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 classes I teach, 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, especially if you embrace healthy aging and dispel some common misconceptions.
Redefine How You Age?
The worry about adding years to life without adding life to those years is well-founded. When we interviewed 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 to those of us who work with or are older adults.
Basically, as we age, we baby boomers and our parents face 5 key challenges. Can you guess what they are?
Super Sensible Solutions for the Projected Problems
For each problem, Colin Milner offers a corresponding suggestion. (Could be why his nickname is “the Colonizer.”) 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.
In fact, as a generation, we are NOT aging healthfully. Read about it here: Women Over 50: We are NOT aging healthfullyTop 5 things you can do to age well (even after a lifetime of yuck, blah, & bad habits Click To Tweet
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?
Want to be an s active aging superstar? How? Read this post: What Do You Enjoy About Aging?
HOT NEWS: Speaking of the International Council on Active Aging, I was one of 30 national fitness leaders selected to present at their Nov 2016 Reimagine Aging conference taking place in Orlando. My topic? “Integrate Function and Cognitive Challenges into Your Older-adult Fitness Group.” In a nutshell, move, think, do both at once.” Am I qualified? Decide for yourself by reading this post: Midlife Funtional Aging Specialists
Really be impressed with how much you will learn and benefit from the cutting edge advice of Colin Milner and others who specialize in healthy aging for older adults. Take a gander at our TransformAging package. Seriously, don’t simply grow old when you can age actively! Costs nothing to check out this link: TransformAging Summit
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Health and beauty are inside jobs! Body image and a “perfect physique” are matters of perspective, culture, history, and whatever the mass media tells us.
Can you say “Mixed Messages?” Don’t believe us? Take a brief tour through past wistful wishes for va-va-voom figures. Look at what people were willing to do to achieve that “look du decade.”
Don’t make us talk about you years from now! Our gift to you as we wrap up — no, not gifts. We are not that organized! — Work the look you already have. Embrace it; Look it in the eye and say “Ell-bees – you and I are going into the New Year together baby, guilt- and stress-free!”
Whoa now you Vixens, Dashers, and Red Nosed sorts! Don’t go overboard — or is that “oversleigh?” We said give yourself some body-lovin’ self-acceptance while staying active, not plunk down your hiney so finey!
ACTION: Subscribe to get us to come to you twice a week with active aging solutions tailored to women over 50. Subscribing is self love! Simply enter your email in one of the boxes AND get your bonus free.
by Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Put on by the industry association for fitness professionals, it has grown over the years to offer options for enthusiasts too. Two in particular might appeal to you when making your 2016 plans for July.
Entrance is free, so that’s a super incentive right there. Several hundred companies, ranging from heavyweights Reebok, Merrithew/ Stott Pilates, TRX, General Mills, and Lorna Jane to smaller and newer companies such as Ahnu Footwear, Siggi’s Dairy, Lolé Fitness Apparel, LaBlast Dance Fitness, and Functional Aging Institute were offering samples, demonstrations, workouts and discounts to visitors.
No matter what your age, ability, fitness level, or health preferences, you could find something of interest. Just a few of the types of free workouts – indoor cycling, slacklining, Core Stix, interval training, walking, dance, suspension training, strength training, treadmills & cardio machines, Pilates, yoga, competitive events – are enough to get you thinking, “Wow, for the price of, um, ZERO, I can work out all day if I want.”
You can also shop for just about anything you need for fitness – clothing, shoes, apps, tech gear, equipment, healthy food, supplements, skin care, water in all kinds of forms (we saw dark brown mineral water that tasted just like clear water), education, pain relief, music. I’m wearing the Recon Jet glasses above from Intel.
Besides eating lots of free samples, I got a free functional fitness assessment. I didn’t do well, thanks to my knee that needs reconstruction, and my shoulder/ wrist injury, but at least I have additional information about ways I’m compensating. I also won free custom shoes from Reebok, and my sis won an Intel Basis Peak fitness/ sleep tracker. Other people won free spa weeks, a Schwinn indoor bike, mini-fridges, protein packs/ bars, clothing, music, training, books, and on and on and on.
