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.

 

Are You Ready to Take A Stand?

Are you letting a label limit your enjoyment in life?  As a Baby Boomer or older adult, does a chronic illness taint your vision of the future?  Are you letting other people’s opinions of your health status cloud your desires?  If you answered “yes,” it’s time to take a stand!

Don't let others' opinions of you limit your enjoyment in life!

Don’t let others’ opinions of you limit your enjoyment in life!

Buy Your Luxury Car

A dear client of mine, we’ll call her Abby, recounted an interesting event to me just last week.  It went something like this:  Abby’s car was totaled a few months ago (her caregiver was driving and nobody was injured).  My client, in her 80s with Parkinson’s disease, had owned the small SUV because everybody felt is was safer for her to drive.  So when Abby and her daughter went looking for a replacement car, they test-drove the same types.  However, my client was not happy with any of the models.  A week or so later, her granddaughter suggested they visit CarMax where Abby could take a spin in all kinds of vehicles.

As it turns out, what Abby really wanted was comfort, a car with nice lines and a large trunk in case she ever needed to use a wheel chair.  “I took a stand,” she told me, “and bought the car I wanted!”

She came home with a beautiful white, gently used Lincoln sedan–a car that fit the bill, while not bowing to others’ limited view of what was “right” for her.

Abby is now driving short distances in her new car, and she is very happy with her decision.

What’s Your Limiting Health Issue?

I’ll bet you have one.  For example, do you have arthritis and believe it’s too painful, difficult or counterproductive to exercise?  Are you trying to lose weight and so you’ve given up on the joy of dining out with friends altogether?  Are you tired of your adult children hovering around you because they’re afraid you’ll fall?  Or, as in my case, do you have an “incurable” disease, so why bothering pushing yourself?

You can’t let these labels and beliefs limit your enjoyment in life.  I didn’t.  Diagnosed with myasthenia gravis 20 years ago, I decided not to let this muscle-weakness autoimmune disease define my life.  After getting discouraged seeing the condition and attitude of other “victims” of the disease at a few support groups, I decided on the course of action I felt best (with my doctor’s advice and family’s support), and went on with my life after a major surgery.  I still take immunosuppressants, but I’m so healthy that my family forgets I have the disease.

Take Your Stand!

Throw off the shackles of your limiting beliefs–whatever they may be.  Go outside your comfort zone (in a cautious way, of course) and enjoy yourself!  Acknowledge the concerns others have for your health and safety–they love you and want the best for you.  But this is your story, so take control and savor life!

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.

Grandma’s Pumping Iron? You Bet!!!

Still not lifting weights? You need to be!

Over 50? Grab those weights and starting working out!

Over 50? Grab those weights and starting working out!

The good news is that many Baby Boomers and older adults are taking heed of this advice. According to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, the number of health club members over age 55 grew by 343% recently, while the number of members in the 35-54 age group increased by 180%.

But if you’re not one of these folks, or you’re just not convinced of the critical need for strength training, please read on.

3 Reasons to Pump Iron After Age 50
1) Muscle mass
As I’ve said many times, Mother Nature is NOT kind to us as we age. One of the main problems we encounter is a process called sarcopenia. Without weight training, we lose about 1/2 lb. of muscle (lean body mass) per year in our 30s and 40s. This amount doubles after age 50. So if you weigh the same in your 80s as you did at age 30, you have about 40 lb. less muscle mass. That means a 40 lb. increase in body fat, which is associated with many chronic diseases.

In addition, the loss of muscle mass means a loss of strength, and with that, decreased ability to carry on activities of daily life:
• taking stairs
• carrying groceries
• getting up from chair/car unassisted
• loss of balance
• playing with grandchildren

The quality of life goes way down, and the risk of falls goes way up.

2) Chronic diseases
Strength training helps curb the risk of many chronic diseases including:
• heart attack
• stroke
• osteoarthritis
• osteoporosis
• better blood sugar usage and insulin sensitivity, decreasing the risk of diabetes
• lower blood pressure in people with hypertension (high blood pressure)

3) Mental health
It may come as a surprise, but strength training is also valuable for your brain and emotional state. Here are a few of the documented benefits:
• Improved memory
• Improved executive control
• May lessen depression
• Much less chronic fatigue
• Improved quality of sleep
• Improved cognition
• Less anxiety
• Improved self-esteem/confidence

Ready to Thumb Your Nose at Mother Nature?
Here are some easy ways to get started with strength training.
• PIck up a set of light weights (2 lb. or 3 lb.) or cans (15 oz.) and simply carry them throughout the house several times per day.
• Perform push-ups against a wall or sturdy counter top.
• Stand from a chair or sofa without pushing with your arms. That is, just use your leg muscles to get up.

Looking for ways to start strength training? 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.

