Fitness

Longevity vs Great Arms

by Karen Meister

Well, my goal is to be an 80 year old competitive tennis player.  I read an article quite a while ago about this woman named DoDo also known as Dorothy Bundy Cheney.  I was so impressed with this woman’s story and the article written about her longevity.  She played competitively well into her 90′s.

Knowing that tennis is a passion, and longevity is key, I am always striving to be more fit, more limber and more competitive.  Remember, when I say more… I mean more than just being a tennis player and couch potato.  So I have spent many years trying yoga, trying power walking, trying pilates, trying zumba and every other non-tennis activity out there.  My latest pursuit was Cross Fit.  My kids thought I was crazy, but I was really enjoying it.  Every visit was different.  I was not lifting weights that were too heavy, I wasn’t working out for so long that I was killing myself.  I liked the burst of intensity and I really loved the variety.  I was happy to be the oldest in the group (the others were in their 20′s and 30′s) and the biggest deal of all…

I FLIPPED A BIG TRUCK TIRE!!

I bragged about this feat to anyone that would listen to me.

The last time I went through this burst of “fitness desire” was just after September 11th.  Three young boys and I had a patriotic need to develop Angelina Jolie arms (picture was from the movie Tomb Raiders) in order to physically protect my sons from the bad guys that would invade our neighborhood (channeling the movie Red Dawn where the Russians parachuted into a small town in Indiana).  

3 Signs You Might Be Deyhydrated

by Michele Scheck

With summer weather still upon us, being conscious of our water intake is so very important.  A good rule of thumb is to consume half your body weight (in lbs) in ounces of water a day.  For example a 130 pound women should consume at least 65 ounces of water a day.  This rule does not necessarily apply to our children who are running around outside in the hot sun.  Their needs will be in excess of half of their body weight in ounces.  For them, teach them to look at the color of their urine.  Dark yellow means they need more water.  If your kids are anything like mine, they will think checking the color of their urine is a little bit gross. However, when they notice the more water they drink the lighter the color becomes, they will think it is cool.  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE no Gatorade or Powerade. Water is still the best sports drink on the market.  Thanks to our friends at Liveinthenow for this great article.  –MBS


With up to 75 percent of your body made up of water, it’s no wonder that when the proper balance is thrown off, you’ll feel the effects.It’s normal to lose water daily through routine bodily functions–such as sweating, urination and breathing–but certain factors accelerate the process, including warm temperatures, physical activity, fever, or gastrointestinal distress. When your water loss exceeds your intake, dehydration sets in.

Dehydration ranges from a mild problem to a life-threatening condition, and can be more dangerous for babies, small children and elderly persons.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a few telltale signs of mild to moderate dehydration.

Walk… Join the LifeMeisters at the Psoriasis Walk on Sunday!


 

Spring is here!  Swimsuit season is around the corner.  Are you  feeling good physically and emotionally to don your suit and have some fun?  If yes, great!  Keep up the good work!  If not, let’s get to work.  You don’t have to get crazy.  Walking is a great way to get started!  All you need is a pair of shoes, comfy clothes, and the great outdoors (or a treadmill on a rainy day).  Having a hard time getting motivated?  Grab a friend or family member to join you.  After all, who doesn’t need a good walk? And what could be better than having good quality time together and getting healthy at the same time??  Even better, sign up for a charity walk with your family and friends (CLICK HERE for an event in Aventura this Sunday), and save the world as you get healthy and spend that quality time with your friends and family!

1.  Let’s start with the mindset.  Be grateful for the body you have and that you are able to get out and move.   Not everyone has that luxury. Love and appreciate your body, and it will take care of you. Start your day with gratitude for what you have, and then get active! See and feel your healthy body in your mind, and physically it will follow.  If you believe, you will achieve!

2.  Get your shoes on and get started.  Walk ten minutes out, turn around and walk back.  Start slow for the first five minutes to warm-up, increase your speed as tolerated for the next ten minutes, then slow down the last five minutes to cool down.  As it gets easier, increase your time three to five minutes a week. 

Yoga Helped Me Navigate

by Melanie Camp

I was 56 when my husband passed away. I had been practicing “hot yoga” for nearly 5 years when my husband of 32 years passed away. I started adding more days to my weekly practice to heal and meditate…to release anger and frustration…to handle the stress of separation and it worked.

