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31

Actively Aging with People Your Own Age

Alexandra Williams, MA

Last weekend’s BAM – Bloggers at Midlife conference – was the first time I’ve been around a large group of people my same age since my ten-year high school reunion in the 80s. I enjoy being with people of all ages, yet there is something to be said for spending time with people who have similar concerns, interests, cultural references, histories, fears and joys.

Photo credit to Lori Moreno

Photo credit to Lori Moreno

According to research by the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy, “being part of a cohort – a tight-knit, reliable, common-purpose group – is very important in different ways.” Not only were we tight-knit, we were on a mission to squish as many people as possible onto a couch. Sort of like a slumber party, but with a reasonable amount of sleep.

Meaning
As humans, we strive to create meaning in our lives, which we do by growing, learning and giving. We do these things best when we have connections. Connections with women who both support and challenge me helps me create meaning, especially when I believe those women understand me, or at least have the framework to share a language that leads to understanding.

Kymberly's ABC class students. Photo by Dorothy Salvatori

Kymberly’s ABC class students. Photo by Dorothy Salvatori

Fun
Okay, that’s all well and good and counselor-ish, but just like exercise, if it’s not fun, we aren’t going to do it. Speaking of which, our exercise classes for BAM were at 7 a.m. which we discovered was a bit out of the majority of the attendees’ comfort time zone. So now we have a conundrum to solve – how to help midlife women realize that you gain energy for a long day by getting up early to work out. In any case, Kymberly’s Abs, Balance, Core class and my Drums Alive workout were really fun for all who were there, as evidenced by these comments from Candace Karu of Cabot Cheese and Rebecca Olkowski.

picture of Alexandra with drumsticks

We didn’t actually do Drums Alive on the Nissan; we used chairs.

Stories
As I’ve aged, I’ve discovered that I’m an outgoing introvert, or maybe an extrovert who likes a lot of “listening and observing” time. While teaching or presenting (we also gave a talk about media kits for bloggers) I am very animated and sociable, yet found that much of my “people enjoyment” came from listening to others’ stories. Are you more of a talker or a listener? I found it extremely satisfying to hear the stories my friends (which was everyone at the conference) shared – stories of loss, powerlessness, poverty, struggle, heartbreak, exhilaration, achievement and reinvention. These stories enabled me to feel part of the “girl gang” as we all have histories that got us to where we are now.

The “In” Group
Do you ever feel like you are on the outside looking at those on the inside? I do sometimes, especially at my job at the university, where every year I’m a year older and the students are still 20. My heart and plans and thoughts and desires all feel young to me, yet sometimes my body reminds me that I’m in my 50s. Sometimes my two boys make me feel old, simply because they are now grown up. I don’t want to be young again, yet certainly don’t see myself as old either. Being around a hundred women my age automatically put me into the “in” group. We were ALL good-looking and effervescent; fashionable and interesting. No-one was dismissed; there was no “outsiders” group. Doesn’t that sound like Friend Utopia?

pic of bowling at Pinewood SocialFriendship
Do you have a good balance of new and long-term friends? As I age, I find it important to make new friends as well as relishing my friendships that go as far back as a half-century. After the conference was over, Kymberly and I were taken on a Nashville sightseeing adventure by good friends we made via social media over the past few years – Kathy of Live the Fine Life, and Brenda (a single redhead from Alabama; hint to single guys). When I was young, I just accepted that everyone I met was my friend. As I aged, that changed, yet I still know when someone JUST IS my friend. I like the freedom age gives me to choose my friends based on nothing more than that I like them.

Nashville CapitolTravel
On that note, you get to see some pictures of downtown Nashville, courtesy of my desire to improve my photography skills. I don’t know if the BAM conference will be in Nashville in 2016, but I do know Nashville has lots to offer. I also know that I’ll be at the conference no matter where it’s held, because – Friends.

pic of Hats Boots sign in Nashvillepic of window at Union Hotel NashvilleUnion Hotel Nashville Lobbypicture of Hatch Printing, Nashvillemosaic entrance Betty Boots, Nashvillewarehouse with crooked windows Money
As Kathy Bates said in Fried Green Tomatoes, “Face it girls, I’m older and have more insurance.” In other words, we have money. And we’ll spend it with brands that acknowledge our existence. The sponsors of the inaugural Bloggers at Midlife conference deserve a shout-out for doing just that.
Support these brands:
Stouffer’s
Nissan
Collective Bias
Vibrant Nation
Cabot Cheese
Always Discreet
1010 Park Place
Albertini Int.

12

Prepping for Holidays and Kathmandu: What About You?

Mountain in Nepalby Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Want an example of active aging?

