How Training Helps Heal Your Heart

Heart disease is one of the biggest issues that baby boomers in America face. Whether you have had a heart attack, have coronary heart disease, or have had a bypass, you may be wondering what type of exercise is best for your recovery. Traditional thought has always been that you should take it easy in the weeks following a heart attack or bypass surgery. But new research is prompting such places as the Mayo Clinic to rethink this approach!

Rather than take it easy after a recovery period and only top out at 70 percent of your maximum heart rate during exercise, a new approach is being taken by many. Some doctors and hospitals are turning to interval training as a way to help heal the heart. Interval training, which is short spurts of intense exercise followed by moderate exercise, is taking center stage.

In interval training, you would walk at a moderate pace, for example, and then for a couple of minutes here and there you would speed up. Once you walked at that faster pace for a couple of minutes, then you would go back down to the moderate pace. You would keep alternating this pattern and allow your heart rate to go to 85 or 95 percent of your maximum during the fast intervals.

So what types of benefits are there for the heart when you do interval training? Quite a few, including:

Interval training increases cardiovascular health because it strengthens your heart. It will also help to increase the length of time you can exercise. Maybe you start out only being able to comfortably exercise for 15 minutes, but with the strengthening that interval training does, you will see that time lengthen.
Overuse injuries are minimized when you do interval training. This is because you are not using the same muscles or moves over and over.

When you do interval training, you will end up burning more calories in less time. Those short bursts of intense activity will give you an extra boost to burn more.

Should you start doing interval training with a heart condition? The science on it is new and still being considered. It is also seen as controversial, but it is worth considering. As a personal trainer who helps baby boomers get fit every day, I would recommend you speak with your doctor first to get their recommendation. But don’t hesitate to give them the new research that shows what it is doing for others to help heal the heart!

Top Ways to Stay Alive and Get Out of That Chair

As a senior citizen or baby boomer, you may think that you will be perfectly healthy exercising for 30 minutes and then sitting on the couch the rest of the day. After all, you got your exercise in, right? You may be thinking that, but according to researchers, you would be wrong!

We all know that not doing physical activity is going to harm your health and probably take years off your life. But most people don’t realize that even if you engage in an exercise program everyday and then follow it up by sitting around for hours on end, you are still putting your health at risk!

Although you may have over 300 channels on your television and movies you can rent for just a buck, keeping active will keep you alive! So forget sitting around watching the tube. Instead, get moving!

Here are five ways that you can get out of that chair and add years to your life:

Look for chances to stand up. Whether it is when the phone rings or every time you change the channel on the television, it will be good for you to do.

Instead of looking for the closest bathroom or parking space, opt for one that is farther away or up or down a flight of stairs (providing it is safe and weather is permitting). You will use more and different muscles, burn some calories, and keep moving.

Focus on doing some type of chores everyday that keep you moving. This could be washing windows, gardening, or cleaning the floors. What it is doesn’t matter, so long as you keep moving. And just think of how clean your house will be!

Make stretching a normal part of your day, regardless of what you are doing. If you are sitting at a computer, on a couch, or in the car, try to get up and do some stretching exercises every 30 minutes to an hour.

Get some of your neighbors together to take a walk around the block each morning or evening. Most likely you have neighbors that need to be active as well, so team up, motivate each other, and keep moving!

Even if you are not striving for weight loss, it is important to keep active. It will help you live longer and lead a healthier life. Health and fitness goals always include getting off that couch and moving around. Keeping active is one of the most important fitness tips you will ever get!

February is Heart Health Month So Keep it strong in March

Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer in women, especially those over the age of 65? What is more surprising is that many women do not even know that it is such a threat to their health. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, eight out of ten middle-aged women have at least one risk factor associated with heart disease. So what does that mean for the Baby Boomer population?

It means that as a Baby Boomer, you can still take charge of your heart health, especially if you are a woman. Consider the list of common risk factors below and ask yourself if any of these describe you:

Being overweight or obese

Leading a sedentary lifestyle

Suffering from high blood pressure

Being a smoker

Having high cholesterol

Having poor nutrition

Do any of the risk factors describe you or your lifestyle? If so, don’t panic. You can attack these risk factors and considerably decrease your vulnerability to heart disease by taking it one day at a time.

Consider the following risk-slashing activities that you can start today:

Quitting cigarette and tobacco use

Following a healthy diet filled with whole foods and lean meats

Limiting alcohol, sugar and salt intake

Having an exercise routine that includes both cardiovascular and strength training

It may seem like a long and overwhelming list, especially if you have smoked for years or have consumed sugary sodas for most of your life. Even if you cannot tackle everything all at once, you can make small changes here and there. In time, your health will improve and you will begin to see changes. You will feel better each day: physically, emotionally and mentally. Check in with your physician often and keep track of your progress.

