It is said that families that play together - stay together!
Be a role model for the value of exercise.
During the Christmas season, children are off school and you may have a few days off work. Use this time to get active with your family and make great memories with those you love.
Find wonderful ways to enjoy each other's company in the great outdoors!
Admittedly, this is one of my favourite things to do.
Add some strength training to your exercise regime.
Start small - even if that means using a soup can!
The benefits are many!
Here are a few:
When I first started lifting weights 20 years ago, the first thing I noticed was an improved posture. After years of carrying and nursing 6 children, my shoulders were beginning to rotate forward, and I was only 36.
Just imagine if I hadn't started lifting weights where I would be today!
The other thing I noticed was an improved mood and increased confidence.
Wow, if I could lift those heavier weight, I felt like I could do anything!
If you are still intimidated by the weights, start with just using your own body weight.
My book Healthy Body for Life, has an illustrated guide to help you perform 10 body weight exercises in the comfort of your own home. When you have mastered those, you will be ready for the new challenge of using weights.
Be strong - be confident!
Through aging, disuse, lack of stretching and poor posture, you may experience a decreased range of motion that can be accompanied by pain and injury.
Regular activity and a good stretching program can help prevent loss of mobility and will significantly reduce the possibility of becoming injured or developing chronic pain.
Whether you stretch after your workout or enjoy the stretching that a yoga class provides, the long-term benefits of improved flexibility are numerous.
Here are a few of the benefits:
Check out the illustrated full-body stretching guide in my book Healthy Body for Life, available right here or from all online retailers like Amazon.
Decide to do a few minutes of walking outdoors every day.
Whether you are walking to work, strolling in your neighbourhood, or like me - walking to the gym. For me that's a fifteen minute walk twice a day as a good warm-up before exercise and a cool down as I walk home. It's also a powerful relaxation technique as it gives me time to think about things and organize my day. I also find great inspiration when I am outdoors.
Take your worries outdoors, find a pretty place and walk a while.
It is a constructive method of releasing physical energy and emotional stress.
It will help get your mind off your concerns and daily pressures.
Bundle up and enjoy a brisk walk outdoors!
Being physically active is essential to general health and well-being.
Look for ways to be more active every day, even if you consistently exercise.
This is something my husband and I make a point of doing when we are together on vacation - we take the stairs, in airports, hotels, cruise ships etc.
It's a mindset, really.
As you are out shopping for that very special gift, be mindful to park further (sometimes you have no choice in December), take the stairs, or just enjoy an extra stroll around the mall.
It all adds up!
Be active - be healthy!
I love this poem.
Stick to Your Task
“Stick to your task ’til it sticks to you;
Beginners are many, but enders are few.
Honor, power, place and praise
Will always come to the one who stays.
“Stick to your task ’til it sticks to you;
Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it, too;
For out of the bend and the sweat and the smile
Will come life’s victories after a while.”
It really resonated with me as I was preparing for bodybuilding competitions.
I had a vision, and that vision required my undeviating effort.
I didn't just daydream about placing FIRST.
I knew that I had to put in effort each and every day.
The above photo was taken the day prior to me placing FIRST as a Pro Bodybuilder at the NGA World Championship in New Jersey.
What's your vision for yourself?
I encourage you to take daily steps that will guide you to accomplishing what you have set out to do.
5 Steps to Accomplishing Your Vision
Wishing you a healthy, happy and fulfilling life :)
(My trainer and I - Hallowe'en 2017 at the gym)
I have been attending the gym regularly for almost 20 years. But...I have never had a personal trainer except for a few weeks in late '97 when I first started.
So why now?
During my competitive bodybuilding years, I had various coaches. A coach creates a training program for you and guides your nutrition leading up to a successful outcome at competition. You communicate on a daily basis and receive feedback, changes, and encouragement. I always looked forward to the morning boost of encouragement via e-mail. But...my coaches were over 1700 miles away in Indiana.
Shortly after I retired from competition, having won first place at an international competition as a Pro Bodybuilder, something happened. I hesitate to call it an injury. It was more of a structural issue that led to the spine slipping forward causing severe nerve pain...anterior spondylolisthesis. I went for x-rays and found out that I was born with one less vertebra. Now that explains why I'm so short :)
The lumbar spine consists of 5 vertebrae, and I am missing the biggest and most important one (L5) that is the foundation of the spine and gives the lower back that nice curve and lots of spring.
