All posts by fran1wp

What does 62 look like?

Weird to think that I’m 62. And a half. I don’t feel much different than I did when I was 40. Or 30. But maybe I just got used to it?

Anyway, this is my 62. I do stuff I like to do – in between the stuff I have to do. I read stuff I want to read. I fall asleep in front of the TV in the evening.  I cook stuff I like to eat. And I eat stuff I like. Most of it’s healthy. I have a cocktail in the evening (sometimes). I train my dogs and compete with them in performance events.

I write. I listen to music. Sometimes when a song I like is playing, I’ll get up from my desk and dance to it.  (Probably not well, but it makes me happy.)

I like to travel and see the sights on foot. Not from a tour bus.

I work out so that I can do all the stuff I mentioned above. I don’t work out for the love of working out. I don’t. I don’t run on the treadmill because I like to run. In fact, I hate it. But I like doing the stuff that I like doing so much that I’ll work out and run on the treadmill to keep doing it. And I’ll watch what I eat too.

And I practice my balance. As we age, our balance diminishes unless we actively do something to strengthen it. There are statistics I could quote about this, and I have in the past. Almost every day we hear on the news that a public figure has fallen. There are so many more that we don’t hear about. I don’t want to be another statistic. I don’t want my friends to be statistics either, so I make them join me in my Balance Facebook group. They’ve joined the group. I can’t make them do the exercises, but my hope is that they get a little scared by all the statistics and try them.

My goal is to inspire others to join the Balance for Fitness, Balance for Life movement. Especially now, in the winter, when it can be so dangerous outside on the ice and snow. If you’re reading this, thank you! Click through to the Facebook group and join me. Don’t be a statistic.

What, exactly, is fitness?

Fitness means something different to everyone, I think. It could be that what I think of as being “fit” looks like a total slug to someone else, or a workout maniac to a different person.

I think that being fit means being able to do the things you want to do. I want to run around and play in the backyard with my dogs, so if I’m able to do that, I’m fit. Step it up a notch – I want to compete with my dog in agility, so I run on the treadmill a couple of times a week in addition to other workouts. If I can do that, I’ll consider myself fit.

And when I’m working at the shop, I need to be able to demonstrate products to customers, and that means being on my feet. And when we get in a new product, I need to be able to work with our dogs who model them – and sometimes that means getting down on the ground to keep a puppy’s attention! (Like baby Booker, in his very first modelling gig!)

I want to travel and be able to see the sights on foot. That’s a different level of fitness than seeing the sights from a tour bus. But, some level of fitness is still required to be able to fly to that destination and get on the tour bus. I want to take long hikes and really see the countryside in places I visit. That requires, again, a stepped-up level of fitness. Perhaps one day I’ll visit my cousin in Scotland. And another cousin in New Zealand!

And I want to be able to eat delicious destination foods wherever I travel. If I’m hiking, I figure I can afford the calories!

But, mostly, I just want to be able to be comfortable. I want to not be in pain, and I know that I need to be active for my knees and hips to not hurt. I need to be at a healthy weight, too, for my joints to be healthy. And I want to do the things that I want to do, without even having to think about whether or not I can do them!

What does fitness mean to you?

This didn’t have to happen…

It’s a new year, new resolutions, but same sad statistics. Here’s a short video I posted today on Facebook. A man in northwest Indiana lost his mom the day after Christmas because she lost her balance while taking out the trash and died of hypothermia. She had been waiting to see a doctor for balance-related issues. Granted, some balance issues need medical support and prescriptions, but it’s been proven that simple exercises can improve balance dramatically. Just a couple of minutes every day in the comfort of your own home can improve balance. Especially in the winter, this is so important. Much of the country has seen slick conditions in the last week. If a couple of minutes a day can help to prevent a fall, wouldn’t you want to do that?

Lazy? Procrastinator?

Yup, that’s me! My sister says I’m not lazy, but here it is, more than a month since I’ve posted here and I feel terrible about it.

