Happy Birthdays

My mother and I met a woman who told us she was 88 years old and went to the gym every week.

88! And she goes to a gym!

The woman had creamy skin on her face (where were the wrinkles) and yellow not gray hair (could it be natural).

This phenom was dressed in a colorful outfit (no dastardly gray cashmere sweater).

That’s how I want to be when I’m old. I’ve come to accept that I will always dress like a teenager whatever my chronological age.

Why not aspire to be a red-hot octogenarian mamma?

Chances are not a lot of us lovely ladies will be doing a bench press at 80.

Yet I say we can continue to do some form of exercise.

The secret is to not regret that our glory days have passed.

Today is the greatest day (cue the Smashing Pumpkins song with that title).

So I’ll end here with this: today is yesterday’s tomorrow.

We should fill it to the brim with light love and laughter.

Because tomorrow might not come.

Having something to look forward to will give us joy at sixty and beyond.

Today is here. Let’s celebrate the day.

2023 Early Winter Lower Body Routine

  1. Single-arm kettlebell swing (standard kettlebell swing – start with left side) 15 swings left 15 swings right 10 pounds
  2. Kettlebell squat holding kettlebell in 1 hand (10 squats each hand left side first) 15 pounds
  3. Dumbbell reverse lunge (with DB in each hand start with feet together – left side first; step back with right – step back forward to reset) 8 pounds 8 each side
  4. Dumbbell hamstring dead lift with 3-second hold (with DB in each hand – reach toward feet while keeping back straight – hold each reach for 3 seconds) 10 pounds 3 sets 12 reps
  5. Leg raises to squeeze glutes (on hands & knees – straighten one leg to lift toward ceiling and squeeze glute at the top) 15 lifts each side.

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Jump squats holding 5 pound DBs at shoulder

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Bicycles (elbow to knee) 3 sets 20 reps

Burpees without jump (10)

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Ab crunch holding 5 pounds DB 3 sets 15 reps

2023 Early Winter Upper Body Routine

  1. Bent-over kettlebell row (left side first, keep palms up) 10 pounds 12 each side
  2. DB upright row (holding two 5 pound DBs – stand upright and pull DBs straight up toward ceiling) 8 sets 12 reps
  3. Push-ups. (1 set standard – 2 sets modified on knees – shift weight forward to keep weight over hands) 3 sets AMRAP
  4. DB overhead tricep extension (hold DB s up to shoulder and extend only elbow to push up toward ceiling) 5-8 pounds 3 sets 12 reps
  5. DB bicep curl while holding DBs together (DBs stay touching) 5-8 pounds 3 sets 12 reps

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High knees (25 seconds)

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Plank (As long as possible)

Side to side medicine ball slams (20 slams)

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core (ab) rotations with resistance band (can use leg of table to wrap band around)

Skating On Into 2023

In the spring I turn 58. I was born in the first year of the Generation X cohort.

How is it that the older I’ve gotten I’m on a kick to reinvent myself? The idea of self-reinvention has booted me to risk change. Risking change because I believe in tomorrow.

2023 will be better. In the last weeks of this year I’ve remembered my Teenage Riot. At thirteen years old I had a red skateboard. Rolled down the sloping streets in my neighborhood. Not doing an ollie or other explosive move.

Just happy to be rocking and rolling along the hilly streets.

To this end I’m going to buy a skateboard for my birthday and practice riding on the asphalt roadway in the park. Why can’t a 58-year old woman skate was my thinking.

You do not know until you try what you’re capable of. The older you get you should not rule out going after a long-lost goal with gusto.

What joy-making activities did you give up on when you became an adult? Thinking back to my short-lived skateboarding hobby set ablaze my intention to try to skate in the park.

For fun. Not because I had to be great at it. Simply for fun.

How to Be Older should involve engaging in what gives us joy. Our Third Chapter should be full of light love and laughter.

Failing boldly is the only way to live on the road to achieving success.

I’ll end here with this:

Just maybe–after having a successful career or failing at a career either way–the 25 years after 50 should be spent not trying to or having to prove ourselves and our worth to others.

