Saturday, August 27, 2016

Fitness Over 50, You Can Be Stronger Next Year

Lately I've noticed a lot of fitness videos and programs aimed at those of us over the age of 50.  It seems that these programs have good intentions, however the exercises and fitness routines they recommend are more geared toward people in rest homes.  Just because you are over 50 doesn't mean your exercise routine should only be composed of resistance bands and light weight dumbbells.

If you are in poor physical condition, using resistance bands, and light weights is a place to start in your journey to improve your health and fitness level, but it isn't a place for you to stay for very long.  The ripe young age of 50 is where you really need to concentrate on building and maintaining your muscle mass and the best way to do this is with strength training better known as weight lifting.

Building muscle is important because you naturally start to lose your muscle mass at a rate of about 1 lb per year beginning in your 40s and this process accelerates with time if you don't do anything about it.  The good news is that you can slow and  even reverse age related muscle loss by lifting weights on a regular basis. 

Muscle is that component of your body that makes your bones and joints strong, keeps your metabolism high (which makes losing weight easier), and helps you remain youthful and strong.   Studies have shown that people in their 80s and 90s can build muscle and get stronger by lifting weights on a regular basis.

I believe firmly in the benefits of regular strength training.  I'm in my fifties and I've been strength training three to four times each week for over 30 years and believe it or not, I'm stronger and more fit than I was in my 20s.  And you can be too.  If you are over 50, starting a regular strength training program is one of the most important things you can do for your fitness.  If you start now, I guarantee you will be stronger and more fit next year.  Wouldn't that be awesome?

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Benefits Of Protein As You Age

 Image result for protein rich foodsProtein is one of the most important resources for the body, and is considered a "macronutrient," a nutrient which is necessary in large amounts to maintain a healthy body. Protein is found in every cell of the human body, and almost entirely composes some parts of it such as hair or fingernails. But how does it help you in old age? Protein is also hugely important for muscle growth, recovery, and maintenance, and as you get older, that will become more important. As you age, your muscles start to naturally atrophy, and unless action is taken early and regularly to maintain them, you'll find yourself unable to be fit or get fit in your old age. With a high protein diet, you help your body to build up strong, lean muscle early on.

Protein has also been linked to a range of other health benefits, in particular weight loss. High-protein diets sate you better, curbing hunger earlier without additional caloric intake. That means you'll have the urge to eat less, and you won't pack on pounds as a result. Note, however, that this doesn't mean you should eat a lot of meat. Many cuts of meat end up being more fattening than just about anything else, and so the best way to get high levels of protein are through fish, poultry, beans, and supplements, all never fried.

In old age, some of the most commonly-encountered problems people have include keeping weight gain away, keeping their muscles strong and built, and keeping hair on their head. Protein helps to solve all of these problems either directly or indirectly, and as such is an excellent health tool and supplement. Use it wisely, however, as protein from the wrong sources and in too high of a quantity can end up doing more harm than good. Just keep up a balance, and your health will begin to shine even as you age.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Eating Low Glycemic Carbohydrates Is Important For Losing Weight

Maintaining a steady blood sugar level is very important component of your dieting effort. While your body breaks down all digestible carbohydrates into blood sugar, some are converted into blood sugar faster than others. Thus, some carbohydrates cause a spike in your blood sugar level which causes you to feel hungry faster and to crave more sugary foods. While other carbohydrates are converted into blood sugar more slowly leveling out you blood sugar resulting in less hunger and less food cravings.

For this reason, the Glycemic Index (GI) was developed to classify how quickly your body converts carbohydrates into blood sugar as compared to pure glucose. Glucose has a GI of 100 and all other carbohydrate based foods are ranked against it. Foods with a score of 70 or more are defined as having a high GI while those with a score of 55 or less are considered as low.

Eating lots of food with a high GI causes spikes in your blood sugar level which can lead to many health issues such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. While eating low GI foods causes your blood sugar level to stay even thus, keeping your energy level balanced and causing you to fill fuller longer between meals. The following are some additional benefits of eating low GI carbohydrates.

· Helps you to lose and manage weight your weight.
· Increases your body's sensitivity to insulin.
· Decreases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
· Reduces your risk of heart disease.
· Improves your blood cholesterol levels
· Reduces hunger and keep you fuller for longer.
· Helps you prolong physical activity.
· Helps you to re-fuel your carbohydrate stores after exercise.

The GI is very interesting because some foods that you intuitively think would have a high rating do not. For instance, fructose which is fruit sugar has a minimal effect on blood sugar while white bread and French-fried potatoes are nearly converted to blood sugar as fast as pure glucose. In other words, you can’t classify foods as having a high or low GI according to the sweetness of taste. Many factors affect a foods GI such as:

· Processing: Grains that have been milled and refined have a higher GI

· Type of starch: Starches come in many different configurations. Some are easier to break into sugar  molecules than others. For example, starch in potatoes is digested and absorbed into the bloodstream relatively quickly.

