Category Archives: Health

Coronavirus Deaths

Three Things That Could Save Your Life

In this challenging time of the coronavirus pandemic and the daily updates on positive tests and fatalities, one thing is very obvious: baby boomers who are by definition nearing 60 or older are significantly more likely to die than younger people (see chart). One of the main reasons for this seems to be the prevalence of pre-existing conditions in this older age group. “In the first big analysis of more than 44,000 cases from China, deaths were at least five times more common among confirmed cases with diabetes, high blood pressure or heart or breathing problems” stated the BBC in a recent article.

So, what’s a baby boomer to do? Accept fate and try to stay as far away as possible from the virus, other people and society. Certainly if you are in a high risk group you should be doing just this. Additionally however, there are other things that we Boomers can do to reduce the impact or likelihood of these mostly chronic diseases that are aiding and abetting this deadly virus.

Chronic Diseases and Nutrition

Many people increasingly believe that chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, some heart and lung diseases, some cancers and the broader umbrella of metabolic syndrome that also includes insulin resistance and general obesity are in large part caused by our diet, lack of movement and increasingly toxic environment. Therefore if you believe this, then one way to improve your likelihood of survival in this new world of pandemics is to improve your health.

The two easiest ways to do this is: 1) Stop Eating Crap – remove as much processed food and added sugar from your diet as you can and replace it with healthy natural foods. Don’t try to cut calories or restrict the amount of food yet just eat less crap. Then later you can start to worry about how much you eat and other details like do I want to eat meat or not. There are many arguments over these more nuanced nutrition programs but for now just reduce the crap that you eat. 2) Start Moving More – no matter how much you move now just move a bit more. Go from the coach to a walk around the block. Go from sitting all day to standing some part of the day or getting up very hour to stretch and move. If you walk already, try transitioning to some easy running. Just move more.

Taming the Lizard

3) Tame the Lizard – the base of your brain or what some people call the lizard brain is focused on keeping you alive so when it perceives stress whether it be an approaching lion or approaching deadline, it kicks into gear and among other things can trigger cravings for sweets. Sweet foods are high in sugar and sugar is easily burned if you need to climb a tree to get away from the lion and easily stored if we are about to go into a famine. This increase in easy calories however is not needed to sit down and stop procrastinating on that deadline and is not need later either so it just becomes fat, increases insulin and starts a cascade of bad stuff that leads to the above chronic diseases. Our Lizard Brain also doesn’t like movement as it wants to conserve energy for when its needed to escape predators and hunt but we don’t do that much anymore but when you think about going to the gym or going for a run, it still kicks in with that little voice urging you to stay on the couch.

So how do we tame this lizard that in name of saving us from threats is really starting to kill us? You need to break the connection between the stress and the sweets. i.e. the boss’s email creating a craving for that chocolate bar. There are several tools that you can use to do this but fundamentally it comes down to interrupting the message from one to the other within the lizard brain so the more rational part of your brain can kick in.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom,” Victor Frankly in Man’s Search for Meaning. 

So how do we train ourselves to do this. There are probably many ways but here are two tools that I have found helpful: 1) 5,4,3,2,1 – Whenever you feel a craving or start walking towards the fridge, simply countdown from 5 to give yourself the space for your higher brain to kick in and take over. This is the crux of Mel Robbin’s Five Second Rule. Mel has a great book and a lot of online information that go into more detail. 2) WIRM – Witness, Interrupt, Redirect, Maintain. This is simple tool that I found at The Unbeatable Mind with Mark Divine, a retired Navy SEAL. When you feel a craving or notice something starting to brew inside your lizard brain, just witness it or notice it. Then use a quick mantra to interrupt it like NO or STOP or whatever and then quickly redirect this with another automated response such as instead of sugar I will just walk around the block and finally maintain it or reinforce it with another mantra like Everyday In Every Way I am Getting Better Stronger and Leaner or use Mark’s Looking Good, Feeling Good, On the Way to Hollywood. Make up your own sayings and give it a try or just use Mel’s countdown to see how it works.

BoomerangFit is a community of primarily baby boomers who believe that they can still be do whatever it is they want to do such as climb a mountain, run a marathon or just run around the back yard with their kids or grandkids. Age is just a number and aging doesn’t have to mean less mobility or fitness or saying goodbye to your goals.

If you would like to get more information about our community here at BoomerangFit, please CLICK HERE and give us your email address. We won’t sell this info to anyone and will just send you info we think will help you improve your fitness. 2020 is going to be your year.

