Tag Archives: fitness

Fitness over 50: Overcoming a sedentary lifestyle – Harvard

I remember 20 years ago when I was in the working world, I definitely lived a sedentary lifestyle. Long hours at the office, a child at home and all the aspects of family life made it difficult for me to exercise a lot. Vedging out in the evening in front of the TV proved a welcome relief from daily demands. In addition, my motivation was elsewhere. Now that I am retired that has all changed, but I understand if you may be where I was back then.

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Here I am riding with Gabi. Cycling is a super form of exercise for both mind and body.

Blame it on a job change, a chronic health issue, or simply a loss of motivation: whatever took you away from your regular exercise routine has led to a sedentary lifestyle. But don’t assume you can jump back into the same exercise regimen you followed when you were younger. “Your body has aged, and things have changed,” says Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, clinical supervisor of rehabilitation services at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

What’s different

Age-related physical changes aren’t always obvious. “We lose muscle mass and strength as we get older, and the muscles become less flexible and less hydrated,” says Dr. Safran-Norton. Arthritis weakens joints. And vision changes, neurological disease, joint pain, or problems inside the ear can throw off your balance. Continue reading

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Do you think you are fit? – MNT

“It’s all a matter of perspective”

Who hasn’t heard that quote? But, the reason it still exists is that its applications are very widespread and persistent. Here’s how it applies to fitness and our feeling of being fit.

Exercising and staying fit is, of course, important for living a long and healthy life. However, almost 1 in 10 premature deaths worldwide are attributed to physical inactivity, according to Medical News Today.

In the United States, around 80 percent of adults do not meet the recommended levels of exercise, despite the efforts of media, school, and workplace programs.

Although the struggle to get people moving is ongoing, over recent years, another important factor has come to the fore: our perception of our own activity levels.

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Think yourself fit

Our perceived activity levels may not reflect our actual activity levels. In fact, study author Octavia Zahrt, Ph.D., says, “If you live in an area where most of your peers are really fit, you might perceive yourself as relatively inactive, even though your exercise may be sufficient.”

“Or, if you believe that only running or working out at the gym count as real exercise, you may overlook the exercise you are getting at work or at home cleaning and carrying kids around.”

A study conducted in 2007 by Dr. Alia Crum (also involved in the present research), of Stanford University in California, illustrates this surprising psychological interaction.

That study concentrated on 87 hotel room attendants working across seven hotels. Each of the participants routinely met exercise guidelines, purely through the work that they carried out each day at their respective hotel.

The researchers conducted a 20-minute intervention: in a nutshell, they informed an experimental group of workers that they were all were meeting their daily exercise needs through their physical jobs, explaining the benefits of such an active lifestyle. A control group of hotel workers were given information about recommended exercise levels but were not informed that they routinely met the required physical activity levels. Continue reading

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Fitness and health funnies

Some more flotsam and jetsam from my web wanderings. Have fun!

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Yoga is excellent. No kidding.

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Tony

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Fitness fun

Here are some visual treats that you can enjoy without fear of cramming extra calories into  your system. Enjoy!

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Tony

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Hodgepodge of health

Some fitness, some funny, some diet … hodgepodge. Enjoy!

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Tony

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fitness trackers aren’t making us healthier – Time

This week’s Time magazine has an article on why fitness trackers aren’t making us healthier. This is even as the U.S. market for wearables hits $7 billion this year.

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Duh, what a shocker! The piece quotes Eric Finkelstein, a professor at the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, who led the effort, “There’s confusion among people about a measurement tool and an intervention,” Finkelstein says. A scale counts pounds, for example, but won’t teach you how to eat less.

I have quoted the statistic in lots of posts that more than 60 percent of us are overweight and 30 percent outright obese. Time offers the following, “The U.S. has an exercise problem, with 28 percent of Americans ages 50 and over considered wholly inactive. That means 31 million adults move no more than is necessary to perform the most basic functions of daily life.”

Wow. No wonder we have a healthcare crisis. We are killing ourselves with overeating and underexercising, maybe under-moving would be more accurate.

