For some of us, a pet is a reason to get up in the morning. That friendly, constant ‘other’ helps us refocus our attention from the negative things in our life.
So, if you’re exploring options in stress management, a pet may be the most animated solution.
For some of us, a pet is a reason to get up in the morning. That friendly, constant ‘other’ helps us refocus our attention from the negative things in our life.
You’re at the office with deadlines to meet and deals to close. Or you’re at home with long to-do lists and loved ones to care for. No matter where you go, it seems you’re stressed or anxious about something.
What to do? Robert Rhode, Ph.D., clinical psychologist at Canyon Ranch in Tucson offers these practical recommendations for coping with difficult times.
• Learn from the innocent:
Live for the moment. “As adult human beings, we are capable of having thoughts about the future. Animals and very young children live in the present. There is some value in trying to emulate that simplicity,” says Dr. Rhode.
• Understand that anxiety is not reality; it’s your mind’s worst-case scenario.
“When we’re anxious, what we’re doing is imagining a future and behaving as if it is here. But we don’t, in fact, know what happens next in life. When we go to a movie, we know what type of ending it will have by the type of movie it is: In an old Western, for example, John Wayne will ride off into the sunset at the end.
“When we’re anxious, we’re writing the ending to a movie before we experience it, and we don’t really know what will happen in life.”
Becoming aware of our thoughts as “script,” not reality, can help put some distance between us and our fears.
• Live happily ever after: Develop a storybook ending.
Once you understand that anxiety is the result of your imagination working overtime, use that knowledge.
“Instead of trying to stop thoughts about the future, make up alternate endings. No matter how bad one ending is, you can develop one that is worse – and you can also imagine endings that are better.”
Developing improbable conclusions – some happy, some tragic – serves as an entertaining distraction and reminds you that none of the scenarios are real.
• Add more texture to your life.
Dr. Rhode emphasizes that comforting textures can be an effective antidote to anxiety and stress: Wear soft clothes, put flannel sheets on your bed, sleep with a corner of a blanket in your hand.
“Psychologists believe this works because it goes back to childhood. Before we had words, we had blankets and soft toys. We were comforted by texture, and accessing this thoughts.”
• The heartbeat of America: Take your pulse.
“Put your hand on your neck or wrist and literally feel your heart beating. Focus in a meditative manner and tell yourself, ‘This is my heart beating.’ Then put your hand on your belly and feel the rise and fall of your diaphragm, and say, ‘This is my body breathing.’ These phrases are calming touchstones that you can access anywhere – in meetings or crowded places. These are comforting, stabilizing thoughts.”
• Nurture other living things.
While washing dishes, grocery shopping and other routine tasks may provide welcome and convenient distractions, forging connections with living things has proven health benefits.
“It is important to attend to something that is alive and growing: Care for your children in special ways, spend extra time with your dog or cat or the flowers in your garden.”
• Trouble sleeping? Displace your inner dialogue.
“When you can’t get to sleep at night, you are listening to a conversation in your head. If you listen to someone else talk, you interfere with that conversation.”
Dr. Rhode’s solution? Storytellers on tape provide, quite literally, another voice, telling a story that’s organized and compelling. He recommends Garrison Keillor, Robert Fulghum and Tom Bodett – readers whose deep, soothing voices offer mellow messages with uplifting humor. Simply slip on a pair of headphones to displace your inner dialogue.
“You get a comforting experience and an effective, reusable form of anxiety management for less money than you’d pay a counselor.”
Your life – your terms
Adjusting the way you see the world is the ultimate in stress and anxiety relief. Life may try to keep you continuously running on stress, but you have the power to opt out and get off that treadmill.
The key is to recognize when you are falling into the old pattern of stress and anxiety, then to try one or more of the seven steps to combat the issue. Before long, work and home will be relaxing places you love to be.
Aromatherapy is an ancient practice that has found new popularity. It’s more than just pretty smells, of course. Choosing the right scents and products can promote relaxation and healing.
Known by many other names, aromatherapy dates back to ancient Egypt, where volatile oils were integrated into many aspects of daily life, ranging from healing and massage to embalming and religious observance (think incense).
It certainly had its place in other ancient societies, too: The Chinese are celebrated to this day for their sophisticated, age-old use of aromatic herbs, and one arm of traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) relies heavily on aromatic massage.
