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How to Feel Younger

Our health is one of our most valuable assets.  When we’re healthy, we can spend higher quality time with our loved ones, can move around easily, and enjoy going out and having fun.  When we’re feeling under the weather, or have been living an unhealthy lifestyle, it’s difficult to find the motivation to do anything.

Perhaps you were in great shape in the past, but over the course of a few months, or years, your health has started to slip.  How do you go about getting healthy and feeling younger?  Use these simple strategies to put a smile back on your face and add that spring back into your step.

Adjust your Posture

It sounds simple, but even just sitting with better posture will change the way your body feels.  Straighten your back, pull your shoulders back, and keep your head up.  Learn to get in the habit of paying attention to your posture throughout the day.  To get started, it’s helpful to stand against a wall and flatten your back against it.  It’s ok if it’s difficult at first.  After years of bad posture, you’re retraining your body to maintain the form it’s made to be in.

meditation

Get Moving and Increase Mobility

Even if you aren’t an athlete, it’s important to move around each day to get the blood flowing.  Take a walk around the neighborhood.  Walk up and down a few flights of stairs.  Do air squats in the comfort of your own living room.  By getting daily exercise, you improve your circulation, heart health, digestion, and strength.  Exercise is one of the absolute best things you can do for your body to look and feel younger.

Socialize Every Day

Humans are social animals.  For our entire history, we’ve lived in communities where we have regular interaction with our peers.  In this day and age, it’s easy to live an isolated lifestyle and go through the usual daily routine.  Even if your friends and loved ones don’t live nearby, make it a point to get out and socialize every day.  Start by making small talk with the people around you.  Strike up a conversation with someone while waiting in line at the grocery store.  When in doubt, ask questions.  People love talking about themselves, and asking a question is a sure way to get the conversation going.

socializing

Eat a Healthy Diet

The food we eat directly affects the way that we feel.  When we eat a diet full of sugar, processed carbs, preservatives, and and chemicals, it leads to weight gain, moodiness, and poor health.  On the other hand, when our diet is full of vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats, our body is able to repair itself.  We feel younger, look fitter, and grow stronger.

Feed your Body What It’s Missing

Go and get a blood test.  Often times, when we feel sluggish, it may be the result of micronutrient deficiencies.  It’s amazing how quickly you start to feel young again when your body has the proper balance of nutrients.  There’s no magic pill, or end-all-be all, but starting with a blood test will show you what’s healthy, and where you need to make improvements.

Practice Daily Gratitude

There’s an ancient Zen philosophy, that says “learn only to be content.”  It’s the secret to lifelong happiness.  Be content with what you have, rather than focused on what you want.  Practice gratitude by saying three things that you’re thankful for every day.  They can be simple.  I’m grateful for the great weather.  I’m thankful for a cup of coffee in the morning.  I’m thankful for my loving family.  See how easy that is?

gratitude

5 ways to age better than your father did

By Kia Zarezadeh, Sponsor contributor from HealthwaysFIT.com (Silver Sneakers)

Most of us grew up idolizing our fathers. It wasn’t just in our nature; Dad was stronger, smarter and had more know-how than we ever did. It might seem like sacrilege to suggest you  can live better than dad did. But one way to top pop is by living a longer and healthier life. Here’s five ways to age better than your father did…

Ditch diabetes

About 25 percent of Americans 60 or older live with type 2 diabetes, so there’s a good chance your father has or had diabetes. The good news is you can eliminate most risk factors by taking better care of your body. Most people with type 2 diabetes are obese, so aim to keep your body fat lower than dear old dad’s. Focus on eating nutritious, low-fat, minimally processed foods that are moderate in calories. This is especially important if you’re a woman: Weight gained after menopause can put you at even higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Avoid arthritis

Like diabetes, arthritis carries a hereditary risk. But that doesn’t mean you have to grin and bear it like Dad. Rest, combined with a healthy weight and a nutritious diet, can help reduce the severity of arthritis symptoms. And, though it might sound contradictory to dad’s advice, exercise is great for reducing joint pain associated with arthritis. That’s because building muscles around your aching joints takes the pressure off those joints.

Photo source: Wikipedia Commons.

Photo source: Wikipedia Commons.

Take care of your ticker

Heart attacks unfortunately cost many of us a few extra years with our fathers. But heart health has come a long way in the past few decades. Now we know exercise and the types of food you eat can greatly reduce heart disease risk. When it comes to food, do better than dad and look for recipes designed to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. As for working that heart muscle into an invincible piston, try aerobic exercises that raise your heart rate while helping you burn fat.

