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20

What Do You Enjoy About Aging? What if it’s Active Aging?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Active Aging Superstar

Active Aging, Aging Gracefully, Anti-Aging – Which Terms Do You Use?

Do you like the phrase “Aging Gracefully?” Personally, I am over it. While 19 years of dance lessons gave me some gracefulness, I am more the sporty sort anyway.  Whichever phrase you use relative to aging on your own terms, before folding (sob sob) More Magazine  took a poll of its readers – women ages 35-70ish – asking what we know about aging gracefully. As you know, my sister and I prefer to advocate for Active Aging. And we definitely shy away from the term “anti-aging” as the alternative is ….? Not aging = pretty much keeling over. More to the point …

Are you an Active Aging Superstar?

Do you have suggestions or success stories for making the most of your second half of life? Do you agree with the list below of the –

Top Three Things midlife women love about being “older?”

The one that most reflects me is #2: having greater confidence. Yup. As Julie Andrews sings as Maria in the Sound of Music, “I Have Confidence in Sunshine; I Have Confidence in Rain; …. Besides Which You See, I Have Confidence in Meeeeeeeee.”

 

More Time

 

Greater Confidence

 

Hard-won wisdom

Women shared other positive interesting tidbits in the More Magazine survey. How do you answer?

Do you look younger than other women your age?

Apparently 86% of women over 50 believe they appear younger than their years.  Gotta love that confidence (back to #2 above).

Have you ever lied about your age?

A resounding 83% of respondents said “no.” But how do we know they are telling the truth? Aha haha Cracking myself up here.

What have you done in the past 10 years to look or feel younger or to minimize aging effects? Do these Top 4 reasons, in reverse order, reflect or surprise you?

4. Did you increase your workouts like 64% of More readers? As a fitness professional, I was happy to see so many midlife women turning to exercise as the ultimate youthenizer.
3. Perhaps you wore sunscreen more often, in common with another 64%.
2. Moving up the scale of actions women over 50 took in the past decade, we come to 70% coloring their hair (I call it “returning to my roots.” If I colored my hair, I mean…….)
1. In the top spot, 74% of women shifted to a healthier diet. You too?

 

YogaMeditation

Take a look at “Why It’s Great to Be a Boomer” to see whether your reasons are on that list. Also, if you agreed above that you look younger than your years, do you have more energy than 20 or 30 year olds? Can you get to that energy level? Click on our post, “Can a 55 Year Old Have More Energy than a 20 Year Old?” to take a look.

Readers: What song reflects your state of mind or personality?

What makes you an Active Aging Superstar?

Photo Credits: The tree and Buddha photos were taken by our friends from Hamburg, Andy and George. All others are mine.

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14

Best Workouts for Women Over 50: 7 Age-Relevant Training Principles

Women over 50 - 7 training principles

Age actively with us

Choose the best workouts for women over 50

Kymberly: Want the Ultimate Baby Boomer Body? Personally I am ok with the “Ixnay on the Bikini, but I’ll Still Wear a One-Piece” Body. To get either version, you’ll need to incorporate 7 important, midlife-specific training principles into your exercise routines.

What are key workout plans for women to achieve optimal fitness?

First, we need to establish and agree that midlife exercisers are special, with unique attributes.

Want the Ultimate Baby Boomer Body? Incorporate these 7 midlife-specific training principles… Click To Tweet

Women Over 50 Are Unusual Exercisers in 6 Ways

Baby boomers K and A new headshot

We’re special, so special (Photo credit to Lisa Lehmann of Studio Jewel)

  1. Ours is the first generation to grow up with exercise continued into our adult years;
  2. Our generation’s attitudes and priorities make it easier for us to train and be trained and to understand the need for intentional exercise;
  3. We have the funds and resources to invest in our well being (that’s the statistical theory, at any rate);
  4. Our age group is one that is proactive and doesn’t take our health for granted;
  5. We desire socialization and camaraderie, with a particular fondness for group exercise. Therefore, we tend to prioritize exercise differently when we are a part of a group or when under a trainer’s leadership;
  6. The downside is that we also tend to fall off or quit being active when life gets chaotic, and caregiving or other family needs pull us away.
Women over 50 are special and unusual exercisers in 6 ways. How can we use our unique status to… Click To Tweet

So what do we unusual, interesting, unique, and different women need to do to achieve functionally strong and healthy bodies, minds and attitudes? How can we create targeted workout routines for women like you (and us)?