On Saturday, my mom is taking my daughter and me to Nepal. As in Kathmandu, exotic locale on the other side of the world. Land of the Himalayas. She just turned 85 yesterday and has long wanted to travel to Nepal. So off we fly with a Sierra Club group for a 10 day journey through national parks, temples, cities, and villages.

Dive Into Some Fitness Classes; Sub Out Ohers

Lorna Jane and Kymberly

Taking flight sorta in my Lorna Jane active and travel wear.

To prep for this trip, my mom has been attending aqua aerobics classes at least twice a week, sometimes thrice. No, we are not trekking up mountains where the air is thin, unlike me! But we will be doing much in those 10 short days that will demand a lot from an 85 year old. I prepped by finding subs to cover my group fitness classes. Oh, and by gathering up my new Lorna Jane activewear, Ahnu shoes, Purple Frog insect patches, and Garden of Life organic energy bars and fondling them all lovingly. Into the suitcase they go, coming out on the other side of customs and the world!

Sneak Peeks Into Nepal

Nepal red panda

Red panda = Yup, already got a selfie!

If you want to track pictures from our adventures, follow me on instagram: @KymberlyFunFit. Not only will you get photos of an unusual, tantalizing place, but also shots of what an active life allows. Stairs, hikes, cityscapes, early mornings, long days of adventure, a three-generation trip of a lifetime! Maybe someone out there (probably someone needing new reading glasses) will even confuse me with my daughter in the rare air of Nepal. She turns 22 on our trip. Pretty sure you’ll have a hard time figuring who is nana, who is young pup, who is the Boom Chicka Boomer.

Holiday Gift For You: It’s a Wrap!

Other prep involved completing a booklet for YOU and new subscribers just in time for the holiday season: 34 Guilt-Free Strategies to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain: Getting Through the Holidays without Stuffing. This free booklet is loaded with practical tips that are reasonable and non-judgy. (Remember that my twinnie sissie does have her Master’s Degree in Counseling so she has some good mind tricks!)

Read, Do, Look Good, Feel Even Better

Avoid Holiday weight gainIf you have a goal to Break on Through to the Other Side of the season feeling good about yourself, this booklet is for you (who knows the song and band reference?)* Details on how to get your copy coming via our Facebook page and future blog posts. New subscribers will automatically get 34 Guilt-Free Strategies to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain.

This gift from us to you offers action items, realistic tips, and great strategies to:

  • keep the ell-bees off as you make your way through food-centered celebrations;
  • feel full and satisfied, not stuffed and self-recriminatory;
  • maintain healthy movement and eating habits even if you travel;
  • resist temptation without feeling deprived;
  • use your habits and strengths to stay fit
  • train your brain to send messages you want to hear

Odds are pretty darn good you will find ideas you have not seen elsewhere nor thought of yet. Get ready to open new *Doors once you open your copy of our holiday booklet (ha ha ha hah that is the ultimate hint for the question posed above).

As for me, I plan to move as much as possible in Nepal so I return ready to greet the holidays with excitement and no extra pounds waiting under the turkey or tree.

7

Breathe Life Into Yourself

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Kymberly and scarecrow at Rancho la Puerta

I’m not anxious about this masked marauder because I’m actively breathing. Pant pant

Want to reduce anxiety? Beat fatigue? Minimize stress? Lose weight without eating less or exercising more? Be more at peace with yourself? Maybe you simply want to find a $100 bill on the sidewalk. Yeah, me too. Perhaps you are thinking about leaping tall buildings in a single bound?  Don’t hold your breath on that last one. (Keep reading to know why this is a fiiiine word play.)

Maybe leaping and frolicking are not on your “to do, ta dum!” list, However, do pay attention to your breath, as you will reap a ton of benefits from “active breathing.” Soooo easy, we baby boomers can do it in our sleep. Oh, and you will sleep better too, once you breathe more actively. (A biggie for those “enjoying” menopause!)

Benefits of Active Breath

Quote from IDEA Hay House Transformation DayActive breathing simply means paying attention to your in- and exhalations. Notice your breathing patterns when you are sitting still, focusing on an activity, or moving rhythmically. (An example of moving rhythmically is syncing your breath with every 4th or so leg stride when walking. Inhale, walk walk walk walk; Exhale walk walk walk walk. Call this a “breathwalk”). The attention alone to your breath will elicit the relaxation response. Think of this attention as “meditation lite”  — and you have to spell it that way to really get the lite effect.

Meditation is Great — If You Actually Meditate

While I totally value and accept the benefits of meditation, the reality is that less than 10% of US adults meditate. But I am pretty sure that 100% of us breathe. Hmm, I need to fact check my sources on this stat. What with the zombie apocalypse and all, one can never be too sure.

