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Making Healthy Living a Lifestyle

This is an introduction to my upcoming series of “How’ to Make Healthy Living a Lifestyle. Each post will include Valuable Tips to Help You Achieve Your Healthy Lifestyle Goals.  There will also be free online video/tele-seminars offered.  Stay tuned… 

Every May is Older Americans Month. The 2017 theme is Aging Out Loud! It was first started in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy met with members of the National Senior Citizens Council. It was known then as Senior Citizens month, with the primary purpose of acknowledging the contributions to our country by men and women age 65 and older.
As everything evolves to keep up with societal changes, so too has Older Americans Month (OAM). This year the theme of ‘Age Out Loud’ was chosen to give aging a new voice, one that highlights the progress and new developments of our aging population. We are the generation who continues to set trends as we ‘disrupt aging’ as described by AARP CEO JoAnn Jenkins in her book of the same name.
I was just 14 years old when Older Americans Month was established. At that time, I had not heard of it, and quite frankly, would not have been interested if I had. I was in high school and being of the baby boomer generation, I was busy living out loud back then. Well, here it is 54 years later, and as a forever embedded member of the baby boomer generation, I am now, really Living Out Loud! I, along with many others are taking charge of our lives, striving for wellness, focusing on independence, and advocating for ourselves and others. There is no doubt that what it means to age has changed through the years, and OAM 2017 is a perfect opportunity erase the old stereotypes, and recognize and celebrate what getting older looks like today.
The baby boomer generation is known for changing the direction of America as we set trends and new directions throughout the years. Now, as a 68-year-old, I, along with many of my cohorts are still setting trends. We are changing the conversation of older Americans by confronting the old stereotypes and living our best life now! We are maintaining our health, independence, and experiencing new life adventures! We have a reasonably good quality of life, and are embracing the joys of aging!’
Did you know that by the year 2050 for the first time ever, the world population will have more people over the age of 65, than children age 5 and younger? According to the Harvard School of Public Health, boomers are expected to live longer than any other generation. Acknowledging that trend, it only stands to reason that as our life expectancy is extended, we want to maintain a good quality of life, that includes being healthy, happy and spiritually grounded!
My inspiration to help me on the path to disrupt the platitudinal aging process comes from some older Americans I know personally, who are older than me. I want to introduce you to just a few of them:

1) Ernestine Shepherd, the Guinness Book of World Records oldest female body builder. Ernestine didn’t start her health routine until she was 56 years old, which resulted in her becoming a body builder. Ernestine is now 80 years old and continues to body build and lead a healthy lifestyle;

 

2) Alpha Bennett, a 78-year-old great-grandmother was inspired after completing her first triathlon at age 49 to take on new ventures that included running and cycling. She has participated in mud challenges, and spelunking. Recently she was a chaperone to a bicycle ride from Durham, N.C. to St. Augustine, Florida for about 20 young people from the ages of 8 to 17. It took them almost 2-weeks and their overnight accommodations were tents! Alpha continues to travel the world to participate in bicycle rides which includes places like Italy, Spain, and Europe;

3) Fitness Guru, Eddie Nelson, now 77 years-old, has participated in various Senior Olympic Games where he competed in the 100 Meter Dash, Discus, Javelin, Hammer Throw, Triple Jump and Weight Throw. He has a myriad of gold medals he has earned in the various competitions. Eddie has been featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not twice, FLEX magazine, on billboards and on TV. He is also the author of Old School Workout. However, what I want to emphasize here is that at age 74 Eddie was diagnosed with esophagus cancer. No doubt, he was devastated and didn’t understand because he was living a healthy lifestyle. Well, because of his lifestyle, according to his doctor, Eddie was able to defeat the cancer and, in less than 2-years, he is back to his physical fitness regime as though the cancer never existed;
4) Then there is 84-year-old Don who walks about 2-miles every day. What is so amazing about Don is that he has had major back surgery and refused to give up on life! How about you? Have you given up, or are you living out loud?

I share these stories to inspire you, man or woman, that growing old gracefully is more than a cliché, it is a reality that we can all experience, if we so choose, as those men and women are doing, I have shared with you. Remember, our future levels of health, wellness and wellbeing depends on the choices we make today. It is never too late to make better choices!

