Alexandra: The appropriate heart rate for a 56 year old woman is to have one! Yup, now that you’re officially in the “second half,” how much does it matter if your heart is beating like a rabbit? Mine goes shooting sky high when I see actor Clive Owen, and you don’t see me slowing down as I stalk him in Hollywood!
Kymberly: How shall I put this diplomatically and professionally?? Umm, get a new trainer. This one fell for a long time myth and does not understand the diff between burning calories to lose fat and using fat vs carbos as the energy source for activity. Do you hear me tearing out my low fat hair? Read our post on how you don’t have to burn fat in order to be low fat: Best Workouts to Burn Fat for Women Over 50.To reduce fat, you must get to caloric deficit whether those calories are fueled by stored fat… Click To Tweet
Alexandra: Ah, I thought that sound was you burning some fat. On the stove. In a frying pan. With an empty bacon wrapper on the counter. When you’re done setting off the smoke alarms, Kymberly, please tell Diane the difference between burning fat calories and using energetic fat!
Kymberly: Alexandra is jealous of my cooking abilities and my superior fitness knowledge. So sad, so obvious. Here’s the deal. To reduce body fat you need to:
Alexandra: As a true professional (“professional what?” you may ask) I want to add this little caveat. Do you take any meds that would cause your (shall we call him or her “former”?) trainer to worry about your heart rate? If so, you had better talk to a real doctor instead of we two fitness weenies about your walking pace. Otherwise, here is the deal. If you walk faster, you lose weight faster. How soon is your next high school reunion? If it’s really soon, you had better walk so fast that it comes to resemble a heavy, panting trot. And will someone please let Kymberly know that my close personal friend Clive was not in a James Bond movie.
Kymberly: Hey running rabbit sis, slow down! But Diane – speed up your heart rate. Last time Alexandra panted as hard as her advice suggests, Clive Owen was….. Oh never mind. As I was saying, get to caloric deficit. The trap your trainer got caught in is that low intensity activity relies on stored body fat to fuel the casual stroll. High intensity activity uses mostly carbohydrates as fuel, also known as “energy,” also known as “calories.” And while low intensity exercise might use a higher relative percentage of fat instead of carbos, you need not care about relative percentages in this case. You care about total, absolute number of burned cals. To lose one pound of weight you must burn 3,500 more calories than you take in, ie, caloric deficit. Therefore, do what it takes to burn as many calories as you can, need, or want. You can either go longer, go with more intensity, or go more often if you have a weight loss goal.
Alexandra: Can you really walk your way to a more fit you? Click that <—— link and read our post on how to pace yourself depending whether you are walking to be healthy, avoid weight gain, or lose weight. Can Walking Really Get You to Your Fit Destination? Also take a look at this great guest post from Jody Goldenfield: Managing Your Weight As You Age . She’s one of the most fit 50+ women we know and is over at Truth2BeingFit.com.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Alexandra: We say this because we want to know exactly whom we will be giving rescue breathing to when you pass out. And why should we be in a position to provide rescue breathing? There you were, just exercising away, enjoying the heck out of the Paul McCartney, Rihanna, Kanye song “FourFive Seconds” being played on the sound system. “Hey you,” your personal wiring system says, “You are working hard. As a reward, your muscle cells shall now demand increased oxygen. Because your muscles are so bossy and demanding, we won’t argue. Instead, we will increase your heart rate and blood flow so your muscles will like us and continue to take us nice places.” Well, let’s say you drop your head below your heart. While your head is inverted, you don’t realize that you’ve just caused blood to pool along with that increased blood pressure.
Kymberly: Did anyone follow that? Twin translation provided here: Cardio exercise involves raising the heart rate. An uppity heart rate provides more oxygen to working muscles AND the brain. (We are hoping the brain is working during all that activity. Always makes exercise more interesting). Heart rate up, then head suddenly down puts gravity in charge. (See “Perky, Not Saggy” for more on overcoming the effects of gravity). Blood rush to head. Whoa, feeling dizzy. Lots of pressure from rapidly pumping blood and increased blood volume. Then you lift your head above your heart again and WHAM, gravity takes over once more leaving you lightheaded. Your heart pumped out the oxygen, but you just started a competition between gravity and your brain for the game of “who gets the oxygen?” Need I say more?
Alexandra: Don’t talk to me about pressure because it makes me want to dance in my inimitable 80s style to “Under Pressure.” That’s the song I used for my very first step class.