Defeat dementia

Dementia is a bit trickier than other health problems that may have impacted your father as he aged. Not much is known about diseases like Alzheimer’s, but what we do know is leagues beyond the information available just a few decades ago. The latest research suggests everyday activities, such as walking, can help protect your memory. Of course, in addition to working your body, you should work your brain. From crossword puzzles to online games, people today intentionally are working their minds  stay sharp.

Prevent falls

How many times have you seen an accidental fall devastate the life of an otherwise strong and capable father? Of course, you can’t stop accidents from happening. But powerful core muscles and good balance can cut your chances of taking a spill. Plus, they actually can reduce the severity of injuries you suffer when you do fall. Recovery time is greatly improved in people with fitter bodies. And here’s something we’re pretty sure your dad never dreamed of doing to help prevent falls: video games. New research suggests video games can boost your balance, rejuvenate the brain and even lift your mood.

Get Started, Get Fit, No More Roadblocks!

This generation of boomers is the fittest and most health conscious one to hit our 50’s, yet.  Because we are the first generation to hit this season with this level of fitness, we are also the only aging generation to be facing this second half of life with more health to experience the richness life has to offer.  As a result, we are also in a unique position to challenge and change society’s misconceptions of what it means to age.  Sometimes the misconceptions are our own roadblocks and we may need a little help in getting over them.  It starts with identifying your roadblocks to getting fit for 50+:

  • Feeling self conscious around younger, fitter people at the gym. Just remind yourself you are there and making a difference in your health today!
  • Feeling intimidated with gym equipment or classes not yet tried. Keep in mind this is a great opportunity to learn something new, which keeps your brain fit, as well.
  • The “some day” syndrome or better known as procrastination.  I will get to it some day. That day is now, GO FOR IT!!
  • “It takes a lot of hard work to change my fitness level”. It certainly does, but it is well worth it!
Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons.

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons.

Don’t let those or any other road blocks hold you back. Consider some of the following people who may inspire you in breaking down those roadblocks:

  • 100 year old Sid Cojac of Atlanta plays pickle ball twice a week and works out the other 5 days of the week.
  • Seniors are starting second careers as personal trainers. The percentage of people over age 55 attending a personal training conference sponsored by IDEA Health & Fitness Association, a worldwide organization of fitness professionals, more than doubled from 2004 to 2011 — up to nearly 11 percent from 5 percent.
  • 71 year old Annette Larkin of Florida has astounded people with her agelessness, looks 40 and credits raw food and a meatless diet with her amazing health.
  • Needing an adventure for her 60thbirthday, Ginny Benware of Portland quit her job and hiked the Pacific Crest Trail.

If you are just getting started or contemplating getting started with a workout plan, keep it simple and manageable and focus on the four building blocks of fitness to get you over those roadblocks:

  • Breathe! Take just 30 minutes a day to participate in an activity that makes you breathe hard.  This increases your endurance and cardio levels.  It just has to be intense enough to raise your heart rate, but not so intense that you can’t hold a conversation while doing it.
  • Build muscles! Any kind of strength training with weights, exercise bands, kettle balls, or suspension training with your won body weight will build muscle. This also builds bone density and balance; all of which reduces your risk of falls.
  • Get Balanced!  Core fitness is a phrase all of us have heard about.  This popular fitness approach revolves around exercises that challenge your balance and core stability.  No gym is needed to do balance training activities. Brush your teeth standing on one leg, raising the other slowly and you will increase your balance and core stability.
  • Stretch and Flexibility!  As each year passes, we are all losing flexibility unless we are actively doing something about it.  Flexibility and balance are closely related.  Your balance is helped as you gain flexibility.  Regular stretching gives you more freedom of movement and reduces muscle soreness and possible injuries from exercise.

Once your fitness plan includes the four basics, the sky is the limit to what you want to do and where you want your new life of fitness to take you.

