Start Exercising Now: Busy Times Can Be the Best

Start Exercising Now: Busy Times Can Be the Best“I don’t have time.”

“I’m too busy.”

“Maybe later when there’s not so much going on.”

We hear this throughout the year. “I don’t have time” is a leading reason people don’t exercise.

Believe it or not, for many of you, the holidays could be the PERFECT time to start working out.

“It’s so easy to say you’re too busy during the holidays, so you’ll wait until the new year,” says longtime fitness coach and entrepreneur Rick Mayo.

“Flip the script and do it now,” Rick says. “Use this as an opportunity more than an obstacle to say, ‘I’m going to work out during the holidays and this will pay massive dividends in the future,’ because there are going to be other seasons of life that are busy.”

Plus, exercise helps you manage stress. And you’ll be ahead of the New Year’s Resolution rush!

Rick has two other suggestions we liker for making it through this hectic time:

  1. Move your body more, every day. Get up and walk, dance… whatever. “Don’t overthink it. It doesn’t have to be quantified. Just move.”
  2. Prioritize protein. Don’t head into a meal hungry, when you’re likely to go for high-carb sides and drinks. Focus on protein first, which helps you feel full and keeps your energy levels sustained. Then add vegetables on the side.

Simple steps to success lead to happy holidays!

#FitnessIsTheFountainOfYouth

Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.

Overcoming Myths About Active Aging

Overcoming Myths About Active AgingEver heard someone say something like this?  “Oh, he’s a very handsome man for his age.”

What about: “I don’t like waiting on old people because they’re so tight with their money.”

These are all part of the persistent myths attached to people over 50. But like many myths, they’re wrong when it comes to the millions and millions of active agers who are fit and determined to enjoy life as long as possible.

We’re here to help you do the same. So, let’s shake off some nonsense today!

Focus on Function, Not Age

Cody Sipe, a professor and co-founder of the Functional Aging Institute, fights ageism and focuses on functional ability rather than someone’s age.

He points out a few of the common false myths.

  • Older people should never lift weights. In fact, not only can most mature people lift weights, but they should lift weights. Strength training builds muscle mass, which we lose as we age. And it protects bone health.
  • Walking is good enough. Walking and jogging are nice first steps, so to speak – but we must do more. That includes strength, cardio endurance, balance and mobility.
  • You’ll hurt yourself if you exercise. It’s more dangerous to sit around the house all day than to move your body with purpose.

Marketing Misses the Boat

Marketing guru Jeff Weiss of Age of Majority has his own myths of what he calls “active aging.” All kinds of industries are missing out on the economic power of this demographic, to everyone’s harm.

Here are a few. Which ones ring a bell?

Myth: Getting older is really depressing, and you have nothing to live for.

Truth: Consumers are happiest between 65 and 79. Active agers have the time, money and desire to explore their sense of adventure.

Myth: Seniors don’t have money to spend.

Truth: Consumers over 55 control 70 percent of all wealth and account for 40 percent of consumer spending.

Myth: People are necessarily frail as they get older.

Truth: Exercise keeps us strong and limber throughout the stages of life.

Myth: Everyone longs to look younger.

Truth: People over 50, 60 and 70 who exercise feel better about their appearance than people 18 to 34.

Myth: Targeting older consumers could alienate younger ones.

Truth: Nonsense. Smart businesses (like us!) engage this lucrative market without worrying about alienating younger folks.

Myth: Active Agers are no longer productive in the workplace.

Truth: There is virtually no correlation between age and job performance.

Myth: Older consumers still rely heavily on traditional media when making purchasing decisions.

Truth: They use multiple digital and traditional channels on their “customer journeys.”

Myth: Oh, to Be Young Again…

Truth: Active agers embrace who they have become and are not longing to revisit their youth.

What myths annoy you the most? Which are still holding you back?

#FitnessIsTheFountainOfYouth

Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.