Outdoor workout for women like Alexandra

Alexandra being unique and interesting

Alexandra: I am seriously hoping the answer involves Clive Owen or Colin Firth, but I’ll settle for just assuming you are speaking of ME when you use the adjectives “unusual, interesting, unique, and different.” Hmmm, second guess. Does it involve bacon? Even though I am a vegetarian, I feel certain that the answer to many things is “bacon.”

Now,  you said midlife women are special in 6 ways. And if you’d given 6 training principles, I’d know Bacon was the answer — Kevin Bacon. If you don’t know about the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, you can read the link while doing your seven training principles. To defy gravity (and age), plus engage in gym movements, do this Footloose workout.

Kymberly: We know my sister is really Baking, not Bacon Woman. Anyway, stay Footloose and Bacon Free when you incorporate the following into your regimen:

7 Training Principles for Women Over 50

1. Increase Intentional Stepping

Continue to build bone strength by selecting impact activities. Especially at our age, we need to strike the ground by walking, jogging, skipping, and stepping to stimulate our bones. Step classes are particularly effective at offering impact without adverse joint stress. This is a case of wanting gravity’s effects!

2. Use Body Weight in a Functional Manner

Choose movements and exercises that mimic daily life activities such as climbing stairs, loading groceries into the car, carrying luggage on fun, exotic, vacation trips. (A boomer can envision, nicht wahr?) Such exercises might include step ups and squats, for instance.

3. Train to Preserve Back Health

Brace through the core and hinge from the hips. Add dead lifts to your repertoire — but let’s call them “live lifts,” shall we? Look for opportunities to activate the back (dorsal side) of your body in addition to performing ab and core work.Practice good balance and posture

4. Focus on Posture

Be sure to sit and stand “strong.” Address muscle imbalances. Take action now to improve posture now and later. No Dowager’s Hump for you, just Dowager title and property rights. Speak to me Downton Abbey fans!

5. Engage in “Brain Gym” Movements

  • Move in ways that connect the left and right sides of the brain such as crossing the midline
  • perform diagonal movements, (cross chops anyone?)
  • memorize movement patterns (choreography is a good thing)
  • follow cues or directions

You can see where fitness classes really are ideal for those of us wanting more than physical payoff from our workouts.

Kymberly on log in Yosemite

Defy Gravity AND Train for Good Posture standing, sitting. lying, hovering in midair!

6. Defy Gravity

Reap on land some of the gravity defying benefits of water exercise. Who doesn’t look forward to reduced joint stress, buoyancy, and a certain lightness of being? Translate that “up” feeling to land movement by emphasizing the up phase. For example, with squats, engage your muscles more when standing than lowering. Change the pace, speed, or emPHAsis of moves to prioritize the press away from the floor. In short, concentrate on the parts of exercises that work against gravity.

7. Input Impact to Improve Internal Integrity

I, I, I , yi yi! Use both cardio and resistance training to target age-related risks and preventable declines. Do the exercises you choose challenge your mobility? Balance? Bones? Coordination? Just as you might choose nutritionally dense foods, select movements that offer a compound or multiple return for your invested effort.

Kymberly: Begin with the end in mind — increase overall strength, stamina, core strength, mental agility, resistance to disease, and ability to continue pursuing life with vigor and enthusiasm. Heck, we also want to look good, right?

alexandra TRX plank tuck - workouts for women over 50

When Will This End?

Alexandra: I’ve only got my end in mind.

Action: To really be ahead of the game, try Training Principle Number 8 — Subscribe! Have us come to you twice a week with fitness pro insider insights on how you can age more actively than all the other baby boomers you know. Enter your name and email into any of the subscription boxes. Plus claim your bonus.

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

10

Insider List of Resources to Help You Age Actively

by Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Kymberly and Alexandra in the 80s

We started actively aging in the 80s, so we can point you in the right direction!

If you’re wanting to read some books and listen to some audio that will help guide you along the path to aging actively, we’ve got a few recommendations. Actually, we could probably make a really long list, but we’ll start with just a few for now! (Keep scrolling down to get to Kymberly’s list).

 

 

 

Alexandra:

Exercise

Anybody's Guide to Total Fitness by KravitzAnybody’s Guide to Total Fitness by Len Kravitz, PhD

If you read only one fitness book, this is the one. It includes answers to 125 of the most frequently asked fitness questions. Now in its 10th printing, this book combines up-to-date research with practical information for establishing an optimal health, fitness and wellness lifestyle. From exercise instruction and workouts, to wellness and nutrition, Kravitz has been writing,  researching and speaking about fitness for over 30 years. He takes complex topics and research results, and explains them in an easy-to-comprehend format.

