Posts

10 Motivational Tips For When the Weather Outside is Frightful

Our lovely fall weather seems to be wasting away quickly into plain ol’ yucky rain and pre-winter crud. There is a good reason bears and other creatures go into hibernation during this kind of weather. To help you not fall into hibernation mode and to make the most of even the dreariest weather, we have come up with some great motivational tips to stick with your fitness regimen in the months to come.

  • Getting up out of your warm flannel sheets can be a bear when the house is cold. Set your programmable thermostat to heat up the house 15 minutes before you wake up so that you can get up and get going with one less excuse to hold you back. If your thermostat isn’t programmable, investing in a new one is just a few dollars and could just be the thing to keep you going through the winter…in addition to the energy savings you will see!
  • Set out all of your workout clothes, water bottle, and gear the night before. Pack your gym bag, set up your yoga mat, dumbbells, kettle balls, or Bosu ball so everything is ready to go and calling your name.
  • Write up a variety of messages on colorful slips of paper with reminders of how good your feel after a workout, pics of yourself at your fitness best, motivational quotes, or the many health benefits of working out. Whatever you know are YOUR greatest reasons for working out, jot those down. In the morning, pull one slip out at random and surprise yourself with your “Workout Inspiration of the Day”
  • If it is the cold weather that is keeping you inside, have your coziest hoodie waiting to go in the dryer and warm it up just before leaving the house for the gym.
  • Re-create morning sunlight with a Wake-up-light to help set your inner clock to get moving even when it is still dark these winter mornings. Setting your body clock to get going these dark mornings is a huge help.
  • Plan your workout breakfast the night before so you are less likely to cast about for something to eat in the morning. When you start off your day in “healthy mode” you are more likely to continue it by not skipping out on your workout.
  • The night before, check out a few workout videos on YouTube for some fresh inspiration. Just one new idea is all it takes to get you excited to try it out the next morning.
  • Get a workout buddy. Even if some days your schedules prevent you from working out together, just agreeing to a text check in and knowing your partner will be counting on you to also check in, will keep you both going strong.
  • Set up a fresh, new workout music playlist so that the next day you have new tunes to get you jazzed.
  • Print up a pic of a great holiday outfit you will reward yourself with, that awesome new bike, or the entry form for that spring triathlon or Tough Mudder race you have been meaning to enter. Keeping your eyes on the goal (literally) can keep up your motivation and focus

Whatever floats your boat (especially for you kayakers); learn to adopt the tricks and motivational tips that keep you in the game and on top of your workouts these dark, cold months ahead. Let us know what motivational tricks work for you!

Featured photo credit Wikipedia Commons.

A Balanced Nutritional Approach that Supports Your Exercise Plan

You are staying faithful to your commitment to an active and healthy life in your fifties and beyond. It takes work and discipline, but too often, it is more fun to choose an activity and pay less attention to the foods you are consuming since you have “earned it”.

Studies have shown that what we eat and how much of it will have a more direct effect to weight loss than exercise alone.  Human nature tends to give more thought and energy to one healthy habit over another.  We are not suggesting that people should diet only and forget your workouts or exercise plan.  Just make sure you don’t buy into thinking that one is more important than the other.

What should your balanced nutritional approach include for food choices when you are exercising and staying faithful to your fitness plan? There is no one particular diet for workouts, but when you remember the Pilates approach to mind and body balance, that will help you choose the foods that result in feeling better and more balanced. Strike balance with the major food groups and learn to listen to your body, it will make it clear what it needs.

Photo credit: Sweet on Veg

Photo credit: Sweet on Veg

Have you been counting calories and restricting yourself? Instead, look around at all the healthy choices available to you. Nutritionist Lily Nichols, has written an information-packed post discussing the negative calorie track and how to get off of it with 11 tips to a healthier approach to food and nutrition. It is about finding balance nutritionally when you listen to your body and pay attention to the flavors of the foods you eat. Take time to educate yourself on healthier choices and also allow for indulgence in your favorite delights so you are not in depriving yourself all the time.

Here is guide for some great options that support your commitment to a fit and healthy lifestyle and nutritional balance.

