Surprising Ways Diet Can Affect Our Lives

We’re happy today to bring you an article from Jack Burke, an avid writer and researcher on topics in men’s health.

Fitness for Health does not endorse any products or services that may be offered.

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Diet and nutrition, along with good fitness and sleep, are all essential aspects of healthy living. The food we eat is fuel for our bodies and minds, powering us all day long. While most people understand the effects it can have on weight and energy levels, there are several other ways that it can impact our lives. Below are just some of the surprising ways that what you eat can change your life.

Hair health

Diet can have a significant impact on hair, root, and scalp health– specifically, foods rich in vitamins A, C, and E. These nutrients help promote cell growth, natural scalp moisture, and hair follicle strength. So, a deficiency in these vitamins can lead to hair loss or thinning.

If you experience unusual hair loss, consider increasing your intake of these vitamins by eating citrus fruits, dairy products, and seeds. If your thinning has become noticeable, you can also double-down while addressing it. Ask your doctor about different treatments that could help slow or even stop your hair loss and support the efforts of your dietary changes.

General mood

The nutrients we ingest fuel our brains, and thus, affect our mood, thoughts, and behavior. In fact, almost all of the body’s serotonin supply is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, which is why certain foods, and the way they’re digested, affect the way we feel. Additionally, certain “good” bacteria (like that in fermented food or yogurt), help improve gut health and have been linked to boosted mood and lowered risk of developing depression.

Try incorporating more Mediterranean-style foods into your diet, as nutritionists believe they have the most positive effect on mental health. This means a diet based around fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and olive oil. Then, top it off with some raw kombucha to give your gut, and brain, a little fermented love.

Sleep patterns

The old tradition of drinking a warm glass of milk before bed may have had good intentions but was, in fact, a little misguided. While it’s true that certain foods can improve sleep, dairy products aren’t on the list. Milk is fairly heavy and can lay in the stomach while you try to fall asleep, often causing nausea. Instead, try some almonds, avocados, bananas, or oatmeal which all contain melatonin, the natural sleep hormone.

If you’re still experiencing issues falling asleep, you can speak with your doctor about possible prescribed sleep aids. This, paired with a healthy snack and soothing bedtime routine, should help improve your sleep patterns and avoid feelings of restlessness.

Bone & joint health

The food you eat can also influence the strength and condition of your bones and joints. Vegetables containing vitamin C can help stimulate the production of the cells that form bones and improve density and mineralization. Additionally, calcium, the most important mineral in bone and joint health, is consumed in several different healthy foods.

Try to up your intake of stalk vegetables like broccoli, and calcium-rich foods like milk and cabbage throughout the day. These will help your bones and joints get the nutrients they need in order to support better skeletal function. And, this is the case for both children and adults; bone health is a lifelong concern and should always be taken into consideration when planning your diet.

 

There are certainly other benefits to a healthy diet other than weight loss. Use these points as some added motivation to improve your nutritional choices and be sure you’re fueling your body and mind with the best!

About Fitness for Health:

Is your family in need of fitness assistance?  Fitness for Health can help your family create a healthy, active lifestyle while having fun.  We offer customized exercise programs designed to fit your exact needs and help you reach your unique health goals. And, we offer family workouts so families can become active together.  Visit www.FitnessForHealth.org to learn about our programs or call us at 301-231-7138.

“12 Days of Christmas” Holiday Workout

Happy Holidays!

It’s easy to let your workout routine slide during the holiday season. It’s more fun to spend time eating at the buffet and drinking egg nog with friends and family than it is to make time for athletic training.  But, fitness is a yearlong endeavor and New Year’s resolutions are right around the corner.

Have you heard of the “12 Days of Christmas” Workout?  Although challenging, it is a fun way to infuse holiday spirit into an exercise routine for adults – or at a lessened level for a fitness for kids’ activity.

Here’s how it works.  It’s a little different from the song.  For this workout, you’ll be going in reverse order from the song.  Normally, you’d start at the first day, the small number, and go to the last day, the big number.  For this workout, you’ll start with the 12th day and go down from there.

