Tag: fitover50

My Dad – life at 90!

My Dad

I’ve always admired my Dad, his steady love of his family, his hard and unrelenting work and his stoical attitude. My Dad was a dairy farmer on a small tenanted farm, he loved his work, this life and community I believe.  I have learnt such a lot from my Dad, I’m sure his approach to life has really shaped who I am today.

My Dad
Dad in his 40s

This week my Dad reaches his 90th Birthday! He lives alone, my Mum died 9 years ago having had Alzheimer’s through which he steadfastly cared for her, often shielding my sisters and I from what this dreadful disease was doing to their life.  He is in good health, cooks a meal everyday from scratch and is still an inspiration to us all.

My Dad
Dad at 80 🙂

Dad’s garden

My Dad has a great garden, he even dug up a lawn to extend his vegetable plot! He grows lots of fruit and veg.: potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beetroot, cabbage, chard, purple sprouting broccoli, runner beans, french beans, courgettes/marrow, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes (in his greenhouse), gooseberries, strawberries, blackcurrants, raspberries and rhubarb! This may not be an exhaustive list!

Dad then busies himself freezing or preserving (jam’s, chutney’s, pickles) his fresh produce, thus being self sufficient in this and having gifts for others.

In the last year he has asked us to help dig the garden at the start and end of the season, but he pretty much does everything else himself. He also has some beautiful fuchsia’s, that he and my Mum collected and cultivated. Along with some fabulous Bishop red dahlias.

healthy later life
Soon to be 90!

Recently my sister defrosted Dad’s chest freezer, its contents along with the aforesaid fruit and veg was meat (he buys half a lamb from a local farmer) and game birds (a neighbour beats at shoots and brings Dad game birds…in full feather). The only supermarket products were oven chips and ice cream.

Dad’s social life

When the weather is clement he’ll go for a daily walk and I often find his social life is better than mine! One week in the autumn he was out for coffee on three mornings, lunch with friends one day, a wedding anniversary party (60 years, Dad had been Best Man) and then I was cooking a family Sunday lunch. Pretty good eh? Dad cooks a full Sunday lunch for my younger sister and her husband most weeks!

Celebrating 90 year of age!

So this weekend we celebrate Dad’s 90th Birthday with over 50 family and friends. Please raise your glass and toast my Dad this weekend!

My Dad
Dad as a youngster!

Who inspires you?

Read my tips on having a healthy later life here, it’s not too late!

Checkout my 4 Pillars of Health blog post here https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

and my Functional Fitness blog here https://www.jenafitlife.com/?s=functional+fitness

 

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

Do you want to be happier in your own skin?

I am currently participating in the pilot for a new programme – Unity – from Julia Buckley. I confess I am a long term fan of Julia’s online gym. I have been a member for nearly 4 years having “discovered” her through her book The Fat Burn Revolution. With which I started to see some great results, and loved her ethos and approach to health and fitness.

online gym

4 years on, at 58 I’m probably and most importantly the healthiest, but also the slimmest and fittest, that I’ve ever been and you could be too! No matter where you are starting from Julia’s new programme Unity will help you get in the right mindset to impact your health. What could be more important than that?

Unity programme pilot

I am currently part of the pilot group for the Unity programme, which is aimed at you if, in Julia’s words;

  • “you simply want to find a happier way of “being” in life”
  • “you want to get more comfortable in your own skin”
  • “you struggle to stay consistent with healthy eating”
  • “you still haven’t got to a point where you’re happy with your fitness levels and/or the condition of your body”
  • “you to dip in and out of fitness” or
  • “ if you’re feeling like you want to reconnect with your body”

I jumped at the chance of trialling something that might help you, and be able to have some input into shaping it.

What does Unity include?

I believe a lot of people fail at their fitness and food goals, and thus their health due to their mindset or mental attitude. The Unity programme which incorporates workouts, a food log and mindset work sounded fabulous. I know Julia’s work work’s! so I was excited to join this pilot.

The Food Log

The food log is mostly about when we eat, why we choose to eat then, why we choose those foods and how we feel about this food: before, during and after eating it. It is not about weights and measures, macros or calories.
This log is sent to a qualified nutritionist weekly and feedback is provided. You can ask specific questions or request advice too.

The Mindfulness Work

Julia records online chats which are aimed to make you THINK about the programme as a lifestyle shift, a life change rather than a short term programme to be completed, achieved and moved on from. The chats encourage you to be mindful about your eating, your movement and probably most importantly how you use language both about yourself and others. How you describe yourself and your actions, making you think about how this may have a destructive affect on your intentions or goals. It is provoking, stimulating, challenging and rewarding. This work is, to me, the most important of the programme, hoping to address self sabotage and a failure mentality. It’s not easy, but the Unity community helps to discuss and expand this work.

