Kathy Smith: Progress Not Perfection

You enjoy walking as a great exercise tool. Please tell us how your walking program incorporates High Intensity Interval Training and why it is key in a fitness program.

Taking a satisfying walk changes our outlook on life, which is more important than ever.

A simple tip to turn your walk into a fat-burning workout is to add bursts of HIIT training! Here 7 reasons why adding HIIT to your walks can enhance nearly every aspect of your body…

1 – Fries more calories in less time, which means… short workouts, big results! 

2 – Burns calories even after you’re done working out because your metabolic rate is higher
3 – Taps into hard-to-burn visceral fat 

4 –  Can increase muscle, especially in the lower body

5 – Boosts your endurance ability 

6 – Reduces blood pressure and heart rate 

7 – Improves insulin resistance

Why does HIIT training provide such incredible results? Another word for HIIT training is “metabolic acceleration,” and the word ‘metabolic’ translates to the breaking down of food into energy. During metabolic bursts, you burn more calories working at peak levels, alternating between active rest periods. The added benefit is the residual calorie burn after the workout—referred to as the EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption).

As your cells continue to need more oxygen, they are increasing your caloric expenditure and working harder after the workout. 

These HIIT training workouts push you out of your comfort zone… and that’s when change starts to happen…in your workouts, your body, and your weight.

If you want to turn your walk into a workout, try this 30-minute Pump Up The Pace guided walk.  This free audio incorporates brief interval bursts shown to help break through any weight loss plateaus and improve your cardiovascular health.

Explain how exercise can benefit the whole person and the mind/body connection. 

It’s possible to rewire your brain to work more positively. And, it’s more simple than you may think. By training our minds and bodies, we can guarantee our own good health, both mentally and physically.

A lot of this boils down to “neuroplasticity.” Neuroplasticity is about training your brain, and how your brain can actually rewire itself in response to certain experiences. Neuroplasticity is at the center of this scientific revolution. It’s no fad – it’s the key to aging gracefully.

You are an advocate for women using weights and weight lifting as ways to prevent sarcopenia/muscle/bone loss. Can all women weight train?

Even though you know that strength training can improve your bone density and decrease your chances of osteoporosis, the weight lifting section of the gym can seem pretty intimidating. But, the benefits that you can receive from lifting weights are way too incredible to let pass up.

In addition to all of the physical rewards you’ll receive (including increased lean muscle mass, the ability to burn more calories throughout the day, and stronger core muscles to protect your back from pain) strength training has the ability to expand your life in so many other ways…including improving your memory!

Here are 10 reasons to strength train at any age… 

  1. Amp Up Your IQ

Diving into a book isn’t the only way to sharpen your inner brainiac. In fact, a new study shows that strength training slows the age-related shrinking of some parts of your brain. With age, your brain develops small holes, or “lesions,” in their white matter, the part of the brain responsible for connecting and sending messages to different parts of the brain. As time goes by, these lesions both grow and multiply, which shrinks the white matter, and reduce cognitive ability. But, the study from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver found that men and women who strength trained twice a week had significantly lower white-matter lesions. How’s that for a brain booster?

  1. You’re At Risk For Losing One-Third Of Your Muscle Mass

As we get older we all experience a scary little process I call “The Great Decline.” Every decade we lose muscle mass, and as we age, the percentage of loss just keeps accelerating. By age 60, the average person will have forfeited one-third of his/her muscle mass. The good news:  you can reverse it with strength training. There’s no age limit on our ability to add muscle and stop “The Great Decline.”

  1. Strength Training Helps You Handle Carbs

More muscle mass strongly correlates with improved insulin sensitivity. This means you have better glucose control so you can handle carbohydrates better and reduce your risk for diabetes. By increasing the amount of two different types of muscle fibers in your body, you can more easily manage your blood sugar levels.

  1. Jumpstart Your Memory

If you’ve been searching for a happy pill, try strength training. Adding resistance to your routine releases endorphins, which boosts your happiness and keeps anxiety at bay.

But wait, there’s more. a study from the University of Columbia discovered that when you strength train, you release higher levels of BDNF into the brain. BDNF stands for “brain-derived neurotropic factor.” This brain chemical starts the process for new neurons to be formed in the areas of the brain involved in memory, learning, and decision-making. The higher your levels of BDNF, the healthier your existing brain cells remain, and the more likely you are to create new ones.

  1. Get More Work Done!

If you find your mind wandering off throughout the day, doing an express strength training workout can help you gain focus. And, it can be as simple as a few tricep dips on your chair at work.

  1. Count More Sheep

You’ve probably tried sipping on some herbal tea, and doing relaxing yoga to help you fall asleep with ease. And, while exercise, in general, is known to help you sleep more soundly, studies show that weight lifting, in particular, can lead to a better night’s sleep.

  1. Muscle Burns More Calories Than Fat

Muscle burns more calories than fat. More importantly, muscle makes you stronger so you’re naturally more physical throughout the day. And, your other activities…from walking, to hiking to climbing up the stairs can be performed at a higher intensity, which means you’re burning even more calories in your workout and your daily life.

  1. Strong Muscles Protect your Heart

Lean, fit bodies have a lower rate of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends strength training because of its cardiovascular powers. Resistance training helps you lose visceral fat (fat around the abdomen that surrounds the body’s internal organs) — the most dangerous type when it comes to cardiovascular health.

