Moving Is The Thing Over 50

MOVING IS THE THING

Just because I love to run doesn't mean I think it is right for everyone. The point I'm trying to make is that an appropriate level of physical activity is important for everyone for good health, mind and body. We all need to find what makes us feel like a kid again and do it often. Start by thinking about what activities you loved as a child. I loved to run. I can remember my mom saying all the time, "Cheryl has two speeds, running and asleep." I have not changed. I would rather run than walk most of the time. When I run I feel like I leave all my troubles behind in the wind. I seem to think more clearly while running. I plan what I want to do for the day, I think of fun conversations and about almost anything positive. It is meditation for me.

How much I run and how often varies day-to-day or month-to-month. And that is part of the benefit. When you played as child, you didn't do the same thing every day, you mixed it up because it was about having fun not forcing yourself to get a workout in.

Right now I am running three miles every other day and then on the alternate days I am doing a 30 minute yoga practice and a bare bones strength training routine that incorporates push-ups (for upper body), dead lifts (for core), planks (core), squats and lunges (lower body) and tricep-dips (arms). The first three exercises use major muscle groups and the tricep-dips I added because that is an area I want to firm up more. I found a fun 30 day Plank Challenge app for my phone that leads me through daily planks to help me build my core and I love how it takes only a couple of minutes and makes such a difference. I take one day off and some days instead of my usual routine I take walks or hikes for fun with my husband.

THE TRUTH According to Science

For the over fifty crowd, common sense and, increasingly, research suggests that constant use will slow the loss of our physical capabilities, form, and balance. The same research shows that, once lost, it may be difficult or impossible to regain former capabilities. The problem centers on the nerves that control our muscles. From 50 or 60 on, the permanent loss of the nerve connections to our muscles begins to accelerate. Depressing, I know but a recent study by McPhee published in the Journal of Physiology provides reason for optimism for those who stay fit.

As it turns out, older healthy muscles (meaning well developed through frequent exercise, good diet, etc.) enjoy a protection that less healthy muscles do not. Even though nerves controlling muscles decline with age, and this decline accelerates over 50 or 60, surviving nerves in healthy muscles can send out new branches to rescue muscles and stop them from wasting away.

This study by the American Journal of Physiology was conducted on men but it may be true for women as well.

Translation? If you keep at it, your ability to play tennis, lift weights, cycle, and so forth can be retained with minimal loss of nerve connections, although other studies show that you will need to spend more time exercising as you age to achieve the same results. Constantly used and challenged nerve connections find a way to survive. The "challenged" part of the equation points to the importance of mixing up your exercise routines. Changing even a small part of your activities builds new connections. (Trainers have long known that you need to “surprise” your muscles frequently because they tend to develop to the specific demand and no more.) For example, if tennis is your go-to activity, play doubles and singles, switch between one and two-handed form, try a few net shots with the other hand; play at night and in the day and consider learning similar sports. Still depressed? There may be a way to beat the odds and actually regain skills you lost through disuse. I don’t see a miracle on the horizon but a secret may be not only how much but how you exercise. Stay tuned.

I hope you found this information useful and if so stay tuned for next Monday when I talk about “Eating Using The 80% Rule” where I will dive a little deeper into Intermittent Fasting and how I try to eat for a healthy lifestyle.

That's all I have for today! Make sure to go out and play!

Peace!

 

Move It Or Lose It Over 50

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The Scoop

Hey gang! Well, it is the first Monday in February and I am ready for it! I love new beginnings, even the beginnings of each new week. With new beginnings I think about what I want to do to make my life fresh, purposeful and fun! This month I want to really focus on fitness. I’m not talking about losing weight but about finding a balance between a happy life and being fit. For me being fit equates with my happiness.

Anyway long story short, I am going to look at my fitness journey over the last couple of years and see how it has evolved. I am doing these posts for myself as much as anything because they give me direction, keep motivated and held accountable. I hope you will follow along and share your thoughts as well!

Note: If you’re not into the fitness posts don’t worry I will be doing my regular fashion and lifestyle posts mixed right in with the fitness.

MOVE IT OR LOSE IT

Nothing much has changed for me regarding this phrase. Science supports it. If you don’t stay active you lose the ability to be active. This varies in degrees depending on many things like genetics, current health, lifestyle and much more.

I’ll start this series by answering frequently asked questions regarding my age, diet, and activities. You can see how it has changed or evolved from a couple of summers ago when I did a series of Move It Or Lose It posts by going here and scrolling down to my first post on June 24, 2017. Or you can go to the top of this page under Home and click on Health & Beauty. And now let’s get crackin’!

FAQ

1. How old are you?

I am 58.

2. How much do you weigh?

My weight usually runs between 120 and 125.

4. How tall are you?

Exactly 5’ 4 & 3/4”. I round to 5’5”

5. How do you stay fit? 

I was raised by a very active dad and a mom who taught me the importance of taking care of my body. My mom taught me about healthy eating and the importance of not smoking. So it has always been a part of my life. She never gave us sugar or sodas and I am grateful because I still have every tooth I was born with.

My diet is not rigid so when I say I do something I mean, most of the time. Maybe 80% of the time. I don't beat myself up too much if do something out of line with what I think is healthy. To me, being happy is the most important thing to staying healthy. If I deprived myself of foods I loved I would be truly unhappy.