After months of pain and much-needed therapy, and lots of time away from my second home - the gym, I started coming back cautiously. The weightlifting workouts were very short - 20 minutes at best. Even that would take me days to recover from.
The gym had always brought me so much joy and a sense of fulfillment. I was missing that. I had lost my consistency and my spark. I knew I had to do something! I needed some guidance to rebuild my strength, rebuild my confidence in my abilities, and rebuild my consistency with training.
I looked around at the gym to scout for a potential trainer. But I remained undecided. I had to find just the right trainer who could create a program that would strengthen my back and core so that I could get back to training hard and seeing results, but most importantly, I needed someone who would encourage me and help me get my spark back.
The mountains always inspire me, help me think clearly and help me move forward with my goals. My husband and I often hike on Saturdays and come back inspired for the week ahead.
It was after a beautiful weekend in the mountains that I made my decision to move ahead and just do it.
Stop thinking about it Carla, and just get a trainer already!!!
At the gym that following Monday, I inquired about personal training. I chatted with a trainer; unfortunately his training style was not what I was looking for. But he was kind enough to introduce me to GI Joe, a young trainer who would be starting to work at my gym the next week. I asked about his background and I instantly knew that I had found my trainer – someone who was not afraid to train hard himself and who was a great motivator.
A few weeks into my training, I introduced myself to a lady who, like myself, was also using a personal trainer and asked her about her 'why'. She said, "I know that if I didn't have a trainer, I wouldn't come to the gym." She was very clear that she wanted to get physically fit, but she was also equally clear that she lacked discipline and motivation. She is now successfully training three times a week and seeing results with the help of her trainer.
Joining a gym is a great way to get motivated to exercise, and to stay motivated. I find that just being around other like-minded people is a great motivator in itself. If increasing your physical activity is one of your goals, then a gym membership is a great option, especially if you hire a trainer as well.
If you decide on giving the gym a try, I suggest you look for a gym close to your home or work – making it as easy as possible to get there. No excuses, right? Ask for a free one week pass so you can try it out before making the financial commitment. Most gyms will charge about $35 to $55 a month. This fee includes the use of all gym equipment (treadmills and other cardio equipment, free weights, and exercise machines). You will also be able to attend all of their group exercise classes for free. Some of the classes offered are yoga, group cycling, Zumba, strength training, and a variety of bootcamp-style workouts. For an extra fee, you can hire a personal trainer who will design a workout program to help you meet your goals and will be there to guide you as you work out.
Last week was back to school for most children in Canada - a crazy time for most moms. But here we are, the week after. Have you put yourself on your to-do list yet?
Over the summer, schedules are here, there and everywhere. We travel, we camp, we enjoy the warm weather. But in September, there is a feeling of a new beginning, similar to the first of the year. Take advantage of this change of routine, and sadly, change of weather as well.
In church yesterday, a young man who had seen me at the gym asked me, "How do you make sure you get to the gym?" This was my advice to him and now, to you.
On Sundays, plan your week. For each day, calendar what you will be doing to keep fit. This could be a brisk walk, a yoga class, a session at the gym - something that gets you moving. Each night take a minute to re-evaluate. Were you successful? If not, what got in the way? How can you pick yourself back up and move forward tomorrow?
No matter how you slice it, physical activity is great for both body and mind. Making yourself a priority will give you increased energy, confidence and a clearer mind to deal with everything else in your life.
Until the next one, eat well, stay active, live happy and enjoy a Healthy Body for Life!
Regular physical activity is essential to your overall well-being, especially as you age. Making that all-important choice to improve your physical activity will be the best thing you can do for yourself at this stage in your life. It will help you age younger and happier.
Here are the top six reasons why you should get and stay in shape as you age.
It is common to accept physical decline as a normal part of aging. The fact is that if you are not involved in some form of physical activity on a daily basis, you will gradually lose your natural abilities, your health, and you will soon begin to look and feel old.
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to slow down physical aging. It will help you maintain your independence as you age and increase your ability to live a life free of chronic disease, pain, and disability.
A well-rounded exercise regime will include strength training, cardiovascular exercise, balance exercises, and flexibility training.
The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines state that we should accumulate 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every week. This amounts to about 21 minutes a day.
Exercise leads to the release of endorphins in the brain that give you that natural high. It makes you feel good and promotes a healthy mental state. You can’t help but feel great and be energized when you exercise.
