Exercise, Stress & Immunity During Midlife and Mid COVID19
First, I want to start with why “moderate exercise” inspired this podcast about exercise, stress & immunity. You’ve been told “everything in moderation” for a very long time. It may not be the ideal solution to our immune or to our hormone balancing goals. Let me give you a description of zone training. [I describe this further in the video I’m inserting here]. Zone Training 1 2 3 4 5 Low – Moderate – High “Moderate” = 3 = No Benefits Zone Don’t confuse “moderate regular exercise” with what you want to do. Zone 3 is not a good place to be. You truly want lighter short workouts, harder short workouts, or longer light movement. Don’t confuse your “sweet spot” with moderate exercise. It’s better intended as consistent exercise consisting of: Short duration high and low intervals (not to exceed 45 minutes a week total interval time) 1 – 2 – 3 sessions of 15 – 20 minutes at a time starting with 10 minutes and building over weeks 2x a week strength training sessions in which you achieve temporary muscular fatigue Plus: Movement: longer lower intensity activity like golfing, gardening, and walking, hiking, easy biking (not for the purpose of burning calories) Stress and immune system Overtraining – situations when your body is on overload Extreme cold plus regular exercise = overload Extremely dry air and altitude = overload Competitive stress and regular (or less) exercise = overload Stressful times - overload Stress and endocrine system Negative effects of cortisol amplified Negative effects of stress on blood sugar Storage of fat and weight loss resistance more likely Fat-stored toxins depress the immune system Stress and exercise Inactive adults have a depressed immune system With more activity (circulation of immune properties enhanced) increased immune system With too much more activity – too much stress in an uncontrolled way During times of stress – doing less than you’re used for exercise enthusiasts and more than you were for sedentary is key Your autonomic nervous system: Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Sympathetic = fight or flight Parasympathetic = feed or breed and rest & digest Stress stimulates the Sympathetic nervous system= fight or flight (automatically) You need to stimulate the Parasympathetic system= feed or breed, rest & digest, consciously Parasympathetic system stimulation – deep breathing, the mental diversion from intellectual stressors, the controlled appropriate application of stress-relief-stress-relief Your vagus nerve stimulation: Deep rhythmic breathing Humming Speaking and Singing Washing your face with cold water Meditation Balancing your gut microbiome (prebiotics, probiotics, elimination of foods that disrupt) Leave your questions and comments below the show notes at
Why Wait an Hour to Exercise in the Morning? Reader Q and A
Why wait an hour to exercise in the morning? It makes it harder to fit it in before work. I get it. Don't shoot the messenger. I'm here to give you the facts and let you make an informed decision. Plump Disks Increase Exercise in the Morning Risk The disks in your back – are between each vertebra. During the day when you’re upright gravity reduces the total fluid in each. But overnight while you’re lying horizontal those disks plump up as fluid comes back in nourishing the disks. When you wake that intervertebral pressure is at it’s highest. That pressure means that adding force and pressure from exercise is more likely to cause an injury than if you wait. In about an hour almost 90% of that extra fluid dissipates and it’s safer to exercise. What About Yoga, Stretching, or Core? Unfortunately, no exercise is okay. Both movement and moment pressures – when you’re bracing - for instance are risky. So planks, and pushing a snow blower or a shovel or the vacuum all carry some risk. BLT movements that include bending, lifting, or twisting are the worst. If you combine them they’re much more risky. So yoga while it may seem gentle is often one of the worst things you can do first thing. Big Bones? Those of you with larger frames are at greater risk due to thicker bones. Sit-ups and crunches are a greater risk for you too- though all of us put a significant amount of pressure on the lumbar spine with crunches and sit-ups. Best practice is probably to get up a little earlier, wait a little longer to exercise. This is not a type of injury that gives you a warning. So no problems to date doesn’t mean you aren’t headed for one. And stiffness in the morning isn’t necessarily related to this either. If exercise in the morning is your ideal, it may take a little rearranging. Show notes: if you need a simple exercise routine that's short!
