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3 Proven Ways to (Re)Start Your Fitness Journey

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There are days that I wish I was still a teenager and could eat whatever I wanted without gaining a pound. Sadly, those days are gone for us and in order to stay fit and healthy, we need to make an effort.

Regardless of how many times you have restarted your fitness journey, I have three proven ways to push you in the right direction. These are the three things that have helped me stay on track since I restarted my personal fitness journey this past winter. How’s it working you ask? Well, I’ve managed to lose 20 pounds. I’m not saying it hasn’t been hard or that I haven’t had my fair share of setbacks, but these three things I’m about to share with you have made the difference between recommitting to my goals or giving up when I hit those setbacks.

1. Group Classes

Signing up for group fitness classes is the single most helpful thing I have done for myself on my fitness journey. Having different classes scheduled throughout my week makes it possible for me to build my workouts into my schedule and gives me that healthy sense of guilt when I skip a class. I personally schedule 4 different classes a week to target all of my different muscle groups. Even if these classes are the only time you go to the gym, you are still getting to the gym 4 days a week.

2. Accountability Buddy

I admit that sometimes the guilt of not attending a class isn’t enough to get me out of the house. This is where my accountability buddy (or in my case, my husband) comes in. When I started my fitness journey I told my husband to only let me skip the gym once a week. That means going to the gym six days a week. At first, it wasn’t hard to get me out of the house and to the gym, but as it got harder and harder to lose those pounds, my enthusiasm waned. That’s the importance of having someone to hold you accountable. Sometimes my husband has to drag me out of the house kicking and screaming, but I still get to the gym. When you are about to give up on yourself your accountability buddy can help you refocus on what’s important.

3. Diet

Unfortunately, our diets also have to be a factor in our fitness journey. Eating healthy or, at extreme least, not overeating is an important piece of making sure we meet our goals. This is where I’m going to introduce you to the piece of technology that has helped me stay on track. Lose It! is an app that helps you with every aspect of your fitness journey, but especially when it comes to your diet. When you sign up you fill out your age, gender, weight, and fitness goals. Then the app creates a special program for you. You can log your food by just scanning barcodes or adding things manually. Plus, you get badges when you hit different milestones like losing weight, logging regularly, or exercising regularly.

These three things are the only things that keep me on track some days. However, your own fitness journey might require other systems of accountability. Wherever you are on your journey, I wish you luck as you move forward and remind you to never give up!

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5 Easy Ways to Be More Productive TODAY

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Productivity.

Have you ever had one of those days where you sit down in front of your computer at work and suddenly it’s lunch time and you’ve barely gotten through all your emails? Or when you get home and sit down for “just a moment” to relax and suddenly it’s time for dinner? I feel like we all have these dilemmas that make us feel unproductive.

Which brings me to the point of today’s post. Today I will give you 5 easy things you can do to instantly boost your productivity at work or at home. Let’s jump in:

1. Get Up!

Whether you are sitting at a desk at work or sitting on the couch at home, you need to get up. It has been proven that people who exercise on a daily basis are more productive than those who don’t. So take a walk around the block, go to the gym during lunch, or even just take a lap around the office. The important thing is to get your body moving in order to kickstart the rest of you.

2. Conquer Your Tough Tasks First

It is easy to waste your morning on mundane tasks, but if you decide to focus on your hardest task of the day first, you are more likely to complete it (and everything else on your list) sooner.

3. Take a Break

When you feel like you’re hitting a wall, stop! Taking breaks is actually a good thing. Someone who takes short breaks throughout the day will be far more productive than someone who stays chained to their desk. Sometimes your brain needs a break in order to find out a new way to do something, so do your brain a favor and take it.

4. Stop Multitasking

At this point, we have all been told that multitasking is actually less productive than focusing on one thing at a time and yet, for some reason, we keep multitasking. Make an effort to focus on at least your main tasks on a one-by-one basis.

5. Build a Routine

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Making something routine is a great way to boost productivity. You can make it part of a routine to take breaks, stop multitasking, or even focusing on hard projects first. When it comes to my personal routines, I have a secret weapon and today I am going to share it with you!

