What Baby Boomer’s Should Focus on When it Comes to Fitness

As a personal trainer who works with a group of baby boomers in the Vancouver, Washington area I get asked a lot of questions. One of the most common questions I hear from people is that they are a baby boomer and they want to know what the most important thing is that they should be focusing on when it comes to having a fitness plan. It’s a question that I love to answer, because it let’s me know you are headed in the right direction!

First of all, let me say congratulations! If you are asking that question it means you are interested in improving your level of fitness. It is never too late to take control of your fitness, whether you are a baby boomer or not. There are so many benefits to being active in exercising and trying to be healthy. By being physically active you can help to prevent or delay the onset of disease, help to maintain your independence as you age, improve your strength and balance, and much more. In fact, research shows that those who are active reduce their chances of developing heart disease.

Now you that you know the benefits of a baby boomer getting fit, here are my personal recommendations for getting started:

  • See the doctor. You have probably heard this before, but it’s true and has to be said. Before you begin taking on an exercise or fitness program it is important to make an appointment with your doctor. You want to make sure you are physically well enough to take on getting fit at this time. Your doctor may want to do a few tests, including for bone density, as well as do a fitness assessment. This is an important step and should not be ignored.
  • Focus on mobility. Focusing on mobility is important in so many areas of your life as a baby boomer. You will want to have quality movements, including engaging in daily activities that involve pain free things you love to do. This will help you prevent injury strains, tears, and pulls.
  • Seek strength. Feel like you aren’t quite as strong as you used to be? You are right! It is estimated that people lose around 30 percent of their strength between 50 and 70 years old. This makes it that much more important that you engage in strength training. The loss of strength will impact your life in many ways, including in doing the things you enjoy and in being independent.
  • Build balance. As people age many of them experience balance issues. Many of them are related to problems such as vertigo, disturbances of the inner ear, and falls and injuries. Having balance issues can keep you from enjoying doing a lot of things, but it can also make life more dangerous, as you will be more prone to falls. You can help improve balance by getting off the machines, do more standing movements, and engage in something like Tai Chi.
  • Consider body composition. It is important to know what healthy is and what it looks like. It is equally important to have a healthy lifestyle, rather than just focusing on your diet. It’s about changing your mindset and personal identity to one that focuses on wellness and fitness.

So there are the top things that I think every baby boomer who is getting started with fitness should focus on. Once you do that, you will be well on your way to becoming fit. Whether you are in the Vancouver, Washington area, or beyond!

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!

 

Tips for Getting Rid of Back Fat

As a personal trainer, I work with people who have a variety of areas they want to target for toning and weight loss. One that I come across with both men and women is that of back fat, otherwise known as “back boobs” to some people. If you suffer from back boobs, or back fat, there are some things you can do to address it and like what you see back there!

It’s important to note that some women who may have fat hanging over their bra, making it look as though they have back boobs, may just need a better bra size. If you are wearing a bra that is not fitted properly, it will give you a look of having back boobs. However, even with a properly fitted bra, many women have back fat that they would like to lose. Men also experience this problem, so all the exercises are good for both men and women baby boomers.

Here are some exercises you can do to get rid of back fat:

  • Aerobic exercise. When you are doing cardio, you are burning calories, and that will assist you in reducing back fat. Engage in aerobic exercise most days of the week, for at least 30 minutes at a time.
  • Rowing. Whether you are using a rowing machine or you go kayaking, it will use muscles that will help to strengthen and tone the back.
  • Back extensions. Use an abdominal ball to do back extensions. Lay your abdomen on the ball with your feet on the floor, put your hands behind your head and slowly raise the chest up, holding it for five seconds at a time.
  • Floor exercises. You can do some floor exercises that will help address back fat, making it easy to do even when you travel. Simply lay face down on the floor and put your arms and legs into a Y position. Raise your arms, palms facing you, and hold it for 10 seconds at a time. Relax, and repeat a dozen times.

If you work out at the gym, there are additional exercises you can do with free weights and weight machines that have been designed to address the back area. Working with a certified personal trainer, you can address these areas that you need to target, and they can put together a routine that will work to help you meet our goals. Alternatively, you can check out my comprehensive video program, which has been designed to help baby boomers meet their fitness goals.

Having back fat may not be something people like, but the good news is that there is something you can do to get rid of it. Taking the time to address it will make you feel a lot happier and more confident. Do these exercises a couple of days per week, and you will be seeing the results you want!

