Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Kymberly: This morning Alexandra and I got our baby boomer booties up and out early to power walk with our dogs. What motivated us? Three things: we wanted to beat the heat; Alexandra had a class to teach after which she was heading to LA for the day; and we wanted to mull over a question we get asked by our group fitness participants:
(In a peek behind the scenes of fitness questions that come our way, we also get asked about exercises to prevent droopy boobs. Yes, it was worded just like that. We loved that question too).
Back to the best movement routine to start your day — Any guesses? Bueller? Bueller? For a million or few calories, the answer is … the one, or two, or however many you will actually do. All the studies and recommendations in the world won’t matter unless you actually get up and giddy up. In the real world (the one where Alexandra and I often reside), people will stick with what they enjoy. And they will run down faster than black mascara after a sweat fest from un-fun activities.
Still, some suggestions are in order. But first, let’s address the implied assumption in this question:
Interestingly, research is all over the place when it comes to determining a “best” time to exercise. One study found that physical activity performance was generally improved in the afternoon or evening, compared with morning. Another study suggests that exercisers best combat weight gain from high calorie, fat rich diets if they work out before eating, specifically “before breaking fast.” Other variants exist, but what does come out clearly is that consistency is key. Especially for high-intensity exercisers, whatever time you choose to do whatever routine you like to do, try to do it around the same time each day. Got that? Whether morning, noon, or night, you may reach your workout goals best if you stick with your preferred time. Whew!
Alexandra: I like to walk in the morning, before it gets too hot and before the black flies come out (yes, Santa Barbara has flaws). I’ve found that my regular morning routine consists of waking up around 6:30 (which I hate, but I’m a light sleeper), then going through the messages & emails on my phone while lying in bed. So I don’t actually get up until 7:30 or so. What a waste of the morning! So if I prep my clothes the night before, and ask my son to come get me, I know I’ll go. I’m back in the house by 8, happy and full of energy.
Kymberly: If your workout time is the morning, can you benefit more from a specific type of exercise? Whether you walk, swim, ride, jog, mosey, lift weights, shuffle, do a yoga pose, or dance routine — you are best served to
That’s it. Really. Ok, not really since you will find more on the subject of “what’s best” in the following posts, which we suggest you click on. Then lord it over your workout buddies that you know only the best.
For instance, want to know the best cardio workout? Or which is better–jogging in place or running through space?
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Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Alexandra: If you’re working full-time AND caring for your parents, it’s easy to see why you are exhausted. If I understand correctly, you are more frustrated by motivation and time issues; not a lack of information, right? So let’s look at some ways to reframe your motivation.
From the way you word your question, I gather you don’t like exercise too much (join 75-80% of the population). So forget about exercise – focus instead on what kind of MOVEMENT you enjoy. Do you like to walk, swim, dance, mow the lawn, bike ride, bowl; what? Anything that you do that is MORE than what you’re currently doing will help you be successful.
You also talk about feeling paralyzed, which triggers all kinds of things in my counseling brain, both literally and figuratively. It tells me you know what will happen to you if you DON’T change your habits, and that it’s overwhelming. I believe you are thinking in a 1-10 way. In other words, you are at 1 (I am not exercising, I have to lose 50 pounds & I have no time), and you can only think of 10 (I will be 50 pounds lighter). But you need to map out what 2, 3, 4 …. look like. If you have stairs at home or work, can you add 2 extra trips up and down each day? That could be step 2. Can you then make your food portions smaller and do 2 trips daily? Step 3. You don’t have to even contemplate intense, sweaty movement or weight lifting (this helps you burn extra calories even when you are NOT moving) until step 8 or 9. Write down your first few steps at least!
If your parents are ambulatory, can you walk around the block with them? Not only will it help slow their rate of mental decline, it will help keep YOUR brain healthier. (Read our post on the subject by clicking on the link). So when you are thinking, “I could get in a few minutes of exercise now, but…” remind yourself that those few minutes will not only help with your weight loss goal, but keep you alert as well.
