Tag Archive for: exercise

 

Depending on where you live the summer heat may be approaching or is already at its height. Staying active becomes a challenge, especially for people over 50. Exercising in hot weather requires additional precautions to ensure your safety.

My aim is to provide a comprehensive guide for my BoneSmarties over 50, offering tips and strategies for staying fit while minimizing the risk of heat-related illnesses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Stay Hydrated:     Hydration is crucial when exercising in hot weather, as your body loses water through perspiration. Older adults are more susceptible to dehydration due to decreased thirst sensation. To combat this, it’s essential to drink water before, during, and after physical activity. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages, as they can contribute to dehydration. Carry a water bottle with you and sip regularly to maintain proper hydration levels.  Consider infusing your  water with electrolytes or swap out for a sports drink.  Electrolytes help you replenish minerals  lost through sweat. That’s why water alone is not enough if you’re exercising outdoors in the heat.

  2. Time Your Workouts:    When the sun is at its peak, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the heat is most intense. It’s advisable to plan your workouts during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening. This reduces exposure to extreme heat and minimizes the risk of heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
  3. Dress Appropriately:    Wearing the right clothing can make a significant difference in staying cool during exercise. Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics that allow air circulation and aid in moisture-wicking. Loose-fitting clothing in light colors reflects sunlight and helps in maintaining a comfortable body temperature. Additionally, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses protects against the sun’s harmful rays and reduces heat-related discomfort.
  4. Protect Your Skin:   Exercising outdoors increases exposure to harmful UV radiation. Individuals over 50 are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and skin damage. Choose a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher with broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more frequently if sweating excessively. Seeking shade when possible or exercising under tree cover can provide additional protection from direct sunlight.

    You should always wear sunscreen when you go outside, but you should be even more diligent about it if you plan on being out during peak hours.

     

  5. Check the thermostat and your ceiling fans:  Most gyms/health clubs set their thermostats so the air conditioner runs often and keeps the humidity (and sweat) out of the air!    If you have your home A/C set to an economical setting, and you’re doing a high intensity class like HIIT – you may want to make sure your ceiling fans are on and lower your AC for the time it takes you to do a class.

Amy SmileyAmy Smiley, Age 62

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOU

I spent most of my life in California, with a short stint in Sweden in the 1970s. My degrees are in Chemical Engineering and I worked in the biotech industry once I got out of graduate school. I loved working in such a new field at the time. As the family grew, I decided to quit my paid job and stay home with the children. As time went on I realized I needed a creative outlet and took up Plein air painting (with the same fantastic friend who introduced me to Teresa’s classes!). After my family and friends, I love the outdoors, science, gardening, and art.

WHEN DID YOU BEGIN SESSIONS WITH TERESA?

I started classes with Teresa in 2012 and have continued with them ever since. Teresa’s Pilates classes are a priority for me because of the physical and mental benefits they provide. I have celiac disease, which causes any number of inflammatory problems and Teresa’s classes are essential to my ability to manage those issues. When something has to fall off my plate it won’t be Teresa’s class!

 

WHAT MOVEMENT OR PRINCIPLE HAS HELPED YOU THE MOST?

I’d like to choose just one movement or body dynamic principle that I learned from Teresa that has helped me but there are too many!  From ribs down to soup bowl to lifting your toes…I am always learning something new, even ten years later.  I think, for myself, as I continue to become more body aware, I continue to learn in each class.  And, as new issues develop as the years march on, I discover new fixes for them.  Everything that I have learned from Teresa applies not only in class but in other activities and my daily movement.  Not to mention that Teresa is so gracious with her time whenever anyone has a question about alignment or movement difficulties.  She always takes time to answer any questions and I learn from my questions and those of others.  What a fantastic tool!

 

Amy Smiley Testimonial for Aging Strong Pilates

WHAT WERE THE EFFECTS OF THE PANDEMIC ON YOUR MOVEMENT PRACTICE?

At the beginning of the pandemic, I dropped the gym and in-person classes.  Although we stayed active, I really missed the benefit and connection of group exercise classes.  I worried about how well I would maintain mobility and strength without the motivation and guidance that Teresa provides.  When Teresa opened her remote classes I jumped right in and was so grateful! Now that some degree of normalcy is returning, having the option of in-person and virtual classes is even better than before.

