PFTL News February 2022

PFTL Update

Masks Still Required

We are still requiring masks and vaccination verification for all those who enter the studio.  We want to ensure that our studio is a safe place to come and exercise.  We know that exercising with a mask is not fun, but it is a good practice for the time being.  Contagion is decreasing in our village and the immediate area, but we will always be more conservative than some other businesses.  We truly want clients and trainers to feel that our studio is a safe and healthy environment and will do all we can to maintain that.

IMPROVING JOINT MOBILITY     (Excerpt from Livestrong.com July 2020)

Stretching and strength training are good for your muscles and cardio is good for your heart, but what about your joints? Unlike muscles, joints have no direct blood supply, so they rely on movement to keep them functioning properly.

“If there’s no motion in the joint it will degenerate — that’s a law,” says Robert Bates, DC, a chiropractor and preventive care specialist in Manhattan Beach, California. Joints rely on synovial fluid to “wash” away waste products that build up and compromise the integrity of the joint, he says.

Why Is Joint Mobility Important?

daily joint-mobility routine can keep your joints healthy and prevent stiffness and muscle imbalances. It can also restore lost range of motion, making exercise more enjoyable, enhancing your athletic performance and protecting you from common aches and pains.

A single faulty joint affects the body as a whole, as the individual parts of the human body are meant to work synergistically, not independently. As long as there’s not permanent damage in the joint, you can regain lost ranges of motion through preventive care, Bates says.

Additionally, joints that are able to move through their full range of motion allow connecting muscles to completely contract and expand, which gives muscles more strength and power and prevents injury.

Here are some examples of exercises you can do daily to maintain joint mobility in shoulders, hips and ankles.  If you are not clear oh how to do these, ask your trainer to show you.

Backstroke for shoulders

  1. Standing with your arms straight and elbows locked (but not hyperextended), lift one arm straight out in front of you and slowly circle it backward. Avoid rotating the torso as you do so.
  2. Keep your hips squared forward and biceps close to your ear at the top of the movement without allowing your shoulders to shrug.
  3. Repeat on the other side and keep alternating in a fluid motion for 10 to 20 reps per side.

The ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in the human body, but due to improper posture, motion can deteriorate over time.

“Ergonomics is not enough. You must get the movement in the joints,” says Bates, who recommends practicing proper posture in the workplace and taking breaks to get your joints moving as well as keeping them hydrated.

Pelvic circles for Hip Joints

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips.
  2. Keep your feet planted and core engaged as you move your hips in a circular motion.
  3. Repeat 5 to 10 times in each direction.

“Every time you land, something has to absorb the shock,” Nelson says. “The muscles, tendons and ligaments aren’t designed to do it all.” A stiff spine and tight hips means the impact is going to be translated to the muscles, tendons and ligaments.

“Over time, it leads to sprains, strains, knee and low-back pain,” she says. So keep your lumbar spinal discs and hip sockets lubricated with pelvic circles.

Ankle Rolls

  1. Stand or sit and lift one heel off the ground.
  2. Flex your foot, brining your toes toward your shin.
  3. Circle the ankle around and point your toes for full extension at the bottom of the movement before circling around to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 5 to 10 reps in each direction on both legs.

Mobilizing your ankles may be just what you need in order to let go of nagging running injuries and finally ditch that knee brace for good.

“The epidemic of plantar fasciitis and fallen arches is a result of the foot bones destabilizing in order to compensate for the ankle being incapable of absorbing and retranslating force,” Sonnon says.

Ankle rolls restore movement to the joint and, as a result, re-stabilize knee alignment and helps prevent arches from falling, resolving pain from plantar fasciitis, he says.

PFTL News December 2021

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO EVERYONE!

This is such a weird time, on so many levels.  Covid, world events, local, regional and state news are all contributing to confusion, anxiety and stretching our coping skills to limits we never thought possible.  But in spite of all this, we are still functioning, still trying to live “normal” lives, still trying to understand others even though we may not agree with them, and still smiling every chance we get.  So, my friends, I truly wish you the best that is possible for this holiday season. 

Keep your spirits up (exercise helps a lot) and be kind to yourself and others.

Cheers to you all.

Debora

THRIVING INSTEAD OF COPING THROUGH STRESS  (from IDEA Fit Tips November 2021)

Many people are focused on “resiliency.” says behavior science consultant and transformational coach Michael Mantell, PhD. He defines this as “the psychological mechanism that keeps people going and allows them to thrive instead of just survive. It helps them to see every setback as a setup for a stronger comeback.” An apt analogy he gives from physical training is that to build a muscle, first we must break down the muscle.

