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Fitness Member Spotlight Mindset Nutrition

Group Coaching Begins In May – 2024

We are excited to announce that our first group coaching program will begin in May of 2024. The size of the group is a limited group to ensure that everyone get the attention necessary to learn the skills and habits necessary to lose body fat, build muscle and most importantly, maintain a lower body weight. The long-term goal is to have every woman not only maintain a lower body weight, but do so while consuming more food than ever before to support a stronger, healthier body. Our goal is for every single client to age in good health, with strength, vitality and joy.

The program details are as follows:

Macro Nutrition

  • Customized weekly macros divided into meals in a manner to support your goals.
  • Monthly adjustments to your weekly macros as needed. [Six adjustments in macros through the program].
  • Weekly video group meeting, a portion of which will always include ongoing macro nutrition education.
  • Guidance on daily and weekly meal planning to hit your target macros, instruction on recipe creation that fit in your macros as well as strategies for social events.

Strength Training

  • A personalized strength training program that meets you at your abilities – from novice to experienced lifters, we can provide a personalized program for you, whether training at home or at a commercial gym.
  • Monthly adjustments to your training program, as needed, to meet your continual increase in strength and experience [Six adjustments/new programs every 4 weeks customized to your current level of experience/gains].

Mindset/Education/Accountability

  • A weekly video group call where you can ask questions about any challenges/issues that arose during the last week at the beginning of the meeting.
  • All video calls will be hosted by a Silver and Strong coach and will cover topics of interest to the group covering the three main areas of the program: macros, strength training and mindset work.
  • A list of topics will be provided for every 4-week block and feedback will be requested after the first block to tailor the remaining group calls to the needs and desires of the group.
  • All video calls will be recorded for later viewing.

Community

  • Private Facebook Group for group coaching clients to share successes, seek support for challenges, swap recipes and support each other’s journey to healthy, fit, vibrant life.
  • Monthly video call with all members of the Silver and Strong community. This call will often include a guest speaker (in many cases guests from the Silver and Strong podcast) and will cover various aspects of healthy aging, including topics on macro nutrition, strength training and mindset.
  • This is a community of your peers – women of like age and experience who have made the significant commitment to live a healthy lifestyle and are ready to celebrate your successes and provide support for the challenges you encounter along the way.

Program Cost: $1500 for 24 weeks; payable in 3 installments of $500 each.
If you are interested in applying for one of these limited spots, please email info@silverandstrong.com and we will send you an application.

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Fitness Member Spotlight Mindset Nutrition

The Silver And Strong App Is Coming!

We are so excited to announce that our very own Silver and Strong Fitness app is coming out in May! It provides one place to track your macros, log your workouts, find materials to support your mindset work and communicate with your coach and/or the community.

For one-on-one and group coaching clients, your coach will provide your daily macros through the app and you will be able to track your meals with ease. Your coach will also provide your workouts through the app, whether you train at home or in the gym.

You will be able to communicate with your coach through the messaging portion of the app as well as communicate with the community of your peers.

The app will also provide a place to track your habits (water consumption, steps, sleep), do your check ins with your coach, track your measurements and weight and upload your weekly check in photos.

Lastly, the app will provide an option for “self-serve” clients who want to make their own choice for workout program level and location(i.e. home or gym) and are only looking for guidance on setting initial macros; however, the app will allow self-serve clients to book a consultation with a coach for additional guidance for an extra fee.

Our goal was to provide a “one stop shop” for all things macros, muscles and mindset and we believe we have done just that!

We will send out a special email when the app is available as well as announcing it on all social media platforms.

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Fitness Member Spotlight

My First Powerlifting Meet at 56

It was January 2023 and I was seeking a new fitness goal. Some gym acquaintances suggested I consider competing in an upcoming provincial powerlifting meet, which I quickly laughed off, thinking the meet was surely being held in a city a far drive away. After realizing it was actually being hosted right in my own small town, I thought maybe it was just the challenge I’d been seeking.

