Age well with these role models

Can aging be a choice, or at least, can we have a decent input into how it plays out?

I certainly think we can, and here’s a fantastic video and article from Dr. Mercola to back that up.  Click on this link to take a look at this delightful trio.

Get Fit – At Any Age

Walk the dogs

We all really need to include some serious exercise in our lives, and if you find it challenging (or even if you don’t) there’s an easier and more efficient way to do it.

Even in retirement, most of us can find excuses for not exercising, the commonest of which is not enough time.  How bizarre is that?

After half a lifetime of fitting in a dozen things at any one time, suddenly with time on our hands, that time telescopes into nothing.

How we’re designed
It can be argued, and lots of clever people do, that humans are designed for short bursts of high activity, sandwiched between lighter exercise.

Happy Fred

Happy Fred

That fits nicely with the picture of early humans mooching about the prairie looking for dinner.  With nothing much about, our ancestor spots a small animal nearby, takes off and runs it down.

Bingo! Fred Flintstone, gasping for breath, but happy. Dinner’s in the bag.

Fit as a flea, in 15 minutes
Well, the good news is, once you ‘get it’ you only need to spend 15-20 minutes 3 times a week to end up fit as a flea!

Called High Intensity Training – HIT for short – it sounds forbidding, but in fact is a quick and simple way to get and stay in top condition.

The idea is you do super short bursts of exercise followed by a rest period…your heart goes flat-out then recovers before doing it all again.



Choose something you like
Doesn’t matter at all what you choose to do.

Walking for many people is all they ever do. But you can row, swim, ride a bike or lift weights. Or anything else that takes your fancy.

Start small

Start small

The only important bit is that it’s something where you can vary the speed at will. Which means skiing or rock-climbing probably won’t work!

Start where you are
Even if you’re completely unfit when you start, you can take as much time as you need.  It might take you the whole year or it might take a few weeks; who cares?   Getting fit is the only goal here. No competition.



You might only manage to walk slowly to the front gate. Just do it, then once you get your breath back, see if you can repeat it. You might only get halfway the second time.

Congratulations!  Progress
The focus is on doing something, and continuing to do that something, with tiny improvements as you can manage.

And you improve

And you improve

And then you build on that, adding repetitions, getting faster, and lessening the time between each effort.

Below is a fantastic infographic from Dr Mercola’s website. It gives you a graphical look at this whole thing.

Give it a try, and quite soon you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Every little helps.

peak fitness benefits

Improve your body’s ability to burn fat, growth hormone production, insulin sensitivity, and glucose tolerance by trying the Peak Fitness program, which incorporates minutes-long high-intensity interval training. Discover more about the benefits and proper way of doing this exercise program by checking out this infographic.

Seniors With Attitude

Aging with Attitude

People with attitude are always so much more interesting than those without, don’t you think?

As we age, we have to remember that it’s no longer fashionable to become invisible. Indeed, it’s much more likely that you’ll have some of your finest hours sometime after you turn 60 – or 70 – or even 80.

That’s certainly my plan, anyway.

Below is a video that proves the point.  These people not only refuse to become invisible, they could be described as hyper-visible.  Perhaps more of us should take a leaf out of their books.  Do take a look!

How To Start Somewhere
And Let Enthusiasm Propel You


”What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Stronger”, they say!  Whoever ‘they’ are.

So, my enthusiasm out-ran my capacity…..again!

I got really excited a while back because I’d started to run regularly. For years, I’d imagined myself running, but never got round to it. Admittedly, my start was on the treadmill, but running is running after all, so any level seemed a milestone to me.

the treadmill's a good way to start

the treadmill’s a good way to start

Too far, too fast, too soon
Then I got sore and my program fizzled a bit; I had enjoyed it so much I overdid it. I’d rush onto the treadmill EVERY day, perhaps worried that I needed to make up for lost time.

My body grouched, a lot, startled I suppose, that I suddenly demanded  amazing feats from it; was it wise to wait till I was 70 to start? So, for a few weeks now I’ve run an occasional 30-45 sec. spurt, otherwise indulging in a sedate walk.

Will I ever learn the lesson?
But a couple of weeks ago, a Step class caught my eye, and I reckoned it might be a good way to condition my body. I’d been to a class ages ago with another instructor, and supposed I could easily cope. Wrong!

Step class

Step class

It’s not the first time I’ve over-estimated my capacity, and I guess it won’t be the last.  I wasn’t at all sure I wouldn’t succumb to a cardiac arrest right there, and my heart and lungs demanded lengthy pauses to convince them all was well.

Undeterred,  I rocked up again this week, paced myself better, and got to the end in much better shape. Now I’m on a mission to get fit enough to do the whole class with no ‘old-lady’pauses.

I’m not obsessive, though you could be forgiven for thinking so. Maybe a huge surging enthusiasm is closer to the mark.

