Fitness, Whole Health

Your Biological Age

Each of us has 2 different ages:  1) chronological age, 2) biological age. Chronological age is the number of years one has been alive.  Biological age is an estimation of how an individual is functioning in comparison to others who are the same chronological age.  In other words, it is an age where the body is in terms of ‘wear and tear’. 1

These days, life expectancy is increasing.  Maintaining the correct diet along with exercising can help to prevent disease and help to manage those diseases already established.

As aging occurs most of the organs and tissues of the body begin to decline in function:

  • Muscle strength declines and bones may weaken, often resulting in falls that may be disabling.
  • The skin undergoes visible changes and the ability to heal wounds may become impaired.
  • The immune system does not function as well as it did when one was younger.
  • The nervous system also declines in its function.

However, in many cases, rapid biological aging and the onset of physical dependency may be postponed/delayed through healthy eating and exercising, both the body and the brain.

Exercising the brain will also help to improve brain function, and maintain memory and thinking skills as aging occurs. Perform mental workouts, challenge yourself to learn new things, including those perceived as difficult.  “Use it or Lose it”.

Even people in their 90’s can become stronger and increase the size of their muscles after participating in a weight-training regimen. Mobility will also be improved.

The loss of muscle mass and function does not have to be an inevitable and irreversible consequence of aging.  People who keep fit by maintaining an ideal weight and eating properly into their later years have a better chance of being biologically younger than their chronological age.

 

1 Nancy L., “Altering Your Biological Age” , NancyLFitness blog, https://nancylfitness.com/2013/07/21/altering-your-biological-age/

Try these exercises shown below to start your journey toward a younger biological age.

Consult with your professional healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise regimen as to whether the activity/exercise is appropriate for you.

 

DumbbellSideBend  Dumbbell Side Bend (for the Abs)

  1. Standing straight, hold a dumbbell (or similar) in the right hand.
  2. Tighten the abs (abdominal muscles).
  3. Bend to the right, as far as possible.
  4. Return to standing.
  5. Repeat 8-10 times on the right side.
  6. Do the same with the left side.

ShoulderFlexion  Standing Front Raise (for shoulder flexion)

  1. Stand with or without holding a weight in the right hand at side.
  2. Keeping elbow straight, raise up arm as far as your range of motion allows.
  3. Slowly lower arm.
  4. Repeat 8-10 times.
  5. Do the same with the left arm.

 

WallPushAway  Wall Push-Up (for the chest, shoulders and triceps)

  1. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width; place both hand palms on a wall at shoulder height.
  2. With hands on the wall, step back until arms are straight.
  3. Keeping heels on the floor, body straight and elbows up, bend elbows to lean toward the wall.
  4. Hold for a few seconds.
  5. Bearing body weight on the arms push away from the wall back to starting position.
  6. Do 10-15 repetitions.
  7. Increase the number of repetitions as you become more strong.

Note:  To increase difficulty and strengthen the biceps, triceps, forearms, wrists and hands move your feet 3 or more feet farther away from the wall.

 

LowBack  Wall sit (for legs and buttocks)

  1. Lean your back against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart and solidly on the floor.
  2. Tighten your abdominal muscles (abs) and put your feet forward.
  3. Keeping feet 6 inches apart, slide down the wall until knees are at 90 ° (knees are directly over the ankles; thighs are parallel to the floor).
  4. Hold for this position ~10 seconds or until you can no longer stand it (use this amount of time as a starting point, extend the amount of hold time later when you are stronger).
  5. Upon completion, return to the starting position by sliding UP the wall.

 

LowBack1  Chair sit-up (for lower back)

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with feet on the floor, hands to sides for support.
  2. Hold a weight at chest, if desired. (If  just starting with exercise you may want to exclude the weight.)
  3. Bend forward at the waist, keeping lower back straight, move chest to tops of thighs.
  4. Slowly straighten back up, using your lower back muscles to raise your torso.
Fitness, Whole Health

Abs, Core and Glutes – what is it?