The Workouts

And the workouts? Well there are six available, nothing is compulsory; all can be scaled to work for the beginner or the advanced level of fitness. They range from yoga type work, to weighted sessions, cardio and great full body-weight workouts. I believe Julia may change this a little in the released Unity programme, providing both beginner and advanced workouts.
I love the workouts and generally find time to fit them in, they are only about 30 minutes long. But you are not failing if you don’t do them.

The Facebook Group

A closed Facebook group enables Julia to deliver the chats and receive feedback. Unity programme members post their questions or concerns, their achievements and their plans, their learning and discoveries. The comradeship of this group is fantastic with members supporting one another, virtually high five – ing the wins and promoting discussions (see the Mindfulness work above).

So what do I think?

I am currently half way through this pilot programme and I think it has an enormous amount to offer. Particularly for those who find it difficult to achieve their health and fitness goals. It will make you look at things differently and it will (hopefully) be the key to the change you deserve.

It’s time to take some responsibility for your health and wellbeing and the tools within this programme are a sure-fire way to help you take the right steps. There is no quick fix, don’t even look for one or be conned by the hype around the latest fad. It’s time to make the changes slowly but surely.

Sign up to Julia’s email list to hear more about the full launch of the Unity programme in January.

And don’t just take my word for it read The Everyday Warrior’s blog post too here

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

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Read my blog post about The Four Pillars of Good Health here

This post contains an affiliate link

 

 

Do you plan to have a healthy later life?

I am not a medical expert, this post is my thoughts and beliefs on a happy, healthy later life, and not expert opinion or advice. I have included links to professional bodies which may help you.

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending” Carl Bard

How are you approaching old age?

I believe it is important and indeed our responsibility to look after our bodies and stay healthy.  I appreciate that for some genetics may play a part in your health and mobility, you can still affect your health outcomes to some extent. Our mental health will impact our physical health and I appreciate this can be a huge hurdle for some. The MIND website has some great information and support for mental health problems.

It is not too late if you are in midlife or even old age, don’t accept illness or dis-ease, choose a fit, happy and healthy later life. The choice is yours. I believe your mind plays an enormous part here.  It is important to learn to love yourself (read my blog on self esteem), be proud and you’ll find this makes it easier to look after yourself.

Functional Fitness for a healthy later life

Healthy later life – Start today!

However old you are – THINK “It doesn’t matter about yesterday” – whether you ate a pack of doughnuts or sat around all day – everyday is a new day and a time to make a change or do something differently. Take a walk, consider what you are eating, and take 5 minutes to contemplate the day/year or anything really.

Choose a good balance in your diet, lifestyle and activity and your body will reward you with less illness and dis-ease. The NHS Choices website may help.

The Menopause

Women will experience hormonal changes during the menopause which can sometimes have very debilitating effects and a knock on to your overall health and self esteem. I believe it is important to recognise the signs and take expert advice to help reduce any associated risks such as heart disease or osteoporosis  – this post has lots of good ideas for a healthy later life. Take a look at this great website from The Menopause Doctor a GP and Menopause Expert  www.menopausedoctor.co.uk.

 

My Dad is 90 next month

healthy later life
Soon to be 90!

His garden is full of fruit and veg that make their way either to his table, his freezer or a jam or chutney. His freezer also boasts cuts of meat and game; he buys half a lamb from the butcher and is gifted pheasants. The only quick or “ready” food in the freezer  is oven chips and ice cream. He cooks his meals from scratch and bakes cakes or tarts regularly. As well as tending his garden he will try to take a daily walk, weather and knee permitting. He is certainly an inspiration or is that an aspiration!

Food for thought

I hope this post has given you something to think about, perhaps even inspired to choose to start to make a new ending. I hope so.

Checkout my 4 Pillars of Health blog post here https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

and my Functional Fitness blog here https://www.jenafitlife.com/?s=functional+fitness

 

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

OFFA’S DYKE PATH PART 4 – Llanmynech to Prestatyn

Offa’s Dyke Path

I’m walking, in stages, Offa’s Dyke Path on the England / Wales Border. A 177 mile National Trail named after the Offa’s Dyke which is a great frontier earthwork built by Offa, King of Mercia from 757 to 796 A.D  http://offasdyke.org.uk/

The last five day stretch Llanmynech to Prestatyn was possibly the best most varied 5 days of walking on the trail culminating in a paddle! This last section included crossing the Clwydian Hill range, great ridge walking providing beautiful views from our dull heights over the surrounding sunlit valleys. Our first and last days were scheduled to be about 10 miles of walking as we traveled from home (the Midlands) and returned home on these days too.

