THERESA: Is everyone ready for Sunday's Broad Street Run? We are! We have seven women and five guys from the Daily News running (including publisher Joe Natoli, a marathon runner) teaming up to smoke the competition on Sunday (or at least complete the race before the sun goes down.) We'll be sporting bright red Daily News tank tops, so watch for us if you're at the race.
Here's a photo of some of us who will be running: Front row, left to right: Theresa Johnson, Julie Knipe-Brown, Myung Oak-Kim, Joe Natoli. Back row: Scott Hilton, Jenice Armstrong, Jeff Berger. Runners not shown: Erin Einhorn, April Adamson, Yvonne Weston, Ivan Sample, Greg Burns.
There's still time to sign up for the race! You can do so at the Runners Expo today from noon to 7 p.m., and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Remember the Expo location has changed this year-- it's at the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal at the end of Broad Street inside the Philadelphia Naval Business Center. The Expo is a great place to buy gear and goo and new socks-- whatever you need to make the race a success.
Products I recommend: BodyGlide, to apply before the race to prevent chafing (kind of pricey but amazing) and a packet of Power Gel (I like chocolate with caffeine!) to provide a boost during those last four miles past City Hall.
How did everyone's last week of pre-race training go? I had a good run Wednesday, a little faster than my usual snail's pace, and I plan to do a short, easy run today. I'll take tomorrow off to eat pasta and get psyched. My stepdaughter is coming from New York to run the race with us, and husband Dave will be running too. I expect my son, a freshman at Temple, to be cheering us from outside his dorm as we run by!
We'd love to hear today from anyone running the race or cheering on runners. In fact, here's incentive for anyone who comments today -- at 5 p.m. we'll do a drawing to give away one of our cool new Daily News tank tops. On the back they say: "WE'VE GOT BROAD STREET COVERED" (Thanks to Ellen D. for correcting an earlier, incorrect wording of this.)
THERESA: Runner's World magazine has a new look, and I really like it. I had a chance to chat with the editor, David Willey, the other day, and he reports that the magazine is aiming for runners of all abilities, with lots of news you can use about nutrition, weight training, equipment and more. They've added a section specifically for women. And they still have fabulous stories about inspirational elite runners. And I love the back page, where they run an interview with a celebrity who likes to run (this month it's singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin, whose goal is to run an Olympic distance triathlon this year.)
As I was reading the latest issue, I felt truly motivated to get out and run, to start doing some speed training, to eat better and bond with other runners.
Are there magazines you read for that kind of inspiration, no matter what kind of fitness you're into?
THERESA: Feeling achy after exercise? There are alternatives to popping an aspirin or an Advil. Laurie suggests seeking relief with the herb Arnica, which reportedly increases circulation and reduces inflammation and swelling. It's available in tablet, pellet, gel, cream or ointment form, available at Whole Foods or health food stores. Here's some info on Arnica from Yahoo Health.
The current issue of Yoga Journal offers other suggested remedies for muscle aches, including warm, moist heat. Michele Khalef, a yoga therapist in New Mexico, "likes to add two-thirds of a cup of baking soda and a quarter cup of ginger powder... to a tubful of hot water for a leisurely soak. The heating properties of ginger boost blood flow to the muscles, while baking soda helps coax toxins from the skin's pores," according to the journal.
What suggestions do you all have for easing muscle pain after yoga or other intense exercise?
JILL: I really worry about nutritional supplements. They aren't regulated and I worry about what's in them. I don't take anything for muscle aches. I savor them, actually, as evidence that I'm really working my body. One time, when I got a muscle pull that was really painful, I took an Aleve. Otherwise, I soak in a hot tub and feel self-righteous.
KIMBERLY: Personally when I feel sore and achy I use good ol' fashioned Epson Salt. Epson Salt is chemically known as Magnesium Chloride (MgC12) and it is a salt traditionally used as a relaxing healing soak for sprained or sore muscles.
DIANE: I also like to use arnica gel on my achy muscles. If you have muscle pain after exercise, a regime of hydrotherapy also works well. I keep small paper cups in the freezer. Then I rip off the top and use a circular motion to ice down whatever feels uncomfortable. Also, cardio exercise on the day after a hard strength routine helps to break down the lactic acid and promote healthy blood flow to those strong muscles!
