Moving & Mobility: Stretching

Outdoor exercises

Think back twenty, fifteen, even ten years. Were you stronger? Faster? Chances are, the answer is yes. But have you ever considered how your flexibility has changed? Can you still touch your toes? Maybe you’ve noticed your range of motion has decreased.

As we age, muscles, tendons, and ligaments begin to tighten and shorten. Unfortunately, this adds to the look of aging, as poor posture and restricted movement set in. It also adds to our risk of injury and decreases our ability to complete many tasks of daily living. After years of chasing children, juggling careers, sitting uncomfortably in front of computer screens, and relishing in any number of hobbies hunched over our workspaces, it’s no wonder our bodies feel (and show) the results as we age.

But there’s good news! Even as you age, lost flexibility can be regained and you may even find yourself with more range of motion than you had when you were younger. With a little work and determination, you can rewrite your fitness fate to include the flexibility and fluidity that will keep you looking and feeling good as you age.

Your most valuable player in the flexibility game? Stretching. As you stretch, muscles and tendons lengthen, increasing your flexibility and warding off injuries and pain. Increased flexibility helps you achieve your most fit self, and we all know this helps decrease all types of age-related and genetic health issues.

Stretching opens up our range of motion and helps correct poor posture as muscles lengthen and bodies return to their proper alignment. This contributes to a more efficient and safe workout. When your body is limber, it performs better.

Studies have found that stretching may leave an even more positive impact on your aging body. Your heart and arteries may be feeling the love. Blood circulation increases. And if all this isn’t convincing enough, stretching also benefits the mood. As stress decreases in both the mind and muscles, you’ll find yourself with a better outlook and a healthier body.

 

So now that we’ve convinced you that stretching is a must, what’s the best way? There are dozens of questions. What types of stretches should I do? How many? How long should I hold them? When is the best time to stretch?

There are a few general guidelines you can follow. Avoid pain while stretching. You want to feel the burn, but not pain in your joint. Don’t push yourself too hard. Remember to breathe steadily. You should be relaxed and in control of your stretch throughout the entire process.

Keep in mind, there is no one-size-fits-all plan. The truth is, like all exercise, your stretching routine should consist of what works best for you. Try different stretches and techniques and stick with what makes you most comfortable and meets your specific needs. Remember, the goal is to maintain movement and mobility, not be a human pretzel.

 

Put yourself on a schedule and run through your stretches a few times a week starting out. Check out how Flashy Fit works stretching into your routine – we’ve got you covered on those, too! Sign up now and see the difference mobility can make in your life!

 

 

Moving & Mobility: Preventing Injuries

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Our bodies change as the years pass, and a common age-related complaint of women over 40 is a decline in mobility or range of motion. Pain may also come in new forms and stays longer than usual. When injury strikes, what once kept us sore for just a couple of days may take weeks of recovery and a trip to the doctor. But aging shouldn’t dampen drive or dedication. Instead, the way we approach athletic endeavors must be modified to help prevent injury.

Genetics, physique, and environment all play a part in the aging body’s movement and mobility – the body’s ability to move independently and safely. Gradually, daily tasks and chores become more difficult. Your favorite activity induces more pain. Even worse, this could be the first sign of further functional decline – a fate no one wants to face.

An increased risk of injury becomes a fact of life as we approach 40 and beyond. The benefits of exercising still apply, and we know it’s important, but now our activity comes with potential new maladies we have to take on. So how do you stay strong and active, without pushing yourself into painful, even dangerous, injuries? Here are some tips on maintaining fitness, sans injury.

Don’t do too much, too fast. You’ve got high expectations – we understand! We do, too. Working smarter, not harder has to be the name of your game now. You have to respect your changing body. As mobility, strength, and intensity levels change, so must your fitness routine. Start small and slow, and work your way up.

Take time to prepare and condition your body outside of your regular activity. Warming up before jumping in, and cooling down when you’ve finished your workout are also vital. Your muscles are tighter and shorter, so stretching is more important now that it has ever been. For some guidance, check out our Warm Up and Cool Down Fitness Programs.