Part 1, 2 and 3 of this walk can be found here http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/offas-dyke-path-part-1/   ,  http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/walkoffasdykepart2/ and https://www.jenafitlife.com/offas-dyke-path-part-3/

Offa's Dyke Path
Prestatyn….177 miles later!

Wednesday 11th October Llanmynech – Carreg-y-big (10 miles)

Rufus and I met our walking colleagues at a friends in Coventry. We traveled on together to Llanmynech to begin our walk at 11am. An initial climb through the leafy glades of Llanmynech Rocks and along past the golf course.. We stopped in Trefonen, a very friendly village with a lovely little shop selling a variety of good foods. A lovely lady commented on my legs! And the shop directed us to the local Church which was open with a loo available at our convenience 🙂
We continued on with great road walking climbing out of Morda valley and through woods.The Dyke once more evident and the wood offering a little shelter on this wet day, to emerge onto Racecourse Common.

Offa's Dyke Path
Racecourse Common – Almost at our first B&B

A mile or so on was our B & B for the night and a lift into Oswestry (The Townhouse) for a great steak, a chocolate pudding and a beer. The B&B was comfortable, the shower rubbish, the breakfast great and the host……….a tad Machiavellian and a crazy driver (85 mph on wet country lanes)….. we lived to tell the tale!!

Thursday 12th October Carreg-y-big – Llangollen (14.5 miles), including a detour to Chirk Castle

Our plans for walking this day were fluid or at least we changed them, thus facilitating a better Day 3!  The day started on the Dyke once more through farmland, woodland and into Shropshire. After a  long climb, we took a short diversion across fields to Chirk Castle, in search of a coffee, a seat and a snack! It should’ve been easy but sometimes the National Trust???? The cafe was within the Castle, for which payment was required. The grounds and shop were accessible but did not sell what we required and dogs were not allowed in the Castle!! We managed to circumvent this as one of our party is a NT member and was able to get to the cafe. I tagged along to make my purchase 🙂

Offa's Dyke Path
Chirk Castle

Even after this diversion we reached our B&B Plas Offa Farm Froncysyttle at about 2.30. We decided to continue on to Irish Bridge and along the Llangollen canal to Pontcysyllte Aqueduct – Thomas Telford’s brilliant piece of engineering completed in 1805, costing £47,000 and one life.

Offa's Dyke Path
About to cross the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
Offa's Dyke Path
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct over the River Dee

From here we continued through Trevor Hall Wood to Panorama Walk’s limestone crags and scree but easy walking on quiet roads. We then took the descent from the trail to reach the wild waters of the River Dee in the middle of Llangollen at 5ish. We took refuge in a pub; steak & kidney pie and good ale. We then had a lucky break as our B&B host was in town and was able to give us a lift back to our comfy bed and lovely showers. We were welcomed by her pet Macaw!

Offa's Dyke Path
Macaw at Plas Offa Farm Froncysyllte

Friday 13th October Llangollen- Clwyd Gate (13 miles)

Our lovely host gave us a lift back up to the path and scree above Llangollen. We were able to start the day at the right height pleased to have completed a longer day on Day 2.
We continued along the scree walk of Panorama Walk with great westward views and down to the ford at World’s End.

Offa's Dyke Path
The ford at World’s End

From here a climb up to the Grouse moors. With Rufus secured on the lead we made our way across the boardwalks and boggy moor, again a little rain was falling. We found shelter in the Llandegla Wood, a very uniformly planted conifer forest. Rufus was free to wander here.

Offa's Dyke Path
Off the lead and into Llandegla Forest

In the village of Llandegla a lovely village community shop provided a welcome coffee and sandwich stop. It was dog friendly and ran by the lovely people of the community, on our visit being ladies over 65!
The afternoon walk was across farmland to Clwyd Gate where we arrived at 4pm ready for our hosts to pick us up and take us to the lovely converted railway station Eyarth Station B&B. A superb room and a lovely bath preceded a fish & chip supper and a couple of beers at the local pub.

Saturday 14th October Clwyd Gate – Sodom (12 miles)

An undulating day of walking over the Clywdian Hills was ahead of us, it promised to be good weather too.  At this point and probably yesterday too the Dyke is nowhere in evidence!  The weather was dull with low cloud up on the hills, but the sun shone all day in the valleys we were looking down on. At least we were still able to get the great views.

