Tag Archives: men’s exercise choices

Super Bowl Sunday Snacking

What are you going to be snacking on during the big game?

According to The Supermarket Guru, “It’s estimated that on Super Bowl Sunday, Americans will consume more than double their average daily snack amount; and the average “armchair quarterback” will consume nearly 1,200 calories and 50 grams of fat from snacks alone- not counting meals. To burn that off, you’d have to run for about an hour and 45 minutes!”

Pigs in a blanket – One of the top five fan snack choices

Bing.com says the top five game day snacks are Buffalo wings, pizza, nachos, chili, and pigs in a blanket. I hope for your sake that you are not going this high calorie count empty nutritional value route.

I have written about snacking here before. There was Targeted Snacking in June and Smart Snacking in March. Click on the links for some positive ideas on snacks for the big game.

WeightWatchers suggests, “You can still enjoy some football fare: a chicken wing or two, some chips and dip, a slice of pizza and a cold one. Just don’t overindulge — eat and drink reasonably, keep track of what you chow down on ….

“Consider parking a few blocks from the party or heading outside for a walk instead of watching for the next wardrobe malfunction at halftime (that’s what DVRs are for anyway).”

Tony

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Filed under calories, Exercise, healthy eating, men and healthy eating, Snacking, Weight

10 Weight Loss Tips

Sometimes seeing a simple list can clarify a situation.

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If you consider yourself one of the 60 per cent of us who are overweight, you might enjoy this:

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Tony

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Filed under Exercise, portion control, portion size, yoga

Sitting Too Much is Killing Us – New York Times

Eat less; move more; live longer is the mantra of this blog. I have always considered that to mean you should exercise daily. But, an article in Wednesday’s New York Times has a fascinating clarification of those words.

It turns out that moving more, means not only exercising daily, but also being less sedentary when we are back home or even at the office. Don’t sit so much.

The watch on the right displays the three movement measurements.

The watch on the right displays the three movement measurements.

Gretchen Reynolds writes that it all has to do with the length of our telomeres. “If you are unfamiliar with the componentry of your genes, telomeres are the tiny caps on the ends of DNA strands. They shorten and fray as a cell ages, although the process is not strictly chronological. Obesity, illness and other conditions can accelerate the shortening, causing cells to age prematurely, while some evidence suggests that healthy lifestyles may preserve telomere length, delaying cell aging.”

A Swedish study split sedentary seniors into two groups, one began an individualized exercise program and also advised to sit less. The second simply were to continue their lives, but try to lose weight and be healthy with no specific recommendations.

Six months later the groups were brought back and their blood was drawn again to check their telomeres. The exercise group who sat less had telomeres that actually lengthened. “Their cells seemed to be growing physiologically younger. But perhaps most interesting, there was little correlation between exercise and telomere length. In fact, the volunteers in the exercise group who had worked out the most during the past six months tended now to have slightly less lengthening and even some shortening, compared to those who had exercised less but stood up more.”

It was the reduction in the sedentary time that had lengthened the telomeres, not the exercising, the scientists concluded.

So, in the future, make an effort to stand up and get away from your desk at work, or your couch at home in the evening and move a little. You may live longer as a result.

This reminded me of one of the features on the new Watch from Apple. The Activity App on the new watch has a display that measures how much you stand in a day. “Apple Watch senses when you stand up and gives you credit when you do. So you can minimize your sedentary time throughout the day. If you’ve been sitting too long, it reminds you to get up. You close the Stand ring when you’ve stood for at least one minute in 12 different hours during the day. “

So, if you have been looking for an excuse to pay $350 for the new Watch when it comes out next year, you have it. The Watch can help you to live longer.

If you don’t care to go all high tech in your efforts to live longer, remember to stand up more often. The results will be the same. Eat less; move more.

Tony

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Why You Should Exercise – and How – Infographic

As this says, “Being physically active is the most important step people of all ages can adopt to improve their health.”