  • Oatmeal: Start your day with this power-packed slow release gold mine and you will burn more fat since slow release carbohydrates don’t spike your blood sugar
  • Almonds: A 2-ounce serving of almonds requires chewing and leaves you feeling satisfied. Chewing more causes a greater fat release from the almonds, triggering the hormones that curb hunger.
  • Apples: With only 95 calories, this gem is packed with fiber and phytonutrients to regulate your blood sugar as well as having a positive impact on digestive bacteria.
  • Soup: People who start a meal with vegetable soup tend to keep the rest of the meal in balance in regards to caloric intake, nutrients, and fiber.
  • Mushrooms: These guys served as an entrée leave you feeling just as satisfied as if you had beef, but are packed with important nutrients such as niacin, selenium, vitamin D, riboflavin, and potassium.
  • Hot Chile Peppers: consuming one of these 30 minutes before a meal leaves people less hungry and cutting down on unnecessary intake.
  • Eggs: not only high in protein, but eggs leave you feeling fuller longer and support muscle gain

You certainly will not maintain balance if you run out of energy in mid-workout, so plan to have a small meal or snack of complex carbohydrates and lean protein. There are also some great recipes out there for healthy pre-workout protein shakes. It is best to begin your workout with glycogen-rich muscle and a stable blood sugar. Make sure to start with filtered water for your liquid:

  • 1-2 Tablespoons of omega-3 sport oil such as chia, flax, or fish
  • 1-2 servings of whey, hemps or soy protein isolate
  • ½ to 1 cup of low glycemic, organic fresh fruit

At the end of the day, opt for approach that emphasizes the great choices you have for flavorful and healthy options instead of one that focuses on restrictions. This results in a balanced approach supporting your commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Please share with us tips and tricks that you have adopted to improve your nutritional approach.

Workouts at Work!

Some days it is impossible to get that workout in in the morning or after work when we are facing work deadlines.  Americans have desk jobs that require sitting at the computer for hours on end.  It is not helpful when our employers don’t have a company gym onsite.  We don’t advocate substitution of “office workouts” for your normal routine on a regular basis, but they can be helpful to keep us moving throughout the day instead of allowing our bodies to go stagnant. Here are a few to keep the blood moving through your veins and muscles challenged, with some workouts at work.

Office chair squats: With your feet a little more than shoulder width apart, stand in front of your office chair. If your chair is on wheels, take extra caution or use a standard chair. (Make sure that as you squat, your knees should not push forward past the front of your toes and your back should remain straight. When you do this, your butt pushes back and gives you the best squat form.) Lower down slowly, but do not quite sit on the chair, keep your back straight and eyes forward and hold for a few seconds, then slowly return to standing.  Do 2 sets of 10 reps.

Inner Thigh Adduction:  Use a rolled towel or sweater to squeeze between your thighs during this exercise.  Keeping your abs tucked, squeeze the towel as hard as you can for a few seconds.  Try to work your way up to 10 or 20 seconds.  Release, then repeat again 3 sets of 20 reps.

Leg Extensions: If you have some ankle weights, this exercise is even better! Sit straight in your chair, toward but not on the front edge of the chair, resting hands on the arm rests or chair sides. Flex your quads as you extend your leg straight out in front of you. Hold for 3-5 seconds, and then curl back down to starting position. Repeat 15-20 times before alternating to the other leg. Remind yourself to do this one throughout your day.

Office Chair Ab workout: Make sure this is done on a wheel-less chair. Sit up straight in the chair with your shoulders back.  While sitting on the chair front edge, place your hands on the arm rests. Keeping your back straight, lift your knees up to your chest and then slowly back down. Repeat 15-20 times for 3 sets. Not allowing your toes to touch the ground in between each rep will provide a greater challenge.  You can vary this to challenge your obliques by rotating your knees to the side on the way up and down.

Desk pushups:  Stand up and position yourself a few feet from the front edge of your desk with your feet together.   With your palms about a shoulder width away, keep your back and legs in a straight line and lower yourself to the front edge of the desk. Push back to start position for as many reps as possible, aiming for 15 reps.  Do 3-4 sets

Desk triceps dips: Similar to pushups, face away from the desk with palms down, keeping your feet together. Bend your elbows and bring buttocks forward so you can dip straight down along the front of the desk.  Dip until your upper arms are parallel with the floor. Push back up to start position.  Both the dip down and push back up should be slow for optimum results.

If you have a private office, rather than a cubical, most of the above exercises are easy to fit into your day here and there.  Here is another total workout that can be done at your office. Also, consider replacing your office chair with an exercise ball and incorporate those exercises into your day.

Safely Intensify Your Workout Routine

You may have found yourself at a place in your workouts where you are not feeling as challenged as you once were, or perhaps you just want to turbo-charge things and see more results faster.  If this is the case, then increasing the intensity and method in your workouts is for you.  The trick is to intensify your workout routine safely so that you don’t risk injury that would side line you and defeat the whole purpose of increasing your workouts.