For example, you’ll start with 12 repetitions of the first exercise.  Then, you’ll go for 12 of the first exercise again, 11 of the second, etc.  Start over with 12 reps of the first exercise, 11 of the second, and 10 of the third.  Keep repeating just like that until you’ve done all 12 exercises.  When you’re done, you will have completed 650 total reps.

Here are my thoughts for a “12 Days of Christmas” Workout routine along with a link to a video explaining how to properly complete each exercise:

12 squats

11 butt kicks (1 minute)

10 oblique V-sit ups

9 Everest climbers

8 frog jumps

7 side lunges

6 chair dips (You will need a chair or ledge.)

5 laying down bicycles (5 intervals of 20 seconds)

4 Supermans

3 V-sit (30 seconds)

2 dive bomber push-ups

1 minute plank

Have a fun – and fit – holiday season!

Fitness for Health can help you build a healthier body by creating a customized, exercise regimen that addresses your – and your kids’ – unique concerns this holiday season.  Whether you want to work on weight management, tone, build muscle, increase flexibility or improve your athletic training, we can help you reach your goals!  Learn how we can help your family lose weight and combat childhood obesity today!

Prediabetes is Rising for Adolescents and Young Adults

Nearly 25 percent of young adults and 1 in 5 adolescents in the United States have prediabetes, according to a study published Monday in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics.

Prediabetes – a condition wherein blood sugar levels are elevated, but not high enough to warrant a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes – was estimated at 18% among adolescents ages 12 to 18, and 24% among young adults ages 19 to 34.

When diabetes strikes during childhood, it is routinely assumed to be Type 1, or juvenile-onset diabetes. However, in just the last two decades, Type 2 diabetes (formerly known as adult-onset diabetes) has been reported among U.S. children and adolescents with increasing frequency.  This is due to the childhood obesity epidemic and the fact that children have decreased physical levels.

What can be done to help children ward off diabetes and begin to enjoy healthy, active lifestyles?

Parents Magazine recently printed the following five tips from two pros – Toby Smithson, RDN, CDE, founder of DiabetesEveryDay.com and coauthor of the new book, Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition for Dummies, and Hillary Wright, MEd, RD, author of the new book, The Prediabetes Diet Plan.

1. Eat at home. According to Smithson, “Fast food equals more calories and fat, less fiber and nutrition. Eating at home offers opportunities to teach kids about cooking and also offers great communication opportunities.” Wright adds, “Sharing healthy meals as a family is critical to balancing out the non-stop messaging kids are exposed to outside the home encouraging them to buy junk food and eat on-the-fly.  Kids learn by example, so demonstrating what healthy eating looks like while they’re living under your roof is a critical self-care skill they’ll need for life.”

2. Snack smarter. When it’s after-school snack time, Wright urges parents to offer their kids a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, yogurt, or cheese sticks instead refined crackers or nutrient-poor packaged snack foods. She says, “Hungry kids may be more willing to try something new, so take the after-school time to introduce new foods to your kids since they may be more receptive to them then.”

3. Plan it, buy it. Encouraging your child to plan a meal (like dinner), write a grocery list for the items needed and then selecting those items when at the grocery store can be very empowering for children, says Smithson. She adds, “Giving them a say in what’s served, and in what new foods they (or the family) should try may make it more likely that they’ll take a taste when dinner time comes around.”

4. Help them read between the lines. Smithson says it’s key to teach kids, even from a young age, to be food media literate. “It’s important for parents and children to understand food advertising and to take a stand against it by not always giving in to it, Smithson says. Because children are exposed to thousands of hours of targeted advertising for fast food, snacks, and sugar-sweetened cereal, Smithson urges parents to help their kids read between the lines of food marketing strategies. (You can learn more about food marketing and children by checking out Food Marketing to Youth and other info from Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.)