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Last, but not least, exercise benefits the brain. Check out How Does Exercise Benefit the Brain for more. Finally, I have a Page on Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits) – with lots more info.

Tony

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The Joy of Spokes

Regular readers know that I ride my bicycle pretty much daily here in Chicago. I have benefited from this experience in hundreds of ways, my waistline is about the same as when I was in high school, as is my weight. My resting heart rate clocks in under 50 beats per minute vs. a normal of around 80 for a guy like me in his 70s. I am probably enjoying the best health of my life for a number of reasons, but biking is high on the list. Despite all that, the reason I ride is because I love it. I feel like I did the first time I ever got a two-wheeler going under my own power as a child. The photo below of Albert Einstein riding his bike tells it all. I have a copy on my living room wall.
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To read more check out The Joys and Benefits of Bicycle Riding – May is Bike Month. There is an award-winning video in this which was featured in the New York Times. I think you will enjoy the 15 minute experience.

What are the Benefits of Walking and Bicycle Riding? National Bicycle Month – Health Benefits.

Try it, you might like it.

Tony

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How to Practice Weight Control over the 4th of July Holiday?

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I hope you had a safe a sane holiday weekend and didn’t go overboard in the food department. I thought I would share some of my holiday with you. I know that a lot of people get heavily into the cooking out option on what many consider the first official weekend of summer. Depending on the host and hostess that can be very difficult to navigate in a healthy manner. Trying to munch on any veggies that might be offered, like carrots or apples instead of chips is one good guideline for you.

I love the contrast in the light  - below electric; above natural.

I shot this July fifth sunrise in Chicago on my bike ride. I love the contrast in the light – below electric; above natural. Yet another benefit of riding a bicycle.

I live in town so I didn’t do a cookout. However, my girlfriend and I went to the local riverboat for some gambling fun and were comped to very nice meals there. I had a catfish dinner with some delicious clam chowder on Friday while she indulged in a very clever mac and cheese dish with grilled chicken breast on top. There was pudding for dessert which topped brunch off nicely. My girlfriend had the best natural weight control appetite I have ever encountered. Even though I consider myself to be successful at weight control, I have learned some good practices from her. For example, she never has two big meals on successive days. She says she feels her system needs time to  work through it and eats lightly on the second day. As it turns out our comped lunch Friday wasn’t one of the usual ‘free buffet’ blowouts and we had a dinner, although on the light side that evening and finished off with popcorn and a movie (Mesrine – the French gangster). For the record I make our popcorn with coconut oil which is the way I had it in the movies as a child. Check out my Page – Coconut Oil – Why You Should Include it in Your Diet to read more.

On Saturday we dined at a more elegant dining room in the casino and ate more substantially. She had eggs benedict and I had a crab meat omelet. From the buffet section, I had a fruit cup and a slice of bacon and she had several slices of bacon. My omelet came with dry rye toast that I finished off with strawberry jelly. That was a slightly heavier meal than Friday’s. We also made a Costco run and indulged in a number of their tasting samples, too. For dinner we had a light dinner of some left over nachos and again popcorn with a movie (Raiders of the Lost Ark) .

In addition to our outings to the river boat, I rode my bike around 70 miles over the three day weekend. I like to ride a sunrise because there are often beautiful sunrises over Lake Michigan where I live on the Chicago Lakefront. It is always a good idea to get some exercise in no matter what your plans are the rest of the day. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I always have an eighth of a watermelon after riding because I love it and it restores my energy completely. You can check my How Healthy is Watermelonn for more details.

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As of Sunday morning I hadn’t put on any pounds and also felt that my energy was good. I hope you enjoy the biking illustrations.

Tnny

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How Exercise Makes You Happy – Infographic

I have written about the impact of exercise on the brain a number of times. You can check out my Page Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise) to read more. Here is a chance to see more.

