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Category Archives for "Exercise"
32

Lose Weight Doing House Cleaning: Possible or Not?

 

retro picture of woman who hates house cleaningDoes housework count as exercise?

Ever wonder if house cleaning burns enough calories to make a difference? I got to wondering how many calories one burns after I did a bunch of house chores.

As we’ve mentioned before, if you incorporate more movement into your daily activities, you can successfully lose weight (or keep weight from jumping on to your body in the first place). So it sure would be nice if house cleaning fell into the “watch those kcals just fall off my body” category, wouldn’t it? (PS It’s also nice if you want to subscribe and get active aging answers from certified fitness pros twice a week).

Good news for all of us who have worked up a sweat changing the bed sheets, vacuuming the rugs, and dusting the ceilings (please don’t say I’m the only person who does this) – according to a recent study in the U.K., a good spring cleaning can burn more calories than running a marathon. Since I hate to run marathons, this is welcome news indeed!

A good house cleaning can burn more calories than running a marathon. True or False? Click To Tweet

Sales image for TransformAging

What do TransformAging and Housecleaning have in common? Both get you more fit

More good news: We have to mention TransformAging, our webinar summit that guides you to be more energetic, attractive, and mentally and physically stronger. Reinvigorate your body, mindset, and life when you implement its easy steps.  Get your own set of the entire TransformAging Summit recordings and access proven, evidence-based secrets you can put into action today. Click any link in this paragraph or click the image to find out more about this cutting edge series and how you can own it immediately. 

Now back to calorie counting and housework:

close-up of mushroom

What you might find under the bed if you don’t clean. Looks like a furry golf ball, but it’s fungus!

According to the study (done by promotionalcodes.org.uk), a good spring cleaning burns 3,655 kcals, while a marathon burns 2,500 – 3,500. Yes, it will take you longer to do the cleaning than the running, but look on the bright side – you didn’t have to run. Check out this breakdown:

  • Vacuuming (1 hour) 238 calories
  • Dusting (2 hours) 340 calories
  • Emptying, cleaning, repacking cupboards (4 hours) 952 calories
  • Scrubbing the floor (1 hour) 258 calories
  • Climbing up and down stairs (20 mins) 181 calories
  • Turning mattresses and making beds (1 hour) 136 calories
  • Moving heavy furniture (2 hours) 476 calories
  • Cleaning windows (3 hours) 612 calories
  • Cleaning external doors (1 hour) 204 calories
  • Deep clean bathrooms (1 hour) 258 calories
Duomo, Milan, Italy Hate to do the housework here

Let’s clean these doors and windows for a firestorm of calorie burning

Quick math tells me that’s 16 hours of work. And I see no category for jumping onto the mattresses when you discover spiders lurking under the bed. I’m sure there’s a high calorie burn for that. I can testify that my heart rate was definitely in the “Working Very Hard” range.

Cleaning external doors isn’t my thing, though I do scrub down the area by the doorknobs. I’d also love to see the calorie count for scrubbing all the kitchen cabinets plus the stove hood and kitchen walls, mainly because I want credit for these chores. Does sweeping count as part of scrubbing?

So, who’s up for 20 minutes on the stairs? And who thinks this is good news? I know I’m excited, though I doubt I’ll pull on my workout gear and put out a 16 hour house chore workout. And how many calories did I burn getting all the dog hairs off the mini-trampoline?

Action: Another easy and free action is to have us come to you twice a week. Not to clean, mind you. But to share tips on how to age actively and enjoy the second half of life. SUBSCRIBE now and grab your bonus while you’re at it. Also, could you get that dust bunny from my corner when you’re done entering your email? 

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Alexandra Williams, MA

 

15

Facial Fillers: 5 Ways I Was Clueless About Them

Head shots of K and A, courtesy of Lisa Lehman

One of these is not like the other

Drooped and Wrinkled or Contoured and Smoothed Out?

No women over 50 I know want the words “droopy,” “saggy,” or “wrinkly” to describe them, myself included. So when I was one of five lucky recipients of a Restylane facial aesthetic treatment at the recent Bloggers at Midlife conference (B@M), I shouted out with confidence and glee, “huh? What’s that?”

I had never pondered getting any facial cosmetic procedures, so was unfamiliar with the range of options. My approach thus far to retain good skin tone has been to drink lots of water and exercise regularly, both considered effective. I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into, but it sounded deluxe. And free (thanks to Restylane; its parent company, GaldermaDr. Aspacio, and Dr. Annie Chiu. Consider this the official disclosure).

Who Wants Younger Looking Skin?

Restylane Lyft LogoAre you like me when it comes to aging actively — pretty game to try new things? Let’s hope you are not like me in one regard: being clueless what a facial rejuvenation or facial filler treatment is. I had never heard of Restylane or Galderma. Hint – it’s not botox or cosmetic surgery.

One thing I did know as I raised my metaphorical midlife hand to take advantage of this valuable prize, is that skin is the body’s largest organ. And my skin had seen better “organ-ized” days. (Cracking myself up with that pun). So long undefined cheeks and wrinkles around my mouth; good-bye laugh lines. I hope and trust….