The sweet smell of health
Aromatherapy is based on the principle that aromatic oils – applied to the skin in diluted form and inhaled – act on psychological, physiologic and molecular levels. They stimulate specific areas of the brain and limbic system, triggering memories that result in relaxation or re-energizing (depending on the oil or combination of oils used) effects that have real health benefits.
“Aromatherapy is natural, preventive medicine,” says April Amstutz, director of massage at Canyon Ranch in Tucson. “People seek it out for many reasons: to help relieve stress or anxiety; to soothe stiff, achy muscles; to relieve congestion. I’ve seen people reap great benefits from the treatments,” she says.
A rose by any other name
The key to effective aromatherapy is in the quality and nature of the materials used. Pure essential oils – as opposed to artificial fragrance oils or perfumes – are, well, essential. (Cheaper, artificial fragrances smell nice but lack the therapeutic benefits of their natural counterparts.) Before you buy, know the basics:
• An essential oil is the essence of a plant material in liquid form. The concentrated essence is generally obtained through distillation and is diluted with a “carrier oil,” which is a pure, unscented vegetable oil – often almond or apricot kernel oil – that effectively carries the essence to the skin. Essential oils can be purchased individually or in combinations customized to meet your needs.
• A word to the wise: Blend at your own risk. “We don’t recommend that you blend essential oils without guidance: They are very potent,” Amstutz emphasizes. “Of course people experiment all the time, but to ensure that your blends are safe and will do what you expect, you really need education – or at least, to do some reading and research.”
• Other safety precautions:
•Never ingest essential oils.
•Do not apply undiluted essential oils to the skin.
•Some oils can cause allergic reactions in certain people, so test a small area of skin 24 hours before using any oil extensively.
•Pregnant women, children, people with asthma, epilepsy and other chronic illnesses should consult a physician before trying aromatherapy.
All the buzz
Essential oils are increasingly popular, and their booming availability means there’s huge variation in the quality and purity of products. A particularly potent and beneficial way to enjoy aromatherapy is through massage.
“Aromatherapy massage treatments really center you,” says Laura Hittleman, Director of Beauty Services at Canyon Ranch.
She encourages clients to explore the benefits of mini-treatments as well. Candles and other forms of burning essences create ambiance in the home, after-bath body lotions refresh or relax, antiseptic oils, such as lavender, soothe a variety of injuries.
“I encourage guests to try an inhalant essence on long flights to reduce that
spaced-out, jet-lagged feeling. Or to put a little tonic on a tissue as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Or, if you have trouble sleeping, to try a relaxing oil in the bath before bed,” Hittleman says. “Aromatherapy is really just another way of being mindful and in the moment.”
Dogs have keen emotional intelligence, so they often sense sadness, anxiety and pain, and do their best to comfort us with their loyal, watchful presence. Stories of dogs lying quietly by the beds of people who are sick and dying, keeping them silent, sympathetic company, abound.
In times of stress, dogs offer offer comic relief and a safe conduit for expressing feeling. Children, especially, may find it easier to talk about what they’re feeling if they can express it “through” a beloved pet. Children going through a divorce often derive particular comfort and a feeling of security from the reliable, affectionate presence of a pet. A statement like “Daisy is going to be lonely when I’m at Daddy’s house” is an opening into a child’s thoughts through which an attentive adult can reach, and, with luck, relieve some of his worry.
Pets can also fill a vital need during times of ultimate stress by providing a sense of routine and normalcy in the midst of tragedy. The dog must still be fed, let in and out, and walked, and that walk around the block helps life go on.
The traditional wisdom about the immune system is that it needs “boosting,” and that the way to be healthy is to fuel it with mega-doses of vitamin C.
That thinking is as last-century as powdered, imitation orange juice. New meta-studies have cast doubt on the efficacy of some supplements in preventing chronic disease, says Cindy Geyer, M.D., Medical Director at Canyon Ranch in Lenox.
“I personally think that supplements are helpful. But what we absolutely know, from one study after another, is that a varied, balanced diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables and other unrefined plant foods like whole grains and beans helps prevent cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
“And one reason for that, we think, is that the extremely complex combinations of nutrients found in these foods help calm the immune system down. An overactive, excited immune system is more of a problem than an underactive one for many people.”
Allergies and autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are obvious manifestations of an over-reactive immune system, which also accelerates aging through a variety of more subtle effects.
