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Functional Girl: A column

Q.: What is the best way to maintain my health after 50? — Dianne L.

Functional Girl CJ LEGARE

A.: Dear Dianne: I’m going to turn this one over to an expert. Houston-based ACSM certified personal trainer Holly West has this to say, “The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association’s guidelines for healthy adults under the age of 65 are:

  • Moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week OR vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 times a week AND
  • Do 8 to 10 strength-training exercises of at least 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week

Moderate-intensity exercise should be hard enough to raise your heart rate, but easy enough to be able to carry on a conversation.

Most women tend to avoid or neglect resistance training because they fear they will become “bulky,” or they feel that it is not necessary. This is far from the truth. As we age, resistance training becomes even more important in maintaining our health and our activities of daily life because as we age, our muscles decrease in size.

Resistance exercise can slow down and even reverse this process.

Additionally, it is important to remember to do resistance training on non-consecutive days of the week and to do exercises with proper technique. A strength-training routine should consist of 1 to 2 exercises for each major muscle group (e.g., pushups for the chest, dumbbell rows for the back, lunges for the legs, crunches for the abs, etc.). Be sure to consult your physician before engaging in any physical activity or exercise.”

Q.: Now that I’m out of my teens combating acne isn’t my focus anymore. Aging is. What is the best way to keep my skin healthy and looking good? — Kristin S.

A.: Dear Kristin: Since I don’t know the specifics of your skin, the following advice is for every woman who wants fabulous skin.

Stay out of the sun. I cannot emphasize this enough. Sun damage will ravage the look and health of your skin.

Use a daily facial moisturizer with an SPF of at least 15, preferably 30. Don’t forget your neck and chest. So many women do and it shows. Whenever you’re in direct sunlight, even if it’s just for 5 minutes, always wear a hat and sunglasses. This may seem tedious, but your skin is like a piggy bank. Little bits of exposure add up.

Next, do not smoke. Other than the sun, nothing will age or destroy your complexion as vigorously (not to mention what it does to your insides).

Drink at least 2 liters of water every day. Your skin is your largest organ and it must be hydrated to function properly.

Lastly, know your skin. Are you oily, dry, sensitive, or combination? Are you prone to puffy eyes, broken capillaries or pigmentation? Once you’ve determined your specific needs, you can adapt a suitable skin-care regimen that will produce optimal results. Not everyone has access to a dermatologist, but many department stores offer skin analysis for free. If you choose not to purchase a product from the consultant who assisted you, make sure to send a complimentary e-mail to the company about your experience.

Functional Girl CJ Legare lives in Kyle with her husband, Joshua, and is addicted to 2 percent organic milk. If you’ve got a question or comment for Functional Girl, email her here. She blogs at

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