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Do you want to improve your general fitness and wellbeing?  One way to do that is to track how much you’re moving.  I have to admit I use a Fitbit day and night and love it!  Keep in mind these are not just for “athletes”.

Awareness is Key
I often say to my clients that awareness is the key to change. If you don’t know something is off, you won’t recognize a need for change.  When you start paying attention, you can more easily make changes in your lifestyle and behavior. For instance, I didn’t realize how few steps I was taking on a regular basis.  A Fitbit (or whatever wearable tracker you prefer) will give you measurable information that can inform and motivate you to make the changes that can have a positive impact on your health.

I happen to have a Fitbit Charge 2 and couldn’t be happier with the sleek design, easily interchangeable watch bands and the data it provides. (full transparency-I have no vested interest in this product-just sharing my experience.)

Steppin Out
I love that it tracks my steps.  I didn’t realize until I started using a Fitbit, how few steps I was taking on a regular basis.  It was a rude awakening but knowledge is power. If I’m working on the computer for too long, it will remind me before the hour is up, that I need x number of steps to complete 250 for the hour. Just that little reminder gets me off my butt and doing a quick chore that has me on my feet. I have to admit I enjoy the positive feedback of the cheering icon on my watch face as it acknowledges I hit that small goal.  Who doesn’t appreciate a little pat on the back from time to time?!  It is the motivator that also has me walking more in general and parking farther away from store entrances to get more steps. Reminder-don’t let trying to get your 10,000 steps in, take you away from your other fitness goals like strength training, flexibility, and balance training.  Steps are just one spoke on the fitness wheel.

Cardio
It also tracks how much cardiovascular work I do.  That is more difficult for me since I really don’t like to run but with a good brisk walk, hike, Zumba class or Bikram yoga class,  my tracker will tell me when I’ve hit the desired 30-minute minimum cardio mark.

Multimodal Sports Setting
I can easily select different exercise modalities like yoga, hiking, running etc to track my data.
Con: Unfortunately, though it has a Pilates setting, it doesn’t accurately track the benefit of mind-body exercise like Pilates and won’t reflect the benefit of mobility and balance work, but my body, how it feels, registers the benefit!  Con: It’s not waterproof (don’t swim with it). Pro: I have unknowingly worn it briefly in the shower and even plunged into the hot tub before noticing quickly. In both instances though, like the energizer bunny, it kept on ticking.

Resting Heart Rate
Resting heart rate (RHR)  is a reliable indicator of fitness and recovery. As we get older, our RHR tends to increase. To reduce the impact aging can have on your cardiovascular system, you can improve your health by exercising within your target heart rate zone to help lower your RHR.  Keep in mind that stress, sleep deprivation, and dehydration can all increase your resting heart rate.  RHR norms for the average adult is 60-100bpm and for 40-60bpm for a conditioned athlete.

Sleep Tracking
I find this really valuable to understand not only the quantity of my sleep but the quality as well. Sleep is when the restorative processes in our body happen. Without sufficient quality sleep, our weight, our health and our ability to focus are compromised. An added perk, I set a silent alarm on my watch and a gentle vibration wakes me up in the morning.

Charging
Hooking it up to my laptop USB port to charge via a provided dongle is quick and easy.   I’ve never had it go dead or run out of charge. It warns me well ahead of time and charges in a short amount of time.

Which Fitbit is right for you?  There are lots of styles of Fitbits with different bells and whistles. The Charge 2, which is middle of the road, seemed to fit what I wanted the best. A Charge 3 has since been released but I don’t feel a need to upgrade. Compare the different trackers side by side on the Fitbit.com website to pick the features most important to you. If you or someone you care about would benefit from healthy incentive by the data provided as well as the gentle reminders and celebratory fireworks, I’d encourage you to give it a try!  You’ve got nothing to lose and better health to gain.

