Water Exercises for Boomer Fitness

Q. Boomer Fitness – I’m hoping you can help me out with something. I work out at a gym that has an indoor pool. I noticed that the schedule they have offers some senior water aerobic classes. I stopped in and watched for a few minutes and although it looks like a fun time in the water, I wonder if people are actually getting a good workout. What do you think?

A. What a great question, thank you for asking it! This is a question that I have had from many senior citizens over the years. Baby boomers see the water aerobic classes going on and want to suit up and take a dive. Yet there is a little hesitation in doing so. Maybe it’s because they don’t see people that are in the classes sweating.

Even if you can’t see people sweating in the water aerobics classes there is a good chance they are doing some good for their body. One of the main reasons that senior citizens opt for water aerobic classes is that it is easy on the joints. If you ever suffer from joint pain you know that it can make keeping up with your workouts challenging. Yet most people who do water aerobics find that there isn’t any pain.

While I may not rank water aerobics as the best possible way for a senior to get in a workout, I do think that it’s an acceptable option. This is because it gets you working out. I’m much more concerned with people working out regularly, rather than what it is that they are doing to get that work out.

You mentioned that you thought the water aerobics class looked like fun. Well I can tell you from working with many baby boomers that when something is fun you are more likely to continue doing it. Fun workouts make time go by faster and you will forget that you are actually doing some hard work.

My suggestion would be to give it a try. Unless you suffer from the ongoing joint pain I would not suggest that you make it your sole form of exercise, because it’s good to change it up some. But doing it once or twice a week, especially if you find it to be fun, is a great thing. You will burn some calories, have some fun, and go easy on the joints. If you feel you need a little something more, take a few laps in the pool before or after the water aerobics class. So, suit up, jump in, and have fun!

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Tips for Exercising in the Cold

Q. Brr! It’s that time of year again. I like to add in a couple of days per week where I take power walks outdoors. It is nice to be outside in nature, and we don’t live where we get snow, which makes it easier. However, I wonder if there is anything I need to do differently when exercising in the cold. I appreciate your input on this issue.

A. Welcome to winter! Getting outdoors for some of your workouts is a great way to break things up, as well as to gain the many benefits that come from being out in nature. You mentioned that you don’t live where there is snow, so that makes it even easier to continue getting outdoors as it gets colder.

There are many people that jog, walk, and bike ride outdoors in the winter, among other activities. There are a few things you may want to keep in mind when it comes to exercising in the cold, including:

  • Dress in layers. You may start out the door and it’s cold, but after you get moving you will probably warm up. Try to dress in a couple of layers, so that if you do warm up and need to cool off, you can peel a layer off and carry it with you.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel really cold and it is not comfortable, it may be time to take your workout indoors. Pay attention to how your body feels.
  • Warm up. Just like when you work out indoors, it is important to warm up before you get started. Your muscles need to get warmed up in order to perform optimally and help protect yourself from injury. You may even want to warm up while you are still in the house. That way the colder weather is not a shock to you and possibly make it more challenging to get warmed up.
  • Know when to rest. During the winter months people often have more colds and don’t feel as well. If you have a day where you don’t feel well, take the day rest and move your work out to another day.

 It may be getting colder outside, but if you enjoy getting outdoors for some of your workouts, then don’t let the cold stop you. As long as you don’t have freezing temperatures, you should be able to layer up, put some gloves and a hat on, and head outside.

CLICK HERE FOR TIP ON EXERCISING

Got flabby arms? No problem, here’s how to get rid of them!

Many people struggle with flabby arms, otherwise known as bat wings, back wings, and even grandma arms. The names are not flattering, but most people that have them don’t exactly find them flattering either. The good news is that there are ways that you can get rid of flabby arms, whether you are baby boomer or not!

Flabby arms are not just something that those overweight may deal with, although that it one reason that people have them. Those who have lost a lot of weight may also have flabby arms, as do some thinner people who have just never taken any measure to tone their arms. If you do nothing with your arms, there is a good chance that they will be flabby, or at least not very tone. But you can change all that.