I was directed to a back corner of the conference room where a team of dermatology pros, led by Dr. Aspacio, MD, FAAD of Summerlin Dermatology  in Las Vegas and Dr. Annie Chiu in the Los Angeles area awaited me … with:

  • a consent form
  • a relaxing medical chair – aaahh, I can put my feet up and no anesthesia seems involved. So far, totally doable!
  • warm, welcoming, extremely kind attention from the doctors, their staff, and the PR firm that accompanied them.
  • cheek and chin numbing cream – they had to apply two layers after I kept answering “yes” when they pressed on my face asking “do you feel this?”
  • A hand held thingie to squeeze “if I felt I needed to distract myself.”  “From what?”  I wondered.

But I had seen no blood, heard no screams or gasps from the other four winners, nor noticed anyone rendered comatose. Always good signs, right?

My “Non-Surgical Face Lift”

Yes, I was off on an aesthetic facial journey with a golden ticket, no return. However, I did catch the part early on about “smoothed out lines, more vital skin, contoured cheeks”  and looking waaaaay younger than my twin sister. (I might be making up that last part.) In short, I was totally relaxed. These people seemed to know what they were doing. I knew our B@M conference organizers had selected their sponsors carefully. A cadre of other attendees said I was “lucky” and wished they’d been chosen.  

Yes, for someone who usually over-researches details, I was going in calm and clueless. Here’s what I didn’t know:

1. What exactly is entailed in this “facial aesthetic journey?

Turns out it means having an absolutely adorable woman prep me by applying numbing cream to my face. No pain, no tingling, no slurred speech, no mouth that suddenly drooped, no drooling. Basically it felt like a mini-facial massage.

Needles are involved. Aha! Ergo the numbing cream. The focus of the Restylane Lyft is on the cheeks and smile lines, officially known as nasolabial folds. Those needles are filled with hyaluronic acid, a substance naturally produced by the body.The point is to plump up the area so it’s smooth. Dr Aspacio squirted safe, liquidy stuff into my face, checking constantly how I was feeling. Honestly, I felt very little except curiosity. From start to end took about half an hour.

What exactly is a facial filler procedure. I didn't know exactly but I did it anyway. Hint: Not… Click To Tweet

2. What is this kind of procedure called?  

I did figure out that it’s not cosmetic surgery, not muscle inhibiting, not something requiring bed rest or hiding away, not Botox. But what am I to call it? When people say to me, “what have you done, you look so refreshed and young? Alexandra must be your older sister, not twin,” I wanted to be able to give a nice, concise, accurate answer. My subsequent digging around online reveals the following descriptors:

  1. Facial fillers
  2. Facial rejuvenation
  3. Non-surgical face lift
  4. Cosmetic treatment
  5. Aesthetic facial treatment
  6. Cosmetic dermatology
  7. Facial injections
  8. Non-surgical option for wrinkles

If you decide to try this procedure, google any of the above terms to find WHO and what you want. Or just search “Restylane” and you’ll be good to go.

3. How important is it to research the person performing the injections?

Dermatologist Dr Aspacio from BAM

Dr. Aspacio. Doesn’t he look young? Wonder why?

Dayum, but I got lucky here. Apparently the injector can make all the difference. In my case, I had a specially trained medical doctor. Turns out Dr. Aspacio is one of the top of the top notchers. In fact, Dr Chiu was there specifically to learn more from him.  If you get a less qualified person you can end up with imbalances right to left. Or fakey looking, overfilled cheeks. Or other side effects that would make you wish you’d found Dr. Aspacio. Didn’t hurt that he was cute. What I most appreciated, though were his communication skills. He kept a calm running commentary about what he was doing, where and why. His assistants held my hand and closely monitored my reactions. The doctor and staff genuinely seemed to care how I was feeling. Who doesn’t like being the center of kind attention?

For the record, the whole procedure was fairly quick, practically painless, and non-anxiety producing. My heart rate didn’t even enter the cardio zone. Nor did I need to squeeze the squishy thing (see why I like to know the correct name for something? Kinda floundering otherwise).

4. What side effects should I expect? 

Ha aha ahahah. Here’s where ignorance probably was bliss and that’s never been one of my life mottos or beliefs. If I’d focused on the possible side effects, I might have tensed up. The consent form mentions a few possibilities such as:

  • bruising, redness, swelling, pain, headache, tenderness, and itching

Here’s what side effects I experienced, both that day and thereafter:

  • Bupkus. Nada
What side effects can you expect from a @Restylane Lift facial treatment? Hint: I experienced… Click To Tweet

Well, except looking smoother and refreshed. The second dermatology doctor who was observing handed me an ice pack “just in case.” I never needed it. I’m telling you, these people were really good at what they do!  Pick the right doctor — and I do suggest going to a board certified doctor  who specializes in this — and you will have both a good experience and results you’re happy with.

5. How long do the results last?

I was so wrapped up in how nice everyone was and that I’d won a $1000 gift, that I TOTALLY forgot to ask this question. Not until I returned home from the conference and had a member of my “Forever Fit” exercise class ask me about the duration did it dawn on me that I had no idea. (Yes, I shared my experience with my class as they commented that I looked really good. Gotta love those observant older adults!)