picture of resolutions with valentinesIt’s February – a little over a month into 2017!  Are you keeping your resolutions to make positive and healthy changes in your life?    Here are some hints from Forbes Magazine and Psychologist Dr. Paul Marciano.
  • Make your goals specific.  People proclaim, “I’m finally going to get in shape.” But what does that actually mean?
  • Measure progress.  “If you can measure it, you can change it” is a fundamental principal of psychology.
  • Be patient.  Progress is seldom linear. Some people will see rapid gains only to hit resistance later in their efforts.
  • Share your goals with friends and family. Social support is critical. Yes, it takes some personal courage and vulnerability to share something that you might actually fail at, but to dramatically increase your odds of success you’ll want support from those around you.
  • Schedule it.  Have you ever said you can’t “find the time” to do something. Nobody finds time, we choose time. We all choose to spend our time the way we do—whether that’s eating junk food or going to a spin class. Make your new goals a priority and actually schedule them into your calendar.
  • Something is better than nothing.  Are you guilty of “all or nothing” thinking?
  • Get up, when you slip up.  Legendary coach Vince Lombardi said, “It isn’t whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.” Resiliency is paramount. Don’t turn temporary failures into total meltdowns or excuses for giving up.

Rozz came to me with very kyphotic posture and a desire to not follow in her mother’s mold. Her determination has paid off. Watch her 30 second clip. She’s made dramatic improvements with strength and postural mindfulness. Way to go Rozz!

Why do I sell Pilates Prop Bundles to accompany my DVD’s?  Besides adding fun and variety to your workouts, they have distinct roles. Props provide “assistance” to make difficult exercises, attainable. They provide “resistance” necessary to build muscle and bone strength. The oval myofascial release ball and the 1/2 tennis balls provide stimulation to different areas of your body improving muscle relaxation and blood circulation. The bands in the Aging Strong bundle progress in resistance so when you find that the light resistance band is easy, you progress to the medium band and so on.  The bands are low powder, low latex to reduce sensitivities.  If you were to start with a band of your own that is too strong for a particular exercise, you might get discouraged and think you’re not doing something right. All the props are of the highest quality and selected to support you on your journey to age strong!

mccormickIf you think osteoporosis is an old lady’s disease or that men don’t get it, think again. Meet Keith McCormick, who will not only shatter those misconceptions but will enlighten you on treatment options that don’t rely on big pharma.  In a recent conversation with Dr. Keith McCormick, a chiropractic physician and author of The Whole Body Approach to Osteoporosis, we spoke about the importance of addressing health as a triad – physical, nutritional and emotional – whether it is helping patients maintain good health or working with them to overcome a chronic disease, like osteoporosis. “Osteoporosis is not just the weakening of bones; it is a weakening of the body’s entire physiology,” Keith explained. “When you have a chronic disease, you have to treat your whole body.”

Overcoming a chronic disease is exactly what Dr. McCormick did. In between getting his degree in Human Biology at Stanford University and going to Chiropractic school, he competed in elite triathlon competitions including the Ironman Triathlon World Championships and was chosen to participate on the 1976 U.S.A. Olympic Team in Montreal, Canada. He maintained his fitness into adulthood and then sustained 12 fractures in a short 5-year period after he was diagnosed with osteoporosis at the age of 45. He immersed himself in the study of osteoporosis and – using the triad approach – went on to find ways to fight it and recover to the point where he could once again compete in triathlon competitions including the World Championships in Hawaii. His story of recovery is truly remarkable, he is the epitome of resilience and aging strong. I would recommend reading his book and checking out his web site, www.osteonaturals.com.

Exercise such as my BoneSmart Pilates® program, can be most successful when we provide the body with all the nutrients necessary for building good strong bone tissue. That only makes sense, and Dr. McCormick has addressed this need through his OsteoNaturals’ nutritional supplements that he formulated specific to improving bone health.

The thing I like about Keith is that when I read through his blogs he really drives home the foundation of good bone health: good diet, healthy life-style choices, exercise and taking steps to promote healthy gut function. He sees bone health through a unique prism that I rarely see in doctors when they treat osteoporosis. Just reading about some of his amazing adventures on his blog also shows that he values the emotional part of the health triad. Having a positive outlook and engaging in life to its fullest, in addition to exercise and nutrition, is truly important for bone and overall good health.

Our October Aging Strong Inspiration is Rozz.   Rozz came to me with very kyphotic posture and a desire to not follow in her mother’s mold. Her determination has paid off. Watch her 30 second video below.  Dramatic improvements have been made in her strength and postural mindfulness. Way to go Rozz!