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

Redefining Exercise: A Necessary Step

You have a very good idea in your mind of what exercise is. It’s not rocket science, as they say, but it can be analyzed on such a level, if that floats your boat. But let’s keep it simple.

For many, exercise ranks in the same category as taking out the trash–something that you need to do on a regular basis, even though you don’t really want to, right?

Asking my friend Google about the definition of exercise results in the following response: “engage in physical activity to sustain or improve health and fitness; take exercise.
“she still exercised every day”
synonyms: work out, do exercises…”

By defining exercise based on how and why it works we can get a much better picture of what actually constitutes exercise.

Let’s consider it to be: The use of positive physical stressors on the body systems that results in increased strength and/or improved functioning.

(The specification of ‘positive’ stressors indicates those which would be considered safe and beneficial from the standpoint of intensity, technique, duration, etc.)

Now…let me underscore why this definition is important with a specific example.

If you are able to walk, by the definition above, you’re not really exercising by going for a walk. You certainly are burning more calories than if you were sitting, but since walking is something that your body is accustomed to, it is not being stressed by that activity to become stronger.

If you walk significantly faster and elevate your heart rate, or achieve the same result by walking up and down hills, your body is being challenged to become stronger. This is considered exercise. By doing this on a consistent basis you progress to a higher level of fitness. Got it?

Understanding this concept will clarify questions about your everyday activities. Is cleaning the house considered exercise? It would be if you do all the same activities in half the time. Otherwise, dusting the coffee table is better than sitting on the couch, but it simply isn’t exercise.

This critical concept is the cornerstone of all progress in fitness: Positive stress on the body systems makes them stronger and more efficient. If you progressively lift heavier weights, your muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments will strengthen. If you do nothing, no matter what your current physical condition is, your muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments will atrophy.

The same holds true for cardiac conditioning. Your heart will only strengthen if it is positively stressed through exercise to pump more blood.

Every system in the body responds this way, including the brain. Exercising the brain means using it in new and creative ways. The most significant exercises for your brain are learning a new language and learning to play a musical instrument. Amazing neuronal activity takes place when you engage your brain in these novel ways.

Focus your attention, as I have outlined, on what exercise really is and your methods and goals for becoming fit will always be in focus.

To Your Positive Stressors,

Steven

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

Getting Connected: I’ll Show You Something Better Than CES!

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If you follow electronics, computers, or anything involving either, you followed closely what transpired at CES last week.

The buzz is ‘connectivity’… the ‘Internet of Things’ and the future looks amazing!

But wait a second. Consider this, if you will…

If you’ve never maximized the incredible connection between your body and your mind by shear physical output and exhilaration, you’re missing out on the ultimate in connectivity, my friend.

The computing power being pieced together by the brightest minds in the universe pales in comparison to what’s inside your skull. And the bionic creations we’ve crafted are light years removed from your personal anatomy and physiology.

Wow!

Go out and feel the exhilaration of going aerobic for just 20 minutes. Enjoy the peace, power and tranquility because of that mind/body connectivity.

That’s where the real show is… it’s all on the inside!

Exercise It/Experience It,

Steven

Become a part of ‘Senior Fitness Issues And Ideas’–a Google+ Community, (even if you’re not a senior) and I will gladly answer your exercise and fitness questions personally!

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

Exercise: The Irreplaceable Tool You Need To Use Now, Boomers!

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As a young boy I was fascinated by the enormous amount and variety of tools that filled my Grandfather’s workshop. He was an expert craftsman; his tools were his life and livelihood. Without the proper one, the job couldn’t get done.

There is nothing that can replace the positive effects that exercise has on your body and your mind.

Your body will not let you forget to sleep. Sleep is, of course, vitally important to your existence and wellness. Your appetite and hunger mechanism will not allow you to doubt the relevance of nourishment… even if your choices are poor, your body responds in amazing ways to keep you going.

The signals sent by the body lacking the physical challenges of exercise are very real, but much more subtle. There’s no urgency like hunger, but the need is just as substantial.

You can’t feel your bones losing the intricate array of internal structures that give them strength. The heart that’s pumping less efficiently gives, often, only one unmistakable warning that can’t be ignored… after years of neglect and mistreatment. A certain lack of vitality permeates your daily routine and you assume that there’s something you can buy to change things, figuring that aging is supposed to feel that way.

The list of symptoms of inactivity is ridiculously longer, but you get the picture.

There is no better way to maintain critical bone mass and mobility than progressive resistance exercise

In 2010, 258,000 Seniors 65 and older were hospitalized for hip fractures. 20% died within one year. More than 30% were in an extended care facility a year or longer.

There is no better way to maintain your ability to breathe than aerobic exercise.

Aging brings with it the diminishing capacity of the lungs to process oxygen at the cellular level.

There is no substitute for the benefits exercise offers in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.

30% of Seniors fear Alzheimer’s more than death or cancer.

No Excuses

In case you missed it, let me highlight the three basic foundational truths of The Senior Health and Fitness Blog:

1. If you can move it, you can improve it.
2. You can get going with what you’ve got.
3. Your fitness lifestyle journey begins with the first rep.

You have a lot of tools but you don’t have a lot of time.

Share This With Someone You Care About,

Steven

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

Defining Fitness For The Unfit: It’s Not What You Think!

Let’s have a very serious discussion together. It concerns the reason for every word I write, and it concerns your perception of what fitness should be.

I don’t mean anything at all derogatory by the word ‘unfit’. It indicates, simply, the description of being in a state of less than optimal fitness. So let me explain.