Apparently the results can last anywhere from six months to a year. The Restylane website has more details and stats if you are considering going for it. Only you will know whether an investment of $500-1000 to achieve younger looking skin for up to a year is worth it. I definitely noticed a positive difference right away. Check out my before and after pictures.

Alexandra - Before

BEFORE (Oh wait, that’s actually Alexandra Ha ha ha)

Kymberly's BAM head shot

AFTER – literally, this shot was taken by Lisa Lehman the day after my treatment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now do you know why I had laugh lines? From cracking myself up. Often. For Decades.

All I know is that when I came home from the B@M conference, my husband said “good to see you. You look great. Where’s my wife?” True Story.

ACTION: Get another firsthand account from one of the other winners, Elaine Ambrose. She’s pretty darn funny as she hunts for her cheekbones.

Also look, point, and laugh at our related post on wanting to be perky, not saggy. But only if you want to perk up and look better.

If you want even more on aging actively and attractively, read these two posts as well:

Take Good Care of Your Hair, Eyes, and Skin

We Went to a Spa, Learned How to Relax, and Got Great Skin

Head shot Photo Credits: Lisa Lehman of Studio Jewel, courtesy of #Feedblitz 

By Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

 

12

Planks: The No Crunch, No Head Lifting Abs Exercise

Planks are Great for Women Over 50

Alexandra planking at Lizard's Mouth

Who cares about rock hard abs when you can plank on rocks?

Have you heard you have to hold a long-lever plank for 5 minutes in order to be “cool” or to achieve results? Are you reluctant to attempt this classic ab exercise because that goal seems out of reach? Good news! As few as 20 seconds doing planks with good form will strengthen your core and work your abs. As well, you don’t need to crunch, flex your neck, or lift up your head. Check out the benefit of dropping down after 20 seconds and restarting in this post we wrote on short duration planking: Interval Planks Will Activate Your Abs

 

Ultimate Abs binder imagePlanks are accessible to nearly everyone, as many versions exist.  If you are a beginner planker, start on your knees. If you want a bit more challenge, but are not yet ready for a parallel plank on your toes, place your feet wide apart.  If you want a ton more ideas to improve your abs, then take advantage of the program we created specifically for baby boomers: The Ultimate Abs Workout Collection for Women Over 50.

What is Good Planking Form?

Planking in Australia

The Tourist Plank at the Sydney Opera House in Australia

Good question. Even better answer is to keep reading as we offer bullets below and a video demo. AAAAaaand, pop over to our post that has another video going over dos and don’ts.Planking in Australia

How to Do Planks: Beginner to Intermediate Video

If you’re considering adding planks to your fitness regimen, watch our video. You’ll see four different modifications, and instructions for good form.

 

 

As few as 20 seconds doing planks w/ good form will strengthen your core & work your abs Click To Tweet

 

Kymberly planks in Thailand

We admit – not for beginners or those afraid of heights. Thailand Tourist Plank

Hot Tips from Certified Fitness Instructors (Yeah, that would be us) on How to Get the Most Out of Your Planks

Proper Technique:

  • Rest on your elbows, not your hands, (unless you are taking photos of yourself in exotic places around the world)
  • Place your elbows directly below your shoulders
  • Keep your hands loose and relaxed; a correlation exists between clenched fists and breath-holding
  • Try to keep your body in a straight line from head to knees or toes. If you need to bend, it’s less stressful on your lower back to have your hips slightly piked (lifted) than dropped
  • Pull your navel towards your spine while keeping your spine long
  • Breathe, people, breathe!
Kymberly planks in Cambria rain

We’ll plank anywhere, anytime, in any weather. Photo credit: Alexandra Williams

One caveat: We mention holding for 30 seconds in the video, but research also indicates you can hold for as little as 20, take a short break, then get back into plank position. Whether you choose 20 or 30 second intervals, stick with the plank position that gives you the best form.

 

Get Ultimate Abs (Better Yet, a Strong Core)

ACTION: What do you mean you’re not yet a subscriber? It’s so easy; you get a bonus; we come to you twice a week! Subscribe now in any of the opt-in boxes. But only if you want to age with comfort, confidence, and capability!

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

 

23

Best Workouts to Burn Fat For Women Over 50

Be Low Fat or Burn Fat?

Alexandra in rain, burn fat, use calories

Secret to Fat Burning: Run Up Hill. Let Rain Rinse off Fat Sweat. Walk Down Hill. Have a Beer. No, Don’t. Water Bottle is Best.

Do you have a goal to be lower fat? Did you know you don’t have to burn fat predominantly in order to lose fat? Whoa. What just happened there??!! Stick with us to get the most accurate fat burning advice directly and subcutaneously!

Let’s walk through the sometimes confusing realities of killing off kilocalories. Once we appreciate the role carbohydrates and fat both serve in providing fuel, then we can understand how to select the “best” workout programs.

But first, when speaking of “the best” programs, we have to mention our recently created “Ultimate Abs Workout Collection for Women Over 50.” (Go for it — click that link!)  Even if you’re carrying extra ell-bees around the middle, you can still achieve a strong core. Why not feel more confident, capable, and comfortable in your body as you burn fat and gain amazo abs? Read more here as well: Get Ultimate Abs (Better Yet, A Strong Core)  Ultimate Abs Workout Collection for Women Over 50 - binder image

And, we’re back …. Stick with us to the end where you’ll get 4 fat burning programs to try.

