By Laurie Marshall
If you are a woman, you’ve probably heard the commonly offered bits of advice that say that it’s harder to lose weight/get in shape in your 40s. Women’s magazines, fitness experts, even WebMD will tell you it’s an uphill battle if you leave exercise and healthy eating out of your routine until after the big 4-0. It’s also my personal opinion that it’s not a great idea to wear a miniskirt in your 40s, but I’ll leave that discussion for the Fashion Mama to moderate…
It’s true that when I was in my 20s and 30s I heard this advice about needing to get into the habit of being fit. I heard that it would be harder to get back in shape later if I don’t try to stay in shape early. But I wasn’t out of shape, I thought, just a little soft. I am tall, and my figure is proportionally balanced, so I can carry weight pretty well. In my 20s and 30s, when I mentioned to friends that I wanted to lose some pounds, I was invariably told I didn’t, that I looked good. (Lesson learned: When people tell you you look good when you know damn well you’re overweight, kick ‘em to the curb!!)
So, here I am, squarely situated in my 40s, and I was in full denial when I showed up to play softball on a local co-ed team that I joined this spring. I was a little late, so I didn’t spend any time warming up. But hey – you’re only as old as you feel, right? And I feel about 21 most of the time (ironically, the age I was last time I played softball) so I was good to go.
First time up to bat, and I actually hit the ball! I spun to drop my bat, leaned into my run, and my thighs immediately screamed “WHAT THE HELL IS THIS!!!????” Apparently, my brain and my muscles are NOT on the same page. There was a definite failure to communicate. I was in trouble. I made it to first base, and even survived the game and made it through the rest of the week, but today, at the second game, my legs just decided to put a stop to the insanity. I started to run to the outfield for our first half of the first inning, and my legs seized up on me. I was defeated.
Let this be a lesson to those of you who have scoffed at the advice to get active in your 20s or 30s. I will gladly offer myself up as a real-live cautionary tale to all you Mamas. I still think that you’re only as old as you feel… but as I sit on my sofa with my throbbing legs up on the table in front of me (they’re pretty smug, let me tell you!) I feel about 78. Take it slow Mamas, but get up and get moving!
Look for Laurie’s fitness tips and updates on her personal health-focused journey every other Friday on nwaMotherlode in Mom Blogs. Send questions or input to her at mamas@nwaMotherlode.com. Or click on the comment button below and share your thoughts right now! To see previous installments of Getting Healthy for Good, click HERE.