A common problem… GP and mother of four, Claire Bailey, offers her indispensable advice

A common problem… GP and mother of four Claire Bailey offers her indispensable advice: How can I keep my husband from working all the time?

  • An anonymous reader said their husband of 50 years is now constantly Exercise
  • She revealed that children complain that they rarely see him
  • Claire Bailey explained that he may be going through a classic midlife crisis

s When my husband turned 50, he suddenly decided he was going to start exercising after years of not doing much. I was encouraging at first because I knew it would be good for his health, but over the past two years he has gone from riding an occasional bike to at least five gym sessions each week.

He also has a set of weights at home and goes jogging. It has definitely become a vanity project as well as a health kick.

Our children complain that they rarely see him now. He thinks I don’t understand when I say he’s addicted to exercise. Is he right? Or should I have him tone it down a bit?

An anonymous reader said their husband of 50 now exercises frequently and revealed that the children complain they don't see him anymore.  The stored image is in use

An anonymous reader said their husband of 50 now exercises frequently and revealed that the children complain they don’t see him anymore. The stored image is in use

The GP and mother-of-four (pictured) explained that he may be going through a classic midlife crisis

The GP and mother-of-four (pictured) explained that he may be going through a classic midlife crisis

a This sudden exercise obsession sure feels like a major change in his lifestyle. I can see that you might feel abandoned at times — and resentful, too, because you have to take on more childcare. You should also miss spending time together as a family. Or maybe you’re worried he might be interested in a fellow gym bunny?

Whatever the reason, the change is troubling. However, practicing the system is hard to discourage.

To cheer us up and keep SAD (seasonal affective disorder) at bay, my husband Michael and I turn on the light boxes we keep on our computers. Of course, going for an early morning walk can be the same, but it’s not always easy to catch a light before work. We have also begun to increase our Vitamin D levels with supplements. The NHS recommends that everyone over the age of one take a daily vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter months because the sun is not strong enough to generate the vitamin naturally.

This sounds like a classic midlife crisis. A recent survey of more than half a million people in seven countries found that a midlife crisis usually occurs around the age of 45, and is often associated with feeling overwhelmed at work, sleeping poorly and fearing that life is going downhill.

So he might be doing a “fitness reset” to try to compensate. But it seems like he, like an addict, has to exercise more to get that endorphin going. You should sit down and talk about his hopes and fears. Discuss your concern that his obsession is taking over his life, and how that affects you and the children as well.

Emphasize that you are doing this out of love. Don’t use the phrase “midlife crisis,” he might take that the wrong way. If he ignores your concerns, suggest that he record the amount of time he spends exercising per week.

So when does exercise become addictive? Do you feel fatigued when exercising and suffer from withdrawal symptoms? Does he back down or get angry if asked to cut back on his program? Does he change work or social arrangements to fit his regime? Is he worried if he misses the session or does not complete it? Does he worry about his body image?

Addictive or not, if it’s affecting you and your family, it may be time to encourage him to develop a healthy relationship with exercise. See if he’s going to do fewer sessions, find other activities you can do together, and schedule rest days to allow for muscle recovery.

He can add yoga to his routine to improve balance and reduce stress. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help him change his habits, too. His obsession may also be masking a condition such as depression or anxiety. If this is the case, he should consult a health professional.

Strengthen the bone with a bowl of plum

Prunes are rich in polyphenols, which play a role in bone formation, as well as vitamins and minerals to strengthen bones

Prunes are rich in polyphenols, which play a role in bone formation, as well as vitamins and minerals to strengthen bones

I love prunes, so I was pleased to read a new study where postmenopausal women, over 50 (that’s me), who ate five to six prunes a day had more bone mass and less osteoporosis than those who didn’t. Prunes are rich in polyphenols, which play a role in bone formation, as well as vitamins and minerals to strengthen bones. It tastes great with Greek yogurt and nuts. Start with just a few, as they can have a laxative effect!

You can write to Clare at drclarebailey@dailymail.co.uk or Daily Mail, Northcliff House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT.

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