At 56 years old, my life motto has become: if not NOW, then WHEN? These days, I’m interested in having as many experiences as possible. I had already spent 2022 practicing barbell lifts, so I hired a powerlifting coach and was set to learn as much as possible. I was dedicated to putting in the work in and out of the gym.

The Process

First, I had to register for the meet which would be in March 2023. You need to also purchase a membership for the federation that is the governing body of the meet.

A powerlifting meet consists of three events: squat, bench press and deadlift. You can do all three events (Full Power), just bench and deadlift, or bench or deadlift only. There are also different divisions depending on the equipment used. If you are at your first meet, you will likely be competing in the Raw division, this essentially means without the use of special suits, shirts and wraps that are sometimes used by more advanced lifters to aid them in lifting extremely heavy weight. I registered for Full Power Raw. You also register according to your age and weight class. It is recommended for beginners to compete in the weight class for their current weight.

It is important to become familiar with the rules and regulations of the federation you are competing in, as they do vary somewhat, especially regarding the clothing and equipment required. For me, this included a singlet, t-shirt, underwear, socks, shoes, wrist wraps, knee sleeves and a lifting belt.

It is also important to become familiar with and to practice lift “commands” that will be used on the platform during competition. If they aren’t second nature, nerves on meet day may having you missing these commands.

Each athlete is allowed a “handler” at the event. A handler is an important person as they take stress off the athlete. A handler helps you warm up, keeps an eye on the clock, gets you platform-ready with your gear, pumps you up, helps you pick your lift attempts, and is all-around support.

Training gets intense for a powerlifting meet and recovery becomes important. Things I did to facilitate recovery were listening to my body, stretching, massage, walks, breath work, red light therapy, good sleep, naps, and eating enough healthy food to fuel training. Competition prep is not the time to be dieting or cutting!

Check-in for me was 24 hours prior to the meet. In some federations, it can be 2 hours before the meet. At check-in, you get your rack heights for squat and bench, give your opening lift numbers, present all of your clothing and equipment for approval, and weigh in.

Meet Day

Going into my first meet I had three main goals:

  1. To not get injured while still pushing to do my best.
  2. To be open and observant.
  3. To have fun and enjoy the experience.

I was up nice and early and full of excitement! I ate a familiar large breakfast with good carbs and protein as it would be at least a couple of hours until lifting began. I had prepared extra easily digestible food for the day and had all my gear packed and ready to go the night before. Once we arrived at the venue, there was equipment set up behind the platform for warming up.

My first first lift up was squats. I walked up to the bar and the first thing I noticed was there was no mirror in front of me! I didn’t realize until that moment that I had practiced all of my squats in front of a mirror at the gym and wasn’t sure if I was more dependent on it that I’d realized. It didn’t turn out to be a big deal, but just something to note. It is recommended that you chose an opening weight that you are sure to be successful with, a weight you could easily lift for three repetitions . This sets you up with confidence. You get three attempts at each lift. I was successful at all three squat attempts and since my last lift set a provincial/national record, I was given a fourth lift, which was also a success! My day was off to a great start.

My second and third lessons of the day were about to be learned. Next up was bench press. In bench press, you can have someone lift the bar off the rack for you or lift it off yourself. I had someone lifting it off for me but when I got to the platform, he didn’t show up. I gripped the bar and waited and he finally came running and lifted the bar off for me. Because I had been gripping the bar for about 45 seconds before lifting and my concentration was broken because I didn’t know what to do when he wasn’t there, I failed the lift. I didn’t realize I could just take the bar myself and with my opening weight it likely would have worked out just fine. During my next attempt, I did my opening weight again but I was so anxious to get the lift, I jumped the first command! I only had one more chance to have a successful bench press. I did some breathing exercises and calmed myself down while I waited for my next turn and was even mentored by a wonderful lady who was there coaching other competitors. The third time was a charm for my opening lift. The lift was quite a bit under my one rep max and still set a provincial/national record, so I was given one more lift to increase that record and it was a good one. Whew!

