A fairly free-flowing session at which attendees took turns at the mic asking questions and sharing information. One woman said she used to have a blog focused on health and fitness, but she had shut it down due to lack of readership. The next two women up to the mic commented about their need to lose weight. Major disconnect!
You put on headphones, looked at the magic one-way mirror, and listened while the mirror told you all the reasons you are fantastic. As a person who doesn’t lack for confidence, I started dancing and telling the mirror all the reasons why I was fantastic. The mirror told me I was the first person to come up and share why I was enough (and awesome) as opposed to listening and/or crying. Upon reflection, it was rather sad to learn that I was the first (out of thousands) to say I was enough. Women, are we that hard on ourselves?
The link between self-confidence and weight/ health is so strong that I am going to say something that is (for me) provocative. Take ownership. Do something about it. Complaining doesn’t count. Wishing doesn’t count. If you don’t have a medical issue that prevents you from moving your body (plus eating and sleeping right), then go move your body. Instead of saying, “I need to lose weight” or “I wish I could be more active,” say instead, “I choose not to,” because that’s what is really going on.
Of course, it’s all about small steps, as we’ve been saying for years right here on this very blog. And of course, progress is not in a straight line. And of course, we understand, as we are Boomers with stoopidhead metabolisms that changed 15 years ago too. But feeling good about yourself is in your control (again, I am not talking about those with medical issues). If you cannot march up to that magic mirror and tell it who’s boss, do something about it. This is a picture I took of my kind of celebrity – Roni Noone, founder of Fitbloggin, She has taken many steps – forward, backward, sideways – to get where she is, which is confident. Read this post by her about feeling more attractive and confident.
All the time, and especially at conferences with lots of women, I’m complimented on my energy level. I get my energy from exercising. I’m complimented on my good looks. I’m actually average looking, but I smile. That makes me look good. My smile is merely the outward reflection of my happiness with the efforts I make every day to make choices that get me to my goals. I’m complimented on how young I act and look. Am I special? Actually, yes. But so are you. As David McCullough told the graduating seniors at Wellesley High a few years back, “The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you’re not special. Because everyone is.” Too many of us believe the first sentence, yet remove ourselves from the second.
This is the part where I link to two well-written conference opinion pieces by women I like who just happen to have fun blackmail pics of me. Some of my so-called youthful appearance is due to my hair stylist, and some is due to oily teenage skin, but the rest is due to my rejection of our culture’s “rules” for Boomer women. I enjoy my life. I like people. I am a person. So I like me. And I definitely want you to like you. All of you, not just parts.
So if you eat crap and don’t want to, don’t. If you are overweight and unhealthy and think you should exercise, do it. It’s not about willpower; it’s about choices. Small ones throughout the day that add up. What choices are you going to make that will allow you to march right up to that magic mirror and say, “I’m more than enough; I am awesome?”
A little plug for the AARP Care4YouToo contest – For free, you can join the fitness contest (with prizes) that is now in week 3 of 6. Each week can be stand-alone, so you are not behind if you join now. Get suggestions and support as you make the incremental steps I mentioned above.
Play nice. Emphasize the joy, fun, camaraderie, and energy that exercise brings. Am I right, ladies? We want to do what feels good or helps us live better. Skip the punishment angle, the “all or nothing” approach; get right to all the benefits and the fact that even a little movement goes a long way. Go Active Aging Women Over 50! (Yes, go to our other post on this subject if you like a good rant).
And now to the expressions that invoke Towanda:
What workout quotes tick your wick? Let’s get a good list going in the comments below. And pin this baby, will ‘ya?
Your question is an excellent one, and will resonate with many of our readers. You are right about the many benefits of exercise, including for arthritis. According to the Mayo Clinic, arthritis can be slowed or mitigated with exercise – the challenge is finding the right type.
If your doc has cleared you to return to Zumba, you may want to ease in and modify the lateral moves (sideways, such as grapevine). Are you able/ willing to add aqua classes to your workout plan? Zumba aqua dance classes exist. You do not need to be a good swimmer to join an aqua class. Shallow water classes are in water that’s generally hip deep. If your gym has only deep water classes, you can use swim lessons as your workout, then wear the buoyancy belts once you’re a more confident swimmer.
For other cardio options, try anything that is low impact (high intensity is fine, but NOT high impact) and more forward and back than side to side. One caveat – depending on where the arthritis is in your hips, spending a lot of time on a machine such as a stair-stepper could be contraindicated. Besides, you seem to be a person who enjoys group fitness classes, so try a variety of those. A varied exercise plan is more effective than a repetitive one for most people.
