Archive for the ‘Boomers Fitness’ Category

Over 50’s Fitness by Glen Barnett – Falls Prevention

March 15, 2016

senior-woman-breaking-hip
To fall or not to fall?    It’s not really a hard question to answer. I know I want to stay upright for as many years as I can. As you age you may have heard “ I’ve finally got my head together and now my body is falling apart”.    It doesn’t have to be that way but it is important to be aware that statistics show the risk of falling escalates around 65 years of age.   Falls prevention should start as young as 40+.

Causes
Deteriorated/deteriorating health – weight gain, blood pressure issues etc
Flexibility, mobility and strength loss associated with inactive ageing.
Lack of exercise leading to impaired balance – weakened core and stabilising muscles.
Gait changes eg shuffling walk and not lifting your feet.
Impaired visual acuity – bifocals, dim lighting, bright sunshine.
Environmental
Inappropriate footwear – thongs, slippers and loosely laced shoes
People traffic – busy shopping centres
Unfamiliar environment – creates caution and confusion
Uneven, loose or slippery floors – at home, foot paths, wet areas
How to prevent falls
Increasing muscle strength, flexibility and bone density and
Improving balance and gait.

The first step, starting today,  is to increase the strength and endurance in your legs because if they give way the only way you will be going is down.  Try the following movement opportunities:
Walking – anywhere
In the house, in the street
Parks the Jetty and Harbour area
With a friend or go solo

Then increase the intensity by:
Finding a gentle hill to walk up
Walking faster
Increase the distance
Picking up a dancing class or two
Attending classes specifically older adults

Next Increase your leg strength.  As I have said in previous articles, you lose 10% of muscle up to 55 then 40% more after that. Try some:
Step ups
Wall push ups
Rows with some cans, hand weights or resistance bands
Seated squats.
Don’t ignore your balance:
Try  hanging on to a table/ wall, standing on one leg, and as your balance improves you will find you can release your death grip.  Prepare your body for falling and you will find you don’t fall as easily as you think you will.

Stay active.  Keep moving.  Get out of the lounge chair.

Oh and by the way make sure you keep getting down on to the ground so you can practise getting up . You don’t want to be in a situation that if you do fall you can’t get up.  To summarize:
if you don’t use it you will lose it; and
falls prevention requires your attention!

Call Glen or Jacqui on 66586222 to organise a free session at Coffs Coast Health Club.

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Fitness starting with your Feet

November 29, 2015

Our feet and ankles are very important, considering we couldn’t stand, walk, run, or roundhouse kick someone in the face without them. Unfortunately, our lower limbs tend to be neglected unless something goes wrong.

Strong and flexible feet, ankles, and calves provide our base for stable movement, and are essential for performing our daily activities without pain or strain. In this article, I will give you a brief introduction to the the basic anatomy and movements in the ankle and foot (just enough for a good familiarity, but not enough for you to perform surgery…). Then, I’ll discuss the primary importance of working on this area, and finally, how to incorporate exercises for these areas into your training routine.

Your lower leg is made up of the bigger tibia on the inside and the smaller fibula on the outside, then connects lower down to the talus and the calcaneus (heel), then to the five small bones of the instep and the metatarsals and phalanges (your toes).

Lots of different sized ligaments connect the bones together for stability, along with various muscles from the big calf to the small muscles that move your toes.

Foot Anatomy

The ankle and foot is made to move in a great variety of angles to provide stability and dexterity, carrying us over all types of terrain from soft sand to rocky ground. Your ankle is not like a hinge on a door, and your foot isn’t just one big lump you slide your socks onto.

All the large and small joints in this area work together to provide this nimbleness, but only if we keep them moving like they are supposed to!

Your Lower Legs Work Hard for You – Here’s What They Do

Jump RopeOur calves (the bigger gastrocnemius and smaller, deeper soleus muscles) point the foot down, giving us the power to rise up on our toes and assist with running and jumping. But even with the foot flat on the ground, our calves provide stability in squatting, lunging, and other big movements.