I absolutely love the energy and camaraderie in the in-person classes.  They are a tonic for the soul.  I can’t think of a single class where I haven’t had a good laugh for one reason or another.  I missed that tremendously until in-person became available again.  But it’s also great to have access to the class online if I can’t make it in person and to have the videos afterward.

 

Picture of Teresa's hybrid Pilates classIn Pilates, you’ll often gain optimal results from an exercise when you make your movements smaller rather than larger.  You’ll also gain more when you focus on the principles of Pilates: Concentration, Control, Centering, Breath, Precision, and Flow. It’s this attention to detail that makes Pilates a Mind-Body Practice.

As with most things in life, “less is more.”  We live in a world where we drink from coffee cups large enough to fill our gas tanks, we eat muffins capable of feeding a family of four, fast food orders are supersized, and Costco supplies us with enough peanut butter to last for years.

Bigger is not always better.

According to Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, “Thanks in part to the pandemic, many people’s exercise priorities have shifted from intense, calorie-burning workouts to activities that also foster a mind-body connection.”

Is Pilates as Good as Everyone Says?

The strength and flexibility workout is having a moment.

What can — and can’t — it do for us?     Enjoy this recent illuminating NYTimes article.

Click the video for details and find the meerkats!
This class is designed for those of us in the last and best third of our lives. Incorporating the science of aging, the class is bone safe, spine safe, and joint-friendly. We challenge our nervous system through fun movement brain games to develop new neural pathways that improve balance, fall response time, and focus. We work on core, lower and upper body strength, we dance and we practice how to catch ourselves safely if we trip, to help prevent injury.

This class is appropriate for the beginner to advanced intermediate active ager. Expect improved posture, injury prevention, coordination, core strength, flexibility, and balance with crossover benefits to your daily activities. 

No prior Pilates experience necessary, just a willingness to learn and have fun. To participate, you must be able to get up and down from a mat safely and independently.

Do you find your butt slowly disappearing or migrating south? Are your jeans sliding off your butt?

Age-related muscle loss, known as sarcopenia, is a real thing. The good news is you can do targeted workouts to minimize the loss that people experience from increasing age and all the excessive sitting that’s been happening recently.

It’s not too late to literally perk things up.

Round perky butts play a role in aesthetics but there’s even more that’s important!

Having strong gluteal muscles gives you the power to stand up, sit down, squat, and perform all your life activities with power and grace.

Strong glutes are important for proper pelvic alignment, propulsion during walking and running, and single-leg balance support.  They also help to support the lower back during lifting motions.

 

6 Benefits of taking the Active Aging Bootie Barre class

Strong glutes help your posture and lessen back and neck pain.

Increased sitting can result in slumped posture and “dead butt syndrome”. This is when your butt muscles become inhibited and literally forget how to fire.

How does this happen?  It’s actually a common problem today.  People are spending inordinate amounts of time sitting behind their computers, zooming, etc.  Picture it, your butt is tucked under, your back is in a C curve (I call it cashew posture) and your head is shifted forward in front of your shoulders. Feeling the back and neck pain yet? With all this faulty sitting, the muscles in the front of your hip joints become short and tight and the opposite muscles, the butt muscles, become neurologically inhibited, overstretched, weak, and inactive.  Strengthening the butt muscles, back muscles and stretching the muscles in front of the hip, exercises that are included in the active aging bootie barre class, address these common issues.

 

Strong Glutes help Prevent Injuries.

Building strong gluteal muscles (the focus of “bootie barre”) can help you avoid injury as well as recover from injury to your low back, hips, knees, and ankles by creating better alignment and stability.  As an example, when squatting sometimes people will cave one knee in towards midline instead of tracking the knee over the foot. That’s often a result of weak gluteal muscles on that side. This is a common dysfunctional pattern known as “dynamic valgus” and it can be prevented with strong gluteal and hip muscles. Proper hip, knee, foot alignment is cued regularly during our bootie barre class.

Strong Glutes Improve Balance

Who remembers those old commercials “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”  Though people joked about it, those commercials depicted a real and serious situation.  Maybe it’s not an issue for you currently but having strong glutes now means you’ll have a strong foundation to propel yourself when walking, have the stability in your pelvis to balance on one leg, get in and out of your vehicle, or shower with ease and if you fall, “you Will be able to get up”!  This all translates to better long-term quality of life.

