I’m always looking in newspaper and magazine articles for good tips from experts to keep us healthy.
Here are 8 insider tips from nationally known personal trainers, coaches and exercise physiologists to help us get a little more oomph!
1) The minimum workout you need to stay healthy
Muscle strengthening exercises twice a week plus 2 1/2 hours a week of moderate activity like walking. Or 75 minutes a week of a more intense activity like jogging. Please ask your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
2) Get fitter faster
A more intense workout burns more calories in less time, says Pamela Peeke, M.D., author of Fit to Live. “You can walk 3.1 mile race in 40 minutes, jog it in 30 minutes or run it in under 20 minutes. Either way, you’re burning the same amount of calories,” she says.
3) Short spurts are best
Alternate spurts of hard, high-speed activity with periods of slower activity to shorten a workout while improving fitness, says Ron Woods, a coach at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando Florida.
4) Stronger muscles in minutes
We lose muscle mass as we age, making us weaker. Two or three 30-minute weekly sessions using free weights or resistance bands will restore muscle and keep bones strong, says David Sandler, author of Fundamental Weight Training.
5) Upper and lower body moves
Alternating an upper body strength training exercise with a lower-body move is a time saver, says Gina Lombardi, author of Deadline Fitness, who has trained celebrities such as Andy Garcia. Alternate cardio moves, like rope jumping, with strength exercises such as lunges.
6) Say yes to yoga
A few minutes of yoga type stretches after a workout improves flexibility, range of motion and strength in a way that aerobic activities can’t, says Beryl Bender Birch, author of Boomer Yoga. An introductory class is best for beginners, since regular classes often last 90 minutes.
7) Buddy up
Exercising with others makes time fly. Dodo Stevens, 67, of Portland, Maine, meets 10 women and a trainer for a 45 minutes workout at a neighbor’s house. Cost: $11 per person. “I love working out with other people, “she says. “The whole thing is over before you know it.”
Mix it up
Exercise programs need variety. This is key. If you do the same thing all the time, your body adapts and you stop making progress, says Pamula Peeke, the fitness author. Look for classes that provide an introduction to Zumba, Bellyrobics or other new, fun activities.
Keep in mind what James Fries, M.D., said about exercise. He is an expert on aging at Stanford University. He says “If you had to pick one thing that came closest to the fountain of youth, it would have to be exercise.”
I admit that I sometimes have to drag myself to a yoga class (please don’t tell my yoga teacher mother), but I always feel better after the class and grateful that I made the choice.
It seems like there is always something I should be doing other than taking some yoga class. That is certainly not the feeling when I finish each class. Now there is a study for me and others to look at to keep us going back to those classes. Seems like a good downward facing dog pose can actually boost our frame of mind.
If fact, a study from Boston University School of Medicine found that yoga boosted mood more effectively than walking. This study was recently released in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Doing an hour of yoga three times a week for 12 weeks increased GABA levels by 13 percent, as measured in the study’s healthy participants right after a session. GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain, is lower in people who are depressed. Levels rise with the use of meds. The walkers showed no significant increase in GABA levels.
Author of this study is Chris Streeter, MD. He says “This is the first study to find behavioral intervention. Yoga in this case. Yoga has an effect on brain chemistry similar to that of antidepressants”
Wow! I guess I won’t be so reluctant about going to a yoga classes anymore, no matter how busy I get.
I just read this recent report that came out last week and it makes me want to put a walk/hike together for oomphTV.
Studies suggest that even short walks or hikes can make a big difference in your overall health. Walking can even help maintain memory and cognitive function for years, a study finds.
The research, published online Wednesday in the journal Neurology, is based on a study of 299 men and women, average age 78, who were followed for nine years. The study participants were asked about their physical activity, which was calculated as number of blocks walked per week (walking was the most common exercise). Study subjects walked from zero to 300 blocks over a one-week period. High-resolution brain scans were done on the participants nine years after the beginning of the study.
The more the participants walked at the beginning of the study, the greater their brain volume nine years later. This was still the case after researchers controlled for a number of factors, including age, gender, body mass index and education. How many blocks of walking per week did it take to see improvement? The magic number was 72, or about six to nine miles. Walking more than that didn’t further improve gray-matter volume. Although all participants were deemed cognitively normal at the beginning of the study, 40% developed cognitive impairment or dementia four years in.
However, those who walked the most reduced their risk of acquiring memory loss by half. Lead author Kirk Erickson of the University of Pittsburgh said in a news release, “If regular exercise in midlife could improve brain health and improve thinking and memory in later life, it would be one more reason to make regular exercise in people of all ages a public health imperative.”
Those of you that are interested in putting together a hike in the Los Angeles area, perhaps in Griffith Park, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don’t live in the Los Angeles area, perhaps you can contact some of your friends/neighbors and organize your own walk/hike.
Rate x Time = Distance
My Journey Journal
No one has actually said, “YOU’RE CRAZY”. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Everyone’s been extremely supportive. But, I’ve thought it. I’m 48 years old, and I’m training to run a Marathon.
A month ago, I “retired” from a job where I was fairly physically active. Nothing too strenuous; I was walking, climbing ladders, and lifting boxes between 10 and 20 pounds throughout my 8 hour day. Suddenly, my work is 100% in a chair, in front of my computer screen. After one month, I’d noticed a difference. I felt heavier and sluggish. I needed to become more active.
The idea came to me when a good friend sent me a text message after he completed the Los Angeles Marathon. At first, I was first thrilled for his accomplishment. Then I realized, we’re the same age, and he just ran a Marathon! Perfect! I won’t need any special equipment or an expensive gym membership. After all, I already have what I need to run…FEET! I made up my mind right then and there; I would start training the next morning!
I hopped on the internet looking for a marathon in my area about a year from now, and I found it, The Rock and Roll Marathon in Phoenix, AZ.
This is my Journey Journal.
Now, I know a little about human nature, and a lot about myself. That Sunday evening, when I decided to run a marathon, I immediately recruited my oldest son, James, to train with me. I knew if I have someone to train with, I would be accountable to follow this journey through to the finish line. I also knew I needed to set a consistent time of day to run; to make it a routine. Being an early riser, and since I have responsibilities during the day, we agreed on 4 a.m.
Our next decision was the route. The one we chose seemed reasonable, around the block, 4 miles around the perimeter of our neighborhood.
4 a.m. Monday morning was cold and dark. We started down the driveway jogging. I lasted maybe a quarter of a mile before I had to stop. “Let’s just do a brisk walk,” I said, when I was able. So, a brisk walk it was. We also opted for about half of the distance we’d originally planned, jogging the last quarter mile. Forty minutes, and two and a half miles later, we’d completed our first session, exhausted and energized!
That same day, though, I headed back to the internet, this time looking for guidance on how to train for a marathon. Low and behold, I found a site specifically for rookies. I noted that we had been a little too enthusiastic with our first session, and adopted their advice to start slowly, with rest days in between runs. The schedule consists of twenty-six weeks in-training for the Big Event. The remainder of the week, 3 more training days, we walked briskly for 20 minutes each day.
I’ve been back to the internet several times this past week, on several different websites, and I’ve learned that I have a lot to learn: nutrition, vitamins, hydration, and shoes. I know it’s just the beginning, but I feel better. Stronger and healthier because the first step of my year long journey of body and mind, was the first step out my front door!
Next week, James and I incorporate running with the brisk walks!