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Megan Antlfinger, a 50-year-old Fitness Trainer from Milwaukee, WI, who gave birth to two children after 40, has a strong message for later life mothers—and a new spin on the old saying: “You’re as young as you feel.”
Having once worked with the Milwaukee Brewers and Olympic speed skaters Dan Jansen and Bonnie Blair in fitness and performance testing, Antlfinger says “it’s critical that mothers over 40 take care of themselves first and not feel guilty about it.”
Yet, despite her track record—having a Masters Degree in Human Performance-Exercise Physiology, 8 years as a hospital exercise physiologist, and several more as a fitness business owner—it’s the kind of advice that goes against the maternal conscience.
The very notion of putting our wellness before our kids’ is anathema, even at our age.
But Antlfinger—with her son and daughter now 10 and 8-years-old—has “walked the talk” as an over-40 mom and faced more than her fair share of life-changing experiences.
In fact, she soon plans to launch an online wellness business catering specifically to mothers over 40.
Like many women who choose to have children after 40, Antlfinger faced circumstances that would have made having children at a younger age unwise.
Although she had married at 23, she was secretly suffering from an eating disorder which meant she was “not physically, mentally or emotionally in the right place to become a mother.”
At 30, she was treated for her disorder and went on to write “The Female Athlete Triad,” a presentation she gave on female athletes and eating disorders.
After 10 years of marriage, and unsuccessfully trying to conceive, Antlfinger divorced her first husband and re-married at 39, having her first child just two months after turning 40, and the second at 42.
Her doctor had told her she was in “great shape,” and she delivered both babies vaginally. Her toughest challenge was the sleep deprivation following birth although, ironically, she feels age made her better equipped to cope with it.
Now recovered from her eating disorder for 19 years, and an over-40 mom with two healthy kids, Megan Antlfinger has become the cutting edge coach for mothers over 40 who seek fitness.
And her advice often comes with a “kick.”
“The number one secret of staying strong and handling the demands of caring for young children is to put yourself first on the ‘to do’ list,’” she says.
“Make it a priority as you would anything else. If you have to schedule it into your calendar, do it and stick to it,” she continues.
As far as Antfinger is concerned, there are ways of fitting in your fitness, even when your child is an infant—no excuses.
“Ten-minute exercise segments, 3-4 times a day is an alternative if you can’t set aside 30-60 minutes at one time for physical activity.”
To be successful as a mother after 40, Antlfinger advises leading an active lifestyle with your kids, such as walks, hiking, and swimming. But she also emphasizes taking personal time to decompress.
“Don’t feel guilty about asking for support in order to take care of yourself,” she says.
Antlfinger’s strong approach to fitness training for older mothers is based on the empirical premise of how physical fitness (or lack of it) is related to “age”—meaning, our chronological age may not be reflected in the condition of our physical bodies.
Ergo, you’re as old as you feel, and not date the on your birth certificate.
“Physical resilience and endurance is based on the individual and your chronological age (date of birth) is not indicative of your biological age (physical condition),” says Antlfinger.
“I know younger mothers who are less active, less healthy and whose biological age may be 10 years older than their chronological age.”
Antlfinger urges older mothers to keep active mentally and physically and do things to “nourish your body emotionally and spiritually” so that they can be the best they can be for their families.
And, that may include going to bed and reading at 10pm when young mothers are up doing the housework or ready to go out with their friends.
Drawing on her work in Eating Disorders, Antlfinger points out that our “age” has a lot to do with self perception.
“It’s that old saying: ‘What you think about, you bring about,’” she says.
“If I think that because I’m 50, I should be old and tired, then that’s how I’ll be.”
“On the other hand, if I think I’m vibrant, live life fully, and have energy, then that is how I will be,” she adds.
Megan Antlfinger’s healthy bottom line for mothers over 40?
“Do the best you can to take care of yourself—and so what if you have days when you feel less physically resilient and have less endurance than younger mothers?”
“So be it. It doesn’t make you less of a mom!”
Notes for this blog:
Angel La Liberte is the founder of the website Flower Power Mom—The Truth About Motherhood After 40 (www.flowerpowermom.com), where she blogs regularly about later life motherhood. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org (editor null@null flowerpowermom NULL.com). Twitter: http://twitter.com/FlowerPowerMoms (http://twitter NULL.com/FlowerPowerMoms). Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Flower-Power-Mom/173079456036144 (http://www NULL.facebook NULL.com/pages/Flower-Power-Mom/173079456036144).
For more info on the launch of her online wellness business for mothers over 40, email Megan Antlfinger at: email@example.com (megana null@null earthlink NULL.net)
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