Mantell explains that the building blocks of resilience consist of three components: a) “I have” b) “I am” and c) “I can.”

“I have” means you have support around you such that you have the ability to trust the world and people in it. Successful people are able to let people get close to them without fear of harm. They have mentors they respect, and in whom they have confidence. By trusting others to help, successful people avoid feeling sad, angry and vulnerable in the face of impending failure.

“I am” means you have encouragement in developing the inner strengths of confidence, unconditional self-acceptance and responsibility. Successful people, free of the inner fears of failure, believe themselves to be autonomous, independent and free to make their own decisions, including their mistakes.

“I can” means you have acquired the interpersonal and problem-solving skills to take action. Successful people are free of the psychological blocks that get in the way of developing initiative. They are able to work diligently at a task free of negative thinking.

Be Kind to Yourself – Self-compassion is linked to positivity, happiness and health, none of which are part of the stress equation. “We need ‘me’ time for our happiness to unwind, allow time for self-discovery, reboot our brains, improve our focus and promote our relationships,” Mantell says. “Compassion requires that we notice suffering, in others and in ourselves, with no judgment. Compassionate people understand humanity is filled with imperfection and take no pity. They simply recognize that suffering is a common, shared, human occurrence. Mindfully bring this comforting understanding to yourself without over-identifying with your negative thoughts or feelings.”

An eloquent way of advising us to give ourselves grace. Stop stressing out over that which you cannot control.

FUNCTIONAL TRAINING FOR ACTIVE AGING  (from IDEA Fit tips Dec 2021)

Discover what type of exercise you need to enhance fitness as you grow older.

What’s driving the relevance of functional training? Loss of functional abilities significantly impacts life quality, according to Colin Milner, founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging. “Having a chronic health issue, like diabetes or high blood pressure, is manageable, but if you can’t stand up, everything changes.”

So how can you exercise for function? Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA, internationally acknowledged integrative health advocate.

What Is Functional Training? – The idea of functional training is [to do] a fitness program that mirrors common daily life activities, like getting out of a chair, making a bed, lifting laundry baskets, going shopping, gardening, etc.,” says Carol Ewing Garber, PhD, past president of the American College of Sports Medicine. “In older adults, as fitness declines . . . many find it increasingly difficult to do usual tasks or to engage in enjoyable activities.”

Progressive Resistance Training – Numerous studies show that progressive resistance training can improve functional capacity in older adults, including aspects of gait, balance and stability. It also benefits cardiovascular function, metabolism and heart disease risks. Increasingly, studies emphasize that muscle power—the ability to produce force rapidly—is more crucial to functional fitness than strength and mass are. Also, researchers have suggested that exercises for the trunk muscles should be done to promote balance, functional performance and fall prevention.

Dynamic Balance Training – Balance training may improve the safety of certain cardiovascular activities. Researchers note that high-challenge balance training or programs that incorporate exercises that target both muscular and somatosensory balance systems have been most effective for reducing fall risks in older adults.

Flexibility or Functional Mobility Training – The ability of joints to maintain full range of motion is highly relevant to enjoying functional independence in combination with muscular strength for tasks such as getting in and out of a bathtub. Very little research, however, has focused specifically on how to improve flexibility. Preliminary evidence suggests that activities like yoga, Pilates or tai chi—that involve movement through a full range of motion—are effective.

Cardiorespiratory or Functional Aerobic Training – Cardiovascular fitness is important for climbing stairs, going shopping and enjoying recreational activities; it also reduces cardiovascular disease risks and promotes mental well-being. Current research supports the physical activity guidelines of regular moderate- and vigorous-intensity exercise for those who can achieve it and regular light- to moderate-intensity activity for deconditioned persons, for health benefits.

PFTL News November 2021

HOW BAD IS IT TO NEVER DO CARDIO   (from Livestrong.com October 23, 2021)

There are people who absolutely love doing cardio every day… and those who don’t. So if you’re in the no-cardio camp, you might be wondering if your strength workouts are enough to keep your heart healthy and strong.

Current physical activity guidelines for adults recommend that you should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise each week. That amounts to about 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise five days per week.

What that looks like exactly depends on the type of exercises you do. For example, some of the best cardio workouts include, walking, running, cycling and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).

Why Strength Training Alone Isn’t Enough – There are plenty of benefits to strength training, and it should definitely be included in your workout routine. But avoiding aerobic exercise entirely can negatively affect your body — no matter your goals.