Foods that are particularly helpful in quieting the immune system include apples and onions, which contain the anti-inflammatory quercetin, and turmeric, the spice that gives curries their bright-orange color. Turmeric has long been valued for its medicinal properties in South Asia and in China, where it is used to reduce inflammation, aid digestion and liver function, reduce the pain of arthritis, and heal skin lesions. According to Dr. Geyer, preliminary research suggests that curcumin, an anti-inflammatory found in turmeric, may also help prevent and treat some cancers and Alzheimer’s disease.
“So curries are not only delicious – they’re definitely good for you,” says Geyer. “The important thing about eating well, though, is not to concentrate on one particular food or type of food – it’s to eat a balanced, wide variety of whole foods, mostly plants, every day. While we don’t understand all the biochemistry of the nutrients in the foods we eat, we do know that they work together to keep us healthy.”
You know that a food has made it when nutritionists love it and people hold tastings.
Whether you’re in Italy, Spain, Greece or Dubuque, you can gather with friends to swirl bread in various olive oils and declare them mild, buttery, fruity, peppery, earthy and such. And you have the joy of knowing it can be good for you.
Once considered an exotic ingredient, olive oil has become a staple in American kitchens. There’s a wide variety on grocery shelves, and many people are unaware of the distinctions. These differences can be quite startling, though, and important to your well-being.
Different names, same content
Olive oil is graded as regular, light or extra-virgin olive oil, the fat. Whichever you choose, the calorie contents will always the same: 120 calories and 14 grams of fat per tablespoon. All are high in monounsaturated fats – the “neutral” fat found in plant oils that is credited not only with lowering total cholesterol, but protecting HDL (the “good” cholesterol), while reducing levels of LDL (the “unhealthy” or “bad” cholesterol we have all learned to fear and despise).
“We suggest getting 25 to 30 percent of total dietary calories from fat,” says Lisa Powell, M.S., R.D., Director of Nutrition at Canyon Ranch in Tucson. “Of those fats, 50 percent should be monounsaturated fats from foods (nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, fish) and from the healthiest cooking oils – such as olive oil, peanut oil and canola oil.”
Olive oil is actually the preferred choice among plant oils, since it boasts the highest percentage of monounsaturated fats and the greatest levels of phytonutrients of any plant-derived oil. This is important because phytonutrients are antioxidants that protect plants from too much sunlight, blight and pollution. In humans, they provide anti-aging benefits and fight diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
But, remember, all olive oils are not created equal.
The cold facts
“The best olive oil is cold-pressed,” says Jennifer Flora, M.S., nutritionist at Canyon Ranch, Tucson. “It’s made just the way it sounds: The oil is literally pressed from the olive in a temperature-controlled environment that protects it from chemical alteration by heat. Then it’s minimally processed.
“Don’t buy any olive oil that doesn’t have the words ‘cold-pressed’ on the label, because extraction methods using heat and chemicals can damage phytonutrients,” advises Flora.
Pressing is not the only concern, however. It’s important to understand the grades of olive oil:
Extra virgin. The least refined, best-tasting of all olive oils, this is the premium product. It comes from the first pressing of olives and is full-flavored and fruity with an acidity level of less than one percent. It is, as you’d expect, the most expensive grade.
Virgin olive oil. Also a product of the first pressing, this oil has a slightly higher acidity level of one to three percent.
The next grade is sometimes known as “pure” or “refined” olive oil, which means it didn’t meet the taste and quality guidelines for virgin oil. To improve its taste, it’s been further refined, removing some micronutrients and making it less desirable nutritionally. It has a milder, blander flavor and higher acidity than extra virgin.
Light olive oil. This is refined olive oil blended with extra virgin olive oil, resulting in a lighter flavor and color that many prefer for cooking and baking.
Burning & double-dipping
As you cook with olive oil, keep in mind that the healthful properties are perishable. A light sauté is usually fine. Repeatedly using the same oil to fry foods or burning the oil not only destroys the antioxidant properties, but may possibly be carcinogenic.
“Heat oxidizes the chemical structure of the fat, and oxidized chemicals can be part of the process that starts cancer in the body,” Powell says.
Corn oil and other vegetable oils high in omega-6 fats are particularly susceptible to this type of oxidization, making them even less desirable than olive oil for cooking at high temperatures.
Keep ‘em cool and dark
Once you’ve selected your olive oil in your kitchen, protect it. Many people store oil next to the stove for convenience, a practice Powell discourages. She recommends keeping oils in the refrigerator to protect against oxidization and preserve phytonutrients.