What is really holding you back from the fitness and energy you want? (It’s not COVID19)
If you don’t have the fitness and energy you want, or you’re not in love with the body you’re living in, this is for you. Look, I know we’re in the midst of COVID19 as I record. My hope is that for you this walks the delicate space between your reality of the body and energy you live in every day – that hasn’t changed from 3 or 4 weeks ago (as of March 30) and now as we also have other things on our minds. I don’t know about you but this is a surreal place for me. I flirt between the moment I’m in, wondering about the COVID situation and then back to me and what I want for myself and my body, mind, and life in decades ahead. The mindset conversation now I’m diving into this conversation about mindset right now. I encourage you to stay with me all the way through this episode. Above all, don’t let COVID19 be an excuse for not pursuing the fitness and energy you want. Let it be a reason to do what works for your immune system AND your hormone balance. My story The late summer sun felt delicious on my skin. It wasn’t warm enough for a bathing suit any more, but I’d rolled up my sleeves and kicked off my shoes to lie on the lounge chair for a few minutes. I wanted these moments to last. These moments when I was a young adult just beginning to take on responsibilities and still at home for a long weekend feeling cared for, safe, secure. It was predictable. And beyond this was anything but. First job, new apartment new city. But then my mom dropped a bomb on me. I had assumed from some random segment of a conversation I remembered incorrectly that my mom’s marriage to my step-dad was because of me. It was the right thing to do. I very likely had overheard a conversation or had one with my mom and that was where I apparently had left the room. I carried around guilt or the impression that I had to be good or that my parents had settled for each other to provide security and safety for me. (and my siblings too, but I was the youngest) Can you imagine what that would be like and how you might feel pressure to be perfect, never make a mistake, stay within boundaries? Whatever those things looked like to you? Your Optimal Energy in These Times Look, we’re in strange times right now. And this may feel like a story for another time. But stay with me here. This is absolutely a story for right now. Because I don’t know about you but I can create stories inside my head and believe them for years- like the example above I believed from the time I was 7 until I was 25 that my parents were married because of me, not love. I made decisions about what I could and couldn’t do, who I could and couldn’t be based on that for a very long time. We all do make choices based on information we got in the past. But sometimes those are false assumptions. We get messages that stick for whatever reasons, and could be wrong. We believe them so strongly it’s our reality, our perception. We can feel really bad or awkward or lazy if we stop doing it the way we’ve always done it. If we don’t revisit why we have these limiting beliefs they will hold us back. Forever. If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we’ve always got. You may have heard that quote. The truth is, with exercise, and with diet, it’s not always true. Unfortunately the body will adapt, and not for the better. So the exercise you’ve done for a month or two won’t continue to give you results. The amount or type of food that gave you results once or for a short time will begin to have either less effect, or a negative effect. Meaning you could gain weight, and your fitness level could decrease if you’re still walking 3 miles 3 times a week at the same speed three years later. What got you here won’t get you there. I often hear or get letters from women who tell me, “ I just want to get back to where I was. I’m trying to think what I was doing then that was working. I keep asking myself what was different then vs. now.” Oh, just everything. First, your body changes constantly. Your hormones – stress level, sleep – are influenced. Your brain changes constantly – thinking, worry, and focus on limiting beliefs or the wrong image (like being overweight, wanting to lose weight) will perpetuate your current problem. Avoid This The worst thing you can do is decrease calories without looking at quality of the food you’re eating and your nutrient density. You can eat MORE food provided it’s the right kind. Don’t ignore your need for sufficient micronutrients (test to confirm or reveal a need and work with a coach to decide how much and when). If you increase exercise dramatically at the same time as external stressors your immune system and endocrine system will both be under attack. But that’s the calorie deficit model you’ve always been taught right? Eat less and exercise more? You may be tempted to exercise harder, longer, or more often. Right now that is a nightmare for women who are also in hormone chaos. But it makes sense to you because it’s either a gut reaction to stress and maybe due to a lingering (false) belief that hard work is a virtue. The example you had Say you had a father who worked really hard. Many of us over and 60 now were raised by parents who valued hard work. And you may be known as someone who works really hard. Yet, with exercise for hormone balance, hard work or long work is backfiring on you. You won’t get to a point where more work does work better, or that you finally have a breakthrough. Because we're not plowing ground or driving a team of horses or bailing hay. You’re not spending more hours to work with more clients and customers even. More and longer pushes hormones further from what you want. Stuck And you may also be stopped in your tracks. You have more to do because kids are home, there are more mouths to feed at more meals, more clothes to wash, less time for you. You may be in paralysis right now. COVID19 is doing that to many. Is it you? You kind of want to hole up with a blanket and suck your thumb? Or dig into chips and