Ultimate Booty Workout by Grand

Ultimate Booty Workouts by Tamara Grand, PhD

The title doesn’t do justice to the knowledge and science that Grand puts into her exercise selections. The book includes a 12-week progressive program that includes strength training, cardiovascular training, and nutrition to support fat loss and muscle gain, and the recommendations are realistic and achievable. This book has sound advice based on solid research. You can hear Tamara explain why we gain weight in midlife in our radio interview of her: What Can You Do About Hormones, Menopause, and Menopot.

 

Two books by Jack Witt

Tight, Tone & Trim/ Cut, Cool & Confident

by Jack Witt, MS

This companion set has one book aimed more toward men, the other toward women, with exercises in both applicable to all exercisers. Effective exercises, lifestyle information and recipes are the three parts to these books. As both a health and fitness coach, Witt is good at explaining the links between emotions, nutrition, humor, a social network, and physical activity. While I disagree with some of his slang terms, and feel the layout could be a bit more polished, the information is trustworthy and written in a way that is suitable for a complete beginner.

Nutrition

Omnivore's Dilemma by PollanFood Rules, In Defense of Food, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

These three books cover just about cover everything you need to know in my (pescatarian) opinion! I love reading books about food and nutrition, yet keep coming back to Pollan’s because they make eating and food simple to understand. And he informs, where others preach. He’s also a very good writer, and I love good writing.

Food Politics, and Eat, Drink Vote by Marion NestleFood Politics Nestle

The titles of both these books let you know straight away that Nestle writes about the politics of food. If you are concerned about food advocacy and equality, plus food safety, read these. Her strong opinions are informed by research and statistics. In other words, facts! These books will help you become a more-informed decision-maker about what you eat.

Kymberly:

Body and Brain

Originally two girls, the Bobbsey Twins

Kymberly is on the left. Or right. Who knows? Who cares?

Growing up as redheaded, freckle-faced, glasses-wearing, intellectual and sporty identical twins in a family of 5 kids, we had a lot of nicknames as youngsters. Some of the names we actually liked, such as “Bobbsey Twins” and “brainiacs.” The latter appellation must have made an impression as all the neuroscience coming out about the brain’s “trainability” and plasticity really captures my fancy. The link between cognitive enhancement and exercise particularly motivates me to move, think, and try new activities.

After reading dozens of new books on the relationship between movement and the brain, I hope you are inspired to check out my suggestions. But only if you want to be more fit inside and out!

Spark author, Dr Ratey says to add play

When Spark author, Dr. John Ratey says add play, we work it!

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, by John Ratey, MD

First up, read Spark. Actually, first read our posts about meeting Dr. Ratey, hearing him present highlights from his book, and sitting next to him at dinner without drooling. Ok, I did drool a wee bit as I handed him my book copy to sign. If you want to remodel and transform your brain for peak performance, this book is for you! Warning: You will be so sparked by the brain benefits of movement that you’ll disdain a sedentary life forever after.

Dr Hil and his book, State of Slim with Kymberly

What I’ll do to get an autograph

State of Slim, by Dr. James Hill and Holly Wyatt, MD

If you’ve listened to our radio show or been reading our posts for any duration (I really, really hope you answered “yes” to this “if”), then you’ll know I squee at the knowledge Dr. James Hill imparts with humor and facts galore. You’ll get proven, repeatable, long term weight loss and maintenance solutions when you listen to our recent radio show interview of him — Fat Loss: What Does and Doesn’t Work?

Prefer quick summaries of his talks on reducing obesity or knowing how your “why” affects your weight loss success? Read the write-ups we did after hearing him speak at two events. And of course, you will want to add State of Slim to both your library and cookbook collection. Don’t just add the book to your stacks. Actually read it. You’ll get recipes to unstick your metabolism; you’ll find out the 6 factors successful weight losers have in common, you’ll practically want to move to Colorado. Unless you are me and live in Santa Barbara, CA, in which case my butt is parked (not in “idle” mind you, but revved up).

Stay Sharp, Improve Memory, and Boost Creativity, Your Best Brain EverYour Best Brain Ever: A Complete Guide and Workout Michael S. Sweeney with 58 Brain Health Boosters by Cynthia Green, PhD.

