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 May 2021

PFTL NEWS

What a beautiful spring this is so far.  Every blooming tree and bush are spectacular this year. Hope you have had a chance to get outside and walk through your neighborhoods.  Meanwhile, at the PFTL studio:

Masks and the Vaccine:  we are currently discussing a safe way to allow clients to train at the studio without wearing masks.  This would not happen until probably July when most everyone will have been vaccinated. We may be requesting proof of having been vaccinated before this will be allowed.  In the meantime, masks are still required for entry to the studio.

UNEXPECTED THINGS THAT HAPPEN WHEN YOU ABANDON YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE (Excerpted from Livestrong.com newsletter April 30, 2021 Author: Linda Melone)

It happens to the best of us: You get injured, find yourself working around the clock or are otherwise forced to put exercise on the back burner for a while.

But a day or two can easily stretch into weeks or even months, and you’re right back to square one. In technical terms, you’ve become “deconditioned.” How quickly your fitness level declines depends on several factors, and some of the things that occur when you stop exercising may surprise you.

1. Cardiovascular Fitness Starts to Decline After One Week – Aerobic fitness is defined as the ability of your body to transport and use oxygen from your blood in your muscles. The measurement of this, also known as VO2 max, decreases after just one week of inactivity.

2. Side Effects Are Less If You’re a Seasoned Exerciser – If you’re new to fitness and recently started working out (less than six months), you’ll lose fitness faster than someone who’s been exercising a year or longer.

3. Flexibility Loss Occurs Quickly – You lose the benefits of flexibility quickly if you take any substantial time off from stretching, says Michele Olson, PhD.  “After a bout of flexibility exercise, the muscles and tendons begin to retract to their typical resting length — particularly if you sit during your commute regularly and/or sit at a desk at your job.”

Olson notes that you’ll notice a loss of flexibility in as few as three days, with even more pronounced changes occurring at the two-week mark. “Stretching should be done at least three times a week — if not daily,” she says.

4. Strength Starts to Diminish After Two Weeks – When you quit strength training, changes in your muscles begin to occur within days, says Olson. “Muscle, when not receiving its regular challenge, will start to lose protein, which is absorbed into your circulation and excreted via urination. Small but meaningful loss in muscle protein (the building block of the contractile units for each muscle fiber) can begin to occur in 72 hours.”

Noticeable changes when attempting to lift your usual amount of weight show up in two to three weeks, says Olson. And as with cardiovascular fitness, long-term exercisers will see a slower muscle loss than those new to exercise, says Dr. Thomas.

5. You Lose Power Faster Than You Lose Strength – Power, defined as strength times distance over a period of time (e.g., how quickly you can hoist a weight or dash across the street to make the light), fades faster than strength, says Weis. “Strength losses first occur due to a change in the nerve’s impulses to muscle fibers, shortly followed by actual muscle wasting.”

During muscle wasting, protein breaks down at a faster rate and protein synthesis (building) drops. The time it takes for you to return to your original fitness level depends on the reason you stopped exercising in the first place — whether due to illness or simply lack of time.

6. Fitness Levels Decline Faster When You’re Sick – Someone who’s healthy and takes a break from exercise loses muscle mass and cardiovascular fitness more slowly than a person who stops exercising due to an illness or injury. The latter will lose fitness levels twice as fast, says Dr. Thomas.

The stress of an illness or injury takes a greater toll on the body than simply taking a break when you’re healthy. Whether you’re an athlete or recreational exerciser, if you’ve taken a few weeks off from your routine, your level of deconditioning will be pretty low, says Weis. “If you are recovering from a fracture, surgery or have been on bed rest, it can take up to and longer than 12 to 24 months to fully recover.”

7. Maintenance Is Easier Than You Think – If you’re planning to take time off from your workout routine, keep in mind that staying in shape isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. In fact, you can maintain your fitness levels in a surprisingly small amount of time, says Dr. Thomas.

“In order to maintain both aerobic and strength levels, you need just 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) twice a week.” However, Dr. Thomas adds the caveat that the work effort must be truly high-intensity — between 80 and 90 percent of your maximum heart rate.

8. Aging Affects Fitness Loss – You lose strength and overall fitness twice as quickly as you age, says Dr. Thomas. “It’s largely due to hormone levels. As we age, we have lower levels of human growth hormone (HGH), which makes it harder to recover.”

We also lose our ability to handle stress and recover from the resulting stress hormones, such as cortisol. As we get older, this same mechanism results in greater fatigue after a workout. Older athletes take longer to recover from workouts in general, according to several studies, including a February 2008 article published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity.

9. It Takes Three Weeks to Gain Back One Week Off – After a period of lying around, your nervous system loses its ability to fire up as it did before you took time off, says Irv Rubenstein, PhD, exercise physiologist. That’s due to the fact that you lose the neural stimuli that enables you to lift heavy objects with the same amount of effort.

“When you return to lifting, you may be able to lift the same weights, but you will be working above your normal capacity, which could put tissue at risk. It will take a greater effort to do what you used to do and will require more rest between sets and days in order to recover. “

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(Editor’s Note:  It’s not too late to get back into a fitness routine…let the trainers at PFTL help you.  We can train you virtually, outdoors, at the studio or at your home.)