Cross Training & Healthy Diet to get ready for the Holiday Season!

After a busy summer of travel, visitors and lots of good food and wine... I decided I needed to make a change before the holiday season hit full force.

A good friend of mine is training for a full 26 mile marathon in December and while I am not quite that ambitious (yet) I thought getting out the running shoes might be a good idea. I asked her to set me up with a easy training schedule to follow to help me get on track with a running routine. She obliged by giving me a 5 week course to follow that really helped me "ease" into the running, or in my case "jogging" routine again.

As I followed her schedule for "training for a 5k run", I continued to cross train with my spin classes, three days a week and my swim workouts twice a week, along with longer workouts on my road bike two or three times a week. I noticed that not only was I less "bored" with my workouts now, but I was seeing results again. My muscles were being a challenged again as I added diversity to my routine.

Cross training is a great way to condition different muscle groups, develop a new set of skills, and reduce boredom that creeps in after months of the same exercise routines. Cross training also allows you the ability to vary the stress placed on specific muscles or even your cardiovascular system. After months of the same movements your body becomes extremely efficient performing those movements, and while that is great for competition, it limits the amount of overall fitness you possess and reduces the actual conditioning you get while training; rather than continuing to improve, you simply maintain a certain level of fitness. In addition, Cross training can reduce the risk of injury from repetitive strain or overuse.

The next element of my plan was to find an easy to follow diet to get ready for the holiday season and the yummy foods that will surely added unwanted inches to my waist. I have tried a few different diet shake plans, and have had various results, when I came across the Usana Reset kit. The meal-replacement shakes are low glycemic, meaning that the ingredients are formulated to produce only small fluctuations in blood glucose levels for sustained energy to keep you satisfied longer, and the plan is only five days long and very easy to follow. You get your 3 meals a day via your shakes, in a variety of flavors: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. You also get 10 nutrition bars, 5 peanut butter and 5 oatmeal raisin (2 a day for your snacks), and 5 days worth of the "healthy pack" vitamins. The DVD that comes in the pack helps to educate and inspire you to do what you need to do to stay on track. The Reset kit boasts a 5 pound lose in 5 days, with no starvation. So far, I'm on day 3 and it is working great. I recommend drinking plenty of water to flush your system. I also incorporated the Usana  Rev3 surge pack drink mix in one water a day, to give me an added boost of energy.

I am now getting psyched to do a triathalon. Part of the motivation for me to continue to train, I have added a long term goal. I am planning on participating in the sprint tri in Santa Barbara next summer. But for now, I will be fitting into the cute party dresses for the holidays and loving it!

USANA Supplements - A Key Ingredient to a Healthy Lifestyle

I am really excited about a new Nutrition line called USANA. While visiting my relatives in Las Vegas, I was introduced to this "health science" line of products. I was given a few different items to try:

  • 5 days worth of vitamins from the "health pack" which is a very handy way to take vitamins. They come packed up in "morning" and "evening" packs and labeled as such, so you don't get confused whether you've taken them or not.
  • Several cans of the energy drink, Rev3 Energy. Love this energy drink! I do not take the standard energy drinks because of all the sugar and caffine, but this drink has none of that. It is very healthy, and gave me noticable energy without the jitters. 
  • Rev3 Energy Surge pack which is one of those small convenient packs you can pour directly into your bottle of water for a quick pick up. 
Every product I tried I LOVED! It led me to find out more about this company and ALL of their products. Now I have their skin-care line as well and more of the specialized Essentials to target particular parts of the body.

One product I am especially excited about is the Procosa II as it targets the skeleton / structural aspect of the body. It offers 2,000 mg of glucosamine sulfite, a dosage 33 percent higher than the indutry standard, for support and maintenance of healthy cartilage. This is especially of interest to me as I have recently gone back to a running program in hopes of doing a Triathalon next summer.

I will keep trying out the products and share my results. I am just happy I found them and look forward to enhancing my exercise routine with these powerful supplements! For more information click here.