Once you’ve jumped in, listen to your body and respect its limits. As we age, no pain means we can continue to gain. When your body sends hints like aches and soreness, take note. Be attentive to these little cries for attention. You’ll know when you’re ready to safely take an exercise up a notch.

One of the best things you can do to respond to pain is rest. This is a tough one because we all want to get back on the horse as soon as possible, but your body needs time to heal. If your sprained ankle is constantly nagging at you, it’s time to give it a little extra care. Take the couple extra days of rest and you’ll find yourself unsaddling less down the road.

You may even find it beneficial to extend any built in recovery periods in your workout regimen. Avoiding adequate recovery periods sets your body up for even worse injuries. Give your body plenty of time to replenish and repair.  

You may also find that performing certain types of exercises can help prevent injury. Strengthening exercises, for example. A body with stronger muscles, tendons, and ligaments, can utilize proper form more easily. Maintaining proper form while exercising offers an extra layer of protection for joints and bones, decreasing your risk of injury. Core strength is one of the most efficient ways of achieving this goal.

Getting fit or staying in shape poses different challenges once we hit our 40 mark, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Follow these guidelines for keeping your body injury-free and check out our site for Fitness Programs and guidance tailored to women like you!

 

The Power of Fitness

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Jennifer Cooreman for Flashy Fit

By now, most of us have heard about the benefits of exercise.  Unfortunately, the disease fighting, youth boosting, mood enhancing wonders of physical activity aren’t always enough to break through our stubborn refusal to establish regular exercise routines. According to the CDC 80 percent of Americans don’t get the recommended amount of exercise.

It’s easy to find excuses to sit on the couch, avoiding exercise at all costs. But learning about the true benefits of exercise might offer the motivation you need to start your journey towards health.

Read on to learn how exercise can benefit your mind, body and soul:

Exercise is scientifically proven to boost your mood. When you add consistent movement to your life, you’ll notice how much better you feel almost instantly. Your body will start to function more efficiently, you’ll flood your brain with natural mood enhancing neurotransmitters, and improve how all the systems in your body function. Even better? Exercise slows the aging process by creating healthy bones and muscles.

Not only will regular exercise help you look and feel better, a consistent program will help you decrease risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and a host of other maladies we’d all rather avoid. To learn more about how exercise helps you stay healthy, check out American College of Sports Medicine  (ACSM) fact sheets.

Some get discouraged when they start an exercise routine and don’t see immediate results. But exercise is an excellent example of the old adage, “Sometimes the best changes can’t be seen, they can only be felt.” Don’t hobble yourself with unrealistic goals or demands on your body when you begin your exercise program. Outside change will come, but it takes time. To stay motivated, focus on the benefits of exercise you can’t see: the increased endorphins and attention, healthier sleep patterns, and slow building of bone density.

Need more reasons to incorporate exercise into your daily life? Exercise helps rid us of less-than-productive emotions, including stress and anxiety. It increases positive emotions, happiness, confidence, and relaxation. Even your brain function changes when you exercise!  Physical activity has been proven to improve memory, decision-making skills, and your overall capacity to learn, all while helping to prevent cognitive decline later in life.

For longer term rewards, including that six pack you might be hoping for, stick with a consistent exercise routine and stay motivated by playing the long game: remember what a powerful impact you’re having on your health when you exercise, and you’ll be one of the 20 percent of Americans who actually gets the optimal amount of physical activity.

If you haven’t had a consistent exercise routine in a while, begin by making an appointment with yourself. Treat exercise just as you would any other important commitment, and stick with it! At a minimum, shoot for 3 strength training sessions per week and some kind of movement you enjoy (walking, yoga, etc.) on your non-strength training days. It’s also a great idea to check in with a personal trainer if you’re just starting out or have questions about your strength or cardio routines. Trainers can help you find the right balance of cardio and strength training, avoid injury, and meet your personal fitness goals, all while keeping your routine fun and fresh.

