I’ve Become My Own Client

As many of you know, I’ve been “dealing” recently with a progressively painful case of osteoarthritis in my left hip. I understand now why Baby Boomers and seniors with this disease don’t want to exercise much–it hurts! But as a fitness professional, I also know the critical role exercise plays in continuing to strengthen joints and keep other chronic diseases at bay.

Don’t let arthritis pain keep you down.

So I’ve had to get creative with myself to find acceptable physical activity I can put back into my day (my go-to exercise fix for many years has been walking; but now, unfortunately, more than 5 minutes at a time is out for me).

So I get 20 – 30 minutes of bicycling twice a week at my gym, attend a yoga class weekly, and stand and walk around the house as much as I can. And starting this week, I’ll visit our community pool before dinner at least twice a week to get in some needed laps.

A CRIPPLING DISEASE

Here’s some information about arthritis, and recommendations for self-care.

• According to the Arthritis Foundation, one in four adults, or nearly 54 million people, have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.
• Arthritis includes more than 100 diseases and conditions that affect joints, the tissues that surround the joint and other connective tissue.
• The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Its main symptoms are joint pain, swelling and stiffness; these usually grow worse with age.
• The second most common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis. It’s an autoimmune disease with painful inflammation at various joints.
• Scientists don’t know exactly what causes or how to prevent arthritis, and it’s generally considered incurable.
• Being female and having a family history of the disorder increase your risk of developing arthritis.

FOOD
For arthritis, it’s important to maintain a healthy weight. Extra pounds put additional loads on joints, and limit mobility.

Much has been written about foods to eat or avoid for arthritis care, but the consensus seems to be a Mediterranean-type diet: fish, 3 – 4 oz twice a week, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables (berries, cherries, spinach, kale and broccoli), olive oil and whole grains. These foods are filling, full of beneficial phytochemicals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.

Some people with arthritis avoid nightshades vegetables (eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes and red bell peppers). Although there’s no scientific evidence this practice helps relieve arthritis pain, if you believe they’re affecting your condition, try eliminating all nightshade veggies for a few weeks.

Others find glucosamine helpful, but according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, studies have produced conflicting evidence as to whether the supplement reduces joint pain. Check with your doctor before trying glucosamine, as it can interfere with the blood thinner Coumadin and may affect your body’s ability to handle blood sugar.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
As I said earlier, movement is imperative; my physical therapist likes to say “motion is the lotion!” Exercise encourages the circulation of synovial fluid that lubricates joints; it increases blood flow to pump oxygen and nutrients to affected areas and helps remove wastes.

Work with your healthcare providers to design an individualized program for your specific arthritis needs.

Engage in strength training twice a week to improve muscle strength around the affected area, resulting in less stress on the joint, reduced pain and joint stiffness and improved maintenance of functional abilities.

Strive for 150 minutes of cardio per week. Start slowly, noting which activities your body tolerates. Be sure to include plenty of time to warm up (heat relaxes muscles and increases circulation), then find aerobic exercises you enjoy that do not twist or pound your joints.

Excellent examples include walking, swimming and water-based exercises, stationery biking and yoga.

Applying ice after exercise can help decrease pain and inflammation.

Check with the Arthritis Foundation or your local YMCA for programs in your area.

And don’t forget flexibility and balance exercises.

For help with your arthritis, give me a call!
We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.

Our Newest “Silent Killer”

This is something I’m running into more and more frequently now–unfortunately. It’s a condition called pre-diabetes, and it’s affecting millions of Baby Boomers and seniors.

Dried beans are an excellent protein source for folks with pre-diabetes.

Dried beans are an excellent protein source for folks with pre-diabetes.

In fact, 86 million Americans – more than one in three adults – have pre-diabetes, far more than the 27 million who have diabetes. And 15% – 30% of these folks will develop the full-blown disease within 5 years if nothing is done.

One quarter of folks age 65+ do go on to develop Type 2 diabetes, which doubles their overall risk for death. Complications include kidney failure, nerve damage, blindness, amputations, and increased risk of heart attack, stroke, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Pre-diabetes does not generally have any symptoms. It’s usually diagnosed as the result of a routine fasting blood sugar or hemoglobin A1-C test.

In pre-diabetes, the body begins to use insulin inefficiently (“insulin resistance”). Insulin is a hormone that’s released from the pancreas in response to eating; its purpose is to remove blood sugar (glucose) from blood and move it to cells to be used for energy. But with diabetes, although the pancreas tries to keep up with demand, eventually it is unable to make enough of the hormone to keep blood sugar levels normal.

So blood sugar levels rise, and remain elevated.

