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senior fit

The Case for Fitness & Healthy Aging

An important principle that has emerged throughout my writing on “healthy aging” has been the issue of fitness and the role being fit plays in preventing illness and injury, yielding a fulfilling and vibrant life – a “life well lived”. The point of healthy aging is to be in a position as we grow older “to do what we want when we want without getting hurt”. I have always believed that my level of fitness would yield positive results as I got older emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually – and so far I have been proven right in my own life. The “fitness lifestyle” is a consciousness issue just as healthy aging is as well. I make choices everyday that are designed to enhance my ability to live the way I choose. This always includes high intensity, focused training which will (hopefully) prepare me for the challenging years ahead.

Speaking, traveling, teaching, program design, consulting, writing and other activities that I wish to do in my future will require focus, high energy, inspiration, imagination, and physical stamina and endurance. The ability to train the way I am now will translate into the future actions that will yield the result I envision for audiences in the years ahead. Planning for a future that requires me to be prepared to do my work at a high level will also demand that I be as fit as I can be in order to give me the strength to help as many people as I possibly can – while I can. This is my mission – and my purpose.

This article is about something I think about EVERY day. Each of my actions, decisions, and thoughts are applied to the outcome that I seek with every step I take in becoming stronger, faster, quicker, more powerful, balanced, imaginative, flexible and skilled. My purpose is to be able to PERFORM at a high level even as I approach my 70’s and this is the point of my plan – and these articles in this series. How fit are you today for the future you envision for yourself? Does your vision inspire you to reach beyond your grasp? Does it “pull you forward” so that you will take the actions necessary to enable and empower you for the journey ahead? Only you can answer this question! Do it now!

Power, speed, quickness, strength, endurance, balance & flexibility:  the “core” of healthy aging and growing old – not old.

I think of training in terms of performance and so much of fitness today is “gimmicks” – programs designed for the “few” in America who are NOT the obese, overweight, poorly trained, seniors, and youth. The “fatting” of America does NOT include practical programming on TV, the internet – or anywhere for that matter – that appeals to the average, untrained individual struggling just to live a ‘moderately’ happy life. I see this huge “hole” in our society everyday when I go out into the world where the “connection” between being fit and “regular” people is NEVER being made. To most of the world, fitness – or becoming fit – means acquiring a gym membership with all the “hassles” that implies and THAT isn’t healthy or inspiring at ALL!

I worked in the Nautilus and Bally’s systems as a trainer for over ten years and I never once saw the effort being truly made to help people “realistically” ACHIEVE anything. The world outside the gym is a giant “blank” for over two thirds of the population. The only thing I see that is visible today is elementary lifestyle “advice” on Dr. Oz and other related sophomoric network shows that really change nothing. The other major factor in the sales “pitch” to America on fitness comes in the form of “infomercials” that literally “sucker” people into buying USELESS stuff that will never really help them – EVER! The latest gimmick is the “abdominal belt” that will ‘melt” fat away with just 10 minutes a day! This is just the latest in the same old scam – “sell them anything and make a buck in the process!” What a disgrace and a shame that we have resorted to “hucksterism” in this country in order to sell the virtues of being fit! Jack Lalanne’s legacy has almost been completely forgotten today and I want to make sure I play my role in carrying the work he started so long ago forward with me. At least he TAUGHT simple exercises to people of all ages in the 50’s and 60’s with passion AND led them every step of the way during his shows. Those days are long gone!

When we think of helping people to become fit and healthy, we must always remember to train ourselves FIRST so that we can inspire others to do the same. I will not TELL anyone anything because for each of us our understanding and perspectives are different – just as each of us is different. I will always side with “being the example of the change I wish to see in the world” – the theme of my first article in this series. How do I retain my skill level with the “seven keys” of fitness highlighted above? I maintain them – and will elevate myself to higher levels of performance in the future – through my weekly weight training program, running 40 to 50 miles a week, stretching, and meditation. This dedication to fitness will hopefully allow me to do what I want, when I want, without injury and live with joy the active future of service I am envisioning for myself. I believe that with each passing day we are ALL falling ‘behind the fitness curve’ in life – whether we are training or not – and it is imperative that we translate our passion for being fit to others through our example. If we CAN’T DO IT, WE SHOULDN’T BE TEACHING IT!