THERESA: Do any of you like to exercise outdoors with your dogs? At times in my life when I've owned dogs, I've loved running with them, and I often see people running with their pets in the Wissahickon. But you have to take certain precautions to make sure your pet exercises safely and comfortably. We recently received some tips about hiking or running with animals, courtesy of the Veterinary Pet Insurance Company:
Other thoughts on this topic, Girlfriends?
LAURIE: I don't run with my pooch because I don't run, but I do walk her quickly sometimes. Being a Jack Russell terrier, she isn't shy about letting me know when she's tired. She just stops and plops down, usually in the cool grass.
She won't drink creek water when we walk in the woods, so I always bring water in the car to give her. You can buy spill-proof water bowls at pet stores that have a cover but dog can get into them if you leave on car floor. And be sure to check a dog for ticks after being out in woods. One tip on that: If you find a female tick on your dog (or yourself), be prepared to find perhaps dozens more. The females (very large, shiny and a greyish-brown color) attract males. You can't crush a tick. Flush down the toilet or sink. Also, use tweezers to pick them up because they can bite you, too!
Also, in winter, watch out for salt on pavements. It burns doggies' paws. Better to walk in the street if you can, or carry pooch over salted patches.
JENICE: People need to remember abide by leash laws. I really hate jogging along and having someone's dog start snarling and snapping at me. Once I was walking along my sidewalk and someone's dog came charging right at me, growling and carrying on. At first I was startled. But when I advanced toward it threateningly, the owner started saying, "Oh, he doesn't bite." I was really furious. So remember to keep Fido on a leash.
LAURIE: You are so right, Jenice. My dog always wants to fight with other dogs, so an unleashed dog means a potential fight. Very scary.
JILL: Every Sunday, my neighbor and I take our dogs to the Laurel Hill Cemetery and we briskly walk while they cavort through the grounds. It's the only time my golden Retriever gets to run without her leash, and it's such a joy to watch her fly. Sometimes my other neighbor comes and brings her two dogs. In the summer, we bring a water bottle so they can have a drink. Otherwise, I just walk her through the neighborhood; I don't run and I never trained her to walk without a leash so I can't take the risk of her dashing into traffic.
WENDY: Perhaps this is coming from a cocker spaniel perspective, but I have to bring up the danger of doggie finding something interesting to eat while outside. My folks have a cocker that they bring often to visit, and we rarely take her on walks outside our familiar area because she will invariably find something she's not supposed to have and eat it. And she will eat anything, dead or alive, organic or no. But, like I said, she's a cocker spaniel -- all looks, no brains at all. Big heart, though. What is popular is to let our five-year-old "walk" her around the house -- and they both get worn out!!
THERESA: What are the best approach to training in these next few days before Broad Street? Is it best to take it easy this week, or to run hard every day 'til about Saturday, then take a day off? And what should we be eating-- lots of protein?
After a slow and steady 8.4 miles Saturday with the Philly Runners, I think I'm just going to run two or three times this week, four or five miles at a pop, I think. I'll try to eat healthy and get lots of rest in hopes of bettering last year's (pretty slow) time.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the race. Organizers of the event sent along this info about some of the runners who have completed the course every year:
Pretty inspiring, eh?
I got some input from one of my trainers, Tara, who is a marathon runner. Being a long distance walker myself, I wanted to make sure the rules applied. Protein based foods until Thursday, then a carbo load day on Friday. Run the following: a race pace run on Wednesday for about 5 miles. Do 6 miles on Thursday at an easy pace. Walk/run on Friday at a light pace. Saturday stretch and relax. If you have not been eating during running while training, do not start now. Heavy hydration starting today and all through the week. Cut back or cut out all caffeine and alcohol. Having said that, if you are not used to training heavy during the week, cut back your intensity to 75% of what I just said. Good Luck to you all!