My secret weapon is an app called Fabulous. This app helps you turn anything into a routine. From making your bed each morning to blocking out distractions at work, Fabulous can help (and the best part is that it’s entirely free)!

For example, I have a set of 7 “habits” that I complete each morning. The app starts with an alarm at a certain time each morning. That’s when you start your “habits”. There is a timer for each habit and once the habit is complete you click a big, satisfying button. Once you have made it through your routine the app congratulates you and you continue with the rest of your day. Try it for a few days and you will see just how productive (and fabulous) you can become!

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75 Simple Ways to Be More Happy with Life

Get Happy!

Today I want to inspire you to become happier. Everyone needs a little pick up every once and a while and today I am sharing with you 100 ways to make your day full of a little more happiness.

So, without further ado, let’s get happy!

  1. Go for a walk
  2. Take a nap
  3. Clean something
  4. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while
  5. Read something inspirational (try this or this!)
  6. Sip on some tea or coffee
  7. Get a massage
  8. Say “Bubbles” in the angriest voice you can muster
  9. Plan a special dinner to look forward to
  10. Ignore your phone for a few hours
  11. Think of 3 things you’re grateful for
  12. Watch your favorite TV show
  13. Go for a drive
  14. Complete a random act of kindness for a stranger
  15. Do yoga
  16. Listen to your favorite band or singer
  17. Look through local Groupon deals for something to do this weekend
  18. Dance
  19. Bake cookies
  20. Pick 3 things you want to get done today and do them
  21. Go shopping
  22. Pretend you’re a kid again and just PLAY
  23. Pick up some flowers to brighten your home
  24. Read a new novel
  25. Quit a bad habit (if only for a day)
  26. Sing
  27. Buy your favorite sweet as a snack
  28. Find the nearest park, beach, or forest and explore
  29. Stop slouching
  30. Complete a DIY project
  31. Go to any store and pick up 5 items that make you happy
  32. Work on your personal To Do list
  33. Look through some of your old photos
  34. Schedule time to volunteer at an animal shelter
  35. Call your parents
  36. Go see a movie (or maybe even go to a drive-in theater)
  37. Make plans with a friend who you haven’t seen in a while
  38. Cook your favorite dinner
  39. Go window shopping downtown
  40. Pay it forward next time you’re in line to get food or coffee
  41. Are you mad at someone? Let it go
  42. Go to the Zoo
  43. Search for inspirational quotes, write one down, and put it somewhere you will see it regularly
  44. Meditate
  45. Stop thinking about where you are now and think about what is possible instead
  46. Draw a picture
  47. Drink a glass of water
  48. Pick a new sitcom you haven’t seen before and watch the first episode
  49. Download the app Happify
  50. Whisper “Boopity Boop” under your breath in 4 distinct voices
  51. Go to a gym class
  52. Take a bath
  53. Spend time with your significant other – without electronics
  54. Shake up your routine
  55. Play a board game with friends or family
  56. Have a firepit? Build a fire
  57. Make a list of 10 people in your life who inspire you. Then share your reasons why with them
  58. Make your favorite drink
  59. Start a home improvement project
  60. Set a new life goal and take the first step towards achieving it
  61. Snack on some fruits or veggies
  62. Switch up your commute. Leave early, take a new route, and try to enjoy the ride
  63. Find a funny article and laugh a little (I find that BuzzFeed is a good place to start)
  64. Spend some time alone to focus on you
  65. Go to bed early
  66. Jump and try to touch the ceiling
  67. Eat something healthy
  68. Do you have a pet? Go get a hug!
  69. Search for a “No Laugh Challenge” on YouTube
  70. Face something you fear
  71. Skip from one end of the room to the other
  72. Instead of thinking about everything that needs to be done, try to focus on one thing today
  73. Tell someone you love them
  74. Be spontaneous and do something RIGHT NOW
  75. Smile!

If all of these happiness-inducing ideas aren’t enough, I have decided to start giving you something a little extra each time I write a new post.

