Tag Archives: personal training

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The core muscles are those that make up the abdomen, lower back and pelvis. If you think of the area that is covered by a corset, that is where those muscles lie. They are essential to having good balance and stability, which helps to prevent falls and lower back pain. They also help to pick up the grandchildren without injuring yourself.  Basically all functional movements (including standing still) are dependent on the core,the only time you aren't engaging those muscles is when you are lying down on your back!

I am going to describe two exercises which are fantastic for all the muscles in the core.

Bird Dog

  1. Get on your hands and knees (hands directly below your shoulders, knees directly below your hips).
  2. Engage your core and abdominal muscles. Imagine you are tightening a corset around your waist, keep breathing steadily and never hold your breath.
  3. Slowly lift up your right leg backwards (don't let your hips tilt to one side whilst moving your legs), and your left arm forwards (so they are parallel to the floor).
  4. Hold for 5 seconds and relax.
  5. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg.
  6. Repeat the whole process 5 times.
The Plank
The second exercise is slightly harder and is called The Plank. It has taken over from the crunch/sit up as the stomach exercise of choice, and with good reason. As the plank is an isometric exercise you should seek medical advice if you have a history of high blood pressure or heart disease.

  1. Lie facedown on the mat. Place forearms on mat, elbows under shoulders. Place legs together with forefeet on floor.
  2. Raise body upward by straightening body on elbows and toes. Keep breathing steadily and never hold your breath.Your back, neck and head should be in a straight line.
  3. Hold position for between 10-30 seconds.
If you find this too difficult to start with then balance on your knees and elbows making sure you still keep that straight line between back, neck and head.
So two exercises which can be done at home with no equipment.

As I was writing this article I pondered whether people would find it easier to do the exercise if I provided a video or photos of the exercise. If you think this would help please leave a comment.

If you do an exercise and display any of the following symptoms: headache, dizziness or nausea you should stop immediately and consult your doctor.

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.

For more information on Personal Training please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over-50s This will open a new browser window.

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Most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need by eating a healthy balanced diet and by getting some sun. However if you are over 65 the NHS recommend you take daily vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D deficiency is an established risk factor for osteoporosis, falls and fractures.

So what does Vitamin D do?

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium.  Without sufficient vitamin D bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Muscles need it to move,  nerves need it to carry messages between the brain and every body part, and the immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses.  Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis.

Why is it recommmended that the over 65s take a daily vitamin D supplement?

The older you get the more you are less likely to particpiate in outdoor activites and if you are outdoors you are more likely to cover up, therefore limiting sun exposure (sun exposure through a window does not count). Of course sun exposure needs to be approached with caution due to the risk of skin cancer.

If you don't like taking supplements the 5 best food sources of vitamin D are:

  • cod liver oil
  • oily fish
  • margarine
  • beef liver
  • egg yolk

How much vitamin D do I need?

The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for Vitamin D is 600 IU (15 mcg) for both male and female between the ages of 51-70.

There are medications which can interfere with the bodies utilisation of vitamin D therefore if you are on medication it may be worth talking to your GP before taking a supplement.

NHS Choices - Vitamin D

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.

For more information on Personal Training please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over-50s This will open a new browser window.

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The ability to stand up from a chair is a key skill to maintain independence and mobility. As you get older you lose strength in the hip and knee extensors which are the muscles that help straighten our legs. In this blog I am first going to discuss how to get out of a chair safely before going on to describe some exercises to strengthen the legs.
...continue reading

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Poor posture can lead to all sorts of problems and increase your risk of falling, however there are exercises that practiced regularly can help you improve your posture and feel more comfortable. 
The Standing Wall Angel has already been documented in Resistance exercises using body weight and is excellent for improving posture,  the second exercise is Brugger's Relief Exercise.