Throughout February and thereafter, think about what you can do to improve your chances of staving off heart disease as a Baby Boomer. Keep a journal of your daily food consumption and your exercise routine. Also make a list of goals that you want to accomplish this year, whether they are fitness goals or not: Think about a vacation destination you want to visit or a new painting class that you want to take. Ask yourself: What activities are worth me giving up unhealthy habits?

Senior health is all about living for the day and planning for good things to come tomorrow. So talk with your family and friends today about what you can do together to lead a healthier life, starting with the month of February. It’s Heart Health Month: What are you going to do for your heart?

Indoor cardio for those cold days

It’s easy to stay active during the spring, summer and autumn when the weather outside is warm and sunny. It can be just as easy to give up on physical activity in the winter when days are cold, rainy, snowy and short. What are Baby Boomers supposed to do, sit inside and watch television all day? Not quite. In fact, it is just as easy to stay active indoors as it is to stay active outdoors during those long winter days. It’s even easier when you think of all your normal daily activities that can serve as a good cardiovascular workout.

Cardiovascular activities are aerobic and increase your pulse rate. You may even find yourself getting a little out of breath. That’s okay, but don’t push yourself too hard at first. Gradually work up as your fitness level builds. If you are bound indoors most of the winter, think about some of these everyday activities that help you stay active and burn calories while waiting for spring:

Cleaning: This includes dusting, vacuuming, mopping floors, washing windows, cleaning out closets and drawers and sanitizing your bathroom. For a person weighing 155 pounds, half an hour of rigorous cleaning can burn around 170 calories.

Moving furniture and carrying boxes: This can include re-arranging rooms around and cleaning in those places that you haven’t cleaned in years. On average, a 155-pound person will burn between 180 to 210 calories in a half hour.

In addition to cleaning and moving furniture and boxes around your house, also consider working out to an exercise video. These DVDs are in just about every store and feature videos for aerobics, yoga, free weight training and everything in between. Especially geared towards Baby Boomers is Jane Fonda’s “Fit & Strong,” a gentle workout video with exercises that you can do sitting and standing. Also gaining in popularity are game console video workouts, such as Jillian Michaels’ “Fitness Ultimatum” made for the Nintendo Wii. This exercise “game” takes you through the woods and on the beach, where you exercise with an animated Michaels on your screen. Her workouts are more rigorous than Fonda’s but you can certainly adapt segments to fit your fitness level.

For community support, join a gym, take Baby Boomer aerobics classes or practice yoga with family and friends. Exercising with others can help you push one another and find encouragement. In time, you will see that it’s actually just as easy to exercise inside as it is outside. By the time winter is over, you will be in even better shape than you were prior to the season. That way, you will be able to take on even more fun outdoor activities this coming spring and summer.

The Anti-Aging Benefits of Cardio Training

As we get older, we realize that good health isn’t something we can just take for granted anymore. It is a state we have to continuously work hard to maintain, and one way we can do this is by exercising. Physical exercise has such a positive impact on the aging process, because it helps us to age better.

We’ll look better and we’ll feel better if we put the effort in.

Physical exercise has so many benefits: it lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, keeping nasty diseases like heart disease at bay. It also lowers blood sugar levels, making it great for diabetics. Regular exercise can also reduce the risk of diseases like cancer.

Older people who exercise can also enjoy the benefits of improved sleep and stress reduction. It can even stimulate bone growth, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

But as we age, we tend to slow down
We tend to stop being as active because we think we just can’t do it anymore. The thing is though, if we keep exercising and keep our bodies active, we actually slow down those things that make us age.

Our overall health and wellbeing improves when we stay active, and that’s why as we age, we need to keep active – and make it a priority.

Already you know the benefits of muscle training to slow the aging process, but what about cardio training? Well, it’s incredibly important as well, for the reasons mentioned above.

Cardio exercise has amazing benefits for our overall health and wellbeing. And it will help you to increase your flexibility and balance – and that will help to keep you younger as well!

What can we do now to improve our cardio fitness?
Again, I need to emphasize here that anybody – even if you have never exercised before – can start cardio training and reap the health and anti-aging benefits of it.

I recommend, in the interests of flexibility, that you stretch before and after your workouts or try and include some yoga in your cardio routine. I also recommend you introduce balance exercises into your day.

With increased flexibility and balance, you are less likely to suffer injury and you will hold onto your independence for much longer. Often people end up in nursing homes, because they are unable to live independently. This more often than not is due to the fact that people don’t have the flexibility and balance to go about their daily lives. By exercising and building your flexibility and balance, you are doing yourself huge favors.

When it comes to your cardio workout though, I recommend – as does the National Institute on Aging – that older people do 30 minutes of cardio exercise each day.

Be sure though to check with your doctor before you start doing this. Your doctor will tell you how to do your exercise safely, which is important if you have medical conditions.

For your 30 minutes of exercise, do something you enjoy doing. It might be walking or swimming. Maybe a bike ride or golf? You may like to get out in the garden or play tennis. It is totally up to you. Just make sure you enjoy it, because that will help your wellbeing too.