 

Strong Glutes Enhance Bone Density in the Hips and Pelvis

Strength training is the best way to improve localized bone density. This happens when muscle tissue tugs on your bones during strength training. By building up the muscles around your pelvis (your glutes) as we do in class, you are improving your muscle and bone strength as well as the stability of your entire pelvis and hips.

 

 

Strong Gluts are Aesthetically Appealing

Though not the most important reason, this is often the primary reason people start working on their glutes. It’s a valid goal to have to keep our pants from sliding down and if chasing a perky butt is your goal, I say go for it!

This class is targeted for you, in the last and best third of your life, to get strong safely and efficiently.

As a physical therapist, I ensure that you’re not using your low back to lift your leg behind you (a common error).  I design exercises that work all ranges of motion of the hip and stimulate both slow-twitch and fast-twitch fibers found in your glutes.  And, we get it all done in just 30 time-efficient minutes!  Allow me to be your guide to lift your tush and safely challenge your limits.

Sign up for the Active Aging Bootie Barre Class every Wednesday at 11:30 PM PST. Can’t make that time? Not a problem. You can purchase the class and I can send you a recording to do at your convenience!

Click here for a preview of some Active Aging Bootie Barre Moves!

 

 

 

Written by Teresa Maldonado Marchok, MPT

Physical Therapist,  Pilates Teacher, Aging Strong Activist, Educator, and lifelong learner.   www.BoneSmartPilates.com

 

 

References

BoneSmart Pilates Youtube channel Gluteal Amnesia aka Dead Butt Syndrome  https://youtu.be/YevqgbmS4K8

Buckthorpe M, Stride M, Villa FD. ASSESSING AND TREATING GLUTEUS MAXIMUS WEAKNESS — A CLINICAL COMMENTARY. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2019;14(4):655–669.

Dunsky A. The Effect of Balance and Coordination Exercises on Quality of Life in Older Adults: A Mini-Review. Front Aging Neurosci. 2019;11:318. Published 2019 Nov 15. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2019.00318

This is just shy of the 7 month mark-2/3 of the way through my Recode clinical trial.

I continue to feel strong, alert, and energized.  The lead investigator was thrilled with the improvement in my recent 6 MONTH cognitive testing.

I’m at and maintaining what I feel is an optimal body weight for my frame and I’m happy to have finally lost my belly fat with this program. I’m even comfortable wearing crop tops and athletic bras, something I would not have considered a year ago.

 

Nutritional adjustment due to Osteopenia

With my recent diagnosis of osteopenia, my doctor has added Vitamin K (specifically Designs for Health Tri-K, vitamin K in three synergistic forms that help the Vitamin D keep the calcium in the bones) to my already existing Vit D supreme (also Designs for Health brand) which is important for Ca++ absorption.

Exercise Adjustment with Bone Health in Mind

Because my spine is more compromised than my hips which are just over the borderline into osteopenia, I’m adding more spine extension exercises into my repertoire to address this deficit.  Think the Bird Dog exercise on all 4’s with the opposite arm and leg reach and the following 2 extension exercises.

Calcium Sources

Because this clinical trial does not allow dairy, I’m hard-pressed to get sufficient Ca++ through my diet as I’m not a big fan of sardines or tofu, two non-dairy high Ca++ options. In addition to my oat milk which has a decent amount, I’m independently adding Bone Builder Forte by Metagenics, a good bioavailable Ca++ supplement.

Ketone Levels

My blood ketone levels are finally consistent at the ideal levels of over 1.0 for the study. This is thanks in part to the addition of exogenous ketones, specifically Designs for Health Keto-Nootropic.

Keto Support Group

I belong to a local Keto lifestyle support group where we learn from each other as we share our trials and triumphs. Some of the topics we recently discussed I thought might be of interest to you.

What am I eating?
I start the day with an oat milk latte (which has a good amount of Ca++)

Lunch is typically an omelet with veggies and salmon or sometimes a slice of bacon and a whole avocado drizzled with plenty of olive oil.  Other times it’s a soup with extra olive oil for the increased healthy fat with an avocado.  A Sunday brunch favorite is almond flour waffles topped with crushed berries and nuts.

