Dig Into Strength: How Baby Boomers Can Improve Strength

Do you have difficulty walking up the steps? What about making dinner? If you find these things a lot more difficult than you used to it is time to take action. Believe it or not, you can get your strength back, even as a baby boomer. You do not have to take a loss of strength sitting down. Now is the time to stand up and fight… now is the time to dig in!

As a personal trainer in Vancouver, Washington who helps numerous baby boomers I address the strength issue on a regular basis. Yes, it’s true that if you do not work at it you will lose strength as you age. In fact, you will lose about 30 percent of your strength in the years that follow turning 50 years old. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can get that strength back, but it takes you being proactive in making it happen.

Many people think that you only hit the gym and lift weights if you want to be a body builder. Not so! The strength training that you will do in the gym will help you be able to climb those stairs better, or make it easier to tackle making dinner. You can use free weights, elastic bands, or exercise machines. The key is to have some resistance, because that resistance is going to help you build and maintain your muscle mass.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to increasing your strength:

  • Make sure you start with mobility. Without first focusing on improving your mobility you will find it difficult to take on the next step of strength training. Once you have addressed the mobility issue you are ready to move on.

 

  • Get a program to help you increase your strength level. The key here is that you have to make sure it is focusing on your weak areas. If you cannot identify them work with a personal trainer so you get the results you are after.
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    Use a progressive overload approach, which will keep your body from bulking up or getting bigger. Instead, you will set goals of getting stronger and focus on meeting them.

 

  • Take action. This is the most important part. You can talk all day long about what needs to be done and why, but it will be worthless if it is not put into action. If you want to see results you must get a program and put it into action.

Getting older does not have to mean getting weaker. You can stop the loss of muscle and gain some strength back again. But you have to be proactive in making it happen. Whether you work with me, through my Vancouver, Washington personal training for baby boomers, or you do it with someone else, your strength training goals can be achieved. They also make a big difference in your quality of life, making them a goal worth fighting for!

Dig Into Mobility: How Baby Boomers Can Improve Mobility

Mobility is not something one thinks about all that often. At least, that is, until it begins to decrease over the years. Once you can no longer do the things you used to do as easily, you may begin to think about mobility issues. The good news is that there are things you can do to improve your mobility, regardless of your age. As a personal trainer that specializes in working with baby boomers and senior citizens, I have witnessed the way being proactive can help people improve mobility.

There are numerous things that can impact your mobility, including arthritis, slowing reflexes, a decrease in the ability to stretch or bend, loss of bone tissue, and more. The loss of mobility is especially problematic for baby boomers because it can not only hinder your ability to do the things you love, but it can also lead to you losing some independence. If you are a baby boomer who wants to stay independent and continue doing things for yourself it’s time to get serious about improving your mobility.

Here are a few of the principles that you should follow when it comes to mobility. These are principals that I share with many of my personal training clients:

  • Make it daily. Working on improving your mobility is not something you can do once in a while and then expect to see results. Rather, you have to make a commitment to improving it and then being proactive to get there. You have to work on mobility exercises on a daily basis. This includes getting daily exercise, stretching, and living a healthy lifestyle.
  • Try different methods. Stretching is a good way to help improve mobility. But you also need to know the right kind of stretches you should be doing (which is why you should be working with a personal trainer). However, if you feel stretching is not doing enough for you, try something else. Other methods to try are to include using a foam roller, getting massages, art, structural integration, tennis ball rolling, and partner stretching. There are many different methods to try, so there is a good chance you will find one that is going to help you improve your mobility.
  • Test and test again. It is important to know if your efforts are working. To do this, take a pre-test before you get started with the mobility exercise plan. Then, test as you go in order to see if you are gaining motion. If you are, great, then it is working as planned. If you are not, then you may need to try another method in order to get better results.
  • Take action. The best way to take action is to meet with a personal trainer, such as myself on a weekly basis. When you do that you will get a plan that will work for you, the results will be tested, and you will see and feel the difference it makes. A personal trainer will help identify weak areas and exercises to strengthen them.

