Baby Boomers Benefit from Weight Training Programs

Did you know that regularly doing a weight training program offers some important benefits for your health than doing cardio exercises simply can’t? It’s true! Building a strong body is essential to weight loss, avoiding weight gain, and maintaining a healthy body as you age.

Routinely I see people at the gym that get started on a new fitness routine. The first thing they do is hop on the cardio equipment. Maybe they head for the treadmill, or the stair climber, but it’s always on what they concentrate. A year goes by and I see that same person. And guess what? Their body doesn’t look any different, or they may even end up injured from overuse!

How can this be? Because they don’t do any weight training. Most people who try to use exercise to get healthy or boost their weight loss simply don’t realize the important role that weight training plays. There are some benefits that strength training programs offer that cardio programs simply can’t provide.

If you want to see a noticeable difference in your body and get healthy, you really need to add a strength training regimen to your weekly workouts. While doing cardio exercises puts you doing the same thousands of reps, you are actually putting stress on your already over-stressed joints. Weight lifting, on the other hand, will put less stress on your joints, yet it will give you comparable or better benefits.
Some of the benefits of keeping up with a strength training program include:
Building lean muscle tissue
Helping with stability and balance
Helping to prevent over-use injuries
Preventing a variety of disease, including arthritis, diabetes, obesity, depression, osteoporosis, and back pain

If you have access to a gym, you can easily do your strength training program there. But if you don’t, you can still do some weight training right at home. Look around your home and grab some common items that can be used as weights, such as cans out of your pantry, filled buckets from the garage, or gallon jugs of water. What you are lifting is not nearly as important as the fact that you are doing some strength training.

So just how often do you need to do strength training to be healthy? Just including it into your fitness routine twice per week will go a long way toward ensuring that you have a healthy body. Whether you are just starting a routine, or you have been doing one for years, now is the time to add in some strength training to ensure your fitness success!

Bringing back the passion

For any Baby Boomer out there who thinks that the passion in their relationship with their husband or wife was lost decades ago, think again! Regularly exercising together can help to bring back passion into your marriage and to reinforce why it was that you got married in the first place.

As we get older, we may develop fears that we do not look as good as we did twenty years prior. We may become tired and go through our days without much energy. As a result, we might experience a loss of passion for life and for our partners. If you do not feel good about how you look or feel, you may not be feeling good inside. And, if both you and your spouse lead relatively sedentary lives, it is probably no wonder that the sizzle died out years ago. How can you get that spark back?

First think about breathing hard together – that’s right, riding bike on a trail, running around the neighborhood, swimming every Saturday morning at your local pool or pumping iron at the gym. You can even serve as “spot” partners with your weight training. Being accountable for each other can help bring intimacy back, as you express concerns for each other as you work out. Breathing hard, sweating and seeing the results together can increase your desire, even if at first it is just from having good heart-to-heart conversations as you exercise.

As both you and your spouse become stronger, your overall endurance increases and improves. And with that comes your lovemaking stamina. You’ll be better lovers and will appreciate your bodies more because they will be stronger and leaner.

Make each workout session a date. You will giggle as you sweat. You’ll be talking and chatting the whole time. Talk about anything you’d like, and make it as ridiculously crazy as the talks you may have giggled when you courted. Seemingly insignificant exercise sessions, with all the “chit and chat” in between can lead to stronger bonds, which can ultimately put the spark back into your physical relationship.

Further, plan to cook romantic dinners together after your workouts. You’ll feel great with eating good foods, which could then create the perfect date night. Appreciating each other for that honest-to-goodness person inside helps to break down barriers that might have recently begun to fizzle.

As you exercise together, let out your honest frustrations and release all that stress together. You’ll have fun doing it and you’ll have a stronger, more passionate relationship than ever before.

