2022 has been a busy and stressful time. My Dad went into hospice and my Mom fell and broke her hip getting my Dad a beer. Yes, he stills enjoys a martini and an occasional beer in hospice. They are both, 91 and have been married 70 years. They have lived a wonderful life together. There have been so many special moments these past 4 months with my parents. Dad and I have liverwurst sandwiches for lunch while watching Gunsmoke. I spent time with my Mom in the hospital drinking tea and watching A League of their Own together. It has been nice in so many ways.
It also has emphasized how important it is to take care of yourself. I witness what a struggle it can become. Things, I take for granted like putting on your shoes and socks or going to the bathroom. These activities are now very difficult or impossible for Mom and Dad. I want to stay strong and fit for as long as possible. I have begun to work on some new exercises for myself and my OutdoorFit ladies. We are working on our glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. These are the muscles that you use getting up off the toilet. Do you want to stay out of the nursing home? Keep your muscles strong!
Here is an exercise to get you started!
Let me know how it goes! If you are interested in joining us online or in person, please CLICK HERE to learn more.
I started ocean plunging back in September. Unfortunately, since the beginning of January, it has been too windy, and the air too cold for me to do my plunging in the ocean. I have been taking 5 minute cold baths 3-4 times a week, to keep in plunging shape. Andrea, one of my fellow plungette takes a cold bath almost daily. I’m doing my best to keep up, but I don’t bother with the baths on the days I have OutdoorFit. Training outside in the cold is enough for me.
Sunday, Sophie, our golden retriever woke me up too early. She likes to get up at 6am and I wanted to sleep in. I was annoyed and cranky. I knew if I took a cold bath, I would have a quick change in attitude and feel so much better. I filled the tub with tap water. There is no need to add ice when the tap water is 40.8 degrees. As soon as you get in, you forget all of your problems except that you are sitting in frigid water. I sit upright for two minutes and then try to muster up the courage to get my upper body in as well. I stay in for two to three minutes more. I wash my face in the end. Andrea actually dunks her whole head in. I am not quite there yet.
My husband, Dan is getting tired of the noises coming from the bathroom. Sometimes, he will come in to talk me through. He coaches me to get to the next step. He encourages me with helpful phrases like, “Suck it up, Buttercup.” I am so grateful for his support.
I am obsessed with the plunge. I had an immediate shift in my attitude on Sunday. I felt so much better, Cold, but better. I know if I wake up achy, a cold bath will take care of the tension. I have lost weight. I am sleeping better, and a friend told me that I looked ten years younger. It is a powerful tool. I know it is crazy and that is part of the appeal!
I love the connection with Andrea and Rosanne, my fellow plungettes. I text them every time I am heading into the cold bath. I need all the support I can get. When we started last September, I told Andrea we are going to be best friends. We don’t need to eat or drink together. All we need to do is to jump into the ocean for 5 minutes. We have formed a strong bond. Doing something with a touch of craziness will do that. Do you want to read more about the benefits? Head over to the previous blog post.
I asked my fellow plungettes to share what they love about plunging.
From Andrea: “Plunging has a few fantastic benefits that keep me coming back to this seemingly crazy pastime. First and above all, it lifts my mood. Instantly. And after I do it, my brain feels sharper like when I’ve had a great nights sleep but better. When we go in the ocean as opposed to the tub, there is a feeling of connecting with the planet. And I believe it has sped up my metabolism a bit which is always nice. Finally, it has been a bonding experience with the two ladies who I do it with.”
From Rosanne: “I started to plunge this spring in my pond upstate as an entry into releasing fear around diving into a cold, sometimes dark body of water, after learning about Wimm Hoff and his ice baths. I began his breathing methods and found it’s benefits very helpful which led to my interest in having friends do the plunging together in the Atlantic ocean. The experience of being emersed in nature, with the brilliant sunshine and piping plovers encircling us was an amazing experience and has led me/ us to continue the practice. The bathtub is getting me through the winter and I am excited to return to the ocean with my fellow plungettes once the weather improves.”
