Exercise & Fitness

Heartiness Approach Exercise Program

Love it, hate it, or don't care, exercise remains as a highly recommended health practice. The less one exercises the harder starting to exercise becomes. Too many people act like they can't start an exercise program until they are fit. The best time to start is always NOW. Unfortunately, if one waits long enough to start exercising the ability to do so may evaporate due to lost physical mobility which could include premature death.
The basic Heartiness Approach  exercise guidelines include:
  • Never exercise in a manner that hurts
  • Exercise consistently (exercise type, duration, frequency, intensity)
  • Use an exercise program that you enjoy
  • Progress your exercise program (intensity, duration, frequency) until you reach a point beyond which you can no longer progress without hurting yourself
  • Include both cardiovascular and load training
Jim exercise and foodSpecific exercise programming depends on physical condition and personal goals. The program we demonstrate and use for our weekly sessions involves enough cardio exercise to warm up and improve heart rate response. The exercise instruction also uses a load training program intended to increase bone density and muscle mass. Improved heart rate with increased bone density and muscle mass helps overcome many age related diseases while improving strength and balance. Looking for the "Fountain of Youth"? Proper exercise programming coupled with nutrient dense eating is the closest one can come to discovering the fountain of youth. We have selected our program for our personal effort to meet our goal of healthy, active living through age 120.   

Why Exercise???

Exercise is about losing inches. Exercise is about health. Exercise builds muscle. Exercise [burns fat while creating] muscle. Metabolism improves because of exercise. 

Exercise improves insulin sensitivity, meaning the newly built muscle gives a place for sugar to go from the bloodstream. This lowers the insulin levels. More muscle lowers blood sugar. 

Your bathroom scale will not show the difference between fat and muscle. Therefore, do not get discouraged when you stand on the scale to weigh. 

Exercise directly activates your sympathetic nervous system. Exercise clears away those old mitochondria of the cell, allowing for clean, efficient use of energy by muscles. This improves muscle insulin sensitivity, which is key to improving your general metabolic health. 

Exercise reduces internal stress. Cortisol is a hormone that raises the blood sugar and blood pressure immediately when you exercise and then the blood sugar and blood pressure comes down quickly and stays down the entire day.

Exercise reduces stress levels and releases endorphins to make you feel better all day.

Exercise increases the speed of your liver's Krebs cycle and makes it burn energy cleaner. This determines how much energy will be converted to liver fat.

Don't expect exercise to be the end all. Weight loss requires eating the correct food to provide the correct nutrients to run your amazing body.

Consistent exercise is the single best way for people to improve their health.

(Fat Chance by Robert H Lustig, M.D. pg 139-149.)

Growing Older Actively

While managing an Assisted Living Facility, I had a resident move in who was 99 years old.I inquired to know what help we could give her. I asked her if we could help her dress. “No, I can do that without any difficulty.” I asked about helping her with showers. “Well, why would I need that? I am very limber and can get in and out of the shower myself.” She then kicked her leg high above her head like a Rockette, in perfect balance. I just smiled at her in amazement. I tried to convince her to let us do her laundry but often found her hauling her basket of clothes down the hall. She had taken care of her body and her body had taken care of her.  


When we managed an Independent Living Community we asked the residents what they wanted to do for activities. A few said, “We want to do White-Water Rafting”.smallerversion Others thought they were kidding. They were not. One of the residents required assistance with a walker, one was over ninety and one was blind, the others were typical retirement living residents. We found a rafting company that would provide the correct guides and accept the challenge. It was a marvelous  experience. I sat in the back with the 90 year-old because she only weighed 90 lbs. My job was to hold onto her when we hit the white water. It was a blast. They loved it. In the calm water we had water fights. There were no old people in those rafts. Everyone was willing to take their fears, face them and have fun as a young person. They followed their heart.


   Age is a number. Sometimes our bodies let us down with ailments that can prevent us from doing what we want. However, the fun can still be had; the dance can still be danced; the song can still be sung; the rapids can still be run. Whatever you can dream, may be possible. Watching from the sidelines is not always necessary. “But, I hurt. But, I might fall. But, I would have to take time in the bathroom. But, I am in a wheel chair. But, I need to take medications at certain times. But, But, But.” Even if you have pain keep in mind that you can sit idle, bored, and depressed with pain or you can continue to be in pain and go find enjoyment. Who knows? You may enjoy yourself enough to forget the pain for a while. You name what you want to do and someone who loves you or someone you don’t even know will make it happen for you. Suddenly someone will be there to keep you safe, give you your medications, get you to the bathroom, manage your pain, and handle your fear.


  When my mother-in-law was living with us and on Hospice and on oxygen and in bed, she became quieter and quieter. We could see that she was getting depressed. We knew she would refuse going anywhere. So my husband strapped a large oxygen tank into the car. We took food, water, incontinence products, medications and her wheel chair. My husband scooped her up and put her in the car. We drove up to Dillon Lake in the Colorado Rockies. A lake she loved but it was over an hour away. We watched her begin to relax and enjoy the beautiful Colorado she loved. We parked near the lake and put her in the wheel chair. She then said, “Push me closer so I can put my feet in”. She was hooked. She was glad she had come. Her depression was put away in a box.


 Think on a daily basis, “What can I do? What will make my life fuller today? What will lift my burden and place it in a box for the time being. What will lift my mood? What do I want to do? What can I make possible?” 


The world is a beautiful place to hike, wander around in, drive through and experience. Set a goal to get out and enjoy it once a week. It will be part of the plan to keep you young and active. 




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Phone: 541 257-5663

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