An anonymous reader said their 50-year-old husband is now constantly exercising and revealed the children complain that they no longer see him.  Used stock image

A shared problem… Clare Bailey, general practitioner and mother of four, gives her essential advice

A shared problem… Clare Bailey, general practitioner and mother of four, gives her some essential advice: how do I stop my husband from working out all the time?

  • An anonymous reader said their husband, 50, is now constantly to exercise
  • Revealed that the children complain that they no longer see him
  • Clare Bailey explained he may be going through a ‘classic midlife crisis’

Q 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 benefit his health, but over the past two years he’s gone from the occasional bike ride to at least five gym sessions a week.

He also has a set of weights at home and runs errands. It definitely became a vanity project as well as a health kick.

Our children complain that they no longer see him. He thinks I’m freaking out when I say he’s an exercise addict. Is he right ? Or should I tone him down a bit?

An anonymous reader said their 50-year-old husband is now constantly exercising and revealed the children complain that they no longer see him. Used stock image

GP and mother-of-four Clare Bailey (pictured) said he may be going through a 'classic midlife crisis'

GP and mother-of-four Clare Bailey (pictured) said he may be going through a ‘classic midlife crisis’

A This sudden obsession with exercise certainly sounds like a significant change in her lifestyle. I can see that you can feel abandoned at times – and also resentful that you have to take on more childcare. You must also miss the time spent with family. Or are you worried that he’s interested in another Gym Bunny?

Whatever the reason, the change is troubling. Still, it’s hard to discourage an exercise regimen.

To lift our spirits and keep SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) at bay, my husband Michael and I turn on the light boxes that we both keep near our computers. Sure, taking an early morning walk can do the same thing, but catching the light before work isn’t always easy. We also started boosting our vitamin D levels with supplements. The NHS recommends anyone over the age of one to take a daily vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter months, as the sun is not strong enough for us to generate the vitamin naturally.

It sounds like a classic midlife crisis. A recent survey of more than half a million people in seven countries found that a midlife crisis typically strikes around age 45 and is often associated with feeling overwhelmed at work, poor sleep and fear that life will deteriorate.

It may therefore be that he is doing a “fitness” to try to compensate. But it looks like, like an addict, he needs to exercise more to get that endorphin hit. You should sit down and talk about her hopes and fears. Discuss your concern that his obsession is taking over his life, and how it affects you and the children as well.

Emphasize that you are doing this out of love. Don’t use the words “midlife crisis” because he might take it the wrong way. If he ignores your worries, suggest that he log how much time he spends exercising in a week.

So when does exercise become an addiction? Does he feel hooked on exercising and is he having withdrawal symptoms? Does he push back or get angry if asked to cut back on his schedule? Does he change work or social arrangements to accommodate his diet? Does he become anxious if he misses or does not complete a session? Does he care about his body image?

Whether it’s an addiction or not, if it’s affecting you and your family, maybe it’s time to encourage them to develop a healthier relationship with exercise. See if he’ll do fewer sessions, find other activities you can do together, and schedule rest days to allow for muscle recovery.

He could add yoga to his routine to improve his balance and reduce stress. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can also help change habits. His obsession can also mask a condition such as depression or anxiety. If this is the case, then he should consult a medical professional.

Boost the bones with a bowl of prunes

Prunes are rich in polyphenols that play a role in bone formation, as well as vitamins and minerals for bone strength

Prunes are rich in polyphenols that play a role in bone formation, as well as vitamins and minerals for bone strength

I love prunes, so I was thrilled to read about a new study that found postmenopausal women over 50 (that’s me), who ate five to six prunes a day, had greater bone mass and less osteoporosis than non-prune eaters. Prunes are rich in polyphenols that play a role in bone formation, as well as vitamins and minerals for bone strength. They are delicious with Greek yogurt and nuts. Start with just a few as they can have a laxative effect!

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

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