Combo Training: Combo training is when you combine an assortment of aerobic exercises and resistance training. This a very demanding form of intensity training and can lead to over training and/or injury, so use caution and even a personal trainer to coach you through until you gain a safe understanding of how to proceed.

You will perform a resistance training set and follow it with a short burst on moderate intensity aerobics for 30 seconds.  You then repeat for another two sets. For example, perform a set of squats, and then do a 30 second burst of burpees, and then back to a set of squats/burpees. This cycle should be done in three “sets” (squats/burpees as one set). Combo training really torches fat and whips you into great cardio conditioning quickly. Here is a sample You Tube workout to get you started.

Supersets: If you are weight training, one method to increase intensity and strength results is known as Super Sets.  A superset is when two exercises are completed in sequence without a break in between them.  It is important to pair up two agonist/antagonist muscle groups in the set pairs.  For example: quads/hamstrings or back/chest.  This technique will noticeably increase muscle strength and result in your ability to train at higher intensity levels.

You will be more efficient if you set up agonist/antagonist stations before you begin so that once starting, you can go from pair sets to the next station with only a 30 second rest in between.  Here is a great YouTube superset workout to get an idea of what is involved.

 

Photo source, Wikipedia Commons.

Photo source, Wikipedia Commons.

HIIT Training for runners: Runners who desire to increase both speed and endurance, do so with interval or HIIT training.  It is important to already have solid base of mileage as well as speed work before starting this type of training.

Run nearly full out for 10 to 60 seconds, followed by a rest/walk (or jog) period. The rest period should be one to four times the length of the high intensity burst.  Essentially, your rest period is just enough so that you are recovered to do the next repeat at the same speed with good form.  This challenges your cardio system to get stronger and pushes oxygenated blood through your body, making it available for you muscles. Be sure you are warmed up and flexible before starting these workouts.

This same idea of HIIT training can be applied to cyclists, rowers, and even hiking.

Mixing it up challenges your body and can jump start you out of that plateau or even boredom you may have hit in your workouts.  At the very least, you will find yourself in better conditioning! Do you have a tried-and-true method to intensify your workout routine safely? Please share it in the comments area below! We’d love to hear from you and share your experience with the Fit After Fifty community.

Happy training!

Personal Trainer vs. Independent Fitness Regimen

When starting a new fitness program or even going for a change in your current plan, oftentimes people wonder the benefits/drawbacks to doing a fitness regimen on your own. There really are pluses to both approaches, but it helps if you consider who you are, what motivates you, and where you have already been in your history of working out.

Before you decide if you would benefit from a personal trainer or an independent plan on your own, it is important to ask yourself some questions to determine the best fit for you.

Considerations:

  • Are you not a self starter and need a certain level of motivation that you have a hard time finding on your own?
  • Are finances a factor?
  • Is your schedule such that you can adhere to the schedule offered in a gym or with a private trainer?
  • Do you belong to a gym where personal training is either included in your membership or offered at a discounted rate for members?
  • Do you work well on your own, but want fresh, new idea and challenges that you typically don’t have the time to search for and implement?
  • Are you training for a specialized event (Tri, Iron man, Cross fit competition) and could benefit from a trainer with that specialization in their professional certification/experience?

If you answered yes to many of the questions above, then maybe a personal trainer is a good option for you at this time.  Keep in mind, people can rotate in and out of scheduled time with trainers and can employ them on a weekly basis, to even just once quarterly.  When I was working out with a trainer regularly, I contracted with her on a weekly basis with a specific event in mind.  Once I got through that event, I then continued with her once a quarter to shake up my routine and clean up any bad habits.

Some people know that meeting with a trainer once a week or month is needed to keep them on goal and moving forward.

Benefits of working with a trainer:

  • Certification and current training, especially in your area of focus (training for Triathlons, etc.)
  • Fresh ideas and approaches to get you out of that workout rut so you can continue to see results.
  • Motivation and accountability much like a coach to push your butt when you need to be pushed
  • A trainer who is an independent contractor can have the flexibility of schedule and location to meet you when and where it works best for the both of you.

Benefits of working out independently:

  • Set your schedule and workout locations as is best for you, no coordinating with another person’s calendar required.
  • Save considerably on costs paying for a trainer.
  • You are a self starter and love looking into new workout ideas and starting new plans on your own.
  • You have a specific event or training method in mind and it is difficult to find a trainer who is skilled and advanced enough for your needs. You can fit that bill yourself.

