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Fit to Fly (& Faster at 50)

Heather (53) Wide Grip Pull Up

How do you get fit, stay fit and love (almost) every minute?

Here's how we do it.

Get a Fitness Buddy (your life partner is a great choice)

Glenn and I have been training together for more than 20 years. Exercising together has a lot of benefits. We motivate and encourage one another, we spend time together, and it makes it fun (most of the time). If you don't have a partner right now, a best friend or a dog is great. Our dogs are wonderful running buddies, always eager to go, they always have fun, and they remind me how to be present. Groups like 'Wild Women on Top' are also excellent.

Set a Shared Goal

Ours was climbing and jumping off the highest cliff in the world. That sure got me out of bed and running for my life. The goal doesn't have to be that extreme though - a fun run, a challenging trekking holiday, a multi-sport event or an organised bike ride (one we love is the Spring Cycle in Sydney).  While initially it was our adventure goals that drove me, now exercise is its own reward. Days that don't begin with movement are never as bright as those that do.

While there will always be some new exercise fad that promises quick and magical results the key is keeping it simple and making movement a habit (doing it every day). Our program has kept us in peak condition with no injuries for two decades. Designed by Doctor Glenn - the magical ingredient is commitment.

Glenn and I crossing the Indus River on our way to the Great Trango Tower in Pakistan.

Making it Happen - here’s what we do.

Commit

Set a goal and then use 'I will', rather that 'I want to'.

We have lots of adventure goals but our overall fitness goal is to maintain our health, fitness, strength and emotional well-being. We want to be running at 80 and beyond!

So we run every day as our preferred foundation cardio and full body conditioner. We will mix it up with cycling on and off the road, kayaking, body weight strength training and climbing. We eat wholefood vegan for our health (and the health of the planet and other beings we share it with). We meditate and practice mindfulness so we'll never need to take chemicals to manage our mental state.

Exercise is the most effective anti-depressant. More effective than any pill.
— Dr. Glenn Singleman

Run (or Walk)

First thing (preferably not on pavement) before the day takes over. We’re lucky to have a stunning bush trail four minutes from home that we share with kangaroos and black cockatoos. When we’re traveling we run out the door of the hotel looking for a park or somewhere we can run on dirt or grass. Worse case we go to a gym and run on a treadmill.  We do 6 – 8kms at around 70 per-cent of our maximum heart rate with occasional (very short) bursts of maximum intensity.  This is easier than ever to calculate – a Wahoo heart rate monitor and corresponding Smart Phone app provides enough data to keep you informed and motivated. The goal for us is fitness and conditioning without over-stressing. The bonus is the ‘together time’, which continues to be great for our relationship.

 Glenn on the trail.

Glenn on the trail.

Mix Things Up & do Body Strength exercises

Every other day we cycle for an hour on varied terrain and we do body weight strength training – pull-ups (varied grips), push-ups on a ‘Bosu’ Ball (which throws in a stabilisation element), wall-sits, air-squats and planks, along with a couple of wingsuit specific exercises with a TRX and exercise band.

 Pull-ups - vary the grip between wide and narrow.

Pull-ups - vary the grip between wide and narrow.

 You can do wall-sits anywhere - sit with your back straight as long as you can to strengthen legs and core.

You can do wall-sits anywhere - sit with your back straight as long as you can to strengthen legs and core.

  Bosu Ball Push-ups  (one set to absolute fail - currently 55 good form push ups for me)

Bosu Ball Push-ups (one set to absolute fail - currently 55 good form push ups for me)

Kayaking, rock climbing, bush walking and skydiving add variety and adventure.

 Kayaking is great fun, and a great core and upper body work out.

Kayaking is great fun, and a great core and upper body work out.

 Indoor Rock Climbing is something the whole family can do and enjoy. It's an awesome full body & mind workout. This pic was taken at   CLIMBFIT Sydney.

Indoor Rock Climbing is something the whole family can do and enjoy. It's an awesome full body & mind workout. This pic was taken at CLIMBFIT Sydney.

Plant Powered

We eat wholefood vegan – no animal derived products. The bulk of our meals are made from vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds, tofu and tempeh, whole grains, coconut, soy and almond milk. While any change, especially to diet is uncomfortable at first, if you can stick with it for three weeks, you will find that a healthy vegan diet makes you feel good inside and out, and it’s never been easier. There are more vegan restaurants, grocers and resources than ever before. Start by watching the documentary ‘Forks over Knives’.

Meditate

We meditate every day. This quiet still time is such a welcome break from our fast paced world. I’ve had most success with TM (www.tm.org) which is a mantra based system, but the goal of every style of meditation is to stay present, and become an observer of the mind as it spins and jumps from thought to thought, without judging, engaging or following it. The breath is your anchor.

A better life, where you can feel, do and be more, is the reward.