Menopause Makeover Tips

Tip #1: Document your symptoms and health concerns

Tip #2: Discuss your symptoms with your doctor

Tip #3: Understand your health options (alternative, complimentary and medical)

Tip #4: Practice healthy eating habits

Tip #5: Exercise most days of the week

Tip #6: Modify your beauty regime

Tip #7: Wear sunscreen daily

Tip #8: Pamper yourself

Tip #9: Ask for support

Tip #10: Love the new YOU!

Posted in tips

Learning a Sport at Midlife or Beyond

Learning a Sport at Midlife or Beyond

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Were you dragged to ballet class as a child, when your heart really yearned for a softball glove? Did you spend your free hours curled up with books, wondering what it would be like to ride Black Beauty?

It’s not too late to try a new sport, whether it’s one that was a childhood dream or something that caught your fancy as an adult. “People try new sports for a variety of reasons, including finding new ways to be physically active, to challenge themselves, or to keep in shape,” says Kathleen M. Weber, MD, director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Program at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago. “There may be work-sponsored leagues or activities that employees join for camaraderie or to expand their social circles.”

Isn’t learning a new sport dangerous for middle-aged bodies? Dr. Weber, who’s seen her share of torn ligaments, fractures and other woes, stresses the importance of wearing sports-appropriate protective gear—helmets, as well as padded guards for your wrists, knees and elbows. She cautions that it takes time to get good at a new sport. “It is important to remember that although you are excited about trying something new, it is crucial to pace yourself and gradually increase your activity to avoid injury,” she says. “People who are thinking about getting involved in a new sport might consider working with a fitness professional or seeking consultation from a medical professional.”

Don’t quit your new sport until you’ve developed those skills enough to enjoy yourself, advises the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). If a sport requires too many skills that you don’t have, like quick dribbling or good eye-hand coordination, pick something else.

Facing the challenge

As a ski instructor at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, MI, Lin Westra has taught plenty of women who were new to skiing. Many thought they had little chance of succeeding on downhill snow. “Some will say, ‘I’m a real couch potato, I shouldn’t be out here,'” Ms. Westra says. “But they end up loving it.”

In a two-hour session, she teaches them how to put on and walk in ski boots, as well as steer, stop and turn on their skis. Her goal is to get them on a beginner hill, having fun safely, during their first lesson. “I don’t think there’s a woman out there who can’t learn to ski,” says Ms. Westra. Large women and those who’ve been sedentary can do well. “They don’t have to be an athlete to achieve success.”

That’s not just professional pride speaking. Ms. Westra, a former art teacher, didn’t start skiing until she was 42. “I understand their feelings and their fears,” she says. Her advice: Take a clinic or private lesson and rent your gear for the first few times out.

Is skiing good exercise? “You burn a ton of calories,” says Ms. Westra, who usually shuns the chair lift to add to her workout. That leaves room for plenty of hot chocolate at day’s end.

Which sports should you try?

You’ll find clubs or classes in many sports through local groups, gyms and specialty facilities such as skating rinks, tennis centers or indoor rock-climbing halls. “While you’re taking lessons in your new sport, you also should be working on building your overall flexibility, strength and endurance. Then you incorporate these new skills into the activity,” Dr. Weber advises.

Choose a new activity that’s kind to your body while giving you a good workout. Sports involving jumping, twisting or pounding can be tough on your joints. These are kinder, gentler choices:

  • swimming
  • deep-water running
  • cross-country skiing
  • snowshoeing
  • in-line skating
  • cycling
  • rowing
  • karate, tai chi, soo bahk do (a Korean martial art)

Some physically tough sports can be adapted to keep the fun and exercise without the likely injury risk. Consider “Granny Basketball,” a sport played by several teams of women in Iowa, all age 50 or above. Modeled on girls’ basketball rules from 1929, players wear bloomers, long-sleeved shirts and high socks. There’s no running (but hurrying is allowed), no jumping and no physical contact.

“You can disrupt the throw by trying to hit the ball or steal it,” says Catherine Swatta, 58, who had never played basketball at all before trying a Granny Basketball class earlier this year. She then joined a team in Des Moines and now practices weekly.

