Midlife Loves

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Midlife Loves

Keeping Fit + WIW

Morning ladies.  I previously did a post on keeping fit just under two years ago & after having numerous requests recently on my exercise routine I thought I'd do an updated post as in the last two years my routine has changed considerably.  Partly down to a new found love of pilates (to say I'm hooked is an understatement!) & also due to a knee injury that I got last November & have been suffering with ever since.

As I mentioned in my previous post I'm far from a gym bunny, in fact during my younger days I'd do anything I could to avoid exercise, my only love during PE lessons being netball.  However, following becoming a mum there's that sudden realisation that our bodies are never going to be the same again, which isn't a bad thing as it's performed the miracle of growing & giving birth to our most precious possessions but no one warns you of the saggy mum tum do they?  As a result of this I started my first attempts to tone up shortly after having our son in the comfort of our home whilst he was sleeping.  However, I properly upped the keep fit anti during my mid 30s as the pounds started to creep on & the middle aged spread occurred.  

To start with I began running.  Something I struggled with at first but gradually managed to build up without getting stitch or being out of breath after the first 10 metres, which happened a lot at first!  For me the idea of going to a gym has never appealed, although I did hit the gym recently whilst on holiday (but at silly o'clock so I could ensure it was quiet!).  Plus I also know that the idea of having to get in the car & drive to the gym & be restricted to opening hours was never going to work for me.  I'd always find something else to do.  Plus if I'm going to exercise I want to me able to do it when it suits me & not have to waste time getting to & from the gym.

So on top of running we invested in some weights, a rower (which has now gone) & recently following my love of pilates a step barrel.  We've also now bought a Bicycle Turbo Trainer following my knee injury as I've cut back on the amount of running I do & have replaced some of my runs with time on the bike in the garage, which is fitted to hubby's old mountain bike & despite dropping the seat it's still a little high to get on to it but it serves the purpose.

Anyway enough waffling & here's my current exercise routine, which I complete over the course of a week.  Although before I go any further I would like to point out that I'm far from any expert on the subject but I just find that doing what I do helps keep me sane.  Plus it gives my overactive mind a break from thinking, as I find when I'm exercising I'm too busy concentrating on what I'm doing & breathing than worrying about what needs to be done that day or those little/big things.  On top of this I find it helps with stress & sleep patterns & most importantly helps to keep me fit & healthy & to be able to continue to enjoy a glass of fizz & bar of chocolate as well as fit into my clothes :-)

Running - 3.5 miles, two times a week

As I've already mentioned if I can run anyone can.  The key for me is some great music to listen to & also a running partner.  Especially in winter when it's cold & dark & the last thing you feel like doing is going for a run.  You'll be amazed how much better you feel when you get back.

Cycling - 35 minutes, four times a week

A necessary evil but with some good music on just about bearable!  If like me you're going to use a turbo trainer then invest in some additional seat padding like this, it really does help!

Sit Ups - 100 reps, four times a week

Something I'm never going to love but hopefully it helps in the battle of the muffin top!

Plank - 2 minutes, four times a week

Planking Excercise

Start by getting into a press up position.  Then bend your elbows & rest your weight onto your forearms with your body forming a straight line from shoulders to ankles.  Engage your core by pulling in your belly button into your spine & hold the position for your chosen length of time.

Bench Dips - 35 reps four times a week

Bench Dips

Sit on side of bench/chair with hands on edge and feet stretched out straight.  With straightened arms slide bottom off edge of bench & rest heel on floor with legs straight.  Lower body by bending arms to 90 degree angle keeping arms close to body.  Raise body & repeat.

Shoulder Press With Dumbbells - 35 reps, four times a week

Shoulder Press With Dumbbells

Holding a dumbbell in each hand sit on a bench with feet firmly on the floor, hip width apart.  Bend your elbows & raise your upper arms to shoulder height so the dumbbells are at ear level.  Then push the dumbbells up & in until the ends lightly touch above your head.  Lower to starting position & repeat.

Dumbbell Chest Press - 35 reps, four times a week

Chest press with dumbbells

Lying on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand and feet flat on the floor, push the dumbbells so that your arms are directly above your shoulders & your palms are up.  Pull your abdominal muscles in & tilt your chin towards your chest.  Then lower dumbbells down & a little to the side until your elbows are slightly below your shoulders.  Then repeat.

Lateral Raise - 35 reps, four times a week

Lateral Raise With Dumbbells

Stand with one dumbbell in each hand in front of your hips & palms facing each other.  Raise the dumbbells to your sides until your arms are close to being parallel to ground.  Then after a small pause lower back down & repeat.