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Tony

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HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training Infographic

I picked this up from an email and was impressed with how inclusive it is. I think I now know twice as much about High Intensity Interval Training as I did before I read it.

Enjoy!

On the subject of HIIT, the September 12, 2016 issue of Time magazine says, ” Martin Gibala, an exercise physiologist at McMaster University wanted to test how efficient and effective a 10-minute workout could be, compared with the standard 50-minutes-at-a-time approach. The micro-workout he devised consists of three exhausting 20-second bouts of all-out, hard-as-you-can exercise, followed by brief recoveries. In a three-month study, he pitted the short workout against the standard one to see which was better.

To his amazement, the workouts resulted in identical improvements in heart function and blood-sugar control, even though one workout was five times longer than the other. “If you’re willing and able to push hard, you can get away with surprisingly little exercise,” Gibala says.

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Tony

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Lower IQ and Poorer Cardiovascular Fitness in Teen Years Hikes Risk of Early-onset Dementia

Men who at the age of 18 years have poorer cardiovascular fitness and/or a lower IQ more often suffer from dementia before the age of 60. This is shown in a recent study encompassing more than one million Swedish men.

In several extensive studies, researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy,  University of Gothenburg, have previously analyzed Swedish men’s conscription results and were able to show a correlation between cardiovascular fitness as a teenager and health problems in later life.

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Increased risk for early-onset dementia
In their latest study , based on data from 1.1 million young Swedish men, the Gothenburg researcher team shows that those with poorer cardiovascular fitness and/or lower IQ in their teenage years more often suffer from early-onset dementia.

“Previous studies have shown the correlation between cardiovascular fitness and the risk of dementia in old age. Now, for the first time, we can show that the increased risk also applies to early-onset dementia and its precursors,” says Sahlgrenska Academy researcher Jenny Nyberg, who headed the study.

Controlled for other risk factors
Expressed in figures, the study shows that men who when conscripted had poorer cardiovascular fitness were 2.5 times more likely to develop early-onset dementia later in life. A lower IQ entailed a 4 times greater risk, and a combination of both poor cardiovascular fitness and low IQ entailed a 7 times greater risk of early-onset dementia.
The increased risk remained even when controlled for other risk factors, such as heredity, medical history, and social-economic circumstances.

Fitness strengthens the brain
“We already knew that physical and cognitive exercise reduces the risk of neurological disease. Physical exercise increases nerve cell complexity and function and even generation of new nerve cells in the adult brain, which strengthens our mental and physiological functions. In other words, good cardiovascular fitness makes the brain more resistant to damage and disease,” says Prof. Georg Kuhn, senior author of the study. (My emphasis)

Please check out my Page Important Facts about your brain and exercise for more information on the nature and benefits of exercise on the brain.

FACTS ABOUT DEMENTIA AND THE QUOTED STUDY
Dementia is not a disease but a group of different diseases characterized by the gradual worsening of cognitive abilities. Dementia is seen across all ethnic groups and increasingly so with advancing age. Among 65–69-year-olds, about 2 percent are afflicted, with this figure doubling for every five years of age.

The quoted study encompassed all Swedish men conscripted for mandatory military service between the years 1968 and 2005, a total of 1.1 million individuals. In the study, the researchers have compared the results from the conscripts’ cardiovascular fitness and IQ tests with information from national disease registries. During the study period, a total of 660 men were diagnosed with early-onset dementia.

Tony

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Filed under aging, Alzheimer's, cardio exercise, cardiovascular risk, dementia, Exercise

Stanford Study Gets Us Closer to Rejuvenating Aging Muscles

There is good news for baby boomers facing the fact that muscle tone and strength declines with age no matter how much you work out.

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have pinpointed why normal aging is accompanied by a diminished ability to regain strength and mobility after muscle injury: Over time, stem cells within muscle tissues dedicated to repairing damage become less able to generate new muscle fibers and struggle to self-renew.

