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Middle-aged and Getting Back in Shape

by cathyklay
(Fairfax Station, VA)

When I was young I was naturally active and in great shape. I rode my bike everywhere and walked a ton.

Life happened. I started working, had three kids and was so busy that I didn't pay attention to the fact that the weight was creeping on. By the time I really paid attention, I was in my early 50's and weighed 225 pounds (I'm very tall, but still....that's too much), have high blood pressure, and bad feet and knees.

How do you start getting back in shape when you're a mess and everything hurts?

The first answer for me, at least, was slowly. It wasn't going to help me to load another stress on my life and I found high-powered workouts both too intimidating and too exhausting.

I started walking on my own, but I live in an area that really is only nice for outside exercise in spring and fall. I found it was too easy to not get outside.

I found this great website through the Drs. Oz and Mehmet books: Real Age. There is a lot of generally useful information about health and dieting, but now I focus on their on-line exercise videos.

First off, they are free which is terrific. Secondly, you can do them at home without gym membership or special equipment. Lastly, they are lead by warm, appealing and KIND 20-something daughter loves Jillian Michaels, but I think she's obnoxious.

I use Leslie Sansone's "Walk this Way" about 4 or 5 times a week. She's funny, the steps are easy to learn, and you can start at whatever level of exertion is good for you.

Now that I have better endurance, I've added hand weights and pump the steps a bit to keep the pulse up! Her program is designed to also slim the waist and shape your arms while you're working, and I'm seeing results!

I also use Joel Harper's "Tone Your Abs" video (again, all on-line). It's only ten minutes long (thank goodness) but you get a complete ab workout.

My gym rat daughter was impressed at how its designed, and declared it: "a meaningful workout." When I first started it, I had to stop and rest periodically and was cursing through parts of it.

But its blessedly short, and I'm motivated, so I kept with it. It's still a meaningful workout for me, but I can do the whole thing without stopping and my doctor commented on my stronger abs last time I went it!

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