Sunday, July 29, 2012

Strength Training for Older Adults: Progression

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Strength Training for Older Adults: Staying On Track

Monday, July 23, 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

'Osteoarthritis and You

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Physical Activities

Physical activities may include aerobic, strengthening, balance, flexibility and weight-bearing.

Aerobic activities use your large muscle groups and increase your heart rate. They may cause you to breathe harder. You should be able to speak several words in a row while doing aerobic activities, but should not be able to carry on an entire conversation. 

Aerobic Activities- What Counts

Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities include:
  • walking briskly
  • water aerobics
  • tennis
  • housework or gardening
  • active play with children or grandchildren
  • dancing 

 Strengthening activities require your muscles to use force against a resistance, such as gravity, weights, or exercise bands. 

Strengthening Activities 

Examples of strength training activities include: 
  • lifting weights
  • household or garden tasks that make you lift or dig
  • pushing a lawn mower

 Balance activities typically focus on the muscles of your abdomen, lower back, hips, and legs. They require you to control your body as you move through space to avoid falls. 

 Balance Activities

Examples of balance activities include: 
  • walking heel to toe in a straight line
  • standing on one foot
  • standing up from a chair and sitting down again without using your hands
  • Tai Chi
  • rising up and down on your toes while standing and holding onto a stable chair or countertop

 Flexibility activities help increase the length of your muscles and improve your range of motion. 

  Flexibility Activities

Examples of flexibility exercises include:
  • stretching
  • yoga
  • Pilates

 Weight-bearing activities require your bones and muscles to work against gravity. They include any activities in which your feet and legs are bearing your total body weight. 

 Weight-bearing Activities

Examples of weight-bearing activities include:
  • walking
  • tennis
  • climbing stairs 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Starting a Physical Activity Routine for Older Adults

To get started, pick an activity you enjoy. Begin with small, specific goals, such as “I will take a 10-minute walk three times this week.” Slowly increase the length of time and the number of days you are active.

You may benefit most from a combination of aerobic, strength, balance, and flexibility activities. Build up to 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity cardiovascular or aerobic activity on most, preferably all, days of the week. Try to incorporate balance and flexibility activities into your daily workout as well. Work toward doing strength exercises on 2 or 3 days a week.

Regular aerobic activity can help you:
  • Reduce functional declines associated with aging.
  • Lose or maintain your weight by burning calories.
  • Lower your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke by strengthening your heart and lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Keep your joints moving and reduce your arthritis pain.
  • Lower your stress and boost your mood.
  • Have more energy.
  • Meet new friends by joining a class or walking group.
 Doing strengthening activities regularly may help you:
  • Keep your muscles and bones strong as you age.
  • Increase your strength and independence.
  • Reduce your need for a cane.
  • Reduce the risk of bone fractures and other injuries, or recover faster if you are injured.
  • Maintain or lose weight because muscle burns more calories than body fat.
Doing balance activities regularly may help you:
  • Stay steady on your feet.
  • Reduce the risk of a fall or injury.
Photo of women doing yoga

Doing flexibility activities regularly may help you:
  • Maintain the movement of your muscles and joints.
  • Prevent stiffness as you age.
  • Prevent injuries.
  • Lower your stress.

Doing weight-bearing activities regularly may help you:
  • Build and maintain bone mass.
  • Reduce the risk of bone fractures.
 Photo of man swimming
Many activities give you more than just one benefit. For example, doing aqua aerobics using water weights gives you aerobic and strengthening benefits. Yoga combines balance, flexibility, and strengthening benefits. You do not have to do four separate types of activities each week. Choose what you like to do and round out your activities from there. Remember, any amount of physical activity you do is better than none.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tips for Safe Physical Activity

Tips for Safe Physical Activity for Older Adults

Physical activity is good for your health at every age. If you have never been active, starting regular physical activity now may improve your strength, endurance, and flexibility.

Starting Regular Physical Activity

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Is Lifting Weights Good For Losing Weight?

There is some suggestion that lifting weights may not help you lose weight because it may make you "bulk up."

This statement is far from the truth. According to the Weight-control Information Network, lifting weights or doing strengthening activities like push-ups and crunches on a regular basis can actually help you maintain or lose weight. These activities can help you build muscle, and muscle burns more calories than body fat. So if you have more muscle, you burn more calories—even sitting still. Doing strengthening activities 2 or 3 days a week will not bulk you up. Only intense strength training, combined with a certain genetic background, can build very large muscles.