Weight training increases natural testosterone

Without the use of any pills, male Baby Boomers can increase their natural testosterone levels, those very unique male hormones key to a satisfying love life. As a Baby Boomer, you can accomplish this by weight training on a regular basis. Here is a list of five powerful weight training exercises that can increase natural testosterone:

Squats: These are exercises performed using the large muscle groups in the legs. To successfully complete a squat, stand up straight and pretend you are going to take a seat in a chair. Instead of sitting, come right back up. Complete several quick sets, making sure your knee is in line with your heel each time.

Deadlifts: These are powerful moves that include a weighted bar. Stand in front of the weighted bar, bend at the knees and lift the bar with straight arms. Keep your back straight and pull yourself and the bar up using the strength of your legs, not your back.

Bench Presses: These are typical stations at gyms and work well in home gyms as well. Lay face up on the bench and push the weighted bar above your chest. It is best to perform these exercises with someone else who “spots” you to make sure the weight does not accidently slip out of your hands and onto your chest or face.

Military Presses: These are weighted exercises in which you sit down and press weights above you. Several quick reps will definitely get your heart pumping!

Pull-Ups: Yes, these are those old-fashioned and time-honored exercises in which you hold your body underneath a bar and dangle your legs so they are not touching the floor or anything else. You then pull yourself up to raise your chin above the bar, using your arm muscles to pull you up.

Baby Boomers who perform these and other similar intense weight training exercises that use large groups of muscles all at once will naturally build their testosterone levels.

Furthermore, to help build boost your weight training session and increase your male hormones, consume the right nutrients. Here is a list of five good-for-you foods and nutrients that help to improve men’s overall health, with an emphasis on reproductive and hormonal needs:

Protein-rich foods like eggs, red meat, chicken, fish and nuts

Zinc, as found in shellfish, lean beef, pork, nuts and legumes

Lycopene, as found in tomatoes, which can help to decrease the chance of developing prostate cancer

Soybeans, which are rich in isoflavones, which also help to protect prostate health and can lower the risk of develop prostate cancer
Whole grain pasta, which is also beneficial for prostate health

Getting fit with Jane Fonda

Whoever said that you can’t get fit and look great as a Baby Boomer? Well, it certainly was not Jane Fonda. Looking svelte and as beautiful as ever in her 70s, Fonda is a prime example of how taking care of yourself through proper diet and exercise can make you look and feel great at any age.

In her video “Prime Time – Fit & Strong,” Fonda provides two levels of exercises that Baby Boomers and the elderly can perform while sitting and standing with or without weights. This video suits individuals who may not have worked out in a while, have stiff joints or who are completely new to exercise. The main focus of the video is that you are moving and burning calories in a controlled, safe aerobic workout that should help you avoid muscle and joint strain or injury.

Many times Baby Boomers and those who are older may feel insecure about exercise, think it might be too strenuous or just have no interest in it and are therefore reluctant to give it a try. Throughout this video, however, Fonda maintains an encouraging tone that puts exercisers at ease. Her video will help you understand that you should not be ashamed of your fitness level but rather you should embrace the fact that you are moving and exercising. Achieving that movement is her basic goal.

Senior health is very important, and because this is an exercise video, you have control over how much or how little you want to complete in a day’s time. The two segments work on strength and flexibility, with an additional feature of how to work on your balance. Throughout the video, Fonda offers pieces of advice for a successful workout and general approach to everyday life.

As you go through these gentle workouts, you are burning calories and gaining strength and flexibility. These exercises can help alleviate joint and muscle pains and help you move around with more ease in your daily activities. As you become more familiar with the video, consider adding weights to build your muscle strength even more. Start with a light set, even perhaps a one-pound dumbbell for each hand and work up to heavier weights as you become stronger.

For any senior or boomer getting back into fitness I give this a solid A+

Please consult your physician prior to starting any new exercise program. It is always best to make sure that you are first healthy enough prior to trying something different, especially if this is the first workout you have completed in a while.

