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
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!
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.
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!
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: 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: 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.
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.
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