• Focus -- Recognize it is never too late to start caring for yourself. Small changes will make a big impact on health and give you the confidence that you can definitely work toward the body you desire.
• Goal -- Make a SMART plan today. It's a goal you set that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. For example, someone who has been inactive for a while may want to say: I want to be able to walk a mile without stopping in four weeks (identify a date) and I'm going to do it by walking every morning at the high school track for 20 minutes.
• Detail -- This is a wonderful time in life to be a mom. You may not have the energy right now, but it's likely you may have a little more time to call your own. Take advantage of this time. (Caregivers often feel more comfortable finding new people to care for when family duties dwindle rather than taking care of their own needs). Learn about eating healthy, and find ways to exercise that make you smile and want more. It's not how you feel about the activity, it's about how the activity makes you feel.
• Challenge -- She has more time than ever to exercise, but wants an activity that makes her feel better every step of the way.
• Focus -- Kinder and gentler activity with an emphasis on joint range of movement and functional fitness.
• Goal -- If possible, find a facility that offers aquatic classes and muscle strengthening programs for older adults. If this isn't possible, look at reputable exercise videos made for those with arthritis and other limitations.
• Detail -- Videos featuring yoga, Tai Chi and chair exercise are excellent at-home choices. Activity that addresses joint health, flexibility, muscular endurance, posture and breathing will be extremely beneficial in the way you look and feel. The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org), SilverSneakers (www.silversneakers.com) and the National Institute on Aging (www.nih.gov), and in particular, www.go4life.niapublications.org all have informative websites that facilitate healthy aging.
Cindy Boggs, fitness presenter, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified instructor/trainer since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to her at YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311, or e-mail cindys...@aol.com. Look for Cindy's award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World," at www.cindysays.com, or contact the YMCA at 304-340-3527.