5. Play Actively. Wright says it’s key to keep your kids moving throughout the day as much as possible (and to join in on the fun when you can). She says, “Physical activity naturally stimulates chemicals that help clear glucose out of the blood and prevent diabetes.” Smithson agrees, and encourages kids not only to increase play time, but to make sure it’s active play. For most kids, 60 minutes or more of physical activity is recommended daily. (For more ideas to help your kids – and entire family – stay fit, check out Tips for Getting Active by the National Heart Lung, & Blood Institute (NHLBI)).

How can parents encourage their children to improve their fitness and weight management skills?  In my opinion, make physical activities and games FUN for the whole family!  The key to successful participation is creativity and positive reinforcement as well as scheduling a regular time during the week as “family playtime.”  Families need to work – and play – together to enhance physical fitness while building stronger relationships.  With an integrated approach, parents, grandparents and children can create fun, recreational games that also increase self-esteem – and help families bond – while increasing kids’ fitness.

To learn how Fitness for Health can help your child enjoy physical fitness, visit www.FitnessForHealth.org.

Giving Thanks

Everyone looks forward to Thanksgiving and the holidays for its wonderful food, family get-togethers and exciting football games.  Thanksgiving and the holidays are also a time to reflect on the previous year(s) and to be grateful for the people who have bettered our lives.

Today’s blog will focus on why I am thankful this year.

On this Thanksgiving, I am grateful that I have a wonderful family.  My wife and young adult children have helped me create a cutting-edge, indoor “playground” where families can have fun while improving their fitness together, and I am lucky that my family shares my dream of helping people maximize their physical potential whether they are children, adults, senior citizens, pro athletes or have special needs.  In fact, many of you have met my family members in the gym as they assisted families during Open Houses and played with the children during special events.

I would be remiss if I did not recognize and thank my Fitness for Health family.  I have the best staff, and my fitness trainers and occupational and physical therapists are not only experts in their fields, but share my dedication to our local community.  Their innovative and creative approach to therapeutic fitness has helped kids – and adults – of all ages and abilities enjoy the benefits of physical activity while conquering their fear of trying new activities.

I am also thankful for you – my Fitness for Health friends.  As many of you know, a few years ago, our facility experienced damage from a building fire, and it took us almost a year to rebuild our gym.  We tried to take the tragedy in stride, and used the opportunity to make Fitness for Health’s facility even better.  Due to your children’s and families’ comments and suggestions, we are now the only fitness facility in the Washington, D.C, area that offers rock climbing, state-of-the-art exergaming and an amazing laser maze for children and adults.  And, we are proud to have added cutting-edge, occupational and physical therapies to our list of services to create a timesaving, one-stop-shop for families seeking multiple services.

During this time of giving gratitude, I’d like to thank you again for your continued support and patronage.

From our Fitness for Health family to yours, I wish each of you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and holiday season!

For more information about Fitness for Health, visit www.FitnessForHealth.org.

Are You Gaining Weight No Matter What You Do? It Could be the Aging Process

Have you ever asked yourself why you are gaining weight even though you are not eating more fatty foods and are exercising the same amount? It could be the normal aging process.

New research in the journal, Nature Medicine, outlines that Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has uncovered that Lipid turnover in the fat tissue decreases during aging and makes it easier to gain weight.

Scientists studied the fat cells in 54 men and women over an average period of 13 years. In that time, all subjects, regardless of whether they gained or lost weight, showed decreases in lipid turnover in the fat tissue, that is the rate at which lipid (or fat) in the fat cells is removed and stored. Those who didn’t compensate for that by eating less calories gained weight by an average of 20 percent, according to the study which was done in collaboration with researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden and University of Lyon in France.

“The results indicate for the first time that processes in our fat tissue regulate changes in body weight during aging in a way that is independent of other factors,” says Peter Arner, professor at the Department of Medicine in Huddinge at Karolinska Institutet and one of the study’s main authors. “This could open up new ways to treat obesity.”

Does this mean that you have to skip the holiday buffets and family dinners I order to watch your waistline? No. Instead of loading your plate with mashed potatoes and gravy and having seconds (or thirds) of turkey and oyster stuffing, try to fill up on nuts and cru de te (minus the ranch dressing).  Making healthier food choices doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor – or dessert. But, it does mean that you need to be mindful of your portions.

