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A Perspective on Yoga from Live Love Flow

By Jaime Scates Schmitz from LiveLoveFlowYoga.com

When Tony first asked me to do a piece for FitAfterFifty.com I was reticent: #1, I’m not 50 or even that close and #2, I cringe a bit whenever someone refers to me as a fitness guru . . . I am not.

In response to #1, I thought ‘What the heck do I know about being fit after fifty?’ And in response to #2, barring a car falling on my child, you will probably never see me lift a heavy thing.

I pushed through resistance item #1 when I thought of my amazing parents and my cute mom, who while still vital, attractive and lovely, is seeing her body wear down. Then I thought of my friend, student and current teacher-trainee, Nancy Richards, who at 64 moves like a 30-year-old in yoga, crushes it on the spin bike, hikes, bikes and skis. WOW. I’ll take that.

I pushed through resistance item #2 because I LOVE yoga (yes it’s a work out, but at its core it’s a spiritual practice of which the work-out is a tiny portion). I’m also happy to ride indoors to stay conditioned for mountain biking (my second greatest love behind yoga) and I believe all of the research about intense cardiovascular exercise increasing HGH, endorphins, serotonin etc. – I’ll take all of that because there’s nothing that I love more than feeling AMAZING.

As soon as Tony and I started the interview I knew it was a great idea. It was an opportunity to talk about my passions to a new audience.

Watch the interview here:

Yoga

Yoga is amazing for EVERYBODY. It’s especially amazing for bodies that want to age gracefully. In yoga, we move through our entire range of motion and all of our little accessory (rarely used) muscles. We also work tremendously hard on the core, which protects and lengthens the spine. Flexibility and balance are two of the first pieces of athleticism and health that people lose as they age, and yoga helps to improve those areas as well.

We spend a lot of time upside down in down-dog, forward-folds and inversions. These poses have amazing benefits to calming the parasympathetic nervous system and they are officially working against gravity – take that sagging skin! We do work incredibly hard, doing a lot of lunges, chattaranga pushups, side planks etc. We are using our own body weight to build bone density, which is another must for people over fifty!

Photo credit: Pixabay

Photo credit: Pixabay

So that’s just a tiny list of the health benefits of yoga. But my favorite thing about yoga in its ability to invite people to age gracefully is simply the fluidity and grace we introduce.

We hold so much tension and density in our bodies because it gives us the illusion of control. We also hold all of our pain, failure, drama and trauma as little energy nodules in the body called samskaras.

Everything in the universe, including humans, flows in an energetic pattern called a tube torus. When the tube torus is open and flowing freely we are clean, clear, bright, free and alive. In nature we can see examples of clean energy patterns flowing together. Nature balances, syncs, synergizes and coalesces with itself. We are intended to synergize in the same way and our tube torus is supposed to flow freely.

Sadly, due to all of the density, tension and samskaras we hold in our bodies (as well as a lot of external influences from the electromagnetic soup we swim in and the SAD – standard American diet) our energetic patterns are generally not flowing properly. We can see in the high rates of addiction that are currently in existence (I just read that while only 10 percent of Americans are truly addicted to alcohol, a full 30 percent are alcohol-dependent). Other examples include depression, numbing with the dumbing of American TV, the acceptance of hard-core violence and soft-core porn into our living rooms every night (not mine!), environmental degradation, poverty, famine, the sex trade of children, war, genetically modified food, disease etc. By all of these things, we see that we are clearly NOT syncing with nature in the way that was our birthright, in the way spirit intended for us.

In yoga, we move through our entire energetic sphere with grace and fluidity. When we do this with a burning desire to connect to consciousness, to cleanse our habits and our patterns, to free ourselves from our rigidity, to move higher, we just might make a little progress in that 60 – 75 minutes on our mats.

There’s something about moving with fluidity and grace, the way we do in yoga that also breaks down linear thinking. It helps us confuse the mind, move in a circle, play. Einstein said, “Confusion is the brink of discovery.” When we’re confused, doing something new, and pushing our edges we create new neural pathways (we’re pretty addicted to the ones we always use, and most of those stories aren’t so pleasant). So get a little lost, get a little confused, try something new, change your brain and explore that brink of discovery!

If we all work hard on cleaning up our own energy, elevating our own vibration, bringing ourselves into greater alignment and higher consciousness, then sooner or later that nasty list from above will start to shrink and lose it’s hold over humanity.

Stronger on the Slopes, and Beyond!

By Debora Robinett 

I began attending The Bar Method Seattle-Redmond classes in November 2011, shortly after the SLU studio opened. I noticed many changes and improvements in my body within the first few months.

Debora at Whistler.

Debora at Whistler.

After a year, in December 2012, I wrote a brief testimonial about the changes in my skiing ability/strength.

“As a downhill skier for 44 years, I usually dread the day after the first ski day of the season. I don’t any longer. Despite years of aerobics, strength training, yoga, Pilates, competitive cycling, ballet, skating, running and just about every other sport known, one year of The Bar Method has left my entire body stronger than any other exercise regime, even with a torn ACL. Not only am I stronger on the slopes, but my core strength has supported my balance, upper and lower body endurance, faster recovery and joy for the sport. Thanks to all of my instructors for a superior ski season workout!”

