Staying Fit As You Get Older

Staying Fit As You Get Older

Even though staying fit as you get older is as hard or even harder than getting fit when you’re young, it’s also more important. As you age, hormone levels drop, making building muscles more difficult and muscle maintain harder. It’s not impossible, but expect slower results than someone ten to twenty years younger. There’s the problem with sarcopenia—age-related muscle loss– that may come from other changes in the body, such as inefficiency when turning protein into fuel or fewer nerve cells. Inflammation can cause changes too.

Don’t get discouraged. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Many studies show that you can reverse some of the signs of aging and get back into shape. Strength training is one way. Resistance training, whether with bands or weights, can help build muscle mass and reduce the signs of aging by maintaining muscle mass and even building it. That’s important because it can improve the quality of life. Walking can even help boost muscle mass and keep bones stronger.

Try some HIIT—high intensity interval training.

Do you want to maximize cardio improvement? HIIT is the way to go. It gets faster improvements in a shorter workout time. Remember to always check with your health care professional before starting any workout program. HIIT varies the intensity between all out intensity for a short period and a slightly longer recovery period. You can use almost any type of exercise using this technique, even walking.

Exercise helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Many of the conditions often associated with older citizens often either occur or are exacerbated by being too heavy. Exercise can help you shed those unwanted pounds that seem to creep up before you realize it. It helps prevent serious conditions like diabetes, heart problems and high blood pressure. If you already have those problems, it can improve your condition.

  • You can maintain muscle mass with just 40 minutes of strength training twice a week. Don’t forget to warm up and work on flexibility training to help avoid injury on the other days, plus cardio for endurance.
  • Staying fit is good for the body, but also good for the mind. Studies show it can slow age related dementia, Alzheimer’s and even boost cognitive functioning.
  • You’ll be less apt to fall when you workout regularly and be less likely to have an injury. Exercise improves balance and improves flexibility to avoid both.
  • You’ll feel better and be more apt to join in the fun in life. Exercise can reduce stress and improve your mood, while giving you the energy to be more active. There’s nothing better than being able to keep up with the whole gang without the need for a rest.

Eat Without Guilt

Eat Without Guilt

People at our Oceanside, CA facility know that while we focus on working out, we also want people to eat healthy. Eating healthy means choosing food wisely and eating more whole foods. It also means you eat without guilt, since you aren’t dieting. There’s no such thing as “falling off the wagon” even if you indulge in forbidden foods a few times. It just means the next day you go back to your program of healthy eating that tends to include far more fresh fruits and vegetables and very few processed ones.

You shouldn’t ever feel guilty taking a bite.

You need to eat to live. While some people say the problem comes when people live to eat instead of the other way around, I say that’s not the problem. The problem is not how much you eat, but what you eat. Sugary products and those containing high fructose corn syrup should be eliminated from your diet completely. High fructose corn syrup—HFCS—is in almost all products. It messes with your hormones and diminishes that hormones that make you feel full, so you tend to eat more and feel hungrier the more HFCS you consume.

You’ll develop a whole new appreciation for the taste of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Not only will you start to taste the exquisite flavors of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially appreciating the sugary flavor of fruit, once you give up sugar and processed foods, you’ll also appreciate the nuances of each flavor. If you have a chance to shop at a farmer’s market, grow your own tomatoes or shop at a grocery where they carry heirloom varieties of tomatoes, buy a few heirloom tomatoes. If you can, make it a black variety, such as a black Krimm. (Not only do the black tomatoes have a richer tomato flavor, they also have more nutrients.) Taste the different flavors of each tomato, compared to the traditional tomatoes served in restaurants that, by comparison, restaurant tomatoes taste like cardboard.

You’ll be amazed at how much weight you lose by following a few simple steps.

If you’re hungry, eat, but make it healthy food. Keep your refrigerator stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables cut up in bite size pieces and ready to eat. If you want something more, consider having a dip ready. One of my favorites is made with a little mayonnaise, cottage cheese and ranch flavoring. Snack as much as you want on fresh fruit and vegetables or even have a ready to eat salad prepared for a snack. If you’re really hungry, a hard boiled egg will keep you full longer.

