Posture and Ab Training: The Benefits and What to Do

Posture is another one of those things that can really suffer as we age. I’ve lost count of the numbers of older people I have seen who are stooped over with seriously hunched backs. Sometimes, the reasons for this maybe due to a medical condition such as osteoporosis and other times, it is just a lack of physical exercise.

As you know, physical exercise can help us to increase bone growth and add to the strength of our bones, and that’s why it can help us ward off diseases like osteoporosis. In this article though, I’m going to focus on one area of exercise that can work wonders for our posture.

I’m referring of course to ab training.

Ab training?! Isn’t that for Ken and Barbie lookalikes?!
You mean gym rats?
Don’t I have to eat like a rabbit for abs?

No! Ab training can help ordinary people – even seniors – to develop good posture. Sure, it will also help you achieve a flat tummy, which so many people these days strive for, but even if you already have a flat tummy, you will still benefit when it comes to posture.

And posture can make you look a lot younger as well.

So let’s take a more careful look at ab training and why it’s so good for posture.

Posture is of critical importance because it is from that particular position, we do everything. If we suffer from bad posture, we actually put unnecessary and preventable stress on the other joints of our bodies. By having strong abdominals, we are doing something to improve the overall strength of the core muscles which help us to stand upright and move well on two feet. So, by strengthening our abdominal muscles, we will do a lot to improve our posture.

What to start doing today!
It’s time to get your abs to work today – and it doesn’t matter if you’ve never trained the abdominal region before. The correct approach when you’re starting out is to start out steady and slowly. Gradually increase the intensity of your exercises to feel and see the benefits.

Here are some great exercises you can start doing today in the comfort of your own home to strengthen your abs and improve your posture:

Crunches: These are awesome abdominal exercises because you can do them anywhere without the need for special equipment. To get started simply lie on the floor with your knees bent and your hands straight behind your head. When you exhale, curl your body forward enough so you lift your shoulder blades off the floor. Hold for one second and slowly return back to the floor. I recommend you do anywhere from 8-25 repetitions at a time. Do the exercises slowly so you won’t injure yourself.

Bicycle Crunches: Another really great abdominal workout is the bicycle crunch. Lie on your back with your hips bent at 90 degrees and your hands behind your head. Curl your body forward as you did in the crunch exercise before, and bring your right knee toward your left elbow. Extend your leg out 45 degrees. Do this while keeping your shoulders off the floor. Continue alternating from the left to the right by bringing your opposite knees and elbows together. If you keep both of your shoulders off the floor, you increase the tension on your abs and work them harder. You can vary the tempo and the repetitions for this exercise. If you go for slower tempo and fewer reps – around 15 per side – you are focusing more on the firming. If you work with a faster tempo and more reps – about 50 per side – you are helping yourself more with fat burning.

Get into the habit of strengthening your abdominal muscles and improving your posture today.

For more great tips on how you can exercise your abdominals and core muscles for posture improvement stay tuned or leave your questions below:)

Sleeping and Age: What Happens and What to Do

As we age, there are times when we will feel tired, lethargic and under the weather in the energy stakes. Many people experience changes in their sleeping patterns that raise their head as one ages. Sleep can become much more fragmented, we may not sleep as deeply as we used to and we may also find that we wake up more often throughout our sleep.

All in all, it can really disrupt your life if you suffer from sleep disorders, because quality sleep will help you achieve positive wellbeing.

So the big question now is:

How does our sleep change as we age?
Well one thing to note is that age alone isn’t the reason why so many older people suffer from sleeping problems. Often it is due to poor sleeping habits, medications, sleep disorders that have not been treated and other medical problems.

Here though are commonly experienced sleep problems older people face:

• Difficulty getting to sleep
• Waking up frequently throughout the night
• A lighter sleep than normal
• Waking up tired
• Wanting to go to bed very early in the evening
• Feeling sleepy during the day
• Needing daytime naps

Often the reasons for the above sleep problems are:

• Poor sleep habits: This is the most common cause of sleeping problems in older people. Older people often sleep irregular hours, they sleep too often during the day and they may drink alcohol before bedtime. All of these contribute to poor sleep.
• Medications: It’s no surprise that older people take more medication than younger people, and some of the side-effects of drugs can cause sleeping problems.
• Pain or illness: This can really wreak havoc with sleep in the older population.
• Lack of physical exercise: Older people who do not keep physically active tend to feel sleepy all the time or they may not feel sleepy at all. Either way, it can really get in the way of a good sleep.
• Psychological issues: Stress or other disorders can increase anxiety and impair sleep. E.g. big life changes such as the death of a loved one, can cause great stress and impair sleep.
• Sleep disorders: Insomnia, sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome (RLS) can also cause problems with sleep.
What you can do now to improve sleep
The best thing you can do right now is get active both physically and mentally!

