I'm not a nutritionist. I'm not a fitness expert.

I am a 57 year old woman who has never felt more healthy and fit in my entire life. Five years ago, at 52, I weighed about 80 lbs. more than I do now. I felt much older, with stiff joints and back aches and no energy. And don't even ask about clothes!

My goal was not just weight loss, but to get healthier. I did not "go on a diet," I did not count calories or carbs. I made lifestyle changes, a little at a time. I tried to eat healthier and move more. You can do this, too. You can make changes to look, and more importantly, feel healthier and fit. You don't have to be overweight to be unfit. You will feel a difference in strength, energy, stamina and flexibility. I'm talking to you, men, too!

I can tell you how I did it. Not everything I do will be right for you. Through posts about my progress; tips and ideas about nutrition and exercise; links to sites I like and find helpful, I hope to inspire others to get fit and healthy and encourage a community of support and an exchange of ideas. And have a little fun on the way! Much of our information will be about local Cape Ann sites - walking and bike routes, gyms, types of exercise, yoga studios, good buys on healthy food - but Guests and commenters from anywhere are welcome as well.

Okay, I know you all want to know. Right now I'm wearing a pair of Levis - size 8. A comfortable size 8!

Twenty year old daughter:
"Mom, why are you wearing my clothes?"
Mom: "Because I can!"

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Walk for Mental and Physical Fitness

Go for a walk! Step out the door and do it. It's that easy.

I live in West Gloucester and I'm not fond of walking along Essex Avenue, so most times I do drive and park somewhere - the Boulevard, downtown, Niles Beach. But if you live in a neighborhood with sidewalks, just step out and go. Got chores? Put the laundry in the washer, then take a walk. If you're anything like me, you'll keep walking just to avoid going back to finish the laundry.

I'm a solo walker. It's my alone time. I have an MP3 player loaded with motivating tunes. When I need a push getting up a hill, I scroll to something like "It's Raining Men" and step up to the beat. Yes, I'm that crazy woman you may have seen walking through town, alone and unknowingly singing out loud.

Find a walking buddy if you need that extra motivation. Want a group? Send me comments with suggestions for days, locations and times. Maybe we can create a schedule for walkers to just show up for a group walk. We could have a morning group and an evening group.

Mentally, I like walking in the morning. Physically, my body works better later in the day after my muscles are warmed up. If you head out in the morning, stretch and jog in place for a few minutes before you start.

Start slow. Aim for three or four days a week, every other day. Add a little distance each time. After a week or two, work on stepping up your pace. When you start, you may feel like you just can't do it. I did. But you can - and you'll be surprised at how quickly you build up stamina and strength. I think a lot of people give up on walking (or any exercise routine) because they think if they can't do a mile right off the bat, then it's not worth it. Work on it slowly and it will be worth it!

The first steps are the hardest! Check out The Walking Site for more tips and motivation.

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