Aging: You’re Standing On The Down Escalator. Which Way Do You Want To Go?

You’re standing on the down escalator moving towards the bottom. If you don’t want to be at the bottom, you’ve got to make a decision quickly and begin the efforts to outpace the descent. Doing nothing is the same as leaving your fate to the direction of movement of the automatic stairs: downward.

Aging is much more subtle. You have no idea that your bones may have lost their strength until your life is drastically changed by a fall. Last time you hurried about, it may have caught your attention that you’re breathing heavier than you used to, and you can feel your heart laboring harder to keep up.

Now is a great time to contemplate where you’re headed with your lifestyle.

The only option you have to improve that doesn’t have negative side effects is a fitness lifestyle: exercise, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep. From the Wellness perspective, a purposeful and positive outlook on life goes a long way, also.

Let’s get real and figure out your next move. You can keep doing the same thing with the same results, or you can make a decision, take action, and work toward being a little better each day.

You decide.

There are no excuses, only results. Your body will respond to positive stress like exercise by getting stronger, no matter how old you are. Different results demand different actions. Stop feeding on excuses, get up and begin your new beginning.

If you stand still, you lose.

Get It Started,

Steven
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We Can Reduce Osteoporotic Fracture Risk By 50% Right Now…

…in the lives of our children.

“It’s estimated a 10% increase of peak bone mass in children reduces the risk of an osteoporotic fracture during adult life by 50%.”

“The prevention of osteoporosis begins with optimal bone growth and development in youth. It is recommended children engage in physical activity for at least 40 minutes a day. This exercise can include sports with a weight-bearing element (cycling and swimming are non-weight-bearing) or activities such as dancing, skipping, running or walking.

Weight-bearing exercises build bone density and mass, making them stronger and less vulnerable to osteoporosis later in life. Building bone density and mass is particularly important for young people aged 8 to16.

Research has shown physically active young girls gain about 40% more bone mass than the least active girls of the same age. In girls, the bone tissue accumulated during the ages of 11 to 13 approximately equals the amount lost during the 30 years following menopause.”

This excellent information is quoted from the International Osteoporosis Foundation, whose link is:

http://www.iofbonehealth.org/

What About Today’s Seniors?

Because of the changes that aging brings, the benefits of weight bearing exercise still exist, but at a significantly reduced effect. These effects, though diminished, are still very important. In clinical trials, compared to sedentary Seniors who are continuing to lose bone density at a rate of about two to three percent per year, subjects who participated in a program of regular weight bearing exercise experienced an average of one percent gain per year. Obviously, over a period of just a few years, these numbers become very significant; especially if one is borderline osteoporotic to begin with. It’s important, as well, that we not forget the additional benefits of an organized exercise program that includes bone-building movements. Increased muscle mass and strength, especially in the elderly, means a better chance of survival. Also contributing to a safer and more enjoyable lifestyle is the increase in coordination and balance that result from movement and exercise.

Back To Our Children

If the only benefit from organized, effective exercise programs was the 50% reduction in future Osteoporosis, it would make overwhelming sense to make sure our children had access to such programs; for them as individuals, and for us as a society.

When we add in all the other numerous positive side effects of exercise, it becomes beyond overwhelming.

To Our Health and Wellness,

Steven

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Find An Activity You Can Enjoy The Rest of Your Life! That’s How Long You’ll Need It.

Originally posted on The Senior Health and Fitness Blog:

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Wouldn’t it be nice if we could exercise for a limited amount of time and have it last the rest of our lives? Because it’s a source of fun and achievement for me, you’d still be able to find me in the gym on a predictable basis.

One of the great facts that we’ve discovered in the last few years is that simply being active doing things that you already enjoy contributes significantly to your physical well being.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/03/20/291894075/exercise-cuts-breast-cancer-risk-for-all-women-everywhere?ft=3&f=1001

Wonderful news to those who think it’s only about sweat, strain, and soreness.

