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Welcome to Fit to the Core’s “Everything you ever wanted to know about fitness” blog. Everyday people are bombarded with conflicting health and fitness messages by the media. It can be overwhelming. I hope to clear up some of those conflicting messages by sharing what I have learned over the years and what I am still learning. The fitness industry is a young industry that is constantly changing and evolving. Let me clear up some of the confusion.

Beverly Brewer Karpinski

Hiking: Get Outside and Get Moving!

Martin Pazzani likes to recall a day that changed his life.

Martin Pazzani hiking

Three decades ago, when he was 34, Martin went hiking in the New Hampshire mountains. Coming down, he saw a remarkably fit man running up. As the man approached, Martin realized the runner was his grandfather’s age, and he asked how the senior citizen was able to do this.

“He said, ‘I’ve been running up this hill twice a week since I was a little kid. It’s the fountain of youth. See ya, Sonny!’ ”

Martin watched, dumbstruck, as the man kept climbing.

Today, Martin has hiked countless peaks on all seven continents. He has decades of experience as a leader in the fitness industry. And he wants more people over 50 to have the strength, agility and stamina to enjoy the outdoors more often. He has a book out in June called “Secrets of Aging Well: Get Outside.”

Exercise and Sunshine Are Vital

Martin stresses that being outdoors is good for our immune systems and mood, and hiking provides a vigorous workout, complete with endurance and high-intensity intervals. And, super-important for people later in life, it improves balance.

Gym and studio workouts make it more fun and safer -- with squats, lunges, rope-jumping and more exercises. And it all combines to improve joint flexibility and more.

If you’re not sure how to begin, Martin keeps it simple: “Walking is where it all starts,” he says. So start with a short distance, then add to it, maybe carry a backpack and add some poles.

He has dozens of stories of mature people who took up hiking after health difficulties. Allan, 81, had both knees replaced, both hips replaced, and two heart surgeries. Susan started after a mastectomy and then formed a 10,000-member hiking club.

We realize most people aren’t going to reach such heights, and that’s great. We’re here to help you get or stay fit enough for fun activities like hiking, running, biking, and more that will keep you moving.

Other Wellbeing Tips

Exercise and being outdoors improve our wellbeing. Here, Martin shares other tips for a better quality of life (and less need for healthcare and medicine).

  • Unplug from technology. It’s getting harder to do all the time. But it’s important to set limits to how much time you stare at your phone or computer screen. It actually will lower your stress level and improve your attention span.
  • No music during your walk or hike. Martin says it can produce stress, tension and cortisol, the stress hormone that leads to weight gain, depression and worse. Plus, the silence is – you know – golden when it comes to heightening mindfulness and enjoying the moment. At the gym, too many people turn up their music so loud to cover up ambient noises. Let it go.
  • Go to the top of something, even a tall building, and enjoy the view. Most people focus their vision on screens or other up-close items, which affects eyesight and mood. With altitude you can take in the horizon and engage the full range of eye muscles, lowering stress levels. If no tall building or hill is available, try the beach or open field – anywhere with a long-distance view.

About the author

Beverly Brewer Karpinski
Beverly Brewer Karpinski
• Owner and director of "Fit to the Core" In-Home Personal Training
• Health and Fitness Inc. Certified Personal Trainer, 2001
• A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer, 2004
• Certified Master Fitness by Phone Coach, 2005
• Strength & Conditioning Personal Trainer Certificate, Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix, AZ, 2008
• Wellness Editor, Puma Press, 2007-2008
• Currently in pursuit of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise & Wellness.
• Fitness Manager & Director, Curves for Women, 2004-2006
• In-Home personal training, 2002-Present
• Personal Trainer, Naturally Women, 2004-2006
• Personal Trainer, Total Woman, 2001-2004
• Core Stability Specialty Training, Health and Fitness, Inc., 2001
• Advanced Biomechanics Training, Health and Fitness, Inc., 2001



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