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51

What Food is Healthy? And a Whole Grain, Wholly Amazing Bob’s Red Mill Giveaway!

Alexandra Williams, MA

“What food is healthy?” This is a question we are asked quite frequently, mostly by our university students, but also by our 60- and 70-year-old students.

bean flourThe answer is quite simple at first glance, yet in practice deceptively difficult. For years I’ve told my students “the closer to the ground the better,” yet many of them found this answer confusing, and over the years it’s required more explanation (yes, kind of sad).

First off, I’m not a nutritionist or dietitian (although I can spell “dietitian” without looking it up). What I am is a good researcher and writer, including this list of articles about food and health that I’ve written. I’m also a good eater and all-around healthy person.

I’m tempted to say that the answer to the healthy food question is, “It depends,” but that’s probably due to my counseling studies, when I learned that it’s the answer to most questions! My new response is to answer with my own question: “Does it (the food) help or harm your body?” For example, I have a friend right now who’s pregnant and dealing with gastroparesis. She cannot eat veggies without getting quite ill. She can, however, keep down sno-cones and pierogies. For her, leafy veggies are unhealthy.

For my sister, it’s possible that she is now allergic to some foods that were perfectly fine for her for decades. As identical twins, we are usually quite similar in our medical issues, so I’m curious to see what she discovers as she eliminates, then reintroduces, certain foods. Kind of a canary in the coal mine thing. She is the canary in this scenario. At present, she is testing out a wheat-free diet. We wrote about some of the research for and against in our post “Is Wheat-Free Better for You.” Bottom line: Eat whole grains. Stay away from genetically modified organisms.Wheat silo

For many of my women friends, a glass of red wine in the evening is possibly a heart-healthy dose of resveratrol. But for me, it’s just a drink that makes me turn red and get a headache. Other friends need to live by a gluten-free diet, while some thrive on organic whole grains.

Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, GF, clean eating, pescatarian, omnivore, high-carb, low-carb, restricted-calorie, intuitive, timed – the list of eating categories goes on and on. And every single one of these eating styles is healthy – for someone.

So I think my new answer is a good one. If it helps your body (chemical cravings for Ben & Jerry’s “Americone Dream” don’t count), then it’s probably healthy for you. If it harms, then why would you eat it? Rather than give advice, I’ll share what works for me.

* Whole grains
* Organic or at least pesticide-free
* Cooking & baking from scratch
* Few processed, packaged foods
* No soda, energy drinks, or high-sugar drinks
* No meat
* All ingredients are recognizable and pronounceable
* If it shouldn’t go in my (or my kids’) mouth, it doesn’t come into the house
* Reading research and books. At present I am reading “Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition” by T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and I love anything by Michael Pollan (did you know he’s Michael J. Fox’s bro-in-law?)

Bob's Red Mill Gift CardIn a further spirit of sharing, I’m also going to give away a $100 gift card from Bob’s Red Mill. I wholeheartedly endorse their tagline “Whole Grain Foods for Every Meal of the Day.”

Reasons you should love this company:

* Their mission is to bring good, healthy foods to as many people as possible
* They have given millions of dollars to support healthy nutrition and wellness, and address the issue of pediatric obesity
* Owners Bob and Charlee Moore gave the company to the employees in 2010
* They sell a complete range of whole-grain food products (not foodlike substances), including organic, gluten free, non-GMO, and kosher
* Their prices are extremely fair (example: $5.79 for 5 pounds of organic white whole wheat flour, compared to $8.95 from their closest competitor)
* The food is delicious

Grains, Beans & Seeds: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, fava bean, kamut, quinoa, spelt, sorghum, teff, triticale, farro, kamut, and way more!

Grains, Beans & Seeds: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, fava bean, kamut, quinoa, spelt, sorghum, teff, triticale, farro, kamut, and way more!

So what will you choose if you win the $100 gift card?
* Flours & Meals
* Grains, Beans & Seeds
* Cereals
* Gluten Free
* Mixes
* Baking Aids
* Oats
* Books
* Entrees

The SuperFine print: This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents. Yes, my Canadian friends, you are included!!!! That is just how generous Bob’s Red Mill is. The winner will be chosen on Monday, August 5th at midnight PST. We will notify the winner via email and other social media forums. If that person doesn’t respond within 48 hours, we will choose another winner.

