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Did you know that in addition to helping you maintain a healthy weight, increasing energy, and reducing abdominal fat, life-time exercise can in fact (and particularly as we age):

1.   Increase good cholesterol (HDL) and lower triglycerides

2.   Improve heart health

3.   Reduce stress, depression, anxiety and cognitive decline

4.   Lower blood pressure and the risk of stroke

5.   Improve sleep

6.   Reduce joint pain

7.   Reduce the risk of diabetes

8.   Increase bone density, therefore reducing osteoporosis

9.   Lower the risk of many cancers

There are many other benefits with which I'm sure you're quite familiar, but these are just some of the obvious one.

Will this convince you to get up and start moving?  I hope so.

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I have taken the “fitness thing” even much more seriously these days.  You’d be so proud of me!  You see, I’m on a fitness-for-life mission here!
I joined a gym (and yes, I’m actually going to my workouts) and have even signed up with a Personal Trainer there for 28 weeks. Was that the best investment I’ve ever made in myself?  Emphatically, yes!  I’m totally enjoying the workouts and my body feels oh so great!
Now mind you, I got the “do you really need a trainer?” and the “you could have saved your money and work out at home” feedback from some folks.  I know they mean well, but I believe I really needed the discipline and accountability that comes with actually having a trainer.  Not sure about others but that is what works for me.  I certainly don’t see it as throwing money away; actually I see it as investment in myself.
It’s working out beautifully so far.  I train twice per week with my trainer , do yoga and Pilates each once per week, strength/resistance training on either Friday evening or Saturday mornings, and go walking for a minimum of three miles on Sunday afternoons.  It is such a wonderful feeling!
If I miss a day of working out, I actually feel very guilty, but that’s the kind of guilt I definitely don’t mind having.

I’m not trying to enter the Miss Universe contest or any such undertaking.  I’m simply trying to live a healthy, disease-free, active, and quality-filled life.

My mom is in her 92nd year and is disease-free.  She merely complains from time to time, of bodily aches (knees, shoulders, etc.) and pains.  Most of her siblings had either diabetes and/or high blood pressure and have passed away as a result of same.  Her only living sibling -- her baby brother -- has these same problems and is currently having a difficult time, unlike her.  My dad had diabetes and high blood pressure problems as well and he and all of his siblings passed away due to these diseases.  I’m therefore doubly genetically predisposed.
So that’s why staying as fit and as healthy as I can is not an option, but instead, a necessity for me.

As I delve further and further into the fitness arena, I find myself getting the urge to try new things in these my mid-fifties. Things I'd never even think of trying as a younger girl -- roller blading, bike riding (nope, never did learn to ride a bike), hula-hooping, swimming, belly-dancing.Belly dancing is the swaying of the hips and torso, in a range of dynamic and emotional expressions. Characteristic movements in the dance include curving patterns, undulations, thrusts, lifts, locks, and drops, and shaking or quaking body movements. The focus is on isolated movements of individual parts of the body with little notice given to the footsteps. Arms and hands move fluidly, like serpents or ribbons in the air. Unusual strength and control is demonstrated in the belly area.

http://www.learn-to-belly-dance.com/styles.html 

This past week, I received an e-mail from my daughter about a $5 introductory offer for belly dancing classes. I jumped at that opportunity so fast that I'm almost sure I was the first one signing up. I couldn't wait for Friday evening to get here.

I have long wanted to do belly dancing. It is such a beautiful style of dancing; so graceful, free-flowing, and sexy!! Nothing could keep me from going so of course, I was the first to show up in the studio along with my niece. My daughter, Akilah came along as well. In fact, quite a few ladies showed up and most of them expressed the same sentiments – the attraction to the gracefulness and sexiness of this type of dancing.

Our class began on the dot of 7:00pm and as we breezed through each move, we were all smiling as we felt as though we were full-fledged belly dancers. Our arms, eyes, fingers, hips, bellies, toes and legs were all incorporated in each move as we whined, shimmied, stretched, smiled, and bounced to each move. I didn't want the darn class to end.

That hour came and ended so fast, much to my dismay. I sauntered over to the instructor to get more info and of course, agreed to sign up for her Monday classes. Just what I have always wanted!! I'm giving myself some time to get to "expert" belly-dancer status.

