Going After the Enemy – Obesity

There’s an old English proverb that says, “Don’t dig your grave with your own knife and fork.” Yet that’s exactly what many people across America are doing. Obesity has become a major issue, with over a third of all adults in the country falling into the category, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What’s more, further studies by Cornell University indicate that those who are obese typically do not see themselves as such. They tend to think that about 30 pounds heavier than they are is obese.

Clearly we have a big problem on our hands, and baby boomers are not immune. When it comes to senior citizens, 45 percent are overweight, while around a third of them are obese. The problem is that it raises the risks for hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, etc. Just when you thought you could retire and enjoy the rest of your years, you find out that obesity has put a damper on things!

When people are obese, they have a more difficult time traveling, being active, and doing all those fun things that make up their bucket list. So just how do you go about determining if you are obese? It’s a mathematical equation, really, where you determine your body fat, BMI, waist circumference, etc. When women have more than 30 percent body fat, and men over 25 percent, they are considered to be obese. You can also use a BMI calculator, which can be found online, to determine what your BMI is and if it falls into the obesity or overweight category. Also, women with a waist that is more than 35 inches are considered to be obese.

When you think about what has happened over the last several generations, it is easy to see where the obesity issue came from. We used to be a society made up of active people, who walked, biked, worked in the garden, cleaned our houses, and even washed our clothes by hand and hung them to dry. Today we have conveniences for everything you can think of. We have largely become a sedentary people, which is leading us to pack on the pounds.

So, what is it that is preventing you from losing weight? The top reasons that I find, from the baby boomers I work with, include inactivity, alcohol abuse, eating out too often, empty nest syndrome, baby boomer boomerang (moving back home), being a caretaker, stress, menopause (for women), and testosterone decline (for men). The good news is that you can address these issues and get to the root of the problem. Stay tuned for the next blog post, when I look at menopause causing weight gain, and what you can do about it.

The key to losing weight and battling obesity is in your hands. I have watched many people ignore this problem and end up losing in the end. Yet, I have also seen baby boomers take it on and beat it. The choice is completely up to you; it’s just a matter of determining which path you will take!

Retiring From Fitness

Q. My husband is 68 years old and recently retired. He used to have a job that kept him active. Now that he has retired he is not getting much physical activity at all and I have noticed him slowly gaining some weight. What do you suggest he should be doing at this point, considering he has never been one to go work out. He has always gotten his exercise on the job.

A. First, let me say congratulations on the retirement. Now is the time to really focus on enjoying life and having fun, as you probably already know. However, it is also a time to do what you can to make the rest of your life as healthy as you can. Having said that, it is important that all senior citizens know that when you retire from your job you cannot abandon physical activity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), senior citizens, or those over 65 years of age, are advised to get exercise on a regular basis. By exercising regularly you will help keep your body stronger and healthier. This will help you to enjoy your retirement more, as well as maintain independence throughout your retirement.

So what do you need to do to get the physical activity as a senior citizen? Here’s what I recommend, which coincides with what the CDC advises:

  • Option one. Get 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity, as well as do muscle strengthening exercises at least two days per week. Moderate exercises include brisk walking.
  • Option two. This option is to do 75 minutes per week of intense aerobic activity, combined with at least 2 days per week of strength training exercise. Intense aerobic activity includes running or jogging.
  • Option three. With the third option you can mix up doing moderate and intense aerobic activity, as well as get 2 days per week of strength training in.

As you can see, getting regular strength training, which includes lifting weights, is recommended with every option. The strength training is important to maintaining healthy muscles and being more toned. Another important thing to note is that you can get your exercise in 10 minute time slots if you need to. Taking a 10 minute walk here and 10 minute bike ride there will add up to give you what you need throughout the week.

Show this article to your husband, make a plan, get started, and focus on living a healthier retirement!

 

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!

FOR MORE EXERCISES THAT ARE BOOMER FRIENDLY CLICK HERE

Video Ask Brian; Greek or Plain Yogurt?

Being a personal trainer who specializes in baby boomers and the creator of the popular comprehensive home video system that leads them to fitness success, I get a lot of questions sent my way. Whether they come through email, in person, or as comments on my blog, I try to take the time to answer every one of them. In this video blog segment, I am going to answer some of the most recent questions I have gotten, because I figure there are more of you out there that would also like to know the answers.

Lisa – Troy, Michigan

What is the best way to reach my fitness goals without giving up after a week or so?

