Part 2 of the What Can I do? Series. As I said in the last blog, it is frustrating as there can be so much out there and you just don’t know what is right or which you should try.
Here are a few more pieces of advice. These are more based around women’s hormones, periods & fatigue levels. It is long, but I have ideas for women at all stages of our life.
1.Why am I so tired or what can I do about my tiredness?
SO many people find they are constantly tired or have no get up and go or just feel really fatigued. There are many reasons for this & often the 1st thing I always suggest is to get blood tests done.
Blood tests can reveal what your iron levels are as well as your Vitamin B12 are, both of which can really affect your energy.
Menopause symptoms can also cause tiredness or no get up & go. Mainly due to lowering levels of oestrogen and testosterone.
This is what I would do if breathless after little exertion, fatigued for no reason, no get up & go, dizziness & general lethargy:
- Speak to your GP & get full blood count done – include Vit B12
- Also ask for your Vitamin D levels to be checked
- If you are menopausal speak to the Dr about this or if they will do, maybe get your testosterone levels checked.
- Hard as it may seem, do some exercise. Go outside and walk or dance a bit – make yourself move – it can honestly help. If it makes you more tired then you probably are deficient in iron or Vit B12.
- Get outdoors in the morning – even just for 10 mins. This can help your circadian rhythm & help your morning cortisol levels (want them higher in the mornings)
- Stop eating sweets/chocolate on their own thinking they can give you energy. They may give you a quick boost but you will feel even more tired. IF you want a sweet kick – eat some nuts/protein/ veggies BEFORE you have the sweet foods.
- Think about your blood sugars. In line with the previous point, if you keep getting lots of blood glucose spikes you will get tired. Have a look at Glucose Revolution by Jessie Inchauspe
2.What can I do about my heavy periods
This is another question which is very individual and which may need more research; depending on what you are experiencing and your age.
You can also start monitoring your periods at any age, so if you have teenage girls then suggest they start noting when they come on & how heavy the periods are etc.
The reason for heavy periods could be:
- PCOS – polycystic ovaries
- Girls 1st few years of periods – not having a proper period
- Peri menopausal
You could try the following:
- See a nutritionist & check whether Magnesium would be beneficial
- See the GP if you are having VERY heavy periods – called menorrhagia
- Accept that if you are peri menopausal your periods will be very up and down and though one month may be very heavy you may not bleed much the next month, or miss a period.
- You may need to have meds or a coil fitted
3.What IS happening to me as I age? What exercise is best?
How long is a piece of string!!! Honestly, we are back to the same thing – WE ARE ALL TOTALLY DIFFERENT & hence we respond to diet and exercise differently.
One thing everyone can do is MOVE, at all ages. Walk, play, dance, garden – just move your body as it can help in SOOOO many ways. Our body is designed to move and in ALL directions. Hence putting a great tune on and dancing will do your arms, legs, hips, core etc the world of good!
However, here are a few tips for the different ages/stages of your life.
Teenagers & 20’s
- Whatever gets them off their phones or takes away from their school work stress.
- Try to encourage them to move if they aren’t sporty.
- If they are sporty then great, but be aware of times of their periods – they do actually need to slow down / easier exercise in the run up to periods.
- Remember, some kids grow really quickly and get growing pains. Respect this and get some advice from a physio or see if the GP knows about this. They may need to do more mobilisers / stretching.
- Mid-late teens – remember bones are still developing, so be careful with heavy weights – especially if heavily into team sports/ a sport.
- Mid – late 20’s should be full of energy and there aren’t many restrictions at this age. Make the most of going harder, heavier on weights, faster speeds or longer running.
Early & mid 30’s
- This can be quite a static age group. Grown out of team sports perhaps or thinking about having kids. Again, monitoring periods and having a more chilled time in the run up to the period.
- Early 30’s is the carry on from late 20’s in that they can do pretty much most things and don’t have to worry about bones, muscle mass etc. Though of course, the more bone impact done when younger, it can help bone density when older.
- Mid 30’s – ok so this is when we just start to very slowly lose muscle mass & bone density. But it really wouldn’t change much at this stage, it is very slow
- This is also a very common time when women are having babies and post natal.
