Stretching Class – First Try

Below is a link to our first attempt at recording an instructional video. Please realize it is not a professionally produced video. It shows some basic stretching techniques which you may find helpful. As we become more experienced at this kind of recording, our videos will look a bit more polished. We welcome feedback.

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/YNMQoeyCw2zg84p32vTvH8b9a2dBXz4ivnY2XrupRFsfvblU36cTl38ujio57PBh.CqynMsbAx5qadJSX?startTime=1610819791000

PFTL News January 2021

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Good riddance to 2020.  Years from now we will look back on 2020 with disbelief.  How could we have lived through all that? COVID 19, political upheaval, high unemployment, racial tension, isolation and heartache, environmental disasters, international unrest to name a few of last year’s challenges. But most of us did live through it. Human beings seem to have the ability to cope with adversity in many forms.

Let’s plan to thrive in 2021.  Physically, emotionally, and hopefully, financially. We are all in this together, so we need to take care of ourselves, so we can help others as best we can.

PFTL UPDATE  

Clients who have returned to the studio have reported that they feel very safe in the space. We will continue to monitor all people who enter the studio, require masks and wipe down all surfaces constantly.

Several clients have opted for virtual training.  This can be done easily using Zoom or Facetime.  If you want to get back into a fitness routine, this is a good way to do this while in your own home. Let us know if you would like to train virtually.

We are also developing a free stretching class that will be available through Zoom and later Youtube.  It will require registration, but no cost.  We hope to have this ready by next month or sooner.  It will be appropriate for all fitness levels.

We are aware that several clients would like to return, but do not feel comfortable wearing masks while exercising.  I hope we can relax this requirement sometime in the future, however, it is too early to do that yet.  COVID is still very active in Cook County (and the US, as well), so it will be some time before we will change that precaution.

SOMETHING IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN NOTHING  (excerpt from Livestrong.com Nov 2019)

First off, it’s important to realize that, when it comes to movement, every rep, set and second will move you that much closer to your goals.

In fact, according to an August 2019 analysis published in the British Medical Journal, any exercise, for any duration and at any intensity, comes with a substantially lower risk for early death. Also, in the review, researchers note that the dose-response pattern between exercise and longevity is non-linear, meaning that going from zero to 10 minutes of exercise per day may be much more beneficial for your health than going from 60 to 70 minutes.

An October 2019 study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine came to a similar conclusion. Researchers found that any amount of running was associated with a lower risk of early death from all causes, specifically cardiovascular disease and cancer. People even benefitted from a single run a week that lasted less than 50 minutes at a pace below 6 mph.

Meanwhile, a March 2019 British Journal of Sports Medicine study shows that even 10 minutes of exercise per week is associated with a lower risk of death, including from cardiovascular disease and certain forms of cancer.

A little bit of movement can truly change the course of your day, and over time, even small, but consistent, bits of it can make big improvements in how you feel and your overall health.

KEEP HOME WORKOUTS INJURY-FREE  (Excerpt from Health.com March 2020)

It’s true: Amid all the social distancing due to COVID-19, your workouts have probably started to look a little different—say, with a view of your living room, kitchen, or bedroom. But as at-home workouts become all the rage (or at least the necessity), it becomes even more important to take the proper safety measures to avoid workout injuries.

1. Clear the space – Step one: make sure you have the room—including nothing on the floor around you—to exercise. Check that you have at least 3 feet in all directions when standing or lying on the floor. Make sure you check the floor for kids’ toys, books, weights, and anything else that could get in the way and cause you to trip.

2. Slip on some sneakers – While you can work out barefoot, experts recommend sweating in sneakers—but not ones you wore outside. You want to make sure you’re not bringing in outside germs, especially at the time of a pandemic.

Your next safest bet after sneakers is going barefoot, sans socks. There are benefits of working out with naked feet—all the nerves in your feet help you get a better sense of the ground beneath you and you can better push off for moves like squats and deadlifts.

3. Know your body –  There are so many free workouts available, which is great, but each individual has different goals, priorities, and different fitness levels. If you find a free workout and it doesn’t feel good on your body, then that’s a sign to skip it. Start with something you know or a first timer-friendly workout and then go from there.

