeling – Tried and Tested fabulous! A two week supply of Heaven Collagen Drops costs £27.50 and is available to purchase from Heaven Skincare.

My Best Pharm supplements

Not all supplements are created equal – something we know only too well from first hand experience. But recently we discovered My Best Pharm – the result of a cooperation of doctors, pharmacists and dieticians for a more 360 degree approach to supplementation. Their products have an innovative, modern composition, combining the latest, advanced production technologies with many years of tradition and experience in the use of substances of natural origin using clinically proven, patent-protected ingredients from all over the world back up by strong medical evidence – unlike so many other ranges on the market! We have in particular really enjoyed their MyBestComplement supplement (£32.90) which is a powerful blend of 13 valuable ingredients including oils, plant extracts, antioxidants and vitamins with powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects to help bolster immunity, support brain function, achieve healthier looking skin as well as supporting the heart and circulatory system, liver and digestive function and improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The perfect Tried and Tested do-it-all! Find out more about My Best Pharm’s range of supplements at mybestpharm.uk.

Do Not Age supplements

We all want to live longer, feel more youthful, healthy and energised as we age but how do we go about doing that? Do Not Age is on a mission to extend healthy lifespan for as many people as possible through their range of supplements. Using the latest information from leading longevity researchers they develop both products and advice, then distribute them to all that want to live healthier for longer. Our Tried and Tested readers may not have heard of a lot of the names of the products developed by their research team, but having tried and tested some of them including NMN which helps to fight inflammation associated with aging and SIRT6 Activator® which promotes DNA repair and supports genomic stability we were hugely impressed by how quickly you feel your best self from taking them – the increased energy levels are palpable that we are pretty much betting on Do Not Age to secure our newfound longevity. Find out more about the Do Not Age range of supplements at donotage.org.

Exercising with….

Clubbercise Classes

Exercise is an important form of self-care for us over at Tried and Tested, as is doing what you love! If like us you are missing your former dance floor glory days then this one’s for the raver lurking deep inside of you. Clubbercise is fitness meets clubbing where you’ll burn 600+ cals in ONE sweaty, euphoria-inducing Tried and Tested hour. It’s no wonder that Clubbercise is making waves in the fitness community, combining full body workouts with banging soundtracks had us bouncing around with our hands in the air complete with glow sticks. to become all the rage amongst fitness fans and ravers across the world. Combining toning, plyometric and combat moves that are easy-to-follow with high or low-impact options for all fitness levels we were in sweaty fitness heaven thanks to the soundtrack of club anthems including our favourite 90′s classics. Clubbercise offer over 2,000 classes worldwide with options for kids, teens, and families starting at £5 per session. Find your nearest Clubbercise class here.

Tried and Tested

Let us know which of these Tried and Tested items you’d love to try too in a comment below!

Cover Image by rawpixel.com

Benefits of yoga: Why you should add yoga into your everyday routine

We now live in a world where self-care, health and wellbeing are being prioritised, and actually, are actively encouraged – which is something that we haven’t seen until recent years. And one of the very best ways to practise self-care in our humble opinion is through yoga and meditation. Here, Victoria Cranmer, founder of health and wellbeing travel firm Mindful Escapes, shares her thoughts on the benefits of yoga and why yoga should be added to our everyday routine.

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There is a global increase in people battling burnout, and time is of the essence, therefore practising as little as 10 minutes of yoga as part of your daily routine can be a beneficial addition.

People have never been as busy as they are today. Whether it’s juggling work and business with family life or struggling to find the time to relax and unwind, people are continuing to battle the feeling of burnout.

Yoga enables and releases feelings of anxiety, stress, worry, self-doubt, fatigue and the feeling of burnout with each and every breath.

Much more than deep breathing and stretching, yoga is an act of healing – both physically and mentally.

benefits of yoga

Benefits of yoga

As a great source of healing, yoga has many benefits and can work to support everybody in an entirely unique and different way.

Whilst not medicinal, yoga is the ideal way to incorporate gentle movement to your day and improve mental and physical wellbeing.

