Finding My Fit At 59
This past year has been an awakening for me fitness wise. Things I relied on my whole life were no longer working for me. And the fact is, aging has been a big part of the problem. I know you hear nonstop about how we should embrace aging and ignore aging and even fight aging but first we should understand aging.
This past year has brought me weight gain that I could not drop using old methods, its brought aches and pains that were completely new to me and lots of confusion about what is going on with my body and why.
Menopause And Me
I went through menopause at the age of 48 and the minute I started missing periods and had a couple of hot flashes I started researching options and went to a GYN who specialized in bio-identical hormones. Two days after using bi-est, progesterone, DHEA, and testosterone (creams that you rub on your skin) I felt like a new person. It has been a journey because we had no idea what my hormone levels were prior to menopause. So over the years I have had to really listen to my body and adjust my levels as needed. My doctor is amazing by listening to me when I tell her how I feel. Outside of a couple of hot flashes before I initially saw my doctor I have never had menopause symptoms of any kind.
Fast forward to the past year. I had been running for years doing 5Ks and trail runs regularly. For the first time I injured my leg during a 5K and it was bad enough I couldn’t run for a long time. Activity level was a consideration when prescribing my dosage for Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT). Lots of activity uses more hormones. Due to less activity, over time my hormone levels got too high and I was feeling like my “pot was boiling over” as my doctor puts it. I was anxious, exhausted and felt like I was on a roller coaster. I was sure I would get back to my old fitness level so chose not to change my dosage.
Recently blood tests showed my levels were still too high so we cut back my dosage. Well we cut it back too much too fast and I started having joint pain that gradually got to be really bad. Again it took months to get the connection. So now we have increased my dosage and I am starting to feel better.
I never knew before that a symptom of menopause was joint pain. I thought my joint pain might have been a toxin and that could be a contributor but I am already feeling so much better by adjusting my BHRT dosage. Who knows if I can reverse the damage. Time will tell.
Knowledge Is Power
I have spent years researching BHRT and I know a lot of the traditional medical community doesn’t approve of it. Historically the main reason is because BHRT was not FDA approved. It is was not FDA approved because it is completely made of natural ingredients and the FDA cannot control natural products. Bio-identical hormones are an exact replication of what your body makes with no synthetic or animal ingredients. Because BHRT was not FDA approved many doctor’s won’t acknowledge it and big pharma is totally against it because they can’t monopolize the market.
However, BHRT is becoming more mainstream with nearly one third of women who use a form of HRT use BHRT.
More recently . . .
“Many FDA-approved commercial preparations now utilize bioidentical hormones, which is helping spread acceptance of bioidentical HRT among conventionally minded physicians. “ ref
I recommend that if you are interested in BHRT you do your own balanced research and you see a doctor who is up to date in the research. One of the best places to start is with Dr. Christiane Northrup. Specific to BHRT and her views go here.
Life Extension has been my go to place for research, and high quality supplements for years. They have excellent information on BHRT (see here). I highly recommend reading this article even if you are not at menopause yet. Arming yourself with knowledge prior to reaching that point is the best favor you can do for yourself along with knowing your hormone levels before menopause.
Another thing I wanted to talk about is how I Intermittent Fast. I have been intermittent fasting for a few years 80% of the time. There are days I don’t but most of the time it is an easy thing for me to do. I don’t magically lose weight when I IF like many people however. And I found it really hard to eat late in the day like so many articles or research reported was the way to IF. I was taking what I was reading too literally.
I am a big time morning person and fade early in the evening. So I eat breakfast around 8 or 9 AM and then have my last meal around 4 or 5 PM. I do so much better with this schedule and now research is saying this may be an even better way to IF. I personally think it is very individual and if you want to IF you should do what works and feels good to you. My husband is opposite of me and doesn’t eat until early afternoon and then starts his fast at 7 or 8 PM.
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is gaining in popularity for its purported benefits to health – especially the management of blood sugar and preventing or improving type-II diabetes (T2D).
A half dozen or more eating patterns are classified as IF including compressing each day’s caloric intake into a period of 6-8 hours, alternating fasting days with days of eating normally, and alternating normal days with a fasting day followed by an ultra-low calorie day before resuming a normal eating pattern. These are just a few among the many strategies I have reviewed.
The health claims of IF include forestalling and even reversing T2D, extending healthy lifespan, improving health markers, including blood fats related to heart disease, and other illnesses. All of these claims have limited scientific support and all of them are being further investigated in research studies. At present, the most scientifically supported view is that there are benefits to most forms of IF but the details are yet to be fully documented, and they may not exist for everyone. One benefit does seem almost universal: people who undertake an IF plan report feeling better and having more energy. Since IF is strongly associated with health and longevity in animals and since the preliminary evidence suggests ways that the same might be true in humans, my bet is that this will turn out to be true but, again, we need to be cautious and keep an open mind. It is also important to experiment to find a pattern of IF that works best for you.
IF is also used as a weight reduction and management tool where the evidence is a bit stronger. Some studies show that the impact of IF on weight loss is greatest on people who are the most overweight.
Are there risks or downsides to IF? There could be, especially if you don’t stay hydrated at all times. I’m no expert but I would recommend speaking with your health care practitioner if you have difficulty controlling your blood sugar (if might help if done right or hurt if not) or if you are pregnant or have certain illnesses.
I love yoga because it is the best way for me to stretch my muscles and increase my flexibility and balance which I am noticing is one of the things to go as I age. I used to be able to bend like a pretzel on demand. Ha ha! But this past year I have seen a big decline in my flexibility. I wasn’t diligently practicing yoga or stretching and it was having an impact. I now do 30 minutes of yoga almost daily and realize it must be a part of my fitness plan from now on.
WAys I Break a Sweat
For cardio I take long walks (3 miles), hikes or short runs (2 miles). I try to never do the same thing over and over so my body doesn’t become bored with it and decide to ignore my efforts. I still work in HIIT once or twice a week too.
Any Tips Or Tricks
What do you do to stay fit? I love to hear what everyone else has found works for them. So many of you have helped me understand and navigate this time of my life and I appreciate it.
Thanks for stopping by!