Monthly Archive: October 2014

Do the Opposite for Better Health

A friend of mine described his morning ritual to me recently.

Each morning, I’m jolted out of bed by my alarm clock. I have just enough time to shower, get my work clothes on and get out the door to pick up some coffee and a breakfast sandwich at a nearby drive-through.  I sit through traffic on my commute, and think about my day ahead. When I arrive at the office, I have a full day of meetings planned. At lunch, I’ll have just enough time to grab a quick bite at the cafeteria, but the majority of my day is spent seated in my office and in a few meeting rooms.

In other words, he was getting out of bed preparing himself for a full day or sitting. And after work, he was mentally exhausted and typically headed for the sofa, or the computer (to catch up on social media).

That’s the ritual for a LOT of people. Not just office workers, but people from all walks of life.

They spend most of the day seated.

 

Habits can Improve Your Fitness

 

While I’m no longer in the corporate world (I left office life back in 2009), I still get caught in the same “sitting” trap. Since physical inactivity is linked to so many health problems, I have to adjust my daily habits in an effort to avoid the fate of so many “professional sitters”.

How do you set your daily ritual?

DO THE OPPOSITE.

Look at the people around you. Are they tired, overweight and feeling out of shape?

Do the opposite of what they do. 

Do they grab a fast-food option for breakfast? Pack 2 boiled eggs and a few spears of broccoli the night before.

Do they go from bed, to the car, to their office chair? Take 5-10 minutes in the morning to work on some joint mobility.

Do they take the elevator? Take the stairs.

Do they buy lunch at work? Pack your own.

Do they overeat? Under-eat.

Do they spend their lunchtime seated at their desk? Get outside for a walk.

Do they stay up working on the computer late into the night? Turn it off and go to bed.

 

Do the Opposite

 

The body is excellent at adaptation. If we spend all our time seated, our body will adapt to that pattern. Our balance, coordination and fitness levels suffer, our joints start to ache, and we get old prematurely.

This week:

Think about what the masses do.

And do the opposite…

 

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Over 40 and Hate Exercise? 5 Simple Tips

In my forties, I never really paid that much attention to the topic of healthy aging. I was more concerned with planning my financial future than the future of my health. It wasn’t until I hit 55 that I began to realize that “getting old is what lies ahead”.

I want to prepare for that inevitability.

I have friends who aren’t much older than 40, but they’re already starting to complain about aching joints, bad knees and sore backs. They are experiencing the yearly waist expansion that seems hard to escape with each passing year (almost 3/4 of adults over 60 are overweight or obese).

How do you outrun the health consequences of not being in shape if you hate running? Or if you hate going to the gym? Here are my over 40 exercise tips:

i) Find Your Passion in Life

ii) Turn Your Goals into Affirmations

iii) Keep it Simple

iv) Think “Movement”, not “Exercise”

v) Get Outside

Staying active and fit is as much of a mindset as much as it is physical activity. So I use the strategies above to help my private clients when they seem to lack motivation. Let’s briefly look at them:

FIND YOUR PASSION IN LIFE

Maple

This is something that my father taught me. He’s 89 years old (that’s him above collecting maple sap), and in great physical shape (but he’s never been to a gym, nor has he ever been a a runner). He noticed that many of his retired friends were slowing down. They would spend their extra leisure time on mundane stuff: lingering longer over meals, sleeping, watching TV, surfing the Internet and doing household chores. They’d fulfilled the dream of having lots of leisure time, but it was being wasted on a boring retirement with unfulfilled leisure pursuits.

“People who don’t have a passion in life outside their work, literally don’t know what to do with themselves when they stop working”, my father used to say.  He knows what he’s talking about. My dad loves the outdoors, and every spring taps maple trees and makes his own maple syrup. He owns 2 canoes. He plays pool (at a very high level), and organizes an annual charity tournament that bears his name. And every Christmas, he plays Santa Claus– something that he takes seriously and gives him great pleasure.

There are lots of activities you can pursue (travel, golf, home renovations, gardening, fishing, etc), but it’s one thing to have a hobby and another thing to have a purpose or passion.

What about getting a university degree?

Organizing an adventure race?

Climbing mountains?

Writing a book?

If you find your life purpose, you’ll need to stay in good health and physical shape so that you can pursue it, and enjoy it. Retirement health is one of the best retirement gifts you can give yourself.

TURN YOUR GOALS INTO AFFIRMATIONS

DSC07745

Lots of stuff has been written about goal setting, although most people don’t know what they really want. Goals provide direction and stimulate action. And we have to focus on what we want to achieve, not what we want to avoid.

Here are some examples of negative thinking:

  • I really hate exercise.
  • Why is it so hard for me to lose weight?
  • I just can’t motivate myself to workout.
  • I hate running.
  • I can’t.

On the other hand, here are some examples of positive self-talk:

  • What can I do in the next 5 minutes that will keep me in shape?
  • How great will I feel after I finish my training?
  • I love eating healthy foods.
  • My metabolism is getting faster every day.
  • Training in the morning is exhilarating.
  • I’ll do it.