Fitness Fanatics Day
You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to sign up for this, because once you participate in just one of the workouts, you’ll become one – it’s that fun. Open to both convention attendees and the general public, Saturday was a full day of workouts lead by the fitness celebrities who created them: Jillian Michaels, Todd Durkin, Leslie Sansone, Beto Perez and Jeanette Jenkins.
I didn’t do the workouts, as I was covering them for IDEA Fitness Journal and didn’t have time, but I did stop in to all of them, and can tell you that the room was packed for all five sessions, and the exercisers were having the time of their lives.
If you’ve never enjoyed exercise, this “time of your life” concept will sound weird, but it just means you haven’t found the RIGHT exercise yet. I was really tapping my feet and wishing I could just stay in the “3 Mile Walk Concert With Leslie Sansone.” That was my favorite because it was easily accessible to nearly everyone. I saw people in there who represented typical Americans. This was not a class for the fit people; it was a class for the people. And since I’m a Boomer (with injuries) and I teach older adults (and university students), I am drawn to these inclusive kinds of workouts.
Next year the IDEA World Fitness Convention is back in Los Angeles July 13-17. Mark it in your calendar now. You’ll recognize me. I’ll be the one standing on the side of the room taking notes and tapping my feet. Except when the disco songs start. Then I set my stuff down and “help” the leaders show the youngsters how it’s done.
by Alexandra Williams, MA
Kymberly: Want the Ultimate Baby Boomer Body? Personally I am ok with the “Ixnay on the Bikini, but I’ll Still Wear a One-Piece” Body. To get either version, you’ll need to incorporate 7 important, midlife-specific training principles into your exercise routines.
First, we need to establish and agree that midlife exercisers are special, with unique attributes.Want the Ultimate Baby Boomer Body? Incorporate these 7 midlife-specific training principles… Click To Tweet
So what do we unusual, interesting, unique, and different women need to do to achieve functionally strong and healthy bodies, minds and attitudes? How can we create targeted workout routines for women like you (and us)?
Alexandra: I am seriously hoping the answer involves Clive Owen or Colin Firth, but I’ll settle for just assuming you are speaking of ME when you use the adjectives “unusual, interesting, unique, and different.” Hmmm, second guess. Does it involve bacon? Even though I am a vegetarian, I feel certain that the answer to many things is “bacon.”
Now, you said midlife women are special in 6 ways. And if you’d given 6 training principles, I’d know Bacon was the answer — Kevin Bacon. If you don’t know about the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, you can read the link while doing your seven training principles. To defy gravity (and age), plus engage in gym movements, do this Footloose workout.
Kymberly: We know my sister is really Baking, not Bacon Woman. Anyway, stay Footloose and Bacon Free when you incorporate the following into your regimen:
Continue to build bone strength by selecting impact activities. Especially at our age, we need to strike the ground by walking, jogging, skipping, and stepping to stimulate our bones. Step classes are particularly effective at offering impact without adverse joint stress. This is a case of wanting gravity’s effects!
Choose movements and exercises that mimic daily life activities such as climbing stairs, loading groceries into the car, carrying luggage on fun, exotic, vacation trips. (A boomer can envision, nicht wahr?) Such exercises might include step ups and squats, for instance.
Brace through the core and hinge from the hips. Add dead lifts to your repertoire — but let’s call them “live lifts,” shall we? Look for opportunities to activate the back (dorsal side) of your body in addition to performing ab and core work.
Be sure to sit and stand “strong.” Address muscle imbalances. Take action now to improve posture now and later. No Dowager’s Hump for you, just Dowager title and property rights. Speak to me Downton Abbey fans!
You can see where fitness classes really are ideal for those of us wanting more than physical payoff from our workouts.
Reap on land some of the gravity defying benefits of water exercise. Who doesn’t look forward to reduced joint stress, buoyancy, and a certain lightness of being? Translate that “up” feeling to land movement by emphasizing the up phase. For example, with squats, engage your muscles more when standing than lowering. Change the pace, speed, or emPHAsis of moves to prioritize the press away from the floor. In short, concentrate on the parts of exercises that work against gravity.
