Legs Talk: Emma Bardwell
Emma Bardwell knows what it’s like to be floored by perimenopause symptoms and to feel like you’re losing control. A registered nutritionist, health writer and author of The Perimenopause Solution, Emma’s interest in perimenopause and menopause began when she started experiencing symptoms herself some 10 years ago, but found there just wasn’t enough evidence based nutrition information to hand so she wanted to become the go-to source for reliable, actionable information that works. Fast forward to today, she blends nutritional science, diet therapy and behaviour change, alongside a generous helping of understanding, to get to the heart of what women need. We love Emma and are delighted to share her walking habits with you during Menopause Awareness Month!
WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE WALK AND DO YOU PREFER A COMPANION (DOG, FRIEND, CHILDREN, ETC) OR GOING SOLO?
I’m happiest strolling along the beach in Suffolk, which is where I grew up. My parents still live there (near Aldeburgh) so I try to visit them as much as humanly possible and make the most of the fresh air. Walking along the coast is where I do my best reflecting, planning and decompressing. It’s also home to the best fish and chips, which is a nice way to finish off!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE JEAN STYLE?
I love vintage jeans, preferably high waisted with a straight leg that skims just below the ankle – it’s really elongating for the legs, especially if you wear with heels. I’m always on the hunt for great denim. I actually found an old pair of Chloe flares in my local Oxfam, which continue to be one of my best finds. I also love Levis and am partial to old school Wrangler. Not sure if I should admit this but I very rarely wash my jeans. I want to preserve the colour and shape for as long as possible. Washing fades them and makes them all stiff and crunchy.
WHERE HAVE YOUR LEGS TAKEN YOU TODAY?
My job is actually quite sedentary so I make a point of punctuating my days with walks. My absolute non-negotiable is to get at least 10k steps a day. I’ve been known to walk around the garden at 10pm if I haven’t hit my quota. I started today with a very early trot around my local park in Dulwich, I then walked to the bus stop with my youngest. I’ve been to the shops and whizzed the hoover round the house. It’s only 1pm and I’m already over 8,000. I’ll probably finish off with a short walk around the neighbourhood after dinner. Walking really helps with digestion and is one of the best ways to increase insulin sensitivity after a meal.
WHAT ARE YOUR BEST TIPS FOR EASING BLOAT/PUFFINESS?
Lie on your back with your legs up the wall for 5-20 minutes. It’s a game changer for swollen, puffy legs and surprisingly relaxing.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR LEG CARE ROUTINE.
I dry skin body brush to get lymph moving and to help with exfoliation. It definitely improves skin tone and maybe temporarily helps reduce the appearance of cellulite. Essentially though I’ve given up worrying about that type of thing – ‘do what you can with what you’ve got’ is my motto! I live for epsom salt baths. I use a rough mitt all over my legs, thighs and bum just to keep everything smooth and soft. Then I pat them dry and finish off with a generous slick of Air-Lite contouring cream as it’s incredibly hydrating and great for legs that feel heavy. Love the whipped cream consistency too. I also take a magnesium bisglycinate supplement just before bed to help with restless legs syndrome that so many of us perimenopausal women experience. The combo of all these steps works wonders.
CAN YOU SHARE WITH US YOUR ALL-TIME BEAUTY/MAKEUP BESTS?
The best thing I ever did was to pay to see a dermatologist. She put me on prescription strength retinol that has helped my skin no end. No more breakouts. Skin feels firm. The texture isn’t too bad for a 52 year old and on a good day I feel my skin has a certain radiance that it never had back pre-retinol. On a bad day I fake it with Elf Halo Glow Liquid Filter and/or Glossier Futuredew. On a really bad day, I combine the two for the dewiest, bounciest, most hydrated looking skin ever. It’s like you’ve been kissed by starlight!
WHAT SONG MAKES YOUR LEGS HIT THE DANCE FLOOR?
Crazy in Love by Beyonce or Controversy by Prince never fail.
WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL MOST CONFIDENT ABOUT YOUR LEGS (BODY CARE, EXERCISE ETC)?
Resistance training without a doubt. I do three to four 30 minute weight based workouts a week from home. I’ll also add on a couple of 20-30 minute pilates classes if I have time. Lifting weights is so crucial as we get older and is especially important for menopausal women as we lose a lot of muscle mass when our oestrogen levels drop. Building muscle keeps you strong and helps with physique but it also strengthens bones and keeps you feeling kick ass. I don’t want women to feel small and diminished in midlife and beyond, I want them to take up space – physical and mentally – and strength training is just brilliant for helping achieve this. If I’ve got time I’ll also do some fake tanning, just to even out skin tine and disguise imperfections. I think it’s really slimming too. If I’m pushed for time Legology’s tinted leg cream is fab for delivering subtle wash-off shimmery colour in a hurry. Best of all there’s no streaking or biscuit-smell. Foolproof!
Follow Emma on Instagram @emma.bardwell