I love to cook and eat. I try to eat less meat which is not too difficult because I don't think meat has much flavor on its own. It is what you put on it that gives it flavor. I love all fruits and vegetables. I love nuts, grains, beans, etc. I used to love bread but have learned to tone it down. Maybe a slice of whole grain now and then. When I do pasta which is not too often I do whole grain also. We eat very little sugar and use only olive or avocado oil for cooking. Here is a typical day for me. 

Breakfast: I eat late in the morning around 10 or 11 AM most days. My two favorite breakfasts are scrambled eggs with spinach, tomato and avocado or a bowl of steel cut oats with banana, honey, peanut butter and almond milk . I also like mixed berries with wheat germ and walnuts in Greek yogurt for a really quick meal.

My breakfasts are varied most usually, thinking is it good for my body. I love a doughnut but can’t stand the logy feeling it gives me when I am done. I also am very careful about portions. Too much of even healthy food makes be feel bloated and sleepy while my body tries to digest.

Lunch: My favorite lunch is to make a dip using 1/4 cup of cottage cheese mixed with 1/4 cup homemade salsa. I dip organic corn chips (from Costco) in it. I'm addicted to this right now!  Just about 1/2 cup each mixed really fills me up and I don’t get sleepy.

Snack: I try not to snack but when I do it is fruits, nuts, seeds. They are so good for us and I love them. Sometimes I have a treat by taking a couple of dates and filling them with goat cheese. I die! I do eat cheese, I just try to watch my portions.

Dinner: It varies but we often mix a can of beans (any kind, but we like black or cannelloni) a can of chopped tomatoes ( I prefer fire roasted tomatoes) onion, garlic, jalapenos or some other heat and chopped roasted organic chicken breast. It is fast, easy, filling and delicious! At least a couple of nights a week we will have a burger or home made pizza. I love to make my own crust and pizza which keeps it more healthy. We eat a lot of salads too. I make lots of healthy soups. I also don’t eat after 6:30 or 7 PM. I will write about why in future post.

Exercise: I have always been active. It is hard for me to sit long. I have walked, lifted weights, practiced yoga, ran, hiked, etc. I started running in my mid-40s and loved it so much that I still do it.

I currently am doing fartlek runs where I run fast five minutes then walk or jog two minutes then run five again, and so on. I do this for 30 minutes. This is when I am in Phoenix. When I am at our mountain home I do trail runs on a mountain trail that’s just outside our door for two miles. We live at a 5,300 foot elevation and the trails are fairly rugged and up and down hill so two miles is quite a work out. I do these runs two to three times a week. On the other days I either walk 3+ miles or do a one a hour hike at a local mountain. I really do something every day but once in a while I take a day off. These workouts are not easy for me, I get tired in a way that I didn’t when I was younger but they are fun! My husband does all the walks and hikes with me.

Sleep: I want to add this because I feel it is so important. I know not everyone can just fall asleep and stay asleep but I do and I sleep most nights between seven and nine hours. I think all the exercise helps with my sleep.

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So this is my normal routine as of now. Like I said I hit this mark 80% of the time so it is not perfect but who needs perfect? Stay tuned for my next post where I will be talking about “ Moving Is The Thing”

Excerpt: “For the over fifty crowd, common sense and, increasingly, scientific research suggests that constant use will retain our physical capabilities and form. Once lost, however, it may be difficult or impossible to regain former capabilities.“

Thanks for stopping by!

Peace!


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Watch Out

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the scoop

I hope you all don’t get sick of my harping on fitness but it has always been a big part of my life and now as I grow older I am even more obsessed with health. I don’t necessarily want to live long but I want to live well. I don’t want to become a burden to someone else or society if I can help it. Just because I am over 50 doesn’t mean I can’t look and feel my best. I want to breath air into my lungs, skip, jump and laugh until I close my eyes for the last time.

Recently I found a little tool that after using it for a week or so I see really making a difference. It’s a sports watch! I talked about it in my last post here, but in this post I wanted to give you a little more detail.

apple watch

I got an Apple Watch and love the look but also I am seeing how it motivates me to think about a healthy lifestyle. It reminds me to breath and guides me through one minute breathing sessions gently tapping my wrist as I take air into my lungs and then exhale. Do you ever think about how good it feels to really exhale? All the stress is shoved out of my body.

The big thing though is that this watch tracks how much I stand, my exercise, my heart rate, my steps and even the flights of stairs I take each day. It lets you set goals and then see how you do. At first I set low goals and just went though my normal day. When I saw what I had achieved I started competing with myself and see myself improving each day. It is fun!

Let me show you an example through a couple of screenshots of a day in my life.

  • The first picture is showing how many hours I stood in one day. And yes, I never sit for long but I was surprised at how little I sat that day. Yesterday is showed I was standing 12 hours and I was idle 2. That doesn’t count the night sleeping. I turn it off at night. Below it shows my steps and distance. This is a normal day for me, I didn’t go for a walk or run just normal house work, dog walking, etc. It also showed my distance for the day. I did go to the gym and do strength training but I haven’t set up tracking for that yet.

  • The next picture shows calories used. I set an easy goal of 240 extra calories to burn that day. It showed I went over my goal and it also shows total calories used that day just doing my normal routine. This is such great information and when I saw it I instantly decided to try to challenge myself.