Around the same time, my boyfriend had this to say…

“Snow skiing centers around several movements including edging, turning, and pressuring movements that are used to maintain balance while gliding down the mountain. Working out at The Bar Method adds to a skier’s strength and agility, thus improving the efficiency of these movements. When Deb started Bar Method classes a year ago, she already was a good skier. However, Bar Method has not only improved her endurance, it has enhanced her ability to adjust these movements more quickly while skiing more efficiently. Her agility has improved, allowing her the ability to adapt quickly to varied terrain, steepness, and snow conditions. Most importantly, her recovery time after skiing is minimal. The Bar Method is an excellent regimen for getting in shape, for skiing plus improving your overall core strength.”

– Joseph Claeys Level III Certification-Professional Ski Instructors Association

Then a year later, at my two-year, 400 class mark, I reflected further…

gc1“Saturday, November 16th, 2013 marks my 400th Bar Method class in just under two years at the South Lake Union Seattle & Redmond Bar Method Studios. What an amazing, challenging, body sculpting, muscle strengthening workout. Even years of ballet, aerobics, yoga, weight lifting, Pilates, skating, both competitive cycling & running couldn’t give me the results of these one-hour sessions. So what have I noticed in the past two years? Within the first few months of Bar Method, I noticed that I had dropped a full pant size as my muscle memory returned and the fat melted away. I’ve been a registered dietitian for 35 years, so my diet has always been pristine and I made no changes to it as I began Bar Method. As a downhill skier for 44 years, I usually dreaded the day after the first ski day of the season. I didn’t in the 2011 or 2012 seasons … I am also an avid golfer and noticed that my distance and accuracy improved such that my handicap was lower in the spring than any other start to golf season. Lastly, (and most importantly to me as a woman who is one year shy of her 60th birthday) are the overall anti-aging benefits of Bar Method. My personal physician remarked in 2012 how nicely my Human Growth Hormone (HGH) levels were in comparison to the previous five years. Add another year of Bar Method to my life and my levels are even higher. For all of you Baby Boomers, naturally produced Human Growth Hormone is considered the anti-aging, fountain of youth hormone. I’m old enough to be many of my fellow students’ mother but my energy, endurance and strength is that of a much younger woman. Who doesn’t want to get younger with each passing year? So thank you to owners, Luke, Bev and Maika, all of my dedicated motivational instructors and fellow Bar Method friends who have kept me coming back to Bar Method the last 400 times.”

I’ll be 60 in January 2015 so like Tony here at Fit After Fifty, I agree that exercise (and nutrition and good genes) directs biological age, which is more important than chronological age!

Injury Prevention for Senior Tennis Players

by the International Tennis Performance Association (iTPA)

Not only is tennis a fun and engaging sport, it can also be played throughout one’s life. One of the greatest assets of tennis is that it can be played well into a person’s retirement years. Tennis can be played at any age, at any skill level. While tennis provides many physical benefits, its rewards from a mental and social aspect are also highly beneficial. Tennis improves decision-making abilities as well as cognitive functions. The cardiovascular benefits of tennis are also critical when it comes to staying healthy. Studies have shown that tennis can decrease a person’s likelihood of heart disease and heart attack…

Playing tennis can: 

  • Improve bone strength
  • Decrease body fat
  • Maintain resilient connective tissue
  • Increase exercise capacity
  • Increase movement economy
  • Prevent loss of muscle mass and strength
  • Increase speed of movement
  • Increase flexibility
  • Increase aerobic capacity

In addition to these benefits, tennis is a great way to train dynamic balance. Injuries due to falls are one of the leading causes of injuries in people 65 years of age and older. Playing tennis on a regular basis can improve balance and reduce risk of falling.

active-seniors-tennis

The potential benefits of strength and flexibility training for the senior tennis players include: increased range of motion, reduced muscle mass loss, decreased loss of neural coordination, decreased loss of strength, power, and speed. Maintaining a level of fitness is key to injury prevention as one ages. Tennis is clearly a life-long sport that can help those over 50 maintain their fitness.

Three big injuries that occur in tennis are knee, shoulder, and elbow (tennis elbow) injuries. All three can be prevented with proper stretching, strength training, and technique. Here are some basic tips to help prevent injuries:

  • Proper warm up
  • Dynamic flexibility exercises before playing
  • Proper shoes
  • Proper string tension and grip
  • Lower body strength training like squats and lunges to gain overall leg strength and help prevent knee injuries
  • Appropriate injury prevention training focused on improving rotator cuff strength and appropriate shoulder function
  • Core training to connect your lower body with upper body
  • Proper technique prevents bad habits from forming on court
  • Work with appropriated certified professionals who are trained in tennis specific performance enhancement and injury prevention (The International Tennis Performance Association certified professionals have appropriate knowledge, skills and abilities to work with tennis players effectively)

Please share your tennis stories! Tell us how tennis has impacted your fitness and improved your life.