This is a truly amazing gift, so you will want to do all the amazing entry options.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Got an event needing edu-taining speakers? Call us at (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Get whole-body goodness, including great exercise and active aging advice by subscribing to our YouTube channel to access short videos that will improve your fitness level! 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.

Photo credits:  Grain & Silo –  Frank Kehren; all others – Bob’s Red Mill

17

Food, Glorious Food: Tidbits from the BlogHer Food Conference

Alexandra Williams, MA

appetizers from BlogHer FoodFood is a hot topic. Or a hot dish (yup, I lived in Minnesota for 2 years). Having just returned from speaking at the BlogHer Food conference, I thought you might like to know some of the nuggets, tidbits and kernels I gleaned from it. See how many words are food-based?

 

The most interesting panel (besides my own, of course. Of course!!) was “Food Blogging for the Next Generation – Finding Solutions at the Intersection of Childhood Obesity and Food Insecurity in the USA” Big Ass title to match the heavy hitters on the panel: Anna Lappé of the Small Planet Institute, Elly Spinweber of Partnership for a Healthier America, Lea Webb – one of the nation’s leading community organizers, and Michelle Berger Marshall of Feeding America.obesity and food insecurity at BlogHer Food

 

 

 

It was extremely interesting to hear about the obesity epidemic from the food point of view, as I’ve spent so many years studying it from the fitness perspective. Some of the salient points might interest you:

BlogHer Food tweets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My friend Sara Tetrault was part of a panel that shared tips for preserving (both in the canned and ecological sense) the “tips and tails” of your cooking scraps. Just a few:

* Vinegar can be made using fruit peels (the description sounds a bit like my sourdough starter)
* Eggshells will keep slugs away from your plants, especially if the shells are sharp. Toast your eggshells and feed them to your chickens (Okay, maybe YOU don’t have chickens, but we do).
* Peach pits combined with vodka make a delightful extract. Just watch out for the cyanide!
* Carrot tops can be added to kosher salt to make bouillon flavoring

I shall end with a smoothie recipe I created based on ingredients from a few of the BlogHer Food sponsors.

mango and sticky riceMango Tango

1 Ataulfo mango  (I prefer organic) Whole Foods has a video showing how to cut one.  I wish I’d known these cutting tricks when I made sticky rice with mango a few weeks ago
ice
Vanilla bean or plain yogurt from Organic Valley (if you follow me on Twitter, FB or Instagram, you know my obsession with this company)
2/3 cup almond milk
1 tsp Bob’s Red Mill flaxseed meal  (Bob is a real guy. We’ve met him. He gave his company to the employees. And he’s from Oregon. What’s not to love?)
1 banana (if you want an eensy bit of chocolate, throw in a frozen chocolate-banana dipper from Dole . You’ll have 3 dippers left over. Eat them for snack… right after breakfast)
Blend all these in a Ninja Pro Blender. I tested the blades on my hair and they were effective!!!

Testing out the blender blades at BlogHer Food

Testing out the blender blades at BlogHer Food

Top it all off with a Snicker Doodle cookie from Udi’s Gluten Free.  I’m not a gluten free eater, but these are actually tastier than the ones I bake myself…according to my kids.

I searched for the links in this post using Bing. The Bing reps at the conference were funny, approachable and had great customer service. Three qualities you probably like in a brand.

P.S. The presentation I gave was “Write to Be Read.” If you need expert, entertaining writers or speakers for your company, please consider us. (805) 403-4338 or info@funandfit.org.Two huge screens; one small presenter

 

 

 

 

Are you a food lover? What’s your favorite mango recipe?

Disclosure: I was not paid one single penny to mention any of the brands above. I just like to support brands that support bloggers AND provide quality products. So click away!

While drinking your smoothie, subscribe to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness and health. Have you subscribed yet to our blog?  Please also follow us on google+: Alexandra and Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

15

Motivation, Fun Fit Facts, and Pretty Pictures for Boomers

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Fit Facts and Images to Motivate You

Need motivation to get moving? It’s summer time!!!!  Whether you are a baby boomer, woman of a certain age, or one day plan to be such, please enjoy the following Fun Fit Facts and Stats. More precisely, feast your eyeballs and lace up your workout shoes once you read this post.