I might be the oldest person on a skateboard rolling on the asphalt road. That’s okay.

What I know is that as our lives get shorter this is the time to not waste another minute hour day week month or year caring what people think of us and how we look.

Are you in for risking falling down? I’m all for embracing risk. Risk, fail, rise up, and repeat. That’s the only way to live in our Third Chapter if you ask me.

The Third Chapter

Reading The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50 schooled me in the truth that making incremental changes is the way to go.

Getting infirm and living with declining health is NOT the inevitable outcome of old age. Illness in later years often comes down to inactivity, loneliness, and being sedentary. Plus lifestyle factors that cause disease like inadequate sleep and fast food forays.

Of course for some of us getting ill is “the luck of the draw” and not influenced by unhealthy habits. As I near the cusp of turning 58 I’m aware this holiday season of the loved ones that are gone from the table.

The missing plates. The truth that at the end of their lives every family member of mine was in a coma or had cancer or heart disease.

With a personal history like this you can see why I’m not taking chances. Forgive me for focusing on the holidays if you do not celebrate one at this time of year.

Since a lot of us gather together at a table with friends and family I want to talk about this here.

Living for today is not a cliché—it’s the only way to live when your life is getting shorter. Dwelling on the past or worrying about the future saps your mental energy. It wastes precious time you could be using to Bake a cake. Sing in a choir. Ride a skateboard.

The end of the year is not the time to start something new. This is what I’ve realized. I’ve also learned the life lesson that trying to force things to happen quickly is a mistake. Rushing, cutting corners, or taking shortcuts will result in a shoddy outcome.

Instead making incremental changes is the way to go. Slowing down and pacing yourself. Having patience. Remembering that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

The Third Chapter technically lasts 25 years. That’s too long to fill up your thoughts with negative perceptions about what you can and cannot do with your time left.

We don’t need another Sun City! We need more Authors of our Third Chapters to defy the expectation that we will age and fade into the sunset willingly with no hope for an active, vibrant life.

In coming blog entries I want to talk about what it’s like to be a Generation X girl living in the Third Chapter. Plus in the coming week I should be able to post new Upper and Lower Body routines.

Sharing the Wealth

In Women’s Health magazine Tanya Fields was interviewed. She is the founder of the Black Feminist Project and Black Joy Farm in the Bronx, NY.

Families living in the South Bronx neighborhood can get fresh fruits and vegetables delivered in CSA like boxes on a sliding-scale fee.

Interviewed in Women’s Health Fields was quoted:

“It’s a little ridiculous for people to see activism as a job as opposed to a responsibility to create a better world.”

Reading the work of Protest Poet Mahogany L. Browne has ignited the fire in me to speak out at every opportunity.

I tell you readers today: Dare. Risk acting to change your corner of the world for the better

In New York City when you order groceries online with FreshDirect you can add a donation to the NY Common Pantry [also in the Bronx].

NY Common Pantry sends you a charitable contribution tax-deduction letter via email in January. The money you donate can add up to $500 or more quickly.

The more deprived you feel that’s when I recommend donating to charity. And tipping service staff a little extra.

The holiday time is here. Try going on FreshDirect website to order food for yourself and donate food via NY Common Pantry.

Go on the Black Feminist Project website to donate money buy their tee shirt or read more about this nonprofit.

We’re all counting coins because of the increased cost of food due to inflation. Yet this is precisely when I feel like those of us with a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator should do more to help Americans who are food insecure.

Be grateful. That’s what I would tell everyone reading this blog. Be grateful.

Share the wealth.

It’s the quickest easiest way to feel like a millionaire even when you’re not.

And feeling like a million bucks can help you achieve your goals. Thus inspiring others to dare to dream.

This is what I would tell any ambitious folk reading this blog:

Stay hungry as the saying goes. And feed the hungry.

