Tag Archives: exercise

Park it; Plant it; Pedal it; Preserve it!

17 Nov

I’m freshly returned from attending an ICAA conference (International Council on Active Aging). The topics (as probably can be discerned by the name of the conference) focused on the benefits of exercise and activity on the aging process. “Sitting Is the New Smoking” was a quote I heard cited from a Huffington Post article. Activity promotes wellness and brain health and contributes to quality of life and longevity. Considering the conference was held at the Orange County Convention Center, a virtual city unto itself requiring considerable exertion just to get from parking my car to parking my self, I felt positively virtuous about the amount of exercise I had undergone just to get to my chair. As an aging Baby Boomer, this information has great salience to me. We are expecting our second grandchild and I want to be around for a while to enjoy them.

So, with active aging on my brain, I thought about one of my very favorite pastimes- bicycling. Biking is the ultimate multi-task enabler (and as a crazed Lady Boomer that’s important!) (1) it provides a mode of transportation enabling you to get to a desired destination; (2) it is great exercise, (3) you are outside, (4) you help protect our planet from noxious carbon emissions, and (5) IT’S FUN!   So, with improved health and protecting the environment in mind, why not park that car and ride your bike? Driving is boring and fraught with hassles. Put saddlebags on your bike for shopping- only buy as much as your bags will hold (a surprising amount by the way). My husband and I have managed to fit as much as $180 worth of groceries in our saddle bags at one time. People have laughed and waved as we careen around the corner with a 12 pack of Miller Lite in tow. Biking makes everyday chores more fun and helps preserve the earth for future generations (even more important to me now with an impending birth around the corner). So, park it, plant it, pedal it, preserve it!

Park it; Plant it; Pedal it; Preserve it!

Park it; Plant it; Pedal it; Preserve it!

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Does This Count of Exercise?

9 Sep

I somehow have assumed the role of Exercise Czar in my family.  I nag, cajole, and coax my husband into regular exercise regiments.  I seem to have anointed myself the omniscient judge of what constitutes exercise.  Like a virtual Ouija Board or crystal ball, I answer, “Yes, sweeping counts as exercise.” Or “No, ambling doesn’t count.”

We were vacationing in Chicago this summer where our son, daughter in law and two grand-dogs reside. The day we flew in we drove to Millennium Park where we rendezvoused with my son.  David is a psychologist whose entire day is segmented into 50 minute blocks of time.  Our reunion consisted of a quick kiss, a “Mom will you buy me a sandwich?” and a “Come back in 50 minutes for a 10 minute visit.” We spent the better part of 2 hours hustling back and forth to 8 S. Michigan Avenue for the privilege of spending 20 minutes of quality time. (It was well worth it ).

Once I was assured my 31 year old had sufficient sustenance, we walked down the street to the Art Institute to see a Rene Magritte special exhibition.  Following a two hour tour, coupled with our 2 hours of hustling from parking garage to lunch spots to offices, I looked at my husband and said, “I think this counts as exercise”.photo photo

 

Who Can You Trust?

10 Jul

A few years ago I injured my knee and thought the injury might result in arthroscopic surgery. To his credit, the orthopedist/sports medicine doctor recommended joining a gym to strengthen my quads/hamstrings as a way to protect my knee. Grateful he was not scalpel obsessed, I dutifully joined the YMCA and began a regiment of exercises to heal my knee. Seven years and countless Spin, Pilates, Body Pump, and Yoga classes later, I was, once again, faced with an aching knee. In response, I hired a personal trainer to instruct me in the proper exercise techniques. In a further attempt to avoid the scalpel I hired a Muscle Activation Therapist. MAT specialists help reactivate muscles long silenced by the brain, thus requiring adjacent muscles to overcompensate. This exercise and therapy package, including my Y membership, is now costing in the neighborhood of $7,000 per year. Insurance is only willing to pay for post physical traumas not preventative measures. And guess what! I’m still going to have to have surgery on my knee to treat my torn meniscus! My surgeon says squats (a PT favorite for strengthening quads) can exacerbate torn knee cartilage.

So I ask you, who can you trust?

Torn Meniscus

Torn Meniscus

Exercising Your Creativity at Brainfest 2014

29 Mar

Last week I participated in the smartest event- Brainfest 2014.  Through a grant from Winter Park Health Foundation’s own Diana Silvey, the Alzheimer’s Association of Central Florida hosted a day-long event focusing on the brain.  Young and older than younger people gathered to hear about ways of protecting and preserving their brain power.  There were drumming circles (drumming helps synchronize the two hemispheres of the brain), Improvisational  exercises (thinking on your feet), and even brain Olympics.  Participants were presented with Brain Commandments:

Eat Smart- Health food keeps your brain running strong

Work Out- flexing those muscles strengthens the brain

Chill Out-Great brains love good company

Hang Out- Lower your stress level

Challenge Yourself- A happy brain is a hard working brain

Find Purpose- Living a meaningful life keeps your brain engaged

Needless to say, much was emphasized about the importance of physical exercise and good nutrition on brain health.  I weighed in with a session entitled, “Exercise Your Creativity”.  Research documents the role creativity can play in challenging our brains to better health. By their very nature, creativity and the arts encourage people to break away from habit and routines and explore new areas of experience.