Just Take a Small Risk!

My fellow Baby Boomers and dear older adults, how many times have you not started something because it might not turn out the way you want? You wish to begin a walking program, but your legs might hurt…if you plant a garden for fresh veggies, the seedlings might die…what if you don’t find the time to ride that new bicycle you’re thinking of buying?

Why Bother?
Because the things you’re afraid of might not ever happen! And what’s the worst if they do? We know for sure what will happen if you don’t take that risk–to quote ice hockey great Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!”

Sometimes you just have to look at the task, take the necessary precautions and jump in!

My Rainy Day Story

Just put on those shoes and go!

Just put on those shoes and go!

As an example, this past Sunday around 4:00, I needed to get away from my office. I only had 5,800 of my 10,000-step goal, and I had spent way too much time sitting. My go-to exercise–walking on our community “meadow” area.

But it was cloudy and cold, and it had been drizzling. My phone was forecasting rain until 6:00.

If I stepped out for my 30-minute walk, I might get wet!!! That has stopped me in the past.

But I was planning to bake chocolate chip cookies after dinner (my go-to dreary weather indulgence!) and knew I had to burn off some calories ahead of time.

So I put on a scarf, sweatshirt and light windbreaker. I laced up a pair of hiking boots I don’t mind getting muddy, grabbed an umbrella and walked out the door.

And it started raining! Of course…

But I continued; the rain became a drizzle and stopped after 10 minutes. By the time I got home, the scarf was off, the umbrella was useless, both jackets were completely unzipped. And I was successful–my FitBit registering 9,903 steps!

The moral: stop avoiding an important activity because you’re afraid something might not go right!

Help Yourself Get Started
Here are 5 steps to consider before taking a risk, from Forbes.com and PsychologyToday.com:
1) Stop underestimating yourself! You have many talents and abilities, so gather them up for self-confidence.
2) Consider the risks of settling. What are the consequences of not taking the risk?
3) Remember that risk is relative. Everybody has their own tolerance for risk, so don’t compare yourself to others.
4) Be realistic about what could go wrong. Keep consequences in perspective and prepare for them as best as possible.
5) Let go of what others think. No additional info needed here!
6) Picture everything going well. Athletes and speakers have mastered the art of visualization; use positive thinking in seeing the results you desire.

To end with another sports quote: Just do it (Nike)!

Need a nudge to take that fitness risk?  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.

What’s Your Exercise Ecstasy?

Why don’t people exercise?  By now we all know it’s good for us–our bodies and our minds.  Yet 80% of Americans, including Baby Boomers and seniors, don’t meet our physical activity recommendations.

How then, do you motivate yourself, or your loved ones, to move?  Believe me, we personal trainers have been wrestling with that question for years!

One answer: concentrate on the feeling!  How do you feel during and after exercise?  What’s the immediate reward, not the longterm health benefits?  Once you identify these positive emotions, you have a better chance of continuing with the activity.

Find your joy in physical activity!

Find your joy in physical activity!

Here are a few tips to get you in touch with your exercise ecstasy:

  1. Let’s start with stretching.  Many of my clients love this activity–they tell me “it just feels good!”  Slowly easing into a stretch while breathing deeply, especially after exercise, creates a feeling of relaxation and eases tension.  Many times I hear my clients say, “I needed that!” when they stretch after a tough day.
  2. I recently asked participants in one of my exercise classes to come up with some words describing how the activities made them feel.  One of the best descriptors I heard was “energized.”  It may sound counterintuitive–to feel more lively after exercising–but it’s common to have more get-up-and-go following physical activity.  I think we can all agree: anything that gives us more energy as we age is definitely a plus!
  3. Other words I hear often include “confident” or “accomplished.”  Again, this is especially important for older adults who can’t visualize themselves lifting weights or riding a bicycle.  Once they see they can do these activities successfully, they’re more likely to try again.
  4. Find an activity that brings you sheer joy!  In the past, for me, this was bicycle riding.  I love the feel of the wind through my air, the sun on my face, the green smells you miss while sitting in a car.  More recently, it’s been silly dancing to fun songs with my grandkids or while doing chores.  Music that moves me just brings a smile to my face.  Which activity lights up your day?
  5. Let’s face it: we’re social animals.  While some people enjoy solitary activities, many love exercising with others to share successes and create a sense of community.  So find a senior exercise class at your local YMCA, learn ballroom dancing or pick up a class schedule at your local junior college.  Opportunities abound to be part of a “team” that warms your heart!

So instead of forcing yourself to head out on that morning walk because it’ll add years to your life, focus on more immediate feelings and identify the emotions related to physical activity that bring you joy.  Then you’ll be more likely to continue exercising, and the healthful benefits (of which there are dozens) will follow!

If you need help finding your joy in movement, 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.