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Soaring Seniors: Stories, Steps and Strategies for Living Full-Out After Fifty, Sixty, Seventy . . .

Soaring Seniors: Stories, Steps and Strategies for Living Full-Out After Fifty, Sixty, Seventy . . .

by Rita Losee ScD RN
Soaring Seniors: Stories, Steps and Strategies for Living Full-Out After Fifty, Sixty, Seventy . . .

Soaring Seniors: Stories, Steps and Strategies for Living Full-Out After Fifty, Sixty, Seventy . . .

by Rita Losee ScD RN


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What awful expectations and beliefs underlie the messages, spoken and unspoken, as we expect millions of us to lose-lose our health; lose our earning capacity; lose our productivity; lose our minds; and lose our ability to be independent, contributing, and a vital part of our world. One of the reasons I wrote this book is I think there are much healthier, happier, and wealthier expectations/beliefs we can create-for the good of all of us!

I believe that most of my age cohort want to be contributors to the prosperity of the world. I know that I do, and that's another good reason for writing this book. If you are one of the really savvy, or lucky, ones who have adequate retirement money and you are fullled by whatever activities you choose, go for it!

If, however, you do not have adequate retirement funds, why not choose to be productive and a participant in the world's economy-and in your own? According to the Economic Policy Institute, a 2013 study found that families between the ages of fifty-six and sixty-five had an average of $17,000 in retirement savings. Even with a good social-security payment. It's quite clear most of us won't be soaring very far or high on that!

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781546273684
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 12/30/2018
Pages: 120
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.25(d)

About the Author

As a 30 year-old maried woman with an adorable toddler who was napping, Rita Losee read Helen Keller's words,"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." A bolt of energy strong enough to light up Manhattan shot through her body. On the spot, she decided to live a life of adventure.

In the intervening decades, Losee has been stood on the summit of 19,350 ft. Mt. Kilimanjaro, been a proficient rock climber, completed the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon (12 hours, 45 minutes, 27 seconds) solo-through-hiked the 2175 mile Appalachian Trail.

Her professional background includes nursing (her first career), nursing management, professional speaking, and customer service consultant.

The toddler was joined by a brother. Both sons are adults with families of their own. One of the reasons Losee wrote this book was so her GRANDkids and those of millions of other grandparents create a legacy of soaring for seniors.

Currently, Losee resides in Brunswick, ME during the winter months. During the summers, she lives in a fifth wheel on the water in West Bath where she gardens, swims, walks, runs, and exults in being outdoors.

One of her favorite summer activites is working part-time at Monkey C Monkey Do, a rope climbing course where she goes to "play for pay.'

Read an Excerpt


STEP #1 Move! Frequently and Often


In my very early thirties, I was a young mother of the cutest little boy. One gorgeous summer afternoon I put him down for a nap and retreated to my porch with a book. I read, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all." Those ten words changed my life irrevocably.

I instantly decided to live a life of adventure. As I now view that experience, it was inspired and I took action. My commitment to a life of adventure began — consciously — that summer afternoon.

But, I was the woman who within months of becoming an RN had convinced my roommate to quit our jobs and spend three months traveling across the United States in her '62 Chevy Impala. I was already acting as a woman of adventure, I just wasn't conscious of it.

Shortly after being jolted by Helen Keller's words, I wrote the mission statement of my life: My life is to be a life of adventure. During the course of my adventure, I intend to master all that I can, physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually and share what I learn with as many people as I can.

I haven't changed a word of my mission statement in the forty-five plus years since I wrote it. It has served me magnificently well. Whenever I encounter a major decision and I'm unsure of which direction to go, I simply ask myself, "Rita, what would a woman of adventure do here?" I inevitably get instant clarity about the "right" answer to my question.

I am happiness! I am health! I am wealth!

This book begins with a step to move more; it is particularly valuable for seniors or wannabe seniors to move more. Sometimes the movement is physical movement. Sometimes it is about moving intellectually or emotionally or spiritually. Life is always about moving!