watch old movies… whatever it is, it’s okay for a while. But if you’re ready to take some control and feel better because of it, then keep listening to this episode. Self-doubt Now and Before Self-doubt may actually be leftover from your youth. Some message you got, even if it was WRONG could be influencing you still today. Between the ages of 3 and 7 your foundations are laid. Did you know you could be operating on a set of beliefs that are only that, but they’re so powerful they are the basis of how you make decisions, choices, and take action or avoid action. What happened the year you were 3? What happened the year you were 4? What happened the year you were 5? What happened the year you were 6? What happened the year you were 7? Seriously, this may seem a little odd. I promise you there’s no couch and I’m not a therapist nor do I play one on YouTube. But this is the kind of personal development work that if you’re stuck you may need to do. Not another walk or interval training or more abs. The Real Question (1) Are you operating on the wrong belief? Do you really know WHAT it is to do now? For hormone balance AND immune boosting exercise you need LESS and is MORE important than ever. Too little and too much right now taxes your immune system. There is an “if this, then that” blueprint. It’s inside the Flipping 50 Café and one of the very first things that as a new Café member you should do. It will help you understand the value of learning how to eat for your body right now. And why sleep it crucial and how to do it. And what kind of exercise is best right now for you to be at your optimal weight and energy and lose cravings and mood swings. It’s changed from what you were once led to believe. It’s not dieting and deprivation, it’s not that if you “love food” or “love to eat” you can’t be healthy – the two actually are both required and need to co-exist. And it’s not that you have to exercise because you love to eat, because that kind of statement “I have to exercise, I love to eat” has so much wrong with it. There’s the implication you’re going to burn off what you eat, and that you should adjust your exercise to accommodate your eating. All creating a worse relationship with both food and exercise. What else has changed? Foods you learned to eat as “healthy” no longer are a one-healthy-foods-list-fits-all. Your gut health changes based on hormone changes you’re in the throws of. And 70-80% of your immune system is in your gut, sister we’ve got an opportunity! Defining your best foods will boost your immune system AND benefit your hormone balance. That means? The optimal fitness and energy you want right now. Exercise you learned to do is no longer the best way to attain energy, optimal hormone balance. And no, it ruffles my feathers a LOT, when women think they should exercise less because of age. That is NOT it. You want to exercise less because it takes less. It took less – at 30 and 40 too – and because you may have dug yourself into an adrenal fatigue hole. You have to… RESTORE BEFORE MORE. Then when you’re in balance again and your body is at a fitness and energy level you love, you get to decide. Do you really love more exercise or were you just doing it because you weren’t loving the rest of your life? You will have options. And yes, if you want to do more you can, just smarter. So much less exercise – as long as it’s the right kind – will serve you best! The fitness and energy answer The calorie deficit alone you thought was required is not the answer to long term success. You’ve got to integrate quality food, quality exercise, quality lifestyle habits, and your mindset. Your mind is creating the current physical reality that you have. As much as sets, repetitions, salads, and protein. It’s not overwhelming if you take time to learn. Learn what is the right thing for you right now. I am an action taker. I like to be in control. We tend to feel like we are in control when we’re doing something. Do you do that? Jump into action? You want to do something so you go workout. Even if it’s the exact wrong thing for your immune system and hormones you feel better because you did something? Is that you? So I’m going to leave this question for you. Do you REALLY know what to do now for optimal fitness and energy? For the moment you’re in, the stress, the hormone changes, the change in the way your body stores fat or gains or loses weight? Then I have another question. (2) Are you not doing it once you DO know what to do? When no one is looking? Are you doing the right things repeatedly? I would ask my clients to check in. When I’m not with you, are you doing the workouts? Are you reaching fatigue? Are you lifting heavy enough? Are you doing it the way I instructed you? What happens between sessions when we’re not together? When no one is watching do you: Drink enough water? Take the 10 or 20 minutes and do the intense exercise in the morning? Do the relaxing exercise later in the day? Take the steps to get quality sleep? Eat enough protein at every meal? If you find this is you. You have done the research or studied with me, and you still are not doing what you know you need to do… I want you to look at two things. Legacy and Vision. First, are you living the legacy you want? Is this the life you want to lead? Right now are you living it? If not then you want to create a new legacy. Is this really in alignment with your values? One that is in alignment with your values. Do you truly want time and money freedom and value working hard to get there? This gets tricky because a lot of us say we want to make more money, but we actually struggle with valuing money. Maybe the message you grew up told you that people who make money or have money are greedy. If there was a “who do you think you are” kind of message projected onto those people around you who had money. If that was a certain “kind” of people, and it wasn’t your people who had more money, nice things and a different lifestyle. That will be something you have to work on so you don’t get in your own way if you choose to pursue