Alexandra is away presenting at BlogHer Food in Austin, Texas.  That tells me to whip out some photos I took, add some interesting scoop from our vast files of saved fitness tidbits, and make posting life easy on myself. Then I will go for a walk!

Steps per day affected by season

Feel free, nay encouraged even to pin these babies! Add your Fun Fit Fact in the comments below.

Walk to extend lifespan

Walk for health

Sleep to lose weight

Sleep 6-8 hours per night

Getting the idea to walk then sleep? Perk up; Drop off; Lose weight.  Works for me! If you want more images with motivational quotes, click over to our post, Quotes to Move You.

Ready to hire professional, motivating speakers to edu-tain audiences at your next event? Call us at (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Fun Fit Fact: People who subscribe to us live better. So skeedaddle over to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness! Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please also follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

Photos: I took the above photos at Rancho la Puerta Fitness Resort, Tecate, MX and in Santa Barbara, CA where the sun shines summer, winter, fall, and spring.

Are you motivated enough to enter our two giveaways before the deadlines pass? Click on the links to win 90 days’ free membership to FitnessGlo. com, where you’ll find quality home workout videos. Also enter to win a free reg to Drenched Run 5k. We’ll be soaking up the sprays at the LA site where we hope you’ll join us. I almost have my daughter and nephew committed to take part!

10

Is Stress Making You Fat?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Stress, Weight Gain, and Strategies to Lose Fat are Connected

Stress, Floating Anxiety, and a Thailand Beast at White Temple

Stressed out and feeling beastly?

Stress affects all species. Most humans have a good idea of their stress levels and whether the stress is helpful (such as exercise) or harmful (such as an injury). As well, we human personages can distinguish between Chronic and Acute Stress. Interesting to note is that we tend to handle major stressors better than micro ones.

When it comes to weight gain and fat accumulation, chronic stress is the problem. In short, chronic stress triggers a cascade of hormonal reactions that tell your body to store fat, create more fat, and swell up. Yes, long term stress increases both number and size of fat cells. As fat cells increase in size, they increase chronic inflammation, which triggers more hormonal reactions, all leading to more fat. Aaaaarrrggggh!

Getting caught in this cycle can be very … well, um … stressful! Keep reading and take a relaxing breath as we look at ways to decrease fat that stress may have added to your “friend’s” figure.

Recently Alexandra and I attended and spoke at the IDEA Personal Training Institute. One of the many stellar sessions we attended was Professor Len Kravitz’s talk “Stress, Obesity, and Cortisol.” He offered key insights on stress and fat collecting — the collection we don’t want to inherit, pay too much for, nor store for posterity (in posteriors).

First off, bad news and some Fat Facts:

  • More women than men are obese because of menopause (not really bad news for men).
  • We now know our bodies can make more fat cells at any age. We used to think we added fat cells only at certain times in life, such as gestation and puberty.
  • Fat cells can swell up to three to six times their minimum size. Oh, swell! Those cells are unwell!
  • “Normal” weight adults have about 40 billion fat cells; overweight people may have as many as 80 billion. Yes, DOUBLE! The odds are really stacked against the stressed out.

Now for some good news and Fit Facts:

  • Relaxing in the Sleeping Buddha position

    Exercise Your Right to Relax and Destress

    We really don’t gain a lot of weight over the holidays. The average is about one pound … per holiday season, so pack light for the upcoming 4th of July!

  • Two super duper interventions that really work to unpack fat are exercise and destressing. No kidding, Sherlock. (Yes, I heard you thinking that all the way from here.) What Dr. Kravitz emphasized is our need to shift our thinking from all or nothing strategies to ones that are more realistic and flexible.
Destressing with Alexandra in Thailand

Aaaaahhh, Bliss Out, Le Freak, C’est Chic

The plan? First, implement the 4 F words of Weight Management and Lower Stress Levels

  1. Have a Flexible approach when creating your workout program. For instance, maybe morning routines don’t work for you, though you’ve heard that early bird exercisers tend to be more consistent. Or your favorite cardio machine is taken. Try a different piece of cardio equipment or an aerobic class. Look for what fits YOU. Today. With each day up for a renewable contract.
  2. Remind yourself that you are not a Failure if you lapse.
  3. Forgive yourself for any unmet goals or expectations.
  4. Fix what’s not working — without blame or self criticism.

