The right way to train

The best exercise programs don’t have to be complicated to be effective, but you need a plan. It’s not uncommon to see someone in a gym pick up a set of dumbbells, half heartily knock out a few biceps curls, and call it a day. When it comes to strength training, you need is a safe, simple and effective resistance-training program that you can perform at least twice a week.

At any age, strength training increases the amount of muscle and bone density. As we age, it helps boost our energy and vitality, and helps to prevent and treat chronic diseases as arthritis and osteoporosis. For men and women, strength training, or resistance training, helps you achieve a more toned appearance, and contributes to maintaining independence in performing activites of daily life. It improves your balance and coordination, and helps reduce your risk of falling. Strength training allows for a sense of pride, capability, and confidence for older adults. However, you want to ensure that your time in the gym is worthwhile and what you do in your time there transfers to your daily living. If there is one aspect of aging that you can control, it is strength training.

 Get with the free weights

If your workout consists of using only machines, you might want to consider adding free weights, or the suspension trainers. Research shows that functional strength increases over 57 percent in machine-trained individuals, compared to 115 percent in free-weight groups.

Functional training is a popular buzzword in fitness programs and is used to help design effective programs. The dictionary defines the word functional as “ of having activity, purpose, or task or, alternately, “ designed to be practical and useful, rather than attractive.” With regard to what you do in your workouts, functional training is all about positive transfer to your goals, which is the purpose of training, says Nick Tumminello, owner of Performance University, author and educational provider for fitness professionals worldwide.

Functional training is described as the ability to produce and maintain a balance between mobility and stability along a kinetic chain while carrying out fundamental patterns with accuracy and efficiency. Greater results are seen in movements taking place in three-dimensional spaces, which is where free weights come in. For example, you might step-up onto a step or bench holding weights, rather than simply use a seated leg machine for leg strength. Both exercises are valuable for enhanced performance, and each offer unique training benefits. However, training in a three-dimensional space, as in a box step-up exercise, is important because for one, you are standing up, which is what we do in life, and also involves mobility and stability, which contribute to good movement skills.

You want your workouts to include the basic movements that you do in daily life: squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, and rotating.

Little tweaks and offset positions.

Repeatedly doing the same exercise the exact same way can place repetitive stress on the joints, muscle, and connective tissue.  In a squat, for example, try an offset staggered or a narrow stance in a set. (A set is a group of consecutive repetitions.)  By changing or tweaking the position of major joints like the hips and knees, you help dissipate stresses to the connective tissue. Changing hand positions in upper body exercises also helps reduce overuse injury to the shoulder joint.

Helping Aging Bodies.

If you’re over 50 and have unavoidable age-related changes, or chronic conditions, you can still gain skills so you don’t rely solely on exercise machines. Here are some fixes so you can do some great functional exercises:

Crunches. Put a pillow behind your head if your neck flexors are long and weak.

Push-ups. Instead of regular push-ups where you feel like you hunch your shoulders, or to avoid too much weight-bearing to already sore shoulders, lay flat on your stomach, with palms on the floor and elbows back. Press through your palms. Or do push-ups against a wall.

Plank. Elevate your shoulders higher than your toes by placing your forearms on a bench or chair.

Balance. Stand on one foot. Lift your other knee up towards your chest.  Open the leg using your thigh and knee, back a forth 8 times, like a windshield wiper, to challenge your center of gravity.

Keep your program safe and  simple to stay young and strong, your way.

https://www.mtexpress.com/wood_river_journal/valley_people/fitness-guru/article_fd243020-3e79-11e8-8d77-0beb68f12809.html

Slowing down aging with strength and grace

3 generations living well!

3 generations living well!

“It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.”- Andy Rooney

Older adults need exercise training to improve their functional fitness that results in their independence, reduced falls, and a positive and profound impact on their mental and emotional health. Programs that involve strength, agility, dynamic balance, sensory enhancement and joint mobility ( think chest- up-confident stride ) all contribute to helping slow down the aging process.As we age, the size and quality of our muscles shrink at a loss of .5-1% per year. From the age of 60-80 years, the natural prevalence of muscle loss, or sarcopenia, jumps exponentially  from 15-32% for men , and 23- 36% for women. At 80, the values increase to about 51% -55% respectively for women and men.