A Perspective on Spinning from Live Love Flow

By Jaime Scates Schmitz from LiveLoveFlowYoga.com

OK, now it’s time for honesty. I do not love spinning the way I love yoga. But I see it as a necessary evil. Before Live Love Flow, I operated a yoga studio for 3.5 years that offered just yoga (Mountain Flow Yoga in Madrona). Yoga all by itself was never quite enough for me. I had a spin bike at home, which I used often and I ran to keep the cardio conditioning up. As mountain biking is the second greatest love of my life, just behind yoga, the addition of a spin studio seemed logical. If I lived somewhere that riding 3-5 days a week up big hills on the dirt was a possibility, you might not find me in the spin studio. But since I have to hoof it up to the mountains with my bike packed away in the car, that’s just too many hours out of the day. So you’ll find me in the spin studio a lot! And don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the music, I LOVE the energy, I appreciate the intensity and therefore the efficiency. And well, it does make me feel AMAZING!

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons.

Photo source: Wikipedia Commons.

Spinning is an amazing way for people who are getting older to start or complement a fitness routine:

  1. When you’re inside on a stationary bike, you’re not going to fall or get hit by a car. There’s very minimal risk of needing a hip replacement from falling!
  2. When the bike is ridden in the ergonomically correct way, there’s zero impact on the joints and it keeps them lubricated by using them.
  3. Spinning increases serotonin and endorphins so we feel amazing.
  4. The ticker needs that cardio conditioning.
  5. One of the leading contributors to aging is the decrease in production of HGH (Human Growth Hormone). Don’t get a shot; you can become dependent and stop making your own naturally. But DO high intensity interval training – we do a ton in spinning. ”High intensity burst training in which one’s heart rate bursts above their anaerobic threshold (best established by VO2 max testing) for 30 second intervals five or more times in a workout. This engages super-fast twitch muscle fibers, which release HGH naturally.”
  6. You can really go at your own pace. The teacher will set a cadence and a gear; if it’s too hard, scale back. No one’s pressuring you; it’s your ride!

So my number one goal in life is not to be super fit, super fast or super awesome on the bike. It’s to be super conscious, super awake, super alive, FREE and vibrant. I’ve wrapped my brain around how spinning supports this for me.

As we’re riding, the mind puts up a lot of resistance: it’s really HARD in the class, so the noisy mind loves to complain, to pull us onto the path of least resistance, to bitch and moan. I see spinning as an amazing opportunity to “shush” that part of my mind. If I can cultivate equanimity to that suffering and silence the mental bulls*#t to face the challenge, I win!

Spinning also teaches an amazing lesson about transcending/transmuting our drama and our trauma. I don’t want to scare anyone, but I don’t want to minimize how hard we work in there; it’s kind of nuts! However, the minute we walk out of the room we feel AMAZING and we put the story of the ride and all of the suffering it evoked into the past where it belongs. We don’t relive the ride over and over and over again the way we do everything else that hurts, i.e. heart-ache, legal battles, neglect, addiction, being “wronged” by another, failure, embarrassment, suffering etc. Nope, we hop off the bike an we pop that ride into the past.

Now THAT’s a powerful lesson in movin’ right on through, moving higher and increasing consciousness.

I do think that anyone who’s using just the spin side of the studio is missing the whole point of Live Love Flow, but heck, they’re welcome and maybe the energy that’s being created in that amazing space, sincerely dedicated to evolving consciousness will seep into their field and we’ll find them in the yoga studio.

Namaste!

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.

Vacation Fitness: Maintain Your Fitness Regimen on the Vacay!

You have been working hard during your workouts, making good choices with nutrition and work-life balance, and you have seen improvements in your health over the last year. But then vacation and summer months arrive… with that comes schedule changes, opportunities to eat out, celebrations and gatherings. All of that is good and important, but can oftentimes make it difficult to keep up your normal healthy routine. It takes some advance planning and determination to succeed, but you CAN go on vacay and keep your commitment to fitness alive with a vacation fitness regimen.

First of all, don’t just give up and tell yourself you will pick things up once vacation is over. The summer months can be a series of mini-vacations, and that can mean a couple of months of no workouts if you just throw in the towel. You have worked so hard to get to where you are and backward slides can be discouraging. Be realistic and accept that it may be difficult to maintain your regular routine; but promise yourself to allow for an “adjusted program”. As with most things worthwhile, it is a mindset.

Tour vacations can mean schedules from morning to evening, but there are ways to sneak in more activities than you think. Here are some tips to make your vacation successful from a fitness point of view, as well as the sight-seeing side of things:

  • Do some checking around online before leaving home. You may be surprised to find a wide variety of workout facilities beyond just the hotel’s bare bones treadmill. Many fitness clubs, studios, and even personal trainers offer special arrangements for out of town travelers. Local parks have jogging trails and some lakeside facilities offer stand up paddle board yoga!
  • Your home gym may have sister gyms in other cities and for a nominal fee, you can take advantage of the services.
  • Photo credit Flickr user mikebaird

    Photo credit Flickr user mikebaird

    Think like an adventurer! Make sure one or more days of your vacay include a bike, kayak, scuba, or surfboard rental. Consider trying a totally new physical sport or experience since livin’ it up is what vacation is all about.