I found that I fit the statistic of 56 — the average age of widowhood. I felt too young to be a widow and as my practice improved I knew that the door to a happy life was not closing. Yoga helped me see that the possibility of a healthy and full life was ahead of me and that there were no limits to my flexibility. Because each posture addresses so much of the “inner mind”; my adjustment to this new chapter was enhanced by a positive focus and a consistent practice.

After a few months of reflection, I decided to participate in my yoga teacher’s first Yoga Teacher Training along with sixty other yogis from around the world. I enrolled for five weeks of intense training, six days a week from 7am until 9pm or later. I did it…I completed my training and while I was not convinced that I would be teaching, I wanted to share my knowledge. With a body that was more toned than ever, I began sharing the message wherever I traveled. “Yoga can change your life!” became my theme song.

With meditation and concentration, I sent a message out to the universe that I wanted more than ever to “participate” in this new life; explore my new freedom and challenge my fears. The following year I attended yoga retreats in Brazil, North Carolina and Costa Rica and later Santorini, Greece.

BATHING SUIT SEASON STILL HERE

 

Freezing temperatures, skiing, and “snow days”—not in our Florida vocabularies! Though kids are back to school within the month, our hot weather remains for many months thereafter. More trips to the pool and the beach are in our future. I hope the summer has afforded you lots of fun, lots of physical activity in the sun, and continued healthful eating! To stay in shape for our sun-bathing days, consider the calories you give away each day on snacks. Are you often stopping for fast food on the way to the beach? Are you drinking enough water in the Florida heat?

 

TWENTY TIPS FOR STAYING COMFORTABLE IN YOUR BATHING SUIT—

  1. First and foremost, drink plenty of water and other fluids during the day. Though water is the absolute best for hydration, feel free to drink sugar-free flavored waters, seltzers, Crystal Lite, iced coffee and tea. The recommendation for Floridians is 8 ounces fluid for every 20 minutes in the sunshine.
  2. Limit the fast food stops.
  3. Be sure to have something for breakfast each morning—it gets the “motor” running in the morning.
  4. Include protein at every meal to regulate blood sugars and energy levels.
  5. Take stairs instead of escalators and elevators.
  6. Do plan plenty of outdoor activities between rain drops—it’s summertime!
  7. Choose low fat low sugar products, in lieu of high sugar, white flour, high fat products.
  8. Start your meals with a small salad or cut-up colorful raw veggies—a good “appetizer”, and will begin to fill you up!
  9. Calories are calories are calories—with butter and oil. Avoid butter and use small amounts of heart-healthy canola, olive and polyunsaturated oils (150 calories per tablespoon no matter which type you use).

It’s Monday Again

Does anyone else ever get on the scale on Monday and wonder how they let their guard down yet again?  Ending the week feeling good, great, toned and ready to tackle the weekend with success.  And the scale stares at you on Monday and you are deflated yet again.

The message from every plan, both diet and exercise, are consistency, lifestyle, keep going, etc.

What are the answers?  How do you keep going?  How do you participate in the festivities of a great weekend, but still keep to your plan?  How do you….

So this is a short and sweet….  Please share your secrets.  What is your diet plan?  What is your “live-it” plan?  What exercise do you do?  What do you love vs not love?  How do you motivate yourself to keep going and how do you get back on?  School starts in a couple of weeks and the relaxation of summer is coming to a close.  What are your “back to routine” plans?

Time to share and get some new ideas for success.

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

Having a “fat” day?

My new life mission was to help women love themselves just the way they are, but I am finding men are just as bad as we are. So I am changing my mission!  Listen up women and MEN… it does not have to be your goal in life to have a perfect body.  I am not saying to stop exercising and eating healthy, but for God’s sake, let’s stop beating ourselves up.  I spent my 20’s and 30’s hating my body for every imperfection, and I think most of us do.  But in the scheme of our tiny spec of time on this earth, is that really what we want our life’s focus to be?