Balance the Big Meal with Your Exercise Goals

Balance the Big Meal with Your Exercise GoalsThe average holiday meal can contain 4,500 calories, according to the Calorie Control Council, which advocates for healthy lifestyles.

If you’re trying to measure the pleasure against your hard-won exercise gains, here’s a guide to learn how much yumminess you’ve earned — or how hard you’ll have to work after the big meal. (Estimates are based on media sources*, USDA figures, and exercise for an adult weighing 160 to 180 pounds.)

A la carte

  • 5 ounces of turkey: Run 1.5 miles
  • ½ cup stuffing: 20 minutes biking
  • A cup of mashed potatoes: Run 2 ½ miles
  • A slice of apple pie: 34 minutes biking
  • A helping of cranberry sauce: 13 minutes of weight training
  • A serving of green-bean casserole: 10 minutes of rowing

 

By the plate

  • 4 ounces of skinless white turkey, plus a combined cup of stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy tallies up almost 600 calories. Estimated effort to burn that off: 70 minutes of ice skating.
  • Don’t forget that pumpkin pie and whipped cream add on another 325 calories – which will get you 40 minutes of aerobics.

Of course, everybody is different. We all have different priorities when celebrating with family and friends. And it’s up to you how much of this is worth how much of that.

But regardless, move your body on the holiday.  Take a walk, rake the leaves, play with the grandkids, or do a full-blown workout if you like.

Celebrate your blessings with movement every day!

* USA Today, Time, Runner’s World

#FitnessIsTheFountainOfYouth

Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.

Being a Grandparent is WAY More Fun When You’re Fit

Being a Grandparent is WAY More Fun When You’re FitThe holidays are a great opportunity for “quality time” between grandparents and grandkids. And that includes physical activity.

In fact, all year long, people over 50 say that being strong for their grandchildren is their No. 1 reason for staying fit – or for wanting to get fit in the first place.

Being an active grandparent requires physical ability – strength, endurance and flexibility – that you can build in a gym or studio. You want to be able to enjoy each other and build memories together. And playtime, exercise, and other activities can do all of that, while showing them that even “older” people are fun and engaged in life.

When the grandchild is an infant, you’ll want to get down on the floor – and then back up again. As the kids grow and get heavier, you’ll be picking them up and carrying them around. By the time they can run, they’re going to want Grandma and Grandpa to go outside and play.

Be a loving leader and get them away from screens to engage in creative play. You don’t even have to tell them it’s exercise, although it’s good for older ones and teens.

We’ll help you gain confidence with strong legs, back, core, glutes and more. We’re here to help, so come tell us about your special little ones and we’ll get you in shape for all kinds of things like:

  • Visiting a playground to swing, climb and explore.
  • Hiking in a neighborhood or out of town on a trail. Play “I Spy with My Little Eye” or scavenger hunt games. Look for certain wildlife or birds.
  • Bicycling – As they keep growing, think of the special times you’ll have riding together.
  • Snowshoeing, skiing, snowmobiling – Don’t let winter keep you inside. Bundle up, stay safe, and have fun.
  • Skating – Roller-skating at a rink or on your sidewalk, plus ice skating in the winter.
  • Working out – If you’ve walked them to, say, gymnastics practice, sneak in your own workout if possible. If they’re old enough, bring them with you here.
  • Running in a local 5k “turkey trot.”
  • Tossing the football or frisbee in the back yard of park.
  • Playing sports with them, whether it’s tennis, golf, basketball or anything. Introduce them to yoga; even little ones will be intrigued with the fun names like “downward dog,” “cat pose” and “warrior pose.”
  • Dancing around the house.
  • Volunteering in the community. It’s good for your physical and emotional health, and it will help the child learn about civic responsibility and generosity.
  • Reading might not be a physical activity, but it reduces stress, helps us calm down and focus, and improves their early learning, vocabulary, empathy and connections. Plus, who doesn’t want to snuggle on the couch with a book and a kid?