Conclusion

My primary commitment to myself each day is to NEVER GIVE UP. If I am not sick or injured, I am training – training for my life to come and the role I have chosen for myself as “an agent of change in the world”. Each of us MUST decide what it is WE STAND FOR so that others can be inspired by our example. Jack LaLanne taught me through his example – as John Wooden did – that it is WHO WE ARE on the inside that will be the ‘key’ to inspiring and encouraging others to reach beyond their current grasp and strive for more than they ever dreamed possible. I am convinced every day by what I see in the world that what we have to offer the ‘many’ is desperately needed now more than ever. If we do not take up this challenge, who will? When will the REAL change come? It will only come when we change ourselves (on the inside – healthy aging is an inside job, remember?) and that is the greatest challenge that we will ALL face in life. It is worth fighting for this principle every day of our lives. Will you take it upon yourself TODAY and join me in this “journey of change” – and touch millions of lives in the process? I hope your answer is a resounding YES!

Article reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop. 


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

Walking-Sneakers

Exercising & MS

If there’s anything certain about MS, it’s the uncertainty of the disease. Energy, strength and mobility can fluctuate over the years – especially if you’re living with Relapsing Remitting MS.

So it’s important, when considering an exercise plan, to have options that you can scale and honor your body.

Personally, I’ve always loved exercising. So my ability to maintain a consistent schedule is something I treasure. I start my mornings either at CrossFit or going for a run.

This is what works for me now.

Shortly before I was diagnosed my “workouts” looked drastically different.

The fatigue was so extreme, the most movement I could do was a child’s pose on the floor next to be bed. Slowly I worked my way to walking around the neighborhood and eventually as I went into remission I developed the stamina to strength train.

The most important thing to know when developing an MS-friendly exercise plan is to always honor what your body can do in the given moment.

Sometimes that means giving yourself a pep-talk to take a stroll around the block even though you’re feeling a little down. Other times, you may need to scale back your efforts as anyone with MS knows, the fatigue is not something you “push through.”

Only you can be the true judge in striking that right balance – and it will likely be a fluid process. But keep in mind, even small efforts with diet and lifestyle can add up to create a healing environment in your body.

Need some ideas on where to start? Check out these New Exercises and Activities to Try if You Have MS

This post originally appeared on www.alenebrennan.com. Reprinted with permission.


Alene Brennan has been featured in USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Huffington Post and Mind Body Green. Alene overcame debilitating migraine headaches through diet and lifestyle and is now once again using a “Less Pharm, More Table” approach is managing her diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Alene holds four certifications: Nutrition Coach, Yoga Instructor, Personal Trainer and Natural Food Chef. She also completed specialized training in nutrition for autoimmune disease specifically the Wahls Protocol and the Autoimmune Protocol. Since receiving her MS diagnosis and seeing first-hand the power of using diet and lifestyle to create a healing environment in the body, she dedicated her virtual nutrition coaching practice to helping people with MS and autoimmune dieseases take back control of their health. Visit her website, alenebrennan.com.

The Exercise Box Is Too Small!

How do you feel about exercise?

Is it a necessary evil?

A consuming passion?

Something you have to do so that you can eat what you want?

What box do you put exercise in?

Or do you feel like Mark Twain;
“Whenever I get the urge to exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes away.”

Or like this unknown author;
“I wish I loved exercise as much as I love drinking wine and eating everything.”

While exercise is gaining recognition for its role in supporting disease management and prevention, unfortunately, exercise is still primarily associated with weight-loss, bodybuilding, and sports performance. This is an unfortunately small box for exercise to occupy.

