The best shape of our lives

Fitness Plus
Cedar’s dad, Peter Mackowichuk, and his wife, Patricia, were inspired to get themselves in top shape. They’re in their late 50’s.

Coming from a family that stresses the importance of health and fitness, at 34 years old my goal is to be in better shape than my parents are today when I reach their ages. At the incredibly young age of just 59 and 58 my father and his wife are in the best shape of their lives. They are firm believers that fitness and health are the key to true happiness.

You, too, have the power to be in the best shape of your life in the days ahead or at 60, if that’s what you choose. (It’s true you won’t have the strength of a 20-year old, but at 60 you can be the healthiest 60-year-old on the block.) All it takes is the right diet, a little hard work and desire. This doesn’t mean you have to run to the gym and spend an hour on the treadmill or lift as much weight as your body will allow. The smallest changes can have the largest impact and the best results.

Whether it be putting on some skates, riding a bike, taking those ballroom dance lessons you’ve been putting off or even just going to your local gym and getting on the treadmill, find the activity that makes you happy and encourages you to come back for more.
Exercise in the morning before you start your day: your continuing movement after a workout will keep the muscles fresh and wake up the body’s memory.

The most important thing to keep in mind is it’s never too late to get into shape, and the world can be your personal gym. We all have the idea that we are in our best physical shape when we are 20 to 30 years of age. Why should that be? Your best physical shape can come whenever you want!

The first few activities you try may not be for you and that’s ok; don’t give up! I have played hockey, lifted weights and finally settled into martial arts, awakening a passion, a desire and the confidence of having found my true calling.

If you’re just getting started and want to get a little more active in private, which a lot of people prefer, there are things you can do around your house. Walk up your stairs on your tippie toes; this exercises your body from your ankles all the way up to your core ab region; a stronger core gives a stronger back, meaning next time someone asks you to help them move or take on other lifting jobs, the prospect may not seem so dreadful. Take a minute a day, lean against a wall arms extended and shoulder width apart and slide into a sitting position. Hold it for as long as you can.

It’s definitely a benefit to complement your new routine with a great diet. This doesn’t mean that you should only eat lettuce or should cut out all the food you love. You are not a rabbit so don’t eat like one. A proper diet can consist of small changes, no carbohydrates after 4 p.m. unless you’re going to be active. Switch from that fried chicken and mashed potatoes to skinless chicken breast and fresh vegetables.
And please continue to eat your desert, you deserve it!

In the months ahead in this column I hope to show you how to get the most benefit from the exercises you do, how you can position and move your body parts to avoid pain and injury as you do your workouts, how the body functions internally in response to the exercises you do, how it uses and benefits from the food you eat. And of course I will offer you some effective methods for, over time, building the body beautiful, and help you find methods that work for you.

This column introduces Ceder Finnie. She is Western Canada’s female champion in light-weight mixed martial arts, with two gold medals, one silver and one bronze. Ceder holds four belts in different styles of martial arts. She specializes in muay thay and weapons.

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