Then it was on to the last event—deadlift. I had two great lifts and on my third attempt, I made a slight up/down motion with my shoulders at the top of the lift which disqualified the attempt. Another lesson learned, but also another record made with the deadlift.

All in all, I feel like the day was a success.

I had fun, didn’t get injured and learned the most from the mistakes I made. I can say that I was impressed by the culture and encouraging atmosphere of the meet—the athletes, coaches, and judges were all so friendly, helpful and supportive.

If you are considering your first powerlifting meet, I say go for it. Don’t wait! There is no prerequisite strength requirement. Anyone can start powerlifting—it doesn’t matter when or where you start. The important thing is to do it.

Competing in my first powerlifting meet was a rewarding, empowering experience for me. Will I do it again? Yes!

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Fitness

10 Ways to Stay Active During the Workday: Tips for Desk-Bound Women

In the journey towards a healthy and balanced life, especially for those of us navigating the nuances of midlife, staying active throughout the workday presents a unique set of challenges. The sedentary lifestyle that comes with desk jobs can often seem like a barrier to our fitness goals. However, with a little creativity and determination, incorporating movement into your daily routine is not only possible but can be a delightful break from the monotony of sitting. Here are ten strategies for desk-bound women looking to stay active and maintain wellness at work.

1. Start with a Morning Stretch:

Engaging in a series of stretches or a brief yoga sequence can significantly improve your flexibility and circulation. It prepares your muscles for the day ahead and helps alleviate any stiffness from sleeping. Focus on full-body stretches that target your back, neck, arms, and legs. This not only enhances your range of motion but also sharpens your mental focus, setting a positive tone for the day.

2. Schedule Walk-and-Talk Meetings:

Instead of sitting in a conference room, suggest walking meetings for one-on-ones or small groups. This innovative approach not only breaks the sedentary habit but also promotes creative thinking and problem-solving. Walking side by side can make conversations more productive and foster a more collaborative atmosphere.

3. Utilize Your Lunch Break:

Dedicate at least part of your lunch break to physical activity, such as a 20-30 minute walk. Besides adding a significant number of steps to your daily goal, walking after a meal is the perfect opportunity to mentally detach from work, reducing stress and boosting your mood for the afternoon tasks. It also aids digestion and helps control blood sugar levels. In fact, research indicates that taking a light walk after a meal is more effective at reducing blood sugar and insulin levels than just standing up.

4. Create a Mini Desk Gym:

Equip your desk with small, portable exercise tools like resistance bands, a hand strength trainer, or a small hand-held pedal exerciser. These allow for discreet strength training and can be used for leg extensions, arm curls, or grip strengthening exercises. It keeps the blood flowing and muscles engaged, even while you’re on calls or reading emails.

5. Opt for a Standing Desk:

Standing desks or converters enable you to easily switch between sitting and standing, reducing the risks associated with prolonged sitting, such as heart disease and obesity. Alternating between standing and sitting helps maintain energy levels, improves posture, and can even increase productivity.

6. Take Mini Movement Breaks:

Every hour, take a minute or two to perform simple exercises or stretches. This can include standing up and doing a series of body stretches, walking around the office, or even performing a quick set of squats or lunges. These short breaks reduce muscle tension and can significantly boost your energy and focus.

7. Incorporate Desk Exercises:

There are several exercises you can do right at your desk, with minimal
space and no equipment. Try seated leg lifts for lower abs, desk push-ups to work the chest and arms, or chair squats to engage your legs and core. These desk exercises can help keep your muscles toned and relieve the physical stress of sitting.

8. Stay Hydrated:

Keeping a water bottle at your desk serves as a constant reminder to drink water throughout the day. Proper hydration is essential for maintaining energy levels, focus, and overall health. Research also shows that well-hydrated adults face fewer chronic health issues and enjoy longer lifespans. Plus, the additional walks to refill your bottle and take bathroom breaks naturally increase your physical activity during the day.