There is so much more exercise can do for improving our lives that have nothing to do with weight-loss and sports.

So, we need a bigger box.

Here are some more things to put in the exercise box:

  • Improving mood and anxiety
  • Improving hormonal balance
  • Maintaining a high quality of life
  • Improving sleep
  • Improving self-esteem
  • Reducing, and possibly even removing, unwanted musculoskeletal sensations (like pain and discomfort)

Wait a minute… what?

I thought exercise caused pain?

If done improperly it can cause pain. (In fact, that’s the dirty little secret of the exercise world – that this exercise thing people are doing to get and stay healthy is actually causing ill health and disease (orthopedic disease to be specific).

However, properly targeted, applied, and dosed exercise can help contribute to the attenuation of musculoskeletal pain and discomfort.

It’s an untapped aspect of exercise and with the overdosing of Americans on opioids and unnecessary surgeries the time has come for folks to became familiar with exercise’s role in pain and discomfort.

How can exercise have such a profound role on how people feel? How can exercise be an answer for people that couldn’t find solutions from the more common interventions like pain medication, injections, physical therapy, stretching, or massage?

How can the thing that so many people don’t like, and perhaps the thing that so many can’t do BECAUSE of their pain, be the answer?

The answer lies in the relationship it has with the control of movement and the human nervous system.

Check this out.

To exercise is to control bodily motion and position. To physically stimulate your body in order to make some change in it. While most people think they can’t move because they are in pain, we flip the script. As a Certified Muscle System Specialist, I propose that you may be hurting because you don’t move well. That begs the question, “what is responsible for us controlling our bodies?” The only thing that can move you is your muscles. So, it’s the muscles I am concerned with. More specifically, the muscle system in its entirety. The higher the quality of your muscle system, the better you move, the better you feel. The way to improve the muscle system’s quality is via exercise – putting forces on the body. Exercise’s usefulness in contributing to the removal of pain lies in the details. The amount and duration of force, the positions the person is in while receiving the force, the direction and speed they are moving, all contribute to the precise dose of interaction (exercise) the person receives. When the position, motion, and dose is right, the body responds by restoring muscle system quality. This means that the stuff that moves you – muscle – works better, so you move better and ultimately feel better.

Written by Greg Mack, Charlie Rowe and Jay Weitzner of Physicians Fitness. Reprinted with permission.


Greg Mack is a gold-certified ACE Medical Exercise Specialist and an ACE Certified Personal Trainer. He is the founder and CEO of the corporation Fitness Opportunities. Inc. dba as Physicians Fitness and Exercise Professional Education. He is also a founding partner in the Muscle System Consortia. Greg has operated out of chiropractic clinics, outpatient physical therapy clinics, a community hospital, large gyms, and health clubs, as well operating private studios. His experience in working in such diverse venues enhanced his awareness of the wide gulf that exists between the medical community and fitness facilities, particularly for those individuals trying to recover from, and manage, a diagnosed disease. 

Charlie Rowe joined Physicians Fitness in the fall of 2007 after spending 9 years as the Senior Personal Trainer at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York. He has also worked within an outpatient Physical Therapy Clinic coordinating care with the Physical Therapist since joining Physicians Fitness. Charlie has earned the Cooper Clinic’s Certified Personal Trainer, the NSCA’s Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, the American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health Fitness Specialist, Resistance Training Specialist Master Level, and American Council on Exercise Certified Orthopedic Exercise Specialist Certifications. 

Jay Weitzner, MS is a Certified Medical Exercise Specialist through the American Academy on Exercise (ACE); he holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in Exercise Science/Human Performance with an emphasis on exercise physiology. Jay specializes in working with clients with musculoskeletal issues — his clients have problems or concerns about their quality of movement and their physical health.

doctor-health

When It Comes to Health, There Is No One Size Fits All

Have you ever wondered why a particular diet, workout routine or cleanse offers remarkable results for some people, but not others?

It’s because of bio-individuality and Metabolic Chaos®.