  • Another perk I didn’t expect is that I give myself a break now knowing I am doing more than I thought. I always worried I wasn’t doing enough.

See why I love this watch so much? These screen shots are from a couple of days ago.

The first watch linked is exactly like mine. Linked options so you can compare styles.

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Dress For Success

It doesn’t always mean for the office, it means in all parts of your life.

my looks

I always want to dress fun for working out because it really does motivate me. My goal is to be strong and to feel good and I surround myself with all the tools I can to live that lifestyle. I love leggings especially black because they go with everything. I love over sized sweatshirts because you can layer them and pull them off if you get warm while moving. I love different sneakers for different things. Asics are best for me for running. I can have knee pain but virtually don’t if I wear this brand. I heard Hoda Kotb say that once and tried them and she was right. For other activities I love New Balance sneakers. And of course Niki’s are the lightest weight shoes ever. Hats just add a little spunk to a look and covering up a bad hair day is never a bad thing.

create your own look

In these pictures I am wearing all old stuff. Zella leggings (my favorite) Black sneakers are Niki and the other pair is ASICS. My grey sweatshirt was DIYed for off the shoulder, inspired by the other one that came that way. See this top in red here where I make fun of the Blogger Things I Do. I’m linking some fun things for you! Don’t be afraid to be you and do you!

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Peace!

Thanks for stopping by!

Staying Connected

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Tricking My Old Body

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Change

does me good.

the scoop

I have always been into eating right and exercising. Nothing over the top but consistent. I have tricks up my sleeves that worked for me when I put on a few pounds. They were never fail until recently. My body is saying I know what you are up to and I am not going to go along with it. So I decided to try something new. My new plan is to trick my body! Ha ha!

How? Well, I now do something different every single day. So my body never knows what the heck is going on. Nothing earth shattering. Just one day I walk, one day I run, one day I weight train just one muscle group or one day I work my whole body through circuit weight training. Some days I clean the garage and some days I rearrange all our furniture.

I like this plan because I don’t get bored and I can always find something to do. My body has seen it all. All I have left is the element of surprise. And I can report that I am very strong. My husband is freaked out by the things I can lift. And my heart is strong. I can run for long distances without hardly breaking a sweat. I have a problem with a thick waist but I am on the case. My motto is move it or lose it!

my look

One of the things I know for sure is that I feel more fit when I wear fitness clothing. This outfit is all older things but I love these floral leggings and this longer black tee with a twist front. I have a little bomber jacket for when I am outside and basic black sneakers. All of this is old but I have been collecting active wear for years and love to dress for all occasions. Even exercising. You know, fake til you make it!

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sup’

  • It’s Friday and I am going to take the day off and relax. Maybe watch an old movie.

  • My friend and I worked for several hours on our YouTube video yesterday and it was so fun. We are learning from the ground up and the one thing we know for sure is that we have a lot to learn.

  • For dinner I am making my favorite Butternut Squash Soup with Chipotle Cream. Here is the recipe.

  • I added a Holiday Shopping Guide link up top and will be updating it often. Tis the season!

create your look

I always buy active wear on sale so I’m linking up some options for you.

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Peace!

Thanks for stopping by!

See my Stella directing the show from her director’s chair? She is my heart.

Staying Connected

If you want to easily keep in touch with me, sign up for my updates or follow me on Bloglovin. I try to add interesting things to my updates not found on the blog so I hope you will find them a great supplement to my blog posts.

Use the share buttons below to share, pin & like. It's so easy, just one click and that's it!

Fitness Times Two

the scoop

Suzanne of Crazy Blonde Life and I are joining forces today to share a fitness challenge. As life-long fitness lovers we understand the ups and downs that come with trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Check out Suzanne's post here and read more about what I'm doing below. 

the challenge

We're asking you to join us for a summer fitness challenge starting  June 1st. If you are currently active, inspire us all by sharing what you are doing. If you want to start living a more active life, join us by taking just 15 minutes a day, three times a week to do something you love. Be it walking, hiking, dancing, skipping or playing hopscotch, tell us your plan and then let us know how it goes!

Send us an email with your picture and your plan/progress and we'll share them on our next fitness post! My email is northwestmountainliving@gmail.com and Suzanne's is Suzanne@crazyblondelife.com. Hopefully we can turn this into a series that helps us all help each other to live healthier happier lives! 

My Fitness Challenge?

Boot Camp

my fitness challenge

If you have followed me for long you know I am always trying to up my fitness game. I love to feel healthy and be active and I defy age to try to stop me (I turn 58 next month). The past year though I have felt like I am in a rut. What I am doing is not working. I am not in optimal shape.

I've been running for over 10 years on a regular basis. I have not done strength training on a regular basis. With each passing year I have to reduce my calorie intake more to stay at the weight I desire. The result is that I have more body fat than lean muscle. I have belly fat which is the most unhealthy fat to have due to links with heart disease, type II diabetes and other illnesses.

A little over a year ago I did a boot camp and really enjoyed it. I learned a lot but felt like I knew more than my coach and didn't fully comply with the regimen. I took away several good lifestyle changes but didn't feel like I reached my goals. After realizing that what I am doing is not working I decided to do a round two of the six-week online camp.

the program

I want to be clear here that I am not a health or fitness expert and I am not advocating that anyone should do anything that I am doing. I am always trying new things and want to share my experiences because that is how we learn. Right? I wold love to hear your experiences too! 