Fainting Does a Body Good-ish
Kymberly: Ok, I need to say more. First, fainting is your body’s way to restore normal blood flow to your brain. Dropping — or, as you may picture it, gracefully and delicately sliding to the ground, puts your head on the same level as your pumping, beating heart so that your oxygen rich blood can more easily get to your brain. No going uphill, just straight along.
Second, I have been CPR certified for more than 30 years. Fortunately, in all that time of teaching fitness, I have never had to rescue someone from the dreaded “head below heart- pass out” syndrome. Maybe this cue is really an excuse to see who’s listening and who is clock watching. ALWAYS listen to your instructor, especially if she looks like one of us.
Destress Your Heart for Valentine’s Day
Alexandra: Well, I am obviously more special as I have had to deal with the “Thar she blows” syndrome. Sadly, my university students have a habit of passing out lately. For about 3 years, they show up without having had a proper breakfast, then they put their heart and soul into their workout, with only the soul remaining intact. My theory? We need to provide more movement for students in the younger grades so their hearts are used to stress by the time they get to college. I use “stress” in its literal sense, though I remember having lots of “love stress” when I was an undergrad. As in – I was stressed because I wanted certain guys to notice me. Ah, my glorious youth.
Photo credit for Alexandra with drumsticks – Tenaya Lodge
I brought along my 15 year old son. By definition, he does not drive. I hate driving. But I do like traveling. And saving money on airfare. My solution: make lots of stops to get out of the car and take photos with my new iPhone. Yup, oddly enough, having Instagram (an app that lets you take photos and send them out via social media immediately) motivated me to get out of the car and move.
Any time we spotted a viewpoint or something interesting along the road (yeah, Hwys. 15 and 70 are both major interstates with shoulders just wide enough for me to pull over and not get “whoomped” by the draft of 18-wheelers passing by), I’d
careen carefully pull over to the side of the freeway, get out and take some pics. I even took my poor, long-suffering kid on a few short hikes, trying to get the “best” shot. FYI, I am not actually a photographer, I was just determined to get my kid moving.
There has been so much research lately about the detrimental effects of sitting too long that I wanted to be sure and move, both while on the road and at the conference.
I also wanted to be sure and eat healthfully, as good eating habits sometimes get tossed out the window (along with fast-food trash) during road trips.
See for yourself whether I met my movement and food goals.
If you read our post “Lose 2 Pounds in 2 Days,” or our other conference-related post “3 Excuses You Can Use When Mountain Hiking,” then you already know that we went to the conference to speak about blogging and learn about the latest research in the health & fitness field. The attendees were a combination of fitness industry pros and enthusiasts; what we all had in common was our love of fitness and social media. And food. Um, yeah! Food!
This is the section where I tell you about the amazing brands that sponsored the conference (and my fabulous fashion choices). I say “amazing” because they treated us extremely well. Not just well; extremely well.
Anschutz Health & Wellness Center
Cherry Marketing Institute
Love Grown Granola
Western Dairy Association
Quebec Maple Syrup
Better Whey of Life
Black Jacket: Qignition
Presentation pink outfit: Aventura Clothing
Orange backpack/ purse: Overland Equipment
Totally comfy wicking socks for the hikes: Goodhew
Hat that protected me from the sun and sweat: Headsweats
Fabulously awesome, fit body: My parents (no link haha, although you can see our mom in this posture video)
Disclaimer: Thank you to Refuel with Chocolate Milk for providing us with a scholarship for the conference registration, and to FitFluential for making it possible for us to be panel speakers and moderators. All opinions, silly faces and poorly lit pictures are my own!
by Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Alexandra and I just finished attending and presenting at the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference that took place at the deeevine, high tech, and new Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, just outside Denver. CO (yes, I liked it so much I wanted to go back to grad school just to take advantage of all the Anschutz Center offers).
Prior to taking off we were offered two of 20 spots on a bonus pre-conference tour put on by Goodness Knows Snack Squares and Zephyr Adventures. Fun fact #1 – I am SO glad I went on the excursion, which was beautiful, amazing, well-organized, and a great chance to take advantage of the beauty the area offers. Not so Fun Fact #2 – I SUCKED at this hike. As in sucked air. Big, wheezy, gaspy time. Yes, I was “THAT PERSON” at the tail end of the group who had to stop every 5 minutes to “enjoy the view,” “check my Omron Heart Rate Monitor,” “get my water bottle out of my backpack,” “retie my trail shoes.” (THANK YOU Overland Equipment and Vasque Velocity for the super comfy backpack and trail shoes. At least I looked like a pro hiker and my feet felt great!)