 Do a bit of reading each day and engage your mind: Get your mind thinking and you will increase your wellbeing.
 Get active: Physical activity is great! It will get you feeling so much better about yourself, thanks to the endorphins that will flood throughout your body and you will feel much more relaxed when it comes time for bed.
 Enjoy a healthy diet: Good nutrition is good for your physical health and wellbeing – and helps you to sleep well too.

Don’t do nothing! Remember your wellbeing and physical health requires you to sleep well, so start adopting the above mentioned healthy habits today.

USA Health Care Crisis and Preventative Health Care

America is currently in the middle of a health care crisis! It is quite alarming to realize that the amount being spent on USA’s health care is rising at a rate that is quicker than inflation with an excess of 2.3 trillion dollars being spent on health care a year!

Barack Obama’s controversial health care package is unfortunately very likely to make things a whole lot worse. One essential area that was left out of this reform was preventative health care. It appears that the president did not look further into this essential form of health care, which will have number negative outcomes.

Let me explain why

This issue of this has a lot to do with the significant number of the aging baby boomer population. Baby boomers are those who were born between 1946 and 1964. This number makes up around a quarter of the population of the United States of America, which is a significant percentage. The problem starts to unfold when you realize that an estimated 78 million people are set to reach the age of 65 in 2011. This number will continue to rise over the next 18 years with 3 or 4 million people reaching the age of 65 a year.

Outcomes

As soon as this large population number turns this significant age, they will automatically become eligible to receive government health care benefits. Medicare is currently setting taxpayers back more than 230 billion dollars a year and this will only get worse and drive up health care costs to phenomenal figures!

Within this aging population of baby boomers, comes the increased appearance of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and respiratory diseases which all happen to be preventable illnesses! Around 20% of patients in the United States suffer from diseases that can, in most cases, be successfully prevented. This 20% of people also happen to contribute around 80% of the health care costs! It is also interesting to note that most of the top 10 health problems that are experienced in the country are able to be prevented.

What is Preventative Health Care?

The current health care system is focused on treating diseases and illnesses after they have progressed to severe levels. Preventative Health Care is the execution and education of measures that assist in deterring or eliminating illness before they occur. Preventative Health Care also includes the treatment of problems as soon as they appear instead of waiting until the later stages. This often allows the condition to be treated quicker and with a reduced amount of discomfort to the patient. This type of health care is the best method of avoiding serious sickness and disease! For this type of health care to be successful healthy habits must be maintained on a daily basis. These include:

A healthy and balanced diet
Regular exercise and physical activity
Avoid alcohol
Do not smoke
Reduce salt and sugar intake
Adequate sleep
Regular medical checkups

Due to these findings it is obvious that excluding Preventative Health Care from the Health Care Package was a serious mistake that will have detrimental consequences. However, by adopting the key preventative principles you will be still be able to benefit! If you stick to these essential health measures, you will encounter a reduced frequency and duration of illnesses. It will also enable you to feel fit and healthy year after year!

Aging and Body Pains

iStock_000009735766XSmall

Do you wake up in the morning expecting to feel refreshed only to discover you’ve found yourself with a stiff and sore back or knee or hip? We’ll you’re not alone!

You may have found that in earlier years, such pain would be the direct result of a strenuous sports game or other vigorous activity but now seem to receive the same result from a short errand or light gardening.

As we age we are more prone to feeling aches and pains throughout the body. Sometimes these require medical attention. Severe inflammation of the joints, known as arthritis, is a very common condition that is experienced amongst the older population. This can cause tremendous pain but luckily there are many avenues for treatment and relief available, with the help of a doctor.

Most times, general aches and pains can be dealt with at home with fantastic results!

Prevention

Before I continue, it must be said, that prevention is better than cure! Sure, aging and aches are inevitable, however, these pains and stiffness can be greatly reduced if your body continues to stay physically active! I’m not talking about running a marathon but am referring to gentle walking or other non strenuous activities to keep your body flexible and therefore less prone to injury and pain!

Pain Relief

Stretching

Activities such as Pilates and Yoga are a wonderful and gentle exercise program that increases strength, tone and flexibility. With increased flexibility, comes reduced risk of injury! These exercises are also renowned for their stress relieving effects!