Health benefits of a new sport

Ms. Swatta’s doctor approved of her playing Granny Basketball as a good way to stay active, help control her diabetes and drop a few pounds. “Even though there’s no running, you’re still moving. I was surprised how much exercise I was getting,” Ms. Swatta says. “I’ve lost some weight and the muscles in my arms are getting firmer.”

She had been exercising with machine weights at the school where she works. “That’s fine, but it’s boring,” she says. “I like this much better.”

“People are successful in becoming and staying more active if they enjoy what they’re doing,” says Dr. Weber. She notes that some of her patients find their new favorite sports during rehabilitation, while she’s treating them for injuries or other problems.

Dr. Weber encourages patients with arthritis to participate in low-impact activities, such as water aerobics, cycling, yoga or pilates. “They begin to explore new activities that they wouldn’t have done before or have never heard of,” she says. “And they discover that they really enjoy it.”

Posted in fitness, tips

Keep on walking

iStock_000006737638XSmall150Research has shown that when people exercise by walking, they walk 30% longer if they walk to music.

Benefits of Walking

  • Burns calories
  • Helps control joint swelling and pain from arthritis
  • Lowers blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes
  • Reduces anxiety, boosting your mood
  • Helps you sleep better
  • Improves your self-esteem
  • Walk with a buddy and socialize

Make time for walking, it can be relaxing and burn calories!  This week select some new tunes for your next walk.

Posted in fitness, tips

How much water should you consume?

iStock_000008294027XSmall Two thirds of our body weight is water.  Blood is 83 percent water, muscles 75 percent, bone 22 percent and the brain 74 percent… water is obviously good for you. Without water you would dehydrate, and your vital organs would shut down.  Water is a necessity for life.  Water is the most important molecule, second to oxygen, to live.

Benefits of drinking water:

·     Keeps skin healthy and radiant.

·     Helps regulate body temperature.

·     Transports nutrients to your organs.

·     Removes waste.

·     Maintains overall health.

How much water do you need to consume?

There is no one water consumption formula that works for everyone.  The Institute of Medicine advises that women consume 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages per day.

Your Personal Water Needs Depend On Many Factors:

  • For every 20 minutes of exercise you do each day, drink 8 ounces of water.
  • Hot or humid weather can increase sweating, increasing your fluid retention.
  • If you are ill, suffering from a fever, vomiting or diarrhea causing a loss of fluids, drink more water.
  • If you drink alcohol, add an equal amount of water.  For example, 6 ounces of wine should be matched with 6 ounces of water consumption.
  • Bottom line: hydrate based on your needs.

On average, 80% of your body’s water comes from drinking water and beverage sources, and 20% of water comes from food sources.  Many women consume coffee, tea,and sodas, thinking it is a source for water.

Although it is made mostly with water, nothing can replace the enormous benefits of pure water.

Limit yourself to no more than two three-ounce cups of caffeine (coffee,tea, soda) per day.

If you are on blood pressure medication such as diuretics, or have a history of heart problems or swelling in your legs, you may need to adjust your fluid intake, so discuss this with your health care provider!

Posted in nutrition, tips

The Thermic Effect of Food

iStock_000003323578XSmallWhen you follow the Menopause Makeover Food Pyramid, you will be using the thermic effect of food to help burn off that stubborn menopause belly fat. The thermic effect of food is the amount of energy it takes your body to digest food.

Thermic Effect for:

Proteins: About 30%
Carbohydrates: About 20%
Fats: About 3%

Your body is using more energy to digest protein, helping you speed up your metabolism. A higher metabolism is your secret weapon to weight loss and good health. Knowing what foods speed up your metabolism can help you lose weight and burn belly fat.

Posted in nutrition, tips

The Menopause Makeover Challenge!


Meet Jayne. She is doing The Menopause Makeover and blogging about it on

The Menopause Makeover is a crash course in surviving “the change.” Take on The Menopause Makeover Challenge. Join Jayne and say “I do” to a new you!

Posted in tips