  • Out with the processed meat and in with the healthy protein. An air fried rotisserie style chicken can provide the protein for several meals and some great snacks. Chop it and combine it with celery, onion and a mix of mayo and Greek yogurt for a chicken salad.
  • When you eat without guilt, you’ll find you appreciate your food more and will be less likely to feel deprived. That can help you control your emotional eating better.
  • After eating more whole foods and fewer processed foods, you may find you want a more formal program that’s easy to follow, especially if you work. Creating meal plans, shopping and cooking for the week is a help that will have you eating without guilt.
  • Combine healthy eating with working out and you’ll have both a surefire plan for a healthy lifestyle, but also never have to worry about weight control again.

How To Change Your Attitude Toward Fitness

How To Change Your Attitude Toward Fitness

Lots of times, people struggle with getting fit. They dread going to the gym and before you know it, that well thought out program to boost their energy, help them lose weight and get into shape, ends abruptly. Getting fit should be a top priority that actually excites you. If it’s not, it’s time to change your attitude toward fitness and you’ll find every workout becomes easier. When you find something you like, you’re more likely to do it.

Winners keep score.

One way to change your attitude is to create goals and track your improvement. That means not only tracking weight loss and measurements, but also the number of repetitions and sets you can do. The more ways to see improvement, the more you’ll get excited. Creating a goal and the steps to reach that goal gives you a path to make the changes you want to see. Tracking that goal in a variety of ways not only boosts your confidence when you see improvement, it turns fitness into a game. That makes it fun and can change your attitude.

Workout in a group.

One reason our group sessions are so popular is that they’re fun! We are serious about helping you reach your goals, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it along the way. Group sessions combine the enthusiasm of everyone in the class. They make it fun and they are also cost effective. You get all the benefits of having a personal trainer at a fraction of the cost of private sessions, since everyone shares the cost of the trainer’s time.

Don’t just go to the gym, include other activities.

If you hate running, don’t run! That simply makes sense. There are lots of ways to get a cardio workout besides running. When you workout with a trainer, let the trainer know the activities you enjoy. If you’re not keen on any fitness training, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Split your time between shooting hoops, biking or other activity you enjoy with a workout at the gym. You still need to ensure you get total body training, which your workout with a trainer provides. Alternate that with an activity you love.

  • If you love to dance, but find you’re too tired, make a night on the town one of your prizes as you get fitter. You might even get ready by adding some dance sessions at home. Just put on the music and dance like nobody’s watching. You’ll love the feeling as you get fitter and are less winded.
  • Change your focus. Think of all the good things you’re doing for yourself by working out regularly.
  • Boost your results by including a healthy diet to your workout plan. The quicker you see results, the more you’ll want to workout and the quicker you’ll see your attitude change toward exercise.
  • Get a workout buddy. Not only do workout buddies keep you accountable, they make the workout fun. A spouse can be a great workout buddy and date night can follow the workout. It can be something simple, like shopping for whole foods at a farmer’s market or a healthy meal.

When You Eat Makes A Difference

When You Eat Makes A Difference

If you want to get the most from a healthy diet, when you eat is important. One of the things that I tell clients in Oceanside, CA is to have an easy to digest high carb snack with a little protein about an hour or so before working out. It helps boost your energy level and allows you to get the most from a workout. It should also have some protein. Food like a banana, mango or grapes in some unsweetened yogurt is a good combination.

If you eat most of your calories in the morning, you’ll be more apt to lose weight.

There’s many studies that point to eating earlier in the day as a weight control technique. Not only does eating early help you shed weight, it also helps hormone regulation, improves cholesterol levels, normalizes blood sugar and help with metabolic functions. One study showed that people who ate half their calories at breakfast lost twice as much weight over twelve weeks as those that ate half their daily calories at their evening meal.

Eating your carbs in the morning is important.

