Lead By Example!
Although this picture is not Johanna Quaas, the idea represented by this photo is the same. Ms. Quaas is 97 years old and continues to compete in the amateur gymnastics competition, Landis Senior in Saxony, Germany. In 2012, at 86, she was recognized by Guiness World Records as the oldest active competitive gymnast. She has viral videos on You Tube of her performances on the parallel bars and floor exercises. At David’s Way to Health and Fitness, we promote a healthy lifestyle. Ms. Quass is the embodiment of what we teach. She has 7 rules that she adheres to religiously that enable her to continue to live life to the fullest.
Not Inspired by Fake Everything
So much in the media today that supposedly promotes “Health and Fitness” is not only contradictory to what we promote but is also artificial. The deception ranges from bodies that appear strong and healthy that are marinated in Performance Enhancing Drugs, elective surgeries and photoshopping to completely AI generated images that have absolutely no basis in reality. Ms. Quass proves that true health and fitness is obtainable through the methods that we teach.
We are designed to be healthy. Bad habits change our DNA so drastically that even our grandchildren can be affected by the choices that we make. (1) Good habits can improve our DNA and therefore, the DNA and lives of our children and grandchildren. If our DNA is changed to pass traits to our offspring, just imagine what those changes do to us firsthand, for better or worse. I believe that Ms. Quaas has improved not only her life, but the lives of her children and grandchildren.
Her 7 rules are as follows:
1-Sleep at least 8 hours every night.
During sleep the body repairs itself and releases hormones and proteins. If you are trying to build muscle, sleep is the time that all your hard work will be utilized. Maintaining adequate muscle is necessary to glucose metabolism as well as mobility and improves insulin sensitivity.
2-Ms. Quaas eats a healthy diet, drinks plenty of water and avoids junk food. She does not overeat.
Frequently, people try to get in shape by merely exercising. David has always said that “You can’t outrun a bad diet.” That is so true! Good nutrition is critical to optimum health and athletic performance. Highly processed foods are devoid of nutrition and when we eat them, we fill up on “empty calories” and starve our bodies of adequate nutrition. In order to fine tune our vital organs to perform at their best, it’s necessary to provide the building blocks required to build protein and other vital nutrients.
Adequate hydration is mandatory to good health. Water is a catalyst that initiates every chemical reaction in the body. Drink up! It is possible to get too much water, but you have to work at it. We do not support the “Gallon of Water a Day” trend. That may be too much for many people. The old standard of 8 cups/day is merely an average. David wrote an excellent article on hydration here.
3-She does “bed exercises” every morning before getting out of bed.
I have incorporated this into my routine for many years. Never stretch cold muscles to the extreme. Gentle stretching can get circulation and mobility up and running. Better mobility makes you more stable on your feet and less likely to fall. Falls are responsible for 15% of all accidental deaths in the United States. Falls are second only to automobile accidents. Protecting your mobility can extend your life, and your quality of life for many years to come. She jogs afterward which is cardio. You do the cardio exercise that your doctor approves for you.
4-Ms. Quaas trains for an hour after her jog by doing gymnastics, dancing or swimming.
I train with weights. Again, you do what your doctor approves, and you WILL DO. I combine strength training with walking or riding my dual-action bike to get both the muscle building of lifting weights and the benefits of cardiovascular exercise. I lift weights before cardio and shoot for 150 minutes of cardio/week.
5-She incorporates mental activities like games and crossword puzzles into her daily activities to help her stay mentally sharp.
Your brain is just like your body. Use it or lose it!
6-She has created a life that makes her happy!
She says that it is mandatory to enjoy life. Find a way. Contentment is its own reward. Make your world small by removing negative influences from your life. Find the things that bring joy and peace to your life and pursue them. Outside exercise, such as walking under trees and hiking increase GABA, your calming neurotransmitter, in your brain. The Japanese call it “Forest Bathing” and believe that it has great benefit. I believe that to be true. Compare the way you feel after spending the afternoon with “frienemies” who undermine your healthy habits to the way you feel after walking in a park for the afternoon. Which do you think is healthier?
7-Ms. Quaas reiterated at number 7 that she does stretching and strength exercises DAILY.
Some people exercise sporadically. That on again and off again habit is not going to give you maximum benefits and can even be dangerous. Our bodies respond slowly, over time, to exercise. Nothing good happens quickly.
When I first began weight training with David, I asked him “How long will “IT” take?” He barely knew how to answer that, and just told me, “The rest of your life.” No truer words have ever been spoken. Once a weightlifter gets beyond the quick changes known as the “Newbie Gains”, progress comes very slowly. Regular programming and consistency are required to continue to reap the benefits that this wonderful sport provides. Our bodies respond to consistency. Ms. Quaas has been quoted as saying, “Where there is movement, there is life!”
Take this advice from a 97-year-old gymnast and make good nutrition, exercise, sleep and a positive environment your goals for an abundant life.