9. Engage in Active Commuting:

Consider walking, cycling, or even rollerblading to work if feasible. For those who drive or use public transit, parking further away or getting off a stop early can significantly increase your daily step count. This not only adds a considerable amount of physical activity to your day but also helps reduce carbon footprint and can save on transportation costs over time.

10. Join or Start a Wellness Challenge:

Participating in a wellness challenge with colleagues can be a great motivator. Whether it’s a step challenge, a hydration challenge, or a weekly workout goal, having a group to share progress and successes with can significantly enhance your commitment to staying active. These challenges also foster a sense of community and support, making the journey more enjoyable and less isolating.

To Wrap It Up

In the quest for a healthy and balanced life, especially during midlife, maintaining physical activity while working a desk job can be challenging. However, with some creativity and determination, incorporating movement into your workday is not only possible but also enjoyable. By implementing these ten strategies, you not only stay active but also help create a healthier and more vibrant work life.

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Fitness

Embracing Everyday Strength: The Joy of Functional Fitness After 50

Welcome to the world of functional fitness – a journey that is less about sculpting the perfect body and more about enriching your daily life with strength and vitality, especially as we celebrate our 50s and beyond. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, “What exactly is functional fitness, and how does it differ from the gym workouts I’m used to?” then you’re in for a treat. Let’s unravel the magic of functional fitness and discover how to weave it seamlessly into our everyday routines.

Understanding Functional Fitness: More Than Just Exercise

Functional fitness is the star of the show when it comes to practical strength and mobility. Unlike traditional fitness regimes that often focus on isolating specific muscles, functional training is all about harmony and integration. It prepares your body for real-life activities, making daily tasks easier and reducing the risk of injury. Imagine bending to pick up your grandchild or carrying groceries with ease – that’s functional fitness at work.

Functional Fitness vs. Physical Fitness: A Symphony vs. Solo Performance

While physical fitness might conjure images of treadmills and weight machines, functional fitness is the orchestra of the exercise world. It’s holistic, targeting multiple muscle groups simultaneously and mimicking everyday movements. This approach not only enhances your overall strength but also improves balance, agility, and coordination.

Decoding the CrossFit Confusion

CrossFit, often in the limelight for its high-intensity workouts, is indeed a form of functional fitness, but they’re not entirely synonymous. Think of CrossFit as a specialized branch under the big functional fitness umbrella, known for its community aspect and competitive edge. However, functional fitness is broader and more adaptable, especially suitable for those in their golden years.

Top Functional Fitness Exercises: Your Daily Dose of Strength

So, which functional training exercises are the most effective? Here are some quintessential examples:

Squats: The ultimate movement for leg strength and stability.
Lunges: Ideal for lower body strength and balance.
Push-ups: A great way to enhance upper body and core strength.
Deadlifts: Perfect for improving posture and back strength.
Planks: Excellent for core stabilization and endurance.

These exercises mimic everyday activities, like lifting, reaching, and bending, making them practical and purposeful.

Crafting Your Functional Fitness Routine

Structuring a functional workout routine is like creating a recipe for well-being. Start with a warm-up to get your heart rate up and muscles ready. Then, mix in a variety of the exercises mentioned above, focusing on smooth, controlled movements. Finish with a cool-down, including stretches to improve flexibility. The key is consistency and adaptability – adjust the intensity and duration to suit your body’s needs.

Data-Driven, Research-Backed Facts

Better Balance: One study in the British Medical Journal highlights the importance of functional fitness for better balance, increased participation in daily activities, and lower risk of falls.

Improved Cognitive Function: Research published in the Frontiers in Psychology found that functional fitness, due to its multidimensional approach, can significantly improve cognitive function in older adults.

Enhanced Quality of Life: Studies show that functional fitness exercises lead to an improved quality of life and movement, particularly in older adults, by enhancing daily living activities.