As Dr. Kravitz stated, “Learning to lose weight is a skill, just like learning to ride a bike.” He recommends that we use the same strategies as proven, successful weight losers. Referring to the work of Dr. James Hill, who founded the National Weight Loss Registry, Dr. Kravitz highlights the actions in common of those who lose fat (and keep it off):

Successful Fat Losers:

Sleep Helps Reduce Stress

Dog Days of Slumber

  • Stay or become physically active
  • Log 250-300 minutes per week of aerobic activity
  • Limit and monitor dietary intake
  • Accept realistic weight goals
  • Eat a healthy breakfast
  • Schedule meals and exercise thereby staying consistent with both
  • Limit fast food
  • Eat some favorite foods without guilt
  • Accept their body shape
  • Confront problems rather than eat to cope
  • Recognize that weight control is ongoing

Got all that? You now have THE ULTIMATE list of what it takes to lose fat. So relax. And exercise. Then relax some more.

Call to hire Kymberly and Alexandra with this telephone

Call us. We’re dialed in.

Do you or your colleagues need professional, motivating speakers to edu-tain audiences at your next event? Call us at (805) 404-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness. Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please also follow us on google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

A good laugh also reduces stress. So check out this interview of Kymberly from BiteSizeWellness. Spread the Wellness with us!

 

22

Women Over 50: Some Days Just Suck – Angst, Exercise & Optimism

Alexandra Williams, MA
I am SO becoming!

I am SO becoming!

Some days, being a woman over 50 sucks. I would describe myself as happy and optimistic. I have a good life. I work at things I enjoy. My kids are easy to love and live with. Yet lately I wake up tired and feeling beaten down, and don’t know why.

It’s like I’m stuck in a Cheech and Chong skit The first day on my vacation, I woke up. Then, I went downtown to look for job. Then I hung out in front of the drugstore. The second day on my summer vacation, I woke up, then I went downtown to look for a job. Then I hung out in front of the drugstore. The third day… (If you don’t get that 1972 reference, you are not a boomer). I’m not depressed or sad or weepy or pessimistic or grumpy or or or… But I’m off. Instead of feeling like I am a participant in my world, I feel like the world is happening around me.

I was thinking it might be hormones or menopause, yet nothing seems to be different. In any case, I decided last night that I’d had enough of waiting. Waiting for my usual energy or cheeriness or joie de vivre to return. Instead of waking up sort of rumbly and angsty, I decided to shake things up a bit. The relationship between exercise and moodis well-established, so I gave myself the same advice I’d give to a client – get moving!

Let a little light shine on my hike

Let a little light shine on my hike

And so I did. I got up at 0600 and got a ride to the bottom of the mountain pass near my home, then hiked up to the top. As part of a sponsored Under Armour challenge I had declared a goal of hiking up this pass, so I figured getting up super early (for me) would be an added achievement. Besides, it’s easy to spot the mood-elevating endolphins swimming around the harbor that early in the morning!!!

Endolphins

Endolphins

hahahah it’s a joke – these neurotransmitters are really called endorphins, and they are like happy pills, except they are created by your own body and no pills are involved. According to Dr. William Sears, we are our own pharmacology site.

What I learned as I walked up the hill this morning:
* the nasty black flies aren’t out in massive numbers early in the morning
* lots of cars come down the winding road at that time
* the views are amazing, especially as the sun comes over the hills
* the people driving those cars like to wave hello
* it’s as steep as I believed it to be
* it was easier than I expected
* being outside on a gorgeous day, with amazing views, good music in my ears and my body movin’ and groovin’ works perfectly as a mood-enhancer.

I'm almost there. I hope someone made breakfast.

I’m almost there. I hope someone made breakfast.

No wonder I don’t need any medications (my doc is always amazed, due to “my age,” which is actually kind of scary in its implications) – I have hiking in my veins, so there’s no room for artificial stimulants in them! In any case, I cheered right up and have been productive all morning. The only thing is…I’ve completed my What’s Beautiful goal. So I guess I’ll change it and go up, then back down the mountain. If that comes too easily, I’ll do it without stopping for pictures every few minutes! Pssst, that What’s Beautiful link is to my profile in case you want to follow my progress.

Now turn around and do it again

Now turn around and do it again

I have a question for all of you, especially the boomer women – do you ever get into a mood rut, where you just can’t find your mojo, or passion, or gumption, or meaning, or even your special purpose (alert: 1979 Steve Martin reference)? What did you do to get out of it? I want to copy your ideas in case I get sick of that hike.