Here are a few ways you can fight back against flabby arms:

  • Arm rotations. This is an exercise you can do without any weights. When you are standing around somewhere, simply put your arms at your sides and do rotation exercises. Rotate your arms, clockwise and counter-clockwise, repeating a dozen or so times. This is something you can easily do when you are standing around killing time.
  • Push-ups. Doing push-ups is a great way to strengthen your upper arm muscles, among other areas of your body. Each day, do a couple of reps of push-ups to help get rid of flabby arms.
  • Free weights. Using free weights is a good way to help tone arms and reduce flab. You can use some small dumbbells to do some dumbbell presses. Try holding them, as you sit in a chair, and hold them behind your head, slowly lifting to straighten out your arms. Do this a dozen times at each sitting.
  • Lose weight. If you have the flabby arms as a result of needing to lose weight, try to shed some pounds and then also follow the above steps. You can lose weight by eating healthy and exercising regularly.

As a personal trainer, I often work with people who start out having flabby arms. But with some attention to them and getting active, they are usually quite happy with the results they get. Flabby arms may be embarrassing to you, but they don’t have to be. Start making a point to do something at least 3-4 days per week to address your flabby arms, and in time you will see results.

Be sure to use a tape measure and measure around your arms when you get started doing these exercise. Then be sure to take another measurement each month, so you can monitor your progress. With some dedicated arm attention, you will say goodbye to flabby arms!

 IF YOUR SICK OF FLABBY ARMS CLICK HERE

Taking on the Enemy – The Silent Killer

When you read about the silent killer, you may not even be aware of what I’m referring to. Many people are not, which is why it is considered a silent killer. It is one that can easily creep up on people, and when it does, well, it completely ruins their life. In order to take on this silent killer, it is important to know what your blood pressure numbers are, because the name of it is hypertension.

Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure, which is how hard or forceful your blood is pumping through your body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are nearly 26,000 people who die each year from hypertension. In order to take on this enemy, it is important to first know what your blood pressure numbers are. You can get these from your doctor, or you can even take your blood pressure at one of those free self-use machines set up in stores and pharmacies.

When you get your blood pressure reading, it will be in two numbers, such as 120/80. You can have one or both of these numbers be too high, contributing to the hypertension. Here’s what the numbers mean:

120/80 or lower – this is normal

Above 120/80, but below 140/90 – this is pre-hypertension

140/90 or above – this is hypertension, or high blood pressure

The factors that contribute to your blood pressure include obesity, being African American, stress, drinking too much alcohol, consuming too much salt, diabetes, smoking, and a genetic predisposition. If you have high blood pressure there is hope. You have the ability, most of the time, to combat it through lifestyle changes.

Here’s what you need to do in order to address the hypertension and see improvement in your numbers:

Improve your diet by reducing fat, eating more fruits and veggies, eating more fiber, and opting for lean sources of protein. You will want to reduce the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet. Also, watch the amount of salt that you consume, keeping it under 1,500 mg per day. Be especially careful when eating out or consuming pre-packaged foods, as they are both typically high in sodium.

Engage in at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise per day, such as walking, dancing, or biking.

Find ways to manage stress, such as doing yoga, Tai Chi, or journaling.

Lose weight, as even a couple of pounds can make a difference in blood pressure.

Watch the amount of alcohol that you consume. Not only is it bad for hypertension, but it also contributes a lot of unnecessary calories.

Coming up next, I will go over how you can use exercise to take on this silent killer. When it comes to blood pressure, baby boomer or not, you can fight back, and win!

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Going After the Enemy – Taking on Diabetes!

So you have been told you have Type II diabetes, now what? Well, like other health issues, the more you know, the more you are able to take on that enemy and succeed in beating it! Diabetes is an issue that is plaguing more than just the baby boomers of the country. It’s becoming a widespread problem, one that we need to get a handle on. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 26 million Americans now have diabetes. And what’s scary is that 7 million of them don’t even know it!

When it comes to the baby boomer generation, nearly 11 million people have diabetes, or nearly 27 percent of the population. The problem with diabetes is that it robs you of your quality of life. It is a major factor in heart disease and stroke, can lead to kidney failure, amputations, and even blindness. It’s the seventh leading cause of death in the country as well.

