Staying Fit North of 40
Let Michelle Obama show you how it’s done at 51.
I called them the Grannies in Keds.
They were the women who would power past me up the trail in Flagstaff, Arizona, where I used to live. I’d be puffing along and they’d stride right by, heads up, arms pumping, white hair and sneakers gleaming.
“Great day, isn’t it?” they’d chirp, as I tried to grunt a reply without passing out. (It took me a long time to get used to living at 6,000 feet.)
Whatever sense of victory they felt passing an unacclimated twentysomething on the trail, they earned it.
More likely, though, they weren’t concerned about lapping me. They were doing something that made them happy… and that, it turns out, is one of the keys to fitness as we age.
Many of us are lifelong exercise buffs, runners or bicyclists who wouldn’t dream of letting more than a day or two go by without getting our cardio on. We love that feeling of the burn and we like the results when we compete or look in the mirror.
But as we get older, our paces may slack off. Injuries may pile up. It doesn’t feel as good to get out there.
Our workouts become just one more thing on the to-do list, and because it’s for us rather than our families or jobs, we let it slide.
Word of advice: Stay selfish.
“Masters athletes are proving that as much as 50 percent of age-related decline, maybe even 70 percent, is due not to aging but to deconditioning – losing physical fitness by doing very little,” Margaret Webb wrote in “Older Faster Stronger: What Women Runners Can Teach Us All About Living Younger, Longer.”
That means that age-related decline may be a myth. Yes, there are some bodily changes with which we must cope. Our cardiac output, lung capacity, dexterity and flexibility all drop off as we age.
But if we stay active, we can still stay in shape.
What to Do
- Strength training. Bicycling magazine says it can conserve lean muscle mass and reduce the effects of aging on VO2 max — the maximum volume of oxygen an athlete can use. Try this workout from Prevention magazine.
- Allow extra recovery time after a workout.
- Stay happy. If your usual workout feels more like work and less like fun, think about retooling it. Webb’s book recommends a regimen of mostly long, slow training runs, for example.
“I ride to live and I live to ride, as the motorcycle people say,” says 77-year-old bicycling fanatic Terry Taylor. “I find that if I go for a 100-mile bike ride, I can solve all the world’s problems, after mine.”
Taylor has kept going even after a crash broke his hip and collarbone and bruised his brain. Check out this video created by his nephew.
“I’ve had some problems, but I’ve always gotten back on … I listen to my heart.”
Be like Taylor. Don’t give up.Read more
Three Sneaky Ways to Get Your Kids to Exercise
We Gmap Pedometer users are a sporty bunch, running, bicycling and triathloning our way through life. We know the importance of exercising – and what’s more, we love it.
But sometimes our kids aren’t so down with it.
I bet that bothers you. Here we are, busting our booties to try to stay in shape, and our kids are sitting there on the couch watching TV. Or texting.
Should we make them exercise?
The CDC says that every day, kids should exercise at least an hour. AN HOUR.
That’s even more than what’s recommended for adults, which is 150 minutes per week, plus muscle strengthening twice a week. (See the chart to the right.)
So what’s to make a kid get off their duff?
We trick them.
And here’s how.
A rewards chart uses small prizes to give kids a little shove towards better behavior – brushing their teeth, for example. When tooth-brushing becomes automatic, you no longer have to reward them, and you can work on other behavior you’d like to reinforce.
One sly trick: Tie screen time to the amount of time exercised.
No, no, we’re not saying you should beat your children. Allow them to beat on YOU.
If you’re up for it, and your kids are small enough, let your kids wrestle you. Have them try to hold you down to the floor as you try to get up. Smack each other with pillows. Let them hang from your outstretched arms. A study showed that fathers roughhousing with children is crucial to their development, and another expert said roughhousing with moms benefits kids, too.
Most kids love trying to wrestle their parents into submission. Or fake-punch them or fake-drown them.
Seems counterintuitive, right? But there’s tons of games that let kids get their sweat on. One study looked at active video games like Wii Sports bowling, Just Dance, Wii Fit, Kinect Sports and Dance Dance Revolution. They concluded they are a good alternative to sitting around.
