Yikes! I just read a statistic that 28% of adults age 50 and older are ‘physically inactive.’ Hmmm… let’s just call that ‘do not exercise.’
One of the most important ‘musts’ for people–retired or not–is exercise. That is, of course, assuming you want better heart health, mental sharpness and reduced risk for chronic diseases.
If you think you should get a pass because of various excuses, forget it. I know them all, including:
"I'm too busy/tired." We all know you can find time if something is a priority. So think of it this way - call it 'doing something for my heart' or 'for my mental sharpness'. I assume those are priorities. And by the way, remember that exercise gives you more energy and gets you ready to meet busy schedules.
"I hate to exercise." There are lots of things that come under the heading of exercise. Dancing?Gardening? Hide and go seek with your grandkids? Believe it or not, even walking with purpose around the park or the mall will give you credit-if done on a regular basis. Convinced yet?
"I'm too old." My aerobics instructor just told the class that one of her students in another class will be 90 next week! There is not an age restriction on exercising. Obviously, you can choose what kind of exercise works for you. Just choose one. But forget the 'too old' whine. The only person you are fooling is yourself.
For those who have never really had an exercise routine – other than saying, “I’m going to start exercising, next week”-here are 3 simple hints to move you forward:
1–Ask yourself WHY you never seem to get to ‘next week.’ Try to be honest about what is stopping you from starting. Write it down.
2–Make an exercise plan keeping in mind your answers from #1.
Include your WHERE:
3–On your Mark...,Get Set...,GO! Buy some shoes (not like Barbie's!) and a comfortable outfit. Don't talk about your size, shape or weight. Those things don't matter. Repeat after me: “Heart health, mental sharpness, reduced risk for chronic diseases.
Let’s talk travel. I hear it from seniors all the time.
“I want more time to travel.”
“When I retire, I intend to travel.”
“Finally I will be able to explore and travel.
As I write this blog, I am sitting in a hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte was not my destination; it was a connecting city for my trip overseas. So, why am I here?
Because: I left home and everything was go. The airport was not very crowded, security did not flag me for an extra look, and the flight out was on time. There were storms in the area but they did not seem to be too threatening.
Then: Twenty minutes out of Charlotte, the pilot announced that there was a ‘popup’ storm that included lightening, and the tower asked us to circle for a bit. The storm intensified, and soon our fuel was running low. We had to be diverted to a nearby airport to wait out the storm.
At first, we all thought it was a quick mover. You know summer storms, they come and they go. However, it was more than three hours later that we were finally able to make the 20 minute flight to Charlotte.
Upon arrival we were greeted with the chaos of missed and cancelled flights, and certainly the maybe of “Oh, if I run to the gate, I still may be able to get on and get out.” Long story short, the doors to my flight were closed, and along with several other people I was turned away and told to make other plan.
That is why I am sitting in a hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. My message? Travel is fun; travel is interesting; travel is educational, and travel can be hard.
How to best deal with travel at any stage – especially in the retirement years? Here are a few hints:
Those are just a few hints. That said, even with my delays and rescheduling, here is why I am grateful.
So, as summer and retirement and vacation time comes your way, you'll have smoother sailing when you come mentally and physically prepared to go with the flow and be a travel champion.
Who isn’t looking for ways to be more motivated? Who isn’t a little annoyed at yourself for not following through on all those things you really want to do?
Here’s an idea that will help. I call it “Dear Me,”. Based on a study done at Columbia Business School, this activity not only encouraged futuristic thinking, but it also proved to be a real motivational tool.
Here are the three simple steps:
That’s it. Sounds pretty simple, right? The results at Columbia were very impressive. The professors found that people really started to care more when they became more connected to their future selves. The participants exercised more often, thought about more fulfilling ways to spend their free time, and actually began to take better care of their relationships.
The interesting part here is that not only are you thinking about your future, you are actually planning based what you really want. And you are writing it all down.
Need a little help? Here's a sample:
I’m so glad to see myself healthy and happy as I fill my time enjoying the community-wide activities I always loved. The neighborhood book club I started is a huge success (even if Emily keeps insisting on bringing wine!), and becoming a docent at the gallery was genius. Now not only do I have to learn about each new exhibit that arrives but I also get to interact with the public!
