You’ll Be Surprised by these Findings!

As a Baby Boomer, I’m excited when I see research announcing a specific dietary component that could be responsible for successful aging. We’re all looking for ways to age gracefully, keeping our independence and quality of life as long as possible.

Mom and dad need to eat foods in high nutrient density.

Fruits and vegetables provide valuable dietary fiber for successful aging!

So this 2016 study pointing to the benefits of a high-fiber diet published in the Journal of Gerontology caught my eye recently. The researchers were studying successful aging, defined as “absence of disability, depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, respiratory symptoms, and chronic diseases (eg, cancer and coronary artery disease).” They followed more than 1,600 adults, aged 49 and over, for 10 years.

Of all the variables they followed, researchers found a high-fiber diet led to the highest chance of “reaching old age disease free and fully functional.”

This paper seemed to support a previous report, published in 2014. These researchers conducted analyses of 17 studies and concluded that for every additional 10 grams of fiber consumed, the risk of death decreased by 10%.

A Quick Primer on Dietary Fiber
Dietary fiber, also known as “roughage,” is the part of a plant we humans cannot completely digest and absorb. As a result, it passes through the GI tract relatively intact, and leaves the body.

Dietary fiber is only found in plant products, most notably whole grains, legumes and dried beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables. It is not found in meats of any kind.

There are two types of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber, found in oats, peas, beans, fruit and barley, dissolves in water. It binds with cholesterol and actually escorts the “bad” variety out of the body, lowering blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart attacks. Soluble fiber also helps lower the risk of diabetes; because it isn’t absorbed, it doesn’t cause spikes in blood sugar levels.

Insoluble fiber promotes the movement of food through your digestive system and adds bulk to the stool, helping relieve constipation. This type of fiber is found in whole wheat, wheat bran, nuts, seeds and some vegetables.

Many plant products contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.

High-fiber foods are more filling than low-fiber ones, and aid in losing weight.

How Much Is Enough?
The Institutes of Medicine recommends that men consume 38 grams of dietary fiber per day; the amount for women is 25 grams. Most Americans consume about half that amount, 15 grams per day.

Here are a few guidelines to help you get to your fiber numbers:

• First, read labels. For grain products such as bread, cereal or crackers, you want the first ingredient to contain the word “whole.” So you’re looking for whole wheat or whole grain. Then check on the Nutrition Facts for “Carbohydrates,” and look further down for “Dietary Fiber.” For a food to be considered a good source of dietary fiber, it must contain at least 2.5 grams per serving.
• Second, dried beans and peas are excellent sources of dietary fiber, many containing 10+ grams per cup.
• Third, whole fruits and vegetables with skin are also great sources, especially berries, pears, apples, artichokes and broccoli.

Important note: Ease slowly into a high-fiber diet. Consuming too much of this dietary component too quickly can lead to GI distress such as cramping and gas.

To discover other ways to improve your chances for successful aging, give me a call!

We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.

No More Excuses!

It’s getting hot in Southern California and I’m still trying to get my 10,000 steps in per day. If I don’t step out in the morning, I have to wait until after dinner due to the high temperatures. And if I’m not careful, I’ll find myself falling back on the same excuse the majority of Baby Boomers and older adults use for not exercising: I don’t have the time!*

You can continue burning calories long after you take off those shoes!

You can “make” time for exercise!

I say “excuse” because that’s just what it is. There are ways to make exercise happen, with planning and commitment. But unfortunately, less than half the adults gets the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week, according the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Don’t let yourself fall into this group; your life depends on it! Here are six strategies to help you carve out precious minutes for physical activity:

1) Put it on your calendar.
You “calendar” your meetings, your manicures, your phone conferences, so why not give exercise the same consideration? Commit to a specific day and time, record the appointment in a spot you’ll see on a regular basis, and schedule reminders as needed. As a result, you’re much more likely to get to these activities.

2) Exercise with a buddy.
Plan to be active with a friend or family member. You’ll coax each other along, and neither of you will want to let the other down.

3) You don’t need a 30-minute block of time.
Good news! You can break your physical activity into 10- or 15-minute increments. So no more excuses—if you’re working, you have 10-minute breaks every day! Keep your tennies under your desk, and walk instead of sitting or eating. Then look for a few minutes in the morning or evening to eek out other mini-exercise breaks.

4) Understand that any movement is better than none.
If you can’t find time for the recommended 150 minutes per week, don’t stress. Even a few minutes of exercise each day is beneficial.

5) Remember that all movement counts.  Brisk walking, walking your dog, taking the stairs, gardening and housekeeping are categorized as physical activity, along with the more traditional types.