Type I diabetes used to be called juvenile-onset diabetes and accounts for about 5 percent of all cases. It’s a type of diabetes that typically affects children, leaving them in continuous need of insulin delivery, by injection, in order for their glucose levels to be regulated.

Type II diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes. Today these names have been changed some because as our lifestyles have become more unhealthy, even children are getting the type of diabetes that used to be typical of adult onset. With this type, the pancreas loses the ability to produce insulin.

Type II diabetics make up 95 percent of all the diabetes cases in the country. And the problem is that 85 percent of those who have it are over weight or obese, issues that are closely related to the problem to begin with. Doctors may want to prescribe drugs in order to help with Type II diabetes, but the truth of the matter is that this is something you can take on and win all on your own!

The real drug that you need is a combination of diet and exercise, whether or not you are taking a prescription medication. Exercise, which acts as an anti aging drug, helps to control blood glucose, as well as improve insulin sensitivity acutely and chronically by building muscle and decreasing body fat. It also helps to reduce the risk of diabetes other sneaky friends – high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Exercising also gives you a better outlook on life. Your hormones will be doing better, you will feel better, and your demeanor will be more pleasant as well. If you stick with an exercise and diet plan, your doctor may need to re-adjust your insulin dosages in order to prevent hypoglycemia, a condition when your blood sugar level drops too low. Hypoglycemia symptoms include dizziness, light headedness, and confusion. It’s a serous condition that can lead to a coma.

If you have diabetes, be sure to speak with your doctor about implementing lifestyle changes to help combat it. Your body will thank you for it, and you will feel great as a result!

READ PART 2 HERE

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An Exercise Plan to Improve Your Cholesterol Numbers

In the last post we looked at what the cholesterol numbers and ranges mean. You also learned that you can go after the enemy, cholesterol in this case, through a variety of ways, including exercise. Sure, some people may just opt for a prescription drug, a statin, in order to lower their cholesterol. But honestly, that does nothing to address the problem, it’s merely putting a bandage over it. The best thing to do is address it head on, and being a personal trainer, exercise is an area that I’m urging you to focus on!

First, it is important to realize how exercise is going to help you improve your cholesterol numbers. It’s a two-fold process really, because:

Exercise will help you lose weight and improve overall health, leading to a reduction in your LDL, or lousy, cholesterol levels.

Exercise will raise HDL, or healthy, cholesterol levels. This will help to protect your heart and keep your body healthy.

So now you know the virtues of exercising and what it will do to improve your cholesterol numbers. Here are my professional recommendations for getting started with an exercise program:

Your goal should be to do cardio exercises (those that get your heart pumping) 3-7 days per week, with a goal to burn 1,500-2,000 throughout the course of the week.

Your intensity level should be between 40-70 percent of your VO2. Your VO2 is the oxygen consumption, or your cardio-respiratory fitness level. There are online calculators that will help you determine this rate.

Start out by doing two short sessions that are 20 minutes each, then progress to two sessions that are 40-60 minutes each. You can start with low impact exercises, such as walking, bicycling, or general gardening.

Be sure to include some strength training into your schedule. You should be doing this 2-4 times per week, working every major part of the body. Do 10-15 reps for 1-3 sets.

Start out with the machines targeting flexibility. Do it just enough to feel the stretch and hold it for 10-30 seconds. This is a good way to involve static active stretching into your routine.

So are you ready to be the kind of senior citizen that forgoes the statins and uses exercise and other lifestyle changes to lower your cholesterol level? Great! Start out by doing these exercises above, and before you know it, you will see some improvement. Not only will your numbers be better, but you will surely see other positive results as well!

Warm-Up

Workout for Mon & Thur

Workout for Tue & Fri

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So you have high cholesterol, now what?

If you are a baby boomer with high cholesterol, you are not alone. Your doctor may even want to put you on a statin, which is a cholesterol-lowering medication. Maybe you feel like you have no hope, but that’s just wrong. It’s all about going after the enemy, and in this case, cholesterol is the enemy!

Some of the top factors that impact cholesterol rates include drinking alcohol, the food you eat, living a sedentary lifestyle, abdominal obesity, smoking, steroid use, insulin resistance, and even genetics. About 25 percent of the people who have high cholesterol do because of genetic factors. So that means for the other 75 percent of you, there are lifestyle changes you can make in order to get it under control.