  • Pack along resistance bands in your suitcase. You can get an amazing full body workout with these things! Add a killer ab session, a jump rope and you are covered!
  • Don’t forget your workout togs and shoe options. This way you have removed any reasons to avoid workouts.
  • Make a diversion! As you are seeing the sights, take the long way around, or get off the tour bus completely and do it on foot. Find the closest hills or stair climb and make that a part of your route.
  • Paddle in the pond! Most hotels have at least a small pool. Even if you are not on a beach vacation, take along your suit and get some laps in or a full body water workout.
  • YouTube-it! The sky is the limit with just about every type of workout video for you to follow along with in your hotel room.
  • Ditch the rollers. Roller suitcases, that is. Pack all your essentials in two cases and carry balanced weight to and from your flight, hotel room, etc. This makes for a great upper body workout in the same time you would spend in transit, anyway!
  • Pedometer-it! Get a pedometer and/or fitness tracker to keep yourself aware of steps and activity level. This awareness will likely cause you to choose more active options and make better meal choices.
  • It’s all in the family. If your vacation involves visiting family and friends, instead of always gathering over food and drink, make walking dates to catch up and get some movement at the same time. Even casual hikes at nearby scenic destinations will make your visit that much more treasured.

The options are endless and the change of pace may just make you adopt some of these as a part of your fitness plan even once you return from vacation-land. It’s not an obligation, but an opportunity for adventure!

Healthy Blood Equals Healthy Bod! How Managing Your Blood Sugars can Lead to a Healthier, Happier You!

It’s 3 p.m. on a weekday afternoon… what are you doing?

A)   Looking for the nearest coffee shop to get that extra boost of caffeine to help you make it through the rest of the work day.

B)   Grabbing a handful of sweet treats out of the office candy jar because your sweet tooth is screaming at you.

C)   Switching back and forth between Facebook, CNN, and your current work task because you just cannot focus.

D)   Struggling to keep your eyes open, telling yourself that you’ll let your “eyes rest” for 5 minutes before getting back to work.

E)   All of the above.

F)    None of the above.

We’ve all encountered the dreaded afternoon energy crash at one point or another in our lives. However, there is a way to overcome the afternoon slump! By choosing balanced meals that contain protein, carbohydrates, and fats (yes, I said fats!), you can balance your blood sugars, manage your cravings, and make it through the afternoon slump without needing an extra dose of caffeine or sugar!

Photo credit: UltimateGymNT.com.

Photo credit: UltimateGymNT.com.

Blood sugars & energy levels 

One of the reasons as to why we experience fatigue, difficulty concentrating, sugar cravings, and mood swings is that our blood sugars are out of whack. When we consume a diet that is low in fat, high in refined carbohydrates, and variable in protein (i.e. the “Standard American Diet”), our blood sugars spike, then rapidly drop, causing the aforementioned symptoms. How exactly does this happen?

When we ingest and metabolize carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose. Glucose is then released into our blood stream to provide fuel for our cells, muscles, brain, and tissues. When we eat a meal or snack that contains a lot of refined carbohydrates with little to no fat and/or protein, the carbohydrates are rapidly digested in our system, causing a surge in blood sugar. Since chronically elevated blood sugars can be detrimental to our body, it tries to lower our blood glucose and return it to the normal range (a state called “homeostasis”) as quickly as possible. This rapid shift in blood sugar levels (from very high to very low), can leave you feeling fatigued. Thus, you end up reaching for the nearest sugar-laden treat in an attempt to reenergize yourself and bring your blood sugars back up to normal levels.

Tips for managing your blood sugars

Never fear – there are ways to prevent our blood sugars from taking a ride on a not-so-fun roller coaster ride! Consuming fat and protein along with carbohydrates can help you balance out your blood sugars.

When fat and protein are consumed in conjunction with carbohydrates, they slow down the digestion of carbohydrates and the release of glucose into your blood. As a result, your blood sugars gradually increase – rather than spiking – immediately after consuming a meal. Think of it this way: a meal consisting of carbohydrates without protein or fat is like having a car with no brakes – it’s wild, irresponsible, and can ultimately cause damage. However, a balanced meal that contains carbohydrates, protein, and fat is much safer; protein and fat act as a “brake,” slowing down the release of sugar into your bloodstream. Here are some additional tips to ensure that your blood sugars are well balanced and that you keep the afternoon sugar & caffeine monster at bay!

