Enjoy everything in moderation – even wine

Surprising place for provoking thought

Reading about healthy aging at a tire store!
Health reading at a tire store

I had to get new tires for my car this week. It would take an hour but I was prepared with a book. There was an array of Wine Spectator magazines on the table in the waiting room. Surprising magazine choice at a tire store! I picked up the top copy and started to leaf through it. There was an article about wine and its health benefits, so I started reading. Going right along with what I’ve been saying for years, it turns out that enjoying wine in moderation is not detrimental and can actually provide some benefits. Enjoy everything in moderation – even wine.

But wait – the WHO says no alcohol

The World Health Organization decreed at the beginning of 2023 that no amount of alcohol consumption is safe. The paper cites previous studies in which alcohol was considered a cancer-causing agent. There was no study linking specific amounts of alcohol to cancer, however, merely the potential cancer-causing risk of alcohol consumption. It could be that the WHO considers that it may be all too easy for moderate consumption to become excessive consumption.

Some studies have shown benefits

But a recent study determined that moderate drinkers live as long as people who never drink. So, why not enjoy! And the Mayo Clinic has observed that the polyphenols in red wine may help protect the lining of the blood vessels in the heart. This could be the reason that red wine has been touted for its heart-healthy benefits.

The flavanols in wine have also been implicated in reducing cognitive decline and a reduced risk of stroke in moderate drinkers – which we all want for our healthy aging. Yes, the flavanols can also be found in other foods, but why not enjoy the wine? 

Enjoying with friends has other benefits

Wine, enjoyed with friends, has benefits beside the physical ones.
Wine, enjoyed with friends, has benefits beside the physical ones.

Another point to consider is that we often enjoy wine in the company of friends and family. Getting together in a social group is not just fun – fun planning and reconnecting with friends – but it also increases our resilience and optimism. Why not have a wine tasting at your next get-together. Tasting wine critically with friends will combine all of the benefits of good wine, good food and good friends.

Enjoy everything … in moderation – has been my motto for years. I never deny myself anything I really want. Chocolate cake? Pizza? You bet. I plan for it and that could make the enjoyment even greater. A new purse? New shoes? If I see something I really want, then I figure out a way to make it happen. I don’t splurge, but I enjoy.

So – enjoy everything. Even wine – in moderation.

Mindset matters

Start your day with a positive thought: "I get to play with my dog today!"
I play with my dog and he helps me!

Try something new tomorrow when you first wake up. Smile. That’s it. And maybe think something positive. Something good. Many days I say, “I get to play with my dog today.” Or perhaps, “I’m looking forward to sitting down and writing 1,000 words today.” You might realize, “I get to see my kids and have a great dinner tonight.” If you set yourself up in a positive way, your whole day will be better. Mindset matters.

Anything positive

That positive thought will set the tone for your whole day. Think about it – if you start out cranky, then even the most minor thing could make your day worse. Start out in a bad mood and a little spill could cause you to be angry all day. But if your mindset is positive you’re more likely to just shrug off that little spill, wipe it up and move on. So anything positive will help your day.

A while ago I wrote about 3 morning rituals that can help your day. Having a positive thought first thing could be the most important. The Dalai Lama said, “Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”

Increase optimism and resilience

That positive energy from your one thought will cause you to become optimistic, and increase your resilience. And, you’ll be happier. All with that one thought. You’ve created positive energy for your day.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that every day is all rainbows and unicorns. We all have to deal with everyday realities. Work has to get done. Articles (like this one) have to be written. We think about our friends who are going through tough times and commiserate with them. Try looking at things from another angle. Approach a problem looking for a positive outcome. And our own mindset matters. A positive mindset will surely help us along those bumpy roads.

Even the Mayo Clinic advocates positive thinking. As we get more used to positive thinking, we become more optimistic. And being more optimistic is key in managing our stress. If you’ve been in the habit of denigrating yourself – “my hair is terrible.” Or “I have no writing talent,” get over it! As I’ve said before – be nice to you! If you’re positive to yourself that, too, will extend to others.