And the book I am reading now? Glad you asked. See, my brain can make up creative conversations after tackling this list of super resources! After interviewing Dr. Cynthia Green for our radio episode, Your Best Brain Might Be Ahead of You I divebombed into Your Best Brain Ever. Michael Sweeney and Dr. Green give a lot of practical tips broken into short chapters with many examples. Not only will you easily find out what to do to enhance your brain health, but also why and how the brain functions. The two authors present the lowdown on your lobes in a super accessible, comprehensible manner. This book is a quick, easy read. Or I am just so much smarter reading it that it seems that way!

You can read while on cardio equipment; listen to our radio show interviews when on a walk, run, or drive; or simply kick back in the springtime sun and learn as you (don’t) burn (kcals or your skin). That’s a double wordplay for you. Fit brainiac status, here I come!

We make a few cents if you buy glasses from Warby Parker (see our “glasses” link above), which is great. Did we mention they have a Try Before You Buy program? 

Add more on target resources to your list by subscribing to our blog and listening to our radio show. Experience some of the best leaders in the health, wellness, and fitness world every Wednesday morning at 8:00 PT/ 11:00am ET. Listen in (better yet, call in to 866-472-5792) to our new radio show Active Aging for Boom Chicka Boomers with guests who offer practical advice and cutting edge solutions to your active aging challenges. You’ll find us at voiceamerica.com on the Health and Wellness channel.

2

Want a Better Memory? Why? How?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Marilu Henner finds me memorable

Marilu Henner finds me memorable

Do you want to remember more of your past? By midlife, we have gained decades of experiences, some of which we can pull from our memory; some of which have retreated into the dusty closets of our brain. What if you could retrieve tons of memories you don’t even remember having forgotten? (Except that time when you got caught coming in late from the prom and were grounded. Still too vivid).

Would You Want to Remember Everything?

One of the most interesting talks I attended at the recent Natural Products Expo West (NPEW), was a talk on improving memory given by Marilu Henner, sponsored by Ascenta. Best known as an actress, Marilu is also one of 12 people in the world identified as having Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM), which is the ability to recall the slightest details of nearly every day of life. In short, Marilu can remember almost EVERYTHING in her life, even baby experiences. Believe me, people in the audience were trying to stump her by throwing out dates and asking what day of the week it occurred on and what was going on at that time. Or they had met her once backstage at a play she was in and wondered if she remembered that meeting. She did — listing even what they both wore, ate, said, and saw. Whoa! Would you want that ability, or even some of it? I wouldn’t mind having SDAM (Sorta Decent Autobio Memory).

Are You Ready to Receive, Retain, and Retrieve Your Past?

Marilu claims we all have the capability to “Receive, Retain, and Retrieve” more memories. Which prompts again the question: Why would we want to recall more memories, especially bad ones? Aside from avoiding dementia, (ok, that’s a pretty big “aside”), what is the value of having a brain full of memories? And how do we go about retrieving more of those hidden stories and events?

I remember when my husband and daughter were this young.

I remember when my husband and daughter were this young. Now where did I put them?

Does Memory Bring Meaning and Life Purpose?

According to Marilu, developing a strong autobiographical memory is the best path to a more fulfilling life. She asserts that our memories offer meaning. Her memories inform why she is living each day. As well, she believes that bringing more memories into our awareness allows us to

  1. identify and understand patterns, emotions, and reasons in our life
  2. break negative behavior patterns that don’t serve us
  3. choose positive patterns that propel us to success, happiness, and purpose.

If you see a connection between having a stronger memory and your life purpose, then you will want to do two things: read her tips below and buy her book, Total Memory Makeover.

Marilu’s Strategies for Enhancing Your Memory Starting Now

  1. Explore your “primary track,” defined as a category of memories you most easily and often recall. Examples could be travel, relationships, foods, sports, places you’ve lived. Then fill in the blanks around the strong memory.
  2. Once you determine your primary track, cross-connect that with the sense you most rely on– sight, sound, touch, taste or smell. For instance, if you have a strong auditory sense, ask yourself, “What music was popular at the time I am trying to remember?” Your senses assist your recall ability. If you are a visual person, scroll through your day each evening as if running a video montage.
  3. Sear memories into your brain. Mentally take check as you experience events. Ask yourself, “How can I bake this into my brain and make it a little more vivid?” to quote Marilu. For instance, try doing a smell check every so often: What scents surround you or stand out at a given moment?