  • Always consume balanced meals and snacks that contain a mix of carbohydrate, protein, and/or fat. Never consume a meal or snack that solely consists of carbohydrate! Not only will fat and protein help control your blood sugars, but fat and protein will also make the meal or snack more satiating. Below are some common “no brake” meals and snacks, with options as to how to make them well balanced.

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 10.11.32 AM

 

  • Don’t skip meals (including breakfast). Start off the day on the right foot by having a balanced breakfast that contains a healthy dose of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Studies have shown a positive association between eating breakfast and increased productivity at work. Furthermore, eating breakfast has been shown to help people successfully lose weight and achieve a healthy weight. Between meals, listen to your body and snack if you are hungry! Skipping meals and foregoing snacks can lead to bingeing and overeating the next time you eat.
  • Make sure you are getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night. As little as one night of sleep deprivation can cause unfavorable alterations in some of the hormones (i.e., leptin, insulin, and ghrelin) that are associated with regulating our appetite. Furthermore, when we’re tired from a lack of sleep, we’re more likely to choose the not-so-healthy sugar-laden snacks – rather than the well-balanced snacks listed above – in an attempt to quickly boost our energy levels.
  •  Limit highly processed and sugar-laden foods. Highly processed foods are not only high in refined carbohydrates, but they also typically high in added sugar as well. Thus, they will cause your blood sugar to spike pretty rapidly. Therefore, they are not the best choice when trying to manage your blood sugars.

Let’s hear it! What are your favorite balanced meal and snack ideas? What tips do you have for staving off the afternoon energy slump?

Life-Long Learning #2: Live Like It’s Your Only

By Lynn Turcotte-Schuh

At 35 years of age, I know I am a young contributor for a group called Fit After Fifty – but I hope I can inspire you with my perspective. “Life-Long Learning” is a collection of thoughts I have been filing away while watching the generation before me. One of the most important things I have learned about growing older is that…

View from the top, mountain hike, Lake Tahoe, CA.

View from the top, mountain hike, Lake Tahoe, CA.

#2: You need to live each day like it’s your only. (Click here to check out lesson #1)

I know the saying is, “live each day like it’s your last”; but to me, that evokes too much melancholy. It makes you think of all the things you will be losing and makes it difficult to stay in the moment. I have re-worded the phrase to something much more positive and hopeful. “Live each day like it’s your only.” If you only ever had one day to live, you would do things very differently. Here is my list:

  • I would not be bothered by the little things that go wrong, instead I would be grateful to be having experiences and would take joy in the mundane.
  • I would surround myself with people who brought a positive energy and light into my environment rather than allowing someone to drain me or bring me down.
  • I would have appreciation and gratitude for every moment and I would make sure that I spent those moments with the people that mean the most to me, doing the things that mean the most to me.
  • I would care for my body to the best of my ability to show reverence for the amazing self that I am.
  • I would dare to go outside the box and try something that frightened me a bit. I’m not talking sky diving here, but maybe striking up a conversation with someone new.
  • I would hug a little longer, kiss a bit more often, and hold my baby as tight as she would allow for as long as she would allow.
  • I would laugh, really hard, as many times as I could.
  • I would say “thank you” to the universe for giving me this one, perfect, amazing day.

Luckily for us, we don’t have only one day to live – we have a whole lifetime. Whether that lifetime lasts for 20 years or 90, would it really matter if we lived each of our days as if it were our only?

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 10.59.37 AMLynn Turcotte-Schuh lives with her family in Voluntown, CT on 14 acres of beautiful nature.  She was certified as a Health Coach in July of 2011 through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  She is a member of the International Association of Health Coaches and the American Academy of Drugless Practitioners as well as a Team Member at Nutrisults, a company poised to help people age gracefully. 

In 2013, Lynn founded Happy Mama Wellness – an organization whose mission is to help parents model healthy behaviors in all areas of life so that our children can be the next generation of leaders in the wellness revolution.

Michelle Boyd’s Story of Overcoming Obesity

2013 is the year I lost 92 lbs. on a rigid low calorie diet and Omnitrition supplements. 2014 is the year I decided to get physical.