You obviously don’t have any extra time in your day, so you might want to think of ways to change up some of your current routine. For example, how much of the day are you sitting, and when can you switch some of that out for standing or even pacing? If you spend a lot of time at work on the phone, you could be pacing while on calls. People who stay at a healthy weight tend to be fidgeters – can you add in some fidgeting? Another trick – every time you go to stand up or sit down, add in one extra sit-stand. You can add an extra 10,000 squats per year using this trick. Move stuff from convenient places to inconvenient spots. An example – I keep most of my food in a back pantry, which means I have to leave the kitchen quite a few times in order to get the ingredients I need to bake or cook. Put your phone across the room instead of near you so that you have to get up every time you need it. Anyway, you get the idea.
Even if you and your husband cannot get away from the house at the same time to be active together, he can still be a source of encouragement and support (nagging doesn’t count as support – I know; I’ve tried it). In our post about losing weight when you’re a caregiver, we talk about the importance of having a pal who is on your side.
Kymberly: Susan – With everything you have going on, no wonder taking on another “should duty” is exhausting. I agree with my sister about reframing. If you could shift from thinking of adding a fitness routine (yikes – another task in an overloaded life!) to seeing movement as a positive time for YOU and a break from responsibilities, you will have an easier, more successful time meeting your goals. For instance, if you or your parents watch tv evenings or weekends, would you find it helpful to perform stretches, yoga, or light jogging in place during ads? Near work, is there a park, interesting street, or a mall you can go to for your lunch break – even once or twice a week – where you can walk as you eat? As few as 5 minutes in nature has a calming effect; 10 minutes of cardio activity decreases stress levels, enhances energy, and assists brain activity so you will actually feel more awake; less fatigued.
Perhaps even more impactful and surprising is that you may need to sleep more to lose weight and minimize exhaustion. Caregivers are usually sleep deprived, which leads to higher stress levels and stimulated appetite. Our post on the role sleep, stress, and sugar play in weight management offers more insight.
Again, is your lunch time and place flexible enough that you could slide in a guilt-free 20 minute nap? Can you get to bed 20 minutes earlier? While sleeping may seem counter intuitive to getting more fit, it is possibly one of your key solutions.
Here’s to slotting in a bit more movement and ZZzzzzssssss for yourself! Let us know whether any of our suggestions get you moving in the direction you want.
Readers: Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference, or to write your blog posts. Call us at (805) 403-4338 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be a winner while losing, and subscribe to our YouTube channel to access short videos that will improve your fitness level and destress you. Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Kymberly: Long ago in a faraway galaxy–also called pre-2008 or so–we thought the “grown up” brain was hard-wired and immutable. The exciting news coming from the brain research universe shows how much we have learned since then. In fact, our brains continue to change, rewire, and develop throughout our entire lives. Color me super excited by neuroscience!
Also changing are the rates of obesity. When Alexandra and I scampered through the recent IDEA World Fitness and Nutrition Convention, I made sure to attend the “Healthy Aging Survival Kit” session offered by Dr. Terry Eckmann. Her basic premise: “Our Reality is based on our Perception.” While this belief is centuries old, the scientific data to back it up is new. Such discoveries are especially relevant for those wanting to make life and habit changes.
A lot of what Eckmann revealed in her presentation dovetails with a teleseminar series Alexandra and I were invited to contribute to: Leave Obesity Behind. For those wanting to lose weight, the key is to recognize that change starts with our thoughts.
According to studies Eckmann referenced, we now know the following:
Alexandra: What kind of thoughts would you have if you were able to access over 25 experts in the field of obesity and weight loss? And if it were via a telesummit that was at no cost and had no catch? Yeah, me too – happy thoughts!
Our colleague Robyn Bennett decided to offer a program that would delve into healthy solutions for weight loss that address the mind, body and spirit. Are you sick of yo-yo dieting or emotional eating? As health professionals, we know that it is difficult to lose a lot of weight if you approach it from a simplistic point of view – “Eat less, Move more” is a good mantra, yet not complete. There has to be a part that addresses the mind, as that is where your power lies.
