That Darn “Box”!

It’s a challenge many Baby Boomers and seniors face all the time.  When exercise causes pain, you just don’t want to do it!  This is the dilemma I’ve lived with increasingly for the past few weeks.  With bone-on-bone arthritis in my left hip, I’d just about given up on activity.  Walking (my go-to cardio) was just too painful and uncomfortable, and I was afraid to further aggravate my hip at the gym.

This bike will soon be my own personalized stationary bike!

Giving In To The Pain

So I sat, felt miserable and starting watching my fitness level go down.  I knew better, obviously!  But even if I pushed past the pain during exercise, related aches in my leg kept me up at night–not acceptable.

Realizing I was heading towards a bigger-sized pair of pants soon, and that I would be heading into hip replacement surgery in less than stellar physical condition, I finally realized I needed to do something.  What would I tell my clients?  Look for an exercise that doesn’t hurt your hip!  Of course.

Looking For Acceptable Movement

So I started swimming.  This is excellent non-weight-bearing exercise that gets my heart pumping.  But the community pool is five minutes away and it’s starting to cool off a bit.  And it’s definitely more difficult to “suit up,” drive to the pool, swim laps, come home and shower than it is to lace up my shoes, step out the door and go for a walk.

So I can’t depend on the pool to keep my fitness level up–I just don’t get there enough.  That left the gym.  After an absence too long for me to confess, I stepped back in and started going on a regular basis last month.  My legs definitely have lost strength, and I probably won’t be able to gain all of it back until after the hip replacement.

But the biggest surprise was the stationary bike.  I could jump on, gradually up the resistance and get in a fabulous 30-minute workout.  Encouraging, but still not as convenient as walking (the gym is a full 15-minute drive from home).

So I thought about buying a stationary bike.  But I won’t need it in a few months if all goes according to plan.  My next idea: see if I could rent one.  Unfortunately, a quick internet search came up with nothing close by.

The Light Bulb Goes Off!

And then the proverbial “box” that was constraining my brain exploded:  I have an expensive bike gathering dust in my garage.  I can turn that into my very own special stationary bike!

This past weekend, my husband and I cleaned that bicycle.  Then I went to research stands (they call them “trainers” in the biz) at the local bike shop.  Voila, for a reasonable price, I could order a device that converts my snazzy road bike into my convenient, step-out-my-back-door-to-the patio cardio machine!  Now I can pedal after breakfast, during writing breaks or after dinner while watching the sun set.

No More Excuses!

What’s causing you to cut back on your exercising?  I challenge you to think outside the box and find something that works to keep you healthy!

For more ideas to help you exercise through your wellness challenge, 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.

October = Pink Ribbons!

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women (skin cancer is #1). According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), it strikes one in eight U.S. women. And it’s a huge concern for Baby Boomers and seniors, with the majority of cases occurring after menopause.

The American Cancer Society estimates more than 310,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2017, and more than 41,000 will die from the disease (the rate has been dropping since the late 1990s). Fortunately, recent research is unraveling a few of the questions related to this disease, and paving the way for you to control some of its risks.

Beyond Your Control…Or Not
You simply cannot change certain risk factors. For example, your sex (being a woman), age (over 55) and genetics (certain genes, your race and a family history of breast cancer) can all increase your chances of developing breast cancer.

You can, however, control lifestyle choices. And this is critical, since only 5% – 10% of breast cancer cases are hereditary, according to ACS. Alcohol consumption, your body weight and activity levels all affect your breast cancer risk.

Extra Weight + Baby Boomers or Seniors = Big Risk
Two of the most significant, especially after middle age, are exercise and weight control. These appear most powerful when they occur together.

Being overweight after menopause increases the risk of breast cancer for a couple of reasons.
• First, fat tissue increases the amount of estrogen we produce, and high levels of this female hormone are a known risk factor for breast cancer. A recent study of 93,000 women over age 50 found that increasing skirt size over the years was a strong predictor of breast cancer. Researchers theorize this is related to the additional estrogen that often occurs when midriff girth increases.
• In addition, insulin levels increase with obesity. Although insulin is required to produce energy from the foods we eat, heavy people can become “insulin resistant.” In this condition, the body’s cells can’t properly use insulin, and increased amounts of this hormone are needed. Higher levels of insulin have been linked with breast cancer.