1) I just flew in from sea level living to mile high altitude climbing. No wonder I felt my heart imitating the alien explosion birth in Alien. Pretty sure I did not look as good as Sigourney Weaver though. The fact that
stoopidhead Alexandra whisked her little way up at the head of the pack was not taking this excuse away from me. Gasp Gasp Sweat pouring down back of my knees, face, underarms. Oh wait, she drove from Santa Barbara to Boulder so had time to acclimate. Excuse still intact and usable! And I was ahead of the 25 year old from New Jersey and 40 year old from Boulder. The three of us were making the front pack possible!
2) I have had 2 knee surgeries after all. Ok, so my knees did not actually hurt on the climb up since I have strong lower body muscles and powered each step through my glutes. Still, past surgeries and injuries are something to think about when contemplating a path straight up. I might think better if I sit down for just a panting moment.
3) It was HOT! Yes, I flew in just in time for record heat in Denver. Don’t even start with that whole “it was just as hot for everyone else who was ahead of you, prancing, frolicking, and talking while climbing.” Heat makes me cranky so back off and let me enjoy the exercise, scenery, new experience, and rest stops.
Honestly, I thought I would ace this hike with lipstick and reputation intact given that I teach fitness 5 days a week and power walk almost every day. And I am happy to report that while my heart rate shot up to 158 while climbing, it dropped to 115 within a minute so my recovery rate was good.
What I learned from this potentially humbling experience:
As for the yoga class awaiting us back at the bottom of the mountain? I managed 5 minutes following the darling teachers’ well-cued Down Dogs, then took full advantage of the Corpse pose for the rest of class. Namaste ZZZzzzzz
Disclaimer: We were not asked to write about any of the above companies or products. However, we did receive the excursion free as well as the Overland backpack, Vasque trail shoes, and even a water bottle and yoga mat from Goodness Knows. All opinions are my own.
Actions you can take right now without any sweat or mussy hair. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Subscribe to our blog. Follow us on twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit Heck also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.
In our previous post we wrote about the benefits of humor for staying healthy. Today it’s all about heart health. It’s almost dinnertime, so food is on our minds. Before we talk about the Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds I just ate, you get to take a quiz. What is the difference between these two hearts?
The answer is…Nothing. They are both healthy hearts. Bet you were tempted to say something about the plate colors or the size of the hearts, eh? It was a trick question because the hearts are made of almonds, and the American Heart Association (AHA) just certified the Whole Natural, Roasted Salted, Low Sodium, Sea Salt, No Salt and Honey Dijon flavors as heart-healthy.
Here’s some professional nagging from Alexandra, and if you’re one of her university students, you have to listen in case this makes the quiz – “Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S., which is distressing, because so many of its causes are preventable. For example, who ate breakfast today? And was it from food close to the ground or was it processed into oblivion?
A quick story about our dad, who just lost about 50 pounds – After coming very close to being wheelchair-bound, our dad decided to lose weight. His health problems were due to a lack of activity and overeating. He significantly changed his diet and has stuck to it. For breakfast he has almonds, fruit, his coffee (he’s 83 and isn’t planning to give that up), and cereal (not the kind that comes in primary colors). So to us, having our dad “back” is associated with these foods, so you bet we’re almond fans! And how is a story of our dad relevant for National Women’s Health Week? He has three living daughters whose hearts would be healthy, yet broken, if he died due to preventable causes. So do what our dad did – but sooner!
* Get regular exercise (aim for 20 minutes a day if you’re currently doing nothing).
* Cut the high-fat, high-sugar, highly processed foods that you don’t absolutely love out of your diet. If we tell you to cut them all out, you won’t do it, so just cut out the ones you don’t love.
* Focus on protein and carbs that are close to the ground – meaning you can identify their origins. And healthy fat should be part of a healthy diet too.
Why Blue Diamond Almonds? Well, besides the AHA heart-healthy certification, don’t they make you think of skiing? We’re both blue square intermediate skiers who have done a few black diamond runs, which makes us Blue Diamond Girls, right?
Anyway, follow the path (or ski run) to a healthy heart. Move More. Eat Less. Eat Better. Feel Better. By the way, cats and dachshunds like the Whole Natural Almonds. This was discovered when they interfered with the photo session!
What do you eat for breakfast? For a healthy snack? What are you willing to give up?
Join us for a Tweetchat on Monday, May 21, 6 pm PST/ 9 pm EST, using the hashtag #BlueDiamond. We will be discussing hearts, health and food. Probably no discussion of our dad.
FitFluential LLC compensated me for this campaign. All opinions are my own.