Paper and pen!

I have tried to be consistent, but obviously that’s not working on its own. I need help! So I’m going to be using a real, paper, appointment book, and using pen and ink, to remind me every day to write. I may not post here every day, but I’ll be writing and polishing.

They say that you have to do something consistently 30 times or so before it becomes a habit. The same thing, at the same time every day. I’ve gotten to the point where exercise has become a habit. I don’t enjoy it, but it’s a habit, and I feel like something’s missing if I miss more than a day of exercise. I don’t even have to schedule it on my calendar.

So, I’ll be writing my little heart out every day at 9:00 in the morning for about a half hour.  I don’t know the topics, yet. Very often I just “write off the cuff,” as it were, and that could be the problem. Too often I think to myself, “I should write a blog post,” and then can’t think of a topic… What might work is keeping a topic list and consulting that when nothing occurs to me.

Organization module?

I’ve toyed with the idea of having an “Organization” module – heaven knows I need one that works for me. I’ve tried many, and have been enthusiastic about it at first but it becomes too much and I drift away.

I’ve discovered that part of “Fitness” is having a fit mind – and if I’m completely disorganized, I feel that I’m falling down on my fitness.

So, anyone out there who’s reading this – how would you feel about including “Organization” as part of “Fitness?”

Feed a cold?

Apparently what I was feeling was not that I didn’t want to work out – it was actually a really bad cold.  And I’m just not used to being sick. I can’t even remember the last time I had a cold. I eat right. I drink plenty of water, so perhaps my immune system is a little stronger than many others’. People around me can be sneezing, hacking, snorting and blowing their noses, and I don’t catch their nasty germs.

Until now.

A good friend was visiting from Minnesota a couple of weeks ago. She stayed with us for a few day, and we love having her. Usually. She complained of starting to feel sick the day after she arrived, so we fed her chicken soup and she took some Chinese herbs. And she was feeling better in a couple of days.

Those were apparently mighty strong Minnesota germs. The day after our friend left, my sister came down with a cough and cold. And then a couple of days later it hit me.

Like a ton of bricks.

I hate having a cold. When I have a bad one I will use up an entire box of tissues. My nose will not stop running. Where does it all come from? I hate to be in public, just because I’m so disgusting! I hate needing a tissue against my nose all the time… but I hate dripping more. And eating is ridiculous. Forget about eating around others! Nasty!

And then the sore throat. That was just adding insult to injury. When I was younger, when I got sick it started with a sore throat. This time the sore throat kicked in when I thought I might feel better in the next day or so. It could have been post-nasal drip (there was certainly enough drip for that!), but whatever led to the sore throat it was just disheartening. I really didn’t want to take anything for the sore throat because all the lozenges out there taste so horrible. And tea with honey only helps as long as the tea lasts. And gargling with warm salt water is a temporary and messy solution.

And then the cough. Yes, I’ve had some fun over the last week.

Fortunately I think I’m over it now and can go back to my regular life. I’ll try not to complain too much any more.

But I wish our friend had left her Chinese herbs with us…

I really don’t feel like it…

Being an adult means …

Don’t feel like it. No how, no way. But part of being an adult is doing stuff you don’t want to do.

We had a plumbing problem a couple of days ago. One of the drawbacks of living in an older house is old plumbing. About 10 years ago we re-piped most of the house with pretty new copper pipes because we redid a bathroom and had to open walls. All the galvanized pipes that were reachable were replaced.

But the kitchen was not included in the re-pipe. So the kitchen had 60-year-old pipes. And those pipes were prone to clogs. We’d been able to deal with those clogs up until a couple of days ago. Nothing we did solved the problem. We could not reach that stubborn clog.

We undid the pipes we could reach and cleaned them out. We tried using a water blaster. Nope.

Next day …

So we put the problem on hold until the next morning because there wasn’t anything else to do that night. I washed the dishes in the bathroom and my sister called the plumber. The dogs were confused…

And now, we have brand new pipes in the kitchen.

