It has been proven that individuals who participate in a resistance training program have a higher bone mineral density than those who do not. For the elderly, it is recommended that fitness training focus on prevention of falling. A combination of strength training, flexibility, core and balance training best facilitate the needs of this population. Progression of exercise should be slow, well monitored and based upon postural control. Also focusing on proper breathing is very important.
You should aim for 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise 4 to 5 days per week. Increasing leg strength may prevent falls and the hip fractures that accompany them. Resistance training should be done at least 2 to 3 days per week. Try to condition each major muscle group with at least one exercise. Balance exercises are also great and gentle on your bones and muscles, and can be done everyday. Specific attention to dietary calcium intake may also be warranted which may come in the form of increased food calcium or from specific calcium and vitamin D supplements.
Here are some basic core exercises you can do at home: Floor Crunches, Reverse Floor Crunches, Planks, Push ups and balancing on one leg for 30 seconds then the other. To make sure you are doing your core and balance exercises correctly, safely and effectively, consult a certified fitness trainer to give you proper instruction.
By incorporating core and balance exercises in your weekly fitness routine and making them a part of your lifestyle you will likely save yourself from needing the aid of a cane, walker or a motorized cart to move you once you reach your senior years. The old saying “if you don't use it, you will lose it” is not just an old saying.
OK, we know that unhealthy fats increase cholesterol levels, which is a known risk factor for heart disease. But we also know that not all fats are created equal. We do need certain types of fats to keep healthy, increase energy and maintain healthy skin and hair. Fat is important in a well balanced diet and should remain a part of your nutritional plan.
When you go to your doctor to have your cholesterol levels checked, and I do recommend that everyone do this before starting a new fitness and nutritional regimen, there are three important levels that should be checked in your blood workup. They are your Triglycerides, LDL and HDL levels. Triglycerides are the major form of fat. A triglyceride consists of three molecules of fatty acid combined with a molecule of the alcohol glycerol. Triglycerides serve as the backbone of many types of lipids (fats). Triglycerides come from the food we eat as well as from being produced by the body. LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein, this is the unhealthy cholesterol. HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein, this is the healthy cholesterol.
Now that you have some understanding of good and bad fat, lets discuss where the sources of these fats come from so we know which foods to eat and which foods to avoid. Unsaturated Fats are considered healthy fats because they contain Essential Fatty Acids that the body cannot produce on it's own. Those EFAs also lower LDL cholesterol levels and are rich in antioxidents which protect against cancer and heart disease. They can be found mainly in plant and some seafood sources. They are liquid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats are broken down into two categories, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, these types of fats are essential. In order to get these healthy fats we need to consume them in the food we eat. This type of fat helps to keep our arteries flexible and can prevent sticky plaque from forming in the arteries which leads to Atherosclerosis and heart attacks. Healthy unsaturated fats can also be found in olive oil, flaxseed oil, some soy products, olives, nuts (like raw walnuts and almonds), seeds, natural nut butters, avocados, salmon, tuna, sardines and other coldwater fish. The ever important Omega-3 and Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats are also found in many of these same sources. The Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids help reduce appetite, elevate mood, decrease inflammation, increase energy and mental clarity. I recommend 30 to 50 grams of healthy fat per day.
On to the bad fats. They have names like Saturated fat and Trans fat or Trans Fatty Acids and are used as a preservative in a process called hydrogenation where soybean or vegetable oils are heated and hydrogen is added along with a metal catalyst like cobalt or nickel which alters the chemical composition in order to make it a solid and renders it useless and toxic to the human body. Sounds lovely doesn't it? Anyway, Trans fats have 15 times more risk for causing heart disease than even Saturated fats do. Some of the sources for Saturated fats are pork, beef, dairy products like cheese, palm kernel and coconut oils. If you can't imagine never eating animal products again, then choose low fat dairy products and extra lean cuts of beef, turkey and poultry. Food for thought: One 12 oz steak comes with a whopping 75 grams of Saturated fat, while one portion of skinless chicken breasts has only 2 grams of Saturated fat. One gram of fat is equal to 9 calories.
This is where learning to read the “Nutrition Facts” labels on the food you buy is going to come in handy for controlling the amount and type of fat you are putting into your body.
Remember if you do not want to spend your life trying to find ways to burn off that excess fat, then do not eat it in the first place. But if it is already too late for that then it is time to call me.