 

Shopping Cart Revisited – Keeping Healthy Foods On Hand

If you are like millions of other baby boomers who are trying to lose weight or get in shape, you know how important it is that you keep what you eat in check. Problem is, while we all seem to know that, we don’t all take the steps to ensure that we will reach for healthy foods when we are ready to eat. In order to have healthy foods when it’s meal time, we need to put them in our cart while at the grocery store!

What you shop for makes a huge difference in your fitness and health goals later on. As a personal trainer, I have worked with many people who sabotage their efforts by getting really hungry and then reaching for anything to eat. That anything often turns out to be food that is less than healthy, thus setting them back, if done on a regular basis.

One of my clients texted me one day to ask if something they had on hand was okay for them to eat. That food just so happened to be pizza rolls! Another one of my clients texted me a picture of a hot dog and asked if that would be acceptable to eat. As you can imagine, I said no on both accounts. But I wouldn’t have had to if they had bought healthy food to begin with. Honestly, folks, it all starts with the selections we make at the grocery store.

There are many reasons that you need to shop the perimeter of the store and make sure that what you put in the basket is going to help you reach your fitness and weight loss goals, not inhibit them. Not long ago I did a whole segment on what you should put in your cart, which you can view here. So why should you shop smart to begin with? It’s simple:

  • Having only healthy food on hand will ensure that when you get hungry you eat healthy.
  • Getting used to eating healthy food will give you more energy, help you reach your fitness and weight loss goals, and keep you feeling great.
  • While you are working on the outside of your body, the food will be helping the inside become healthier.
  • With healthy food in the pantry, you are less tempted to fill up on things that you will regret eating later.

The bottom line, for senior citizens and everyone else who is out to be healthy, is that if we don’t have healthy foods in the cart, we won’t have them at home, and then we won’t eat them. When that happens, we won’t be happy with the results we see at the scale, when we get our blood laboratory work, or when we look in the mirror. So make it a goal this week, and every week, to let your health quest start at the grocery store, with what you put into your cart!

CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO EXERCISE WHILE EATING HEALTHY……

Alkaline Eating: Why It’s Good For Baby Boomers

If you are like most baby boomers you are looking for a way to eat healthier on a regular basis, and perhaps even shed a few pounds. Doing this, by the way, will help to improve your overall quality of life and most likely add years to it as well. If you search around for diets you are bound to come across the latest fads. But there is one diet, alkaline eating, that is an effective route to helping people over 50 live a healthier life.

As we digest foods they can either turn more acid or alkaline once they break down in the body. Those that break down and become acidic may in turn lower the pH level in our blood. A lower pH level can lead to health problems, including diseases. Therefore you want to keep it at a healthy level. A pH level above 7.0 is considered to be alkaline, while a pH level that is below 7.0 is considered to be acidic.

Having a more alkaline pH level can provide your body protection from some diseases, ease joint pain, and it can keep you feeling great, even long after the age of 50. So just what is an alkaline eating style, or alkaline diet? It’s essentially a vegetarian diet.

Foods that are acid are those that we already know are probably not all that good for us, such as white sugar, fatty meats, and white flour. We already know that if we eat these foods in large quantities that it will have an impact on our health. On the other end of the spectrum, we know that eating our fruits and vegetables is healthier. Alkaline foods include fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts, soy, etc. They are plant based foods that mothers everywhere have been trying to get their kids to eat for decades.

Eating an alkaline diet means including more of these healthy foods on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean you need to completely give up those other foods you enjoy that may be acidic. But it does mean that it’s important to eat them in moderation. Generally speaking, if you are going to follow an alkaline diet you will want to keep the acidic foods to around 20-30 percent of your total intake. It’s also important to drink plenty of water.

If you do get started with an alkaline diet, ease into it to help give yourself a smoother transition. Making the switch overnight can be difficult, and taking in all the additional fiber from the new diet when you are not used to it can cause a little gas pain. So transition to an alkaline diet, adding more of the good stuff and taking away some of the not-so-good stuff gradually. And don’t worry about being perfect. It’s okay if you still have a little sugar, white flour, or meat here and there. Just know that by eating a mainly alkaline diet over the age of 50 you will be doing your body a lot of good!

 CLICK HERE TO GET ADDITIONAL INFO ON HOW TO KEEP YOUR ENERGY UP……

10 Tips for Baby Boomers When Training for a Hike

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

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

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

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

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

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

TO LEARN HOW TO HIKE BETTER CLICK HERE…..