Offa's Dyke Path
Jubliee Tower atop Moel Fammau, highest point of the Clwydian Hills

It was Saturday and it was very busy at Moel Famau with a charity event (100 Ascents) resulting in a lot of people making the climb up to Jubilee Tower. Here we were informed that Prestatyn was 20 miles north and Chepstow 157 miles south! As we walked onwards away from the charity climbers, we were rewarded with glimpses of the Irish Sea and the many wind turbines in sea off the Prestatyn beach.
We arrived in Bodfari at about 4pm, with about 1.5 miles to our B&B in Sodom. However the local hostelry and afternoon sunshine led us to the beer garden with pleasing views over the hills we had just crossed.  Our overnight accommodation was in a static caravan , Karen our host brought us toasted teacakes which went down very well with a lovely cup of tea.  Karen also booked a table at the Salsbury Arms Tremeirchion for our evening meal and provided our transport there and back. A brilliant steak burger and even better ale (£2.90 a pint) specifically brewed for the Inn. Oh I shouldn’t forget the great puddings too. A good nights sleep left me refreshed for our final days walk.

Sunday 15th October Sodom to Prestatyn (10 miles, although after a walk on the beach and along the prom we’d walked 12!)

Offa's Dyke Path
We’ve arrived in Prestatyn, in the October sunshine

Our last days walk began along the quiet lanes, the North Wales countryside was pleasant walking. The footbridge over the A55 reminded us that civilisation was not far away and getting closer. The wind turbines and the sea were getting ever closer but it was still a good days walk. The approach to the seaside town is on the gorse and bracken escarpment of the Bryn Prestatyn Hillside. Finally you have to walk from the back of the town, down the High Street, across the railway line to eventually arrive at the sea, and the end of trail/beginning of trail markers – I spotted 3 of them!

Offa's Dyke Path
A paddle in the Irish Sea at the end of walking Offa’s Dyke Path

Have you walked this route?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

Read my post on avoiding blisters! Which I managed to mess up on this walk 🙁

Birds spotted on the Llanmynech to Prestatyn stretch October 11th – October 15th 2017.
Only listing birds not seen elsewhere on the Offa’s Dyke Path

Black Headed Gull
Common Gull
Herring Gull
Oyster Catcher
Cormarant
Green Winged Macaw
Meadow Pippet
Bullfinch
Red Grouse
Jay

 

Running – how to get going

I’d done a bit of running in my day, mainly in the early ‘90s when my daughters were small, as a means to regain my fitness. More recently swimming had become my “go to” cardio. You can read more about all that here .  I then bought a dog and began taking him on two good walks a day.

Low cost health -walk
10 minutes brisk walking daily – low cost health!

Running with my daughter

At this time my eldest daughter had returned from University carrying much more weight than she’d gone with and she decided to take up running to rectify this. A good first step is to set a goal.

Armed with her Couch 2 5k app she began to accompany me on the dog walks and I soon found I was learning to run again too!  (Team up with a friend) These apps are brilliant for advice and motivation along with the progressive increase in time, distance and pace. Don’t worry about the time it takes you to run any distance but keep increasing the distance, the rest will follow. These days’ things like parkrun offer a regular, free, timed run for you to measure your improvement should you wish to and joining a running club might be a great way for you to improve.

You can start to run with nothing more than a pair of trainers, and, at least initially, I wouldn’t be concerned about their price tag or quality. This refinement can come as mileage and continued enthusiasm kick in!

Running

Be sure to warm up, take rest days, stretch and mix in some strength training. This rounded approach will improve your running and help to keep you injury free. A regular massage is a great way to lessen muscle tension and improve range of motion [http://www.runnersworld.com/injury-prevention-recovery/the-pros-and-cons-of-massages-for-runners]

My daughter progressed and has completed 5 half marathons and raised over £2,500 for the Alzheimer’s Society  after she got a ballot place and ran the 2014 London Marathon on her 25th birthday. Oh and having done all the training with her for her first half marathon I did it too in 2 hours 4 minutes – not bad for a 50 something with dodgy knees!

Fitness challenges running
Half Marathon 2hrs 4mins

Here are my 5 tips to get your running career started;

  1. Set a goal
  2. Use C25k – lots of apps available here is the link to the NHS one
  3. Team up with a friend/join a club
  4. Listen to your body – warm up, rest, stretch, do some strength training (particularly glut work)
  5. Have fun!

Thanks for reading

 

Jen x

Read my 4 Pillars of Good Health Blog here

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jenallenmassagetherapy/

Twitter @jenafitlife

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This post first appeared on the lovely Elle Linton website; http://www.keepitsimpelle.com/

running

Photo Credit: www.lolography.com

Osteoporosis – What do you know about it?

