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!"

Monday, October 19, 2009

Where to Start - Move It!

The track at the High School was a great place to start my walking routine, to measure my progress. Once I was feeling stronger and could walk longer, it did get boring. I started walking the Boulevard. Then I added the loop up to Tally's, up Washington Street, down Middle Street and back to the Boulevard. Every couple of days I'd go a block or two farther. I would add a hill or run up the steps from Harbor Loop to the Fitz Hugh Lane House. I'm always changing up my route - if it's windy out, I head up to Middle Street and explore the side streets. There is some fabulous architecture in that section of town and it's a treat to take it in while you walk.

You don't always have to "go for a walk."

You've probably heard and read it all: take the stairs, park your car at the far end of a lot, walk instead of drive when you can.

It all helps. It helps with weight loss; it helps with keeping you limber; it keeps your metabolism cranking during the day and adds to your overall fitness level.

Start small, make those little changes. If I had to go to BankNorth at Harbor Loop, I parked on Rogers Street - maybe by the Gloucester House, then closer to St. Peter's Park. If I had errands on Main Street, I might park on Rogers Street or Dale Avenue. These days, I often park on the Boulevard when I have any errands to do downtown.

On your way out to work: if you can, walk a loop around your house before you get in your car or walk a loop around your workplace when you get there. Do the same thing if you have the opportunity during the day and/or when you leave work.

Park at the far end of a parking lot and do an extra loop on your way in/way out.

Think of walking as another mode of transportation, not exercise. It's cheaper, more environmentally friendly, and healthier than driving.

Is your laundry room on another floor? Instead of juggling a large load down or back up, I purposely make several trips up and down the stairs.

Talking on the phone: Stand instead of sitting. Emptying the dishwasher: deliberately bend low or squat to grab a dish and stretch to put it away.

And really, when you're in line somewhere, nobody will notice you squeezing your glutes.

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