When it comes to health, there is no one size fits all!  Each person is unique on a cellular and metabolic level.  They have their own health strengths and weaknesses, or vital voids as Reed Davis, the founder of Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® calls them.  So, instead of treating symptoms, tests and/or assessment results, the key is to assess the specific needs of each person.

Functional lab testing is the best way to analyze a person’s specific needs on a deeper level.  The comprehensive data obtained through lab testing can be used to inform and guide a health-building program, to get real results that last a lifetime.

Reed Davis, the founder of Functional Diagnostic Nutrition®, worked for over a decade as a certified nutritional therapist and case manager perfecting lab testing and resources.  And now for over 10 years, he has been sharing his knowledge through the FDN course with a mission to empower as many people as possible to help as many people as possible to get well and stay well naturally.

After helping hundreds of clients, Reed discovered that while each was unique in their health challenges, they also had much in common – H.I.D.D.E.N. stressors.

Through clinical work, Reed identified 5 foundational lab tests essential for in-depth insights in order to uncover a client’s H.I.D.D.E.N. stressors and reveal their true healing opportunities to build their health.

Having access to lab testing, knowing how to properly interpret the results and use the data to guide a health building protocol is what makes certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioners so successful in getting their clients real results.

Like you, most of our FDN practitioners started off as health coaches, personal trainers, nutritionists, nurses, homemakers or were in non-health related fields and changed their career because they were inspired by their personal health journey.

No matter what their prior profession was, all of them have these 3 things in common:

  • A strong desire to help others on a deeper level
  • Willingness to walk the talk and empower others to do the same
  • A feeling as if they were missing some very important pieces to the health puzzle.

FDN’s complete methodology has empowered over 3,000 trainees in over 50 different countries to help people get well and stay well naturally.

Join Reed Davis in our upcoming webinar and learn how to get real results for you and your clients, and create a successful business doing what you love while positively impacting others.


Reed Davis is a Nutritional Therapist and has been the Health Director and Case Manager at a wellness clinic San Diego for over 15 years; he is the Founder of the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Certification Course.

new year

Fitness New Year’s Resolution Tips

The holidays were here and there was plenty of running around and parties to attend. As we said goodbye to 2018 and hello to 2019, we are ready to take on the new year. Many individuals have decided to make fitness a resolution and made the commitment with themselves to get into better shape.

Many individuals do not plan for this transition and end up stopping within three months. There are some things you can do to be successful if fitness is on your list of resolutions.

The first thing you want to do is to choose a fitness facility where you feel comfortable. By comfortable I mean, do you like the atmosphere? Is the gym to big or small for you? When you look into fitness facilities, make sure they’re not too far from your home. If the gym is too far, you’re less likely to go consistently. Try to plan for when the best time would be to go. Decide if morning, afternoon or evening works better for you and your schedule.

When you find your gym and figure out a time, make an appointment for an assessment and consultation. There are some people who decide to do this after a couple months of joining. Try to see a fitness professional within the first two weeks. We are able to help you figure out a plan for your workout and keep you on track. Some fitness centers call new members after the first week to see how everything is going.

It’s also important to not have an “all or nothing” mentality. If you decide to go to the gym three days a week, but sometimes fall short, it’s OK! Just get back to your schedule the following week. It will take about three months to adapt to your new transition.

Another tip is to have fun! Look at class schedules and try new classes. If you are new to classes, don’t worry about keeping up with everyone else. I always suggest that clients show up to class ten minutes early. This enables you to speak with the instructor about any injuries or concerns you may have. You can also leave class early if you need to. Some new students may only be able to do a warm up and have to leave. Remember that everyone in the class was in the same boat as you at some point.

It may seem tough to add fitness to your life at first, but it will get easier. You will start to feel better overall. Many people are able to sleep much better, bring down their blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce stress, and prevent osteoporosis. The benefits are really endless! The best thing is that you are setting the stage for a healthy lifestyle as you get older. You will be able to do more and live independently longer.