Did you know that there are almost 1,500 National Days throughout the year? Some of them inspire conversation, others promote change, and still others just make you laugh. Here are the National Days that fall on April 25, 2017:

  • DNA Day
  • East Meets West Day
  • Hug a Plumber Day
  • Telephone Day
  • Zucchini Bread Day

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5 Inspirational People Who Prove Midlife Is Just the Beginning

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I don’t know about you, but most Saturday mornings I need a little inspiration to get me going. After all, if you’re not careful, it is easy for the weekends to get away from you. So, today I am going to help inspire you to make the most out of not only your weekends but your life!

Here are 5 inspirational people who decided that they had yet to do what they were here to do in midlife and beyond (plus a bonus)!

1. Winifred Pristellwinifred

Winifred currently holds the World, National, and State records for single lift bench press for her age group and weight class. At the age of 47 she was dangerously obese and decided to make a change. By the age of 68 she had set world records for bench press (lifting 176.2 lbs) and deadlift (lifting 270 lbs). She is now a proud great-grandmother of 3 and healthier than she’s ever been.

2. Pierre Jean “Buster” Martinbuster.png

Buster claimed to be the United Kingdom’s oldest employee. He worked for Pimlico Plumbers in London and even refused to take a day off on his 100th birthday! According to Buster, he was born in 1906 and continued working until he died at the age of 104 in 2011. If that isn’t a dedicated employee, I don’t know what is!

3. Fauja Singh

Fauja is the first 100-year-old to finish a marathon. He also Faujaaccomplished eight world running records for being the oldest man to accomplish each record in ONE DAY. He is currently 105 years old and living in the UK. He ran between the ages of 89 and 101. Why so late in his life? A tragedy led him back to it. He witnessed the death of his fifth son in 1994 and decided to return to his passion for running. He began training and started running international marathons at the age of 89. At the age of 93 he completed the London Marathon 58 minutes faster than the previous world record. Eight full marathons after the age of 89? Pretty impressive if you ask me.

4. Dorthy Custedorthyr

Dorthy was a stand-up comedian starting in 1916. She thought she would never become famous until she got the chance to perform on the Tonight Show at the age of 100 in 2011! After that, she decided that she was never too old to achieve what she wanted to do. She performed on the Tonight Show again in 2012, for her 101st birthday she ziplined the Snake River Canyon, and for her 102nd birthday she base jumped off the Perrine Bridge into the Snake River Canyon and became the oldest base jumper in the world.

5. Werner Bergerwerner

Werner is the oldest person to climb the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. He climbed his first mountain on the list in 2002 at the age of 64 and completed the last mountain on the list in 2013 at the age of 76. How many people do you know who have climbed Mount Everest? Not to mention at the age of 69!

To learn more about Werner, see his Facebook Live interview with The Back Forty Co-Founder, Darrell Gurney, by clicking here!

BONUS: Tao Porchon-Lynchtao

Meet Tao. She is the world’s oldest yoga teacher at the age of 98! She is pretty amazing. So amazing, in fact, that I wrote an entire blog post about her a few months ago. Click here to find out what makes Tao so special!

Hopefully, that is enough inspiration for you today. After all, as we say in The Back Forty, “You have yet to do what you came here to do!” So, what is it that your second half of life has in store for you?

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Sources: GuinnessWorldRecords.com, Wikipedia – Dorthy Custer, Wikipedia – Fauja SinghWikipedia – Buster Martin, HeraldNet.com, and WinifredPristell.com

5 Easy Ways You Can Make More Money In Midlife

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We recently created a survey to figure out what our community members’ biggest fears are. Now, our survey isn’t complete yet (you can still put in your own two cents by clicking here), but our initial feedback is overwhelming.

What is the most popular fear?

Finances.

Of all of the fears brought up by people responding to our survey, money-related fears made up a shocking 45% of all of the fears!

Because of this, I have chosen to devote this blog post to helping you at least minimize your fears. And, even if money isn’t your biggest fear, a little extra income is never a bad thing, right?

So, without further ado, here are five easy ways you can make more money in midlife – today!