Just for today, change your thoughts.  Be grateful for the things your body can do.  If you have a belly roll, embrace it!  I am thankful for mine, it says, I had a great time drinking margaritas and eating chips and salsa last night with my friends! And the wrinkles around my eyes, smile lines!  Yep, every single one shows that I am having a good time in my life.  I would not trade one of them, and am looking forward to many more with the laughs ahead. And if you find my looks repulse you, then simply don’t look!

So what can you do when you are having one of those days where you are just not feeling good about yourself?

  1. Get moving!  Try to exercise, even if it’s just for 10 minutes to give yourself a mental and physical boost.  It will increase your endorphins, and get you a step closer to that body you want.
  2. Eat a nutritious dinner.

Love My Friend, Love Thyself

The celebrations are over, all the Moms got to play,

That’s it till next year, when we get our one big day!

Never forget that we Moms are the captains.  When my son was young, and thought I  might be catching a cold one day, he said, “Mom, you can’t get sick, then the whole ship goes down”!  These kids are pretty observant, no?  Please, Moms, please don’t neglect your health for one minute.

I write to you from the hospital in which my dear friend is a patient.  At 49 years old, she had to undergo a double mastectomy yesterday, due to her second diagnosis of breast cancer.  As I’m sitting with her today, I am reading Angelina Jolie’s story of her preventive double mastectomy, at 37 years old, just a few months ago.  Ladies, listen up.  There are so many health issues we are in control of — how do we not take the “bull by the horns” and take the best possible care of ourselves, not just for the kids and the family, but foremost so that WE can have the best of life and the finest quality of life possible.

MAKE A COMMITMENT:

1) Absolutely do not smoke. Quit tomorrow if you do. Avoid lung cancer.

2) Eat “cleanly”…most of the time, because certain cancers appear to be diet-related.

3) Breast cancer is related to low fiber and high fat food consumption.  Take in more whole grain cereals, whole grain breads, high fiber grains, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, corn, nuts, fruits, veggies, of course–daily.

4) Colon cancer, the most preventable of all cancers, is related also, to low fiber and high fat diets.

Mom, take care of yourself too

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you amazing mother’s and grandmother’s out there!   And a very special one to my mom, sisters and friends, I am very grateful for you!  You can always recognize a woman who is a mother.  They are the ones who can hold one kid on their hip, their purse and diaper bag on one shoulder, and able to tie the other kid’s shoe with one hand.  All while in high heels!  Usually while their husbands have a coke in one hand and the car keys in another, and still unable to “tie that shoe” because their hands are full.  No offense dads, I don’t have kids and I’m with you.  But there is just something special about a mom! They are amazing women and can seem to handle a million things at once.  Unfortunately, these same amazing women forget about one thing.  Taking care of themselves.  And we all know, if we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we take care of everyone else?

 

This Mother’s Day take some time for yourself.  Make a commitment  this year to take care of  YOUR body, mind and spirit.  It is not selfish; it is a necessity!  And it will make you a better mother, wife, and human being.  Are you too busy to start an exercise routine?  Try these 3 simple steps to squeeze some exercise and “you time” into your schedule.

 

  1. Recruit your husband, family or friends to take the kids for a few hours while you get out and spend some time for yourself.  It doesn’t have to be to go to the gym.  Head to the spa for a massage, get a pedicure, or just head to the beach and relax! 

Exercise Slump? Set Goals Now!

New Year’s resolutions around the corner?  How have you done all year?  With all the festivities coming up, keep it simple but keep it going.  Have you been consistent with your fitness routine, or have you had the workout slump so many of us fall into?  If you have been consistent, you are probably feeling good and ready for summer.  Keep up the great work!  If you have been falling out of your fitness routine, stop beating yourself up already, and just get moving.  Take these three steps and you will be on the road to feeling and looking great!

 

1.  Write down your goals!   Make them realistic and attainable.  Instead of writing, I will run a marathon in 6 months, break your goals down into simple steps.  Try, I will walk 20 minutes 5 days this week and take 1 yoga class.  Then each week add to your goals, but don’t make them overwhelming.  Re-read your goals daily to keep you motivated.  Better yet,  share your goals with a friend or family member who will help keep you accountable.  Just make sure it is someone positive who will encourage you, and not judge if you don’t quite reach your goals each week!