This program is very interesting and those who have done it and stuck with it strictly have had amazing results in losing fat and building muscle. I started week five today. Here are the things I am doing. I will add links to some of the key terms for more detail.

1. Carb Cycling

I have two days a week where I eat low carb (less than 50 net grams) and do exercises, specifically sprints on one day and tabatta training on the second day to deplete my glycogen levels so I become a fat burning machine! Ha Ha. 

  • How's that working for you, you ask? The first week was hard. I felt almost sick those two days. I am now used to it but still don't feel 100% on those days.

2. Intermittent Fasting

I eat all my food in an eight-hour window each day. I usually eat only between the hours of 11 AM and 7 PM.

  • I have been doing this for over a year and actually like it. I still get to have my coffee in the morning so it is all good.

3. Weight Training

Three days a week I do weight training. I focus on different body parts on each of those days. I also do ten minutes of low impact cardio to warm up and cool down (like walking) and I stretch.

  • This is the what I am finding most beneficial! I can see definition already and have consisitently increased weight lifted, reps and sets. Woot! Woot!

4. Macros Tracking

I don't count calories but I do monitor my macros (carbohydrates, fats & proteins) and stay within healthy ranges for each. Except on low carb days a healthy range is 50% carbohydrates, 30% fats and 20% proteins. Two days a week I reduce my macros by 25%. It all sounds complicated but it is not. I use the free app My Fitness Pal to track everything. 

  • This is not so difficult. I am so used to it now that I don't really even have to track. Just sticking to clean whole foods 80% of the time is the key.

5. Two days a week are rest days where I take a walk, hike or something like that.

  • Love my rest days but sometimes I do NOTHING! Oopsy!

Results and take aways? I gave up running while doing this program. The whole point of this program is that as women we are under eating and over training and it is not working for us. So I am eating more than I have for a long time and exercising less. For me however not running is not working. Running for me personally is for my mental health. I get depressed when I don't run for a while. So I will add my short 30 minute trail runs every other day when I am done with this boot camp. I will had HIIT to my runs a couple times a week too. I will continue lifting weights three times a week and I will continue the intermittent fasting. I have done it for a year and a half and find no down side for me. I will also keep my macros on point. I will not continue the carb cycling. I just feel better if I eat a normal amount of complex carbs. 

So that's my long winded story! I hope you find something valuable in it.

Thanks For Stopping By!

Peace!

I always get my active wear on discount. After all its just for working out. I just ordered the first four items linked up. So cute!

More of my fitness posts . . .

P.S.

If you are'nt joining our weekly Style Wise Link Up, please do! You can join this week's here and while you're there meet my guest co-host and our featured blogger! 

other link ups

I'm proud to participate in the following link ups and am always looking for more! I love to start my day checking in with them and seeing what everyone is doing and connecting!I hope you will join us HERE!


Use the share buttons below to share, pin & like. It's so easy, just one click and that's it!

And I always look forward to your comments!

HIIT What What?

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What the heck is HIIT?

I have to start this post out by emphasizing that this is how I incorporate High-intensity interval training (HIIT) into my workout repertoire. In my opinion, which is supported by some research, HIIT activities are best practiced after you have established a baseline of fitness. Someone just beginning an exercise program is more likely to sustain injuries with HIIT activities. Wait until you are at an intermediate fitness level before adding HIIT to your workouts. Always consult an expert if you have questions. 

HIIT workouts are thought to be one of the most effective ways to improving cardiovascular health, respiratory endurance, metabolic function, and perhaps muscular neurological status as you age.

HIIT involves repeated short bouts of high-intensity exercises followed by brief recovery periods. This sequence is repeated several times in a row usually for 20 to 30 minutes.

HIIT workouts can improve your health due to their effect on several important systems within the body:

  • Cardiovascular health and endurance
  • Ability to use oxygen
  • Hormone levels
  • Muscular innervation

HIIT is not a new concept, I can remember doing similar activities 15 years ago. Last year when I participated in a six-week boot camp I got the full modern HIIT experience. I was supposed to run or sprint as fast as I could for 20 seconds, then slow down to a moderate pace for 20 seconds and repeat for 20 minutes. Our snow was too deep for me to get outside and my treadmill wouldn’t adjust that quickly so I used my stair climber. To me it was a hardcore workout. I was surprised I could even do it and more surprised that I didn’t get really sore or just plain die!

For the last couple of years however I have incorporated HIIT into my workouts in a more practical manner. If you google HIIT, you will find an unending list of specific workouts but I am the kind of person that likes to fit things into my life that I can actually do and stick with. I love to run and currently run trails here in the mountain forest. I run up and down steep inclines on varied terrain. I will run on soft sand, to firm dirt, to rocky areas. It requires balance, and endurance. To add HIIT to my runs I speed up to maximum exertion for one to two minutes and then slow down to a moderate pace for a couple of minutes and repeat until I pretty much can't do any more. Sometimes just running up an incline if it is steep enough pushes me to maximum exertion.  I only do HIIT a couple of times a week. It is important to allow time for recovery.