You might also consider some stretch and strengthen classes. Stretch to open up the hips and strengthen to give your muscles more of the workload, which eases the load on your skeletal structure (bones). Since you mention a ligament injury to your ankle, I would think strengthening that area might be a priority, especially if compensations are affecting your hips. Have you worked with a physical therapist to strengthen that ankle, while considering the impact on your hips (such as an altered gait)? You can probably even find a therapist who is ALSO a personal trainer by searching at ideafit.com or acefitness.org.
In addition to low-impact cardio and strength training, you may want range of motion exercises too. This article from Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center goes into more detail about everything mentioned above, including the need for tailored, specific range of motion activities.
Rest is an integral part of any exercise regimen, arthritis or no! Check with your doctor about creating the right combo of rest time, anti-inflammatory meds, ice, and possibly even meditation.
We’ve had good luck getting specific advice for our exercise-loving bodies by choosing primary care doctors who also value exercise. We’ve had some doctors who wanted to prescribe medicine for our arthritic knees. Their advice was to stop exercising. We switched to doctors who used medication as a last resort and aligned with our preference to keep moving. We are not advocating dumping your doc or ignoring his advice; we are advocating getting into a partnership with your doctor so that he can work WITH you to create a plan that includes exercise.
This quote is from Mayo: “Lack of exercise actually can make your joints even more painful and stiff. Talk to your doctor about how exercise can fit into your current treatment plan. What types of exercises are best for you depends on your type of arthritis and which joints are involved. Your doctor or a physical therapist can work with you to find the best exercise plan to give you the most benefit with the least aggravation of your joint pain.”
As women who are similar to you – arthritic joints, exercise-loving, youthful minds, mid-50s – we know it’s possible to keep moving. We just have to be pickier than we were 30 years ago. There IS a solution, and your positive attitude will be a big part of it! Please keep us posted. Happy dancing.
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This guest post comes from Taylor Leandro, our dedicated and hardworking intern. Originally from Fremont, California, Taylor is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Santa Barbara studying Communication and Psychology. She is interested in education, health, and counseling. When she’s not at school or studying, she likes to swim, as she was a competitive swimmer for over 8 years. Keep Taylor in mind if you are looking to hire a quality future employee!
Taylor: As I approach my fourth year at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), I find the topic of “life after college” consuming my mind more and more. Three years ago my main concern was not gaining the dreadful “freshman 15.” Now I am focused on obtaining a full-time job. I am beginning to wonder how I am going to find time to stay fit as I start to work exhausting, 8-hour shifts that leave me with little to no energy to exercise or eat healthy.
After the day to day demands of full time, working, adult existence, it is easy to lose sight of the importance of nutrition and health. I currently lead an active college lifestyle that includes riding my bike to and from school, walking around town as opposed to driving, walking or running to the beach, and even exercising at my school’s gym. What am I going to do once my stress levels increase and my activity decreases (or once I don’t have a free membership to a campus gym)?
Taylor’s mom: First, understand the correlation between stress and weight gain.
If less time is going to be spent on exercising, then more time needs to be focused on eating healthy. Prepare meals for work instead of going through the fast food drive thru for that 800 calorie double cheeseburger with extra cheese and bacon (or shall I say, heart attack).
This can be as simple as taking the flight of stairs instead of the elevator or wearing weights around the house.
(Note from Kymberly and Alexandra: we suggest you put such weights in a backpack so that the weight is evenly distributed. We do not recommend ankle or wrist weights as they tend to stress joints).
A friend or workout partner can keep you motivated on those days off when you just want to sit around and do nothing. You’re less likely to bail on them than you are to bail on yourself.
Make exercise part of your daily routine so it becomes a habit. For example, exercise for 30 minutes after work every day. Once you are in the groove of staying active, you will feel good and won’t berate yourself on those occasional days you skip a workout.
This can help to decrease stress levels when adult life becomes too hectic. Even just 10 minutes a day to clear the mind and lower cortisol levels helps with overall well-being.
Readers: What exercise advice would you give your child, grown or not. What advice would you give your younger self about working out and getting fit?
The Wine Bloggers Conference was held here in S.B. County over the weekend. As presenters, Kymberly and I were invited to participate in the events. The first weekend highlight was visiting five Solvang tasting rooms, followed by dinner at Cecco Ristorante and gelato at Café Dolce. I’m going to list the 5 tasting rooms so that you can visit them when you come to Solvang.
