1. Stop comparing your body to other people’s, as most of us have been doing since childhood. There’s nobody with a sharper perception than a person in their midlife—not only about what they look like, but what everyone else looks like compared to them, says Jean Marmoreo, a Toronto physician and the author of The New Middle Ages: Women in Midlife.If you work out regularly, you’ll discover a more affirming comparison. What can you do today that wasn’t possible a few months ago?
2. Combine fitness with friendship. Whether you’re power walking in the park or slogging on an elliptical machine, conversation elevates your workout from a necessary chore to a highlight of your day. As you grow stronger together, you’ll empower each other.
3. Learn to love the locker room. You’ll see people of all ages who feel comfortable with their nakedness despite varicose veins and surgery scars. I’ll never forget a 70-something locker mate who said proudly as she powdered her ample belly, “Everyone here looks so good.” She and her friends had been coming to the Y for decades. What a role model!
4. Cultivate mindfulness. Marmoreo recommends yoga for the peace and acceptance that it fosters on days when “you haven’t the capacity to bust out and burn up calories.” Through yoga, you can learn to let your body guide you instead of pushing it to make the grade.
May 2010 issue of Best Health magazine