How to Get Into the Best Shape of Your Life

2020 is it. This is the year you are going to get into the best shape of your life and we are going to do it together.

Let’s start by talking about the word shape. What shape do aspire to be? A cone, a pear, an apple or a banana? The phrase is ridiculous. None of us aspire to be a shape. I think what we really want to be is fit. But fit for what? You may want to be fit to keep up with your grandchildren or fit enough to walk your daughter down the aisle or fit enough to finally run a marathon or to win a contest. It doesn’t matter what you choose, just go from a place of current fitness to a place of improved fitness using the measurement(s) you choose.

Measurements – so what are the measurements that you should choose? Most people would say they want to lose “weight” but this can be very difficult to measure. Muscle is more dense than fat so it takes up less space. If you are gaining muscle while losing fat, your weight could remain the same or increase but you could be getting healthier by reducing fat. Many people gain muscle quickly with any weight-bearing exercise so they will seem to “gain” weight even though they are eating better and exercising. A better measurement of improvement and a better goal for you might be how your clothes fit, what is the measurement of your waist or even how do you feel? If you really want to get technical, you could measure your body fat percentage using one of many tools that have varying accuracy. Why not just start with a journal and just note how you feel, how things fit and your energy levels.

Journal – Start a journal and keep track of these measurements so you can hold yourself accountable and see your progress. This progress also will not be a straight line to so just accept that and move on.

Team BoomerangFitEveryone is different. The biggest thing that just about most in the fitness game seems to ignore is that everyone is different. Everyone has different genes or genetics. Everyone has different epigenetics as well this means that certain genes may be turned on or turned off based on where you live, how you live and what you eat. Everyone lives in a different part of the world and has different problems, stresses, allergies, sensitivities and habits. So to think that any fitness or nutrition guru can create a program to work for anyone other than themselves or a single person is pretty ridiculous. They simply provide a program that has worked for them or other people “like” you before. Working with a trainer or nutritionist can be very helpful but realize that its your responsibility to customize the programs for yourself. Just try different things and do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

Food – don’t count calories just count crap. Try to get on a #crapfreediet. This means reducing the amount of processed food that you eat every day. If it has a label on the side then it has most likely been processed to some extent. On the other hand vegetables, fruit and yes organic grass-fed beef are all on the other side of the processed spectrum. So eat more and more unprocessed and less and less processed. Simple as that. Once you have completely reduced your intake of processed food or at least to the extent possible then you might want to consider further customizations based on what works for you.

Organic vs Non-Organic – At the end of the day if you can consume food that hasn’t been processed and that hasn’t been sprayed with or fed with chemicals and pesticides, you are better off. But if you are living on McDonalds and/or have no affordable access to organic food than just start eating less McDonalds and more vegetables. If they aren’t organic just wash them a lot. But at least its a start.

Vegan vs Keto – For most people, it just doesn’t matter. Focus on dramatically reducing the processed food in your diet and you will get healthier and probably lose a lot of fat. However, if you have already reduced the processed food then look at refining things further in whatever way works for you. But first focus on reducing the processed food. Then try out eating like a vegan or a vegetarian, paleo or Keto. They can all work for the right person and they will all not work for everyone. When you do this, however, be careful not to increase the processed food. Potato Chips in a bag could still be considered vegan or vegetarian. So again get rid of the processed food first.

Cooking – take a cooking class or marry a chef like I did. It is a lot easier to eat healthy and remove processed food if you know how to cook at least a few key meals.

Exercise – much like nutrition what you do for exercise depends a lot on your goals, what your current capabilities are such as mobility and flexibility and what resources that you have. Like removing processed food, almost anyone will benefit from moving more. This could include a daily walk, a standing desk, a run at lunch time or joining a CrossFit gym. It doesn’t matter, just move more than you are moving now and start where you are without try to cheat the system and jump ahead. This will just lead to injury or burnout.

Community – In most cases, getting other people to walk with you, workout with you, train for a marathon with you will help you stay committed and hold you accountable. There are lots of way to do this. CrossFit and OrangeTheory for example have built great communities just be sure to join a community that will work with you to increase your mobility and fitness while also teaching you the correct way to do whatever it is your doing, or you will get injured and will need to stop exercising for some period of time. There are also virtual communities to help you stay motivated, hold you accountable and bring you great new information like Peloton. This community we are building here at BoomerangFit is another example.

BoomerangFit is a community of primarily baby boomers who believe that they can still be do whatever it is they want to do such as climb a mountain, run a marathon or just run around the back yard with their kids or grandkids. Age is just a number and aging doesn’t have to mean less mobility or fitness or saying goodbye to your goals.