One Arm Dumbbell Row - 35 reps on each arm, four times a week.

One Arm Dumbbell Row

Begin with your right foot on the floor with your left knee resting on a flat bench.  With right knee slightly bent lean forward so that you're supporting the weight of your upper body with your left arm on the bench & your back is almost parallel with the ground.  With a dumbbell in your right hand & your arm falling straight down & your left arm locked at the elbow to support your upper body weight pull your elbow back raising the dumbbell so that it is roughly parallel with your torso to the side of your chest.  Hold for a couple of seconds then lower & repeat for desired amount of reps before repeating on other arm.

Triceps Kickback - 35 reps on each arm, four times a week.

Triceps Kickback

Start with your right foot on the floor & your left knee resting on a flat bench,  With your right knee slightly bent lean forward so that you're supporting the weight of your upper body with your left arm on the bench & your back almost parallel with the ground.  With the dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing your body & your upper arm parallel to your body push the dumbbell back by extending your elbow.  Hold for a few seconds then slowing return to the starting position, keeping your upper arm sill throughout.  Repeat for desired amount of reps before working the other arm.

Pec Flies - 35 reps on each arm, four times a week.

The bench we have has the facility to do this with weights attached to the arms (similar to the below picture) & I lift 7.5kg on each arm.  

Pec Fly

But if you don't have this you can still do the same exercise on a normal bench with dumbbells.

Pec Fly

Lie down on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand with dumbbells raised in front of you at shoulder width with the palms of your hands facing each other.  With a slightly bent elbow lower your arms in a wide arch until you feel the stretch on your chest, breathing in as you do so.  Then return your arms to the starting position breathing out & squeezing your chest muscles as you do so.

Overhead Triceps Extension - 35 reps on each arm, four times a week.

Overhead Triceps Extension

Stand with feet hip-width apart & hold dumbell in right hand with arm extended straight overhead & left hand supporting right elbow.  Bend elbow lowering dumbbell behind head then press back to starting position.  Repeat desired number of times before swapping arms.

Overhead Triceps Extension - 35 reps, four times a week.

Women's Tricep overhead exercise

Stand with feet hip-width apart & holding dumbell straight overhead, keeping spine long & abs tight.  Bend elbows lowering dumbbell behind the base of your head, keeping elbows hugging in towards your head & pointing forward.  Then extend your arms long returning to the start position.  Repeat desired number of times.

Pilates - Mat Exercises - one 1 hour class per week & 3 workouts at home (approximately 40 minutes each)

I follow the classic training of Joe Pilates & having learnt the exercises in class I now also run through the routine at home & first started my mat lessons approximately 18 months ago.

As I mentioned earlier I'm completely hooked by pilates & it has definitely helped with some lower back pain.  Along with running I find this a great way of destressing & even love playing some classical musical in the background.  

Pilates - Reformer - one 1½ house class per week

I've been going to reformer lessons just over 2 years now & it's been a huge learning curve.  I had a bad experience as a child during a gym lesson that has left me petrified of any sort of aerobics (in fact I've never previously attempted a handstand!).  But through the encouragement of a great supportive teacher I now find myself not only doing handstands (with his help) but can also now hang upside down & can even bend over & put my palms on the floor.

Back to clothes now & today it's all about I'm keeping it really simple with a maxi skirt & tee combo.

my midlife fashion, j crew vintage deep v tee, and other stories metallic thread maxi skirt, vionic shoes wedge espadrilles

my midlife fashion, j crew vintage deep v tee, and other stories metallic thread maxi skirt, vionic shoes wedge espadrilles

my midlife fashion, j crew vintage deep v tee, and other stories metallic thread maxi skirt, vionic shoes wedge espadrilles

T-Shirt - J Crew
Necklace - Bought in Mallorca
Skirt - & Other Stories
Shoes - Vionic Shoes *

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T-Shirt - Hush
Skirt - Hush

So ladies what's your preferred way of keeping fit & helping to fight the middle aged spread not to mention dreaded bingo wings?!  Like I've already mentioned I'm far from an expert on the subject & it all comes down to finding something you enjoy, that fits in with your life & budget.  And if you're thinking you need to start doing something but don't know where to start then just remember that if I can do it, anyone can.  I was the least fit person around.  You just need to make the commitment & then be determined & don't allow yourself the excuse not to do it.  If it helps why not make a pledge in the comments section & start the commitment.

Finally there's still time to grab a bargain over at Boden with 20% off everything here, just use discount code E1N5 at the checkout & you'll find my top picks here.

Enjoy your day ladies & I'll be back as always in the morning.

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