I think this whole thing with the fitness trackers goes back to our hunger for a ‘quick fix.’ How can I drop those extra pounds in a week or two, and with minimum effort? You can’t, at least not in any healthy way.

I know that during the many years I struggled with a weight problem my mind reasoned similarly. I would work at losing the extra pounds so that I could hurry back and indulge in all my bad eating habits. Not surprisingly, my weight yo yo-ed all the time. It wasn’t until I started writing this blog that I came to understand that losing weight is a stop gap measure not a way of life. The idea is to live healthy. If you do that you don’t have to worry about extra pounds. The ones you had will have melted off and you won’t be putting on new ones.

I didn’t create this post to condemn fitness trackers. There is nothing wrong with them. I have an Apple Watch. Got it just after they came out. I love it. I can track my bike rides, stair climbing, dog walks,etc., and get a little report on how many calories I burned, how far I went, my heart rate, how long it took and more. But, the Watch is just a tool. I was doing these things before I got the Watch, I just didn’t have all the information it provides. So, I consider this fitness wearable  a positive addition to my way of life. You can read How my Apple Watch promotes my good health if interested.

I have never owned or used a Fitbit or any of those other trackers, but I would imagine that they could fit into your healthy lifestyle in the same way. Just remember, as Professor Finkelstein pointed out, these fitness trackers are measurement tools not an intervention. We still have to make the decision and carry out the actions on our own. Until we adjust our mindset, no amount of neat new gadgets are going to solve our health problems.

Tony

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Are you fit enough for surgery?

I have written a lot of words on the benefits of living a healthy life by eating intelligently and exercising regularly. We have the opportunity to live long healthy lives with our mental abilities functioning as well as our bodies do. We need only follow a few simple rules of good health. Our bodies are organic machines that need proper care and maintenance or they will fall into disrepair just like our inorganic machines, autos, refrigerators, etc., do.

Now the Wall Street Journal illuminates another aspect of fitness. The other side of good health, namely hospitalization and surgery.

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“In health care, we often bring patients into surgery without fully addressing their chronic medical conditions,” says Dr. Solomon Aronson, executive vice chair in the anesthesiology department at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C. By improving their health before surgery, he says, “we can significantly diminish the risk of complications.”

The item cites a seriously overweight man who had a knee replacement in 2013, but the hardware began to come apart leaving him hobbled and in pain. The failed knee had to be removed. The patient was warned about the dangers of his being overweight. “No one had ever mentioned to me that this might be a problem…”

“The reason many patients don’t do well is because they are already deconditioned as couch potatoes, and then they get a big operation which makes them even more frail,” says Michael Englesbe, a University of Michigan transplant surgeon and associate professor who led the study and directs the Michigan Surgical and Health Optimization Program. Dr. Englesbe says that the program “empowers patients to have control over their outcome,” and recommends all patients train for elective surgery, much as they would before athletic competition.

Maybe this will be the final reminder for folks who are currently letting themselves go physically. There is always hope. It is never too late to improve your physical condition. Your body will respond to good behavior and nutrition and you can begin to flourish again on your own and before you need medical intervention. The choice is still yours.

Tony

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Fun fitness facts …

I didn’t find a lot of jokey fitness pics this week, but there were some excellent thoughts put forward. I hope you will find them useful.

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If the pup looks familiar, she is Gabi, my dog. Clearly, very intelligent.

 

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Last, but not least, some humor …

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Tony

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Fitness Fun

I am looking out my window at a glorious sunny May Sunday morning. I hope you have a similar situation. Thought you might enjoy these:

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Tony

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Why You Should Laugh More – Infographic

Who said “laughter is the best medicine” first? The best I could find was that it comes from the Bible – Proverbs 17:22 – “A joyful heart is good medicine …” Also, Henry Ward Beecher said, “Mirth is God’s best medicine.”

In any event, it’s good for you as it says below.

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Lord  knows, he’s right.

Maybe I will do more of the Fitness Funnies now that I know this.

