Sugar: Exfoliate your legs by putting a little bit of plain white sugar in a washcloth and gently scrub. This will remove the dead skin cells and get your legs ready for the next step. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘women’s health’
I started paying attention to my skin when I hit 50. Before that I would slap on whatever was around, used sunscreen only when I was at the beach, and figured “Oh well . . . I’ve already damaged it by spending countless hours in the sun, slathered with baby oil mixed with iodine, speeding up the damage by using a reflector, listening to Creedence Clearwater Revivial.”
Hmmmm. Smart. (more…)
While trying to come to grips with the changes my body, mind, and life were going through after turning 50, I came across a life-changing article in the Wall Street Journal about Jeff Galloway, the Olympian and marathoner who developed the Run-Walk-Run program used by hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
The article was published the day after the NYC Marathon, so it’s focus was on how anyone can train and run in a Marathon using Jeff’s program. At that time, I was more interested in losing the 15 post-menopausal pounds I had packed on, and looking for ways to incorporate exercise and fitness into my life without spending a lot of money or time in the process. (more…)
In memory of Jack LaLanne, who passed away yesterday — January 23rd, 2011 — at the age of 96, I am re-posting this article, which originally ran on Huffington Post.
One of the most important lessons I learned after turning 50 is that it’s never too late to get in shape. Along with a regular cardio program and eating right, strength training is one of the best things you can do for your body, and your health.
It can be a little more challenging for those of us over 50, especially if, like me, you haven’t been doing too much of anything for a number of years. But it isn’t impossible. Far from it. And as I discovered, we don’t have to spend a lot of money on gyms, equipment or trainers to achieve our fitness goals.
When I turned 50 a few years ago, I had loads of questions about many things: Was I getting all the right health checks? Should I be eating more protein or less? Could I still wear jeans? Was my hair too long? And … what in the world was I going to do about my arms (which had been banished behind sweaters and long-sleeved shirts)? Let’s not even talk about the 15 “post-menopausal” pounds I packed on. Even more important than that: how could I keep osteoporosis at bay?
For many years I had heard, and read about, the NYC-based celebrity trainer David Kirsch, who regularly works with Heidi Klum, Anne Hathaway, Ellen Barkin and many others. In the name of research (I was writing a new book about living our best lives after 50), I went to see David. When he asked me to get down on the floor and “give me 10,” and saw that I couldn’t even do one, he didn’t laugh or smirk or roll his eyes at me. Instead, David gave me a challenge I couldn’t refuse:
“Barbara, do these five exercises which I will show you, every day, for four weeks. When you come back to see me again, your body will be transformed.”
Result? I went down an entire pant size, my arms developed curves I never thought I would ever have, and I can now do 20 or more push-ups. Before starting, I got the green light from my doctor, which is strongly recommended, especially if you’re over 50. That was two years ago, and I still do this program at least four times a week.
Just as David challenged me, here’s my challenge to you: Do these five exercises every day for four weeks, then post a comment on this article (or connect with me on Facebook) describing your experience. I know that, like me, you will see a major change in your body. And, even more importantly, you will be helping to keep osteoporosis away.
First, a few guidelines:
- Do these every day
- Do them as a circuit (move from one to the other, quickly)
- Have your sneakers on
- Use a yoga mat
- Remember to breathe
It’s best if you do three sets (or more) with a 15 second “breather” in between each set. As you progress, trying adding more sets. This entire program will take less than 15 minutes to complete.
Here are the five exercises that will transform your body:
Nothing symbolizes fitness quite like the simple push-up. It tests your entire body by engaging every part of it — arms, chest, abdomen, hips and legs. Doing them is the easiest, fastest and most effective way to get fit. They are the gold standard. You may need to start with a modified push-up (on your knees), but eventually, you’ll build up to the full push-up.
How to do a full push-up: Make your entire body straight, like a plank, with your toes and the balls of your feet on the mat, and hands directly under your chest. Using your arms, go down to the count of 4, and back up to the count of 4. Do 12-15 reps.
#2 Squat: This is one of David’s favorite exercises for working the entire lower body, thighs, hips and butt. The movement is as if you are sitting in a chair.
How to do a squat: Stand with your feet under your hips, shoulder width apart. Extend arms in front of you, for balance (or hold onto the back of a chair). To the count of four, slowly bend your knees, with your chest and butt out, stopping once you are almost “sitting in a chair.” It’s essential that you push your butt out as much as possible as you’re going down, to keep the pressure off your knees. Do 15 reps.
#3 The plié squat: This version of the squat focuses on the inner thighs, a problem area for many women, especially.
How to do a plié Squat: Stand with feet wider than hip distance apart.
Turn toes out and heels in. Slowly bring your body weight back onto your heels as you bend your knees out toward your toes, to the count of 4, and squat down while pushing your butt out. For both squats, never tuck your tailbone in. That puts too much stress on knees.
#4 The plank: This is an incredibly hard, but Zen-like, position that is one of the most effective exercises you can do, because it works your entire body.
How to do a Plank: Hold your body in a “plank” position, simulating the “up” part of a push-up, but stay there, holding perfectly still, for 30-60 seconds. Keep your abs tight and your back flat the entire time. (see photo above) Try to lengthen your whole body, reaching back through your heels and forward through the top of your head. Your heart will be pounding, your arms will be shaking, but try to make it to 60 seconds (or more).
