Aging Gracefully Blog

Archive for February, 2012

Success Stories: Focus on the Core

Monday, February 27th, 2012

In Lucy's own words:   "At the end of last year, my body was falling apart and could no longer do what I wanted it to do. I had lost control over my body and pain was dictating to me what I was able to do.  I began doing the 15-Minute Abs Workout every day to strengthen my core and after two months my body is responding and I'm back in shape."

She goes on to say, "Core training has shifted the way my muscles work and relieved the pain that I was feeling in my hips. Straight arm and forearm planks helped strengthen my wrists and shoulders so that I could resume doing standing Yoga postures that had become too difficult. I feel better, tighter and stronger, and now have a reliable body."

Lucy predicts that "Next year when I turn 60, my goal is to be in even better shape."

Use this tip yourself:  Your anatomic center, or core, generates strength and mobility for the whole body. A strong core equips you to handle the routine physical demands of daily life.   Do exercises that engage the abdominals and spinal muscles together in order to build postural support for the torso.

Dr. Alvin: Keeping a Youthful Edge

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Dr. Alvin is relating back to his 19-year old self and setting goals based on what he remembers he was like then.  "Nothing stopped me," he said.  "I did everything, went everywhere, never minding the weather or other potential obstacles.  If I wanted to see a girl and didn't have a car, I'd walk."  Now at age 56 his fitness training is reviving that "can-do" mind-set.

It's clear that being strong and fit creates self-assurance, which reminds me of a similar insight that Jackie Kennedy shared with me when I was training her. As an accomplished equestrian she told me that she'd always been a fearless rider, but with age she was becoming more cautious.  She was 60 years old then and wanted to re-capture the confidence with which she'd always ridden. She knew that strength training is empowering and that it could help her regain her youthful edge.

Being in shape frees us from physical limitations and creates a positive attitude.  We may not be able to re-capture our youthful bodies completely, but we can override the signals of aging by engaging in a consistent, dedicated program of exercise.  We can turn back the clock, in a sense, but just how far can we go?  Dr. Alvin's goal is to weigh what he weighed at age 19.  Right now, he's down 16 pounds and has another 115 to go.  So far he's right on track!

Success Stories: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Meet Debbie, a woman who's lost 20 pounds over the last four months by sticking to a regular walking program and by making sensible dietary changes (substituting fruits and veggies for starchy carbs).  At a weight loss of 5 pounds a month, Debbie is losing a little more than a pound a week, which is what we consider healthy weight loss because it indicates real behavior modification as opposed to a quick fix.

How did she do it?

Debbie walks six days a week.  She used a pedometer to measure a mile in the neighborhood where she lives.  Every month she increases her distance by 1/10 of a mile and is now up to a mile and a half.

The route is hilly and going up the inclines increases calorie burn, cardio benefits, bone health and leg strength.

On the straight-aways, Debbie now has added some intervals of jogging, with care to preserve her joints – hips, knees and ankles – which are a bit touchy after years of golf.
She's using my strength training techniques to reinforce her joints and firm up.  Building muscle also helps increase your resting metabolic rate to burn more calories all day long, even when you aren't exercising.
Use this tip yourself:  It's best to approach body fat loss in a slow, steady fashion.  Each day you should eat and exercise in such a way that you can face doing it again tomorrow.

Dr. Alvin is Having a Ball!

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Not that his new regimen of workouts and diet modifications is so much fun, but Dr. A is finding ways of making it more entertaining.  The foundation of his exercise program is what we initially agreed upon:  a daily 15-minute workout on the stationary bike to burn 250 calories.  And because this is totally manageable, he usually fits additional cycling workouts into the day, and recently added multiple walking sessions of 20-45 minutes.

He's discovering that he needs variety to keep his program fresh and enjoys walking outside, willing to brave the elements even in the rain and snow.  In the park across the street he's walking up hills; and in the parking lot he's doing faster-paced drills, using the lines to mark distances.  Now here's where the ball comes in:  as a former athlete reviving his sports skills, he's getting a basketball to dribble while he does his drills.  I imagine he'll be doing even more walking/dribbling drills once the ball comes into play.

Sharing in Dr. A's discovery of his physical nature is exciting for me!  He is not only meeting his goal of weight loss (down 14# in four weeks), but he's also following his instincts to reveal his dormant athleticism and express himself physically.

7 PM TONIGHT! Joan Joins Bonnie Graham (aka “Radio Red”) on READ MY LIPS Radio Show

Monday, February 20th, 2012

READ MY LIPS is not your usual blah-blah-yada-yada, Q&A interview talk show where every answer is canned and timed. Host Bonnie Graham engages her guest authors and experts in lively, spontaneous and unpredictable conversations that go far beyond the pages of their book. Featured topics: Love, Relationships, Marriage, Break-up recovery, Personal goals, Gender communications, Food, Health & Fitness.

Join us tonight on

Date: Monday, February 20, 2012
Time: 7-8 pm EST
Live Show Link:

Call-in Number: (Ask me a question directly): 310-807-5219
Other guest:  Dr. Mark Cochran
Format: Each guest has a 30 minute segment. I will be on from 7:00-7:30. The show concludes with a round-table discussion, weaving common threads between the guests.

Bonnie's Podcast: If you miss the show live, you can download it afterwards on iTunes

How to Pump Yourself Up for Your Date

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!  To build your confidence and look your best for that special date, tonight or any night, see my tips in the article "How to Pump Yourself Up for Your Date" by Kimberly Dawn Neumann on, The article covers everything from going undercover with sexy lingerie to the exercises you need to polish off your look with a healthy glow and shapely contours.