Dear Alexandra and Kymberly: I just lost my husband, Julian to cancer. Due to all the hospital appointments, my eating habits also got lost! I have put on a lot of weight, but feel so tired and lethargic I can’t get into the mood to do exercise. I have damage to my neck, knees, and lower back (due to a fall) plus my midriff and waist have become “large” and I have lost my waistline. At 69 years young this is depressing me. I am also worried about a “ledge” at the bottom of my tummy and scared it will be “resting” on the top of my legs when I sit down!!!
As well, I look after my 96 year young Mum, who has no balance anymore due to cancer and other problems. So she is only able very slowly to get from one room to another downstairs. I get to bed about 1:30am once my Mum’s medication kicks in and she falls asleep. She usually wakes me about 7am to go to the toilet, then goes back to bed until 10:00. (She is in a hospital bed in my living room so isn’t able to get up by herself). I have been looking after my Mum for 3 years and my husband for the last 2 and half, so have had little sleep etc. which may be the reason I feel tired. Since Julian died, I am still running around for Mum, but not doing the right things to lose the “middle” weight.
I need all the help I can get!! I appreciate other people’s input so have included my name. Kindest regards, Patricia of Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
Dear Patricia: Wow! Talk about the perfect storm for changes to your body, mood, and energy levels! We’re amazed and honored you have time to write to us for advice. Fortunately, we have some practical suggestions that may help you and other widows, post menopausal women, and caregivers gain energy and lose weight. (Check out what we told caregivers who wrote to us with similar concerns: A Workout Plan to Lose Weight When You Are a Caregiver)
If you have a weensy bit more time and energy, then click over go to our YouTube Channel where you can find exercises just right for your goals and capabilities.
Let us know how you fare and feel free to comment below, especially once others share their tips and support. We offer our condolences on your husband’s death.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
All of the following, seemingly contradictory statements are true … depending on …. your goal. Ready to mix and match with more style than when you are in a Macy’s dressing room? GO! (Answers at the end of the post). And when you see a link, click on it for more detailed scoop on each action and benefit.
A. Cardio training – of any type — is best.
B. Strength training is more critical than cardio activity, especially for baby boomer women.
C. As you enter midlife, you need to incorporate 7 specific movement habits into your cardio workouts to get the best results.
E. As few as 10 minutes of high intensity training per day is sufficient.
F. Make sure to include resistance training, aerobic exercise, and stretching in your workout program at least 2-3 times per week.
G. Aim first for Amount of movement; Next for Type of activity; then for Intensity of exercise level
H. Go as long as you can, as hard as you can, as often as you can.
Which numbered goal below goes with which lettered advice above?
Bottom line if you forget everything? (Well, that means you aren’t performing any cardio, because you just read that cardio enhances memory). Anyway, if nothing else, simply remember that doing something is almost always better than doing nothing when it comes to accruing health benefits. And the more fitness benefits you want out of your movement, the more frequency, attention, and effort you have to commit to.
Commit to follow us, up hill, down dale, over the pale. Subscribe now if you haven’t yet, and get FREE our booklet, 34 Guilt Free Strategies to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain. Get insider fitness advice all year!
To make it easy to share (and because I want to increase my Pinterest skills), I made a nice easy pin of our 10 tips to avoid holiday weight gain that you can access at the next big get-together.
As we’ve mentioned before, if you incorporate more movement into your daily activities, you can successfully lose weight (or keep weight from jumping on to your body in the first place). So it sure would be nice if house cleaning fell into the “watch those kcals just fall off my body” category, wouldn’t it?
Good news for all of us who have worked up a sweat changing the bedsheets, vacuuming the rugs, and dusting the ceilings (please don’t say I’m the only person who does this) – according to a recent study in the U.K., a good spring cleaning can burn more calories than running a marathon. Since I hate to run marathons, this is welcome news indeed!
According to the study (done by promotionalcodes.org.uk), a good spring cleaning burns 3,655 kcals, while a marathon burns 2,500 – 3,500. Yes, it will take you longer to do the cleaning than the running, but look on the bright side – you didn’t have to run. This is the breakdown:
Vacuuming (1 hour) 238 calories
Dusting (2 hours) 340 calories
Emptying, cleaning, repacking cupboards (4 hours) 952 calories
Scrubbing the floor (1 hour) 258 calories
Climbing up and down stairs (20 mins) 181 calories
Turning mattresses and making beds (1 hour) 136 calories
Moving heavy furniture (2 hours) 476 calories
Cleaning windows (3 hours) 612 calories
Cleaning external doors (1 hour) 204 calories
Deep clean bathrooms (1 hour) 258 calories
Quick math tells me that’s 16 hours of work. And I see no category for jumping onto the mattresses when you discover spiders lurking under the bed. I’m sure there’s a high calorie burn for that. I can testify that my heart rate was definitely in the “Working Very Hard” range.