Osteoporosis is the condition whereby you are more likely to break bones, from falls or bumps, as the bones have weakened. Bones lose strength as the bone cell renewal is outweighed by the cell loss.

To explain that further, bones are living tissue and like all cells repair and renew continually to maintain healthy bone tissue.  Until we are in our 30s the repair and renew is in balance. Then as we get older the balance shifts …..less renewal. There is a point at which this bone mass decline results in osteoporosis. Your Doctor can make an assessment and has diagnostic tools for the condition.

In the UK Osteoporosis affects 3m people. 1 in 3 women have broken a bone due to osteoporosis in her lifetime (wrists, hips, spine most common).  For females besides ageing the “thinning” of bones is also impacted by genes, body weight, smoking, drinking and the menopause.

In the menopause with the oestrogen levels dropping, this leads to greater bone mass reduction making bones less strong. During the first 5 years of the menopause a woman will lose 10% of her bone mass and so increase their risk of developing osteoporosis. Read my experience of the menopause here.

What helps?

 A balanced diet!  Calcium is important for maintaining strong bones.  Sources of calcium are

  • Milk, cheese and yoghurt
  • Calcium-enriched milks such as soya, rice or oats
  • Fish that are eaten with the bones in, like tinned sardines.
  • Leafy green vegetables – cabbage, broccoli, watercress, kale
  • Beans and chick peas
  • Some nuts and seeds

Vitamin D (sunshine) is important for bone health as it helps to absorb calcium (see above).  Our bodies create vitamin D from direct sunlight on our skin. In the spring and summer if you go outside for at least 20 minutes, three times a week, every week  most people will get enough vitamin D from the sun. You can’t get adequate vitamin D from the occasional sunshine holiday!

Foods rich in Vitamin D such as fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel and salmon, cheese, egg yolks, red meat, liver and foods fortified with Vitamin D (some cereals and dairy products) will also help boost the correct levels of Vitamin D.

pillars of good health - food
Eggs – a great food!

 

Stay mobile! Regular exercise is important for all adults. Weight bearing exercise and resistance exercises are great for bone health, improving bone intensity, bone strength and preventing osteoporosis. As we get older it is important to maintain balance and strength,
keep functionally fit!

Weight bearing exercises;

  • Walking
  • Running, dancing, skipping
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Yoga
  • Aerobics

And resistance exercises;

  • Press ups, bodyweight moves
  • Weight lifting
  • Gym weights
  • Resistance bands

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis you must take advice from your Doctor before undertaking a new exercise regime. I belong to a great online gym which offers these sorts of training, take a look here

Walking boots
My trusted walking boots

 

Also quit smoking and reduce you alcohol intake! For more information and advice check here 

And finally consider Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – Many studies have shown that HRT can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures. The best resource to read more on this is here.

In conclusion

Diet, sleep, physical activity, relaxation (see my 4 Pillars of Health blog) are all so important for the best health outcomes…………….so let this be your badge of honour  ” BE less busy”.

Further reading

https://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/conditions/osteoporosis.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Osteoporosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Osteoporosis – what do you know about it?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

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My Menopause Experience – How is yours?

I spotted somewhere on social media that September was/is Menopause Month. As a 50-something blogger writing about Health I thought I should write something about the menopause.  But what? I’m not a medical practitioner or have any expertise in the menopause, apart from my personal experience.

I then realised that Menopause Month is an American thing, so thought well perhaps I won’t rush into a menopause blog. Then I thought again……..after some research I realised that the subject is a little taboo and there is little to no education available. We have sex education at school and here, at best, the menopause will be billed as the time our periods stop. And there is so much more to it than that! I decided a blog providing some resources and a brief chat about my experience may help someone out there!

Sex Education

Talking of sex education……… well we didn’t talk about it when I was growing up! Yes we did at school, in Biology and other classes but not at home. My Mum handed me a funny little pamphlet to read, when I was about 12, and that was it. I guess it had been acquired for my brother (9 years older than me) and / or my sister (5 years older than me). All very embarrassing and no open conversations were ever had.  How things have changed, I was determined that this wouldn’t be my daughters experience so we started when they were under 10 with Babette Cole’s lovely book “Hair in Funny Places”

 

Not surprisingly the menopause was also never discussed. I’m sure my Mum experienced it but I have no recollection. Sadly she had mobility issues all her life and was regularly in pain and discomfort. So dealing with the menopause or her families awareness of it probably blended into our daily experience of her “ups and downs”.  By the time I was heading for the menopause Mum was deep in Alzheimer’s and not able to hold any sort of meaningful conversation.