My point to all of this is when you are ready to add HIIT to your workout, add it in a way that fits your workout routine. Read as much as you can and then take the information and adjust it to work for you so you can maintain over the long haul. Because we’re here for the long haul, right?

THE TRUTH

There is a lot of noise on the Internet that HIIT is the fastest way to loose weight and is currently a trendy new program with classes being offered in gyms and online. HIIT is not necessarily the best way to lose weight for most people. It is being reported that many people are injuring themselves trying HIIT because they are not at a fitness level required for it to be effective. HIIT should be something added into your fitness routine when you are fit enough to do it without injury and is a supplement to exercise not your only form of exercise. Far more benefits come from a long brisk walk or slow run. 

There is too much research for me to unpack in this post but I will provide a link to one of the best articles I have found regarding HIIT and how it benefits aging muscles. Dr Mercola is one person who seems to take a knowledgeable and reasonable approach to fitness in general and HIIT in particular. Read here to learn more.

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That's it for this week! Thanks for stopping by!

Peace!

 

My Weakest Link - Weight Training

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MY WEIGHT TRAINING ROUTINE

When I was in my 20's I was really into lifting weights for fitness. My two sons still tell stories of them riding on my back while I did lunges and push ups, etc. Involving them while getting exercise was my mode of operation. During my 30's and 40's I got into other types of exercises so didn't consistently lift. I now know that was a mistake. I find lifting the most difficult part of my fitness routine. My muscles don't respond the way they did and my interest is not as high, so my motivation is lacking. However, I believe lifting is one of the most important things I can do for my overall health. 

Due to injuries I am not able to lift heavy weights in ways that use my biceps and I have let that hold me back. This summer my weight lifting routine has been improving a lot and I have customized it to address my specific needs and limitations. As in all my posts, this is what I do and I am not recommending it for anyone else. My recommendation is to seek the advice of an experienced and well-educated specialist. Work with experts if you have any doubt and are new to any type of exercise or sport. 

I try to lift weights three times a week. I trail run every other day and then hike and lift weights on the alternating days. My hike warms my muscles up so I can lift without injury. I find it annoying that when I was young I could grab up my weights without warming up and work out. I now will seriously lock up if I try to do that. Ha! Ha! Right now I work my full body in one day, I use enough weight that I can do two sets of 10 to 12 reps of the arms, shoulders, chest, back, and legs. I also do core strengthening exercises. I started out doing one set of 8 to 10 reps and slowly worked my way up. I will continue to increase my reps and sets as well as change out the types of exercises I do. This is key to continually keep your muscles surprised. I am very cautious because of my experience. Nothing can make me sorer than over lifting. A little soreness is good because it means I am breaking down the muscles requiring my body to rebuild and come back stronger. Too much soreness is debilitating.

THE TRUTH

If you are over 40, 50 or 60 (the age varies with the individual), your musculature and the nerves that maintain and grow it are declining at an accelerated rate. The good news is that you can slow these changes and perhaps even reverse them slightly with exercise. If you are already exercising, keep at it. Don't count at being able to "get back in shape." Muscle development, especially the nerves that control muscle development, is one area in which it is easier to retain than to try to regain lost capabilities. 

I will talk about two recent findings that those of us over 50 should know about.

As we age, our diminished capacity to build muscle comes primarily from the loss of innervation. More neural tissue and connections means more efficient muscle development and maintenance. Recent research suggests that older people benefit more from heavy resistance training (e.g., weight lifting at 80% of capacity or greater) than from an equivalent amount of light resistance training that would build the same amount of muscle. Why? In the case of heavy resistance training, the growth of nerve connections and the efficiency of those connections is greater than when developing the same amount of muscle with light resistance training.

Similar benefits in innervation and “muscle age” accrue to what is called HIIT (high intensity interval training). In brief, HIIT consists of a series of short and very intense bursts of exercise, often 90 seconds, followed by a 90 second period of rest and repeating the cycle. Definitions of HIIT vary and you will get the impression on some websites that HIIT is limited to weightlifting. It is not. You can get the benefits of HIIT by running, weightlifting, rowing, wind sprints, or even doing jumping jacks.

Much is yet to be learned (and some of what we think we know will change) but enough is known to believe that HIIT may deserve a place in your overall exercise routine. In general, those of us in our 50's on up to 90’s or more, might benefit by adding some heavy resistance training to our weekly routine. Doing so will benefit muscle neurology, muscle mass, balance, bone density, and overall sense of wellness. We might also benefit from adding HIIT to our weekly routine for the same reasons. I have decided to balance my aerobic favorites (running and hiking) with a limited amount of HIIT and heavy resistance training. 

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That's it for this week! Thanks for stopping by!

Peace!

TIP
I talked about how I eat in an earlier post here and if your read it you know I am an intermittent faster. So I don't eat until around 11 AM each day. On my hike/weight lifting days after my hike between 10:30 and 11 AM, I make a protein drink and drink it before I lift weights. I take a jar and fill it with ice, add about 6 oz of black coffee and a scoop of a quality protein powder and shake it up. This is a serious treat because it tastes as good as a drink from Starbucks in my opinion. And it is very good for my body! 

If you have any topics you would like me to cover be sure to let me know! I have a million ideas, they come to me when I am out hiking or running!