By the time we finished testing out the new equipment, we had used every muscle and every verb available. We climbed, pulled, bounced, jumped, shook, hauled (mostly our tired butts) and ker-splatted our way to equipment enlightenment. Or to the water fountain. Either way.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJY72n6WiM4&feature=plcp&context=C4519935VDvjVQa1PpcFPajXWkzgLidQi1pwAgO02WX4t5nNoVFPg%3D[/youtube]
These are the machines we tried:
None of these companies sponsors us in any way; we just thought they looked like fun and wanted to share them with you.
Alexandra’s favorite was clearly the BallBike – the video only shows a few seconds of her
having a ball, drawing an admiring crowd, testing out the equipment as a professional should!
Which piece of equipment looks the most fun to you?
Kymberly: Two features I noticed and liked right away (besides the fact that the monitors were complimentary! Always nice):
1) The little gizmo is strapless. Yes, just like the dresses I never wore in college! No strap around the torso, no electrodes to hook up to. I just popped that baby onto my wrist like a watch.
Alexandra: Oh, I SO want to hook Kymberly up to some electrodes right now, just for research purposes. Say, maybe I can talk her into touching the electric fence around my garden (my 17-year-old and his friends touched it on purpose. Silly boys; shocks are for cars).
K: 2) Super easy to check my heart rate. I simply placed two fingers on top, waited 6 seconds, and voila! The number and a little heart symbol appeared. Yes, it revealed my heart rate, not IQ or waist size. Sheesh! It can also tell you how many calories you’ve burned.
A: Did it reveal whether or not you have a heart? One thing I noticed, since I like to wear things on my right wrist, is that the monitor really only works if you wear it on the left. I never could get a reading when I tried to use the left hand/ right wrist combo. Maybe there’s a version out there for lefties.
K: Fine print (meaning my comments are so Fiiiine, you will want to keep reading): to take advantage of the watch, calorie burning indicator, stopwatch, alarm, and other features, keep those instructions handy and actually read them. My experience went like this — read, press stuff, enjoy beeping, get reading glasses, read the next two lines, poke at the monitor more, read more, get more beeping, distract the new puppy who wanted to chew the Omron monitor. (She liked the beeping I guess). You get the picture.
In case you want one for you or your pet, here’s the link to Omron.
If you’re on Twitter, please join in the TweetChat #FitWithOmron to ask questions such as, “Do you have a left-handed version,” and other workout-related topics. The chats are Jan. 09 and Feb. 06; both at 6:00 pm PST.
FitFluential LLC compensated me for this sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Alexandra has been nominated for a Shorty Award in Social Fitness, and really wants your vote. Please click on the badge link and vote for her if you have a Twitter account. Voting closes in a few weeks, so please vote now! Oh, only one vote will count, so don’t be fooled by their invitation to “vote again”! Thank you!
When there are changes in the nervous system (spinal cord, brain, neurons, nerves, etc.) and circulatory system (heart, veins & arteries deliver blood to body’s tissues), this can cause a drop in the amount of blood getting to the brain. This decrease leads to Ka-Thunk – loss of consciousness. We discussed this right here and here.
* Anemia is having a lower than normal red blood cell count. Why does this matter? Because a low count means decreased oxygen to the brain. And lots of university students are iron-deficient, which is strongly correlated to anemia. Lots of females with heavy periods are prone to anemia too.
* Eating disorders wreak havoc on the body, so it’s no surprise that fainting is a result.
* Pregnancy is fairly uncommon, but not unknown to this age group. Besides changes to the circulatory system and dehydration, those dang fetuses can sit right on top of the blood vessels and SQUEEZE, there goes the brain’s blood supply.
* Stress affects the nervous system, and not in a good way. Blood pressure goes LOW, LOW, LOW when you get under stress. This is rare for university students, as they never, ever worry about finals, papers, social issues, money, grades; that kind of stuff!
* Drugs do not mix well with exercise, including some prescription meds. Actually, if you’re misusing or abusing drugs, fainting is probably the least of your health worries!
* Medical issues, such as cardiac (heart) problems, seizures, or certain types of migraines are a big deal. If you’re fainting a lot or for longer than a minute, get checked out!
* Hyperventilation (fast breathing) causes carbon dioxide (CO2) to decrease in the blood. Combine exercise with an anxiety/panic attack, and you see the problem!
* Overexercising pisses off your histamine receptors, and they get so upset that they overact.
* One of the most common reasons students faint is dehydration. Drink more fluids, especially water, and eat properly before your workout. Sadly, this is so easy to prevent, yet accounts for most of the fainting. Does this sound like you? If so, get a water bottle. Use it!
