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Aug 14

Fitness for Older Women…it’s not what you think!

Welcome and thanks for being here.older women group

First of all, we should define “older”.  By definition, it simply compares one thing to another and describes the one that came first or preceded the other.  For our purposes, I’m referring to women who are chronologically over the age of 50.

We can do anything!

I’m an older woman and I can run circles around women half my age.  Age has absolutely nothing to do with anything other than having a few more wrinkles and a lot more experience.  So you will never hear me telling you to “get real” or “act your age”.  I’m all about being unreasonable and unlimited.  If you want to do a triathlon or an iron man, go for it.  I can guarantee you won’t be alone.  However, since some people think that fitness for older women is different from other women, I will focus on the more experienced age group.

Daily Movementgroup moving

Move your body!  We’ve become a sedentary society and it’s not doing us any good.  We’ve come up with so many technological gadgets that do everything for us that we barely have to get up out of our chairs.  Since we’re so used to sitting all day, we have to make a conscious effort to get up and exercise.

What do you think when you hear the word “exercise”?  For some of us it’s exciting and invigorating, and for others of us it fills us with dread and avoidance.  It’s a loaded word.

But what if we use the word “move”?  Moving is free and joyful and alive (unless you’re packing up your house and moving).  Moving is walking, running, skipping, dancing, swaying, reaching, swimming, bouncing, jumping, bicycling, stretching, even hugging.  The cool thing about moving is that you don’t have to change clothes to do it and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time.

Another great thing about moving is that you can do it with someone else.  Grab a friend and go dancing.  Join a group of runners or bicyclists.  Even invite a friend to go to a museum where you have to walk around the displays.  And that brings us to the next subject.

Social Timepoker ladies

You might not think about social time as part of your fitness regime, but it is.  It’s a big part of your overall fitness of mind, body, and spirit.  Whether you’re sitting with a friend talking over coffee, or having a backyard barbeque with neighbors, or playing bridge (or poker) with your friends, there’s nothing more satisfying than being with fellow human beings.

You could combine your social time with your movement time, or you can sit with a friend.  Being with others is important to our overall well-being, especially if we can share ourselves authentically.  That means letting the other person know what we care about and what’s important to us.  It means being honest about our feelings.  And caring about other people’s feelings.  Truth and compassion are good for the soul, and good for our well-being.

Social time can also be combined with volunteering.  I’ve found volunteering to be a great way to meet people who have similar interests to mine.  It can also be a way to get up on our feet and help someone else.  It also takes the focus off of ourselves and puts it on someone else, which is a healthy thing to do.

Occasional Activities

zip2

Zip lining

There are tons of things you might do for a change of pace that you wouldn’t want to do every day.  The sky’s really the limit!  Speaking of the sky, you could learn to fly a plane, you could parachute from a perfectly good airplane, or you could go for a ride in a hot air balloon.

I know that those are pretty wild and crazy, and you might only do them once in a lifetime, but what about going camping, or hiking, or water skiing, or snow skiing.  Enter a contest and then train or practice for it.  Enroll in a cooking class or take a seminar.  The farther out of your comfort zone the better.

Brain Games

Games to challenge the brain have always been popular.  Think Rubic’s cube, jigsaw puzzles, concentration, and card games like pinochle and bridge.  They all require figuring something out or remembering things, so they all keep our brains active.brain games

Now there are computer games and apps that have been designed specifically to keep our brains working optimally.  Research has found that keeping the brain active seems to increase its vitality and may build its reserves of brain cells and connections. You could even generate new brain cells.  It also may lower your risk of getting Alzheimer’s.

One of the brain games that I’ve tried is Lumosity.  You can try some of the games for free, but to use the full range of offerings, you would have to pay for a subscription.  The same goes for their app.  Fit Brains Trainer is a free app that has more than 360 unique games and puzzles aimed at stretching and improving your mental agility.  Sessions get harder as you improve and they claim it will always challenge you and provide a solid brain workout.

Food and Water

Fitness for older women, younger women, children, men of all ages… it all begins with proper nutrition.  What we put in our bodies is the key to the amount of energy available to function.  We cannot be fit without good food and an abundance of clean drinking water.

Protein, carbohydrates, and fat are all important for optimal health, as well as vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  There is wide variation and controversy about the appropriate amounts of each, but everyone agrees that they are all necessary in some amount.  Therefore, any diet that eliminates all carbohydrates or all fat or all protein would cause a deficiency in your body.

As I’ve discussed in a previous article, water is absolutely essential to our bodies.  Dehydration could very well be the cause of any number of “diseases” from migraines, to rheumatoid arthritis, to low back pain.  So, make sure that you know how much water to drink and keep yourself hydrated.

 Spiritual Needsuplifted

No discussion of fitness would be complete without addressing the need for spiritual health.  This doesn’t mean that you have to be religious or believe in God.  Spiritual literally means “of or relating to a person’s spirit”.  So what is spirit?  It’s the force within a person that is believed to give the body life, energy, and power.

Some of the ways that people fulfill their spiritual needs are meditation, yoga, going to church or temple, prayer, practicing awareness and mindfulness, or even walking in the woods.  The list is endless and personal.  Choose whatever fills your soul with peace.

See… it’s not what you thought!

Did you think I was going to teach you chair exercises or tell you to take up knitting?  Heck no!  I’m going to tell you to keep on doing the same things that you’ve been doing your whole life as far as exercise and eating right.  Actually, I’m doing more things and I’m doing them better.  If I wanted to do a triathlon, I know I could do it.  If I decided to run a 10K race, it would likely be a little slower than the ones I ran when I was 30, but I have no doubt that I could do it.salsa

What do you want to do?  Have you thought about learning to salsa?  Do it!  Have you considered taking up mountain biking?  Do it!  Have you always wanted to climb Mount Everest?  Do it!

Please leave a comment below and tell me what you want to do.  What’s stopped you?  What do you need to get past that?

I’m here for you.  Thanks again for being here.

Love,

Alice

alice@loveyourhealthcoach.com