Having a job may keep Baby Boomers ticking

The large number of Baby Boomers entering retirement age this year certainly adds stress to the already-dwindling Medicare benefits and Social Security funds available to our country. On top of that stress is the fact that companies are downsizing and handing out severance packages to employees or are forcing others to retire. Whatever the case may be, if you are a Baby Boomer who still needs to work or who still wants to work, you are not alone. There are many other individuals in the Baby Boomer population who continue working well past retirement age too.

What are the reasons why a Baby Boomer would actually want to keep working past retirement? Some reasons may include truly enjoying their job, such as a die-hard gardener who works in a greenhouse well into her 80s. Another reason may be because the pay is just that good: They may be the CEO of their own family business. Others may continue working because they would otherwise be completely bored at home. And, at any rate, we are simply living longer than what our forerunners did 60 years ago. Regardless of the reason, working past your supposed retirement age may just be what is helping you to stay ticking.

When you face the mental and physical demands of your full or part time job, you are constantly working on your alertness and strength. If you maintain proper nutrition and exercise often, more than likely you will have more energy and will be better suited to continue working in your current job. And, it can also help to improve your chances of landing a new job if you decided to retire from another occupation in the past.

If you’re in better shape, you will most likely live longer and may not need to rely upon all of those Medicare benefits anyway. To help keep the Social Security funds in better check now, the government is currently looking at pushing the eligible retirement age further and further out from age 65. This may or may not be beneficial to all Baby Boomers, but if you start leading a healthy and fit life now, it may serve you well. In fact, you may indirectly help to stretch the fund out for many more years which, in the long run, would benefit everyone in the Baby Boomer population and possibly beyond. Therefore, keep exercising and eating right if you want to continue working for as long as you need to or want to.

Keeping your job as a Baby Boomer

Our country is facing some particularly hard times in the job market, especially for the Baby Boomer population. With the first of the Boomers turning 65 years old this year, companies are looking at this population to dwindle in the workforce. And, whether it is because of their age or their general health, many may be pushed into early retirement or worse yet, handed severance packages.

You may be one of those Baby Boomers who still needs to work for another five or ten years, depending on your financial situation. You may be afraid that you could lose your job because you think your employer sees you as weakening in strength and not performing with as much energy. Ask yourself: Do I want to be seen this way, or do I want to prove that I can continue in my job? Can I push myself to try harder?

The answer can be yes, as long as your physical fitness allows you to do so. One of the best ways to protect your job as a Baby Boomer and to continue serving your company with your skilled expertise is to keep your body in its best possible health and fitness. Boomers who have integrated a well-balanced approach to life through nutrition and fitness can have a better chance at keeping their jobs because their employers will still see them as viable employees.

Some of the best ways to balance your life include eating right and making time for exercise. By eating right, you will feel better and will most likely decrease your chances of developing life-altering and debilitating diseases like heart disease. Decreasing your fat intake and boosting your palette with fresh fruits and vegetables and lean protein can help keep your heart healthy and strong. As the counterpart to good nutrition, proper exercise also helps to lower your chances of diseases as it strengthens your muscles. It also can improve your mood, which as we all know can quickly set the pace at which you approach your daily activities and relationships with family, friends and coworkers. With exercise comes flexibility and balance, which can help you prevent injury at your job, especially if you have to move, lift, push or carry often in your job.

Think about your health and fitness throughout your day today. Do you want to be healthy and strong for the rest of your life? Does staying in your job help to motivate you and keep you going? If so, take charge of your life now so that you can enjoy each and every day to your fullest potential. I’m sure you won’t regret it!

Age IS just a number…but Generation Y are old before their time!

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As discussed in the previous articles, the baby boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – are actually turning back the clock!  They are becoming more youthful as they age, and not letting the year and date on their birth certificates govern the way they live, look and feel.

They are improving their lifestyles and discovering the closest thing to a fountain of youth.

But what about their offspring?  Can the same be said for them?

Sadly, the same can’t be said for the children of the baby boomer generations and their grandchildren.

