Tag Archives: Fitness

2 Comments

Very important muscles to exercise as we age are the upper back muscles to prevent that hunched over look where the chest muscles are too tight and the upper back muscles are weak.  Exercises that don't use any equipment to work the upper back aren't thick on the ground, however there are a couple.  If you can't safely get up and down from the floor (which this exercise requires) then please comment and I will post another exercise that you can do.

The (snazzily named) Y-T-I raises target the muscles of your upper back that stabilize your shoulder blades  and strengthen your shoulder muscles.

Y Raise

  1. Lie facedown on the floor with your arms resting on the floor above your head, completely straight and at a 30-degree angle to your body, so your body forms a Y shape.
  2. Your palms should be facing each other so that the thumbs point up (as if you were doing an ok sign!)
  3. Raise your arms as high as you comfortably can, concentrate on your upper back doing this work and not your arms.

 T Raise

  1. Still lying facedown move your arms so that they're out to your sides—perpendicular to your body.
  2. Your thumbs should be still pointing upwards with palms now facing forwards.
  3. Raise your arms as high as you comfortably can, concentrate on your upper back doing this work and not your arms.

I Raise

  1. Still lying facedown move your arms so that your body forms a straight line from your feet to your fingertips.
  2. Like with the Y your palms should be facing each other  with your thumbs pointing up.
  3. Raise your arms as high as you comfortably can,  concentrate on your upper back doing this work and not your arms.

Do 10 reps of each Y, T and I  (immediately after one another) and then rest for 1 minute before doing another 10 reps of each exercise.

For a no equipment required lower back and core exercise please see the following article I wrote which details both Bird Dog (great name!) and the plank.

Before starting any new exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise changes with them

If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

 

5 Comments

Last week I bought a magazine called Glamour. Now I gave up buying women magazines about a year ago and both my bank balance and my attitude towards my body has thanked me. However this issue had a free nail polish and I do love nail polish. Whilst flicking through the magazine I came across this bit of advice:

"I prefer to keep the weights low" (the "celebrity" personal trainer advocates 3lbs) which apparently will "create more of a woman's body - sensual and sexy, but strong" ...continue reading

1 Comment

Did you know current research  by researchers at the U.S. National Cancer Institute has shown that participation in  regular exercise  after 40 may raise life expectancy by up to 7 years?

That regular exercise could be as something as simple as a brisk walk.

In addition to living longer regular exercise may also lower risk for memory problems.

I run a small group exercise class in Farnham Park every Friday morning for the over 50s. We combine a brisk walk with resistance exercises using dynabands or body weight.  This is a class for all levels of fitness – each exercise will have an adaptation for you.

So if you fancy living longer and being physically and mentally fit to enjoy those extra years why don't you come along and join us. If you have any questions then please call Helen on 07785747669.

Before starting any new exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise changes with them.

"Age UK in conjunction with Bannatynes, David Lloyd Leisure Ltd, LA fitness and Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing Centre’s (including Greens Health and Fitness) present Age UK’s Gym Open Day on 10 July 2012.

Go along to your local participating gym to gain free access for the day. Attend a class, take a dip in the pool or take a tour and learn more about the benefits of physical activity." ...continue reading

6 Comments

If you have arthritis in the knee you have probably been told you can't do squats & lunges, which are traditional exercises to strengthen the quadriceps (muscles on front of thigh). Yet having strong quadricep muscles can help with the arthritis as  stronger muscles provide better support to the joint. So what can you do? ...continue reading

3 Comments

Someone has tweeted me and asked how they can get back into their exercise routine after being on holiday. This is something I am asked a lot, people use a holiday as a motivational tool to do exercise, therefore when the holiday is over why bother continuing?

I feel people should use whatever method works for them to get themselves moving but as well as short term (1 month) and medium term (1-6 months) goals (such as looking good on holiday) it's wise to plan long-term ones as well. You can use the fulfilment of short term goals to contribute to the achievement of long term goals and therefore continue to exercise and eat healthily all year long.

A long-term goal is generally set over a course of a year, so this is where the big numbers start to come into play. In my SMART blog post I stated it wasn't a good idea just to say "I want to lose weight" it needs to be measurable so I suggested

“I want to lose 6 pounds in the next 6 weeks, I will do this by cutting down on portion size and exercising 3 times a week”

This would be your short-term goal. Your long term goal might be to lose 2 stone and as a long-term goal that would be fine. If you just wrote I want to lose 2 stone then it might seem daunting from the outset.

From a fitness point of view I know someone who currently has a long-term goal of the Great South Run which is 10 miles, however her short and medium term goals include finishing the couch potato to 5K training programme and then participating in several 5K and then 10K runs. The short/medium term goals help make the long-term goal achievable.