Now, I will go full circle and share some highlights of my personal story with you. I will start by mentioning some of the recognitions I have received that includes a ‘Profiles in Positive Aging’ award from LeadingAge Georgia. Can you even imagine the elation I felt upon receiving this award for just living my life … doing what I do! I love the things I do and knowing that I am providing indelible experiences to others and helping them lead their best life truly warms my heart. I have been featured on CNN’s AccentHealth network, selected by the Huffington Post / The TODAY Show as one of 50 Over 50 who Reinvented Themselves, and on the cover of a Special Edition of the GirlFriends magazine for the White House Conference on Aging, among other recognitions. I am highly seasoned and savoring the spices of life as I celebrate the joys of aging. I love this life!
One of the most significant days of my life was the last day of my 49th year. I had a doctor’s appointment. What made this appointment consequential, unlike any previous doctor appointments, I was told that I was pre-hypertensive. I couldn’t believe it! I had owned several health food stores and thought I was in great health. This proved to be a pivotal day in my life. Before I even left the doctor’s office, I decided I did not want to take medications and that I would make better choices to improve my health naturally so I could alleviate my potential for hypertension.
During that ensuing year, when I was 50 years old, I was introduced to the Senior Olympic Games. I joined a senior women’s basketball team. I was never an athletic person. This was all new to me. I knew I wanted to become more physically active. This, I thought was a perfect opportunity. I was having fun, meeting/making new friends, learning something new, being more physically active, and according to the coach, I would have the opportunity to travel around the country! I went on to earn, along with my team members, gold and silver medals as we competed in local competitions, state tournaments and the World Senior Games and National Senior Olympics. As I reflect, I have continued to be active for more than 18 years now and will be participating in the National Senior Games this June in Birmingham, Alabama. However, I have expanded by athleticism to include cycling and race walking.
As a result of my newfound adventurous spirit, at age 56, I went on my first hike, trekking Blood Mountain, a connector trail to the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail, in North Georgia. Wow … I discovered a passion I did not know was hidden inside of me. A passion for the outdoors! This is significant keeping in mind that I was raised as an urban city girl, who never really enjoyed parks or being outdoors. That hike marked a momentous point in my life. By age 60 I had organized my own hiking group after becoming a Certified Outings Leader through the Sierra Club. Now, for more than 8 years I continue to lead monthly group hikes to share the wonderment of Mother Nature and the great outdoors with others.
To celebrate my 65th birthday, I led a group of friends hiking the Bright Angel trail at the Grand Canyon. Hiking really brought out my adventurous spirit so much so that I added other outdoor group activities that include zip lining, white water rafting, kayaking, camping, tree climbing, spelunking, backpacking and others. I am having so much fun, I could say, I am living my second childhood … what a blast!
Often, I am asked if I am retired, my response is simply, “I am not retired, I am rejuvenated!” With that said, I encourage you to live your dreams … live your best life now … Age Out Loud and celebrate the joys of aging every month, and on into the future!

Carolyn is a Healthy Lifestyle Coach & Outdoor Adventure Leader, a professional speaker, trainer and writer. She is the recipient of a LeadingAge Georgia – Profiles in Positive Aging Award, representing AARP. She was selected as a National Association of Professional Women VIP of the year (2016-2017); In January 2017 she was featured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) newspaper, has been interviewed on several radio programs and on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) for airing during Older Americans Month in May 2017. She is the founder of Hartfield’s Hikers, Older People with Active Lifestyles (OPALs) and Walk Outdoors for Wellness! (WOW!). For more information about Carolyn, visit her website at http://www.CarolynHartfield.com or send her an email at CH@CarolynHartfield.com

Categories: Fitness, Health Coach, Lifestyle Management | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrating Life as a Baby Boomer-Senior Citizen

GroupPhotos7This year, 2013 has proven to be one of the best years of my entire life! 

As a ‘Forever Young’ Baby Boomer, I officially became a ‘senior citizen’ this year, and I have been celebrating all year…with old friends, new friends and anyone who wants to celebrate with me!

This is truly the year my motto has fully manifested, “Living Life to the Fullest!!!” I am so grateful for all the things in which I have been able to participate this year, and all those who help make it possible.