Cleaning external doors isn’t my thing, though I do scrub down the area by the doorknobs. I’d also love to see the calorie count for scrubbing all the kitchen cabinets plus the stove hood and kitchen walls, mainly because I want credit for these chores. Does sweeping count as part of scrubbing?
So, who’s up for 20 minutes on the stairs? And who thinks this is good news? I know I’m excited, though I doubt I’ll pull on my Lorna Jane gear and put out a 16 hour house chore workout. And how many calories did I burn getting all the dog hairs off the mini-trampoline?
In case you’re interested, the links to the cleaning tools are in the pictures. These are not affiliate links; I get nothing if you click. I’m just making it easy for you.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Well, it depends. Yes, it depends on your goals and priorities. All of the above comments are true — given a specific goal. So my goal with this post is to start with the outcome you might desire and offer an appropriate suggestion based on that desired result. For example, one of you might have a primary goal to lose weight, while another of you might prioritize avoiding illness. The workout for the former person would include some high intensity, interval aerobic exercise once or twice a week. The protocol for the latter would be to walk casually every other day.
So let’s hop, skip, walk, sleep, and jump from goal to goal hoping you find what you are looking for along the way. If you ever wanted to know “what’s the best fitness advice for me?” then find your goal below with the “best” tip after it. (Also check out our post on the BEST cardio exercise).
Trying to lose weight? Apparently Baby Boomers have the highest obesity rates of any age group – topping 35% in 17 states and 30% in 41 states. Freak Out Fit Fact!! If you do have a weight loss goal, try the following:
And read our post on the the best ways to burn fat. Just promise not to be sitting down while reading about fat burning!
Reducing stress is the number two top motivator for working out according to a Concorde University study (wondering what the number one motivator is? I’ll tell you at the end of the post). AARP Bulletin Jan-Feb 2014 shares that people 50-64 (uh, that’s us baby boomers again) feel more stressed out than people over 64.
How do you destress? If you are like many Americans, you turn to tv or online activities. However, people who use these methods also report not finding them helpful. Cognitive gap here readers! What is helpful for destressing? No surprise — physical activity. That’s pretty much ANY movement. How is that for good news and easy advice to follow? Do what you enjoy and you’ll be less stressed. Read our post on reducing stress and be even more mellowed out. IDEA Fitness Journal June 2014
Need to reduce your blood pressure? Try isometric exercises. Those are the kind where your muscles are under tension without changing length or joint angle. Planks and wall sits are good examples as is a chest squeeze where you press the palms of your hands together in front of your chest and hold the resistance pressing hand to hand. Envision the “namaste” position. Now hold that and stick to it for 4 weeks. Yup, you are bringing your blood pressure down! Mayo Clinic Proceedings (2014;89 , 327-34)
Let’s aim big here. Want to live longer (and better?) Then you must pump it up. Rest assured– you don’t have to go Arnie Schwarzie style. A UCLA study of men over 55 and women over 65 confirmed that more relative muscle mass leads to a longer life. And you’ll probably look and function better in that life too! My fitness pro tip for you? Start in a strength training class led by a knowledgeable instructor . You’ll get exercise ideas, form feedback, safety cues, and interaction to make the experience more enjoyable and effective. American Journal of Medicine 2014
If you want more life satisfaction, improved psychological well-being, increased flexibility, and better dynamic balance – take Pilates lessons. Mat classes brought benefits as did work on Pilates reformers and other specialized equipment. Find the Pilates training that you enjoy and reap those many benies! To increase your happiness even more, read our post on Getting Happier. IDEA Fitness Journal June 2014
Want to make better decisions and smarter choices? Engage in 15 minutes of mindful meditation prior to making your decision. You will be able to focus more effectively on information available now (vs in the past or present) and to ignore other emotions, thoughts, issues that might get in the way of your ability to think rationally and clearly. IDEA Fitness Journal June 2014
Of course, many more goals exist with endless good advice to achieve those specific goals. If we did not cover YOUR goal, put it in the comments with your question and we’ll get you the latest Fun Fit Facts and workout tips. The main message Alexandra and I hope you get from this post is that no matter what your exercise goal is, moving will help. Move Often. Move to Improve!
And since you made it all the way to this point, you get to find out the Number One Reason US adults of all ages report as their main motive for working out:
To be toned and fit. Whatever that means to you. Yup.
Readers: What motivates you to exercise?
Not only are we movers, but also we are speakers. Book us to speak at your events: (805) 403-4338 or email email@example.com.
Improve your move when you go 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.