It is common for expectant women to experience fatigue and nausea during the first trimester, therefore alterations in the program have to be made periodically. Some of the other discomforts that also may occur are back pain and/or sciatica (pain radiating down the leg stemming from the sciatic nerve). These types of symptoms are felt usually in the second and third trimester.
Physiological changes in pregnancy affect nearly every system of the body: musculoskeletal, endocrine, cardiorespiratory and metabolic systems.
It is accepted that exercise is beneficial for the healthy pregnant woman. There has been substantial research on the effects of exercise during pregnancy. This research has shown that women who actively engage in exercise have a more comfortable pregnancy and a shorter labor. Women who exercise regularly, prior to and during the first and second trimester, feel better in the third trimester and have less exertion during labor.
Another very important issue for the pregnant woman to remember is weight gain during her approximate 40 week gestational period. You often hear pregnant women say things like “I am eating for two now”. She need only add 10% more calories than normal or eat for 1.1 instead of eating for 2. Eating for two is usually why post pregnancy baby weight is so difficult to lose.
Exercise can still be a fun part of your everyday life. There are simple ways to get 30 minutes a day of activity. It does not have to be a solid 30 minutes of activity, you can break it down to three 10 minute sessions. Daily walks are a good start if you decide to start an exercise program after becoming pregnant. Always check with your obstetrician before starting any exercise program. If your doctor feels you are a good candidate for exercise during your pregnancy, then contact a fitness trainer that works with pre/post natal fitness so that a safe and effective exercise program can be designed for you. When done correctly, exercise is a wonderful benefit for both mother and baby.
Performing cardiovascular exercise as a part of your weekly exercise routine has such benefits as decreased daily fatigue, anxiety, depression, coronary artery disease, cholesterol levels, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, osteoporosis and obesity. Cardiovascular exercise increases work, recreational and sports performance, sense of well being, glucose tolerance and immunity. With regular exercise, the body increases its output of blood and blood volume increases, which allows more blood to get to the cells. The result is a greater flow of oxygen to a greater number of cells throughout the body, which helps the muscle cells and the cardiovascular system work more efficiently.
When the goal is body fat reduction, the key is to focus on burning calories, not burning fat. There is still a popular trend of thinking that there is a magical “fat burning zone” for cardio exercise, however body fat reduction can only take place when there is more energy burned than consumed. This also is known as the “Law of Thermodynamics”. Oxygen allows fat and glucose to be burned as fuel. This produces waste products of carbon dioxide and water. You can think of it like a car burning gasoline, with the body's exhaust being carbon dioxide and water.
An important tip to remember is when starting a cardiovascular training program for the first time it is wise to obtain a certified fitness trainer who can design the proper program for your specific fitness level. A program designed by a qualified trainer can save you from injury and over training and monitor the proper heart rate training zones for your particular level of cardiovascular fitness.
- Examples of Fast carbs are foods like potatoes, rice, breads, pasta, sweets, and foods high in sugar and processed white flour.
- Examples of Slow carbs are foods high in fiber like greens, beans, berries and other fibrous veggies.
What is the definition of a Carbohydrate?
Carbohydrates are compounds containing carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
Carbs are a chief source of energy for all body functions and muscular exertion. The body needs carbs because they are the perfect and preferred form of energy. Parts of the central nervous system rely exclusively on carbs and they efficiently burn and utilize fat and protein. Always have some carbs in your morning breakfast to get your brain functioning. That is one very important reason for kids to have a good breakfast with some carbs and protien before school. Kids who eat breakfast always do better in school. Always have a combination of carbs and protein with each meal and snacks. Carbohydrates should typically be between 50 and 70 percent of total caloric intake. Make sure you are getting enough and lots of the right kinds and remember good sources of carbs also provide dietary fiber. Higher intakes of dietary fiber are associated with lower incidence of heart disease and certain types of cancer. In addition, fiber provides many other benefits like satiety, intestinal health and regulation of the body's absorption of glucose.
What Is Flexibility?