In addition to doing moderate-intensity physical activity (like walking 2 miles in 30 minutes) on most days of the week, try to do strengthening activities 2 to 3 days a week. You can lift weights, use large rubber bands (resistance bands), do push-ups or sit-ups, or do household or garden tasks that make you lift or dig. Strength training helps keep your bones strong while building muscle, which can help burn calories.

Can You Burn Fat By Just Lifting Weights?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Physical Activity for Children and Adolescents

Aerobic, Muscle- and Bone-Strengthening: What Counts?

To get you started, here is a list of possible activities that children and adolescents can do to meet the Guidelines. These activities serve as a guide, so encourage your child to do any of them, as long as they are age-appropriate.

Many of these activities fall under two or three different categories, making it possible for your child do each type of activity – vigorous-intensity aerobic, muscle- and bone-strengthening activity – on at least 3 days each week. Also, some activities, such as bicycling or basketball, can be done at either a moderate- or a vigorous-intensity, depending on your child's level of effort.

Age Group
Type of Physical Activity Children Adolescents
Moderate–intensity aerobic
  • Active recreation such as hiking, skateboarding, rollerblading
  • Bicycle riding
  • Walking to school
  • Active recreation, such as canoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing, skateboarding, rollerblading
  • Brisk walking
  • Bicycle riding (stationary or road bike)
  • House and yard work such as sweeping or pushing a lawn mower
  • Playing games that require catching and throwing, such as baseball, softball, basketball and volleyball
Vigorous –intensity aerobic
  • Active games involving running and chasing, such as tag
  • Bicycle riding
  • Jumping rope
  • Martial arts, such as karate
  • Running
  • Sports such as ice or field hockey, basketball, swimming, tennis or gymnastics
  • Active games involving running and chasing, such as flag football, soccer
  • Bicycle riding
  • Jumping rope
  • Martial arts such as karate
  • Running
  • Sports such as tennis, ice or field hockey, basketball, swimming
  • Vigorous dancing
  • Aerobics
  • Cheerleading or gymnastics
  • Games such as tug of war
  • Modified push-ups (with knees on the floor)
  • Resistance exercises using body weight or resistance bands
  • Rope or tree climbing
  • Sit-ups
  • Swinging on playground equipment/bars
  • Gymnastics
  • Games such as tug of war
  • Push-ups
  • Resistance exercises with exercise bands, weight machines, hand-held weights
  • Rock climbing
  • Sit-ups
  • Cheerleading or Gymnastics
  • Games such as hop-scotch
  • Hopping, skipping, jumping
  • Jumping rope
  • Running
  • Sports such as gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, tennis
  • Hopping, skipping, jumping
  • Jumping rope
  • Running
  • Sports such as gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, tennis

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Perceived Exertion: Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale

The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is a way of measuring physical activity intensity level. Perceived exertion is how hard you feel like your body is working. It is based on the physical sensations a person experiences during physical activity, including increased heart rate, increased respiration or breathing rate, increased sweating, and muscle fatigue. Although this is a subjective measure, a person's exertion rating may provide a fairly good estimate of the actual heart rate during physical activity* (Borg, 1998).

Practitioners generally agree that perceived exertion ratings between 12 to 14 on the Borg Scale suggests that physical activity is being performed at a moderate level of intensity. During activity, use the Borg Scale to assign numbers to how you feel (see instructions below). Self-monitoring how hard your body is working can help you adjust the intensity of the activity by speeding up or slowing down your movements.

Through experience of monitoring how your body feels, it will become easier to know when to adjust your intensity. For example, a walker who wants to engage in moderate-intensity activity would aim for a Borg Scale level of "somewhat hard" (12-14). If he describes his muscle fatigue and breathing as "very light" (9 on the Borg Scale) he would want to increase his intensity. On the other hand, if he felt his exertion was "extremely hard" (19 on the Borg Scale) he would need to slow down his movements to achieve the moderate-intensity range.

*A high correlation exists between a person's perceived exertion rating times 10 and the actual heart rate during physical activity; so a person's exertion rating may provide a fairly good estimate of the actual heart rate during activity (Borg, 1998). For example, if a person's rating of perceived exertion (RPE) is 12, then 12 x 10 = 120; so the heart rate should be approximately 120 beats per minute.

Note that this calculation is only an approximation of heart rate, and the actual heart rate can vary quite a bit depending on age and physical condition. The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion is also the preferred method to assess intensity among those individuals who take medications that affect heart rate or pulse.