A Life of Functional Empowerment

Embracing functional fitness is more than just embracing a workout; it’s about embracing a lifestyle that celebrates our bodies’ capabilities at every age. It’s not about chasing the fountain of youth but rather about cherishing the strength and wisdom that come with experience. As we integrate functional fitness into our daily lives, we open the door to a world where every step is stronger, every reach is higher, and every day is an opportunity to live our best lives. Remember, every move in a functional workout gets you closer to a more vibrant, empowered you.

To Wrap It Up

The world of functional fitness, where the focus is less on sculpting the perfect body and more on enriching your daily life with strength and vitality. Functional fitness is about harmony and integration, preparing your body for real-life activities and making daily tasks easier while reducing the risk of injury. It’s like an orchestra, targeting multiple muscle groups simultaneously and mimicking everyday movements, improving not just strength but also balance, agility, and coordination. Crafting a functional fitness routine is like creating a recipe for well-being, focusing on consistency and adaptability. Research shows that functional fitness can lead to better balance, improved cognitive function, and an enhanced quality of life, particularly in older adults. Embracing functional fitness is embracing a lifestyle that celebrates our bodies’ capabilities at every age, cherishing the strength and wisdom that come with experience. It’s a journey towards a more vibrant, empowered you, where every move in a functional workout brings you closer to living your best life.

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Fitness

What’s the Story on Cardio?

What’s the Story on Cardio?

Many of us spent decades doing too much cardio and not eating enough to fuel our bodies – certainly not enough for muscle growth, let alone fat loss.

So – should you be doing cardio and if so, how much?

I personally love cardio – within reason. Even during my build phase where I’m eating more to build muscle and focusing on lifting heavy in the gym, I complete at least 4 cardio sessions of a minimum of 20 minutes a week. I do at least the same during my maintenance phase. Cardio is important for heart health, especially as you age. I also like the way I feel when I complete a ride. I keep my heart rate, on average for the ride, between 70-75% of my max rate.

During a cut, where I’m working to lose body fat, my coach slowly increases my cardio, generally by 5 minutes a week (this is part of the reason a well thought out cut takes so long) and, over the months of my cut, I generally increase days so that I’m doing 60 minutes of cardio 7 days a week (in addition to my weight training).

Once I’ve reached my goal weight (or its show time!), we slowly reverse that cardio (i.e. reducing by 5 minutes a session) over a similar period so that my body can slowly adjust to the change.

Cardio is a great tool to help with fat loss, but it’s not the answer alone. Fat loss is accomplished in the kitchen. It’s following a macro based nutrition plan that is the key to losing body fat, but cardio (and steps) are great tools to assist in that goal.

So don’t get rid of the cardio – use it wisely as an important tool in your tool box to achieve your goals.

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Mindset

Changing your Mindset Comes First!

You’ve heard me say that you need Macros, Muscles and Mindset to transform your body and your health, but the macros and muscles won’t get you to your goal if you don’t change, or at a minimum, become aware of your mindset and the limiting beliefs that get in the way of lasting, sustainable transformation.

I continue to be reminded of this fact by both my clients as well as those who inquire about coaching and then choose not to move forward. This is because committing to changing your mindset and getting past your limiting beliefs, going from a closed mindset to a growth mindset, is a big job and a daunting task.

There are those who would like to make the commitment to putting their health first, but are not ready to go “all in” on the work that one needs to do to make these changes.

What does it mean to have a growth mindset? It means you’re open to doing things differently – tracking macros, weighing and measuring food, taking your own measurements regularly, developing the discipline to commit to a training program and sticking with it. Remember, age is no excuse. You can absolutely get for over 50, or 60 or 70 for that matter!

I’m sure you know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and again and expecting a different result. Change is the key as is “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable” which is often the initial result of change.