On the front and sides of the shin are the anterior tibialis, posterior tibialis, and peronei muscles, which provide stability like stirrups and slings, and also the fine motor control that keeps us balanced and steady.

Down into the foot are many small muscles that control our arches and toes. These foot intrinsic muscles are the most at risk for atrophy from disuse when we don’t actively get out of our shoes and move our feet as we’re meant to do.

What Can Go Wrong in the Foot and Ankle

With all this considered, it’s easy to see the complexity of large and small muscles and joints working together to keep us upright and walking, as well as running, jumping, and balancing.

The coordination and differentiation of all these possible movements is key to foot and ankle control, and to moving freely and gracefully through your feet.

It’s also likely why we hear so many complaints about stiff ankles and feet.

If the smaller muscles are too weak to support your foot and ankle, your body reacts by increasing the tension where it can, in the bigger muscles. The tightness in the calf and ankle is then a protective mechanism that stretching may help a bit, but improved control and strength in the foot would solve.

Another common issue people experience is collapse arches in the feet. This is caused by poor mobility in the midfoot, along with weak posterior tibialis and intrinsic muscles. With improved mobility and strength in these areas, the arches should correct themselves over time.

Below we’ll discuss a variety of exercises with an emphasis on coordination and dexterity to wake up dormant muscles and restore proper mobility and control over this important area.

8 Exercises for Building Strength and Motor Control in the Feet and Ankles

The exercises we show here have an emphasis on active movement in various angles and ranges of motion.

A lot of people don’t fully explore the movement our feet and ankles are capable of, and this results in stiffness and weakness. The first step is knowing that it is actually possible to move this way, and the next and best step is to practice!

 

Below, we’ll look at each of these exercises in detail so you can understand the mechanics and benefits of each exercise, as well as programming recommendations.

1. Foot Circles with Toes Flexed (Curled)

Foot 1This movement concentrates on the small muscles in the arch of the foot. These foot intrinsicssupport the foot, and control over them means improved control and dexterity, which is so important in graceful and athletic movement.

It’s a simple movement – it’s just making a circle! – but the addition of flexing your toes makes this surprisingly difficult and can lead to muscle cramping in the beginning. Start off by not flexing your toes strongly and do the circles slowly.

Do 10-15 reps in each direction for 2-3 sets.

2. Toe and Ankle Movement Coordination

Foot 2Here is another simple movement that works on coordinating the use of the muscles of the lower leg and foot. Simply lift your foot up and down through your full range of motion and add the toe movements with it as well.

The coordination is toe extension (lifting toes upward) as you lift your foot upward, and toe flexion (curling in) as you point your foot down. And the other variation is then flexing your toes down as you lift your foot upward, and extending your toes as you point your foot down.

Do 10 repetitions of both variations for 2 sets.

3. Diagonal Patterns

Foot 3These are combined motion patterns of either your foot lifting up and rolling inward and then pointing down and outward; or your foot lifting up and rolling outward and then pointing down and inward. You are essentially tracing an X with your foot as you work on the coordination of ankle and foot motions.

This can be another surprisingly difficult exercise and is extremely useful for learning how your ankle can move.

Do 10-20 reps for 2-3 sets.

4. Rolling up Onto the Toes

Foot 4This is the first exercise where we are putting weight onto our feet.

The goal here is to combine a loaded active stretch to the ankle and foot together. It’s a dynamic move, so don’t hold too long in any position, instead go slowly through the full range and back again to encourage active movement through all the positions.

Do 5-8 reps for 3 sets.

5. Squats with Ankle Rotation

Foot 5In this exercise, don’t worry if you can’t drop down into the full deep squat position. The purpose of this exercise is to practice rolling on the inside and outside of your feet while weightbearing in a “compromising” position.