This is my from my sister Kathleen who plunges in North Carolina: “Addicted to the plunge. When Mary first told me she was going into the icy waters of the Atlantic for 5 minutes – I thought she was nuts but also knew I had to try it. I have not had the chance to go into the ocean but live near a lake and have been in the sound. It’s exhilarating. My body thanks me every time. The aches disappear and my senses come alive. I’ve been able to do it most weeks – sometimes twice a week.”
I encourage you to give it a try. You don’t need to start with a cold bath. Turn the shower temperature to cold at the end of the shower. Breathe through it for 30 seconds. You will feel invigorated! Let me know how it goes.
I was at a Memorial Service in August. Afterwards, I sat outside eating wraps and cake with Andrea, a fellow church lady. We started talking about having your kids go off to college the first time and the stress and anxiety that it can cause. She said she had been working on some breathing techniques to help calm herself. I asked her if she had heard of Wim Hoff the “Ice Man”. She said yes and that it was working for her. I said we need to start jumping into the ocean. Wim Hoff is a big believer in cold water plunges. We waited until after Labor Day when the beach crowds had left, and started plunging for 5 minutes. This was a huge deal for me! I have lived 5 miles from the Atlantic Ocean for the past 40 years. I never really cared too much. I have never gone in the ocean without a lifeguard sitting on the chair watching over me. The whole plunging routine was making me so nervous. I would start getting anxious waiting for a possible text from Andrea, asking me if I want to plunge, and get worse from there. It felt like the old days when I was a competitive runner. I would get so nervous before a race. I hate feeling nervous, It is very uncomfortable, but I know if I don’t push myself I will never try anything new. I am getting better at it.
Plunging in the ocean has been life changing for me in so many ways. I am doing something new which I am usually very resistant to. I have stepped out of my comfort zone and my routine. It is so worth it. I have become good friends with Andrea. We are outside, doing something with a touch of craziness to it. I pick Andrea up in my Honda CR-V along with our friend Rosanne. My car is the beach car because I belong to a car wash club. Rosanne, another church lady heard what we were doing and she wanted in. Rosanne loves the cold water. She loves cold showers and plunging in her pond in upstate NY. We head off to the beach where there is always a free parking spot. It is beginning to feel like our beach. We have a turn around time of an hour and there is no food or drink involved. It is simple. It is the best!
Benefits of Cold Water Plunges:
Aids fat loss.
Boosts immune function.
Decreases stress, increases glutathione.
Helps your sleep.
If you have been following me you know I have not been dealing well with my stress this past year or so. I was taking supplements to help me manage. Since I started plunging, I have been able to stop the stress relieving supplements. I feel so much better. I am grounded, I sleep better and I have lost 5 pounds. I am taking better care of myself. I want to be strong, lean and able to handle the ocean in the winter months. I started eating liver and I have upped my weights at OutdoorFit. The liver is a bit of an adjustment. I am sharing it with Sophie the Golden Retriever. She is enjoying it!
Rosanne and I are in our 60’s and Andrea is a youngster at 50 something. It makes plunging even more special. It is never too late to try something new.
I have been thinking about that question. If someone told me about an outdoor workout in a church parking lot with women in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s , I would applaud them but would have no interest in joining them. I would be wrong.
OutdoorFit is how I keep in great shape without hurting myself. I created OutdoorFit 15 years ago. It has evolved as we have all gotten older. We all want to look good and have our pants fit. I also know the importance of functional fitness and being able to get up and down off the floor. I create my workouts with function in mind. I will do an exercise like bicep curls and then have the ladies get down on their mats and do mountain climbers. I include squats in every workout. We start the workout with a warm up that includes 20 squats. Squats are key to healthy independent aging. They develop strong quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes, which allow you to get down and back up again. Squats are also very effective for urinary incontinence. They strengthen your pelvic floor and make jumping jacks a breeze!
I am able to modify my workouts for any fitness level. If you can’t do your pushups off the ground, I have you do them off a bench. If you can’t manage going up and down off a bench, I just have you hold yourself in position.
Elaine, the queen of OutdoorFit, joined the group when she was 79. She is now 83. Her first workout, I thought she was going to fall over because her balance was so bad. I had her work next to a bench so she could catch herself if necessary. . Elaine was impressive! She kept coming to OutdoorFit and within 2 weeks her balance was so much better. She has gotten stronger and her endurance has improved so much. She is an OutdoorFit superstar!