How I Use Suppliments

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TO SUPPLEMENT OR TO NOT

For most of my life I have taken at the very least a multiple vitamin every day. Starting as a young adult I recognized that my diet was not providing me with all the nutrients I needed. About ten years ago when I started going through menopause I embarked on an extensive research process to see if and what I could take to help as I went through this stage of my life. My husband who is a research scientist helped me figure out what would promote my health making immediate differences but also would contribute to better health in the long term. I won't give you a long list of what I take but lets just say it's a handful. I take them morning and evening and from my experience have found that they add value to my overall health profile. Basic blood tests have validated my beliefs that supplements are right for me along with just overall feeling and seeing improvements since taking them. As I report in every fitness post, this is what I do but I am not suggesting that it is right for anyone else. If you have interest, read everything you can about it and always talk to your doctor (if you can find one who actually reads the latest science and has an educated opinion). 

THE TRUTH

You won’t have any trouble finding people to give you advice about the benefits or risks of taking nutritional supplements (vitamins, minerals, trace elements, antioxidants, enzymes, herbs, etc.). Some people will assure you that all supplements are a complete waste of time and money. Others will tell you that for every disease, there is a supplement that will cure it. I think both of these views are wrong. The scientific literature contains thousands of studies showing positive benefits of specific supplements for specific conditions. There are also thousands of scientific studies showing that a specific supplement failed to demonstrate the benefit being examined.

For now, here are the points I think are most important when you are starting out:

1. As we age, it becomes increasingly difficult to restrict calories to the correct level and still secure an optimal diet. Magnesium is one example of a mineral that may not be adequately supplied in many diets.

2. Individual needs vary. Even if someone’s diet supplies 100% of optimal levels of all nutrients (possible but unlikely), the same diet may not meet your needs.

3. Age, gender, activity, stress, sleep, and food and drink choices alter our need for nutritional elements. A diet adequate in certain B-vitamins if you do not drink, might be inadequate if you do drink.

4.  The research on supplements continues to evolve. Dietary substances that were unknown or believed unimportant in the past are now deemed important. Probiotics and other substances that improve gut health are an example of this. Supplements also seem to be subject to fads.

5. Be suspicious when the popular press summarizes studies on nutritional supplements. It is rare if they give you an accurate picture of the findings.

6.Investigating the potential benefit of nutritional supplements is a commitment. There are no magic bullets and there is no substitute for doing your own reading – lots of it – and then experimenting to see which, if any supplements increase your health, energy, clarity of mind, appearance, and sense of well-being.

Here is a list of resources I use and continue to keep up with regarding supplements.

http://www.lifeextensionfoundation.org/ Life Extension an organization that we have used as a resource for over 10 years. This is just the history and background on them so you know how legitimate and scientifically based they are.
http://www.lifeextension.com/ Life Extension is where we get 90% of our supplements. It is also a wealth of information, everything from a monthly magazine that tells you the latest science and protocols completely referenced, for just about anything you want to know about. For instance female hormone health, here is the standard protocol right now. For me this is one of the most important factors related to my overall health as I age. http://www.lifeextension.com/Protocols/Female-Reproductive/Female-Hormone-Restoration/Page-01
http://www.drnorthrup.com/about/ 10 years ago when I went into menopause I read Dr. Northrups book and it helped probably more than anything. This is her site and it is another amazing unending resource.
https://www.drweil.com/ Dr Weil is also an expert that we have followed for over 10 years. He is another excellent resource for information.
We also read the AMA journal and other medical journals to help give us a balanced view.
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That's it for this week! Thanks for stopping by!

Peace!

Eating Using 80% Rule

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EATING USING THE 80% RULE

I think the way I eat has a lot to do with how I feel, especially as I get older. My body has never handled over eating very well, and less so now. If I over eat I feel bloated, and get tired almost immediately. My body is using all it's energy trying to digest food. I may get gas and even some gallbladder discomfort.

The hyperavailability of food in our culture makes it hard not to over eat and to eat too often. So our bodies are working almost nonstop trying to digest. Only at night does our digestive system get a break. I began to feel much better and have more energy when I fast for a small period as I outline below. My energy level also benefits when I remember to eat healthy portion sizes. Remember this is me, I am not advocating anything. I would suggest reading more about intermittent fasting, clean eating and talking to your doctor.

In my first post I gave you a typical day for me for meals. You can see it here. My rules for a healthy diet are;

1. Try to eat healthily 80% of the time. I know I will fail if I set a goal of perfection.

2. Eat mostly vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

3. Eat limited amounts of meats, dairy and rarely sugar or processed meats.

4. I limit my red wine intake to 4 to 6 ounces a day and rarely have any other alcohol.

5 I don't eat after 6 or 7 PM and then not again until 10 or 11 AM the next day. I do have black coffee when I wake up.

My No Recipe, recipes

I've had requests to share some of my recipes so I thought I would tell you how I have evolved to a more healthy cooking plan. I have always loved to cook and as a young cook I always thought I had to have a recipe to follow precisely. As life went by and I became more proficient I learned to modify almost every recipe I used to meet my specific tastes. What I have learned at this stage in my life is that a lot of recipes ask for unhealthy ingredients. How many of your favorite recipes use cheese, butter, milk, cream, red meats, etc? I have found the not using a recipe produces some really wonderful clean meals. 