Every single one of them had very outgoing, personable owners. The fact that I know very little about wine was not a deterrent to my experience. I just tuned out the wine talk (you need a translator if you’re not a wine person) and focused on the taste. Turns out I’m a Gewürztraminer and port person (I discovered this at Presidio).
We found out that Aston Martin does tour events too. They have a Pebble Beach – Lake Tahoe – Yosemite event coming up in August. Fast cars and mountain roads. I’ll wait for
James Bond Daniel Craig to pick me up.
The event was based at Bacara Resort, so we took a walk along the beach afterward. No matter what car you drive, or whether you do or don’t stay at the resort, the beach is open to the public. People think it’s private, but locals know it’s not, so you might like to add Haskell’s Beach to your visit.
The third highlight was a tour of some of the wine rooms in Santa Barbara – first in El Paseo downtown, followed by the funk zone. We got around the funk zone via surreys. Did you know you can rent surreys, Segways, scooters, skates and bikes (of course) down by the beach?
And pedaling the surrey counts as exercise. I’ll link to the places that hosted us, and let you decide for yourself which of their wines you prefer.
Au Bon Climat
Grassini Family Vineyards
Margerum Wine Co. & MWC32
Jamie Slone Wines (opening next month, but we got a sneak peek)
C’est Cheese (they sell a huge variety of world cheeses and wine, so get a sandwich to complement your tasting adventures)
Fox Wine Co. (lots of art too)
Municipal Winemakers (my favorite for the vibe – they are in a former scuba shop, complete with swimming pool behind the wall)
Deep Sea (which is over the water on Stearns Wharf)
If beautiful cars, beaches, and people (that’s me, in case you’re confused), plus wineries galore don’t tempt you to come visit Santa Barbara, then you are jaded I tell you, jaded. FYI, Santa Barbara isn’t known for jade, unless it’s the color of the sea. While you’re here, come take our exercise classes so you can speed along during your surrey ride.
Did I mention I won a bottle of wine during the conference? Yeah, I win good stuff. Oh, and standing by an Aston Martin makes you look like a model. See what it did for me?
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Therefore this weekend finds us presenting at the Wine Bloggers Conference. And just to show how much we know about wine as it relates to exercise, we created this handy dandy infographic for you to pin, read, share, and toast!
Wine is not the only thing that gets better with age. You can too when you :
2) Pick up the phone or email us to book us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
3) Add to our list in the comments below. What else do wine and exercise have in common?
Alexandra: Yes, you can take the stairs NEXT to the escalator, or climb the escalator steps instead of standing in place, just as easily as you can walk on the airport moving walkway instead of standing still. But what about going the wrong way? If few people are about, why not walk up the down escalator, or jog the opposite way on the moving walkway? Kids do it all the time, so why can’t we adults?
Kymberly: Overcome travel fatigue by taking advantage of fitness opportunities in your hotel. Check into your room, then check out the options.
First stop: the fitness room. No matter how modest or spacious, this is usually one of the quietest places at the hotel, which means you may have it to yourself. Wear whatever works, sing along to your iPod, put the tv channel on your favorite re-run as you get in a brisk walk on the treadmill.
Next up: Stairs instead of elevators! That first trip with luggage deserves the elevator. After that, step it up! So obvious, yet how many people do you see using hotel stairs? If you’re staying on a high floor, take the elevator halfway, get out and walk the rest of the way. If your room is on a lower level, take the elevator a few flights past your floor and walk down. Do a mini-step class on the bottom step or landing.Travel time can mean more sitting time unless you try these quirky options. Be fit for travel! Click To Tweet
What next?: the pool! Hate swimming? Want to keep your hair dry? Can do! Jog in place at waist to chest depth or do a few powerwalking laps. Stand in a lunge position and jump-switch legs back and forth. Be creative moving your arms and legs about underwater creating resistance for a nifty and refreshing muscular endurance workout.
Alexandra: On a very long flight to Thailand a few years ago, Kymberly and I were in physical discomfort from being seated for too long. Ever since 9/11, it seems we are discouraged from moving about during flights. Fortunately we found out that our plane had two levels with a stairwell at the back. So we climbed up and down for a while, then did stretches and leg work in place on the stairs. No-one gave us unfriendly looks, and we even spotted a few copycats after we were done.