Online Surveys

One of the most common ways to make some extra money online these days is to take part in online surveys. Not only do you get paid for your time, but you also get to give your opinion on different things like politics, new products, movies, TV advertisements, and the list goes on and on.

Some people will claim that you can make thousand of dollars per month by answering online surveys, and that might be true, if you are spending all your time doing surveys. That being said, expect to make anywhere between $30 and $300 extra each month if you fill out at least one survey a day. So, which online surveys should you sign up for. Here are some of the best options out there:

  • Swagbucks – This website is the most popular survey website. It’s very easy to sign up and you can earn an average of $0.20 to $1.00 per survey and surveys can last seconds or 20 minutes. You can also earn Swagbucks for watching videos, shopping online, and playing games (each Swagbuck equals about one cent).
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    I signed up for Swagbucks today and you can see that I’ve earned about a dollar in the first five minutes of playing with the website.

  • MySurvey – This website is another popular option. You can make as much as $0.50 to $1.25 per survey you answer.
  • Pinecone Research – This website specifically focuses on the research side of surveys. You earn $3.00 per survey and surveys last an average of 30 minutes each.

Website Testing

Another option is website testing from home. You visit a website, complete a series of tests, and then get paid $10. The downside (if you aren’t very outspoken) is that you have to speak all of your thoughts out loud. If this doesn’t deter you – it’s an easy way to make some extra cash. Check out UserTesting.com for more details.

Get Paid to Shop

This is my favorite suggestion. After all, who doesn’t love shopping? And who doesn’t love getting good deals when they shop? There are a few different options, but I can tell you that I have personally tried and approved both of the options I’m about to give you.

  • Honey – If you enjoy shopping online then this web extension is perfect for you. All
    you do is install Honey on your web browser and suddenly you get pop-ups whenever you are about to purchase an item. These are the best type of pop-ups. Honey will check every coupon code on the internet for you to get you the biggest discount possible. Before I started using honey I would spend at least 10 minutes searching for coupon codes before purchasing things online (when I remembered). Now I don’t have to spend the time and I always get the deal!
  • Paribus – Here is a reason to opt into getting your receipts digitally. Not only do you save paper, but now you can also get money for it! If you shop at Amazon.com, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Best Buy, Staples, Target, Nordstrom, Old Navy, or 22 of their other participating stores (see them all here), then you can be saving money. Paribus keeps track of your purchases through your email receipts. When a price goes down, they will submit the paperwork necessary for those “money-back guarantees” and give you the money. They do take 25% of your discount as a fee, but if you don’t normally scour your receipts for discrepancies months after the purchase, then you are still getting way more money than you would have without Paribus.

Sell Old Things

If you are anything like me, then you have a pile of things waiting to be sold at a garage sale or taken to be donated. These days there is no reason to wait. You can get rid of your items now, you don’t have to leave your house, and you can make money doing it. Here are some of the best ways to get money for your old stuff you wanted to get rid of anyway:

  • eBay – If you want to upload some pictures onto a traditional website, eBay is the way to go. eBay is the perfect way to sell old toys, collectibles, and electronics.
  • Facebook Groups – These days, almost every town has their own “Garage Sale” Facebook Group. Go to Facebook, type “garage sale” into the search bar, click on groups, and then pick the garage sale group that is closest to you. It’s that simple. Then you can simply post things you want to get rid of on the group page and tell people where to pick them up.
  • OfferUp or LetGo: If you would prefer to use an app. Both OfferUp and LetGo are great options. You simply download the app, upload what you’re selling, and message others to finalize the sale all through the app. If you’re concerned about strangers being able to look at your Facebook profile or texting your personal number, this is the right option for you.

Lose Weight

This last idea is probably the most surprising, but I promise you that this is real. You can actually get paid to lose weight! There is a website called DietBet where you can earn money by betting that you will lose weight. What is actually happening is that you are betting against a bunch of other people that you will lose weight. Whoever reaches the group goal gets to split the earnings and those who don’t make it lose their entry fee. If you want to lose weight, stay motivated, and make money doing it. DietBet is the perfect solution.