It’s important to understand your cholesterol numbers so you know where you are at. Here’s a breakdown of what the number ranges mean:

< 150 is normal

150-199 is borderline high

200-499 is high

> 500 is very high (you may die if you don’t get control of it immediately)

Your numbers may even be broken down more, into HDL and LDL figures. For HDL, think of “healthy” cholesterol, while the LDL is “lousy” cholesterol, or the one that is bad for your health. Here’s the breakdown on what your numbers mean for each of these:

HDL – the healthy cholesterol

Your goal is to have it be greater than 60, while less than 40 is considered undesirable.

LDL – the lousy cholesterol (ideally, keep it 100 and under)

100 is optimal

100-129 above optimal

130-159 borderline high

160-189 very high

VLDL is the very low density lipid protein, which being 30 and under is desirable.

Keep in mind that cholesterol itself is produced by your body. But there are foods that you eat that can raise your cholesterol level, along with the other factors. Animal based foods contain cholesterol, while plant based foods generally do not.

So if your cholesterol numbers are falling into the less than desirable area, there are options. You can do drug therapy, increase your activity, lose weight, change your eating habits (including reducing meat intake and increasing fiber intake to 25-30 grams per day), reduce alcohol consumption, and stop smoking. Stay tuned for the next blog post, where I will give you a sample exercise plan that will help with improving your cholesterol numbers.

PART TWO READ HERE….

 Three Cholesterol Lowering Meal Options

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Hitting the Road: Part III – Staying Healthy On the Road

In the first part of this series I offered baby boomers advice on preparing for travel. In the second part of this travel series I offered advice on how to be healthy while on the road. In this third part of the series I want to offer advice to help you stay healthy during your vacation. Yes, you really can stay healthy while on vacation!

So let’s assume that you have reached your travel destination. Whether are staying at a hotel, a friend’s house, or you are on a cruise ship, there are easy ways to get in a workout and stay fit. Before arriving to your destination you should have done some research in order to find out where the local workout facilities and trails were. Now it’s time to put it into action.

What you want to do is make sure you maintain as much of your routine as possible. If you are used to working out once per day, make sure you continue that. Even if it means getting in 30 minutes or so of good cardio in the hotel swimming pool or on their treadmill, you need to stay working out. If you are staying at a place that does not have such facilities, find a local gym. Most will allow you to pay for a temporary guest pass so that you can get workouts in.

You are traveling, so you will want to also visit new places, and hopefully you can burn some calories through this route as well. Try to walk as much as possible, such as to go see local attractions. If you are staying with friends, or near friends, team up and get them to take an early morning, or after dinner, walk to burn some extra calories. Be sure to always do a proper warm-up, regardless of what type of workout you plan to do.

Eating is an important issue while on vacation, and not just for baby boomers. Here are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to baby boomer nutrition while on vacation:

Breakfast – Most hotels offer a continental breakfast. But most of the time they are not stocked with nutritious food. Avoid things like pancakes, waffles, sugary cereals, and donuts. Walk past all the white flour items sitting on that table! If you feel you must eat from the continental restaurant, opt for the yogurt, eggs, fresh fruit, juice, and some whole wheat toast.

Meals – For lunch and dinner, stick with soups and salads (dressing on the side), split a meal with someone, and keep alcohol to a minimum. Ask for baked over fried, and avoid dishes that contain cream. Skip the dessert, or if you feel you really want it, split it with others.

Snacks – Stop at the store and stock up on things like water, string cheese, crackers, veggies, and almonds. Have healthy snacks on hand all the time, so there are no excuses.

There are also plenty of neat apps that will help you keep track of calories and your physical activity. Check out My Food Diary, Calorie King, or others that will help you keep things in perspective and not go overboard.

I work with baby boomers who tell me they gain weight on their vacations. It really doesn’t need to be like that! Put in some effort in planning and making a commitment to stick to your goals, and you will come back feeling great, rather than guilty!

