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How & Why Exercise in Your 40's & 50's is Different

This is a repost from the Numarra website.

Shannon Paterson is a lifetime fitness coach, 25-year personal trainer, and a 3x Ironman World Championship Triathlete, as well as a Mindset Mastery trainer. Her perspective on the importance and purpose of exercise has evolved over time, particularly after a near-death cycling accident that changed her perspective on life. This gave her the courage to leave a toxic marriage and learn that her worth was not determined by the opinions of other people. Through her mentorship of other women, she hopes to show others how exercise will prolong not only the length, but also the quality of their lives.

Shannon emphasizes the importance of the interconnectedness between the mind, body, and spirit. “When we strengthen our mindset and our physical body together, we are unstoppable, but we can’t do one without the other,” she says.

Why exercise?

For her, exercise is a way to strengthen this connection by driving confidence in all aspects of life. She says that at this point in life, the goal of exercising is not to become thinner, but rather about having a more positive self-image, and the ripple effects that are enabled by this power.

There are many manners in which exercise achieves this goal, from boosting our energy and endorphin levels to reducing our risk of suffering from depression. In this manner, exercise can be incredibly empowering and offer women agency over their own emotional health. Shannon also talked at length about the expectations placed on women by society to wear multiple hats all at once, achieve everything they possibly could, and “do it all”, only to realize the negative effects of this mindset during their middle age. In order to incorporate exercise into a busy schedule, she recommends doing simple moderate-intensity activities, such as riding a bike, going on a walk, and lifting weights during your own time.

She emphasizes the importance of participating in the physical activities that truly bring you joy, as opposed to doing those that seem the most popular or would help you lose the most weight. This would enable women to reduce their stress levels, when they are especially vulnerable to them. Participating in physical activity that brings joy also ensures longevity through the formation of lifelong habits.

Shannon teaches compound exercises that target multiple areas of the body, which would enable them to get the most out of a relatively short period of time while exercising. She recommends hiring a female personal trainer who understands the importance of certain exercises to meet particular healthcare needs during the menopausal and premenopausal age and foster a sense of belonging. One way to connect with such personal trainers is through the Internet and social media.

Shannon admits that exercise does not feel good all the time. However, she says that women are equipped to handle it, as they manage challenges in all aspects of their lives on a regular basis, and the experience of discomfort leads to greater strength in the future. For this reason, pain and discomfort are not entirely negative.


Another important aspect of physical health during menopause is nutrition. While Shannon is not particular about any popular or complex diets, she does emphasize the importance of balancing different food groups in a healthy manner. One very important food group Shannon mentions is protein, which may take effort to prepare ahead of time. Protein can help avoid unpleasant menopause-induced symptoms such as lower energy levels and brain fog. She also notes that studies on popular health trends such as intermittent fasting have been primarily conducted on men. Maintaining a healthy diet also means avoiding alcohol and foods that are extremely unhealthy, even if it means not buying them in the first place. Another way to avoid weight gain is to process stress. This can be done by attending therapy, spending time with friends, and incorporating laughter and joy into our daily schedules. Shannon also emphasizes the importance of raising awareness of the manners in which women produce stress in their lives, particularly through self-criticism. For this reason, Shannon does not allow any of her clients to say negative things about themselves during their coaching sessions together. She will force her clients to stop and re-word their statements if they do so in order to help generate awareness and put a stop to negative habits.

Exercise and menopause

Weight gain is a major issue associated with menopause. There are many factors that contribute to weight gain during this phase, including stress, sleep deprivation, and sedentary lifestyles. To avoid weight gain, Shannon emphasizes the importance of embracing moderate intensity and varying your exercise in order to challenge your body. This is because changes in your body should be accompanied by changes in our exercise habits.

Learn more

Shannon’s warmth and effort in building a positive and welcoming atmosphere in her practice as a personal fitness trainer is evident, as she aims to help women build better lifestyle habits and lead better lives while overcoming challenging transitions such as menopause. To learn more about her, follow or message her on Instagram and Facebook.

Check out her full video on YouTube and make sure to follow Numarra on Facebook and Instagram!

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