Dancing: Good For Your Body, Great For Your Brain!

We all know that staying active is what keeps us going now and for the future. And dancing is simply so much fun, you don’t think about it the same way as exercise, right?

In the study below, comparing dance to standard exercise routines, it turns out that dancing also was shown to have an even greater impact on the brain than the exercise plan of about equal intensity!

But there’s a twist…

What made the difference in the dancers greater cerebral response to exercise was having to memorize the patterns of movement.

Please read ‘DANCING CAN REVERSE THE SIGNS OF AGING IN THE BRAIN’: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170825124902.htm

Let’s generalize

Understanding this explains why learning the movement patterns of Tai Chi (not a quick or easy task) compounds the effects of the exercise.

Learning to speak a new language and learning how to play a musical instrument are the two best ways to keep your mind sharp. Notice in the study the mention of how music excites the brain–literally!

So it absolutely makes perfect sense; the movement, the music and the memorization!

Skip the gym routine today, put the music on, and learn a new dance routine.


Simply Senior Fitness by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Weight Loss: Just 5% Can Make a Difference in Your Knees!

Losing weight results in numerous health benefits. If you have problems with your knees, read the good news in this excerpt from a recent study:

“The most exciting finding of our research was that not only did we see slower degeneration in the articular cartilage, we saw that the menisci degenerated a lot slower in overweight and obese individuals who lost more than 5 percent of their body weight, and that the effects were strongest in overweight individuals and in individuals with substantial weight loss,” Dr. Gersing said. Light to moderate exercise is also recommended to protect against cartilage degeneration in the knee.” (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170502084050.htm)

Understanding Why

In the picture above showing the bones of the knee, notice the small surface area of contact where the movement occurs. The smooth white coating you can see on the ends of the bones provides a slick surface where the bones meet–the ‘articular cartilage’ mentioned above.

From the laws of physics, the smaller the area of contact of an object, the more force it exerts on the surface below. For sure we can’t change the small contact area of our knee joints, but you can significantly reduce the tremendous force and stress of movement by reducing your weight.

Doesn’t it make sense to take charge of your health when you have the opportunity to do so?


Simply Senior Fitness by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

“What’s The Best Type of Exercise to Avoid Osteoporosis?”

There’s a very clear winner here; an undisputed champion. Let’s start with a bit of history.

More than a hundred years ago, we understood the concept of bones becoming stronger in response to stress. The phenomenon was observed and described by a German surgeon named Julius Wolff in the late 1800’s.

If you jumped over to Wikipedia, here’s part of what you’d read about his conclusions,

“If loading on a particular bone increases, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger to resist that sort of loading.[2][3] The internal architecture of the trabeculae undergoes adaptive changes, followed by secondary changes to the external cortical portion of the bone,[4] perhaps becoming thicker as a result. The inverse is true as well: if the loading on a bone decreases, the bone will become less dense and weaker due to the lack of the stimulus required for continued remodeling.”

Since Scott Kelly arrived back to earth after a year in space, they’ve been testing him more than a laboratory rat. His experiences are unique in the entire history of mankind! When testing his bone density to study the long term effects of weightlessness, they were amazed. He was losing an average of one percent per month! Post menopausal women may lose about 2 – 3 percent per year. Keep in mind that the astronauts utilize a scientifically designed exercise regimen.

Stress It Or Lose It

Although we’re addressing Senior Fitness, I must share this incredible fact for the benefit of the next generation:

“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/

You Need a Resistance Training Routine That Becomes a Lifestyle

It has been shown that post menopausal women can halt the constant loss of bone density. However, it involves training consistently three times weekly. And, as Wolff’s law tells us, if the loading stops, density diminishes.

Don’t worry. It is not necessary to become a full time weightlifter or bodybuilder. A well organized lifting routine involving your major muscle groups will get it done. A comprehensive workout can be done in twenty minutes. For recuperation/recovery reasons, this type of training should be done every other day. And be sure you’re supporting your hard work with proper nutrition!

This a difficult and major change/commitment for most people.

Is it worth it? Only you can answer that question.