Go Into Deficit to Win as a Loser

First, the goal is to have a caloric deficit to lose any weight. That deficit comes from the age old energy balance equation: take in fewer calories than we put out (eat less); put out more calories than we take in (move more). The entire weight loss picture is far more complex, affected by a myriad of other factors. For more on losing weight and fat, check out To Burn Fat, Do I Go Faster or Slower?  Professional alert warning system activated — it’s not just about cals in and out, though you do have to start there! (Then continue with this post on another surprising factor that affects weight: Is Stress Making You Fat? )

Carbs vs Fats, Welcome the Relatives; Count the Absolutes

Second, is that we break down carbohydrates 40 times faster than fat, with carbs supplying most of the fuel (energy) to power our exercise. Distinguish between absolute and relative numbers when thinking of fat loss. When you exercise with some intensity, you use a higher percentage of carbohydrates compared to fat as the fuel source. However, the highest total of burned calories is what you are going for. For that, you need to suck it up and add some effort.

picture from Pound workout

Drum that Fat Off Your Body with a Sweaty Workout. Don’t Poke Venus Williams with your Drumstick!

Higher intensity exercise burns more calories; however, a long, slow approach is better than what most of the adult population is doing — uh, as in better than not much or nuffink! But a workout with some oomph to it at a higher pace will use more total energy (calories) than the lower intensity plan. Absolutely!

Fat Burning Mythical Zone
So forget needing to be in a “fat burning zone” when making cardio equipment or fitness tech choices. Get in the calorie burning zone, which is also a high carbo burning zone.

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4 Best Workout Programs for Fat Burning; This Girl is On Fire!

To burn fat and lose weight, one simple rule is to Go as hard as you can, as long as you can, as… Click To Tweet

Third, thanks to international fitness expert, professor, and colleague of ours, Dr. Len Kravitz you get top level practical tips. He shared with us the exciting, proven, no-magic-required realm of the four best training programs to maximize calorie burning and become lower fat! He recommends we try all 4 methods.

  1. Kymberly in tree burning fat and calories

    HITT: High Intensity Tree Training

    High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
    Select a cardio activity you enjoy, such as cycling, running, walking, using a row machine. Go as hard as you can for about 30 seconds. Then recover at a self-selected, variable pace for about 3- 4 minutes. Complete 4-8 rounds for a total workout time of about 30-45 minutes. Dr. Len recommends changing up the mode workout to workout, especially if you have several favorite cardio activities.

  2. Tempo Training
    This fat burning workout has you going at your hardest, fastest tempo for 20 minutes max. Pick a pace you can sustain for this shortened duration and give it your all! Recovery is at the end for as long as you need. That’s it! Simple and hard at the same time.
  3. Split Training
    Ready, set, go for 10 minutes as hard as you can at a pace you can sustain for the time, but no longer. Take a recovery break for as long as you need, up to around 5 minutes-ish. While you can stick with one mode for this method (such as all jump roping), Dr. Len gives the high five to alternating between two activities: treadmill for the work interval; elliptical for recovery, for example.

    Listen to Lenny

    Listen to Lenny

  4. Steady State Training
    Go with this approach when you need a low- to moderate intensity recovery day. Walking is a great activity for the Steady State workout. You want to move comfortably for 30 minutes to one hour at a constant pace that allows you to sustain a conversation. If you launch into a long-winded monologue, pick it up a bit. If you are panting out a few words then having to grab your breath, ease up a bit.

And if you forget all this, simply recite the Kymberly mantra: “Go as hard as you can, as long as you can, as often as you can.” I hear the sizzle of calorie burning already!

ACTION: Make it easy on yourself to get the best and latest fitness, movement, and active aging advice. Subscribe today. Grab your freebie once you enter your email. We come to you twice a week.

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

11

How to Improve Your Brain Today

Skyflying in LA - Kymberly

Lifting My Brain Power and Spirits

Move Your Body to Improve Your Cognition

Scared you’ll lose your memory, mental acuity, or brain function as you age? Have you watched an older loved one’s mental faculties decline, hoping this will not be you one day? Forget hoping and start moving as you have more control over your future brain power than you ever knew.

Exercise Your Way to More Smarts

Cardio exercise has officially moved into #1 spot for best thing you can do for your brain Click To Tweet

Cardio exercise has officially moved into the number one spot for “the best thing you can do for your brain” (AARP Bulletin, Get Moving for a Healthy Brain, Sept 2013, pgs 12-13). Take that crossword puzzles, foreign languages, and musical instruments! (Also touted as great vehicles to boost brain power, but downshifted out of first place given the latest research).

If you want to keep smart, cut your risk of Alzheimer’s in half, repair brain cell damage, and basically grow a bigger brain, you’ve got to dance, baby, dance! Face facts midlifers and baby boomers — if you do not eke out at least 150 minutes of cardio per week, your brain actually shrinks every year post 40, year after sedentary year.