  1. Bye Bye Back Pain

If you have back pain or posture problems the best non-surgical alternative for remedying this is strength training. A strong core supports your lower back and protects you from injury. And, strong back muscles contribute to good posture. The bonus: good posture naturally makes your abdomen look flatter.

  1. Count It As Cardio

Hating the thought of getting on the dreadmill? Keep your resistance workout moving at a fast pace to keep your heart rate up, and it can count as cardio. Just make sure that after you complete your sets, you move along at a quick enough tempo.

Balance is a problem as people get older. How do you address, prevent, or improve balance issues? 

You’ve probably heard that your weekly dose of exercise should be 150 minutes per week. And, you may have given yourself a high-five because you faithfully tie up your workout shoes every day. But even the most dedicated gym-goers can wind up with holes in their workout routine. There’s a high likelihood that you (yes….I’m looking at you) are missing one vital part of your routine…balance.

Yes, balance training helps to prevent falls as you age.  And yes, it helps with core stabilization to help perfect your posture and improve coordination. But, it’s much more than that. Balance training also strengthens your neuromuscular coordination, meaning that it improves the communication between your muscles and brain.

Here are 3 techniques for beginning your balance training:

 Beginner’s Test

Let’s start by testing your level of stability. To do this, start by standing with a wide stance and slowly heel-toe your feet together…they should be touching. This is a very basic first step to test your balance. If this feels comfortable, move on to step two.

Take the Flamingo Challenge

This is a drill that’s designed to enhance your ability to balance while moving or while stationary. It’s one of the most basic balance exercises. To do the flamingo, stand on one leg for 30 seconds with your arms relaxed by your sides. You’ll most likely use your dominant leg. Lift one of your legs, so you’re balancing yourself on one leg. After 30 seconds, switch to the other leg.

Now, jazz it up! While still standing on one leg, start slowly swinging your suspended foot forward, back and out to the side. This is a dynamic action, so you’ll feel all the muscles of your stabilizing leg working hard to keep stationary.

Balancing Act

Think that’s easy? Now try the same move with your eyes closed. Your body will begin to sway in every direction! The ultimate goal here is to develop enough balance (and confidence!) to eventually standstill during the move. By simply closing your eyes, your stabilization muscles will work overtime.

No matter what your age, balance improves your posture, your core, and your confidence.

If you had 20 minutes to exercise- what would you do?

*total body toner intro? 20-minute combination of strength and cardio with an added balance and range-of-motion exercises included.

This 20-minute circuit workout is one of my all-time favorite routines! This super workout uses full-body, rhythmic, large-muscle movements. Personalize your workout! Choose the low-impact option, or increase the intensity to high-impact depending on your fitness experience and your energy level. Also, modify the intensity by using larger or smaller upper-body movements. I guarantee you’ll feel transformed after this 20-minute aerobic-based workout.

What projects are you currently working on?

The Art Of Living podcast

Spotlights top doctors, celebrities, and researchers in the country about the latest tips on how to live a healthier, more vibrant, more passion-driven life. If you’re interested in learning how to focus on what’s going strong instead of what’s going wrong as a way to achieve your goals, check out my discussion with Fatima Doman. Or,  if you want to discover the lessons that your anxiety may be teaching you, listen to the episode with Julian Brass. And, to hear about how CBDs can help manage pain and encourage a deep night’s sleep, don’t miss the show with Dr. Melissa Gallagher. And finally, if you want to know why blood flow restriction is the big buzz in the fitness industry, listen to my conversation with Dr. Jim Stray-Gundersen. To listen, visit KathySmith.com/podcast 

B Strong Blood Flow Restriction

The workout buzz that’s here to stay is called “blood flow restriction training.” It is one of the newest training tools to hit both the rehab and sports performance worlds and it’s also being recognized as a potent tool for all of us aging baby boomers.

BFR training is truly the future of fitness. This new technique helps improve muscle activation, increase strength while using lighter weights, recover more quickly from injuries, and reduce atrophy and loss of muscle mass as you age or from disuse. 

There’s a lot of research that supports the method, which is why Blood Flow Restriction or BFR is becoming more popular with athletes, physical therapists, trainers, and even celebrities like Mark Wahlberg. 

Blood Flow Restriction uses cuffs…something that looks like a blood pressure cuff… placed around the uppermost portion of the arms and legs to maintain arterial inflow to the muscle while preventing venous return. The idea is that by restricting blood flow you trick the body into thinking it is working harder than it is and that produces some pretty amazing results. 

While the idea has been around for decades, it’s only now that we’re seeing it becoming more mainstream…and largely because of Dr. Jim Stray-Gundersen, the co-founder of B Strong.

Learn more at bstrong.training

Free Fit Over 40 Program – 

Getting bored with your workout routine and need to mix it up? Fit Over 40 is a FREE program that includes 14 days of workouts, from walking to HIIT… from barre to ab routines, and MORE! It’s a  workout program to keep you strong, fit, and vibrant in your 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond!

Plus, the private Facebook community of over 20,000 other encouraging members who are doing the challenge will give you the inspiration and accountability you may need to reach your goals!

Staying active just got a little easier. Join for free here – https://shop.kathysmith.com/pages/free-fit-over-40-challenge

What is your advice for aging enthusiastically? 


Stay in gratitude

Laugh a lot

Find  ways to share your  talents 

Make new friends

Stay connected to  those you love 

Connect with Kathy:

Instagram  – Instagram.com/kathysmithfitness

Facebook – Facebook.com/therealkathysmith

Podcast – Kathysmith.com/podcast

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