There are the abs then the core muscles and, finally, the glutes.

Improve your total body health by training these areas of your body.  The results will be increased strength, stability and balance.

What muscles are involved?

The body’s core muscles include:

  • abs (abdominal muscles)
  • back muscles
  • pelvic floor muscles
  • glutes (buttocks)
  • other torso muscles.

What exercises are best for strengthening these muscles?

Planks and plank variations, abdominal bridges, reverse crunches, leg raises, and chin-ups are some good exercises for building the core muscles, the plank being one of the best.  The plank is a simple isometric exercise that can engage more than 20 muscles, including the abs, back, arms, shoulders, glutes, and hamstrings – depending on the variation of plank being   performed.

Planks are a simple exercise that can be done at home, negating the necessity of going to the gym.

There are many variations that include the side plank, forearm plank, hover plank, walking plank, extended plank, Bosu topside plank, single arm plank, plank hip dips,  reverse plank, and (on a stability ball):  plank crunches & plank pike-ups & plank rollouts. 

Planks increase strength along with contouring the obliques and help with posture and physique.

Begin with the two planks variations described below.  Start out holding each move for 20 to 30 seconds at a time, adding a few seconds at each work out.

 

plank1

Prone Plank

  1. Begin by supporting your body weight on just the toes and elbows, resting on the forearms.
  2. Tighten your abs (abdominal muscles) to stabilize the trunk, and rise up.
  3. Keep forearms parallel to each other with hands flat on the ground, or clasped together – whatever works best for you.
  4. Chin should be tucked; maintain good neck alignment with the trunk; keep eye gaze between hands; do not allow trunk to sag or hips to pike up.
  5. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
  6. Slowly lower down, keeping back straight.
  7. Repeat.

 

plank2

Side (oblique) Plank

  1. Lie on your side, bring legs together until heels touch.
  2. Balance body weight on feet and elbow.
  3. Lift your trunk, forming a straight line.
  4. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
  5. Slowly lower trunk.
  6. Repeat.

 

Seniors, Whole Health

Strength Training Basics – For Seniors

We start losing muscle after the age of 40.  Resistance training, AKA strength training, works to prevent this muscle loss and helps to maintain and build healthy bones.

During strength training muscle pulls against bone.  The force of the muscle pulling against the bone stimulates bone building  and improves calcium retention.  This increased strength will help to:

  • prevent falls
  • climb stairs
  • get up out of a chair
  • increase muscle elasticity
  • strengthen connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments.

In general, exercise and strength training will improve quality of life by helping to slow down and even reversing some diseases that are caused by a sedentary lifestyle such as: type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart and metabolic disease.

Just starting out?

Begin slowly.  Start with no weight or very little weight and then slowly increase the amount of weight.  This is called Progressive Overload, progressively placing greater demands on the muscles and bone.

Increase loads as is comfortable.  Resistance bands or household items such as cans of soup, bags of rice or potatoes can are a good alternative to using dumbbells.

Do enough repetitions so that the muscles become too tired to lift any more.  This is referred to as training to failure (momentary muscle failure).

Aim for three sets of 8 to 10 reps.  When the exercise becomes too easy, either increase the amount of the weight or add more reps.  Lifting lighter weights for more repetitions is just as effective as heavy ones for fewer reps.

Try to perform at least 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercises once a week.  You will, no doubt, experience muscle soreness – sometimes not until a day or two later.

Muscle soreness is not necessarily a bad thing.  It is an indication that the body is becoming stronger.  However, do not over-do it, and be sure to give the body plenty of time to recover from an exercise routine.

Also, exercise recovery tends to take longer as we age.  For people with lower bone mass, exercises such as walking or low-impact aerobics is a safe choice.

For most people, exercise should not be a problem.  However, for some individuals increasing their level of physical activity can have an adverse effect.   These people may need to seek medical advice concerning the most suitable type of activity to fit their needs.

