If I Could Give You Anything To Start Your Healthy Lifestyle, Here’s What It Would Be…

Looking back and reflecting on my love for healthy living, what is the one thing that could be deemed the prime mover?

I don’t know that sharing this with you will make a difference in your life; but then, I don’t know that it won’t. And it’s easy for you to skip past these observations if you find them of no use, so I won’t feel guilty about wasting your time.

If these words can move you to be a healthier you, I’ll be a happier me.

This body that is me has always been a source of wonderment and fascination. From the complex issues of mind/body interaction, to the amazing intricacies of the cellular machines which comprise our corporeal reality; I am in awe.

I think, therefore I move. I touch and my brain signals that I feel. Soundwaves move a membrane in my ears causing tiny hairs to transfer a signal to my brain, and the glorious laughter of a little child stirs my heart.

I enjoy these capacities to feel and experience life and I feel they are worth caring for. I do not worship this body. And whatever your religious beliefs and understandings; or skepticism thereof, there is nothing stopping you from being as amazed as l.

Amazement, for me, has led to the act of caring for and appreciating what I see as something precious and transitory–my good health.

I wish for you this same amazement…or any other positive emotion that just might be your prime mover.

To Your Healthy Lifestyle,

Steven

The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Fitness: It’s Really About Discovering What Fits

Let’s take a look at three potentially enjoyable ways that you can change the course of your life with fitness.

Before we go there, however, let’s focus on the process of discovery, itself.

It involves doing something different.

Obviously–how else could anything be discovered?

I guarantee you that there is an exercise activity that you can and will enjoy, that will change your life in major ways. You simply have to make the effort to discover it.

Your comfort zone is your jail. The keys to escape are labeled ‘decisions’. These keys are located deep inside the place where only you can go.

Dance to the Music

There’s no need to sweat over the details on this one, but you do want to work up a sweat, if you can. This is purely and simply about the music that moves you and whatever moves you can do. Your body doesn’t know what’s right or wrong, so just get going and get crazy. Use a rhythm that’s irresistible.

Is this easy, or what?

Use big movements to work the big muscle groups. This creates a greater demand for cardio/pulmonary response – -you want your heart to start beating faster and your breathing to be faster and deeper. Incorporating partial squat movements (according to your ability, of course) is fantastic for accomplishing these goals. Start with a music list that contains about ten minutes of tunes that you love. Just do this self made dance routine any way you like for the ten minutes, three times a week. You will find this ‘self’ time to be incredibly gratifying, first of all, because you made the decision to discover! This is its own reward. Secondly, as you allow yourself to enjoy the movement without fear of doing ‘a wrong move’ you will focus more on the moment. This is an important aspect of exercise as a stress reliever. Think about it. If you find yourself worried about not knowing a particular dance routine, or being self conscious about how you might look, how much fun is it going to be? You’re not in competition with anyone. On the contrary;

You’re on a journey of discovery to find joy in movement.

Work Your Body With Resistance

Resistance exercise is important because maintaining muscle strength and bone density is critical for good health as we age. There is no substitute for this. Muscle and bone respond to regular (meaning consistent over a period of time) resistance exercise by becoming stronger. In our dance routine, your legs and hips will be receive significant resistance training, while the upper body very little.

I’ve trained with weights since I was young. At that time it was a vanity thing. Now, in my sixties, it’s a survival thing. In those days people believed that big muscles made a person ‘muscle bound’ and restricted natural movement. Science has since revealed that weight training produces substantial benefits that go way beyond muscle size.
Body weight only routines are fantastic, creative and challenging. Aging, however, has compromised my ability to perform certain movements. The arthritic pain in my big toes, for example, makes a simple push-up a painful exercise for me. Welcome to aging. The use of free weights gives me the ability to design a full body strength and resistance routine and to meet my particular needs. In this way, free weights offer an incredible variety of moves with variable resistance that nothing else can match. Because I also have total control of the speed and range of motion of the movement, it’s the safest way to resistance train effectively. Training slow and deliberate is my style. It’s easier on tendons that, at this point, have shown some signs of wear. Go at your own pace with the goal of smooth movement, moderately challenging yourself, with particular focus on form. If you’re a beginner, you really should enlist the aid of a personal trainer. I know, it’s not easy finding the right person, but it’s very important. You’re most likely to succeed with resistance training by seeking out a local Senior group class conducted by a knowledgeable, enthusiastic instructor. I’m the first to admit that the gym, for most people, is not an easy place to have fun.

In recent years, much has been discovered about the efficacy of moderate exercise. It’s simply not necessary to ‘max out’ and ‘feel the burn’ to benefit greatly from exercise. Enjoy your experience with exercise for the health of it, accomplished with simple moderation!

What About Walking?

Walking is a good activity–something that you do every day. But because you do it every day, unless you’re doing it faster, or uphill–requiring greater effort, I’m not going to give you credit for exercising.

I propose that exercise is ‘The use of positive physical stressors on the body systems that results in increased strength and/or improved functioning.’