Flexibility is the ability to move joints and muscles through their full range of motion. As you become more flexible, you will find it easier to reach things on high shelves, to stoop or squat down, or perhaps to tie your shoes. You will also have a better sense of balance and coordination. To stay flexible, you need to stretch all of your major muscles. These include the muscles of your arms, back, hips, front and back of your thighs, and calves. Try to stretch for 10 to 12 minutes a day, after a brief warm-up. Do some stretches first thing in the morning, take a stretch break instead of a coffee break, or stretch in the office for a few minutes. Stand up from your desk and stretch your legs, chest and arms for five to ten minutes for every hour of sitting. Or participate in activities that include stretching, such as dance, martial arts, tai chi, or yoga. Yoga is my personal favorite. Yoga increases flexibility, lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons. Other wonderful benefits of yoga are complete flushing out of toxins and excellent muscle toning. In fact yoga equals meditation because both work together in achieving unity of the mind, body and spirit- a state of eternal bliss.
- Have a plan: When you get to the party, start with a glass of water or a club soda with a splash of lemon juice. Alcohol enhances hunger, so if you reach for the alcoholic beverage first you are likely to eat more than you should. Once you have had a few appetizers then start alternating an alcoholic beverage with a glass of water. Not only will you cut out additional calories in your beverage, but you are less likely to overeat.
- Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is not an all-you-can-eat buffet: Fill your plate half with vegetables, one quarter with a lean meat and the rest with a starch of your choice. Eat slowly and stop when you are full.
- Turkey - go skinless: Choose your 4-5oz turkey portion skinless to slash away some fat. Save your appetite for the side dishes and desserts.
- Side Dishes - watch your portion size: Go for smaller portions. Go for the vegetables. This way you can sample all the different foods. Moderation is always the key.
- Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items: high fat food items can be found in fried and creamy dishes as well as cheese-filled casseroles in a traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas meal . For instance, mashed potatoes are usually made with butter and milk; green bean casseroles are often prepared with cream of mushroom soup, cheese and milk and topped with fried onions; candied yams are loaded with cream, sugar and marshmallows. If you cannot control the ingredients that go in to a dish, simply limit yourself to a smaller helping size. Again moderation is the key.
- Drink plenty of water: alcohol and coffee can dehydrate your body. Drink calorie-free water to help fill up your stomach and keep you hydrated.
- If you are preparing the meal: Substitute high fat ingredients with lower fat or non fat ingredients. Use simple ingredients and stay as close to fresh and organic as possible. I find it actually easier and less stressful to prepare food this way. For example: The traditional recipe for sweet potatoes is usually (as I mentioned above) loaded with cream, sugar and marshmallows etc. Sweet potatoes without all of those ingredients are actually great on their own. They have their own natural sweetness and many health benefits too. My brother has a special fondness for the way I prepare my sweet potatoes because they taste great and the calories are kept to a minimum. I would give you the recipe but I don't write them down. I cook on the fly making it up as I go along. All I can tell you is there is a few extra ingredients I use for my Holiday Mash Sweet Taters, extra virgin olive oil or Earth Balance Butter, grade B organic maple syrup or molasses, cinnamon and no salt seasonings. All in small amounts of course.
- Exercise: Go for a 30-45 minute walk before eating your meal to burn off a few extra calories. A brisk walk will help to keep your metabolism up and the feelings of guilt away.
Resistance exercise is defined as any movement where your body exerts a force against some kind of resistance, i.e. lifting weights, pulling against rubber resistance bands or even working against your own body weight (push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, etc.) It is primarily used to develop the strength and size of skeletal muscles. You need your resistance training to increase your lean muscle tissue, which helps boost your metabolism and burn fat. Whether the goal is to increase muscle mass, develop better athletic performance or reduce body fat, the use of resistance training is an important component of any program.
Here are some other additional benefits of resistance training besides strengthening the muscular and skeletal systems. Bone density improves, quality of sleep and mood improves, helps relieve depression, blood circulation improves, balance and coordination, improves posture, improves joint stability making everyday activities easier especially as we get older. Resistance training also aids in the prevention of many of the diseases that plague this country such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.
Now on to a couple of “Myth Busters”.
Here is a question I am often asked by my female clients, “If I do resistance training or lift weights will I develop big bulky muscles?” I understand their concern but the fact of the matter is, it is not possible for a woman to develop body builder type muscles by doing moderate resistance training. First of all, women lack the necessary amount of testosterone to develop over sized muscles. You would have to train like a competitive body builder does, like eat excessive amounts of calories, lift heavy weights twice daily, and take some sort of muscle enhancing supplements.