* Another frequent reason for passing out in class is becoming overheated. This goes along with getting dehydrated, so after you get your water bottle, stand by the fan, A/C unit or the open door.
And now we come to the reason that I suspect there’s an epidemic of fainting this particular quarter – too many people in the room. More students are showing up to class, which means they are all getting hotter, sooner. Considering the fact that students are not fainting in the early morning classes, but are dropping with alarming consistency in the mid-day slots, my guess is a reasonable one. Now I just have to figure out if it’s better to have fewer students (it’s hard to say no to all those eager undergrads) or require them to bring personal spritzers! Or ask them to be absent more often!
Bonus word: Syncope – This is the medical term for “fainting after exercise.” Pre-syncope is when you have signs that you’re about to faint, but manage to recover before fainting occurs. Not to be confused with “syncopate,” which is to place musical accents on the normally unaccented beats, or to shorten a word such as “Sequim” to “Squim.” (Anyone from the Pacific Northwest knows this one!)
Photo credits: Creative Commons
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams-Evans, MA
Alexandra: Dear Eric: First of all, I’m wondering if you really mean to ask about blood rushing from the head, rather than to it since you mention dizziness. But I’ll stick with what you have for now, ok? You are referring to a fun activity called “vasodilation,” in which your blood vessels widen all up. Are you extra pissed off when you exercise? I ask because that big ol’ dike blood burst is generally correlated with anger. In case that doesn’t get you all riled up, smoking pot or cigarettes can have the same effect. And who knows what happens if you light up AND get angry! Kaboom!
By the way, are you exercising upside down? Just want to cover the possibilities here.
As to the dizziness during exercise, there are a number of reasons why this could be occurring.
Kymberly: Yes, if you are not eating properly, are dehydrated, accelerating your pace too quickly, not getting enough iron, or if you have low blood pressure, you are more susceptible to getting dizzy. If you breathe irregularly or hold your breath you can also feel faint. I once was teaching and right in mid-cue saw the stars and blackness coming at me almost as fast as the floor. But in that case, it was because I had donated blood then la-de-dahed my way to aerobics. Experience like this is what qualifies us to dole out advice.
A: Yes, and Eric asked what to do, not how to avoid making your weird mistakes. The non-medical degree that I don’t hold makes me want to say, “Check with your doctor if this is happening often or severely.” Actually, I wanted to say that so badly that I just did. If there’s no medical reason, I’d do just as I do with my students in real life (this blog is a figment of my imagination; not real life at all), and suggest maybe you eat or drink more before class. Are you hot?” (And I don’t mean “hot” like “yowza,” I mean “hot” like “turn down the sun). Then find ways to cool off (water comes to mind again). And what have you got against sitting down? It does work.
As to what I tell people whose necks crack and shoulders pop, I say nothing–I’m too busy running away from what could be a full-body explosion.
K: Personally I think Eric was getting dizzy laughing at all our fine posts. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. Unless my head swells up so much that I start feeling faint.
A: That popping could be your tendons or ligaments having a party in your joints. Or, in a more “ewwwwww” kind of way, it could be escaping gas. Ah, don’t be insulted – it’s just oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Or fermented kvas.
Dear readers: Did you know you had noisy gas in your joints? Have you ever gotten dizzy during exercise?
Photo credits: Photobucket
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
1) Adults and children spend an average of 70% of their awake time sitting (driving, eating, watching tv, reading, working at a computer, playing video games).
2) Kymberly is sitting now, being sedentary and adding to the dismal stats about sitting and butt parking. Oh, Meow!
3) The average woman adds 10 pounds of fat every decade.
4) Our readers are not average and therefore are bucking the fat gain stats.
5) Sedentary jobs have increased 83% since 1950; Physically active jobs now make up only about 25% of our workforce. That is 50% less than 1950.
6) Alexandra is way more fit than Kymberly.
7) Eighty percent of midlife women (age 40 to 60) have one or more heart disease risk factors.
You better have said “number 6.” Or else……
Let’s end our time together today boys and girls with a few Fun Fit Facts….or Fiction???!! Can you pick out the Fun Fit Facts that do not belong?
1) Just five minutes of “green exercise” – cycling, gardening, fishing, or other outdoor activities – can enhance your mood and self esteem.
2) Exercise can improve your brainpower .
3) Fun and Fit are brainiacs beyond belief, partly because they work out regularly.
4) Studies show that for every hour of walking, life expectancy may increase by two hours.
Photo Credits: Creative Commons & Photobucket