21140687_BG1“In the past, it’s been thought that muscle stem cells themselves don’t change with age, and that any loss of function is primarily due to external factors in the cells’ environment,” said Helen Blau, PhD, the Donald and Delia B. Baxter Foundation Professor. “However, when we isolated stem cells from older mice, we found that they exhibit profound changes with age. In fact, two-thirds of the cells are dysfunctional when compared to those from younger mice, and the defect persists even when transplanted into young muscles.”

Blau and her colleagues also identified for the first time a process by which the older muscle stem cell populations can be rejuvenated to function like younger cells. “Our findings identify a defect inherent to old muscle stem cells,” she said. “Most exciting is that we also discovered a way to overcome the defect. As a result, we have a new therapeutic target that could one day be used to help elderly human patients repair muscle damage.” Continue reading

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Four Ways Exercise Helps With Arthritis – Harvard

I have suffered from arthritis in my hands for over 20 years and gone through a number of methods of dealing with the pain. I wrote about all of them just yesterday. You can read How do I get relief from arthritis in my hands for the details.

So, I naturally was excited to see that the Harvard HEALTHbeat had just published a piece on exercise helping arthritis. First of all because arthritis pain can be brutal and secondly because eat less; move more is my mantra.

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“Even the healthiest people can find it hard to stick with an exercise regimen — and if you suffer from the joint pain of arthritis, moving your body may be the last thing you want to think about. But regular exercise not only helps maintain joint function, but also relieves stiffness and reduces pain and fatigue.

If you have arthritis, you want to be sure your exercise routine has these goals in mind:

1. A better range of motion (improved joint mobility and flexibility). To increase your range of motion, move a joint as far as it can go and then try to push a little farther. These exercises can be done any time, even when your joints are painful or swollen, as long as you do them gently. Continue reading

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Stair Climbing is Good For You – Part Four – ACSM

I just finished posting comments on questions I raised on stair climbing when I heard back from another of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) experts. You can read Stair Climbing – Part Three here.

Michele Olson PHD, FACSM, Professor of Exercise Science at Auburn University Montgomery offered the following answers to the queries I asked in the previous post. Doctor Olson is also the co-author with Henry N. Williford, Ed.D., FACSM, HFS of the ACSM brochure Selecting and Effectively Using an Elliptical Trainer or Stair Climber which is available free at the link and contains a super rundown on using these machines.

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How does actual stair climbing compare with the machines? Is one more effective, healthier, safer?

Olson: ACTUAL STAIR CLIMBING IS MORE INTENSE BECAUSE YOU ARE MOVING YOUR BODY FARTHER AND FARTHER AWAY FROM GRAVITY AT EACH STEP.  MACHINES WITH REVOLVING STEPS TEND TO BE MORE VIGOROUS THAN PUSH-DOWN PEDAL MACHINES. BUT ALL OF THAT CAN VARY WITH THE SETTING USED ON ANY MACHINE.

As I usually do about 15 flights in around five minutes, I was interested in whether or not this was beneficial. I asked, is there a minimum time required to benefit from stair climbing? Is five minutes a session enough?

Olson: THERE ARE RESEARCH STUDIES WHERE PARTICIPANTS HAVE DONE MULTIPLE BOUTS OF 2 MINUTES OF STAIR CLIMBING AND REALIZED CHANGES IN FITNESS.  AS ONE IMPROVES, ONE WOULD NEED TO SPEND A GREATER AMOUNT OF TIME.

Is there a difference in physical benefits between climbing 15 flights of stairs straight up vs. 15 flights by walking three flights up and then two flights down.

GOING DOWN STAIRS IS ABOUT ONE FOURTH OF THE DEMAND AS GOING UP. SO IF A TOTAL OF 15 FLIGHTS ARE TAKEN UP AND THEN A FEW FLIGHTS ARE DONE IN A REVERSE, THAT WOULD BE MORE DEMANDING THAN JUST 15 UP.  BUT DOING 10 FLIGHTS UP AND FIVE DOWN WOULD NOT BE COMPARABLE TO 15 ALL UP.