Something else to keep in mind: know you can’t bank exercise. That means, if you hit it hard for the next few weeks or months, but then stop completely, you’ll go back to baseline. You want to exercise to build habits so you can keep exercising in the long-term. You don’t want to get injured in the short-term.

4. Switch it up – It’s easy to work out every day, especially now that everyone’s locked up inside and not feeling like venturing out to gyms. But if you’re trying to exercise every single day, try not to repeat the same movements. For instance, avoid doing weighted squats every day of the week and maybe add in some reverse lunges or jumping jacks instead. For cardio, try alternating biking, running, and jumping rope.

5. Consider exercises to counteract desk culture – It’s easy to get comfy working on the couch, or sitting and staring at the computer on your desk all day. But that’s exactly why you want to do some moves that reverse the forward-facing, typically hunched-over position that causes tightness in your neck, shoulders, and middle back, says Tampa. To do this, focus on posterior chain exercises like deadlifts, bridges, bent over rows, and band pulls.

Stand up every hour and do some quick exercises like squats or lunges. Try doing 30-second plank holds throughout the day or moves like bird dog.

6. Have fun with it– No matter what type of work out you do, experts agree it’s most important to have fun with it and enjoy the movement.

Also, know that the benefits of exercise of any type outweigh the risks. Keeping ourselves healthy is something we can do along with social distancing in order to get through this.


In Memoriam: Julie Cohen, our beloved office manager and friend, passed away on December 17. All those who knew Julie fell in love with her smile, good-nature and kindness she showed to everyone. She was the heart and soul of our business. Julie will be greatly missed by all of us.

PFTL Update for Vaccine Recipients

It is great news that the US is getting the COVID vaccine starting this week. Some of our clients will be the first to receive it, and some will not be getting the opportunity for several months. The vaccine is reported to be 90 – 95% effective for most people, but it is no guarantee.

So, until the numbers of new cases decreases to acceptable levels as determined by the Illinois Department of Public Health, and/or the IDPH changes its guidelines, we will continue to require masks to be worn at the studio.

We want to keep our studio as a safe place for everyone. Your patience with this is appreciated.

I wish you all a happy holiday in this challenging time.

Debora

PFTL News December 2020

PFTL UPDATE  

Clients who have returned to the studio have reported that they feel very safe in the space. We will continue to monitor all people who enter the studio, require masks and wipe down all surfaces constantly.

Several clients have opted for virtual training.  This can be done easily using Zoom or Facetime.  If you want to get back into a fitness routine, this is a good way to do this while in your own home.

We are also developing a free stretching class that will be available through Zoom.  It will require registration, but no cost.  Look for more information soon. It will be appropriate for all fitness levels.

We are aware that several clients would like to return, but do not feel comfortable wearing masks while exercising.  I hope we can relax this requirement sometime in the future, however, it is too early to do that yet.  COVID is still very active in Cook County (and the US, as well), so it will be some time before we will change that precaution.

Why We Lose More Muscle As We Age- And What To Do About It  (Excerpted from Livestrong 9/2020)

It’s a common frustration that many older people face: I’m not as strong as I used to be. What gives? Well, it turns out there’s a name for it. This age-related loss of muscle mass and strength is called sarcopenia.

And, unfortunately, it happens to just about everyone. Generally, muscle loss begins around age 50, per the Cleveland Clinic, and about 50 percent of adults will experience it by their 80th birthday, according to an April 2012 article published in Family Practice.

5 Causes of Sarcopenia – First, some grim news: People lose as much as 5 percent of their muscle mass per decade after they hit age 30, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Here are five reasons why:

1. Inactivity – Yes, the old “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it” expression rings true.

Normally, exercise releases muscle growth factors, which stimulate muscle regeneration. But that process declines with age, according to the Family Practice article. Plus, older people are less active in general, sometimes as a result of having a disease that makes them tired and in pain.

2. Poor Nutrition – People tend to consume fewer calories as they get older. Between the ages of 40 and 70, calories are reduced by about 25 percent — and that means nutrient intake is on a downward slope as well, according to a February 2019 review published in Clinical Nutrition. That can lead to weight loss and muscle loss over time.