I'll keep you posted.

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Letting my time in-between visits stretch out for too long, I had almost forgotten how much of a wonderful time can be had visiting Jamaica. I had the pleasure of going there this past Labor Day weekend for the Yoga Camp; Wellness Retreat #CCLJamaica at the Bromley house in St. Ann.

The country-side home where we stayed was gorgeous. Words cannot describe how beautiful, peaceful, calming and fragrant the air was. The sound of cows mooing over yonder, reggae music playing in the hills, birds chirping all day long, coupled with the fantastic view of the lush, green hills.

This was truly a time to pay attention to self, relax and just simply - - chill. As organizer, Takeyah Young of Core Connection Lifestyle put it, “It was a time to go within, tap into that which resonates at your core and take action.” The vegan-style menu for all three daily meals, yoga at the house and on the beach, the one-on-one coaching sessions, the Take Living Personally workshop by Takeyah, and Akilah Richards of www.Execumama.com fame's Live Your Grain workshop all made this retreat an event to never, ever forget.

I’m still in #CCLJamaica mode. What a wonderful time it was!

 

I went walking around the mountain at Stone Mountain Park last Sunday. That was 5 miles long and it took me approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes to do so. This was my very first time walking these many miles so it was not that easy for me to do. After completing three-quarters of the journey, I needed to quit right then and there because I didn’t think I could go any further. I searched around for a bench, a wall, a huge rock - anything I could sit on to give my tired aching legs an ease - but to no avail. I’m sure this was by design by the folks who maintain the park.

Anyway, I got home, took a nice long bath, had supper and headed to bed. What a great feeling! I felt good! Why had I not been doing this all along? I couldn’t even begin to answer the question. Both of my entire legs felt as if every muscle had been worked so I know they were thanking me.

I got up this morning feeling slightly sore in both legs, but nothing to complain about. I have now set the pace to continue walking this 5-mile stretch on a regular basis, and for me this is at least twice per week.

Along with my 3-days-per-week workout at #Curves Fitness and #Zumba dance classes every other Saturday, I believe my fitness regimen is a good one -- for now. So…are you proud of me yet?

 

 

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Fitness, eating healthfully, working out regularly, living a stress-free life...these are all important issues for everyone and in particular, the 50-plus man or woman. I'll attack each of these important issues in subsequent blogs so stay tuned.

Fitness is of utmost importance as we get older. I'm sure you already knew that. As for me, a sedentary lifestyle is an absolute no-no. Now don't get me wrong - I don't profess to be this huge fitness buff! No sir, by no means. In fact I wish I were so I really need to be doing more.

I try to do something active every day. For example, instead of driving to work – from one garage to the next - I take public transportation so I can get a total of 20-25 minutes worth of walking done doing just this each day. Now, that's not much but its way better than nothing at all! (Plus, it’s way cheaper than buying all that gas and paying $125 per month for parking!) Then throughout the working day, I get up and walk around the office do various chores. When its spring, summer or autumn, I walk for an additional 30 minutes during my lunch hour at least three of the five days of the week and this is quite invigorating. But at winter time, yuck, I'm certainly not walking in the cold. I hate cold weather as a matter of fact. The Caribbean in me will not allow me to conform to it!

In addition, there's a school near my house so I might walk around the track there on a Saturday or Sunday morning. I also moved my elliptical machine into my living room so I hop on for a few minutes from time to time. I do a little strength training here and there with my little 3 and 5 pound dumbells (need to move up to 8 and 10 pounds now). And, (so proud of myself) I just ordered a really good skipping rope for some cardio workout. I know for sure I'll use it as this is something I loved doing as a kid. I also found this place that sells a great hoola hoop called the Hoopnotica travel hoola hoop. It even comes with an instructional DVD so you know I’m getting one of those!! I'm even now contemplating what to sign up and pay for - yoga, African dance classes or a gym? I'm more inclined to do the dancing because again, this is something I absolutely love do to. But rest assured, if I pay for it – I’m going! I'll let you know which one I chose.

So as you can see, I'm definitely trying to stay active and not embrace the sedentary critter. That critter is dangerous for the body.

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