The fact is…

…The younger generations are old before their time!

The world may be getting faster, and the boomer generation may be getting off the couch and into a healthier lifestyle.  But their children – the Generation X and Y’s aren’t doing enough.  They are experiencing climbing obesity and an increase in lifestyle attributed diseases like heart disease, diabetes and asthma.

More scary still though is the prognosis for Generation Z – children born in the year 2000 and after.

According to Dr. David Katz of the Yale Preventive Medicine Research Centre, “Children born in the year 2000 or later are not expected to outlive their parents.”  He attributed this shocking revelation to poor diet.

Dr. Katz went on to say that a, “poor diet in kids is more dangerous than alcohol, drugs and tobacco combined!”  He quoted this in a Wall Street Journal article in March 2005.

Now, as a personal trainer, I was totally shocked, yet unsurprised by this statement.  Sure, we all know that people really need to lift the quality of their lifestyles, but to be told that our children and grandchildren won’t outlive us is nothing short of confronting.

It’s time for action – no excuses!

If the younger generation dying before their time disturbs you, then it’s time to take action and stop this from happening.

The power is in our hands.  I implore you to do the following and encourage everybody you know to do them as well:

   Reduce your alcohol consumption (if you are of age of course!)

   Stop smoking completely (again, if you are of age)

   Cut down on excessive sleeping or under sleeping. 

   Enjoy a balanced diet

   Exercise for half an hour per day, at least 3 times per week

    Do things for your wellbeing – do things that make you feel happy

    Meditate for 20 minutes each day to refresh and revive

    Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk instead of drive

These are simple things you can start doing today to feel better and increase your longevity.  Do these things and you will notice a difference in how you look and feel – in next to no time!

And remember, you’re actually getting younger when you do this! Make it a habit and really benefit!

Beginner Weight Training 101

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Now that you know all about cardio exercise and how great it is at helping you to burn fat and lose excess weight, it’s time to talk to you about weight training and its benefits.

As a personal trainer, I help people to get the balance right when it comes to combining cardio exercise with anaerobic exercise such as weight training.  As you know, there are many activities that come under the banner of anaerobic exercise, but for the purposes of today’s blog article, I’m focusing on weight training.

Put simply, weight training is a type of strength training.  It involves exercises that help us to increase our muscles and ultimately, our physical strength by using weights.  Although cardio exercise will burn more calories than weight training, by getting the muscles working as well as the heart and lungs, you will reach your weight loss goals faster – and improve your health in the process.

Here are a few things that always get people excited about weight training:

  • For every extra pound of muscle you gain, your body will burn an additional 50 calories every single day of the week:   The more muscle you gain through weight training, the more calories you will burn.
  • Regular weight training can increase your Basal Metabolic Rate by up to 15%:  If you were to burn 2500 calories per day, weight training on a regular basis can help you burn an extra 375 calories per day.  That’s more than a chocolate bar – every day!
  • Weight training has many health benefits:  Research has proven that weight training helps improve your resting metabolism, blood pressure, gastrointestinal transit time, reduces body fat and positively affects insulin resistance.  It also reduces the likelihood of you suffering from heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

In other words, the muscle will help you keep the weight off and keep you healthier.

To enjoy the benefits of weight training, I recommend just three 30 – 50 minute weight sessions per week.  This is in line with what ACE has found. 

If you are totally new to weight training, here are a few pointers:

  • Start slowly and gradually increase the level of difficulty
  • If you don’t have a weight machine, improvise with baked bean tins, telephone directories and even some moms use their children
  • Work all muscle groups, doing 8-12 repetitions (reps)
  • Determine a suitable weight to lift by ensuring the last rep feels like hard work or that you can only do 1 -2 more reps more
  • Don’t overdo things – leave a day or two between your weight training sessions and rest easy knowing that your muscles will grow even while you are resting

For more advice on how to introduce weight training into your week, feel free to drop me a line! Let us know what you think!