Kymberly: Remember– your perception shapes your reality. If you want to change your reality you have to shift what you think and perceive. For instance, what message do you see in this phrase:
For her “Leave Obesity Behind” event, Robyn has interviewed experts who are able to help you:
* Create healthy patterns for weight loss
* Improve your health at any size
* Find solutions for emotional eating and compulsive overeating
* Make exercise fun
* Quit negative self talk and start loving who you see in the mirror
* Teach healthy eating habits to your family
* Feel better about yourself inside and out
We aren’t selling the teleseminar because there’s nothing to buy. This summit goes through August 30, and this is the link to register for Leave Obesity Behind: Discover the Secrets to Eating Right into a Healthier, Sexier You. And of course, we believe you’ll enjoy the segments with us. We definitely offer some simple, achievable, non-painful tips!
If you think your friends would benefit, please share the link with them too! Now, if only I could get the lyrics to “Think Lovely Thoughts” from Peter Pan out of my head!
Put on your thinking cap and take advantage of our YouTube channel that offers short videos to support your weight loss goals! Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Those who are regular Fun and Fit followers know that Alexandra and I never saw a mic we didn’t like. Still, the prospect of recapping 10 points off the top of my head in front of 125 fellow fitness pros was a bit daunting. Darn that brilliant and beckoning presenter, Terry Eckmann, PhD, a Minot University Professor, who was presenting this session and another one I attended, Healthy Aging Survival Kit.
Motivated by wanting to bring you the best info on what movement can do for your cognitive skills, I focused. And stroked my notes lovingly. Then jumped up energetically recognizing that activity would increase my recall and memory! How convenient!
I took a deep breath and launched into Fun Fit Facts about our brains and learning. Take a “look see” at this list so you can gain all the benefits of a better brain immediately and throughout the rest of your life:
1. If we write something down we anchor that learning. (Works great now, but not as I walked to the front of the room).
2. Our brain weighs about 3-4 pounds, consumes 20% of the body’s energy, uses one-fifth of the body’s oxygen, and comprises around 2% of body weight. (two down; eight to go and I already wished I’d brought my notes).
4. Exercise can literally change the anatomy and physiology of our brain. In 30 minutes we can gain brain matter (who wants more dendrites and ganglia? I do, I do!), have better cognitive skills, improve our memory, increase alertness, and learn better.
5. Every decade after 30 years old we lose 10 percent of our ability to breathe unless we regularly exercise cardiovascularly (If you don’t want to huff and puff your way indecorously through midlife and beyond, then keep up the aerobic training which is also a great brain fitness program!)
6. Our brain loses 1-2 percent of volume after 30 years old unless we move and continue to learn. (Yes, active baby boomers have larger brains on average compared to sedentary ones. Yet another reason to get moving).
7. Good posture sends a message to our brain that we are confident, in control of our lives, and possess self-mastery. (I hope you like this tidbit as it’s so achievable!)
8. 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity:
(Got a test, presentation, meeting or high stress function coming up? Take a brisk walk or jog ahead of time. You’ll perform better. And you’ll be sweaty, but it’s a healthy price to pay for success).
9. When we exercise our:
10. To strengthen our corpus callosum, perform cross lateral movement — moves that cross the midline of the body, such as right elbow to left knee.
11. We best remember information and events that are attached to either a story or an emotional response. (Hmmm, nothing about lists and numbers enhancing memory, so I hope you wonder how this tale ends so you remember it!)
For those who are active, you probably noticed more than 10 Fun Fit Facts. You’re welcome! But was I able to conjure up these points in 3 minutes with no prep? Or did the audience have to help me out?
Neither one (insert huge exhale here). As I ticked off item # 8, Dr Eckmann said she was convinced I was award-worthy and hit the applause-o-meter as she hung the award around my neck. At least I think that’s what happened. Since sitting down to type this, I can’t quite recall….