Good luck to everyone this year who has fitness as one of their resolutions. You will be able succeed if you keep positive and plan for success. Have a happy and healthy new year!


Robyn Caruso is the Founder of The Stress Management Institute for Health and Fitness Professionals. She has 15 years of experience in medical based fitness.

gina-baby-boomer2-300x200

Are you a Baby Boomer with No Time to Exercise?

We have all heard of the benefits of exercise. Exercise increases metabolism and promotes weight loss while it can lower cholesterol and high blood pressure just to name a few. According to the US Dept. of Health and Human Resources 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended that adults do at least 150 gina-baby-boomerminutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity. They also suggest muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week. As baby boomers, we can have a pretty busy schedule. As a 50 something baby boomer myself, I juggle quite a bit of activities in a day. I’m not complaining though, life at this stage of the game is exciting. It’s refreshing to see older adults doing more than ever before. Ironically, the busier our lifestyles are, the more we need the benefits of exercise but find that time becomes harder to come by.

What if I tell you that in just 15-30 minutes a day you can do both strength and endurance training with a circuit training workout? What exactly is circuit training you ask? After your 5 minute warm up, it is a circuit or group of exercises that can be designed to be a full body workout. Each exercise within the circuit can be timed for 30 – 60 seconds with a brief pause between each exercise. Once you complete all the exercises in the circuit you take a break for up to three minutes and if your fitness level and time permits, you can repeat the circuit 2- 3 times.

So what makes circuit training a great choice for baby boomers?

*It’s for all fitness levels– safe level of exercise for beginners.

*Feel a Sense of Accomplishment – Get a total body workout.

*Lose weight more effectively by continuous movement throughout your workout.

*Burn more calories post workout than a traditional aerobic workout. (August 2005 issue of the “European Journal of Applied Physiology”)

*Versatile – Workout anywhere and the options are endless.

*Most Important – Circuit training saves time!

Before beginning any exercise program it is recommended that you consult with your doctor.  If you have a green light to exercise then you may want to try circuit training.

gina-baby-boomer2Beginner Total Body Circuit:

Perform a 5 minute warm-up including flexibility exercises. Set a timer for 60 seconds. Perform each exercise for 30 to 60 seconds with a rest of 15 seconds in between each exercise.  After completing the circuit once through, break for 1 to 3 minutes and repeat the circuit if desired.

  1. Dumbbell Squats (option: hold dumbbells to increase intensity)
  2. Incline Chest Press
  3. Plank (Plank can be performed on wall, counter , bench or floor depending on your fitness level)
  4. Military Overhead Presses
  5. Bicep Curls
  6. Medicine Ball Slams
  7. Single-Leg Balance (30 seconds per leg)
  8. Tricep Extensions
  9. Band Pull Aparts with Theraband or exercise tubing

 


Gina Baumgartner is NASM certified personal trainer, Certified Senior Fitness Specialist and Certified Functional Aging Institute Specialist.  She loves helping mature adults meet their fitness potential with small group and one to one personal training.  She specializes is 50+ personal training incorporating flexibility, balance, core stabilization and strength training into each workout.  Visit Gina’s MFN profile: medicalfitnessnetwork.org/members/gina-baumgartner

References:

2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans; health.gov/paguidelines/pdf/paguide.pdf

Ncbi.nlm.gov/pubmed/15942765

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stock Images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Woman Doing Stretching Exercises In Gym With Trainer

Physical Activity and Menopause

Menopause is bad.

Exercise is good. 

More exercise is the solution!

Is that it?

It’s not quite that simple, although most things you will read will tell you that any form of physical activity is helpful. There is a lot of truth to it. Physical activity at any age is beneficial and for women during mid-life exercising carries additional substantial health benefits. The menopausal transition is associated with many health risk factors such as increased risk for cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, decreased bone mineral density, metabolic syndrome, and musculoskeletal symptoms. Exercise prescriptions for those health risks are the same as for non-menopausal women.