If you would like to get more information about our community here at BoomerangFit, please CLICK HERE and give us your email address. We won’t sell this info to anyone and will just send you info we think will help you improve your fitness. 2020 is going to be your year.

 

Can You Recover from This Bar?

While wasting a perfectly good Sunday browsing through Amazon, I was served up an advertisement for a tasty and potentially healthy sounding Gatorade Whey Protein Recover Bar – Chocolate Chip flavor. Since I had just gotten back this past Friday from attempting to climb Mt Rainier, I was desperately in need of some recovery. Also, as regular readers here will know, recovery is one of the most important aspects of an older athletes regimen.

Before I pushed the magic Amazon “Buy with One Click”, however, I thought I would do a little due diligence.

As you can see from the photo, one of these “Recover” Bars has 41 grams of carbohydrates and 29 grams of sugar. It also has 360 calories. Is the bar itself what we need to “recover” from after the Insulin spike?  This really seems like a lot of sugar for a single bar whether I am recovering from something or not. However, to avoid the politics of low carb diets vs vegetarians and Paleo vs vegans and also considering that I am not a doctor or nutritionist, I went to the World Health Organization (WHO) for guidance.

Lo and behold, apparently the WHO in March of 2014 dropped its sugar intake recommendation from 10% of your daily calorie intake to 5%. Or, for an adult of a normal body mass index (BMI) that works out to about 6 teaspoons or 25 grams of sugar.

So, assuming that my trusty elementary school math hasn’t deserted me, the 29 grams of sugar in the Gatorade Recover Bar is about 4 grams of sugar more than an adult with normal BMI should be consuming in an entire day. Huh? Perhaps this isn’t such a good choice after all. 

Furthermore, if you look at the label even more closely you will see that the 41 grams of total carbohydrates are supposedly about 14% of your daily values.  And below it says that Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet and that your daily values may be different depending on your calorie needs. Interesting, so the 14% is for some fictitious person and not for you so beware of what the percentages are for you. But also realize that at 2000 calories in order for 41 grams of carbohydrates to be only 14% of your Daily Values, you need to be getting more than 60% of your calories from carbohydrates or about 293 grams and 1172 calories per day. This seems a bit high to start for your daily intake of carbohydrates.  Also if I am only eating 2000 calories per day, I just used up 20% of my whole day with the 360 calories in this one bar.

What’s the lesson? Buyer beware. Just because it says something like “organic” or “healthy” or “natural” or “recover” on the label doesn’t mean it is good for you so make sure to read the fine print. Better yet try to eat as little processed food as possible or just try to avoid eating something with an ingredient label at all. For the record, a banana has about 100 calories and only 14 grams of sugar so maybe try that next time you are looking to recover.

If would you like to join our group or just want to get our newsletter and see what crazy things we are up to, how we eat, how we work out and how we drive ourselves to be better even at our age, then click HERE to register for the mailing list.

If you would like to donate money to help Team BoomerangFit try to rid the earth of the scourge that is Alzheimer’s Disease, then click HERE to donate.

 

Blood Pressure and Dementia

Given just how scary dementia and Alzheimer’s is for people, it is not a surprise that there are many different things that people are doing to help reduce their odds of getting it or improve   their quality of life once diagnosed. 

One area of interest that makes perfect sense to me is blood pressure. When your blood pressure is high (here is a link to the new updated guidelines) Hint: the definition lowered the numbers considered high), you are putting your circulation system under undo stress and are putting yourself at risk of many things including stroke and one form of dementia is specifically tied to stroke.

Worried About Dementia? You Might Want to Check Your Blood Pressure is an article on NPR.org recently that goes into more detail in this area. 

So what can you do? Obviously have your blood pressure checked regularly. However instead of just checking it every year until it gets too high and then taking a prescription drug, why not get ahead of the game by exercising and losing weight. Exercise is a great way to reduce blood pressure and has many other benefits as well.

If would you like to join our group or just want to get our newsletter and see what crazy things we are up to, how we eat, how we work out and how we drive ourselves to be better even at our age, then click HERE to register for the mailing list.

If you would like to donate money to help rid the earth of the scourge that is Alzheimer’s Disease, then click HERE to donate.

Should You Be Lifting Weights After 50

Bucket Carry at the 2015 Arizona Spartan Sprint.

Should you be lifting weights after 50?

A recent article in BarBend not only says yes but also recommends the more demanding subset of Olympic Lifting.