Here's a story about girlfriends running Broad Street-- Rebecca Watermulder is running next Sunday's race with friends from her college days. It'll be the first time she's run this course, and she writes:
I am running this race with a group of friends from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. There are a group of six of us girls who all went to Dickinson together (Class of '96) and make it a point to get together a couple of times a year. We are fairly spread out and some live in Boston, DC, New York. But we find time to get together for "just the girls" even beyond all the weddings and events like that. This year, we are all turning 30 and wanted to do something together as a group. At one of the girls' wedding in January, we made a pact to run this race together. Two of us have made fitness a top priority and we've both lost over 20 pounds each. So, of the 6, three of us are running the race. The other three are coming in from D.C., Boston and Harrisburg. They've assured us that they will be on the sidelines cheering for us, although they are teasing us that they will be eating Philly cheesesteaks and smoking cigarettes, but that's ok. :)
We're all going to spend the weekend together at my friend's apartment in Old City. After the race on Sunday, we'll have a big dinner together with lots of drinks to celebrate our achievement. And, we're all taking off on Monday to go and treat ourselves to a spa day after all our hard work. So, that's my story. I'm just hoping that I'm in shape enough to run this race. This winter has been so bad that I seem to have caught every single, solitary bug going around, so I hope I'm up for this!!
Thanks for sharing, Rebecca! Readers can "CLICK FOR MORE" to see a photo of all six of you.
Who else out there is running the race? Girlfriends April, Theresa, Julie, Jenice and Yvonne W. are running as part of two co-ed Daily News teams, along with our publisher, Joe Natoli, Ivan Sample from HR, Scott Hilton from Finance; and Greg Burns and Jeff Berger from Systems. Some of us are meeting up with the Philly Runners tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. for a training run along Kelly Drive. We hope to see you there!
And please tell us your plans for the Broad Street Run! We want to hear how your training's going and what you think of the race!
These six college pals will gather in Philly next week for a fun visit together and the Broad Street Run. From left-right, Rebecca Watermulder (runner), Rebecca Galligher Nazzaro (cheerleader from Boston), Allison Coccia (cheerleader from Harrisburg), Lisa DeCoteau (runner), Karen Pettit (runner), Stephanie Ackerman (world's best cheerleader, Watermulder says!)
THERESA: Think you're addicted to chocolate, pizza or some other food you love? You may be right. A recent brain scan study of normal, hungry people showed "their brains lit up when they saw and smelled their favorite foods in much the same way as the brains of cocaine addicts when they think about their next snort," according to a Reuters report on CNN. Favorite food items listed in the study included bacon-egg-cheese sandwiches, cinnamon buns, pizza, hamburgers with cheese, fried chicken, lasagna, barbecue, ice cream, brownies, and chocolate cakes. (Makes me hungry just thinking about it.)
How do you curb your cravings for unhealthy foods? For me, it's all about moderation. Sugar makes me want more sugar, so I limit my intake. Protein satisfies me, especially first thing in the morning, so I'm not as likely to crave fattening treats. And counting calories helps me realize the price I'll pay if I absent-mindedly graze on tasty snacks.
What foods do you most crave, Girlfriends? And how do you keep those cravings under control?
KIMBERLY: The key is simply moderation in all things. If you eat properly 80 percent of the time, you can have an occasional indulgence 20 percent of the time and be just fine. In the end its all about portion control - calories in verses calories out. However, it you are truly "addicted" to certain foods, then stop eating them if they sabotage your health and weight.
I've learned that if I avoid sweets until noon I can control my graving. But if I start eating sweets early I tend to continue throughout the entire day. I can consume 1000 calories a day just coveting sweet things with empty calories that will only make me fat. It's my biggest problem.
THERESA: Now it's not enough to get a facelift, tummy tuck or eye job. Now women can shell out money for a "voicelift" so we won't get to sounding like little old ladies once we become little old ladies.
Is there any hope that by the time my voice starts wobbling, it's fashionable to look and sound like a woman who happens to be getting on in years? Until all this youth-enhancing surgery can promise to actually add real-time years and youthful stamina to my life, I'm not interested. My dream in my later years is to look beautiful and vibrant like Helen Hayes did in "Airport," or Jessica Tandy in "Driving Miss Daisy." I don't want to look as if my skin has been pulled back to give me that smooth, startled, telltale look of terror-- the terror of growing older. And I don't want to alter my voice no matter how creaky it gets.
But if everyone else is up for this, I'll be the only creaky voiced woman in the neighborhood, eh?
YVONNE W: I want to look my best no matter what age I happen to be. However, many people think surgery is the answer to all their problems. I am in favor of a nip or tuck, but there comes a time when nothing will help. It's best to try to live your life with dignity and have fun as long as you are not hurting anyone. From my perspective a voice lift is a little bizarre. But to each their own.
YVETTE: On the one hand, I say to each his own. But on a personal level, I'm with you, Theresa. Some things, like my voice, aren't things I'd want to tamper with. My goodness, what will they come up with next?
