Instead of fighting the changes that often come in mid-life—a few extra pounds, personality lines, and reading glasses (menus are written in 4-point font!)–I’ve chosen to embrace these nuances. Of course, it takes some adjustments.
Harder to lose weight as you age.
At one point, I could lose five or ten pounds with a week’s worth of discipline. Now that I’m older, it’s much harder to create that calorie deficit, even when I up the ante of my exercise and watch every bite I take. It’s par for the menopausal course. Still, I don’t plan on rolling over and giving up. That’s one of the advantages of getting older—stubbornness.
I’m smart about my workouts and food choices, these days, and I’m honest about what I want. I know that I’m no longer willing to spend up to two hours exercising everyday. What I am willing to do, however, is take walks, lift weights, and teach a few fitness classes each week. Sure, I have a curvier shape than the 17 percent body fat I sported in my 20’s and 30’s, but most people think I still look fit. And I’d agree.
Why should I obsess about the number on the scale, when I could just be confident and happy where I am? The most important thing, I realize, is to live a healthy lifestyle. If you’re doing that right, then where you are can be a wonderful place.
Barre classes continue to grow in popularity for group fitness. They are similar to Pilates and Yoga being they are high-intensity with low impact on the body and a favorite of women over 40. At Hang 5 Fitness in Chicago, they offer a combination class with barre moves alternated with surf balancing moves to get more core training alongside the posture and leg work done in traditional barre classes.
But if you can't make it to class, try a few of these moves at home with a solid chair or barstool.
Leg Swings Front - Standing one hand on the chair swing your leg front to back opening the front of the thigh and hamstring. This is a great exercise for anyone who is a runner, sits many hours in a day or has low back pain. Swing front to back for 10-12 repetitions and repeat on the other side.Leg Swings Across - Standing one hand on the chair swing your leg across the body keeping foot pointed up towards the ceiling. This dynamic stretch opens the IT band ( iliotibia band) which tichtens and puts pressure on the lower back. Thus this is another great exercise for anyone who is a runner, sits many hours in a day or has low back pain. Swing side to side for 10-12 repetitions and repeat on the other side.Jete - A “jete is a straight leg kick. Perform 8 kicks straight ahead, 8 kicks to the front corner, then rear corner and straight behind. Be sure to have one hand onto the base to remain standing tall, with abs pulled in and chest lifted.Demi Side Kick. With a slight lean onto the base lift leg to the side. Holding leg parallel to the side bring knee to chest and contract abs, then extend leg to the side. This pulled in knee and kick should be performed with a long stretch at the kicking portion and perofrmed 12-15 times then repeated on the other side.
I received compensation from Bayer Consumer Health, makers of Phillips’® Colon Health® to write this post. All opinions are entirely my own.
It seems that every decade, women (and men) put on about ten pounds after their twenties—and their waistlines expand along with it. At one point, magazine headlines talked about the “menopot,” referring to the common belly bulge as women entered into menopausal years. But although there is some truth to the increase in abdominal fat as we lose estrogen in the aging process, many people forget the simple things they can practice daily to decrease their waistlines and belly bloat.
Over the last twenty years, I have worked with hundreds of women in their forties and older. I have found some simple solutions to helping them have a flatter belly and happier life. Confidence comes with a healthier lifestyle and figure.
5 Daily Habits of Women with More Confidence (and a Flat Belly)
1. Take the long way home. As we age, the need for movement is more important than in our twenties and thirties. Human growth hormone decreases and our lean muscle mass does too. The saying is true “move it, or lose it.” But many people have the perception that they have to exercise to the extreme dripping with sweat and muscle soreness from each session at the gym to have a toned, lean body. The reality is that dynamic stretch and body weight training can produce the same great results and you don’t have to go to the gym. Simply taking the long way home walking when possible and daily strength and stretch routines can produce the same results. (Check out the 10 exercises you can’t live without)
2. Get insured now. Insurance is something we all can’t live without but many of us skip the nutrient insurance our body’s need. If you’re not eating 9-11 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, you’re missing out on many vitamins and minerals that support your well-being. Taking supplements is a great daily habit but don’t limit it too just a multivitamin.Think about taking a probiotic as well. Phillips’® Colon Health®daily probiotic can help replenish the good bacteria in your colon to support overall digestive health and immune health. Check with your doctor for more information on what you body may be lacking and don’t forget to take your supplements daily with food. Taking supplements with food can help with the absorption.