Start your day positively. Because mindset matters.

3 Short methods to maintain your momentum

If it's a struggle every day to put on those sneakers, here are 3 methods to maintain your momentum.
Is it a struggle to put on those sneakers?

I get it. I do. You’ve been exercising for weeks and it’s dull. You’ve made good progress but it’s a struggle every day to put on those sneakers. So, how can you maintain your momentum and not sit back on the couch? How can you keep that appointment with yourself and exercise? Yes, you know that it’s good for your healthy aging. You know that it’s good for your brain, your memory, your cognition and your sleep. That doesn’t make it easy to change into that workout gear. Some days you just don’t care about your resilience and how much exercise will help you through anything. You just feel like taking a nap. So here are 3 methods to maintain your momentum.

1st method to maintain your momentum:

Know that it’s OK to play hooky once in a while. If you just can’t face that treadmill or put that exercise bra on, it’s OK not to.

Just the fact that you know it’s all right to skip a day will, most likely, get you up off the couch. Ask yourself the question: do I want to play my hooky card today? Or should I save it for when I REALLY don’t feel like working out? 

2nd method:

Remember your kids, or your dogs, or your friends. They’re waiting for you. Remember why you started exercising in the first place. You want to run around with the kids and grandkids. Take fun vacations with them. You want to play with the dogs – get down on the floor to play and still be able to get back up again. And you want to roam all over the mall with your friends without having to take breaks.

3rd method:

Know that you’re going to be very sore if you take days off.That’s not fun. 

As we age, the recovery time for our muscles extends because our muscle tissue takes longer to repair itself and rebuild. It’s just easier to do the workout. And, face it – with the time you spend arguing with yourself whether or not to workout you could be almost finished with today’s workout. 

So, get off the couch.

5 reasons to do planks

Renegade row - one of the killer moves in Saturday's workout
One plank variation

Planks have gone in and out of favor in the fitness community for years. But there’s a definite place for planks in everyone’s exercise regime. You know I always advocate a strong core. So we’ll take it as a given that the prime reason to do planks is to strengthen your core. Here are more reasons to do planks.

Reason to do planks #1 – simplicity

Planks are simple. Anyone and everyone can do some version of a plank. If you’ve been doing them for a while, the standard plank on your hands and toes is your go-to exercise. But for beginners, I’d recommend starting using a coffee table. Put your hands flat on the edge of the table, walk your feet back until you’re in a straight line from your heels to your head. Core pulled in tight, back straight – don’t arch your back or bow it. And hold there for 15 seconds to a minute. As you feel stronger, go down to the floor. You can start on your knees and hands first, but you’ll want to progress quickly to an elbow plank. On your toes and your forearms – keep that straight line from your heels to your head.

Reason #2 – core stability

Planks not only strengthen your core, but they’ll give your core stability. Core stability is what keeps us upright as we go through the day, transfers energy from our upper to our lower body and protects our spine. It’s also what gives us good balance – which, as I’ve emphasized before, nature takes away as we age. I hold a plank a few times a week for my healthy aging – and perhaps you should, too!

Reason #3 – entire body workout

Planks work our entire body, not just the core. If you’re doing a plank correctly, you’ll feel it in your legs and shoulders. Your glutes get a good workout, and your arms are holding you up, so they’re getting stronger too.

Reason #4 – builds muscle endurance

Planks are isometric. Planks are static exercises – we hold the position for at least 15 seconds up to a full minute. So holding the position is building not just strength, but the endurance of the muscles. We sit at our computers all day, so we need that endurance to hold us upright.

Reason #5 – practically endless variations

The variations of planks are practically endless, so we’re never bored with our planks.One way to make a regular plank more dynamic is to alternate shoulder taps – but keep your hips level. Another of my favorite plank variation is the side plank – lift your leg to make a star!

With all these reasons to do planks, perhaps you should add it to your exercise regimen.