This is a common complaint for those trying to lose weight or reach fitness goals. They start out on a Monday, and it seems like they are ready to start out again the next Monday, and maybe even the Monday thereafter. Somewhere along the way, they give up and stop trying to reach their goals. The best way to reach your goals is to set them first. Write the goals down and review them regularly. Then, every day do something toward helping you reach your goals. Remind yourself of why you want to reach them. If you do slack or do something that wasn’t good for reaching your goals, quickly get back on track.

Bart – Las Vegas, Nevada

Help! I love to snack. I know it’s not good for me, but I still like it. What can I do so that I don’t blow my diet?

Who doesn’t like to snack? Most of us love to have a snack or two throughout the day. There’s nothing wrong with having a snack. The problem is what your snack consists of. If you are making healthy snacking choices, then you have nothing to worry about. But if you consistently make unhealthy snacking choices, you will end up sabotaging your efforts and maybe even end up gaining weight. Start out by limiting the number of snacks you have per day. It’s important to stock your home with healthy snack options so that you can reach for those every time. Try such things as apple slices with natural peanut butter, a rice cake topped with natural peanut butter, a green smoothie, a handful of nuts, or hummus with a handful of pita chips. These are tasty snacks that won’t end up making you feel guilty later.

Alaina – Hollywood, Florida

Being a senior citizen, I see all my friends want to take a seat and not exercise. I want to keep moving. They tell me I am doing too much at my age. Help, what should I believe?

First of all, congratulations for being active! No matter what age you are, it’s always a good thing to remain active. You should exercise regularly, whether you are a senior citizen or teenager. As a senior citizen, it’s ideal that you get a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio on most days of the week, plus you should add in a couple of days of weight bearing exercise to help keep your muscles in shape.

Delores – Lima, Ohio

I am finding that the older I get, the more off-balance I feel. It makes me shy away from exercise, although I know that’s not a healthy thing for me. Can you tell me how I can improve my balance so that I feel more confident engaging in exercise activities?

You are not alone. Balance issues are a common complaint with many of the baby boomers that I provide personal training services to. It’s believed that 9-10 percent of senior citizens suffer from some sort of balance issue. The good news is that whether there is a problem now or not, you can work on improving your balance. Try taking a weekly Tai Chi class, which is a mild form of martial art. It’s an ancient activity that is great for improving balance. Other good options for improving balance include yoga, one-legged standing positions, and Pilates.

Fred – Madison, Wisconsin

I am about to begin an exercise program. However, I suffer from arthritis, and I’m afraid the joint pain may prevent me from sticking with the routine. Do you have any tips for helping to protect my joints when it comes to working out?

As a personal trainer who works with senior citizens and baby boomers, I can tell you that this is a common concern that people have. The problem is that most people think that they should not exercise because the pain is present, when ideally it is the other way around. Those with joint pain or arthritis will actually benefit from maintaining an exercise program. To help protect your body, avoid over-working your muscles, apply heat for about 20 minutes before exercising, always spend 10 minutes warming up, and use slow, yet steady movements. If you have extreme pain, you should stop immediately.

Larry – Lancaster, California

I hear a lot of talk about the importance of knowing your heart rate when working out and in reaching your target heart rate. But I’m not sure what it is or how to figure it out. Can you help?

Yes! Knowing your target heart rate, and then staying with it, can help you get the most out of your workout. You can use this calculator provided by the American Cancer Society to find out your rate, as well as how to take it during and after you are finished working out.

Carol – Austin, Texas

Is there a way I can get fit without leaving my home?

 Yes! Check out my comprehensive  Boomer Fitness DVD program. It will do just that!

 

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……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Keep Rocking Your New Year’s Resolution

So you are a few weeks into your New Year’s Resolution. If you are like millions of other people, especially baby boomers, your resolutions include some important goals about fitness, weight loss, and healthy living. Nothing wrong with that, but how are you doing with them? Don’t tell me that you have given up already, like so many people do!

You know why so many people give up on those goals so quickly? Because they approach them in all the wrong ways. Rather than approaching fitness in a way that will create long term success, many people, right after the start of the New Year, will throw themselves into a routine. They work out hard, likely on a daily basis, and before you know it, they are burned out, tired, and maybe even a little bored. But one thing is for certain, many will have dropped out of the gym and moved beyond their fitness goals.

No matter where you are with your resolutions, whether you are still going along steadily or you have already forgotten about them, it’s not too late to take some steps to strengthen that resolve. Here are some things you can do to keep rocking those New Year’s resolutions you made:

Re-evaluate your goals. If you started out with them being too harsh, back it off and take it nice and slow. This will get you into a habit and create long term successful habits.