Don’t over analyze trying to figure out the best program. The most important and best program is the one you do! Once you experience the vitality that accompanies a fitness lifestyle, there are countless choices for continuing.

To Your Wellness Beginning,

Steven

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“If You Can Move It, You Can Improve It!”

When It comes to organized exercise and physical activity, there are lots of choices. From running to yoga to weightlifting to swimming, and everything in between: It’s all good.

But just maybe you’re feeling so far from fitness that it just doesn’t seem possible. There could be many reasons for you feeling this way; but your feeling is not as important as your focus.

And let’s focus on your new reality right now: if you can move it, you can improve it!

So this sincere effort is for many of you who feel stuck and frustrated about your physical condition and/or limitations.

Because your body responds to positive stresses by getting stronger and adapting to the greater challenge, you can get better. If you’re willing to make consistent, basic efforts, your body will become stronger, more flexible and certainly more ‘user friendly’ in ways that you’ll feel in a short period of time.

Fitness, no matter what level, from the disabled person trying to learn to walk again, to the elite professional athlete, starts in the mind.

I want you to take the first step on your journey to a better you, and the first step is this mental commitment to simply start; because you are important, and these little daily steps matter.

Stand a little straighter today. Stretch your arms slightly higher today. Smile a sincere smile at someone you don’t know today.

These acts will change you, as well as your world.

We’ll Do This Together,

Steven

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Sleeping On A Flat Mattress Is A Mild Form Of Torture!

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The majority of experts recommend that sleeping on your back is the healthiest position. What’s interesting, aside from the fact that even doctors don’t agree about such a basic fundamental issue, is that the fewest amount of people actually sleep this way. I was surprised when I saw the numbers: roughly two thirds are side sleepers and the rest, split between back and stomach, with back sleepers coming in last!

Let’s get this straight; back sleeping is the most recommended, but the least utilized?

Correct.

What is the problem?

If you look at the pictures and illustrations on the Mayo Clinic website regarding sleeping positions, you’ll notice that whatever position is your favorite, it's best accompanied by multiple pillows. Let me tell you what you already know: because of all these angles of human anatomy, the pillows, in the side position, are a weak attempt to keep us from torquing the spine further to reduce the possibility of nerve impingement. The pillows, under the knees in the back position, allow the hamstring muscles to relax, thus reducing the urge to move to the side.

Lessons From the Recliner

One of the most popular redesigns of the basic chair is the recliner. I would guess that it’s probably the most popular variation of a chair in the history of mankind. Why? The chair is designed to comform to the angularity of the body. By doing so, the muscles are in a more relaxed position, and the effect of gravity on the spine is reduced.

A friend of mine recently commented that she and her husband had spent over three thousand dollars on a new mattress and her husband still prefers to sleep in his reclining chair. It’s not at all a surprise to me; one allows angular relaxation, the other torques the angles of the body all night long, requiring constant movement to relieve the muscular tension. I imagine that millions prefer the comfort of their recliners every night.

It’s All About Angles

The human body is a connection of angles: from the ankles to the knees to the hips to the back to the shoulders to the neck to the head.
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The major point of discomfort responsible for the nagging urge to move from the back sleeping position during the night is felt in the muscles of the lower back. Even though your legs are resting on the mattress, as they are stretched straight in front of you, they are exerting a constant torque on the lower back due to the fulcrum effect of the sacrum, or lower part of the spine that protrudes as it curves. Putting a pillow under the knees will reduce the hamstring tension, but not the tension in the lower back. Only a change in the elevation of the upper torso and/or legs and feet will relieve the constant tension without the need to turn from side to side.

What is Zero Gravity?

It’s a very relaxing position preprogrammed in many of the adjustable beds. If you happen upon a mattress store that sells adjustable beds, walk in and ask if you can relax in the Zero G position for just a minute. The upper torso is slightly raised and the legs and feet are elevated slightly higher. After resting like this for just one minute, when the bed is returned to the flat position, you’ll definitely feel a pulling sensation in the lower back–indicating how relaxed your muscles were in the Zero G position.

