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!

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

PFTL NEWS October 2021

PFTL Update

We continue to  wear masks in the studio, and we are still wiping down equipment and handing you wipes. Masks are not so bad; the following are actual humorous tweets about mask wearing.

  • If you forget to brush your teeth, it is not such a calamity
  • You actually look younger when most of your face is covered up.
  • From now on I’m always going to wear a mask to the grocery store, I prefer a disguise when purchasing obscene amounts of junk food.
  • COVID Parenting Tip: Train your children to loudly ask, “Why isn’t that person wearing a mask? Are we going to get sick?” when in public.

THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER DO BEFORE A WORKOUT (Excerpted from Livestrong.com Oct. 1, 2021)

1.   Apply Lotion –  Keeping your skin hydrated with a daily application of lotion is great — especially during drier winter months — but not before your workout. Transferring lotion to exercise equipment can make it slippery and unpleasant for others.

2.   Drink Alcohol – Drinking alcohol before your workout will just make you less coordinated, more sluggish and less likely to give it your all.

3.   Drink Too Much Caffeine – Watch your coffee, tea and pre-workout supplement intake to make sure you’re not overindulging. Although caffeine can be a great pick-me-up pre-workout, it can also dehydrate you, elevate your heart rate and cause dizziness.

4.    Eat a Big Meal – Eating too much before a workout can be full of potential pitfalls. This can result in gastrointestinal distress and poor absorption of nutrients, both of which hinder performance.

5.   Do Static Stretches – Certain stretches can be a great way to warm up your muscles. But the type of stretches you do really matter.  Static stretches (ones you hold for an extended period of time) are great for relaxing your body and aiding in recovery, but that also makes them less-than-ideal for your pre-exercise routine.

6.   Spend Lots of Time on the Foam Roller – In general, save the rolling for after your workout. If you have a major problem area — unusually tight IT bands, for instance — that you need to quickly address for mobility’s sake, that’s the only reason to break out the foam roller pre-workout.

7.   Eat Foods with Common Allergens – If you do eat a meal or snack before you hit the gym, do your fellow gym-goers a favor and steer clear of foods with common allergens, like peanuts, as this can make the gym a dangerous place for others.  Even trace amounts can be enough to cause someone with a severe allergy a considerable reaction.

THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER DO AFTER A WORKOUT (Excerpted from Livestrong.com)

1. Skip Stretching – If you don’t facilitate muscle recovery with stretching, injuries can occur due to overuse, leading to less optimal workouts and precipitating early fatigue. Your trainer can show you the best stretches to target what you need based on your body.

2. Run Errands in Your Workout Clothes – if your clothes are soaked from sweat, it is best to get out of them ASAP. Hanging around to chat while you’re dripping wet could potentially compromise your immune system. Regulating your core body temperature is critical. You’ll want to give your body the ability to get rid of excess heat, which is hard to do when everything is sticking to your skin.

Also, staying in your workout clothes could put you at risk of skin or fungal infections, particularly if you work out in a communal setting with shared equipment.

3. Eat a Big Meal -Your stomach will thank you for taking it easy after intense exercise. While you certainly will need to give your body nourishment to repair itself, the 30-minute window after your sweat session is not the ideal time for a big meal. Your digestive system takes a back seat during hard sessions and is still on high alert well after the workout is over.

Pack a light snack if you are hungry. Eat something unprocessed, like a piece of fruit, then have a larger meal two or three hours later when your digestive system is back to standard operating procedures.

4. Down Vitamins and Supplements –Some people take some form of supplement to help combat inflammation and even promote recovery, like vitamins C, E and A, CoQ10, NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen) or products that specifically tout exercise recovery. However, these supplements may do more harm than good. In large doses, these compounds can interfere with how much of an adaptation your body makes from the training.

7. Sit Around –  When you sit or lie down for hours after exercising, your blood pools, making recovery more difficult. The result is more muscle soreness and delayed recovery time. Instead, try to keep your body moving in little ways after you work out, even if that means standing up every 30 minutes at work to take a lap around the office.

8. Sip a Cocktail – Drinking alcohol after hard exercise is one of the worst things you can do for your body. Drinking alcohol after a workout is going to immediately reduce muscle protein synthesis. It slows recovery, reduces the benefits of your workout and makes you feel even worse the next day.

9. Stop Drinking Water – Lots of people forget how important it is to keep drinking water after the effort is over.  Being dehydrated will slow your recovery, reduce muscle protein synthesis and not provide your body with what it needs to help eliminate all of the waste products produced from the muscle damage of your workout.

Our favorite season is here…beautiful autumn.  Get out and enjoy!

PFTL NEWS September 2021

PFTL NEWS

Thank you to all our clients, trainers and others who have continued to come to our studio to train despite the mask mandate.  Covid and its evolving variant strains are very much still present in this country, even in Wilmette. We are all getting weary of wearing masks, hearing about new infections, over-burdened hospitals, etc.  It is an incontrovertible fact that mask wearing and vaccinations are the only way our country will recover from the Covid pandemic. We all hope this will be over by year-end. Bear with us…

STRETCHES TO DO AFTER SITTING TOO LONG (excerpted from IDEA Fit Tips September 2021)

We all do this… We find that sitting at a computer, watching TV, reading a book, texting, etc. all seem to make us spend more time sitting than we planned to do. Sometimes hours go by and we haven’t moved our butt off the chair since we first sat down!

Here are some stretches you can do when you realize you have been sitting for too long a time.

HIP HINGE – Sitting all day can cause “sleepy glutes” and lead to lower-back pain. When done correctly, hip hinges activate the glutes and stretch the posterior chain.

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  • Place hands behind head and lean forward, core engaged, bending at hips.
  • Keeping back straight, bend forward until chest is parallel to floor; return to start.

CHEST OPENER – holding something in front of you (book, phone) or typing on a computer can cause the muscles in front of your shoulders to shorten which contributes to a rounded-shoulder posture.

  • Bring hands up alongside ears, fingers lightly touching side of head.
  • Inhale: Lift chest to prepare.
  • Exhale: Engage core and move elbows back and away.
  • Return to start and repeat

BACKWARD SHOULDER ROLL:

  • Stand tall, gazing forward or down.
  • Inhale: Squeeze shoulder blades together.
  • Exhale: Roll shoulder blades back and down toward spine.
  • Repeat, making sure shoulders go back and down, not up and forward.

FRONT DELTOID AND PEC STRETCH:

  • Stand tall, in neutral alignment.
  • Place hands on lower back, fingers down, as if sliding hands into back pockets.
  • Inhale to prepare. Exhale: Gently squeeze elbows toward the spine.
  • Release and repeat.

WANT A FUN NIGHT OUT?

The Rotary Clubs of Wilmette, Wilmette Harbor, and Winnetka/Northfield are hosting a fundraising event on September 22 from 5pm to 8pm at the outside Wallace Bowl in Gillson Park, Wilmette. You will hear musical performances by a jazz combo from Midwest Young Artists Conservatory, a New Trier High School jazz combo and the Suzanne Cross Combo All proceeds are going to Our Place, which is a center for developmentally and intellectually disabled teens and adults. Tickets are $25. There is also a raffle for travel packages to Scottsdale, AZ and San Francisco. Tickets can be purchased online at:

https://secure.givelively.org/event/wilmette-rotary-club-foundation/our-place-donor/our-place-benefit

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.

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.