Write your goals down. That way you have to really think about them. Also, write down what you will do to make them happen.

Seek out a support system. Whether it is family members, friends, or an online fitness buddy, find someone you can discuss your goals with and can hold each other accountable.

Take the time to reward yourself for whatever little goals you may have achieved. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, reward yourself each time you lose five of it. Choose non-food rewards, such as fitness equipment, new shoes, or songs for your iPod.

Start small, but get started. Rather than thinking about what you want to do, just get started, even if it is small changes that you incorporate.

Be sure to include resistance training along with your cardio workouts. If you just focus on cardio workouts, you are not going to get the total results that you are actually seeking.

Remember that it takes around 30 days in order to create a new habit. Give yourself 30 days of following a fitness routine and healthy eating pattern. Once you do that, your resolutions should be on autopilot. You will be feeling good and working out will be a regular part of your routine!

Together, We Can Help Fight Lymphoma

I have some good news and some bad news. First, the bad news – one of my clients has told me that she has been diagnosed with lymphoma. The good news is that it has made me want to find ways to support those with the condition and help spread the news, so that others will also help provide support.

Lymphoma, if you are not familiar with it, is a name used for a group of blood cancers. These blood cancers develop in the lymphatic system, and there are two classifications of the condition: Hodgkins lymphoma and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The Hodgkins type of lymphoma is considered to be one of the most curable forms of cancer. Even so, the numbers regarding this disease are eye-opening, especially considering that most people are not familiar with it.

According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, someone is diagnosed with lymphoma every four minutes. In 2011 alone, it was estimated that over 140,000 people would be diagnosed with the condition. The majority of the people who have it are diagnosed with the more deadly non-Hodgkins type of blood cancer. It’s estimated that, every 10 minutes, someone dies in the U.S. from blood cancer.

So what exactly causes this disease? Well, like most cancers, no one thing can be pinpointed as the culprit. A variety of things can cause it, including genetic factors, medical conditions, and even environmental carcinogens. Treatment for those who have lymphoma includes prescription drugs and chemotherapy.

To show support to my client who has been diagnosed with lymphoma, I am considering shaving my head. I will also be wearing this Nike Fight Like Hell shirt, because I believe we should all try to do something to show our support. I am challenging each of my readers to do something in order to help. Not only will you be helping a fellow baby boomer, but you will also be helping all those people who are diagnosed with the disease each year.

Whether you choose to make a donation to the  Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, put in some volunteer time, or remain uplifting around those who need it, it all counts. I urge you to live your life each day to the fullest. Make it count because, like my client, you just never know when something like this is going to blindside you. Also, try to do something to help make it count for those who are in need!

 

January Fitness Fail – The Truth About the Gung Ho Approach to Fitness

By far January has to be the busiest time of year at the health clubs across the nation. Everyone wants to start out the New Year with resolutions to get fit, lose weight, and live a healthy lifestyle. That’s great, it really is! But what happens is that people usually take what I like to call a “gung ho” approach to fitness, and that isn’t exactly the best route to take!

The gung ho approach is when you have someone who has not had exercise be a part of their life and then overnight they dedicate an hour each day to it. Sounds like it might be a great thing, but in actuality, it tends to backfire. As a personal trainer I’m the gym a lot and see this happen. People start out all gung ho, working out like crazy.

Heck, you can’t even get a treadmill at the gym half the time in January because it’s so busy! Usually there’s not a free weight in site during this month either. Everyone is working out frantically, pushing their limits and hitting the gym. Fast forward to about the third week of January, and it seems like everything in the gym is available! What happened to everyone?

What happens, year after year, is that most people start out with the best of intentions and then tend to falter as time goes on. They give up, they decide it was too hard, too time consuming, or too something else. There are as many reasons for why they quit within the first few weeks as there are people who sign up to begin the gym membership each January.

The gung ho approach is all about being overly excited in getting started in fitness. While I want you to be excited about working toward fitness, I don’t want you to go gung ho on your approach. It fails, and with it, so will your goals for fitness. Instead, you need to have a plan that will be long lasting. Change little things at a time, such as the way you eat, and start working out by easing your way into it. Not everyone is at the same fitness level, or has the same goals, so not everyone can start out doing the same thing.

