Archives for posts with tag: Exercise for men over 40

Work-Life-Balance

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balance or postural control, is the ability to maintain the body in either static or dynamic equilibrium with the center of gravity over the base of support (Magee 2007). Sounds so simple doesn’t it – but the fact is that lack of balance in humans can be costly and deadly. It is estimated that by 2020 the national cost of falls related injuries will reach 43.8 billion dollars (Donatelli 2010).

For myself I recently discovered just how ‘un-balanced’ my own body actually is, esp. after a number of injuries which all occurred on the right side of my body – each injury by itself was not the cause – but rather the combination of 5 injuries took its toll. Further the risk of having balance problems increases as we get older. I even found myself beginning to have small changes in my thinking that my own imbalance was just a product of those injuries and age – and what I realized was what a ‘negative’ mind set this type of thinking could become in my life.

I also began to understand why so many older adults start to become terrified of falling and losing the ability to move and function. Keeping active and mobile is key to our functioning both physically and mentally – without balance we cannot function normally, just ask anyone who has ever had episodes of vertigo.

Balance also extends to other aspects of our lives – our mental outlook and quality of life, our nutrition, our spirit. Keeping balance in our life of work, recreation, relaxation and mental stimulation is essential. I recently heard a neurologists from Harvard speaking on a radio program about neurological issues of the aging process. He was asked ‘if there is any one activity that we as aging humans could do to keep our brain healthy, active and functioning – what would you recommend? His answer – ‘exercise and staying active’. So simple and so profound.

The good news is it’s never too late. Check your own balance; here are a couple of simple tests.

1) Stand with one foot placed directly in front of the other foot and stay in that position for 10 seconds, then change feet.

2) Stand on one foot for 10 seconds, then change feet.

One should be able to perform these simple test quite easily and at will – and perhaps many can. However if you notice that even during these simple test that you have a bit of a challenge maintaining balance and being still then perhaps its time to begin adding balance training components into your regular routine. Even if you had no issues with these simple tests I would still recommend adding balance training components into your daily activity. Easily performing Activities of Daily Living (ADL) are a key measuring tool in determining how independent we are as individuals as we age.

Even in Joseph H. Pilates description of ideal health that he wrote about in 1945 he stated.  ‘Our interpretation of physical fitness is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.’

motivation

Motivation – is key to realizing your health, fitness and life goals. To me – without motivation I would just end up being a blob of organic matter – being alive in basic definition, but not in a reality that is meaningful and fulfilling.
Websters defines Motivation as:
•the act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something • the act or process of motivating someone
•the condition of being eager to act or work : the condition of being motivated
•a force or influence that causes someone to do something

Interestingly enough for me my ‘motivation’ for things have changed as I have changed, grown and matured and I’m sure that’s the case for most of us. From the perspective of health and fitness – my motivation to get fit has evolved over the years. As a young boy I was not athletic, extremely overweight, uncoordinated and basically uninterested…

Right around the time of puberty I grew tired of the many taunts I had heard through the years – ‘Hey Fattie’, Fatso, the sound of Moo’s and so on. We all know how cruel kids can be to one another. Those seemingly endless jabs and insults pushed me or ‘motivated’ me to exercise, lose weight and basically change my life.

The up side of that change was 1) I felt better physically and mentally and 2) I looked better and began to receive more positive attention (again it made me feel better mentally). The down side was that I was motivated to make these changes for all the wrong reasons – and those reasons were based upon what other people thought about me and how I looked – not how I really felt inside or  what I wanted. I was the product of my environment.

It wasn’t until I began to move through life and mature that I realized that health and fitness was so much more than 6 pack Abs, 7 % body fat and big biceps. Don’t get me wrong – having those attributes is certainly nice, but it doesn’t and shouldn’t define who you are and how you live. Health and Fitness is something that comes from the inside out and truly should be motivated by a desire to be healthy, to have an improved sense of well being, to function well and to have an enhanced quality of life.

So I ask you – what is your ‘Motivation’ for a healthy life?

Stretch3

 

What really is flexibility? – Well to put it succinctly – flexibility is a measure of the range of motion around a joint or series of joints. Flexibility is usually most limited by the joint’s physical structure which includes the bone, connective tissue and muscle. And what’s most important is that both men and women can improve flexibility with training.