Please consult with your professional healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise regimen as to whether the activity/exercise is appropriate for you.  Strength training exercises for older adults may include squats, deadlifts, lunges and overhead presses.  Over time, increase weight to increase difficulty and intensity.  Examples:

Shrug2  Shrug

  1. Stand up straight with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent.
  2. Hold dumbbells in each hand with palms facing in (toward torso).
  3. Keeping arms straight, elevate (raise up) shoulders high.  Pause.
  4. Lower shoulders back down to normal position. That is 1 rep.
  5. Do 10 – 15 reps.

UprightRow  Upright Rows

Increase strength in both the back and upper arms.  Improve shoulder range of motion shoulders and elbow joint mobility.

  1. Stand with good posture; feet are about shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent.
  2. Hold dumbbells in each hand in front of torso.
  3. Leading with the elbows, lift the weights together upward toward the chin. Or alternate lifting one hand at a time.
  4. Keep abs tight, using your core muscles.  Do not arch back.
  5. Return to starting position.  That’s one rep.
  6. Repeat for 10 reps.

DeltoidRaise  Front Deltoid Raise

  1. Stand with good posture; feet are about shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent.
  2. Hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms facing thighs.
  3. Keeping arms straight raise the dumbbells at arm’s length overhead.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for 8 – 10 repetitions for each arm.

Squat  Plie Squat (Dumbbell Between Feet)

  1. To start, sand straight up with feet wider than shoulder distance apart.
  2. Hold a dumbbell by one end.
  3. Bend knees until thighs parallel to floor, and the other end of the dumbbell touches the floor.
  4. Pressing through your heels stand back up to the starting position.
  5. Keep your back straight throughout the exercise.  Do 6-8 reps.

 

Wall Sit  Wall Sit

Performing the wall sit will strengthen the quadriceps (front of thighs) muscles.

  1. To start, place your back against a wall.  The feet should be shoulder width apart and forward from the wall.
  2. Engaging the core muscles, slide down leaning against the wall until knees are at a 90° angle (thighs parallel to the floor).  Knees should end up directly above ankles.
  3. Hold this position for 20 – 30 seconds.
  4. Compete with yourself by gradually increasing the hold time to 60 seconds or longer.

 

Fitness, Nutrition

Keep up your New Year’s Resolution

What was your New Year’s resolution?

  • Change a behavior.
  • Accomplish a personal goal.
  • Improve life.

Want to exercise, but don’t have time.  And/or want to eat clean, but don’t have recipes.

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Fitness, Wellness, Whole Health

Weight Loss Facts

Slim down at a slow and steady rate, eat less / move more:

  • There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat.
  • It is safe to lose 1.5 to 2.0 pounds per week.
  • It is generally unsafe to lose more than 2.0 pounds per week.
  • To lose 1 pound per week, you need a daily reduction of 500 calories/day, which is a reduction of 3500 calories/week.

To achieve a reduction of 500 calories per day, for losing 1 pound/week:

Reduce caloric consumption by 500 calories/day.

Or, ideally, eat less and move more.  Eat 250 calories less per day.  Plus, exercise to burn 250 calories.

To lose 2 pounds per week, double the above number:  1000 calorie/day reduction, 7000 calories per week.

Caloric values for some favorite, but unhealthy  foods:

Food                                                      Calories
Bacon, 1 slice                                          44
Beer, 1 can                                             154
Bread, 1 slice white                               79
Cereal, sugared, ¾ Cup                        100
Chips, potato, 1 oz                                 152
Cookie, 1 oz butter cookie                   132
Cracker, 5 regular size                           81
French fries, 1 med serving                  365
Ice Cream, ½ cup vanilla                     137
Soda, 12 oz. can                                      150
Pizza, 1 slice                                            285

Caloric values for some favorite, healthy foods:

Food                                                      Calories
Apple, 1                                                     95
Banana, 1                                                105
Brown rice, ½ Cup                                 108
Carrots, 1 med.                                          25
Chicken breast, 3 oz.                              140
Cheese, 1 slice, American                       104
Dark chocolate, 1 oz.                               155
Eggs, 1 lg. boiled                                        78
Green beans, 1 Cup                                    31
Salmon, 3 oz., raw                                     177
Walnuts, ¼ Cup                                        180

Conclusion:

To keep the pounds off after losing weight, a change in lifestyle is recommended.  Do the math!  Adjust your daily energy balance to achieve your desired calorie reduction.  Stay away from excess sugar and fat.