If you were to run and unexpectedly roll onto the side of your foot, you’d likely get a nasty ankle sprain. The exercise shown here is a progressive way to practice these common stresses to your feet and ankles. You can control the pressure and stress of the movement and use it to strengthen these positions to make it less likely to be severely injured when it unexpectedly happens.

Do 5-8 reps for 3 sets.

6. Ankle Rolling Side-to-Side

Ankle RollingHere we move to standing and up on the ball of the foot as we practice rolling our ankle from side to side.

Again, it’s better to do this while we are controlling the forces so we can strengthen them, rather than having it happen randomly and possibly causing injury.

Do 5-8 reps for 3 sets.

7. Weightbearing Ankle Circles on the Heel/Ball of Foot

Foot 7Continuing in standing, we’ll now practice ankle circles while placing as much weight as we are comfortable with on either our heels or on the ball of the foot.

There are different forces and strains involved in the two variations, so it’s good to familiarize yourself with both.

Do 10 reps in each direction for 2 sets.

8. Calf Raises

Calf RaisesAnother classic exercise, this is the most direct way of strengthening the calf muscles in their full range of motion from a full stretch to a full contraction. You can adjust your intensity by how much you hold on with your hands and by eventually adding weight to your body through a backpack or holding dumbbells.

If this is too much for you, then work both feet at the same time or start on a flat floor versus a step to reduce the range of motion until you get stronger and can handle strengthening from the full stretch.

Do 8-12 reps for 3 sets.

Fundamental Calf Stretches for Flexible Lower Legs

Calf StretchA very common complaint we hear from people is their lack of ankle flexibility.

Many bodyweight exercise moves, especially as you move into intermediate and advanced work, such as the pistol squat and various locomotive patterns, require good ankle flexibility.

The calf muscles are a very dense muscle group because we use them constantly – even just in standing and walking. And the ankle joints,  because of the lack of variety of motion throughout the day, tend to be stiff and immobile. This can require aggressive stretching, in terms of load, not intensity, to achieve improvements in range of motion.

A classic and effective exercise is using a step or sturdy block for your foot so you can drop your heel down to stretch.

It’s simple, not fancy, but works extremely well if you are consistent and approach it the right way. I recommend doing this in shoes, in this way you can place the middle of your foot on the edge of the step comfortably for the stretch. This is protective of your foot arch and allows you to put more weight into the stretch.

 

The variations are with your knee locked out straight and with your knee bent. The straight leg version emphasizes more of a gastrocnemius stretch, and the bent knee version gives the calf muscles a bit of slack and thus puts more of a stretch in the ankle joint.

The calf responds well to long holds of stretching, so 1 to 2 minutes for 3 sets should be a minimum goal. Stretch before active movement such as the strength and motor control exercises above so that your body learns to adjust and retain the new range of motion from the stretching.

Self-Massage Techniques for Healthy Feet, Ankles, and Calves

Self MassageA bit of self massage work is very useful in the lower leg and foot to loosen some tension prior to stretching and exercise.

The massage itself doesn’t make you more flexible, but it does temporarily help you feel less tight and gives you a window of opportunity to stretch further with less discomfort.

Just make sure not to overdo it, the trick is to apply just enough pressure to ease tension, not push as hard as you can to force it to happen!

 

Starting at the foot, work along the sole along the contours of the bones and feel the small muscles in you feet, keep the pressure light at first then gradually increase the pressure. If you are doing it correctly you’ll notice an easing off of tension in the muscles. You can then add more pressure and continue if you feel you need it, or move on to the next area.

Move on to the sides of your shin, into the calf and the front of your shin. The calf can be especially sore to massage deeply, so be aware of this and go gradually until you get accustomed to the pressure.

You can also use a ball to change the pressure and get into the muscles from a different angle.

Along with being mindful of gradually increasing pressure, you should limit your time on self massage to no more than 5 minutes. Too much of a good thing is still too much. And it is much more valuable to spend the majority of your time on active exercise.

