Exercise and Our Other Habits

Good morning!

November 15th came on me quick! Between being focused on being in the best shape I can be heading into the holidays and a busy slate at No Finish Line, the days are flying by! I am super excited for the holidays and ready for time to slow down…

This past Wednesday night I was having a good laugh with long time friend and NFLF client Kate Dickinson. Both of us are using the NFLF Holiday Challenge to give us additional workout motivation and it seems as if we are accumulating MEPS (effort points) at the same rate. At one point we had the same number of points! While the Challenges is not necessarily a competition, there is a certain element of friendly (and humorous) banter. I moved ahead of Kate yesterday and once she sees that she’ll be out today doing something to pass me! Others are certainly paying attention to the Challenges leader board and using it for motivation and fun! Exactly as we hoped this challenge would do!

I have a client who most likely because of his age he is old school in that he buys the printed New York Times every day for his news. As a result of this, he has been bringing me in clippings from the health and fitness section. While I try to stay current on health and fitness information, these articles have provided me less technical perspective and more practical thoughts.

One article focused on America’s weight problem amongst older adults (plus-45), combining findings with perspective.

The top four reasons for weight gain among this age group (in order) are: (No big surprises)

1. Alcohol consumption

2.Portion size

3. Carbs (mainly breads)

4. Sweets/Sugar

It was found that alcohol and breads led to greater belly (visceral) and butt fat with visceral fat being the most harmful to our health.

Many like me, like to say we exercise so we can enjoy one, or in my case more than one of those habits. However, the studies show that less than 15 percent exercise enough to counter these habits. Further, as we age it is found that using offsetting can actually lead to injuries.

Exercise is never a bad choice, but it is not enough to counter our habits. Over 15 years ago my belly fat was beyond what was considered healthy and it was clear that my habits were working against me. I would like to say I buckled down and exercised more, but that would not have been enough. While I was (am) and light social drinker, my pitfalls were carbs and sugars. Between breads and sweets (to include soda), there was not enough time in a day to offset it with exercise. I eliminated soda, reduced breads, and even limited deserts, while logging a considerable number of miles on the road running. This combined effort helped me and reverse the trajectory I was moving in.

One problem I found with my strategy is when my running mileage decreased, I could feel my jeans tighten. I was amongst the 85 percent that was not exercising enough to match my diet habits. Today I workout 5 days a week, but as I age, I realize that I must pay attention to my eating (and drinking) habits always. Staying fit is important to me, but even with my workout habits, I need to make better decisions out of my running shoes and when not in the gym.

Our NFLF Holiday Challenge has been a great motivation to exercise during the festive months, but for me, it has also brought an awareness on my sweets and drinking habits. I fully plan to enjoy this wonderful season, but as I work my butt off, I am going to try and be mindful of the other choices I make.

Here comes Thanksgiving!

God Bless and have a great week!