Case in point: An August 2012 study in ​BMC Public Health​ tested the effects of 12 weeks of resistance, aerobic or a combo of both in people with overweight and obesity. The goal was to determine the type of exercise that had the most cardiovascular benefits.

Researchers found that doing a combination of cardio and strength training provided the greatest benefits for weight loss and cardiorespiratory fitness, compared with aerobic or resistance training alone.

Plus, focusing solely on strength training can put you at risk for overuse injuries, especially if you’re working the same muscle groups and joints every day. When you don’t allow your muscles to properly recover, you actually inhibit them from repairing so that they can grow bigger and stronger.

By mixing up your workouts with low-intensity cardio, you can give your muscles a break and build your cardiovascular endurance.

If you only do strength training, it may become more difficult for your heart to pump blood because it thickens your heart’s walls. In the same way, doing only aerobic exercise can make your heart’s walls too thin, so your heart can’t contract properly to pump blood throughout the body.

Ideally, the best way to maintain healthy cardio health is to include both strength training and cardio exercises in your workout routine, Nelson says.

HOW SMARTPHONES ARE HELPING SENIORS MAINTAIN THEIR HEALTH

By Guest Writer: Sharon Wagner of seniorfriendly.info

Smartphones aren’t a young person’s game anymore. According to Pew Research, about half of adults over the age of 65 own a smartphone. Those smartphones can connect the senior community to important resources and tools that can help maintain well-being. Here are a few ways that seniors can put their smartphones to work on improving their health.

Online Assistance For Finding the Right Insurance Plans – Medicare’s Open Enrollment period is October 15th through December 7th each year. While this can still be a complicated process, it was a lot worse before smartphones came along. Just a few years ago, the best option for those wanting to make an informed decision was to talk to insurance specialists to learn about their Medicare options. They might need to travel to their local library, hospital, or another site to get the necessary information, but now it’s at their fingertips. 

Medicare.gov has all the information seniors need. Plus, the website can connect seniors with Medicare experts in their area who can answer their questions. Now seniors can get the help they need without leaving the comfort of home, which is a boon to those with mobility concerns. Once seniors choose the plan they want, they can enroll right on their smartphone.

Access to Health-Tracking Apps –   one of the best ways for seniors to maintain their health is through health-tracking apps on their smartphones. Many of these apps are free and can provide insight into a senior’s health. Apps can count steps, track heart rate (which is great when you’re working out, either on your own or with a trainer) and even help them maintain a healthy diet.

Some seniors may need to upgrade their smartphones to put these apps to work. Thankfully, there are plenty of plans out there that make smartphones affordable. Look for providers who offer credit towards the purchase of a new phone or break the cost down into affordable monthly payments.

If you are in the market for a new phone, consider the Samsung Galaxy S10. It’s ultra-speedy and has ample memory to keep your apps going strong, and the generous, clear cinematic display makes it easy to check in on your workout’s progress. Apple fans might like the iPhone XS Max. It also has a big screen for easy viewing (make sure you pick up a screen protector to keep it safe!) and plenty of battery life so health tracking apps don’t drain the battery too quickly.

Tech to the Rescue – More seniors are choosing to age in place, living in their homes as opposed to moving into a senior living community. While there are many benefits to this choice, it often means that they are spending more time alone. As seniors can be at a higher risk of falls and in-home accidents, having a smartphone on hand could help them get access to emergency services a lot faster. Smartphones make it easier for seniors to call for emergency services without needing to get to a landline phone.

More than that, though, smartphones offer apps and technology to help seniors in an emergency. There are apps that can detect when a senior falls and ring an emergency contact. There are also panic button apps that seniors can press when they need help, replacing the old expensive monitoring services. Some of these apps may have monthly service charges attached, but for peace of mind for seniors and their caregivers, they can be priceless.

Another option is to add some smart tech to the wardrobe or home. These can often be synced with phones so loved ones can be notified if trouble arises. From virtual assistants that help seniors remember medications to watches that call for help if a senior falls, tech is helping older adults stay happy, healthy, and independent.

Technology can help seniors in a wide variety of ways, especially where phones are concerned. Most of these tools are free or affordable, and they boost independence while helping with health. In a nutshell, a smartphone can be a great tool for today’s seniors!

______________________________________________

Have a good Thanksgiving and be kind to your relatives and friends.

PFTL NEWS AUGUST 2021

RETURN TO MASKS IN THE STUDIO

With the advent of increased cases of infection with the Delta variant in Cook County, we have reinstated a mask requirement at the studio. Everyone, even if vaccinated, will be required to wear a mask (unless for medical reasons this is not possible).

This is consistent with the recommendations from the CDC, IDPH and the Cook County Department of Public Health.