KIMBERLY: Well, if that don't beat all. No thank you to the voice lift. This is just ridiculous! I agree with Theresa, I want to age beautifully and remain vibrant as I age. Besides, this could prove to be a really risky procedure with permanent damage.
DIANE: Aaaaah! Where does it stop? When we decide for ourselves that growing older is a valuable commodity in a world where appearances have become more important than substance. Not for me. I'm spending my energies lifting my spirits, not my buttocks! As for my voice, I look forward to sounding like the voice of wisdom!
Join the Girlfriends and the Philly Runners for a training run (just one week ahead of the Broad Street 10-miler!) this Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. Meet at the steps of the Art Museum. This is the Philly Runners regular Saturday morning run time, and they meet rain or shine. Runners of all paces are welcome, and most of us Girlfriends are happy to set a 10-minute pace or slower, you can be sure. You can run all or part of the 8.4 mile loop along Kelly Drive and West River Drive. If you want to join us, you'll just need to sign a Philly Runners club waver right before the run. It's fun, it's free and we'd love to meet you!
THERESA: I had lunch with a trainer friend last week and we got to talking about vitamins. This young woman dug in her purse to show me her multi-vitamin-- it was a sandwich bag filled with LOTS of capsules of various shapes and sizes. Now, I pop a calcium supplement and a grocery-store multi-vitamin when I remember to do so, but I'm not very faithful about it. Are the rest of you vitamin fanatics? Do you notice specific benefits? And should I get more serious about this?
APRIL: I am a vitamin fanatic about the GNC Ultra Mega Gold vitamins. Two per day (I take them both in the a.m.) give me everything I don't always get (when I skip a meal or don't eat enough of something each day.)
WENDY: Vitamins are one healthy habit that I truly stick to. I don't go as nuts as some, but every day I take a good multivitamin with enough iron and folate, plus one calcium supplement, plus one B12. I truly believe this makes me feel better: The iron helps with energy, while the B12 is supposed to improve the way your body takes what it needs from food (particularly when you are under stress, which is why it's sometimes called 'stress formula.') I should probably take more calcium, but it really is better to get it from food. I notice a huge difference in how I wake up and stay with the day when I am taking them.
DIANE: I'm pretty serious about taking vitamins. I take a high quality multi plus calcium, vitamin C and a few other items that are particular to my biochemistry. When I started to move towards menopause, I decided to consult with a doc in my area who specializes in biochemistry. Because of the supplements I take, so far I'm sailing through and feeling great! Calcium seems to be very important. Even though I do so much weight bearing exercises; my calcium levels showed a bit low. Multi vitamins are important to maintain balance throughout your systems...but from what I've read and heard, you can be taking an inferior vitamin that is not being absorbed properly. Taking a high quality multi and certainly helped my energy level.
YVONNE W: I mix 1/2 scoop of protein powder with a low fat smoothie everyday. I also take a multi vitamin, vitamin E, vitamin C, garlic in a soft gel tablet and calcium. I can't swallow calcium pills, so I buy Viactiv recommended by my physician (calcium in a caramel candy form that contains Vitamins D and K. It comes in chocolate, orange, strawberry and other flavors. Viactiv is sold in grocery stores and in stores such as Target. Another way to get vitamins is higher-fiber foods, as they typically have more vitamins and minerals than lower-fiber foods.
JENICE: I do not recommend Viactiv calcium supplements. Especially the caramels. They taste really good and have 20 calories each in them. Sometimes when I take them, I can't stop. I've been known to eat a handful of them.
YVONNE W: : Well, they are good. I try to discipline myself.
APRIL: I told my doctor once I was taking Viactivs and she told me as long as I eat a balanced diet and take a multivitamin, I do not yet need to be taking calcium supplements.
JENICE: Really? I'm surprised. My doctor recently advised me to take them, even though I'm not at particularly high risk partly because I'm large boned.
YVONNE W: At my age I need to be concerned with osteoporosis and bone density issues. Things change as you get older.
