HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO EVERYONE!
This is such a weird time, on so many levels. Covid, world events, local, regional and state news are all contributing to confusion, anxiety and stretching our coping skills to limits we never thought possible. But in spite of all this, we are still functioning, still trying to live “normal” lives, still trying to understand others even though we may not agree with them, and still smiling every chance we get. So, my friends, I truly wish you the best that is possible for this holiday season.
Keep your spirits up (exercise helps a lot) and be kind to yourself and others.
Cheers to you all.
THRIVING INSTEAD OF COPING THROUGH STRESS (from IDEA Fit Tips November 2021)
Many people are focused on “resiliency.” says behavior science consultant and transformational coach Michael Mantell, PhD. He defines this as “the psychological mechanism that keeps people going and allows them to thrive instead of just survive. It helps them to see every setback as a setup for a stronger comeback.” An apt analogy he gives from physical training is that to build a muscle, first we must break down the muscle.
Mantell explains that the building blocks of resilience consist of three components: a) “I have” b) “I am” and c) “I can.”
“I have” means you have support around you such that you have the ability to trust the world and people in it. Successful people are able to let people get close to them without fear of harm. They have mentors they respect, and in whom they have confidence. By trusting others to help, successful people avoid feeling sad, angry and vulnerable in the face of impending failure.
“I am” means you have encouragement in developing the inner strengths of confidence, unconditional self-acceptance and responsibility. Successful people, free of the inner fears of failure, believe themselves to be autonomous, independent and free to make their own decisions, including their mistakes.
“I can” means you have acquired the interpersonal and problem-solving skills to take action. Successful people are free of the psychological blocks that get in the way of developing initiative. They are able to work diligently at a task free of negative thinking.
Be Kind to Yourself – Self-compassion is linked to positivity, happiness and health, none of which are part of the stress equation. “We need ‘me’ time for our happiness to unwind, allow time for self-discovery, reboot our brains, improve our focus and promote our relationships,” Mantell says. “Compassion requires that we notice suffering, in others and in ourselves, with no judgment. Compassionate people understand humanity is filled with imperfection and take no pity. They simply recognize that suffering is a common, shared, human occurrence. Mindfully bring this comforting understanding to yourself without over-identifying with your negative thoughts or feelings.”
An eloquent way of advising us to give ourselves grace. Stop stressing out over that which you cannot control.
FUNCTIONAL TRAINING FOR ACTIVE AGING (from IDEA Fit tips Dec 2021)
Discover what type of exercise you need to enhance fitness as you grow older.
What’s driving the relevance of functional training? Loss of functional abilities significantly impacts life quality, according to Colin Milner, founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging. “Having a chronic health issue, like diabetes or high blood pressure, is manageable, but if you can’t stand up, everything changes.”
So how can you exercise for function? Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA, internationally acknowledged integrative health advocate.
What Is Functional Training? – The idea of functional training is [to do] a fitness program that mirrors common daily life activities, like getting out of a chair, making a bed, lifting laundry baskets, going shopping, gardening, etc.,” says Carol Ewing Garber, PhD, past president of the American College of Sports Medicine. “In older adults, as fitness declines . . . many find it increasingly difficult to do usual tasks or to engage in enjoyable activities.”
Progressive Resistance Training – Numerous studies show that progressive resistance training can improve functional capacity in older adults, including aspects of gait, balance and stability. It also benefits cardiovascular function, metabolism and heart disease risks. Increasingly, studies emphasize that muscle power—the ability to produce force rapidly—is more crucial to functional fitness than strength and mass are. Also, researchers have suggested that exercises for the trunk muscles should be done to promote balance, functional performance and fall prevention.
Dynamic Balance Training – Balance training may improve the safety of certain cardiovascular activities. Researchers note that high-challenge balance training or programs that incorporate exercises that target both muscular and somatosensory balance systems have been most effective for reducing fall risks in older adults.
Flexibility or Functional Mobility Training – The ability of joints to maintain full range of motion is highly relevant to enjoying functional independence in combination with muscular strength for tasks such as getting in and out of a bathtub. Very little research, however, has focused specifically on how to improve flexibility. Preliminary evidence suggests that activities like yoga, Pilates or tai chi—that involve movement through a full range of motion—are effective.
Cardiorespiratory or Functional Aerobic Training – Cardiovascular fitness is important for climbing stairs, going shopping and enjoying recreational activities; it also reduces cardiovascular disease risks and promotes mental well-being. Current research supports the physical activity guidelines of regular moderate- and vigorous-intensity exercise for those who can achieve it and regular light- to moderate-intensity activity for deconditioned persons, for health benefits.