 

International Tennis Performance Association (iTPA) is the worldwide tennis fitness education and tennis certification organization for trainers, coaches and specialists who have a passion for tennis-specific performance enhancement and injury prevention. iTPA offers 3 levels of tennis fitness certification:
Tennis Performance Trainer (TPT), Certified Tennis Performance Specialist (CTPS) and Master Tennis Performance Specialist (MTPS), in addition to DVDs and in-person courses.
For more information about the iTPA visit our website at www.itpa-tennis.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Also look to work with tennis coaches who hold the Tennis Performance Trainer certification (TPT) and/or physical trainers who have Certified Tennis Performance Specialist (CTPS) designation.

Featured photo from here.

Competitive Aging: Fit After Fifty, Sixty and Beyond

Sometimes it isn’t about ‘aging gracefully’ as people say. We caught up with Cherie Gruenfeld, multi-Ironman Champion and featured inFit After Fifty“, after her most recent Kona Ironman race. Cherie turns 70 next year, and we were interested to hear her thoughts on competing and aging. For her, it’s not about getting older gracefully, but instead; it’s about getting the most out of life now.

It’s pitch black on the lava fields of Kona, Hawaii, where I’m racing in the Ironman World Championships. I’ve been here 18 times before – my first when I was 48-years-old. I’m now 69. My time goal for this year’s race is 13:13 and I’m going to have to do something very special to make that. Some years ago, I finished this race in 11:57.

For a brief moment, my thoughts roam. Do I want to keep working hard each year, struggling to make times that continually get slower and slower?

During my race, I should never let my mind do anything other than focus on pushing my body towards the finish line; however, the question is still at good one. Regardless of how good my genetics are, how much rigorous training I do and how great my motivation, my rational mind tells me that it’s unrealistic to believe I can race as I did when I was younger. That being said, it is not in my DNA to give up on believing that I can still excel. I believe that if I use 100 percent of what I have at this moment in my life, I still have the opportunity to exceed expectations. Therefore, I still set the bar high. My training and racing goals are aggressive, designed to push me far outside my comfort zone.

But the biggest issue in this “competing while aging” scenario – I believe – is understanding and accepting exactly where the bar needs to be set to make the goal challenging, yet achievable. Each person may handle this situation differently. Read more

Supporting Wellness and Active Aging at the ICAA Conference

Wellness and Active Aging

 

Fit After Fifty is excited to exhibit at the tenth annual  International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) Conference in New Orleans this Thursday and Friday (More details on the location below).

“Advance your wellness and active aging journey”…

a theme of the conference.  Perhaps you feel the term wellness and active aging is overused, misused, etc. We support the understanding of ‘wellness and active aging’ to be a ‘a way of living well and aging in an active and most healthy way’.   Read more

Adding to Sir Isaac Newton Quotes

sir isaac newton quotes

We’re proud to share our own Tony Whatley, founder of Fit After Fifty, featured in an inspirational blog: “Inspire Me Today”.  You can check out the full post here:

http://www.inspiremetoday.com/archiveDisp.php?type=0&ref=1675 Read more

Healthy Competition: Compete Only With Yourself

healthy competition

Most of us likely caught some of the action during this recent Olympic Games. These athletes are truly amazing specimens of the word athlete. And you know it’s safe to assume, they KNOW they’re very aware of their healthy competitionRead more

The Best Time To Start Getting In Shape Is Now

 

 

We’re all human.  We often have pretty good intentions.  We even tell ourselves, “Oh yeah, I’m totally going for a run tomorrow after work to start getting in shape.”  Then someone mentions the idea of a happy hour.  You stay strong.  But with a little peer pressure and the thought of a rooftop deck with a brew seems to overpower even our best efforts… Read more

FitBehavior Book is Now Available

FitBehavior Book

**Again, we’d like to thank everyone who has played a role towards the completion of our FitBehavior book.  We hope you share in our excitement of its release! We also welcome comments and thoughts. Feedback is very helpful to us since we would like to give everyone what they are looking for when it comes to their body and fitness routine.

Inspire Your FitBehavior is a multimedia FitBehavior book that engages the user to see what’s possible for them. The stories of real people in the book will help others begin to consider and take action toward a fitness program compatible with their interests and goals for fun and better health.

Our FitBehavior book is highly differentiated in a positive way as it combines text with embedded video to maximize impact, retention and inspire action. Studies show that people tend to learn and understand more through image rather than just words. So hopefully with our FitBehavior multimedia book you will grasp the meaning even more!

Click here to preview the book.

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Celebrating 100 Years of Life

Fit After Fifty dear Forever Athlete friend, Cy Breen, passed away the morning of Sunday, June 24, 2012 at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, CA. He was 100 years old.

Greg Klein, Cy’s stepson and caddy for the big birthday golf outings, shared a few sentiments….

What an amazing person Cy has been to us all–small in stature but a giant at heart. Hanging out with him was like being with a celebrity. Everyone knew him, and wherever we were, people wanted to say hi, and shake his hand. On the golf course all the ladies wanted to take their picture with him and get a hug, and the men looked at him in awe, wondering how he was able to play 100 holes of golf in one day, when they could barely play 18 holes at a much younger age. Everyone just loved CY and what he stood for– “Nothing makes you feel better than helping someone else.”

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