Massage Therapy

A good massage not only relaxes and relieves muscle pain but is also a highly effective stress reliever! Massage is ideal for dealing with chronic pain.

Products

A trip to your local chemist will provide you with a range of products that are readily available to ease the discomfort of body pain. Topical analgesic creams and muscle relaxants provide tremendous relief for cramps and aching joints. Many doctors recommend the use of anti-inflammatory medication to relieve severe muscle pain. However, this should be used with caution and with the guidance of a doctor due to its slight blood thinning effect.

Holistic Medication

With the increased awareness of chemical and medicinal side effects, more and more people are turning towards holistic alternatives and have found great results! Many people swear by nutritional supplements, TENS therapy and seek relief through Acupuncture and Chiropractors.

If you are concerned about unusual aches and pains, seek advice from your doctor.

Healthy Eating on the Go…And Getting What You Need

iStock_000005673431XSmall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No doubt you value the importance of losing weight and maintaining a healthy body weight.  In this day and age though, is it really possible to eat on the go and still get what our body needs?

Many people in their quest to lose weight and maintain a healthy body weight turn to the ever popular meal replacement.  Meal replacements have been with us awhile now and that doesn’t look like changing anytime soon.  Today’s supermarket shelves are loaded with drinks, powders, biscuits, shakes, bars and soups – all of these are meal replacement options.

But when it comes to meal replacements, are they really the way to go?

Well, you certainly can lose weight using meal replacements, but at the end of the day, they won’t teach you how to eat a healthy, balanced died.  I mean, do you seriously want to spend the rest of your life (that is how long you want a healthy body weight, right?) substituting two or three meals a day with a meal replacement?  And do you really want to spend the money that expensive meal replacements cost for the rest of your life?

At the end of the day, I encourage people to commit to a lifestyle change that involves a balanced, healthy diet and daily exercise.  That’s all you need to achieve the healthy body weight you should be.

But even then, with your healthy balanced diet, are you still getting everything your body needs?

Today, many people take fish oil and multivitamins, in order to get what their body needs.  I am a big believer in fish oil and multivitamins.  I’ll explain by telling you what the benefits of each are.

Fish oil helps:

 Prevent diabetes;

Prevent age-related eyesight decline;

Prevent impaired brain development and vision in children;

Prevent sudden cardiac-related death;

Prevent irregular heartbeat;

Prevent some forms of cancer;

Prevent stroke;

Prevent pregnancy complications;

Prevent age-related enlarged prostate in males;

Prevent and treat Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Systemic Lupus and other inflammatory conditions;

Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease;

Reduce fatty food cravings;

Maintain healthy weight; and

Improve skin, hair and nails.

According to experts, we should take 6 grams of salmon oil per day with food.  You would have to eat a lot of fish to get this dose each day, and to eat that much may result in consuming too much mercury.  By taking a supplement of salmon oil, you know you are getting what you need each day.

As for multivitamins, according to experts, daily multivitamins will improve our general physical and mental health – and improve our wellbeing as well.  Multivitamins basically prevent us suffering from any deficiencies when it comes to vitamins.  In pregnant women, multivitamins can help decrease the risk of passing malnutrition on to her unborn child.  And in most people, multivitamins will help reduce stress and energize us.  They can also reduce the risk of cancers and cardiovascular disease.

So what is my take on all of this?

Well, I recommend you enjoy a healthy, balanced diet every day, and if you so choose, you can enhance your health and wellbeing by taking daily supplements of fish oil and a multivitamin.  Avoid meal replacements, and put your energy into a healthy, balanced diet.

It is always a good idea to discuss nutritional matters with your doctor, so make an appointment today to discuss your nutritional needs at length – and get the tailored guidance you need.

No Time? NO Excuse!

watch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sure, so many of us want to get fit, we want to get healthy and we want the fit body.  But so many of us come up with every excuse NOT to do the exercise we need to do, to achieve it.

When it comes to exercise, as a personal trainer, I’ve heard all the excuses!  But up there with the best is the excuse of not having enough time.

They say to shoot for 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day 3-5 days each week for weight loss and health benefits.  Now, that isn’t really a lot of time when you think about it(less then 3% of your total time if you think about it), but still, people cry and complain on about not having the time for that.

If that’s you and you find it a struggle fitting half an hour into your schedule 3-5 times per week, listen up.  Your luck is about to change…or is it?

No time is NO excuse anymore!  It’s all thanks to findings coming out of London.  In the UK, some experts say that you can squeeze (wait for it), an entire week’s workout into (sit down for this one)…less than an hour!