3. Buddy up and be happy. Research shows that those who workout with a buddy are more likely to stick an exercise program. More importantly, people are happier when they workout together making them more likely to reach their goals. University of Michigan researchers looked at 23 previously-published studies all of which found a clear beneficial relationship between exercise and happiness.
4. Thousands of people have lived without love, no one can live without water. Water is key to a flatter belly because it helps keep your metabolism boosted. Being hydrated helps increase your energy and brain function, as well as helps to prevent constipation that can cause belly bloating and abdominal pressure. Water is the perfect drink with zero calories and can be easily flavored with fruit or mint to enhance the flavor and likelihood of drinking more water.
5. Wrap up your core. Many people believe to reach the ultimate six-pack takes a low-fat, low-carb diet and lots of crunches. In reality, the best way to flatten your belly is to engage the core at every angle. Think crossover crunches, medicine ball chops, and planks to hit not only the center abdominals but the wrap around obliques and transverse abdominals too. These muscles together and are primarily endurance muscles so longer reps and multiple angles are key to training.
Small changes can result in big results. This is a motto I have helped people believe in and see the real possibilities by making a few small adjustments to their daily routines. Healthier people have healthier sex lives, live longer and tend to happier. Here are five simple things you can do to be healthier this week.
Five Simple Steps:
Wake to Water. Starting tomorrow, drink one large glass of water within ten minutes of waking up. Hydration is key to metabolism, glowing skin and a well functioning brain. The amount of good that happens from this simple zero calorie addition to your daily routine is amazing.
Mirror, Mirror. Positive mantras help change the brain waves as well as change the way you think. Research shows us that every thought and emotion provides an effect on cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and even brain function. Starting your day with a positive mantra or writing a positive thought in a journal can change the way your day unfolds. Even sharing a positive thought on social media can make a bigger impact on the universe.
Big Breakfast Break. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We’ve heard this before! But a new study showed two groups eating 1400 calories a day for weight loss losing weight over three months. However, the group that ate 700 calories for breakfast, 400 calories at lunch and a 300 calorie dinner lost on the average 10 pounds more than the group that ate this in reverse, 300 calorie breakfast, 400 calorie lunch and 700 calorie dinner. Other good reasons include that people who eat a healthy breakfast are less likely to snack throughout the day and do better on test scores. And don’t be afraid to bring on the bacon- 2 slices provide 9 grams of protein and only 80 calories - same as one hard boiled egg.
Power up Protein. Protein helps stabilize blood sugar as well as rebuild cells, improve your immune system which means you won’t be as hungry when you combine it will any meal. What most people don’t realize is that women need on the average 80 grams of protein and men 100 grams. Most people are not getting these numbers... are you?
Ten Minute Matters. Even ten minutes of moderate exercise can help reduce the risk of the top three diseases including: heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and most cancers. Exercising daily in three ten-minute sessions can result in the minimum 150 minutes of exercise that the American College of Sports Medicine recommends for better health and longer life. Walking before or after each meal can help you get those exercise sessions in without much planning or equipment. Just take a walk!
These are small simple things you can do to improve your health? You’re worth making the changes that can give you a longer, healthier, happier life!- Aren’t you?