Fitness, Whole Health

Essential Glutes

Many of the jobs/careers out there require extended periods of sitting.  When sitting too much for too long, the glutes (buttock muscles) begin to not work as efficiently as they should.  This leads to tightening and shortening of the hip flexor muscles which can lead to injury, back pain, obesity and osteoporosis.

Also, other muscles will begin compensate, taking on the work load.  The hamstrings, low back, quadriceps and calves may become too strong in comparison creating imbalance, increasing the risk of injury.

Strong glutes:

  • Stabilize the pelvis for walking and running to prevent injuries at the hip, knee, and ankle.  (Weak glutes can contribute to pulled muscles in your hamstring or groin.)
  • Help with back pain – strong glutes support the back.  When the glutes strong, the lower back doesn’t bear the brunt of activity.
  • Improve athletic performance – gain speed and agility with stronger glutes
  • Increase power- a stronger gluteus maximus buttock muscle, largest muscle in the body, works to create lots of power to improve daily life.
  • Give the body a nice shape.

To strengthen the glutes train them about once a week.  Start with an aerobic warm up for about 10 minutes, then perform the exercises described below to build your glutes:

  Hip Bridge
  • Lie on your back with knees bent, feet about shoulder width apart and flat on the floor.
  • Pushing through the heels, press hips up toward the ceiling.  Maintain back, hips and thighs in a straight line.
  • Hold for a couple of seconds.
  • Repeat 10 -20 times.
  Lunge, with or without dumbbell
  • Stand with legs shoulder width apart (wide stance), back straight and head up. May hold dumbbell in each hand at sides.
  • Step forward, bending both legs simultaneously until thigh of front leg is parallel to the floor.  The heel of the back foot will come off the floor.
  • Straighten legs to rise up.
  • Repeat action on same side for 8-12 reps.
  • Switch sides, and repeat action for 8-12 reps.
  Squat, with or without dumbbell
  • Stand with head up, back straight and feet pointed slightly out.  May hold dumbbell in each hand at sides.
  • Squat by bending knees and pushing hips out behind until thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Keep abdominal muscles tight; maintain body weight on heels.
  • Push through heels to stand back up to standing/starting position.
  • Repeat action for 8-12 reps.
  Standing Side Leg Lift, with or without leg weight
  • Stand with head up, back straight and feet about hip distance apart, toes pointed forward. May use leg weight with this exercise.
  • Lift right leg out quickly.  (May hold onto a support, if needed.)
  • Slowly lower it back to start position, taking 3-5 seconds to do so.
  • Repeat 10 – 20 times
  • Repeat action with left leg, 10 – 20 times.
  Step Up, with or without dumbbell
  • Keeping head up and back straight, place right foot on a bench, step or a box.  May hold dumbbell in each hand at sides.
  • Bring left leg up toward chest, then place left foot on the step-up surface, so that both feet are now on the step-up surface.
  • Step down with the left foot, keeping right foot on the step-up surface.
  • Repeat on both sides, doing 15 reps on each side.
  Kick Back – with or without leg weight
  • Get down on ‘hands and knees’.  May use leg weight with this exercise.
  • Bring left leg to chest, keeping hips level.
  • Now drive leg back and up so that it is straight out and slightly up.  Contract glutes and hold the contraction at the top for a couple of seconds.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat the process with the right leg.
  • Repeat, alternating legs.
  • Complete 20 reps on each side.
  Wall Sit
  • Stand with back against a wall.
  • Slide down until knees are at a 90 degree angle, thighs parallel to the floor.
  • Hold for 20 – 60 seconds, or more.
Fitness

Why change up your exercise routine?