Healthy Walking to Stay Fit

Walking, walking, walking... The great thing about it is that no matter what your fitness level is, most people can do it. But how can you get more out of your walking?

I get out to walk most days because I am motivated by my two little dogs who LOVE their morning jaunt around the neighborhood. I usually fit it after my other workouts, either spin class or swimming. However, if all you are doing is the walk, I recommend supercharging it to get the most out of your exercise. Adding Nordic walking sticks will allow you burn 33 percent more calories and get re-energized about your walking.

Walking with Nordic walking sticks:

  • Origin: Created for cross-country skiers to train in the summer months.
  • Equipment: Nordic walking sticks are lightweight poles that have wrist straps and pointed ends. And of course, a good pair of walking / running shoes with good support.
  • How to: After donning your walking sticks (straps firmly around your wrists), with each stride swing the opposite arm forward and push against the ground with the pole, engaging the muscles in your arms, shoulders and core.
  • Benefits: Since you are targeting more muscles than you would on an ordinary walk, you will burn 20 to 46 percent more calories.
Click here to learn more about the benefits of walking with Nordic walking poles.

Get out there, find your rhythm and start burning calories!

Using Changing Routines to Re-Energize Your Workouts

I can't believe that summer is over and the kids are back in school! What the heck happened. For me, the days flew by in record speed.
It was a summer of small trips with family and entertaining guests too. How did I keep with my exercise program...? Let me tell you how I did it, and how I modified it when necessary.

On my June trip to Palm Springs, it was seasonally cool so I was able to fit in a 4 mile jog one morning and tennis on the other mornings, or evenings as the case may be. What I call "fun fitness".

In San Diego I was able to do one morning jog, while my boys slept in, and on the other day I walked and rented bikes for the boys and I to explore Coronado Island (see photo).

Then there was the Goat Herder hike up Refugio Mountain with a group of friends. This has proven to be a great workout that I have repeated several times throughout the summer with various friends (sans goats).

The trip to WA was amazing with a hike in Big Sur, tons of walking around San Francisco and a great hike up Mt. Scott at Crater Lake. See all you need to do is keep on moving!

Once I was in Seattle I have a great friend who kept me challenged when it came to workouts. We did sculpting classes or step classes every morning at the gym followed by a 20 - 35 mile cycling exursion. When we went up to the town of Leavenworth near Wenatchee WA, we rode 25 miles on road bikes one day and 16 on mountain bikes the next. Never a dull moment, and great workouts!

When I found myself in Carmel, CA without a car due to an unexpected event, I had to give up my plans to explore the coastal trails. Instead, I walked my dogs all around town including nice long beach walks everyday. Lucky for me the weather was perfect! Carmel is a very dog friendly town so it was easy to visit shops or even restaurants with my furry friends.

Staying fit was the challenge this summer. If you can be flexible and willing to change up your routine when the situation calls for it, you can still get your daily exercise and enjoy healthy fun. I found that when it came time to fall back in to the normal routine, that I was ready to give 100% again. Sometimes having that little break is what we need to become re-energized for our workouts.

AGE-PROOF Your Body by Boosting Your Bone Strength

Target Exercise
for strengthening your skeletal system is the key.

Exercise in general will improve many things, from balance, agility, and coordination to blood pressure, cholesterol and bone health. Almost all exercise helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure, but not all exercise will assist in strengthening the entire skeleton. That is why "target exercise" is necessary.

As you age, the risk of falling and fracturing increases, especially in the spine, wrists, and hips. One in two women older than 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis, according to the NOF (National Osteoporosis Foundation).

What you can do: Don't give up your normal exercise routine, just add a few activities that create force or stress on the skeletal system. Try jumping rope or strength training. Those exercises stress on your skeletal system causing your body to respond by building more bone to tolerate the additional force or stress.

Do some form of exercise every day to maintain a healthy lifestyle and remember to feed your body only good healthy foods. The more organic fresh fruits and vegetables the better.