I, I, I , yi yi! Use both cardio and resistance training to target age-related risks and preventable declines. Do the exercises you choose challenge your mobility? Balance? Bones? Coordination? Just as you might choose nutritionally dense foods, select movements that offer a compound or multiple return for your invested effort.
Kymberly: Begin with the end in mind — increase overall strength, stamina, core strength, mental agility, resistance to disease, and ability to continue pursuing life with vigor and enthusiasm. Heck, we also want to look good, right?
Alexandra: I’ve only got my end in mind.
Action: To really be ahead of the game, try Training Principle Number 8 — Subscribe! Have us come to you twice a week with fitness pro insider insights on how you can age more actively than all the other baby boomers you know. Enter your name and email into any of the subscription boxes. Plus claim your bonus.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
We stop at Expo booths that catch our eye because they have something that will work for us as instructors, or for you, our readers and radio show listeners, or because there appears to be a fun or unique baby boomer angle.
As the major players for all the fitness equipment and machines are exhibiting their latest inventions or upgrades, it makes perfect sense that they offer workouts in their booths. So we got up at super-pre-dawn o’clock and did a circuit class with Total Gym, followed by a really boingy and sproingy “run” on the Sproing
not a treadmill “soft surface system.” We loved both, especially the Sproing, as we have crappy, genetically flawed reconstructed knees from our superstar soccer days (the word “superstar” needs to be read with a twinkle in your eye).
Speaking of needing to exercise on soft surfaces, we had some fun
goofing off testing out the shock absorption of the flooring surfaces at the Regupol booth. Made of post-consumer tires and post-industrial rubber, we did our best recycled splits!
To recover from all our hard work, we invited ourselves into the sauna room at the Helo booth. The heat was on!! Actually, after only a few hours’ sleep, we were kind of tempted to take a nap in the sauna. The reps were nice about it until my sis started snoring!
If you ever take any of my group fitness classes, you will find out rather quickly that I’m not a fan of teaching kickboxing-style workouts. That was before. This is now. On a whim, we stopped at the Nexersys booth and gave the machine a good workout. Or it gave us one. Something tiring. Essentially it’s an interactive machine with punch and kick pads. Some people want chocolate or jewelry; I want this machine. Their website tag line is “Get the Body You Want.” He never showed up, so I did a four minute workout with the body I had – mine!
All group fitness pros need music, so we grapevined our way to Power Music, and signed up for their digital music subscription service that lets you access unlimited pre-made and custom mixes. We were going to buy CDs, as that’s about our level of technology, but the guys at the booth were so into customer service that they explained how much money we’d save with the service, then walked us through the entire downloading process. I left with music already on my phone AND a sheet of instructions. Props to the peeps at Power for major hand-holding. Now I just have to figure out how to use my phone with the sound system at the university. Sad, I know.
Shout out to LifeFitness and the Synrgy360 system for A: having a workout set-up that resembles a playground, and B: hiring the ever energetic, always positive Marc Coronel to demo the workouts. Second shout out to DietBetter (formerly DietBet), a social media, interactive weight loss game. You can win money for safely losing a specific percentage of your weight. We met the founder and learned that some new, top-secret fun things are on the horizon.
The day ended with us
relaxing completely testing for research purposes on the SolaJet DryWave massage beds. You lie down on something akin to a modern waterbed, but with more support. Warm water jets move up and down your body, providing a deep tissue massage. We intended to fake sleep so we could do intensive research, but the people at the booth actually let us stay until the Expo was closed.
Some of these items cost a lot, so ask your fitness facility to buy them. Pitch a fit so you’ll get your way. Cheer yourself up with a Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt CLIF Mojo bar. Also for research purposes.
Did you know that we’ve moved to a bigger platform for our radio show? Give us a listen Wednesdays at 8 am (live) and 8 pm (rebroadcast) PST on VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness channel.
