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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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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Hitting the Road: Part I – A Three Part Travel Series

If you are like most baby boomers, you like to hit the road. I’m with you! Even though I’m not in the baby boomer generation I like to do some traveling. But I also like to make sure that I stay healthy when I’m on the road. Forget thinking that you simply have to give up on all the hard work you have done to get healthy while you travel. Gaining weight on a trip doesn’t have to happen!

I’m getting ready to travel, so I have decided to do a three part series and share my experiences with all the baby boomers out there. This way you will see what a personal trainer does in order to maintain their lifestyle, while on the road. Maybe you will pick up some pointers that you can use on your next vacation.

In this first post I want to share with you what you should be doing before your travel date arrives. There’s no doubt that you are doing things like making sure you pack clothing and basic necessities, now you just need to include a few things for your health. For example, when you pack, be sure to take comfortable shoes that you can exercise in. You want to plan ahead so you can be sure to maintain being active. Here are some other things you will want to pack:

Clothing that you can comfortably exercise in.

Head phones, so that you can listen as you workout (or at least have the option to do so).

 DVDs of your favorite exercise workout. Many hotel rooms have DVD players and this will help you get in a good workout right in your room (as do laptops). Taking my system with you will give you the workout you need in just 20 minutes per day, and it has been designed with the baby boomer in mind.

Books on iPhone are a great way to pass the time while out for a walk or during your travel.

Pack a jump rope and tubing, which will give you quick access to calorie burning.

Vitamins should go in your bag as well.

Another thing you need to do before your travel date arrives is to think ahead about where you will work out. Do some quick online research for gyms in the area you will be staying, as well as inquiring about the hotel workout facilities, area walking trails, fitness activities, and their swimming pool.

The more preparation work you do ahead of time, before you travel, the better off you will be. You will be ready to make the commitment to your workout schedule, even on your vacation. Coming up next, we’ll look at what to do during your traveling.

 Want To Turn 50 And 60 Into The New 30 Learn How

Brian uses his knowledge and experience to provide the Boomer Generation with a healthy future through exercise, nutrition and a positive mind set.  With over 10 years of personal training instruction and thousands of hours dedicated to one on one individual development, Brian has merged this experience into an incredible Boomer Fitness program to guide this generation into a positive and healthy life experience.

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!

Healthy Drinks That Aren’t So Healthy After All

In our quest to get fit and be healthy, we have plenty of products to choose from today. Walk into any store, or even gas station, and the coolers are stocked with healthy drink options. But are they really so healthy? Not quite! Some products that are either being marketed as healthy, or gaining a reputation as it, are not so healthy at all, and may even be doing more damage than you realize!

Many so-called health drinks end up containing too much sugar, artificial sweeteners, and even artificial colors. These are all things that you don’t want, or need, and they may end up doing damage to your body if you reach for them long term. In fact, some may help increase the aging process. Energy drinks, for example, one can of the popular Rockstar energy drink will pump about 23 grams of sugar into you! That’s not something you want when you are trying to get healthy.

Some of the drinks you have to watch out for, that seem healthy enough, but actually are not, include:

Energy drinks

Vitamin water

Diet soft drinks

Any type of “diet” drink

Fruit juice (many appear as juice, but are only 10 percent juice and have high fructose corn syrup)

Some smoothies (depends on what they put in them)

Tea

Sports drinks

At first glance these drinks seem like they would be healthy enough. What’s wrong with tea, after all? Tea is very healthy for you and loaded with antioxidants. But when you buy it pre-made in a bottle or can, or you get it in some restaurants, it may be loaded up with sugar. Same with fruit juice and the other drinks, although they may contain some antioxidants or vitamins, such as the vitamin waters, they usually tend to have more sugar than you should sit around consuming.

So what should you drink? Your first best option is water! Water is the best way to hydrate your body, it is naturally calorie-free and doesn’t contain sugar. If you need a little something in it, try a lemon, lime, or other fruit slice. You could also occasionally have a mixed drink of seltzer with just a small splash of 100 percent fruit juice. Also, making home brewed tea, especially green tea, is a healthy drink, provided you don’t put a bunch of sugar in it. It has a lot of antioxidants that help to keep your body healthy!

 

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?

 

How to Stay Cold and Flu Free So You Can Keep Training

It’s that time of the year when millions of people will come down with colds and the flu. So that means it is also the time of year for you to take extra precaution in order to help protect yourself. The viruses that cause cold and flu are all around, but there are things we can do in order to help avoid them and stay healthy. And when we stay healthy it means we can keep up with our workouts!

 

Here are some things you can do to avoid getting colds and the flue this year:

Wash your hands frequently. Germs are everywhere, and those germs contain the viruses that will make you sick. Become a frequent hand washer, making sure to wash for 20 seconds each time. Also, be sure to keep your hands away from your nose and mouth as much as possible.