Now is probably not the best time to start a diet.  Instead, try to maintain your current weight and make a promise to lose any extra pounds after the holidays by visiting your personal trainer or taking an extra walk around the block during the halftime show of the football game. And, don’t forget that fitness and weight management can be fun!

Happy holiday eating!

To learn how Fitness for Health can help you make time for exercise this season or improve your senior health, please visit www.FitnessForHealth.org or call 301-231-7138.

Healthy Eating This Holiday Season

Thanksgiving is only a week away and it’s time to start thinking about our holiday eating habits.

The holiday temptation of cookies, cake, pie and sweets begins at Thanksgiving and doesn’t end until after the new year when many people vow to lose weight as part of their New Year’s Resolutions.

A study published in Journal of the American Medical Association gives us yet another reason to eat healthy and avoid adult and childhood obesity this holiday season.

People with an irregular heart rhythm could see an improvement in symptoms if they lose weight in addition to managing their other heart risks, says the study.  Researchers found that people who steadily lost more than 30 pounds and kept their other health conditions in check saw greater improvements in atrial fibrillation symptoms than those who just managed their other health conditions without trying to lose weight.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a type of rhythm disorder affecting the heart’s upper chambers.  It can be caused by a number of issues – including heart attacks, infections and heart valve problems.  Adult and childhood obesity is a risk factor for AF, as are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Is it possible to eat “heart healthy” at Thanksgiving dinner and eat well?  Yes!

  • Control your portion size. How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Overloading your plate, taking seconds and eating until you feel stuffed can lead to eating more calories, fat and cholesterol than you should.
  • Understand serving sizes. A serving size is a specific amount of food, defined by common measurements such as cups, ounces, or pieces—and a healthy serving size may be a lot smaller than you’re used to. Remember this at the buffet – the recommended serving size for pasta is ½ cup, while a serving of meat, fish, or chicken is 2 to 3 ounces (57-85 grams).
  • Eat more fruits and veggies. Vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals. Vegetables and fruits are also low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. Vegetables and fruits contain substances found in plants that may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Eating more fruits and vegetables may help you eat less high-fat foods, such as meat, cheese and snack foods at the holiday party.
  • Limit unhealthy fats. The best way to reduce trans fats in your diet is to limit the amount of solid fats — butter, margarine and shortening — you consume. You can also reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet by trimming the fat off your holiday steak.
  • Change your holiday habits. The best way to avoid saturated fats is to change your lifestyle practices. Instead of chips, snack on fruit or vegetables as hors d’oeuvres.

As the holidays approach, be realistic. Now is probably not the best time to start a diet.  Instead, try to maintain your current weight and make a promise to lose any extra pounds after the holidays by visiting your personal trainer or taking advantage of Fitness for Health’s exergaming programs.

Plan time for exercise. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevents weight gain.  A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help partially offset increased holiday eating. Try 10- or 15-minute brisk walks twice a day.

Most importantly, enjoy the holidays with your family and friends and make healthy eating choices without denying yourself your favorite foods in the buffets!

To learn how Fitness for Health can help you make time for exercise this season, please visit www.FitnessForHealth.org or call 301-231-7138.

Gut Health Affects Childhood Obesity

New information published in Obesity Reviews by scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Health suggests that gut bacteria and its interactions with immune cells and metabolic organs, including fat tissue, play a key role in childhood obesity.

“The medical community used to think that obesity was a result of consuming too many calories. However, a series of studies over the past decade has confirmed that the microbes living in our gut are not only associated with obesity but also are one of the causes,” said Hariom Yadav, Ph.D., lead author of the review and assistant professor of molecular medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist.

In the United States, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity is increasing at 2.3% rate each year among school-aged children.

Wow.

The review also described how a mother’s health, diet, exercise level, antibiotic use, birth method (natural or cesarean), and feeding method (formula or breast milk) can affect the risk of obesity in her children.