Your body was designed to move. A major distinguishing characteristic of dead people is that they are not moving. If you want to be more lifelike and lively, get in motion.

As a kid, I played outdoors — a lot. That was what kids of my generation did. I swam, climbed trees, jumped out of the hay mow, went sliding and ice skating. In addition, I walked ¾ of a mile every morning to catch the school bus. That laid the base for a lifetime of being physically active. I also heard stories of my maternal grandfather riding his bicycle in 1913 from Orono, Maine to West Bath, Maine. He didn't have a ten-speed, roads weren't paved, and family legend is that he arrived on a hot June day and rode directly into the cove.

I have in my family archives a newspaper photo showing my maternal grandmother on the high school basketball team in 1906! It was a very long time before I realized that the girl was out there for that time. Interestingly, the uniform she and her teammates wore looked a whole lot like the one I wore when I went to that high school decades later.

I am happiness! I am health! I am wealth!

Can you Law of Attraction fans see the links I see between my maternal grandparents (my grandmother died long before I was born) and my own passion for being physically active? I certainly can.

In my early thirties I became a runner. Because of George Banks' influence, I started running in the very early seventies, before the invention of running shoes; the only other folks I saw running were those weird men training for marathons. Certainly, I didn't encounter other women when I first started running.

I ran for decades, in all kinds of weather, no matter what else was going on in my life. Running was a priority. Then, after a major metabolic meltdown in January, 2010, I was forced to endure years without being able to run. There were days when my "exercise" was reduced to being able to walk for five minutes, max, before my metabolism virtually flat-lined and I was forced back to the couch to recover from the exertion.

In all those couch slouch years, I never stopped being a runner in my mind and heart. Now in my mid-seventies, I am once again a runner. Last year, on virtually no training, I took first place in a 5k in the over-sixty women group; it was several years ago that I was chronologically sixty.

What I now realize is that all the running and other intense physical activities I did for decades were making deposits in my fitness bank; by the time I got ill I had a huge compilation of deposits to draw on.

As I've recovered, I have been astounded at how quickly my exercise capacity has been restored. Simultaneously, I've discovered how challenging it can be to get an unfit body and mind to re-establish the habit. I still struggle to get my exercise back to the level I would really love.

I am happiness! I am health! I am wealth!

"A body in motion tends to stay in motion" applies to physical bodies, too. It takes more mental energy and determination to get a habit incorporated into one's life than it does to keep a well-established habit going.

What does exercise/moving your body do for you?

1. Improves circulation in every cell in your body. Every cell in your body needs oxygen and nutrients; those are delivered via your blood stream. Exercise keeps your blood streaming.

2. Builds/keeps muscle.

• Muscle is metabolically active tissue that needs more energy than fat.

• Muscle is more compact than fat. If you want to look good in your genes/jeans, you want more muscle.

• A pound of muscle added to your body will require 50 calories a day.

• "Sitting is the new smoking." Huffington Post Blog title

3. Gives you more energy. Energy in your body is created by mitochondria, organelles in the nuclei of your cells. The more mitochondria your cells have, the more energy your body can produce. Exercise builds mitochondria.

4. Helps you sleep better.

5. Relieves stress. According to Mark Hyman, MD, over 90% of contemporary disease is stress-related.

6. Creates a look you love in your mirror.

7. Boosts your immune system.

8. I am happiness! I am health! I am wealth!

9. Helps stave off the cognitive decline that is almost expected as we age. Don't fall for that expectation trap! Cognitive decline may be "normal" in westernized countries, but it certainly isn't desirable.

10. Improves your mood. Exercise has been proven to be an effective treatment for depression, more so than prescribed antidepressants for mild to moderate depression. Unlike prescription drugs, the side effect of exercise is better health!

11. Provides a good excuse to get outdoors. For eons, humans lived in the outdoors; only in the past few generations have we almost totally separated ourselves from Mother Nature. There is research evidence that "forest bathing," hanging out with trees, is health inducing.

I deliberately live in a camper during the summer in a most idyllic spot on the coast of Maine. I am on the deck with my morning coffee before sunrise most mornings. I often work on the deck; I get inordinate pleasure from being outside. I also get a health bonus.