more financial freedom and nice things. You may also believe that you have to work hard, really hard in order to ever get what you want. That's a roadblock That can be an obstacle for you two ways. First, why, right? You could work smarter and consistently do the right things. You’d better create the kind of life you want from the beginning, though. Second, you have to be sure that you don’t just “work hard” in the wrong direction. You’ll potentially convince yourself that it does not work. The Myth of Losing Weight and Getting in Shape You’ve been told this at some point: Dream really big, work really hard and you’ll achieve what you want. That hasn’t worked well for many of us. There’s not a void… it’s a space that has to be cultivated And you think you’re the problem You can’t mind-over-matter yourself through a process you don’t have the skills to get through. For instance, you can’t work harder and do more exercise, and eat less and attain your goal. Because any one of those things alone, and definitely ALL of those things together, will sabotage your hormones completely. Without balanced hormones you can’t be at optimal fitness and energy. Right now make three choices: 1) You want to do nothing or you’re going to take action 2) You want to do it alone or you want to get support 3) You want support from me right now. Right now the Flipping 50 membership Café is open. We’re at the end of a ten day special open window while it is usually only open twice a year. It is the best way to get support, workouts, and a plan, not random videos and content all created specifically for you, a woman in perimenopause, menopause, and post menopause. I guarantee you the workouts and the supportive exercise nutrition, and lifestyle habits are proven and based on science. I guarantee you that we’ll work together on getting your mindset in shape too. During COVID19 this special podcast release comes out March 30. The message is relevant any time. The special COVID19 Café offer is only good right now. Visit the show notes at flippingfifty.com/fitness-and-energy for details. To Join the Flipping 50 virtual gym & coaching clinic – the Café during COVID19 before April 1, Use code: bewell If you’re listening to this after the end of March you can get on our notifications list to learn when it opens again. If private coaching is something you want to explore, I will post a link so you can book a session and discuss what’s happening for you so I can offer my insight. By the time we’re done we will together decide if we are well-matched for working together and what your options are.
Full body weight training or Body Part? Reader Question
Today’s short episode answers the question “Is full body weight training or a split routine better?” Right now as you’re exercising at home to stay in place, and tempted potentially by the thousands of fitness trainers displaced from their gyms who are offering you their workout online, getting this right is even more important than normal. Full body weight training or Body Part weight training More muscle fibers equal Better for hormonal response: Testosterone Growth hormone IGF-1 hormones Also not mentioned in the show, you reduce the negative cortisol response that occurs from just too much exercise overall. The hours of exercise you must spend to be effective with split training is significant. The number one reason to use full body weight training Your weight/fat loss potential increases with full body workouts. This is your full body “to fatigue” routine – it’s intense and it increases your heart rate and your muscle fiber stimulation. That requires more recovery. And yet, you’re not “beat up” and overly sore with a full body workout. #2 is time Unless you really have hours to spend in the gym every day , and you want to stand on stage and need to focus on mass building, body part training is not your jam. If you miss a day it’s a problem and your entire schedule is off. It’s harder to build a balanced body or one that has optimal function with body part training. #3 is function Your body does not work like this. Your body works in integration not in isolation. This is the difference between sculpting, toning, and truly a functioning body. You can spend 45 minutes doing essentially what we did on the floor in the 80’s in the weight room. But you’re not increasing your fitness level in a way that will lend itself to life. With split routine training you focus on the aesthetic of the muscle not so much on the integrated way your body works picking up the dog food, the kids, golfing or gardening. Still in love with a split routine? An upper and lower body split – would still require that you do 4 days a week of strength training but may allow you more emphasis on each. A Possible Compromise You could strength train 3 days a week doing one full body routine, and then have one upper body day and a lower body day. To boost the effectiveness of this for metabolism boosting I would then follow each of those body part days with a specific short intense cardio. Notice I said after the strength. After you do your upper body for instance I would do a 20-minute boxing workout. After a lower body strength training do an interval spinning session on your bike, interval ladder drills, or bursts of run or walking on a hill or incline. That way you don’t miss the bigger metabolism boost from a full body strength workout. However, you will still nearly double your time investment. I often do a short full body workout in 10 minutes if that’s all I have. (20 to be fair with warm up and cool down) I can get a very thorough strength workout in 20 minutes. Doing both strength and cardio – allowing time for a warm up and cool down You can add the interval training or not, looks like this: warm up – 5-10 (longer if you have arthritis or prior injuries) Strength – 10-15 Intervals – 10-15 Cool down – 5-10 There you have it. The answer to your question. If you want support in a progressive program built for women in menopause (and before and after) for optimal metabolism, check out STRONGER I.