Regardless of whether you decide to work with a trainer or plan and execute your workouts on your own, the important thing is to find an approach that works for you and keeps you in the  game and active, living life with passion and health!

Which method do you find more effective for your fitness? VOTE on our Facebook page!

Finding the Right Personal Trainer for You

We all know the many benefits of regular exercise.  Sometimes, however, we need that extra push and motivation to keep us at it.  Many times it is just plain smart to have the sharp eye of a professional to keep us in good form, lifting properly and maintaining good body position to help prevent injuries.  Personal trainers will not only help to coach you in regards to cardio and lifting, but good ones will address all areas of a healthy lifestyle for you, including nutrition and diet.

There are many highly qualified trainers out there to choose from.  It is important to understand the various certifications and professional organizations that certify personal trainers, as well as the credentials offered so that you can better assess if a personal trainer and his/her certification are a good fit for you.

  • Photo source, labeled for reuse.

    Photo source, labeled for reuse.

    Are they certified and if so, what are their credentials?

  • The National Commission for Certifying Agencies makes sure that certification programs demonstrate adherence to specific standards for the industry.
  • The American Council on Exercise (ACE) provides fitness certification, continuing education, exam prep for a variety of specialty certifications.
  • The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) provides education, certification, support materials, conferences with a more specific focus on strength and conditioning.
  • The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) provides education and certification for CPT, HFS, or CGEI instruction.
  • The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) is one of the most highly recognized standards in personal training certification, offering A CPT certificate with specialized focus credentials such as fitness nutrition, weight loss, senior fitness, corrective exercise and more.
    • Once you have determined their certification, find out how much actual experience they have and what kind. Hours logged is important, but equally, if not more important is what has been their focus. Sports-specific, age groups, re-hab, or lifestyle management. Make sure you choose a trainer whose focus and experience is a good fit with your fitness goals for yourself.
    • Ask about their cost and also availability.  How far in advance do they require to book sessions.  Do they charge by the hour or a flexible fee for service approach? Some trainers are happy to schedule semi-private sessions with clients of similar fitness levels and goals.  You can save considerably with this option.
    • Have a clear understanding of cancellation policies and additional.
    • Many trainers have specific training styles as their predominant focus.  CrossFit, TRX, Pilates, YogaFit are just some to start. Be sure that their style is compatible with your goals and find out how much they are willing to blend the two.

Using some of these guides will help you to not only find and decide on the best fit personal trainer for you, you will rest assured knowing you did your homework and are getting the best value for your fitness dollar.  Most of all, your personal trainer choice will play a critical role in keeping you on track and injury free on your road to a more fit lifestyle.

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!

Choose Your Supplements Wisely

We all know that the number one way to keep and improve your brain functions is to stay active.  However, various nutrients and supplements have been linked with healthy brain function and are important to consider as we start to age.

Americans spend over $14 billion on supplements each year, so it is important to make sure your supplement $’s truly providing benefit to you and worth that additional expense.

First of all, it is important to understand that supplements containing botanical ingredients are known to be very effective when taken in the correct dosage and are at the claimed and beneficial potency level.  The FDA does not regulate these.  This is not to say that FDA approval or lack thereof is a guarantee.  By nature, it is not possible to fully regulate botanical extracts since it is not an exact science.

Photo credit: Pixabay.

Photo credit: Pixabay.

That leaves it up to you as the consumer to do your research on the companies’ selling your supplements.  Also make sure you understand proper efficacy and potency, and shelf life of certain supplements.  It does take a little more time, but it is time well spent when you better understand what to look for and what to avoid when spending your supplement $’s.

Also be aware that while many supplements are a great answer for various health issues and concerns, they can interact negatively with other medications.  Don’t be fooled into thinking they are harmless just because they are over the counter and/or natural.  Talk with your doctor or other health professional to be sure there will be no negative interactions or side effects.

So which supplements are important to consider for brain function: Here are a few to look at to start with:

  • St. John’s Wort for healthy moods.
  • Melatonin for healthy sleep cycles, immune support, combating inflammation and more!
  • Omega 3’s for heart health, vision, nerve cells, and depression.
  • Probiotics for digestion, metabolism cholesterol and menopause management. Read on for more!
  • Vitamins A and C for healthy vision, immune support and more.
  • CoQ10 for vision, heart health, cellular energy, blood pressure and more.
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin for joint health

Bottom line is to keep your natural diet high in all of the above, but backing it up with high quality supplements targeting the elements noted will benefit you greatly in this adventure we are all in as we experience the second 50 of life.

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.