How do you know when walking becomes exercise?

Your heart will be beating faster and you’ll be breathing a little heavier. If you do this consistently over time, you will need to walk a little faster to produce that same heartbeat and respiratory response. That means you’ve gotten fitter and you’ve advanced on your journey.

For the More Adventurous

Why not embark on a fitness journey that can calm the spirit as well? Tai Chi or Yoga could be perfect for the reflective soul seeking to unite mind and body.

So much to choose from…

Find Your Keys,

Steven

The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The Newest Workout: Why It’s Not Enough

While you’ve been doing what you were doing and wishing you had more energy and stamina to do more of it, dozens of powerful fitness programs have appeared.

What’s happening with you?

Good health and physical fitness are, at their foundation, simple and basic principles. There are no extremes necessary and the time involved is amazingly minimal.

And there are no secrets.

Like any endeavor, the more you learn and practice, the better you will be. But it’s not like attempting brain surgery without practice.

Movement is life. More movement is more life.

Eating more calories than your body can effectively utilize will generally result in accumulation of fat.

If you don’t love yourself enough to care about your good health, the previous two points don’t matter.

You may be disappointed with the brevity of this post.

Don’t be.

If you’re disappointed, get over it and get started by taking the first step – – whatever you can do – – in the direction of your new lifestyle.

Get Started Now,

Steven Siemons

 

The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Your Retirement Account: How Much Is Your Good Health Worth?

You plan diligently for your financial future. You’ve calculated many different scenarios knowing exactly how it will unfold when you retire. Sometimes, however, you still worry about it.

Not only do these concerns naturally occupy our thinking, our perceptions have been unavoidably shaped by the many years of ads that have been poured into our daily existence.

Money is important…very important.

Most Important?

If you have everything, but lack the capacity to enjoy it, what have you accomplished?

Balance and moderation offer a different direction than excess and extreme.

Life is not ‘one size fits all’ because we all thrive on different stimuli. And we each have our own tempo along the way.

The ability to achieve it–whatever it happens to be; and enjoy it, greatly depend on your good health.

That makes it priceless, then, doesn’t it?

That’s really the reason, deep down inside, that you made those resolutions.

To Your Good Health,

Steven

The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The 3 Most Important Additions To Your Exercise Program:

You’ve committed to making this year a pivotal year and have formulated and begun the perfect program.

Congratulations!

Now let’s get real about the most important additional ingredients that you might be neglecting. Don’t.

1. Sleep

You’ll die without sleep sooner than you’ll die without food. Obviously, I’ve never put that claim to the test, but the source is deemed reliable. Sleep deprivation has, for many years, been used as a form of torture. Are you getting the picture about the importance of sleep?  Those of you who think that your body and mind can do without enough of it have already given evidence that you’re not getting enough sleep.

When you’re stressing out the body with intense workouts, giving it sufficient time to recuperate is paramount. Ignore the stress long enough and your body will let you know unequivocally that rest is necessary.

2. Diet and Nutrition
It is much more efficient and effective to refrain from eating too many calories than to eat too much, figuring that you’re going to ‘burn it off’ later. Here’s why that mentality will sink your ship: those cookies that you ate for a snack in three minutes will take you at least forty-five strenuous minutes on the stair machine to break even.

Exercise increases the need for certain nutritional components, especially protein. It’s not necessary to go crazy over this because you only need what is sufficient. The same is true of other vital nutrients. What is not needed by the body is eliminated (or stored as fat if it has caloric value). Under certain circumstances, such as non water soluble vitamins, too much can be dangerous.

If you’re serious about fitness, you must be serious about nutrition; but not to extremes. Educate yourself as you go. Disregard all advice that leads you to think that you can ‘rapidly melt fat away’ or anything similar. Your metabolism simply does not work that way. Period.

3. A Supportive and Knowledgeable Training Partner
You can purchase one at your local gym in the form of a personal trainer but if you have a friend that fits that description, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Many times I have shared my enthusiasm for fitness with friends by getting them started with the basics. Some gyms are sensitive about people in their facility instructing others, but I haven’t encountered any problems. Just to be clear, I am not a personal trainer and have only trained with friends and family who have asked.

During this past year I have benefited greatly by training together with a great friend who is accomplished in other areas of fitness, including Parkour. The opportunity to have a spotter for safety reasons, a coach correcting my form, and a friend encouraging me was critical to my improvement.

Research Update 10/05/16:

The importance of the right training partner… 


https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161004081548.htm

Keep It Going,

Steven

The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0

Your Fitness Goals for Right Now–The Big 3 Should Be:

(My mother in law who, in her eighties, has trained with me at the gym) 

Let me help you prioritize your fitness goals. 