WENDY: Yes, it's true that you don't need calcium supplements if you eat a diet that gives you enough calcium -- but I would warn all of you gals, take a hard look at your diet before you decide to go without supplements. The minimum RDA for people 19 to 50 is 1,000 mg. One serving of milk, ice cream or cheese is one-third of that. Lowfat dairy -- especially cottage cheese -- is less still. Spinach? Yes, it has calcium -- and a chemical that makes it more difficult to be absorbed by the body. In fact, it's notoriously hard for the body to get calcium out of foods (and supplements); less than 10 percent of the calcium we eat gets absorbed. Less still gets absorbed when we are under stress or drinking cola, coffee or alcohol. I take one 500 mg supplement as a precaution, to make sure I am getting what I need.
There's good Calcium info here.
Also, here's some general reasons to TAKE YOUR VITAMINS.
And another thing: You should probably take at least SOME calcium even if you take a multivitamin. Check the label; a lot of them have only 12% of the calcium you need daily.
KIMBERLY: Ladies, you definitely want to rethink your vitamins. According to the Physician's Desk Reference, liquid vitamins have an absorption rate up to 98 percent! Liquid vitamins are processed by the digestive tract much more quickly and efficiently and rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.
As little as 10 percent of the nutrients ingested in pill form actually reach the body's cells. That means the other 90 percent is being flushed down the toilet. It's like throwing 90 cents out of every dollar earned into the trash. Liquid vitamins absorption rate is over five times the absorption rate of vitamin pills. If you are looking to get the most bang for your buck, you absolutely must choose liquid vitamins.
Ladies, you also want to watch those high protein diets that are all the rage right now because the truth about protein is that excess consumption leaks calcium stores and weakens bones. And often times cooking foods at high temperatures reduces the assimilation of amino acids in foods.
Ever wonder why we have such a huge problem with osteoporosis in spite of the fact they we consume more dairy products and animal protein than any other people on the planet? Spinal fractures (compressed vertebrae) are the most common osteoporotic-related fractures, with more than 700,000 such fractures occurring in the United States each year, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF). Loss of height and stooped posture are irreversible changes that result from spinal fractures.
Both will be joining our daily discussions on a regular basis and answering all your "Ask the Trainer" questions. They are inspirational, fun and very knowledgeable. We look to them to offer expertise on nutrition, exercise, motivation and more.
Thanks for joining us, Diane and Kimberly!
And today we say goodbye to our friend Ellen Foley, who has left the Philadelphia Daily News to become top editor at the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison. We all wish her the best!
THERESA: How weird is this? McDonalds is launching an anti-obesity campaign? Here's how McDonald's can promote fitness and health-- start by taking french fries off the menu. Take greasy fried-chicken out of the "garden" salads. Quit hawking soda. Hold the secret (high-fat) sauce.
I almost never eat fast food, and whenever I do (usually because one of my kids talks me into it) I feel bloated and guilty afterwards. And if you ever pop into a Chili's, or an Applebee's, or TGIFriday's or just about any other inexpensive chain restaurant, the food also tends to be heavy, cheese-soaked and heart-clogging.
Are there any popular restaurants or fast-food joints where you can get delicious, healthy food?
WENDY: Look, you gotta give it to Mickey D's -- some of us with small children find it impossible to avoid, what with the climbing gyms and all the birthday parties hosted there. So having some relatively healthy things on the menu are a godsend -- we can eat while the kids do! (Not that I am totally averse to a Chicken McNugget, but I am sure that too many would kill me.) I like their fruit and yogurt parfait a lot -- please, no one tell me if it has 35 grams of fat...
THERESA: Even if you're not clinically classified as an alcoholic, you may be drinking enough to impair brain function. For women, that would be 80 drinks a month, less than three drinks a day, according to a new study.
I found this interesting, because I like a glass of wine or two just about every evening. However, during Lent, I gave up drinking, and now my appetite for alcohol has gone way down. The main reason? I sleep SO much better if I don't drink anything. I drank nice wine with my Easter dinner, then and tossed and turned quite a bit throughout the night. But all through Lent, I enjoyed such fabulous deep sleep every night, it was wonderful.
My new resolve is to drink only moderately sometimes on weekends, with friends or with Dave, but not during the week. Most of the time, I'll stick to my new favorite cocktail, sparkling water with lots of fresh lemon.
Has anyone else had similar experience with drinking?
THERESA: What do you like to eat just before exercising? Sally Squires in the Washington Post writes that we should "eat either a meal about three hours before a workout or a snack of about 100 calories about an hour before exercising ... The best meal or snack is a combination that includes protein, carbohydrates and a little healthy fat. Examples: a cup of low-fat fruit yogurt; trail mix; half a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich on whole grain bread."