Going After the Enemy – The Silent Killer, Part II

In my last post I shared information with you about the silent killer, otherwise known as hypertension. If you are familiar with the term high blood pressure, then you know exactly what hypertension is. It’s known as a silent killer, and one that we can take on and win!

As a personal trainer, I am going to share with you what I tell clients. There are few things that a good exercise routine can not make better. Hypertension, believe it or not, is one of those things. Keeping a regular exercise routine can help you improve your blood pressure numbers, which will help you be healthier and help avoid being another hypertension statistic.

So here’s a few pointers to keep in mind when it comes to exercising and blood pressure:

First off, it’s important to remember that you cannot exercise if you forget to take your medication. It’s essential that you remember your medication, if you are taking a prescribed one for high blood pressure.

Checking your blood pressure to get your reading is essential. Ideally you should be doing it before, during and after exercise.

If you are exercising and see that your systolic number goes above 250 or the diastolic goes above 110, stop exercising immediately.

Keep in mind that if you take blood pressure medication it is going to have an impact on your heart rate, due to the beta blockers. They slow your heart rate, which means you may not be able to reach your target heart rate, despite your best efforts.

You should also avoid exercises like isometric decline positions and putting your arms higher than your head.

As for the amount of exercise you should be doing, stick to doing cardio exercise 3-7 days per week and aim to burn around 2,000 calories. Try to stick to an intensity level of 40-70 percent VO2 maximum. When you are biking, walking, or hiking, you have a variety of cardio options to choose from. Also, be sure to include circuit training, as well as flexibility training three days per week. Try engaging in Tai Chi, which will be quite helpful.

Knowing is half the battle, right? And now you know! I know you are a baby boomer, but it’s never too late to take action, especially when it comes to making yourself healthier. I work with clients on a regular basis who are senior citizens and are ready to get their health under control. It’s never too late! You can win the war on this silent killer. It’s a matter of making lifestyle changes and sticking with them!

 ARE YOU READY TO TAKE YOUR FITNESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL?  CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.

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!

WANT TO LOOK AND FEEL LIKE YOUR 30’S??!! LEARN HOW ……

Going After the Enemy – Taking on Diabetes!

So you have been told you have Type II diabetes, now what? Well, like other health issues, the more you know, the more you are able to take on that enemy and succeed in beating it! Diabetes is an issue that is plaguing more than just the baby boomers of the country. It’s becoming a widespread problem, one that we need to get a handle on. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 26 million Americans now have diabetes. And what’s scary is that 7 million of them don’t even know it!

When it comes to the baby boomer generation, nearly 11 million people have diabetes, or nearly 27 percent of the population. The problem with diabetes is that it robs you of your quality of life. It is a major factor in heart disease and stroke, can lead to kidney failure, amputations, and even blindness. It’s the seventh leading cause of death in the country as well.

Type I diabetes used to be called juvenile-onset diabetes and accounts for about 5 percent of all cases. It’s a type of diabetes that typically affects children, leaving them in continuous need of insulin delivery, by injection, in order for their glucose levels to be regulated.

Type II diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes. Today these names have been changed some because as our lifestyles have become more unhealthy, even children are getting the type of diabetes that used to be typical of adult onset. With this type, the pancreas loses the ability to produce insulin.

Type II diabetics make up 95 percent of all the diabetes cases in the country. And the problem is that 85 percent of those who have it are over weight or obese, issues that are closely related to the problem to begin with. Doctors may want to prescribe drugs in order to help with Type II diabetes, but the truth of the matter is that this is something you can take on and win all on your own!

The real drug that you need is a combination of diet and exercise, whether or not you are taking a prescription medication. Exercise, which acts as an anti aging drug, helps to control blood glucose, as well as improve insulin sensitivity acutely and chronically by building muscle and decreasing body fat. It also helps to reduce the risk of diabetes other sneaky friends – high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Exercising also gives you a better outlook on life. Your hormones will be doing better, you will feel better, and your demeanor will be more pleasant as well. If you stick with an exercise and diet plan, your doctor may need to re-adjust your insulin dosages in order to prevent hypoglycemia, a condition when your blood sugar level drops too low. Hypoglycemia symptoms include dizziness, light headedness, and confusion. It’s a serous condition that can lead to a coma.

If you have diabetes, be sure to speak with your doctor about implementing lifestyle changes to help combat it. Your body will thank you for it, and you will feel great as a result!

READ PART 2 HERE

WANT THE HEALTH AND VITALITY

AT THE AGE OF 45-65

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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!