Over the past five years of intensive caregiving for my parents, I have watched my numbers go up - my cholesterol, my weight, my body fat and, yes, my jeans size. And let's not even mention my stress level and the number of pieces of chocolate I eat daily.
One number has gone down, though: the number of hours I spend taking care of myself by exercising, meditating, relaxing or sleeping. Unfortunately, it's a pattern many of us who are caregivers can recognize. That's why I'm so excited about the AARP Care4YouToo Community Contest for Caregivers (July 14-Aug. 24).
Each week the Care4YouToo Community Contest poses a new question to help us focus on simple, incremental changes. One of the recent questions was about making one positive change to physical activity. I'm always looking for new fitness motivation, so I've decided to use a FitBit to measure my daily steps and monitor my sleep, weight, activities and what I eat.
I was interviewed recently by Kymberly Williams-Evans and Alexandra Williams, the dynamic Fun and Fit twins/fitness experts who are providing tips, exercises, encouragement and support throughout the six-week contest. Talking with them on their Active Aging for Boom Chicka Boomers radio show helped me take stock of my current health and fitness routines. I've decided to cut back on sugar and pump up my activity levels, and I hope they will help me figure out how to do that even while I'm caregiving and traveling for work.
LISTEN: Amy Goyer on Active Aging for Boom Chicka Boomers radio (On most browsers and platforms, you can listen to the interview by pressing the small vertical bar at the left of the player. Control volume or mute the player at right:)
I hope you'll join me by entering the contest and taking charge of your own health and fitness. I'm not eligible to win, of course, but you might win one of the great prizes. I'll be checking in with the AARP online community throughout to share my progress and cheer you on!
Amy Goyer is AARP's family, caregiving and multigenerational issues expert; she spends most of her time in Phoenix, where she is caring for her dad, who lives with her. She is the author of AARP's Juggling Work and Caregiving . Follow Amy on Twitter @amygoyer and on Facebook .
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