I like to exercise on a pretty empty stomach to avoid side stitches, but I like having a bit of carb energy before a run. If I'm running a morning race (for example, this Saturday's Race for Clean Air 5K) I'll try to get up early, have some yogurt and maybe half a bagel, and coffee about an hour before the event.
What's everyone else's strategy for eating and exercising?
I'm a fanatic about having a banana in the morning. If I don't, I'm convinced I'm going to keel over from a nutrition deficit. That's all I eat before I work out and I'm not usually up early enough to eat an hour before. I grab a banana and then head to the gym and it's perfect for me. I have energy but not a full stomach.
THERESA: The sale of the dietary supplement ephedra, popular for weight loss and bodybuilding, is banned as of today. Does anyone have any experience using this stuff, and if so, any reaction to this ban?
JILL: I never used it, but I do remember taking a diet supplement some years ago that was recommended by a friend. I got dizzy and woozy and stopped and remember feeling like a total idiot for ingesting an unknown, untested substance. It's tragic how many of us fall victim to these miracle drugs that turn out to be dangerous and sometimes fatal.
LAURIE: I tried it once some years ago. My appetite went down and I did lose weight, even taking it at half the recommended dose. Felt weird and jittery at first but then OK. After all the publicity about dangers, I wouldn't take it again and think a ban is probably a good idea -- if it really is as bad as they say. Unfortunately, it's sometimes hard to tell if the FDA is acting because of science or public pressure. Wouldn't it be nice if they banned cigarettes, an unequivically proven killer?
APRIL: I once did a supplement program from GNC and I have to tell you some of the vitamins were totally benign, but others were heart accelerators and I ended up stopping the program. It was one of those two-week weight loss kits. I think nothing really subs for exercise.
LAURIE: Yeah, April, I agree. Because of course any weight I lost taking supplements I gained back later because I hadn't changed my eating or exercise habits.
THERESA: Wasn't Saturday a great day to get out and enjoy some exercise? I ran the Kelly Drive/West River Drive loop with my family. I was very slow, but glad to do that distance (8.4 miles), with the Broad Street Run now just three weeks away! My plan is to run the loop the next two Saturdays and run at least two or three times a week during my work week as well. (How is everyone else doing with the Broad Street training?)
On another note, Good Friday wasn't a real heavy traffic day on this website, so I'm extending last week's book giveaway 'til we get rid of some of this great, free stuff. Today, tell us about anyone who inspires you to keep fit, and I'll send you your choice of the following (first come, first served):
"Chi Running, A Reolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running," by Danny Dreyer with Katherine Dreyer,
Rescuing the Emotional Lives of Overweight Children," by Dr. Sylvia Rimm, "The Stress Effect; Discover the Connection Between Stress and Disease and Reclaim Your Health," by Richard Weinstein,
We also have a three-part DVD set "Keeping Fit in Your 50s, Workout Essentials for a Changing Body."
We also have a three-part DVD set "Keeping Fit in Your 50s, Workout Essentials for a Changing Body."
THERESA: I was just in Florida on vacation for a week, visiting my mom and aunts there. I want to give a shout-out to these women in my family who range in age from their late 60s to their mid-80s; they are an active bunch, swimming regularly, taking water aerobic classes, walking. Mom says her water weights class really helps ease arthritis, and she enjoys it. And on the plane flying down there, I sat next to a retired woman who told me she just took up yoga, and her yoga instructor is pushing 90 and going strong!
Do you all have stories to share about women past retirement age who work hard to stay fit?
LAURIE: My mom walks several miles a day with her dog and swims, too. She remains pretty active despite having had extensive back surgery several years ago. I get the impression walking and swimming are great as you get older because they don't stress your body as much.
Dancing is something many people can do into old age as well. There's one couple who come to salsa who just celebrated their 40th anniversary and they are going strong!
WENDY: I go to church with Andora Quimby, a woman who is so great that I can't even call her a role model. She's over 90 and she still does weight training -- she just WON, in fact, a medal in a weight-lifting competition, undoubtedly because she was the only entrant in her category! She also just weathered hip surgery well, no doubt because she's in such great shape. She was the former aquatic director at my local YMCA, still lives alone and drives a hot burnt-orange Volvo. She's just great, and when I grow up I want to be just like her.