Eating early is important, but so is what you eat. Your early hours should contain most of your carbs. Not only is there more opportunity to burn off those carbs, rather than allowing them to be stored as fat when you sleep, it also helps keep insulin levels more consistent throughout the day, which reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes. In fact, some studies show that eating more food earlier in the day made it easier for people to maintain a healthy diet.

Eating patterns can be a form of intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting is a way of timing your eating. For many years there have been studies that showed it was good for health, much like a reboot on the computer. You don’t have to go without eating for days, you can achieve the same results by timing your meals. Just by making a few changes, like eating breakfast 90 minutes later and eating supper 90 minutes earlier, you’re doing intermittent fasting. A study showed this type of eating pattern also helped people who followed it lost twice as much as the control group that ate normally.

  • It’s important to allow a big meal to digest at least two or three hours before you go to bed, rather than going to sleep on a full stomach. That can create problems like acid reflux and weight gain.
  • If you try intermittent fasting use the 8/16 hour method. Eat all your food in an eight hour window and fast for the sixteen hours.
  • Eating a small amount of carbs and protein after a workout is important, too. It helps your body build muscle tissue.
  • Whether you choose to go with intermittent fasting or not, eating lighter dinners and more at breakfast and lunch will help you shed weight.

Nitric Oxide And Exercise

Nitric Oxide And Exercise

Your body produces nitric oxide in almost every cell. It’s particularly important for the blood vessels. It relaxes the blood vessels and allows them to dilate, allowing blood to flow easier and blood pressure to be lower. That also increases circulation. Since it does increase circulation, that means it also increases the nutrients and oxygen carried to all body parts. There are studies that show the lower amount of nitric oxide you have, the more prone you’ll be to heart disease. Exercise is one way to increase your nitric oxide levels.

Exercise boosts the production of nitric oxide in your body.

Blood vessels have a thin layer of cells that line them, they’re called the endothelium. These are the cells that produce the nitric oxide. When you’re working out and your blood vessels are healthy, it’s not a problem. The nitric oxide keeps the vessels healthy and functioning. However, if you’re living a sedentary life, it can cause those cells to dysfunction and produce too little. That can cause an increased risk for high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Exercise does so much more for your body.

Besides keeping your blood vessels and endothelial healthy, exercise boosts your body’s ability to create nitric oxide. Studies show that exercise also increases antioxidant activity. That can reduce the breakdown of the nitric oxide by free radicals. Exercise has been proven to increase vasodilation of the endothelial in all people, including those with heart disease and high blood pressure.

You’ll get benefits even if you’re healthy or don’t have a lot of extra time.

There are studies that show that it only takes ten weeks to show improvement in nitric oxide production and improved endothelial health. It does require thirty minutes of exercise at least three times a week. There is an exercise that’s a four minute nitric oxide boost. It’s four exercises, each done ten times and in four sets. The first is a squat, followed by paddling your arms in front, then jumping jacks without the jumping and finally air push-ups. Dr. Zach Bush created this workout and called it a nitric oxide dump.

  • Eating foods with nitrates can boost your nitric oxide. Celery, chervil, cress, lettuce, arugula, spinach and beetroot are some of the foods with nitrates that can boost your nitric oxide production.
  • You’ll be surprised to find that simple things like mouthwash can lower the nitric oxide. Nitric oxide needs bacteria to produce it. Unfortunately, mouthwash kills all bacteria, including the beneficial ones that make nitric oxide.
  • Erectile dysfunction may be caused by a lack of nitric oxide. That’s another reason to exercise and better than the little blue pill. You’ll look as good as you feel when you do it naturally.
  • Because of the improved circulation and blood vessel health, increasing nitric oxide can also help manage diabetes and prevent serious complications.

Food Can Be Medicine, But So Can Exercise

Food Can Be Medicine, But So Can Exercise

There’s a new movement in medicine that food heals. In fact, it’s called the food is medicine movement. There are some amazing studies that show how eating specific foods can help not only prevent cancer, but one day can cure it. The same could be said for exercise. There is also an initiative called Exercise is medicine. There’s a lot of research that shows that combining the health giving benefits of food with the invigoration of exercise overcoming or preventing serious conditions may be possible.