 Do You Want The Body You Deserve While On the Road??  Learn More……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Every Baby Boomer Should Set Some Sporting Goals

As a personal trainer who specializes in working with baby boomers, I can tell you that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a lot of people succeed in their quest for fitness. I’ve also learned a lot along the way – the kinds of things that can’t be taught in textbooks when learning everything about fitness and nutrition. Take for example sporting goals.

Looking back on my most successful baby boomer clients, I have noticed that they have something in common other than their age or that they are striving to be healthier. They don’t all have weight loss goals, nor do they all have a mission to just eat healthier. What it is that they all have is a sporting goal. Each one of them is striving to achieve or do something, which seems to be a major source of their continued motivation.

This is where having a bucket list comes in handy and the reason it is so vital. When you have a bucket list of things you want to do, you will strive to be healthy so that you can actually do them. By training for something, you can get excited for your daily activity. So start by making your own sports-related bucket list. Determine what you want to accomplish and add it to the list. The sky is the limit on this. What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Add that to the list!

Here are some possible sporting goals for baby boomers to consider:

Tuff Mudders Not only will you have fun with this event, but you will challenge yourself, and get a little dirty in the process.

Adventure hiking. There are some amazing adventure hikes to be had. Challenge your body, while taking in nature’s beauty!

Figure or bodybuilding contest. There are such contests around the country that will give you a reason to work on building those muscles and giving you a reason to show them off.

Vacations. Many people find taking a vacation a source of motivation for working out. Perhaps you want to look good tanning in the Caribbean, or you want to be able to hike the Grand Canyon. Either way, plan a vacation that gets you excited about getting fit.

Running a 5k or 10k. Train for a marathon and run it for the pure joy of proving that even as a baby boomer you still have what it takes.

Contests with others in your office, neighborhood, or social circle. Most people like healthy competition, and when you can get a group of people to work together, or compete against each other, it can be a good source of motivation.

Whether you decide you want to do a triathlon or you will run the 5k honor of a charity you support, a sporting goal can help keep you motivated. Give some thought to what it is that you’d like to do. Then work with a personal trainer to help make it happen!

 

Why Lowering Your Fitness Standard Lower Your Ability to Reach All Your Goals

 

As a baby boomer has fitness goals, as well as other goals in life, it is important to focus on keeping a standard. If you are like most people, you have a standard that you want to follow when it comes to fitness. Perhaps your fitness goals each week are to work out 5 days per week for 30 minutes per day. Well what happens if you start to slack on that standard? A whole lot!

Being a personal trainer I get the opportunity to work with a lot of different people. It gives me an opportunity to see how people are impacted by their fitness goals and how they impact them. Take one person I was working with not long ago, for example. He had a fitness standard to workout regularly and was doing that for quite a while. Then he started to take it for granted. And when that happened, he took a few days off, which lead to a week, then to two weeks, and then to three weeks!

The next thing you know, he gained 8 pounds and lost his ability to walk up stairs. Fitness cannot be taken for granted. Rather it is something that must be worked at and maintained. It has to be one of the highest priorities in your life, because without it, your life will change and your health will not be the same. And after all, what are we without our health?

When you have passion in your fitness endeavors, it will translate into success in that area of your life, as well as in others. If you feel yourself starting to take it for granted, or slipping away from your healthy fitness habits, do yourself a favor and help raise your fitness standard. There are a variety of ways you can do that, including:

Working with a personal trainer. A personal trainer can help keep you motivated and working toward your fitness goals.

Trying something new, such as a fitness class, to see if it renews your spirit. Sometimes just changing things up a bit can help people stay, or become, more interested.

Team up with a friend so the both of you can focus on fitness and hold each other accountable.

Treat yourself to something fitness-related that will further your commitment, such as a Zumba cruise, new running shoes, or an iPod to listen to while you are working out.

Make a list of all the reasons why having, and maintaining, a fitness standard is right for you. Whether it is so you feel good enough to play with the grandkids, or so you can enjoy bike rides on the beach.

The important lesson here is to not take your fitness standards for granted. When we take things for granted, we tend to give them less attention and we don’t nurture them. Maintaining fitness standards is essential to overall good health and well being. Keep it a priority in your life and you will reap the benefits!