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2 years ago · · 0 comments

Live Long, Live Well: A Guide to Healthy Aging

When I was in my undergraduate program in college I was in pretty good shape. I cycled to and from school (about 20 miles RT) and was a runner at the time. I signed up for an aquatics fitness class thinking this would be a great addition to my exercise program, working on my upper body. The first day of class the instructor said, “We are going to swim a mile!” I asked when and he said “Right now.” I learned a big lesson about exercise that day. I used muscles that I had not developed. I went home and could not raise my arms. I was so sore for days that I never returned to that class. The instructor’s intentions were honorable and his method would probably work really well in boot camp, where they are trying to break you down and build you up. As far as an introductory, beginning aquatic fitness class, his method was poor. It was years later that I decided to incorporate swimming into my exercise routine.

I was in my late forties when I began swimming for exercise. I joined a health club that had an Olympic sized pool and a separate pool for water aerobics. I took my lunch break in the middle of the afternoon when there was little competition for the lap lanes. I began swimming 5 minutes. That was all I could comfortably do. I alternated my strokes each lap so I was using different muscle sets for breast, back and sidestrokes. This gave some muscles a chance to rest while I worked others. I added 1 minute a day. I used the hot tub before and after my swim to stretch my muscles. At the end of the month I was comfortably swimming for 30 minutes. It took me a couple of months before I could swim a mile but eventually I reached my goal easily. I alternated water aerobics with lap swimming and got in the best overall shape I had ever been in.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions to loose some weight or build up their endurance and muscles. They buy many of the machines advertised on TV. They join a health club and religiously go for 2 weeks. People want to be in shape and feel physically healthy and limber. I believe the key reason they stop their exercise program is the same reason I quit participating the aquatic fitness class in my early college years. I tried to do more that my body was in shape to do. Many people start out working out too long and too hard for the level of their physical conditional. They take a break for a few days but each time they go to exercise they feel guilty for having not been sticking with the program. It becomes a vicious cycle of start, stop, and start, stop until they quit their exercise all together. They never get to the place where they experience the benefits of exercise in the way of it feeling so good during and after they exercise, they loose those extra LBS, and they have great mental and emotional clarity.

My theory is sound and easy to do if you want to make the commitment. To begin any exercise program, always consult with your physician, particularly if you have not been doing regular exercise. Begin a new method of exercise starting with 5 minutes per day adding 1 minute each day. If walking, after a month measure the distance you go during the 30 minutes. As you are able to walk further in the same amount of time, you will see measurable improvement. Studies have found that when you exercise 10 minutes, 3x per day and get the same benefit as when you exercise 30 minutes at a time. If you are retired and have time 2-3 times a day you can spread out your exercise minutes accordingly. When possible, I encourage people to exercise at least 30-60 minutes per day, 5 times per week. If you add 1 minute a day to your exercise program by the end of 2 months you will be exercising 1 hour a day, 5 times per week. This adds up to 5 hours a week, 20 hours a month and 240 hours per year. If you walk a mile in 20 minutes, which is considered moderate, this adds up to 720 miles a year. A little bit goes a long way.

Using the chart below you can calculate how many calories you can burn in 1 year depending on the method and the length of time you exercise. Doing a little math with a calculator you can determine approximately how many lbs you will loose in a year.

Length of time: 60 minutes per day
Level of activity: low, moderate, and brisk
Calories expended: Number of days: 5 days/week, 20 hours/mo, and 240 hours/year
Divide this by 3500 (number of calories per pound)
This will tell you approximately how many lbs of fat you will loose in 1 year If you are doing moderate exercise 5 days a week you can loose up to 10 lbs in 1 year. If you do not think 10 lbs is that much, the next time you go to the market, pick up a 10 lb roast and feel how heavy it is. I did this exercise and I was surprised at how heavy 10 lbs can feel.

Below is a calorie counter measuring calories expended with some of the more popular forms of exercise people do. You can obtain a more extensive calorie counter at some books stores.

Calorie Calculator Based on a person weighing 150 LBS
60 Minutes of exercise Ballroom dancing = 285.6 calories
Golf=261

30 Minutes of exercise Bicycling on flat surface =220.5 calories
Jogging=337.5
Brisk walking =148.5
Taking a stroll=103.5
Gardening=162
Swimming and water aerobics=144
Working out at gym=189
Yoga=135 Tai Chi=135
Tennis=274.5
10 Minutes of exercise Stair climbing=102 Jumping rope=114

Studies have shown that even when you begin to exercise in your 70’s or 80’s, you will feel physically and emotionally better and increase the quality of your life. By adding 1 minute a day for 30 days, you will easily be exercising 30 minutes a day. Before starting your exercise program, consult your physician and discuss the best form of exercise for you to achieve a quality of life you desire. Morning Star Holmes M.A. is a Professional Transitional Life Coach, Family Consultant and author of Transitional Wisdom, A Guide to Healthy Aging & Completing Life with Dignity and a companion Transitional Wisdom Action Journal. Her focus is on healthy aging, and assisting families who are dealing with age-related decline, life-threatening disease and end of life issues. Her work includes working with family dynamics, building the “Family Team” and strengthening leadership skills in all of the family team members. Building on individual strengths is the foundation of her work with the goal for families to support their aging or ill family members to have the highest quality of life as they age and to complete their lives with dignity when they are facing the end of their lives.

Morning Star Holmes M.A. is a Transitional Life Coach, Family Consultant and author of the book, Transitional Wisdom, A Guide to Healthy Aging & Completing Life with Dignity and a companion Transitional Wisdom Action Journal. She works with individuals and their family members experiencing age related decline, life-threatening illness and life transitions. For further information on Healthy Aging and to sign-up for a complementary pre-assessment of your family’s needs please contact Morning Star Holmes ~ transitionalwisdom.inc@gmail.com

Categories: General

transitionalw

transitionalw

Morning Star Holmes is a Consultant and Transitional Life Coach. She works with individuals and their families as they navigate the aging and completing life process. Using Transitional Wisdom Action Journal, she guides individuals and the family unit as a whole to complete unresolved issues and create a family care plan to support the aging and/or ill.

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