Tag Archives: Strength training

Out of shape at 61, Fit at 90!

90 years old. His workout? 100 pushups, 100 sit-ups and 2919 steps! Cardio and strength training combined! After retirement at age 61, over the years he took up jogging, calisthenics, and hitting the local Larkspur stairs.  Not only has he become a fit senior, he’s become somewhat of a folk hero in his community along the way. It’s never too late to get in shape!

 

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Link to the Marin Independent Journal article.

You’re Going to Age (hopefully): Why Not Prepare for It?

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Take your fingers out of your ears and listen to me! You. Are. Going. To. Get. Old. Unless you don’t. Get strong now and make it easier on yourself. “Nobody wants to think about fixing the roof while the sun is shining,” says actor Rob Lowe, in a recent SF Chronicle article, as keynote speaker for an event on aging, where he talked about donning a “suit” that stimulates being in an older body. The suit includes a helmet that stifles hearing and vision; heavy, imbalanced boots; restrictive fabric that gives the effect of arthritis in the knees, hands, spine and elbows; and sleeves weighed down to imitate muscle loss. The truth is that moving around, getting out of chairs or up off the floor is harder as you get older and more so if you are carrying extra weight. On top of that, as explained in a WebMD article, beginning“…in your 30s, you begin to lose muscle mass and function, a condition known as age-related sarcopenia.”. Being active helps counteract this ongoing muscle loss.

Rob Lowe credits his youthful looks to surfing, skiing, CrossFit, running, and swimming. He, along with many of us, hope to live our golden years with gusto. Many individuals in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s are living full lives, while others are walker-users who can barely get out of a chair and ambulate. Some are active but have begun falling and, in some cases, have difficulty getting up. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in people over 65 according to the New York Times, Bracing for the Falls of an Aging Nation. To get up off the floor uses nearly every muscle in your body plus a fair amount of flexibility, not to mention putting a tremendous amount of weight on your wrists, and knees. To get up from a chair and stand takes strength in your chest, arms, gluteals, shoulders, legs, core, and ankles. The stronger you are, the less chance of these basic movements being a problem. Don’t wait until you have a crisis to start getting stronger.

How are you preparing for physically aging? I know, you’re not old yet and you’re in decent shape, lots of energy, walk on the treadmill, do Zumba, and garden. When was the last time you had a physical assessment to determine your strengths, weaknesses, and flexibility? Does your current exercise program strengthen ALL the muscles shown in this picture and include balance and flexibility exercises?

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Why not prepare to excel in aging, just as you have for other events in your life…running a marathon, getting a good grade in a class, planning a big work project, assuring your kids turn out okay. You plan ahead. You prepare. You put your heart into it. You practice. You get competitive. You envision the outcome you want. Do that now with your fitness. Make a Plan.

A personal trainer can help you. First, we will conduct a fitness assessment to find imbalances or weaknesses and then help you develop a program to address them. You can quickly begin to make changes in your strength and flexibility. Participants in my Gymformee-Introduction to the Gym class, an ongoing offering at Body Kinetics, where I work, demonstrated better balance and strength gains after just eight classes.

A testimony to the power of daily effort, this man improved his flexibility and was able to touch his toes after just 41 days of practice.Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 10.06.22 PM

 

 

TWO SIMPLE TESTS YOU CAN TRY AT HOME

 Get Up Off the Floor Test

Simply lower down to the floor, sit, and stand back up. If you are able to do so without assistance from any limbs, you score 10 points, 5 for getting up and 5 for getting down.

10 Points Possible as pictured here

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 Subtract 1 point each, both for standing up and sitting down, using assistance from a hand, knee, forearm, hand on knee, or side of leg.

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 This test not only assesses flexibility, balance, strength, and mobility, but may also be a measure of your mortality according to a study conducted by Brazilian physician Claudio Gil Araujo. These two links (Simple Sitting Test Predicts How Long You’ll Live) and (RQOW: Getting Up From the Floor) further describe the study, the test, and provide a link to a YouTube video of the original test.

Stand up, Sit Down Test

Arms crossed, touching chest, rise to full stand, return to fully seated, as many times as possible in 30 seconds. Below is an excerpt from the Senior Fitness Test Manual table ranking you with individuals your age at 95 percentile ranking. If you’re younger than 60 you can still see how you compare.