 

2. Take the first step and get moving!  I can’t remember ever thinking I wish I didn’t work out.  Just start with 10 minutes, once you get moving you will probably feel good and keep going.  And if you don’t, hey you got 10 minutes in.  And that is good!  For those of you really on that 10 minute time crunch, make them count! Perform total body exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks, you can do 1 minute intervals which will also get your heart rate up… cardio bonus!

Physical Health Helps In Trying Times

During times of despair, loss, or tragedy, the last thing on our mind is exercise.  Our hearts go out to those experiencing loss and how we can help.  These are times where maybe our regular routine or exercise goals may get put on the back burner.  This is normal and we should be sure to not put any stress or burden on ourselves at times such as these.  The key is to remember the strong….mind, body, and soul…are the true survivors in all of life’s triumphs and tragedies.  Here are three simple truths to help keep you strong and keep you committed to be the best you can, so you are able to give all you can to those you love…whether it is a close family member, or a stranger across the country.

 

1.  Give yourself a 10 minute break.  Tragic news brings upon a stress response to our body that stimulates our fight or flight response.  Our reactions are to run, fight, have anger or fear.  A simple break from the news for a 10 minute walk, playing in the yard with your kids, or simply breathing deeply in a quiet space brings a release of stress to our bodies so we are able to think more clearly, and still be able to handle our daily responsibilities.

2.  Meditate.  If you are simply not up to true physical activity, you can achieve the same benefits through meditation. Average recommendations for meditation are 20-30 minutes but a simple 5-10 minutes in a quiet place will still promote a better sense of well being.  Refer to our prior article on mediation for more specific instructions (Meditate your way….

Meditate your way to better health

Meditation is an integral part of most eastern cultures.  Our busy western world is beginning to find out the benefits of this age old practice and how we can apply it into our busy lifestyles to promote a more peaceful, joyful and healthy life.

 

Meditation is good for mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.  Although we may not understand how this practice helps,  it is well documented that the mental and spiritual connection is directly correlated to our physical health and how we experience life in our bodies.

It is proven that your thoughts, feelings and behavior affect your physical health.  Increased stress and negative thinking can create high blood pressure, muscle aches and tension, migraines, and heart disease, just to list a few.  We have trillions of cells in our bodies, and our cells pick up our thoughts and turn to matter.  According to Deepak Chopra, what we think catalyzes a change in our body.  It’s time to change our thoughts to positive and peaceful ones to make that change in our physical bodies.

 

How can you make that change?

  1. Try meditating thirty minutes, twice a day.   If that feels like too much, start with just five minutes.  Starting is the key.  Find a quiet, comfortable space in your home where you will not have distractions.  Sit in a cross-legged or comfortable position and simply quiet your mind.
  2. Become aware of your breath and begin to breathe deeply.  Inhale for five seconds, hold, and exhale for five seconds.   Bring awareness to how your body feels.  Do you have any aches and pains?  If so, send healing thoughts to that area.  Try to quiet your mind, and just be still.

3 BEST CORE EXERCISES

The best core exercises are the ones that not only stimulate our abdominal muscles but also support proper body alignment and posture!  Before we go over the exercises there are 3 things you need to know about training your core!!

1.  Your core consists of all the muscles running from your upper torso (scapula area) to where your lower torso connects to your hips (lower back).  Although this article will focus on exercises to strengthen the middle of your core (abdominals and lower back muscles), remember the tips from the perfect posture and stretching exercises earlier mentioned to round out your program!

2.  Your core muscles are endurance muscles so they should be challenged in a more endurance-style of training, but that does not mean doing 100 crunches is effective.  The fact is, any exercise that activates and fatigues the muscles within a period of time without causing injury is a good exercise!  When we work around the 15-20 repitition range for your core, you should be fatiguing those muscles by the end of your set….usually around 40 seconds or so.  If you finish a set and feel like you could go on forever… the set is useless.  Does that mean add more weight/sets/reps????  This leads to fact number 3.

3.  Put your mind in your muscle.  This applies to every exercise and muscle you work and I will talk about this more in future articles…but know and accept this fact…if you do not feel an exercise, it is NOT because it is too easy for you…it is because YOU are being too easy on yourself!

