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 Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

Q. Help me, Brian! Every year during the holidays I end up gaining a few pounds. I’ve done so well this year with my eating and working out. I’m so scared that I’m going to put on the pounds and all my hard work will be out the window.

 

 

A. I know exactly how you feel! But don’t despair, there is hope. Many of my baby boomer clients come to me every time the calendar hits November. It does not mean that you have to be one of the ones that gain weight. Instead, put the breaks on that idea right now while it’s on your mind.

The average person tends to gain up to five pounds throughout the holidays of Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve. And it makes sense why this happens. Everywhere you turn there are foods that you typically don’t eat throughout the year. Just thinking about all the goodies that are set out during the holidays is enough to add a few pounds to the scale!

So here are some things you can do during these holidays in order to avoid gaining those extra pounds:

  • Be picky. If you are determined to nosh when you head to parties try to do it with a healthy outlook. Choose those foods that have less calories, such as baked foods, rather than fried ones. Skip the breads that are set out, as well as piling on the gravies. All these foods can be loaded with calories that you may not be aware of.
  • Go full. When you know you will be attending a party or gathering, eat something healthy before you arrive. That’s right, I am suggesting you show up with food already in the tank. If you do this, you will have eaten healthy at home, and will only be able to do some light snacking at the party. This can save you a lot of calories over the course of the night.
  • Go small. Choose a small plate to fill up with. This way you can try a little of all the things you want to try, but you will avoid being tempted to overload the plate. If there isn’t one available, then fill half of your plate with healthy, low fat veggies, and then the other half with a mixture of items you really want.
  • Change the focus. Food doesn’t have to be the focus of the gathering or celebration. Turn your focus to socializing with others and having fun, rather than focusing on the food.

Whatever you do, don’t go to a party or holiday gathering with an empty stomach. If you do, you will probably end up regretting it, because you will fill your plate up with eye-appealing items that may contributing to packing on the pounds. The more you plan ahead when it comes to healthy eating throughout the holidays, the better off you will be with avoiding holiday weight gain!

CLICK HERE TO AVOID HOLIDAY WEIGHT GAIN……

10 Tips for Baby Boomers When Training for a Hike

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPpZ8YbeZgo

Hiking can be a great pastime. Not only is it fun, but it gets you out in nature. It can be a great experience for your mind, as well as for your muscles. But if you are not used to hiking and decide you want to take one of any substance, you will need to train for it, baby boomer or not. You wouldn’t start out running a 5K without training, and the same goes for any lengthy or strenuous hikes.

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind when it comes to baby boomers training to take a hike. Whether you are hiking up the Appalachian Trail or the Grand Canyon, you will enjoy it a lot more if you train for it ahead of time.

  1. Make a plan. Just like anything else you want to successfully achieve, start by setting goals.
  2. Start small. Take small walks around your community, just to get started.
  3. Increase length. Once you are comfortable taking those walks, gradually increase the distance of each of them.
  4. Add weights. Usually when you hike you have a backpack or something with you, so add a little weight to your walk.
  5. Increase weights. Once you are comfortable, increase the weight a little bit, so you will be used to carrying a backpack.
  6. Get vertical. Most hikes are not done on a straight, flat surface. You will want to get vertical, or at least go somewhere where you will get a varied terrain.
  7. Strengthen legs. The legs are what will take you through the hike. Focus on strengthening them by doing lunges.
  8. Increase cardio. Building up your lungs to withstand the cardio of a lengthy hike is crucial. Work on getting cardio exercise, so you are prepared once you are outdoors.
  9. Improve balance. Because the terrain can vary on a hike, it is important to have good balance. Do some exercises that will improve balance, such as Tai Chi or practicing one-legged stances.
  10. Focus on stretching. With any exercise, it is important to be sure to stretch properly, before and after the activity.

Along with preparing your body for the hike, you will also want to make sure you have the right gear. Comfortable hiking shoes, a wide brimmed hat, and a belt pack that holds water is ideal. The more preparation you do now to train for your hike, the more likely you will enjoy it, and come home feeling refreshed, rather than wishing you hadn’t gone. Hiking is one of nature’s greatest treats. Start training, and then get outdoors and take a hike!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gyq2_Pg7O9A

TO LEARN HOW TO HIKE BETTER 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, Part II

 

 

 

 

In the last post I shared information with you about diabetes and how we need to be on a mission to take on that enemy. I have seen too many people, especially baby boomers, succumb to this disease and all that it can lead to. I have seen first hand how diabetes can lower your quality of life, so I’m hear to tell you that as a personal trainer I know you can take this enemy on and win!

As a personal trainer who specializes in working with baby boomers, I see my share of people with diabetes. After all, 11 million baby boomers have the disease. But I also see many who don’t want to just let it take over. Instead, they decide to put up a fight, one that I give them the tools to win.