6) And finally, track your activity every 30 minutes during one weekday and one weekend day. Don’t make a big deal out of this—use whatever method works best for you (paper and pencil, your phone, or a computer). The idea is to locate “down time.” You’ll be surprised how often you watch TV, chat on the phone, or catch up on Facebook. These pockets of time are golden when you’re looking to get more movement in your day.

*I use the flashlight on my cell phone if I get out too late, but I do get out!

To discover other ways to find more time for exercise, give me a call!

We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.

 

How Young Do You Feel?

Just how old, or young, do you feel? As it turns out, most Americans feel younger than their actual age. And they say they’re making changes to live longer. But they’re not actually reaching the change needed, especially with the high level of awareness when it comes to healthy eating habits and physical activity.

How young do you feel, and are you making the correct choices to stay young?

How young do you feel, and are you making the correct choices to stay young?

Let’s take a look at two surveys that came out recently, and what you can take from their conclusions.

The Parade/Cleveland Clinic 100Survey
Parade (your Sunday paper insert) and the Cleveland Clinic surveyed 4,000 adult Americans earlier this year. The questions sought to find out how we feel about living to 100. Here are some of the highlights:
• 69% of Americans want to live to be 100.
• 89% expect to live at least to age 80; 55% at least to age 91.
• 72% of Americans feel younger than their age.
• 64% believe staying active is a top way to fight aging, followed by eating right, regular check-ups and getting enough sleep.
• 88% would exercise more to stay healthy and 45% would significantly change their diet.
• 64% are eating less fast food, 51% have tried cutting out sugar, 31% are eating a low-carb/high-protein diet and 19% are moving toward a vegetarian or vegan diet.
• 69% of Americans fear losing mental or physical capacities as a result of aging, followed by being a burden, running out of money or being alone.

So we fitness professionals have done a great job in educating the public about healthy aging: staying active is key to fighting aging, as is eating properly. And Americans have made (or attempted to make) positive changes in their eating habits. We want to live a long life, but fear dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, growing weak and losing our independence.

I get all that. So just how good are we really doing in making positive lifestyle changes? Let’s take a look at another study, the Sightlines Project from Stanford University. Looking at data from the past two decades, these researchers have concluded that the policies, products and personal behaviors to support living into our 80s, 90s and 100s are not yet widespread.

Here are a few highlights recently published from the Stanford study:
Positive:
• More than 80% of Americans recognize that diet and exercise are important to living long, healthy lives.
• Almost one in two Americans under age 65 is exercising regularly.
Room for improvement:
• Dietary guidelines, as inferred by the percentage of Americans eating the recommended minimum amount of fruits and vegetables per day (five or more), are not being met: only 25% of all ages eat enough of these nutritious foods.
• Only 45% of 55 – 64 year olds and 37% of 65 – 74 years olds meet or exceed the recommended weekly “dose” of exercise (at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity).
• The majority of Americans are sedentary for a total of five or more hours per day, up in recent years. And 50% – 59% of adults between 55 -75+ years sit too much.
• Obesity, a significant risk factor for chronic diseases such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, some cancers and chronic pain, is rising. More than one in three Americans under age 75 is obese.
• Four in 10 Americans do not get the recommended seven hours of sleep per day, increasing the risk for chronic disease and mortality.

The data is clear: you know what to do. Now look for ways to make it happen! Talk with your healthcare team, reach out to a Registered Dietitian, personal trainer or wellness coach to identify important health behaviors to change and ways to be successful in sustaining new lifestyle choices.

To discover other ways to improve your mental and physical fitness, give me a call!

We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.

Recognize and Deal with Fitness Saboteurs

You’ve been working diligently on your fitness program–whether it’s exercising or food changes. You’re coasting along until you hit a bump in the road–it may be self-sabotage or somebody who consciously or unconsciously derails your wellness plans, leading to inevitable setbacks.

weight loss for baby boomers

Don’t let you or anybody else sabotage your fitness efforts!

We Baby Boomers and seniors need to learn to how to recognize these situations and quickly turn them around. Here is a list of common fitness saboteurs; learn how to combat them with practical strategies that really work from the American Council on Exercise (Fit Facts, 5 Common Fitness Saboteurs and How to Defeat Them):

1. Unrealistic Expectations—Novice exercisers get frustrated when they expect big results too soon after starting a fitness program. Because they haven’t lost a huge amount of weight or met other goals, they throw in the towel. To avoid this mistake, set realistic goals and practice extreme patience. If you stick with a regimen, your body will respond to exercise. It takes at least six weeks of regular exercise and sometimes more for physiological changes to kick in. It’s called the training effect. You’ll know it’s happening when your workouts start feeling easier; when you can tolerate longer, harder exercise sessions; and when you can do housework, yard work, or climb stairs with less effort.

