While I was 12, my parents separated and my mom became a single parent to two preteens. Judy worked full-time and took care of everything at home. Now that I’m middle-aged, I have a greater appreciation for her habits and the choices she made while I was growing up. A few lessons stand out as I look back from 40-something years old.
You have to make time to exercise in order to take care of your body.
It took a while to understand it and embrace it: the love of exercise. My mother taught aerobics in the 80s in her leotard and leg warmers to songs by the Pointer Sisters and Micheal Jackson. (Sorry, I don't have any photos!) After we moved to Missouri, she no longer taught group fitness classes but she did sweat it out in the living room with the likes of Billy Blanks and Richard Simmons. Occasionally, she'd get me to join in despite my lack of stamina! Mom also regularly went for long, fast-paced walks. She made time to exercise while we were young and she made time to exercise as a single mother working full-time. I’m pretty amazed by that when I think about the moms I know and how busy they are. She may not have realized it then but the example provided to us as children helped influence both my brother and I to be more physically active adults.
You don’t realize you can do hard things until you do them.
I remember going for walks with mom and not being able to keep up very well. I was probably around 11 years old when I sat down on the trail complaining I couldn’t continue. She reminded me that I told her I could walk the entire thing and it was my choice to go along. My mom acknowledged that I was tired but assured me that to keep going meant getting stronger. I may not have completed it very quickly or energetically but I did it! A similar sentiment is also what got me through the first few weeks of college. This shy, introverted homebody had a VERY hard time adjusting. These two examples are fairly mild in contrast to other experiences but they illustrate my point well enough without getting overly personal. While in the midst of a trial or conflict, I've got to push through the discomfort of growth to reach the other side...or at least learn from the effort when I don't quite make it.
It’s okay to slow down. Actually, it’s a necessity. And no matter how hard you work, if you look for it, there will always be that NEXT thing that needs your attention and energy.
Sometimes, mom teaches us what NOT to do. Judy was always on the go. Work, cooking, house-cleaning, grocery-shopping, curtain-washing, furniture-moving, yard work…I hardly recall her sitting down for long periods of time because there was always the next thing. She never took much time for herself because she was always worried about that next thing that HAD to be done. Even as my brother and I grew older and eventually moved out of the house, it seemed she would never relax. It wasn’t until after she retired that she started to slow down and sit with her tea and watch the birds. Everyone deserves some time to just be. Focus on the most important stuff and the rest can wait.
Of course, all that I've learned from my mom over the years cannot be boiled down into a few paragraphs. To this day, if I have a problem, I still call mom. So cheers to all the moms out there and all of the big and little lessons you share with your children every day.
Happy Mother's Day!
Did you know…
Balance, put simply, is the ability to maintain your center of gravity. It involves strength & stability of the foot, ankle and trunk as well as input from the eyes (visual), inner ear (vestibular system), joints and muscles (proprioceptors). All these systems work together to help us stay upright.
The visual system is really important when it comes to maintaining balance, which is why you can feel wobbly when you get up to go the bathroom in the dark and why your balance can change depending on where you focus your eyes. The vestibular system sends signals to the brain that is related to our head position, orientation in space, and motion. If the vestibular system is “off”, you may feel dizzy and unable to maintain balance. This system isn’t as efficient when we get older explaining why I no longer enjoy roller coasters or curvy roads!
Age-related changes in muscle mass, motor neurons, the vestibular system, eyesight, and even blood pressure can result in balance difficulties, thus leading to an increase in falls in older populations. However, just because these changes happen naturally doesn’t mean we can’t slow the process and make improvements.
In 2020, about one in five Americans reported using a smart watch or fitness tracker. It can be a tool that helps or hinders; it all depends on how you use it! Here are few pitfalls to be aware of and a few tips to get more benefit from your smart watch or fitness tracker.
Give Yourself the Gift of Good Health"
Good health from a bottle sounds really nice, doesn't it? Might be why the supplement industry in the U.S. is worth billions! As a personal trainer/habits coach, I am occasionally asked about supplementation. It’s my job to provide information, not prescribe or sell you supplements. Especially in the midst of a pandemic. It’s not surprising that one response to the COVID-19 Pandemic is a further increase in the use of supplements, including those viewed as immune support such as vitamins C and D and Zinc. Despite their popularity, current research results are mixed. Both Vitamin C and Zinc supplementation have been shown to potentially shorten the duration of a common cold. Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to developing more severe illness. However, as of now, research doesn’t suggest that these supplements will make you cold, flu, or COVID-proof. Of course, you need sufficient vitamin C and D and zinc in your body but does that warrant supplementation? That depends on your diet and habits.
Supplements are considered any product intended to add one or more ingredients to your diet including vitamins, minerals, herbs/botanicals, amino acids, or other substances. Many of us have been taking supplements since childhood. Growing up in the 1980s, I gladly took my chewable Flintstones multivitamin daily. Interestingly, despite their common usage over so many years, the jury is out on how much multivitamins actually help us to stay healthy. Studies published in 2013 in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, found that “multivitamin and mineral supplements didn’t work any better than placebo” in relation to health improvements related to certain health conditions such as cardiovascular disease.
In 2019, results of a CRN (Council for Responsible Nutrition) Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements found the highest overall dietary supplement usage to date, with 77 percent of Americans reporting they use dietary supplements. The most common supplements being used included multivitamins, individual vitamins such as C, D and E, minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron, protein supplements, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and turmeric.
With so many people using them, they have to be safe and effective, right?