The American College of Sports Medicine manages the Exercise is Medicine global initiative.

The program is devoted to guiding primary care physicians to include exercise and physical activity as part of their treatment programs for patients. So much is now known about the benefits of exercise and health, that many health insurance programs no provide exercise programs as part of their benefits, particularly Medicare supplements for seniors. It helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, dementia, heart disease, cancer and osteoarthritis. It has been shown to lower the risk and even help osteoporosis.

Exercise helps in a number of ways.

It increases the length of the telomeres, which protect DNA from damage, preventing early cell death. That alone can cause illness and aging. When you move, it helps your muscles stay strong or get stronger. It also helps reduce inflammation, which is the cause of many serious conditions. Exercise helps keep your hormones in balance, while improving blood vessel and heart functioning. It also burns the hormones of stress, which can cause serious conditions. Exercise also can reduce pain.

While doing anything is better than doing nothing, you’ll get more benefits from a well-rounded program.

Just walking thirty minutes a day can boost your overall health and improve it, but getting a program that has more than just walking can be the most benefit. Strength training is important for building muscle mass, preventing accidents and preventing osteoporosis. Flexibility training helps prevent injury, too. It’s especially important for anyone that does strength training frequently and to prevent pulled muscles that can put you out of commission for days.

  • I have known a woman who was told she’d never walk again, due to many health issues. Through sheer strength and courage, she worked relentlessly to pull herself up and finally managed to walk. Anything is possible with the courage to try.
  • If you start a program of fitness, always check first with your healthcare provider. If you’re working with a personal trainer, let the trainer know of any health conditions you have.
  • One study in 2014, showed that exercise, even when there were small increases, which included walking at a faster pace or doing more leisure activities, improved heart functioning.
  • Exercise not only helps reduce the potential for depression and anxiety, it also can boost cognitive thinking and lower the risk of dementia.

How To Reward Yourself After A Tough Workout

How To Reward Yourself After A Tough Workout

You get rewarded for accomplishing tasks and sometimes those rewards may seem small, but they’re extremely motivating. If you play computer games, it’s achieving a higher level or score. Casinos use the reward motivation by providing jackpots and smaller wins. When you were in school, you were rewarded with a good grade when you worked hard. Getting that brass ring is something to work toward, but unfortunately, when you workout, you don’t get an immediate reward, since fitness takes time. That’s why you should reward yourself after a tough workout.

Be careful about what you use as a reward.

If you’re trying to live healthier or lose weight, definitely don’t use food as your reward, especially junk food or sugary treats. Instead, do something special for yourself. Buy some expensive shampoo that you’ve always wanted but didn’t want to splurge to buy. Use it to wash your hair only after you’ve worked out and given it your all. If you end your day with a workout, buy some clothing that’s super comfortable to wear after you’ve finished—but don’t wear them any other time!

Make the reward part of the workout.

If you want to visit a farmer’s market to buy healthy foods, but hate to take the time, make it your reward and go directly from the gym to the market. It doesn’t have to be a farmer’s market, it can be anything from taking the time to walk in the park or even going to the zoo. If you own a bike and it’s a day for aerobics, try riding your bike there. If you don’t own a bike and it’s close enough, make your workout a walk to your favorite place. I know people who don’t like to run unless they have a destination. Reaching that destination is their reward.

Get a workout partner and set your goals together.

Whether you use a friend, family member or spouse as your workout partner, you can both benefit from a reward system. Decide together what the reward will be and then go for it. It can be something as simple as catching a movie afterward or a first class dinner at a health food restaurant. (I know I just wrote don’t use food, but healthy food and a dinner out is a bit different.)

  • Give yourself points for every workout. If you worked extra hard, double the points. When you’ve reached a specific amount, get yourself something special for achieving that goal.
  • Pay yourself for working out hard. You set the price of an average workout and a tough one. When you complete your workout, put money in a jar. Have something special in mind to spend the money on and when you get enough, splurge! You’ll be amazed at how a dollar or two a workout will add up.
  • Give yourself a break. Set aside a certain amount of time just for you. You can bank the time, like you do money until you have an entire hour or two to pamper yourself with nothingness.
  • Use social media as a reward. Get out your paper and pencil and start logging your great workouts. When you’ve completed ten or twenty in a row, announce it on social media and wait for the praise.