For sure, Osteoporosis is a dangerous foe.

Guiding you through your fitness journey,


Simply Senior Fitness by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Interval Training: What’s Best For Seniors?

To answer this question, let’s learn about what Interval Training is and why it has become a significant part of many fitness routines.

How your body responds

Exercise creates immediate responses in your body. You start to run and your heart quickly begins to pump faster and you start to breathe forcefully. Amazing and drastic changes occur immediately throughout your entire body. The quantity of air forced in and out of your lungs skyrockets. More blood gets redirected to the muscles. Increased oxygen is extracted from the blood to keep you going.

And that is just part of the story!

The reason for this background is to help you understand the power and purpose of exercise. Your body systems respond to these positive stressors of exercise by getting more efficient.

Knowing this, let’s connect it to the importance of interval training because using this fundamental principle of exercise is not just for elite athletes.. it’s for Seniors, as well!

Reaching new levels gradually

“So, if I push myself to my limits (always unique to each individual), for even a short period of time, and I do this consistently, you mean I am going to be stronger, faster, and fitter?”


Welcome to interval training!

Extremely important numbers

Before discussing specific interval times and techniques, we need to talk about your heartbeat. Your heart rate is the central measure of interval (and other) training design. Those of you who are on heart medication or any other medication that alters heart rate response to exercise should have a specific discussion with your doctor before engaging in intense activities. For you folks, a good indicator of exercise stress is breathing intensity and your your own perception of the intensity of your exertion. Always, in every exercise situation, every senior needs to be mindful of these cues! No matter how fast the person next to you is moving in aerobics class, your personal pace in your correct training zone is the only one that matters! For every exercise, correct form done slowly is superior to sloppy form done quickly.

The intensity level of exercise is generally specified by your heart rate as a percentage of its maximum rate. You’ve probably seen the formula 220 – (your age) = maximum heart rate. It’s approximate, at best, because the range is about a ten point swing lower or higher. But for you to run your fastest and try to calculate your maximum rate could get you hurt.

If you are new to exercise (and have been cleared to do so), it is recommended that you train within 60 – 80 percent of your maximum heart rate on a regular basis for 6 months before progressing higher.

If your favorite activity is walking, an interval workout would consist of alternating normal effort with increased effort. The exact intervals would be important to elite athletes competing in running or cycling, but such precision is not necessary here. The point is that even small intervals of time–say 20 seconds–at your upper limit, done consistently over time, will work for you!

So mix it up and have fun by doing two minutes normal speed, one minute faster speed. Remember, the important part is getting into a higher training zone as measured by your heart rate response. This concept can be applied to any activity!

Thank you for sharing this with someone!

So keep it safe, fun and simple!


Simply Senior Fitness by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

“I’m Thinking About Exercising, But I’m Not Ready To Start Yet”

Does this sound like something you’ve said before? And did you say it to someone who is really concerned about you?

Or maybe you’re familiar with these words as part of the thought stream that keeps repeating in your mind when you’re somehow reminded of getting in shape.

Relax and reflect.

It’s what we all do in various ways when we move through the maze of choices leading to making a decision.

Taking the best first step

Once you have made a solid commitment to begin (the decision has been made), taking action is crucial. And don’t worry about everything being perfect because it won’t be. But that’s ok; the first victory happens when arrive in your workout outfit ready to go, right?

Here’s where your anxiety level elevates. You know that everyone is watching you.

They’re not.

And once you get started and you notice that you’re not being noticed, you relax and start to focus on yourself and how you feel the movement.

It’s always a good idea to learn from someone who knows the subject – – no matter what it is. If you have good friend who can guide you through the process, it eliminates the obvious, ‘what do I do once I get there?’ issues. No matter how much you learn from watching videos at home, having someone experienced who can see your form and technique and provide feedback is important.

After you’ve finished your workout for the first time–whether with a training partner or in a class–you will be hooked.

The things you worried about never happened.

Welcome to a new lifestyle,


Simply Senior Fitness by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

“I’m Discouraged By My Lack of Progress!”