NPEWUsing Marilu’s suggestions, not only can you stop memory decline, but also you can retrieve more memories to enrich your life. That’s the kind of active, health aging I can get behind. Now if only I could remember where I put the rest of my notes from the NPEW trade show and educational sessions!

Make healthy memories when you subscribe to our website and listen to our radio show. Experience some of the best leaders in the health, wellness, and fitness world every Wednesday morning at 8:00 PT/ 11:00am ET. Listen in (better yet, call in to 866-472-5792) to our new radio show Active Aging for Boom Chicka Boomers with guests who offer practical advice and cutting edge solutions to your active aging challenges. You’ll find us at voiceamerica.com on the Health and Wellness channel.

1

Lead Where Others Dare Follow: Highlights From the IHRSA Convention

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Kymberly leading a session at Rancho la Puerta

I’m going to lead now…. if that’s ok with you.

Do you strive to be a better leader as you advance in life? Perhaps you prefer working with strong leaders. As a group fitness leader myself, I am always looking to learn more about positive, effective leadership. As a baby boomer woman, I particularly appreciate and focus on successful, high profile females. (Some of them are in my exercise classes, cleverly disguised as “retired.”)

Leadership: High Performance Peaks and Pitfalls

So on my last day attending the IHRSA International Trade Show and Convention, I eagerly toodled off to a session led by club owner and fitness pro,  Trina Gray, entitled Leadership: High Performance Peaks and Pitfalls (IHRSA is the primary trade association serving the health and fitness club industry). Up to then, I had been a little frustrated to see so few females selected by IHRSA for sessions, panels, and roundtables. Finally, here was a woman who was surpassing her own business and financial goals, making life-changing differences in her community, and inspiring people to commit to get fit. A youngish woman. In a mini-skirt. With flouncy hair, and a huggy, metaphysical air. Yes, this could be interesting!

Lead Yourself Or A Community

Stat on deaths from IHRSA 2014

Combating such stats needs good leaders!

Trina was a delight and loaded with personality, energy, and insightful comments on ways to improve our leadership abilities. Even if the only person you want to lead is yourself, you will appreciate some of her tips. Trina has the chops to dish the tips too. (Like those food metaphors?) She founded the Bay Athletic Club in Alpena, Michigan, one of the poorest counties in one of the unhealthiest states in America. Fast food, smoking, illness, and obesity were a way of life in this small town until Trina’s efforts helped make more than half her community healthier.

Snippets, Suggestions, and Strategies

Take a stationary bike ride with me through some of her leadership suggestions and quoteables:

“Look for something every day that can make you a better leader.” I am up for the challenge. Are you? (Bossing my husband around doesn’t count as leadership, darn it anyway).

“Don’t look for people to follow you. Look for people to believe in where you are going.” This quote was one of my favorite!

“Do you show people how amazing they are? Or have you focused on how amazing you are?”

“It takes leadership not just to take feedback but to put that feedback into action.”

“Success is not convenient.” I was a little confused by this quote until Trina gave us the example of fast food. It’s convenient, but does it take us where we want to go?

Seth Godin Keynote Speaker for IHRSA

Leaders are Connectors

More High Performance Tips from Trina

  • Stop asking for so much advice. Do more; ask less.
  • Remove people in life who suck your energy. Protect your energy.
  • Money is flowing all around you. Success and money are unlimited. You don’t need permission to succeed. Being successful does not take from anyone else.

Which of the above suggestions resonates with you most? Have your views on leadership changed with time and age? What have you experienced today that can help you become a better leader? Share in the comments below.

Experience some of the best leaders in the health, wellness, and fitness world every Wednesday morning at 8:00 PT/ 11:00am ET. Listen in (better yet, call in to 866-472-5792) to our new radio show Active Aging for Boom Chicka Boomers with guests who offer practical advice and cutting edge solutions to your active aging challenges. You’ll find us at voicemaerica.com on the Health and Wellness channel. 

Voice America banner

Active Aging with Boom Chicka Boomers Radio Show


17

What Can You Do to Be Happy This Year? Besides Eating Tuna

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Resolve to Be Actively Happy

Enjoying quote of the day at Rancho la Puerta

Happy Is as Happy Thinks, Drinks, and Does

Did you set New Year’s Resolutions? Some years I do; some I don’t. Which got me to pondering why we consider changes and fresh starts each new year. “To become a better person” seems the obvious answer. But to what end?