Flow Chart of Flow Breath

Let’s do a quick flow chart: breathing actively induces the relaxation response. Becoming calmer minimizes inflammation that is stress-induced. So QUIT STRESSING OUT, I TELL YOU!!  Reducing inflammation decreases your odds of cardiovascular disease and improves your health overall. Lowering stress levels helps trigger your immune cell genes. Did you just sigh with relief or gasp with excitement? Way to breathe!

Rancho la Puerta arbor 2014

Walking and breathing and posing and holding in my abs while breathing

Breathe Away Depression, Pain, and Anxiety

Another benefit: Active breathing may aid you almost as much as meditation when it comes to reducing depression and pain. If you saw my post on the high incidence of chronic pain and trends in the fitness world, you’ll know that pain reduction is on a lot of people’s minds… and bodies. If you did not see this post, click the link and get on over there! Worth it, I tell you!
So breathe for your betterment. Free, convenient, portable, available in shallow, middling, and deep sizes. And oh so healthy!

We’re Holding Our Breath Until You Call

Does your event need education, motivation, and fit-elation? Call us and breathe heavily on the phone when you book us to speak: (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Comfortably move your way to our YouTube channel for short videos that will improve your 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.

2

How Will You Celebrate Your Next Birthday?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Kymberly hanging from atch at R la PExercising My Birthday Rites (of Passage) at Rancho la Puerta

Can you believe that I get to celebrate my 56th birthday with my dear friend from Texas (yee haw!) at Rancho la Puerta fitness resort?! Meantime twinster, Alexandra gets to work at home. Awwwwww. Go ahead feel sorry for her as I did get the better end of that stick! Courtesy of twin friends who teach at the Ranch, I was invited as their guest to stay the week at the place voted numero uno in the mundo for Best Destination Spa. To top off the birthday specialness, one of my favorite authors, Dr. John Ratey, whom sis and I interviewed for our radio show, was presenting at the Ranch this same week.  Oh yes, people, I did bring my copy of his new book, Go Wild for him to sign. He even dripped sweat on it as we had just finished an indoor cycling workout. Geek squeak!

Anyway, the point of this birthday brou-ha-ha is to tell you that this post will be short on text; long on photos. I mean, who wants to spend her b-day on a laptop writing long posts when Rancho la Puerta hikes, aqua workouts, exercise classes, meditation walks, and organic foods call. Not I, said the little red(headed) hen.

May you enjoy the pics below depicting me picturesquely, if not fully picaresquely.

Rancho la Puerta scu;pture

Kymberly on breakfast hike Rancho la Puerta

Motivated to get going on the Breakfast Hike to the organic farm. 4 miles done before 8am Bam!

 

rancho la puerta

What’s behind door number 56?

 

Doors to organic garden

Open sesame. And organic gardens filled with healthy food.

Kymberly at arbor

Can you tell I woke at dawn to hike?

 

rancho lounge

No bad views except in the rear view mirror when leaving

 

Oak grove, Rancho la Puerta

Can you spot the quail on the Quail Hike? Me neither, but it’s still beautiful.

Ceramic sculpture at the ranch

This sculpture detail made me think of Alexandra on our birthday. Any idea why?

 

Ranch grapevines

There’s oro in them thar hills. And some grapes in the former running track.

Artwork in the dining hall

Feasting my eyes on yarn/wax artwork in the dining hall.

 

Swinging from a tree at R la P

And with this final photo, I will leave you hanging.

So how do you plan to celebrate your next birthday?

What was your best birthday yet?

On our birthday list? Having you help spread the word about being active! Please pin the images, and:

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

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.

20

What Do You Enjoy About Aging?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Active Aging Superstar

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, More Magazine recently 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 Aging Actively.

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.

If you liked this post or you’re feeling active, please pin the images, and:

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

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.

 

5

5 Worrisome Challenges Facing Older Adults

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

At the Jamba Juice FitExpo

Acting my age and older

What would you do with 30 extra years of life?

Give those 30 years back?

If you are like some of the older adults in the Forever Fit Cardio fitness class I teach at Spectrum, you don’t necessarily want 30 years added to your lifespan. And these are active adults in their 60s-80s, so imagine what inactive people might say to living to 100 and beyond. And yet, it is possible to greet such an offer with delight, not dread.

Redefine How You Age?

ICAA CEO Colin Milner

Colin Milner, CEO of ICAA Have you been Colinized?

However, the worry about adding years to life without adding life to those years is well-founded. When we interviewed for our radio show,  highly recognized active aging expert, Colin Milner,  founder of the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), he laid out some interesting stats and scenarios facing our baby boomer population.