For those that don’ know, Olympic lifting is made up of the lifts that are a part of the Olympic Games and include lifts like the Snatch and Clean and Jerk.  This lifts can be fairly sophisticated but with the right coach can lead to enormous gains in strength, mobility and balance.

So why take up weight lifting of any kind after 50?

  1. Muscle mass – Muscle mass naturally declines as you age. However this can be offset to some extent by continuing to lift heavy things. Use it or lose it as they say. You don’t have to Olympic lift to get this however, as you can do other things like just lift rocks or other heavy items in the yard. You could also Powerlift which includes the Bench Press, Deadlift and Squat. The key is that you do something correctly and safely and build up naturally over time.
  2. Functional Fitness – In order to deal with every day life, you need to be prepared to move quickly or in a way that is not natural. Think slipping on the ice or picking up your grand kids. You need to continue to be able to move in your normal range of motion and you need to have balance. All of these things can be accomplished through proper weight training of some sort.
  3. Fun – for the right people in the right environment, weight lifting can be fun. It is also pretty easy to see progress and can be done with other people.

Whatever your situation, you could probably benefit from lifting some weights. So reach out to a coach or trainer if you haven’t done it before and give it a try.

If you would like to receive regular information, news, ideas, motivation, etc to help you reach your goals in 2018, CLICK HERE to sign up for our newsletter and mailing list.

 

More Evidence that Exercise Keeps You Younger

In a recent article in the NY Times entitled “How Exercise Can Keep Aging Muscles and Immune Systems Young”, the author Gretchen Reynolds, makes a very interesting statement:

“Together, the experiments [referenced in this article] add to growing evidence that some of our assumptions about aging may be outdated and we might have more control over the process than we think.”

What this means to me is that more and more evidence points to the fact that age is just a number and that if we optimize our nutrition and exercise we can postpone or reverse what we typically identify as inevitable aspects of aging.

What are you doing to keep aging at bay?

If you would like to receive regular information, news, ideas, motivation, etc to help you reach your goals in 2018, CLICK HERE to sign up for our newsletter and mailing list.

Is our health the nation’s biggest problem?

Almost half of Americans in a new Associated Press-NORC poll say health care is their top concern going into 2018. Health care outpaced other issues, like taxes, immigration and climate change, by more than 15 percentage points, according to an article in AXIOS.

Why it matters: Congress and President Trump rushed to pass an overhaul of the tax system after failing to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Although Republicans may not spend more political capital on health care next year, the issue won’t go away as the public continues to grapple with high health care costs.

In other words, while the government and its opponents are going back and forth on taxes, the economy, the environment, and other important issues, preventable diseases driven mostly by our poor nutrition and lack of exercise are killing us.

According to the Global Wellness Institute and its new Wellness Moonshot focused on creating a world free of preventable disease: 

  • 69% of all deaths globally each year are a result of preventable diseases. Centers for Disease Control, 2017
  • More than 1 in 3 adults aged over 18 years is now overweight. World Health Organization, 2014
  • The global cost of largely preventable chronic diseases (cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental health) could reach $47 trillion by 2030. World Economic Forum, 2017.

One single potentially preventable disease, Alzheimer’s could bankrupt our healthcare system. Payments for care of Alzheimers in 2012 were estimated to be $226 billion (with a B) —and more than 15 million Americans provided unpaid care for persons with Alzheimer’s. Without a cure, these figures will nearly triple by the year 2050 (CureAlzheimer’s Fund).

The question then is if our government is not focused on it, how can we make an impact. The answer is simply that we each need to take responsibility for our own health and wellness by improving our diet and adding exercise wherever we can.

Are you too old for CrossFit?

Arguably you are never too old for anything. However some people are intimidated by seemingly extreme fitness modalities like CrossFit at any age and especially over 50.

CrossFit can be a useful tool for anyone to get fit though. At CrossFit South Brooklyn, there is a special group of people over 55 who are doing really well as you can see in the video below. As long as your trainers are working with you to assess and improve mobility and form and not just beating you to death, you should be fine. And, of course always consult your doctor before any intense fitness regime. My trainer, Angelo Gala from EDX CrossFit in Lafayette, CO, also integrates yoga, kettlebells, endurance and other modalities to keep things fresh and allow me to recover from day to day.

If you want help and motivation to get and stay fit over fifty, join register for Boomerangfit by clicking HERE.

 

Titus Unlimited – Ripped Over 50

Fit over 50

“In order to be alive you have to constantly challenge yourself. You have to constantly grow.” says Jean Titus from Titus Unlimited in a profile on the website Metro. He is over 50 and is about as ripped as they come. The video in the Metro site is pretty motivational as well.