3. Decrease in Muscle Fibers – The Current Opinion in Rheumatology article notes that fast-twitch muscle fibers (which aid the body in power-based moves) decline with age, which contributes to muscle decline overall.

4. Changing Hormones – Testosterone, which plays an important role in determining the body’s muscle mass, also declines with age. This process starts around age 40 and decreases at a rate of about 1 percent per year, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

5. Increased Inflammation  – Inflammation comes with certain diseases and aging in general and makes it harder to remain active and increases the likelihood of disability. All of that gets in the way of muscle growth, according to the Current Opinion in Rheumatology article.

Why You Should Try to Maintain Your Muscle

Sarcopenia can be dangerous. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it can make you more frail and put you at increased risk of falling or other injuries.

An October 2012 study published in Clinical Nutrition found 27 percent of people over age 80 with sarcopenia reported falling during the study’s two-year follow-up, compared with less than 10 percent of 80-plus-year-olds without sarcopenia.

“Vitamin D is the most prominent nutrient deficiency for older adults, and depleted vitamin D levels are associated with decreased muscle strength.”

For older men specifically, sarcopenia is also linked to the development of diabetes, according to an April 2020 study in the Journal of the Endocrine Society. The researchers note that muscle plays an essential role in blood sugar regulation, although they weren’t able to conclude why women don’t seem to be affected the same way.

According to a June 2015 study published in The American Journal of Medicine, the amount of muscle an older person has can predict his or her risk of dying, with more muscle mass index being linked to lower mortality risk.

How to Prevent Sarcopenia

Even if you are well into your golden years, it’s not too late to build back some of that lost muscle. Here are four things you can do to thwart sarcopenia.

1. Stay Active – An inactive lifestyle speeds up the muscle-loss process, according to the Cleveland Clinic. One of your best defenses, then, is staying active.

Some good options include: Light hiking, Walking, Swimming laps, Body-weight movements

2. Prioritize Protein – Protein is the macronutrient that promotes growth and development. And older people usually don’t get enough of it.  Indeed, a March 2020 study published in Frontiers in Nutrition found older people consume about 83 grams of protein each day, which is significantly lower than younger people.

Even though the Recommended Daily Allowance is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of weight, the researchers suggest older people need more — somewhere between 1 and 1.5 grams per kilogram — to stay healthy.

3. Pay Attention to Vitamin D – Vitamin D is the most prominent nutrient deficiency for older adults, and depleted vitamin D levels are associated with decreased muscle strength.

4. Embrace Progressive Resistance Training – As in, don’t be afraid to make your workouts more difficult as you get stronger with more weight, more reps or more sets.

Any type of resistance training should help. A meta-analysis published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise reviewed 49 studies involving men ages 50 or older and found resistance training led to a 2.4-pound gain in lean body mass.

Be patient, however. It could take six to eight weeks to see results, per the Cleveland Clinic. Moody says it rests on your diligence, effort, focus and, most importantly, routine.

Your success will depend on your consistency, appropriate challenge and frequency.

PFTL News November 2020

PFTL UPDATE  

Clients who have returned to the studio have reported that they feel very safe in the space. We will continue to monitor all people who enter the studio, require masks and wipe down all surfaces constantly.

Several clients have opted for virtual training.  This can be done easily using Zoom or Facetime.  If you want to get back into a fitness routine, this is a good way to do this while in your own home.

We are aware that several clients would like to return, but do not feel comfortable wearing masks while exercising.  I hope we can relax this requirement sometime in the future, however, it is too early to do that yet.  COVID is still very active in Cook County (and the US, as well), so it will be some time before we will change that precaution.

HOW TO HELP YOUR BODY DEAL WITH INFLAMMATION (from Fitness Journal – July-August 2020)

Did you know that there are two types of inflammation, the body’s response to injury?

Acute inflammation is painful but essential because, by telling the body that injured tissues require immediate attention, it triggers immune reactions that help us heal.

Chronic inflammation, however, is bad. It plays a central role in heart disease, cancer, neurological disorders, autoimmune diseases, pulmonary conditions, anxiety and depression. It is also implicated in Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, osteoporosis, asthma and weight struggles.

Eating a plant-based diet is one thing that can help you manage inflammation and strengthen immunities. Teri Mosey, PhD, a holistic nutrition consultant with 25 years in the health and fitness industry, explains why this type of diet can help.