Instructions for Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale
While doing physical activity, we want you to rate your perception of exertion. This feeling should reflect how heavy and strenuous the exercise feels to you, combining all sensations and feelings of physical stress, effort, and fatigue. Do not concern yourself with any one factor such as leg pain or shortness of breath, but try to focus on your total feeling of exertion.
Look at the rating scale below while you are engaging in an activity; it ranges from 6 to 20, where 6 means "no exertion at all" and 20 means "maximal exertion." Choose the number from below that best describes your level of exertion. This will give you a good idea of the intensity level of your activity, and you can use this information to speed up or slow down your movements to reach your desired range.

Try to appraise your feeling of exertion as honestly as possible, without thinking about what the actual physical load is. Your own feeling of effort and exertion is important, not how it compares to other people's. Look at the scales and the expressions and then give a number.

6  No exertion at all
    Extremely light (7.5)
9  Very light
11  Light
13  Somewhat hard
15  Hard (heavy)
17  Very hard
19  Extremely hard
20  Maximal exertion
9 corresponds to "very light" exercise. For a healthy person, it is like walking slowly at his or her own pace for some minutes
13 on the scale is "somewhat hard" exercise, but it still feels OK to continue.
17 "very hard" is very strenuous. A healthy person can still go on, but he or she really has to push him- or herself. It feels very heavy, and the person is very tired.
19 on the scale is an extremely strenuous exercise level. For most people this is the most strenuous exercise they have ever experienced.

Borg RPE scale © Gunnar Borg, 1970, 1985, 1994, 1998

Monday, July 9, 2012

Target Heart Rate and Estimated Maximum Heart Rate

One way of monitoring physical activity intensity is to determine whether a person's pulse or heart rate is within the target zone during physical activity.

For moderate-intensity physical activity, a person's target heart rate should be 50 to 70% of his or her maximum heart rate. This maximum rate is based on the person's age. An estimate of a person's maximum age-related heart rate can be obtained by subtracting the person's age from 220. For example, for a 50-year-old person, the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 - 50 years = 170 beats per minute (bpm). The 50% and 70% levels would be:
  • 50% level: 170 x 0.50 = 85 bpm, and
  • 70% level: 170 x 0.70 = 119 bpm
Thus, moderate-intensity physical activity for a 50-year-old person will require that the heart rate remains between 85 and 119 bpm during physical activity.

For vigorous-intensity physical activity, a person's target heart rate should be 70 to 85% of his or her maximum heart rate. To calculate this range, follow the same formula as used above, except change "50 and 70%" to "70 and 85%". For example, for a 35-year-old person, the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 - 35 years = 185 beats per minute (bpm). The 70% and 85% levels would be:
  • 70% level: 185 x 0.70 = 130 bpm, and 
  • 85% level: 185 x 0.85 = 157 bpm
Thus, vigorous-intensity physical activity for a 35-year-old person will require that the heart rate remains between 130 and 157 bpm during physical activity.

Taking Your Heart Rate
Person correctly taking their heart rate
Generally, to determine whether you are exercising within the heart rate target zone, you must stop exercising briefly to take your pulse. You can take the pulse at the neck, the wrist, or the chest. We recommend the wrist. You can feel the radial pulse on the artery of the wrist in line with the thumb. Place the tips of the index and middle fingers over the artery and press lightly. Do not use the thumb. Take a full 60-second count of the heartbeats, or take for 30 seconds and multiply by 2. Start the count on a beat, which is counted as "zero." If this number falls between 85 and 119 bpm in the case of the 50-year-old person, he or she is active within the target range for moderate-intensity activity.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Measuring Physical Activity Intensity

Here are some ways to understand and measure the intensity of aerobic activity: relative intensity and absolute intensity.


Relative Intensity

The level of effort required by a person to do an activity. When using relative intensity, people pay attention to how physical activity affects their heart rate and breathing.

The talk test is a simple way to measure relative intensity. As a rule of thumb, if you're doing moderate-intensity activity you can talk, but not sing, during the activity. If you're doing vigorous-intensity activity, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.


Absolute Intensity

The amount of energy used by the body per minute of activity. The table below lists examples of activities classified as moderate-intensity or vigorous-intensity based upon the amount of energy used by the body while doing the activity.

Other Methods of Measuring Intensity

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Aerobic Physical Exercises

Aerobic physical exercises are any activities in which the body's large muscles move in a rhythmic manner for a sustained period of time. Aerobic activities, also called endurance activities, improve cardio-respiratory fitness. Cardiorespiratory or aerobic fitness refers to the body's increased ability to take in and use oxygen to produce energy.  A higher level of aerobic fitness will give you more endurance and will increase increase your ability to work at a higher level over a longer period of time. Examples include walking, running, dancing, rowing, swimming, and bicycling.