As I have said before a couple of nights a week I will make cheese burgers or homemade pizza (still healthier than restaurant). But the rest of the week is dedicated to being good to my body and feeding it well. Here's some examples.

I always keep a bag of frozen organic skinless boneless chicken breasts in my freezer. Each afternoon I take out a couple to thaw for dinner. About 40 minutes out I lightly coat each side of the breasts with olive oil and then sprinkle on a little garlic powder, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt and cracked black pepper. I pop them in the toaster over to roast at 400 degrees for 35-40 mins. A regular oven works just fine.

While the chicken is cooking I throw together what I call a medley. Here are my three favorite options.

Option 1. I chop finely, a zucchini, a yellow squash, 1/3 red onion, a couple of tomatoes, and an avocado and toss in a bowl. I coat with the juice of one lime and some olive oil. I let it set to let the flavors blend while the chicken cooks. When the chicken is done I chop it up in small pieces. I am not a big meat lover so I limit mine to about 3 ounces (the size of a deck of cards). Since my husband goes to the gym everyday and lifts weights I give him 4 to 5 ounces. I toss the chicken in and devour! Really, this is so good.

Option 2. I chop up some onion and mushrooms and saute them in a little olive oil. I add a can of chopped tomatoes, and a can of our favorite beans, usually Cannelloni and add little heat through red pepper flakes or even a jalapeno. When the chicken is done I chop up, dividing as above and add. Again this is the most delicious and clean meal!

Option 3. While the chicken is roasting I cook a cup of orzo in chicken broth. It takes ten minutes. I set it in a big bowl to cool. While the orzo is cooking I chop some onion and a red pepper and saute for a few minutes and then set aside to cool. When cooled a little I add it to the orzo. I then add chopped, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, Kalamata olives and avocado. I add a splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil to coat. Lastly I add the chicken. This is my favorite. Not quite as clean but oh so good.

My point is, I could put something different together every night as long as I have vegetables and lean meat on hand. I can mix it up with any herbs and spices for variety.

THE TRUTH

I often hear friends say they know their diet affects their health, energy, and how they look but too many of them have thrown up their hands in response to the confusing and often contradictory reports of things that are good and bad for you and how they change sides every so often. (Has anyone kept track of how many times coffee crossed back and forth across the good-for-you/bad-for-you line?) The reason we feel this way has less to do with the scientific research and a lot to do with the abilities of the headline-seeking media that report on it. Scientific understanding about diet and health progresses slowly and is based on dozens or even hundreds of studies. When the headlines report that a vitamin is worthless or a food will reduce heart disease, it is almost always the case that the person reporting is taking a finding out of context which distorts its meaning. Even if they did a perfect job, the next study is likely to retract or modify those findings. In truth, there are diets that contribute to your overall health, energy, and appearance and there are diets that detract from these attributes. I will talk more about the stable part of what science has told us and how it can be put to work to benefit you in future posts.

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That's it for this week! Thanks for stopping by!

Peace!

Moving Is The Thing

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MOVING IS THE THING Over 50

I wanted to make sure that everyone understands that just because I love to run doesn't mean I think it is right for everyone. The point I'm trying to make is that an appropriate level of physical activity is important for everyone for good health, mind and body. We all need to find what makes us feel like a kid again and do it often. Start by thinking about what activities you loved as a child. I loved to run. I can remember my mom saying all the time, "Cheryl has two speeds, running and asleep." I have not changed. I would rather run than walk most of the time. When I run I feel like I leave all my troubles behind in the wind. I seem to think more clearly while running. I plan what I want to do for the day, I think of fun conversations and about almost anything positive. It is meditation for me.

How much I run and how often varies day-to-day or month-to-month. And that is part of the benefit. When you played as child, you didn't do the same thing every day, you mixed up because it was about having fun not forcing yourself to get a workout in.

Right now I am back to 3 mile runs here in Arizona so flat terrain three times a week. I was running a couple of miles a few weeks ago so now that I am able to do 3 miles again I am working on my speed. Right now I’m slow.

On alternate days I am practicing yoga for 30 minutes. I have found that if I do yoga it improves my runs immensely. A couple of years ago I pulled my hamstring during a 5k race. I went to a sport medicine doctor and tried many things but I would still have back pain after my runs. I kept doing them but not nearly as far and much slower. At the time I was not doing yoga regularly. When I started practicing three times a week my back pain disappeared. I am so grateful.

On yoga days I do a bare bones strength training routine made up of push-ups, tricep-dips, squats, lunges and planks. All these exercises are equipment free and I can do at home or at the gym. Except for the tricep-dips these exercises target large muscle groups which are most important for building muscle. I add the tricep-dips to focus on my triceps a muscle I find for to need more definition. I recently started a plank challenge on a phone app called simply “30 day plank challenge.” I set my level of fitness and each day it prompts me to do my plank and adjusts the challenge so I keep improving. So far it is easy and fun and I know it is an important core exercise.

Some days I will substitute a hike or walk with my husband just to mix things up and spend more time with him doing something active. If I feel bored with something I try something different which is what our bodies need. Variety in what we eat and what we do keeps us more fit.