12. Builds BDNF, brain-derived neutrogenic factor. If you've not ever been introduced to BDNF before, it is my pleasure! BDNF not only helps you grow new brain cells, it helps you keep the ones you have in tip top shape.

More about BDNF: people with Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and perhaps depression have less. Higher levels enhance memory, mood, and executive functioning and it is "a powerful promoter of brain plasticity in the long term." (Genius Foods, p 42)

13. Enables you to eat more without gaining weight. I love this one; eating is one of my favorite indoor sports.

14. Helps you stay "regular."

15. Helps you keep strong bones. Hip fractures start a death spiral for thousands of seniors every year.

16. Enables you to enjoy more frequent sex. (Think seniors don't think about sex? Or have sex?)

17. Reduces insulin resistance; in a country where type 2 diabetes affects almost 50% of the adult population, this is critical.

Insulin resistance occurs when your cells have a diminished capacity to utilize insulin; thus, prompting your pancreas to make more. When your pancreas can no longer keep up with the demand, it poops out and you have diabetes. Once you are diabetic, your body is in a rapidly descending downward spiral.

18. Helps keep your blood pressure in a healthy range. In a country where 33 percent of the adult U.S. population has high blood pressure, this is a very good thing. (American Heart Association)

19. Reduces inflammation. Please note the root of the word, "inflammation" is in-flames. Not good for either your house or your cells.

20. Helps prevent cardiovascular disease.

21. Can increase pain tolerance and/or reduce the perception of pain.

22. Creates endorphins, the body's built in morphine. Exercise high is real and beneficial. Manmade opiates kill!

23. Can help reduce your health care costs.

This article indicated that exercisers can save $2500 annually. Obese people, male or female, consistently get paid less; that was true 30 years ago when I was reviewing literature for my dissertation. It's still true today. I am certainly spending less on health care now, way less than I was in my couch slouch years.

24. Can boost your self-esteem and reduce anxiety.

25. Increases lung capacity.

Question: If I had a pill that would give you all those benefits, what would you pay me?

Answer: Anything I asked.


1. Because it is a challenge to get an exercise habit established, particularly if you are a senior, it's is ever so helpful to join a class. Putting some cash on the barrel increases the likelihood you'll actually show up. Find a fitness facility close to home/work. That also increases the likelihood when class starts, you'll be there. You'll also develop friendships, giving you another boost of motivation. Ditto, for engaging a friend as an exercise buddy.

2. If you are over age 50, it is a good idea to get your DHEA sulfate level done (the blood test is DHEA-s). DHEA is an adrenal hormone we all produce a lot of as young adults, but less and less as decades go by. Low DHEA levels can make exercise very uncomfortable and unrewarding for older folks. Our bodies need DHEA in order for cells to heal. (More about DHEA later.)

3. Vary your activity. Just as our bodies experience weight loss plateaus, we will create exercise plateaus if we keep doing the same routine, week in, week out.

After a morning spent primarily at my computer, my body, especially my butt, started demanding that I get up and move. I love being outdoors, so decided to go for a walk. I walked my accustomed route, flat, certainly not challenging. I found a chunk of ice and started kicking it along in front of me, using both feet. (No, not at the same time!) Suddenly, my walk got a whole lot more interesting and fun.

Did I get a huge muscular benefit from the changed activity? No, but I got some. AND, I greatly increased the fun factor.

4. I am happiness! I am health! I am wealth!

5. Give yourself permission to start VERY slowly if you've been sedentary for a long time.

6. Work out early in the day. That shifts it from your to-do list to your TAH-DAH list, setting you up for healthier behaviors for the rest of the day.

7. Housebound? Unable to walk? Have limited mobility? Do whatever you can to move whatever you can move more often. You have the rest of your life to keep improving your capacity.

