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Have you been wanting to try yoga?

In my long-time  pursuit of fitness, I have done a lot of different activities.  I loved sports when I was younger and that was enough, along with being active with my 5 kids, for a long time. But when I was recovering from a neuro-muscular disease and needed to rehab shrunken muscle fibers, I found that I really loved weight lifting.  I liked the evident progress that came from increased strength.  I loved it so much that I would make myself do some cardio before allowing myself weight time!

A few years ago, I discovered classes that I enjoyed.  “Women and Weights” was at one gym.  BodyPump with 800 reps in an hour was at another.  There came a time, though that my more strenuous weight lifting and bouncy cardio was giving me some new aches and pains. My lower back was often achy. I found myself limping some when my right hip complained. It was time for something with less impact.

So… I tried a yoga/tai-chi/pilates class. Two things happened:

  1. My aching back and sore hip got back into behaving as they should.
  2. I was sore!  I thought that I was in great shape and that yoga would set me back, but not so! I was using muscles in new, and evidently, better ways for my over-60 body.

Now, I am a regular yoga practicer (practitioner?).  Sometimes in a class, sometimes at home with a video. I recently tried a “power yoga” class that stretched me (pun slightly intended) and went to a new level.  I love the instructor who gently corrected some of my poses and encouraged me with my progress.

If you have been wanting to try yoga but don’t know where or how to start, here is an idea.

I am a featured writer for sixtyandme.com, a huge on-line community of women over 60. I am happy to pass along this information about the gentle yoga video series they offer.  This is definitely beginning yoga, so have no fear of being sore or needing to be super limber or strong to begin.

Check it out at HERE.

This might just get you moving more with fewer aches and pains!

*****Of course, if you are a beginner and under 60, you might like them, too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: Raimond Klavins | Artmif.lv Yoga Intensiv 2017 Turkey Yantra.lv via photopin (license)

It’s Easier to Keep it Off than to Take it Off

I had just turned 40.  Dave and I were at a gathering and he was conversing with someone and I was not included in the conversation.  My mind wandered.

True confession…..it wandered to the obvious weight gain of the female person my husband was having a chat with.  I thought, specifically, “Wow.  She needs to lose about 30 pounds.”

Then, I did a bit of calculating myself:
I had just turned 40.  And, I had just gained 3 pounds over the past year.  Yikes!  This person was 10 years older than me.  10 times 3 definitely equals 30.  Thirty pounds!!! In ten years, I would be the one needing to lose 30 pounds, if I didn’t stop gaining 3 pounds a year.

With a moment of sympathy, I did recognize that this person (the one talking to my husband and not talking to me), would have a hard time losing weight at age 50.  I was finding for myself that the older I got, the harder it is to keep weight off.  Nutrition and health are topics for me, so I knew that the older I got, the more difficult it would become to lose any excess pounds.

That day, I determined to keep it off.  And my mantra “it’s easier to keep it off than to take it off” was born.

Now, twenty-five years later, I am not quite the same weight I was that day, but I have managed to stay pretty close.  It is not easy.  People will often assume that I am just lucky.  Ha!  No way!  There is no luck involved in showing up to work out five days a week (most weeks).  There is no luck in choosing to eat less. Or to eat lower calorie foods that have higher nutrition than the pastries and desserts and carbohydrates I once enjoyed. Nope.  Not lucky.  Just determined.

It’s easier to keep it off than to take it off.

Determined to stave off old-age as long as possible.

Determined to be able to enjoy grandkids and their activities as they come along.

Determined to be able to keep up with my fit and active husband.

Determined to not purchase clothing in a size larger every year or so.

Determined to keep making a difference in the world as long as I am able, even in my third third.

 

 

 

 

photo credit: franchiseopportunitiesphotos person about to stand on weighing digital scale via photopin (license)

Aging is Real

aging

I referred to myself as “old” at a physical therapy session recently and the PT (who is about 35, I’m guessing) chided me.  I was using the term a bit tongue-in-cheek, because I don’t really feel old.  In my head. Aging is real.

In my referral to this PT, I saw that my doctor referred to me as a “trim, pleasant, 64 year old woman” and it unnerved me a bit. Really?  Me? A “64 year old woman?”  That non-personal way of describing me caught me off guard. (At least she called me pleasant!)

In my head, I know I am 64, but I am still as energetic
and quick and robust, physically, as I have ever been.

 

Reality, though is that I am beginning to feel as if I’m “getting there” in terms of feeling old-er.

Who knew that our bodies start to poop out after 30? (Professional athletes know, I suppose.)

If I had thought of it, it makes logical sense that:

  • Hips that have kept me moving for 64+ years might start to show some wear and tear.
  • Birthing 5 babies (only one of five being under 8 lbs), might show up later…much later…in ways other than the joy of having grandkids.

At 64, I might not have hearing that is as acute or eyesight as keen or energy as abounding as 30 years ago.

And who knew that melatonin and its sleep benefits starts to poop out as well!? I read recently in a blog about all sorts of people “of an age” who wake at 2:00 a.m. Dare I say, “Me, too?”

Truth is, I do feel like I’m aging every day if I focus on what isn’t working as well as I want it to.