By the way, when I’m not being a grumpus, I like to have fun. If you want to know how I define “fun,” you’ll have to read the interview at Bite Size Wellness.

We are professional writers, speakers and editors. Do you need our services? Please contact us at info@funandfit.org.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness. Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please also follow us on google++Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

Photo credit: Dolphins  ryn413.

8

Exercise, Food, Weight Loss & Menopause (and Water for People): Notes From the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute:

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

What are some of the important upcoming fitness trends? What does the latest research indicate is the “best” way to get and stay healthy? Can someone really give you a cold or are you taking the cold from them? And what do menopause and HIIT have in common?

Kymberly at IDEA PTI West 2013At the recent IDEA Personal Trainer Institute, which Kymberly and I attended (and spoke at), we covered a variety of topics relevant to you and your fitness goals. At past fitness conventions we’ve listened to speakers who are so cutting-edge that they are called quacks…until their information turns out to be accurate and helpful.

So put on your “duck” shoes and let’s waddle through some of the information and posts we gathered from a number of presenters and colleagues. Read the linked posts so that you can be fully ahead of the rest of the gaggle (is that what they call a group of ducks?).

 

From “Boosting Your Immunity” with Teri Mosey, PhD
* For every thought you have, you release a chemical that goes to the rest of your body. What do you think happens to your body with repeated thought?
* Ninety percent of your thoughts today are the same as yesterday’s.
* We have a second brain, called the “enteric” brain.
* We have more brain cells in our stomachs than in our neo-cortex.
* Every 7-10 years we are physically a new person.
* You are the age you think your body is (I’m 39. I’m 39. I’m 39. I think I can. I think I can.)
* Most of us are too acidic and need more alkaline. Cancer cells grow in acidic space.
* Habitual coffee drinkers are more prone to osteoporosis and have become too acidic.
* You know what the Standard American Diet is – S.A.D.!
* 3-minute or poached eggs are anti-inflammatory; once the yoke is hard, it’s pro-inflammatory.
* Our emotions are not from the brain, but produced at the cellular level.

Kymberly wrote a post about falling – fears and injuries – from a full-day session she attended, which has some very helpful information.
* Thirty-three percent of older adults fall every year.
* Women break arm bones; men break their heads.
* People use the A.S.H. strategies to maintain balance (you have to click the link to know what ASH stands for)
* You need more core work.

Getting brekkie with fitness colleague Pamela Hernandez at IDEA PTI West

Getting brekkie with fitness colleague Pamela Hernandez at IDEA PTI West

Our FitFluential colleague Pamela Hernandez wrote an excellent post entitled Fit Tips from IDEA Personal Trainer Institute West about two philosophies she sees in the fitness industry – one is to stick to traditional, government-recommended standards, while the other emphasizes just getting people to move a little more. As a person who embraces technology, Hernandez welcomes its further blending with fitness. Oh, and she liked our session on social media. Twitter Shout Outs to her for that!

In the post Breaking the Barriers to Exercise, Jacquie Scarlett expounds on the need to make exercise more approachable to the average person. In one section she states, “The fitness industry is not designed to meet the needs of the sedentary population because the fitness industry’s idea of exercise is too high.”
Jacquie’s post really makes us wonder what it would take to get you to like exercise if you currently don’t.
* Is rolling a ball across the floor considered exercise?
* Do you think exercise is different than daily movement?

menopauseHayley Hollander gave a workshop on programming for peri- and post-menopausal women.
* When our hormones are out of balance, we end up with excess cortisol.
* Excess cortisol causes us to eat more (among other not fun things).
* We need to do exercise that doesn’t exacerbate the amount of cortisol in our system.
* Meaning…High Intensity Interval Training
* High Intensity does not mean High Impact, so jumping until your uterus falls out is not necessary!

On an unrelated note, while you’re not jumping (unless it’s for joy), exercise your right to help me with a water awareness campaign I’m participating in please. BLANCO America is supporting a “Water for People” campaign via Pinterest. I believe water inequality is one of the most reprehensible and avoidable human conditions in the world today. Everyone deserves access to potable, pure water. Feel free to Like my pins while you’re there. That’s the spirit!
Oh, if you view this video before May 30, BLANCO will contribute a dollar for every view to “Water for People.”
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0ogoIOCeos&feature=player_embedded[/youtube] Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness. Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please also follow us on google++Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

Have a Clicky, Fit day!

