The Discomfort Zone

The Discomfort Zone

A 60-something woman in a circuit class at a senior center balked at doing one of the exercises. She said, “I’m retired. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to.” All the exercises the young trainer included in the circuit were safe and effective for people her age and level of conditioning.

She rebelled at doing the exercise because she was not going to be comfortable; the exercise challenged one of her physical weaknesses, a part of her body that she needed to strengthen to maintain her ability to live independently. For just one minute, she would be uncomfortable – her muscles would burn a little, her heart beat a little harder, her breaths come a little faster. But in no way would the exercise take her near the point of exhaustion, and she had no disability that would make the exercise inappropriate.

Sometimes people, like this woman, misinterpret or fear what they’re feeling, or going to feel, during exercise. They wonder if their heart or joints can take it, then succumb to their fears and stop like she did. However, it’s when you steadily overcome your weaknesses by completing an exercise, as this woman had the opportunity to do, that you progress.

Being mostly pleasure seekers, we don’t go looking for discomfort. But productive exercise, versus going through the motions, takes an effort. The level of exertion at which you feel your body is stressed a little – let’s call it The Discomfort Zone – is exactly where the benefits of exercise begin. People unaccustomed to physical exertion will acclimate to these sensations once they understand the discomfort is a normal response and doesn’t represent a threat to their well-being. As they become fitter, they are able to spend more time there.

Aging itself makes exercise less comfortable because joints are less flexible and the muscles not as strong as they once were, but the vast majority of older exercisers can do more than they realize. The benefits of pushing their limits just a little far outweigh the risks. You never escape some discomfort because it indicates you are challenging yourself, but you know from experience it won’t kill you.

If the woman in the circuit class had completed the exercise, she would soon seek more time in the Discomfort Zone rather than avoiding it. She would realize that the rewards of exercise aren’t obvious when you’re doing it, but later when you can successfully perform everyday tasks, long into old age.

Sweat Is a Wonder Drug

Sweat Is a Wonder Drug

As more and more research proves, exercise is better and cheaper than any supplement or prescription to slow the effects of aging in almost every organ in our bodies. Many of us tend to think of heart health when we hear the word exercise, but, as this video shows, it also has equal benefits for our brains.

You just need to do a few basic resistance exercises, nothing extreme like running a marathon.

All the great exercises in the video can be done without going to a public gym if you don’t want to. We can show you how to safely and effectively gain strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance right at home.

Cascade Boomer Fitness can bring the equipment to you with our Gym-to-Go service or, if you prefer, help you set up your own home gym.

Remember Well Rule #6: Exercise Enough to Sweat a Little Every Day.








Hooked on Oreos

This week some neuroscientists announced that Oreo cookies may be addictive. A wave of uneasy giggles passed through American media and living rooms at the news because everyone knows this can’t be good news. It followed a study released a month earlier by the CDA that obesity rates in the US remain at 36% for adults, which will ensure healthcare costs for individuals and the government will continue to skyrocket.

The company that manufactures Oreos was quick to point out that their cookie shouldn’t be singled out because it only represents a certain class of processed food full of hydrogenated fats and sugar. This is an understatement. Actually, Oreos are typical of 80% of the foods for sale in most supermarkets, not just in the desserts aisle.

Unfortunately, some of our best and brightest chemical engineers have sold their souls to processed food giants to discover ways to make us crave the chemical concoctions in bottles, cans, and packages.  Processed sugar is just one of their drug-like ingredients. Watch this:

In the past year, two excellent books came out that provide detailed information on both the motives of the companies that manufacture and market processed food and explore the artificial ingredients  in processed food that are addictive and metabolically disruptive. Read Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Micheal Moss and Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal by Melanie Warner.

You’ll know why a Boomer Well Rule, discussed in our workshops, is to substitute whole foods for processed foods.



Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Well Rule #2: Substitute Whole Foods for Processed Foods



2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
3-4 TBS. EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
2-4 TBS. Chili Powder Spice Mix

We use:  2 T. Chili Powder, 1 tsp. garlic salt, 1 TB. paprika, 1 tsp. Black pepper, and add about 1/4-1/2 Chipotle powder to spice it up. Make your mix according to your taste and desired level hotness. (All amounts are approximate–experiment with your own favorite spices.)


Soak the pumpkin seeds for several hours or overnight to make them more digestible and to release enzymes that help the nutrients be more easily absorbed by your body.  Drain thoroughly and pat dry.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In a medium-sized bowl mix the ingredients together to thoroughly coat the pumpkin seeds.

Spread them in an even layer on a cookie sheet.

Bake for approximately 15-20 min. Stir them often and watch them carefully so that they don’t burn. They will start to pop when they are roasted.

Pumpkin seeds have great health benefits. They are high in zinc, a mineral that protects against osteoporosis and promotes overall prostate health. They contain L-tryptophan, a compound that is effective against depression. They are high in magnesium and fiber, reduce inflammation, and have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.

Thanks to the Wellness Tribe

Thanks to the Wellness Tribe

We want to thank everyone who attended the workshop last night on “Living Boomer Well Rules.” Thanks also to the Bend Senior Center for helping us promote and spread the wellness message.

As always happens, everyone learns something interesting, surprising, practical or useful that they didn’t know before, including us.  That’s the power of a tribe.


Several of you wanted to know how to prepare the spiced pumpkin seeds, a healthy snack alternative to junk food. We’ll post the recipe this weekend.

Also, the organic and non-organic food list will be coming to you via email.

We hope to see all off you again as we fly on our journey to wellness.



Older and Bolder

Older and Bolder

Enjoy this remarkable video of Stephen Jepson, a guy in his early 70′s, who is an inspiring example of what’s possible for all of us as we age. He’s enthusiastic, engaged, and brimming with life.

Especially note how he exercises. He makes it fun and he tries a variety of activities as he works on balance, fine muscle control, leg strength, agility, hand-eye coordination, and endurance. No doubt he had to practice a lot to develop some of these unique skills, surely failing once in a while, but sticking with it anyway.

He’s right about so many things – how exercise is good for the brain, how best to train to prevent falls, how the aging body is ready, willing, and able to do so much more than slump in front of a TV or computer.