The best way to assess this, and get off to the right start, is to work with a personal trainer. A personal trainer will evaluate your current level of fitness, determine reasonable goals, and develop a plan to help you get there.

When you take a more reasonable approach to fitness, you are more likely to still be in the gym come February. And once you reach those goals, you need to find new ways to challenge yourself in order to remain interested and motivated. That’s another area that a personal trainer can work with you. So forget going gung ho and throwing yourself into the gym full force. Instead, have a plan that will be effective and you will be successful at!

 

 

Heart Health – Loving Yourself this February

February is known as American Heart Month. It’s a good time to raise awareness about heart issues, such as heart disease and heart attacks. Because it is such an important issue that effects so many people, it is crucial to take steps to protect your heart. The statistics surrounding heart disease are astounding to stay the least. For example, in the time it takes you to read this blog post, there will probably be four people who have a coronary event and two people who die from one.

That’s right, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every 25 seconds someone in America has a coronary event, and every minute someone dies from one. In 2011 alone, there were 785,000 people in America who had a coronary heart attack. It is the leading cause of death in the country, for both men and women. The more you know about it, and what you can do to protect your heart, the better!

Heart disease is largely a problem of lifestyle. Sure, there can be a few hereditary and other factors thrown into the mix, but for the majority of people it simply comes down to the way we live our lives and the choices we make. Here are some things you can do to love your heart and protect it, so that it helps to protect you:

Get tested. Get a cholesterol test done to see what’s going on with your arteries. It will give you information about if your arteries are clean and clear or have a build up that can be of concern. Cut back, or avoid, those foods that will raise your cholesterol, such as meat and dairy products.

Eat healthy. While you may be able to get away with having some treats here and there, it is important that the majority of time you are reaching for healthy foods. This includes whole grains, lean sources of protein, and plenty of fruits and veggies. Also be sure to watch your sodium intake and keep alcohol to a minimum.

Get active. Even baby boomers today are joining gyms, working with personal trainers such as myself, and getting fit. Doing exercise and keeping physically active is a great way to help keep your heart healthy. Aim to get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day of the week.

Avoid smoking. If you smoke, find a successful method for quitting. If you don’t, try to limit your exposure to secondhand smoke, which the CDC reports can trigger a heart attack.

When it comes to taking care of your body, you have to have heart. And getting a healthier heart, no matter what age you are now, is within reach. Don’t become a one of the statistics of people who have a heart attack. Instead, focus on what you can do to protect your heart, and start making steps every day toward achieving those goals!

 

 

5K Season is coming

5K season is coming.

I know as soon as it starts to get close to 5K season, I have notice a lot more people running outside.

It is great to see people outside and having fun but I know, well over half of them will have to stop running because of some nagging injury.

If you do not want to be the half that is injured, let me show you 3 ways to do that.

 

 

Step #1 – Start Off Slow

I know, we all know this but most of us do not follow this, but our bodies need to.

When we start running, we feel good and we think of how fast we were able to run before and we want to get back to that level right away but we need to prepare out bodies for it.

If you head out and start running at the level that you were running before, you will get injured.  Start off a notch or two slower then last year and give your body 2 to 4 weeks to build up to last year, then you can pick it up the pace.

Step #2 – It Might Be 5 K season but Your Joints Aren’t warmed up to it the idea yet

It might be 5K season but it takes a few minutes for your joints to warm up.  If you do not wait for them to warm up, you can increase your risk of injury.

At the start of your run, give your ankle, knees, and hips about 5 to 10 minutes to warm up.  You do this by running a little slower than you usually do.

This will loosen up the joints and warm up the muscles leading to a better run and less likely to get injured.

Step #3 – Little Stretch Afterwards

The debate on when to stretch has been decided, stretch after your run.

If you stretch before, it will affect how well run.

If you stretch afterwards, it will help you recover for your run and get your body ready for the next days run.

The Last Word on Running Injury Free

Now get out there and run but remember the three little tips that I gave you.

Running is such a great thing to do but being injured is not.

Remember to start off slow, warm up your joints and stretch after your run.  I know if you do these 3 things, it will keep you running all 5K season.

About the Author

Rick Kaselj is a personal trainer in Vancouver, Canada that specializes in designing exercise programs for clients recovering from injuries.  Rick has trained thousands of clients and completed his Master’s of Science degree focusing on injury recovery and exercise.  Rick shares with other fitness professionals and exercise enthusiasts, the exercises he uses to prevent knee injuries and overcome knee injuries in the Knee Injury Solution program.

For more great injury free info click here