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.

Get Your Body to Work Overtime, Even When You Don’t!

OK Baby Boomers and seniors, how excited would you be to discover you could up your fitness by burning additional calories with no additional effort? Welcome to the world of EPOC!

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

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

What is EPOC?
One of the by-products of physical activity is a phenomenon called EPOC—excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Very simply put, when we exercise, we consume more oxygen and produce energy and chemical by-products. At the same time, we increase breathing, blood circulation, and body temperature above pre-activity levels.

As a result, our metabolism remains high for several minutes to several hours after the exercise bout, resulting in EPOC–the added calories that accompany this post-exercise increase in metabolism.

How long will the EPOC effect last?
Depending on the exercise, it can take from 15 minutes to 48 hours for the body to fully recover to a resting state.

What affects the amount of EPOC?
Exercise intensity is probably the greatest determinant of EPOC. The harder you work, the more calories you’ll burn for a greater post-exercise period.

What type of exercise causes EPOC?
For several years, experts have recognized that aerobic exercise, or cardio, leads to EPOC. Recently, researchers are showing that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and heavy resistance training with short periods of rest lead to a higher EPOC effect. And don’t forget, resistance training also promotes lean muscle mass (important to keep us strong and self-sufficient as we age).

Can I use EPOC to lose weight?
No. The numbers just don’t pan out. Remember, exercise accounts for only 20 – 30% of weight loss for most individuals, and EPOC for only 6 – 15% of that energy cost. So if your brisk walk burns 150 calories in 30 minutes, your EPOC might account for only 9 – 22 additional calories. Researchers agree that the amount of energy used during the exercise bout itself, not the aftermath, is overwhelmingly responsible the for weight maintenance benefit of physical activity.

Bottom line:
I don’t know about you, but if I can burn a few extra calories after exercise, with no additional effort, I’ll take it! I don’t care if it’s 10 calories or 100. And because I exercise consistently, over time these numbers could accumulate to keep me in the same (sized) wardrobe for years to come.

Just one more reason to engage in physical activity—most likely the best medicine you’ll ever enjoy!

Looking for ways to improve your wellness? 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.

Your Four-Legged Personal Trainer

Looking for a surefire way to find the motivation for exercise? Something that reminds you daily to get moving so you can stay happy and healthy–without the perceived effort? An activity that works for most Baby Boomers and older adults?

Me and my grand-dogs. Who's walking who?

My grand-dogs and I. Who’s walking whom?

The surprising answer–get yourself a dog! Don’t believe me? Read on!!!

A National Celebration!
February 22 is National Walk Your Dog Day. While most dog owners don’t need an excuse to get out with their four-legged companions, this is a good time to reflect on the many benefits of dog ownership–for both you and your puppy!

Approximately 37% – 46% of U.S. households own a dog. Baby Boomers (comprising 37% of pet owners) are still quite active with their animals. And while pet ownership traditionally goes down with increasing age, I do see a good number of folks walking their dogs in 50+ neighborhoods, as well as independent and assisted-living communities.

Fido Benefits
Walking your dog produces many perks for him or her. Daily exercise helps create a bond and trust between the two of you. It lets animals blow off energy, helping calm them and decreasing destructive behavior such as digging and chewing.

Physical benefits include reducing obesity (about half of our dogs are too heavy), strengthening hearts, aiding in digestion and helping relieve constipation. Diabetes is a problem with many dogs, and walking helps control blood sugar.

People Benefits
Walking a dog also conveys many health benefits to the owner, both physical and mental. And talk about a motivating force for success, a study by Michigan State University found that dog walkers are 34% more likely to meet the recommended exercise minutes each week!

Here are a few of the proven benefits of walking dogs:
• Reduced blood pressure
• Improved immune system
• Less obesity
• It’s a great ice breaker, as dog walkers are viewed as approachable and friendly

Simply stroking an animal can reduce the physiological indicators of stress (think: blood pressure). And the unconditional love from pets conveys a sense of increased self-esteem.

For seniors, dogs provide constant companionship, and are sometimes viewed as an older person’s only friend. Senior dog owners spend an average of 1.4 hours daily outside with their pet, reaping the cardiovascular benefits of walking. Older dog owners have lower levels of depression and anxiety, lower blood pressure and decreased heart rate (a sign of cardiac health).

Put a Plan In Place
As with other positive behaviors, plan for a successful dog walking program by establishing a routine and scheduling the activity into your day. Again, you can walk for 30 minutes at a time or three 10-minute bouts. Track your progress and reward yourself and your furry buddy after a job well done. Your dog will love you!

If you’re looking for other ways to exercise successfully, 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.

Best. Resolution. Ever!

It’s the New Year, and if you’re like most Baby Boomers or seniors, you’ll simply recycle the same ol’ resolutions. Exercise more, lose weight or eat better, right? That’s it–goals that eluded you last year become this year’s intentions. But isn’t that the very definition of insanity–doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results?

Show daily gratitude--live better!

Show daily gratitude– live better!

So this year, change it up! Resolve to do something over which you have complete control, is easy to track and can produce benefits almost instantly: show daily gratitude! Pausing to give thanks is documented to help us in both mental and physical ways.

Benefits of gratitude
Showing gratitude is as easy as acknowledging that you are thankful for who you are and what you have. The problem is, we often get busy and don’t stop to recognize the positive aspects of our lives. And we all have them! Sometimes they don’t fly out at us immediately, but we all have something for which we’re grateful (food on the table, the sun coming up, your dog or cat…).

Here are five ways taking time to show gratitude can help in our busy lives:
1. Improved sleep (and who doesn’t need that?)–Stopping to record items for which you’re grateful before you retire each night can help you sleep better.

2. Increased resilience–Being grateful may mitigate the harmful effects of negative events in our lives.

3. Improved health–Grateful people feel healthier and take better care of themselves.

4. Increased helpfulness–People who write daily gratitudes are kinder and more empathetic towards others.

5. Increased self-esteem–Expressing gratitude results in a greater sense of well-being, increased happiness and decreased depression.

How to harness the power of gratefulness
There are several ways to cultivate gratitude. For example, simply writing a thank-you note can make you feel happier.

But I’ve found the following method to be most helpful:

  • Upon rising each day, write down one item for which you’re grateful. It could be a good night’s sleep, that first cup of coffee you’ll enjoy, or the view from your bedroom window. Taking the time to acknowledge something favorable early in the day can set your mental attitude in a positive direction.
  • Before you go to bed, record three items you appreciate that occurred during the day. Again, these can be anything special to you–a walk you took with your spouse, a tasty dinner you prepared, or a day at the park with your grandchildren.

The key is to actively take the time to acknowledge things for which you’re grateful. Make this your new daily habit!

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.