What lies behind the desire to “improve,” “remake,” or “change” ourselves? Ultimately isn’t it a pursuit of happiness? “If only this or that changed, then I would be happy,” is the implication. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. At least for 2014.

2014 issue of Outside Magazine

Get Out?! Be Happy!

Meantime, both neuroscience and Outside magazine had the good timing to release a list of strategies that enhance happiness. Wouldn’t you know it, but the keys to being happy involve exercise, healthy eating habits, and playing (mostly outdoors).

If you are looking to add more happiness to 2014 then try adopting some of the the following habits. I listed the happy habits that I either liked the best, saw as easiest to implement, or validated my current values. To see the complete, original article read the January 2014 issue of Outside magazine.

Wake Early

Alarms set on iPhone

1) Cranky hour 2) Sleepy hour 3) Just right for “early.”

I was a little surprised that early risers are happier people until I thought of the days that my get up and go got up but good! I always feel better when I get a jump on the day. Sure, we need to get in our 7-8 hours of snoozing per night. But we also need our Vitamin D. So the more time awake during sunlight hours, the better our immune system. It’s hard to be happy when ill; it’s easier to greet the day with a high five when we’ve gotten a good night’s sleep followed by an early rise. This habit is one I am working towards. Pretty sure this is really a sneaky way for me to have to set another resolution — get to bed earlier than midnight so I can wake refreshed at 6:30 or 7:00am, not the 7:30 that feels so luxurious.

Drink Water

If you read my post, A Tale of Caffeine and Dehydration, then you already know being dehydrated makes us — ok, ME — irritable. One supposition is that our neurons detect dehydration and warn the parts of the brain that affect our mood. Not enough water? The neurons hit the “bad mood” button. You’ll know if you’ve drunk enough water to improve your mood if your pee is clear or pale yellow. Wheeeeee Peeeeeee!

Exercise With a Group

Bouldering at Lizard's Mouth

I’ll be happy when I get down safely and into my step class!

Imagine how happy I felt reading this as a group fitness instructor for the past 33 years. Want to work harder while feeling happier? Being part of a team or group increases your intensity and endorphin levels more than when you train alone. Could this be the year you try group exercise classes or continue through the year? I have space in my classes for you! Perhaps a master’s level team sport is in your near future.

Exercise Consistently

Cardio workouts are brain boosters; exercise in general reduces stress; even a few months of activity can reverse age-related memory impairment. Now that you are so smart, remember that regular, ongoing exercise rewires your brain for the better. Low stress, younger brain, and a good memory? That spells “H-A-P-P-Y better than a crossword puzzle clue if you ask me.

Eat Chocolate

Eat chocolate

Science from CocoaVia tells me cocoa flavanols help me live well!

Who cares the reasons?!*  The fact that cocoa flavanols are good for us (in moderate doses) is just plain old good news. Enough said.

* For those of you who want the reasons, hold on a minute while I lick the dark chocolate from my typing fingers. Basically, chocolate (specifically the flavanols) releases endorphins and calms us. Yes, it’s all in the mind. And mouth.

 Eat Mood Enhancing Foods

Dark green veggies, turkey, salmon, tuna, sunflower seeds, walnuts, black beans, — these and other foods high in tryptophan or glutamine positively affect your neurotransmitters. Get naturally high without medication! How many of you noticed that eating happy foods causes the opposite of being dehydrated?

Listen to Music

Photo bombing or singing at Glen Ivy Spa
Singing in My Pain, Just Singing in My Pain. Alexandra is Happy
Doing a Selfie Again

Who wants to hear me sing? Debatable whether this will enhance your mood. Hmmm. Or you can hear Alexandra tra la la in many of our past radio episodes. Also debatable about the effect. We can say that if you listen to music you like, you will pump out dopamine (happy hormones) faster than Ahhhnold Schwarzenegger pumped it up back in the day. Tunes you enjoy give you an emotional rush. I now await a music company sponsor for this tip.

Choose the Right Biological Parents

Yes, it’s true and I’d be amiss not to confirm that genetics plays a role in your disposition. If born rich, I’d be happy! Oh, wait. That’s not really what we’re talking about here. Inherited tendencies determine about one third of our happiness level. So quit griping if your mom and dad were negative Norman and Nellie. You have two thirds of the story to write yourself. Especially if you follow the tips above!

I know I’ll sure be happier if you:

1) Follow us on Google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

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 info@funandfit.org.