Here are the most common risk factors for pre-diabetes and diabetes:

• Being overweight or obese
• Having a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
• Being African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or Hispanic American/Latino heritage
• Having a prior history of gestational diabetes or birth of at least one baby weighing >9 lb
• Having high blood pressure measuring 140/90 or higher
• Having abnormal cholesterol with HDL (“good” cholesterol) 35 or lower, or triglyceride level 250 or higher
• Being physically inactive—exercising fewer than three times a week
• Polycystic ovary disease
• Obstructive sleep apnea

Changes in lifestyle can turn your numbers around so this doesn’t develop into Type 2 diabetes; here are some strategies you can use:
• Move! During exercise, muscle contractions cause an increase in the use of glucose for energy, lowering blood sugar levels for several hours. Both aerobic exercise and resistance training improve blood glucose control.
–The American Diabetes Association recommends breaking up sedentary time every 30 minutes.
– Experts further recommend 30 minutes of moderate exercise all or most days of the week; this can be broken into 10- or 15-minute increments.
• Manage your weight. A loss of just 7% of body weight will help manage blood glucose levels and increase sensitivity to insulin.
• Increase your consumption of whole fruits and vegetables, and whole grain products. The fiber in these foods takes more time to digest, helps you feel full longer and controls spikes in blood sugar.
• Eat at regular intervals, ingesting 45 – 60 grams of healthy carbohydrates per meal.
• Decrease animal fats and red meat consumption. These foods are associated with a higher risk of heart disease—more prevalent in those with diabetes.

Looking for more help to turn back pre-diabetes?  Watch for my free webinar coming up in a couple of weeks!

How Young Do You Feel?

Just how old, or young, do you feel? As it turns out, most Americans feel younger than their actual age. And they say they’re making changes to live longer. But they’re not actually reaching the change needed, especially with the high level of awareness when it comes to healthy eating habits and physical activity.

How young do you feel, and are you making the correct choices to stay young?

How young do you feel, and are you making the correct choices to stay young?

Let’s take a look at two surveys that came out recently, and what you can take from their conclusions.

The Parade/Cleveland Clinic 100Survey
Parade (your Sunday paper insert) and the Cleveland Clinic surveyed 4,000 adult Americans earlier this year. The questions sought to find out how we feel about living to 100. Here are some of the highlights:
• 69% of Americans want to live to be 100.
• 89% expect to live at least to age 80; 55% at least to age 91.
• 72% of Americans feel younger than their age.
• 64% believe staying active is a top way to fight aging, followed by eating right, regular check-ups and getting enough sleep.
• 88% would exercise more to stay healthy and 45% would significantly change their diet.
• 64% are eating less fast food, 51% have tried cutting out sugar, 31% are eating a low-carb/high-protein diet and 19% are moving toward a vegetarian or vegan diet.
• 69% of Americans fear losing mental or physical capacities as a result of aging, followed by being a burden, running out of money or being alone.

So we fitness professionals have done a great job in educating the public about healthy aging: staying active is key to fighting aging, as is eating properly. And Americans have made (or attempted to make) positive changes in their eating habits. We want to live a long life, but fear dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, growing weak and losing our independence.

I get all that. So just how good are we really doing in making positive lifestyle changes? Let’s take a look at another study, the Sightlines Project from Stanford University. Looking at data from the past two decades, these researchers have concluded that the policies, products and personal behaviors to support living into our 80s, 90s and 100s are not yet widespread.

Here are a few highlights recently published from the Stanford study:
Positive:
• More than 80% of Americans recognize that diet and exercise are important to living long, healthy lives.
• Almost one in two Americans under age 65 is exercising regularly.
Room for improvement:
• Dietary guidelines, as inferred by the percentage of Americans eating the recommended minimum amount of fruits and vegetables per day (five or more), are not being met: only 25% of all ages eat enough of these nutritious foods.
• Only 45% of 55 – 64 year olds and 37% of 65 – 74 years olds meet or exceed the recommended weekly “dose” of exercise (at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity).
• The majority of Americans are sedentary for a total of five or more hours per day, up in recent years. And 50% – 59% of adults between 55 -75+ years sit too much.
• Obesity, a significant risk factor for chronic diseases such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, some cancers and chronic pain, is rising. More than one in three Americans under age 75 is obese.
• Four in 10 Americans do not get the recommended seven hours of sleep per day, increasing the risk for chronic disease and mortality.

The data is clear: you know what to do. Now look for ways to make it happen! Talk with your healthcare team, reach out to a Registered Dietitian, personal trainer or wellness coach to identify important health behaviors to change and ways to be successful in sustaining new lifestyle choices.

To discover other ways to improve your mental and physical fitness, give me a call!

We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.

Recognize and Deal with Fitness Saboteurs

You’ve been working diligently on your fitness program–whether it’s exercising or food changes. You’re coasting along until you hit a bump in the road–it may be self-sabotage or somebody who consciously or unconsciously derails your wellness plans, leading to inevitable setbacks.

weight loss for baby boomers

Don’t let you or anybody else sabotage your fitness efforts!

