Steps

stepsI don’t own a Fitbit but I am interested in the number of steps I take daily. The powers that be suggest a goal of 10,000 steps a day. Depending where you live that could be a daunting number or your mid-day count. I moved from the remote little town of Saint Mary’s GA to the pedestrian friendly city of Charleston SC. I worked out and ran while in Saint Mary’s GA and usually hit 9,000 steps give or take 1,000. Now, living in an urban area within walking distance of all things I need, I am hitting about 20,000 steps per day. I walk to the grocery store, the yoga studio, restaurants in the area on top of runs or other workouts I complete in a day.

It is said that European women are often thinner due to their activity levels. But I think this is really comparing city living to suburban living. When I visited London and Paris recently, my husband and I averaged about 20,000 steps a day. We walked everywhere, toured museums, historical sites, etc. It was great exercise. I would imagine if we visited more remote towns we would have driven more and walked less. I really think this is a city vs suburban living issue. When I lived in a suburban area, all I could do in my neighborhood was walk for exercise on the paths near my house or walk the dogs. The neighborhood clubhouse (pool and gym) was 2 ½ miles away and the grocery store was a 10-minute drive. It would take me 90 minutes round trip to walk to the gym. I can’t imagine how many hours it would take walking to the grocery store and back.

Living in such a remote area left us thirsty for pedestrian friendly living. We are very excited that we can walk wherever we want and driving is only for getting to work or running errands outside the area. I’m very thankful for this change in activity. I know that not everyone can change where they live. I also believe that there is an unfair advantage for those who cannot walk to all their daily activities. It’s so easy to get in my steps and multiply it by 2 and that is all due to living in a pedestrian friendly area. So what do you do to get in your steps???

Bad Mood

Life is a roller coaster ride at times and bad moods make their way into your life. Often they mess with a good workout plan or a good diet but they don’t have to. I have had some of my best workouts when mad. I also found that exercise really helped me come down from my bad mood. Often feeling as if the problem lost some weight itself and not as big a challenge.

Wallowing in misery is not the best medicine. In fact, I have found that if I just workout, I can get the mood to go full circle. I push myself fueled by the anger or frustration and I exhaust myself and allow myself to find some peace. It’s very therapeutic and gives meaning to the saying “…exercise is the most underutilized antidepressant”.

Moods… we all have them, but make them work for you. mood

‘Tis the Season for Fitness

saleEveryone seems to find time for fitness in January thanks to New Year’s Resolutions. But the best fitness deals are always found in December. It’s when facilities are seeing their lowest attendance and they want to boost sales. So for those of us who work out year round, tis the season! Some fitness businesses promote there December deals in ads while others just post internally for their loyal customers and lucky searchers like us. This is when I start hitting their websites for holiday deals because you save the most money possible when you purchase before the holidays. Best places are private venues such as yoga studios, cycle studios, barre, aerial silks, dance, martial arts, etc. Read the fine print, often these deals have to be started in December, some are December only and some offer huge discounts if you make yearlong commitments. Another great thing about these deals are you try programs out with a more manageable crowd in attendance vs the heavy crowds of January. I wouldn’t suggest signing up for a year of aerial silks if you have never tried it before, but if you take spin regularly and only go sporadically because of cost, there will be a deal for you. So start your search because the December deals are great!

Over 40 & Bone Loss

As we age we naturally start to see a decrease in bone mass. Basically existing bone cells are reabsorbed by the body much faster than we make new bone. We peak around age 30, reaching our max bone density, and from there start to slowly lose bone mass over time. Several factors play into the speed of which this takes place such as gender, family history, smoking, being thin, eating disorders, diet, medical conditions regarding metabolism, menopause, excessive alcohol consumption, medicines that interrupt absorption, disease and cancer treatments. With all this being what it is and our control of bone loss pretty low, we need to make sure we are doing our part to ensure the healthiest bones possible long into our exercising over 40 lifestyles.osteoporosis

Exercise is critical. We need to make sure we are doing strength training and some form of impact cardio. Impact cardio can be walking, jogging, running, racket sports, dancing, water aerobics are just a few ideas. Strength training can be free weights or body weight. Because when the muscles pull on the bones you stimulate your bones to make new bone cells. Since our absorption is greater than our production, we need this boost.

Diet is also critical. We need Calcium and Vitamin D. Without enough calcium your body will start to break down your own bones to get it. Also you need Vitamin D to aid absorption of Calcium plus it is needed for bone growth and bone remodeling. So without adequate Vitamin D your bones can become brittle, thin or misshapen. So these two supplements are a strong team in fending off bone loss. Many people simply take supplements, which is fine but you also need to make sure your diet has foods rich in Calcium and Vitamin D. Now, although you need both, you do not have to take them together. Vitamin D levels need to be adequate or available in the body so when you enjoy calcium rich foods your body can absorb these much needed nutrients. So yes they are a team, but the sport is an all day and all night activity.

Naturally rich in Calcium

Naturally rich in Vitamin D

Milk

Cod Liver Oil

Kale

Swordfish

Sardines

Salmon

Broccoli

Tuna

Watercress

Egg Yolks

Bock Choy

Okra

Almonds

Sunlight: 20-25 minutes

 

I am not a fan of ‘fortified with …..’ foods because often its food items you don’t need in your system in the name of adding a supplement. For example, calcium or vitamin D fortified orange juice, flavored yogurts or cereals. The sugar and nutrient starved food items are not worth the added supplements. See my blog post regarding my issue with sugar to understand why.

I eat items from the two lists every day of my life to ensure a bone healthy diet. I do not eat yogurt or drink milk thanks to lactose issues so I have added Calcium and Vitamin D supplements. On top of my cardio and weight training I am doing my part in fending off my inevitable. My bone density scan shows I have Osteopenia which is lower than normal bone density but not low enough to be considered osteoporosis. I’m not happy to know this new fact about my overall health but as I always say “Knowledge is Power”. So Calcium and Vitamin D foods we are about to become even better friends!