Seriously, you’re going to have to wait for it as we have something MORE pressing for you to take advantage of. (Yes, you got exposed to all caps shouting). Our upgraded, revamped, moved over radio show launches in hours on VoiceAmerica.com!
Why listen to our new show, Active Aging for Boom Chicka Boomers? Do you want to achieve any of the following?:
Then do MORE than listen in. Call in your questions live at 866-472-5792. (Enter the number into your phone now and get that great feeling of a task well-accomplished). Get Insta-Attention and Immedia-Answers faster than your heart rate after an intense workout. Go to the Health and Wellness Channel at voiceamerica.com Wednesday mornings live. Hear updated solutions to your health and fitness problems courtesy of our expert guests (and some fine Fun and Fit wit). Our show sponsors are also on our list of “things that make us happy and healthy.” Thank you to CocoaVia, our primary sponsor and Theraderm Clinical Skin Care, both of whom care about baby boomers.
Our first episode is entitled Midlife Weight Gain: What Can You Do About Hormones, Menopause, and Menopot? Our kick-off guest is author, biologist, blogger, and certified fitness trainer, Tamara Grand, PhD. She will knock your night sweaty socks off!
Be part of our big debut. But only if you want to be smarter, stronger, slimmer, sexier, healthier, and taller. Or if you want to show your hormones who’s boss. Click on any of the links or images to take a radio wave time travel jump to the show. Into the future – your healthy future!
Readers: From the list above, what have you done to be enchanting lately? We’d love to help celebrate your successes. At the very least we want to say “Don’t Suck: Enchant!”
Klout is a company that measures people’s online influence and assigns a score. The score is derived from your activity on social media (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, Instagram). The average score is 20, and brands offer free Perks to influencers who have certain scores (they choose the minimum) in specific topics. So I took the various sites and made them into circuit stations, assigning each person a score at the end of the workout. There were seven stations: Faceback, Twitter, LinkedIn, InstaBlam, Pinterest, FourSquare, and Reddit.
For the Pinterest station, students bounced on stability balls in order to pin motivational sayings to the wall. For the LinkedIn station two people were attached at the ankle by an Exercuff, and they had to go from one spot to another remaining linked. At the InstaBlam station the two partners stood about 6 feet apart and did chest throws with a weighted medicine ball. FourSquare was the easiest to design – we played Four Square, just like in elementary school! For the Faceback station the partners were back to back, passing a medicine ball up, over and around each other. The Twitter station was declared the most popular, as they all got to take pictures of themselves bouncing on the stability balls.
This was directly followed by the hardest station, Reddit, in which they had to do a plank on the ball while reading their texts and email. In between each station, instead of water breaks or walking around the room, they had tweet/ Instagram breaks.
The workout was non-competitive, and everyone received a score based on the number of laps they did at the LinkedIn station. As it was all in fun, everyone got free Perks (thank you CalNaturale Svelte and PROBAR for the protein drinks and bars) at the end of class.
One side benefit for the people who attended the class (if they had a Twitter account) was that all the tweets & posts they sent out during the workout helped increase their real life Klout score!
Feel free to use my workout with your own students if they’re fans of social media. Even though the class was at 7 in the morning, we had an energetic group. And don’t worry – even with all the tweeting and posting and picture-taking, everyone still got their sweat on! It was really fun.
What do you think – shall I try this with my university students in the Fall? Do you have any stations to suggest?
Our nation (and others) is getting heavier and heavier with no slowdown in obesity rates on the horizon. In fact, 42% of the US adult population is predicted to be overweight or obese within the next two decades, with a third already so. The word to the fitness industry – we have not yet succeeded in getting our neighbors, relatives, friends, or community healthy, moving, or eating well. As a nation, we are speeding on a track to a major health crisis. At least we have not yet jumped the track. We can still apply brakes. And it’s going to take a multi-pronged, complex approach; not any simple, easy solutions.
Consumers (most of you reading this) are going to be looking more and more to exercise leaders for nutrition advice. So we fit pros are getting the word to get more education in this area so that we can stay within our scope of practice while meeting your needs.
