Staying fit in 5 steps - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Sports

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Staying fit in 5 steps

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21, 2011: ESPN host Chris McKendry and tennis analyst Pam Shriver during the 99th staging of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park (Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN) - RAW FILE AVAILABLE -.- CMI000159314.NEF -

Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2013 8:45 am

I’ve been very active my entire life and believe that keeping active into your 40s, 50s and beyond is critically important to ensure a happy and healthy life. As a working mom on the move, in addition to eating right, I go to the gym several times a week for strength-training and cardio workouts. I’m never far from a tennis court. Golf has also become a passion.”

Here are some of my tips for staying happy and healthy at every age:

1. Move more and sit less. When you exercise, blood flows faster in your blood vessels and natural internal medicines are released. Exercise actually can lower high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar and can keep you from feeling depressed. It really doesn’t matter what type of cardiovascular exercise you do as long as you do it. Aim for three days a week at first and then go to five or more days for optimal wellness. I feel better when I exercise every day.

2. Eat clean. We live in a world where people have easy access to processed foods that are laden with high sodium, sugar and trans-fats. Eating clean is about choosing fresh, whole foods with all of their nutrients intact. By enjoying more unprocessed whole foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meats and fish which do not contain artificial preservatives, trans fat and saturated fat and sugars, you will feel and look healthier and have a lot more energy. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water every day.

3. Celebrate life and reduce stress. It doesn’t matter whether you meditate, do yoga or laugh a lot — all of these activities help minimize stress. It’s so important for us to celebrate life and all the blessings we have and focus on our solutions, not problems, to live the healthiest life possible.

4. Give back. I’ve made volunteering and being of service an important part of my life. These activities provide a meaningful and positive impact in my community and also benefit me — a win-win for everyone. Through volunteering, you receive the satisfaction of giving back, gain new life experiences, and have the opportunity to meet a diverse new group of people.

5. Turning Japanese. I first traveled to Japan to play tennis as a teenager. It was then that I became fascinated by and completely respectful of the healthy lifestyle of the Japanese people. The average Japanese woman will live to celebrate her 86th birthday — the world’s longest life expectancy — and the life expectancy of a Japanese man is 79. While many older Japanese people don’t engage in traditional exercise such as going to the gym, they are decidedly more physically active, eat healthier, and engage in meditation more than the majority of older Americans. Japanese people walk more, tend to their gardens, and eat a lean protein rich diet and spend quality time with family and friends. The Japanese are not a pill popping culture. They embrace a more holistic lifestyle with transdermal drug delivery being widely accepted. On the other end of the spectrum, some Americans are unaware of the active ingredients and potential side effects of popular over-the-counter pain relievers and exceed the maximum dosage of acetaminophen, which, for example, can cause severe and permanent liver damage. I support and follow the Japanese lifestyle.

• Pam Shriver is a former American tennis professional, mother of three, Baltimore Orioles minority owner and tennis broadcaster for ESPN. During her 19-year career starting in the late 1970s and continuing through 1997, she won 133 titles, including 22 Grand Slam doubles titles. She won an Olympic gold medal in women’s doubles at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. She is proud to be in the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

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Jason P. Skoda
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  • Resident sports writer at the Ahwatukee Foothills News

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