Tag Archives: physical fitness

Fitness after Fifty and Beyond.

Fitness after Fifty and Beyond
What’s holding you back?

We are all familiar with the phrase, “for a woman of your age.”  As in, you look pretty good (for a woman of your age).  You have a nice figure (for a woman of your age).  We’ve heard it a million times and so we believe it!  The message is clear, you are doing OK for an old fart.  “Wise Women Fitness’ mission is to remove this myth once and for all!”, says owner and personal trainer, Lynn Valaes.  “So many of my new clients walk in with the thought that they have limits based on their age, and while we do take their current fitness level into consideration when getting started, we do not talk about limits!!”

New research is proving that regular exercise is a big factor in not only improving the quality of life for older women but for longevity as well.  Exercise has been shown to reverse the signs of aging on the brain in cells at the mitochondria and in telomeres levels which are known indicators of longevity.

 “We’re also dispelling the myth that you have to work it till it hurts to have success,” says Valaes.  “Our whole method for success is to go at a pace that is comfortable, the whole point is just to get moving, not kill yourself doing it!”

Regular exercise can easily become a part of your weekly activities, especially for pre/post-menopausal women who find more time on their hands as their family obligations change.

What’s more, studies show that if you believe you are doing something beneficial by moving a bit more, your brain actually returns the health benefits, simply by your beliefs!

But science also tells us, it has to be enjoyable to be effective.  The old idea that you have to expend energy to lose weight has been flipped to the benefits of the energy that you get from exercising that makes the difference.  As Valaes puts it, “Our mind is a powerful thing when it comes to feeling well, a stressed-out body will hold on to weight.  Exercise produces endorphins that make us feel good, our brain tells our body we are healthy, and it answers with weight loss and a positive outlook!”

Let Wise Women Fitness put a smile on your face, one step at a time.  Come visit us for a free evaluation!

Click here to read what some of our ladies are saying about WWF.

Discover the Real You

Why you shouldn’t have permission to accept yourself for anything less than you are.

There’s a BIG problem spreading throughout world society in the last number of years, and like most ‘big problems’…it started with a lie.

For quite a while now it’s become the culturally acceptable norm to condone, and even celebrate, habitual and consistent overeating and under moving by giving us the simple permission to… “Accept and love yourself for who you really are”.

It’s a great sound bite, and probably looks good on a hallmark card, but it’s based in about as much reality as the Easter Bunny whose eggs you’re still enjoying in August.

The problem doesn’t lie with the intent or the journey, but with the destination.  You see, I’m all for accepting yourself for who you really are, AND loving yourself as well…so long as you have the very first clue WHO that “real you” actually is!

Watch the video below to find out why we won’t give ANYONE the permission to accept themselves for anything less than who they REALLY are.

Paul McIlroy, CSCS, BSc,
Creator of the Amazing 12 Program


75 Healthy Recipes to Add to Your Arsenal

75 Healthy Recipes to Add to Your Arsenal

Ever have trouble figuring out a healthy meal for dinner? Well here are 75 healthy suggestions for you to add to your recipe arsenal. Even if you are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or Paleo, there are plenty of offerings on the list for you. Click here to start cooking!


Mel Robbins’ “The 5 Second Rule”

The 5 Second Rule and how this can change your life!

Have you ladies heard of Mel Robbins and the 5 Second Rule? If not, you need to check her out.

We all have struggles and make excuses for why we don’t exercise, eat right or be kind to ourselves on the inside.
Just like you, I have struggles and I make excuses for why I don’t do stuff. My biggest challenge is procrastination and I’m constantly working to overcome this self-sabotaging behavior!
The 5 Second Rule is my new “go to” to help me conquer my procrastination.
Try this next time your brain tries to derail you from doing what you know you should do!
With love and in health,



Imbalance and Injury

Imbalance and Injury:   Live an efficient life, inside and out of the gym.

We’ve all been hurt at some point in our lives. Whether it is physically, mentally, or emotionally, it’s not a fun state to be in.  However, the majority of us are moving through our daily lives imbalanced which puts us at greater risk for physical injury.  Muscular imbalance is overlooked when we are working out.  We all want to look our best and feel our best but loathe the feeling of being sidelined by an injury. We count the reps and sets, watch the clock, but we may be forgetting a critical part of our workout – proper muscle activation.

Imbalance occurs when one muscle group must compensate for its weaker counterpart which typically comes from favoring a certain movement pattern.  In this day and age, we have become robotic.  No matter what career we have, there is a certain level of monotony in our daily movement patterns.  This creates an issue when one muscle group constantly performing the action becomes much stronger, and typically tighter than its non-firing, weaker counterpart.  We know by now that too much of anything is not necessarily a good thing.