I want to take a moment to give a HUGE SHOUT OUT to all my clients who have all made the commitment to putting their health first, to making themselves a priority and for being willing to make often scary changes to their lifestyles with the focus on getting strong, fit and healthy and to live with joy and vitality.

No one, especially me, expects perfection. I expect consistency, an ability to make mistakes and learn from them and some grit and fortitude to get through the hard parts. It will be SO worth it in the end!

P.S. If you are ready to make that commitment to yourself, check out our coaching page to learn more.  You can also download a coaching application and info sheet. Isn’t it time you made yourself a priority and started your transformation to a strong, fit body and vibrant life? Its not too late. You are not too old. It’s your time to EMERGE a your very best self.

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Fitness Mindset

Mindful Walking: A Simple Exercise Routine for Better Health

In the quest for wellness, the fusion of physical activity and mental tranquility often leads to the most profound health benefits. Mindful walking, a practice that combines the simplicity of walking with the focused awareness of mindfulness, stands out as an exemplary approach to achieve this blend. This technique transforms an everyday activity into a potent tool for enhancing both mental and physical health.

Understanding Mindful Walking

At its core, mindful walking is the practice of walking with heightened awareness. It involves a conscious focus on the physical sensations of walking, the rhythm of your breath, and the environment around you. Unlike standard walking, which often serves as a means to an end or is done absentmindedly, mindful walking is about being fully present in the moment. Each step is taken with deliberate awareness, turning the walk into a form of walking meditation.

Differentiating Mindful Walking from Ordinary Walking

Regular walking is typically goal-oriented, focused on physical exercise, reaching a destination, or as a mere transportation method. The mind is often elsewhere, wrapped up in the day’s worries or plans. In contrast, mindful walking slows down the pace and emphasizes internal and external awareness. This form of walking is less about cardiovascular intensity and more about connecting with the present moment, creating a harmonious balance between mind, body, and environment.

How is mindful walking related to meditation?

Mindful walking is akin to meditation, sharing its fundamental objective of cultivating mindfulness. Traditional meditation often involves a seated, still practice focusing on the breath or a specific thought. Mindful walking, however, adapts this concept into a dynamic form. It’s particularly beneficial for those who find sitting still challenging or prefer to incorporate mindfulness into an active lifestyle. This moving meditation allows for a focus on the rhythmic pattern of walking, engaging the mind in a gentle yet powerful exercise of awareness.

Deepening the Practice: The Four Steps of Mindful Walking

1. Initiating with Intention: The journey of mindful walking begins with setting an intention. This intention acts as an anchor, helping to maintain focus and presence throughout the walk. It’s about consciously deciding to be fully engaged in the experience, acknowledging the natural tendency of the mind to wander, and gently steering it back to the act of walking and observing.

2. Conscious Bodily Awareness: The second step involves a deep awareness of the body. It starts from the soles of the feet – feeling each contact with the ground, the lifting, the moving, and the placing down. This awareness then extends to the entire body, observing the harmonious movements of the limbs, the upright posture, and the synchronization of breath with each step. The focus on these physical sensations helps anchor the mind in the present moment, detaching it from the habitual stream of thoughts.

3. Engagement of the Senses: The third step is about opening up to the sensory experiences of the environment. This involves actively noticing the sights, sounds, and smells that usually go ignored. It’s about seeing the intricate patterns on leaves, hearing the distant chirping of birds, feeling the breeze against the skin, and inhaling the fresh air. This sensory engagement provides a rich backdrop for the practice, fostering a sense of being in the moment.

4. Reflective Conclusion: The final step is a moment of reflection and gratitude. It’s an opportunity to recognize and appreciate the peace and clarity the walk has provided. This reflection reinforces the positive experience, deepening the understanding and appreciation of mindful walking as a practice.

Scientific Foundations and Health Benefits

Mindful walking isn’t just a theoretical concept; it’s backed by science. A systematic review in the International Journal of Exercise Science shows that mindful walking helps improve mental and cardiovascular health. Another research piece in ‘The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine’ highlights how mindfulness exercises for anxiety, including mindful walking, have been effective in mitigating symptoms of anxiety. Additionally, research on walking meditation has shown it to be more effective in alleviating depression compared to traditional walking.

