Monthly Archives: May 2010

a one, and a two, and a Treva!

We just got back from Florida and celebrating Mom’s 90th birthday.

“Shh,” she said. “You don’t have to tell.”

“Mom!  I just sent invitations to all your family and all your friends inviting them to help us celebrate your 90th!”

“Oh, well, then.  We might as well have a party.”

It was beautiful.  Yellow roses everywhere — even on the chocolate cake.  Grandchildren and great-grandchildren all on their special-for-grammy behavior, long lost cousins, and near and dear friends from her retirement village where mom is in extended care — everyone participating in the special pleasure of seeing how we never outlive our delight in waking up to another year with mother earth.

The day before the big event we hung out with mom for a quiet day.  How does an almost ninety year old spend a quiet day?  By working out, of course!  There is a trainer – Treva – who holds classes at the village – yoga, tai chi, aerobics.  And she carries her training over even into the Health Center where Mom lives.  When husband-never-hubby joined us, I knew he was in for a surprise!

Treva the trainer put all the elders through an hour of chair aerobics and weights.  You would be surprised how much marching in place, pointing and lifting toes, hoisting weights while being encouraged to keep abs “up and in” gets the blood flowing and the smiles going.  She has a good mix of music — Beatles, swing from the forties — and keeps the pace lively.  She remembers who needs a one pound weight in the left hand but can manage a two pounder in the right, who needs to strengthen their left side from a stroke, who needs an extra cushion behind their back for support during marching.  It’s challenging and lively.

If that’s how you get ready for a birthday when you are entering your centennial decade, I’m in!

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How should I begin?

Lately what I’ve observed most about peole who “intend” to get fit — the Intenders — is that they haven’t committed to making a change.  What is a productive way to start thinking about how to put this essential back into our lives?

Was it already there at some point?

Oh , yes!  Just look at children.  Where do they get their energy, we ask?  It comes from their human condition.  Somewhere in the not-so-distant past, when we grew up, we just took that childhood energy and put it to work for ourselves — in fields, forests, rivers — wherever it was we found our daily bread. Now we convert that  “go power” to mental energy to do other work we love — at desks, in buildings, behind steering wheels of all sorts.  It’s not a bad trade.  But no one told  our bodies we’d made that transfer!

Today’s focus (and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrrow, creeping into our petty pace if we will just let it) combines what we know about habit forming with what we know for certain about our bodies’ enduring needs for movement.  You’ve read your Napolean Hill.  You know that to develop a new habit it takes 21 days of consistently performing the new action.  Sometimes we do this unconsciouly – and end up with a bad habit.  Sometimes we unleash the mighty power of our will and consiously go after a new, beneficial habit.  Here’s how to do that in order to put fitness back into your life:

Set your alarm clock for five minutes earlier!  No more, no less.  Faithfully get up  five minutes earlier and instantly do something!  You can begin with sets of toe raises.  It’s easy.  Stand all tucked in — you know, abs tight, shoulders down, tail slightly tucked under and forward.  Hold lightly on to the side of the dressser or bed post (you just got up, remember?). Standing on  your right foot, place your left foot hooked slightly behind your right heel.  Gently raise up on the ball of your right foot — with control both up and down.  Repeat twelve times, slowly.  Switch legs.  How many slow sets can you fit into five minutes?  (I’d be curious, actually.  My number is surprisingly low if I do it with intention.

That’s it!  You have now made a beginning.  And from there you build. Back to the future one might say.  Recapture that childhood energy to harness how you will — five minutes at a time.

Oh, for Pete’s Sake!

Didn’t I know  this was going to happen?

(You wouldn’t know unless you know me, but if you do, then you may not be surprised).   What’s the fuss?  It’s been three weeks since my last post!   Oh, for Pete’s Sake.  So on with it then — (and if you want the exciting news that has absorbed my attention, post a comment or send me a message on FB.)

Today it’s about ROI — Return on Investment!

One tip is about physical fitness, the other is more about fiscal fitness.  Fitness covers a heap of territory, doesn’t it?  So why not apply the idea of paring down to how we spend our time?  Check out Y’s Business Blog to get the skinny on accounting, as well as a new way to think about how spending time is not so different from spending calories.  It’s all about the ROI!

1.   Y’s Business Blog: http://ys-business.com/blog/

2.  Aging bodies and brains:

In one surprising trial, researchers randomly assigned 155 women  to three separate groups.  They then compared the effects of two kinds of exercise:

a. resistance training, done once or twice weekly, in which participants worked out with free weights and weight machines and did squats and lunges, versus

b. toning and balance exercises, which participants did twice a week, versus

c. no exercise.

By the end of the yearlong study, the women —  aged 65 – 75 — who weight-trained saw an improvement in their performance on tests of memory, learning, decision-making and conflict resolution. The women who did balance and toning may have had cute legs on which to balance, but their brains were no better off than with no training at all.

The muscle-strengthening exercise also helped the volunteers boost their walking speed, a commonly used indicator of overall health status in the elderly, as faster pace has been linked with lower mortality.

There it is – good news and bad news!  The good news? We can heft some weights and enjoy every part of our lives more.  The bad news?  I’m now considered “elderly.”

Got to run — I need to lift some weight so that I won’t forget to post here before I leave for my mom’s 90th birthday party!

*http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1956619,00.html?xid=rss-topstories#comments#ixzz0dmQnmPEO