Okay, refrigerated olive oil does sound – and look – strange. According to Powell, the oil undergoes a process known as winterization, in which it becomes semi-solid, but this does not damage the quality or flavor in any way.
“Just set it out at room temperature for 10 minutes and it will mix itself,” she says.
Also, once you have opened a bottle, try to use it within six months: Olive oil, like produce, is best when it’s fresh.
If you prefer non-stick, olive-oil sprays for cooking, Flora suggests avoiding commercial brands that may contain propellants. Instead, pour your usual olive oil into a handy spray canister or kitchen spritzer, and you’re all set.
Take a culinary chance
As you explore the many opportunities for incorporating olive oil into your diet, don’t be afraid to experiment in salads and recipes. The thousands of varieties of olives offer distinct nuances in taste that vary by country, crop and region, in much the same way that wines and honeys do. That’s why tastings are such a treat.
Olive oil is more than a favorite ingredient a healthy diet. You can make it a culinary adventure. Bon appétit!
The weather warms, your garden grows, the world turns beautiful and young again. Everything about spring is energizing and inspiring. Almost. For millions of people, this is also Sneeze Season.
Flowers in bloom and warmer temps bring a bevy of eye-watering, allergy-stimulating irritants that could make even the most die-hard naturalist relish the great indoors. But before you reach for that bottle of prescription pills or over-the-counter-medicine, consider some simple, more natural ways.
“The best course of action when it comes to allergens is avoidance. If ragweed is in bloom, that may not be the best time to go for a hike if you are allergic to ragweed,” says Canyon Ranch in Tucson Medical Director Stephen Brewer, M.D., whose specialty is integrative medicine. “But if you do want to get out, you can minimize the severity of allergies through diet modification and by taking a few simple precautions.”
Fish rarely sneeze
Because allergens essentially cause inflammation in the body leading to symptoms such as a runny nose and itchy eyes, one useful way to keep your reaction to irritants at bay is by introducing more omega-3 (good fat) into your diet. Omega-3 has anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce allergic responses.
“For example the omega-3 you get from eating cold water fish such as salmon and cod will help reduce swelling. The same is true for flaxseed oil and walnuts,” explains Dr. Brewer. “It’s not a cure, but it will certainly help.”
Conversely Dr. Brewer says foods such as corn oil which are high in omega-6 (bad fat) and trans fats can actually contribute to inflammation and should be eliminated. He adds that acupuncture has also been shown to be an effective way to reduce allergen inflammation.
A clean environment
Allergens such as dust and pollen love collecting on surfaces such as carpets, drapes, shelves, upholstery and even stuffed animals. A little spring cleaning can go a long way to reducing allergy-provoking contamination. But remember: Vacuuming and disturbing allergen collectors can initially cause more problems than they solve.
“A good spring cleaning is a great idea. But if you are the person who has the allergy problems, by all means let someone else do the cleaning,” Dr. Brewer says. “You would be amazed how much invisible detritus dusting or running a vacuum will kick up.”
Other environmental improvements can include:
• Removing any visible mold from walls and floors using a solution of water and chlorine bleach, or a product that contains chlorine bleach or other fungicides. If you are sensitive to chlorine, consider a mixture of white vinegar and water to help kill mold. If you use an air conditioner, be sure to check it regularly for mold contamination. A dehumidifier can be helpful in keeping your living environment dry.
• Consider buying an air filter such as a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which removes particles in the air by forcing it through screens containing microscopic pores.
• Try taking a bath or shower before going to bed. This will help remove pollen from your hair and body, keep it out of your bed, and may provide some allergy relief.
So, before you reach for the pills, think about the natural solutions to allergies. Then enjoy the beautiful springtime.
Just when you thought you knew your hair, it turns on you. Gray happens, and the style you always favored, and the colors you wore, suddenly need rethinking. Even your hair’s texture can change. But disconcerting as those first gray hairs may be, graying can be an opportunity to fashion a whole new you.
As silver strands increase, your appearance is changing. What direction do you want to go in? And what will your decision mean in terms of ongoing hair care and your personal image? The options are many, says Canyon Ranch hairstylist David Zaragoza, and the good news is that you have more choices for lovely locks than ever before.
Is color right for me?
Many people – men as well as women – prefer to color their hair because it’s more flattering or they simply don’t want to look older, says David. Others elect to go gray naturally. If you’re undecided, go to a stylist for a consultation. Some people who decide to go with color prefer to leave a little gray for a more natural look, he says.