Tony

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More Health & Fitness Ideas

Instead of health and fitness funnies, I thought I would pass on some of these graphic ideas that impressed me recently. Hopefully, this week the laugh isn’t on me.

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As always, the French have a word for it.

Have a great weekend!

Tony

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Focussed Fitness Ideas

I like the idea of these positive fitness illustrations. Obviously, I  yielded to my biking bias … just this once.

Here is one of the posts I wrote on The Health Benefits of Walking and Biking.

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This is one of my favorite pictures. I have it framed in my living room.

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Go for a ride … you might like it, too.

Tony

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More Health and Fitness Ideas

In honor of Spring and the spirit of rebirth we are going to be celebrating tomorrow, I wanted to offer you some more positive fitness and health ideas.

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Wondy knows

Tony

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More Good Exercise/Brain News – now from Tufts

Just a day after my post – Vigorous exercise may restore mental health, Tufts Health & Nutrition Update comes along with the query – Are you keeping your brain in shape?

“Physical activity helps preserve mobility and motor skills as you age – and not just by keeping your muscles in shape. A new study suggests that activity also maintains mobility by protecting your brain. Even in people with signs of brain aging called white matter hyperintensities (WMH) associated with movement issues, being more active seemed to allow the brain to compensate.

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“Tammy Scott, PhD, a scientist at Tufts’ HNRCA Neuroscience and Aging Laboratory, says of the findings, “Although the study cannot determine causality because of its cross-sectional design, their results are consistent with a number of other studies that have shown that increased physical activity protects mobility.”

BRAIN SPOTS AND MOBILITY:
“The study, published in the journal Neurology, subjected 167 people without dementia, ages 60 to 96, to a battery of tests. They had MRI scans of their brains, wore activity monitors for up to 11 full days, and underwent 11 motor-performance tests, such as grip strength, finger tapping and lower-body function. Continue reading

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Balance Training and Injury Prevention

I would like to recommend this kind of thing for everyone, but especially us older folks. (You know who you are!) Must confess I am guilty of neglecting this aspect of fitness. But, no more. I have ordered one of these pads from Amazon.

Stay tuned….

Tony

Athletic Performance Training Center

airex-balance-pad-471910[1]Ankle injuries are among the most common injuries, across all sports, and lower limb instability plays a significant role in these injuries.

In addition to the development of lower extremity muscle and connective tissue strength, an effective injury prevention strategy is the development of proprioception.

Proprioception can be defined as the ability to sense stimuli arising within the body regarding position, motion, and equilibrium; the normal awareness of one’s posture, movement, balance, and location based on the sensations received by the proprioceptors (sensory receptors that receive stimuli from within the body, especially one that responds to position and movement).

“Improvements in proprioceptive control (balance) in a single stance may be a key factor for an effective reduction in ankle sprains, knee sprains, and low back pain,” according to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. (Riva, D, et.al.)

At Athletic Performance Training Center

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Tufts on Exercise and Brain Health

As regular readers know I feel very strongly about the benefits of exercising, not only on the body, but equally on the brain. You can check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits) for further details. So, I was thrilled to see the latest from Tufts on that subject.

Tufts Health and Nutrition Update says, “A new study reports that the more physically fit you are when you’re younger, the more likely you are to keep your brain sharp as you get older. But there’s also good news for those who slacked off in their youth: Even starting to get more fit now might still improve your cognitive health.

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“There is growing evidence that physical exercise can benefit cognitive function in middle-aged and older adults, possibly through improved cardio- and cerebro-vascular health,” says Tammy Scott, PhD, a scientist at Tufts’ HNRCA Nutrition and Neurocognition Laboratory.

“THEN AND NOW: The new findings, published in Neurology, used data from the CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) study, begun in 1985-86. Participants, originally ages 18 to 30, were tested for blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other measures, and also walked at an increasingly fast pace on a treadmill until they couldn’t continue. The young adults could stick with the treadmill test an average of 10 minutes. Continue reading

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