2. Stress—When you’re up against a work deadline or the kids are sick, you may feel you can’t handle one more thing, including exercise. But taking time out to go for a brisk walk or workout is one of the best things you can do during times of intense stress. Exercise helps alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression and helps boost your mood, enabling you to cope with whatever you’re facing. Even a short workout is better than nothing.

3. The Unexpected—You were going to walk after work, but now you’ve been asked to work late. Or perhaps you planned to swim, but then you find out that the pool is closed for maintenance. Life happens, and you can either throw up your hands and say, “forget it,” or accept it and roll with it. Resilience is your ability to bounce back quickly from life’s surprises and setbacks. This can be improved with practice. As you become more resilient, you’re less likely to ditch your workout when something comes up. Instead, you’ll be able to quickly modify your plans and move forward.

4. Negative Self-Talk—“I’m so lazy, I’ll never be fit;” “I didn’t even exercise once this week;” “I’m such a loser.” Would you talk to a friend or loved one this way? Listening to negative self-talk isn’t motivating, so what’s the point? Negative self-talk only destroys your confidence and motivation to the point where you can’t visualize success. But you don’t have to put up with it. The next time you recognize a critical thought, stop it and replace it with a positive thought, like this: “I’m so proud of myself for walking at lunch time today. It took a lot of effort, but I did it.” Behavior change is hard. Give yourself some credit for every step you take toward your fitness goals. Practice intentionally giving yourself positive feedback and watch your motivation soar.

To discover other ways to shore up your fitness program, give me a call!

We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.

Surviving a 10-Hour Car Trip

We’re enjoying a vacation with family up at Lake Tahoe. The drive north (with a weekend stop-over in Auburn) was a 10-hour trip–too much time stuck on my bottom in our Expedition. I dread these adventures because of the large amount of sitting time. For Baby Boomers and seniors, long trips can be a real challenge for fitness.

My "torture chamber" for 10 hours!

My “torture chamber” for 10 hours!

Move Your Large Muscles
But there are ways to move your muscles while sitting in a car (similar to chair exercises)–as long as you’re not the driver! While you’re not lifting body weight, you can push and pull and stretch muscles, and help break up sedentary time.

Here are a few “exercises” you can do as a passenger in a vehicle to break up the monotony of a long drive (repeat each exercise/stretch 10 times, once every hour or two):

Legs/lower body–Note–all exercises done in this position: Sit near the edge of your chair (however far you can safely move while keeping the seatbelt in place), back straight, shoulders pulled back.

1) Leg lift: Lift your right leg at the hip; up and down (your leg will be bent at a right angle). Then do the same movement with your left leg. To increase the resistance, balance a purse or other object near your knee; lift 10 times, then hold leg in the lifted position for 10 seconds, then do 10 small pulse lifts in the raised position.
2) Glute squeeze: Place your feet parallel to each other, pointing forward, about shoulder width apart. Squeeze both buns and hold for 3 seconds.
3) Hamstring squeeze: With your feet flat on the ground, press into the floor with both feet, place your hands under your legs. Pull your feet back without actually moving them. You should feel your hamstring tighten up under the leg.
4) Toe tap: Lift your toes, and bring them down to a count of 3. Repeat 10 times, or until you begin to feel a “burn” in the muscles in the front/outside edge of your lower legs.
5) Heel tap: Lift your heels, and bring them down. Repeat 10 times, or until you begin to feel a “burn” in your calves.

Arms/lower body:
1) Raise up with both hands and push into the ceiling of the car. Hold for 3 seconds.
2) Place your hands on the outside of your thighs and push down while lifting your body off the seat. Hold for 3 seconds.
3) If you have a handle bar that you would grab to lift yourself into the car (and it is in front of you, not on the ceiling), hold with both hands and pull yourself. Repeat 10 times. (Or you can do this with one hand at a time).
4) Place your arms at your sides, elbows bent and hands forward making a right angle. Bring your elbows back and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
5) Place your arms at your sides and bring your shoulders up in a shrug. Then roll your shoulders forward, then backwards.
6) Interlace your fingers in front of your body, then turn your hands “inside out” so your palms are facing out. Bring your shoulders forward, hold for 15 – 30 seconds and feel a stretch in your upper back.

Looking for other ways to get more movement in your life?  Give me a call!

We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.