22 March, 2024

Our society puts a lot of emphasis on milestone moments, but none more so than age. As many women can attest, turning 50 can be quite daunting. Quite frankly, it’s always been made out to be the age fun stops. But that doesn’t have to be the case, especially when it comes to your breast cancer prevention journey.

Fitness expert Jane Wake sat down with Breast Cancer UK to talk about exercising as a woman in her 50s and the benefits of movement as we get older.

“It’s never too late to start”

“There have been a lot of changes in our society over the last decade, but none more so than the expectation of what it means to be a woman above the age of 50.

“It used to mean winding down and limiting everything from how you dressed to the activities you participated in. Now we’re seeing women use this chapter in their lives to do and be everything they couldn’t in their younger years. This mindset is slowly translating into exercise. Healthy living is the key that allows you to unlock the door to all the other activities and celebrations you want to explore.

“Exercising at all life stages has so many benefits, but these become even more profound as you get older. This is because the likelihood of developing diseases like breast cancer, heart conditions, and joint problems all increase because of hormonal changes and a lack of movement as we get older.

“When you hit menopause, there’s a three to five-year period where our muscle mass and bone density plummet off a cliff, so it’s so important to really get out and move as much as we can during that stage. The good news is that our muscles respond to movement at any age! There are even studies that support exercise being particularly beneficial for post-menopausal women. It’s never too late to start!

“Movement looks different for everyone”

“For example, my mum is 89 years old and I’m always talking with her maintaining movement in her life. Movement looks different for everyone, and it can change to suit your interests and capabilities. The most important thing is to move. I’m a big advocate for strength training and loading your muscles with weights. I’m also a big fan of running and yoga. There are so many ways to move!

“As we get older, we become more conscious of our mortality. I get a lot of questions from women over 50, asking about the best form of exercise to help prevent illnesses and stay mobile. We now know that strength training is vital and potentially the most important form of exercise women can do, but over and above that is consistency. Whether it’s exercising or eating, consistency is the key to making a lifestyle change into a habit. This is particularly important when it comes to disease prevention. In simple terms, if you keep doing something that’s good for you you’re more likely to see lasting results.

“I stress that it’s never too late to start exercising because most women fall into two categories. There are those who have always exercised and want to continue as they get older, and there are those who weren’t able to live an active life and feel like they’re far behind where they should be. This message is for the women who fall into the latter category. When it comes to exercise it isn’t about making up for lost time, it’s about being present and embracing the journey. Today is always the best day to start.”

If Jane inspired you to get moving and you want to find out more about exercising over 50, check out her website.

Start your breast cancer prevention journey today by taking our prevention quiz.

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