It is truly important for all of us and especially those of us in our ‘prime’ to make flexibility training a regular part of our workout routine – or as I like to say our ‘Living Well’ commitment.
Did you know that there is scientific evidence that the incidence of injury actually decreases when we include flexibility training in our regular daily routines? The reason for this is that flexibility training gives us an enhanced ability to move better through a wider ROM – or range of motion.
The last thing that any of us wants to do is lose our mobility as we age, and the simple fact of the matter is that flexibility decreases as we age. Being flexible and mobile increases and enhances our lives as we age and helps ensure our independence. In addition – flexibility reduces our chances of experiencing occasional and chronic back pain.
Increased flexibility can increase and improve our performance of everyday activities as well as our performance in exercise and sport. It can also reduce our risk of injury during exercise or our daily activities because muscles are more pliable and supple. Further – flexibility training helps balance the musculature of our body and improves our posture!
Keep in mind a few things:
• Stretching should be included after every workout to improve and maintain overall flexibility.
• Stretching should never be painful – remember it is best to bring your muscle to a point of tension and above all-  breathe through your stretching.
•Don’t cut your stretching short – doing so is just cutting yourself short. Stretch for at least 5 – 10 minutes, preferably longer than shorter. This is esp. true for all of you ‘prime’ time stretchers out there.
•And for optimal results give ‘dynamic stretching’ a try – this involves using increasingly dynamic moves through the full ROM of a joint.

Activities such as Pilates are great to incorporate into your daily stretching and strengthening routine – remember Joe Pilates used to say that ‘a man is as old as his spine is flexible!’.
If you need some further advice don’t hesitate to contact me.

imagesSummer is in full swing and the 4th of July is almost upon us. Being cool and staying cool this summer is probably on your mind. With the plethora of ways to stay cool this summer and be cool – make sure that you keep hydration on top of your to-do list. Outdoor activities and exercises are a great way to take advantage of the warm and sunny days of summer. Did you know that the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research has determined that for every 1% body mass you lose through ‘sweat’ that your heart rate ticks up 3 beats per minute which of course means that your heart has to work harder?

Staying hydrated is your best defense – hydration helps your body hold in more water and thereby allows your heart not to work so hard. That means if you really like the outdoor strenuous activities, hydration is VERY helpful and will actually allow you to exercise with a higher intensity. Remember that it’s important to hydrate before your workout – not just during your workout. Something interesting to do would be to weigh yourself before you begin your workout and then again after your sweat inducing workout and make a note of how much ‘sweat weight’ you actually lose. Then the first thing you should do before your next workout is to take in that amount of water first. While water is your best go to choice for hydration the following liquids work as well!

Iced Coffee – that’s right I said ‘Iced Coffee’ – some recent research has noted that regular coffee drinkers (3 – 6 cups per day) get just as hydrated from coffee as water – and you also get an endurance boost from the caffeine.
Coconut Water – offers the same amount of hydration as a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink and water.
Watermelon Juice (my personal favorite) – Just 17 ounces before exercise can lead to less soreness after your workout. You can make this with seedless watermelon and a blender!

Oh and one other thing – when your outside – please don’t forget the sunscreen! Remember a proper warm-up and stretching is key to maintaining your flexibility and long term positive effects of your workout – especially in your Prime!

Make it happen

To your Health!

 

 

 

 

 

High Intensity Interval Training, sometimes also called:  FIIT – Full Intensity Interval Training, HIIE – High Intensity Intermittent Exercise or SIT – Sprint Interval Training can be simply described as an enhanced form of Interval training, which is an exercise form that alternates periods of short intense anaerobic exercises with a less intense recovery period. Some research has shown that short intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and condition. These style of workouts vary greatly and in general there is no specific formula to HIIT.

The great part is that this style of workout tends to be shorter in duration and considered an excellent way to maximize one’s workout when time is an issue or concern. There are also several varying styles or regimens of HIIT. One that has recently increased in popularity is the Tabata Regimen. Tabata is named after the professor (Isumi Tabata)who conducted an initial study utilizing Olympic speed skaters in 1996. This regimen uses 20 seconds of ultra intense exercises (basically  putting your body into the anaerobic training zone) followed by 10 seconds of rest and then repeated for 4 minutes or 8 cycles. This is generally followed by a 30 second rest period and then another cycle is done, so that overall there would be 6 – 8 cycles in total.

From my perspective for the Prime Male participant these varying versions of HIIT are valid if they are done safely – hence my acronym: SHIIT – Safe High Intensity Interval Training. The Prime Man should work up to these types of strenuous exercises sessions and should do these sessions with a seasoned qualified trainer. This is especially important if the Prime Male is just returning to exercising regularly. SHIIT sessions should also be alternated with a day of an easy recovery style workout utilizing some form of flexible functional fitness. Of course being the Pilates proponent that I am – my recommendation would be a group Pilates Mat class or equipment class. To me – form and function in exercise is of the utmost importance. The one thing that I have found about the majority of the HIIT training sessions I have attended is that they lack the functional flexibility section that the Prime Man really needs. The Prime Man also needs to know that the majority of these classes are populated with a younger demographic, the classes that I attend have participants that are easily 20 years my junior. Therefore – don’t  get intimidated or try to prove that you can do everything that the ‘kids’ do….

