Fitness, Whole Health

Exercises that Will Work for You

Exercise is beneficial for the body and for well-being.  Whether you want to begin an exercise routine or try something new, where to start?

Think about what kind of exercise is interesting to you.  Is it a fit with your lifestyle?  Aspects to consider:

  • Do you like to work with others or alone (at home or gym)
  • Does the routine mesh with your schedule / lifestyle
  • Is it suitable with your fitness level (not too easy; not too difficult)
  • How much impact are you looking for (can your body handle high impact, or do you require lower impact exercises)?

Physical activity is advantageous, significantly improving one’s health, helps:

  • Establish and maintain a healthy body weight
  • Maintain muscle mass and good energy levels
  • Reduce risk of chronic disease
  • Improve mental function and mental health
  • Sleep better.

To get started with an exercise routine it’s important to consider a health check-up first, especially if you are:

  • not used to strenuous physical activities
  • aged 45 and over.

The health check may identify any health issues or conditions that could potentially cause injury during exercise.  Knowing these limitations, a safe and optimal exercise plan may be developed.

Next set goals:  REALISTIC GOALS.  Create a plan that is attainable for you.  As your fitness level increases and you progress toward reaching your goal, add to it in increments:  SUCCESS!!

Now, maintain your exercise routine on a scheduled basis:  HABIT.

Types of Exercise to Consider:

Walking – is safe and produces dramatic results.

Start with walking in 10 to 15 minute increments. As strength and endurance increase, begin to walk further and faster. Get to the point of being able to walk for 30 to 60 minutes at a good pace.

Strength Training – muscle begins to atrophy after the age of 40.  Strength (resistance) training will help to slow/stop this progression.

Start with lighter weights, that you can lift comfortably 12 to 15 times.  Use proper form, doing each exercise correctly. When ready, increase the load to slightly heavier weight.

Try to maintain a weight training schedule of two or more times per week.

Balance Training – can help prevent falls, important for older adults.  The movements are slow and deliberate.  Many daily activities require good balance: walking and going up and down the stairs, standing up from a sitting position, bending over, etc.

Some simple balance exercises include:

  • Stand on one leg and raise the other leg to the side or behind.
    As balance improves try holding the positions for a longer amount of time.

Also try closing your eyes or moving your head in different directions.

  • Heel to toe walking:  walk in a steady, straight line by placing the heel of one foot just in front of the toes of the other foot.  Repeat for 20 steps. To start, use a support if needed.
  • Stand up from a sitting position without using your hands.
    To start, use a support if needed.

Keep practicing until a support is no longer needed.

  • Flexibility/Stretching:  helps with muscle recovery, range of motion and injury prevention.  It also works to improve posture and balance.

Warm up first for about 5 to 10 minutes with some dynamic stretching (high kicks, knee to chest movements, arm and leg swinging). This prepares the body for exercise.

Stretch slowly, doing so with fluid movements. Only go as far as is comfortable – no pain.

Start by holding the stretch for 7 to 10 seconds, then progress further as you become more comfortable.  Yoga and Pilates are good flexibility exercise programs.

The above exercises can be done individually or may be combined. Most importantly, do what you like and have fun with it.

If you feel pain or discomfort while exercising, stop and rest before continuing.  Do not rush your routines; take time to progress.  This will help you to maintain your program.

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.




Nancy L (ACE certified)  @ is offering:


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.


Whole Health

Get Strong – Stay Young!

  • Feeling older and tired and worn out at the end of the day?
  • Losing strength over the years?
  • Is there fat where muscle used to be?
  • Are you eating less, but still experiencing weight gain?

As we progress past the age of forty, we begin to lose muscle mass.  This is called SARCOPENIA, and as a result (of sarcopenia) we begin to slow down.  The progressive weakness and diminished vitality that is associated with the normal aging process is due to muscle loss, more than anything else.

This does not have to happen.  Strength training works to reverse this process.  It is like a health boost and will help you:

  • Feel younger and stronger.  Feel better than you have in your whole life
  • Regain your strength and vigor
  • Gain muscle, lose fat.
  • Boost metabolism, change body composition and control weight
  • Raise your energy level
  • Improve balance & flexibility
  • Increase bone mass/density.

“Use it or lose it”

Be sure to warm up and stretch for 10 to 15 minutes first when strength training.  See the blog post on stretching for pointers.  You may use use hand weights if you have them, or use household items such as cans of soup as hand weighs.  As you gain strength and endurance, increase your reps (number of times the exercise is repeated in a set) and/or increase the amount of weight.




Seniors, Whole Health

Exercise for the Aging Population

What type of exercise is recommended for the aging population?  Aerobic exercise improves oxygen consumption and metabolism.  Maintaining aerobic fitness during middle age and beyond can delay biological aging by up to 12 years and prolong independence during old age.

A study in an issue of JAMA reports that walking two (2) miles a day reduced the risk of dementia in older men.  2,257 men from ages 71 to 93 were studied for about six years.  Those who walked less than a quarter of a mile a day were 1.8 times more likely to develop dementia than those who walked more than 2 miles.

Two other studies showed a reduction in the rate of dementia in older men.  Long term physical activity that included walking showed improved cognitive function in older women.  Increases in cardiovascular health from the physical activity probably helped to improve brain health.

Not only is aerobic training essential as aging takes place, but also strength training and flexibility/stretching are important.  By strengthening leg and other muscles balance is improved and the risk of falling is lessened.