With so many fun, healthy activities to share, it’s no wonder that our grandchildren are our No. 1 reason for wanting to be fit after 50. And even if you don’t have any, these are all good things to do alone or with anyone of any age. Join in!

#FitnessIsTheFountainOfYouth

Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.

Exercise, Eat Right, and Know Your Diabetes Risk

Exercise, Eat Right, and Know Your Diabetes RiskAround the world, some 540 million adults have diabetes, and the number will soar in the coming years.

Almost half of those people are undiagnosed, and the disease caused 6.7 million deaths globally in 2021, according to the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF).

November 14 is designated as World Diabetes Day. In the United States, the American Diabetes Association promotes awareness throughout the entire month each November.

The IDF says more people need to be aware of signs they might be at risk. For example:

  • Excessive thirst might be a warning sign
  • Frequent urination can be, too
  • People with diabetes can have numbness in their hands and feet

“Type 2 diabetes is most commonly diagnosed in older adults, but is increasingly seen in children, adolescents and younger adults due to rising levels of obesity, physical inactivity and poor diet,” the IDF says.

Eating right, exercising, and keeping a healthy body weight are key to managing it.

And lack of exercise, eating poorly, and being overweight contribute to one’s risk of developing Type 2.

The IDF says, “Research indicates that a majority of cases of type 2 diabetes could be prevented through healthy diet and regular physical activity.”

Please, if you think you’re at risk, talk to your doctor. If you need help exercising and eating right, we are here to keep you healthy. Call us today.

#FitnessIsTheFountainOfYouth

Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.

Healthy Holiday Hacks to Keep You on Track

Healthy Holiday Hacks to Keep You on TrackNot to be a total Grinch here, but… The holidays can really screw everything up

Think about it.

From sometime around Halloween (all that candy) through January 1 (the hangover), we’re encouraged to:

  • Throw our routines and habits out the window
  • Eat and drink too much
  • Run around like crazy trying to shop and meet every social obligation imaginable
  • And exercise? Are you kidding? Who has time for that, right?

It doesn’t have to be that way. Take a look at these 7 Healthy Holiday Hacks to Keep You on Track.

  1. Look, the holidays are consistent, at least. You know when they’re coming every year. So, get ready. Sit down with a calendar and map out the rest of the year. Include all obligations – working, volunteering, social invitations, travel days, and – yes – working out at the gym or studio. When another invitation or opportunity comes along, make sure you’re not taking on too much.
  2. Follow through. Use that calendar to implement smart tactics. For example, don’t just schedule workouts: Actually do them. If you’re invited to another cocktail party that will feature heavy snacks and desserts, eat a light dinner before you go. Alternate being the designated driver with your partner or a friend. Nothing ruins healthy eating more than too many cocktails.
  3. Say “No” at least once this season. You’re not obligated to go to every party, or to eat every dessert, or to drink beer watching every football game. We’re talking about a two-month stretch. You can say, “No, thank you” and move on. No further explanation is necessary.
  4. If you’re traveling by car or by air, pack healthy food for the trip. You don’t want to rely on the luck of the draw if you get stuck at an airport food court or, worse, a random interstate exit with nothing but fast food.
  5. On the day of a big meal, eat normally and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Choose smaller portions of heavy sides and desserts. Eat until you’re 80 percent full before rushing back for seconds.
  6. Schedule activity for each big day. Run in a 5K “turkey trot.” Practice yoga. Lead the family on a walk through the park or flag football game. Go to the gym if it’s possible for you, but if it’s not, chill out. It’s just one day. The main thing is to move.
  7. Enjoy the day, knowing that you’re going to get back on track tomorrow and stay on track as best you can until the next big event. Consistency is key to having healthy habits, and there’s no reason you can’t enjoy the holidays. Just don’t take it as an excuse to dive head-first into oblivion.

Because you know what’s coming next…

New Year’s Resolutions! What’s yours going to be? We’re here to help you start now if you like, so you’ll hit the ground running that first week of 2023. There’s no need to put it off till then.