“This compilation of current research should be very useful for doctors, nutritionists and dietitians to discuss with their patients because so many of these factors can be changed if people have enough good information,” Yadav said. “We also wanted to identify gaps in the science for future research.”

How can you help your children fight childhood obesity?  In my opinion, make physical activities and games FUN for the whole family!  The key to successful participation is creativity and positive reinforcement as well as scheduling a regular time during the week as “family playtime” so children will learn to emulate their parents.  Families need to work – and play – together to enhance physical fitness while building stronger relationships.  With an integrated approach, parents, grandparents and children can create fun, recreational games that also increase self-esteem – and help families bond – while increasing kids’ physical activity.

  • Celebrate autumn and get moving! Schedule one afternoon a week for the family to do yard work together.  (Even if your toddler just plays in the dirt with sticks.)  Studies show that you can burn about 350 calories an hour mowing the lawn or 175 calories for 30 minutes of raking leaves.  Not only will you get a great workout, your yard will look great too.
  • Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found a correlation between childhood obesity and the amount of sleep a child receives each night.  The fewer hours of nightly sleep, the higher the risk for becoming overweight or obese.
  • Focus on your child’s health, not his weight. Childhood and adolescence are difficult enough for most children and self-esteem can suffer – especially if the child is heavier.  Parents can help by making sure their kids are active and learn to make good food choices.
  • Help kids read between the lines. Toby Smithson, RDN, CDE, founder of com and coauthor of the new book, Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition for Dummies, explains that it’s key to teach kids, even from a very young age, to be food media literate. “It’s important for parents and children to understand food advertising and to take a stand against it by not always giving in to it, Smithson says. Because children are exposed to thousands of hours of targeted advertising for fast food, snacks, and sugar-sweetened cereal, Smithson urges parents to help their kids read between the lines of food marketing strategies. (You can learn more about food marketing and children by checking out Food Marketing to Youth and other info from Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.)
  • Play actively. It’s critical to keep your kids moving throughout the day as much as possible (and to join in on the fun when you can). Physical activity naturally stimulates chemicals that help clear glucose out of the blood and helps to prevent diabetes.  For most kids, 60 minutes or more of physical activity is recommended daily. (For more ideas to help your kids – and entire family – stay fit, check out Tips for Getting Active by the National Heart Lung, & Blood Institute (NHLBI)).

Obesity among the young isn’t a problem that’s going to magically fix itself. Make a difference in your kids’ lives and get moving – as a family!

Is your family in need of fitness assistance?  Fitness for Health can help your family create a healthy, active lifestyle while having fun.  We offer customized exercise programs designed to fit your exact needs and help you reach your unique health goals. And, we offer family workouts so families can become active together.  Visit www.FitnessForHealth.org to learn about our programs or call us at 301-231-7138.

Seniors and Sleep: There Is a Better Way

Today, I am happy to bring you a guest article from Karen Weeks. Karen created Elder Wellness as a resource for seniors who wish to keep their minds, bodies, and spirits well.

Enjoy!

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There are many different reasons why we lose out on a good night’s sleep — some involve the mind, while others concern the body. Have you ever felt exhausted at the end of the day, but as soon as your head hits the pillow, your eyes pop open? Maybe you can’t remember if you took your medication or you can’t stop replaying an argument you had with your son or daughter. Other times, you fall asleep just fine but wake up repeatedly throughout the night. You might not even remember waking up, you only know you feel groggy and tired all the next day.

How Does a Lack of Sleep Impact Seniors Like Me?

 Regardless of why you are losing sleep, poor quality sleep can have serious negative effects on our overall well-being. This is especially true for seniors. In fact, recent studies have shown that trouble with sleeping can have health consequences for seniors such as:

  • Dementia: Poor sleep can cause memory issues, which can, in turn, result in poor sleep. This is a cycle that must be broken early.
  • Cardiovascular disease: Difficulty maintaining sleep can result in an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Obesity: Low-quality sleep can disrupt appetite, increasing energy consumption, which is why fitness for seniors is essential.
  • Weakened immune system: Studies show that a lack of sleep makes people more susceptible to colds, the flu, and the H1N1 virus.
  • Inability to concentrate, mood swings, and irritability.

