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Fifty-six year old Baby Boomer living in Virginia Beach, Va.

Loss of Mental Sharpness Begins Sooner Than We Thought BUT It CAN Be Prevented

According to this NBC news report the loss of mental facilities that we all fear might happen in our 60’s and 70’s may actually start in our 40’s. The good news is that although it’s irreversible it can be prevented with exercise.

It’s believed that the benefits associated with increased oxygen and blood flow to the muscles and heart that we get by exercising may also help the brain stay young.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

Exercise Balls – Great For Beginners

Exercise balls

I don’t think there is a gym anywhere in America that you enter where you won’t find at least one exercise ball. I’ve been in gyms that didn’t have a jump rope or maybe was missing the resistance bands but NEVER have a seen one without the exercise ball and there’s a few good reasons why.

  1. They’re Fun!That’s right, I don’t think that there is a more child-like piece of equipment in the gym. There are literally hundreds of different exercises that you can do with them and you ‘re bound to find one of them that’s easily within your range of difficulty if you search or just ask one of the gym staff if you’re at the gym.
  2. They help maintain good form and improve posture. I can’t stress this enough to newbies. Form and posture is MUCH more important than amount of weight or number of reps when you’re just starting out. Why? Well for one thing it sets the foundation for more advanced exercises and moves. If you learn the correct way in the beginning you’re more likely to continue to use correct form when the routines and workouts become more physical and demanding. Secondly proper form ensures that you are working the targeted muscle groups. When you cheat a little by changing your posture or form even just slightly you may be bringing different muscles into play that the exercise was not designed to engage. Lastly and most importantly, SAFETY! Using an exercise ball stabilizes your core, helps maintain the natural curvature in your back when doing floor exercises and actually forces you to constantly adjust you posture just to stay balanced.
  3. Versatility. As I mentioned there are hundreds of different exercises created for the ball. A great place to start is with this Complete Guide to Ball Exercises. There you will find workouts of varying degrees of difficulty for just about everyone.

Flabby Arms? Triangle Pushups Best Solution!

Flabby arms

A lot of women over 50 (and yes some men too) develop the cursed “flabby arm” syndrome. Why? It could be one of or a combination of two things.  Loss of muscle mass and/or increase of fatty mass.

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles the aging process naturally involves loss of muscle mass beginning around the age of 40 and increases as we get older. This is called sarcopenia. Because of this it is very important for older people to include resistance or weight-bearing exercise to their fitness routines as well as cardio for the heart and lungs.

One of the areas of the body that seems to lose muscle mass the quickest in a lot of women (and paradoxically add fat at the same time) is the arms, more specifically the triceps muscle area.

One really effective exercise to fight the loss of muscle and tone up this underside of the upper arm is the “triangle push up”. The American Council on Exercise, one of the leading certification agencies for Professional Fitness Trainers, rate the triangle push up as the number one exercise to combat flabby arms!

Triangle push ups are performed just like regular push ups except instead of placing your hands beneath the shoulders you form a triangle with your pointing fingers and thumbs in front of your chest .  Be sure to keep your back and torso rigid and your head aligned with your spine while lowering and raising your body in a normal push up motion. This exercise has a medium to high level of difficulty so it can be done from your knees or even from the wall push up position.

Follow this link to read the ACE study on the Three Best Triceps Exercises. This is a PDF file so if you’d prefer to download it and read later you can simply right-click on the link and chose to save it to your computer.

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Exercise to Keep those Joints Healthy

Sore and aching joints can be the bane of good intentions. This time of year the gyms and fitness centers are all packed with men and women over 50 that have made one of their New Year’s resolutions to be fitter and more active in the coming months. As a long time member of various gyms I’ve seen it all before, fast start out the gate and then the crowds seem to start to dwindle beginning in March and I’d say more than half of those that started will not be around regularly by the beginning of summer. Is the culprit lack of motivation or laziness? Well sometimes but often not.

Beware Sports Injury

Often by the end of January the talk amongst a lot of us “baby boomers” in the gym is how much this or that hurts or is starting to bother us. Sometimes it starts with a little nagging injury that before you know it ends up knocking us out of the game completely and not only setting us back a few weeks but for many putting an end to our intentions to become more active all together. 

Some of the biggest complaints I’ve heard over the years is sore or aching joints.

Avoid Over Exercising

If you’ve been fairly inactive for months don’t attempt to make up for it all in one month. Too much exercise CAN cause major damage to the body of a person over 50 and especially to women over 50 who are more at risk for osteoporosis if they over exerecise and cut back on their calorie consumption. Osteoporosis affects over 20,000,000 people and usually starts after age 50 in women and age 45 in men.

Fit Muscles help Aching Joints

Joint pain is often caused by the lessening or lack of cartilage between the bones. Cartilage serves as a kind of shock absorber inthe body preventing the bones from bumping and grinding against each other. As the body ages and starts to lose some of this cartilage more of the weight bearing chores and activities you perform during the day are placed on the bones. To compensate for the decrease in cartilage it’s recommended that you maintain as much strong, healthy muscle as possible to do the lifting and moving, thus relieving some of the pressure from your joints and bones.