Elaine comes to the workout three times a week. She comes with her resistance band, 8 pounds weights and her mat. She is always fashionable dressed, today she showed up in her favorite “Good Karma” shirt. I thought it was the perfect outfit for our video.
Who knew I would need to put Fun on my to do list? I am seeing a Health Psychologist and she suggested I find time to do Fun things. I am a homebody. No one ever called me the Fun one. When I was a kid and visiting my Grandparents in Saint Louis, my family would be going out to do something Fun on the last night and I choose to stay home with Pop and Gram and watch TV. I never liked going to my friend’s house for sleepovers. Once, I was invited to a party and I told my friend that I wanted to stay home and pull dandelions.
I am beginning to feel like I need to get out and do more. My tendency is to say no. I guess I need to start saying yes.
“What would Julia do?” I am asking myself this question more and more. Julia is my niece who is living an amazing life. I blogged about her before. She said her secret is to fill her day with Fun things. I am starting out with the goal of doing one Fun thing a week, and see how it goes. Baby steps for me. This week I have been invited to a neighbor’s pool. I met her walking in the neighborhood. I am connecting with someone new. I think there are bonus points in that!
Vicky Perry and I got together for 2 Grandmas and A Microphone. The topic was doing Fun things! We talked about jumping into the ocean, riding bumper cars at the Fair, taking tango lessons from a Russian instructor and Pickle Ball. Maybe, I am becoming the Fun one!
I love having a pretty yard but I don’t want to work so hard at it any more. Last year, I planted vegetables in my back corner garden next to my limelight hydrangeas and blue kazoo spirea. I did harvest a few cucumbers, and I had butternut squash that grew out of my homegrown compost. It was all kind of a mess. It was a lot of work without much reward. This year I’m simplifying the yard. I am slowing down and not being so impulsive, I am committed to making the back garden a more permanent garden. I had our struggling concolor fir taken down. It was our live Christmas tree years ago and grew to be a very tall tree. It never looked good. I finally had it taken down. Now, I have more sun in the corner. I moved 7 At Last roses from the front yard to the back. They are beautiful apricot colored roses. They were in the front yard and the deer just loved them for early morning snacking. I was tired of spraying them with Deer off.
By moving the roses to the back it has simplified my foundation planting as well. I put down a nice layer of mulch and it looks good.
I am so grateful that I am able to do my own work. I stay strong, healthy and fit. My OutdoorFit workouts keep me that way. Interested in learning more about OutdoorFit? Click here. You can get in shape in a short amount of time and maintain your fitness level working out only a few days a week. You will be able to do what you want to do. Do you love gardening, or chasing your grandkids around? Maybe it is keeping with a 5 month old golden retriever puppy. It is important to embrace being Fit and Fabulous…Aging Optional and OutdoorFit!
It is the New Year! Do you do take the time to do an annual review? Do you set intentions for the upcoming year? How do you define success? Three great questions that I’m resistant to answer. Recently, I joined Andreea Fegan’s Little Bites of Joy community group. Sunday, Andreea led us through a vision workshop. We talked about how we define our successes and how we want to feel on a daily basis. It went much deeper than how much money you make, or how many followers you have on Instagram.
During the workshop, Andreea told us to write down how you want to feel during the day. How do you make other’s feel?
Here is my list.
I want to go through my day with Ease and Grace (I stole that from one of the woman on the call.)
Don’t you feel good when you are around happy, enthusiastic, grounded people? I did have peaceful, but I changed it to grounded. It feels more authentic. I love authentic people! I feel like I am pretty authentic already. I don’t know how to be any other way.
I define my success with numbers. If you run a business, it is important to know your numbers. I always check my monthly revenue, but then I tally how many people are in my OutdoorFit program, and how many people watch a video or read a blog post. I’m disappointed if I don’t reach a certain number of views. Some of my feelings of self worth appear to be tied into how many views I get. Andreea suggested going beyond the numbers and consider what kind of an impact are you making. You never know who reads your posts or watches your videos. Maybe when I encourage others to drink more water or do a round of mountain climbers I am having an impact. Are my viewers having a life changing moment? I hope so.