One way to determine how your coiffure would look au naturel is to try on wigs in the same shade as your gray strands. Take into account your skin and eye color. Gray may set them off in a whole new way, or it may tend to wash you out. Platinum can be flattering with most skin types, even at an early age, says David. On the other hand, “A dull gray can be very unflattering no matter what your age.”
As your body chemistry changes with age, your hair’s behavior and texture may alter too. It may become duller, thinner, or even wavier. “Graying hair changes texture because it loses its pigment,” says David. “It may coarsen, or become more unruly.”
Dye coats the hair, and may actually make it more manageable. “Fine hair may even become fuller, as the hair color penetrates the hair shaft, plumping up the hair.”
Is your natural hair color dark or light? Either way, you have several coloring choices, says David. For naturally dark hair, “If you don’t have much gray, having your stylist weave in more of the natural color with foil to cover some or all of the gray is a good option; and it has the advantage that it leaves no line of demarcation.” People with naturally blond hair can blend in some of the gray with highlights, or cover it by weaving in some lowlights.
If you have more gray and want to keep your natural look, try covering it up completely using a semi-permanent color that’s close to your natural look. “Usually your stylist will recommend using a permanent color only if the semi-permanent product is no longer covering the gray” says David. “Be guided by a professional – every situation is different.”
Safer than ever
oday’s hair color is safe and more environmentally friendly than it was 15 to 20 years ago, he says. “In the past, hair coloring products contained a high volume of peroxide mixed with ammonia, which damages hair and can adversely affect the lungs when breathed in frequently. They also contained bleach, which is known to damage the hair and dry the scalp. Now, most salons, including Canyon Ranch, are committed to using products that are safe.”
It’s preferable to leave hair coloring to an experienced stylist, David advises. “Attempting to color your own hair can be a catastrophe waiting to happen.” For instance, he says, “putting brown on blond hair can result in an ash-green effect.”
Going lighter than your natural color is a harsher process than darkening it, so if you do go blonde, ask your stylist to recommend a reconstructor to counteract the loss of protein and moisture from your hair. Whatever your color choice, keep hair healthy by using a good, acid-balanced shampoo and a conditioner between treatments.
Be adventurous. Brightening your brown hair to a coppery shade may lend a more vibrant look – you might shop for sweaters or blouses in colors, such as teal or gorgeous greens, to complement your new look. If you decide instead to embrace the gray, revel in a whole new range of color choices to set off your chic silver mane. This is a good time to experiment with new styles – maybe a sleek bob or a terrific crop. So make way for the new you; you’ll feel better than ever – and look mah-vellous!
Ah, springtime. You can think of it as Earth’s wakeup call. Time to get out of the house again, enjoy the grass between your toes, and tend your garden. From peace of mind to glorious flowers and fresh vegetables there is nothing quite as primal and satisfying as tilling the soil for a summer garden. You just dig in your hands and reconnect with all the goodness that the season has to offer. And, best of all, it can be done virtually anywhere.
Whether you plant seeds in an urban window box high above the asphalt or work a patch of land in the country, all you need is a little bit of earth, sun, water, and time to take part in the annual cycle of life.
“Spring is one of my favorite times of the year here in the Berkshires,” says Canyon Ranch Assistant Supervisor of Grounds Lori Donnelly. “It’s a time of new beginning and rebirth. When I garden I feel like I’m adding something to the world by nurturing the plants that we as a planet need to live and thrive. It’s a way of becoming one with the Earth.”
Let your senses roam
As every gardener knows, growing and tending plants is a sensual experience that involves much more than simply digging holes, although that can be vigorous, enjoyable and satisfying experience as well. “Gardening involves all of your senses. Simply getting outdoors and hearing the birds or spring peepers can change your whole mood,” Lori explains. “After being locked up indoors all winter there is no better way to get away from the computers and cell phones and just let your soul breathe deep for a while.”
Touch – Don’t be afraid to get dirty. Experience the texture of plant stems and the softness of flower petals, the comfort of damp earth. “It’s like a friend of mine once said, ‘Work with your hands and it will free your mind.’ You become Mother Nature’s apprentice,” Lori says, “and I can’t imagine anyone better to work for.”
Smell – In spring the air is often perfumed by plants trying to attract pollinators. Take some time to stop and smell the roses…and don’t miss the hyacinths!