I’m really interested in having this discussion with all of you who have the desire to move in a healthier direction, but for whatever reason, feel shut out. My blog site shows many pictures of people in the gym; that’s me–it doesn’t need to be you. So let’s take a look, first, at exactly what fitness can easily be in YOUR life, no matter what your age, and no matter your current condition. From the heart, I want to help you be healthier!

A Simple and Functional Approach

Fitness, for our purposes, is the level of necessary health and fitness to do the things we enjoy most. “Health and appetite impart the sweetness to the sugar,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. Forget the sugar controversy here and focus on the main truth: It’s difficult to enjoy even the basic things of life in a state of ill health. Knowing that 80% of the major causes of ill health–cardiovascular disease and diabetes among them, can be directly affected by exercise, you must make the decision to take the first step using the irreplaceable tool of exercise. If the effects of exercise were obtainable from a drug, it would be considered a miracle drug. This, along with proper nutrition and quality sleep, are the core components of a healthy lifestyle.

Fundamental Building Blocks of The Senior Health and Fitness Blog Philosophy

1. The fitness journey of a lifetime begins with the first rep. Yes, I’m borrowing from the Chinese proverb regarding the importance of the first step. No matter how old you are, no matter how out of shape you are, there is a movement (rep) that you can do as a first step!

2. If you can move it, you can improve it! Your body responds to the positive stress of exercise by getting stronger; even if you’re in your eighties. We must use this capability because not doing so results in atrophy, or wasting. You do not have a choice to relax and remain the same.

3. Get going with what you’ve got! There’s no sense regretting your current condition. Whatever you have to work with is how it’s going to get done. It makes no sense to wish otherwise, but it makes a lot of sense to get moving now with whatever we can move–even if it hurts a little. Many of you may think that you can’t exercise because of arthritis. Wrong. You must exercise in spite of arthritis, to whatever degree you can, or you surrender to regression. Bursitis is part of my daily existence. Sometimes movement causes pain. I make a choice to tolerate it and keep moving because I don’t like the alternative.

The Weight Of The Evidence

Research has revealed in recent years that longevity and health depends, among other things, on simply being active; it’s not necessary to be superfit. And the Blue Zone studies, which focused on the common characteristics of the longest living people on the planet, observed a strong social/family lifestyle and living with a purpose as major important traits, along with sensible nutrition and activity. Moderation in fitness is a substantially powerful goal, and readily doable. 

There’s nothing for sale and nothing to buy. If the principles above make sense to you, let’s work together to change the look of Senior fitness!

For Your Health and Fitness,

Steven

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

Let’s Get Real: There’s Just No Substitute For Sweat!

You’ve probably seen already that a major food company is developing what they’re touting as ‘exercise in a bottle’. We’re already paying a heavy price for thinking that cures can be accomplished by swallowing pills, so I’m not excited about this latest twist on laziness. Don’t be upset at me; I know that the intention is to provide cutting edge nutrients to people who can’t necessarily exercise.

But please don’t let people think that there’s anything close to exercise without physical exertion. It simply complicates an already seriously distorted outlook that we as a society need to address.

The wonderful fact is that we’ve discovered recently that even modest efforts at higher activity levels can make a dramatic difference in a person’s health, along with minor lifestyle changes.

We already know that the longest living societies on the planet are not fitness freaks. They live active lifestyles with moderate and nutritious food intake and enjoy a sociable and purposeful existence.

It’s not available in chocolate or vanilla.

Our bodies and minds react to positive challenges by getting stronger; at any age and in any condition, assuming absence of degenerative disease.

Knowing that 80% of our major health threats can be avoided by simple and free behavioral changes available to all, I’m thinking our efforts could somehow be more effectively focused.

Use It, Don’t Lose It!

Steven

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

The Joy of Fitness Training With My Mother-In-Law

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The Gold’s Gym in central Florida where I was training at the time was one of my favorites. It became special to me, as well, because it was my first time training with a lady of seventy six years… my Mother-In-Law.

She is a spirited and adventurous soul. She speaks a little English, I speak a little Spanish. Of course, before we decided to embark on this exercise/linguistic experiment, I confirmed her state of overall good health. She, in fact, amazed me with her ability to begin a journey to the United States from Sweden, travel for twenty four hours on trains, planes and automobiles, and look beautiful and be positive until retiring for the night in her bed in our home.

I was not worried about her being intimidated by what might be encountered at the gym, and neither was she. What happened in the days and weeks that followed amazed me… and her.

The main focus she shared with me (through the interpreted discussion before we started) was concerning the use of her shoulders and arms. Her diminishing strength and ability to reach overhead saddened her. She was somewhat depressed, as well, because she had been diagnosed with osteoporosis and, of course, felt intimidated by it.

The first day was simply getting a feel for what was there. She watched, I demonstrated. She learned quickly and joyfully. After seeing me do seated close-grip pull-downs, she was anxious to try.

Cuidate (be careful)… Suavemente (smoothly)… Ay dolor? (is there any pain?)

These are the words I spoke most frequently. But always upon hearing “muy bien” (very good), Mom got the biggest smile on her face! At that point, I knew she was hooked.

My normal routine was three days a week, one day resting between workouts. After three weeks of gradual but noticeable increases in strength and range of motion, Mom insisted on going every day that she didn’t have something special happening!

Mom is in her eighties now and no longer has the stamina and confidence to do battle at the airports. We no longer are able to train together. During my years of working out, I’ve had the opportunity to train together with some accomplished athletes.

It all pales in comparison to the joy of saying, “Muy Muy Bien, Mamita.”

To Your Health and Fitness,

Steven Siemons

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