Older & Wiser with Sue Grant

Posts in the Motivation category

Happy New You! (Helpful hints to help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions)

It’s that time of year again, where we vow to make some sort of fitness related resolution, only to have abandoned our best intentions by March. Research shows that about 60% of people make them — and that more than half of those of us who do, don't keep them for longer than a few months.

The secret to making a fitness New Year’s resolution last is to admit that getting and staying in shape won’t always be easy.  But SO worth it!  Here are some tips that will help you succeed:

Ditch the term “New Year’s Resolution”

That infamous term is associated with failure and broken promises, so avoid mentioning that expression when thinking and talking about your fitness goals. 

Instead of getting stuck in the “New Year’s resolution” mindset, come up with specific, achievable goals. 

Aim low

It goes without saying that most New Year's resolutions are easier announced (or written) than done-but if you set the bar too high, you're doomed from the start.

Start small, and make your goals realistic enough that you can easily imagine them becoming reality.  If you only focus on your big, long term goal, you might feel like a failure and give up if you don’t achieve that big goal soon.  Set yourself up to succeed by creating reasonable, manageable goals that will bring you to your big goal.

For example, instead of a sweeping declaration like “I’m going to get fit!”, schedule three or four days a week at the gym instead of seven. Or, if the gym is not your thing, track the number of steps you take each day and work on increasing that number by a reasonable amount each day.

Be Specific

Your declaration should be absolutely clear. Making a concrete goal is really important rather than just vaguely saying “I want to lose weight.” Come up with an explicit goal: How much weight do you want to lose and at what time interval? 

The timeline toward reaching your goal should be realistic and definite too. That means giving yourself enough time to do it with lots of smaller intermediate goals set up along the way. Focusing on these small wins keeps you encouraged along the way—each time you meet one, you have reason to celebrate your progress.

Change one behavior at a time 

Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. Thus, replacing unhealthy    behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life this month. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time. The key to success is to zero in on one goal, not three.

Spread the Word!

You will be much more likely to succeed if you tell your friends and family about your plans (but carefully avoiding the “Resolution” term!). Social support can help you stay accountable, so let your world know about your aspirations. If you’re into social media, post regular updates on your progress. Your fans will cheer you on!

The more people to whom you announce your plan, the more people there'll be to prod you along if you fall behind. Just letting others know that we've committed makes it more likely that we'll follow through — we're less likely to slide if somebody else knows what we've said we'll do. 

Put “exercise” in your calendar for the entire year

There’s a saying that when people retire, they can either schedule their new free time for exercise or for Doctor’s appointments.  Plan on committing to whatever form of movement you enjoy in February, March and the rest of the year, not just January!

Don’t beat yourself up

Perfection is unattainable. Remember that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal and OK. Don’t give up completely because you ate a brownie and broke your diet or skipped the gym for a week because you were busy. Everyone has ups and downs; resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.

Change Your Cell’s DNA with This Type of Exercise!

High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is a very popular exercise regime, but many people have assumed that it is only for elite, highly trained athletes.  Not so!  Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have found that HIIT has even bigger benefits for older adults!

The idea of HIIT is very simple.  You exercise hard for a short while, rest for a bit, and then do it again.  You alternate between a short bout of intense exertion and a nice easy recovery.

The astonishing results of the Mayo research study were that some age-related deterioration of muscle cells had actually been reversed on people over 65 that did HIIT.  This is huge!  HIIT seemed to change a cell’s DNA in a way that boosted the muscle’s ability to produce energy.  It also triggered the growth of new muscle, helping to counteract the inevitable muscle loss that is part of the normal aging process.

These changes were more dramatic in the over-65 exercisers compared with a group of people under 30.  We rule!  

If you are considering giving HIIT a try, you should definitely check with your physician first. However, many studies have shown that intervals can be safe and beneficial for people with diabetes, heart disease, and more. 

If your physician gives you the green light, start off easy!  Begin your workout with a nice easy warm up (as always). If you enjoy walking, try walking briskly for a couple of minutes, followed by a slow stroll until you recover.  You can do the same sort of interval on a stationary bike or any piece of cardio equipment.  Gradually increase the number of intervals you do, but again, don’t overdo it at first!

I recommend that you do just one or two HIIT workouts a week, combined with light or moderate exercise on the other days.  You need to give your body time to rebuild bones and muscles to increase strength.

HIIT is not for everyone, but you may want to give it a try, now that we know how beneficial it is for us Older Wiser folks! 

 

Sue Grant holds numerous certifications within the health and wellness industry.

  • Certified as a personal trainer by the ACE
  • Certified as a Master Instructor for the FallProof Program
  • Certified by the Arthritis Foundation
  • Certified in Older Adult Fitness by the American Institute of Fitness Educators

Sue has also studied personal training and group fitness through U.C. San Diego’s Fitness Professional Certificate program. Click here to find her collection of DVDs.

Adopt a "NEAT" Lifestyle for Better Health!

If you are one of the millions of people that don’t enjoy traditional exercise, take heart!  You’ll be happy to hear about the NEAT term, which stands for
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. (Big word!)  Thermogenesis is a metabolic process during which your body burns calories to produce heat.

NEAT is the energy you burn when you are not sleeping, eating, resting or deliberately exercising.  It’s a great alternative for those who either don’t have the time, or simply loathe exercising. 

Now that we have such accurate wearable fitness devices, researchers have been able to measure energy expenditure, rather than just count steps, and they have discovered that dozens of non-exercise activities can be slipped into our daily routine to help keep us healthy and fit.

Mayo Clinic endocrinologist James Levine coined the term when he was the director of the Obesity Solutions Initiative.  “Anybody can have a NEAT lifestyle,” he said.  “Our research showed that you can take two adults of the same weight and one can burn an extra 350 kilocalories (per day) simply by getting rid of labor saving devices and moving more throughout the day.”

If you are retired, home maintenance can be an excellent form of NEAT.  For example, making your bed uses as much energy as walking!  Scrub the counters, sweep the floor, walk the dog, carry the groceries, gardening, going up and down stairs – it all adds up. 

If you do need to sit a lot, emulate that wiggly kid in 3rd grade that drove your teacher crazy – move your legs in various directions, stand up and sit down, tap your toes and lift your heels.  The more you move, the better.

How NEAT!

 

Sue Grant holds numerous certifications within the health and wellness industry.

  • Certified as a personal trainer by the ACE
  • Certified as a Master Instructor for the FallProof Program
  • Certified by the Arthritis Foundation
  • Certified in Older Adult Fitness by the American Institute of Fitness Educators

Sue has also studied personal training and group fitness through U.C. San Diego’s Fitness Professional Certificate program. Click here to find her collection of DVDs.

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