To do this, I need to clarify some basic but critical assumptions. Given that my posts are directed at Seniors, I am going to speak bluntly about maintaining and strengthening that which aging is taking away from us. This is a very different mindset than pumping up the arms to edify the male ego as in younger years. Vanity has given way to functionality in the future which, statistically, is a rather large number of years; even for those of us in our sixties. These are years that we want to have the capacity to enjoy and not simply be held captive by bodies that are weak and decrepit. You can’t stop aging, but there’s nothing that can turn back the clock like fitness. Interested?

These goals are the clear winners because they involve the most critical body systems in order of priority–and their function responds dramatically to exercise.

Improve Cardiovascular Fitness

If the cardiac muscle doesn’t function, everything else is secondary, right?
An aerobic workout is the beginning of every one of my exercise sessions–elevating the heart rate for twenty minutes. For me, the machine of choice is the stair step machine using the constantly moving steps. It gets the heart rate up with no joint impact. (Your workouts will be much more intense if you refrain from leaning on the side rails, but be careful). This also functions to warm up the entire body efficiently, lessening the possibility of injury from my weight training that follows. Some will debate about whether or not you burn more calories by doing cardio first; or whether strength is diminished in lifting weights following cardio–these are trivial issues compared to the overall objective here.

At the same time you’re improving cardiovascular fitness, your respiratory system is being challenged to become more efficient, as well.

http://wp.me/p45KYd-fo

Even your brain is benefiting from the increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients.

http://m.fastcompany.com/3054847/work-smart/can-exercise-really-make-you-grow-new-brain-cells?partner=rss&utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=webfeeds

Increase Muscular Strength 

(Which, At The Same Time, Increases Bone Density)

Aging brings with it a natural loss of muscle mass and bone density. When inactivity is added to the equation, it adds up to a potentially dangerous time ahead. For Seniors, the likelihood of slip and fall incidents, as well as their catastrophic results, increases dramatically as we age. This, alone, is important enough to place progressive resistance exercise right after Aerobic fitness in the hierarchy of importance. It also greatly increases the likelihood of you maintaining your ability to walk and enjoy your independence. Beyond any doubt, the most important exercise you can do to maintain your hip and leg strength is the squat.
http://theseniorhealthandfitnessblog.com/2016/01/07/squat-seniors-squat/
Maintain/Increase Range of Motion

Stretching is a very confusing topic because it’s frequently viewed and studied in the context of how it effects muscular performance. Forget that. We’re interested in your range of motion because life becomes more dangerous as your ability to move diminishes. I’m talking about what happens when an elderly person, while navigating the stairs, and due to limited strength and range of motion, missteps with horrible consequences.

There’s a syndrome called’ frozen shoulder’ which, some theories suggest, has as a cause simply the lack of using the normal range of motion of which the shoulder is capable.

When you lack the ability to reach overhead into the cupboard, it’s not simply inconvenient, it can also become dangerous.

Increasing your range of motion through stretching exercises is best done when the muscles are warmed up from sufficient movement. I incorporate it at the end of my routine, making it a ‘calming down’ experience, as well.

The most important points:
Hold a constant tension for about 30 seconds. Switch sides, then repeat–slightly increasing the range as you repeat.
All movement is smooth and fluid–no bouncing or quick movements.
Let the muscles relax between sets. Use the slow moves as a time to focus on breathing and relaxing as you stretch. Even just moving slowly and purposefully a few minutes daily to some of your favorite music will enhance your abilities to move! 

Whatever activity you choose, use this simple list of important fitness factors to see if you might benefit from an additional activity to fully achieve your important anti-aging activities!

To Your 2016 Fitness Goals,

Steven

The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Aging, Exercise, and Your Contentment With Life

Looking back on my assumptions about what life would be like in my sixties, I must say that I am pleasantly surprised.

It’s about how great I feel at this age!

When contemplating how I might feel as a senior citizen from the vantage point of my young adult years, I imagined a life lived within the confines of a worn out aching body constantly reminding me of my years.

Thankfully, that just isn’t so!

I share this with you not from a sense of superiority, but with a purpose of encouragement.

It’s not too late to begin your lifestyle journey that includes proper nutrition, exercise, and a focus on wellness.

Challenging the assumption that people over 65 are generally a happy group, a 15 year study just released cites depression as a pervasive reality for many. “Key factors in these increases (of depression) include levels of physical impairment, the onset of medical conditions, particularly chronic ones, and the approach of death.”

(http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151113115607.htm)

My emphasis here is on the preventable status of ‘levels of physical impairment’ from which so much misery arises.

Your investment in your physical well being directly effects your happiness!

Contrast that gloomy outlook on living with what proactive looks like in this article from the Washington Post: ‘You can be a high level athlete whether you’re 20 or 70.’
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/proof-that-old-age-and-high-level-athleticism-arent-mutually-exclusive/2015/11/10/d7a3c3b8-7cdb-11e5-beba-927fd8634498_story.html

(Please take the time to click on the link above and read it)

Make the decision to take charge of what you can change, and give yourself the gift of better health and more contentment along the way!

To Your Health and Fitness,

Steven Siemons

The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.