#FitnessIsTheFountainOfYouth

Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.

7 Fun Ideas for Outdoor Exercise Now

7 Fun Ideas for Outdoor Exercise NowIf we’re heading into cooler months, is that any reason to avoid going outside?

Absolutely not!

We still benefit from fresh air and sunshine – and, really, is it THAT cold outside?

Here are just a few ideas to encourage you to go outside and MOVE YOUR BODY for a few minutes, at least.

  1. Prep for a “fun run.” Lots of towns have 5K “turkey trots” over the holidays. They’re fun, social, and you can even walk as much as you want.
  2. Double dip with outdoor/indoor. Pick a day to walk, jog or bike your way to work out with us, gaining benefits of both.
  3. Go for a walk. Enjoy the changing seasons via local parks and trails. Or drive to some nearby hills for a brisk hike.
  4. Clean up the yard. Raking leaves provides great exercise – and you get to jump in the pile when you’re done!
  5. Play outdoor sports. This could be a perfect time for golf, tennis, pickleball and more. Don’t worry if it’s a bit brisk. You’ll get warmed up in no time.
  6. Botanical gardens. When did you last enjoy the nearest similar attraction? Find a special season attraction and check it out.
  7. Toss a football. Toss a frisbee. Toss a ball with the grandkids.

This will keep you grounded through the busy season ahead. Nothing feels better than exercise – except a little time outside.

#FitnessIsTheFountainOfYouth

Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.

Goals Keep Us on Track for Fitness Success

Goals Keep Us on Track for Fitness SuccessFitness goals drive Jerry Mathis.

They compel him to accomplish athletic feats that most people wouldn’t attempt – let alone most people who are 76 years old.

“If I just went to the gym to exercise without also having a goal in mind, I’m not sure how much progress I would make – in my physical abilities or mental,” says Jerry, a retired music teacher. “Part of what works for me is having a goal. I enjoy it.”

Jerry recently completed two-thirds of his 2022 fitness goal. He ran a 5K obstacle course race and a 10K obstacle course race (on the same weekend), part of his planned “trifecta.” He aims to complete it with a half marathon-length race of more than 13 miles and 30 obstacles.

And he only ran his first obstacle course race last year, right before his 75th birthday.

“They’re addictive, believe it or not,” he says. “If you do one, you want to do another.”

Goals Are a Proven Way to Succeed

What kind of goals do you have for your own fitness and health? They don’t have to involve running races or climbing obstacles like Jerry’s.

Some people want to exercise so they can improve at golf, tennis or other sport.

Others want to lose a certain amount of weight – or lift a certain amount of weight.

Maybe you want to lower your blood pressure or risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The motivations are endless, and it doesn’t really matter which one you choose.

But we know that setting goals helps by:

  • Providing motivation and accountability
  • Developing plans to make the gains you want to achieve
  • Managing your time and other commitments
  • Setting expectations – and seeing your progress along the way

Some people apply a tool from business, making SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.

A ‘Trifecta’ by the End of the Year

Jerry works out at the gym with a trainer on his core, balance, strength and cardio. His trainer stresses the importance of setting intentions and reaching them. A few years ago, it was to jump a certain height, and the next to deadlift a certain weight.

“He has put me on these goals and, so far, we’ve reached them,” Jerry says.

This year’s aim was to complete the three races of varying distances. He ran the shorter two in October and is now preparing for the half-marathon. It will be just a couple of months before Jerry’s 77th birthday, and he still has no plans to quit exercising and be sedentary, instead.

“I can’t do that,” he says. “That’s not my lifestyle. I don’t want to grow old sitting not he couch eating potato chips. I’ve got to be out doing something.

“This is crazy, I guess, but I hope I can go into my 80s doing this thing. I’ll give it a good try.”

Sounds like another powerful goal, for sure.

What are your fitness goals? We’re here to help you reach them. Call us today.