Here are a few of the activities in which I have participated;

  1. My first trip to Belize, Central America
  2. My first experience sailing the high seas in a Catamaran yacht
  3. Snorkeling for the first time
  4. Riding my bicycle more than 40 miles, in one ride
  5. Seeing the New York Broadway Show, Motown the Musical…seeing that I am a Detroit Motown girl!
  6. Touring the Grand Canyon, hiking the Bright Angel Trail, biking the canyon rim, and walking the Sky Walk
  7. Seeing a Moonbow at Cumberland Falls in Kentucky, one of only 5 places it is visible in the Western Hemisphere
  8. Reconnecting with old friends, including friends from my teenage years, and my first boyfriend
  9. Being featured in a local Atlanta area Lifestyle magazine
  10. Being featured in a Life Plus, Informed & Inspired Senior Living TV segment.          And last, but the most significant…
  11. Having my first doctor’s appointment as a ‘senior citizen‘ and being told there was no code for me in the computer system because I was ‘so healthy.’  My vital statistics (blood pressure, weight, BMI, etc.) were great, all without any medications.

I am so happy and content with my life.  I am really inspired by those with whom I share my lifestyle and activities, and they tell me I am their inspiration.  That, I will say is one of the most rewarding and heart-warming accolades I can ever receive.  Most times, I get choked up when I am told how much of an inspiration I am.  To know that I am making a difference in the lives of others while pursuing my passion, and living my life with defined purpose, is what it’s all about  It doesn’t get much better than that.  But, I do expect the best is yet to come!

So, off I am to the next adventure…see ya soon!

Visit my websites to see some of the activities:

Categories: Bicycling, Fitness, Hiking, Lifestyle Management, Nutrition and Wellness, Outdoor Adventures, Water Adventures | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Change Your Routine in 2013!

Wow! This year is off to an exhilarating fast start!  My intentions were get to my blog out before January ends, then before  before February ended…and now before March ends!

Life is soooo very good, I am living my dreams, and definitely, living my life to the fullest!!!  Henceforth, I will make time to keep my posts updated on a regular basis.  And, as a bonus, I now have a Guest Blogger…Thomas Thompson.  He recently relocated to Belize.  We have created a partnership for our Wonderful Outings in the Wilderness (WOW!).  He is focusing on the Sailing and Jungle Adventures in Belize.  Yep, that’s right…I have expanded my horizons, literally!   So, between the two of us, posts will be more frequent!  As a matter of fact, I invite you to visit our new web site, Sundance Tours to see what we are up to, and I encourage you to join us, as many others have, from around the country.

Now, for the unfinished business, this blog post I stated in January…so here it is, finally:

Recently I reviewed my January 2012 Blog Post…it was right on!  The year 2012 proved to be one of my best, and this year is already on its way to be even better!!  If it was not  happening to me, I might be skeptical…but hey…it’s all real!  When you change your mindset and expect the best, it comes to you.  It is what each of us is promised.  We just have to believe it and move forward.  With that said, my new original mantra for 2013 (which will last through 2019, with a little modification, maybe) is:

“In 2013 I shall change my routine,

I will make a conscious effort to live more green, and

I will strengthen my faith and belief in the unseen.”

This year my January hike was awesome!  We had more than 50 men and women join us at Red Top Mountain for our Resolution Fun & Fitness Hike.  It was a beautiful day, excellent for being in the great outdoors. At least half of the hikers were first-timers.  People have become more health conscious and looking for the benefits that being in the outdoors and hiking brings.

ThomasThompson-Sailing

I did my annual Cumberland Island Service Project for the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday, with the Georgia Conservancy, already ushered several great shows, including Alvin Ailey and Fela, at the Fox Theater, one of the featured Fox Ushers in Lifestyle Magazine, recorded by first Lifestyle CD, sold out my Grand Canyon Birthday Celebration Adventure Tour, and finalized the Belize Sailing Adventure, on catamaran yachts, for which I held the first information meeting at the Atlanta REI store.  Thomas was able to join us through Facetime…we beamed him in, and he was able to speak directly with those in attendance, and answer their questions.  It was awesome!!!

I am more than happy to announce that out of 31 invitations to the Grand Canyon meeting, 3 notified me that they could not make it, 24 showed up, and by the following Monday, 3 spots were taken.  The trip was sold out within 2 weeks!  I am sooo very happy, I can’t contain myself.  We are going to have the best time ever.  You can check out the trip information here…it is a very adventurous, full schedule!