Staying Fit While Entertaining Summer Visitors

It's been a busy June with visitors from Norway, 8th grade graduation, family vacation and college touring. Wow, how to fill up a month! The challenge was to find a balance with staying fit, exercising and including a health menu to keep from gaining weight during the hectic month. It's so easy to fall into bad habits and grab the unhealthy food choices when we are on the go a lot. I was determined to keep my healthy lifestyle even while I traveled and entertained guests.

During the week my guests were with me we ate healthy meals every day, (I bought the required groceries before they arrived). I decided on the weeks meals before hand so I wouldn't be tempted to stop for fast food on a day we were particularly busy. I chose recipes that were either easy and quick to prepare, after a long day of playing tourist, or a crock pot meal that would be filling the house with mouth-watering aromas as we returned from a day out.

I have a wonderful cookbook, I have used over the years, called "Cookbook of the Year", by Don Collins. This cookbook plans your week of meals in advance (for the whole year) and even provides the grocery list for each week. I modify the meals and the shopping if I know I will have other plans for some of the days that week. He uses healthy alternatives like, chicken broth for sauteing and plain yogurt to replace sour cream.

As for the exercise, I did my early morning routine of spin class at 6:00 AM for a few of the days, that way I was home before my guests got going for the day, and on the other days, I planned sightseeing with lots of walking or a vigorous hike in the back country. (see hiking photo) I thought it was important to show my guests all aspects of our beautiful area. We all stayed healthy by eating healthy meals combined with daily exercise.

If you are expecting company this summer... it's a great idea to refresh yourself on tourist activities and kid friendly fun. As my Norwegian relatives brought along their daughters age 6 and 8 years, we needed to provide rests and full child related activities too. I incorporated a visit to the Ty Warner Sea Center and a boat ride harbor tour on Little Toot (where the girls each received authentic shipmate caps). They found out a lot about our coastal area and how important it is to be conscious about our environment.

I hope you find this information helpful if you have visitors coming for the summer months. Have a great summer... look for some healthy, quick and refreshing meals for the summer.

Eating the "Right" Kind of Protein Can Help You Lose Weight

In my endless search for ways to be healthy, stay young, and maintain my youthful vitality, I came across an article on how eating high quality protein will actually curb your appetite, improve cardiovascular health and more. It's reminiscent of my Low Carb diet days, but now researchers have determined that there is validity to this way of eating. What research says is that to net the health-promoting benefits of protein, experts recommend lean, high quality choices: fish, skinless poultry, lean meat, egg whites, low fat dairy, and legumes. These newer findings simply suggest the impact of protein on health is more far reaching than health experts first realized, and that perhaps protein is a key player in keeping the heart healthy, the blood sugar level, and appetite and weight all under control. If weight loss is your goal, plan on incorporating a little more of the high quality protein into your meals. Click here to read more.

Multiple Benifits from Good Posture

Who could have guessed that there could be so many benefits from having good posture. I never wanted to look like so many older women who have the slumped forward look, but it is more than just an outward appearance to have total health and a youthful presence. Start by straightening up to stave off neck and back pain, and to boost overall health. Here are some of the benefits from having good posture:
  • Better Digestion. Good posture tones your core muscles, which support your digestive organs. "if your core musculature is slack, your body stabilizes abdominal organs by packing fat around them, which heats the organs and reduces their function." says biomechanist Katy Santiago, director of the Restorative Exercise Institute in Ventura, CA
  • Fewer Headaches. In a recent study, Italian researchers found that office workers who were instructed to correct the position of their heads and necks every two hours reported having 40% fewer headaches each month.
  • Enhanced Detox. "Posture dictates how well blood and lymphatic fluid flow," Santiago says. If you have fewer kinks, your body releases toxins efficiently.
  • Stronger Bones. When you are properly aligned, your bones support your mass and weight bearing keeps them strong. When you have poor posture, your muscles and connective tissue end up doing some of the supportive work.
A helpful tip for aging baby boomers to try that will help get your back and neck properly aligned is the Rhomboid crunch. This exercise will strengthen the rhomboids (the muscles that connect the shoulder blades to the spine), which corrects the tendency to round the upper spine forward. It opens the chest and promotes deeper breathing.