Speaking of down, is it a good idea to walk down stairs, or is it better, safer to take the elevator?

Olson: SURE. WE HAVE TO WALK UP AND DOWN OFF CURBS, IN AND OUT OF CARS, ETC. PEOPLE WITH BAD KNEES MIGHT NEED TO TAKE THE ELEVATOR DOWN, OR, DO A FEW FLIGHTS DOWN AND THEN JUMP ON THE ELEVATOR. BUT A MIX OF UP AND DOWN MIMICS REAL LIFE AND REAL MOVEMENTS DURING DAILY LIFE.

Many thanks to Dr. Olson for these very helpful insights.

Tony

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Free Personal Fitness Training through Cyberspace

As is probably very clear to regular readers, I am pretty hands on when it comes to fitness. I do it all under my own direction. I don’t use a personal trainer to get and keep me fit. I don’t have anything against them. In fact, I have several friends who are personal trainers that I like and respect a lot. However, for much of my adult life, I have been on the short end as far as finances went. I have been married and divorced two times with children involved each time. So a personal trainer never fit my budget.

Also, I feel about personal trainers about the same way I do about religions and financial advisors. There is more than one way to skin a cat. The major religions come at worship in different ways, but they end up in pretty much similar places. Ditto financial managers. When I was in the investment business I was amazed at how many terrifically intelligent advisors there were available who came at investing from totally divergent viewpoints. And, all of them were right at one time or another. So, I ended up going my own way. Since I am now retired, I could have done worse. Same with exercise.

I know a lot of friends who use personal trainers and they are satisfied with them.
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Having said all that, if you are interested in a fitness coach, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering fitness coaching absolutely free. You can go to their website and sign up for weekly or monthly emails from Coach Max or Coach Tina.
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According to the National Institutes on Health, “If you’re looking for some no-nonsense motivation to help you stay on track, look no further. Coach Max may be tough, but he just wants you to be your best. He wants to challenge you to be more active, pick up the pace, try a little harder. And do it all safely. Don’t mind someone who tells it like it is? Then Max might be the right coach for you. Sign up for weekly or monthly emails from him today!

If tough love isn’t your cup of tea, “Maybe you need a cheerleader to inspire you to be more active. Coach Tina is a perfect fit for you! She knows that everyone needs to start somewhere and that any physical activity is better than none. She’ll encourage you to try activities you enjoy, remind you to move to the next level of fitness, and celebrate your accomplishments. Sign up for weekly or monthly emails from Tina and get started on your journey to a more active you!”

If you try this, please drop me a line and let me know how you like it.

Tony

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Should you take your own blood pressure at home?

I had never really considered this question before, but after listening to Dr. Mark Huffman of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine speak to the Northwestern Memorial Healthy Transitions Program®, I am going to do it.

I wrote up high blood pressure, or hypertension, for the blog two years ago.

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) say, “High blood pressure is sometimes called the “silent killer” because it usually has no warning signs or symptoms. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure. That’s why it’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.”

Just to give you some ballpark figures, Normal blood pressure (BP) is 120/80, systolic/diastolic. Prehypertensive is 120-139 over 80-89. Stage one hypertension is 140-159 over 90 – 99. Stage two hypertension reads 160 -179 over 100 – 109.

Modifiable causes of high BP or hypertension include smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity, dietary salt, alcohol consumption and stress.

Causes of high BP over which we have no control include older age, genetics, family history of high BP, chronic kidney disease and adrenal and thyroid disorders.