Perform 150 minutes of cardio per week, to prevent your brain from shrinking post 40 years Click To Tweet

Devote 150 Minutes to Add Life to Your Years and to What Lies Between Your Ears

But if you want to increase your brain size and capability — cue harps and trumpets —  then find a way to work in about 22 aerobic minutes each day.  Or 50 minutes three times a week. Or 75 minutes twice a week. I can do this math for you because I boosted my brain teaching step class and walking my dogs. We’re easy around here how you get to the total and new studies support that ease. Sure walking for weight loss is wonderful (read our post on what walking can do for you). Walking for brain gain is even more powerful and impactful! Or try dancing, swimming, getting on a treadmill, biking, hiking, gardening even (could this be any easier? No I am not going to include watching Dancing With the Stars on this list even though I admit total fanaticism for the show.) It really does not take much time or effort to succeed with a brain fitness program.

TV Watching with the remote and a beer. Feet up

No

powerwalking in winter at Lake Tahoe

Yes

Maybe

Maybe.  Never sure whether Alexandra is good for your brain or not. heh heh

Get a Sexy, Tantalizing Hippocampus

Let me stress again how powerful movement is for your brain — each and every time you exercise, you get a bigger hippocampus (that’s sexy talk for the post 50 crowd); you stimulate the growth of new neurons; you cut your risk of dementia by 60 percent. Can I get a rah rah here with a pom pom thrown in please?

The better your brain, the better your life. Move to think and live better Click To Tweet

Dr Michale Luan yoga pose with fitness ball

Dr Michael Luan Balances Body and Brain

As Dr. Michael Luan, a friend and expert on Conscious Movement puts it, “We exercise to become better humans. Conscious Movement evolves your brain. The body is your ultimate tool for success, and we all have the potential for greatness. Success with your body creates success with your career, relationships, and ultimately, your life.”  The better your brain, the better your life, wouldn’t you say?

Movement will improve your focus, increase your mood, enhance your decision-making processes, help your ability to plan, regenerate brain cells, help your memory, and basically outsmart all those young people who can’t believe how sharp you are for a person your age.

ACTION: Improve your brain and body at least twice a week when you subscribe to our blog. Enter your email and claim your free bonus while you’re at it.

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Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

5

Exercise, Confidence, and Attractiveness

Does exercise make you feel more confident and attractive? According to research, the answer is Yes.

happy friendsIn 2014, Mayo Clinic released a study that stated, “Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.”

Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Click To Tweet

And the journal Evolution and Human Behavior did an analysis that noted, “this study provides limited empirical evidence that more facially attractive people (N = 100) may be physically healthier than unattractive people.” Makes me wonder if the reverse is true – are healthier people more facially attractive?

In both my education and writing career, I use (and respect) good research, yet I wonder how much culture influences our self-perception of our attractiveness.

Grove of tressI am especially wondering this lately, as I recently went on a walk with one of my best friends. I’ve known her for over 30 years, and she has always been considered attractive. I find her to be still attractive, and have assumed she had the same opinion. She exercises regularly and is very disciplined about her health habits. Yet (after a 6-mile hike together), she mentioned being frustrated about her weight and “unattractiveness.” I put it in quotes because I strongly disagree with her, so refuse to give it legitimacy.

According to research, all her exercise and healthy habits should lead to her feeling pretty dang good about herself. Yet that definitely wasn’t the case. If she were in Russia or Greece (or most any other country), she’d be the cultural ideal (think blond hair, blue eyes and Marilyn Monroe curvy). Yet here in the U.S. we still reward women who are size 0 (how can someone be a null and actually exist) or 4. The average U.S. woman is size 12, so quite clearly reality and cultural expectations are not in sync.

Do you judge yourself by your smiles or by your weight? Why accept outdated cultural norms? Click To Tweet

This makes me sad. Women, whether your age is 35 or 55, do you judge yourself unfairly, with an emphasis on looks? How often do you judge yourself based on your health? I have several friends with lifelong issues (MS, Hashimoto’s), yet every day they work really hard to have good health. To me, they are attractive because their faces reflect their determination, spirit and feistiness.

post-exerciseBe honest, do you judge yourself by your smiles or by your weight? Why do we accept outdated cultural norms? Why do we compare ourselves to our 25-year-old selves? How can we possibly win against unrealistic opponents such as these?

When I was a grad student in systemic counseling, we learned the expression “Fake it till you make it.” It was advice for our clients, based on cognitive-behavioral theory. I think it’s good advice, and I use it on myself.

Here’s how – My “resting” face is more of a frown than a smile. I don’t have the classic nose, cheeks, eyes or chin that our culture says is beautiful. Yet I don’t want to be 75 and wish I’d appreciated my 50-year-old self. When I was 50 I regretted not appreciating my 25-year-old self, and vowed not to do that to myself anymore. So I tell myself NOW that I’m good-looking. I work on my posture, which is an easy way to look more confident. And if you look more confident, you feel more confident. “Fake it till you make it” in action. I pose for lots of photos and I smile in them all. Then I post the best ones online so other people can comment about how much fun I’m having. My brain hears that and the repetition makes it part of my self-concept that I have a fun life. When someone tells me I look great, I say, “I agree (except on genuinely bad photos, such as a recent close-up of my sweaty nose).”