That’s right!  Less than an hour!  There goes your excuse of having no time, because it’s just not an excuse anymore.

So how is it possible to do a week’s worth of exercise in just under an hour?

It’s all thanks to a little thing called interval training.  Interval training was initially developed for Olympic athletes.  Basically it involves intense exercise in short bursts, and originally, it was thought to be too intense for normal people of low to average fitness levels.

Further research though in recent years has found that interval training can in fact help not-so-fit people – even older people and those with health problems – lose weight and get fit.

So what does intense interval training actually involve?

Basically, it involves you working very hard for just a few minutes, with rest periods in between these few minute bursts.  The research over recent years has involved intense running or biking, but intense interval training can also include activities like swimming or rowing.

Exercise Expert, Jan Helgerud from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology recommends trying four sessions lasting four minutes each – with a recovery time of three minutes between the sessions.

So, how do you feel after this intense exercise session?

According to Helgerud, “You should be a little out of breath, but you shouldn’t have the obvious feeling of exhaustion”.

Interval training will help you see results a lot faster, but it’s important that you stick to the routine, like everything.  Interval training will work wonders for your fitness levels, by doubling your endurance and improving your oxygen use and strength by more than 10 percent.  Speed can also be increased by 5 percent.

The short, intense bursts of activity are just what your body needs to build your muscles which will create a higher metabolism for you.  That means your body will burn fat and carbohydrates for hours after your few minutes of exercise.

So you can imagine the positive effect this will have for you once it becomes second nature.

I recommend you do the four minutes of intense activity for four minutes at a time, with the three minute recovery between each session.  Do this at least once per week, and combined with a healthy, balanced diet, see the great results that will come about.

If you enjoyed this article.  Meet with a local 24 hour fitness trainer to create your very own specific interval plan today.

No time is NO excuse!  You CAN set aside 25 minutes in one week!

LET US KNOW YOUR FEEDBACK.  WE LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU.

In it for the long haul!

successlonghall

 

 

 

 

 

Just recently I read a really inspirational story about an ordinary lady by the name of Linda Pottinger.  Linda’s story featured on the USA Today website, and like you, she too is in the process of dropping weight.

Already she has gone from 178 pounds down to 158 pounds – and her approach has been simple.  She has made lifestyle changes, and she is dedicated to sticking to it.

In the past, like many people, Linda found that she just wasn’t getting anywhere in her mission to lose weight.  That’s because she expected immediate results.

Immediate results to drop the pounds is what the diet industry has promised decade after decade.  All of these promises of losing weight without having to make changes to diet and fitness is what the diet industry has churned out, in an effort to suck people in!  Everybody wants a quick fix without too much effort – and that’s why the diet industry makes such outrageous promises!

As a personal trainer, I know just how crazy this belief is.  There just isn’t a magic pill to losing weight loss and there never will be.  You have to put the effort in and change your lifestyle.  There’s just no other way to do it.

So how do you actually do it?

Linda does what I recommend my clients do, and this is all there is to it:

  • Create a calorie deficit:  You need to ensure that you burn more calories than you consume.  For weight loss, experts typically say 1500 calories per day is fine.  By exercising 30-45 minutes per day, doing exercise that gets you sweating will help you to drop about 0.5-1 pound per week.
  • Keep a food log:  Keep track of how many calories you consume per day by creating a food log.  Record what you eat and how many calories you consume in one day.
  • Keep active:  Do at least 30-45 minutes of moderate physical activity each day, to burn calories and create that calorie deficit.
  • Have a real purpose for weight loss:  Ask yourself why you want to lose weight and what it will mean for you to lose the weight.  Focus on the reasons first thing in the morning and the last thing you do before going to bed.  Keep your purposes fresh in your mind and remind yourself of them when you feel lacking in motivation.
  • Ensure you stick to your healthy schedule even when you’re away:  Linda travels a lot with her work, but she always ensures she fills her days with plenty of extra exercise walking around the airport and eating fresh fruit and vegetables as snacks.  It’s really not that hard to stick to this once you make the decision to lose the weight.

Remember, once you make the decision to lose weight you must stick to it.  There is no other way around it.  Make it fun and see the healthy diet and exercise as something to enjoy – not something to struggle and endure.  It’s all about lifestyle change and making the most of your downsizing experience.

As soon as you really understand and accept the fact that there is no quick fix to weight loss, you will set out to make changes to your lifestyle.  All it takes is 30 days for you to replace bad habits with healthy ones – and that goes for diet and exercise.

So if you get started today, in about one month’s time you should be well on track to achieving a healthy lifestyle for life!