Everyone encounters setbacks in training; it’s inevitable. It can be anything from an injury to a significant life change. And then there are the less dramatic things–like simply feeling that progress is not happening fast enough.

First, let’s take a look at some possible sources of these feelings and see what we can do.

  • Your expectations: The positive changes that result from exercise begin immediately. But because you’re creating a body makeover that starts on the inside, you must give yourself the time to see the changes take place. You want to notice an immediate difference. Often I speak to people who have unrealistic goals to achieve and they are setting themselves up for a ‘market correction’ when the time has passed and the results look different from the original goals. It’s not uncommon for some of these goals to arise from misleading information on the internet. In the beginning with clients, our discussion revolves around their goals and expectations. An important part of fitness planning is building a challenging yet achievable agenda. Then, the rest is simply executing the plan. Keep doing the basics and the rest will follow.
  • Your Training Routine: Maybe it’s time to switch your workout to something that is simply more fun. Even the most dedicated can lose their enthusiastic edge by doing a routine that becomes routine. Take the time to reflect on your priorities and double check where you are relative to their importance and meaning.
  • Your Recovery: Just as important as exercise are nutrition and rest (sufficient quantity of quality sleep). Overtraining can sap your energy and your enthusiasm. Pay attention to how late at night you stare into your cellphone and create the conditions for losing valuable sleep. You need to prioritize your sleep at the same or greater level than your training.

Other Possible Solutions

How about a training partner? Your program and your attitude could benefit from having an experienced training partner. You can learn something new and you’ll automatically become more competitive.

I do have people who enjoy training together. We call it ‘Best Friends for Fitness.” It’s not just for the fun of it, but for the mutual support and encouragement that it takes to get through the discouraging times.

The unfortunate facts are that most people who begin the process of change drop out within a year. Very few remain five years down the road. I really do believe that having a BFF (even if they aren’t a training partner, but simply your ‘moral support coach’) can make a big difference.

It might even be your group at the fitness class you attend.

And if you are the one reaching out, you’ll immediately become more confident!


Simply Senior Fitness by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

“Should I Get a Clearance From My Doctor Before I Exercise?”

Many people every day start on a new exercise program. As seniors, there are a lot of us entering this experience with some health issues that might cause concern when we think about putting any kind of stress on our body systems.

These exact issues have been the subject of much research and refinement at the American College of Sports Medicine.

Their new guidelines have been changed to reflect the fact that the small degree of risk inherent in the added stress of exercise is far outweighed by the tremendous benefits achieved.

But let’s get specific, because there are definitely conditions that warrant a doctor’s authorization before beginning an exercise program; especially if you want to jump right into high intensity exercise.

If you currently exercise on a regular basis:

  • If you have any symptoms of cardiovascular, metabolic disease, or kidney disease, it is recommended that you stop exercising and consult with your doctor before continuing.
  • If you have any of these diseases listed above and you are symptom free, light to moderate exercise can be continued. Before progressing to intense exercise, a doctor’s approval is recommended.

If you do not have any of these diseases or their symptoms, continue to exercise as you wish.

If you are not currently exercising:

  • If you don’t have the any of the diseases listed above or their symptoms, it is not necessary to have a doctor’s clearance for light to moderate exercise. ACSM recommends following a progressive program leading up to levels of intense exercise, if that is your desire.

If you have any symptoms of cardiovascular, metabolic, or renal disease; or the disease itself, a doctor’s clearance is recommended before starting an exercise program.

As you can see, the risks evaluated focus on three major categories. They involve the major body systems that can pose serious risks when acute issues arise.

What about issues not covered by these guidelines?

It’s always a good practice to consult your physician regarding specific medical conditions that concern you. Hopefully, you’re visiting your doctor at least once a year for a physical. That’s an ideal time to review your exercise plans, if you haven’t already.

It’s not only good for you, but it gives your personal trainer the confidence necessary to tailor the appropriate workouts for you.

Beginning an exercise program is an important and exciting first step. Take the time to do it safely and with proper guidance and you will be glad you did!


Simply Senior Fitness by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.