 

I had a friend years back who took my classes on a regular basis.  

Cross Fit Brain… Stretch & Flex Bod!

My brain, the strongest muscle in my body, so badly wants to flip tires, run mud races and compete in tennis tournaments against all ages.  My bod, on the other hand, wants to go to stretch and flex class with the elders not causing too much trauma.  I am going to therapy, acupuncture and mind you, I LOVE IT!  But when I start to exercise again, at what I still believe is way diminished in capacity, I have new injuries that I didn’t know I could acquire.

How to get out of this Catch-22.  I need those magic exercises that slowly but surely bring back muscle to the temporarily pain free canvas of a body.  I am sure you have wrestled with this in your mind.  If I lose 10 pounds, I will carry around less weight, easier on the knees and back, will be able to have greater wind, and I’ll NOW be able to boost my strength. Not so simple.

Thanks to my wonderful therapy “team”, I was able to serve overhand today.  It has been months.  My neck tingled a bit and my left arm went numb “just a hair”.  But I did serve overhand.  I met a woman today…  let’s call her Mimi.  She played professionally back in the day and is now, I would venture to say in her early, maybe late 70′s.  I was awestruck because she had the most wicked underhand serve.  I am sure, she too, faced the injury demon.  And you do what you have to do to stay in the game.  But alas, I did have a day of  a pain-free neck.  So instead, the butt, calf and thigh needs to compensate for the lack of pain and demand attention.  

3 great stretches for perfect posture, and looking 5 pounds thinner!

Last week, fitness expert Jennifer Penfield discussed losing 5 pounds instantly by having perfect posture.  By now you should have perfected her advice – “Straighten up by lifting your rib cage, rolling your shoulders down and back, feel open through your chest, lengthen your neck and keep your chin lifted, keep your knees soft so you can draw your tailbone under and pull your abdominals in”.  With this simple commitment to your posture, you should be feeling taller, having less pain, and looking 5 pounds thinner.

This week we will add in a few daily stretches to improve that perfect posture.  We are a sitting society.  Most Americans drive to work, sit at a desk for 8-10 hours a day, drive home and then sit on the couch for the rest of the evening.  This lifestyle, along with gravity causes shortened, overworked hip flexors, leg, neck and chest muscles.  By stretching a few minutes every day, we can open up these short and overworked muscles, improve our posture, and give us a longer, leaner appearance, along with a decrease in pain and risk of injury.

Perform the following stretches daily, holding each one for 2 minutes to increase flexibility in your muscles and connective tissue.  Stretch to the point of feeling a gentle pull, but not pain.  Be sure to breathe throughout the stretch, and as you feel a release, gently go a little deeper into the stretch as tolerated.

 

  1. Chest stretch-   stand in a doorway with your elbows  bent to 90 degrees and supported in the door frame.  Position your legs in a split stance.  Lean your body forward until you feel a gentle pull across your chest and the front of the shoulders. 

LOSE FIVE POUNDS INSTANTLY!!!

  (at least look like you have!)

Everyone has those last five pounds to lose…the five pounds that make your pants fit a little better…those five pounds that make your stomach feel a little flatter…those five pounds to give you that extra confidence…Here is the secret…

STAND UP STRAIGHT!  Yes, it is that simple.  Try it now whether you are sitting or standing up…Straighten up by lifting your rib cage, rolling your shoulders down and back, feel open through your chest, lengthen your neck and keep your chin lifted, keep your knees soft so you can draw your tailbone under and pull your abdominals in.

Now here is the catch…you have to be able to do this while maintaining, and actually improving your breathing.  Good posture feels unnatural to so many of us due to the hours we spend sitting.  We sit in our cars, we sit at the computer, we sit at work, we sit in car pick-up lines, we sit at kid’s sports practice…Our bodies were not designed to sit for as many hours that today’s (typical) life-style calls for.  I could spend the next hour telling you how to change your life-style, move your body right now, and let your body return to its more natural state, but that is for another time.  Right here, right now, simply sit up straight.  Stand up straight.  Walk across the room with the best posture you can give.

