Should you consider in-home fitness training for your aging parents?
Fitness Over 40
When it comes to weight loss, everyone wants a miraculous quick fix. You've probably heard--and maybe even fallen for--the breathless claims: "Lose a dress size in a week!" "Lose 20 pounds in four weeks!" If you have weight to lose, you're right to get started now, but I always urge my Baby Boomer clients to plan for slow weight loss--much slower than they want--because fast weight loss just comes with too many drawbacks.
The 76 million Baby Boomers in the U.S. are well-known for their active, busy lifestyles. They are the generation that is redefining aging in our society by continuing to work and stay active well into their golden years.
Walking is a terrific exercise program for beginners because it is so easy to regulate your speed to keep your workout in a heart-rate zone that is safe and effective. It requires no athletic skill, no gear beyond a good pair of shoes, and unless you have an injury or disability, anyone can do it. Walking is also the queen of weight-bearing exercises, and helps your body continue to produce new bone tissue.
You've probably heard by now that physical inactivity is associated with an increase in risk for a wide range of illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers among others. Unfortunately, the rates of inactivity go up the older you get. According to survey data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2008 32.7%--almost a third--of adults 65 and over reported NO leisure-time physical activity within the prior month.
I know, I know. You don't want to bulk up, you just want to "tone." If you think another hour on the treadmill or elliptical is going to do that for you, think again. There's only one way to tone muscle and that's to use it. You build muscle by contracting it to overcome the resistance of some force: gravity, your body weight or a dumbbell, for example. The work of overcoming that resistance causes microtrauma in the fibers, and it's the repairing of that microtrauma that builds muscle.
Why do people exercise? Well, once it's a habit, people exercise because it feels good, but a lot of people begin an exercise program because they want to lose weight. If you're overweight, losing even a few pounds is a good thing, but there are lots of other reasons to exercise. If you're a Baby Boomer or Senior (heck, even if you're a twentysomething), regular exercise offers many benefits that will improve the quality of your life.
The 206 bones in your body make up the structural infrastructure that supports your soft tissue. Bones are also storehouses for calcium and phosphorus, and bone tissue is continously being broken down and repaired within your body. Approximately every ten years, your entire skeleton will be replaced with new cells. Stressful forces on the bone, such as you experience when you exercise, cause the bones to create more new bone tissue, while a sedentary lifestyle results in greater loss of bone tissue than generation of new tissue. Your challenge, as you age, is to keep the pace of cell regeneration ahead of the pace of degeneration.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, and an additional 34 million have low bone density. If you’ve been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis, you know that you have an increased risk of broken bones. Once you’ve been diagnosed, your doctor will give you instructions on how to slow the bone loss with diet, supplements, exercises, and perhaps medication. But you can also manage a number of other factors to prevent dangerous falls.
Everybody wants to know, what's the best exercise for me? If you're a Baby Boomer, you're at that age where your body doesn't work quite the same way it did 15 or 20 years ago. So what's the best exercise to keep Baby Boomers fit and healthy?