Slide Photo is allowed courtesy of Terry Eckmann, PhD. Yup, she’s smart, fit, AND nice!
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Think your way to our YouTube channel for short videos that will improve your cognitive advancement and active aging adventure! Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.
It was a dark and gluten-free night… and sis and I were deciding whether to attend all four days of the annual IDEA World Fitness Convention. Then (thunder sound inserted here), what should happen but a knock at the email!!! Our buddies from Attune Foods invited us to help out at their booth, sharing the goodness that is their cereal.
Saying yes to being at the booth meant we got to talk about (and eat) their Uncle Sam Original and their newest cereal, Uncle Sam Rye & Hemp, which meant we know for a fact that these two have only four ingredients, and sugar isn’t one of them, which plays nicely to my love of healthy foods that make my body healthy, leading to increased brain power that allows me to channel my inner Faulkner and have fun writing one very long sentence!
In other words, it was the start of a weekend with a focus on the relationship between our minds, bodies, and good nutrition. As anyone who has tried to lose weight can tell you, the mind controls the body. When it comes to food, our bodies are a result of what our mind thinks, believes, assumes and creates. Luckily, our minds are malleable! Ponder and assimilate, grasshoppers, ponder and assimilate. In shorthand – P&A.
* If we want to attract healthy relationships, we must be healthy
* Our relationship to food and how we eat reflects how we live, so eat mindfully
* Every thought we have becomes our physical self
* Our thoughts release chemicals into our bodies. When we change our thoughts, we change our physiology
* When you are stressed, put away the utensils and eat with your hands; preferably outdoors
* If you are feeling depressed, eat raw cashews first thing in the morning
* Chronic disease isn’t because we are old; it’s simply the late onset of all the stuff we’ve done to our bodies up to that point
* How old would you be if you didn’t know your chronological age? That is how old your body thinks you are
* The people who live longest are those who are most flexible and adaptable. This includes eating for health, not chemical pleasure. Adapt your diet to increase your longevity
* Organic food is better for your health than cleanses, as your digestive system already renews itself every 3-4 days
* Physically you have a new body every 7-10 years, so it’s not too late to change your eating habits
* Your chronological age does two things – gets you beer and discounts. It’s your biological and psychological age you should focus on
* To improve your digestive system, eat 2 tablespoons of raw, unfermented sauerkraut every day
* Gluten and casein are the two most common causes of inflammation
* You will be healthier eating junk food with someone you like than eating healthy food with someone you don’t
* Medications can help, yet be aware that they silence the symptoms. Meditation can help silence the thoughts that led to the symptoms
* Use food to harmonize, not demonize, your mind, body, and soul
All the above tips come from Teri Mosey, who has the most unique combination of degrees – a
Bachelor’s in Biochemistry, Master’s in Exercise Physiology, and PhD in Holistic Nutrition.
* Keep a food diary
* Be aware of hunger
* Step self-sabotaging thoughts
* Build resilience
* Be aware of how you eat when alone vs with others
* Read the label before eating
* Take time to enjoy your food
* Turn off distractions
* Consciously tense up your muscles, then relax them when you’re about to make a poor food choice
* Look at pictures of happy events when tempted to stress eat
* Don’t make it personal. You are not good or bad according to what you eat; you are undergoing a process of change
Did you know that the ONLY food directly related to pediatric obesity is sweetened beverages! Back away from the soda (and check those energy and replenish drinks too).
These tips are from Michelle Murphy Zive, MS, RD, and Principal Investigator: Network for a Healthy California.
I came away from the convention with a renewed respect for my body, especially after tear duct surgery on both eyes. I’d say I had a determined look in my eye, but that was actually the swelling. My eyes might not have been working, but my taste buds were, and I came away from the convention with a few boxes of Attune cereal. Scooooore!