For most seniors, health is a major concern. Poor sleep can prevent you from making progress in certain areas or worsen the impact of health issues you are already battling.

So, Why Aren’t I Getting Enough Good Sleep?

 There could be one reason or several reasons as to why a senior might experience poor sleep quality. Sometimes a sleep disorder is to blame. You may be suffering from:

  • Sleep apnea: Breathing that is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep can lead to fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels.
  • Periodic limb movement: The rhythmic and repetitive jerking or spasming of legs and arms that can disrupt sleep and cause daytime drowsiness.
  • Restless leg syndrome: Sensations in the legs that cause people to move their legs in their sleep. This can cause them to wake up frequently or not sleep well enough.

You may have one of several of these symptoms — or none at all. It may be that something mental or emotional is keeping you awake at night.

How Can I Get Better Sleep?

 Sleep can be impacted by anxiety, depression, or stress. About 5 percent of people over 65 have reported depression, often stemming from the loss of a lifelong partner. Stress and anxiety around illnesses, memory loss, and reduced independence can also play a big part in harming sleep. You can help with the physical and mental issues around sleep disorders by focusing on healthy sleep behaviors like:

  • Choosing a mattress that makes sleep more comfortable. If you’re in the market for a new mattress, be sure to consider both your budget and sleep style. While certain mattress models better accommodate specific sleep styles (i.e. back or side), others are much better suited for others (i.e. stomach). And while it’s true some mattresses can be expensive, they come in a wide range of prices, which means finding a mattress for under $1,000 that suits your specific sleep style is possible.
  • Keeping a regular sleep schedule. If you stick to a strict schedule, your body will eventually learn when it’s time to hit the hay every evening.
  • Avoiding caffeine or foods with high sugar content close to bedtime. The more you consume food and beverages that keep your body wired, the more difficulty you’ll have training your body to fall asleep at night.
  • Making your bedroom more sleep-friendly by painting it a light blue or green, using soft light, and removing clutter.

Will Insurance Pay for Sleep Disorder Testing?

 You may be able to have Medicare cover the costs of diagnosing and treating your sleep disorder. Medicare will cover medically necessary testing, which might include monitoring for eye movements, leg movements, respiration, pulse, oxygen saturation, nasal flow, and snoring while asleep. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, Medicare may cover the cost of a three-month trial of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy mask. Once the trial is up, Medicare will want to know if the therapy has been effective before continuing coverage. If you need more coverage, you can talk to your health insurance provider about the possibility of purchasing supplemental Medicare coverage.

Losing sleep isn’t just about being groggy the next day. For seniors, poor sleep quality can mean a poor sense of overall well-being. Getting a good night’s sleep is key to a good life.

About Fitness for Health:

Fitness for Health creates unique exercise programs based on a person’s individual fitness goals.  Want to create a senior wellness plan? Need to improve your bone and joint health? No problem!  Fitness for Health will you help you and your loved ones reach your full potential.

Exercise Can Prevent Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis can potentially be prevented with a good diet and regular exercise, a new expert review published in the Nature Reviews Rheumatology reports.

Researchers from the University of Surrey identified a crucial link between metabolism and osteoarthritis. Metabolic changes, caused by a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, trigger’s the genetic reprogramming of cells in the body and joints.

The report states, “Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the United Kingdom with 8.75million people seeking medical advice for the condition. This debilitating condition disproportionately affects post-menopausal women who are more pre-disposed to the condition because of biology, genetics and hormones. Currently there is no effective treatment for this painful ailment, with only painkillers available to treat symptoms and no known cure.”

I, along with many representatives in the medical community, believe weight-bearing exercise can improve bone and joint health and thus, prevent osteoarthritis.