Beyond these, mindful walking offers a host of other benefits. It enhances mental clarity, reduces stress, improves mood, and increases overall well-being. For older adults, especially, it can be a safe and effective way to maintain physical health while also providing cognitive stimulation.

Mindful walking represents a unique intersection of meditation and physical exercise. Its simplicity makes it accessible to almost everyone, and its benefits extend far beyond the physical realm. Integrating mindful walking into your daily routine can lead to significant improvements in both mental and physical health, providing a peaceful escape from the demands of daily life and a path to deeper self-awareness and tranquility. As you embark on this journey, remember that each mindful step is a step towards greater health and harmony.

To Wrap It Up

Mindful walking is the perfect combo of staying active and finding inner peace. It’s like the superhero of wellness practices, merging the ease of a walk with the zen feels of mindfulness. Instead of mindlessly strolling from point A to B, mindful walking is about being present in the moment, soaking up your surroundings and turning each step into a kind of moving meditation. It’s the ultimate relaxation session for your mind, body, and the world around you. From setting an intention to reflecting on the journey, there are four easy steps to level up your mindful walking game. Studies show it’s not just good for the heart; it’s a mood booster and stress-buster too. If you’re looking for a laid-back way to stay active and well, mindful walking is the low-key hero you’ve been waiting for. Every step is a step closer to a happier, healthier you!

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Mindset

Learning To Appreciate Yourself At Any Size

As I share what I’ve learned and continue to learn on my own transformation journey, one of the things that is most important to me is to be authentic. That means I share the low points and struggles along with the highs and successes.

Getting up on stage in a Master Figure competition at 63 years young in November of 2022 was definitely a high point. Following that “high”, I had to purposely regain weight after spending 40 years trying to lose it! While I did that, very slowly, with the guidance of my coach, I ended up gaining about 15 lbs more than I initially planned.

As those of you who have followed me on Instagram for a while know, as I’ve written about this before, being in my current body has, at times, been a struggle. Even though I know for a fact that I am substantially stronger than I was when I got up on stage AND I’m 2 inches smaller around my waist and hips (and an inch smaller around the thigh), I found myself much more self critical of how my body looked. I had to really spend some time thinking about why I felt that way.

What I realized was that after spending decades chasing that elusive “skinny body”, to finally achieve it, even knowing intellectually that it is not sustainable if I want to be healthy, it was very hard to give up that vision and that reality! That is the emotional response to achieving this “unattainable” goal. The other side, the rational response, is knowing that “stage weight” is not sustainable if you want to have a healthy, strong body. I do want that and know its what is better for me, so I have made a point of focusing on the positives of this larger, stronger, healthier body.

I have now reached a point where I love that I am continuing to get stronger, that I get to eat about double the number of calories I ate, on average, for 4 DECADES, and have still maintained the lowest body weight I’ve maintained as an adult.

My point is this: a transformation is an ongoing process. Its both mental and physical and we continue to grow in both as long as we are open to change and to examining our limiting beliefs.

I can look at the picture above and finally acknowledge I look better now – I am in a healthier stronger body, and I am am grateful. We’ll see how my second cut goes when I start my prep to get back on stage on November to celebrate my 65th birthday. Stay tuned!

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Mindset

Creating a Relaxing Bedtime Routine for Better Sleep After 50

Sleep.. Who has time for it anymore really? Achieving restful sleep is a challenge many face, particularly as they cross the age of 50. In an era where life rarely slows down, the importance of a relaxing bedtime routine becomes paramount for ensuring quality sleep. Research published in Sleep Medicine Clinics suggests that up to 50% of older persons suffer from insomnia, underscoring the need for effective sleep strategies.