Marathon maybe?

Marathon maybe?

And how fantastic that is, as you grab at passing interests and parlay them into rich and exciting episodes that spice up your life.

I can’t begin to imagine where this one could lead, but then, I rarely see it coming. And maybe that’s a good thing.  Would I want to know yet that I’ll be running my first marathon at 85?

Earn a treat
Left over from one of those fantastic grabs is a love of food. I work at keeping my body truly healthy, and at the same time I like to eat well. And I like to have treats. Juggling all those can be quite tricky, but I came up with one good idea recently.

I try to have a little dried fruit, nuts and dark chocolate every day, but keeping the portions halfway reasonable is hard.  So I combined them all to make what seems to me something just short of decadence. Try them here.

Recipe: Necessary Treats

Is This All There Is?

Is there more to life than this?

Retirement does funny things to you – or at least it has to me. I’m wondering if it’s time to order up a rocking chair and a big bag of tatting!

In a longish working life, I’ve worked in a few different jobs, but they all had things in common.  Working in an Operating Theatre, running a Catering business, running a Massage practice all required meticulous attention to detail, planning ahead, and most of all, showing up.

So I figured that when I started a blog, writing a post once a week would be a piece of cake.  It’s not that hard to do, and doesn’t need any new skills.  I had lots of ideas, and I know the subject well.

But the reality has been a bit different. Much of my life-long discipline seems to have gone out the window.

I forget to post, can you believe? I can’t think of anything to write about ….. can I be serious, when life has never been more interesting or full of new good stuff?

I have a bit of trouble knowing where time goes, and can’t begin to imagine how I ever found time to work, often for long hard hours.

Certainly, I go to the gym at least 3 times a week.  That disappears the whole morning because the classes I attend don’t start till 10.30am, so nothing much happens beforehand (well, there’s breakfast, emails and odds and ends to deal with).

Then after the class, a group of friends heads to the nearby coffee shop for a chat and sometimes even a treat. And so, home for lunch!

Today however, I’ve got a new plan. I am claiming back some of that lost discipline, and I’m turning over a new leaf. I can and will post each week, as well as writing the pages of useful stuff that I’d initially planned to do.

Keep watching for the next exciting episode.


The Getting of Wisdom, Again

senior with computer

Like lots of other fearless,  feisty seniors you probably always thought wisdom and ageing inseparable. But one day, you got there, and some of those hard-won life smarts seemed to evaporate.

Somehow, you don’t fit the world so well any more;  technology feels as though it got away from us; and who can understand the young?  In fact you feel far from wise.

If this is you, just hang on, because the wisdom is there all right. Sometimes it simply gets lost in the clutter.  We need to hunt it down.

What’s the problem?
Mostly we know when retirement will happen. So it’s surprising how often people retire without any planning.  Like it’ll take care of itself.

You’ve spent a huge chunk of your life and energy on your work, then overnight, it’s gone. Faster than the speed of light, your surrogate family, your tribe, is no more.  You might stay in touch with a few of them, but you’ve lost the common thread  that held you together.
This sudden lack of structure  can herald dangerous times for some, even leading into depression.

‘Aging is not lost youth
but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”
Betty Friedan (1921-2006)

We’re ‘past it’.  Oh,  really?
We can get the impression we’re ready for the scrap-heap once we reach retirement.  Sometimes it’s even what we expect ourselves.

It couldn’t be further from the truth though, and there are plenty of people leading rich and productive lives well into their 80s, 90s and beyond.  All that wisdom comes into play.

 Esther's lovely smile

Esther’s lovely smile

My own role model is my lovely friend Esther. She’s 98.  Until a couple of years ago, she drove herself every week to our Mahjong club. And that included negotiating the highway.  Always sharp as a tack, she played till just a few weeks ago.

(Now in March 2014, I have just been to Esther’s funeral; what a sad day, but remembering and celebrating the life of this remarkable woman was good)

And Frenchwoman, Jeanne Louise Calment was no slouch either. Born the year before the telephone was invented, she knew Van Gogh.   Not understanding she was supposed to be ’past it’ , she took up Fencing at 85, and rode her bicycle till she was 100. Aged 122, she died in 1995.

A plan, a plan; my Kingdom for a plan
Even if you’re retired already, and just realized you need a plan, it’s not too late.  Grab pencil and paper, and make some lists.

Don’t clutter your thinking with details like money, geography or other limiting stuff.  List the things you’ve always wanted to do, no matter how wild. There’s no hurry – you’re retired, so you’ve got the rest of your life to get this sorted.

Never too late to learn

Never too late to learn

Use the internet to search around and see how you might do some of these things. If you don’t already use the internet,  it’s the perfect time to go to your local senior centre and learn how. That’s your first new interest underway.

