New Exercising Guidelines for Those of Us Over 50

A question that often pops up in my own brain concerns flexibility vs cardio. I know both are important, but as I age, my concern seems to be more about staying flexible. This is a great article by Linda Melone, because it addresses this question and many other issues that may arise about senior exercise.

A funny thing happens on the way to 50 and beyond: Your body doesn’t respond to exercise as it did earlier in your life. Fatigue, muscle and joint aches and increased injuries seem to happen with greater frequency.

Unfortunately, it’s not your imagination. It happens to the best of us as a natural consequence of aging. In fact, some of the “standard” fitness rules no longer apply, at least not in the same way as they did in your 30s and even 40s. Here’s how the rules change after 50 and how to stay injury-free as you age.

Old rule: Stretch a few days a week

New rule: Stretch after every workout, and then some

Stretching is no longer an option after 50. Staying flexible becomes more important as you age, says Michele Olson, adjunct professor of exercise science at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama.

“Flexibility, because it’s related to the collagenous tendons, which is a part of our lean body mass, starts to decrease,” she says. “Since our tendons connect our muscles to our bones, the perfect time to stretch is after your weight training sessions.”

Olson recommends a total body stretch, involving all major muscle groups, a minimum of two to three times a week. This would ideally be done after each workout when muscles are warm.

Old rule: Focus on cardio

New rule: Resistance training takes center stage

Bone density and muscle mass drops rapidly after 50, says Olson, making resistance training a crucial part of a complete exercise program. In addition to the link between muscle mass and metabolism — muscle burns more calories at rest than fat — increasing muscle and bone strength also prevents falls and fractures.

You still need cardio, of course, for reducing heart disease risk, which accelerates after 50, says Olson.

“And, as we increase lean mass — bones and muscle — the war against belly fat must also begin,” she says. Plus, a 2014 study shows a single 20-minute bout of weight training may enhance memory. Strive for eight to 12 repetitions per set, two to three times a week. If you can easily perform more than 12 reps, increase the resistance, says Olson.

Old rule: Slow and steady cardio works best

New rule: Use interval training to pump up the fat burn

Going for an easy stroll with a friend may be a good way to get fresh air, but it won’t do much for calorie burning, says Olson.

“Continue cardio for its heart health benefits, but focus on intervals since interval training for 30 minutes versus moderate, continuous exercise decreases belly fat,” she says. “Moderate, continuous cardio does not.”

Interval training involves alternate bouts of higher intensity cardio with “rest” or easier periods. Intervals create an “after burner” effect called EPOC, which stands for “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.” That’s a state in which your body continues to burn a higher rate of oxygen and calories after you’ve finished your workout. How many calories and for how long depends on the intensity of the intervals.

For more “Old” and “New” Rules from author Linda Melone, please click this link.

New rules for exercising if you’re over 50

Next Avenue contributor Linda Melone is a California-based freelance writer and certified personal trainer specializing in health, fitness and wellness for women over 50.

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Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Helped By Changes In Diet?

Sufferers of I.B.S. habitually find that their symptoms get worse after they’ve eaten – not really such a surprise. Symptoms can be made much more intense by certain types of foodstuff.

Not everybody responds to the same food the very same way – a number of foods may make symptoms flare in one person, but not another. That’s why physicians do not advocate certain diets. But through trial and error, many people find that they feel improved when they stop eating certain food. Such foods can cause intestinal contraction which can make I.B.S. worse, especially if the primary symptom is diarrhea.

For many people, careful eating reduces irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. If you keep a daily record you can see which foods tend to cause the most symptoms. Always discuss your results with your general practitioner.

You may also want to consult a registered dietician who can help you make changes to your diet. For example, if dairy products cause your symptoms to flare up, you can try consuming less of those foods. You may well be able to tolerate yogurt better than other dairy products simply because it includes bacteria that supply the enzyme needed to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk products.

Of course dairy is a good source of calcium, amongst other things. If you need to avoid dairy products, be sure to get adequate nutrients in the foods you substitute, or take supplements.

In many cases, dietary fiber may lessen I.B.S.  symptoms, in particular constipation. Fiber, on the other hand, won’t help with diarrhea or reducing any pain levels you might have.

If you’re searching for a good source of fiber look to things like vegetables, whole grain foods (specially bread and cereals) and fruits. High fiber diets keep the colon mildly distended, which may help prevent spasms. Some fiber also helps to keep your stool softer and easier to pass, by helping the stool retain water.

General practitioners tend to recommend enough fiber in your diet to help cause painless, easy bowel movements. For some people there is a side effect of gas and bloating, but it tends to go within a few weeks. If you gradually increase the amount of fiber you eat that will help minimize the risk of bloating and gasses.

It’s also important to make sure you drink enough plain water, particularly if you’re suffering from diarrhea, which tends to dehydrate you. Sodas are not a substitute for water! Gasses can also increase if you eat too quickly, or chew a lot of gum. That’s because you end up swallowing air, which has to escape somehow.