No matter where you live, walking outside is beneficial, even if you have to strap on snowshoes on the first day of Fall! And the nice thing about where you live is that your town has a few hiking paths that only locals seems to know about. Santa Barbara is no exception. Even though we’ll never get a chance to strap on snowshoes (well, we can strap them on, but we can’t walk around on snow on them unless we drive far away), we at least have the benefit of some fantastic walking spots. I’m going to share three that will put you “in the know” for the day you come to town: one on the beach, one at a lake, and one in the mountains.
From late October to late February you can see the monarch butterflies in this preserve that has 137 acres of open space. Parking and admission are free, and docents give educational talks on the weekends during butterfly season.
High above Santa Barbara, you get here by driving to the top of Hwy 154 (the Pass), and turning left onto West Camino Cielo. One of the few easily accessible boulder fields (we’ve taken a 4 year old and 84 year old), you follow a trail in for ¼ mile, then climb on, in, over, and even inside the rock outcroppings. Or just have a picnic and watch the sunset.
If you need comfy, cute shoes for your outdoor adventures, we love Ahnu. Not an affiliate link; we just love them. Check them out and decide for yourself. Then lace up and get outside!
The answer is always yes. It’s also “It depends.”
In the group thread I read lots of good advice for this frustrated woman, with people recommending various diets and types of workouts. Yet if we back away from the question, and ponder the underlying assumption, it’s possible she doesn’t need to make any big changes. If she wants to KEEP the weight off once it’s lost, she might just be right on track with her 1 to 1 1/2 pound weekly loss. I’ll make a leap of faith and assume keeping the weight off after her weight loss program is over is her longer-term goal. Which means losing 1 to 1.5 pounds per week might be best.
A few years ago we were asked whether it was safely possible to lose 10 pounds in 4 weeks, and we essentially said it’s reasonable, sustainable and realistic long-term to lose 1.5 – 2 pounds per week if you combine intense cardio with resistance training and a nutritious diet. Of course, that is hard for menopausal women, and our fitness pro colleague Tamara Grand has some spot-on suggestions and resources for staying the nutrition and fitness course once midlife changes everything!
In this post we wrote about the differences between losing weight and maintaining weight loss, you can see in the chart that to LOSE weight, reduced caloric intake is the easiest way for most people to achieve negative energy balance, while to KEEP it off, physical activity is the strategy to prevent weight regain.
As my sister points out in her post about choosing the “right” diet, it’s far easier for most people to cut out a 500-calorie drink than to exercise strenuously for about an hour.
So our advice to you (and the millions of other people with this same question) is to perhaps focus more on your intake than your output. Once you reach your weight goal, you can switch that around (to a point – the fluffy, puffy, whipped creamy coffee drinks are still an issue). If you want an in-depth explanation about what does and doesn’t work for fat loss, listen to our radio interview with Dr. James Hill, member of the NIH Expert Panel on Obesity, author of “State of Slim,” co-founder of the National Weight Control Registry, and co-founder of America on the Move, a national weight gain prevention initiative.
While I’m at it, I’ll throw in my occasional mantra, “Never give up. Never surrender.” It’s from a movie that cracks me up. [youtube]http://youtu.be/9fdcIwHKd_s[/youtube]
1) We have a giveaway ending in a few hours that you should enter. You could win either a Foot Note shoelace or bracelet motivational fitness charm from Momentum if you have a U.S. address, so head to our fan page right now!
2) As part of a campaign with Blue Diamond I did a twist on the traditional Dolly Bar recipe that incorporates their Toasted Coconut Almonds. Easy recipe. Quick to make. Delicious to eat.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
In our recent episode, Fat Burning for Women Over 50: Be on Fire, Dr. Len walked us through the sometimes confusing realities of killing off kilocalories. Once we appreciate the role carbohydrates and fat both serve in providing fuel, then we can understand how to select the “best” workout programs.
First, the goal is to have a caloric deficit to lose any weight. That deficit comes from the age old energy balance equation: take in fewer calories than we put out (eat less); put out more calories than we take in (move more). The entire weight loss picture is far more complex, affected by a myriad of other factors. For more on losing weight and fat, check out Burn a Myth to Burn More Calories (post) and Fat Loss; What Does and Doesn’t Work (radio episode) . Professional alert warning system activated – it’s not just about cals in and out, though you do have to start there!
Second, is that we break down carbohydrates 40 times faster than fat, with carbos supplying most of the fuel (energy) to power our exercise. Distinguish between absolute and relative numbers when thinking of fat loss. When you exercise with some intensity, you use a higher percentage of carbos compared to fat as the fuel source. However, the highest total of burned calories is what you are going for. For that, you need to suck it up and add some effort.
Higher intensity exercise burns more calories; however, a long, slow approach is better than what most of the adult population is doing — uh, as in better than not much or nuffink! But a workout with some oomph to it at a higher pace will use more total energy (calories) than the lower intensity plan. Absolutely!