In my OutdoorFit membership group, we started A 28 Day Feel Fabulous Program. It is all about making small changes to feel better. Click here if one of your intentions is to feel fabulous in the New Year! I hope to see you soon.
It all started this week when I watched a you tube video of Rich Roll and Erin Brockovich. As you know, Erin is the queen of clean drinking water. As a trainer and a health coach I tell my OutdoorFit ladies to drink lots of water. My goal is a gallon of water a day. I would like to think I am drinking good quality water. I have a filter under the sink and we also use water filter pitchers. After watching the video, I decided to check the quality of our drinking water through our water company’s website. Who knew their were so many chemicals in H2O? It was very overwhelming. I am looking into a water filter system for our house. I think it is very sad and disturbing that you can’t rely on the quality of your tap water. We are fortunate that we can afford to buy water filters for cleaner water. What happens to the people who aren’t as fortunate?
I was at a small dinner party a few weeks ago. I asked for a glass of water. The host offered me bottled water. I said I am sorry but I try my best not to use single use plastic. “She said have you read your water bill? You don’t want to drink the tap water.” Single use plastic is a whole other conversation, isn’t it?
This brings me to 2 Grandmas and A Microphone #2 The Environment. Time for more research, especially with the presidential election coming up. My main concern is the environment and climate change. Vicky Perry and I decided it was time to go deeper. In the past, I would never speak up about these issues. I am a 9 on the Enneagram which is the peacemaker. I don’t want to deal with conflict, but this is too important to stay quiet.
Here are links if you want to go deeper in the conversation.
It is strange to write the title 2 Grandmas and a Microphone, and know that I am talking about myself. When I think about OutdoorFit, women over 50 are my target market. Most of the women in my group are in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s! It is all quite incredible. Not all of them are Grandmas but they are in the age range. My job is to inspire these women to be fit and healthy. I know being strong, healthy and fit energizes your life.
Last week, I had coffee with Vicky Perry who is a very wise Grandmother. We had such an interesting conversation, that Vicky encouraged me to write about it. I opened up about my feelings about voting, the presidential election, and why I couldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton in the last election. I learned a lot about myself from writing the post. I ended the post writing about the power of the Grandmother, which is something I hadn’t thought much about before.
I received so many wonderful emails and comments about the post that I wanted to continue. I decided to ask Vicky to do a video with me to take our conversation even deeper. Vicky brought up the importance of taking the time to know your own values and to think about which candidate best represents those values.
I could have just as easily titled the video The Wisdom of The Grandmothers.
“My Mother told me to be a lady. And for her that meant be your own person, be independent.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg
I have been cooking from Alice Waters’, My Pantry. Normally, I am thrilled if I can find 3 recipes in a cookbook that I enjoy. I’ve already found 3 in Alice Waters’ book, and there are so many more I want to try. They are great and easy to make. Last week, it was Oat Pancakes. This week it is all about flatbread! I don’t eat much bread. On the weekends, I might enjoy it as a treat. I love making my own because there are no plastic bags involved and of course it is delicious!
Sunday, we had pulled organic chicken and flatbread for dinner.
Here is Alice’s recipe.
Alice encourages you to try different flours. I used organic white. It is really important to buy organic flour. (You don’t want your flour sprayed with glyphosate.) Spend a few more dollars, support the organic farmers and yourself!
2 cups flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup warm water
3 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together. Stir in the water and the oil. Knead briefly to form a soft moist dough. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Do you have a rolling pin? It is time to get it out! Divide the dough into 16 balls. On a lightly floured surface roll each ball into a 3 x 6 inch oval. My flatbread didn’t roll into perfect 3 x 6″ ovals. It is okay.
Alice uses a cast iron pan and medium heat to make her flat bread. I used my griddle and it worked fine. Cook 2 minutes, flip and cook 2 more minutes. Wrap flatbread in a kitchen towel to let the bread moisten with the steam.
I put my leftovers into a glass pyrex dish. They were all gone the next day.
“Homemade Ingredients That Make Simple Meals Your Own.”