Improves strength, balance and flexibility

The regular movements and breathing techniques of yoga can aid the improvement of your strength, balance and flexibility by increasing blood flow and warming up the muscles. As well as this, yoga can improve posture, which in turn, reduces back pain and enhances comfort.

Reduces aches and pains

For people with illnesses such as arthritis, or those that suffer from aches and pains, yoga makes for the perfect form of gentle exercise. The stretching and breathing of yoga eases pain and discomfort and is a great way to manage bodily aches and pains without medicinal intervention.

Reduces stress and benefits heart health

When practised regularly, yoga can help people to feel less stressed, thus reducing inflammation and contributing to a healthier heart.

benefits of yoga

Relaxes to aid sleep and boosts mood

With yoga comes a sense of calm and can therefore be a great way to end your day and wind down before going to bed. For a better night’s sleep, alter your exercises to encourage relaxation, but to kickstart your day, yoga can make for the perfect mood booster – simply select exercises that require a little more energy and that make you feel awake and raring to go.

The ultimate self-care tool

Yoga is the ideal way to take care of yourself. Whether it’s 10 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour – yoga can be practised in such a way that works around your day, providing you with some well-deserved ‘me time’ whilst supporting stress management and encouraging mindfulness.

Getting started

It’s important that people practise yoga in a way that suits them – after all, we all have entirely different needs.

Whilst you will receive maximum benefits from adding yoga to your everyday routine, some people prefer yoga retreats to fully immerse themselves and to create the ultimate experience.

A retreat can be the perfect way to prioritise yoga and its healing benefits in your busy life without any distractions from the outside world. For more information on yoga retreats and its benefits, visit: https://mindfulescapes.uk/

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8 key benefits of running to get you motivated

Running is something that’s easy to pick up but not always as easy to turn into a habit; even avid runners sometimes aren’t in the mood for it. Something we know to be very true from our own personal experience as big running fans! So, what should you remember about running to motivate you to keep moving forwards? Here are some key benefits of running to keep in mind to get you up, out and running….

8 key benefits of running

There’s a low entry barrier to becoming a runner 

In an article for Bustle, Rachel Tavel, a former college runner, advises: “Don’t sit around waiting for the moment when you feel like going for a run, because that moment may never come.” The trick, she insists, is to simply go running even when you feel drawn towards staying at home instead.

You can even easily run at home 

You could, for example, buy one of the folding treadmills available for purchase online. These treadmills are available as manual or motorised models — and sourcing one would enable you to fold it away during periods off minimal use to save on floor space. 

Running is good for your heart 

“Research has found that running on a regular basis can decrease the risk of dying due to cardiovascular disease by up to 30%,” RunBuddy head coach Ben Parker recently told Marie Claire.

Running has been credited with helping to not only reduce the risk of heart and circulatory diseases but also lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

benefits of running

Running bodes well for mental health, too 

“Running outside, in particular, can help with reducing the feelings of isolation and loneliness” associated with anxiety, depression, and chronic stress, says Parker.

This is another incentive to force yourself to run when you don’t fancy it. The mere act of running could make you inclined to continue with it!

Running can be a surprising source of companionship 

“The running community is packed full of supportive, like-minded individuals who all share a common goal: to enjoy running,” says Parker.

Indeed, there are various avenues through which running could help you to meet new people — from competitors at marathons to an entire Strava community there to provide support and advice. 

You can run for charitable fundraising purposes 

Many running races are held to raise money for charities, some of which even offer race training as a ‘thank you’ for fundraising.

As Verywell Fit explains: “Running for something bigger than yourself is a great way to stay motivated to keep training and make your races even more meaningful and fulfilling.” 

benefits of running

You can set specific goals 

If the prospect of exercising simply for the sake of exercising isn’t enough motivation for you, it could be a very different matter when it comes to the idea of setting new goals for you to chase.

Naturally, it would be sensible for you to keep your goals relatively modest if you are a novice runner — but, once you feel ready, you could start contemplating signing up for a 5K, 10k or half marathon.

Running can improve your self-esteem 

Imagine the confidence boost you could get from finally accomplishing a particular running-based goal you had previously set for yourself. Not only will the self-esteem boost aid your mental wellbeing, but could also have positive implications for other aspects of your life, like your career and relationships.