Standing Wall angel

  1. Stand flat up against a wall with your back to the wall and feet about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Press the small of your back into the wall and bend your arms to that the backs of your arms and hands are pressed against the wall at a 90-degree angle to your body. If you can’t get your arms against the wall do not arch your back just take elbows back until you feel a stretch.
  3. Move your arms up the wall, keeping your wrists and elbows pressed against the wall (if you can). You are aiming to get the hands together above the head, but again don’t worry if this isn’t possible yet just do the range of movement you are capable of.
  4. Lower hands to the starting position.

Repeat 10 times.

Brugger's  Relief

      1. Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands by your sides.
      2. Lift your chest, arch your lower back slightly and point the crown of your head directly up at the ceiling -- think tall.
      3. From this position, turn your palms outward and relax your shoulders down. This will pull your shoulders back and open up your chest.
      4. Look straight forward then try to retract your chin toward the back of your head without tilting your head backward
      5. Hold this position for 10 seconds whilst breathing normally and then relax for 10 seconds.

Repeat five times. Try and do this exercise several times a day, especially if you spend a lot of time at a desk or watching TV.

Good posture while sitting, standing and lifting can help you avoid pain, make your life more comfortable and avoid injury.

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.

For more information on Personal Training please go to Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over-50s This will open a new browser window.

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Osteoporosis is a loss of bone mineral density that causes bones to become brittle and highly susceptible to fracture – particularly in the hip, spine and wrists. No matter what your age, bone needs physical activity, just like muscle, to retain strength and post-menopausal women can expect to lose around 1% of their bone mineral density each year. Currently 1 in 2 adults over 50 are inactive, that is they participate in fewer than 30 minutes of exercise per week[1].
Other modifiable lifestyle factors that can affect bone density are:

  • smoking
  • excessive alcohol intake
  • poor nutrition
  • low calcium intake

There are no warning signs of osteoporosis. The disease is silent and painless until a fracture has occurred.

Exercise works for osteoporosis prevention because it places stress on bones, which results in increased bone mass. For post-menopausal woman the most effective exercise to strengthen bones is high impact exercise[2]. A well balanced exercise programme including weight-bearing, impact exercises and strength training should be designed for an individual hoping to prevent or minimise the deterioration of osteoporosis.

Weight bearing high impact exercises could include:

  • dancing
  • hiking
  • jogging
  • stair climbing
  • tennis

If you are not able to do high impact exercises then you could consider:

  • elliptical training machines
  • low impact aerobics
  • stair-step machines
  • walking (treadmill/outside)

Strength training should have a whole body approach as adaptations in bone mineral density are site specific. Strength training exercises include activities such as:

  • Functional movements, such as standing and rising up on your toes
  • Lifting weights
  • Using elastic exercise bands/dynabands
  • Using weight machines
  • Lifting your own body weight, such as push-ups.

 If you would like to reduce your risk of osteoporosis, increase your bone density and slow or reverse the normal bone loss associated with ageing, a good place to start would be my blog on  Resistance exercises using body weight.

If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment.

For more information on Personal Training please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over-50s This will open a new browser window.

[1] Department of Health. (2004). At least 5 a week: evidence on the impact of physical activity and its relationship to health.

[2] Wallace BA and Cumming RG., (2000) Systematic review of randomized trials of the effect of exercise on bone mass in pre- and postmenopausal women. Calcif Tissue Int 67: 10-18.

I've had a request for some ideas for a tennis warm up and cool down.

Tennis is excellent all round exercise, and you can play tennis as long as you’re able to walk and move your arm. However as you get older, the warm up becomes even more important to help prevent injury and keep you playing your best. ...continue reading

Falls are a major health problem among older adults. Every year over 400,000 older people in England attend A&E departments following a fall. 30% of over 65yrs will fall each year, rising to 50% of 85yr olds[i]. ...continue reading

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Following on from last weeks blog about the benefits of resistance exercise I thought I would talk about 4 exercises you could do at home 2 lower body and 2 upper body.  All are using your own body weight so no equipment needed - just 15 minutes of your time. ...continue reading