SHIIT  sessions can jump start your return to fitness or increase your level of fitness if you already do some form of exercise regularly. They are enjoyable and can really give you the encouragement to push your fitness level up.

Remember above all – your greatest asset is your good health!

Safe training and feel free to contact me with any questions.

Drop your pants, lay down on your side on the examination table. The snap of rubber gloves and a then a cold moist finger being put….

Yes, that’s how it goes gentlemen when we have to succumb to the dreaded of all test at the doctor’s office – the Prostate Exam! We all know that this is the test/exam that we don’t like to talk about, however remember it is actually one of the most important that we need to have on a regular basis.

November is Prostate Cancer Awareness month, that is why I am growing a moustache in honor of Prostate and Testicular Cancer Awareness. For more information go to:  http://www.pcf.org/site/c.leJRIROrEpH/b.5699537/k.BEF4/Home.htm

Here are some important facts to know:

Did you know that Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America affecting 1 in 6 men? There are several factors that influence risk:

Age – the older you are the more likely you are to be diagnosed with Prostate cancer – for example the rate for men under 40 is 1 in 10,000 men, but that rate shoots up to 1 in 15 men for ages 60 – 69.

Race – African-American men are more likely t develop Prostate cancer compared with Caucasian men, and are nearly 2.5 times as likely to die from the disease. Asian men who live in Asia actually have the lowest risk.

Family history/genetics – A man with a father or brother who developed prostate cancer is twice as likely to develop the disease.

Where you live – For men in the U.S., the risk of developing prostate cancer is 17%. For men who live in rural China, it’s 2%. However, when Chinese men move to the western culture, their risk increases substantially.

Men who live in cities north of 40 degrees latitude (north of Philadelphia, PA, Columbus, OH, and Provo, UT, for instance) have the highest risk for dying from prostate cancer of any men in the United States. This effect appears to be mediated by inadequate sunlight during three months of the year, which reduces vitamin D levels.

Also, keep in mind that not everyone experiences symptoms of prostate cancer. Many times, signs of prostate cancer are first detected by a doctor during a routine check-up.

Some men, however, will experience changes in urinary or sexual function that might indicate the presence of prostate cancer. These symptoms include:

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Difficulty in having an erection
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs

You should consult with your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms above.

The above information was provided by the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Stay tuned for my next installment about Prostate cancer and why I believe Men and those who love Men need to know the facts and understand all of aspects of this disease! I truly believe that the attention and funding that we have given to Breast cancer in Women, should be the same that we give to Prostate cancer in men.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You know the old saying – ‘you are what you eat’ may be true. Well it certainly  may be that we are (at least in size that is) based upon how much we eat. There was a recent article by Herman Pontzer published in the NY Times. Pontzer is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Hunter College in NYC. Pontzer and colleagues did a study of energy expenditure of a native tribe in Africa. They compared their energy expenditure vs other humans energy expenditure and came up with some interesting information:

Our findings add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that energy expenditure is consistent across a broad range of lifestyles and cultures. Of course, if we push our bodies hard enough, we can increase our energy expenditure, at least in the short term. But our bodies are complex, dynamic machines, shaped over millions of years of evolution in environments where resources were usually limited; our bodies adapt to our daily routines and find ways to keep overall energy expenditure in check.

All of this means that if we want to end obesity, we need to focus on our diet and reduce the number of calories we eat, particularly the sugars our primate brains have evolved to love. We’re getting fat because we eat too much, not because we’re sedentary. Physical activity is very important for maintaining physical and mental health, but we aren’t going to Jazzercise our way out of the obesity epidemic.’

You can read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/opinion/sunday/debunking-the-hunter-gatherer-workout.html?_r=0

I found this article quite interesting and thought provoking. I also came across an interesting eating strategy or program based upon less is more called ’80 Bites’. This program basically works by teaching the participant to be aware of ‘How Much They Eat’ and 80 bites per day should be our maximum according to Meredith Luce, MS, RD, LD/N. This Ms. Luce determined based upon FDA approved portion size – and therefore 80 bites is the limit. The thought here is that our stomachs are overstretched and if we decided to follow a diet that recommends lower calorie foods so that you can ‘eat as much as you would like’ continue to play into the fact that we keep our stomachs stretched and our stomachs continue to want to be fed. Therefore when your stomach is no longer stretched you will no longer be hungry…interesting. If you need more information you can check it out for yourself. http://www.80bites.com