8

Fun Fitness Solutions

Post by Emma Franklin – Fun Fitness Solutions

This is a post by Emma Franklin from The Training Room, a company in the United Kingdom that offers accredited personal training courses. Emma is from Manchester, England, and graduated from the London School of Economics. She has a British accent, which you can hear in your mind when you read the word “fancy.” A keen fitness enthusiast, she regularly represents Lancashire for badminton.

Kymberly PaddleboardingAs winter disappears and the sun makes an appearance, we start to dream about the summer holidays. Although the thought of summer can bring excitement and happy anticipation, some of us also get caught up in worrying about being “beach beautiful.” We’ve all been there. Not only do we want to feel our best, during summer in particular we want to look our best. Well, concern yourself no longer, as I’m here with some fun fitness solutions to get you ready for summer.

personal trainersPersonal Training

A great way to get into shape in time for your summer holiday adventures is to become a personal trainer. Taking you out of the office environment and learning a range of different skills, becoming a trainer is a fantastic means of avoiding the 9-5 humdrum of life whilst getting fit at the same time. Perfect for all ages and employment backgrounds, from graduates to single mothers, this career is ideal for those looking for a profession with a difference. Fancy helping others and yourself at the same time? Then personal training could be for you.

Salsa dancingSalsa Dancing

If changing your career to get fit doesn’t suit you, then why not opt for an exercise class instead? In particular, salsa dancing! If you’re a fan of busting a move on the dance floor, then why not make it a hobby and get your body beach-ready at the same time? It’s a great way to socialise and could just take an hour out of your weekly schedule; it’s completely up to you. There are plenty of salsa classes in most towns, so why not try one of them? You never know, you might discover that you have a hidden talent!

working out with a hula hoopHula hooping

Remember when you were little and had boundless energy? Well, why not try and recreate that by opting for exercises from your childhood? For instance, hula hooping. You may not realise this, but hula hooping can work wonders on abdominal muscles, and it’s good fun too! All that time you spent in the back garden having spinning competitions with your favourite hoop, you didn’t realise that you were secretly keeping those abs in check, did you? According to some experts hula hopping can burn as many calories as completing a step aerobics class. Choose weighted hoops as opposed to the thinner ones, and I guarantee you’ll notice a difference in no time.

We hope you’ll consider all three of these suggestions. As trainers and instructors ourselves, we love being part of an industry that gets to help others become healthier and happier. And staying “summer sexy” is a bonus! If only we could speak with an authentic British accent! 

What new activities are you considering for summer?

Photo credits: CreativeCommons.org Hula hooper  heathermiasays, salsa dancing  Saffron 59

Disclosure: We were compensated by Carat Media for this post. We are 100% supportive of exercise, personal training, 3rd party accredited courses for personal trainers, and companies that have the same vision and ethics as we do. Exercise for all, and all for exercise. Now get a-moving!

Dance or hoop your way over to these links —-> and subscribe to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness. Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please also follow us on google++Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

25

Midlife Fitness and Health Lessons from My Dog

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Kila Evans, WP (Wonder Pooch)

Tips to a More Fit, Happier Life: Advice From a Dog

Best dog posing on tree stump

Top Dog Advisor to Boom Chicka Boomers

Dog lovers among you (including non-dog owners who love people who love dogs. Still with me?) — what words would you use to describe a dog you love? Enthusiastic? Loyal? Patient? Energetic? Cuddly? Optimistic? Aren’t these all great attributes that contribute to a healthy, happy, active you as well? Today, as I was walking my dog empty nest replacement, Kila I started thinking about how we humans could emulate a dog’s outlook to increase our Boom Chicka Boomer midlife quality.

Since I fashion myself as the ultimate dog and kitty whisperer (sorry, horses, but I am a little intimidated by you), I interpreted Kila’s daily thoughts to share. If we take her approach, we might just improve our fitness, health, and mood. Move over menopause; time for puppy paws!

Kila: Morning wake-up time? How exciting! This day looks like it’s going to be the Best One Ever!

I'm Outstanding in My Field!

I’m Outstanding in My Field!