However, according to my research, not all forms of physical activity are of equal benefit in helping with menopause symptoms. In fact, some forms of exercise can exacerbate certain types of symptoms such as hot flashes and insomnia.

I believe that it is important to pick the type of exercise depending on your symptoms rather than just exercise to exercise.

So how do you know which exercise is best for you? You start by reading this article! 🙂 To help you find your way through the labyrinth of research that is out there, I’ve consolidated the findings of the last 20 years of research on this topic so you don’t have to.

First I want to highlight the overall benefits of exercising regardless of symptoms…

Exercise Increases:

  • Benefits brain function and functional capacity
  • Increases beta endorphins
  • Quality of Life
  • Strength and balance
  • Increased Bone Mineral Density
  • Increase in quality and length of sleep
  • Maintenance of healthy BMI
  • Self-perceived physical condition
  • Sport competence
  • Body image & physical self-worth

Exercise Decreases:

  • Vasomotor Symptoms
  • Somatic & psychological symptoms
  • Depression (1 exercise session/week = 22% reduction)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Body Mass Index
  • Musculoskeletal symptoms
  • Cardiovascular Disease (50% reduction)
  • Overall mortality (20% reduction)

Exercise has many benefits but can also be stressful on the body.

Too much exercise and/or intensity can:

  • Decrease sleep quality and length, which in turn is correlated with adverse physiological and psychological outcomes
  • Increase circulating cortisol levels, which can lead to increased abdominal fat (read last week’s post for more info on this)
  • Have negative effects on thermoregulation as it causes substantial increases in metabolic heat production and core temperature (during exercise, metabolic heat production can increase by ten to twenty-fold and recent studies suggest that hot flashes are triggered by small elevations in core body temperature)

Moderate intensity appears to have the most benefits…

  • Highest menopause-specific quality of life
  • Lowest number of symptoms
  • Increased sleep, energy, confidence, mood

The following exercise guidelines are specific to helping you with menopause symptoms as well as increased quality of life throughout the menopausal transition. These recommendations do not apply to overall physical health.

Type of Exercise 

  • Endurance/aerobic training best for increased sleep
  • Strength training for body image, strength, body aches
  • Yoga for vasomotor (VMS) symptoms and overall menopause-specific quality of life (Hatha yoga for cognitive function (memory, concentration)
  • Walking at ~3-3.5 mph for anxiety and depression

Duration & Intensity

  • Moderate Intensity (60-70% Target HR)
  • Min. 3 x week (more days = decreased severity of symptoms)
  • Programs lasting at least 12 weeks

Special Considerations

  • Keep body core temperature at comfort level to avoid increases in VMS
  • Focus on activities that are enjoyable to you. Forcing yourself through workout regimens that you dislike can have negative effects on quality of life. I hear too many people say: “I think I should run more” and my question to them is “Why? Do you like running?”. “No, but it’s good for you”. Really? Is it? I don’t believe in doing things just because someone said they’re good, especially in regards to exercise. If you don’t like it, you won’t stick to it. It’s as simple as that. And when it comes to working out, consistency is the key. So find activities that you truly enjoy. Not only will you continue doing them and reap the physical and mental benefits but doing things you love will help you reduce stress and keep off that unwanted meno-pod (if you don’t know what a meno-pod is, you have to read last week’s post).

All information is based on peer-reviewed research. I usually add a reference list of all the articles I read to put together an article but this one would be way too long. If you’re interested in finding out more about specific research articles used for this blog, contact me.

Article reprinted with permission from Dr. Maria Luque.