But the point is that our plumbing problem was not going to go away by itself. And nobody else was going to solve the problem. We had to be adults and figure it out.

What an adult does

Besides being able to do what you want to do when you want to do it, being an adult means making sure the bills get paid on time. Taking the dogs out on schedule.

Being an adult means eating healthy (most of the time) so that you can live a long and fulfilling life.

And being an adult means working out when you really, really don’t feel like it.

And when it’s done it won’t be weighing on you. You won’t have to remember it for tomorrow.

And being an adult means you get to do everything all over again tomorrow.

Add strength to your routine

Sumo squat with weightYour exercise routine, that is! As we age, it is increasingly more important to keep your muscles in shape. We don’t want them to atrophy! Yes, cardio work is vital, but it’s been proven that a combination of cardio and strength is most effective for overall fitness.

Body weight exercises are effective!

I have a set of free weights at home, because I work out there. But using your body weight can be effective as a tool also. A push-up is an amazing exercise that works the entire body! And a modified push-up is almost as good. Start with 3 sets of 8 push-ups from your knees. Hands should be directly under your shoulders. Make sure that your stomach is as pulled in as it can be, your body a straight line from knees to head – keep your butt tucked under! I started not being able to do a full push-up. I started on my knees and when that became too easy, I progressed to one leg straight, switching legs periodically. And when I could do that without a problem, I tried full push-ups. Not for a whole set, but maybe one full push-up per set. Push-ups are great for the arms, the back, the abdominal muscles – you name it!

Planks!

Planks and plank variations are great total-body strengtheners too! Stay in that full push-up position for 10 seconds. Work up to 30 seconds. And then a minute! These are especially good for the abdominal muscles.

Uh oh! Triceps!

Our triceps muscles are a major concern for many women, especially. A good triceps exercise that doesn’t need special equipment actually uses a chair. Sit on a chair that doesn’t move (no office chairs here!). Slide forward and support yourself with your hands on the front of the seat, arms close to the body. Slowly bend your elbows and rise back up again. Feel those triceps?

Use that equipment!

If you belong to a gym, or are lucky enough to live somewhere with a fitness room that has equipment, try it out! Those machines can give an awesome workout. Just make sure you get good instruction from someone who really knows how to use them. You don’t want to hurt yourself trying to get fit!

Got sleep?

We all know that sleep is important for our health and fitness. And we don’t get enough of the right kind of sleep. We have trouble falling asleep. We have trouble staying asleep. And then we have trouble getting back to sleep. Lack of sleep affects our health. We’re sluggish, don’t move as much, eat more. Our productivity is diminished.

About sleep

There are three phases of sleep: light, deep and REM (rapid eye movement). We usually start with light sleep and move to deep sleep. Then it’s back to light sleep and REM, when we dream.

The cycle

Deep sleep happens most during the first part of the night usually, and is very hard to wake from.  You’ll spend about a quarter of your night in deep sleep and a quarter in REM, which is easy to emerge from.

Deep sleep helps you feel rested

You can survive on just light sleep and REM, but deep sleep is the phase that helps you feel most rested. It’s what we crave from spa treatments and pills

Pills won’t do it!

But we can’t rely on pills to take us into deep sleep. Too often when we wake from a medicated sleep we feel foggy.

Try a cave!

If you want real deep sleep, turn off all your lights. Make your bedroom a cave.

Meditation works too! If you’re new to meditation and have heard of its benefits, try guided meditation – send me a message and I’ll email you one of the short guided meditations I’ve created in mp3 format. They’re restful and soothing (and free). Just the thing to help you sleep!

A Cautionary Tale

FranI went to the dentist the other day – nothing earth-shattering there. I do it every 6 months. (All those pearly whites are my own!) I really like my dentist. She’s a cool lady and she talks about stuff I’m usually interested in – books, dogs, music, card games (well, not that interested, but OK) and roller coasters (definitely not interested in going on them myself, but I have a horrified fascination in others who enjoy coasters).