Now how does this tie into those five pounds I promised?  By aligning your body’s muscles, joints, and entire skeletal structure to where it is meant to be, you will feel the difference.  It may not feel natural at first, but you will notice your abdominals are pulled in more than when you are slouching. 

Find Your Inner Little Girl

Ok girls!  It’s time we make some changes.  When did we start doubting ourselves and letting other people decide how we should dress, how much we should weigh, what we should do with our lives?  Find that little girl inside, the one who didn’t care what other people thought, who would stand up and fight for what she believed, who would play and get dirty in the mud.  I loved those days when life was so simple.  It didn’t matter that our clothes didn’t match.   And our hair, the only reason it was brushed was because our parents pinned us down to fix it.  Our bellies stuck out with pride, and yes, we were adorable!

Really, does it matter?

I think it’s time we all take a really good look inside ourselves and find that spirit again.  Look at each woman you know and find incredible.  Is it because she has perfect hair, body or clothes?  Well, maybe for some people, but really look at the women you respect the most in your life.  For me, my mother.  She thinks she’s fat, and not beautiful.  I think she is the strongest, kindest, most beautiful person I know.  I hope I can grow up to be half the woman she is.  And my girlfriends.  They are amazing moms, friends and human beings.  All shapes, sizes, personalities and careers.  Each one has a special quality.   Each one is different, and each is amazing.

Women can do anything!  When our days are the darkest, we are here to pick each other up.  We cry together, laugh together, drink together, dance together, inspire each other, and love each other no matter what.

It’s Not Fair – Sports, Life and Growth

by Karen Meister

My kids were flag football nuts.  They loved playing the game, they loved getting dirty, they loved the team effort, they HATED the refs.  The team would practice a couple of times a week, they worked hard and they were whipped into a competitive frenzy by fathers who really wanted to play themselves, but had to get their real kicks by getting these little guys to march to their drum beat.  There was always the kid on the team who really wasn’t meant to be a flag football player, but out of a sense of “proper parenting” desires, the child is placed on the roster and forced to show up.  I am not suggesting that it is a bad thing to encourage a child, who may not have the aptitude to play football at the ripe old age of 9, to try something new.  I think it is terrific to expose our kids to everything when they are young.  But every team has that kid and he must play a certain amount of time during the game, win or lose.  And the chorus from the kids who are forced to sit out at a critical time — THAT’S NOT FAIR!

One kid is charging down the field about to make a goal and not able to pull the flag, the opposing team’s young man sticks out his foot and trips the charging warrior.  The boy falls, gets bruised, the refs don’t call it and the parent’s scream — THAT’S NOT FAIR!

One player is benched for the game because he didn’t show up for practice, didn’t tell the coach he had a conflict with tutoring, and therefore, the players who did show up for practice got to play more.  

Are you a gym rat? A mall rat? No time? Chime in!!

Some people are gym rats; some are mall rats!  Some are competitive and others not… just like the kids!  Where do you fit in?  Do you make time for exercise?  Share your thoughts with your cyber-bunk mates….

My morning routine

I am active, I am a bit “meaty”, I am always trying to lose the last 10 pounds of baby weight and my baby is now 22 years old.  This will be my life long issue and I know I’m not alone.  So daily, I read too many blogs on the better diet and the better fitness plan.  I will have specialists sharing details and tips and tasks with you through the course of this developing newsletter.  But…  I did run across this great 6 part fitness plan that I have to say, I try to do somewhat regularly.  It doesn’t take up too much time and I try to do it while I watch Good Morning America.  (I’m also a bit of a news junkie)

So there are 6 exercises and here we go:

1.  SUN SALUTATION

My most favorite way to start the day.   Seems to loosen all the parts up with one fluid motion.  Not being the yoga guru, I will send you to a link that has a great animation of the sun salutation:  http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/yogapractice/sunsalutation.asp

2.  THE PUSH UP

Although I am not very good at it, I have been able to increase my repetitions.  I do “girl” push ups with my knees down on the ground.  The method is that your arms should be straight but not locked, abs tight, back in a straight line. Lower your body until your arms are bent 90 degrees, then push back up.  I started with 5 and as I can, I increase.  As I said, not super-jock, but so badly want to stay healthy.

3.  THE POINTER

If you are coordinated, you can do it.