Exercise, as you learned from the last post, is one of the best ways to take on Type II diabetes and come out ahead. What I suggest to my clients, as well as my blog readers, is that you set a 90-day goal and work out with a trainer or consult with your doctor. This is an area where you need a professional on your side that can guide you through the steps to success.

Set a goal to do a cardio workout 3-6 days per week, with your intensity level being 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. Your cardio workout should last from 20-60 minutes and include something like walking, running, biking, hiking, or even walking on your hands (just kidding). The point here is that you need to do something that is going to get your blood pumping through your body.

You also need to add in some strength training 2-3 days per week, doing 10-15 repetitions with 1-3 sets. Your best mode is to use free weights, machines, or tubing. Also, do something to help increase flexibility to the point of feeling tension. You should do this from 10-30 seconds and keep the mode static.

This is the workout that I suggest to my clients, who are baby boomers looking to get and stay healthy. It works for them, and it will work for you. Seek out a qualified personal trainer to work with, and you will get your health on the fast track to success. Plus, when you keep the new lifestyle and mindset up long term, you will be taking on that enemy and coming out ahead!

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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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Acting and Thinking Your Age? Change the Paradigm!

As we age people often believe that you have to act a certain way. But when you think about it, do you really need to act so different at 60 than you did at say 45 or 50? I’m hear to say that you do not need to. This is something that needs to be said. You do not need to match your age with how you act. I propose that it’s time we shift the paradigm and start aging in place.

It’s time to start showing who the baby boomers are and taking more control over what a baby boomer is capable of doing. Change what someone thinks of when they consider how a baby boomer acts. Young boomers may be 45-55, while older baby boomers are 55-65, but age is merely a number.

Think about how long you can expect to live. The average life expectancy today is 77.8-80 years old. So if you are 65-70, why would you walk around acting like you are old? You shouldn’t be. You can help redefine what baby boomers do and how they act.

The scary truth about age is that 85 percent of baby boomers will get a chronic disease by the time they reach the age of 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You name it, the risks are there, and they are getting everything from hypertension, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and cancer. Sadly 75 percent will end up dying from these diseases, especially when they involve coronary heart disease and cancer.

Remember when I said it’s time to age in place? Well, doing that gives you hope! You can make changes that will help you prevent these problems. Most of the diseases that we die from are preventable through lifestyle changes. One of the most important things you can do, no matter what age you are, is to start exercising regularly. Exercising can’t fix a disease, but it can sure go a long way toward prevention. It allows you to function on your own as you age and will help give you a better quality of life as a senior citizen.

The key to how baby boomers act is in your hands. You can choose to take a seat and say you are getting “old” and can’t do what you used to, or you can choose to be active. By choosing to be active, you will age in place, which will keep you feeling good, looking good, and enjoying your senior years!

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!

 

Eat Your Vegetables In the Form of Pizza?

There’s no doubt that every baby boomer out there knows that eating their vegetables is a good thing. Not only are they loaded with much-needed nutrients, but they have been proven to help you live a longer, healthier life along the way. Did you know that you can now eat your vegetables in the form of pizza, according to our government! It’s true! But before you run to the local pizza hot spot and grab a few slices to get your daily servings of veggies in, let’s take a closer look at this.

In President Obama’s quest to make school lunches healthier, a good thing, he has hit some snags. Guess who didn’t like it? You got it, those who make money off the foods that are slopped onto those school trays! The companies selling the schools frozen pizzas, for example, would stand to lose money if school lunches were made healthier. After all, those pizzas they serve in the schools are loaded with fat, calories, cholesterol, and salt.

So in an effort to keep the pizza on the menu, and companies happy, our government has declared that pizza is now a vegetable. Yup, even you raised an eyebrow reading that, but you did read it correctly. Congress has declared that pizza is a vegetable and that serving it up in school lunch lines is perfectly fine. In all actually, they are labeling the sauce as a vegetable, which allows the school to keep serving it (you know the tiny little bit of sauce hidden under all that cholesterol and fat-laden cheese).

While our focus should be on helping our next generation of citizens get healthier by really increasing the vegetables they consume, lowering their salt intake, and keeping them active, we are now making it seem as though even our government doesn’t know what healthy food is. Make no mistake, pizza, even with the little bit of tomato sauce that it contains, is not a vegetable! It doesn’t count as a vegetable serving and shouldn’t be treated as such. Pizza is not health food. Sure, it tastes good and eaten in moderation can be okay, but we should never confuse it with being healthy, or um, a vegetable.

Sorry Congress, but this is just one more thing you all have gotten wrong. And this decision will not help the country’s children reduce the obesity rates they are experiencing. Pizza as a veggie, really? What next, chocolate gets declared a protein source?