So forget needing to be in a “fat burning zone” when making cardio equipment or fitness tech choices. Get in the calorie burning zone, which is also a high carbo burning zone.
Third, thanks to Dr. Len’s practical tips, you now get led into the exciting, proven, no-magic-required realm of the four best training programs to maximize calorie burning and become lower fat! He recommends we try all 4 methods.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Select a cardio activity you enjoy, such as cycling, running, walking, using a row machine. Go as hard as you can for about 30 seconds. Then recover at a self-selected, variable pace for about 3- 4 minutes. Complete 4-8 rounds for a total workout time of about 30-45 minutes. Dr. Len recommends changing up the mode workout to workout, especially if you have several favorite cardio activities.
And if you forget all this, simply recite the Kymberly mantra: “Go as hard as you can, as long as you can, as often as you can.” I hear the sizzle of calorie burning already!
First of all, I was just going to make chicken marinated in the sauce, but I accidentally defrosted chicken lunchmeat instead of chicken breasts, so I just defrosted bratwurst and figured it would work to wrap the chicken around the bratwurst! That’s my full disclosure on the way I create the cooking magic here at the Alexandra House of Cooking Infamy. I’m actually a vegetarian, so can be excused (somewhat) for my chicken confusion, right?!
In any case, the recipe is below, and was pronounced a delicious success by the meat-eaters in my family. So it shall be repeated for the weekend. It’s a versatile recipe, eh!! (I’m channeling my inner Canadian for no apparent reason there).
8 slices chicken lunchmeat
4 large bratwurst
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey peanut butter
1/2 tsp curry paste (red or green)
2 minced or crushed garlic cloves
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
zest and juice of small lime (or 1/2 of regular)
Whisk together all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Put the bratwurst into the bowl and fully cover it with the sauce. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes. While it’s marinating, preheat the oven to 350. Put the bratwurst into a baking dish (or on a parchment covered baking sheet) and wrap the chicken slices around the bratwurst. Pour remaining sauce over the meat and bake for 45-60 minutes.
I baked it in a covered dish, so if you bake it in an uncovered dish or on a baking sheet, the cooking time might be somewhat less. And in case you’re wondering what I ate, I had the borscht, made from beets I grew in my garden.
This is not a sponsored post, but Peanut Butter & Co. did send me two jars of Bee’s Knees. They also will send two jars to a U.S. resident who gets randomly selected in our giveaway.
With DietBetter we don’t tell you HOW to lose the weight, though Kymberly and I do have advice about the best diet for weight loss, the most effective way to get started , and the best weight loss methods according to research (hint: the answer is “it depends”).
What we like about DietBetter is that you choose the weight loss method that’s right for you, while they set the parameters to keep it healthy and safe. For example, if you weigh 170 pounds, four percent of that is 6.8 pounds, which means losing 1.7 pounds a week. Totally realistic, as we show in our post “Lose 10 pounds in 4 weeks.” Math + hard work = weight loss success + financial gain.[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/79208152[/vimeo]
1. Join up today and put $25 in the pot. You can join up after the game starts, but you are best off to join up in advance.
2. In the 48 hours before the start date of May 27 you post a starting weight photo that is verified by the DietBetter team (they send you a word to use, plus photo requirements).
3. Your weight is NEVER shared unless you decide to do so.
4. You can check in on the site as often as you like to share successes, frustrations, ideas, encouraging words, or even to ask us for advice.
5. Within 48 hours of the end date of June 28, you post your final weight. If you are a winner, you need to post a verification photo. If you did NOT achieve your 4% goal, you don’t need to post a picture.
6. Winners get their share of the pot via PayPal.
That’s it. I’ll be doing this too, as I still want to lose that last bit of the 10 pounds I gained back in December when I complained about being overweight and over the hill. Trying to lose weight on my own has gone okay, but not great. I am still not where I was six months ago, even with all my exercise and healthy eating. I’m motivated by money because I want to get my $25 investment back!! I also want to make money, though secretly I hope everyone is a winner. Oh, that’s another great thing about DietBetter – if everyone wins, they don’t even keep their cut. They believe so strongly in positive reinforcement that if we all win by losing, we all get back our full $25.
So, are you in? Click on this link to join. Four weeks. Four percent.
photo credit: lady on scale – Clarita
We love it when we can share good news with you – If you have watched any of our videos about improving your posture, you know we are fans of good posture. In celebration of National Correct Posture Month, our friends at BackJoy are rewarding those who commit to improving their posture by awarding the first 500 people who participate in the #PosturePledge celebration with a FREE SitSmart Posture Plus ($40.00 retail value), You’ll also be automatically entered to win a fabulous grand prize. All you have to do is choose one of the ten simple actions listed on BackJoy’s Posture Pledge Facebook page.
It’s a good bet to 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.