Back-To-School Rebook Sale
Until this Sunday August 18, Reebok.com is kicking off the Reebok Friends & Family Sale! The Friends & Family Sale is one of Reebok’s biggest sales of the year, so make sure to take advantage of this great offer and get 30% off your entire order by using the code FF30 through Sunday if you’re in the market for fitness apparel or shoes.
Reebok has also marked down some of the hottest apparel and footwear in their Sale Section including Classic leather and Zigs in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes! Men’s, women’s and kid’s hoodies, jackets, shorts, sports bras, and t-shirts are on sale too! We thought the sale was a good deal so we’re sharing it!
Your event needs education, motivation, and fit-ucation? Call us at (805) 403-4338 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grab a fruit smoothie and head on over to our YouTube channel to view short videos that will improve your fitness! Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please follow us on Google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.
Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
My whole family has a history of bad eyes and nearsightedness, so I am not surprised to need surgery, but I did start wondering if exercise could have any positive effects or at least slow the rate of degeneration for my crappy eyes. Luckily, I found research that suggests so.
It’s long been known that exercise protects against CVD. Cardiovascular disease shares many risk factors with macular degeneration (a major cause of blindness caused by degeneration of the central retina), and obesity (also associated with vision loss). One study of joggers found that the risk of age-related macular degeneration decreased by 10% for every one kilometer of jogging per day.
Lower body mass index (BMI), greater cardiorespiratory fitness, and greater physical activity contribute to lower risk of macular degeneration. Amazingly good news!
It’s possible that HDL (the good cholesterol) is the common link between exercise and the clouding of the eye that signals a cataract. Vigorous exercise leads to high concentrations of HDL (high density lipoprotein), which in turn has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects. As inflammation and oxidation are part of the development of cataracts, it would stand to reason that exercise can slow the rate of progress for the cataracts. One interesting study found that people with low levels of physical activity were 7 times more likely to develop cataracts than those with high levels of activity.
Of course, I am going in for blocked tear ducts, not macular degeneration or cataracts, but this information cheers me up anyway. At the very least, I might be avoiding or delaying future surgeries!!
Bonus tip: The risk for macular degeneration goes up if you smoke (no brainer, right?), eat meat and don’t eat a lot of fruit. So score another point for my vegetarian, fruit smoothie lifestyle! I’ll take all I can get when it comes to dealing with my genetic HUGE flaw. Hey, you’ve seen our 5th grade pictures with the cat-woman glasses. We started wearing those in 1st grade. You know, before glasses were cool. Also before glasses could be made smaller than coke-bottle thickness for super nearsightedness.
We make a few cents if you buy from our “glasses” affiliate link to Warby Parker. You get cute glasses; we get a cup of chai!
Your event needs education, motivation, and fit-elation? Call us at (805) 403-4338 or email email@example.com.
Can you see your way over to our YouTube channel to view short videos that will improve your fitness and active aging adventure! Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.
In less than 90 seconds, you’ll learn an effective, yet simple abs move by watching this video.
The Diagonal Bug looks like its name and is great for the obliques and transversus. Similar to the exercise we shared for the rectus abdominis, this one is easy to do correctly while avoiding neck or head strain. Our colleague Shari Kalkstein, from whom we learned this move, is great at creating abdominal strengthening exercises that help you avoid forward spinal flexion.Want an abs exercise to strengthen your core that avoids neck strain & has no head lifting? Click To Tweet
Not in your chair.
Not on a dare.
Not with a snack.
Not hurting your back.
You should now try it here or there.
You should now try it anywhere.
You would not like poor, weak abs.
You would not like that muffin flab.
Looking for more exercises to strengthen your abs that are chosen specifically for YOU, the over 50 woman? Take advantage of our combined 70 years’ experience as certified fitness professionals to transform your core and more. You can move from weak and (dare we say, perhaps “flabby”) to strong and Fab-Abby! How? Take a look at our our newly created “Ultimate Abs Workout Collection for Women Over 50” program.