Why a Plant-Based Diet? – Choosing a primarily plant-based diet limits inflammation and supports the immune system, encouraging the body’s natural healing and cellular renewal. Plant-based foods are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts and seeds. A more plant-focused diet supports the immune system with an abundance of nutrients that you can’t get from animal sources.

Phytonutrients -Phytonutrients are bioactive plant compounds that enhance immunity. Among the thousands of phytonutrients, scientists have identified three categories that pack a powerful protective punch: glucosinolates, flavonoids and carotenoids.

Glucosinolates have been found to fight inflammation, support detoxification pathways and possibly protect against cancers. They’re found predominantly in cruciferous vegetables—arugula, broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens and kale (Bosetti et al. 2012; Tilg 2015; Lam et al. 2009).

Flavonoids help prevent chronic ailments such as heart disease, cancer, neurological disorders and digestive illnesses. Flavonoids are found in berries, red grapes, citrus and green tea (Gonzalez-Gallego et al. 2010; Kumar & Pandey 2013; Serafini, Peluso & Raguzzini 2010).

Carotenoids are known for their antioxidant properties, particularly against heart disease and cancers. They’re found in sweet potatoes, carrots, squash and tomatoes (Rao & Rao 2007).

SOLUTIONS FOR AGE-RELATED DECLINE  (Fitness Journal – September 2020

Use exercise to limit the biological damage created by a loss of function during aging.

Did you know that age-related deceleration of movement plays a critical role in the declining health of older adults? Slowing typically begins after age 62 with a marked decrease in walking speed. It can lead to dysfunction, poor mental and physical health, a loss of independence, and a higher mortality risk. In older adults, fatal falls due to dysfunction more than doubled between 2000 and 2012, while nonfatal falls increased by 23%.

The good news is that the right kind of exercise can help you put the brakes on these declines. Micah Josephson, PhD, assistant professor at Alvernia University, who works primarily with older adults and people with Parkinson’s Disease, explains what you want to do.

Exercise Recommendations for Age-Related Slowing

Optimal exercise programming can decelerate the degenerative biology of aging. Focus on improving motor skills such as balance, coordination and agility to combat the physiological causes of age-related slowing. Power training is also important, as function happens during quick movements, like catching yourself when you fall.

Power training typically involves exercises that rely on applying force as fast as possible; based on the idea that strength plus speed equals power. Any strength training exercise can be turned into a power exercise by increasing the movement’s velocity. This may require lightening the load a little bit.

How to Progress Exercise – Progression of skill-related exercises should be based loosely on the stability and complexity elements of Gentile’s taxonomy of motor skills. The taxonomy’s stability elements include body stability in early progressions and body movement in later progressions.

Complexity elements begin with a closed, predictive environment and progress to an open, unpredictive environment. Within these environments, tasks can be performed the same way or in a variety of ways.

An application of Gentile’s taxonomy in your workout can take several forms. Stability progressions should begin with a wide, stable base of support (BOS) and narrow as you become more proficient. Unstable support apparatuses, like a rocker board or BOSU® Balance Trainer, should be added after you master a narrow BOS. A dynamic (moving) BOS can be added after the narrow base has been mastered.

Complexity progressions should begin with simple exercises in a predictable setting. The exercises can be progressed by adding alternating movements or intertrial variability, then adding secondary actions. (Intertrial variability is when a movement is performed in a different manner each time, such as lining up three chairs of different heights and performing sit-to-stands in one chair after another, never going to the same one twice in a row.) Exercises can be further progressed by repeating the same progressions in an open environment. (Open skills require you to adjust to environmental changes.) The environment can be progressed by adding more unpredictable elements. This application of the overload principle creates an ongoing state of motor learning.

Note: Our personal trainers use appropriate progression exercises for all our clients.

PFTL News October 2020

PFTL UPDATE  

Clients who have returned to the studio have reported that they feel very safe in the space. We will continue to monitor all people who enter the studio, require masks and wipe down all surfaces constantly.

We are aware that several clients would like to return, but do not feel comfortable wearing masks while exercising.  I hope we can relax this requirement sometime in the future, however, it is too early to do that yet. 