Andrea Metcalf is an expert in weight loss and exercise for people over 40 and one of America’s top fitness experts. She helps inspire change in hundreds of people’s lives everyday and is author of “Naked Fitness, a 28 Day Proven Weight Loss Program for a Slimmer, Fitter, Pain-free Body” and more than a dozen fitness DVD’s. As seen on national television including the NBC Today Show, Better TV and GMA Health, Andrea shares her tips and advice to get people moving. www.AndreaMetcalf.com
If it seems you are not seeing the results you want after spending hours in the gym, maybe it's what you are doing there that you should be thinking about. Here are 5 mistakes that women make in the gym.
1. No heavy lifting. Although many women understand the benefits of strength training, still we hear women worrying about bulking up and avoiding the dumbbells. Weight training, especially for women over 40, can help transform your body and increase lean muscle mass. Think about lifting heavy enough weights or performing enough repetitions to feel your muscles fatigue. When you are muscles get tired, they are sure to get stronger.
2. Holding on. There are hand rails on every cardio piece of equipment in the gym including the treadmills, elliptical and even handle bars for the upright bikes, but holding on when doing cardio eliminates your core muscles stabilizing the body and coordinating balance muscles. That means you are getting less calorie form and results from your workout. Try to stay upright with abdominals pulled in, breathing down into the belly and letting go of the rails. On some pieces of equipment like the ellipticals, you may be challenged. But keep in mind, it is better to hold on and let go gradually than fall off!
3. Skipping the mirror. Sometimes we don't love what we see in the mirror and therefore avoid seeing ourselves in one at all costs. But the mirror gives up great feedback when working out. It helps us see our form, so that we can correct it and get more out of each exercise. Make sure when you are performing strength work to see and connect your mind with the muscles you are working. Guys do it all the time -- they focus and concentrate and watch their every move. Stop thinking they are watching yours, and watch your own form.
4. Post fuel fail. Men get it right by taking a post-workout supplement with protein, while many women skip the protein drinks after their workout because they don't realize the impact of having a protein drink, which helps replenish and rebuild muscles. This helps your metabolism burn more calories and slim your shape. Make sure you are getting at least 15 grams of protein post workout and watch the calories -- keep those under 200.
5. Cardio daydream. Have you ever watched the glazed over eyes of someone on a treadmill reading a book or watching TV? It is not wrong to multitask, but realize that when you read or watch TV on a treadmill leisurely you burn considerably fewer calories, due to lack of focused movement patterns, because you are holding onto the rails to stay tuned into TV. That means you have to stay on the equipment twice as long! Make your cardio efficient and push yourself to breathlessness. Sprint, climb or increase the pace even for a minute, then recover. The interval bursts do two great things for your body: they increase your aerobic capacity (so skiing in altitude is easier!) and burn more calories than steady-state work.
Don't waste your time and efforts when you can be seeing a healthier you in half the time. Push yourself ladies, and let's see those smiling faces when bikini beach season hits.
If you can't bend over and reach your toes, you may feel you lack flexibility. But stretching alone will not help you improve your flexibility. You need to stretch and strengthen the muscles that are tight to become more flexible.
So what is flexibility?
Flexibility is the range of motion around a joint: a knee, a shoulder, a hip, a neck. This range of motion is determined by the strength of the muscles surrounding the joint.
You can increase your flexibility in three ways:
StretchingStrengtheningCirculating (increasing the blood flow in your muscles).
In stretching, we use movement to increase the length of a muscle surrounding a joint. There are two types of stretching: dynamic and static.
Dynamic. When you engage in dynamic stretching, you move through a range of motion. For example, you might swing a leg front to back to stretch the hamstring. This is a great warm-up activity, and it helps reduce your risk of injury. Walking on your heels is another dynamic stretch aimed at lengthening the calf and hamstring muscles.
Static. This form of stretching involves maintaining a particular position for a period of time. For example, you might place your foot on a block and lean forward, stretching the rear leg and hold that position. This type of stretching is more suitable for cooling down following a workout.