Keep Your Feet Healthy for a Lifetime

Our ankles and feet are too often under-exercised and taken for granted considering how much we rely on them everyday. It’s no surprise that this neglect of their full range of motion and total potential for coordinated movement can lead to stiffness and weakness, and perhaps even pain.

This article focused on simple, yet effective exercises that not only lessen the chances of potential injury, but may also reverse some damage that has already been done (barring any true injuries in need of surgery or more intensive therapy).

Spend 5-10 minutes on these exercises every day, and you’re likely to feel your feet getting stronger, more flexible, and more able to handle variations in movement.

 

Article Sourced from: https://gmb.io/feet/

 

Over 50’s Fitness by Glen Barnett – Exercise as a Tonic

November 24, 2015

exercise tonic

Like a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, a dose of exercise is the best tonic for mental (and physical) wellness.

Lets put aside the obvious medical conditions that we already know are benefitted by exercise and look at another condition –  menopause.

Menopause  is a very challenging time for women with a lot of hormonal, physical and mental changes occurring at once without warning and often leaving the woman with no idea when they will end.  Trying to ‘stay sane’ during this period of a woman’s life is how some women describe their battle with a body that is not doing what it has done all their lives. Menopause brings with it a body that is laying down fat in different areas; a body that the woman doesn’t often recognise as the one she’s ‘grown up’ with.   The benefits of exercise on our mental state during this time, can have an overriding effect on the physical symptoms that may present.

Exercise, relaxation and breathing exercises assist in helping the menopausal woman feel that she is taking back some control of the unpredictability of her menopausal symptoms.  The relaxation and the breathing give her strategies to deal with the mood swings and hot flushes. The exercise (and also dietary guidance) assists with the changes in her body weight and body fat placement and the stretching helps relieve discomfort in joints and muscles that often feel stiffer through this stage of life.

Never underestimate the benefit of a walk in the park or on the beach or just around the block, a good stretching session,  and/or an upside down yoga class.  Be proactive and make exercise your tonic to wellness.

At Coffs Coast Health Club we can really help you achieve the benefits I’ve described in this article. Give Glen or Jacqui a call on 66586222 for a free chat and let’s see how we can help you.

Over 50’s Fitness by Glen Barnett – Exercise, are you Ready?

November 10, 2015

Do you relish your daily exercise regime or are you in bewilderment when you see those enthusiastic walkers striding past your house at the same time every morning while you add an extra teaspoon of coffee to your mug?

You stir your potent brew while wondering why it seems so easy for other people to stick with an exercise regime while you struggle with it. Scientists are always interested in figuring out what makes some of us make exercise a daily ritual while others only find time a few times a year.

Are you mentally ready for exercise or commitment phobic?   Your body might be ready but your mind is having second thoughts. Starting an exercise program might bring on feelings of dread, confusion, memories of pain, frustration or even disappointment. It does take mental preparation to commit to health. Getting help with an exercise program and participating in things that you enjoy will make it much easier.

‘Lifestyle change’ is a common phrase in the health industry today. You often hear that people need to make ‘lifestyle changes’ to achieve their goals and reduce the possibility of succumbing to life threatening diseases. Did you know though that making lifestyle changes should be a slow and gradual change? Don’t make all of your changes at once. The human mind can only deal with a couple of changes at a time so for instance don’t wake up and decide to stop drinking, give up smoking, cut out all sugar, eat more veges and go to the gym everyday starting now! Choose a couple of those lifestyle changes and allow yourself to get use to them over a 4-5 week period then make a couple more. This will be less shocking, more agreeable and more sustainable to your mind and body.

I bet the health of your loved ones is a priority in your life but what about your own health? Give Glen or Jacqui a call at Coffs Coast Health Club if you are ready to get started on 66586222.