AND their health benefits are comparable to “field-based physical activity.”
That’s doing activity in a field. We think.
The devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25 has killed at least 8,000 people and injured more than 10,000, according to the latest reports. The scenes of misery and chaos have prompted people to crowdfund donations like crazy.
Here in Bangkok, runners have been braving the hot weather to support Nepal, with two fundraisers over the weekend alone. (See last week’s post on how to survive training in crushing heat.)
We Run Nepal
A brand-new bike park threw open its doors Saturday — but to runners.
Tucked away in Bangkok’s northern suburb of Lad Prao, Peppermint Bike Park is a tidy little collection of paved trails that go over moguls, bridges and reclaimed timbers.
There’s moguls and sick downhills, bridges and old timbers to ride across.
And many opportunities for photos.
Thais love to take photos.
Peppermint Field is a brand of peppermint oil nasal inhaler that’s very popular in Thailand. It’s supposed to clear up your sinuses
Human Run for Nepal
On Sunday, hundreds of runners gathered at Rot Fai Park for the Human Run for Nepal.
Rot Fai is just north of the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market and is one of our favorite places for bicycling.
But on Sunday, again the runners took over.
And took more pictures.
I love to take photos of Thais taking photos.
Don’t have abs? Draw ‘em on!
Remember Nepal!Read more
Sort and filter of bookmaked routes
For everyone who uses our bookmarked routes feature, there’s some good news! We’ve recently released changes that will allow you to sort or filter the list of routes you’ve saved through gmap-pedometer.com. And we made things better for mobile use too.
You can now sort the list of bookmarks by any field (distance, name, description, date, even the elevation fields.) It works a little differently on desktop than it does on mobile: for desktop users click the column heading, for mobile tap the name of the field the data is currently sorted by. Watch the videos below to see it in action.
We’ve also added the ability to filter on any field. If you want to see all your five-mile routes, just start typing “5.” and all fields that don’t match that will disappear. It works across all fields at once, so you can filter on name just as easily as date or distance. It’s also shown in the videos.
And we build an entire separate UI for mobile users for the bookmark list. We hope you agree it’ll make the list much easier to read on a tiny screen.
These features are available for any user who creates an account and uses the bookmarked route feature. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? It’s free and you get a nifty workout logger too! Enjoy, and let us know what you think!
Fully Clothed Showers, Frozen Hands and Other Pro Tips for Hot-Weather Workouts
Expert advice from the people who live and train in the tropics.
Hello, beloved users of Gmaps Pedometer.
We have to admit something to you. Not everyone on our team suffered through winter. In fact, one of us spent the months of November through February perfecting the art of floating around on a pool raft.
I confess: That’s me, and I live in Bangkok.
All that floating and daydreaming ate away at my workout mojo, though. Now that it’s insanely hot and humid here, it’s even harder to make myself run outdoors. So I did what anyone would do: Signed up for a race.
My husband and I managed to complete this 3K in about 21 minutes and were delighted we didn’t collapse. The temperature at the 6 a.m. starting time was 81 degrees, and the humidity was 65 percent.
By the end, I was as sopping as if I’d gone for a dip in the nearby Mae Klong River. Which I wouldn’t because they have stingrays the size of submarines.
We were two of the only Westerners there, but even the locals were suffering from the heat, especially the brave souls who ran the 12.8K. So that got me wondering: How do the die-hards who run here make it?
I turned to the Facebook page of Bangkok Runners, a group of craaazy and awesome people who run here all the time. Someone asked this very question recently, and they had a ton of great responses.
Here’s some of their tips for training in the Land of Smiles.
- Avoid the midday heat. Train at dawn or dusk.
- Hydrate from the moment you wake up.
- Jump into the shower fully clothed before you head out.
- Carry a frozen bottle of water. Keeping your hands cool helps.
- Take breaks every 2 km or so. Grab drinks at convenience stores. Nip into park bathrooms and splash water on your head.
- Bring a hydration pack for longer sessions.
- Avoid rice and fried food. Eat fruit and drink coconut water.
- Get used to the heat. Train in it as much as you can stand. Keep your air conditioning low.
Maybe most importantly:
Forget about your time until you adjust.