Some cities offer sightseeing trolleys that allow you to hop off, visit an interesting place, then hop back on, including our home base Santa Barbara. When I was in Savannah, Georgia, the free on/off buses were a perfect way to sightsee without having to walk the entire historic district or stay on a bus the whole time.
Even if you are stuck in the crappy middle seat of a domestic flight, and cannot “get up and move about the cabin,” you can still do squats. Unbuckle, start to stand, then sit back down. Do this ten times at repeated intervals and you will feel so much better when the flight’s over. You might even avoid having your legs fall asleep, which is what happens to me on flights if I stay still. Who cares if people stare? They are envious of your talents and ingenuity.
Kymberly: They are probably also jealous of your hot fun in the summertime! Road song! Click to sing along. Evan better, click if you want your travel to be transformative.
Travel to related posts by clicking on the pictures. Where will they take you?
ACTION: Go on active aging journeys with us by subscribing. Let’s be fit to travel to many more years in the future.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
The following post is a partnership between me and Walgreens. They are offering free health screenings, plus a way to track your activity levels, so I am all in favor of you reading about it!Alexandra Williams, MA
I totally admit to being a health screenings geek. I love knowing my body’s stats, plus I wear a fitness tracker so I can know even more numbers. Being goal-oriented, I want to be a winner with my own body! Note the part where the word “free” snuck in there? Sa-weeeeet! (that is not the way to drink southern tea; that is my excitement at getting a free screening).
Life got even better when Walgreens asked me to help them get out the word about a few things – all FREE!!!! You can:
Along with the AARP and the National Urban League, Walgreens is traveling around the U.S. providing “free tests, assessments, education and consulting services to communities with the highest uninsured and unemployed populations.” I live closest to Los Angeles, which has four dates – July 10, 19, 20 and 21 – but the screening bus will be stopping in many states, so look up the closest stop to you via their locator.
I am working on getting points for all the steps I do. The average U.S. inhabitant does 2,000 – 4,000 steps per day. The goal is to get to 7,000. To stave off weight gain, most of us should all be doing at least 10,000 (only 8,000 if you’re over 65) Amish men do 18,000 steps per day, with a 0% obesity rate (go dudes with beards), and Amish women have a 4% obesity rate and do 14,000 steps per day.
The Balance Rewards program gives points for doing what you do every day – moving. Just by logging in my steps for the past week, I’m already up to 920 points, which can be traded for things I need to buy. The FitBit is a popular device that syncs up with the Rewards program. I have a Polar Loop, which doesn’t sync, so I manually enter my daily steps. I’d prefer the syncing, but I can pull the info off my Loop or from the synced app that came with my Loop and heart rate monitor, and just transfer the info.
Local Savannah trainer Drew Edmonds was joined by three panelists who answered questions about using fitness trackers to reach your goals, be it weight loss, better sleep, more movement, calories expended, heart rate, and all kinds of other info depending on the device. Research is starting to come in showing that people who use fitness tracking devices tend to do more to accomplish their goals than when they do not wear them.
During the conference, I signed up and got my free assessments, all of which took less than 20 minutes. Did I mention the Way to Well Health Tour bus was air conditioned? Inside the bus I had a quick finger stick to collect some blood. It was NOT a needle draw, so you can do it! Then a pharmacist met with me to explain my results, which you can see just below. Since scales cannot tell if your weight is from muscle or fat (I prefer to go by how my clothes fit), I am not a huge fan, so I’ve left that part crossed off. The important thing is what the blood reveals about me, including how that plays in to my weight.
As you can see, my total cholesterol is a bit high, so I will do a full blood panel (the needle kind) at my next check-up to separate out my low from high cholesterol to discern if there’s an issue or if this was a one-time result.
The good news is that all my other results were fantastic! When the pharmacist told me that my body thinks I’m 43, I was overjoyed. My vanity was even more excited. Who wouldn’t want to be 12 years younger? I tell you, exercising, eating right and sleeping (marginally) well is truly the Fountain of Youth.
I totally encourage you to see if the Way to Well Tour bus is coming near you. Even if it’s not, why not do the Balance Rewards program and get free stuff? Oh yeah, did I mention I also got a free year added to my AARP membership just for doing the screenings? If you’re too young for AARP, they let you give it to an older family member.
P.S. I’m a sucker for John Corbett (think “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “Northern Exposure”), who voices the “At the corner of Happy & Healthy” commercials for Walgreens, so I was kind of hoping he’d personally deliver the happy, healthy good news about my test results. Oh, well. At least I can say he lives just over the mountain pass from my home in Southern California.