If you haven’t exercised for a long time, start by doing 5-10 minutes of cardio three times per week. Your body needs to get used to it. Gradually add more time to your workout, until you can move for 30 minutes without stopping.

Medium intensity is all you need to do – you should be able to still talk while you are exercising. No need to work yourself into a big sweat at all!

I also recommend you warm up with 5 or so minutes of light activity before you start your workout. And when you finish working out, stretch!

If you would like help with your workouts, you can enlist the help of a professional fitness training like myself or check out your local gym for activities for seniors.

So get moving today and reap the rewards!

No Time? NO Excuse!












Sure, so many of us want to get fit, we want to get healthy and we want the fit body.  But so many of us come up with every excuse NOT to do the exercise we need to do, to achieve it.

When it comes to exercise, as a personal trainer, I’ve heard all the excuses!  But up there with the best is the excuse of not having enough time.

They say to shoot for 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day 3-5 days each week for weight loss and health benefits.  Now, that isn’t really a lot of time when you think about it(less then 3% of your total time if you think about it), but still, people cry and complain on about not having the time for that.

If that’s you and you find it a struggle fitting half an hour into your schedule 3-5 times per week, listen up.  Your luck is about to change…or is it?

No time is NO excuse anymore!  It’s all thanks to findings coming out of London.  In the UK, some experts say that you can squeeze (wait for it), an entire week’s workout into (sit down for this one)…less than an hour!

That’s right!  Less than an hour!  There goes your excuse of having no time, because it’s just not an excuse anymore.

So how is it possible to do a week’s worth of exercise in just under an hour?

It’s all thanks to a little thing called interval training.  Interval training was initially developed for Olympic athletes.  Basically it involves intense exercise in short bursts, and originally, it was thought to be too intense for normal people of low to average fitness levels.

Further research though in recent years has found that interval training can in fact help not-so-fit people – even older people and those with health problems – lose weight and get fit.

So what does intense interval training actually involve?

Basically, it involves you working very hard for just a few minutes, with rest periods in between these few minute bursts.  The research over recent years has involved intense running or biking, but intense interval training can also include activities like swimming or rowing.

Exercise Expert, Jan Helgerud from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology recommends trying four sessions lasting four minutes each – with a recovery time of three minutes between the sessions.

So, how do you feel after this intense exercise session?

According to Helgerud, “You should be a little out of breath, but you shouldn’t have the obvious feeling of exhaustion”.

Interval training will help you see results a lot faster, but it’s important that you stick to the routine, like everything.  Interval training will work wonders for your fitness levels, by doubling your endurance and improving your oxygen use and strength by more than 10 percent.  Speed can also be increased by 5 percent.

The short, intense bursts of activity are just what your body needs to build your muscles which will create a higher metabolism for you.  That means your body will burn fat and carbohydrates for hours after your few minutes of exercise.

So you can imagine the positive effect this will have for you once it becomes second nature.

I recommend you do the four minutes of intense activity for four minutes at a time, with the three minute recovery between each session.  Do this at least once per week, and combined with a healthy, balanced diet, see the great results that will come about.

If you enjoyed this article.  Meet with a local 24 hour fitness trainer to create your very own specific interval plan today.

No time is NO excuse!  You CAN set aside 25 minutes in one week!


Add Cardio to Your Day for Awesome Results!

People at the gym doing cardio exercises.As a personal trainer, the number one reason why people contact me for help is because they want to lose weight and get healthy.  Today in 2010, people are getting fatter and with that, they’re getting sicker and more depressed because they don’t look and feel as great as they could.

The weight loss journey can seem like such an overwhelming challenge to people, particularly when it comes to the issue of exercise – and that’s when all the excuses come out.

By excuses, I’m talking about excuses NOT to exercise.  People are often turned off by exercise, because they think it’s going to be painful and difficult.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  That’s because the exercise most effective at burning calories and ultimately, fat, is cardio!

Cardio or cardiovascular exercise works the body – particularly the heart and lungs – to burn calories.  In other words, it tells the excess fat you’re carrying to disappear completely!  And the great thing about cardio exercise is that it includes such a wide range of fun, physical activities that will elevate your heart rate so you can burn a greater amount of fat.

Cardiovascular exercise activities include but are not limited to:

  • Walking (outside or on a treadmill)
  • Swimming
  • Cycling (outside or on an exercise bike)
  • Jogging (outside or on a treadmill)

By doing at least half an hour of cardiovascular exercise 5 days per week that gets you sweating moderately (this is good by the way), you will:

  • Burn fat much more efficiently without the high intensity (associated with anaerobic exercise like sprinting and weights)
  • Increase your metabolism which will help you burn more fat
  • Increase your energy
  • Increase your stamina
  • Sleep better
  • Recover quickly after exercise
  • Cope with stress in a better way
  • Feel happier and in control of moods

Get cardio working for you today, and remember what I said yesterday: it only takes 30 days to create a new habit.  In short, start walking, swimming or jogging today