Exercise Your Creativity

Exercise Your Creativity

As adults we have come to recognize the validity of exercising our bodies and minds, but somehow, once we get past the age of ten we generally start paying less attention to our creative muscles.  And, just like physical muscles that fail to be engaged, so can our creative muscles begin to atrophy.  So my job, as a self-appointed creativity evangelist, was to help people exercise those creative muscles.

The very word “creativity” can elicit fear and intimidation among adults, and my group was no exception.  There were the initial grumblings of “But I’m not creative at all!” (a statement that never fails to hurt me to hear).  But a kind of transformation occurs from the beginning of a creative exercise to the end of it.  My flock of fledgling artists suspended their internal critics for an hour or two as they sculpted their clay creations illustrating ways in which they could introduce more creativity into their daily lives.  A clay garden complete with watering can, musical instruments, an artist’s palette jewelry, and a little food art to boot, emerged from these creativity converts.

I felt so proud, even a little humbled, by their bravery.  The name of my blog and business is called Be Brave. Lose the Beige.  It does take a little bravery to create something out of nothing and hold it up for the scrutiny of others.  Fortunately for my flock, there was nothing but praise and encouragement all around.

As Picasso said, “Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”   So, go out and flex those creative muscles!  Art Palette

Exercise Your Creativity

10 Sep

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Picasso.

Our lives have been a linear sequence of education, work, babies, minivans, college tuition, and care-taking. There is no question the joy imbued in these stages is irreplaceable. But somewhere in this process it’s easy to lose parts of ourselves. We begin turning beige as color and joy seep away due to endless responsibilities and obligations. What about applying our overdeveloped sense of work ethic to discovering our own colorful spirits? I have just the prescription for curing beigedom….It’s called creativity.

The very word “creativity” can elicit fear and intimidation in grown women. (It’s really interesting observing a child’s reaction to creativity versus an adult’s. Children readily and eagerly embrace this concept, while adults, many years removed from this playful time in their lives, shy away from it.) Creativity is such a misunderstood concept. Anyone and everyone can choose to live more creatively. Trying a new recipe can be creative. Getting dressed in the morning can be a creative act. Creativity is not just about participating in the visual or performing arts, it’s a way of thinking about and approaching your life, a way of viewing the world. It’s owning your own life rather than letting circumstances or other people own you.

So, if you don’t view yourself as creative per se but recognize some merit in the concept, how do you go about cultivating this quality? My suggestion is..try “exercising your creative muscles”.

Exercising your creative muscles can be accomplished in a variety of ways, some of which include….

-planting a swath of backyard dirt with a garden filled with colorful flowers or aromatic herbs
-dusting off your guitar or piano keys and taking music lessons
– collaging a few family photographs
-taking a pottery class..clay is a wonderful teacher, it comes from the ground and grounds those who touch it.
-subscribing to Cooking Light and experimenting with new cooking and baking recipes
-playing dress up in your own closet coordinating old favorites with new styles.

Flexing those creative muscles will definitely make them stronger and more defined.

New Years Resolution- Exercise your Creativity

23 Nov

Be Brave. Lose the Beige is the name of my little company as well as the name of my blog. Be Brave. Lose the Beige aspires to inspire and encourage Lady Boomers and other Empty Nesters to discover their own colorful spirits. Is running from meeting to meeting, checking off the to-do list really what life is all about? Lady Boomers! This is a clarion call to resolve this new year to imbue your lives with more creativity and fun. Infusing your life with more playfulness and creativity does not require significant or major life changes. Over the next couple of weeks I will be posting suggestions for you to consider incorporating into your lives throughout the next year. The following is the first of 12:

Resolution Number 1- Try exercising your creativity- 
 
As adults we have come to recognize the validity of exercising our bodies. Working out at the Y, power walking, skiing or swimming contributes to our health and wellbeing. (There is even a book entitled, “Younger Next Year” which promotes daily exercise as a ticket to the Fountain of Youth) Further, exercising our minds is a value our society promotes. We take classes, read literature and news magazines, do crossword puzzles or Sudoku. But somehow once we get past the age of ten we generally start paying less attention to our creative muscles. And, just like our physical muscles that fail to be engaged, so can our creative muscles begin to atrophy. So..resolve to engage your creative muscles this year. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, some of which include (but are certainly not limited to):  
 
 -plant a swath of backyard dirt with a garden filled with colorful flowers or aromatic herbs
-dust off your guitar or piano keys and take lessons
-try collaging a few family photographs
-take a pottery class..clay is a wonderful teacher, it comes from the ground and grounds those who touch it. After all, it’s not the pots you are shaping but yourself.  So go ahead and flex those creative muscles. They will definitely get stronger and more defined.