When one muscle group grows stronger than an opposing muscle group near a joint, flexibility declines. For example, you might find it difficult to touch your toes if your hip flexors (in the front of your body) are stronger than your glutes and hamstrings (in the back). When a muscle imbalance occurs, the weaker muscles shorten to keep a joint in a fixed position. The solution is to add strength to those muscles.
When the blood flow to a muscle increases, that blood delivers nutrients, gets rid of waste products and promotes healing and growth. Massage and acupuncture are great ways to increase blood flow to your muscles. You might also consider investing in a foam roller. You can do a variety of exercises with this simple piece of equipment.
For more information on increasing your flexibility, consult my book Naked Fitness. This book presents a new approach to using stretches and exercises to improve your health, boost your fitness and lose weight.
Maybe you dreamed of sleeping under the stars, feeling the warm breeze of a summer’s night and the moonlight reflecting off the pristine pond in the distance. Or Imagine sitting by the campfire with a fire crackling. marshmallows on a stick melting to a crisp butter brown from the fire and smashed between graham crackers and chocolate for the perfect s’more. Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors but many don’t love the idea of sleeping on the ground or ants and bugs crawling nearby. Thus, “Glamping” was created—a more glamorous way to enjoy the great outdoors.
Here’s some ways to upgrade your next camping experience to “glamping".
SPARKLE AND SHINE. Sunscreen is important when hiking outdoors but “glampers” know that a little glitter goes a long way. Introduction to Sea Sparkle SPF 50+, sunscreen with a glitter residue to shine with the sun. Also don’t forget the bugs, Scout SPF50+ offers dual sunscreen and bug repellant in one.
SLEEP LIKE A BABY. Glampers love a comfy sleeping bag that is lightweight and easy to carry like a backpack. All in one, backpack and bag by Mimish offers a dual fit for hiking. Another option is super soft, bamboo fibers with a blanket, throw or neck pillow. Grand Trunk has you covered with all of those. Plus the sleeping pillow can squish into a small carry along bag. But if you don’t want to sleep on the ground, Intex Self-inflatable mattress can be an option. It’s still light enough to take along on the trip available at Dick’s Sporting Goods
KEEP IT DRY. Hiking and kayaking may take you to the river and you’ll want to keep your smart phone dry by leaving it at camp. SAFEGO offers personalized lockboxes that can attach to a bench, a tree or something permanent at your camp. Yet it’s a lightweight and portable safe that you can take anywhere.
NEED A LITTLE PRIVACY. If you’re not fond of digging a hole and having mother nature watch your every move, Phillips offer a personal pop up tent for a little privacy. And if your bathroom requires some freshening up, think of installing a solar-powered warm shower. The solar-powered shower allows users to be conscious of natural resources, while also staying glamourous. Paired with a privacy tent, there is no reason for communal campsite showers! Field and Stream has a variety of these products that give you a little time to yourself in comfort.
CITY GLAMPING. Still not sure how to sleep in the great outdoors but don’t have time to pitch the tent, check out the Gwen Hotel in Chicago’s Glamping package. The Gwen offers the city’s first urban glamping experience, residing on the private terrace of the Gwen Lux Suite on the 6th floor of the landmark McGraw-Hill building. You’ll see plenty of Michigan Avenue and stars abound as well.
Not sure where to upgrade your camping experience… look no further
Bevyme.com offers everything you need for a great outdoor experience for rent. They curate the highest quality products and test them extensively for ease of use and durability. We also own all the equipment so we can ensure the highest quality experience.
Wayward Chicago, 1551 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
They specialize in gear for exploration from hiking trips to weekend city breaks and urban staycations. Think things like fashionable yet functional apparel, travel packs as well as novelty items from The Midwest.