Love Google, your new best friend
Google is about to become your ally and friend.  You’ll come up with completely fresh ideas when you trawl the internet a bit.  Any subject you can think of is fair game, because there’s sure to be someone else in the world who’s already asked the questions you want answered.  

Lady with camera

Image courtesy of stockimages at

Type whole questions into the search box, like  –  How to use a Digital Camera – and  in no time, you’ll have access to detailed free tutorials and videos, right there on your screen.
Another new skill under your belt.

Post retirement, and there’s life after all
Use every opportunity to widen your social group; I’ve made new friends from my gym class, as well as my Mahjong group. There are amazing and interesting people out there, ready and willing to welcome your wisdom into their lives, as they share theirs with you.

If you want to do something that’s not available in your area, you could start a project.  No matter what you’ve done in life, you’ll have managed plenty of projects, though you might not have named  them as such. Painting, raising kids, gardening are all projects that needed detailed management.

What would you like to do?
Search the internet for information; find forums on the topic and you’ll find out everything you want to know.

Want to study?

Want to study?

Maybe you want to find a teacher, or find others who would like the same thing as you.  You might even teach it.

You can go to University, get professional qualifications online, or volunteer in your areas of interest.  Often times, cost will be minimal.

Never forget: you bring a lifetime’s skills, knowledge and wisdom to your Seniorhood,  no matter what position you held. You’ve survived plenty, and you’ve learnt plenty.   The rapid changes of this new age can feel a bit daunting, but given time, you’ll nail them too.

Grandma Moses

Grandma Moses

Grandma Moses took up painting in her late 70s, and one if her paintings now hangs in the White House. Another sold for over a million dollars.

If she can do it, what’s to stop us?


How Ageing Well Is Not That Hard

Long before we even give it a thought, we should be planning how to age well. What happens, of course, is you wake up one morning and find you’ve aged overnight, almost.

For better or for worse.

So, quick, a plan that can start right now, right where we are. We don’t have to look forward with despair; there’s a good chance we can have a long and active life.

There’s no doubt we do have to pay some attention to how we live if we want to age well. If you look at the people who’ve managed it, you can usually find some sort of common thread, whether its diet, exercise, prayer or whatever. There’s not one thing that makes it happen, but trends are usually obvious. And we can take a look at some of those in coming posts.

There’ll be some great videos to include in future posts too, that point to a positive future for us. And, to start us off, I’ve included one from Jane Fonda.

She talks aboutLife’s Third Act’ and that seems to me a fantastic description of ageing. She should know because not only has she researched the topic, but like us, she’s there. Her video is an entertaining new take on the matter.

Click on the arrow to start the video.


Swimming is Great for Active Ageing

Water fashionistas

Water fashionistas

Staying mobile and staying social are a couple of the big issues that we all need to address as we age. If people haven’t exercised recently, are overweight, or suffer from injuries or arthritis, the gym or even walking may not be possible or comfortable

Water activities are often the perfect choice in these circumstances, but they also work really well for people who have none of the above, and are just looking for another way to stay active.

You can of course swim solo. Some people love to swim; some relish the uninterrupted meditative quiet time; and you can always swim with friends.  All great exercise, but not much fun.

Water aerobics or some sort of organized group class in water however, can be great fun and a real social outing.  And that’s all bonus, because the main purpose is to give you an excellent whole body workout.  I’ve included a YouTube video below just to give you an idea of what it might be like.

You’ll get lots of benefits when you start taking part in Water Activities.
You’ll Show Up
.  For the majority of people the biggest problem with exercise  is motivation. If it’s fun, it won’t be such a chore, and you’ll probably even look forward to going to your sessions.   So chances are you’ll show up more often and actually get the benefits on offer.

Improved Mood. It’s an easy way to have fun and make new friends. Most participants will have similarities to you, being restricted in some way.  They’ll also share your worries about what age has done to your bodies. So you can relax!

Healthy Heart. It may feel as though you’re just messing about, but working in water is deceptive.  You can get a very good cardio workout that elevates your heart rate and conditions your heart. It’ll work much more efficiently as it gets stronger.

using a noodleIncreased Mobility. Because the joints are cushioned by the water, it’s easier to move even painful ones. You soon find you can do things that normally you’re too sore or stiff to manage.

Muscle Strength. You can work muscles with more freedom of movement, and work them a lot harder, because there’s less restriction in water. So muscles become strong and flexiible.

Balance. Crucial as we age, because it’s often a simple fall that causes a broken leg and the start of a slippery slope into pain and despair. It’s very easy to improve balance in the pool because you don’t fall over the way you do when out of the water.
Stress-less. This sort of exercise isn’t stressful for mind or body. It’s relaxed, it’s warm and it’s fun.

duck to water

duck to water

So regardless of your stage of fitness, give exercise in the water a go – you’ll take to it like a duck to water!