2022 Early Fall Lower Body Routine

1.DB Front Squat (Hold DB front to back at shoulder & squat normally)

8 pounds 12 reps x 3 sets

2.KB Dead lift to Shoulder Lift (KB in one hand – dead lift KB – then use momentum to lift up to shoulder – reset after every lift)

10 pounds 8 right 8 left

3.KB Swing with both hands

15 pounds 15 reps x 3 sets

4.Single Leg Hamstring Reach Dead lift with KB

10 pounds 12 reps x 3 sets

5.DB Calf Raises (Hold DB by your side)

10 pounds 15 reps x 3 sets

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Mountain Climbers – 25 seconds

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Russian Twist (holding DB at side)

Fast-paced Step-ups (using 1 riser on platform)

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Straight V-Up with arms & legs 12 – 15 reps

2022 Early Fall Upper Body Routine

1.DB Chest Press from Floor (Hold DB diagonally – start elbows on floor and press to ceiling)

10 pounds 12 reps x 3 sets

2.Bent Over DB Row (Holding DB in each hand – palms up – pull elbows back while leaning forward)

10 pounds 12 reps x 3 sets

3.DB Reverse Fly (Leaning forward – palms facing you – pulling arms out to the side to squeeze upper back)

5-8 pounds 12 reps x 3 sets

4.DB Shoulder Press (Press DB from shoulder to ceiling with DB front to back)

8 pounds 12 reps x 3 sets

5.DB Bicep Curl (Alternate curls – keep palms facing up)

5-8 pounds 12 reps x 3 sets

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Jumping Jacks – 25 seconds

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Alternating Ab Tucks ((Alternating elbows tucked to opposite knee) – 20 reps

Butt Kicks – 25 seconds

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Alternating Leg Raises

The Science of Fitness

Funny how a magazine with an article about how you can be Healthy at Every Size does not feature a full-bodied person on the cover? Cue the sarcasm emoji.

Regardless. There are key takeaways in the featured articles that make buying the issue justified.

In the special edition magazine above an expert advanced what I’ve always thought: a 200-pound woman can be fit. An R.D. in New York City counsels with a HAES (healthy at every size) and intuitive eating approach.

The goal should not be to diet yourself down to skin-and-bones. Food should be viewed as “fuel and fun” as The Pleasure of Food article states.

Another article focuses on the Body Neutral movement which upholds what a person’s body can do not your body’s appearance.

To keep healthy at every size the central tenet of the special edition should be taken to heart: reframe your perception of the habit of keeping fit. Calling it “exercise” can repel a person when they think it’s something you have to do and is not enjoyable.

Seeing a workout routine as the gateway to achieving a goal is the difference. Maybe you want to walk up the subway stairs without huffing and puffing. Or you want to be able to walk your dog around the block.

Why not call it a play-out instead of a workout when what you’re doing is a fun fitness habit?

Sadly, feeling fit is hard when you buy into the impossible idea that you need to exercise to lose weight. In a research study women who exercised felt better even when they didn’t lose weight.

Feeling great is the goal.

My purpose in lifting weights is to maintain “functional fitness” as I get older. What I hope to be able to do is continue to carry 25-pound tote bags of groceries in my sixties and beyond.

The Science of Fitness special edition is the one special edition magazine I will refer to over and over.

In this book there’s also recipes for Smoothies that Taste like Milkshakes.

Well worth the $12.99.

2022 Late Summer Lower Body Routine

1.KB Sumo Squat (feet wider than shoulders) 15 pounds 3 x 12 reps

2.Single Arm KB Swing (swing between legs and push forward with hips) 10 pounds 3 x 10 reps each side

3.DB Glute Bridge (lying on floor – DB on hips – press hips up towards ceiling and squeeze glutes) 15 pounds 3 x 12 reps

4.KB Hamstring Dead-lift (legs straight – hinge at hips to reach forward – feel stretch in hamstrings) 10-15 pounds 3 x 12 reps

5.DB Side Lunge (hold DB by chest – lunge alternately to each side – keep feet flat) 5-10 pounds 10 each side

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Medicine Ball Slams – side to side – 15 throws

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Ab crunch (lying flat – lift shoulders off floor to squeeze stomach) 15 reps

High knees – 20 seconds

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Leg Raises – alternating legs – 20 leg raises