Shrinking  muscles affect strength, power, endurance and speed.According to the US Center for Health Statistics, a person spends about 15% of their lifespan in an unhealthy state because of disability, injury or disease occurring in old age. The good news is that only one day a week of training will help you. A recent study of healthy women aged 60 years and older, showed that as little 1 day per week of aerobic activity and 1 day per week of resistance training may be just as good for improving strength,endurance, and quality of life as more frequent training. The study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, sited significant  improvement of daily activities such as standing, sitting climbing stairs and walking. The majority of studies suggest that older less conditioned people adhere to training 2-3 times a week, with 48 recovery hours, performing 3 sets of 10-12 exercises.

Functional fitness involves dynamic balance, and it is not necessarily your fate to be the 1 of 3 people over 65 that suffer a bad fall. In younger people balance is largely an automatic reflex. A variety of movements, with practice, can make your legs stronger, ankles,hips and spine more flexible, and challenge the nervous system. Optimal balance requires information from both our body in space and our external environment. It also involves using all 360 degrees of thigh muscle, as these are the muscles that need to be strong. Try the following mobility and sensory-enhancement exercises adapted from Christian Thompson, PhD, associate professor in the department of exercise and sport science at the University of San Francisco:

1. Ankle Circles .
Stand tall with feet hip- width apart. Hold onto a stable object with one or two fingers only. Lift one leg off the floor slightly, in front of the body. Do 15 slow, clockwise ankle circles, moving your foot to the greatest degree possible. Repeat counter clockwise; switch legs. ( www.ideafit.com/ST-older-adults.com)

2. Rotating Head.
Stand with feet hip width apart while holding a shortened TRX Suspension strap in a single- handle mode, palm down, with arm partially extended at chest height. Repeatedly turn head fully from right to left at a brisk pace while keeping eyes fixed on anchor point.Try for 60 seconds. To progress exercise, march while turning head.

http://ketchumkeystone.com/2013/09/30/slowing-down-aging-with-strength-and-grace/PPriscilla Woods @ Huntsman World Senior Games

Preventing Tripping and Falling As You Age

Falls can be traumatic after a certain age. My father passed away from complications from a fall, one of the most common causes of severe brain injury. He hit his head while helping my mother get groceries out of their car one morning. As tragic as my family’s loss, falls happens all too often in people over 65; The Center for Disease Control reports that 1 out of 3 people over 65 will suffer falls and that they are the leading cause of injury death. Twenty -30% percent of fallers suffer the inconvenience of hip, pelvis or spine fractures that not only make it harder for them to get around, but chips away at their self-confidence. Recent studies show that strength training alone is not enough to prevent falls and improve balance among the elderly. It certainly is important to retain muscle strength as you age, because in your 50’s your strength starts to decline at a rate of 12-15% per year. But could it be that older people trip and stumble more often or is it because they are less able to recover balance after a stumble or trip? Is it because their balance is off? In a study on the prevention of falling in older folks, The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research February 2011 stressed the importance of not only power and quadriceps strength, but balance training also.

Swing , sway and stand

A lot of factors, like falling history, muscle weakness, eyesight, number of medications, arthritis,fear of falling and home hazards all contribute to fitness decline and falls. During the actual fall, the study demonstrated that lack of lower leg strength predisposes them to fall. Their “swing phase “is off; their thighs aren’t strong enough to allow them to regain their balance. This means these older people end up taking too many small steps or arm reactions and end up tripping.

For a simple balance exercise try rising up on your toes, keeping your weight aligned over your big and second toe. This trains the sensory, or balance receptors in your ankle and foot. These muscles send out important sensory information to control standing balance. An exercise such as toe-raises, for example, trains the sensorimotor inputs, all providing valuable information about body position with respect to the supporting surface.

Stepping down off a small step is a good exercise as the study showed that the down phase of stepping in this age group is altered because of very tight ankle muscles. Stepping up onto a step is an example of a strengthening move to help strengthen the whole lower body. Although not a chipper subject, The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 4 preventative measures to avoid falls. 1. No matter how old you are, stay active 2.Make your home safer, by removing clutter from stairways and doorways, for example. Almost half of falls happen at home. 3.Have your doctor review your medications for side-effects. Some medications can make you light-headed or drowsy, which can lead to a fall.4.Have your eyes or eyeglasses checked. Poor vision can increase your risk of falling.

Connie Aronson is an American College of Sports Medicine Health and Fitness Specialist and IDEA Elite certified personal trainer. She is located at the YMCA in Ketchum, Idaho