#FitnessIsTheFountainOfYouth

Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.

Success Story: He Shed Unhappiness with the Extra Pounds

Success Story: He Shed Unhappiness with the Extra PoundsActor Doug Spearman was in a funk a few years ago – unhappy and overweight at 210 pounds on his 5’8” frame.

His TV series “Noah’s Ark,” a glossy gay rom-com in the “Sex and the City” mold, had concluded. He was on a new medication that boosted his weight. He ended a relationship and over ate to manage the stress, putting on more. Things cascaded, and he grew unhappier.

“I looked like a brown beach ball,” he says.

But now at 60, Doug is back to his pre-“Noah’s Ark” fighting weight at 169 and feeling stronger than ever. It took a while and some steady habits – eating right, exercising regularly, going to the gym, enjoying yoga, and riding his bike.

“I wanted to feel better, to sleep better, to keep moving,” he says. “My flexibility is way more important now at 60 than having a size 31-inch waist again.”

Still, he was a little nervous when producers called for a new “Noah’s Ark” movie – complete with partial nudity in intimate scenes. The Hollywood veteran, used to the intense scrutiny actors face, upped his intensity to get ready. He knew he’d be paired with a much younger, impossibly sexy actor.

The big day finally came.

“He’s got a 31-year-old, chiseled body — and I felt great,” Doug says. “Do I look like him? No. I look like me – the best version of me possible.

“And I’m not going backward. I’m not that unhappy guy anymore.”

#FitnessIsTheFountainOfYouth

Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.

Should I Run or Lift Weights? More Fitness over 50 FAQs

Should I Run or Lift Weights? More Fitness over 50 FAQsHere are more of the questions we’re often asked about exercise after age 50. Let us know of any other questions you have! We are happy to answer them.

Question: Is it better at my age to run or lift weights?

Answer: Fitness offers more than just those two choices. The goal is to find exercise you enjoy that provides a cardiovascular workout and resistance training. Cardio includes running, using the elliptical machines, biking, swimming, and lots more. Resistance training includes lifting weights, using our machines, using resistance bands, and body-weight exercise like yoga – anything that provides resistance. We need both forms of exercise as we age.

Q: It seems so complicated. How can I make sense of it?

A: As you know, lots of things seem complicated at the start. But once you get started, you’ll see how simple it is. That’s why we’re here – to show you how easy, fun, and effective it is to develop healthy habits. We’ll show you how to KISS – Keep It Simple & Strong.

Q: Do I have to go to the gym every day?

A: Absolutely not. We recommend two or three times a week with us to start. Many of our members find that’s all they need moving forward, and some like to add a day or two as the weeks go by. It’s all up to you. But health experts suggest everyone needs 150 hours each week overall of moderately strenuous cardio exercise, and at least two strength training sessions a week. You can break that up into chunks of time that fit your schedule, and you don’t have to do it all here. Anything counts!

Q: When will I start seeing results?

A: Everyone is different, and it depends on your goals, but most people report that they start seeing differences within the first two to three months. Many also notice that that they start to feel better and move better within a few weeks.

Q: Do I need expensive clothes and shoes?

A: Not at all. Don’t be worried by “fitness fashion” you might see in the media or in the stores. Dress comfortably in whatever you have and don’t worry about “looking good.” We just want you here and moving!

Q: I went to the gym once in college and didn’t like it. Why should I try it again?

A: Oh, boy! Well, first, trying something once doesn’t provide enough information to give a full picture. And second, we’re not the same person at age 50 or 70 as we are around 20, right? If you’re not happy with how you feel, move, or look right now, exercise will help. If you’re worried about maintaining your physical independence and mental sharpness, exercise will help. If you want to maintain healthy blood pressure, weight, and stress levels, exercise will help. A lot of time has passed since you tried exercise once. Let us show you all the possibilities for improving your life today.

What question do you have? Give us a call today.

#FitnessIsTheFountainOfYouth

Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.