Rather than focusing only on goals, think of focusing on a positive mind-set. Think of why you want to achieve good health and fitness.

Next, write out a short goal list in the form of affirmations. Use the following formula:

Affirmation Formula: “I” + (insert a verb in the PRESENT tense). Relate that to what you want (not what you want to avoid).

Examples:

I wake up every morning to fit my workout in before breakfast — yes, I’m a morning person.”

I am grateful for how I am able to not only travel, but to hike in the mountains.”

I am developing good habits that are ingrained in my lifestyle so I can maintain an active one.”

I deserve to be healthy and fit.”

I plan my leisure time around active outdoor activities.”

 KEEP IT SIMPLE

“I have to exercise. What should I do?” Many people struggle because they over-analyze things, with the result is that they never take action.

It doesn’t take a big, complicated plan. You don’t need to find a “perfect” routine. It could be as simple as doing 10 squats every time you find yourself sitting for prolonged periods of time.

Got 2 minutes? Work on some pushups.

You don’t need to put on gym clothes and you don’t need a water bottle.

Stop analyzing and start moving.

(By the way, I had been sitting for a while writing this blog post, so I just took a break to do 12 minutes of dumbbell cleans, squats and pushups. I didn’t plan it, I just did it).

THINK MOVEMENT, NOT EXERCISE

 

MovNat

Related to the above point, if you are less active than you used to be — the only really important thing is that you move. Every day.

Go for a walk. Take the dog.

Climb the stairs.

Rake the leaves (and jump in the pile).

Practice getting up and down off the floor. 

GET OUTSIDE

I’m convinced of the benefits of being outside, especially in nature. A natural environment just MAKES you want to move. Breathe deeply. Explore. De-stress.

It’s good for you soul — and your cortisol levels.

Use these 5 simple tips and get moving today!

 

 

 

 

 

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Fitness for Zoomers! Smart Advice for the 45+

Fitness for Zoomers? A few years ago, I had never heard of the term… but I got to know it quickly when I was invited this past January and March to appear on “TheZoomer”, a national television show hosted by Conrad Black and Denise Donlan.

Now I understand the word very well, because — well because I’m one myself!

You see, zoomer isn’t just another word for baby boomer — those born between 1946 and 1964 — they’re baby boomers with ZIP!

Zoomers don’t picture retirement as sitting around a country club. They want to get out there, stay highly active, travel, have adventures, and most importantly, have fun.

In order to do that, it’s so important that we stay healthy and keep our fitness in check. Far too many of us let the comfort of couches, chairs, and cars overtake our lives to the point that we don’t do enough physical activity to keep us strong, mobile and pain-free.

The question is: How? Well, I’d love you to explore lots of ways to live big and live healthy with me this October 25th and 26th in Toronto.

If you’re interested in fitness and vitality — come join me at the ZoomerShow, Canada’s largest consumer trade-show and lifestyle expo for men and women over 45.  I’ll be presenting both days, but don’t plan to just watch — I want to get you moving!

Fitness for Zoomers

Where: Toronto, Hall A – Direct Energy Centre, 100 Princes’ Blvd
When: Sat, Oct 25 at 1:25 & Sun, Oct 26 at 2:20pm

PS:  Here’s a secret! Want to save yourself the ticket price?

Get a complimentary ticket by clicking here!

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Key Factors in Healthy Aging

As a trainer, I hear it all the time: “I’m too old to do that!” But is age really the limiting factor? Or is it that we just stop practicing the things that keep us young?

Age can bring on a loss of muscle — unless we train with weights or do some kind of bodyweight resistance training.

Age can limit range of motion — unless we practice joint mobility.

Age can limit our ability to move freely — unless we practice specific natural skills like running, jumping, climbing and crawling.

Just what are the key factors in healthy aging?

Let’s face it — as adults, we seek comfort. It’s all too easy to sit all day, relax on the couch and not challenge ourselves physically. Nevertheless, that comfort comes with a hefty price tag — premature aging. If we want to avoid that, we have to move, and move regularly!

If you want to live a long and healthy life, I recommend you incorporate the following into your week:

  • Walk: Do some low-intensity exercise for 2-3 hours every week (swimming or cycling is also great)
  • Practice Pushups and Pullups: 3 times a week. You can scale both exercises (do pushups from the knees or off a wall & do pullups by assisting with the feet)
  • Squat: 3 times a week. Make sure you can squat below parallel and with proper form.
  • Train with Weights: 2 times a week. Avoid sarcopenia (muscle-loss with aging) by doing some form of resistance training. Deadlifts, squats and presses are the best.
  • Run: 1 time a week. Don’t just ‘jog’, try sprinting for a short distance. Or run/walk in intervals.
  • Play: Whether you play a sport, play with your kids, or with your dog — make some time to just have fun.

Recently, I did a talk on healthy aging at a conference in Toronto that was sponsored by WaySpa. Here’s a short excerpt:

 

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