· Fiber content: The sugars in fiber are linked in a way that is hard for your body to break down. Thus, the more fiber a food has, the less digestible carbohydrate, and consequently the less sugar it can deliver into your blood stream.

· Fat and acid content: The more fat or acid a food contains, the slower its carbohydrates are converted to sugar and absorbed into your bloodstream.

· Physical form: Finely ground grain is more rapidly digested, and so has a higher GI than more coarsely ground grain.

The basic technique for eating the low GI way is simply a "this for that" approach - i.e., swapping high GI carbohydrates for low GI carbohydrates. You don't need to count numbers or do any sort of mental arithmetic to make sure you are eating a healthy, low GI diet. Follow these easy to implement suggestions.

· Use breakfast cereals based on oats, barley and bran
· Use breads with whole-grains, stone-ground flour, sour dough
· Reduce the amount of potatoes you eat
· Enjoy all other types of fruit and vegetables
· Use brown rice
· Enjoy whole-wheat pasta and noodles
· Eat plenty of salad vegetables with a vinaigrette dressing

Friday, August 12, 2016

Health and Strength Over 50, Cardiovascular Exercise

Cardiovascular exercise known as cardio by most in the fitness profession is associated with numerous health benefits; therefore, it is an invaluable part of any fitness program. Cardio exercise is any activity that increases the work of the heart and lungs. Activities such as brisk walking, running, training on the elliptical machine, biking, and working on the Stairmaster, are some of the more well-known forms of cardio. 

During cardio exercise you repeatedly move large muscles in the upper and lower parts of your body. Your body responds by breathing faster and more deeply providing increased blood flow to these muscles and back to your lungs. Your small blood vessels widen to deliver more oxygen to your muscles and carry away waste products, such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid. Your body also releases endorphins which are natural pain killers that promote an increased sense of well-being.

Regardless of your age, cardio exercise is good for you. As your body adapts to a cardio routine your heart and lungs will become stronger and more efficient in performing their activities. The following are additional benefits of cardiovascular exercise:[1]
·        Helps to lose and maintain a healthy weight. Combined with strength training and a healthy diet cardio helps you to lose weight and to keep it off.

·        Increase your stamina. Cardio may make you tired in the short term, but over the long term, you will enjoy increased stamina and reduced fatigue.

·        Ward off viral illnesses. Cardio activates your immune system, thus making you less susceptible to minor viral illnesses such as colds and flu.

·        Reduce health risks. Cardio, combined with strength training, reduces the risk of many conditions including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer.

·        Manage chronic conditions. Cardio, combined with strength training, helps to lower blood pressure and to control blood sugar.

·        Strengthen your heart. A stronger heart doesn’t need to beat as fast and pumps blood more efficiently. Consequently, blood flow is improved to all parts of your body.

·        Keeps your arteries clear. Cardio boosts your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol and lowers your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol, which results  in less plaque build-up in your arteries.

·        Boost your mood. Cardio can ease the gloominess of depression, reduce the tension associated with anxiety and promote relaxation.

·        Stay active and independent as you get older. Cardio, in conjunction with strength training, keeps your muscles strong, helping you maintain mobility as you get older. Cardio also keeps your mind sharp. At least 30 minutes of cardio three days a week seems to reduce cognitive decline in older adults.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Strength Training Over 50, You Must Lift Weights

As you age strength training is the best thing you can do to improve your health and fitness level. Strength training is important because around age 40 you start to experience muscle loss. “If you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose, you’ll increase the percentage of fat in your body,” says Dr. Edward Laskowski, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Left unabated, you can lose up to 10 pounds of muscle each decade starting at age 40.
Losing muscle is detrimental to your fitness because muscle is the component of your body that burns the majority of the calories you consume each day. Therefore, when you lose muscle your body requires fewer calories to function. Consequently, those extra calories you consume are stored as fat around your waist, hips, and other places.

Your body constantly burns calories, even when doing nothing. This resting metabolic rate is much higher in people with more muscle. Every pound of muscle uses about six calories a day to sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only two calories daily. This small difference can add up over time. In addition, after a bout of resistance training, muscles are activated all over your body, increasing your average daily metabolic rate.

Increasing your metabolism isn’t the only benefit of strength training. It also helps: [1]

·        Develop strong bones. By stressing your bones, strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

·        Control your weight. As you gain muscle, your body burns  calories more efficiently which can result in weight loss. The more toned your muscles, the easier it is to control your weight.

·        Reduce your risk of injury. Building muscle protects your joints from injury. It also helps maintain flexibility and balance which are crucial to remaining independent as you age.

·        Boost your stamina. Building muscle helps to increase your energy level while improving your sense of well-being. Strength training can boost self-confidence, improve body image, and reduce the risk of depression.

·        Sleep better. People who strength train on a regular basis are less likely to have insomnia.

·        Manage chronic conditions. Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, including arthritis, back pain, depression, diabetes, obesity, and osteoporosis.

A good strength training program should consist of exercises that target all the major muscle groups and should be performed two to four times each week.  I suggest you have a certified fitness profession design a customized program for you.