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PRACTICE TO DO AT HOME

Practice getting off the floor daily.

Sit on the floor to do something (put on your socks, eat off the coffee table, etc.) so you have to get up. Or just practice – check out this link for a “how to” .

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Using a chair or other assistance can lessen pressure on joints. If you have back, hip, wrist, or knee issues, check with your doctor first for the safest way to get up off the floor.

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Make a Habit of Getting Out of Your Chair Unassisted

Notice how you get out of your chairs during your day. Do you have the habit of using the arm rests? If so, change to standing up unassisted. Even better, do chair squats or regular squats everyday. (For knee safety, as you squat back it’s hips, not knees, first, then weight back on heels as you slowly lower; knees stay behind toes.)

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Studies show any amount of regular exercise will benefit you! If you want to get amazing results and become functionally younger than you are today, take this advice from the authors of Younger Next Year, on the secret to great health, “You should exercise hard almost every day of your life – say six days a week. And do strength training…two of those six days. Exercise is the great key to aging.”

 Take Action Now! Make a plan yourself or enlist the help of a personal trainer, but get going. Plan for six days of exercise to include:

 Components of an Overall Fitness Program

  • Strength training: two times per week
  • Aerobic/“Cardio” activities: 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity (less minutes with high intensity workouts)
  • Flexibility (Yoga, Pilates) two times per week
  • Balance: daily

 The good news is that by working hard and getting strong, you can feel better immediately and benefit for the rest of your life.

 References

Stephanie M. Lee,” Does this outfit make me feel old? It’s suppose to”, San Francisco Chronicle, Business Report, page 1, November 21, 2004  http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Ageless-Rob-Lowe-promotes-suit-that-simulates-5907449.php
Reviewed by William Blahd, MD, “Sarcopenia with Aging”, WebMD, 50+: Live Better, Longer, August 3, 201  http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/sarcopenia-with-aging?page=2
Katie Hafner, “Bracing for the Falls of an Aging Nation”, New York Times, Health Section, Page 1, November 2, 2014  http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/11/03/health/bracing-for-the-falls-of-an-aging-nation.html?_r=0
Paige Waehner, “How to Safely Get Up and Down From the Floor”, About Health, May 1, 2004 http://exercise.about.com/od/exerciseforseniors/ss/Get-Up-And-Down-From-Floor.htm?utm_source=pinterest&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=shareurlbuttons_nip
Chair squat image: Arun Shanbhag, “Knee Exercises: Chair Squats”, Aches & Joints, April 27, 2008. http://achesandjoints.org/2008/04/27/chair-squats/
Getting off floor with chair image: Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging, Health and Aging, September 2, 2014   http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/exercise-physical-activity/sample-exercises-flexibility
Body image from:   http://www.builtlean.com/2011/09/15/full-body-workout-vs-split-routine-which-is-better/
Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge, M.D., Younger Next Year, Workman Publishing Company, Inc., 2007, p. 14

Great Push Up Video

Here’s a short video demonstrating good push up form as well as how this simple body weight exercise can be a full body workout when done properly. David Jack, Men’s Health Magazine, posted these instructions.

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http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/weight-free-upper-body-workout?cm_mmc=Pinterest-_-MensHealth-_-Content-Fitness-_-WeightlessChestWorkout

Kettlebell Dead lifts Helped Her Ditch Her Walker – imagine what strength training can do for you

If there’s any chance you’re hesitating to begin strength training because of your age, your arthritis, or other maladies, think twice. Here, from today’s New York Times, article, “A Chiseled Bodybuilder, Frail Clients and a Fitness Story for the Ages”, meet trainer Martin Luther King Addo who opened a gym near senior housing and changed lives.

At 90 Shirley Friedman, new at working out, is doing squats and participating in boot camp classes.

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Mary Killoran, 86, does strength and balance exercises, like  kettlebell dead lifts, and has traded her walker for a cane and now takes long walks.

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Trainer Martin Luther King Addo is training for the National Amateur Bodybuilders Association’s Mr. Universe contest next year.

Where ever you are on the fitness spectrum, strength training can take you to your next level and open up worlds of new physical abilities.