The Essence of a Bedtime Routine

A night routine is more than a series of activities; it’s a signal to the body that it’s time to transition into rest. This transition is especially vital for those over 50, as the body’s natural production of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin declines with age. According to a study featured in Neuro Endocrinology Letters, older individuals show significantly lower melatonin levels, making a structured nighttime routine a key compensatory measure.

Crafting an Effective Routine

Creating an effective bedtime routine involves integrating activities that foster relaxation and signal to the body that it’s time to wind down. As evening falls, reducing the intensity of household lighting can stimulate melatonin production, making it easier to fall asleep for a good night’s rest. This also means avoiding the glare of screens from smartphones or televisions, which are known to disrupt sleep cycles.

Engaging with screens before bedtime can significantly impact sleep quality and duration. The blue light emitted by electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Exposure to artificial light in the evening confuses the body’s natural circadian rhythm, signaling to the brain that it is still daytime and delaying the onset of sleep. Additionally, the stimulating content often found on screens, such as social media updates or intense gaming, can activate the mind and make it more difficult to unwind. The combination of disrupted melatonin production and heightened mental arousal can lead to difficulty falling asleep, restless sleep, and overall sleep disturbances. To optimize sleep hygiene, experts recommend minimizing screen time at least an hour before bedtime and creating a conducive environment for relaxation, fostering a smoother transition into a restful night’s sleep.

Incorporating relaxation techniques forms another cornerstone of a good routine. Activities like deep breathing, meditation, or gentle stretching can alleviate the day’s stress and anxiety, common culprits of sleep disturbances. Engaging in calming pre-sleep rituals such as reading, listening to soft music, or indulging in a warm bath can further enhance this sense of tranquility. Adopting these healthy habits before bedtime fosters a sense of calm and contributes to a deeper and more restorative sleep.

Consistency is key in a bedtime routine. Going to bed and rising at the same time each day, including weekends, reinforces the body’s sleep-wake cycle, improving sleep quality over time and positively impacting metabolism.

The sleeping environment is just as important; a comfortable, cool, quiet, and dark bedroom is conducive to uninterrupted sleep.

Timing the Wind Down

The ideal time to commence the wind-down process varies, but generally, a period of 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime is recommended. This duration aligns with findings from the Journal of Applied Physiology, which notes that engaging in stimulating activities up to an hour before bed can significantly delay sleep onset. Providing this buffer allows the mind and body to shift gears from the day’s activities to a restful state.

The Ideal Sleeping Routine

While personal preferences play a role in defining the best sleeping routine, certain practices have universal benefits. Avoiding caffeine and heavy meals in the evening can prevent disruptions to the sleep cycle and physical discomfort during the night. Similarly, moderating fluid intake a few hours before bed reduces the likelihood of nighttime awakenings. Medications, too, play a role in sleep quality; being mindful of their timing and side effects, in consultation with healthcare providers, can prevent potential sleep interference.

In conclusion, developing a relaxing bedtime routine is a critical component of achieving restful sleep, especially in the later stages of life. This routine is more than a habit; it’s a comprehensive approach that involves preparing both the environment and oneself for sleep. By understanding and implementing these strategies, individuals over 50 can enjoy the benefits of a good night’s sleep: rejuvenation, health, and vitality.

To Wrap It Up

Achieving restful sleep, particularly after the age of 50, is a prevalent challenge in today’s fast-paced life. A structured bedtime routine is a signal to the body to transition into rest, addressing the decline in melatonin production with age. Crafting an effective routine involves activities promoting relaxation, reducing household lighting, avoiding screen glare, and incorporating relaxation techniques. Consistency in bedtime, creating an optimal sleeping environment, and timing the wind-down process are key components for achieving a better night sleep. A few tweaks to our daily routine such as avoiding caffeine and heavy meals in the evening, moderating fluid intake, and considering medication effects can enhance sleep quality. Developing a relaxing bedtime routine can enhance the quality of life in those over 50, including rejuvenation, health, and vitality.