Change up your exercise routine to maintain muscle confusion (a positive thing) so that the body and brain do not adapt to a particular workout.  Variation serves to stimulate other muscle groups and overcome boredom, it also burns extra fat.  Your body will be more fit, overall, and the brain stays active and sharp.

One way to change things up, for example in strength (weight) training, is to occasionally switch from heavier weight / fewer reps to lighter weight / higher reps.

When using the lighter weight /higher repetitions regime, keep the rest periods in between sets short and at a minimum in order to burn extra fat and increase cardiovascular endurance.

For the senior population, lifting weights (low weight/high reps) a couple of days per week can help reduce the risk of falling and subsequent bone fracture.  Be sure to space your weight training workouts at least 48 hours apart to reduce the possibility of injury.

Consult with a professional healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise regimen as to whether the activity/exercise is appropriate for you.

Below is an example of a low weight / high rep workout routine that includes a change up – use lighter than usual weights:

Begin:  the first few weeks

perform 2 sets of 20 reps

Chest – Bench Press

Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulders. Press to straight arms.  Lower dumbbells back to starting position.

  Low Back – Deadlift

Hold  dumbbells in hands in front of body, palms facing body.  Keeping legs straight and back flat, bend over holding weights.  Raise back up keeping torso in line with legs.  (That is one (1) rep.)  Repeat.

  Shoulders – Front Deltoid Raise

Hold dumbbells in hands, palms facing body.  Keep arm straight, elbow locked.  Raise dumbbell to shoulder level, and then on up over head.  (That is one (1) rep.)  Repeat alternating arms.

  Arms – Bicep Curl, Standing

Hold dumbbells at sides of body, palms facing in; keep knees slightly bent.  Bending elbows, curl arms to shoulder level.  Rotate palms to up position (supination) when beginning curl.  (That is one (1) rep.)

  Legs – Glutes and Thighs, Squat

Stand tall:  head up and back straight, dumbbell in each hand.  With feet shoulder width apart, lower body until thighs touch calves.  Push back up to start position.  Keep Abs tight, push through heels.  (That is one (1) rep.)

  Abs – Side Bend

Stand, holding a dumbbell in left hand (palm facing body) place right hand behind head.  With feet shoulder width apart, bend at the waist to the right as far as possible.  Return to start.  (That is one (1) rep.)  Repeat with other side.

 

Change Up:  after a few weeks

perform 3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps

  Chest – Incline Bench Press

Hold a dumbbell in each hand at should level.  Press to straight arms.  Lower dumbbells back to starting position. (That is one (1) rep.)

  Back – Trapezius, Upright Row

Hold dumbbells together in front of body, palms facing in.  With knees slightly bent lift weights to chin level.
Lead with the elbows  Lower dumbbells back to starting position.  (That is one (1) rep.)

  Shoulder(s) –  Press

Hold dumbbells, palms facing in.  Press up to straight arms while rotating palms to face forward at the end of the movement.  (That is one (1) rep.)  Maintain slightly bent knees throughout.

Arms – Triceps Extension

Position one dumbbell over head holding both hands under inner plate (palms facing up, supination).   Keep upper arms close to sides of head.  Elbows should be pointing up, over head.   Bend elbows to lower forearm behind upper arm.   Raise dumbbell back up over head by straightening (extending) elbows.  (That is one (1) rep.)  Return and repeat.

  Legs – Glutes and Thighs, Step Up

Stand tall: head up & back straight, dumbbell in each hand.  Step up on box using right leg, bring left leg up to chest level.  Repeat stepping up with left leg and bring right leg to chest.  (That is one (1) rep.)  Continue to alternate.

  Abs – Trunk Twist, using weighted bar or dumbbells

Stand tall: head up & back straight, holding weighted bar or dumbbells.
Tighten abs and slowly rotate body from one side to the other by twisting at the waist.  (A twist to the right then to the left is one (1) rep.)  Repeat.