THERESA: I'm up for a Friday book giveaway! Tell us about a senior fitness enthusiast you admire (and if it's you, so much the better!) and I'll give free stuff away until I run out. First come first served. Titles on the list today include:
We also have a three-part DVD set "Keeping Fit in Your 50s, Workout Essentials for a Changing Body"
and Wai Lana's DVD "Yoga; Beginner's Workout."
YVONNE W: Gritting your teeth isn't the best way to get through a tough workout. When you're struggling to push through that last shoulder press or to run just two more minutes, turn to one of your strongest resources: Your brain. Here are a few ways to use your brain during exercise:
WENDY: Yep, stress makes you fat - that's what an interesting new story in Ladies' Home Journal this month says, and it seems to have the science to back it up.
Here's how it goes: While we're under stress, the hypothalamus in our brains triggers the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol releases glucose and fatty acids for extra energy -- and then the sneaky stuff also makes us crave food. And not just any food, but sugary, carbohydrate-rich, and fatty foods.
And for those of us who seem to spend our lives stressed, this creates a vicious cycle. Eating makes the brain stop producing stress hormones -- temporarily. But, says the magazine, "if we're under chronic stress, as soon as we burn the fat deposits off, our cortisol level spikes and stimulates our appetite again." Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, in New York, says in the article: "It's a vicious circle. You're under chronic stress and your body starts producing hormones that increase the pleasure of eating sugar, starch, and fat. But the more you eat, the hungrier you get."
And there's more: "Stress may also trigger a disorder known as the night-eating syndrome, in which people eat one-third or more of their daily calories after their evening meal, sometimes getting up once or twice during the night to snack. In fact, scientists think this syndrome may be an unrecognized stress-related contributor to the obesity epidemic in this country."
Good grief! I always seem to lose weight when I get stressed -- but usually where I don't want to. (Why won't worrying make my thighs thinner?) What have you guys experienced?
JENICE: I've always believed that stress - well, misery in general - plays havoc on your health for a lot of complicated reasons. Like you, Wendy, when I'm stressed, I tend not to eat. Often, I can't. But unfortunately, once the stress is off, the weight always comes flying back. And you know, I've worried that the weight I loss was lean muscle mass and not fat...brother.
APRIL: I actually find that I eat more when I'm tired. On days when I've gotten only a few hours of sleep, I am eating several tiems a day and never seem to feel full. But when I'm stressed, I actually tend to lose my appetite.
YVONNE W: I try not to eat after 7 p.m., but it's a real struggle. I will eat 1/3 or my daily calorie intake after 7 p.m. if I don't control myself. It's a toss up with me. Fifty percent of the time I control myself the other fifty percent of the time I don't. It's one my fitness battles I haven't conquered.
LAURIE: I, too, seem to lose weight when I'm stressed. But only if it's romantic stress! The other kinds usually have me chasing that cortisol high. This information is great to have because when those urges come to eat sweets, at least I can recognize them and try to control them. I think the eating at night when stressed thing is true as well, from my experience.
It depends on the kind of stress I'm under whether I indulge myself in chocolate and pasta and bread, notoriously feel-better foods, or whether
I can't eat. Anxiety results in the latter. Generalized oppression and worry results in the former. I think the psychology of it is that life can be so
difficult and stressful, that you deserve to reward yourself in whatever way you can, and that often is through food.
The one I like the best is a triceps exercise where you position two benches near each other, then hang between them (facing the ceiling) and dip your body below them. Ouch. But great for triceps.
JENICE: I love that one, Wendy. You can do that one off of any stationary object that's the right height like, maybe, a heavy coffee table. You put your hands palm down on the table and lower yourself almost to the floor and bring yourself back up again, making sure to keep your body close to the table.
LAURIE: Oh, those arms. Last year or so, I suddenly noticed how when I stick my arm out straight, the underneath part starts to, well, zig-zag a little bit. Ack! I'm not sure that can be stopped entirely, because I have muscles in my arms. Gravity wins again. Or does somebody know a killer tricep firmer?
One great exercise I have done for physical therapy that seems to work the shoulders, arms and that "problem area" in the back along the bra line: Sit on a slanted bench and lean against it, face down (your chin should be more or less level with the top of the bench). Prop your feet against the bench legs or floor to hold yourself still. With light weights and working both arms together, move arms in a swimming motion forward 10-15 times, then backwards the same amount. It is HARD!