Problems Cited With Back Sleeping.

In the information regarding the healthiest sleeping position, when discussing back sleep, two issues are always mentioned: sleep apnea and snoring. Let’s address these issues.

Sleep apnea is a short cessation of breathing during sleep. It can be dangerous, and the long term effects are very serious. It is not within the scope of this article to expand this topic, but let’s look at elevated sleep as a possible solution.

The following quote is from a study done to determine the effect of sleeping at a 60 degree angle on sleep apnea patients:

“In approximately half the patients studied, obstructive sleep apnea was essentially abolished by the postural intervention.”

Despite the results of this study, I am unable find recommendations for elevated sleep positions in the major body of work on sleep apnea.

The full article can be viewed here:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/3963630/

Snoring

Snoring is a problem with multiple causes and even more suggestions for solutions. Consider the potential benefits of sleeping in the elevated position. In the cases where snoring is a function of sinus issues, the capacity for the fluids to drain is greatly increased as you elevate away from the flat position.
Sleeping flat on the back requires a lot more effort to move these fluids, as they tend to pool in the neck. So in many cases, I believe that sleeping in the elevated position could have positive results for many who snore.

Whatever your sleeping posture is, these are the issues in trying to achieve what the experts say is the healthiest sleeping position, along with some possible solutions.

Goodnight,

Steven

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Strong Is The New Senior

Taking off from the observation of one writer that, “For women, strong is the new skinny,” I’m going to say the same about the Boomers.

Little by little the landscape at the gym is starting to change. Not the outside shrubbery, but the faces of the participants on the inside using the equipment.

If you think about it, the advantages of strengthening the body using the equipment found in the typical fitness center are enormous. The reality is, that if you’ve ever been to rehabilitation for any injury, you were using equipment designed to do exactly what the machines and weights at the fitness center do.

Physical therapy focuses on the individual healing areas to restore the normal function of the entire body.

Given the enormous growth in the utilization of bodyweight-only routines–which is a fantastic form of exercise — don’t lose sight of the tremendous opportunity to develop particularly weak and critical areas by weight training.

Let me give you an example that I’ve used many times before. The ladies, because of Osteoporosis and poor posture habits over time, often develop a debilitating bent-over upper back posture. I see this bad habit even in younger girls. There is no better way to target the important muscles and bones of posture than through targeted weight bearing exercise. In fact, one of the best exercises for this issue is the one you see me doing in the picture above. There are others, of course.

But understand this main point:

Targeted weight bearing exercises give you the opportunity to work critical areas in a way that no other form of exercise can. It is, in essence, your form of physical therapy for living a fit life.

Other aspects of fitness such as aerobic capacity, balance, and coordination are equally as important, of course. But my focus here is to help you gain an appreciation for the outstanding utility of the equipment at your disposal.

It, however, only works if you do!

From the ‘Changing the Look Of Senior Fitness’ files:

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Mike introduced himself to me yesterday after my stretching routine had caught his attention. At 53, he trains 3-5 times a week, and makes it a point to eat with nutrition in mind. Nice to meet you, Mike!

Be Senior Strong,

Steven

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Does Anyone Know What Your Dream Is?

Originally posted on The Senior Health and Fitness Blog:

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If you left this earth tomorrow and your friends and family were paying tribute, would they be able to describe the dream that was your passion?

If the answer is no, then two possibilities present themselves. You either had no dream; or you did, but lacked the belief in yourself to act upon it.

I knew that feeling.

I also know the feeling of time running out. If no one has told you to get your act together yet, let me be the one to suggest that you do so.

Let’s not carry the excess baggage of excuses and regret any longer. At this point in time, who’s the critic living who’ll shame you? It really shouldn’t matter, should it?

It really never should have.

To Your Health and Fitness,

Steven

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