BEFORE

BEFORE

I’ve been a morbidly obese woman my entire adult life. I did not do any exercise except for swimming. I had long been in denial of my poor physical health. My idea of exercise was to park in the second row at Walmart. I had severe knee problems and difficulty going up and down stairs. In addition to suffering from Fibromyalgia, arthritis, and daily migraines; my most debilitating “illness” was my negative self image about the obesity. I saw someone who would never be loved or accepted. I never looked in full length mirrors, hated shopping because I had to buy huge clothes to fit my bust and thighs, leading me to special Plus-Sized shops. I even gave up wearing makeup. My self-hatred festered over and over as negative experiences replayed in my mind and self-hate verbiage constantly played.

In 2013, an opportunity to care for a terminally ill friend changed my life. Prior to her death, we shared a special moment in my truck as we took in the view of the beach. She was wheelchair-bound and commented that she really missed walking, hiking, and camping. That year, I lost 92 lbs. on the Omnitrition nutrition plan and went from a size 28 (XXXL) to size 12/14.

Even though my measurements completely changed, I still saw myself the way I used to be. Something needed to change.

In January 2014, our conversation kept playing over and over. I decided it was ridiculous that I wasn’t doing anything physical or healthy. So I challenged myself one day at Redondo Boardwalk. I learned that it was approximately 1/2 mile long. My first walk took over 40 minutes on a casual walk. The next day I decided to try 2 miles, which took over an hour. Two days later I increased it to 3 miles.

After a couple months of walking 3 miles 2-3 times per week, I noticed 3 miles did not make any difference in my body. So I pushed it up to 5 miles, 4-5 times per week. I really pushed that last mile and my legs were really sore. . After a couple months, I decided to try to jog 1 mile very slowly, to protect my knees. Success! Now I jog with my knee braces to provide extra strength.

Michelle Boyd after

AFTER

I’ve strengthened my knees up to 3 miles jogging and 2 miles walking. My walking stance is short so it takes more steps to complete a mile. But I am determined now to get my 5 miles in each day. I’ve had issues with blisters and sore feet, which have impacted my consistency, but good footwear is now making the difference.

I can walk 5-7 miles without pain. I can walk upstairs like a normal person. It is not a speedy process, but when I do it, I feel better about me. When my knees hurt, I wear the braces and I still try.

The most astounding change occurred last week when I registered for my first 5K for brain tumor research in July in Portland OR. 5K is just a little over 3 miles and I know I can do it!

I am not giving up and I refuse to listen to 35 years of self-hate tapes. I look forward to walking to clear my head, making positive affirmations, and changing my mindset. I never would’ve believed this was possible. If I can do this, so can you!

Congrats, Michelle! And thank you for sharing your story with the Fit After Fifty community!

A Bonus, and How to Live Life to the Fullest

By Brian Carroll

It’s 5:40 am. It’s dark. It’s New England. It’s cold. Make that… real cold. 12 degrees. And yes, it’s still dark. The driveway of the local YMCA is near empty. Spin class in 5 minutes. Why? Taking my center bike in a room of half-asleep spinners, I pause for a look around. Most are over 50. I’m 51. Seems right to me. Who else but a hearty New Englander hell-bent on wellness is going to drag themselves into the spin den? Anything to fight Father Time. Yes, even in 12 degrees.

Photo courtesy of Brian Carroll.

Photo courtesy of Brian Carroll.

The crowd motivates me into a bike mount. My feet lock in. My legs begin to turn, driving the life into me. Jill, the ink-laced instructor cranks today’s favorite rock ballads into the stair climb of heart rate elevation. I’m doing this for me. Or is it for my wife? My kids? My job? My friends? I want to share my life with those I love. Yeah, this motivation fills my legs while the rock n roll fills my ears. I’m spinning. I’m alive.

I’m also tired 55 minutes later.

Back to a resting heart rate an hour or so later, a smile from ear to ear fills my face as I sit in one of my Pivot® Life Insurance executive staff meetings at 8:00 am. I watch the coffee cups go up and down. The staff is trying to wake up. Each lift of hand to caffeine-starved mouth reminds me of each leg lift I did only a short time before. Did I hit 105 rpms of the spin wheel? Or was it 85 rpms? I think it was both at different times.

I am awake. I’ve lived a day of life and I have the rest of the day as a bonus. A bonus for enduring what anyone else my age knows all too well is important – how to live life to the fullest.

And yes, my caffeine at the staff meeting tasted a bit better.