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Published on August 22, 2017

If You Take Care Of Your Need, Age Wouldn’t Be A Problem To Your Fitness Routine

If You Take Care Of Your Need, Age Wouldn’t Be A Problem To Your Fitness Routine

You have heard it time and again, you benefit from exercise. Perhaps when you were younger you played a sport if not on an organized school team – but with your friends. As you were in your late 20’s or 30’s your way of exercising may have changed. It could have been for more aesthetic reasons. Also over time you have seen different types of gyms pop up in your area or read about them.

Do not hesitate to ask more and allow yourself to feel comfortable in the gym

Priorities change or evolve over time and also you start seeing some nagging injury creep up or know of others that have had some difficulty getting around. Walking into a huge gym with people dropping weights, grunting and using some things you may have not seen before could be an intimidating experience. But you know that you still need to get that blood flowing in some way.

Just like buying a car, do your homework and don’t feel bad about walking away. There may be some smaller (called boutique) studios that seem more inviting. Perhaps the larger gym does have some individuals on staff that are dedicated to working with the ever growing babyboomers and other groups. Or in both instances there may be a group class that is angled for people just like you!

For the business that you feel comfortable in, don’t be afraid to ask questions. All gyms that truly want to keep their clientele will be happy to show them the ropes of the equipment. Of course, personal training sessions could be an additional fee. However – think about that investment. If you really wanted to avoid hurting yourself (i.e. the right form or appropriate weight) and start moving better, why not work with someone to create a plan of attack? Ask questions and seek out those that are happy to help you.

Exercise doesn’t need to happen indoors, go outside and get moving

Another alternative is using the great outdoors. Especially if you live in a place where you are able to take advantage of nature, a hike can be a great way to exercise. Walking poles can be a useful accessory to take pressure off the knees and also give the arms a bit of a workout too.

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One of my clients’ trains with me twice a week. I always give my clients an option of me assigning them “homework.” He took me up on that offer. My homework for him is to go for a hike as time and the weather provides. He purchased some good hiking shoes and often joins his friends on the trails. The transformation he and his friends saw was that his stamina increased. This is attributed to his effort in my sessions during the week and also being proactive to ask for homework.

Some mental notes to keep in mind before you get going

With all the above in mind, here are 10 fitness tips for individuals 40 and up. These are to give you some direction on your path to moving better. You know which ones apply to you more than others. Above all the most important thing to understand is that spending your days sitting around will not help you move better. Empower yourself!

1. Understand your body and health condition 
Before starting to exercise it is important to kick the tires. Talk to your doctor to get cleared for exercise. Also, ask him or her to review your medications. Talk to your doctor about how to address your chronic conditions (i.e. diabetes) and how exercise and what type of exercise is best for you.

2. Start of with activities you enjoy

Start with what you like doing.  At the end of the day, the most valuable exercise that anybody does is the exercise that they do on a regular basis.  Build that habit.  If you enjoy going for walks, hiking, swimming etc. – start with that.

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3. Take things slow

Build upon what you are already doing after you establish a foundation.  It has been a couple of months and you are in a good rhythm walking once a week.  Now it is time to build upon this.  Add another day or two.  Don’t immediately increase the mileage each day or whatever you are doing.  Wait until this is getting easier to add another layer – add more mileage, time or increase the pace.

4. You can always exercise to your needs

Ask qualified professionals for advice. You want to move better on your own. That is understandable. However, you may need some advice to steer you in the right direction. Things like proper form when in the gym or even when jogging can help you avoid the risk of injury and improve your progress. Make sure that whomever you speak with has experience with your age group and is giving you personalized attention. Even if you don’t live in an area where you have access to such people reach out the AARP or Council on Aging branch that can help connect you with someone.

5. Don’t forget your meals are important too 

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Be mindful of what you are eating.  Between chronic conditions and long bouts of inactivity a poor diet does not do you any favors either.  Be attentive to what you should not eat that can affect any conditions that you have.  Consult a qualified professional about things like how much protein you should be eating or what is best to avoid with your chronic condition.  Also – stay hydrated!!

6. Make exercising your life work

Train for life.  Work on things like balance, rotational exercises or leg strength.  You want to be able to move better in your everyday life at the least.  Being able to be independent, get up, pick things up off the ground or climb stairs is important.  On that note using some form of weight or resistance is helpful.  This weight could be in the form of a dumbbell or a resistance band.

7. Make new friends while exercising

Join a group class. This is a way not only to have an instructor lead you on how to correctly do an exercise but also at a cheaper rate than a personal training session.  Also, being a part of an exercise community can be a fun and supportive environment.  Knowing your fellow class members and keeping each other honest can be a great way to hold each other and yourself accountable.

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8. You can “always” exercise

Remember that what you do when you are not exercising is also important.  If you can take the stairs then skip the elevator.  Park further away from the store so you have to walk.  Pick up gardening or have some sort of outdoor project that you can volunteer at.

9. Your muscles need time to rest and recover

Don’t forget to stretch.  As we age it is important to lengthen the warmup and cool down periods.  Read up on great modified stretching techniques that anyone can do sitting or standing.  A plus to a group class is that the warm up and cool down is already part of the class!

10. Make exercising a pleasant hobby

Exercise has many forms – pick your own!  If a large gym is not your thing, don’t let that stop you from moving.  Look to see what is available in your community that you can join.  Start with something that you enjoy or people that you like to work with!

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Damien Joyner

Fitness Professional for the diverse 40+ Population!

How to Set a Fitness Goal That Will Last? If You Take Care Of Your Need, Age Wouldn’t Be A Problem To Your Fitness Routine Age Shouldn’t be Your Restriction When It Comes To Exercising

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How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

His motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • He riles up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

Becoming the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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