Fit Bits

Your headto-toe fit­ness and med­i­ta­tion guide

ZOOMER Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Tara Losin­ski

SHE’S TRAIN­ING FOR an Iron­man. He plays hockey three nights a week and 100 or so rounds of golf a year. Thirty years af­ter start­ing Body Break, fit­ness duo (and yes, they’re mar­ried) Hal John­son, 62, and Joanne McLeod, 60, seem just as fit – and ap­pear to be hav­ing just as much fun.

“I look at life and think, ‘What am I go­ing to play?’ I’m just go­ing to play stuff,” John­son says. As for McLeod, her mo­ti­va­tion is a lit­tle more prag­matic. “My big­gest fear is not be­ing able to do things. I don’t want any­thing to do with a hos­pi­tal or peo­ple tak­ing care of me … that fire keeps me go­ing!”

We caught up with the pair at the Toronto Cen­tral YMCA where they pre­sented their lat­est ini­tia­tive, Well­ness Q. Rather than IQ, they’ve got tips to im­prove your well­ness quo­tient.

Prac­tise pos­i­tiv­ity “I just get up ev­ery day and think, ‘I’m go­ing to be health­ier than I was yes­ter­day.’ And when I have a birth­day, it’s ‘Okay, by my next birth­day, I’m go­ing to be health­ier,’” John­son pro­claims. If you can’t muster quite that much op­ti­mism, sim­ply fo­cus on “I can” rather than “I can’t,” says McLeod. “Yes, you may not be able to do what­ever you like the same as you did when you were younger but you just do it in an­other way.” With rheuma­toid arthri­tis in her hands, McLeod’s so­lu­tion was to sup­ple­ment her daily rou­tine to re­main as ac­tive. “With a ten­nis ball or a smaller ball, you just squeeze to ex­er­cise the mus­cles. If your hands are mus­cu­larly strong, it will al­low you to keep do­ing things.”

Give tech a try What gets mea­sured gets done. Both McLeod and John­son use My Fit­ness Pal, an app by which users can log and mon­i­tor both what they eat and how much they ex­er­cise. “Tech­nol­ogy can help you to stay mo­ti­vated, it can make you ac­count­able and it can chal­lenge you,” McLeod says of apps and ac­tiv­ity track­ers. Even a sim­ple pe­dome­ter can be the wag­ging fin­ger you need to get up and get in those 10,000 steps each day.

Seek out the “right” trig­gers and mo­ti­va­tors Find a fit­ness buddy to whom you’re ac­count­able. John­son’s hap­pen to be four-legged. “They don’t say, ‘Oh, well, we can go for a walk later.’ They’re, ‘Get up! Let’s go!’ ” he says of the cou­ple’s three dogs. “They get me out – even if I don’t feel like it.” And cu­rate the com­pany you keep. “So you’ve got cer­tain friends that are speed walk­ers at the mall. The other friends like to go to the bar. Which ones are go­ing to have a pos­i­tive im­pact on your life­style?”

Read the la­bel, cut the su­gar Ev­ery day the av­er­age Cana­dian con­sumes 110 grams, or 26 tea­spoons, of su­gar. For those who are count­ing, that’s 426 calo­ries. And it’s added to things you may not sus­pect, says John­son. “Whether it be soup or ketchup or salad dress­ing, those are the lit­tle things that add up.” He also warns against “health halo” prod­ucts. “There’s very lit­tle, if any, ben­e­fit of hav­ing Nutella over ic­ing. You’re bet­ter off to have the ic­ing be­cause at least you know you’re eat­ing some­thing un­healthy.”

Keep your brain fit, too Scrab­ble, Su­doku and even screen time can help. McLeod says she got a rib­bing from John­son and their daugh­ter back when she started load­ing games onto her iPhone. “But I re­al­ized I was do­ing it not just as a way to ex­er­cise my brain but also as a way to con­trol stress. Just five or 10 min­utes a day can lower your blood pres­sure, and you’re hav­ing fun while you’re do­ing it.”

Pre­vent and pro­tect In ad­di­tion to a healthy life­style and reg­u­lar check­ups, the pair also pro­motes adult im­mu­niza­tion. For Well­ness Q, they part­nered with Glaxo Smith Kline, maker of vac­cines such as those for flu, hep­ati­tis and shin­gles. “As we age, no mat­ter how much we eat right and ex­er­cise, our im­mune sys­tem is more sus­cep­ti­ble,” John­son points out. “So it’s re­ally about that ounce of pre­ven­tion be­ing worth a pound of cure.”

Hal John­son and Joanne McLeod

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