It looks like Positivity Rates in Cook County are decreasing, but new cases are still more than the established safe threshold of 50 per 100k (currently 97 per 100k).

WHY YOU NEED MAGNESIUM (excerpted from Livestrong.com August 25, 2020)

The mineral is involved in hundreds (yes, hundreds) of enzymatic reactions in the body, making it a key player in carrying out critical functions like blood sugar control and muscle and nerve function, among others.

Magnesium is one of the most commonly occurring minerals in our bodies, so it is not surprising that it plays many critical roles. “Magnesium is a mineral that is part of the bone-building team, along with calcium and vitamin D,” says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN. “It’s also essential for keeping the heart healthy, as it’s needed for muscle contraction and relaxation.”

“Magnesium is necessary for activating ATP (or adenosine triphosphate), which is the main source of energy in the body,” Largeman-Roth notes. “It’s also involved in the sleep-wake cycle.”

Despite how important magnesium is, it’s considered one of the shortfall nutrients, meaning that many U.S. adults don’t consume enough of it, per the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In other words, most of us would do well to up our magnesium intake from healthy whole foods.

How Much Magnesium is Needed Per Day according to NIH: 

Men (over 31 yrs of age) – 420mg Women (over 31)) – 320 mg

Magnesium Foods – Some of the top sources of Magnesium are:

Almonds: 80 mg, in 1 ounce
Spinach: 78 mg, in ½ cup (boiled)
Cashews: 74 mg, in 1 ounce
Soy milk: 61 mg, in 1 cup
Black beans: 60 mg, in ½ cup (cooked)
Edamame: 50 mg, in ½ cup (cooked)
Peanut butter: 49 mg, in 2 tablespoons
Baked potato with skin: 43 mg

The Benefits of Magnesium

1. It Helps Keep Bones Strong – About 50 to 60 percent of the magnesium in the body is stored in the bones. Much like calcium, magnesium helps maintain bone mineral density, bolstering the bones’ structure and strength, per the NIH. It’s not all that surprising, then, that magnesium deficiency has been linked to a greater risk of osteoporosis

2. It Helps Promote Healthy Blood Pressure – Magnesium may possess anti-hypertensive, or blood pressure-lowering, effects thanks to its ability to relax blood vessels. What’s more, research suggests magnesium supplementation may be a beneficial intervention for those with high blood pressure.

3. It’s Linked to Maintaining Blood Sugar Control -Magnesium plays a role in reactions in the body that regulate insulin secretion and sensitivity and, in turn, affect blood sugar balance.

Additionally, higher dietary magnesium intake has been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and 25 to 38 percent of individuals with type 2 diabetes have been shown to possess hypomagnesemia, or low magnesium levels in the blood, per a September 2013 PLOS One study.

What You Need to Know About Magnesium Deficiency – Low magnesium levels may increase one’s risk of a variety of conditions, including migraines, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease, among others, according to a September 2015 review in the journal Nutrients.

Here’s why that’s problematic: “The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that nearly 45 percent of Americans don’t get enough magnesium in their diets,” says Largeman-Roth.

That means nearly half the population is missing out on the critical nutrient — and potentially upping their risk of chronic disease as a result.

 Magnesium deficiency, according to the NIH, may lead to:

High blood pressure
Decreased insulin sensitivity and glycemic control Loss of appetite
Fatigue
Weakness
Muscle cramps
Heart rhythm abnormalities
Seizures
Additional electrolyte disruptions (low calcium, low potassium)  

What Happens if You Get Too Much Magnesium? – “In healthy people, there is no risk of taking in too much magnesium from food because any excess is excreted by our kidneys through the urine,” says Largeman-Roth.

“However, high doses of magnesium from supplements or medications (like laxatives) can cause diarrhea and other problems.” For adults 19 years and older, the tolerable upper intake level (UL) for supplemental magnesium is 350 milligrams per day (so be sure your supplement doesn’t contain more than this, if you’re taking one).

Did You Know?

Exercising improves brain performance. … Working out sharpens your memory. … Running burns calories! … More muscle mass = burning more fat while resting. … Exercise prevents signs of aging. … A pound of muscle burns three times more calories than a pound of fat. … You get sick less often if you exercise.