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2727 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, Il 60614
USA

(773) 477 8400

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plan for your fitness future

Brent Holten

For many of us, retirement is a long, long way off. Sure, we contribute to the 401(k)s at our jobs, we squirrel away extra cash into an IRA and we dream of relocating to a sunny, warm locale. But our financial situation should not be the only consideration when we think about retirement: What about our physical health?

According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, one of the biggest mistakes people make when planning for retirement is focusing solely on their financial health. Far too few people give any thought to their physical health -- and good physical health is crucial to making the most of later life. 

"When you're young and fit, that is the time to put your health and fitness into the bank," Brent Holten says. The WSJ study shows us, "A big nest egg isn't going to do you much good if you can't get off the couch, so the good diet and exercise habits we form today will carry us far, far into the future."

Only 42% of Americans ages 65 to 74 -- and only 28% of those 75 and older -- meet government recommendations for aerobic activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics. Worse, only 14% of the first group and just 8% of the second also do the suggested amount of strength training. 

As the Journal's article states, exercise isn't just a good idea -- it is critical to your well being, particularly as you age. "People who engage in physical activity have a lower risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, some types of cancer, depression, cognitive impairment and functional decline."

If you spend at least 150 minutes each week on moderate-intensity aerobic activity and do some type of muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week -- congratulations! If not, start with the CDCs Physical Activity pages. It is the single-most-important step you can take as you approach retirement.

get focused

Brent Holten

We love autumn. The summer stress is a distant memory, the kids are focused on school routines and holiday festivities -- and the resolutions that follow them -- are still weeks away. To us, there's no better time to get focused on exercise.

"As the days get shorter, and the weather turns cooler, autumn is the perfect time to focus on the way you look and, more importantly, the way you feel," Brent Holten says. "Sure, you may have a few special occasions and Halloween parties to plan, but you have several weeks to spend some quality time in the gym."

To help you get your workouts into gear, we put together these tactics you can use to make the most out of the month:

Get centered: One of the best ways to re-commit to your exercise regimen is to get centered on yourself through yoga. At i.d, we have all types of yoga classes -- offered every day of the week -- to help you clear your mind, stretch your muscles and energize your soul. Read about the many yoga options you have at i.d. gym.

Get intense: We often sing the virtues of getting out of your comfort zone with your workouts. When you increase intensity -- even exercising in an extreme way -- you will get stronger. So, whether you run a little longer, lift heavier weights or dial up the resistance in your favorite Spinning class, you may surprise yourself with the results. See a Class Profile for details on one of our most intense workouts.

Get diverse: We love that you have favorite group-fitness classes. We love seeing you week after week, but at the same time, we don't want you to plateau. You only can go so far with the same routine, so add some cardio, strength or yoga classes into your schedule -- whichever you think is missing -- then come back to your standbys to see the results. See Love That Try This for some new workout ideas.

comfort: do you really know your zone?

Brent Holten

How many times have you been told to "Get out of your comfort zone, that's where growth happens?" It's an oft-repeated phrase but, on closer look, it goes against everything that we strive for in our lives. Don't we all really want to be more comfortable, not less? Compared to our parents or grandparents, our daily lives are a model of comfort and ease. Today, we can summon a car or a week's worth of groceries with a tap of our smart phones. We can use the abundance of digital information about wellness to resolve a range of discomforts from insomnia to abdominal pain to indigestion. 

So why would we choose to spotlight discomfort in this issue of our newsletter? We're not trying to be un-American, but we've found that facing (and in some cases embracing) discomfort in our workouts can be beneficial to our lives.

"People who spend time training for a new personal best in a race or tackling a difficult mountain climb find that they don't sweat a difficult conversation at work or a stressful situation at home anymore," Brent Holten says. "Because they push their bodies, they are used to discomfort and can be calm when they experience it."

Research supports this theory. Studies show that moderately intense physical exercise improves brain function. But pushing to the extreme could add another benefit. It could be that performance athletes working in discomfort get a chance to practice suffering. And, like anything else in our lives, the more we practice something the more we are at peace with it. 

Few hone this skill better than professional endurance and adventure athletes, who make a living withstanding conditions others cannot. A recent article in Outside Magazine interviewed the world's top endurance and adventure athletes on the practices underlying their success. Regardless of the sport, the most resounding theme, by far, is that they've all learned how to embrace uncomfortable situations:

  • Olympic marathoner Des Linden said that at mile 20 of 26.2, when the inevitable suffering kicks in, through years of practice she's learned to stay relaxed and in the moment. She repeats the mantra: "calm, calm, calm; relax, relax, relax."
  • World-champion big-wave surfer Nic Lamb says being uncomfortable, and even afraid, is a prerequisite to riding four-story waves. But he also knows it's "the path to personal development." He's learned that while you can pull back, you can almost always push through. "Pushing through is courage. Pulling back is regret," he says.
  • Free-soloist Alex Honnold explains that "the only way to deal with [pain] is practice. [I] get used to it during training so that when it happens on big climbs, it feels normal."
  • Evelyn Stevens, the women's record holder for most miles cycled in an hour (29.81 - yes, that's nuts), says during her hardest training intervals, "instead of thinking I want these to be over, I try to feel and sit with the pain. Heck, I even try to embrace it."

But you don't need to scale massive vertical pitches or run five-minute miles to reap the benefits. Simply training for your first half marathon or climbing competition can yield huge dividends that carry over into other areas of life.

"Exercise isn't just about helping out your health down the road, and it's certainly not just about vanity," Brent says. "What you do in the gym makes you a better, higher-performing person outside of it. The truth, cliché as it may sound, is this: When you develop physical fitness, you're developing life fitness too."