Dick’s Sporting Goods at NEWCITY is the top destination in the city for all hiking, camping, glamping and sports apparel needs and NEW CITY is home to top retailers and restaurants including ArcLight Cinemas, AT&T, Brush Dental Boutique, Capital One Café, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Evereve, It’Sugar, German Kitchen Center, Earl’s Kitchen + Bar, James & Sons Fine Jewelers, Kings Dining & Entertainment, Mariano’s, Luxury Eyesight, Max and Leo’s Artisan Pizza, Nando’s PERi, Saks Off Fifth, Yard House and Z Gallerie.
Sure, technology can be a double-edged sword, but when used the right way, it can be a huge positive, especially for people trying to get fit. Technology has revolutionized the fitness industry in the past decade, and although the brunt of the work will still be left to you, it has changed how people train and approach exercise. So with that in mind, we look at how technology is helping people stay fit.
Technology and Fitness
Through the years, advances in technology have given people plenty of means to improve their fitness, from innovative exercise equipment to fitness trackers. We will therefore focus on these devices, which in most cases are worn like a normal, traditional watch — only smaller and sleeker. But how do these wearables help people get and stay fit in the first place? The answer, curiously, is quite simple: by letting you keep track of your progress (or lack thereof). As explained in the article ‘How Fitness Trackers Help Motivate Us to Keep in Shape’ published on The Conversation, people are greatly motivated by progress. When they see concrete evidence of improvement, they tend to push a lot harder, full of optimism that the extra work will lead to even better results.
Getting People to Workout The science, however, is a bit murky, as there is to date no overwhelming evidence that definitely proves the effectiveness of fitness trackers in terms of improving the fitness levels. But as cardiologist Tara Narula told CNN, fitness trackers and wearables in general “make it easier for people to work out and that's ultimately what we want." It certainly helps, too, that most of these devices have features that encourage their users to go the extra mile to meet certain fitness goals (e.g. have a resting heart rate in a specific range) or accomplish various fitness-related tasks (e.g. take 10,000 steps daily or burn X number of calories per day). Sure, said encouragements don’t always work, but in cases when they do, positive results do follow.
Technology and Athletes If technology can help improve fitness, imagine what they are able to do for athletes, to whom fitness is an end in itself. Halo Neuroscience CEO Daniel Chao states that technology is helping athletes train intelligently, with the world’s best, often engaging in next-generation training regimens that involve all sorts of technologies. The latest training tech includes gadgets like the military-grade goggles with strobing effects often used by the inimitable Stephen Curry to help him prepare for matches. Sports news site Coral points out that technology has become prevalent in many different disciplines, with VR now even used to train racing drivers and quarterbacks. Wearables like fitness trackers and jersey-embedded sensors are also popular with professional sports stars, as they provide data in real time that athletes can evaluate to maximize their training.
It Is Up to You
All things considered, we’ll go back to an important point made earlier: technology can help you get and stay fit, but the brunt of the work will be left to you. In other words, you will need to put in the time and effort necessary for you to achieve the level of fitness you desire. And you can begin by crafting a fitness plan that follows the pointers given in our ‘4 Tips for Creating a Fitness Plan’ post. You can even shake things up by checking out ‘5 Creative Ways to Get Fit’ and trying our suggestions.