 


Dr. Maria Luque is a health educator and fitness expert that specializes in helping women take charge of their own wellness. A native of Germany, she pursued a career driven by a passion for health and fitness. Dr. Luque currently teaches at the College of Health Sciences at Trident University International, in addition to conducting workshops, group/personal training, and writing. She’s an IDEA Fitness Expert and has been published in the IDEA Fitness Journal as well as appeared as a guest at local news channel to talk about quality of life and menopause. Visit her website, doctorluque.com

fall-walking

The Mind/Body Connection – Programming For Year Round Success

In the fall of each year, as summer fades from our view, we often find ourselves having to work diligently to “restart” our fitness activities in preparation for the holidays – and the year to come. As the seasons change to shorter days and cooler weather becomes a reality, we have to “re-think” our fitness plans/goals and address the changes that are coming – thoughtfully and carefully – in order to ensure continued growth and results.

Being able to understand the “cycles” of life and how the changing seasons affect us is important in programming your fitness activities for the balance of the year. Success comes when we plan and evaluate again what it is we want to achieve with our fitness activities and then “re-set” our priorities to account not only for the change in the weather – but our lives as well.

I will share with you some tips on how you might maintain your momentum when it comes to fitness programming following the summer months of mostly fun activities that don’t fit the mold of “exercise”. Remembering exercise can be a form of “play” is important when transitioning to the fall and winter months that lie ahead. Let’s be creative and hopefully this article will spark a thought (or two) or maybe an idea that might help you move into the fall and winter months ready to continue challenging yourself – and not just “working out” – or “exercising”.

The Mind/Body Connection

The key to transitions in life – as well as with fitness activities – is the thought that goes into planning the program. Very often, the mind conceives of an idea that captures what it is we REALLY want to get out of our fitness activities but the heart never gets fully engaged in the plan. We THINK our way to a new plan, but do we ever really FEEL our excitement about the plan (and its possibilities) as well? This question relates to having exercise BE FUN so that you return to it again and again.

I connect my mind (thoughts) to my heart (feelings) every day when I go into my “quiet time” – visualizing and then appreciating the training I have planned for the day. What is missing in my opinion – and the most common reason people quit on their fitness activities – is that they never connect the mind – which conceives the plan – to the heart – which “experiences” the plan. If you love what you are doing – you will do it for life – just as I have done with my running program over the past 52 years.

A Note of Caution

Technology is killing physical activity and squeezing out the present moment. I see this every day at my gym: people mindlessly peddling on a stationary bike, watching TV, looking at their phones and completely disregarding the activity – and the moment. No wonder people are bored – and quit – they are not present and have no way of knowing if what they are doing is in any way fun – or useful to their purpose (if they have one in mind at all). Smart phones DO NOT need to be in the gym or constantly with us. Taking a break while we exercise is a GOOD thing. This is a time for you to enjoy and promote your own well being. Let’s release the stresses of life for even a few minutes – and learn something new about ourselves in the process!

What Should You Do?

You should connect your mind to your body BEFORE starting your training session so that you can enjoy what you have chosen to do. This inexactly what I do. This way, I first “see” with my mind’s eye and then experience it in my imagination before I even get to the gym to train. When the “hard” days come – and they will – (especially when you have been away from planned fitness activities for a while), you need your heart and mind to communicate regularly with each other to ensure success with your plan.

When I say everything in life starts with a thought and gets carried out into the world through the feeling side of our nature, I am saying that life is constantly communicating through our senses – thought, feelings, and intuition. With thoughts and feelings working together in harmony, you will not have to make excuses or have any regrets later because you are totally committed to your purpose. This is true personal power.

In order to be successful in executing your plan you must engage your WHOLE being in order to maximize your results. This is HOW you get through the fall and winter months – by preparing in advance with purpose – and setting goals you really want to achieve. In enjoying the journey – and learning more about yourself in the process –  you can rest in the knowledge that your life works! This sounds pretty great to me!

Adherence

The issue of adherence is being answered today through technological advances that help you track your progress and also assist you in managing your behavior. By this I mean there are innumerable devices on the market that will tell you how well you have done, whether you have met your goals and also show you what you can do to improve your results. The problem as I see it is that you are still accountable and responsible for your results regardless of how much you use technology to keep you “on track”. How much fun is that?