You don’t have to be this ripped to function in your life and be happy but you certainly need to follow his advice above. If you are moving, your dying. Exercise, whether it is going to the gym or hiking in the woods with your dog, is going to make you feel and look younger as well as helping you avoid diseases like Alzheimer’s, Diabetes and Heart Disease.

The biggest excuse for not taking your health seriously is that you don’t have time. But the truth really is that you always have time, what haven’t done is prioritized yourself above something else like television or video games or whatever else you do when you aren’t working or sleeping. So take the first step whatever is appropriate for you. Go for a walk or a run. Go back to the gym you have been avoiding. Or just start by eating less sugar and processed food. Whatever works for you but pick a primary goal and then stick to it.

If you would like more information on Jean Titus who is now a personal trainer, life coach and motivational speaker, you can find him HERE at Titus Unlimited.

If would you like to join our group or just want to get our newsletter and see what crazy things we are up to, how we eat, how we work out and how we drive ourselves to be better even at our age, then click HERE to register for the mailing list.

How to make 2019 your best year ever?

Have you been promising yourself to lose weight, get fitter, run a marathon, climb the stairs without having to rest at the top or whatever over and over and over again, year after year?

Join the club. According US News and World Report, 80% of New Years Resolutions fail by February. That is only about 31 days after you made the commitment presumably on New Year’s Eve albeit when drinking may have been a factor.

So assuming you are still interested in improving yourself somehow, here are some ways to finally make it happen in 2019. If you want help staying with a program this year and finally hitting those goals, CLICK HERE to sign up for the BoomerangFit newsletter and mailing list now.

Goals – You need a small number of attainable, reasonable and measurable goals. One common model for this is SMART Goals. This model dictates that goals must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Focused and Time Bounded. I want to be fitter or look better in 2019 is not so great. I want to lose a certain number of pounds by a specific date is better assuming this doesn’t require you to lose much more than 2 lbs. per week. Also, WHY you want to achieve these goals is very important and will get you out of bed on the coldest, darkest winter mornings. Do I want to lose weight to live longer to see my daughter be married? Do I want to lose weight to have more energy to start my dream business? Tie your goals to something deep inside of you to add motivation. You should only have 1-3 goals so you don’t lose focus. There will be more on setting and keeping goals as part of the BoomerangFit site and Facebook page.

Act – Now do something. Sure it matters what you do but it probably matters more that you just do something that drives you towards your goals every day. If you are trying to lose weight, just start out by cutting out added sugar or cutting out one can of soda, then move up from there. If you want to get fitter, perhaps you walk for 20 minutes everyday or workout every day. Just start somewhere and check in with yourself everyday. There will be plenty more information on how to get fitter in 2019 on the BoomerangFit website and Facebook page.

Events or Sub-Goal – A great way to keep motivated is to have sub-goals that build up to your goal. If I want to run a marathon at the end of the year, I might want to sign up for a half marathon over the summer or in the fall. Sign up now. Post them to your social media. Invite your friends to participate. Put it on your calendar or on the wall of your room. Team BoomerangFit will be doing a number of

Regular Review – Now that you have your SMART goals in place, some events on the calendar and are doing something every single day that moves you towards your goals, you need to regularly review them to see how you are doing against your original goals, is what you are doing working, do you need to make changes to be more successful, etc. I would suggest that everyday as part of a morning ritual you read or better write your goals into a journal along with what you plan on doing that day to get closer to your goals and what you are grateful for in life. Then weekly and monthly you should take a little time to take stock of where you are against your goals, what you want to accomplish over the next week or month and then crates some actions for yourself to add to your daily practice. For example, I started by walking 20 minutes a day but this has gotten easy so now I want to up it to 40 minutes or maybe I try to run for 20 minutes.

Accountability – It is very important to build accountability into your life. The Regular Review above is a great start but you need to reach outside yourself as well. You can work with your spouse or another loved one. You can bet a friend from high school or there are even websites and apps that will help you. You can also join Team BoomerangFit to keep you accountable. We will have a lot of information and feedback on how to stay on your goals in 2019.

Community – Finally find other people with the same goals and share the fun. Team BoomerangFit is a group of Baby Boomers looking to get back to the fitness they had earlier in life and to continue achieving goals at this stage in life. Consider joining our team to see if it can be helpful. The website and newsletter will include motivation, interviews with coaches and other members, reviews of gear, book reviews and much more.

Good luck in 2019. If you would like to receive regular information, news, ideas, motivation, etc to help you reach your goals in 2019, CLICK HERE to sign up for our newsletter and mailing list.