Alexandra in West Berlin 1983

See how adorable I was at 25? Yet, no smile. I thought I was ugly.

Vista Point, Palm Springs

The is me now – the cutest cutie-pie you ever did see. Because I’m smiling.

Focus on good posture. If you look more confident, you'll feel more confident. Click To Tweet

If I tell myself I’m attractive, fun and confident, that’s what I’ll exude. And that’s how I’ll be perceived. So this post is dedicated to my truly beautiful friend, and I hope every woman who reads this thinks I’m talking to her. Dear ________, you are attractive, fun, and confident. It will make me very happy if you would do me the honor of agreeing.

ACTION: Now, get out there and kick some ass. And subscribe while you’re at it. You’ll look, feel, and move better for it.

Alexandra Williams, MA

Photo credit for birthday party: Ross Barrett.

FYI, none of the fabulous women in these photos are the friend I mentioned, though they are all definite hotties too.

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4

Women Over 50 – Boxing Is For Us! Guest Post from Nancy Somers

Everlast Boxing gloves3 Great Reasons to Take Up Boxing Post 50

Like most women over fifty, I was brought up not to hit or harm anyone. Girls don’t hit. End of story. Words such as jab, hook, counter punch were not words I used.

But then, there I was at my local gym, on a stair-climbing machine, putting in my obligatory thirty minutes. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a woman of a certain age, like myself, boxing. She was giddy, smiling and sweaty, jabbing with her pink gloves, swiveling hips, moving her entire body in a dancing rhythm, and having fun. And fun was not what I was having on the stair climber. Why couldn’t I box, I thought? Why couldn’t I have so much fun at the gym? I wanted what she was having.

Girlfriends—Boxing is for us!

Yes, us, women over fifty! I am here to tell you that boxing is simply the best cardio gift we can give ourselves. Fitness boxing—sometimes called non-contact boxing because you never hit another person—isn’t brutish or aggressive. So, here I am, age 64, with my own red boxing gloves and some newly-defined muscles, having almost too much fun at the gym.

At first, I kept thinking “this isn’t something I should be doing—really, is it okay to hit?” But with each jab, I overcame my reluctance as I punched the trainer’s resistance mitts. This deeply-ingrained cultural training—girls don’t hit—prevents most women over fifty from considering boxing. But nobody is hitting me, and I’m not fighting anyone. No gritty boxing ring is needed. And as I’m learning the techniques of boxing from my trainer, Kingsley, I’m appreciating the beauty in the sport, especially the artistic athleticism it requires. In boxing, power starts in the hips, requiring every muscle to serve a purpose, linking hands and hips in a dancer’s rhythm.

Women Over 50: Have you thought of strapping on boxing gloves? This 64 year old found fun and… Click To Tweet

If you’ve never thought about how much fun it would be to hit that punching bag at your gym– if words such as jab, cross, hook, and uppercut aren’t in your vocabulary yet—buy or borrow a pair of boxing gloves.

Three big reasons to start boxing today:

  1. Physical: From the first moment you throw a punch, you are breathing heavily, heart pumping, arms, chest, shoulders, core, and legs working in unison. Boxing burns over 500 calories/hour, builds lean muscle, develops stamina and endurance, and ramps metabolism. As we age, we lose muscle mass, strength, flexibility, and balance. Boxing reverses this trend, giving us back what we lose, developing hand-eye coordination and entire body strength.  For women over fifty, boxing is one of the most complete cardiovascular and resistance workouts…and it is fun.Put on gloves
  2. Mental: Boxing forces women out of our comfort zone, overcoming fears, and requiring 100% mental concentration. It is demanding and strategic, stimulating new parts of our brain, challenging our minds and bodies.  The research on successful aging urges us to learn something new, strategic, and to keep testing ourselves with new sequences and moves. Sure we can push our minds doing Sudoku and crossword puzzles, learning new foreign languages, even attempting to learn new card games, but boxing is both physical and mental. To box is to be steeped in rhythm and movement, coordinating the swing of hips, the swivel of feet, and the power of the arms. It is exhausting, exhilarating, rigorous, and immensely rewarding.
3 Reasons women over 50 should consider boxing their way to happiness and health Click To Tweet
  1. Spiritual: It might seem paradoxical that something so physical can be so spiritual, that stillness can be found in movement, but boxing, like meditation, focuses attention and calms the mind.  When boxing, my mind unplugs from daily details and responsibilities, from the noise and chatter of the outside world. Nothing works in boxing without one’s complete attention and concentration.  If my mind is rushing through a to-do list, my coordination is off; if I’m rehearsing an argument with my boss, my arms flail and my feet trip. And my daughter, Alex, a marathoner, who now boxes, finds it the perfect way to calm her mind and relieve stress from her New York City life. For Alex and for me, our boxing mantra—when life gets tough, put on your boxing gloves—seems a spiritual metaphor for life, too.

One day I hope, in the words of Muhammad Ali, “to float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”—light on my feet, with a quick, penetrating jab. I’m not there quite yet, but I’m hooked–hooked on boxing.