 

9

Be Inspired to Age Actively: Deborah Szekely at 91

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Deboarah Szekely at 91

Deborah Szekely, Founder of Rancho la Puerta and Golden Door Spas

“Not only must we not move less as we age. In fact, we must move more!” So warns Deborah Szekely, the 91 year old founder of the Golden Door and Rancho la Puerta fitness resorts.

Kymberly speaking at Rancho la Puerta

Speak and BeSpoken!

As a guest presenter at the Ranch the other week, I had the chance to hear Deborah speak about her life, wellness passions, and big visions for our country’s health. She had me with her opening statement. If ever there was a living testament to the benefits of living an active, healthy, socially conscious life, Deborah is the “It” woman! I want to be as mentally and physically sharp as she when I hit 70, much less 91! I wouldn’t mind being as rich and influential either, come to think of it. (If you haven’t heard of her or Rancho la Puerta, click on the link of her name above. You’ll be amazed at what she’s created).

How do you picture yourself at 91? What are you willing to do today, tomorrow, and the rest of your life to be all you can be as you whuff out more birthday candles each year? Let’’s face it — body parts start to hurt. Joints start talking and won’t shut up. Yakkity yak, want my young joints back. What wisdom, experience, and clever tricks can we call upon to stay active while acknowledging physical realities? (You all can turn to our YouTube videos for answers to this question).

Rancho la Puerta Hike Spot

I Plan to Move Up Not Drop Down!

A story Deborah shared highlighted her point about needing to find ways to move more as life advances us. She had just downsized from her three-story house of 59 years to a much smaller, one-story home. Makes sense that she no longer wanted to roam about in a big space with lots of stairs and upkeep. (As a baby boomer who just moved into a brand new home after spending almost 9 years in a little cabin during a long construction process, I am not thinking of downsizing … yet. But I can well imagine going to a one-story home again in 20-25 years).

You’d think that at 91, Deborah would be ready to ease up a bit in her new digs. Instead, this tiny, little bitty package of energy strapped on a pedometer at her former palace to get a feel for how many daily steps she took getting up, down, ‘round about. Then she did the same at her new place. “Now to figure out how to make up the difference,” she concluded. BAM! Not where I thought she was going with her story. But is that inspirational, or what??!!

Yes, she saw a built-in slowdown coming and actively searched for ways to keep moving forward, not back. One of her solutions was to go from two to six Pilates classes per week. Another was to add more walks into her day — through the neighborhood, to the grocery store, to the nearby park. As she put it, “I have a lot I still want to accomplish yet strongly feel the urgency of time.”

Sign goihng back to the Ranch

It’s a Sign! I Need to Go Back to the Ranch!

What do you still want to accomplish in your life? How much energy will you need for that? How will you make up for any “downsizing” that occurs, literally or metaphorically? As for me, I plan to haul my hiney to the Ranch next year. I want to hear Deborah speak again when she hits 92 and tells us how her plan to organize a Wellness March on Washington is coming along.

For now, please enjoy some of my pics from Rancho la Puerta — one of my key happy, active places for life!

Help others to age actively. Do MORE  when you:

A) Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

B) Subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog.

C) Follow us on google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

Mountain at the RanchHiking at dawn at Rancho la Puerta

 

Path to Dining Hall at Rancho la PuertaStars at Rancho la Puerta

 

12

Why Do You Exercise? Is Looking Good Enough?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

FitBlogLA name tag

This personalized Meet and Tweet Greet was Sweet!

“The ultimate goal of working out is to be happy and healthy.” So opened fitness celebrity, Tony Horton of P90X fame at the FitBlogLA Meet and Tweet event I just attended courtesy of Fitness Magazine.

When Tony followed up that comment by reminding us that “one size exercise program does not fit all,” I started to trust his message a bit more. Known worldwide for his high intensity, high impact, high energy exercise programs, Tony was the last person I expected to advocate for moderation, caution, and mental flexibility. Yet here he was spreading the word that “our goal as fitness professionals and (healthy living) bloggers is to get more people into the movement game” while getting our ego out. He admitted up front that his program, or ANY high intensity workout is right for some, but not all. As baby boomers, we might want to go all out, but if our joints don’t agree, then we’re wise to modify. I, for one, am neither happy nor healthy when I push too hard and increase my knee pain. Sure, I love the benefits intense workouts offer, but not if I suffer long term.