If you are feeling down about a loss of mobility it is important to understand that it doesn’t have to stay like that. You can take measures to help make improvements. But if you ignore it, the problem will get worse and it will keep you from being as happy. Take the steps now to make improvements. Before you know it you will have improved your mobility and will be feeling great. If you are in the Vancouver, Washington area I will look forward to hearing from you. If you are not, seek out a personal trainer that specializes in working with baby boomers or senior citizens, so that you get the best possible results.

Going After the Enemy – Obesity

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips for Exercising in the Cold

Q. Brr! It’s that time of year again. I like to add in a couple of days per week where I take power walks outdoors. It is nice to be outside in nature, and we don’t live where we get snow, which makes it easier. However, I wonder if there is anything I need to do differently when exercising in the cold. I appreciate your input on this issue.

A. Welcome to winter! Getting outdoors for some of your workouts is a great way to break things up, as well as to gain the many benefits that come from being out in nature. You mentioned that you don’t live where there is snow, so that makes it even easier to continue getting outdoors as it gets colder.

There are many people that jog, walk, and bike ride outdoors in the winter, among other activities. There are a few things you may want to keep in mind when it comes to exercising in the cold, including:

  • Dress in layers. You may start out the door and it’s cold, but after you get moving you will probably warm up. Try to dress in a couple of layers, so that if you do warm up and need to cool off, you can peel a layer off and carry it with you.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel really cold and it is not comfortable, it may be time to take your workout indoors. Pay attention to how your body feels.
  • Warm up. Just like when you work out indoors, it is important to warm up before you get started. Your muscles need to get warmed up in order to perform optimally and help protect yourself from injury. You may even want to warm up while you are still in the house. That way the colder weather is not a shock to you and possibly make it more challenging to get warmed up.
  • Know when to rest. During the winter months people often have more colds and don’t feel as well. If you have a day where you don’t feel well, take the day rest and move your work out to another day.

 It may be getting colder outside, but if you enjoy getting outdoors for some of your workouts, then don’t let the cold stop you. As long as you don’t have freezing temperatures, you should be able to layer up, put some gloves and a hat on, and head outside.

CLICK HERE FOR TIP ON EXERCISING

Tips for Winter Workouts

Q. I have a question for you, Brian. I just started working out over this past summer, and now winter is nearly upon us. I worry about not being able to get out to the gym as often as I’d like as the weather gets bad. What should I do?

 

 

A. Thank you for your question! I know it’s one that a lot of senior citizens have, because I specialize in working with baby boomers. I have many clients that bring this issue up to me. Depending on where you live, it may even become a major issue if where you live gets snowy conditions.

So let’s assume that winter may pose a few challenges here and there for senior citizens who need to get out to exercise. Now that we have identified it as a problem, we can consider some ways to address it, so that we can successfully get through the season. The goal is to continue getting exercise and maintain your fitness routine, even if your driveway is snowed in, or ice covers your windshield.

Here are a few things that you can do to address this challenge:

  • Be flexible. If you usually work out every Monday morning, you may need to once in while during the winter change your workout day to Tuesday morning. Since you don’t know what day may be too cold or snow to head outside, you should just agree to be more flexible over the winter, but still make sure you get your work out in.
  • Find alternatives. Let’s say that your area just got hit with a snow storm and you don’t think it’s safe to get out to exercise. This is the perfect time to turn to an alternative exercise option. Luckily there are plenty of good options to choose from, including everything from home aerobic videos to stationary exercise bikes.
  • Remain positive. The last thing you need to do is let the winter challenges bring you down. This may be all it takes to get you off track for months. Instead, remain positive and focused.
  • Go outdoors. If the weather is not too bad and it seems safe, head outdoors for a little exercise. Even on some brisk days, depending on where you are located, you can take a walk or bike ride outside in the winter.

Winter is going to keep on coming each year. But we can’t let it become an excuse for why we don’t continue our fitness and exercise program. It may pose challenges, but senior citizen or not, we need to keep going forward. And that forward, on a cold winter day, may be exercising right in the living room of your home!

CLICK HERE FOR YOUR WINTER WORKOUT TIPS

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……

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 ……