Dinner can fluctuate between chicken, fish, sometimes beef, with a side of veggies and salad.  Our zucchini crop is abundant so I’m having a lot of zoodles (zucchini noodles) with various toppings like ragu sauce or pesto.

 

Sauna
There are studies linking positive cognitive function with regular sauna use.  I’ve been without a sauna for the last 3 months as a result of the COVID lockdown. My friend recently invited me to use his own far infrared sauna so I’m adding that back in which feels wonderful.  I’m grateful for this detox opportunity.

What’s the Key?

“What do you think is making the most difference?” is a question I get asked a lot.

Honestly, I believe it’s a combination of many factors including:

  • Improved quality and quantity of sleep
  • The addition of targeted supplementation and balancing my hormones
  • Intermittent fasting for regulating my metabolism
  • Getting the junk out of my diet!
  • Consistent and varied exercise has been key including my Pilates, HIIT workouts 2x/week, dancing, walking, and biking.
  • Online brain training because I’m seeing objective improvement and I can see my focus and processing speed improving.

So can I point to one thing?  No. That’s why the Recode Protocol is a multi-modal approach and why a single pill will not address cognitive decline.

Question posed by a Reader

I wanted to share a question that one of you had which as requested, I posed to my doctor.

“If you have osteoporosis, can the Keto diet be followed? Everything I read is that it is acidic and you need an alkaline diet”

The doctor’s response:
“If you follow the keto diet according to our protocol, then it will be fine because ours is more of a Plant-Based diet with less emphasis on meat, especially red meat.  This keeps it less acidic.”

What I’ve learned independently is that eating too much animal protein also can leach calcium from your bones, so if you have osteopenia or osteoporosis, you should limit red meat to two times a week and keep portions small – 4 to 6 ounces.

A study published in Advances in Nutrition in January 2017 found that cutting down on red and processed meats as well as soft drinks, fried foods, desserts, and refined grains all had a positive impact on bone health.

According to the research, the best diet for the prevention of osteoporosis includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, fish and poultry, nuts, and legumes.

After this study is over

With my DXA (bone test) results, I will personally be adding pasture-raised dairy and A2 milk back into my diet after the study is over, to support my bones.  I’ll also be checking in with my doctor on which supplements I should stay on for the long term to support my cognition.

If you’re on or starting the Keto lifestyle or the Mediterranean diet, share your struggles and wins here.  I’d love to learn from and celebrate with you!

Easy ways to get started right away!

With the start of the New Year, it’s typically a time to reassess ourselves and our habits. Do you have a healthy habit you’d like to adopt? Most of us do. The tough part is getting started. That’s why I’ve pulled together these simple but effective tips to help you jump start five smart habits–eating breakfast, drinking more water, moving more, connecting, and getting a better night’s sleep. Choose one to get started. And when you’re ready, put them all together to give your everyday health an amazing boost.

Say Yes to Breakfast

The payoff: Eating breakfast fuels your body and brain for a truly good morning. It also helps jump-start your metabolism, which may be one reason that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than those who skip it. Your best start: Choose foods you’ll look forward to–there are many more choices beyond plain-old cereal. Try plain or vanilla yoghurt with fresh berries. I start my mornings with fruit and veggie smoothies-my Vitamix is my workhorse for providing a healthy start for the whole family.

Just Add Water

The payoff: Every cell in your body contains water. Staying well hydrated can prevent headaches, moodiness, loss of focus, and muscle fatigue. Your best start: Carry a refillable bottle of water with you at all times–in your bag, in your car, on the job, and at the gym. If it’s handy, you’ll sip it. (I must admit I’m terrible in this area but will try to do better this year) Also, eat more fruits and vegetables, which contain lots of water. (Did you know that 91 percent of the weight of broccoli comes from water?) Remember that other water-based beverages count too.

Just Move!

