Celebrate Your Life – See the World
by J “Kat” Loren ::
I’ve tried many fitness products over the years but as I get older, I find that the equipment and gadgets of my youth no longer serve my over-50 body. So I went in search of something more supportive of the fitness activities I currently enjoy. Products that fit better and add a greater level of comfort will help motivate anyone to move more. The more you move, the more you maintain a higher quality of life and lessen physical pain. Investing a little in the right equipment will keep you motivated.
Walking and Hiking:
There are a few things I cannot live without. For instance, a good pair of cross trainers that I can wear on long walks as well as in the gym, are a must for my wide feet. Wearing the wrong shoes, or buying ill-fitting shoes just because they’re on sale, will keep anyone from exercising. I discovered that special inserts tailor made for my feet enable me to walk further, and workout longer. Roadrunner Sports offers a free foot evaluation that consists of measurements, a treadmill test of gait and foot placement, and measuring arches on both feet. The results will enable you to get a better fit in a walking or running shoe and serves as the template to create custom insoles. They aren’t cheap at $70 a pair but they are well worth placing in your walking shoes and cross trainers.
When it comes to long hikes, my wide feet like comfy hiking boots. The best I’ve tried so far are Chaco Azulas. They are very supportive, mid-weight and waterproof – perfect for wet and soggy hikes.
Pilates and Yoga:
Most of us own a yoga mat or two. I have a thin one in my car that I use in Pilates classes and another at home in my downstairs office. A recent knee surgery sent me in search of something more substantial to cushion the floor and my knees so that I could maintain a level of flexability and core strength. Now, I cannot live without my Manduka Yoga mat. Its thickness adds a layer of cush so firm that I can use it inside and outdoors. I haven’t tried it in a hot yoga class but I love using it for home pilates and stretching – especially on the deck at sunset.
For added cushioning and knee and wrist support during my pilates practice at home, I’ve found the perfect remedy – Yoga Jellies! YogaJellies can be used beneath any point bearing the weight of the body, but will especially benefit those with problems areas in the hands & wrists, knees, feet and/or hips. Yoga Jellies are made of surgical grade silicon and designed to relieve distracting and inhibiting pain or discomfort through support and cushioning—beneath the body part in need.
A gifted Physical Therapist (who works with several Olympic athletes as well as patients of all ages and issues) was instrumental in the final design of the product. He tested all of their prototypes, and absolutely LOVES YogaJellies for working with his knee replacement patients. And I love them after my knee surgery!
Poses become more accessible and you can fully concentrate on building flexibility, strength, and mindful control throughout the body’s range of motion.
As a former competitive swimmer, I cannot live without a Speedo in the pool. However, when I’m swimming in the ocean or lakes, I prefer something a little more flattering. When I heard that the Miracle Suit appeared to take the 10 pounds off, I had to try one on. My sister remarked on how flattering it looked on me. But when my fiancée at the time took one look at me in the suit, the look on his face fully supported the advertising. The Oceanus Miracle Suit is now on my “don’t leave home without it” list. The Tile-style drawstring tunic is a light-weight cover up that complements the suit and adds a layer of sun protection when walking around the shoreline.
If you just want to track the steps you take while out walking, a good pedometer is all you need. But skip the clip-on, cheepo pedometer if you want to get serious about increasing your fitness and look into one of the many electronic gadgets on the market. I wear my FitBit everyday and all day to keep track of the steps I take. On the website, I’ll log my food intake and the FitBit website automatically calculates the calories, fat grams, protein and other information according to various brands of food. It then tells me my calorie intake versus burn (based on steps) so I can see if I am on track with my weight loss or overeating that day. It also allows me to log additional activities and calories burned that day – such as swimming or zumba – and holds me accountable to maintain weight loss and fitness.
Just the act of writing down your food intake and measuring your calorie burn creates a greater awareness of what you eat as well as how hard it is to burn off those extra calories! It’s a great social tool as well. My sister, friends and I can check online to see if we’re on track with our goals and cheer each other on via email or check in to see what’s wrong if we see that someone’s not getting their steps and workouts in during the week. Other companies like Up and Nike have similar products. Get your friends using the same gadget if you want to “friend” one another on the website and form your own support group.
I’ve been a fan of Polar Heart Rate Monitors for years and they seem to get better and better. Polar FT60 heart rate monitor is like wearing a personal trainer on your wrist and is great to keep track of fitness and time in the zones while engaged in running, biking and swimming. It is worth the price if you know how to use it effectively to train in various zones. Any heart rate monitor will help you to monitor your zones, but this one actually has a weight training program built in. It figures out your maximum heart rate, your VO2 levels and sets up a training program for you. Each Sunday night at midnight it evaluates your week and asks you to check your weight, perform another fitness test (by laying down for 5 minutes!), and gives you encouragement after each exercise session. It calculates the calories you burn, lets you see which zones you are working in, and tells you how many minutes per week you need to be working out in each zone to reach your weight loss and fitness goals. I spend a lot of time in Zone 1 – the fat burning zone. I’ll bounce into Zone 2 for aerobic conditioning and Zone 3 if I am training for an open water swim event or bike trip. The Polar website enables me to create a plan of action and the Polar FT60 interacts to keep me on track. Amazing motivation!
The right gear will keep you in gear!
J “Kat” Loren is a Pacific NW-based journalist and author of more than a dozen books. She currently focuses on writing health, fitness, and travel articles and is taking time this summer to practice her ukulele and write The Great American Novel. Her blog “Crazi Culture” is a popular read among those who like eclectic topics and travelogues about odd places and adventures. http://www.craziculture.wordpress.com
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