The endorphins also help keep your mind sharp. This is especially important because as we age, our mental capabilities have a tendency to decline as well.
Exercise helps you feel accomplished and gives you a higher sense of self-worth. And of course, with added physical activity, you will not only feel better, but look better too. That goes a long way towards promoting a positive mindset.
As we get older, we seem to take on more responsibilities and have longer to-do lists. All of this increases our stress levels.
Regular physical activity is a healthy way to relieve tension and help you manage stress. Exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, which has a positive effect on your emotional state. Walking, running, gardening, dancing – even just 20 minutes of continuous exercise can have great benefits for your body and mind.
Something as simple as a daily walk can be a powerful stress-reduction technique. It is easy to do and available to all. Take your worries outdoors, find a pretty place and walk a while. It is a constructive method of releasing physical energy and emotional stress. Exercise will also help get your mind off your concerns and daily pressures.
Look for simple ways to increase your daily physical activity and watch your stress levels drop.
Many women say that as they get older, they have more trouble achieving quality sleep. You may be thinking, how would exercise help me sleep better?
There are two reasons why exercise helps improve rejuvenating sleep. As you exercise, your body temperature is raised. Then the body temperature naturally drops after a few hours. This drop in temperature helps promote sleep. For this reason, it is better to exercise earlier in the day. Exercising too close to bedtime will not give your body sufficient time to cool and unwind and be ready for sleep. Closer to bedtime, the best type of exercise is something relaxing like yoga or stretching.
The next reason is that exercise is a stressor of sorts – a beneficial stressor. The body has a way of compensating for this physical stress with deeper and longer sleep.
Having strong bones and muscles will help you maintain your independence as you age. Imagine not being able to do the simplest tasks like opening a jar, bending down to pick something up, or even just getting out of bed on your own.
Doing weight-bearing exercises will help keep you strong and maintain your bone density. Weight training, walking, hiking, dancing are all great forms of weight- bearing exercise.
As you exercise, you will also remain more flexible and maintain a better sense of balance – two very important aspects of physical independence.
Love the Scale
Being physically active will help keep your weight in check. Through exercise, you will be expending calories that will not get stored as dreaded body fat.
In addition, exercise has a way of increasing your metabolism, which tends to slow down as you age.
Heart disease, diabetes, most cancers and obesity can be attributed to carrying excess weight. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight in your 40’s and beyond will help keep disease at bay.
Once you begin to experience the many health benefits that exercise provides, I know that it will motivate you to continue to challenge yourself in new and wonderful ways.
I have designed a brief 5 minute exercise routine you can do anywhere - it requires no equipment. Look for it in chapter 4 of my book Healthy Body for Life.
Small steps now, will lead to a healthier, happier you!
Until the next one, eat well, stay active, live happy and enjoy a Healthy Body for Life!
WHERE DO YOU BEGIN -
5 ways to help you form the exercise habit
They say that it takes 3 weeks of consistently doing something in order to form a habit.
All you have to do is simply begin.
As Lao-tzu states, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
If you haven't exercised for some time or you have health concerns, you may want to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
Decide today to do at least 15 minutes of exercise.
Fifteen minutes – it CAN be done! It can be as simple as a walk around the park.
Increase that on a weekly basis.
As you experience the exhilarating feeling that follows exercise, you will be back for more.
By putting it on a calendar, in your appointment book, or as a reminder on your phone , it is more likely to get done.
Try exercising first thing in the morning.
Not only will it energize you for the day but it will leave you with a sense of accomplishment.
Get it done before the day’s distractions begin.
Commit to it
Involve a friend. It’s easier to stick to a program knowing that there is someone sharing that experience with you; someone counting on you to be there at the appointed time and place.
You could also purchase a gym membership or enlist in an exercise class.
This creates a financial commitment that may help you take the plunge into fitness.
Make sure that you have every needful thing ready ahead of time.
Have enough workout clothes and set them out the night before so that you are always ready to go.
Keep a record of your exercise; it will serve as a system of accountability.
Record the date, the type of exercise, the duration, your body weight and any comments on your progress.
This will help motivate you to keep going.
Make that important appointment with yourself.
Involve a friend.
Be prepared for your workouts.
Write down your accomplishment.
But above all...expect success!
Exercise is the fountain of youth!
Until the next one...
Eat Well - Stay Active - Live Happy,
and enjoy a Healthy Body for Life!