Multiple and Individual Joint Exercises

The excellent website Womenfitness.net has a list of the best 10 exercises for healthy joints. This list includes exercises for multiple and single joints and aims to make the muscles surrounding these joints stronger and longer enduring while also placing less stress on the joints while performing the activity. Double bonus!

 

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Over 50 Nutrition: Super Foods

super foods

What is a Super Food?

“Super Foods” by my definition are foods that can and do provide some of the same health benefits and life enhancing attributes as some of the drugs that are on the market with none of the possible side effects or costs.

I don’t like taking meds. Don’t misunderstand me, I will take drugs if I have to but my feeling is that a lot of the time taking medication is like crisis management. I think that the right nutrition combined with staying active and getting a balance of cardio and resistance exercise can keep this over 50 body of mine in fine form for many years to come.

It seems that famed nutritionist Elizabeth Somer, editor in chief of Nutrition Alert and frequent guest on NBC’s Today show agrees. Ms Somer the author of such books as Age-Proof Your Body: Your Complete Guide to Looking and Feeling Youngerand Eat Your Way to Happiness: 10 Diet Secrets to Improve Your Mood, Curb Your Cravings, Keep the Pounds Off , claims that fifty – seventy percent of our suffering can be eliminated if we become more aware of what we eat and how we move.

In the WebMD article Superfoods Everyone Needs Ms. Somer offers a list of 14 foods that should be on everyone’s shopping list but especially on the list of those of us over 50 because the foods are proven to fight heart disease, cancer, and high cholesterol. These foods are packed with antioxidants, omega 3’s,  phytoflavinoids, potassium, sterols and fiber. All nutrients that ward off the ravages of aging.

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New Years Fitness Tips From the Pros

Fitness experts in Chicago say they see an average of 100 extra visits to their fitness centers and gyms in the month of January and while these numbers start to diminish by March there are a few ways to keep motivated throughout the whole year.

Their top 2 tips?

1. Work out in the morning. Less likely to become distracted or side tracked by the unforeseen events of the day.

2. Join a class. A group of fellow “sweaters” can do much to keep each other motivated and even add a social perspective to getting fit.

Be sure to read the article to find out more.
http://westchicago.m.mysuburbanlife.com/mslWestChicago/pm_32818/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=FoK3djiE

Yoga maybe more beneficial for those over 50 than you know

In an article titled The Simple Move That Changes Everything  Dr. Oz of television fame and Dr. Michael Roizen, one of the founders of the website RealAge discuss some of the benefits of including yoga in your fitness routine if you are over 50.

According to the good doctors yoga

  • improves flexibility which in turn eases the amount of added stress on the joints
  • uses your own body weight as resistance training, helping to maintain body muscle mass
  • increases chemicals in the body that gives you a natural “high” or state of well being.
  • Yoga practitioners between 45 and 55 gained almost 20 lbs less than people the same age who did no yoga over a four year period

 

Women Over 50 Health Prevention Quiz | The Dr. Oz Show

Did you know that you should have sex twice a week to help prevent a cold?

And just how many women  are finding their sex life more enjoyable now that they’re over 50 anyway?

These and over 20 other questions are asked in Dr. Oz’s Women Over 50 Prevention Quiz.

The good doctor’s quizzes his readers on things like the best supplement to boost your energy level, a good natural treatment for hot flashes, and what ingredient you must have in your lotion to keep your skin from drying out as you age.

I’m not giving away any of the answers here (okay twice a week), but for the rest of them you have to click on the link above to visit the Dr. Oz website.

5 Good Reasons Why You May Want to Get a Personal Fitness Trainer

According to Craig Kastning a personal fitness trainer based in Chicago IL, there are a few really good reasons someone may want to consider adding a bit of personal training to their fitness routine.

Craig thinks that especially for people who have ignored their fitness goals for a lengthy period working with a trainer can be the fastest and easiest method to make the drastic lifestyle change required to lose weight, change your diet and fit fitness into your daily routine.

What are some of Craigs reasons for suggesting a fitness trainer?

1.  Maybe you’ve been working out for a while now but lately your results have been small or even no results at all. This is common, sometimes when we do the same exercises day after day we reach a plateau that is hard to break through. A trainer can take a look a what we’ve been doing and make some changes and maybe even look at how changing our diet may make a difference.

2.   Accountability – It’s easy to skip a day or two of working out and before you know it a day or two has turned into a week or two and then a month or two. Take it from me, it can happen to anybody. If you schedule a fitness trainer on a pay per session deal then you’re much more likely to show up at the gym at least on the days that you’re paying for. Sometimes that’s all the incentive you may need to get back on a regular daily schedule.

3. Step up your game. Is your workout still challenging? Does it still have intensity? If not then it could be time to step it up a little. A trainer can help you take it to the next level.

4. Physical limitations or current health conditions. Some people may have physical limitations that might restrict their movement or limit their accessibility to some of the equipment found in the gym. Trainers are taught how to assist people who have limited mobility, health issues or are recovering from an injury.

5.  Nutrition planning. Fitness trainers do more than assist you with your workouts, most are well-trained in nutrition and can offer tips for making healthy food choices and give you pointers on calories, supplements and portions.

These are just 5 of the reasons that Craig lists, you can read the entire list here.

If you’d like to read about my experience with a personal trainer you can read my post Should I Get a Personal Trainer.

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