With all of the compelling advertising on television, radio and print about the many “results oriented” exercise programs available, choosing the right one can be difficult. Many fitness programs on the market today are too difficult for the average Baby Boomer to complete – or at least we think they are! I have several clients who own book shelves full of fitness videos that have been watched once and never picked up again. It’s discouraging to see flexible, fit people bending over to touch their toes or sitting gracefully down onto the floor when one has all they can do to get up from the couch.
I’ve had some clients watch me demonstrate an exercise, and insist that they can’t possibly do it. It’s been my experience however, that when I encourage and get them to try, (I always demonstrate several modifications) they are surprised to see that they can indeed complete the exercise. Their version may not look exactly like mine, but it is the same exercise and you get the same benefits!
Many out of shape Boomers have tried so many times to work out and failed that they’ve resigned themselves to just letting nature take it’s course. This does not have to happen! I’m 57 and in better shape than when I was 20 – and you can be too. My previous career was in finance and I was definitely out of shape until I was in my 40′s.
It’s all about those first “baby steps”: start out with a few easy, fun exercises and stay with those until you’re ready to add one or two more. It doesn’t matter how long it takes for you to work your way up to 10 or 12 exercises, what matters is finding something that you enjoy.
Setting small, achievable goals is important for your success. This is a secret that the best Olympic coaches use when training young athletes, and it works for anyone at any age. When you continue to achieve your goals, you feel great and you want to keep going.
Here’s a simple exercise to try:
While on the couch watching TV, lie on your side and raise your top leg up toward the ceiling slowly while inhaling to the count of 5 (slowly – it’s not a race) and then exhale 5 counts while you bring it back down. Do 2 or 3 to begin with, making sure that you breathe deeply and make your movements slow and purposeful. If you try to throw your leg up into the air you will be using momentum instead of leg muscles and you’ll be throwing your hip joint out – not fun! During a commercial, sit back up slowly and carefully and then lie on your opposite side to work your other leg. This is easy and you don’t need to set aside extra time from your busy schedule. Set an achievable goal for yourself like doing 2 or 3 leg raises on each side for 2 weeks. You’ll feel so good when you complete that goal that you’ll be ready to add more! At your own pace, work up to doing 10 on each side.
The muscles that you use with this easy, slow, purposeful leg raise are those deep muscles that are so important for strength and balance. And did you know that when you build lean muscle, your body burns more fat to keep those lean muscles working? This means that the more you do this simple, easy exercise – the higher you’ll be able to lift that leg, and then the more repetitions you’ll be able to do, and then the INCHES will drop from your thighs and hips! In fact, I recommend that you measure your thighs before you begin and then again after one month. You will see and feel a difference and that will encourage you to keep going. Now, understand that you may not have lost any weight during that month because muscle weighs more than fat, but you’ll fit into you jeans a little better, and your friends and family will begin commenting that you look “fabulous” and asking what you’re doing different.
When you have a minute, take out a pen and paper and write down some of the activities you loved as a kid. Was tennis your game? How about riding a bike? I’m sure you’ll find something that has slipped out of your life due to busy careers, raising families, etc. Now is the time to go back to those activities and have fun while getting fit at the same time.
Today is the day you take charge of your own health and stop waiting for Congress to make up their mind!
Kathi Casey is known as "The Healthy Boomer Body Expert". Her powerful yet easy techniques blend Western science with Eastern health practices for total mind/body programs that increase stamina and vitality, strengthen core body, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, and enhance the immune system. Kathi's tips include a simple breathing technique that helps you achieve a longer and more restful sleep and easy techniques to "fit" fitness into busy schedules. She is currently teaching, training, coaching and speaking all along the East Coast. She has also developed her own Golf Conditioning Program and her clients rave about the improvements in their game and their over-all strength!
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