Photo credit: Oblique – Owen.Hyatt
Head over (with no neck strain) to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness with maximal impact yet minimal joint issues!
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Good news Amy – you and Patti are already doing a number of things that will help you reach your goal. Take a look at these 5 action items:
You don’t say how the 50 pounds are split, so let’s assume 25 each. You have seven months to lose 25 pounds, which means you have to drop just under 4 pounds a month. People who have been successful at losing and keeping weight off lose no more than 1.5 – 2 pounds per week. You only need to shed 1 pound a week. Make that your mini-goal; it’s less daunting than focusing on 25 pounds.
Because you have until March, you can choose low, moderate or high intensity cardio. If you are caregivers for your parents, we think you are probably past 40, which means you may have knee or hip joint issues. High intensity is the most time-saving method for burning calories, yet you may not wish to do high impact. The link to our post on losing weight via high intensity, lower impact activity includes a video. You two will also need to add some strength training (hand weights, tubes or your own body weight work great). The combination of cardio movement and resistance training will have you burning calories at a higher rate even when you’re finally sleeping at the end of your very long days! You might like to take a look at this post from a woman who wanted to lose 100 pounds. The focus is on choosing movement you enjoy.
Successful “losers” write things down, especially their goals and food intake. You’ve already publicly stated your goal, so you’re halfway through this one. A fun fit fact: just the act of writing down your food intake can cause you to lose weight! How? The mind (whooooo eeeee oooo)! If you tell yourself that you’re just taking stock, not judging or eliminating, it’s easier to make an honest, complete record. And you don’t get stuck in that mental loop of wanting what you think you “can’t” have. Yet once it’s written down, you unconsciously will find yourself dropping some of the unhelpful foods out of your daily intake.
Again, the mind is the leader in weight loss, as well as the saboteur. You cannot go from 1 – 10 without going through 2, 3, 4… Drastic changes or denials don’t lead to success. Figure out what the increments look like. Do you switch out one soda a day for water? Do you cut one high-calorie, low nutrient food in half before eating it? Change the mental, “I can’t have this,” to “I choose to not eat this because it gets in my way.” Another fun fit fact: when you find yourself about to eat something that will not help you reach your goal, give yourself permission to eat it…in 5 minutes. In five minutes you’ll either eat it or you will have moved on to something else. But telling yourself “Yes” instead of “No” tricks your brain into losing interest. We have some other incremental tips in this post about overeating at the holidays.
As women who work and provide care, your time is probably precious and quite limited. Maybe you can’t go to an hour-long group fitness class (our favorite), but can you go for a 3 minute walk several times a day? It doesn’t have to be outside – pacing your kitchen for 3 minutes works just as well. Do you have stairs? That is the #1 weight loss tool in your home. Add in an extra set up and down a few times daily. Pace when you’re on the phone. Fidget when you are seated. When you go to sit down, pause just before your seat hits the seat, stand back up, then sit down. That one extra squat each time you go to sit adds up to thousands of squats, which adds up to calories burned. Circle your car 3 times before you get in to drive to work. You get the idea. I, Alexandra, like to crank up the Led Zeppelin songs and dance while I sweep and iron. What works for you?
Boom. You have this one down, done and did!! Whether you team up in person or via text messages, having a support system is key. Schedule regular accountability check-ins with each other to stay on track.
Math Problem: Working + Caregiving = Stress. Stress can actually make you gain weight. Within the demands of your life, choose some actions that help you relax. This can be as quick and simple as clenching your fists as tightly as possible for 5 seconds, then completely relaxing your hands. You cannot physiologically be stressed and relaxed simultaneously.
Let us know what works for you and Patti as you lose, then maintain your weight. We love to share good tips and successes.
Once you reach your goal, read this post about maintaining weight loss. The steps are different, yet the mind is still in charge.
Hire us for your next meeting or conference, or to write your clever blog posts. Call us at (805) 403-4338 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be a winner while losing, and subscribe to our YouTube channel to access short videos that will improve your fitness level and make you happy! Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.