With a decade of personal training experience, I have worked with just about every age and ability from 11 to 83 years old and from wheelchair bound to marathon finishers. I often hear about the glory days of high school and college. I hear about how women want to squeeze into pre-pregnancy jeans and men want to lose the 12-pack of beers around their mid-section. I try to be encouraging as possible because it IS possible. Your body changes with each decade and it is imperative to "tweak" your lifestyle as you age so that you can retain your picture of health.
Here's some helpful tips and information to consider if you're trying to relive your fittest years:
1. ADJUST YOUR CALORIC INTAKE EVERY FIVE YEARS. With every year that goes by, your metabolism slowly changes. It's important to remember that you can't eat like you're 20 years old for the rest of your life. Start cutting back on your portions. Even if you don't change your diet, calorie restriction can result in weight loss. If your diet is poor, just imagine if your diet changed AND you restricted your calories.
2. FIND A ROUTINE ASAP. In your 30s and 40s, your growing family needs you. It is important to keep them in mind as you make choices that will affect your long-term health. Your schedule becomes demanding, so if you fit in exercise early in your family's evolution, you're more likely to prioritize eating well and working out as the schedule becomes more demanding.
3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR PHYSICAL POTENTIAL IN YOUR 30s. Female aerobic endurance generally peaks in the middle 30s. If this is when you have chosen to have children, it's a great time to jump back into your fitness routine to take advantage of your potential.
4. CONTROL YOUR STRESS AND MOVE MORE. Your highest earning years are generally between 40 to 60 years old. This is also when job stress can be at its peak. Stress plays a significant role on your body's mechanics. If you're slaving away at your desk for long hours, your shoulders roll forward, and your back develops spinal flexion which can lead to chronic pain and noticeable long-term postural abnormalities. It's important to control your stress with adequate rest and physical activity. A well-rounded program can help you divert those bad habits that result from sitting too much. A widely accepted new rule is for every 40 minutes you sit, you should spend the next 10 minutes standing.
I haven't had an activity tracker in several years, so I was excited when I found out that I could get one from my husband's employee wellness program. I am hooked! Besides the convenient step counter feature, I have found several other reasons why fitbits are awesome.
1. Sleep tracker - if you choose to sleep with your band on, you can log into your fitbit dashboard and see how much sleep you got, how many times you were restless or awake throughout the night, and subtle encouragement about getting enough rest.
2. Estimated Caloric Burn - I was confused at first when I woke up one morning after sleeping for the first 5 hours of the day to see that I had already burned 300 calories. Huh? It took me a second to realize that from the personal information you provide when you setup your device that it is calculated your baseline metabolic calorie burn. That is, the amount of calories your body burns while going through daily metabolic processes when it is at rest.
3. Total Active Minutes - You can see on your fitbit dashboard how many total active minutes you are each day. When I ask my clients if they were active since I saw them last, they often tell me something like, "Oh yeah, I deep cleaned the house on Saturday and mowed the yard on Sunday." I harp about getting in organized, planned physical activity outside of activities of daily living (ADLs). This allows me to track my clients activity to see if their gardening and active cooking actually qualifies as titbit-certified "active" minutes.
4. You can signal to your fitbit by holding down the display button on the band to begin a workout. This can help you determine how intense your workout is based on how many steps you took per minute compared to other days.
5. If you have a "fancier" fitbit (Charge HR), it will display your heart rate and which creates more accurate data than without. I don't have this particular model, but I do appreciate the option.
Are you inspired yet? I smell a TrainKC fitbit promotion coming in the near future!