Exercise regularly. This is one that I really like because it is just one more good reason for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Working out regularly builds your immunity and strengthens your immune system. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of cardio each day.

Some things can help to cut down on the amount of time symptoms will last, should you get them, such as zinc lozenges, Vitamin and Vitamin B complex.

Eat yogurt, as well as foods that contain phytochemicals, such as fruits and vegetables.

Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water, so that it flushes your system out.

Avoid smoking and cut down on alcohol consumption.

Take the time to relax and de-stress. Maybe add a yoga or Tai Chi class to your schedule, just to focus on relaxation, which will support your immune system. Other options to help manage stress include journaling, breathing exercises, and joining social groups, which provides a chance to laugh and have fun.

Some people opt for acupuncture as a method to help avoid getting sick. You could look into that and see what it does for you.

While there are some people who get several colds per year, there are others who haven’t had one in years. It’s usually not a coincidence that those people don’t ever get sick. Usually it is something they are doing that helps to boost their immune system and keep them healthy. The more you can do to help keep your body healthy, the more you can stay focused on your fitness goals!

First Things First: Getting Your Morning Off to the Right Start

There is no doubt that you have heard the old saying that you got up on the wrong side of the bed. You have likely either uttered those words before yourself, or they may have been said about you. The problem is that the morning can set the tone for how the rest of our entire day will go. Since it is such an important time, it is crucial that you get it off to a good start!

Starting your food with the right foot forward is easier than you may think. But it probably requires breaking a few habits so that you can create so new, better ones. If you are a baby boomer who skips breakfast or just sits around drinking a pot of coffee to get going, I have news for you. It’s time to change, for the better!

Here are some things you can do to get your morning off to the right start:

Make sure you eat breakfast. This is so important! You have to get some healthy, nutritious food in the tank before you can get going for the day. Whether you opt for oatmeal, high fiber cereal, or you make some power smoothies, make sure you eat a healthy breakfast. It can make a world of difference in reaching your health goals!

Get your workout done early. While you will still burn the calories and reap the benefits even if you do it later in the day, it’s better to do it early so that you can get it out of the way. When people plan to do it later in the day, it gives them all day to find excuses not to get it done. When you work out in the morning, you have that high calorie burn that follows, and you also have more energy.

Keep your goals handy and look at them each morning and evening. You can write them up and put them on your refrigerator or even create a vision board, where you have pictures and sayings about what you want to achieve. Put it where you will see it and remind yourself of it each day. Look at it each night before bed so that you will be focused on it when you wake up.

In the morning start your day by drinking water and green tea. Both will give your body exactly what it needs to get going and be healthy. And avoid putting a bunch of sugar in your tea, or you will void out the healthy benefits.

If you don’t think that making your morning great will do much, I challenge you to give it a try for one or two weeks. Once you try it out for that long notice how you feel. If you feel better, have more energy, get your workout in more often, etc., then continue on. My guess is that if you give this a try, it will become a long time healthy lifestyle change!

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!

 

Need some motivation? Check out Nike+ FuelBand!

As a certified personal trainer who works with a range of baby boomers seeking to improve their fitness level, I am always on the lookout for those tools and tips that will help give them an added edge. With the Nike+ FuelBand, I think I may have found a great option!

The Nike+ FuelBand is a concept that many people, baby boomers as well as others, who want to reach fitness goals have needed for a long time. It is a new fitness tracking device created by a leader in the fitness industry, Nike. While there may be other fitness tracking devices on the market, the Nike+ FuelBand is well worth considering.

The Nike+ FuelBand looks like a bracelet or watch, but what it does is actually help you get fit, because it tracks your physical activity each day. But that’s not all. Here are the main things that the band does to ultimately help you get fit:

The band tracks your activity throughout the day. It’s going to let you know how many steps you have taken, how many calories you have burned, and what amount of time you were active. For many people, this is crucial feedback in their quest to get fit.

The Nike+ FuelBand allows you to challenge yourself. Let’s say you walk 5,000 steps in one day, but you want to get up to 7,000. The band is a great tool for challenging yourself to do better than you did the day before, to meet new goals.

All of the information collected by the band can be synced wirelessly. They offer a mobile app to do this. The entire process is simple, making it that much more probable that people will actually stick with evaluating the gathered information.

The Nike+ FuelBand has been designed exactly for those who want to become more physically active, making it ideal for the baby boomer. You don’t need to be a top-notch athlete to use or benefit from this fitness-tracking device.

Overall, the Nike+ FuelBand is a quality product with a lot of promise in terms of what it can do to keep people motivated about getting physically fit. The band costs around $150, but for those that will use it, it’s worth the investment. The band gives you the daily feedback you need in order to stay on track, challenge yourself, and meet your goals!