Bio: Nancy Sommers loves boxing and cycling, swimming and hiking, yoga and pilates–all fabulous and fun ways to stay fit. When she’s not boxing, she’s writing blogs, essays, and college textbooks. Nancy directed the Harvard College Writing Program and now teaches writing at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

ACTION: Please comment below to let Nancy know what you think of boxing as a way to Hit to Get Fit! Might you give it a go? 

12

Why Is My Lower Body in Pain After Running & Walking?

Dear K and A:  How come I can run 10 miles Saturday morning with no soreness, but slowly walking 8 miles  leaves my entire lower body in pain? Sunday I rested. Monday I did a 5 mile easy run that felt great. Then Tuesday’s slow 8 mile walk made me sore again! Sherry, the Deep South, USA

2015 Solstice ParadeDear Sore Sherry:

Alexandra: Well, “Day-um” as my other southern friends would say! And “DOMS.” Which is not a way of cussing with a northern accent. It stands for Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness. We talked about it in  “How Do I Prevent Calf Soreness after Walking Hills,” (or as we are tempted to entitle it: “My Calves Have a Stiffy.” Can you tell we’re happy to talk about sore muscles and preventing exercise discomfort.)

Avoiding Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

K hamstring stretch on tree

Essentially, elevating your core temperature (and thereby henceforthwith and so forthy warming up the muscles) within 24 hours of the original cardio activity will help prevent muscle soreness later on. You don’t have to repeat the 10 mile run, but a walk of just ten minutes should do the trick.  It could be the running is making you sore, and that you simply aren’t feeling it until one or two days later. Then walking gets all the blame. Instead blame DOMS.

Walking and Running Powered by Opposite Muscle Groups

Kymberly: Running is powered primarily by calves and quads. Walking is powered by glutes and shins (and therefore a great cross training or complementary cardio activity). So if you are used to running and added the walking recently, then your body may simply have been adapting to using your muscles in a new or different way. I am not sure if the pace has anything to do with the soreness unless the slow pace dictated or created an unusual gait that did not work for you biomechanically.

Walking & Running Are Opposites, powered by complementary muscle pairs: quads and calves vs… Click To Tweet
graph of Q angle

Q Angle for Women & Men

Alexandra: Door #3 – If it’s not delayed muscle soreness, could your pain be caused from overuse? Is it standard for you to do 31 miles in a 4-day span? Somewhere in here I’ll throw out the concept of post-run stretching…oh, there, I just did! Could be you also need more recovery time between runs and walks.

With your entire lower body in pain, have you considered the pain might be due to shin splints or your Q-angle? (get solutions from our post, Prevent Shin Splints: Three Calf Stretches). If you have fairly wide hips and/or a narrow stance, then your knees might be the ones yelling “ouchy.”

Talking Muscle or Joint Pain?

Kymberly: When you feel better, run or walk over to our group fitness classes so you can let us know whether your pain and soreness are in your joints or muscles. If muscles, I’d say pull a Bobby McFerrin: “Don’t worry; Be happy.” Simply do 10 minutes of light cardio within 24 hours of a new, intensified, or added activity to give your muscles a chance to reheat and release. But if the pain is in your joints, then worry. … and change your gait or stride, as now we may be talking something biomechanical. In this case get a certified trainer or health professional to assess you. Do not light up those joints!

ACTION: No pain, all gain when you subscribe to our twice a week posts on ways to age actively.

Photo credit: Photobucket

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Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

 

24

Fit Over 50? Achieve it with These 6 Age Specific Tips

unlock these locks to be more fit over 50

Unlock 6 Secrets to Aging Well

Do you want to be fit at 50 (plus any bonus years)? The aging population is big and getting bigger as we baby boomers continue our march, hop, skip, and jump into the next decade. Is one of your goals to be fit over 50? Do you plan to continue working out while anticipating and minimizing stresses on your “not getting any younger” body? But how?

Based on 1) our group fitness teaching experience, 2) educational events we attend focused on serving the needs of women over 50, over 60,  and other active older adults, and 3) Kymberly’s certification as a Functional Aging Specialist, we suggest the following:

Exercise to slow down aging

Hang On a Sec, or a Dec…ade!

Minimize Ab Exercises that Depend on Head Lifting

1) Reduce ab work that requires forward spinal flexion such as crunches. Decades of hunched posture and rounded shoulders take a toll on the spine. Look for opportunities to strengthen your abs that do not require more forward curvature. So long “old lady” back hump; hello stronger abs and a more comfy neck! Reverse curls, planks, and abs exercises that keep your head on the floor and lower spine protected are great options.

Reverse curls and planks protect your spine while strengthening your abs. Click To Tweet

Want to see one of those options? Then head over to Abs and Core Exercises Safe for the Lower Back. Eager to get more for your core? Read this post as well: Get Ultimate Abs: Better Yet, a Strong Core.  In fact, if you want heaps of No Crunch moves designed for the young at heart, but older in body, click this link to a program we created: The Ultimate Abs Workout Collection for Women Over 50

The ability to hop or jump, even if low and close minimizes risk of falling. Click To Tweet
Try Side Planks with Stability Balls to be Fit over 50

Forward Looking, But No Forward Flexion

Create Instability to Increase Stability

2) Integrate stability ball activities into your exercise program. The ball is a great tool, as you can do both cardio and toning with it. For example, did you know you can lie on your back and relax your head while doing an exercise to strengthen your obliques?