I solved the problem of adherence early in my life by falling in love with being active as a child and then finding new ways to engage my body – and mind – as I got older. I later came to believe in recording my sessions in writing and this behavior allowed me to learn even more about my own capabilities – and potential – in the process. I found a method for staying on track naturally that worked for me and today I have complete running records dating back to 1979. I know what I have done, what I am capable of doing – and am able to set goals going forward that are based upon my results from my past and current work.

Looking back through my running records I can learn a great deal about my current capabilities based upon the goals I have accomplished. This knowledge gives me the opportunity to set my course for the coming year – and define what I want to achieve going forward. (Run a 6 minute mile on my 80th birthday for example?) It is in the process of envisioning your goals – and experiencing the results before they occur (in your mind) – that you will succeed – enabling and empowering yourself as you move toward success. Remember that everything in life – as well as fitness programming – starts in your imagination first and then gets revealed in the “real” world through your choices and activities.

Always start with what you enjoy doing most and then add additional activities as you go. Change is inevitable and if you embrace it willingly – and allow yourself the opportunity to make new choices – you will grow in confidence and commitment to your purpose. If what you are doing seems natural and fun to you – keep going and enjoy it! If not, make minor adjustments at first – and then if necessary – more significant changes later. Nothing ventured, nothing gained is the rule here.

Activities, lots of choices

The internet has many options and “meet ups” are a good way to go. There are groups for running, cycling, walking, hiking, swimming, sports related activities such as volleyball and handball or racquetball – and any interest you can imagine. Meet ups are pretty much everywhere and if not you can start your own meet up group right where you are – from workplace relationships to volunteer activities to church activities – whatever suits you.

If you find people who have a common interest in what you would like to do, the group will “keep you on track” while you share, learn and build new friendships as you accomplish your goals together. Team sports – which is another way to go – (softball, basketball, etc.) can also keep you motivated and interested in your physical wellbeing by holding you accountable to a group that needs you to participate to be successful (bowling, swimming meets, road races etc…) Going through the “tough” months on your own can be challenging, so finding support with other people who care as you do is always a great strategy.

The gym setting can be challenging because you are on your own most of the time (unless you hire a trainer). The times where you can interact with others and form mutually supportive bonds with other like-minded individuals is through group exercise programs (there are many options) such as aerobic or yoga classes. Each method has value and both can be lots of fun while you learn what suits you as an individual. These and other group activities are very popular because they bring people together – enabling you to learn and share your journey together (yoga classes are particularly powerful in this way).

In the summer of 1982 when I joined Nautilus Plus after my wife left me, I went to as many as five aerobic classes a week because they were fun, challenging, and the music and moves helped me forget my pain for a while. I eventually went back to running but I never forgot the great help I received by participating in those classes. The instructors were young, enthusiastic, talented and absolutely LOVED teaching the classes. All in all it was a very positive and supportive experience that helped me get through a rough summer of questioning and uncertainty.

Final Thoughts

  • Think of the change in the seasons and the advancing winter months as an opportunity for personal and physical growth. Don’t think along the lines: “I have to get back to exercise”. Think about the opportunity to balance out your life – and help your body in the process.
  • Do commit your best effort to planning – and “feeling” – your desires and hopes for your fitness goals.
  • BE PRESENT while doing your fitness activities
  • Let others be a part of your plan. Include anyone who wishes to succeed with you.
  • Define your activities around things you enjoy doing and continue to expand your thinking to include new and possibly exciting activities you can do by yourself – or with others if you so choose.
  • Meet ups are a great way to engage other people with you as you work toward your goals. Shared goals always have a better chance for success.
  • Remember burning calories should be FUN! Program fun into your goal setting
  • Finally, DO NOT be afraid to change your mind about your goals – or your activities. There is NEVER one right answer for a particular challenge. There are always many possibilities. Take time to consider as many options as you can and then pick one – and KEEP ON MOVING!

Originally posted on healthynewage.com. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop. 


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.