#5 The sit-up: Our abs are getting a good workout by doing the push-ups and the plank, but it’s still smart to spend a little time doing an exercise just for them. Strong abdominal muscles look good, but they will help maintain good posture and take a lot of the pressure off our backs as we age. David loves the good, old-fashioned sit-up the best.
How to do a Sit-Up: Lie completely flat on your back, hands behind your head, pull your belly button down into the floor, and using your abdominal muscles, pull yourself up, and then lower yourself down. Exhale as you go up, and inhale going down. Keep your legs and feet flat on the floor, and see if you can do 20 in 60 seconds.
Start with one set every day, and then build up to three sets (or more) with a 15-second “breather” in between each set. Not only will you be strengthening your muscles, but you’ll be getting a solid cardio workout, as well.
I look forward to hearing how you’re doing. In the meantime, keep an eye out for future posts about a great cardio workout that anyone can do, regardless of age or physical fitness level . . . and how I took the word “diet” out of my vocabulary, and replaced it with “eat.”
I wish you the best of everything!
Our generation has always been known as adventurous and ready for whatever’s next. So, it is only natural that at this point in our lives, we find ourselves reflecting on what we’ve done . . . and what we might want to do.
We’ve spent decades accumulating skills, experiences, knowledge, contacts and wisdom. What do you want to do with yours?
Maybe you’re in a career that you love, and you plan on doing exactly what you’re doing until you’re well past ninety. Maybe you’ve been a lifelong homemaker or are busy as a full-time grandmother. Maybe you’re poised to retire, or you already did . . . and maybe you even want to get back into the work force because you’ve come to the realization that many of us are going to have to work for a few years past the traditional retirement age of 65 because the economy hasn’t exactly panned out the way we had hoped.
Or . . . maybe you don’t need to keep earning but you want to stay engaged and active.
But, it isn’t always easy to know what to do, or how to get started. And, there can be roadblocks along the way.
Sometimes, in our youth-centric society, it’s easy to convince ourselves that once we are over fifty, we are obsolete and should sit quietly, out of sight. But, that’s the wrong thing to do. Read today’s paper and you’ll see a growing list of problems and issues that would benefit from your experience, knowledge, skills, and compassion–all of which are the result of your years on this planet.
While researching the chapter on “What’s Next“ for THE BEST OF EVERYTHING AFTER 50, I came across a fantastic book — WE ARE THE NEW RADICALS: A MANIFESTO FOR REINVENTING YOURSELF AND SAVING THE WORLD, which encourages individuals to turn their passions into meaningful and financially rewarding work. I contacted the author, Julia Moulden, to talk more about her “New Radical” movement. Julia told me during our first conversation that “There are endless possibilities for experienced women to use their well-earned skills to support the things that matter to them, whatever that is.” We all have talents and skills and certainly by the time we’re in our fifties, we have experience. The last thing we should do is start to doubt ourselves, or our abilities.
Julia’s own dream didn’t materialize until she was almost fifty. At that point, she figure that, barring any unforeseen disaster, she had over thirty productive years left in her. She had gone through a divorce in her late forties, and made the transition from “do I want to work” to “I have to work.” But after twenty-five years as a successful speechwriter, Julia was getting restless. She found herself thinking about an earlier time in her life when she was still in college and talked with friends about changing the world. She realized that other women she knew–many of them in their fifties–had the same questions. Julia decided to combine her expertise with her dream of making a difference in the world . . . and created a new business. The New Radicals Movement was born.
Julia is a fabulous role model for women of all ages, and I encourage you to read her book, whatever you’re thinking about doing. She inspired me to be fearless about pursuing my dream to be an author and speaker, and she will inspire you, too. Follow Julia on Twitter: @JuliaMoulden and read her posts on the Huffington Post every week in the Living Section. (Pssst . . . she also tells me that a new book will be coming out soon!)
Best of Everything,
This is a first! Denise is The Best of Everything After 50 “Woman of the Week” for the second week in a row!!
Denise — as I wrote in last week’s blog about her – suffers from fibromyalgia, which can be very painful at times. Denise had stopped working out, thinking it would be too uncomfortable for her, until she read about the walk/run program in my book, which was created by marathoner, author and Olympian, Jeff Galloway.
After getting a pedometer a few months ago, she decided to give it a try, slowly building up her pace and the number of steps she took each day. Eventually, she got to the recommended 10,000 steps AND incorporated some running into her walking routine. Denise tells me that her “normal” walk/run ratio is 3 – 4 minutes of walking with 1 – 2 minutes of running, and she’s working toward reversing that ratio. BUT, she knows that walk breaks are forever if she wants to walk/run — injury-free — for the rest of her life.
Result? She’s lost weight, gotten leaner, and the most gratifying of all . . . she finished her first race! Denise used to be annoyed by people who would say “If I can do it, anyone can!” . . . but that has became her own mantra and message to other women over 50.
In the words of Tom Petty (from one of my favorite songs):
I don’t know what I’ve been told,
You never slow down,
You never grow old . . .
Best of Everything,