Take a look at this video for ideas:

Obliques Side-to-Side Abs Exercise with the Stability Ball: Right and Wrong Way to “Trim the Waist.”

Here at Fun and Fit: Active Aging Answers for Boom Chicka Boomers, we love anything that combines lying down with exercise. No, we don’t mean what you just thought! Hmm, come to think of it, having sleek abs and a strong core can improve your sexy status. Again we suggest you take advantage of our “Ultimate Abs” digital product.Ultimate Abs binder image

Consider Your Transitions from Floor to Feet

3) Organize your workout from standing to sitting to kneeling to lying down or vice versa in order to minimize the times you get up and down from the floor. Having said that, do practice coming from lying to standing as part of your workout. You can even make this an exercise. Try going from standing to sitting to standing without putting a hand on the floor and you’ll see what we mean.

This ability is so important that we made a short video about it for you. Watch and test yourself with the: Sitting to Rising Test. Not so easy was it?

Add Power Back Into Your Day

4) Integrate two-footed take-offs and landings into your activities. The ability to hop or jump, even if low and close minimizes risk of falling. Most people stop jumping and doing any power moves as they age. However, unless joint pain precludes even small jumps, having power becomes more important for injury prevention with age. Click this link to see more on power training and avoiding falls.

The ability to hop or jump minimizes risk of falling. Click To Tweet
Flowers at Rancho la Puerta Fitness Resort

We Said “Boomin’ and With It,” not “Bloomin’ Idiots.”  Darn Hearing Issues!

Ask Yourself Whether Any Senses are Slowing or Going

5) Note any changes in your capabilities and account for them in your workout plan.  For instance, is your vision deteriorating? Could that be affecting your balance given the role sight plays in staying upright and balanced? If so, incorporate more balance training into your exercise program.

Tone Down Turns and Twists

6) For cardio training, maximize movements that take you forwards, backwards, and sideways. However, cut down on quick turns, pivots, and sharp direction changes. Such moves can throw you off balance and tax your knee joints if you cannot anticipate them to react with perfect form.

Doing power moves & 2 footed hops becomes more important for injury prevention with age Click To Tweet

If you are a fitness pro who wants to work with baby boomers and “matures”, this magazine article, What Older Adults Want  by Alexandra will tell you what older adults desire from their teacher.

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Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

5

Sleep Better; Weigh Less; Prevent Weight Gain

I'm Tired- Madeline KahnTired of Feeling so Tired?

It’s National Sleep Awareness Week which brings me to a confession: I have been getting too little sleep and gaining weight because of it. Curses Netflix and your plethora of good British shows! And now I want to watch Blazing Saddles again with Madeline Kahn.

As a fitness professional and certified Functional Aging Specialist, I know that more sleep leads to a healthier weight, fresher skin, more creativity, better memory, and less snapping at my husband. Ooops. (Click here to read how to Sleep Your Way to A Better Brain and Body).  But the siren call to finish just a wee bit more work, answer one more email, and load the dishwasher before settling in for some late night entertainment gets me every time.

Weight Gain from too Little Sleep

An extra hour of sleep each night can help you drop 14 pounds per year Click To Tweet

What about you? How are your sleep habits? Did you know that an extra hour of sleep each night can help you drop 14 pounds per year, according to researcher Dr. Michael Sivak. Part of that is the 200 -2,000 fewer calories you’ll take in during that hour you’re now asleep, and part of that is the relationship between the hormones leptin and ghrelin. Those two appetite regulating hormones are taunting rascals. Being awake too long can throw them into flux, stimulating your appetite and inhibiting your ability to make good food choices. More than 35 percent of American adults are obese; more than 28 percent sleep less than six hours a night, and the authors of a 15-year study found these two to be correlated.

SleepInfographic

 

In our post about the 3 stealth saboteurs of weight loss, we mentioned how less than 6 hours of sleep can be correlated with weight gain. In the 1970s, U.S. adults averaged 7+ hours per night. We are now down to the low 6s. When we sleep too little (6 hours or fewer) we:

  • are awake longer and often therefore snacking more
  • create an imbalance of appetite-regulating hormones, with the hormone that stimulates hunger pangs taking over
  • are possibly dealing with sleep apnea, which shows a correlation between weight gain and lost, interrupted, or insufficient sleep. The cause and effect are still in question.
Less than 6 hours of sleep can be correlated with weight gain. Try for 8-9 hrs per night Click To Tweet

Weight Loss from Enough Sleep

A review of 15 years of research indicates an effect of partial sleep deprivation on body weight management. Partial sleep deprivation, an energy imbalance, and weight gain prevention and weight loss promotion are all linked.

What to Do to Snoozzzzzzze and Lose?

SleepTips

Sleep at least seven hours per night, preferably eight. More than eight is not necessarily better though, so don’t feel compelled to snooze nine or ten hours. (Unless you’re a teen reading this midlife blog, then 9-10 hours might be a cutback).
Also take a look at the suggestions in this infographic courtesy of the National Sleep Foundation.

I will be implementing their tips this coming week.  And shutting down Netflix by 10:30pm. Want to sleep better with me for the next 7 days? You know what I mean….

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by Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

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