Being in recovery from anything isn’t easy. Whether it’s recovering from an injury, recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction or recovering from a mental health illness, few things are more frustrating than having to stay out of the action, especially if you are typically an active person. When this happens, many people are tempted to lounge on the sofa and watch TV till it all feels better. Unfortunately, research has shown that inactivity during the time you are healing from an injury leads to the recovery mechanisms of the body slowing down and the recovery taking longer to happen. What is even more discouraging, is that lack of proper exercise might actually weaken your muscles and your performance by the time you make a complete recovery. Here is a summary of reasons why exercise is a great idea after an injury. 1. It is the Cure for Cardiovascular Disease It is a known fact that one of the best ways to deal with cardiovascular conditions. Regular exercise lowers blood sugar levels and helps people with obese BMI bring it down to a healthy range. However, there is another healing effect that exercise has on cardiovascular health; the fact that it leads to the release of hormones which are good in moderating levels of good and bad cholesterol in the body. There is research which shows that regular exercise actually lowers the risk of heart failure and that when coupled with a good diet, exercise reverses the effects of obesity in small children. 2. It Helps to Rebuild Muscle According to research, people who engage in athletic activities when they are younger have a lower possibility of ending up with osteoporosis than those who do not exercise. This is because exercise leads to a greater bone density. Also, when you exercise, there are small tears that happen to your muscles, and during the healing process, they come back denser and stronger. When you are used to activities like lifting weights, you are likely to gain bone density because a load on the bones signals to them that they should grow in order to bear the load. 3. It Reduces Levels of Inflammation Another huge benefit that comes from exercising is that it has the ability to lower inflammation which results to most chronic conditions such as cancer and diabetes among others. Scientists have discovered that inflammation is the one thing that links up all illnesses. The presence of inflammation is marked by the presence of a hormone known as C-Reactive protein. This hormone is found in high levels when a person is dealing with a chronic condition. There are also messenger molecules known as cytokines, which are caused by a bad diet and inactivity. When you exercise, you lower the levels of the C-reactive hormone a great deal. The connection between this hormone and chronic disease is therefore broken with an increased level of activity. 4. It Boosts the Immune System Did you know that people who exercise often have a very reduced possibility of getting a common cold? When you are exercising, you are able to remove bacteria from the lungs through the continuous inhalation and exhalation. Second, when exercise, you elevate your body temperature, which lowers the possibility of bacteria growth. Last, exercise is known to lead to the release of hormones which lower stress and low-stress levels are directly linked to a stronger immune system. 5. It Supports Mental Health Mental health is a significant component of healing and recovery from injury. The connection between the body and the state of mind is remarkable. Exercise works as an antidepressant and increases the secretion of serotonin, the feel-good hormone. Reproductive health problems such as erectile dysfunction can actually be treated by regular exercise. 6. It Helps You to Think Clearer
The other benefit you get when you exercise is the delayed onset of age-related mental health conditions such as dementia Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline. When you exercise, your brain neurons work better and fire faster, which keeps the cognitive faculties sharp for longer than people who lead an inactive lifestyle. There are millions of ways in which exercise leads to healing, and it is important to tap into all these benefits. As long as you have a routine that is manageable and enjoyable, you will reap the good health benefits for many years. Always remember that the ideal exercise routine is one that involves a rest and recovery day.
Looking to eat healthier? It can be easy if your focus on your goals and try these tips too.
Write yourself a letter, outlining your goals, time of completion and steps you will actively take to achieve those goals. Keep it with you. Do your best to see the possibility of a new you. Do your best to fulfill the program as outlined. Do your best to react to stress in a positive manner. Do your best to change your life.
Please keep a food journal detailing what you’ve been eating, as well as filling it with any favorite recipes you’ve found, and what works for you.
Here are some guidelines for preparing your meals:
Eat 9-11 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.Eat color and variety as often as possible
Monitor and eat 25 grams of fiber daily including at least 5 grams of whole grains,meaning that 5 grams of your fiber intake is not from fruits or veggies.
Eat 80-100 grams of protein.Drink water over any other beverage with every meal.Get at least 7 hours of sleep every day (making up hours on weekends if you cannot sleep at least 7 hours weekdays)Find your breath and count five slow deep breaths every morning, lunch, dinner and before every meal.Limit processed foods and be conscious of your choices each time you fuel your precious engine.Eat at least 4-5 meals/snacks a dayMeals should have both protein and carbs and be under 450 caloriesA good shake has both protein and carbs and is under 250 calories
WWW.CHOOSEMYPLATE.GOV Visit this site to create a customized plate that includes recommendations for daily calories, fat and nutrients based on your age, gender, & activity level.