Dance-based group classes are rising up, up, up with an emphasis on keeping complexity down, down, down. Whaddya know — people (you? For sure, we!) love to dance, just not when too much thinking, jumping, or choreography are involved. New programs such as QiDANCE, Big Dance, and LA Blast are taking popular, easy-to-follow styles such as ballroom, and creating fun, reinvigorating, no-apologies-for-pointed-toes dance cardio routines. Impact on the joints is low; the repetition of the dance moves is high. Key quote heard a lot: “ I love to dance when I work out, even if I can’t dance except like a dork.” Everyone can succeed while shaking it!
Yes, there were a lot of workshops, workouts and lectures about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), TRX® and CrossFit, yet there were even more courses emphasizing the need to meet people where they are. The people who are already hooked on exercise love the intense workouts, but as an industry we need to do a much better job of reaching the people who are overweight or obese and don’t (yet) enjoy exercise. Presenters proffered words such as “realistic,” “small steps” and “increments.” One key phrase we have used before here at Fun and Fit and heard highlighted as helpful for fitpros to ask new clients and class members: “What is the least you can/ will do?” When you are tempted to stay on the couch, try this question on for size. “What is the least you are willing to do today to improve your fitness?” Now get out there and be a trendsetter!
And the absolute HOTTEST trend? Subscribing to our YouTube channel. Or our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. We put all sorts of handy icons in the right sidebar for you to click on.
Readers: Have you seen any of these trends in action? What trends have you noted that are not listed above?
We are asked a LOT by our students and readers if soy is a good pre- or post-workout food. It’s a protein, and if you click to read the link you’ll discover
a picture of donuts and coffee that carbs and protein are your best choice after a workout. Soy has been controversial (The only food that isn’t controversial is dark chocolate – right?), so we try to stay up on the latest so we can give you our informed answer of “it depends.”
Alexandra: My son was allergic to soy when he was young, yet I can eat a gi-mantic bowl of edamame and feel nothing but full. So when we were offered the chance to write about some new research that just came out about the benefits of soy protein in combination with whey and casein, I was right in front,
shoving my colleagues out of the way raising my hand. Because I’m a vegetarian, I’m always interested in finding ways to get a good balance of omega-3 and omega-6 in my diet, especially as I’m not fond of fish oil (who is, I want to know? And who’s keeping anchovies on the pizza menus? Gag).
Kymberly: I am fond of fish oil that comes in fish. I like fish.
Without going in-depth about the research (we’d enjoy it, but you might start to glaze over and drool a bit), the bottom line is that soy (in combo with whey & casein) has been found to prolong muscle building and recovery after exercise. The study was done with college-aged subjects, yet the implications for helping older adults deal with sarcopenia (muscle wasting) are really exciting to me (not because we’re old; because we plan to BECOME old)!
Before you say in all caps, ‘FOLLOW THE MONEY,” we’ll tell you right out that the research was funded by Solae LLC (they develop soy-based ingredients). We didn’t have to follow that hard; it’s listed on the abstract! But, we kept following and found out that Solae has also been recognized for 3 years in a row as a world leader in ethics.
Alexandra: So I’m going to do what I have been doing all along – eat a balanced diet that has all kinds of organic choices, in moderation, which includes soy and soy-based foods. Heck, the Japanese have been eating tofu, bean paste and edamame for centuries and they’re healthier than we who eat a western diet! However, I will NOT be eating natto. That stuff looks, smells and tastes like a science project gone mutant. I tried it at the National Products Expo so you wouldn’t have to! It’s tied with Marmite for nastiest food in the universe as far as I’m concerned.
What about you? Are you more interested in post-exercise muscle building and recovery, or the possibilities for preventing sarcopenia in older age? Me, I’m off to figure out why our dachshund likes to eat empty edamame pods.
Are you on Twitter? There is a Twitter chat about soy protein on Wednesday, May 23, 9 PM EST/ 6 PM PST, hashtag #SoyProtein. Join the chat. Bring your questions. Do your workout first!
FitFluential LLC compensated me for this campaign. All opinions are my own.