Now we are getting such great response to the exciting Belize Sailing Adventure in July 2013.  Check out the new web site for our upcoming adventures.  FYI… Thomas, is a Certified Sailing Captain and a very adventurous person.  Check him out at the Sundance Tours web site. Thomas relocated to Belize in January…he is awesome to work with!

Also, want to express my heartfelt gratitude to those who have emailed me to express their support for what I do. When I hear how my words and actions inspire people, their response inspires me.  It is those words of encouragement that keep me going and confirms for me that I have found my purpose in life…as some have told me, my ministry, my passion to help others attain/maintain optimum health and wellness, and live their life to the fullest!!! Be well and live long and strong…

Categories: Lifestyle Management, Other Outdoor Adventures, Water Adventures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Living Life to the Fullest!!!

We are Living Our Lives to the Fullest!!! We are a group of people that get together to have fun, meet new friends, explore new and exciting adventures,  participate in various outdoor activities that give us an opportunity to enjoy life while getting and/or staying healthy, fit and being the best person we be!

This is my first blog.  I hope you will find it interesting and inspiring.  I became so inclined to start this blog as I reflected upon 2011 and all the great things that are happening in my life!  I conducted a ‘Living Life to the Fullest!!! seminar in October and it was awesome.  However, there were those  who contacted me with great regret that they were unable to make it for various reasons and were inquiring when I would hold the next one.  I got such good response from it and continue to get great response from those who join me on my hikes, I vowed that I wanted to find some way to share all the great experiences they were and are having…not so much in my words, but in their words…thus this blog.

I actually started Hartfield’s Hikers in 2010 for selfish reasons…I wanted to hike and did not want to do it alone.  I was introduced to hiking by the Black Newcomers Network when I went on my first hike, ever in life to celebrate by 56th birthday in 2004.  It was so exhilarating!  I was hooked!! At the end of the hike, hike leader Clarence Wilson told me it was the hardest hike that the group does.  He was  smart enough to tell me that at the end of the hike and not before.  I did not know it was supposed to be hard and even lead the group at various points.  It was a great way to celebrate my birthday…on top of the mountain.  The hiking trail was to Blood Mountain, the highest point on the Appalachian Trail in the state of Georgia.  Clarence’s work schedule changed and he was not longer available to lead the hikes and asked me if I was interested…this was several years later in 2009.  I saw it as a great opportunity, as he had taught me a lot about the trails.  However, with him gone, I was not as confident as I thought I would be, so I signed up for the training class and became an Outings Leader with the Sierra Club.  Later, after establishing a partnership with REI, I became certified in Wilderness First Aid.  I must say that my good friend Paulette Scott who was as green as I was about hiking agreed to ‘have my back.’  Although she used to complain most of the time, she has continued to hang in there with me.  I appreciate her support very much!

We also join with other groups and as a result have gone horseback riding, zip lining, caving, bicycle riding, skiing and more!

Then, being a true Baby Boomer, once again for selfish reasons, I started OPALs, which stands for Older People with Active Lifestyles.  This group brings together other Baby Boomers who want to enjoy fun activities with people in their own age range.  I was actually introduced to this concept when I reached the age of 50 and lived in Detroit.  I joined the Masters Sports program, lead by Cal ‘Captain D’ Dilworth and started paying organized basketball for the first time since middle school and loved it!  This was also a great time in my life.  I met a lot of great people, got my exercise in while having fun and I really believe it saved my sanity seeing that I was going through menopause at the time.  I traveled around the country with the team and we won gold and silver medals in various state, national and world senior competitions and Olympics.  I earned MVP during one of our games!

I must add here that I am having the best time of my life right now, I am truly Living my Life to the Fullest!!!  Others have joined me and I want to share the things we are doing that are really sensational, yet simple!  It never fails, every time we are out, someone shares with me how the experience has changed not only their perspective on trekking trails in the mountains, but how the experience has actually changed their life.  It is their stories that invigorate me and keep me doing this month after month.  As long as I know what I do is helping others and in the process enjoying every moment of it myself, I am fulfilling my purpose.  There are other things I do also that I will discuss later that include my online health and wellness store, my Adventurers Meetup group and my online newsletters.

What are you doing to Live Your Life to the Fullest?  Tell us about it.

Categories: Hiking, Outdoor Adventures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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