We hope these eight benefits of running have inspired you to get on your running shoes and go for a run. If you have any other running motivation to share why not leave it in a comment below!

Images by rawpixel.com

The importance of strength training in your 40s

You know it, and I know it. Once we hit our 40s, we just can’t be as carefree about our physical health, can we? Case in point – did you know – did you know that you can lose as much as 3% to 5% per decade in muscle mass once you hit 30. And now that we’re 40….well you can do the maths! Thankfully strength training in your 40s can be your best friend here. So why aren’t more of us doing it during this period of ageing?

The problem is, when we think of strength training, thanks to the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and co., we can feel a little intimidated by the concept of strength training. But given the above statistics, it’s time to kick those stereotypes to the curb and get with the programme. Because strength training in your 40s has never been so important.

But why? And how? Fret not friends, I had a little chat with former Olympian Greg Whyte OBE and Her Spirit app (your friendly coach in a pocket) and their Coach2Kilos challenge to give us the low down on everything you need to know about strength training in your 40s.

You can’t stop ageing, but you can slow it

Once you hit 40, you start becoming startlingly aware of the ageing process. But here’s the good news, strength training can actually help slow the ageing process. So how does this work?

According to Whyte, ‘One of the problems with aging is that we lose muscle mass. That is particularly facilitated by the menopause but can actually happen in both men and women. Women, in particular, have this changing hormonal environment, which leads to a reduction in muscle mass with ageing. To some extent, while there is an aesthetic element to that, it’s actually more around the functionality of strength that we lose with that loss of muscle mass. Ultimately, we lose power, and with that what we call our health-related quality of life and eventually the ability to perform activities of daily living, so things like carrying the shopping, doing the gardening, walking upstairs picking up grandchildren or children just become that little bit more difficult.’

You might be thinking this doesn’t apply to you right now, but like with anything in life, what you put in now – in your 40s – is going to feed into your golden years. So if you don’t want things to feel more difficult and less enjoyable as the years continue to roll on, essentially – now is the time to act.

Of course, there is also a vanity element here. Simply put, ‘we can use muscle to change body shape, and make us look better. And so because we look better, we feel better. It’s all of that it’s all runs into improving quality of life.’

The importance of strength training in your 40s

Newbie to strength training? Fret not!

You may be thinking you’ve never done one iota of strength training in your life. Well, strike that! Because we all have, even if it’s unknowingly. According to Whyte it’s just that we need to start viewing strength training differently.

‘It’s all about changing that image of what we believe strength training is. If you’re over 40, you’ll probably remember images of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gold’s Gym, Muscle Beach.

I think many of us have this image that strength training is about being a bodybuilder. Well, of course, actually, we do strength training on a daily basis. When we start out from a seated position when we stand up, that takes strength. When we walk upstairs, it takes strength. So all of those activities of daily living actually require strength.

The first thing to always think about is don’t just change your image of what strength actually is, and what strength training looks like. Strength training, in its very simplest form, is anything that resists motion, anything that increases the resistance to motion. So for example, instead of walking on the flat, if you walk up a hill, that could be deemed as being strength training, because there’s a resistance to move.

So it’s about just changing what you see as strength training. Remember that strength is very much part of everyday life. But then, much like it is when you want to improve your aerobic fitness – that we should walk more, and we should be more active – it’s exactly the same with strength, in that if we want to improve our strength, what we have to do is we have to dedicate some time to improving that strength.

Thinking about The World Health Organization guidelines for physical activity for health – which is the same as the Chief Medical Officer’s for the UK – we often talk about this 30 minutes of physical or aerobic activity on most days of the week, so that is at least 150 minutes a week. The advice also includes two dedicated strength sessions a week. So it really is about just making time in your weekly activities to do some dedicated specific strength work.

Putting strength training into practice

So now we all know that we should be doing (at least) two strength training sessions a week, how do we put that into practice? As someone who loves a bit of strength work, I know that it is surprisingly easier and more enjoyable than you might think and Whyte backs me up here:

‘Strength training can be literally anything. The Couch2Kilos challenge, for Her Spirit is just a great example of that. You can strength train at home, on your own in your front room. You don’t need expensive equipment, and you don’t have to wear spandex. There are lots of ways in which we can integrate strength exercise into our weekly activities, without actually really going out of our way.