Longslowjoy.comThis week, I have decided that I am NOT a runner.  I can walk distances at a hearty clip for a while, but running just isn’t working for me. After trying for more than a year to get my lungs and legs to the point they might keep going for more than a mile, I admit that I just don’t have a runner’s body (the physical therapist convinced me). That source of frustration and inner conflict is gone….runner, no more.

While my husband is in Colorado, acclimating to the high elevation of Steamboat Springs for a 50-mile ultra-marathon, I have decided I am not a runner.  He sees running as what he was created to do. He is most alive running. He has studied and planned and prepared for this run…and there will be others.

www.longslowjoy.com

Dave’s great love of running is why I tried to love it….and why I am able to lay it aside. It’s not for me.

 

I’m not giving up my goal of staying fit and active into my 80’s…no way!  But, I will be more realistic about what that will look like.  And I will do what I enjoy, not what frustrates.

As with most things, this is a mind-set problem.
I can think of myself as “old” or “pre-elderly” or “aging.”
OR I can focus on keeping myself active and engaged, planning to be fit and active into my 80’s and beyond….with just a little bit of tweaking as I go along.

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: Hands with story via photopin (license)

Sticking with It in Your ThirdThird

stick with it

I read the book “Younger Next Year for Women” last year and it made sense to me. Their prescription of eating wisely and having good relationships are not much of a change for me. But, exercising an hour a day for the rest of my life, if I want to stay fit and active into my 80’s, is more of a challenge.

I have always been athletic and I enjoy fitness classes and can make myself spend time on an elliptical machine if I have a good book to distract me. That is not really enough if I want to really be fit. And I do want to be really fit, not just sort of fit.fit and active

Running, I decided, at age 63-and-a-half, is what I will do.

And, so, I do. Run. Regularly (not daily). (And not all that fast.)

I throw in some mixed yoga/pilates/taichi classes in and have discovered cycling
classes on bad weather or very cold days, but, running is what I am trying to learn to like to do. It’s cheap (good shoes are not expensive compared to buying gear for some others exercise options), it fits in our environment (no mountains or lakes nearby), and there is no real reason that I shouldn’t or can’t run.

All I had to do is to change my thinking from “I hate running” to “I am thankful I can run and it will help me stay fit and active into my 80’s if I do it regularly” and I was on my way.

It is a challenge, though. I have to constantly remind myself that I want to run. Progress is slow. I keep track of my runs so I know that my progress is slow. It can be boring, since I think I should not have earphones on.

But, I am sticking with it.

Here are 5 things that I am learning about sticking with running as an “older” runner:

1. Competition should not be your primary motivation.
I do think that if I keep running, there will be a time that I will be able to earn a medal in some race somewhere (as in, if I keep running long enough, there will be no one else in my age group), but at this point, my speed and endurance are not impressive…especially compared to others who have been running longer.I have to focus on my reason for running…to stay fit and active into my 80’s (and beyond)and forget competing.

2. Don’t listen to 20- or 30-somethings who give you advice about running.
When I was first starting, I tried to find sympathy about the challenges of being a novice runner. “Just add a quarter mile every week and you’ll be fine.” “Run sprints once a week.” “You’ll see progress fast if you stick with it.” I soon realized these young whipper snappers, though well-meaning, have no idea what I am facing (and is before them).

3. Find a route that is at least somewhat pleasant that gives you options.
I have a route in my neighborhood that I can make 1.8 miles, 2.3 miles, or 3 miles. There are some days that the long route feels good and I am willing to make time for it. There are other days that I know I have to get out of the house and a shorter one is the one that I will do. It makes it easier to get out and do something if I know where/what I am going to do. Going to the track and running laps is not very pleasant, I think.

4. Invest in a pair of good running shoes, bought from a running store.
Purchasing running shoes on your own when you are starting to run is crazy (in my opinion), especially when you are older. There are so many versions, it is extremely helpful to go to a place where they can analyze your gait, measure you correctly, and find the best features for your feet. They often will have “last year’s model” in the back for a discounted price, so ask. They also might be able to order in a different color if you object to the one they have available in your size (I didn’t realize I am picky about color of running shoes, but…)

5. Find a good massage therapist.
I used to think that getting a massage was a luxury. It is now a legitimate, occasional need. I have found a woman who really knows her stuff. Her massages are not what I would call relaxing, but they put me back together and make some hip and back discomfort disappear. She also has helped me understand that always running on the same side of the road that is sloped is probably going to result in some need to see her.

 

I am sure that as I go on, I will continue to learn. The other day, I used my running time to compose a keynote address in my head and I took 3 minutes off my 3-mile run! My runner-husband has been telling me that “it is all in my head” and that I can do more. I see what he means, now. When I wasn’t thinking about how much I am not enjoying running or how tired my legs feel, I ran further and faster, with no ill effects.

I am not ready to enter any races. I am concerned that if I perform poorly (according to my standards), I will be discouraged. I am wired to be competitive and right now, I am simply competing against my own natural aging process.

Medals and ribbons are not the goal.
Being fit and active into my 80’s (and beyond) is the goal.

 

What do you want in your thirdthird?

Cover photo credit: runners via photopin (license)