Suggestion: Do a mood and energy check as you wake up. What thoughts go through your mind as you transition from sleep to wake; from lying down to rising to greet the day? I find that if I literally spring out of bed and go into another room, my day starts well and continues on that path. If I have my iPhone near my bed and start checking email, then the morning slips away from me while my mood shifts to feeling overwhelmed. With Kila’s approach, both my body and my mood get up and make for a better day!

Kila: Walk time? I love walks! Always something to see, smell, check out, and enjoy.

Suggestion: Walking, whether outdoors, at a local mall, or indoors on cardio equipment is an easy, no cost, comfortable way to add more activity into your day. Walking, powerwalking, dogwalking all lead to:

  • increased lifespan
  • improved cardiovascular health
  • weight loss
  • uplifted mood
  • enhanced mental acuity

Click on the links to learn more about how easy it is to reap the benefits of walking. Plus get some Fun Fit Facts and Stats you can use to impress yourself and others (when out taking a walk, hinty hint). Walk Your Way to Weight Loss, Health, and Fitness and Sneak in Stats When Walking Briskly for Calorie Burn.

Kila: I love to run! Go dog go! Or is that “go me go?” Every so often, I just gotta run my fastest and hardest even if just for a minute or two.

Run Forrest, Run (or is that Run, Beach, Run)

Run Forrest, Run (or is that Run, Beach, Run)

Suggestion: Follow Kila’s lead (get it?), and perform some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). HIIT is the most effective method for raising your metabolic rate and losing weight. In short, alternate your cardio workouts between high intensity, all out sprints lasting 20-120 seconds with active rest lasting 60 seconds to 5 minutes depending on your goals, fitness level, and intensity level of your sprint interval. Total HIIT cardio workout time lasts as short as 5 minutes or as long as 30. If you can go longer, then your high intensity intervals were not high enough and need to come up. Think of Kila or a dog you know who runs FULL OUT for a short burst, then reverts to a lope or trot. Kila calls this “bird chasing time” not HIIT and she’s one lean, fast, happy gal!

As for me, I am finally taking my own advice (check out our post: Crank Up Your Metabolism) and adding 15 minute HIIT workouts to my weekly routine starting three days’ ago. Knowing me, I have to schedule these bursts after teaching my group fitness classes otherwise I will procrastinate. Stay tuned to our posts to see whether these elliptical cardio add-ins start pulling off the midlife ell-bees I put on. (Thank you hormones!)

Kila: I love my sleep time. When I curl up on my bed I conk right out, sleep deeply for a little bit, then wake up ready to go dog go!

Dog doing push ups

Just whipping out a few Pawshups

Suggestion: Aim for 7-8 hours’ sleep per night. If you cannot manage that, then give yourself permission, time, and place to take a nap. Nappers and good sleepers tend to be more creative, have better memory and cognitive skills, and keep weight off more successfully than those who are sleep deprived. Even a 6 minute nap brings benefits. Read more about it by clicking Sleep Your Way to A Better Brain and Body. Does Kila ever feel guilty or ambivalent about taking a nap or two or thirteen each day? Nevah! Walk-run-eat-drink-poop-sleep-repeat.

Kila listening

I’m All Ears (and Nose)

Kila: I understand my people better if I focus solely on them when they talk to me.

Suggestion: Note to self — try this with the hubster, loved ones, friends, colleagues, and pretty much everyone I talk with today. I know I like it when I feel listened to with intent and attention.

Kila: If the cats want the food I left in my bowl, that’s ok with me. I ate the amount I wanted and am not hungry anymore.

Suggestion: If you are a member of the Clean Plate club, do not renew your dues. Stop eating slightly before you feel full. (Who else was raised with the phrase “Think of the poor children starving in China.”) If you are done eating, stop even if you still have food left. (If Kila is still hungry, she’ll clean your plate for you and skip her kibbly bits.)

Kila walking at Lake los Carneros

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink

Kila: Water is sooooo delicious and my “go to” drink.

Suggestion: Not soda, not lattes, not sugary “juice drink” which is not really juice. Water up first then look at other beneficial drink options.

Kila: Treats? I love treats, even the ones my guardians call healthy. (Sure wish they’d let me have some chocolate once in a while though. Something about it not being safe for me).

Suggestion: Forget guilt. If you’ve followed Kila’s “advice” you don’t need to berate or deny yourself that occasional treat to still be healthy, fit, and happy.

