The sandwich generation — those of us (usually women over 45) squeezed by the competing demands of kids, aging panini-300x293parentswork, community, romantic partner and so on — rarely have time to think about the things that will make us feel fit and stylish.

But we need to make that time, so I’ve listed a few action items designed to boost our health and happiness in the new year. Many of these are trends that came to light in 2014 and promise to gain traction in 2015.

Adopt a home-based fitness program. Many of the fitness benefits of extended endurance training can be crammed into as little as eight minutes, the American College of Sports Medicine reported last year. Known as a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) program, the workout features 12 simple exercises (such as jumping jacks and lunges) performed in concentrated bursts of just 30 seconds, with only a 10- to 15-second rest between each. Because the fanciest equipment required to do these exercises is a wall, a floor and a chair, they can spare you the expense of joining a gym in January — and the remorse of realizing in March that you’ve been a less-than-dedicated client!

If you have the time, precede or follow your HIIT with some interval running: Sprint for 30 seconds, then jog for 60 seconds, then repeat the sequence until 15 or 20 minutes have elapsed.

Time required for the entire workout? About 30 minutes or less — how’s that for a fitness regimen tailored to your busy schedule (and beleaguered budget)?

Consider probiotics. As more studies appear stating the importance of maintaining bacterial balance in the intestines, nutritionist Heidi Skolnik says so-called probiotics — supplements containing probiotic bacteria — will become the “new vitamin D.” Other probiotic sources include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and many foods prevalent in Asian cultures, such as fermented cabbage (kimchee) and eggplant.

Shop via time machine. You can get a jump on the growing “back to the 1960s” trend by picking up (or dusting off!) large gold-hoop earrings, ponchos and capes in luxurious fabrics such as cashmere, and Missoni-like knits, especially shift and A-line dresses. Silky, one-piece jumpsuits will continue to be popular for their flattering silhouettes and ease of wear.

Go gray the right way. Every time you hear the phrase “embrace your age,” you wonder what you’d look like if you went gray — or silver, white, platinum, etc. So why not find out? Or, if you’re not quite ready for “the full Mirren,” try weaving in highlights to enhance your natural color, including the grays. (Full disclosure: That’s what I do.) Doesn’t a single block of hair color seem so 2014 already?

Lift your face without surgery. “Less invasive” is a good health and beauty strategy, so turn to a tool — highlighter — that has long been a favorite secret weapon of top makeup artists. As shown in the video below, highlighter applied correctly and judiciously can lift your face and enhance your cheekbones.

(Note: This article was previously published on Click here to read all Barbara’s articles.)

Photo credit: BetterAfter50

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