In my former career, I worked in companies that managed investments for institutional pension funds. So I’m well aware of the importance of investing for retirement. It’s something I’m sure we all agree on. The idea is to save money (making wise investments to grow that money) so, when the time comes to retire, you have enough invested that you can live the way you want. Save money now so you have the money you want in retirement. Simple. Well, the same is true for your health. Invest in your health now, so you have the health you want in retirement.
And we all want the most bang for our buck, right? Well, in terms of return on investment, there’s not much that can beat regular exercise. So my advice is to invest in exercise for a healthy retirement. And just as any amount of nutritious, home-cooked food is an improvement on a junk food diet, any amount of exercise is better than sitting all day.
If you’re expecting this post to reveal a raft of diet and exercise tips to give you the hot bod of a swimsuit model, then you’ll be disappointed. Besides, most of them are digitally altered anyway (at least it certainly makes me feel better to think that). What I’m really on about is what you can do when your bod gets too hot since, as I write this, the temperature outside is a sweltering 31 degrees Celsius.
Summer sizzles, so I thought some tips for healthy hydration and cooling off a hot bod would be a hot topic. Particularly for those of us also in hot flash territory. 😉 I was lucky enough to be at a cottage in the Ottawa Valley for a few days during this heatwave and jumping in a spring-fed lake did wonders for beating the heat! But if you aren’t near a cooling body of water, then what?
Sometimes I have to think hard to come up with topics for my blog posts. Other times they come to me organically, through a confluence of events. In this case, it was a movie, a comment from a friend, two books and my birthday bucket list item that led me to this one: It’s Never Too Late…to Exercise.
The movie was Edie. The comment from a friend was “I’m too old to start running”. The books were The Happy Runner and Older, Faster, Stronger. And my birthday bucket list item: run the Scotia Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon Virtual Race to fundraise for the Sunnybrook Foundation. So, with that as my preamble, let’s delve into how these morphed into this post on why it’s never too late…to exercise.
This is the story of how Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST) saved me. Certainly Fascial Stretch Therapy saved my ability to run. I love running outdoors! I love the freedom of it and the exhilaration of all that oxygen flooding my body. But it seemed for a time that running didn’t love me back.
I’d just get into the zone and then, wham, I’d get nagging pain in my psoas area and groin. My lower back would get sore and twinge-y. And I’d have to stop for a while. I always put it down to over-doing it or some problem with my gait. And each time I’d rest for a month or more and spend untold capital on physiotherapists and chiropractors trying to fix the problem.
Fascial Stretch Therapy Saved Me
I’d also see my massage therapist, Audrey Kelly. Audrey worked with me using Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST). And she encouraged me to stretch on my own daily. She showed me various stretches and suggested using a foam roller and trigger point balls. So I dutifully bought them and then did nothing with them.
When I ended up injuring myself a second time she asked me, “have you been stretching like I suggested?”. Sheepishly I had to admit I hadn’t. So I started. And I added “Foam roll for five minutes” as a “habit” to my Aaptiv Coach. Once I needed to do it to earn my gold star for the day, it amazed me at how consistent I became (I’m rather Type A). And a miracle happened; the pain went away! Fascial Stretch Therapy saved me. Now it’s the way I roll…
“Engage the bandhas!” My yoga teacher, Christine Dennis, reminds us of this often in class – it’s almost a mantra. Bandha is the Sanskrit term for “body lock” in Hatha Yoga. Christine is usually referring to the bandhas that involve the pelvic floor muscles and the abdominals up to the diaphragm. In plain English, she means “engage your abs”!
Activating these muscles essentially creates a supportive “corset” for your torso. This protects your back and helps stabilize your body. When you engage your abs and strengthen your core, you make daily activities easier. More important, you help prevent injury during both day-to-day activities and exercise. At my age, I’m all about preventing injury, especially back injury.
And (spoiler alert for an upcoming post on osteoporosis) weight-bearing exercise is one of the most effective things we can do to prevent bone loss as we get older. In fact, studies have shown that strength training may even help build new bone. Of course it also builds muscle mass to keep us lively and energetic.
So now is the perfect time to delve into how to engage your abs! With esprit de core, you will be able to strength train both effectively and safely! read more
I can’t recall which comedian said “By the time I turned forty, I finally had my head together…and then my ass fell apart” but I do recall thinking it was hilarious at the time. By the time I turned fifty, I didn’t think it was so funny any more. And now that I am beyond fifty (how much beyond is a state secret), many of my cohort are lamenting the state of our fallen asses and are ready to take action to achieve anti-gravity glutes.
So I thought I’d ask one of my fan-tastic Pilates teachers to give guidance on how to achieve anti-gravity glutes. When I learned that Amanda’s Instagram handle was @assbyamanda, I knew our asses were in good hands. All puns intended. 😉
Raise your hand if you want to lose a few extra pounds and have more energy.
Isn’t that what we all want? And we think we can do it by hitting the gym a few days a week, don’t we? Certainly, exercise is excellent for weight loss. It boosts caloric expenditure and increases lean muscle mass which is more metabolically active and burns more calories, even at rest, than fat.
But you can’t out-exercise a bad diet.