Tag Archives: seniors

I was asked the following question after my (slightly ranty) post about celebrity trainers and weight training.

"I’ve never thought about lifting weights. How does one get started, and how do you work into a cardiovascular work out?"
...continue reading

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The following is an excerpt from the article Japan promotes seniors' healthy living with incentives to exercise, interact socially
 

"In Tokyo's Suginami ward, where Doi lives, authorities award points in the form of stickers to seniors who participate in government-approved activities ranging from picking up litter, to attending health and sporting events, to cultural activities. Each point has a value of 50 yen (64 cents) and can be exchanged for grocery coupons. The Suginami local government has allocated 80 million yen for the project this year, according to its website."

Financial incentiveIn the current economic climate I can't see our government offering financial incentives to exercise but I was wondering if you thought this was a good idea or not? Is a financial incentive something that would encourage you to do some/more exercise?
If the government provided a half hour of stretching and breathing exercises broadcast nationally on the radio daily (as Japan does) would this be something you would participate in?

Love to know your thoughts.

Image courtesy of -Marcus- / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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You may have noticed I haven't posted recently. I have two young children and it has been their summer holidays but all good things come to an end and they have started school and I am itching to get back to work.

However whilst I have been quiet on the blog post front my brain has been churning with new ideas that I want to try out and articles I want to write. The most prominent being a course I want to run. The course would be an hour a week and consist of an exercise class mixed with theory about exercise/healthy eating etc. It would be a 10 week course aimed at beginnners who want to start exercising and healthy eating but aren't sure where to start! If this would interest you let me know, plus any questions you would like answered on the course.  There will be a discount for the first course.

Until I am able to put fingers to keyboard for a blog post here is some research in the news recently which I thought might be of interest.

Article in the Lancet about physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death in the world.  

Age UK Exercise Survey by ICM Research shows 56% of older people say they are doing less than the Government guidelines of the recommended weekly amount of physical exercise and 13% say they are doing none at all. 

Yoga can help stroke patients recover balance

Over 50s open up about size, diet and exercise

Women who exercise moderately may be less likely than their inactive peers to develop breast cancer after menopause

Very elderly and frail can see benefits from exercise after just 3 months

Exercising in midlife protects heart, says research

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.

Helen Rothwell runs Whole Life Fitness which is a personal training company which specialises in the over 60s. For more information please visit www.wholelifefitness.co.uk or call 01252313578.

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A question has just been asked of me on Twitter:

"How can I get my parents to ignore Homes Under The Hammer on tv screens at gym & focus on working out?"

I tend to view exercise similarly to giving up smoking, it doesn't matter what everyone else wants you to do it's only going to happen if you want to do it.

However the older you get the more the saying "use it or lose it" becomes applicable.  There is  word for it - sarcopenia and it means loss of muscle mass. It starts in our 30s  and as we become older it can make performing the most basic tasks of daily living difficult, and greatly increases the risk of suffering falls and other serious accidents. Whilst there are multiple reasons for sarcopenia lack of exercise is a contributing factor.

Regular exercise, with emphasis on strength training, is essential for preserving and increasing muscle mass. In addition strength training has been found to improve bone density, particularly important for women post-menopause, and lessen the decline of your metabolic rate.

If you are a member of a gym ask an instructor to devise you a programme that includes strength training. The instructors in a gym are there to help you, and if you ask them a question I am sure they would be happy to share their knowledge, but in many gyms you have to ask them first.

For those of you without the benefit of gym membership some simple bodyweight exercises can be done at home. Check out my article Resistence exercises using bodyweight.

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

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This week has been National Diabetes Week. There are two forms of diabetes, type I is when the body is not able to produce insulin. Type II is where the body does not produce enough insulin to maintain a normal blood glucose level, or when the body is unable to effectively use the insulin that is being produced. The body needs insulin to move the glucose (a form of sugar) into the cells of your body to be used as energy. If there is no/not enough insulin available then the glucose builds up in your blood which is dangerous. ...continue reading

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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".

Sorry I haven't posted properly for 2 weeks.  I have had an email asking the following:

"What actually consitutes exercise as far as you are concerned? I feel the amount of movement I do must be sufficient, only thing I do not really do is stretch. I think a lot of my age group need to know does hoovering, weeding, ironing constitute exercise"

Therefore the topic of my next blog will be what counts as "moderate intensity exercise" that the NHS is recommending we do for 150 minutes a week.

I hope to post that by Monday, in the meantime have a lovely weekend and if you are free tomorrow (Friday) why don't you come and join us for a new fitness class in Farnham Park. The weather is suppose to be sunny so great chance to get some fresh air and do some "moderate intensity exercise".

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 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.