Aug. 27, 2015, Vol.13, Issue 9
Exercise as a pathway to health — as well as weight loss — is often in the news headlines. I was already planning this article about Polly Pitchford’s new presentation — The Evolution of Exercise — when I spotted this headline on the American Cancer Society website: “Exercise May Make Tumors Less Aggressive, More Likely to Respond to Treatment.”
And a couple of days later, from Web MD, “The Most Effective Way to Protect an Aging Brain.” The answer – exercise.
Let’s get moving. Pick your passion and move it!
Polly Pitchford: Movin’ & Groovin’
When it comes to exercise, our featured speaker in this issue, Polly Pitchford, has a long (and rich) history. In her brand new “Evolution of Exercise” program, she recounts how she started out in the early 80‘s — behind drawn blinds in her apartment — with Jane Fonda workouts. “Of course, I had to get into some sort of shape before joining a gym!” she said. “It’s the same thing we ladies do when we tidy up our houses before the cleaning service gets there (she winks). I know it’s not just me . . .”
It didn’t take her long to get beyond her closet fitness workouts, and jump into high impact aerobics at the gym — the only class offered at the time. She was hooked — hot music, dance (sort of) and camaraderie kept her “aero-bicizing” for decades. In 1987, she became an instructor and to this day, she loves teaching group fitness. However, she recently checked in with her knees — or they did with her, depending on your point of view — and the vote is in: High impact is out. TRX, Yoga and Zumba are in.
Yes, Polly is one of those people who LOVES to exercise. But she’s also had to adapt her exercise routines as her own body has changed — which she has been willing to do, as she explains to her audiences, letting them know that she understands, and thus promotes, many roads to fitness at all stages of life.
“As a speaker, I know my audience, in general, isn’t into exercise. It brings up negative images.,” she said. “That’s why most of my fitness message isn’t about exercising, per se, but it’s more about moving more throughout the day — 10 minute increments 3 times per day can be awesome!
“The studies are in,” she said. “Our modern day diseases are rooted in sedentary lifestyles. Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and even some cancers are the result of too much sitting!”
Many Women’s Health Symposium groups are attended by women in their 50‘s, 60’s and 70’s who are trying to find easy ways to get their health and vitality back. Polly has found that when she references Jack LaLanne and his message of eating healthy and exercising — way back in the 50‘s — many heads nod in recognition.
Knowing that not all heads nod in recognition, however, Polly was inspired to design her new “Evolution of Exercise” sequence: she would begin with Jack LaLanne and put enough familiar material out there to get all the heads nodding and then progress through exercise styles over several decades to the present day infatuation with Zumba.
This way, while several of the exercise genres overlap, and many are still popular in many fitness clubs today, she has created a unique program designed to reach women of all ages. The timeline includes some of the most popular fitness fads over the past 50 years – and the music you associate with them. You may remember some or all of them: Jack LaLanne, Jazzercise, Richard Simmons, Jane Fonda, Step, Spinning, Kickboxing, Pilates, Tubing, Yoga and Zumba.
The idea was easy, but the process — not so much. First there was the order of the timeline of the various fitness modes, then selecting the right music for each one, and then creating the right choreography. And then she encountered the technical aspects – syncing music, editing, PowerPoint slides, editing, laying down music tracks – and did I mention editing? Luckily, she was saved by a millennial friend of her son who put it all together electronically into one integrated presentation.
In May, she premiered the program at North Florida Regional Medical Center’s Women’s Wellness Day in Gainesville, Florida, to a room of 350 women. It was a huge success.
“When my first PowerPoint slide came up with the word ‘Exercise’ in big letters, I could hear the groans (real or not),” she reported. “Undeterred, I reminded the audience that our modern day diseases are rooted in sedentary lifestyles. The human body evolved to move and now we really don’t have to because of all the automation around us. Back in the 1950‘s, Jack was already telling women — their moms and their grandmothers — to move their bodies.”
In this program, Polly reminisces about how she watched the Jack LaLanne Show with her mom — as her Mom sipped her morning coffee and puffed on her morning cigarette.
Polly notes that there have been many fitness fads over the decades to entice people to exercise. She clicks the remote and the music begins to play — she asks the audience if any of them remember any of these fitness trends…
This really gets them laughing. The music (and Polly’s antics) get them bouncing in their seats! She asks, “Do you remember any of these? Are some of you still doing them?”
And, in the end . . .
Here’s what you need to know, she says: “You don’t have to join an expensive gym and do a grueling 1 hour workout to get the benefits of exercise.” She relates easy ways to move more — like taking the stairs, parking farther away, walking after dinner, etc. But, she says, the most fun way is to put on some really rockin’ music, get into your groove and shake it!”
As a speaker on health and wellness Polly offers easy and attractive ways to reduce stress, eat healthier and, on the fitness front, to move more.
“Exercising improves our physical health, reduces our stress, sharpens our focus and productivity and brightens our outlook! Now move!!!” Polly says.
For more information about getting your audience movin’ and groovin’, contact me at 503-699-5031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Walking for Your Health . . .
and a Cause You Care About
In the WebMD article about the effects of exercise on Alzheimer’s, walking was specifically singled out as among the most beneficial ways to exercise:
“Exercise is, right now, the most powerful effect in terms of prevention of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Stephen Rao, PhD, the director of the Schey Center for Cognitive Neuroimaging at the Cleveland Clinic.
“I’m sure a drug is going to come along that will also work in terms of prevention. But right now, the best thing you can do to prevent Alzheimer’s is to get people on a treadmill or walking,” he says.
Personally, I love to walk. I walk to my gym for yoga, I walk to the bank, the post office, restaurants, around my neighborhood, and most frequently the nearby park, AND I walk for the Beagle Freedom Project. Beagles are the most popular dog breed for lab use because of their friendly, docile, trusting, forgiving, people-pleasing personalities. The research industry says they adapt well to living in a cage, and are inexpensive to feed. Research beagles are usually obtained directly from commercial breeders who specifically breed dogs to sell to scientific institutions.
Testing done on beagles in university and other research facilities includes medical/pharmaceutical, household products and cosmetics. When they are no longer wanted for research purposes, some labs attempt to find homes for adoptable, healthy beagles. Working directly with these labs, Beagle Freedom Project is able to remove and transport beagles and place them in loving homes. All rescues are done legally with the cooperation of the facility.
I have had the benefit of living with one or another beagle buddy for most of my life — most recently, Bella (now age 7). So when Bella and I go out on our walks, we turn on the RESQWalk app (Free) that raises money for the Beagle Freedom Project. Check it out. You can choose your own group to support. It’s extra credit for walking — you and your health are the first beneficiary, and you can do something important for a rescue or other animal group you want to support.
Until next time, take care of yourself — and get some exercise — for your well being and those you love.
For Your Well Being is published bi-weekly. We bring you insider speaker reports, exclusive stories about special events around the country, meeting planner tips, and fun stuff from the worlds of health and well being. Be well and be in the know!
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