Both my sisters had procedures pre menopause so I guess experienced an induced menopause probably supported by HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)…….I don’t know, I’ve never asked. Most of my friends are younger than me and at the time of my menopause were not experiencing any symptoms, they now talk of hot flushes and night sweats! Other symptoms can include tiredness, inability to concentrate, irregular periods, difficulty sleeping, loss of sex drive, mood swings…..http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Menopause/Pages/Symptoms.aspx

My Menopause Experience

My menopause passed, perhaps is passing, in a fairly uneventful way. Although initially, looking back, I think it was probably tied up with a deeply upsetting relationship break-up. The emotional rollercoaster and tears were attributed to that. My periods were being erratic, irregular and a routine coil check and subsequent ultrasound found I had fibroids.

The removal of the oestrogen coil dealt with both the fibroids and an end to any bleeding.  A time on some medication for the emotional state I was in from the breakup helped me deal with my state of mind.  I don’t recall having hot flushes but I guess I do sometimes get night sweats, but nothing to wake me up or really disrupt my sleep.

So I’ve been lucky! I’ve not experienced any weight gain although that’s because exercise is my lifeline. I love to do some sort of physical activity. At the time of my menopause I was swimming regularly and walking an active dog. In last 4 years I have been working out at home with Julia Buckley’s online gym. This includes some workouts with weights and body-weight exercises which help to improve bone strength. This is important as the drop in oestrogen during the menopause leads to a loss in bone mass and an increased risk of osteoperosis. Read my blog on osteoporosis here.

Your Menopause Experience 

Many people suffer greatly at the menopause and do not necessarily get the right advice or know where to go. HRT has had bad press, sensationalizing or perhaps exaggerating the risks. It appears that HRT provides more benefits than risks to the majority of women, this is explained really well on www.menopausedoctor.co.uk. HRT replaces the hormones and masks menopausal symptoms, it doesn’t delay the menopause

There are some fabulous resources out there. In researching this blog I came across a couple of great things I’d like to share with you. Have look and feel empowered to take some action;

A great website from The Menopause Doctor a GP and Menopause Expert  www.menopausedoctor.co.uk
I hope this website helps to empower you with necessary information to make informed decisions regarding any treatment you may take to help turn your menopause into a positive experience that does not negatively impact your life.”

A great podcast in which Liz Earle talks to Dr Louise Newson (aka The Menopause Doctor) and covers the symptoms of the menopause, why it’s important to have a healthy lifestyle and dispels some of the myths around HRT.

A practicing nutritionist offers an alternative approach  “to help you eat your way through a symptom-free menopause”

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

This blog contains an affiliate link

Fitness, mobility, exercise – are one of my 4 Pillars of Health, read about the others here https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

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The Online Gym You’ve Been Waiting For!

“Find fit, find strong, find happy……..find your best you”

Do you like to workout?  How do you keep fit? Would you like to be active into later life?

I’ve always been quite active and have done many different things over the years! In my younger days I played hockey and squash. I then had a phase of running and swimming, followed by classes like Zumba, Pilates and Body Pump.  But now my thing is walking my dog and an online gym!

Online Gym

Don’t be put off by my activity history,  members of the online gym community are at different levels of fitness and many are much younger than me! Most of the online gym members are in the 25 – 40 age range.

I joined this online gym over 3 years ago and I LOVE IT!  It is packed with fabulous, effective workouts which can be done in isolation or as part of a programme spanning anything from 5 days to 12 weeks.  It caters for all levels of fitness and ability, with excellent advice and support.

There is a 5 day starter Bootcamp and a Beginner Series through to specific specialist programmes to move towards your first pull up or to reveal a six pack!  with many professionally crafted workouts programmes in between.

What will I get?

Julia Buckley the Personal Trainer behind this great online gym is also the bestselling author of The Fat Burn Revolution which “shows you the healthy way to condition your body for optimum fat burning – even when you’re not exercising”

online gym

So not only do you get excellent workouts – all with video’s for you to workout alongside Julia – at a ridiculously bargain price (Premium membership £6.50/month or a FREE Basic membership), you get a great online community and support.  I’ve made some great friends here and we have met in “real life”, once including a member from Australia! It is available worldwide.

One of the best things about the online gym is working out at home. That means no gym phobia to contend with, no travel time and you can workout in your PJs or undies!! You can train anytime, anywhere; you don’t need masses of equipment; an exercise mat and perhaps some weights. You will probably want to add to your “kit” as you progress. I now have more weights, ankle weights and a gym ball.

online gym

I workout in my living space and my equipment is hidden away and housed in a cupboard. Regularly logging in to this easy to access online gym and pressing play on a workout video couldn’t be simpler and this quickly became a habit……no motivation required! I have shed fat and sculpted muscle, and I move better than ever before, my flexibility and strength will keep me active and mobile for living a fabulous life.