I know this is not welcome news for anyone, but the safety of our clients and trainers is our primary concern.  Hopefully, this will not be necessary in the long term.

WHAT YOUR WALKING SPEED SAYS ABOUT YOUR HEALTH (excerpt from Livestrong.com 7/20/21)

Your walking speed can tell you more about your health than you might think. Walking is the most popular aerobic physical activity among Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s a good thing because it not only offers its own set of health benefits, but your walking speed can also be an indicator of how healthy you are.

Being able to walk at a quick pace, as opposed to a slower one, indicates that your body is functioning properly, says Naresh Rao, doctor of osteopathic medicine.  “If you’re walking faster, you have better core musculature, balance and endurance, which can indicate good cardiovascular health,” says Rao.

“So it’s reasonable to think if you can walk faster, then you’re generally in better shape.” He also says that, as long as all other factors are equal, faster walkers will likely have less body fat, lower BMIs, more muscle and better balance.

Walking can indicate more than just how physically fit you are. Research shows that walking speed might just be a strong predictor of longevity, surgery recovery speed and more.

Your walking speed might predict your life expectancy. Walking speed (also known as gait speed) seems to indicate how long a person will live. “As gait speed declines, risk for mortality increases,” says Christina M. Dieli-Conwright, PhD, an assistant professor of research with University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.

A June 2019 study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that walking pace — defined as slow, steady/average or brisk — was the strongest predictor of how long a person would live, with a slow pace being associated with shorter life expectancies. A female slow-walker could expect to live to be between 72 and 85 years old, whereas a brisk-walking woman could live to 87 or 88. For men, the slow walkers’ life expectancy ranged from 65 to 81, while the fast walkers lived to be 85 to 87.

Your walking speed could be a sign of heart health. A 2018 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine also explored the link between walking speed and mortality rate and found average walkers (which the researchers defined as walking at a pace of below 20 minutes per mile) had a 20 percent lower risk of dying over the course of the study compared to slow walkers.

Those who walked faster than 18 minutes per mile had a mortality rate that was four percent lower. Interestingly, these results appeared to be linked to lower heart-related deaths among faster walkers, since walking speeds didn’t seem to affect cancer rates.

 A November 2017 study published in European Heart Journal also found slow walkers had more heart-related issues. The researchers found slow walkers were twice as likely to die from heart disease compared to faster walkers.

Faster walking speed could mean fewer hospital visits. A June 2019 study published in Blood assessed nearly 450 patients with blood cancer and found walking speed predicted the survival rates as well as the chances that patients would return to the hospital. Every 0.1 meter per second decrease in walking speed was linked to a higher mortality rate. A slower pace also increased the likelihood the patient would return to the hospital for unplanned visits and emergencies.

Walking speed has been linked to the health of your brain and body. An October 2019 study published in JAMA Network Open found that “the walking speed of 45-year-olds, particularly their fastest walking speed without running, can be used as a marker of their aging brains and bodies.” Those who walked faster had healthier lungs, teeth and immune systems than slower walkers. Plus, slower walkers showed signs of accelerated aging.

How to Determine Your Walking Speed: 

Curious to know if you qualify as a brisk walker or a slow one? To calculate your walking speed, walk naturally down a hallway or sidewalk and count the number of steps you take in 10 seconds. Multiply that number by six. That will tell you your steps per minute.

A 2018 review of 38 studies published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine noted the goal pace for people younger than 60 should be greater than 100 steps per minute, or 2.7 miles per hour. That pace isn’t particularly strenuous; researchers noted this should be an achievable target for healthy adults. Older adults likely will see similar benefits at a slower pace, but there’s no research yet to say exactly what that pace is.

Caveats to the Research:  Dieli-Conwright, who has studied exercise’s effect on cancer patients, says it’s not only about how fast you walk or have always walked but if your walking speed changes. “As soon as individuals start to have a decline in gait speed, it’s a strong indicator that they’re losing physical function and they’re losing overall health,” she says. “Even if they’re a fast walker and they experience a decline in gait speed, that’s going to have an effect on their health outcomes.”

Rao also notes that a slow walking speed doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not fit, but it’s a good idea to take your speed as a signal that you need to amp up your exercise routine.

The reverse is also true: Being a fast walker doesn’t mean you’re in perfect health, and a fast walker could still have high blood pressure. “It’s not enough to walk fast,” says Rao. “My fear is that people will say, ‘I walk fast, therefore I don’t need to exercise,’ and that’s not true.

Rather, consider walking speed one indicator of your health — but not the only one. “Just like anything, it’s only one piece of data,” says Rao.

