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When I was 41 I started experiencing extreme tiredness, stomach troubles and body aches. It got so bad that I spent many an afternoon lying on the couch. After a while I discovered the trouble. The beginning of menopause. I shared some about this time on this blog. You can find these articles here.
Regaining my health was a slow journey. I still have residual symptoms such as body aches, tiredness, anxiety, sleep disturbances and digestive problems, likely related to a mild case of adrenal fatigue which is very common in menopausal women. I share more about my journey in The Women’s Health eCourse from Traditional Cooking School, Lesson 18: Menopause and Beyond.
Paying attention to my body’s signals has been very helpful. Where I used to continually push myself, I no longer do this. When I’m tired, I rest. Anxious, I don’t fight it. My body hurts, I stretch. It’s not always perfect, but so much better.
Becoming active again has been a huge part of my healing. We’ve shared a few articles on adding movement into daily activities. But I also do purposeful movement and exercises. My local community center has yoga a few times a month and I attend when my schedule allows. They also offer Zumba several times a week, while I enjoy this, the times don’t work well for me. Most of my exercise time is from home via online programs.
I love Healthy Moving and have been doing these programs for a couple of years. Jenn, the program creator, has so many wonderful options for targeting different areas. One day I might feel a little tension in my shoulders, so I’ll find a class just for that. The next I’ll do a leg strengthening program. And I really love the the duration options; there are programs from 5 minutes to over an hour. I can always fit something into my schedule.
Recently Sierra introduced me to another online program, Zuzka Light. I’m doing the Bunny Slope Beginner Workout Program. This is a free, low-impact, workout program. It’s designed for beginners but it’s not easy. I definitely feel it! The workouts are less than half an hour long.
Walking is another option I use for daily movement. This is a bit of a challenge during winter. I’m not a fan of walking in the cold, wind and snow. Now, with the weather improving, I’m adding in a walk whenever it’s suitable. My little guy and I will go at lunchtime or we’ll do a family walk in the evening.
Occasionally I’ll combine two activities. Doing a Bunny Slope workout and then a short program from Healthy Moving. Or walking followed by Healthy Moving or Bunny Slope. It just depends on the day and my available time.
While these are my normal Monday through Friday (work week) exercise options, the weekend is often quite different. If we’re working around the house I’ll sometimes do an hour long Healthy Moving workout or, weather permitting, we’ll take a long walk or hike. We also bought snowshoes a few months ago to be able to trek in the nearby mountains in the snow. I was amazed at the different muscles snowshoeing uses compared to walking. What a work out!
This winter we started downhill skiing. Joe and I used to ski when we were young (like early twenties) but had only gone a few times since we married. We’re really enjoying it and our little guy loves it. When I was younger I preferred cross-country skiing to downhill. Joe hasn’t tried cross-country, we’re planning it for next winter. It’s definitely a more economical sport than downhill!
With the end of snow season fast approaching Joe is looking forward to jogging and we’re both looking forward to hiking. Joe started jogging shortly after we were married. While he says he jogs so slow he should probably just walk, but he often goes for several miles. At one point he was training to do a marathon and jogging 13 miles each Saturday and Sunday. He has yet to do the marathon but has done several 5K events and has a few planned for this summer.
I found a love of hiking via a sport called VolksWalking. These are organized walking events, either 5 or 10K. These could be a special weekend event or a year-around-go-anytime event. Often these were through towns so more of a walk than a hike but a few were on trails instead of sidewalks. I found I really preferred trails and my love of hiking was born. Not just a love of hiking but a love of being out of doors.
Whether hiking, fishing, hunting or camping I find it all enjoyable. Combining the joy of hiking and camping seemed a logical step. Backpacking is next up for us. When I think back to how I could barely move off the couch just a few short years ago, the idea of carrying a pack with everything I’ll need for the next few days amazes me. We’re planning a few overnight trips nearby plus a longer trip during our summer vacation. I have to admit with our small farm, the logistics of planning trips away are a challenge but something we feel are worth the effort. We’re very happy to have a neighbor to farm-sit for us.
I’m a planner and have really been enjoying gathering information for our trips. We’ve been choosing gear (check out this backpack we purchased for our son, it’s adjustable to grow with him!) and finding guidebooks for hikes plus checking out trail food options. We’ll likely do a lot of our own dehydrating (new to dehydrating? Learn more in the Dehydrating eBook from Traditional Cooking School) and adding in a few freeze-dried meals for ease of use. Do you backpack? I’d love your tips!
Another warm weather activity Sierra and I have been discussing is paddle boarding. Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) gives a great whole body workout. We each have lakes near our home to help with the convenience factor.
There’s also talk of a community co-ed soft ball team starting up this year. That would be a fun thing to fit into our schedule.
What types of things to do you do to work physical activity into your life?
Women’s Health eCourse from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS. Healthy recipes, tips & info so you can look good, feelgood & do good! Included as part of a membership to Traditional Cooking School.
What does women’s health have to do with Traditional Cooking? The answer: Everything! For you to do the good in your family you long to do… you must feel well. Your own health is SO important! From… a teenager preparing for her cycle, to natural fertility and pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum, to navigating hormone imbalances and debilitating female issues like PMS, PCOS, insulin resistance, and weight gain, to entering into and going through menopause and all the difficult symptoms that can entail… TCS has you covered. Go here to learn more.
Millie Copper (Homespun Oasis) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking amazon.com.