Welcome to my newsletter! I've got fitness and nutrition tips to help you be the best you can be!
Fitness Strategies as We Age
In this newsletter, I address the strategies of a fitness plan as we age. There are important considerations when designing a plan to be a life-changing experience. I'll discuss the benefits of strength training, how to keep your balance skills, and how to build bone density.
Life-Changing Fitness for Seniors
Designing a Fitness Plan
as We Age
As we age, our self-care plan should include exercise to make sure we keep our strength, mobility, and stamina. Many of my clients who begin exercising after living a sedentary life report a life-changing improvement in their mental and physical health. Seniors who exercise have abundant energy and live spirited lives.
These are My Top Ten Goals when Designing an Exercise Plan for Seniors:
1. Build Muscle and Bone
I incorporate strength training to slow and even reverse the loss of muscle and bone as we age. Stronger muscles also mean better mobility and balance, and thus a lower risk of falling and injuring yourself.
2. Focus on Functional Movements for Daily Living
I emphasize movements that are used in daily living, like squats, pushes, and pulls. I also teach proper technique for lifting heavy objects to prevent injuries.
3. Improve Balance and Motor Skills
Falling can result in serious injuries, so I use exercises that improve balance skills. I also train clients to sharpen motor skills like hand-eye coordination and depth perception.
4. Elevate Mood
I design a program which builds self-confidence, freedom, and independence. I especially like the way exercise improves energy and alleviates depression.
5. Prevent Fat Gain
Our metabolism slows as we age, and exercise prevents fat gain that may occur as a result.
6. Increase Mobility
Tightness can limit your movements and even make everyday life painful. So I incorporate flexibility exercises into workouts.
7. Achieve Proper Posture
I encourage my clients to be mindful of their posture while seated and standing. To help correct bad posture, I find it helps to strengthen muscles of the core, upper back, and neck.
8. Strengthen Heart Muscle
Regular cardiovascular exercise strengthens the most important muscle in the body. Good options include walking, swimming, biking, jogging, and stair climbing.
9. Prevent Chronic Diseases
Exercise reduces body fat and provides other benefits which lowers your risk for illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer.
10. Eat an Age-Appropriate Diet
We can't eat like we're still 16 years old. So I advise clients to keep pace with a slowing metabolism by eating smartly.
Benefits of Strength Training
Want to Live Longer
Tips from the
Harvard Medical School
Regular physical activity promotes general good health, reduces the risk of developing many diseases, and helps you live a longer and healthier life. For many of us, "exercise" means walking, jogging, treadmill work, or other activities that get the heart pumping.
But often overlooked is the value of strength-building exercises. Once you reach your 50s and beyond, strength training is critical to preserving the ability to perform the most ordinary activities of daily living and to maintaining an active and independent lifestyle.
The average 30-year-old loses about a quarter of their muscle strength by age 70 and half of it by age 90. "Just doing aerobic exercise is not adequate," says Dr. Robert Schreiber, at the Harvard Medical School. "Unless you are doing strength training, you will become weaker and less functional."
Strength training encompasses any of the following:
- Free weights, such as barbells and dumbbells
- Ankle cuffs and weight vests
- Elastic bands.
- Exercises that use your body weight to create resistance
Beginning a Strength-Building Program
A beginner's strength-building workout takes as little as 20 minutes, and you won't need to grunt, strain, or sweat like a cartoon bodybuilder. The key is developing a well-rounded program, performing the exercises with good form, and being consistent. You will experience noticeable gains in strength within four to eight weeks.
When you start a strength training program, take it slow so you don't injure yourself. Discuss your new exercise plan with your doctor. Mild to moderate muscle soreness between workouts is normal, but back off if it persists more than a few days.
Success Story from an 83-Year-Old Client
Building Bone Density with Strength Training
Strength training is important for building muscle, but often overlooked is the benefit to building bone density. Our bones lose calcium and weaken with age, but strength training can help slow or even reverse this trend.
By training with weights or even your own body weight, there is a compressive force applied to the bones. Your body reacts to this stimulus by increasing the density of the bones. Not only can strength training make you look and feel better, but it can also result in better performance of everyday activities.
Success Story from an 83-Year-Old Client
One of my clients recently received rave reviews from her doctor about her exercise plan. Her doctor had this report after her annual physical exam:
"Your body mass index (BMI) is very good at 21.4. I consider 25% body fat pretty good for you. There is no need for you to diet; however, the challenge is to maintain your skeletal muscle mass and lean body mass and this can only be done if you remain physically active. Your current excellent body composition analysis is a testament to your exercise program."
"A continuous healthy calcium intake along with satisfactory vitamin D levels must be put together with regular weightbearing exercise to keep bones as strong as possible. There are pills and intravenous infusions that can be prescribed to help osteoporosis; however, each of these therapies has their own issues. I don't think any additional therapy is needed as long as you keep as physically active with your trainer as you have been."
Reduce the Risk of Falling
by Improving Your
As we age, our balance can get a bit wobbly. That's why I use balance training for all my clients to help reduce the risk of stumbles and falls. Athletes also need balance skills when changing direction quickly or landing safely from explosive movements.
Understanding How Your Body Stays Balanced
Balance relies on input from several of the body's systems:
Visual system. Our eyes help us adjust our body's position, so we can steer around obstacles in our path.
Vestibular system. Nerve receptors in the inner ear are sensitive to movements of the head and relay its position to the brain.
Proprioception. Receptors in the skin, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles receive stimuli indicating the position and movement of the body.
Exercises for Better Balance
You don't need a lot of equipment to perform balance exercises. The basic idea is to challenge your body under increasingly difficult circumstances.
Begin by standing on one leg on a flat surface for 30 seconds. Repeat using the other leg. When you can do this easily, repeat the same exercise with your eyes closed. Next, stand on a pillow, and then with your eyes closed.
You can even fit balance training into your daily routine. Try these activities:
1. Stand on one leg whenever you're waiting in line at the theater, bank, or grocery store.
2. Ask someone to toss you a ball while you balance on one leg.
3. Sit down and get up from a chair several times without using your hands.
4. Walk heel to toe, like a tightrope walker. Place the heel of one foot just in front of the toes of the opposite foot each time you take a step.
If you practice these exercises on your own, soon you'll be stable and confident in your body!