We Baby Boomers and seniors need to learn to how to recognize these situations and quickly turn them around. Here is a list of common fitness saboteurs; learn how to combat them with practical strategies that really work from the American Council on Exercise (Fit Facts, 5 Common Fitness Saboteurs and How to Defeat Them):

1. Unrealistic Expectations—Novice exercisers get frustrated when they expect big results too soon after starting a fitness program. Because they haven’t lost a huge amount of weight or met other goals, they throw in the towel. To avoid this mistake, set realistic goals and practice extreme patience. If you stick with a regimen, your body will respond to exercise. It takes at least six weeks of regular exercise and sometimes more for physiological changes to kick in. It’s called the training effect. You’ll know it’s happening when your workouts start feeling easier; when you can tolerate longer, harder exercise sessions; and when you can do housework, yard work, or climb stairs with less effort.

2. Stress—When you’re up against a work deadline or the kids are sick, you may feel you can’t handle one more thing, including exercise. But taking time out to go for a brisk walk or workout is one of the best things you can do during times of intense stress. Exercise helps alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression and helps boost your mood, enabling you to cope with whatever you’re facing. Even a short workout is better than nothing.

3. The Unexpected—You were going to walk after work, but now you’ve been asked to work late. Or perhaps you planned to swim, but then you find out that the pool is closed for maintenance. Life happens, and you can either throw up your hands and say, “forget it,” or accept it and roll with it. Resilience is your ability to bounce back quickly from life’s surprises and setbacks. This can be improved with practice. As you become more resilient, you’re less likely to ditch your workout when something comes up. Instead, you’ll be able to quickly modify your plans and move forward.

4. Negative Self-Talk—“I’m so lazy, I’ll never be fit;” “I didn’t even exercise once this week;” “I’m such a loser.” Would you talk to a friend or loved one this way? Listening to negative self-talk isn’t motivating, so what’s the point? Negative self-talk only destroys your confidence and motivation to the point where you can’t visualize success. But you don’t have to put up with it. The next time you recognize a critical thought, stop it and replace it with a positive thought, like this: “I’m so proud of myself for walking at lunch time today. It took a lot of effort, but I did it.” Behavior change is hard. Give yourself some credit for every step you take toward your fitness goals. Practice intentionally giving yourself positive feedback and watch your motivation soar.

To discover other ways to shore up your fitness program, give me a call!

We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.

Get Your Body to Work Overtime, Even When You Don’t!

OK Baby Boomers and seniors, how excited would you be to discover you could up your fitness by burning additional calories with no additional effort? Welcome to the world of EPOC!

You can continue burning calories long after you take off those shoes!

You can continue burning calories long after you take off those shoes!

What is EPOC?
One of the by-products of physical activity is a phenomenon called EPOC—excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Very simply put, when we exercise, we consume more oxygen and produce energy and chemical by-products. At the same time, we increase breathing, blood circulation, and body temperature above pre-activity levels.

As a result, our metabolism remains high for several minutes to several hours after the exercise bout, resulting in EPOC–the added calories that accompany this post-exercise increase in metabolism.

How long will the EPOC effect last?
Depending on the exercise, it can take from 15 minutes to 48 hours for the body to fully recover to a resting state.

What affects the amount of EPOC?
Exercise intensity is probably the greatest determinant of EPOC. The harder you work, the more calories you’ll burn for a greater post-exercise period.

What type of exercise causes EPOC?
For several years, experts have recognized that aerobic exercise, or cardio, leads to EPOC. Recently, researchers are showing that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and heavy resistance training with short periods of rest lead to a higher EPOC effect. And don’t forget, resistance training also promotes lean muscle mass (important to keep us strong and self-sufficient as we age).

Can I use EPOC to lose weight?
No. The numbers just don’t pan out. Remember, exercise accounts for only 20 – 30% of weight loss for most individuals, and EPOC for only 6 – 15% of that energy cost. So if your brisk walk burns 150 calories in 30 minutes, your EPOC might account for only 9 – 22 additional calories. Researchers agree that the amount of energy used during the exercise bout itself, not the aftermath, is overwhelmingly responsible the for weight maintenance benefit of physical activity.

Bottom line:
I don’t know about you, but if I can burn a few extra calories after exercise, with no additional effort, I’ll take it! I don’t care if it’s 10 calories or 100. And because I exercise consistently, over time these numbers could accumulate to keep me in the same (sized) wardrobe for years to come.

Just one more reason to engage in physical activity—most likely the best medicine you’ll ever enjoy!

Looking for ways to improve your wellness? Give me a call!

We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.