Bonus Tip!

Download your FREE Top Ten Tips for a Radical Second Half eBook by clicking the image below! This 19-page eBook is full of tips for making your life the best it can be in every aspect (not just financially). So go ahead and get started!

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When Was the Last Time You Gave Your BRAIN a Workout?

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In today’s world, technology is always at our fingertips. From smartphones and iPads to laptops and smartwatches, technology is almost never more than a finger tap away. Unfortunately, with all of this technology at our fingertips, we are spending less and less time actively engaging our brain. We play mindless games on our phone or watch mindless TV before bed, we aren’t working out our brains nearly as much as we used to.

On Monday, a study was published in the JAMA Neurology Journal reinforcing the importance of doing activities to stimulate your brain. It was found that even after the age of 70, taking part in simple activities like playing games, socializing, and using the internet can help prevent mental decline.

Not to say that in your 40s and 50s you are suffering from extreme mental decline, but the phrase “use it or lose it” comes to mind.

What does this have to do with technology you might ask? Everything.

The other day I realized that I grab my phone first thing each morning and check it each night before bed. I’m completely tied to it. And what am I doing when I grab it at 5:45 each morning? I’m scrolling through Facebook or Pinterest. I’m playing mindless games through different apps. I’m scanning my emails. The problem is, I’m not using my brain. And even worse, I’m not really enjoying playing the games or scrolling through social media, I’m just doing it to wake my brain up.

So I decided to make a change, I deleted all of my mindless games and replaced them with apps specifically created to give your brain a workout. Now, at this point, I’ve only been using the apps for 3 days, so I can’t claim any astounding results. However, I know that I’m working on different skills and that the “games” are created to get my brain to work in different ways.

I downloaded a bunch of different apps to try out, but so far there are two that are really standing out to me. Today, I want to share these apps with you, in case you wanted a to make a mini brain workout part of your daily routine!

Lumosity

Lumosity is a website as well as an app (although I am currently solely enjoying their lumosity app.png
app). When you make a profile, the first thing they have you do is take a “Fit Test” to see where you already fall. After you complete your test, they create daily tasks for you to give your brain a workout! Right now I’m unlocking new games each day to help me with my attention, flexibility, memory, speed, and problem-solving skills. With the free version, you get 3 new games each day to play. The more you play, the better your scores get and the more of a workout your brain gets! If you want to unlock more games (beyond the ones you get each day) you can always pick up a pro membership for as low as $3.75/month.

Peak

Peak is an app that also gives your brain a workout through games that help you with peak app.pngdifferent skills like focus, problem-solving, coordination, memory, and mental agility. Each day they give you more games to play and keep detailed track of your brain score in the above categories and more. The downside is that you can’t play your daily games an unlimited amount of times without a membership. The good news is that it is cheaper than Lumosity with subscriptions as low as $2.92/month. Also, they have family plans so you can help everyone in your family keep their mind sharp (and compare progress if you’re competitive like me)!

P.S. If you click here – you can get a free week of Peak Pro!

If you are even thinking that you might be interested in giving your brain a workout, then go ahead and download one (or both) of these apps. They both have free versions, and who doesn’t want to improve their mental skills? After all, use it or lose it!

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Endure-Dance

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“Development is an endurance exercise with incremental improvements.”

-Sri Mulyani Indrawati

Building character, confidence, a skill, a career, a business, a country all take time.

There’s the dance uphill from unconscious incompetent all the way to unconscious competent.

It requires endurance for sure, and just as much patience…for when we or it ain’t happening.

I tell my Back Forty and coaching clients that, to the degree we want to grow, it requires an equal amount of self compassion.

Without the latter, it’s impossible to hang in there long enough for the nurturing of that which we want to build.

Ever stood over a fledgling plant and screamed “Grow!!”  How’s that working for ya?

Where can you turbo-boost your desired growth by directing forgiveness toward yourself today?

Got endure-dance?

“Heroism is endurance for one moment more.”