What is not to lose by giving this online gym a go?

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

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Fitness, mobility, exercise – are one of my 4 Pillars of Health, read about the others here https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

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Swimming in Henleaze Lake

A family weekend catch up, when I was introduced to an outdoor swim in Bristol!

My niece and nephew live in Paris, although my nephew is moving to Warsaw with his Polish fiancee to begin a new adventure. So we don’t get to see them very often.

A weekend in late July they were in Bristol, at their Mum and Dads (my sister and Brother in Law), having narrowly escaped the horrors of the floods in Coverack, Cornwall – they were there but The Old PO in the harbour escaped any damage. Anyway my elderly father (90 in December) took no persuading to join me on a trip down to Bristol to see his grandchildren and great grandchildren (my nieces two young daughters).

Family allotment time!

We had a great journey down on Friday morning, beating the busy holiday traffic and the rain! It did however pretty much rain all day once we’d arrived. It takes a lot more than that to dampen high spirited kids.  We chilled out, gossiped, played and managed to mooch in the garden.

Do you live near to your family?
Are you close?
Do you travel for family get together’s?

Saturday was a better day weather-wise. We had a family trip to my sister’s allotment, picked various varieties of beans and raspberries. All consumed with lunch later on 🙂

The Autumn raspberries are ready in July in Bristol!

Outdoor Swim

I’d been feeling a little ‘coldy’ but when my Brother in Law suggested a trip to Henleaze Swimming Club  for an outdoor swim (I’d taken my kit and was always saying I’d never been there)…….I couldn’t refuse.

outdoor swim
Henleaze Lake, Bristol – Tranquility 🙂

Henleaze Swimming Club, established in 1919, a former quarry providing 125 metres of deep spring water, a haven in the City. It was about 20c and felt OK to get in to. I got in quickly and swam for 20 – 30 minutes. At that point I was getting chilly, you had to keep moving or freeze!

outsoor swim Henleaze Lake
Straight in! Henleaze Lake, Bristol

They don’t have any fancy facilities – heated changing rooms, fancy showers but they do have a SAUNA! A great place to thaw out and heat up. After I was dressed I tried to type a text but I had uncontrollable shivers 🙁

It’s fabulous to swim outdoors, peaceful and exhilarating, I loved the experience. I used to swim 2 – 3 mornings a week before I moved to Warwickshire, now I’m back perhaps I should introduce swimming to my schedule. I loved it – and this lake swim reminded me of that but it also was nothing like an indoor, chlorinated, laned swimming circus……..

Do you like to swim?
Any wild/outdoor swim recommendations?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

I love to have activity/fitness challenges read about some more here https://www.jenafitlife.com/fitness-challenges/

PS my cold disappeared after the outdoor swim 🙂

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OFFA’S DYKE PATH – PART 3 Kington to Llanmynech

Offa’s Dyke Path

I’m walking, in stages, Offa’s Dyke Path on the England / Wales Border. A 177 mile National Trail named after the Offa’s Dyke which is a great frontier earthwork built by Offa, King of Mercia from 757 to 796 A.D  http://offasdyke.org.uk/

Offa's Dyke Path Stone
Offa’s stone dated 757 AD

Part 3 was over 50 miles hiking in 4 days, including The Switchback; 14 miles of undulating walking, one of the toughest days walking I’ve done. Part 1 and 2 of this walk can be found here http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/offas-dyke-path-part-1/   and  http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/walkoffasdykepart2/

Thursday 13th July Kington – Knighton

I woke early on 13th July to be at the appointed meeting place at 8am. Rufus and I were all packed for our 4 days walk of the middle section of the Offa’s Dyke Path. The weather looked like great walking weather, temperatures down to under 20c in comparison to the recent hot weeks and little or no rain forecast.

We arrived in Kington and managed to start the days hike to Knighton at 11am. 13.5 miles with 2 or 3 good climbs reaching 400m at the highest point, beginning (the highest 18 hole course in England) and ending over golf courses. For the first time the Dyke was much in evidence!

We alighted in Knighton and spent a delightful night at The George & Dragon; very comfortable with great food and beer.