PFT News May 2019

EXERCISES TO HELP ACHIEVE AN INSTANT POSTURAL ADJUSTMENT

(From IDEA Fitness, April 2019)

Did you know that good posture helps minimize stress on tendons, joints and ligaments? Plus, better posture can have a significant impact on your quality of life.

Good posture may improve your job prospects, verbal communication, self-confidence and mood and enhance how others see you. Ryan Halvorson, chief content officer for Fit Scribe Media and a TriggerPoint®master trainer, explains exercises that can help you improve posture.

5 Key Exercises – These easy-to-implement, equipment-free exercises can help you achieve an instant postural adjustment. The moves can be done seated, but standing yields the best results.

Pectoral Massage – Tight chest muscles can make it difficult to pull your shoulders back and down. One way to overcome this is to increase tissue mobility through self-massage.

Begin by rolling the shoulders back and down. Make a fist with the right hand and gently press the knuckles into the left pectoral muscle next to the sternum. Place the palm of the left hand on top of the fist for added pressure. Slowly drive the knuckles across the muscle toward the shoulder joint. Lift the hand, returning it to the starting position, and repeat.

Shoulder External Rotations – Internal rotation is a common problem. External rotation can help. Roll the shoulders back and down. Tuck the pelvis slightly to maintain a neutral lower-back position throughout the exercise. Slowly twist the wrists until the thumbs point away from the body. Hold for a few seconds and release; repeat.

Chin Tuck – This exercise stretches the muscles of the neck, allowing the skull to return to a more neutral, balanced position while the spine is lengthened. Stand with your hips and shoulders against a wall. Heels can be an inch or two away from the wall.

Lifting through the crown of the head, gently bring the chin down toward the throat while pressing the back of the head against the wall for a few seconds. Rest and repeat. Place a pillow behind the head if the pressure is uncomfortable.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch – Start in a kneeling lunge position (one knee on the floor and the other leg bent 90 degrees in front of you with foot flat). Lift from the crown of the head to elongate the spine. From here, drive the hip of the kneeling leg in a gentle thrusting pattern to achieve the stretch. Hold for a few seconds, then release and repeat. Perform the exercise several times for both hips. Place a pillow under the knee for added cushion.

Hip Hinge With Fly – This exercise improves your ability to extend your upper back. Place feet hip-width apart, and hinge at the hips while simultaneously angling the upper body forward. Aim to slightly arch the lower back by lifting the tailbone. Retract and depress the shoulder blades.

Start with the arms extended and palms clasped together directly in front of the chest. Then slowly swing the arms out to the sides of the body at about shoulder height with a slight external shoulder rotation, and pause when you feel contraction in the upper posterior muscles and a stretch in the pectorals. Release and repeat.

 

EXERCISE SUSTAINS MENTAL ACTIVITY         (Excerpted from PsychCentral August 2018

From a review of studies on exercise and its effect on brain functioning, researchers confirm that physical exercise slows the effects of aging and helps people maintain cognitive abilities well into older age

Fitness training – an increased level of exercise – may improve some mental processes even more than moderate activity, say the authors of the review. Findings from the review of 40 years of research does offer evidence that physical exercise can have a positive influence on cognitive and brain functions in older animal and human subjects. Different methodologies were examined to comprehensively study what effects exercise can have.

The researchers first examined the epidemiological literature of diseases to determine whether exercise and physical activity can at certain points in a person’s lifetime improve cognitive ability and decrease the likelihood of age-related neurological diseases, like Alzheimer’s. Based on a review of the epidemiological literature, the authors found a significant relationship between physical activity and later cognitive function and decreased occurrence of dementia. And the benefits may last several decades.

In a few of the studies that examined men and women over 65 years old, the findings showed that those who exercised for at least 15-30 minutes at a time three times a week were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease, even if they were genetically predisposed to the disease. By examining the human intervention studies, a relationship was also found between fitness training and improved cognition, more efficient brain function and retained brain volume in older people

Other studies confirmed the evidence that fitness does have positive effects on brain function in older adults. A study of older adults who were randomly assigned to either a walking group or a stretching and toning control group for six months found that those in the walking group were better able to ignore distracting information in a distractibility task than those in the control group. Aerobically trained older adults showed increased neural activities in certain parts of the brain that involved attention and reduced activity in other parts of the brain that are sensitive to behavioral conflict.

More research is needed to know exactly how much and what types of exercise produce the most rapid and significant effects on thinking and the brain; how long exercise effects last following the end of training; or how much exercise is needed to get continued benefits.