I also love my blogs! They bring me both joy and insight each time I post. My Facebook group, “Make Happy a Habit,” is encouraging and positive. It causes people to stop and think how they, too, can bring happiness into their lives. Yay for me!
I’m proud of myself and send hugs.
Now when you actually have a picture of yourself focusing on what you think you want to do – and feel how it makes you feel – it becomes more real.
These results are not really surprising. After all, once you realize that you are the one making today’s decisions to reach tomorrow’s dreams, it can make all the difference.
So, go ahead… Whether you send yourself an email or actually use pen and paper, write that “Dear Me…” letter today. And let me know how it makes you feel.
ARE YOU READY TO MAKE HAPPY A HABIT?
Get ready…, Get set…, Go! It’s almost March 20th, the United Nations-sanctioned International Day of Happiness. This is the day we make sure to not only do what makes us happy but also to spread happiness by encouraging all around us to do the same. But what if you just don’t feel happy? What if you call yourself more of a ‘glass half-empty’ kind of person?
Assuming that you really don’t enjoy being that way, I challenge you to take the next 30 days to MAKE HAPPY A HABIT! I’ll give you the steps so you become empowered to look at the world differently and feel the joy and contentment you deserve. The #makehappyahabitcampaign begins March 20th. You’ll see daily support on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and anywhere else you can help me ‘share’ it.
There is real science behind the emotions of happiness and love. Dr. Barbara Frederickson, Psychologist and Neuroscience Professor at UNC, Chapel Hill said, “The ways that we feel happiness and well-being are actually showing up in the cells of our immune system and supporting our health.” What a great testimonial! Why wouldn’t we want to Make Happy a Habit?
My challenge to you is based on the work of psychologist and happiness researcher, Shawn Achor. Surprising as it sounds, he says that it is possible to re-wire your brain to be happier.
You don’t have to wear a smiley-face hat or tell funny jokes. Simply doing the following five activities daily can rewire your brain towards happiness. (I include my order to just give you some idea of fitting it into your day. You organize it however it is convenient for you.)
1 – THINK OF THREE THINGS YOU’RE GRATEFUL FOR.
I like to do this – out loud – in the morning when I get up. I encourage those around me to join in. It’s a good family tradition.
2 – WRITE ABOUT A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE FROM THE PAST 24 HOURS.
I do this in the evening. I keep a notebook on my nightstand. This simple activity has the amazing power of changing your entire mindset. You will comb through the day, tossing aside the negative and focusing on the positive. Guaranteed to make you smile.
3 – EXERCISE (AT LEAST 20 MIN)
I am a morning person, so I make time before breakfast to get in my exercise. Whether it is a brisk walk, time at the gym, or climbing stairs, give yourself 20 minutes and increase your activity. I’m including four short videos of easy five-minute exercises on my website. Do all four in a day and you’ll have your 20 minutes!
4 – MEDITATE (5-7 MIN)
I find that meditating mid-afternoon works for me. No need to think mantras or posing cross-legged on the carpet. The simplest meditation can be sitting quietly listening to soothing music (no words) – and focusing on either the music, your breathing, or a body scan from head toe. If you want some guidance, I like the free app HEADSPACE, which you can use with your earphones while sitting at your desk. Meditation calms and centers, helping you focus and better handle whatever comes your way.
5 – PERFORM ONE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS.
All day every day is a good time for a random act of kindness. Performing a selfless act that helps, compliments, or encourages someone has an amazing effect on all involved. You’ll enjoy every minute. To help get you started, I’ll post of list of suggestions on my website,
YOU CAN DO THIS! In fact, YOU CAN GET YOUR KIDS TO DO THIS!!! Encourage everyone around you to get involved.
Check out my Instagram for 30 days of inspiration for your 30-day MAKE HAPPY A HABIT! Challenge on social media. You keep count of your 30 days.
Please leave a note on one of the platforms below or comment on this blog post to let me know how you are doing. Post some pictures of what you are grateful for and what makes you happy. I want to know how your random acts of kindness and writing about your positive experiences made you feel. Tell me about your time in meditation. And be sure to tell me when you start feeling like HAPPY is becoming a habit.
Good luck! And get your camera ready – you’ll be finding yourself smiling a lot more.
