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Living Fit: Tips for those who are or will be in the 50 and Over Club

Sharon McGoff
July 16, 2014
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mcgoffCongratulations! You made it to the Fifty and Over Club – or hope to someday. After all, not making it means you’re a member of the Six Feet Under Club, a dirty place to be. As a bonafide member of the elite 50 and over team, you know the joys of waking up with more creaks than your wood floors. You contemplate simple activities that never gave your mind a second thought, like stooping down, bending over or reaching up for something, concerned by what may befall such heroic feats. Your almost-constant companions are low back and neck discomfort. You are horrified that a Goodyear tire is residing where your once flat belly used to live. You look in the mirror, expecting that 20-something buff self to look back, only to discover a much older version of you.

Are you doomed to this existence? Is this what the future holds for those who are in their 20s and 30s? Absolutely not! Even though our bodies can lose muscle mass each year beginning in our 30s, our metabolism can decline and our cartilage can deteriorate, we can win the battle against the war of physical decline by following these easy tips:

Easy Tip No. 1: Think about what you plan to eat/drink. If you eat garbage, you will feel like garbage. Each time you choose something to consume, you have the power to help or harm your body. You never realized you had so much power! Most of us know what food/drinks are healthy to choose, but willpower often runs low, especially when we’re busy or over-tired, and we reach for the stuff that’s destined to send us into physical decline. A cycle begins to form and before we can say “Little Debbie,” our body weight has increased by 20 percent. What to do? Each time you are about to indulge yourself, pause and consider whether this substance will pull you into physical decline or keep you out of it. If you are not sure what is good for you, invest in hiring a qualified trainer or nutritionist to tell you. It is money well spent.

Easy Tip No. 2: Move. I don’t mean sell your house and move away from your responsibilities, although some days that is a rather fine thought. I mean move your body in any way you can. This category is not just about exercise to raise your heart rate, but also stretching to maintain a flexible body and strength to keep your bones and muscles strong so you don’t fret about bending over or reaching up. What to do?

• Buy a pedometer and track the number of steps you take each day (aim for 10,000/day).

• Strengthen your body with these exercises: Sit in a chair and then stand up – repeat until you feel a little burn in your legs (this burn is your body’s way of letting you know the muscles are working and becoming stronger but fatiguing). Place your hands against a wall or sturdy desk and press your body into the wall/desk – repeat until you feel a little burn in your arm/chest muscles. Lie on the floor, face up with knees bent; raise your hips up off the floor, keeping your shoulders pressed against the floor – repeat until you feel a little burn in your leg muscles.

• Stretch. Lie on the floor and stretch out, arms overhead and legs straight. Pull one knee into your chest, grab that knee with your arms and hold gently, repeat for the other knee. Roll onto your stomach, face down and place the palms of your hands at chest level and press up until you feel a slight stretch in your abdomen and lower back, hold gently. Get on all fours as though you are about to crawl. Arch your back like a cat and bring your chin to your chest, then do the opposite by dropping your belly and slightly gazing up toward the ceiling. Sit up and reach your arms behind you and then across your body, giving yourself a hug.

Easy Tip No. 3: Sleep and Relax. For some reason, we think we are superhuman and can survive on very little sleep and relaxation. Sorry to burst your bubble, but you do not have a cape and you are not a superhero. We need daily, quality sleep and relaxation, even more as we age. Catching up on the weekends is not the answer either because it throws our bodies out of sync and wreaks even more havoc. A lack of sleep leads to errors, depleted energy, no willpower (remember Tip No. 1 and what you eat?), increased stress (which we don’t need more of), and an increase in the hormone that causes weight gain. And what about relaxation? When is the last time you felt like a kid? Laughed hysterically? Played a game? Colored a picture? Drew with chalk on the driveway? Flew a kite or drove a remote control car? Rode a bike? What to do?

• Sleep: Get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Set an alarm to go off 60 minutes before you want to get into bed, which is your signal that you have one hour to wrap things up and get to the appointment with your pillow.

• Relax: Get out of your rut of reading the newspaper or watching/listening to the news. Most of it is bad and depressing and usually doesn’t put a smile on your face. Instead, spend that time by taking up an old hobby, trying a new hobby or acting like a kid in some random way. Get out with friends more and reconnect with those friends you knew before you became tied to your job and parental responsibilities. Do something fun every day, even if just for 60 seconds.

Getting older and turning 50 does not have to result in aches, pains, weight gain and inability to perform simple tasks. But getting older does require you to take the bull by the horns and get headed in the right direction. It takes only a little effort on your part to: 1) think about what you are about to eat/drink; 2) use a pedometer to move and follow the strength and stretch ideas above; and 3) set an alarm to sound one hour before your pillow appointment to ensure a good quantity of sleep. Easy, right?•

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Sharon McGoff is a graduate of Indiana University Maurer School of Law, a certified personal trainer and health fitness specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine, and a certified life and wellness coach with WellCoaches Inc. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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