Hear – While tending your garden, be sure to listen. Hear the nuances of birdcalls, the whisper of wind rustling newly formed leaves, or maybe the soft patter of a passing rain shower.
Taste – A great way to get an immediate “taste” of spring is to plant herbs. They do well in all sorts of environments and make a wonderful addition to any garden, not to mention most meals.
While gardening can awaken the senses, the mind and body, it can also require more physical exertion than most imagine. So be sure to spend some time stretching your lower back before you begin and during the day.
“You would be amazed how many people say they would love to do what I do because it’s such a good workout. I always tell them: Feel free to pick up a rake and join me,” Lori says with a laugh. “Gardening can be a great way to burn calories but stretching is key if you want to avoid strains, sprains and other injuries.”
Also, remember to bend your knees or squat when lifting. If you’re having trouble reaching down, one option is to do your gardening in raised beds or use tools with longer handles. Never lift that feels uncomfortably heavy. A useful way to maximize your workout while gardening is to simply avoid power tools. You would be amazed at what a great workout it is to simply use a push mover instead of and electric or gas-powered one.
Start a garden journal
One secret to maintaining a garden is to keep a journal. A small pad of paper and pencil kept in a plastic bag with your hand tools is all that you need to remember which plant needs more shade or when you can start harvesting those vegetables so lovingly tended.
Keeping a diary is also a way to maintain continuity. If you jot down your successes and failures each year you can use those notes as a guide the following spring. Lori also recommends taking photos, so you have something to remember the seasons by.
So, grab a hat, slather on the sunscreen, and enjoy one of the great natural pleasures. A garden can thrill your senses, fill your table, and keep you happily connected to beauty and nature.
Veteran hiking guide Bob Mills jogged the Berkshire byways back in the ’60s – long before fitness hit the public radar. Nicknamed “the Silver Fox,” “General Mills,” and “Bee-Bob,” Bob has guided guests on outdoor adventures at Canyon Ranch in Lenox since 1990, one year after it opened. Square-jawed, grandfatherly and deeply knowledgeable about plants and wildlife, he has a razor-sharp wit, and at 85 he can out-hike many a 40-year-old.
A former marketing executive with six children and six grown-up grandchildren, Bob has always loved the outdoors, but had never considered making his hobby into a career. “Hiking was something we did as a family on weekends, like skiing,” he says. When he retired from the corporate world, he spent 10 years as a top-notch downhill ski instructor and a guide at the Norman Rockwell Museum before bringing his expertise and enthusiasm to Canyon Ranch in Lenox.
Right from the start of his career as a hiking guide, Bob felt strongly that there’s more to hiking than simply following a trail. During his first months on the job, he researched local flora and fauna and details of the terrain, and produced a field reference guide for use on hikes. He also included many items of historical and social significance. “There’s a lot of history here in New England,” he says. “When we share that information, it makes hikes a lot more interesting for guests.”
Return guests seek him out, and others forget his age as he mentors them through hikes, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. “I identify with youngsters,” he says. “Everybody is younger than I am, but I almost feel like I’m their contemporary. I think young.” Actually, age isn’t an issue, he says. When a group of people are chatting and enjoying the outdoors together, “those lines are kind of erased. It’s a leveling influence.”
And, he says, “You develop a lot of relationships over the years. When repeat guests come back, it’s like a reunion.”
Outdoor programs at Lenox have seen constant evolution in the course of two decades, Bob says. Back in 1990, snowshoes – now high-tech, lightweight metal – were made of wood and rawhide, and Lenox offered 20 to 25 hiking destinations. Today, that number has increased to more than 90 choices, along with added outdoor options from kayaking and sculling to the High Ropes course, “hike and paint” expeditions, and tai chi hikes.
Since he turned 79, Bob has slowed down to intermediate-level hikes, but he works out regularly and hits the weight room three times a week. “You’ve got to keep your body working,” he says. “If you don’t want to lift weights, there’s always walking. Set yourself a goal and get out on a regular basis.” In addition to taking good care of himself, Bob teaches English as a second language in his spare time, and has volunteered in New Orleans helping to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
“The remarkable thing about Bob is that he spans the generations,” says Lenox Outdoor Sports Director Mike Duffy, who was with Bob on his first hike in Lenox. “He’s a really experienced guide. Guests adore him. People just look at him and say, ‘that’s where I want to be.’ He’s living proof that this kind of lifestyle is good for you.”