The payoff: The more you move, the more calories you burn. An active lifestyle can also improve your mood, appearance, and overall health. Your best start: Carry a pedometer (or fitbit or other such gadget) and make it a game to increase the number of steps you take each day. Some easy boosts:

  • At work: Keep a small water glass that you have to refill often, instead of a large water bottle, on your desk. Use the stairs, not the elevator. Pace while on the phone.
  • At home: Put things away in multiple small trips rather than one big haul. Use your foam roller or resistance band as you watch TV.   View 6 roller exercises to start your year right    Watch a resistance band hip and leg series for strength and flexibility
  • Out and about: Walk that grocery cart back to it’s station rather than tucking it over a curb. Park in a remote corner of parking lots when running errands. Take the stairs when you can. On planes choose the aisle seat to more easily get up often.
  • Do what you love: What ever your passion is, gardening, hiking, Pilates, dance, yoga.  Mix it up so your body will benefit from the variety.   See a short Sneak Preview of the BoneSmart Pilates® DVD

Connect

The payoff: Regular and meaningful connection with friends, family, volunteering all improve your levels of  stress,  and release feel good hormones. Your best start: Write a letter, make a phone call. Enjoy a walk in the park or a hike in the woods with a buddy.  Volunteering and focusing on helping others helps you as well.

Sleep Better Tonight

The payoff: Getting a good night’s rest boosts energy and improves immunity. It’s also been associated with heart health and a longer life span. Your best start: Create a calming routine. At the end of the workday, write in a journal or create a to-do list for tomorrow, so you won’t worry you’ll forget something. Reading a few pages in a book or playing Words with Friends usually knocks me out pretty quickly. As you prepare for bed, dim the lights and quiet any loud noises. Following the same pre-bedtime routine each night can help you drift off more easily.


I was recently asked to teach a master class at Mountain View H.S. for the class of advanced student dancers. My first thought was to teach some Martha Graham modern dance technique along with some Pilates.  After all, Martha started her company in NY in 1926 and that same year, Joseph Pilates emigrated to NY to open his studio.  Also while a dancer in her company, I took Pilates classes to focus on mindful balanced muscle development and to help prevent the injuries that were common with a demanding rehearsal and touring schedule.

While preparing for this workshop I realized quickly that Martha would not want to share the spotlight with anyone else, so “totally Graham” it would be.  Joseph Pilates will have his own master class later.

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While reviewing my materials for the workshop I remembered quickly why I was originally drawn to, and devoted much of my life to Martha Graham’s work.  There are few people who can claim that “my boss was an oracle, a legend, a goddess”. Having had the good fortune to work directly with Martha for 7 years before she died, she was all of these things and more to me.

I didn’t know what to expect from the students and wondered if I’d be faced with behaviour issues. I created Graham Quote cards, 14 brightly colored index cards each with a memorable Martha Graham quote. My thought was to hand these out during the class as an incentive, to those exhibiting focus, drive and determination. I gave out 1 card and had to stop. I could not choose.

These students were totally absorbed, committed and hungry to learn and experience this unique movement style. I took seriously, my responsibility to this young group of dancers many of whom knew little about Martha.

My format included lecture, exploration of basic movement principles, an excerpt from the Helios section of the Martha Graham Company dance “Acts of Light” (see me guiding the students here) ,  and viewing of a video clip that I made while on tour. They enjoyed seeing what the choreography was “supposed to look like” and relished viewing some of the behind the scenes banter that occurs in a professional company while on tour.

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At the end of class I held a lottery to hand out the quote cards.  The dancers clearly were hoping to be chosen and applauded for each person that received one. My directive was simple. Commit to memory, the card you receive, and over time, pass that card onto another dancer in class who displays a positive work ethic. In this way they will keep alive the eloquent words of Martha Graham, and through their actions, pass on an “act of light” and appreciation to their fellow dancers.

Here is my New Years’ gift to you.  Some of my favorite quotes by Martha Graham that hold special meaning to me:

MG and I 4
                            Martha and I in her NYC upper east side apartment at a private party for her dancers.
 
 
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening
that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you
in all of time, this expression is unique.
And if you block it, it will never exist through any
other medium and it will be lost.” The world will not have it. 
It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions.  It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”
  
“We learn by practice, whether it means to learn to dance
by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living,
the principles are the same.
One becomes, in some area, an athlete of God.”
“The body is a sacred garment,
it is what you enter life in
and what you depart life with,
and it should be treated with honour,
and with joy and with fear as well.
But always, though, with blessing.”

 

Blessings to you all

Teresa

(Joseph Pilates, I guess your turn is next.)