-George F. Kennan

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What it REALLY Means to Dress Your Age

woman-1535584_1280Dress your age. It’s a phrase that I’m sure you’ve heard before. Either you are saying that someone else should really dress their age, or people are saying it about you. When you go online, there are countless articles about “dressing your age”. Bazaar says, “the older you get, the less you can do prim, girlish, preppy, and cute.” According to the Huffington Post, “You never show your arms when you’re over a certain age and you don’t wear shorts”. Even GQ Magazine suggests that once you hit your 50s you should be buying loafers, knitwear, blazers, ties, and thickening shampoo!

Can I say yikes? There seem to be more and more rules as you keep aging about what you can and cannot wear. Often the advice comes from good intentions. These articles are meant to help you look your best, but using age as the standard for when you can and cannot wear certain types of clothing is ridiculous.

Why is it that when you hit the age of 40 you magically are no longer allowed to wear jeans with holes or skinny jeans or leggings? Why do people think that once you are in your 50s you can no longer wear sleeveless shirts or shorts? There is no reason that this fashion advice should be tied to your age at all. So what should this advice be tied to? Well, let me tell you.

This advice should be tied to your health. And I don’t mean specific aspects of your health like just your fitness level, I mean your health overall. For example, a 45-year-old woman who goes to the gym three times a week, avoids eating unhealthy foods, and has a clean bill of health from her doctor should feel free to wear a completely different wardrobe than a 45-year-old woman who hasn’t exercised in years, eats junk food in lieu of healthier options, and was just diagnosed with diabetes. How you treat your body matters and shows! There is absolutely zero reason these two women should have similar wardrobes simply because they are both 45.

So don’t “dress your age“, dress your lifestyle!

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Midlife Exercise – Is it Important?

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Many people have the viewpoint that once you hit “midlife” working out and staying fit is no longer important or a priority. Of course, they have their excuses:

  • “I’ve had two kids and your body never really comes back from that”

  • “No matter how much I exercise, I’ll never look as good as I did when I was young”

  • (and my favorite) “My life is way too busy right now, I simply don’t have time”

Do any of these excuses sound familiar? Well, I’m here to tell you that exercise IS important, even if you are “too busy”. Studies suggest that even if you’ve never been one to spend time exercising, being or becoming fit in midlife can completely re-shape your aging process. People who don’t bother with fitness in midlife are more likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s (among other diseases). This doesn’t mean that if you exercise, you won’t get these diseases later on. However, those who exercise tend to have these diseases for maybe the last five years of life while those who don’t exercise tend to have their diseases for the last 10 to 20 years of their life!

I don’t know about you, but I would rather be healthy until the age of 80 instead of being chronically ill at the age of 65.

So what do we do about this? We get fit! Here are some tips for getting started:

  1. Realize that you don’t have to work out constantly. You need only 2.5 hours a week of moderate activity or 1.25 hours a week of vigorous activity. That means that you only have to exercise moderately for 22 minutes a day or exercise vigorously for 11 minutes a day! Where did your excuse about being too busy just go? And here are some bonus tips:

    • When you work out, make sure that you exercise for at least 10 minutes at a time (so you can increase your heart rate).

    • Also, exercise first thing in the morning. By the end of the day it is much easier to say you don’t have the time or are too tired from your busy day. First thing in the morning, you don’t have any excuses yet.

  2. What does “moderately” and “vigorously” really mean?

    • Here are some exercises that fall under “moderate” exercise: dancing, bicycling (less than 10 mph), brisk walking, tennis, and even gardening!

    • Here are some exercises that fall under “vigorous” exercise: jogging or running, swimming laps, jumping rope, bicycling (more than 10 mph), and hiking uphill.

  3. Use it or lose it! Make sure you spend a least two days a week working on strengthening your muscles! This can help you gain strength, minimize joint pain, and boost your mood!

So how about you? Can you find 11 to 22 minutes at the start of your day to improve your health for the rest of your life?

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Sources:
Eight Secrets of Boomers who Exercise Regularly
Getting Fit, Staying Fit During Middle Age
The Benefits of Middle-Age Fitness