Stick with me as I share a few more quotes and key comments from Tony’s talk on “The New Way to Work Out” that may elevate your happiness and healthiness levels! (For more on the effect your reasons for working out matter so much, also read our post Why You Want to Lose Weight Affects Your Success.

Why Do You Work Out?

Kymberly at FitBlogLA pool

Being strong enough to wear new outfits makes me happy!

What gets you into the movement game? Why do you exercise? If you are like most people I have taught and met in fitness classes over the last 34 years on 4 continents and online, you work out to … wait for it … wait for it… look better. You may also want to feel better, to live longer, to think more cogently — or reap a zillion other benefits that movement offers. But looking better continues to pop up as reason numero uno. If we ask ourselves why we want to look better, what lies beyond? To do what? To be what? To get what? I think Tony nailed it that we really seek a level of happiness. Oh Yes, I firmly believe active people are happier people.

What Scary Activity Will You Try?

Snowboarding in Lake tahoe

Not Yet Going Scary Fast

“Do scary things that won’t kill you,” challenged Tony, himself a baby boomer. What physical activity have you thought about doing that scares you a bit? For me, it was learning to snowboard. Going downhill fast still scares me. Doing plyo jump squats scares my knee into “cap” – tivity. Get it? Ha ah aha My sense of humor scares others, but not me.

Do You Prioritize Skill Over Number, Amount, Duration, Speed, Flash and Flair?

“Focus on getting better as opposed to going through the motions.” Tony’s emphasis on form and technique over pushing hard and damn the torpedoes was a welcome message I hope you take to heart. And to the gym. Doing more bad reps does not give you better results. Better form gets you to your happy place. In fact, your body will change when you focus on skill. Well, your body will change regardless (thanks again menopause!), but we’re talking changing for the better with mindful movement.

Remember the mantra from our post, Reducing Obesity — What Does and Doesn’t Work: Move More: Sit Less and you will be on your way to more happiness. Don’t Worry; Be Happy (Thanks Bobby McFerrin for getting that tune stuck in our heads).  Feel free to leave answers to the questions in our post down in the comment section.

Got an event that could use a twin pack of movement and great fitness info?

A) Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

B) Subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog.

C) Follow us on google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

 

12

How Do We Leave Obesity Behind?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Brain image from Dr Eckmann sessionKymberly: 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!

Changing Obesity and Habits

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.

Thoughts Lead to Weight Loss

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.

Kymberly and Alexandra make a We sign.

WE are a product of what WE think…and a hot night of romance between our parents!

According to studies Eckmann referenced, we now know the following:

    1. You have about 50-70,000 thoughts per day.
    2. You choose the filters through which you assess those thoughts and view your world.
    3. If you want to break a bad habit or add a good one, recognize that your brain takes an average of 66 days to rewire.
    4. The only relationship you are guaranteed to have throughout life is the one with yourself.
    5. Therefore, if you want to develop habits and behaviors that lead to weight loss, you need to start with your thoughts. The ultimate Insider Track!

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:

OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE

Alexandra: Opportunity is Here Now

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!

Think Lovely Thoughts and You Can Fly!

Think Lovely Thoughts and You Can Fly!

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!

Photo credits: Vintage weight loss ad: DanCentury; Electric Brain Zap: used with permission from Dr. Terry Eckmann; Peter Pan: yumiang

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. 

16

Exercise Can Train Your Brain | Key Points from the IDEA World Fitness Convention

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

IDEA Brain and Exercise sessionI was feeling excitement but also pressure. If I could name 10 things I had just learned in the IDEA World Convention session, Your Brain and Exercise then I would win a coveted Inspiration Medal!

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:

10 (or so) Facts to Apply to Your Brain Fitness Program

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).

3. We have about 50-70,000 thoughts per day (Such as “what if I blank at #9? Do I still earn the medal?).Brainiac Maniac

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:

  • prepares the brain for optimal learning
  • gets oxygen and glucose faster to our brain
  • reduces obesity
  • balances brain chemicals and system functions

(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:

  • hormones balance
  • attention increases
  • adrenalin increases
  • motivation increases
  • brain chemicals balance
  • neurotransmitters balance

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!)IMG_2992

But first, a Freak Out Fit Fact: An obese person has twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s compared to a lean person. (Starting to think about exercising yet? Or are you exercising to think? Bonus either way).

Inspiration Award from IDEA 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!

Does your event need education, motivation, and fit-elation? Call us to speak at (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

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.