Pros And Cons Of Supplements

Pros And Cons Of Supplements

There are people who take a daily vitamin to boost their nutrition, those who get all their nutrition from healthy eating and those who eat nothing but junk and think that a supplement is the answer. There are pros and cons of supplements. One of the real cons of supplements are people who eat junk all day and think the supplement will solve any nutritional needs. Nothing replaces healthy eating. They’re called supplements for a reason. They’re meant to supplement a healthy diet, not replace it.

Something as simple as vitamin C supplements can be beneficial or hazardous.

If you’re eating healthy, you should get enough vitamin C in your diet. However, if you’re under stress, smoke or exposed to contagious conditions, including the common cold, supplementing it can help. All those things can deplete your vitamin C, so supplementing can be helpful. However, there are situations where you can overdo. Taking too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea, vomiting, heartburn, nausea, headache, cramps and even insomnia. Fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A and D build up in your body and can cause serious problems, like liver damage, pressure on the brain and hypercalcemia–too much calcium in the blood.

Your age affects your nutritional requirements.

Lots of things affect your need for extra nutrition. Pregnancy, age and menstruation are three. The older you are, the less you absorb some nutrients. Older women tend to have magnesium deficiencies. Soaking your feet in Epsom salts can help that. Supplementing with B12 is important for women who might get pregnant. The older you are, the harder it is to absorb nutrients, so for seniors, supplementation may be extremely important. The same is true for pregnant women or those who have been ill. Blood tests can help decide.

Vitamin deficiencies can occur even if you have a healthy diet.

One of the most interesting results of the focus on the sun and cancer is the use of sunscreen and also the increase in vitamin D deficiency. The best place to get vitamin D isn’t from food, but to create it in the body from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Sunscreen changed that and so did the change to a more indoor lifestyle. Vitamin D shortage is prevalent and rather than taking a supplement, consider safe sunning. It’s where you go outside without sunscreen, but for a short time, increasing it as you develop a tan. Vitamin D necessary for building and mineralizing stronger teeth and bones, it keeps you mentally more alert and boosts your immune system. It helps reduce abdominal fat, provide stronger hair and improves heart health.

  • Don’t take “miracle pills” or illegal substances to help build muscles. Instead, make a veggie smoothie as a snack and throw in a small amount of protein powder to the mix if you need more protein in your diet. Make sure you use a reputable company that’s strictly natural protein.
  • Before you add supplements to your life, always check with your doctor. Some supplements can actually interfere with medication or exacerbate health issues.
  • Some supplements are actually beneficial. For instance, krill or fish oil as a supplement for Omega-3 fatty acids have proven to help.
  • While fat soluble vitamins can build up in your body, excess water soluble vitamins are flushed out in the urine. If you don’t need the supplementation, it won’t harm you, but could give you very expensive urine.

Exercises For Reduced Mobility

Exercises For Reduced Mobility

I met a woman in Oceanside, CA that was an inspiration. She had severe medical issues that kept her immobile for months. Unfortunately, she didn’t receive the best care in her rehabilitation facility that caused her to be bedridden even longer. When the family finally insisted something be done, they were told she would never walk again, since the damage was too severe and she was too old. She suffered muscle atrophy and foot drop from lack of therapy or foot braces. When she got home, she laid on the couch, next to an exercise bicycle. Every day she tried to get up on the bicycle and then when she did, tried to pedal. After months, she was able to do it and these exercises for reduced mobility actually worked. She lived ten years longer and walked on her own. It’s never too late until you give up hope.

You need to work on all types of fitness.

Even people who can’t get out of bed can do some exercises, either on their own or with help from others. It’s important to get all types of exercises, which include strength training, flexibility exercises, balance training and endurance. Arm exercises and something as simple as making circles with the feet can actually be quite a workout. Strength training with light weights or resistance bands are also a few exercises to do.

Do as much as you can, but don’t overdo.

