Category: Fitness

Don’t resent growing old…………………….. it is a privilege denied to many.

dont resent growing old

Unfortunately exercise & movement usually decreases as people age and the choice of the comfy couch over exercise is increasing the risk of disease & loss of independence. Retirement is not a green light to sit back & let vitality & life pass on by. Make a choice & choose the prescription of physical activity over medication.

Yes, we are part of that growing “aging population” but it is never too late for anyone to start and I congratulate all that have made a decision to join my classes and are consistently working towards improving their quality of life by taking control of their fitness & health.

The photo above is some inspiration from our class with the pressing overhead movement.

This is just one of the strength exercises we do on a regular basis that can help improve on their ability to manage everyday living tasks & activities. As we age we need to keep moving but we also need to include resistance training into our exercise routine.

Weighted work = more muscle

  • Improves & maintains muscle mass
  • Improves & maintains positive metabolic rate
  • Improves posture & gait
  • Improves & maintains muscle tone

Fitness for Living


Everyone has a different reason for exercising and if we believed in what we see, hear or read we could wrongly assume that it’s all about starting a 1 ,2 ,6 or even 12 week challenge that will have you burning calories to find that elusive weight loss fix that is going to change your life!!

I’m sure that a headline such as “Fitness for Bone Health” isn’t nearly as appealing as “12 week challenge for your new year bikini body”.

I’m happy to see a shift away from fitness just for the younger body image, and put the spotlight on where it really matters – that is, health & fitness to live your life, for your entire life!

It really is about being healthy & having the strength to fully live your best life no matter what your age or starting point.

So here is a real challenge for you…make a decision now & start moving!!

The Weight Loss Game


Time to stop playing the weight loss game!

Weight loss is NOT a game & it’s NOT OK to eat whatever you want & expect to burn it off at your next exercise class!!

The Weight loss industry is BIG business & unfortunately a lot of weight loss programs are just focused on calories.

  • We eat less =     reduce calories IN
  • We exercise more = increase calories OUT.

NO…….. Our life & our health is so much more than just an equation!

A recent newspaper article about the typical gym classes & how many calories you can expect to burn really annoyed me. I know headlines sell newspapers, but this is just saying to people that it’s OK to go & eat whatever you want because you can just go to a gym class & burn it off.

Now, don’t get me wrong- calories do form part of the equation, but all calories are not the same & looking at weight loss as to how many calories you can burn in a single exercise session is just wrong!

Hey, here’s the difference. I have counted calories in an exercise session before too, but when I count calories it is not because I need to know how much chocolate I can eat, it’s because my workout calls for it. Example, as part of my workout I might have to row for 50 calories. That calorie count is there for me to move those calories to the mark as quickly & efficiently as possible and I can tell you, not at anytime during that session am I thinking about weight loss let alone how much chocolate I can eat!

It will just not work if your focus alone is on counting calories. What you need to be focusing on is the nutrients that you are feeding your body, the quantity & quality of protein, carbohydrates & healthy fat. Just keep in mind that there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to prescribing a ‘diet’ particularly for women 40- 50 plus. You may even be eating well & exercising but there are a couple of other factors you need to consider. One is your hormone balance because this can influence your body to store fat along with inflammation caused by food sensitivities. Just remember, everyone is different so what could be working for one may not work for you.

Fat on the Inside?


I have just had my Body composition Analysis done, & the results are interesting so I will do another post on the results.

So WHY do I need to know my body composition?

One of the reasons is that it gives me a good overall picture of my body. Not just my weight but other areas such as body water, protein, minerals, muscle mass as well as body fat & particularly the fat I carry on the inside, not what you see on the outside.

I also have an underactive thyroid, which means my metabolism is not always functioning at optimal levels and I can & do put on weight in the blink of an eye.

My weight increase is usually in the form of belly fat. The problem with belly fat is that although it is easy to see & feel it can also be made up of hidden fat, called visceral fat, which is stored around our internal organs meaning we are exposed to a higher risk of chronic disease such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease.

The body composition analysis is great tool but there is also a simple test you can do which is an indicator of your fat distribution and that is your waist to hip ratio. Your waist measurement is divided by your hip measurement and a reading over .80 for women or 1.00 for men could be an indication of increased health risks.

Exercise for bone health


Exercise for BONE HEALTH – Can resistance training help older bones?

Bone health is something that we may not think about until something starts to go wrong. Statistics show that poor bone health affects 2 in 3 Australians over 50 years age leading to bone fractures which in turn can cause chronic pain, disability & loss of independence.

Healthy bones are essential to live a fit active lifestyle & particularly as women approach menopause & the years beyond where bone loss begins to increase at a rapid rate.

Osteoporosis Australia recommends the following exercises for different life stages:

  • Healthy Adults: variety of weight bearing activities & progressive resistance training for at least 30 min, 3-5 times a week
  • Post menopausal women & older adults: Participation in exercise programs including weight bearing activities, progressive resistance training & balance & functional activities at least 3 times a week.

Resistance training requires muscles to contract when lifting weights, placing stress on the muscle & bones. The bones strengthen as they adapt to this extra strain. They also say that leisure walking, swimming & cycling are low impact activities that although have benefits for general health & fitness, they are not specifically beneficial for bone health.

A study being conducted at Griffith University is looking at whether resistance training is a safe & effective strategy for improving bone & muscle strength in post-menopausal women. The research is ongoing but so far the results have been positive with women showing an increase in strength & stability & no one getting injured.

Associate Professor Beck conducting this research says that ‘unfortunately, one in three women will experience a fracture after the age of 60 as a result of a gradual decline in bone health”

It is really important to take some action daily to build & maintain your bones. You are never too young or too old to act to protect your bones. The same kind of exercises are effective for bones at any age, but the difference will be your capacity level. You will start slow at a level you are capable & comfortable doing & increase the intensity as you grow stronger. The level at which you start will also depend on your health. If you have any health conditions you will need to have clearance from your doctor.

Reference sources:

1.Griffith University Study- Resistance training improves older bones. Associate Professor Belinda Beck- Menzies Health institute QLD

  1. Osteoporosis Australia-


Exercise can be fun!

Donna Helen

My name is Donna & I am a Personal Trainer & Health coach based on the Gold Coast Australia. I started Design Fit50 to inspire other 50+ women to live their best life through sharing my own experience & knowledge with health, fitness & lifestyle. Sometimes it’s just seems easier to travel down the path that we know, even though we may not particularly like it. It is a choice & you can either stay where you are or step up & make a change. Just remember you don’t have to do it on your own. Whoever or wherever you are right now, life might seem all too hard, but just stop & think about how hard your future life will be without your health!

I am 59 years old and have turned my life around by making a huge career change. I have gone from a long term career in the finance industry to follow my passion of health & fitness. I am now helping 50+ women grow not only stronger  with age, but with better health through my strength & fitness classes. This is the best decision I have ever made. Many ask me why would I do this at my ‘age’?

Through my own experience I found the personal training industry  was really lacking in looking after the 50+ woman. There were plenty of classes around for’ gentle exercise’ for the over 50’s, but really, many of today’s 50+ women would not want to attend a class labelled as ‘gentle exercise’. Also I found that many women hated the thought of actually going to a globo gym where there were lots of young people and the trainers didn’t understand the training needs of 50+ women or menopause. Others thought they were too out of shape or even too old to start a new exercise program. Generally I’m finding that these days women are  quite active & they are actually looking for more than the basic gym class that will just take them through the motions of exercise.

Being surrounded by like minded women & being able to exercise in a comfortable safe environment is another benefit they enjoy. Lastly, we all manage to have some fun. Exercise isn’t always just about hard work!