Large meals can cause cramping and diarrhea, so eating smaller meals more often, or eating smaller portions, may help I.B.S. symptoms. You can also benefit from low-fat higher carb meals like rice, whole grain foods, pasta, vegetables and so on. Limit or eliminate foods that may make diarrhea worse, including caffeine, alcohol, foods high in sugar, fatty foods, gas producing foods such as beans, cabbage, and broccoli. Also limit the artificial sweeteners sorbitol and xylitol often used in sugarless gum and sugarless candy.

Fats are pretty powerful stimulants to your G.I. tract – they can cause constipation and diarrhea. They do this by causing rapid spasm or contractions – similar to a ‘charley-horse’ – in the colon and that’s why they can cause constipation or diarrhea. The foods that seem to be the biggest triggers for I.B.S. are generally high in saturated fats. Foods like red meat, fried food and dairy products. Meat, dairy, and egg yolks also have proteins that are very difficult for the body to digest. Try to have your meals in peace and take your time – don’t dash your food. It’s better for you to eat slowly.

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Sugar Addiction – Part 1 – The Sweet and Deadly Killer

40graveI was at Little League baseball practice with my son, and on a Sunday afternoon, it was a great time to be with the boys and also with their fathers. I was in the outfield with another father named John, trying to be helpful shagging balls.

John is a retired psychologist, who specialized in ADHD. One thing he said about sugar just stopped me in my tracks. We were talking about ADHD and he said that ADHD medication has been saving thousands of people’s lives because they are no longer self-medicating themselves with sugar. Wow! I’ve never before thought about that connection. How many people who don’t know they have ADHD are still medicating themselves with soda, candy bars, ice cream and doughnuts? People are trying to cope any way they can, but little do they know what kind of a price they are paying for their addiction to sugar.How many other people are using sugar to mask the pain of failure and guilt? They use alcohol and drugs too. But sugar addiction is so rampant and so universal, that no one even thinks there is a problem. Even the medical community keeps quiet.

My conversation with John, out on the baseball field, produced in me a desire to take another look at a subject that I have been very passionate about. And that is learning how pervasive the addiction to sugar has become in the United States and the increasing threat that this addiction is to the overall health of our population.

This website is not about the masses, but it is all about your health and mine. So my focus in Part 2 will be:

A. How sugar addiction is literally killing us and taking years off of our lives.
B. How our addiction to sweets is negatively impacting the daily quality of life. You’ll learn how sugar robs you of the currency of life – your energy.

In Part 3 we’ll take a look at the Mega Sugar Industry, and how they have hunkered down and are ready to fight anyone who dares to say that sugar is bad for you. The sugar industry is all-pervasive in their reach, impacting not only our whole food industry but our work and leisure activities as well.

In Part 4 we’ll learn what some of us want to find out – a sure-fire and “easy” (well, no, I can’t say it will be easy 🙂 method to break our addiction to sugar. We will also learn some great tips to replace the sugar with healthy and nourishing foods. Some experts have said that kicking the sugar addiction can be harder than quitting smoking. A real neat thing to think about is that the longer sugar is out of your system the easier it becomes.

Look for Sugar Addiction – Part 2 – The Sweet and Deadly Killer – coming to this blog soon.

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Three Life-Changing Fitness Results

I just read a great blog about a 50 year old man who has been running for 15 years and still runs frequently. He ran a half marathon a few weeks ago. Does he still have a struggle in his mind about “getting off the couch?”. You bet he does. Check it out here: Running Over 50

Even though he still has a mental battle, he gets out there and runs because he will FEEL better. This is #1 of our Life-Changing Results You FEEL Better, a LOT Better.

He doesn’t just “feel” better, his whole brain has been supplied with a generous supply of endorphins. These are chemicals that your body manufactures when you do strenuous exercise.  These chemicals block sensations of pain and produce overall feelings of euphoria. WOW! Talk about getting high! This is a definite antidote for mild depression and an “upper” when you’re feeling down.

Life Changing Result #2. More Energy – A LOT More Energy.

Have you noticed how so many people are constantly complaining about how tired and run-down they feel? It’s called no energy. I’ve heard it said that “energy is the currency of life.” When you have energy, you have life, and when you don’t have energy – well let’s just say you don’t get much done and you complain a lot.

A regular 3-times / week aerobic exercise program (combined with some basic healthy eating changes) will give you much more energy currency to be able to DO the things in life that you WANT TO DO. Beats collapsing on the couch every night.

Now we get to the most exciting part. Life-Changing Result #3. This one is simple. You will LIVE Longer – A LOT Longer! I can’t guarantee you this, but statistics tell the story. Stay active – keep exercising aerobically – eat healthy food – and you will add many years to your life.

This doesn’t mean much to a 25 year old. But it means EVERYTHING to a 50 or 60 or 70 year old man or woman.

So there you have it.  1) You will Feel a lot better  2) You will have tons of Energy to be able to stay off the couch and 3) Your chances of living to the century mark are vastly increased.

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