“Weight-lifting programs exist to increase muscular strength, but less research has examined what happens to bones during these types of exercises,” said Pam Hinton, an associate professor and the director of nutritional sciences graduate studies in the University of Missouri Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology.  “Exercise-based interventions work to increase bone density in middle-aged men with low bone mass who are otherwise healthy. These exercises could be prescribed to reverse bone loss associated with aging.”

I concur with Ms. Hinton.  As the founder of Fitness for Health, a therapeutic, exercise facility working with children through senior citizens in the Washington, DC, area, I have seen firsthand the power of weight-bearing exercise to improve bone and joint health in the middle age population and the importance of fitness for seniors. In fact, we are proud to have created a bone and joint health program for men and women as they age.

Fitness for Health provides a revolutionary, 12-week Bone and Joint Health Program for adults and seniors that capitalizes on weight-bearing, fitness activities.  This groundbreaking program helps to improve posture and increase bone density, strength and balance while counteracting the effects of osteoporosis, osteopenia and aging.

The Bone and Joint Health Program elicits results faster and more effectively than traditional exercise (fitness for seniors) or pharmaceuticals through two state-of-the-art fitness technologies:

  • bioDensity™ – Weight-bearing exercises are the key to stimulating bone growth, and the greater the weight applied, the better the results. The osteogenic loading that patients receive is multiples of bodyweight, and beyond what is typically seen in exercise.  Research has shown, bone density gains that averaged 7% in the hip and 7.7% in the spine over one year using bioDensity (Jaquish, 2013). These results are multiples of what the current interventions can do for bone density.
  • Power Plate™ – Power Plate is a whole body vibration platform that allows for reflexive engagement of the neuromuscular system at rapid and repeatable oscillation. This intervention has been clinically shown to increase balance and stability in both healthy and aging-frail populations.

When used once a week, research has shown the bioDensity system alone has significantly increased bone mass density, stability and functional movement with multiple ages, health conditions and for both genders.

Healthy Habits for 60 and Beyond

Today, I am happy to bring you a guest article from Susan Ashby.  Susan joined the Superior Senior Care team in July of 2014 as Community Relations Manager. With more than 27 years of experience in geriatric health, Susan brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to Superior Senior Care and plays an integral part in connecting consumers and communities with resources for independent living.

Enjoy!

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Your 60s are a transitional time for most people. Most of us retire from our jobs sometime in our 60s. When we reach 60, we start to really seriously consider how we want to spend the rest of our lives. For some people, the idea of lots of leisure time sounds fabulous. Finally, the time to spend on the things that give us the most pleasure. Instead of trying to do it all during our weekends and vacations, we can spend our days as we want. We have visions of reading books, traveling, and pursuing hobbies and long-time interests.

For some, we are the main childcare support for our grandchildren. For others, we are primary senior home caregivers of our elderly parents. The honest truth is that their needs will only increase over time and they may eventually require professional senior home care. For most of us it is probably a combination of all the above.

One thing is sure, besides being as prepared financially as possible, it is the time to reevaluate our state of health and take action if necessary. So, these are some suggestions to take you to retirement and beyond in as healthy a lifestyle as possible.