8. Here are some fascinating research results I found in Joe Dispenza's newest book, Becoming Supernatural. Researchers put casts on the healthy wrists of 29 volunteers, with half practicing imagining exercising their arms for 11 minutes a day, five days/week for one month. The other half of the group did nothing. At the end of the month, those who mentally practiced strengthening their muscles had muscles that were twice as strong as those who did nothing. That, and several other studies I've known about for years, tells me that even if we can't move a muscle, imagining moving it will build its capacity! What great news!

9. Use it or lose it rules! If you're over fifty, you'll lose it faster than when you were in your thirties. That doesn't matter. You can gain it back!

10. Don't like to exercise? First, see Step #7. There are reversible physiological reasons why that may be the case for you.

11. Don't call it exercise. Saying "I have to exercise," has the appeal of wearing a hair shirt and you'll perceive activity as punishment. Reframe the concept into, "I'm going out to play."

12. Actually, refrain from ever saying, "I have to," or "I can't." Those statements mean you are giving your power and control to something outside of you.

I am happiness! I am health! I am wealth!


STEP #2 Develop Diversity of Movement


Many years ago, George said, "Rita, you ought to start running." Because I had grown up being physically active, with family role models who were also, and because I loved physical activity, it was fairly easy for me to think running was a good idea.

I started running ... then life would interfere and my running would taper to a halt. Then, George would ask, "How's the running going?" Ooops! His reminders served as a prod; I'd start running again.

It took one full year of fits and starts with him providing gentle prods before running was my habit, sustainable from the inside. Now, after years of enforced sedentariness, I am once again back in the fits and starts period of re-establishing my running habit.

I am happiness! I am health! I am wealth!

Wherever you are on your fitness journey, keep moving, moving toward the goal of being more fit tomorrow than you are today.

There are three types of exercise to build into your life: aerobic, anaerobic (aka weights), and stretching. First, let's talk about aerobic, which literally means "with oxygen".


Running, walking, rowing, biking, elliptical machines, climbing stairs, and gardening all qualify as aerobic. You want to get your pulse rate up and keep it up. A good rule of thumb is to move fast enough so your breathing increases but you can still talk without gasping for breath.

When you are breathing hard, you are moving aerobically. How much aerobic exercise should you get? The Mayo Clinic recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week. That sounds like a lot of time invested, but it's only 20 minutes a day! More and more sources conclude that dividing the 20 minutes into two separate sessions works just as well.

I am happiness! I am health! I am wealth!

Move the intensity up to vigorous, and 75 minutes a week will meet your minimum weekly requirement for aerobic exercise. As you progress — and you will — consider adding high intensity interval training aka HIIT. To do HIITs, simply pick up the pace of what you are doing to the really hard gasping level for 30 seconds or so, then slow your pace to a comfortable level. Two or three HIITs during a workout will leave you soaring and ever so proud of yourself. And more fit!


Lifting weights, whether you are lifting barbells, milk bottles filled with sand, or using your body as the weight, as in squats and planks, is the second essential piece of your exercise strategy. Those are the exercises that are building muscle on your body. You want every single muscle cell on your body that you can have!

I am happiness! I am health! I am wealth!

One of the most noticeable signs of approaching death is muscle wasting, known in the medical world as "myopenia or "sarcopenia'." As my mother deteriorated over the last several months of her life, she became skin and bones, a state I referred to as "frailing." Frailing is NOT healthy!

If you are a woman and are concerned about looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime, worry not. As a woman your hormones will keep you from getting that bulky.

Decades ago, I came across research that was published by Wayne Wescott who worked at Boston South Shore YMCA. He was training folks over 90 to work with weights; they were increasing muscle mass. Nice to know you are never too old to build muscle. Muscle is good to own! A nice side benefit, muscles are sexy.


The third type of exercise we should all be doing is stretching. Think of an old elastic band that has oxidized, dried out and lost its stretch ability. It's lost its power and can't perform its function. Your muscles will tend to tighten over time. If you don't stretch them, they, too, will lose power and function. If you don't believe me, jump up right now, and attempt to touch your toes. Carefully! Your back muscles may be desperately in need of stretching!

I am happiness! I am health! I am wealth!


Excerpted from "Soaring Seniors"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Rita Losee, ScD, RN.
Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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