baby boomer fitnessBy: Cate Riley

Of the many challenges facing Baby Boomers today, what do you think is the most critical?

  1. Financing retirement given the present economic crises, inflation of life’s necessities and deflation of hard earned assets.
  2. Rising medical costs, especially with so many new and effective life extending options coming online.
  3. Keeping pace with technologies that present the greatest opportunity in human history for those willing to grab ahold.
  4. Personal growth, achieving new dreams and goals.

While these may top the list, there’s one thing you absolutely must have: Good Health. Without this, the rest won’t much matter. Even for those diligent about health as part of a normal lifestyle, aging brings a multitude of hurdles that require us to keep on our toes and pay attention.

If you’ve been neglecting this aspect of life, there’s no time like the present to get your health in order, before age related issues take their toll. With so many resources available online there are no excuses. New technologies and breakthroughs make this job easier than ever.

I’ve been a certified personal trainer for a large health club. I’ve seen firsthand that far too many don’t confront health issues until they have a crisis. Their doctor has told them that they must do something or face dire consequences, possibly including early death. It was very satisfying to help so many start down the road to better health in a manner that didn’t cause them to become reliant on any system, product or anyone but themselves.

The most difficult part is taking that first step.

4 Easy and Free Things You Can Do Immediately

Food and Water

Drink plenty of water every day. As simple as this sounds, many neglect this important hydrating mechanism our aging bodies need and crave. Thirst is often interpreted by the body as hunger which can cause over eating. Water also cleanses the body of the waste products it produces. Drink more water and you’ll be doing wonders for your health with the added bonus of improving your skin.

You don’t have to down a gallon the first day. Start forming this good habit by committing to drink two 9 oz. bottles a day. Drink one before noon and the other by 5:00 or 6:00 in the evening. Do that for several days until it becomes a habit. Then, increase to one bottle first thing in the morning before even having that first cup of coffee. Consume the second bottle by noon and the third by early evening. Do this for several more days until it becomes your new habit.

Continue to increase your daily water intake incrementally until you’re taking in at least the minimum of 64 ounces (the ‘8×8’ rule, eight 8 oz. glasses) or approximately 1.9 liters per day necessary to give your aging body and organs the required hydration. Take in more water if your activity level is elevated to replace the hydration lost through perspiration. Always carry one or two bottles with you whenever you go out, with the short term goal of finishing at least one before you get back or both if you’re gone awhile. Think to yourself: ‘water . . . hydration . . . taking care of my body.’

Analyze what you eat every day. Make the necessary adjustments that we all know are important to keep us healthy. Get rid of the Junk food. If part of your goal is to reduce weight, no diet plan, food or drink will substitute for consistently taking in fewer calories than you’re expending every day. The latest information confirms that ‘being under weight’ is one of the greatest factors when it comes to extending life and enjoying good health throughout. Thin is in. Forget old myths on what’s good versus bad on the food chart (more on food and eating regimens in upcoming issues).

Physical Activity

Take a look at your level of physical activity. You don’t need to go join a gym although it’s recommended for maximum benefit. When you go to the grocery store, do you park in the closest space or do you deliberately park in the outer limits in order to take advantage of the benefits of walking? Unless your doctor has imposed restriction, park as far away as you safely can and then walk briskly to and around the store and then briskly back to your car. People who walk briskly live longer than those who walk slowly. Even your vehicle will thank you, as fewer dings, scratches and dents will occur from careless parkers.

Devise new and creative ways to increase your level of activity everywhere you go. Use stairs when practical instead of waiting for the elevator. Play with a pet. Take a walk around the block, pat yourself on the back and drink the rest of that bottle of water you took with you.

These simple and free ways to increase your physical activity will make a big difference. Do it now and make it habitual. You’ll feel better and begin to shed those extra pounds.

Resting The Body

Getting enough rest and sleep are critical to our bodies, especially as we age. Knock off early enough prior to heading for bed so your mind and body begin to relax and disengage from the stresses of the day. Many times, we finish work, rush home, get the laundry in, hurry through dinner, hop on the computer for a couple of hours and then hit the sack only to find our mind is still active.

Even when we fall asleep, it is fitful sleep from which we awake feeling like we got hit by a train. Turning off the switch a few hours before going to bed really helps. You’ll find this step well worth it once accomplished.

To Recap

~ Drink enough water every day to hydrate and cleanse the body and consume fewer calories than you expend.
~ Introduce increased physical activity into your normal daily routine.
~ Disengage, wind down and relax to promote longer, more restful sleep.

Baby Steps are the key to lasting improvement, getting the most life and the most out of life. It’s a continuous daily process.

Eat to live, and not live to eat.’  ~ Ben Franklin