Fitness

REPS / STRETCH/ FLEX CLASS

Nancy L (ACE certified)  @  NancyLFitness.com is offering:

REPS / STRETCH/ FLEX CLASS

Monday, Wednesday and Friday

9:15 am-10:00 am & 12:00 pm-12:45 pm

Stretching, Balance and Strength Training and Flexibility Exercises

Questions:  Call Nancy L @ 541-921-7875.   Cost: $4.00 per class.   Location:  Nancy L’s on Devil’s Lake.

Bring a friend & start having fun.

SMILE…. BREATHE… AND FEEL GREAT!!!!!

Fitness, Whole Health

Calories Burned with Housework, Everyday Chores and Other Activities

Turn housework into a workout.  Ironing, washing dishes, cooking, raking leaves, walking the dog, everyday activities and recreation all burn calories.

Of course, the number of calories burned varies with each person, depending on weight of the individual and the intensity that one uses attacking the task.  It does not always have to be task oriented either!  Fun stuff like hiking counts, too.

For example, assuming a 150 lb. person with average basal metabolic rate for 30 minutes of movement, the average calories burned per task are:

         Task                       Calories

  • Walking (brisk)                   ~ 150 
  • Gardening                           ~ 200 
  • Washing & waxing car        ~ 300 
  • Riding a bike                       ~ 300 to 400 
  • Raking leaves                     ~ 150 
  • Dancing                               ~ 230 
  • Swimming                           ~ 250 
  • Skiing                                  ~ 225 Alpine; ~300 Cross Country
  • Climbing stairs                    ~ 100 per 10 minutes.
Help yourself stay in shape through general household chores!
Fitness

Don’t Like Push-Ups? Try This

When performing push-ups, exercise results are augmented for the amount of effort applied.  In other words, you get “more bang for your buck” because multiple muscle groups are being activated.  You can get toned and stronger (arms, shoulders, chest, back, legs and abs) sooner.

BUT push-ups are no fun and they are hard to do!!

Try this:  start with wall push-ups.  These will help build up your strength gradually, progressing to the traditional horizontal push-up. The benefits of Push-Ups are many:

  • Build strength and stamina
  • Help develop a fit upper body and core
  • Work multiple muscle groups
  • Burn calories / lose weight
  • Do them anywhere
  • Increase difficulty as strength increases
  • No equipment needed.

The muscles summoned and exercised are:

  • Chest, pectoralis major
  • Shoulder, deltoids
  • Upper arm (back of), triceps
  • Arms, biceps
  • Abs, rectus abdominis & obliques
  • Back, erector spinae
  • Legs (front of thighs), quadriceps.

To maximize results, use proper Wall Push-Up form:

wallpushup_blog  Wall Push-Up

  1. Face wall, standing an arm’s distance away.
  2. Place your palms flat on the wall, finger tips up. Hands should be at shoulder height and slightly wider than shoulder width distance apart.
  3. Lean in toward the wall, bending elbows.
  4. Keep heels on the floor and abs contracted.
  • Keep body straight like a plank (feet under hips).
  • Elbows up.
  • Do not let hips sag.
  1. Hold a few seconds.
  2. Then, push away bearing body weigh on arms, back to starting position.

While performing push-ups and increasing the number of reps, muscles will begin to fatigue.  To forestall this fatigue, breathe with control so that the muscles may receive adequate oxygen.  When doing a wall (or regular) push-up:

  • inhale as you bend your elbows
  • exhale as you straighten them.

To increase difficulty:

  • Place feet farther away from the wall, making the body more horizontal.
  • Keep your heels on the floor
  • Perform push-up from this vantage point.

Another variation is the Push-Up to Standing:

pushuptostanding_blog  Push-Up to Standing

  1. Inhale, lower body to push-up/plank position.  Elbows are next to the ribs
  2. Exhale, pushing arms to straight position.
  3. Inhale walking hands back to feet.
  4. Maintain forward bend position, hanging like a rag doll.
  5. Exhale, rolling spine up to standing position
  6. Inhale, repeat sequence back down to push-up position.
  7. Repeat steps 2 through7.