Just like working out in the gym, you have to make sure you focus on safety, too. If you’re experiencing pain, quit. Nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat or clammy hands can be a signal you’re overdoing. Take it slow and if you have an area that’s injured, don’t work on that area until it’s healed. Make sure you warm up a bit with slower movement like swinging your arms or doing shoulder rolls. Always make sure you hydrate before and after you do the exercises.

Keep moving and do something fun.

Just moving more can help you recoup faster or develop more mobility. If you’re bedridden, try bed dancing. Turn on the music and focus on tightening and relaxing muscle groups. Wave your arms around to the music and move your hips. You can do those things whether you’re in bed, sitting in a chair or even able to stand for a few minutes.

  • Doing household chores can provide a workout. If you have a heavier sweeper that you can use as a support, vacuum the floor. Go as fast as possible, without over taxing yourself. If you have to rest, take a break when you’re tired.
  • Think of something you used to do every day, but can’t do now. Envision the movements your body makes. Start slowly by mimicking the easier movements while sitting or lying in bed. You can walk while lying down or sitting in a chair without putting any weight on your legs.
  • If you have an open area, secure an office chair with rollers on the bottom and arms to help keep you stable. Spend time trying to scoot around the room. You may only move an inch at first, but that’s still progress.
  • Swimming is a great exercise for anyone who is weaker. There’s no pull from gravity when you’re in the pool. Just moving your hands through the water can build arm strength, just as walking builds leg strength.

Unconventional Sports To Keep Active

Unconventional Sports To Keep Active

One problem faced by people who workout to stay healthy is that they don’t really enjoy working out. It becomes work for them. When clients tell me this, I always suggest they start trying out new active things to do and maybe some unconventional sports to add to their program of regular exercise. It won’t necessarily replace your time in the gym, where you are ensured that you’re working every body part and getting all forms of exercise, but it can be a great supplement to your fitness program.

Get together with friends or have fun with the kids while you hula hoop your way to fitness.

If you want a low cost do at home workout that’s actually a lot of fun, buy a hula hoop. There are weighted and unweighted ones, but both are good to boost your workout time and provide healthy exercise. You’ll build more core strength and get dynamite abs. Get a hula hoop for every member of the family and create competitions. It’s a way to create fun memories and get the kids off to a healthy start, too. There are hula hoop competitions and hula hoop dance competitions, too. Some people even hold neighborhood competitions for people of all ages.

Consider getting your pets involved.

Spending time with your pet and keeping them active is just as healthy for Rover or Kitty as it is for you. Taking the dog for a walk can become an adventure, especially if you’re in cold country. You can do cross country skiing with Rover and both of you will get a great workout. It’s fun and there are even competitions. Yoga with your pets is fun. Cats are less prone to taking instruction, but you can include them in bodyweight workouts. They can add extra resistance and weight to your workout and kitties love the extra attention.

One of my favorites is karaoke spinning.

If you love riding a bike and also love karaoke, this is the perfect sport for you. You know how hard it is to talk when you’re riding at top speed and your lungs feel like they’re going to burst, now imaging singing at the same time! The best part of this type of spinning session is that when you can sing easily, you know you need to pedal harder. It’s even fun if you’re riding your bike outside, but you may get a few strange looks when you belt out those show tunes.

  • One of the coolest sports that I’ve read about, but never experienced was Jukari Fit to Fly. This workout lets you fly in the sky using trapeze-like equipment for a complete body toning.
  • Speaking of flying, a real favorite of mine is hang gliding. I learned on the original gliders, the Regallo wing that weighed 60 pounds. We glided at a local sand dune, carrying the kite up the dune many times a day. Today, there are competitions and a wider variety of gliders, but it’s still a great sport.
  • Roller skating is still popular in some areas, even though it doesn’t have the fans it had in the fifties. You can skate outside or indoors and get amazing health benefits that range from a cardio workout to core stability.
  • Another fun exercise you can do at home that the whole family will love is to jump on a trampoline. You can even do your calisthenics while you’re jumping, doing lunges, squats and other exercises as you jump.