Going to a gym and diving into the strength area can be quite intimidating. So getting that experience and confidence before you take that step is really very important and the Coach2Kilos program is a great place to start. If you’ve never done it before, or it’s been a long time since your last you can modify the exercises and then build progression based upon your experience and what your own personal strength is. The wonderful thing about training is that it’s very easy to track your progress. So it’s actually quite motivating and you can see things like change in posture, how you carry yourself, and therefore the aesthetic change also quite quickly.

The importance of strength training in your 40s


Getting started with strength training

So we’ve sold the idea of strength training to you, but nobody wants to get an injury so what are the do’s and don’t? Whyte says:


‘What’s always important with exercise in general, is making sure that you start at a level, which is commensurate with your own ability. Don’t start off too hard and more importantly, progress slowly because there is a risk to exercise, generally. So what you want to do is avoid injury or in particular, avoid excessive muscle damage. I guess the underlying message here is that it should be enjoyable. The more you enjoy it, the more likely you are to stick to it. Progression is probably the most important thing in strength training and that you progress slowly so that you are always working within yourself, but also increasing enjoyment, which will help keep you motivated.’

Finding the joy

Personally I LOVE strength training and get a real kick out ot it. I have personally been taking part in the Coach2Kilos challenge with coach Elle Linton (watch out on our Instagram for more on that!) to try and progress my own ability and it just feels so good when you’re doing it. But why is that and what is going on in your body to make it feel that good? According to Whyte there are two factors at play here:


‘Strength training is incredibly social. It can be high intensity, but a very short duration which means you can be social, and chat, while you’re doing strength training especially during the recovery periods between the exercises, which gives you an opportunity to interact with other people.

The second factor at play is much like any sort of aerobic exercise, strength training elicits the same physiological response inside the body. So what we do is we release happy hormones like serotonin and dopamine which improve mood. They make us feel happier, reduce lethargy and increase vigor. We feel happier and more alive. What you get from strength training is the best of all worlds.’

Time for a snack?

No sorry, I’m not talking about your favourite cookie here! One of the beautiful things about strength training is that you can fit in pretty much anytime, anywhere. In fact, I often do my strength training while I’m cooking dinner or while someone else is cooking dinner, which Whyte also advocates:

‘You can dissect strength exercise down into very small packages and actually snack on the strength training. So it’s something you can just fit in, when you’ve got the time. For example, while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, you can be doing squats. While you’re brushing your teeth, you can do heel raises. Whilst it’s the adverts in a TV break, you can do some press-ups. There is no necessity to do it all at once you can actually spread it across the day.

Fear of bulking up

Maybe you’ve been giving strength training a wide birth due to a fear of bulking up. Well good news because this irrational fear is based on fallacy as I can vouch for as someone that strength trains and is pretty much a bean pole! So why do so many of us have a fear that we’ll end up looking like Arnie? And what really happens instead. Whyte explains:

‘This is an absolute misnomer. It’s a sort of a dogma that resides around strength training which is that as soon as I lift a weight, I’m going to get massive. You would have to you have to train incredibly hard, with very big ways to get what we call hypertrophy, increasing muscle size. The likelihood of becoming large in terms of muscle with strength training is incredibly low.

In addition, when we do it competently, we do it at the same time as aerobic training. So, for example, going for a walk and doing strength after the walk or in whichever order. What that does is dampen the hypertrophy response. So, just by using a mixed method type of exercise, we limit the increase in the size of muscle. The bottom line is that by lifting weights, you are not going to get massive.’

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to future proof yourself and start strength training app. Whether you are a total newbie or looking to just do that little bit more, the Coach2kilos challenge is a great place to start.

Coach2Kilos is currently available to premium members of Her Spirit app at just £4.99 monthly, first 14 days free. Download and sign up here.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio, Photo by Andres AyrtonMART PRODUCTION from Pexels