Over 50’s Fitness by Glen Barnett – the Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion

November 3, 2015

How hard do you exercise? One way to gauge how hard you exercise is to use the Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion. The Borg Scale takes into account your fitness level: It matches how hard you feel you are working with numbers from 6 to 20; thus, it is a “relative” scale. The scale starts with “no feeling of exertion,” which rates a 6, and ends with “very, very hard,” which rates a 20. Dr. Gunnar Borg, who created the scale, set it to run from 6 to 20 as a simple way to estimate heart rate—multiplying the Borg score by 10 gives an approximate heart rate for a particular level of activity.

As an example, just say you were walking through the shops or other activities that require some effort but not enough to speed up your breathing.  This would rate on the scale as feeling fairly light and have an effort level of 11-12

So now let’s look at brisk walking or other activities that require moderate effort and that speed up your heart rate and breathing but don’t make you out of breath.  This would rate on the scale as feeling somewhat hard and have an effort level of 13-14.

Cycling, swimming, or other activities that take vigorous effort and get the heart pounding and make breathing very fast, would rate on the scale as feeling hard and have an effort level of 15-16.

If loosing body fat is your goal, in a 30minute workout you would need to have at least 3 spikes at effort level 15-16 which you would try to sustain for a 30-60seconds each.  Most of your workout though, would be at 13-14 with a 3-5 minute warm up and cool down at level 11-12.

Understanding how to achieve your goals often takes some coaching and advice from someone like me. This can save weeks, months and sometimes years of frustration. If you’d like to have a free advice session with me or one of the other Personal Trainers at Coffs Coast Health Club give Glen or Jacqui a call on 66586222.

Over 50’s Fitness by Glen Barnett – Flab to Fab Arms

October 27, 2015

Recently my wife was asked If we could write an article on an area that women of all ages find very frustrating – getting those upper arms from flab to fab!

Most women tend think to reduce the flab, they’ve got to lose the fat only and lose fat by doing cardiovascular exercise such as walking, running etc.    Wrong!  Yes Cardiovascular exercise is important but adding muscle (or increasing the density of your muscle) is a sure fire way to increase your metabolic rate which in turn will burn more energy (fat storage) during and after you exercise.

Incorporate a series of arm exercises into a single workout so to challenge the muscles and so that brushing your hair the next day may be a bit of an effort.  Some exercise examples are pushups, tricep extensions, krank cycle, dips etc.   Whatever you can do and use to work those arms 2-3 times a week and while you’re at it, look at your diet.

Getting those arms you want really comes down to making some changes to your exercise program and making some changes to your diet.    Check the carbohydrates (sugars) in your diet. High carbohydrate diets are essentially fat storing diets (unless you’re an athlete). High carbohydrate snacks and meals cause your body to release more insulin than you probably need, resulting in extra carbohydrates stored as body fat.   There are so many hidden sugars in foods  we don’t even realise how addicted we are, so when reducing your carbohydrate intake do so over a 3-6 week period to help with cravings.  Your body will start using energy stores from your body fat more efficiently.

As an added suggestion make sure you also exfoliate your arms and use a good rich oil blend like grapefruit, marjoram, geranium and black pepper to nourish the skin.  Start now and by Christmas when you wave good bye to the relations hopefully your arms won’t wave goodbye with you.

You should always get more guidance when you’re doing unfamiliar exercises so give Glen or Jacqui a call at Coffs Coast Health Club and we can organise you a free session – 66586222.

Over 50’s Fitness by Glen Barnett – Weight Loss Part Two

October 13, 2015

Last Week I wrote about weight loss as we age and this week I’m completing my tips: see below.

Strength training is one of the most important additions to any weight loss program.  . Strength training a minimum of twice a week will help prevent you from losing muscle as you age.  When your muscles shrink then your metabolic rate decreases.  When your metabolic rate decreases then your ability to burn up energy from food decreases as well. When that happens you put on body fat.   Lifting weights, resistance bands, heavy gardening, yoga are some examples of strength training activities.