  1. See your doctor.  Have a complete checkup including vision and hearing. Follow up with an annual checkup from now on. Have you had your immunizations against pneumonia and shingles? Have you kept up with mammograms or colon cancer screenings? What is your current state of health? Are there things to work on like elevated blood pressure or cholesterol? Are you prediabetic? These are some of the typical concerns as we reach sixty and older, and most can be resolved with simple lifestyle changes or medication. See your dentist also. The point is to address any issues early before they become serious or cause worse problems. Be proactive about your health.
  2. Quit smoking. If you have been a lifetime smoker, you probably think it is too late. That’s not true. It is never too late. Today there are all sorts of programs to help you quit. There is medication as well that makes the withdrawal easier. Some people have had success using artificial cigarettes and gradually tapering down the amount of nicotine they receive. Whatever works for you, keep trying. It is the most important gift you can give yourself.
  3. Exercise. If exercise is not part of your daily routine, start with walking. Invest in a good pair of shoes designed for walking. If at first you can only make it to the end of the driveway and back, it still is an accomplishment. Then, each day, try to improve on your distance. If it is difficult to get motivated, pick a spot that interests you. Try the beach,  botanical garden, or the mall. Join a group of walkers so you have support to help meet your goals. Add some flexibility exercises like yoga or Tai Chi and add movements that help improve balance to prevent falls.
  4. Diet.  Take an honest look at your current diet. Keep track of everything you eat for two weeks. Compare your diet to the recommended My Plate foods. Make the changes you need by gradually switching bad habits into good healthy habits. Eliminate fast food stops and learn to cook.  If you are a junk food addict, don’t even bring those foods into your house. Have individual-size servings of fruits and vegetables washed and ready to eat in the refrigerator so, instead of grabbing a cookie or that bag of chips, you can grab a bunch of sweet grapes or assorted fresh vegetables. Make sure you stay hydrated also. Unless you have a medical condition that requires you to limit fluids, drink plenty of water every day.
  5. Socialize.  We need people in our lives. Take care of your friendships and sustain them. One of the main difficulties for the elderly are loneliness and depression. Part of the reason for many is the isolation. Call your friends regularly. Meet for coffee or lunch. Join a group that interests you like book clubs at the library or take advantage of the classes and activities offered at the senior center or the Y.
  6. Sleep. You should get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Many people find that, as they age, it is more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Try some tricks like relaxing before bedtime. Don’t watch the news if you find it stressful. Try to keep to a schedule and go to bed at about the same time each night. Stick to a bedtime ritual of getting ready for bed so your brain recognizes the pattern.  Some find that aromatherapy helps them to relax and sleep. Lavender is often used to induce sleep. Some find a warm drink like hot chocolate or chamomile tea before bed is helpful. Meditation has been helpful in treating sleeplessness. If you’ve tried these with no luck, it is time to talk to your doctor. He or she will need to eliminate any possible physical reasons like sleep apnea first, but he may suggest a sleep aid for you.
  7. Volunteer. Choose a place to volunteer that meets your skills and interests. Read to preschoolers, deliver meals with Meals on Wheels, or build houses with Habitat for Humanity. Helping others gives you a sense of purpose and self-worth.
  8. Learn something new.  Keep your brain stimulated by learning. There are courses you can take on the computer or in the community. Learn a second language. Take classes to become a Master Gardener. Take classes at the tech school on welding or carpentry. Learn how to play poker or shoot pool. Keep learning.

Taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health will assure that you will be prepared to enjoy this later time of your life.

 About Fitness for Health:

Do you have an older loved one who could use assistance to improve balance, maintain weight management or better bone and joint health?  We can help.

Fitness for Health is proud to provide a revolutionary, 12-week Bone and Joint Health Program for adults and seniors that capitalizes on weight-bearing, fitness activities.  This groundbreaking program helps to improve posture and increase bone density, strength and balance while counteracting the effects of osteoporosis, osteopenia and aging.

The Bone and Joint Health Program elicits results faster and more effectively than traditional exercise (fitness for seniors) or pharmaceuticals through two state-of-the-art fitness technologies:

  • bioDensity™ – Weight-bearing exercises are the key to stimulating bone growth, and the greater the weight applied, the better the results. The osteogenic loading that patients receive is multiples of bodyweight, and beyond what is typically seen in exercise.  Research has shown, bone density gains that averaged 7% in the hip and 7.7% in the spine over one year using bioDensity (Jaquish, 2013). These results are multiples of what the current interventions can do for bone density.
  • Power Plate™ – Power Plate is a whole body vibration platform that allows for reflexive engagement of the neuromuscular system at rapid and repeatable oscillation. This intervention has been clinically shown to increase balance and stability in both healthy and aging-frail populations.

When used once a week, research has shown the bioDensity system alone has significantly increased bone mass density, stability and functional movement with multiple ages, health conditions and for both genders.

Learn more about how we can help you create a customized fitness for seniors program that counteracts the signs of aging while helping to maintain weight management and increase bone and joint health.