Exercise helps in both of those areas, reducing estrogen and insulin levels; it also promotes weight loss and weight maintenance. Recent data suggests that as little as 1-1/4 to 2-1/2 hours of brisk walking weekly reduces breast cancer risk by 18%.

What You Can Do Now!
ACS recommends the following lifestyle changes to limit your breast cancer risk:
• Get moving! Find a physical activity you enjoy, and aim for 150 minutes of activity weekly.
• Limit sedentary behavior (sitting, lying down, watching television or other forms of screen-based entertainment). Break up this sitting once every hour.
• Be as lean as possible throughout life without being underweight. If overweight, drop a few pounds–even a 5% – 10% reduction in weight makes a difference in breast cancer risk.
• Eat healthy! Although there’s no conclusive evidence about specific foods and breast cancer prevention, ACS recommends a diet rich in vegetables and fruit (2-1/2 cups per day) and whole grains (for dietary fiber), while limiting fat intake.
• Imbibe with care–Limit alcohol to no more than two drinks per day for men and one for women.

For more ideas about breast cancer prevention and overall 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.

Healthy Aging Month

September is Healthy Aging Month, an annual obser­vance designed to focus national atten­tion on the pos­i­tive aspects of grow­ing older. This month’s events are promoted to stress personal responsibility for physical, social, mental and financial health, of critical importance for Baby Boomers and older adults.

Stay fit after 50 with movement!

Here are 9 of my best tips for fitness after 50, set to the words Inspire Me!”

I–Initialize your journey. Check with healthcare provider; obtain baseline data. You need to know where you are (weight, blood pressure, blood sugar–whatever your important medical data) to monitor your progress. And know the big WHY! What is the driving force behind your fitness quest–getting off the sofa, decreasing reliance on medication, living to see your grandchildren graduate? These goals will sustain you through obstacles and plateaus.
N–Nurture yourself. Develop support systems and rewards. One of the biggest predictors of success in any new program is a viable support system–a family member, friend, Facebook buddy or neighbor. Rewards are likewise vital, as they’re your own “pat on the back” for a job well done.
S–Slurp it up. Drink lots of water (don’t wait to be thirsty!). Most folks don’t drink enough water, especially as we age. The general recommendation is 8 cups of water per day. If you’re urinating every couple hours, and the color is pale yellow, you’re probably well hydrated.
P–Pump iron. Lift weights and progressively increase resistance. Strength training is critical for strong muscles to help support your body and maintain self-sufficiency.
I–Include cardiovascular exercise, also. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-level activity per week. Walking, swimming, bicycling, dancing, gardening and bowling help strengthen your heart and lungs, and control weight, blood sugar and blood pressure.
R–Rainbow-ize your diet. Eat brightly colored fruits and vegetables, 7+ servings per day. These gems are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals that help stave off inflammatioin and some of today’s worse killers–heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cancer and mental decline.
E–Eat less red meat, sugar, salt and total fats. Minimize these items as much as possible to keep your blood vessels, muscles and brain healthy!

M–Move throughout the day. Get up once every hour to engage large muscles. Our bodies were made for moving, and we do it less and less! Make a conscious effort to get off your bootie every hour for a few minutes to stretch and exercise your legs.
E–Enjoy healthy fats from fish, nuts and olive oil. These foods are full of unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids–anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants that help protect against aging.

For more ideas for healthy 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.

Can You Get Stronger?

I’ve written a lot in the past about sarcopenia, the loss of muscle that starts after age 30 and results in a 3% – 5% decrease in muscle mass per decade. This is a serious problem for Baby Boomers and seniors, leading to falls and a loss of mobility, functional abilities and independence.

The best way to fight sarcopenia is with strength training, supported by a proper diet. In particular, protein intake is key for maintaining and building muscle.

Protein at breakfast and lunch is just as important as it is at dinner.