But this time I learned that she doesn’t have any dogs at the moment and probably will not be getting one in the foreseeable future. The good doctor rescued senior Labrador Retrievers and cared for them for their remaining lives. What a good thing! But she told me that at about the same time that her last one passed away, her husband had a bad fall and broke his hip and his wrist. He’s out of rehab now, but will probably need a walker for the rest of his life, sadly.

Too close to home

This is getting too close to home! I recently wrote about my conversation with Kathleen Cameron, Senior Director of the National Council on Aging regarding the seriousness of falls and how they can be prevented.  http://fitness-over-50.com/2017/07/prevent-falls-my-interview-with-kathleen-cameron/

I asked my dentist what she does to maintain or strengthen her balance, and she said, “Well, just keep up my strength, I guess…” Not good enough. You can prevent falls by improving your balance!

Our bodies change as we age

As we age, our bodies change and lose the ability to balance. Even if you work out regularly, even if you eat right, your balance will diminish unless you specifically do something about it!

Can you commit?

Practicing Yoga is good. Tai Chi is also good. But these practices must be continual. You have to really commit to them in order for your balance to show improvement.

Maybe not, but you’ve got 2 minutes a day!

But you can improve your balance in as little as two minutes a day. Exercise your balance. Do specific balance exercises. Join the “Balance for Fitness, Balance for Life” community on Facebook which gives you an exercise a day to perform. Like standing on one leg while brushing your teeth. This is an older picture – Booker is bored with my routine now and doesn’t feel the need to supervise.

I know it’s helped me! I recently fell – stepped on a rock the wrong way at night in a parking lot. It was extremely painful, and I thought my knee would be injured badly. But the only damage was a scrape on my shin that was gone in a couple of weeks. (I do have a scar as a memento now because I never keep scrapes covered for as long as you’re supposed to…)

So, the moral of this tale is, don’t fall and need a cane or walker forever! Practice your balance!

 

Don’t let them squash your joy!

Fran holding Booker with the judge
Booker and the Judge (and me)

I’ve talked about the ups, and downs, and more downs, and frustrations of dog training here. It’s part of my life, so I talk about it. I train my Boston Terrier, Booker in Obedience. I’m holding him in the picture to the left. To our right is the judge at the Obedience Trial where we earned Booker’s Novice Obedience title.

Doing Obedience with a Boston takes a great deal of patience and consistency. You don’t see many at Obedience trials. You see lots of Golden Retrievers and Border Collies.

Bostons are goofballs. It takes about 3 years for their brains to start to settle in. All they want to do is play, eat, play, sleep, and play some more. To earn an obedience title on a Boston takes a whole lot of persistence.

And now that we’ve earned the first regular title in AKC (American Kennel Club – the organization in which Booker is registered), I aim to continue and progress to the next level. Which will take even more training and practice and persistence and patience and consistency.

Back to the main theme…

Booker and I earned that title in 3 days this Spring. Since we earned the title all in one year, we’re qualified to enter the AKC Obedience Classic. Every dog that earned a title all in one year is eligible to enter the Classic.

As any user of Facebook does, I was scrolling through my groups and newsfeeds today. And there is a long discussion that the Classic is nothing more than a money-maker for the AKC.

That may certainly be one reason to hold the trial, but I’m not looking at it like that.

The Obedience Classic is a venue to show how proud the competitors are of the work they put in. Proud of their dogs and their training. It’s a chance for all of that training to be recognized in a venue where people may observe that might be inspired to train their own dogs.

The Classic is held at the place where the Agility Invitational and the National Dog Show is held. But people who may get tired of the noise could stop in to watch some of the best teams in the country compete. Watch the bond these teams have – person and dog – nothing better!

So, for those who say that anyone can get in to the Obedience Classic, and that it’s nothing more than a regular show, I don’t buy it. It demonstrates the love and passion a person has for their dog!