What is Aerobic Exercise?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Changing Your Habits: Steps to Better Health

Do you want to eat healthier or become more active?

Most Americans have tried to eat healthier or be more physically active at some point in their lives. Why, then, do many of us eat high-fat and high-calorie foods and have such a hard time fitting in exercise? You may be wondering: is it even possible to change your habits?

The answer is yes! Change is always possible, and a person is never too out-of-shape, overweight, or old to make healthy changes.

This fact sheet offers strategies to help you improve your eating and physical activity habits. Whether you feel like change is a world away or just around the corner, the information here can help you get started.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Active at Any Size

Active at Any Size

 WOULD you like to be more physically active, but are not sure if you can do it?

Good news-if you are a very large person, you can be physically active-and you can have fun and feel good doing it.

THERE may be special challenges for very large people who are physically active. You may not be able to bend or move in the same way that other people can. It may be hard to find clothes and equipment for exercising. You may feel self-conscious being physically active around other people.
Facing these challenges is hard-but it can be done! The information in this booklet may help you start being more active and healthier-no matter what your size!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Use the World Around You to Stay Healthy and Fit

Physical activity and healthy eating can be easy, inexpensive, and fun! If you live in a rural community or do not have access to weights, a treadmill, or chain grocery stores, use what you already have to stay healthy.

Small changes can make a big difference:
  •  Put more muscle into household chores like raking leaves or washing the car.
  •  Find a walking buddy to help you stay on track with your physical activity routine.
  •  Eat fresh fruits and vegetables from a local farmers market, or start your own family garden.
  •  Choose whole-wheat options when buying bread, tortillas, pasta, and rice.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Get on Track to a Healthier You

We challenge you to improve your health!
Get on track to a healthier you with these health and fitness tips for men.

Does your waist measure more than 40 inches?
If yes, you may be at greater risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, early death, and other problems.

What are your health and physical activity goals?
Do you want to improve your health, lose weight, or maintain weight after weight loss?

Based on your goal, choose your track and activity.
• Improving Your Health = 30+ minutes of moderate aerobic activity 5 or more days a week
• Increasing Your Goals = 60+ minutes of moderate aerobic activity 5 or more days a week
• Building Muscles = 2 or more days a week at a moderate or high intensity

Aerobic activities like brisk walking, playing basketball, and bicycling move your large muscles and make your heart beat faster. To build muscle strength, try weight training, working with resistance bands, or doing push-ups.

Make healthy eating choices.
• Eat more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean meats, seafood, beans and peas, nuts, and low-fat or nonfat dairy products.
• Eat fewer solid fats (butter, margarine) and refined grains (white flour and rice).
• Eat and drink less sugar and salt, including sugary sodas and juices.

Create a plan to beat the barriers that you may meet along the way.
• Stay energized by playing ball or working out with friends.
• Chart your steps in a food journal or exercise log to stay on track.

The new and improved you is in sight!
• Reward yourself as you reach your goals.
• Keep up the good work. Remember that physical
activity and eating are key to getting on track to a healthier you.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Get in the Game: Tips for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

With busy lives, it’s easy to let your health and fitness slide. Below are a few tips on getting in the game with healthy habits. Chances are, you will find it’s not as hard as you think!

▪Keep portion sizes under control to avoid eating too much.

▪Sneak in fruits by adding berries to your cereal. Eat more whole grains, vegetables, lean meats, and low-fat or nonfat dairy products.

▪Sit less. Reduce time spent watching TV, gaming, and surfing the web.

▪Fuel up by drinking more water and other low-calorie drinks. Cut down on sugary sodas, sports drinks, and juices. Watch alcohol, as it can also hide calories.

▪Get active with 30 to 60 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise 5 or more days a week. Aerobic activities like tag football move your large muscles and make your heart beat faster.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Don’t Take a Vacation From Your Healthy Habits This Summer!

1. Choose water workouts and make a splash as you get fit and strong.

2. Add color and variety to your meal by including seasonal fruits and vegetables, fresh from your local farmers market.

3. Visit museums, the zoo, or an aquarium and walk for hours without realizing it.

4. When the temperature sizzles, get moving to a fun fitness video at home.

5. Start a small garden in your yard or in a community garden to combine healthy eating and physical activity.

6. Plan a weekend hike through a park, a family softball game, or an evening walk around the neighborhood.

7. Boost the flavor and nutrition of your meals with garden-fresh herbs.

8. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise, especially when the temperature soars.

9. Buy only as many fresh fruits and vegetables as you will use, so they won’t spoil.

10.Beat the heat with an early morning activity. Go for a walk or bike ride while watching the sun come up.