To sum this up I get all my exercise done in 30-40 minutes a day. I take one off usually. Most importantly all my exercise is something I find fun! Some days when I’m running I add skipping, side-jumps, I speed up and slow down. Just like a kid having fun.

THE TRUTH

For the over fifty crowd, common sense and, increasingly, scientific research suggests that constant use will retain our physical capabilities and form. Once lost, however, it may be difficult or impossible to regain former capabilities.

The latest research suggests that disuse in those of us over 50 leads to more-or-less permanent losses in the number of nerve connections. There is good news in this otherwise depressing fact. First, if you keep at it, your ability to play tennis, lift weights, cycle, and so forth can be retained with little (sometimes no) loss of nerve connections, although with increasing age you may need to spend more time on your activities. Constantly used and challenged nerve connections do not die. In fact, they continue to grow and drive muscle growth and body tone, no matter what your age. Notice the "challenged" part of the equation. Changing even a small part of your activities builds new connections. For example, if tennis is your go-to activity, play doubles and singles, switch between one and two-handed form, try a few net shots with the other hand, play at night and in the day, learn some similar sports. Second, recent research suggests that there may be a way to beat the odds and actually regain skills you lost through disuse. How to do this will be a topic in a future post.

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That's all I have for today! So go out and play!

Peace!

 

Move It Or Lose It

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MOVE IT OR LOSE IT

I've been asked so many times about my age and how I keep fit that I decided to start sharing some of that part of my lifestyle. Rather than put it in blog posts, forcing it on those who aren't interested, you can visit this page. When I update anything I will make a note in the post. I thought I would format it by answering questions I am asked. If you have questions feel free ask in the comments section below or contact me through my contact page. 

When I look at my blog's search data I see people are interested in my hair, height, weight, fitness, exercise, age, skincare, makeup, etc. You get the picture. I am not an expert. I am only sharing the things I do and am not making recommendations. 

FAQ

1. How old are you?

I turned 57 this summer.

2. Where do you get your hair done?

My stylist is in Boise, ID. I have gone to her every since I moved to Idaho about 11 years ago. 

3/ How much do you weigh?

I go between 118 which I prefer to 122. Acceptable to me is 120. 

4. How tall are you?

I am 5'5" if I stretch my neck.

5. How do you stay fit? 

I was raised by a very active dad and a mom who taught me the importance of taking care of my body. My mom taught me about healthy eating and the importance of not smoking. So it has always been a part of my life. She never gave us sugar or sodas and I am grateful because I still have every tooth I was born with.

My diet is not rigid so when I say I do something I mean, most of the time. Maybe 80% of the time. I don't beat myself up too much if do something out of line with what I think is healthy. To me, being happy is the most important thing to staying healthy. If I deprived myself of foods I loved I would be truly unhappy. I love to cook and eat. I try to eat little meat which is not too difficult because I don't think meat has much flavor. It is what you put on it that gives it flavor. I love all fruits and vegetables. I love nuts, grains, beans, etc. Lately we are on a kick of eating a medley of beans and tomatoes with a little roasted chicken breast for dinner and I am addicted. We add a little spice for heat and it is so delicious. I used to love bread but have learned to tone it down a little. I eat a slice for breakfast with a little real butter and a bit of my homemade jam.  I use only olive or avocado oil for cooking. Here is a typical day for me. 

Breakfast: A slice of bacon, one egg, one or one half a slice of whole grain toast with a teaspoon of butter and home made jam, a couple of slices of tomatoes heated up enough to release the lycopene, and a couple of tablespoons of fresh avocado and a sprinkle of sriracha.

Lunch: I make a dip using 1/4 cup of cottage cheese mixed with 1/4 cup picante sauce. I dip organic corn chips (from Costco) in it. I'm addicted to this right now! 

Snack: Fruit or nuts.

Dinner: It varies but we often mix a can of beans (any kind, but we like black or cannelloni) a can of chopped tomatoes ( I prefer fire roasted tomatoes) onion, garlic, jalapenos or some other heat and chopped roasted organic chicken breast. It is fast, easy, filling and delicious! At least a couple of nights a week we will have a burger or home made pizza. I love to make my own crust and pizza which keeps it more healthy. We eat a lot of salads too. I make lots of healthy soups. Recently our favorite is Tom Kha Gai a Thai Chicken and Coconut Soup. 

I love to bake and will make something every couple or three weeks. We have a piece and I freeze the rest in individual sized pieces so we can have a piece each night if we want.

Exercise: I have always been active. It is hard for me to sit long. I have walked, lifted weights, practiced yoga, ran, hiked, etc. I started running in my mid-40s and loved it so much that I still do it. I was loving doing 5Ks competitively and was managing to come in 1st or 2nd in my category but injured myself last February in a race and so am having trouble running fast right now. So recently, my thing is trail running! I live in the mountains and have trails right out my door and it feels good to me to run them. We live at a 5,300 foot elevation and the trails are fairly rugged and up and down hill so two miles is quite a work out. While I build up endurance, I am running trails every other day. I also recently added lifting weights to my routines. The point is I find what I love to do and do it. MORE IN FUTURE POSTS.

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So that's it for now! I'll try to add something each week. It may be health or fitness or beauty related. I have so much to share in this vein, drinking?, supplements, hormonal health . . .

Thanks for stopping by!

Peace!