Kila: I love people; I love things that fly; I love other dogs that like to race; I love my guardians; I love letting them all know that I love them by licking them and running up to them with enthusiasm and excitement and adoration in my eyes.

Suggestion: How do you let the people you love know that every day? Words? Actions? (Probably best to skip licking and jumping up on your loved ones though). I can definitely learn from Kila in this area. (Love you family and friends reading this! Wagging tail as I type).

Kila: When called, I come.

Question: Who or What is calling you? Are you able to listen and follow that calling? If not, come walk with Kila and me. She’ll inspire you! ‘Nuff said. Or more accurately “Ruff,” my wonder pooch said.

I'm Outstanding in My Field

“Does this collar hide my neck wattle?” thought Kila never.

Dog on mountain boulders

I’m Dog of the Mountain!

Readers: If you like animals (and it is National Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month) then you might enjoy this fun and fit cat exercise post. Click the link purrfectly!: Animal Desire.

Hark and bark! It’s time to subscribe to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness. Have you subscribed yet to our blog? (Are you waiting until it’s no longer National Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month?)  Please also follow us on google+ +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

Please also share, RT, and comment. We’ll wag our tails for you out of appreciation and happiness!

6

Yoga for Boomer Women: Guest post by Lexi Yoga

Today’s guest post comes from Lexi Yoga, a certified yoga instructor from Toronto who loves hot yoga, traveling the world and living in the present moment. We met her last year at the Fitness Health Bloggers Conference in Denver, which she attended with her mom. So we suppose they both like to travel! With a 200-hour Hatha Yoga Teacher’s Training and a 30-hour Yin Yoga Certification, we are excited that Lexi is sharing her knowledge to address some of the specific benefits that yoga provides to boomer women.Lida Padro, aka Lexi Yoga

 If you are a woman in your late 40s and above, you are probably at the age when you focus more on self-care, knowing that you are entering the part of your life when it’s important to feel comfortable in your body. By this age, you may be concerned about your quality of life, and the confidence and self-esteem boost that comes from taking good care of yourself. Yoga is a great way to look and feel more beautiful from the inside out. To invest in your health is the best retirement plan you can create, and it is never too late to begin.

Confidence
Yoga can transform you into a more confident woman who’s not afraid to meet life’s challenges. Not only will you become stronger, more flexible, and more agile, but yoga will also affect your mind as you cultivate patience. Yoga can help prepare you to face life’s changes with love, respect, and belief in yourself, and will strengthen you in all the choices you make.

Through yoga, you will learn to listen more to yourself, and trust your self-assessments. As you set the boundaries that work for this phase of life, you will hone your ability to take one day at a time and stay at the present moment. Not tomorrow or yesterday, but now.

Yoga takes your values and thoughts and turns them upside down. If you’ve harbored negative thoughts about yourself, you’ll find yourself becoming a more positive person who values the experiences life has to offer.

Yoga for Boomer WomenSelf Esteem
In the past, women approaching their 50’s lowered their expectations of what their bodies could do. Perhaps due to cultural pressures and perceptions, women’s self-esteem at this age could suffer. Stress adds tension, especially at the shoulders and neck, which can affect breathing. Once women learn to breathe deeply, their shoulders relax and you can see them start to settle into their own bodies as they learn how to use their entire lungs when they breathe.

No matter what age we are, we have to believe that we are good enough just the way we are. It has to be repeated over and over so that it manifests itself in the mind, because it is the truth. We have to accept and love ourselves for who we are. We don’t need to be perfect – we just have to like who we are. But we sometimes need a little bit of help, because the pressure from the external world is powerful. Yoga can be that friend that provides help.

Yoga is a powerful practice that encourages wellbeing on so many levels. It enables us to age with grace and beauty, and makes the aging process more pleasurable and meaningful.

If you are new to yoga and don’t know where to begin, the following video is for you. It is a sequence of 8 yoga postures specifically for beginners.

More cool info about Lexi: She instructs Yoga videos on her YouTube channel and actively works on her website LexiYoga.com. Her life mainly consists of – Eat, Sleep & Yoga. Follow her to learn more about the healing power and benefits of yoga.

Website: http://www.lexiyoga.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/lexiyoga
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/LexiYoga/188241698251?v
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/lexiyoga

Photo Credits: Lexi Yoga


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