Be Fit For Life

with Ellen Cohen-Kaplan

Summer’s over, onward to Autumn!

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Overlooking the Charles River on bike ride today       Philbin Beach, Aquinnah, Martha’s Vineyard, August 2013

The sun is setting on summer, and rising on fall. Today marks the autumnal equinox,  starting officially at 4:44 PM, when the day and night are about equal, both about 12 hours long. What a wonderful summer’s it’s been. Not without its challenges, but overall, I had a great few months. Onward to thinking about the fall and life’s next challenges. Every September, I set a goal for learning something new. Last year it was TRX training, this year, I’m working on figuring out how technology can make my life easier. I’m an expert at how it can make my life more difficult (spam, viruses, computer crashes, etc), now I’m going to figure out how it can make my life better!

Here are some websites I find useful to make your iphone, iPad or computer your fitness partner. The following are some of my favorite sites:,, using the fitbit, and the myfitnesspal and fitnessbuddy apps. CalorieKing and my-calorie-counter are also versatile sites. These apps and websites can help you track calories, keep fitness logs and improve your overall accountability to yourself or to others. Most people improve their success when they keep track of their progress, either by writing it down or reporting to another person.  Many people are surprised to discover that some of their favorite “healthy” foods are very high in calories, and lower in nutrition than they thought. Granola is a good example. Touted as a healthy, whole food, it’s very high in sugar and saturated fat and half a cup is about  300 calories, without any milk!

Many people also do better with a fixed schedule of exercise time scheduled into their week. Many of my friends and clients who exercise regularly find it harder to do without classes or a program that they can do at least 3-4 times a week. This is also the time of year I get asked about the best abdominal exercises as many of us feel we revert to our animal instincts when the cooler weather hits. I know I feel like sleeping more (hasn’t the temperature at night been perfect for sleeping?) and eating more to pack on that nice extra layer of fat to insulate ourselves! I am actively resisting the impulse to  eat more by making sure I never get too hungry and keeping my snacks healthy and spaced about every 3 hours throughout the day.

Check out these abdominal exercises that you can incorporate into your weekly routine- I’ll be adding some of these to our fitness classes as well.  Use your judgment and never allow your back or neck to hurt , especially  when you try numbers 3 (the Hundreds), 6 (Squat twists), and 5 (ballet twists).

Also, here’s a brief review of “Jungle Book” at the Huntington Theatre. It was spectacular! If you like great dancing, singing and costumes that were eye candy, along with catchy tunes and overall great acting, this show is for you. My only criticism is that the pacing felt uneven between the first and second acts. The first act had most of the extravaganza-type songs and dancing, and the second act was much slower but tied up the story nicely. The final singing and dancing number was a great finish to a very engrossing performance. Five stars from me, if you like pure entertainment that is a lot of fun- not deep and thought provoking, but a wonderful escape from reality.

Going to theatre is one of those reasons I enjoy the fall season- there really are a lot of great performances right in our backyard!

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