People also tell me another reason they resist resistance training is because of boredom or just not knowing how to do the exercises. Well, there are several solutions to that! One solution is to take a fun exercise class that incorporates resistance training, such as circuit training or a body pump class where you get in cardio and resistance at the same time. Another is to work one on one with a personal trainer who can show you how to do the exercises correctly and keep your routine interesting and constantly changing so there is no time for boredom or plateaus.
What you are most likely to gain from resistance training is shapely sexy arms, legs and shoulders to name a few and an increase in fat burning potential. Good luck, get going and I will see you at the gym.
“People don't die of old age, they die of inactivity”. Jack LaLanne
The breathing becomes more shallow, using the secondary respiratory muscles more predominantly than the diaphragm. This shallow upper chest breathing pattern becomes a habit causing overuse and strain to the secondary respiratory muscles , the major muscles of the neck and upper trapezius muscles which are located just below the neck in the upper area of the back. It is also the area where most people carry tension.
These muscles also play a major postural role all connecting to the cervical and cranial parts of the body. Their excessive tension often result in headaches, lightheadedness and dizziness.
Short shallow breathes can lead to altered carbon dioxide/oxygen blood content that stimulates various sensors. This can lead to feelings of anxiety which continues the excessive breathing. Inadequate oxygen creates metabolic waste within muscles which can cause fatigued, stiff muscles.
Inadequate joint motion of the spine and rib cage, due to improper breathing, causes joints to become restricted and stiff.
All of these situations can lead to decreased functional capacity that may result in headaches, feelings of anxiety, fatigue, poor sleep patterns, as well as poor circulation. For example, when performing a strength training exercise such as a bicep curl or chest press you must coordinate the breathing with the movement by inhaling on the eccentric (or negative) part of the movement and exhaling on the concentric (or positive) part of the movement. Concentric is the contraction of the muscle and Eccentric is the lengthening of the muscle. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale blowing the air out through your mouth making a hissing like sound through your teeth. Use the diaphragm to breathe deeply. So therefore, when your trainer is instructing you to breathe and breathe properly during your workout or stretching, there is a good reason for that. You will be amazed at how much better you feel even after a physically challenging workout.
TIPS: Eat 5 to 6 meals daily.
Eat protein with every meal.
Eat protein before carbs to cut carb fat stores.
80% of your carbs should come from foods like Oatmeal, Vegetables,
Fruits, Beans, Almonds, Legumes etc. Not starches and sugars.
.5 to .7 grams of protein per pound of body weight
if you are working out 2 to 3 times per week.
Total dietary consumption should consist of 30% protein, 50% to 70%
carbohydrates, 20% fats.
DO NOT SKIP MEALS and get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
Make sure when working with a personal trainer, that he/she is nationally certified and has a good background in nutrition. Have your trainer review your food journal at least once a week to help keep you on track. Be consistent, focused and dedicated for maximum results.
One of the best ways to keep your internal fires burning, is to EAT BREAKFAST. I cannot stress that advice enough. When you wake up early in the morning to get ready for work and just do not feel like eating or you're simply not hungry, that could be a sign that your metabolism is too slow. Start by planning a small quick breakfast within 30 minutes after rising. For example; one 6 oz. low or non-fat vanilla yogurt with a small handful of raw almonds, or toast 1 piece of Ezekiel 4:9 bread with 1 tbsp of almond butter (my personal favorite). These are both quick if you are in a hurry and a good start for someone who is not used to eating breakfast. Not eating breakfast causes your body to go into a fat storage mode. When your body becomes more efficient at processing the food you eat, the faster your metabolism becomes, right? Yes!
Think about this, instead of stretching your stomach by eating two to three huge meals throughout the day, or consuming all of your daily calories in one sitting, re-program your body by giving it smaller portions of food more often.
All to often people who want to lose fat begin "dieting" or eating next to nothing. Dieting is one of the worst things you can do if you want to burn body fat. Eating your way to leanness is nothing short of meal frequency and food quality. Eating 5 to 6 times per day keeps your metabolic rate high and maintain that all important muscle tissue. Just as important as eating quality food is keeping hydrated. Drinking water also keeps your metabolism up. Drink a minimum of 8 to 12 eight ounce glasses of water each and every day. Another super important fact for the fat burning process is SLEEP. Research has proven that without 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night your metabolism will slow down to that of a person who lives a sedentary lifestyle.