Rhomboid Crunch - 1. Stand up straight with your feet directly under your hips. Hold a broomstick under your buttocks with your arms straight, hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing forward, and thumbs facing out. To avoid puffing our your ribs, pull your rib cage toward your spine.

2. Slowly lift the bar as high as you can without moving your hands wider than shoulder-width apart. Don't lift your shoulders up toward your ears, concentrate on opening up your chest and bringing your shoulder blades together behind you. Hold for ten seconds, then release.

How To Get Great Work-Out In The Pool

I recently made the jump... into the pool! It has been YEARS since I last did a swim work-out, but I have been hearing about the great results people are getting from their swim routine. This also a great way for aging baby boomers to stay young increase fitness and cardiovascular health. No jarring on the bones and joints, and it can be quite a stress relief as you get into your zone. If you want an even better work-out, try the following helpful tips by Mark Schubert, head of the U.S. National Team and seven-time Olympic swimming coach.
  • Keep Your Heart Rate Up - to around 80% of your maximum heart rate for as much of your work out as you can. To ensure you are staying in the "zone" stop after every 10 to 15 laps to count your pulse, using the pool clock, counting for six seconds then tack a zero onto the number. Vigorous swimming can burn up to 680 calories, based on a 150 pound woman.
  • Play with Pool Toys - by incorporating kick boards, hand paddles, swim fins or those foam buoys you place between your legs. Not only will you burn more calories, but it these toys will help you tone arm and leg muscles, too.
  • Change it up - by breaking up your laps into what pros call a ladder. Start with one lap, then two laps, three laps, four laps, five laps, six laps, and back down with, five laps, four laps, three laps, two laps, and finally one lap. Give yourself a rest of 15 to 30 seconds between each segment.
  • Get Racy - Swimming fast burns calories better, but you don't have to speed through your whole workout to get the benefits. Try doing one length easy, then one length fast, two easy then two fast and so on. This is also a good way to work up your stamina.
  • No Rest For the Weary - No more than 10% of your water time should be spent loitering in your lane. Try cutting your rests in half or limit your rest to 10 second pauses between laps or intervals.

Eat Healthy and Pay Less

In this time of economic crisis, everyone is trying to find ways to save a buck. Me too, though I don't want to sacrifice good healthy foods to do it. I would like to pass on some helpful tips on how you can spend less and still enjoy organic produce and free-range meats.
"The secret to eating well on a budget is not to give up the high quality foods you love, but to buy only what you need, and then be sure to use everything that you buy." says Mollie Katzen, author of The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without
The following expert tips will help you discover how you can eat healthy for less.
  • Know your budget: "Before you can start spending less, you have to know what your budget is." ~ says Katzen. Save all your food related receipts - grocery store, farmers' market and restaurants for a month to determine what you're really spending. Save $ by cutting out non essentials like take-out foods and coffee to go.
  • Plan a weeks worth of menus: Start with two or three dishes, then come up with others that utilize similar food items that are not used up in another recipe, this way nothing gets wasted.
  • Shop around: Comparison shopping is critical, but it's not just comparing one store's prices to another, also look for conveniences, like precooked foods, for bargains. Save up to $2 per item if you buy loose greens instead of pre-washed and whole veggies instead of pre-sliced ones.
  • Find coupons on-line: These days you don't have to be a coupon clipper, you can find a multitude of organic companies offering coupons on-line - just a click away. Check out to download coupons.
  • High Nutrients: "To really get your money's worth, buy foods that are high in nutrients," says Katzen. Broccoli and celery are priced the same, but every dollar you spend on broccoli buys you much more vitamin C, iron and fiber.
  • Cut down on meat: Even the cheapest cuts of meat are expensive these days. Build your meal around other proteins such as beans. Replace meat with protein-rich barley, and pinto, kidney and black beans in soups ans stews. A pound of beef costs nearly $4 while a pound of dried beans is $1.50.
  • Seasonal produce: Buying what's in season at your local farmers' market will give you the freshest choices and the most nutrients for less. You can even buy extra strawberries, peaches, or other fruits or vegetables, and freeze them to use during off season times when the prices generally double.
  • Buy in bulk: When buying dried beans, grains and spices in bulk, you can get the exact quantity you need, and reduce wasting your foods. You will also save money and get a fresher product.
  • Join Warehouse store: You can find organic foods at Costco and Sam's Club now, and get an even greater bargain. This may be time to plan several meals around the foods as you will be buying a larger quantity than from a grocery store.
  • Grow your own food: You don't need a big back yard to grow your own produce. Any spot in the sun will do. Plan fresh herbs, tomatoes, even zucchini in pots. You can even "can" your own tomatoes and use them in the winter for additional savings.