According to Milner, the US and Canada have shoveled out trillions of dollars to increase longevity. And that effort has been quite successful: we North American humans have added an average of 30 additional years to our lives in just one century. That jump is bigger than the one my sister did when a tick landed on her during a dog walk the other day. The problem with the lifespan jump is that those added years are not proving to be healthy ones. Suuuuuu-prise, suuuu-prise. Or not really a surprise at all.

Basically, as we age, our generation faces 5 key challenges. (For the full story and examples, click to hear the radio interview “5 Top Challenges Redefining How We Age.”  Then you can proudly claim you’ve been “Colinized!”).

Dog hike

Young dog, new tricks. Old dog, more new tricks!

Top 5 Challenges Facing Baby Boomers

  1. Listening to and buying into ageist stereotypes and myths. Examples: Once we cruise past our 50s and 60s, we are destined to slow down. Or believing that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Or that white knee socks look good with sandals.
  2. Sinking into social isolation. Colin depressed us with the fact that by 2020 depression is projected to be the second leading cause of disability and death; By 2050, depression is predicted to be the number one cause. I may have paid more attention to that cute boy, Andrew in my math class than to actual math, but even I can see that we are talking ‘bout my generation! Who? No, the Who. If you got that song reference, you are in the social isolation demographic
  3. Having a history of unhealthy lifestyle behaviors.
  4. Sticking with habits; repeating behaviors that are ingrained; aka No Longer Learning
  5. Looking always for quick fixes. Learning to manage aging changes takes time, effort, and patience, whether those changes are physical, financial, or otherwise. Apparently we are young enough to still want instant results. Or is that just me? Did you answer yet? How about now?

Super Sensible Solutions for the Projected Problems

For each problem, Colin Milner offers a corresponding suggestion. While he confesses that his advice may seem simple, he stresses that putting it into practice takes effort and focus. Making a plan to age in a healthy, “new thinking” way is hard. Yet aging inactively is harder.

  1. Stay alert to stereotypes so you can be aware of them, then question them, then decide whether to ignore them.
  2. Vow to fight isolation, for yourself and others. Find people who are isolated and interact. You will save two birds with one phone! Colin urges us to find something we can start now. Go to a group fitness class today; call a neighbor today; sign up for an adult education class now.
  3. Look now for one habit you can change for the better. Rather than looking back at decades of unhealthy choices, look at today for one behavior to improve.
    Jamba Juice event and Alexandra

    Oh Behave, Alexandra! With healthy behaviors.

  4. Expand your knowledge and skills, Ask “why” a lot. Be curious.
  5. Anticipate and manage changes. Ask yourself “what works?” and implement more of that.

All in all, the key is to be proactive in order to age actively. Whew! That’s a lot of action. But not yet enough, as what we ultimately need to do is create a plan for today and the added tomorrows. We can redefine how we age, writing a new and better ending for ourselves and history. As Colin asks, “What is your plan?” What expectations do you have — of yourself, your health, your future, your present? In short, what will you do with your 30 added years?

Make an active aging plan today and subscribe to our blog 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.

 

4

Age Actively Using these Resources

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Hugh JackmanAre you a baby boomer wanting to get more fit, age well, and stay active as long as possible? Ok, you don’t have to be a boomer to lust after Hugh Jackman great health and a mentally vital life.  You don’t even have to be a Chicka. Cheeky Chicos are also welcome to bask in the solutions we find for you. Can you use support, worthwhile resources, and 4 cups of coffee per day motivation now and then?

We culled from hither and yon to offer you two-stop resource shopping as follows:

  • the ultimate list of  Fitness and Health Blogs that cater to the over 45 crowd. And isn’t being catered to part of your good life ahead?
  • targeted Special Collections of DVDs, streaming video, and audio interviews we curated for you courtesy of GaiamTV.  Go to the good stuff in a related post coming soon. Or get a sneak preview (Spoiler Alert) if you click on the GaiamTV link now.

Scroll through the sites of blogs for Boom Chicka Boomers listed below. Bookmark them, subscribe, check them out. Get answers to your questions. Join conversations with others who share your interests. Add to our listl.ly.com list if you know of a valuable site that speaks to health for boomers. Let’s make this the most comprehensive, helpful list of its kind!

[listly id=”1qz” layout=”full”]

 

What’s the ultimate list to be part of if you want to be a Boomer in the Know? Why, the subscriber list for our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

We were not compensated in any way for compiling this list. List.ly.com is a free service (they do have a paid, upgraded option, but we have not gone that route).  Don’t you think this list looks prettier than a bunch of links in a row?

Photo credit: webwombat.com.au.