A new study looked at how protein is divided throughout the day to discover if eating protein at all three meals would be beneficial. Most Americans eat about half of their daily protein at dinner, with very little at breakfast and a moderate amount for lunch. The problem with such a protein consumption pattern is that we don’t store protein well; muscle is constantly being broken down and protein needs to be replenished.

Researchers in Canada studied 1,7000 healthy men and women, aged 67 – 84, for three years. The results: those who consumed protein evenly at all three meals retained greater strength than those who ate most of their protein at dinner.

While this result is an observation of an association only, not a direct cause and effect, it does support other investigators who recommend an equal distribution of protein intake for older adults.

The key seems to be eating about 20 – 30 grams of protein per meal.

Here’s a sample menu to show how this could be fulfilled:

Breakfast:
2 eggs scrambled with cheese (1/4 cup)
1 slice whole wheat toast
1 cup lowfat milk

Lunch:
tuna salad (2 oz. tuna) on a bed of greens
1 serving whole-grain crackers
Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup
1 apple

Dinner:
homemade burrito with 2/3 cup pinto beans and chicken, 1 oz., on whole-wheat tortilla
brown rice, 1/2 cup
green salad

For more ideas to stay strong as you age, 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.

It’s Been Hot…Are You Drinking Enough?

In Southern California, it’s been hot…triple-digit hot!  And for Baby Boomers and older adults, that means it’s important to drink enough water throughout the day.  Reminding people to drink water and providing ideas to increase intake is an important part of my work.

Before you start lifting weights in hot weather, drink water!

After all, worse case scenario, you could end up in the hospital with dehydration, as some of my clients have.  Dehydration can lead to urinary and kidney problems, seizures and even death from low blood volume, which can cause low blood pressure and a drop in oxygen levels.

Our bodies are about 60% water.  Adequate water intake is important to help maintain normal body temperature, carry nutrients and oxygen to cells, protect sensitive tissues, get rid of wastes and provide a moist environment for ears, nose and throat tissues.

How Much Is Enough?

Contrary to what most people believe, there are no official recommendations for plain water intake.  However, there are recommendations for total water intake–from all beverages and foods.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommends:

  • Women–approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water each day
  • Men–approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water
  • About 80% of total water intake comes from drinking water and other beverages (including tea, coffee, juices, sodas and drinking water)
  • The other 20% comes from food (think: watermelon, soup, spinach, etc.)

Note:  these recommendations are for healthy people who are adequately hydrated.

So if 80% of your fluid intake is from what you drink, that translates to 72 oz. (9 cups) for women and 100 oz. (12.5 cups) for men.

An “unofficial” recommendation is the color of urine: if it’s dark, you may be headed towards problems; if it’s the color of lemonade, you’re on track.  However, many factors impact the color of urine (darker or discolored), including medical problems, medications and certain foods.   But a light yellow is probably a good sign.

And keep in mind that the amount of water needed is influenced by exercise, weather, elevation and illness.

Ways To Get Enough

Most health professionals recommend people drink 8 glasses (8 oz. each) per day.  No real basis for the number, but it is easy to remember.  And although all liquids count, let’s get serious: ditch fruit juice and get the fiber and full feeling with whole fruits, get rid of soda and its high-sugar content, go easy on diet drinks because they have their own set of problems.  And because many Boomers and seniors are watching their weight, water is just the overall best choice.

Here are five ways to help you consume enough water:

  1. Buy a water bottle to easily track your intake.  Most are 20+ oz., so drink four – five full containers per day.
  2. If you take medications, drink an 8-oz glass of water with each dose.
  3. Try different temperatures.  Some people love icy cold water; I can down more at room temperature.
  4. Add sliced fruit or vegetables to flavor water without adding sugar or calories.  Berries, citrus and cucumbers make tasty additions.
  5. Drink a glass of water before each meal.  Bonus: this practice may help you eat less at mealtimes.

Many older adults complain about getting up at night to urinate.  If this is a problem, stop drinking water at dinnertime; just skew your intake heavily to the earlier part of the day.

For more ideas to get enough water intake, 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.