Offa's Dyke Path view to the Black mountains
The first time climb out of Knighton looking across to the Black Mountains

Friday 14th July – Knighton to Mellington Hall

Another good 14 miles but this day incorporated The Switchback, a series of steep undulations – WOW possibly the hardest days walking I’ve ever done – I hate downhill’s this was really tough on my toes. I believe they are now bruised and toenails will be lost, in the making of this blog post no other animals were harmed! In fact Rufus relish’s a good days walk, does 3 to 4 times the miles we do, despite being the oldest in the pack at over 70! (10 years old in doggy terms)

Montgomery from Offa's Dyke Path
Looking down on Montgomery

Again today afforded the best Dyke walking, much of it atop the Dyke itself through rolling woods and farmland with no breaks in the uphill’s and downhill’s.

Offa's Dyke Path half way point
Yay – we’re halfway! But today is a toughie Knighton to Mellington Hall; The Switchback

The best view came at the Cwm-Sinaham (406m) pop over to my Instagram to see a 360 degree video (https://www.instagram.com/jenafitlife/?hl=en). Although the highest point on the Dyke itself was Llanfair Hill (432m) just a little further along the path. We’ve already done the highest point on the trail in the Black Mountains, Hatterrall Ridge (703m) ((Part 2 of my Offa’s Dyke Path walk).

This day ended at the beautiful Mellington Hall where I had a bath, BLISS! (bath’s being a B & B rarity, but so welcome after a hard days walk).  Great beer and Fish & Chips were consumed followed by an early night…….well that was the plan but the boy’s got locked out of their room (broken lock) and were popping in and out of my room whilst the drama ensued and a Man with Ladder came to the rescue.

Mellington Hall on Offa's Dyke Path
Mellington Hall – upmarket B & B for a night

Saturday 15th July – Mellington Hall to Buttington Cross

Mellington Hall on Offa's Dyke Path
Rufus checking out of Mellington Hall

A shorter, much flatter day, 13 miles with just one serious climb to Beacon Ring. This meant a steep climb downhill to Buttington where on advice from Andy (Andy’s Twitter account), who recently walked the entire path raising funds for Midland Air Ambulance , we headed for The Green Dragon, a pint and a phone call for a taxi to our B&B; Severn Farm in Welshpool.

The best B&B yet, wonderful hosts Joyce and Alun were so welcoming and immediately booked a table for us at a restaurant in town and offered to take us back to the trail in the morning. Service 🙂

Sunday 16th July – Welshpool to Llanmynech

Our last day, it’s all over so quickly but my bruised feet (due to adding gel insoles to my boots and then not having enough room for my toes – BIG MISTAKE) were not unhappy about this. Our 10 miles to Llanmynech were flat, canal paths and riverside. My twitcher pals were convinced they’d spot a Kingfisher today (check out the list of birds which were spotted at the bottom of this post).

Breidden Hills - Offa's Dyke Path
Breidden Hills, quarrying underway. The boys are down by the river looking for an elusive Kingfisher!

After some towpath walking the path goes along the top of the Tir-y-mynach Embankment following the course of the River Severn, from here you view the Breidden Hills which are in part industrialised with quarrying. The route continues along the abandoned Montgomery Canal it was a very pleasant walk and along this stretch were swans nesting.

Montgomery Canal / Offa's Dyke Path swans
Swans and cygnets on the Montgomery Canal stretch of Offa’s Dyke Path approaching Llanmynech

Apart from water and an apple we had no refreshments and were very disappointed to find The Golden Lion at Four Crosses was shut. So onward to Llanmynech where everywhere had stopped serving food 🙁 a pint and a packet of peanuts were lunch and dinner! Here we awaited our taxi to return us to Kington and the car for the trip back home – happy, dry, tired but accomplished.

Have you walked this route?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

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Read my post on avoiding blisters! Which I managed to mess up on this walk 🙁

How I deal with my blisters from long walks

Birds spotted on the Kington to Llanmynech stretch July 13th – 16th 2017
Different birds from the previous stretch are marked *

Wheatear
Yellow Hammer
Chiff Chaff
Black Bird
Song thrush *
Goldfinch
Sky Lark
Swallow
Housemartin *
Swift *
Wren
House Sparrow *
Dunnock
Long tailed tit
Coal tit
Great tit
Blue tit
Pied Wagtail
Grey Wagtail *
Nuthatch
Stonechat
Starling *
Robin
Green Woodpecker *
Spotted Woodpecker

Buzzard
Kestrel
Peregrine
Red Kite

Wood Pigeon
Magpie

Carrion Crow *
Jackdaw *
Rook *
Raven

Pheasant
Red legged Partridge *

Mute Swan and cygnets *

Offa's Dyke Path
Swans & Cygnets on the Montgomery Canal.
Photo. courtesy of Mark Godfrey

Heron
Moorhen *
Mallard *

Cormorant *