WENDY: This low-carb thing is officially out of control. I saw a commercial last night for low-carb Easter candy! And we've all seen the low-carb beer commercials. Has anyone tried these things? And what possible use could they have in a healthy diet -- or is this a way to keep a few indulgences, especially during the super-strict early Atkins days?
LAURIE: Only thing I can say about carbs is that when my jaw problems severely limited my diet, they also severely limited my intake of pasta - my favorite - and bread. And I lost 15 pounds. Of course, I was eating less of everything and I still am, but I can't help but think the drop in carbs was a factor. But it does seem to be going to extremes.
YVETTE: I know very little about low carb beer or candy. So, I probably wouldn't try either.
ELLEN: I met a guy who works in the food industry and he said that they are giving this low carb fad another 18 months. I too think it’s a little weird to see low carb pasta and TV dinners. We tasted them when April got some samples in the office. It seems to be OK. You do wonder if in five years we’re going to have scabies or something. It just seems unnatural. Now I am sounding like those people who told the Wright Bros. that if people were meant to fly, they would have wings.
Not doing much this Sunday? Want to get a great run in -- and help a good cause? The Junior League of Philadelphia, Inc. is sponsoring the Race for Independence on West River Drive Sunday, rain or shine. It's a 10-K Run/5-K Run and 5-K Walk.
The proceeds will help women and children eliminate their dependency upon welfare and lead independent lives, by helping the Junior League develop and offer lifeskills training programs, parenting skills workshops, job fairs, homework assistance and after-school daycare services to a population of women and children who are transitioning from welfare to work. Want to join in? Click inside for the info:
Date: Sunday, April 4, 2004 RAIN OR SHINE
Location: West River Drive, Philadelphia, PA
Race-day registration: 7:00am
Race Start Time: 9:00am
The Race for Independence is a 10-K Run/5-K Run and 5-K Walk on West River Drive, Philadelphia. The course begins and ends just west of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
RACE DAY SCHEDULE
7:00 - 8:55 a.m. Race-day registration
7:00 - 8:45 a.m. Pick up numbers
8:30 - 8:45 a.m. Guest speakers
8:45 - 8:55 a.m. Aerobic warm-up
9:00 a.m. 5-K Run
9:30 a.m. 5-K Walk
9:30 a.m. 10-K Run
10:45 a.m. Awards ceremony
PRE-REGISTRATION - $20
LATE/RACE-DAY REGISTRATION - $25
Race day registration will begin at 7:00 a.m. on West River Drive, just west of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. If you register after March 28, 2004 at 9 pm, the fee is $25.
QUESTIONS? contact the Junior League at: email@example.com
JILL: Every weekday morning, I'm faced with the same dilemma: wake up early enough to exercise at the gym before I go to work, or sleep late enough to insure I'm rested enough not to fall asleep at my desk? I'm pretty much useless if I get up too early, no matter when I go to bed, but that's the only way I can get my workout in. I'm too tired to exercise at the end of the day. It's a time management issue compounded by the fact that I can't stand going to the gym on the weekends when it's mobbed and you have to stand in line for a machine. So I really have to get my three weekly workouts in during the week. Any suggestions or thoughts, girlfriends?
JILL: I find it impossible to exercise during the day. I hate schlepping a change of clothes and I just can't switch mindsets like that.
LAURIE: I have two separate gym bags in my office - one for yoga, one for gym. When I was going to physical therapy, I had a third set in my car! Luckily, I had several old, tired pairs of sneaks to use (leftovers from previous exercise phases through the years - the aerobics, the jogging, etc.!)
JILL: That's a great idea, but it's the changing and rechanging I can't stand, too. I know I sound cranky but you have to find a routine that works for you and schlepping stuff and changing clothes irritates me. I joined a gym near my house so I could just go home and shower and dress for work rather than having to pack and unpack, etc. So maybe I just want to complain instead of finding a solution????
JENICE: Okay, then why not just do the lunchtime walk thing then?
JILL: I have time to walk in the morning because that only takes half an hour. Going to the gym is at least an hour and a half. So I walk on the off days, but I need the weights and circuit training at the gym.
I can't stand to exercise first thing in the morning. I feel so stiff I'm afraid something will snap. I exercise after work and then feel all the more rested and relaxed when I get home. Sometimes if I'm having a really crazed day at work, I try to get to the gym midday to work off some stress.