If you do not have time to do cardio as much as you’d like, another goal is to shoot for 150 minutes of activity per week. Scientists have found that the benefits of exercise are cumulative; so if you don’t have time for a full on 30 minute routine, take a short walk at lunch, add an extra walk with the dog in the evening, add a few planks or other core strengthening exercises while you’re watching television. Every little bit adds up to a healthier, happier you!

Need help finding an exercise routine you enjoy, or advice from a personal trainer? FlashyFit is a community of women which offers support, expert advice, and realistic suggestions for making physical activity a daily part of your life. If you have not joined the community or started your first set of Flashy Fit cards start right now!

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How Do I Get in the Best Shape of My Life?

How do I get into the best shape of my life? It’s an excellent question really. Pity there are so many conflicting answers. If you’ve spent time researching, you’ll have run across advice such as:

  •  Cut out sugar, processed foods, and practice hot yoga
  •  Run in the mornings, don’t eat after 6 pm, and forgo all fats, sugars, gluten, and alcohol (Then cry alone and in misery as you watch the pounds melt off!)
  •  Weight train two hours a day, up your protein intake, and purge your diet of anything remotely resembling real food

While we’re still scratching our heads over the fat-free or the all- bacon- and -egg diet, our worlds are rocked by the news we’ve had it wrong all along! The answer is… chewing and probiotics! Stabilizing your blood sugar. Making friends with your body! No, wait. Actually, it’s all about high intensity training, core strength, and unicycle riding.

Here’s the great news: there is an answer to your question, and it’s simple. To get yourself in the best shape of your life, stop looking for a magic bullet. Don’t expect your body to go too far too fast or it will revolt with injuries, lack of motivation, and a slowed metabolism.

Begin by being kind to yourself. You can’t get in the best shape of your life until you make peace with the body you have right now, this very second. Then, admit you have room in your schedule to move at least twenty minutes every day. Because you know you do.

Next, stop eating foods with a zillion ingredients you can’t pronounce. Titanium Dioxide, Glyphosphate, and Butylated HydroxyAnisole? If you can’t make a cake with them or wouldn’t have found them in your grandmother’s pantry, don’t put them down your gullet.

Finally, find some like-minded friends; ones who will encourage you when you want to quit (because of course, you will). They’ll remind you that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, and urge you to put the cupcake down. They’ll wisely counsel you you to buy some cute workout clothes now, dammit, not when you’ve reached your weight loss goals! Because you deserve it!. And with your tribe of sensible friends, you WILL get in the best shape of your life. Because it’s never too late.

Getting into the best shape of your life isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible. It takes common sense, long-term commitment, and avoidance of  anything that sounds too good to be true (You hear me, Cayenne Pepper Cleanse ?). If you’d like help achieving your fitness or weight loss goals, and getting into the very best shape of your life, get in touch with us at FlashyFit. Because we get it. For real.

FlashyFit

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Kim Turner is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer (National Academy of Sports Medicine) and a Group Fitness Instructor with AFAA (Aerobics and fitness Association of America) with a passion for fitness and healthy living. Kim created FlashyFit for women 40+ who want an affordable, fun, flexible fitness program they can do anywhere, anytime.

Kim founded In Due Course Training Inc., a corporate training and development firm over two decades ago. In Due Course has been hired by industry leaders in banking, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and hospitality to deliver and implement training strategies for sales, customer service, systems and management. Kim’s success is a result of her ability to effectively collaborate with her clients to design hands-on learning experiences. This talent has served her well while creating FlashyFit!

Kim, originally from Toronto, Canada, lives in Fenton, MI with her husband Ron. When not at the gym, you’ll find her paddle boarding, kayaking, running a half marathon or exploring a new country on her bicycle.

By Jennifer Cooreman

Jennifer Cooreman, Director of Content at Inbound Lead Solutions, is an award winning writer who is passionate about creating accessible, inspiring, engaging content. She helps companies design targeted, optimized campaigns, generating natural brand awareness along with a dedicated following. You can learn more about her writing by visiting The Attentive Soul or find her on LinkedIn.