Ok so that's the science bit, and most of the time it works. But what about the times you just can't be bothered whatever the long term goal maybe?

Well here are some ideas that might help those 'whatever' days:

  • Put on work-out clothes when you get up
  • Schedule it in diary
  • Ring a friend and get them to join you for a walk/run/swim. You may not exercise as intensely due to chatting but at least you are moving.
  • Write down how it feels AFTER you have exercised and stick it somewhere you can see it
  • Allow yourself a treat after you have exercised. This doesn't have to be food related!

Thinking positively helps, instead of thinking oh that exercise session is going to make me feel hot, sweaty and may hurt (in a good way!) think about the benefits you will be getting.  When you exercise endorphins are released which are the body’s natural feel good chemicals and therefore boost your mood naturally. So next time you are in a bad mood and can't be bothered to exercise think about the fact exercise might be the cure!

I would love to hear any motivational tips or tricks that you use.

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

The Department of Health described self-care in 2005 as “the actions people take for themselves, their children and their families to stay fit and maintain good physical and mental health; meet social and psychological needs; prevent illness or accidents; care for minor ailments and long-term conditions; and maintain health and wellbeing after an acute illness or discharge from hospital.” ...continue reading

9 Comments

Walking is an ideal activity, it's free and requires no special equipment. According to the Physical Activity in Later Life survey done in 1999 half of all older adults walk at least a mile at least once a week. However the survey also reported that only 13% of men and 10% of women aged 50+ walk at an intensity suitable to benefit their health at least once a week. ...continue reading

7 Comments

Time to discuss stretching, which is often overlooked in exercise sessions. Yet it's a very important aspect of fitness, as a good range of movement is needed for many everyday tasks such as tying shoelaces, gardening or reaching for something on a shelf.
Stretching can have the following benefits:

  • increased range of movement at joints
  • reduced stiffness
  • improved posture and balance

StretchingI may have bent the truth a little in the title. The stretching itself should not take more than 5 minutes, however to stretch your muscles they need to be warm and therefore take 5 minutes just to warm up the body. This could be a walk around the garden or a couple of times up and down the stairs.

Stretching shouldn’t hurt – stop at the point of tension and avoid bouncing or jarring movements. Inhale deeply as you begin a stretch, and exhale fully as you move deeper into the stretch. Hold each stretch for 15 seconds.

Quadricep stretch

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent
  2. Bend knee, grab the front of the ankle and pull the foot towards the bottom until a stretch is felt in the front of the thigh.
  3. Hold for 15 seconds, release and change legs.

Hamstring stretch

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent
  2. Place hands on hips and take a small step forward keeping the front leg straight and slightly bending the rear knee.
  3. Lean forwards from the waist, keeping the back straight.
  4. Hold for 15 seconds, release and change legs.

Calf stretch

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart and knees bent slightly
  2. Take a step backwards – the front knee should be directly in line with the ankle.
  3. With hands on your hips lean your body forward slightly, keeping back foot on floor.
  4. Hold for 15 seconds, release and change legs.

Hip Flexor Stretch

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart and knees bent slightly
  2. Take a long step forward.
  3. Bend your front knee and ensure your back leg is slightly bent.
  4. Keep your front foot on the floor and your back heel off, make sure your feet are facing forward and slightly apart.
  5. Hold for 15 seconds, release and change legs.

Chest stretch

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent
  2. Place your hands on your hips just above the bottom with palms facing the body and move the elbows backwards until a mild stretch is felt.
  3. Hold for 15 seconds and then release.

Upper back stretch

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent
  2. Clasp your hands together in front of you with palms facing the body
  3. Straighten the arms and gently raise to shoulder height
  4. Make a round back and push your hands away from you, lowering the chin slightly.
  5. Hold for 15 seconds and then release.

Lat Stretch (or back stretch part 2!)

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent
  2. Clasp your hands together in front of you with palms facing the body, do not interlock the fingers.
  3. Reach upwards and, bringing your arms together slowly straighten your arms directly above the head without locking them out.
  4. Hold for 15 seconds and then release.

Shoulder Stretch

  1. Hold your left arm across your body and grab the back of your left elbow with your right hand
  2. Pull the left elbow in as far as you can so that your left fingertips can reach around your right shoulder.
  3. Hold for 15 seconds, release and change arms.
All done!
Flexibility is a “use it or lose it” skill and you can always improve your range of motion and increase your flexibility . It is recommended that you stretch at minimum twice a week but an active individual could include some stretching everyday.

If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".