Daily Health Habits Over 50 | What I’m Doing Right Now
Daily health habits are more important than ever. I post this just a week-deep into the Corona Virus Pandemic we’re in. Yet, I suspect they are not unique from yours potentially, I do want to share them. My life for 36 years has been about health, wellness, fitness, and the psychology of behavior change – or mindset as we refer to it now. I sometimes take for granted that these daily health habits are known and either chosen and practiced or avoided intentionally. Then a casual comment hits me hard and I realize it’s not always a conscious choice after all. You may not know. So read this, realizing I don’t write with pretentious attitude that these all serve you or that you’ll choose them. I do write about my daily health habits to share and open conversation. This may be the first you’ve heard something. It takes us anywhere from one to dozens of times to get a message to adopt new habits ourselves. Maybe for you this is the one time you’ll remember it and choose it. And if you only make a decision about it one way or the other, that too is progress. First This Right now is not the time to throw in the towel. It’s not the time to think you don’t have control or you’re too far behind. You can start today and make a difference in your tomorrow. Invest in your health with habits, time, and yes, your money. The things I’m doing right now are for the most part, things I do most days in ordinary times. There are things I’ve dropped and those I’ve dialed up. Routine and daily health habits that boost your immune system and support your mood and mindset are a must right now. I hear you seeking simplicity and clarity. So you don’t need them all. Choose one or two. Look at your own daily health habits, your schedule, and your energy and intention. Here’s a sneak peek into my day and what I’m using and why. Above all as you read this, I encourage you to open your calendar and create your own daily health habits. Include ones you have now, ones you want to adopt in the future. My Daily Habits: Wake Time I am an admitted early bird. Yet, as my own hormonal changes in this past year accelerated and a sudden move, a loss of support, mold exposure happened I’ve tried to avoid rising quite so early. Compared to you? I may still be an early riser. But 5:30am as opposed to 4am for me feels “late.” I’m letting myself get the rest if I can and I let my body decide. I keep the room dark (an eye mask helps), cool, and quiet. Oddly, the pool right outside my master bedroom “gurgles.” It’s not the ocean but hey, I did dream about a beach vacation last night so that kind of white noise may work for me. The biggest point here is keep your wake time. I have a hard stop wake up, meaning I might get up earlier if I’m awake before, or otherwise I know my wake up will be by 5:30 because (more on that later) I go to bed to get the hours of sleep I need. My Daily Habits: Coffee Time I literally covet this time. This is a deal-breaker in terms of relationships. Anyone or any job or any dog that gets in the way of this quiet time for working on creative projects and ideation, is not going to make the final cut. Morning is my absolute favorite time of the day. I like to wake up early, get a head start, and then get started with others slowly. It’s part of my self care. I know I’m most creative and productive between 5am (or earlier) and 8am compared to any other time all day. And I use it. I’ve written half a dozen books and most of those words came out between 4am and 9am. Coffee has been a habit since my brother and sister-in-law introduced me to it in 1983. Not so ironically, less than two weeks ago I was able to share one of my favorite coffees with them. Here’s 3 ways I’m making this habit more of a daily health habit than just a caffeine fix. for details.