As you age, your metabolism can slow down if you decrease your level of activity and exercise and don’t adjust your kilojoule intake. This results in weight gain. If this is/has happened to you, fight weight gain by becoming knowledgeable on food and portions suitable for you and adjust them as your lifestyle requirements change.  What suits one person doesn’t always suit another.  . As a general rule, you need to consume daily a couple of pieces of fruit, loads of colourful vegetables and a small amount of whole grain carbohydrate.   Protein is necessary too, so try sources like nuts (only a small handful p/day) and fresh fish, tofu, turkey or kangaroo.  Fats are important but don’t go the low fat options as you may find these foods are topped up with sugar or salt to replace the flavour that was lost when the fat was reduced.   Reduce your alcohol consumption and remove the sugar  from your life. Remember sugar comes under many different names and as such is often hidden in foods.

Check out the colour of your urine.  Your first urine of the day is probably yellow as it has become concentrated overnight but from then on it should be clear unless of course you are on medication or supplements like Vitamin B that can darken the colour.  Staying hydrated will assist with weight loss as it helps to flush out toxins and help your body’s functions perform optimally.  Start your day with a big glass of water and a dose of  lemon juice or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to kickstart the cleansing process.

Weight gain as you age is not your doomed future.  Society just accepts it because the majority of people have allowed themselves to succumb to middle age spread as their lifestyles change and they haven’t adjusted their habits accordingly.  Adjust your habits as your lifestyle changes and you will be better off physically, mentally and emotionally.

Come and have a free visit at Coffs Coast Health Club and see how our baby boomers do it!  Give Glen or Jacqui a call on 66586222 for a free session.

Over 50’s Fitness by Glen Barnett – Weight Loss Tips for the Ageing

October 6, 2015

Senior woman weighing self on scale

Saddle bags, bum bags and love handles – yep weight gain, and weight gain as we age can creep up on us just like those old undies we love to wear.

Reasons can be:  hormonal changes, high kj diet, decreased activity, stressful living, medical conditions and medications. Below (and next week) are some of the lifestyle changes you can look at to help stop the weight gain and improve the weightloss.

First separate being active and exercising.  Being active means you use the stairs, not the escalator, you park further away and walk to your appointments, you choose to move more and sit less.

Exercising is specific activities and times during your day and week that you set aside to do something  that will increase your heart rate, blood flow, breathing and effort level.

Note  the difference.  Write down under the headings of Active and Exercise,  what you do.  On another piece of paper take it further by writing down one side,  the word Active then below that the word Exercise.

Across the top of that page write the days of the week.  Now go through and tick which days you do Exercise and how long your are exercising and across the Active section tick how many times during each day you are active eg tick  for every active activity like scrubbing floors, taking the stairs, washing the car.

This will give you an idea of just how much you are moving in your life.  Think back to other times in your life when you weighed less.  Were you moving more then on a day to day basis?

Using opportunities to be active every day and exercising a minimum of 30minutes on most days will pay off.   Think back to your parents or grandparents day, they  probably didn’t need to have set exercising sessions, because they were far more active than we are.  Technology has made us less physical,  lazier, fatter and sicker.

Use this scale to perceive how vigorously you exercise:

  • 1 to 10 with 10 being the hardest section of your exercise.
  • 1-4  low exercise, you may be warming up; very comfortable
  • 5-6 moderate exercise, you can still talk or sing,
  • 7-8 is vigorous activity your heart rate is high and talking is a difficult.
  • 9-10 probably means you may be exercising too hard especially if you are feeling sick, lightheaded or can’t talk.
  • Exercise between levels 7-8 but increase the intensity atleast 3 times during your 30minute session. Making sure you finish your session slowing steadily down to a 1-4 before stopping.  Always check with your doctor before starting a new fitness program.

Next week,  what else you can do to tap into weight loss for older adults.

These are tried and true tips from us to you.  If you can’t wait until next week’s next tip, or you’d like a free session call Glen or Jacqui at Coffs Coast Health Club on 66586222