Kick Overindulgence During the Holidays to the Curb!

Tis the Season…for excuses. Don’t let this Holiday season send you into a downward spiral of bad choices. Indulging is okay, it is the Holidays after all. Along with the Holidays comes wonderful, yummy treats you won’t see any other time of year. By all means, enjoy! The point is that you don’t OVER-indulge. Here are 6 tips to overcome the temptation to overindulge at your next Christmas party, brought to you by: FlashyFit.

  1. Drink Water – You probably hear this often. Drinking water is some fitness experts’ number one tip. Mostly because it works! If you drink a large glass of water BEFORE you indulge in rich foods this season, you will eat a lot less. You’ve taken up space in your stomach with water, which is very good for you, and now you have less room for, maybe, not-so-healthy choices. So go ahead, eat a peanut butter blossom or two after you drink a glass of water. Read about all the scientific reasons we drink water:Sportliche Seniorin mit Wasserflasche und Kopfhörer

    http://www.allaboutwater.org/drink-water.html

  2. Keep January in Mind – Oftentimes we intentionally narrow our view so that we can overindulge when we want to. If you instead keep January in mind, you can make better choices in December. Think about how much easier it is to not eat too much when too much isn’t available. You can easily overcome temptation to eat more if you remember that the food is temporary but the result of your choice lasts much longer.
  3. Don’t Skip a Meal – With the busyness of the Season, it is easy to forget to eat and then overeat at the next meal. Or maybe your logic is to save calories by not eating lunch so you can eat more at dinner. This way of thinking does not work. You are much more likely to overindulge at dinner. Try to remember to eat little meals, often so that you avoid overindulging. Noreen Gallo, Author of the Blog “Your Forever Diet” has some great advice on why skipping a meal is a bad idea.
  4. Don’t Let Your Senses Take Over – Oftentimes the Christmas music or the smell of Christmastime makes you nostalgic. Maybe you remember your Grandma’s wonderful peppermint cookies or the time spent baking as a family, whatever it is, know that emotions are a big part of enjoying food. Indulge in yummy Holiday treats but do not overindulge because you’re letting your senses take you away.
  5. Stay Realistic – Don’t be hard on yourself this time of year. This might not be the best time to try to lose weight. Instead try to focus on maintaining your weight. Be realistic about your health goals and let yourself enjoy the season without getting down on yourself, which usually drives you to overindulgence.
  6. Calories in, calories out – When you are eating more, make a choice to burn more. Whether that is by dancing at your Christmas party or adding another run into your workout, make the decision to burn off what you take in. This way of thinking can help you take in less at your function.

Remember, it is the Holidays, indulging is part of the whole season, it is OVER-indulging that should be avoided. The thing to remember about indulging is to be aware of when you are. Focus on the flavor and smell of your favorite treats and what you love about them. When you’re aware of the whole experience, the whole experience becomes a good one, not one to regret. At FlashyFit, we are always here to help and encourage!

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Form is Everything

Form is everything.  Proper form ensures that the right muscles are being worked and that your efforts are making a difference. It also reduces the possibility of injury which is important at any age but especially so at 40+ because as we age our bodies don’t bounce back as easily as they once did.

When performing exercises be sure that your neck, back, hips, knees and ankles are all in alignment.  Think about this alignment during each exericse.  Pay particular attention to your neck because if it is out of alignment it can cause serious pain.

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For example, when performing an exercise like a bicep curl make sure everything is in alignment.  Keep your upper arm still and think of your elbow acting like a hinge – this is proper form.  If you move your upper arm during a bicep curl it doesn’t work any muscle and your time and efforts are wasted not to mention the risk of possible injury to your shoulder.  When performing a plank your entire body from head to toe must be in alignment which means no butts in the air!

Form is everything.  Remember this before every workout and you are good to go!

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