SHARE YOUR PROGRESS BY:
Don’t forget to include #makehappyahabit in your posts
Use the Emotional Freedom Technique to fight your fears by "Tapping" into your body's natural healing energy.
The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), or ‘tapping,’ is a powerful energy therapy that can help you help yourself by tapping into your body’s natural healing energy. EFT incorporates the principles behind acupuncture and mind-body connection therapies to confront those lurking triggers or fears that cause limiting beliefs, slowing you down, and often completely stopping you from achieving your goals.
EFT is essentially “psychological acupressure.” That is a fancy way of saying it uses a gentle tapping technique instead of needles to stimulate traditional Chinese acupuncture points.
EFT helps with resolving chronic pain, anxiety, and phobias, giving you relief and release from the boogeymen of haunting memories. It will allow you to once again experience improved health, resilience and positive energy.
I know first-hand how effective the Emotional Freedom Technique is. For over 30 years, I have had a fear of sitting in the middle of a row. Whether it’s the movies, the symphony, a lecture or a rock concert – I always had to plan ahead and snag my special seat on the aisle. (The reason behind this is not really that important; just know that it was a real anxiety-producer for me.)
After only one session of EFT, I found that though I was still conscious of my fear, it didn’t feel as intense as before. Tentatively, I went to a movie and sat four seats in. I looked around (habit) and then concentrated on the film and had a great evening. I could hardly believe it! I kept testing myself after that – at the symphony, in a lecture; I was able to handle the seating and enjoy the event without worry!
With that success, I knew I needed to understand more about this energy technique, so I decided to become certified in Levels 1 and 2 of EFT.
After the training, I was convinced what a vital and important tool EFT is for emotional health. Using tapping to connect to your body’s energy meridians while focusing on the fear, you can activate your own natural healing system.
This non-invasive technique will be one of the most important tools in your Empowerment Toolbox.
HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU COULD TAME YOUR FEARS AND DOUBTS WITH NO POTIONS OR CHEMICALS TO INGEST, NO EQUIPMENT TO PURCHASE, AND NO NEEDLES? YOU CAN!
I can teach you EFT tapping in as little as one session and then you can take it with you wherever you go, diffusing stress and anxiety and allowing you to reach your goals. (Tapping can be even more powerful with someone else tapping along with you but solo tapping is also extremely effective.)
I’ve used EFT on teenagers faced with the College Board exams and SATs. It’s helped executives who are reluctant to make presentations; and I have found that EFT can even reduce anxiety from emotional confrontations.
SO, …, WHAT WILL YOU DO NOW?
Some people facing retirement say:
All these sound great and interesting – on the surface. But let’s look at them more carefully.
“Ah, time to do what I want when I want.” Ok, but what do you want? And in what order do you want it? There may be a lot of choices and a lot of opportunities for you and your time. Thinking about it and planning ahead can make a huge difference and help avoid disappointment.
“I’m going to get up late and enjoy my coffee and the newspaper.” Ok, so assuming you don’t sleep later than 8:00, that brings us to around 10 a.m. Good for you! You are caught up on what is happening in the world. Now what? (And, by the way, if you’re only having coffee and you use a Keurig, you will probably be done by 9:30!)
“Travel! I am going to travel!” Yes! Plan those trips to your dream cities. And go. But remember, travel is getting harder and harder. Planes are cancelled; security causes long lines; prices are through the roof. And what if your knee starts hurting again? Just like you spend time planning the details of a trip, you need to have a plan for all those other weeks when you are not traveling!
“Well, I’ll probably start another company or get another job.” But wait, why did you retire in the first place? Will you make sure that you won’t face the difficulties and stressors that made you leave?
Don’t get me wrong – any of these are a good starting point for some real thinking and self-assessment. Being honest with yourself is a lot easier with an objective partner. A few sessions with a Retirement Coach can make all the difference.
Create the kind of retirement where YOU are in control and make smart choices that allow you to find peace and fulfillment. Use the same effort you put towards creating your financial “nest egg” to come up with a plan for your Retirement.
After all, 65 is the new 50!
Call me; let’s talk.
As an active writer, both nationally and internationally, Loretta Saff's humor columns, blog, and lifestyle articles reflect an insight in dealing with situations that helps people get to their core issues and encourage confidence, trust and support.