Training your brain to overcome the imbalance is not an easy feat and typically easy exercises will seem harder as one half of your brain is working hard to balance out the other.  Years ago, at one of my lifting competitions, I was blindsided by a muscle pull in my hamstring during a warm-up set.  I pushed through only to find myself sidelined for several weeks following the meet as my whole kinetic chain was off and the muscle pull became more severe with each lift.  After months of foam rolling [which can be read about in my previous post HERE], sports massages, and many long boring single joint work to address imbalances, I was back in the gym and training again and now I’m even stronger than ever!

Some days it’s easy to get down on myself for overlooking imbalances and thinking I could be so much stronger without injuries or painful tension knots but I must remember, we are only human and the body has an amazing capability of healing itself when provided with the right tools – MOVEMENT!  With movement and mobility comes mental and physical strength as well as balance, which is a feeling that cannot be beat.

Now I can’t say injuries are 100% avoidable, but the severity of them is.  YOU have control of your diet, exercise, and rest and recovery regimens.  The best results that I have found with my clients as well as myself, is a well-balanced workout which incorporates foam rolling, dynamic warm up to activate the muscles to be used, doing equivalent work on both your anterior and posterior chain [front and back side] along with a cool down and stretch.  While it may seem tedious, believe me when I say that you do not want to be out of commission for a long period of time when you’ve got goals to accomplish.

Sometimes calling on the help of a fitness professional will not only keep you accountable, but is a set of eyes that can spot imbalances and address them accordingly. We here at Wise Women Fitness are here to help show you how to efficiently accomplish a balanced workout in just 60 minutes, a couple of times per week while targeting different joints and energy systems.

Remember, if it comes down to it, take the extra five minutes to make sure the muscles trained have had a sufficient stretch.  We spend too much time racing to our next plan and not enough time caring about the body that will get us to that plan.  Movement is medicine and sometimes with an injury you can do more harm than good by cutting off movement all together.  When something acts up on your car you don’t drive it into the ground or neglect it all together, do you? So why not listen to your body and respect it… it is your most permanent home for the rest of your life.

Questions, comments, and new members for the Wise Women Fitness family are always welcomed!

In strength,



9 Steps to Take If You Want to Start Working Out for the First Time

9 Steps to Take If You Want to Start Working Out for the First Time

Working out regularly can benefit you in so many ways. It’s good for your mental health, keeps your heart healthy, and helps you get better sleep. Taking the first step towards developing a regular program can be daunting. So how do you take that first step? Click here for a great article that offers 9 simple steps to help you start working out for the first time. Of course, you can always rely on Wise Women Fitness as well. Our professional trainers can help you get off to a great start for a lifetime of better health.


Turning Your Dog’s Walk Into a Total-Body Workout

Turn Walking Your Dog Into a Total-Body Workout

Taking your dog for a walk is a good option for a little exercise. But what if you could turn your walk with your pup in to a full-body training session? Studies show dogs can help lower your blood presser and cholesterol; reduce depression, stress, and anxiety; motivate you to exercise; and even help you lose weight. It’s like the gym buddy you’ve always wanted… only way cuter. Click here for a great article on turning your dog’s walk in to a workout.


Muscle Imbalance and How to Fix It

Muscle Imbalance and How to Fix It

All of us have imbalances when it comes to our strength. Often times, it is due to whichever hand or foot is dominate. But these imbalances can cause issues in training.  It can create a cascading effect of imbalances that could lead to injury. Click here for a great article on why it matters if one side of the body is stronger than the other and how to fix it.


Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic Breathing

 Decrease Anxiety and Tension While Improving Core Strength…with Diaphragmatic Breathing

Breathing is an automatic and unconscious part of living. However, are there better ways to breathe? Can better breathing improve posture? Improve/maximize workouts? Decrease back//neck/shoulder pain and anxiety? The answer to all those questions is YES! Its called diaphragmatic breathing.


Please take a moment and assess your own breathing patterns (both inhalation and exhalation). Lie on your back with knees bent (preferably a firm surface with no pillow under your head), now place one hand on your chest and one on your belly. Take a nice deep breath in! What rises first? Chest? Belly? Do your ribs move? Now exhale. What moves first?

What should breathing look like? If you are using “ideal” breathing mechanics, the sequence for inhalation should be: ribs expand, belly rises, then chest rises (minimally); exhalation sequence: action should be led by ribs moving down and in, therefore both belly and chest collapse at the same time.

What is the diaphragm?

Elaine2The diaphragm is a huge, dome-shaped muscle at the bottom of the rib cage that serves as the main muscle for respiration and plays a vital role in the breathing process. Although it is used 24/7, it goes largely unnoticed (unless you get hiccups!).

When breathing in, the diaphragm contracts, in conjunction with the intercostal muscles, it lowers the pressure in the thoracic cavity which enables air to enter the lungs. When breathing out, the diaphragm relaxes/elongates along with the intercostal muscles, allowing air to leave. Air may be forced out faster by increasing abdominal pressure using the transverse abdominis muscle.