Staying Fit & Having Fun - A Healthy Spin on Things!

About Three years ago I decided that jogging was going to do my knees in and it just wasn't so enjoyable for me anymore. That's when I started evaluating my choices based on my age, my location and my exercise time constraints

I live in California (I'm lucky to have decent weather most of the time), in a small town with beautiful rolling hills and lots of horse ranches and vineyards. I looked around at what people who came to visit did, (besides all the touristy things like wine tasting and eating pastries), and realized that a majority of them cycled. Turns out there are an amazing amount of great cycling routes right outside my front door.

I started my cycle fitness by taking spin classes. It may not be necessary for everyone to start this way, but it gave me the confidence to know that I had built up the stamina for staying out for an hour or two on my bike. Another way to do this, is to purchase a "trainer" for your road bike. It is a stationary device in which you place your bike and do your work out without leaving your house, garage or where ever you place your trainer and bike combo. This is also a good way to get to know your bike, how to shift the gears, where to place your hands, etc.

Now it was time to do some serious cycling, so I signed up for a few local events. I started with the 50 mile rides and worked up to the 100 miles rides. Now I am hooked! What a great way to get out, see the beautiful countryside and get invigorated.

Burn calories and boost your cardiovascular health. Biking is a low-impact way to accomplish both of these. It's an idea activity if you have lower-back or knee problems.

Before exercising, Stretch out. Do gentle movement-based stretches like arm circles and walking lunges to increase your range of motion. After your ride, when your body is sufficiently warm, switch to held stretches, like hip flexor stretch (good for hips tight from sitting at a desk).

When considering which bike to purchase...
First, decide what type of riding fits your lifestyle and agenda. For trail riding, choose a rugged mountain bike. For riding long distances on paved roads, choose a lightweight, speedy road bike. For commuting to work or running errands (a great way to burn calories while you accomplish daily tasks) consider a hybrid bike, which combines some features of mountain and road bikes.

Does your bike fit you properly?
As a general guideline, you should be able to stand over the bike, with your feet on the ground, with an inch or two of clearance between your tailbone and the top bar of the bike. The saddle should be sized to support your sit bones but not your entire rear-end.

Choose a bike based on how comfortable you feel on it, how easy it is to switch gears and whether you feel confident on it.

The Road to Aging Healthy

This is the beginning of a journey I hope will inspire all, especially those of a certain age, shall I say "baby boomers", you know who you are! I am excited at the prospect of learning as much as I am able to share. In this blog I hope to excite and enlighten those individuals who want to live a full youthful life as they aspire to age healthy and well. Staying young in body and mind is not only a dream, it is a reality if only we learn healthy habits.
Join me as we travel the road to healthy aging together. Share your stories, your battles, your triumphs with other baby boomers as we navigate the road to staying young together.

Stay tuned for Tons of Great Inspiration and Information!!

I intend to share all my tips for staying young:
  • Eating healthy delicious foods
  • Sharing Easy Healthy Recipes
  • Simple Menu Plans
  • Diet Plans and Helpful hhints
  • Exercise ideas that are easy to stick with
  • How to keep it all together while traveling
  • Medical back-up on Why it's so important to stay healthy
  • Loads of other helpful tid-bits