Aging Gracefully Blog

Archive for September, 2013

Adding Up the Benefits of Exercise for Breast Cancer

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Are you aware of how little activity it takes to reduce your risk of breast cancer? More than 30 studies show that as few as three hours a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity can both reduce your risk for developing breast cancer and lower a chance of recurrence by as much as 40%.  That's a great return on an investment of about 30 minutes a day.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

You don't have to join a gym, run a marathon or buy fancy equipment.  Power walking is more than sufficient!  Think "activity" instead of "workout."  Find opportunities to move.

Minutes add up: Build activity into your day.  If you can't find 30 continuous minutes, just accumulate the total in smaller increments of 10 and 15 minute segments.  Make every minute count – walk down the hall to speak with a colleague at work instead of emailing, walk or bike to work, use the stairs rather than the elevators. Put energy into every minute of movement.

Add steps to your day:  Step up your level of activity.  A pedometer, app or tracking device provides a good reality check and can motivate you to higher numbers.  Experts recommend a goal of 10,000 steps a day which may seem miles away from your personal reality; but another advantage of the pedometer is that you can set your own goals.  See how many steps you're currently accumulating during the course of your day and create a goal based on that.  When you've reached the first goal, set another one, and continue to build, step by step.  Tangible progress creates incentive and enhances self-esteem while you're building physical stamina.

Visit our previous blog posts for more information on exercise for breast cancer prevention and recovery:

Cardio Tune Up: How to Get Real Results from Your Cardio Workout

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Are you dedicated to your cardio routine….and not seeing results?  Stuck in a metabolic rut or on a weight plateau? How savvy are
you about manipulating the variables to achieve your goals?

  • Do you know your heart rate training range? It's easy to figure out and check manually. It just takes two fingers and a watch with a second hand.  Or you can use a device like a heart rate monitor. There are a lot of high tech choices now that make the old bulky black jobs so old-fashioned.
  • Are you using it to create intervals in your workout? Interval training is all the rage. By adding intervals of faster paced, higher intensity activity into your workout you train your heart to work in the higher ranges plus you burn more calories. Speed up, recover and repeat at a ratio of 1:2, one minute of push followed by two minutes of recovery.
  • Do you vary your routine by using workouts of different length and intensity? Create a cycle of three workouts, always allowing for at least a 5 minute warm up and cool down.  Do each of the workouts twice a week using any cardio activity.
    • High Gear:  30 minutes total, sustaining the fastest pace you can for 20 minutes.
    • Intervals:  45 minutes total, alternating between high intensity and recovery.
    • Long, slow distance:  60 minutes total, using a steady, moderate pace for the entire time.

Make your workouts more fun, interesting and challenging and you will get results! Contact us with your questions and comments on Facebook.

Seven Habits of Highly Resilient People

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Resilience has been making headlines lately. It's a intriguing aspect of psychological fitness that impacts your physical fitness and health. Our last post highlighted new research showing that while partially innate, resilience can be learned. A recent article* in the Huffington Post identified seven habits of highly resilient people.

  1. Resilience is not about blind optimism. Resilient people allow themselves to experience both positive and negative emotions. While feeling sad about one thing, they remind themselves that they're grateful for another.
  2. It is about realistic optimism. They combine a positive outlook with critical thinking to create options on how to deal with challenges.
  3. They cope with rejection effectively. Since rejection and set-backs are inevitable in life, they adopt a mindset that maintains their self-esteem and confidence.
  4. They build strong support systems. Social support can boost resilience to stress.
  5. They notice and appreciate small joys and victories, to prevent feeling that "everything is going wrong."
  6. They seek opportunities for growth and learning which enhance their self-reliance and broaden their decision-making skills.
  7. They're endlessly grateful. Being thankful has a positive effect on mood and physical health.  The right attitude allows you to turn difficult experiences into learning lessons.

*As reported in the article "How to Bounce Back from Failure – Over and Over Again" by Carolyn Gregoire, Huffington Post, 9/2/13,