The CDC recommends, “There are several things that you can do to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range—
• Get your blood pressure checked regularly.
• Eat a healthy diet.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Be physically active.
• Limit alcohol use.
• Don’t smoke.
• Prevent or treat diabetes

Some 67 million American adults (31%) have high blood pressure—that’s 1 in every 3 American adults.  Anyone, including children, can develop high blood pressure. It greatly increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, the first and third leading causes of death in the United States.” Emphasis mine.

Dr. Huffman said that home blood pressure measurements are increasingly preferred as adjuncts to those taken in the doctor’s office.

“Automatic sphygmomanometers work well. Omron, upper arm cuffs are preferred and are often covered by insurance. ” He recommended checking out Amazon where they are available for $45 to $65.

I liked very much that the CDC recommendations were all lifestyle ones and did not include any taking of drugs. Obviously, this assumes that our blood pressure is in the normal range. Perhaps if we get our lifestyle in synch with these recommendations, our blood pressure won’t go up and we won’t need to go the drug route – ever.

I am arranging to get a blood pressure monitor and plan to take mine regularly at home and furnish my doctor with the numbers the next time I see her.

What do you think?

Tony

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Filed under aging, blood pressure, heart, heart disease, heart problems, stroke

Every Body Walk!

I recently put together a page (which you can access from the titles at the top) on Why you should walk more. The page contains links to the 10 blog posts I have made over the past nearly four years on the benefits of walking.

Now comes the government with a powerful documentary – Every Body Walk! that you can watch by clicking the link.

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This film is is an online educational campaign aimed at getting Americans up and moving. The campaign’s goal – to spread the message that walking really can improve health and prevent disease. The campaign is led by Kaiser Permanente along with a number of other organizations, including the Office of the Surgeon General.

This 30 minute documentary was released to highlight the importance of walking in our lives. It explores the significant health and environmental benefits that can result from simply walking. The film’s primary message is to encourage Americans to walk on a regular basis for their own health and well being. Topics covered in the documentary include:

• The impact of inactivity
• Eliminating walking from our culture
• The evolution of man and walking
• Walking to better health
• Building walkable communities

“For too many people, much of the day is spent sitting in the car, at the desk or on the couch, which has serious health implications,” said Raymond J. Baxter, PhD, Kaiser Permanente senior vice president, Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy. “The film is sure to encourage people to get back on their feet, walking whenever and wherever they can – at work, at school, and in the community, all while getting involved in making their communities more walkable overall.”

I recommend that you check out the documentary at your leisure and get a look at the links on my page. Hopefully, these will get you thinking about the benefits of walking, the ugly stepsister of the exercise world. It is certainly a step in the right direction.

Tony

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Filed under aging, American Heart Association, Exercise, walking, Weight

How to Measure Fitness Progress – NIH

Eat less; move more. Those are my words to live by. Now supposing you have chosen to try them out and you are actually moving more – maybe walking instead of cabbing it, or you have started exercising instead of couch-potatoing it. Now what? You want to know how you are doing and what is the next step. Is it time to exercise a little longer, or find an activity slightly more challenging?

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The National Institutes of Health has some worthwhile suggestions.

“These simple monthly tests are good ways to see if you are continuing to progress and need to update your goals. Each month, you will likely see an improvement.

*Endurance. Pick a fixed course and see how long it takes to walk that distance. As your endurance improves, it should take less time.

* Upper-body Strength.
Count the number of arm curls* you can do safely in 2 minutes.

* Lower-body Strength.
Count the number of chair stands* you can do safely in 2 minutes.

* Balance.
Time yourself as you stand on one foot, without support, for as long as possible. Stand near something sturdy to hold on to, in case you lose your balance. Repeat on the other foot.

* Flexibility. For this test, sit toward the front of a sturdy chair, and stretch one leg straight out in front of you with your heel on the floor and your toes pointing up. Bend the other leg and place your foot flat on the floor. Slowly bend from your hips and reach as far as you can toward the toes of your outstretched foot. How far can you reach before you feel a stretch?”

You are off to a good start. These NIH suggestions can help you on your way.

Tony

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