Read the full New York Times article here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/21/sports/a-chiseled-bodybuilder-now-shaping-frail-clients.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0

Running After 20 Years Off (How Strength Training Helped)

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When a group from work, Body Kinetics Health Club in Marin County, CA, suggested running in the Marin County Half Marathon (or 10k or 5k), together as a team, I realized I hadn’t run in 20 years, since I was in my 40’s. I thought, “Well, I can certainly walk a 5k (3.1 miles) so I signed up. Before that, the only cardio I’d been doing was spin once a week, and a workout class once a week that included a cardio component. Otherwise, I was mainly strength training 2 to 3 times per week. Whenever I was required to do a jog in a class setting, like around the room a few times, I’d be dying, out of breath. My husband, Jeff, signed up with me and a couple months before the race we began slogging (a very slow jog) 5 minutes and walking 5 minutes. We had a 1.8 mile flat loop. We did this twice a week and graduated to 5 minute slog, 1 minute walk. Eventually we were slogging the whole way. Then we changed our route to a 1.6 mile loop with a long, steep hill built in. I had to do a heart rate check at the top each time because I was worried about overexerting myself, I was gasping that hard, but I never reached my max heart rate, I just reached my max pain threshhold! Initially, I had to walk on the downhill because it hurt my knees, but I worked on form, sitting back more in my stride going downhill. We got stronger. After about 6 weeks of this, I did a trial 3 mile run on the track and was pleasantly surprised that my time wasn’t too bad (12 minute pace) and I actually jogged the whole time.

On race day I was so excited. Right out of the shoot, I was panting. I couldn’t figure out why it was so much harder than the day at the track. I figured it out afterwards when I realized I finished the race with a pace of 10:09, so much faster than my practice run. Turns out I was second in the ages 60-69 women category, fifth in 60-69 men/women. I finished 99th overall out of 371 runners. Ok, it wasn’t a race with a bunch of elite runners, but I was so blown away and proud of my performance. Most of all, being able to run so well is a testimony of the benefits of strength training.  What I didn’t have in cardio conditioning, I made up for with leg power. My husband and I are continuing to run once per week. Who knows, maybe I’ll be like Harriette Thompson who ran her first marathon at age 76 (see post below)!

 

Girl Goes from Scrawny to Muscular in 100 Days

The power of daily practice. Here’s another inspirational video from the Give It 100 (giveit100.com) website. This young woman started with a poor body image feeling week and ashamed of her scrawny body. Watch this time lapse video is see where she is a 100 days later.

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Ok. The woman is YOUNG, but I’m not and I’ve experienced impressive changes to my strength. If you ask me, I’ll show you my muscles, too! Since Halloween, 2013, when I began a weight/strength training program, my body image has changed. Whether I’m at the ATM at twilight (better not mess with me!), lifting something at home, holding myself upright in better posture, I feel STRONG. This is just from a steady, progressive, weight training program practiced regularly twice a week in addition to my regular cardio or other gym workouts.  You can, too, in just 100 days!

How to Do a Perfect Squat!

This from Fit to Inspire (http://www.fittoinspire.com/), an online fitness community for women:

Certified Trainer Mary Rawles, from Body Kinetics Health Club in Marin County, California, teaches us how to do a perfect squat!

According to Mary Rawles, Certified Trainer, “The Squat is holy in the world of fitness!” Here’s a list of reasons why:

  • When done properly, squats work nearly every muscle in the body: the glutes (think tight booty), the entire core including your back, and your legs (hamstrings, quadriceps, calves).
  • Strengthening these muscles will help you function in everyday life activities such as carrying or lifting, and strong muscles will boost your performance in sports.
  • More muscle means burning more calories all day long!
  • Squats will help increase the range of motion in your ankles and hips, and actively engage core stabilizers which are important for balance.

Squatting should be preceded by a warm up.  Then find the number of squats (repetitions) you can do comfortably with good form (anywhere from 5 to 20), and then do 3 sets of these.  Gradually work to increase the number of repetitions and sets.

Body Kinetics is a Marin County health club with three locations (Mill Valley, San Rafael, Novato), offers members the opportunity to transform the way they look and feel, inside and out.  Visit their website here.

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