- Every birth story is different of course, but recovery is GENERALLY better when having babies in early & mid 30’s. Your body does mend quicker after a C section or tears. I am generalising though
- No matter how post natal you are & what age you are – to look after your body, you want to wait 6 weeks post vaginal delivery (unless had a 3rd degree tear or have a diastasis) or 10 weeks post C section & then start back exercising gently/slowly.
- Those not having kids – carry on moving, running, exercising as much as you like/can.
- Look at my blogs or New Mums classes or Holistic Core Restore Everywoman courses
Late 30’s/early 40’s (Perimenopause)
For some women they are beginning to notice a few changes in periods, tiredness, aches etc. Obviously, not everyone does, but injuries can begin to spring up. Connective tissue is beginning to loosen up or muscles are getting tighter and need more mobilisations.
Please start taking note of your periods. You could be someone who experiences Premature Ovarian Insufficiency. This can happen in your late 30’s (for some it can happen any time, but this is much more rare).
You will need to hormone replacement (HRT) to support your bone & heart health, until you are at least 51. You will need to see your GP if you are experiencing early menopause symptoms.
- If you can afford it, start getting massages – sports massages are great if you can. It is a chance to start looking after your body and maybe prevent more injuries
- Carry on exercising or take exercise back up if you have let it lap due to work/family commitments. Remember, you don’t need hours to exercise and can start changing what you do.
- Look at shorter, sharper exercise, especially when in your 40’s.
- Realise that 10 – 20 minutes of exercising IS beneficial. You may not have the time/energy or enthusiasm for running for an hour now – unlike in your 20’s & 30’s.
- It is important to have days off exercising OR have recovery days where you do yoga, Pilates, core exercise.
- You do need to do more impact exercise – walking/running/aerobic type exercise/ weights as you will be losing muscle mass & bone density a little bit more now – certainly by late 40’s.
- Have a look at my menopause course which is for peri/post menopause or just for info before going through the menopause. Or look at my blogs
50+ and Menopausal
Keep moving & exercising. Don’t diss walking – it is really beneficial, but start faster stints of walking and then easing off a bit or walk hills. Try to get out of breath for a few minutes every day.
You may find what you used to do exercise wise is no longer easy or it where it used to help maintain a good weight, you are now not able to do so.
You may need to look at your stress levels and if you are a runner /gym goer then you may need to cut down on the length of time you are exercising. The short – sharp rule is good here.
If you aren’t training for a marathon or a run, then cut down the longer runs – they are increasing your cortisol levels, hence holding fat. So weigh up:
- WHY you run/do harder impact exercise
- WHAT are you wanting to achieve?
- Are you enjoying it?
- Don’t run because you think you should – look at other sports/forms of exercise.
- Does the exercise / longer runs now make you more tired?
If you run for mental health or races or just enjoy it, then great, keep it going. BUT you should look at the why’s. I spent my life running, I have always loved it and used to run a good 45 – 60 mins or so 3 or 4x a week. I am now doing more mixed exercise and more weights, so I now don’t run unless I feel like it!
A big topic everyone is now talking about, especially as the menopause is now being talked about – WEIGHT LIFTING.
Many women have been afraid of getting chunky or really muscly so they have avoided it. If you are interested in doing it and want to be healthy and strong (rather than slim) then find a PT or a good class & learn how to lift properly.
If it really doesn’t interest you but you want to get strong. Be healthy, look after your heart, bones and muscles then look at:
- Body weight exercises
- HIIT classes
- Back to netball or hockey sessions
- Body conditioning classes
- Power walking or Nordic walking
You can see, as we age, we do NEED to think about being HEALTHY & STRONG rather than times/distance/races/pressure of body weight.
So, the main thing I say is, FIND SOMETHING YOU ENJOY – what makes you smile, or come away feeling happy, happy-tired or healthy.
In our 50’s onwards, it is about health & strength and enjoyment. You will keep it up IF you choose movement/exercise that you enjoy and come away smiling! Just remember though, as we age, we DO need more RECOVERY days.
Therefore, respect your body and feed it well nutritionally and allow it more time to recover.