The diaphragm also has an important role in stabilizing the core. It forms the top of the core ‘box,’ working with the internal and external obliques, quadratus lumborum, transversus abdominis and pelvic floor.











Benefits of proper diaphragmatic breathing patterns:

Relieves tension in neck and back

Many people with back/neck and even shoulder pain are “shallow breathers”, meaning when taking a deep breath in, the chest rises first and shoulders go up. “Shallow breathers” use accessory muscles such as scalenes and sternocleidomastoid for deep breathing which, over time, could lead to tightness and muscle imbalances through the neck/shoulder area. Tightness and muscle imbalance in these muscles can cause neck pain, shoulder pain, and even headaches.

Initiating a breath with diaphragm, the ribs expands/move, allowing your back muscles (paraspinals) and your abdominals to lengthen. This creates movement through your thoracic spine (where ribs attach), provides natural traction to the lumbar spine (potentially improving disc health), relieving tension and improve mobility through entire spine.

Improves calming system and decrease anxiety

Proper diaphragmatic lengthening and contraction (through proper deep breathing) activates the vagus nerve and triggers a relaxation response (parasympathetic).  If the diaphragm never contracts properly, the body is held in “fight or flight” state (sympathetic nervous system), which could lead to rapid, shallow breathing and feeling anxious.

Deep breathing for just 20 to 30 minutes each day will increases the supply of oxygen to your brain, reduce anxiety and reduce stress. Breathing techniques help you feel connected to your body—it brings your awareness away from the worries in your head and quiets your mind. The relaxation response is critical in order for your body to heal, repair and renew.

Improves core strength

During the inhalation portion of breathing, the diaphragm contracts and moves down (opens like an umbrella), the ribcage expands, and the “core” muscles lengthens (transverse abdominus and obliques). As with any other muscle groups, there has to be a lengthening and shortening in order to strengthen (take your bicep for example). During the exhalation portion of breathing, the diaphragm relaxes, the ribs moves in and down allowing for obliques and other “core” muscles to contract (including pelvic floor) and improve core strength. Active exhalation can be achieved by contraction of the abdominal wall muscles (rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, external oblique muscle and internal oblique muscle).
An amazing foundation starts with great breathing. Take a deep breath…

Thank you for reading. If you have any further questions, please visit www.pureptandwellness.com, call 813-773-3494 or email elaine@pureptandwellness.com

Elaine Coetzee PT, DPT, ATC
Owner, Physical Therapist
Pure PT and Wellness, LLC

*All content created for educational purposes only. If you are experiencing pain or looking to optimize your movement, schedule a free 15-minute phone call with me to discuss steps to handle this. Always seek advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read online.

Breast Cancer and Exercise

Breast Cancer and Exercise

Why Exercise is Critical to your Recovery

While everyone can agree, exercise is part of a recipe for a better, healthier life, and exercise can do some amazing things.  Not only can it help us control our weight, decrease our risk of disease, but it can also make is physically stronger, improve our emotional well being and keep us independent.

As a breast cancer survivor, exercise can help you take control of your life in a new world that leaves you feeling out of control.   It can help you live strong, take better care of yourself physically and emotionally so you can look to the future!  The benefits of exercise before, during and after your cancer treatment are too numerous to mention and the medical community agrees!

Knowledge is power!

In 2009 the American College of Sports Medicine (“ACSM”) assembled a panel of medical experts to evaluate the safety and benefits of exercise for cancer survivors and the results were conclusive.  In 2010, ACSM issued these results in formal guidelines on exercise for cancer survivors entitled “Exercise Guidelines for Cancer Survivors“.  The roundtable concluded that exercise is both safe and beneficial for survivors in not only physical strength, fatigue, quality of life, but also increasing survival rates and reducing possible recurrence of cancer.

When you have been released by your doctor and ready to return to your exercise regimen after surgery, or you have never exercised and it’s time to rebuild your strength and relieve pain after treatment, it is important that you exercise safely and appropriately, as your physical exercise needs are unique.

In the wonderful world of the internet, knowledge is now just a click away so you have endless resources to educate yourself on what you can or can’t do with respect to exercise. BreastCancer.org is a great place to start.   If you re not comfortable with starting out on your own, the next best route is to work with a certified cancer exercise trainer who has experience working with survivors.

Remember, as a post-surgical breast cancer survivor, your needs are unique.  It’s probably a good bet that the personal trainer at the gym down the street doesn’t have the experience or the credentials to work with a survivor.  As a survivor, your return to exercise is a slow, progressive and gentle process of restoring your strength, range of motion and mobility.

Whether you decided to go it alone, or if you need help, Wise Women Fitness is here for you.  When you work with our certified Breast Cancer Exercise Specialist, you can feel safe, confident and comfortable knowing that you’re health and wellness needs are in good hands.  If you’d like more information visit our Pink Ribbon Program webpage.

As always, yours in health,