In this four-part series, we'll be speaking to specialists about how to cope with ageing. This week, Amanda Cartner talks us through how exercise can help you manage the ageing process.
While we should all feel privileged to grow older (a luxury not afforded to so many), it’s difficult to feel positive about the subtle signs of ageing as they creep in almost unnoticed.
Our bodies are changing constantly, but for so many of us, we might not start noticing those changes until we’re in our 30s, 40s and 50s, when it can feel like some sort of cruel attack from Mother Nature to make us feel bad about ourselves.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be talking to several specialists about tackling the signs of ageing. This week, we’re looking at exercise and general body care with Amanda Cartner.
Amanda is an ex-dentist turned Dru yoga teacher who believes our bodies are, quite simply, amazing. Her philosophy of making the most of what you have has stood her in good stead to approach life looking and feeling amazing.
“My view is that we only have one body for the duration,” she explains. “Keep it fit, healthy and strong and enjoy every step of the journey.”
Here are Amanda’s tips for feeling great through the years.
Wear sunscreen – start young, start now. You can’t undo the damage caused by sunburn, but you can prevent it with diligence and commitment.
Avoid (or cut down on) alcohol and smoking – these can have a damaging effect on our skin, organs and body in general.
Make exercise a part of your life from an early age – and keep it up as the years’ march by. Establishing exercise as a routine will set you up to stay healthy, but it’s never too late to start exercising. Start gently and build it up – you’ll feel incredible for it.
Know that you are enough. Aim to be the best version of you and leave everyone else to be them. Stop comparisons with others – particularly younger people -and concentrate on being the best you can be.
Focus on posture – as the years slip by our posture often changes. We become careworn, slouching, troubled. Change your mindset by changing the care you give to yourself. Body and mind are connected. Feel good and you’ll look good too.
Flexibility – A flexible spine is a youthful spine. Exercise and stretch it whenever you can.
Exercise regularly – choose something you enjoy. Go outside if you can.
High-intensity training gets the heart pumping – My personal recommendation is CrossFit – there are plenty of trials and beginner’s courses available in the North East, and CrossFit provides a mixture of strength, stretching and conditioning, high-intensity exercise and can be tailored to suit any level of fitness.
Using weights increases bone density and protects against muscle loss. Lifting weights makes you stronger, not only physically, but mentally too.
Yoga is the connection of body and mind. It’s my antidote to lifting weights and enables me to relax while stretching out my muscles and protecting my bones and ligaments. Fall in love with yoga – it will serve you well.
Watch what you eat – a good balanced diet and supplements which are proven to enhance the body’s function will help in the battle against age.
Allow recovery time – exercise is crucial for the human body, but you can only do so much before your body starts pushing back. The benefits of high-intensity exercise are incredible but forget about allowing your body to recover in between sessions and you’ll start to show signs of fatigue and stress.
Sleep is a fantastic soldier in the war against ageing. Your body recovers while you sleep and will ward off physical signs of ageing given the chance.
Learn to meditate and relax when you need to.
Listen to your body and rest when required. As we grow older it takes longer to recover from a hard session of exercise, and that’s OK. Give your body the time it needs.
Many brands are realising the power of green products to draw in customers. However, there are also some using green messaging while continuing practices which are far from environmentally friendly.
The yoga classes we often see and attend are just one incarnation of this ancient practice. A much slower pace of class with postures held for five or even ten minutes offers a different experience.
Wellbeing doesn't have to mean yoga, meditation and spirituality. It's about how we can find balance and be happy. Here are some alternative suggestions...
In the final piece of our series on getting older, we spoke to our resident therapist Sian Barnard on how best to protect our mental health as we age.