The Importance of Stretching as You Age

The Importance of Stretching as You Age

Fave Lifestyles

As we age, we lose flexibility – especially if we’re not exercising. Staying in motion and flexible is key to a healthy, aging body. Stretching is an essential part of any fitness equation because it keeps your muscles ready to move. If you’re older than 30, you’ve been losing flexibility an average of 1% a year. Read on to learn why this matters.

Lack of Flexibility:

Being inflexible doesn’t just age you, it can lead to health issues including balance problems which can cause falls, poor posture, limited range of motion, and tight muscles that contribute to back pain or difficulty performing simple tasks. As we grow older, it’s critical to be concerned about balance and flexibility to avoid potentially dangerous falls.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that “stretching activities be done at least two days per week. If you have lost some joint motion or feel stiff, range of motion or stretching activities should be done daily.”

ACSM recommends that a stretch should produce a slight pull on the muscle but not to the point of pain. With a static stretch, hold that position for 15-30 seconds, and each stretch should be repeated 3-5 times on each side of the body.

 

The Importance of Stretching as You Age

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Stretches:

Here are four stretches ACSM* recommends. As always, you should consult your doctor before starting any type of activity.

Hamstrings. Sit on the ground with legs straight in front of you. Gently lean forward from the hips (try to keep the back reasonably straight) until a stretch is felt on the back of the thighs.

Hip flexors. Stand on one foot, and bring the other foot to the buttocks. Pull back gently, while keeping your knee pointed at the ground and your hip straight. If needed, hold onto a counter or chair to keep your balance.

Calves. Step forward with one leg. Shift your weight toward the front leg while keeping the back heel on the ground. If you press the hip of your back leg forward, this will also help stretch the hip flexors.

Chest muscles. Standing in a corner, bring hands up to shoulder height and place against the wall on either side. Keeping hands in position, lean body forward until a stretch is felt in the front of the chest. This can also be done using a doorway, turning away from the hand that is on the wall

*DIY: Improving Your Flexibility and Balance (Information from ACSM Fit Society, Winter 2012—Article written by Lynn Miller, PT, Ph.D., FACSM

Additional Senior Exercises:

Some exercises incorporate stretching and can help you stay fit as you age. Here are five activities to consider:

Walking

Water therapy

Tai chi

Pilates

Yoga

Kelly Fennelly

Kelly Fennelly

Kelly Fennelly
Owner, Kelly Fennelly Fitness
www.kellyfennelly.com

about

Kelly Fennelly

Kelly Fennelly has been a professional in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. She design and implement Wellness Programs for clients. Along with her passion for Wellness & Fitness, she has a passion for supporting local non-profits and contributing to our community. 

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Four Stabilization Exercises to Strengthen Your Core

Four Stabilization Exercises to Strengthen Your Core

Fave Lifestyles

Stabilization exercises should be at the heart of any fitness program for runners. If you have
lower back problems or weak muscles in the lower torso, these can help as well, but you should
consult your doctor or physical therapist before you start.

Importance of stable core:

Whatever your level of fitness, a strong, stable core will help you avoid injury and maximize the
benefits of an exercise program. If you’re a distance or endurance runner, you’re even more prone
to injury. If you’re starting out with a fitness program, a stable core will stabilize your spine as
you grow stronger. A stable core is critical to avoid injury. Pelvic stability is key to preventing
running-related injuries, including leg strains, back pain, and IT band and piriformis syndrome.

Stabilization exercises:

You might not have heard of your Transverse Abdominus, but you should familiarize yourselfwith it. It’s a critical part of proper stabilization. It’s a deep abdominal muscle that stabilizes your spine. If you suffer from lower back pain, pay special attention to engaging this muscle duringexercise because the Transverse Abdominus helps ensure the spine is stabilized correctly. Below are four easy-to-do stabilization exercises to help you strengthen and stabilize your core. Werecommend doing these stability workoutsno less than three times a week, more often if you’re advanced. Keep inmind that maintaining proper form is more important than how many you do.

Clam:

  • Lie on your side with your legs bent.
  • Hips should be straight and knees at 90-degree angles and stacked on top of each other.
  • Keep ankles together while opening your legs by raising your top knee up as you
    squeeze your top glute muscle (gluteus medius). It’s one of the primary hip stabilization
    muscles that is especially important for distance runners.
  • Keep your hips stable through the motion of opening leg (like a clam), and avoid rotating
    your torso or top hip as you lift your knee. It’s fine if you need to limit the opening or
    motion to avoid rotating torso or top hip.

Two sets of 10-12 on each leg; progress to two sets of 30

Step-Ups:

To perform this core stabilization exercise,you will need a step or a very stable box. The higher off the floor, the more intense or advanced the workout. This is a very simple exercise that can strengthen your legs, glutes, and core.

  • Step onto the box or step with one foot.
  • The thigh of that leg will be parallel to the floor for a second as you boost yourself onto
    the box. Keep the knee stable.
  • Step the remaining leg up onto the box so that you’re standing on both feet.
  • Be sure to use the first leg to raise yourself up rather than pushing off the ground with the
    second foot.
  • Be careful to keep both knees stable throughout the exercise.
  • Two advanced versions:
    1. While standing on one foot on the box or step, bring up the second leg but maintain it in
    the air behind you as if in a running position.
    2. While on the first leg, raise your second leg to a high-knee motion in front of you as if in
    a running position. Then, lower back down so that both feet are together.

Be certain to use your core to stabilize throughout the exercise, especially if you’re doing the
more advanced version!

Two sets of six-eight on each leg; progress to two sets of 12

Four Stabilization Exercises to Strengthen Your Core

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Single-leg Bridge:

This a variation of a two-legged bridge, and it’s good for your hamstrings and glutes.

  • Lie flat on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Grab one knee with your hands and pull it toward your chest while keeping the other foot
    on the ground.
  • Engage the glute of the leg on the ground.
  • While keeping your glute engaged, push through the heel to lift your hips into the air into
    a bridge position.
  • Hold the position for one to two seconds before lowering back to the ground.

Two sets of eight-ten; progress to two sets of 15

Squats:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Begin the squat with your hips by sitting back as if lowering into a chair.
  • Keep head up and the plane of your back level and flat.
  • Keep your weight on your heels, and do not allow your knees to go past your toes.
  • You should almost feel as if you’re going to fall into the chair, except the range of motion
    of the hamstrings and hip will keep you from falling back.

Two sets of eight-ten; progress to two sets of 15

If you’re ready to launch into 2020 and into a fitness program to help you strengthen and stabilize your car, these four core stabilization exercises can get you started! If you’re new to exercising, or have a weak core, start by doing them twice weekly and building up from there as you get stronger.

Consult your doctor before you begin any fitness or exercise program or if you are having any
new pain or discomfort.

Kelly Fennelly

Kelly Fennelly

Kelly Fennelly
Owner, Kelly Fennelly Fitness
www.kellyfennelly.com

about

Kelly Fennelly

Kelly Fennelly has been a professional in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. She design and implement Wellness Programs for clients. Along with her passion for Wellness & Fitness, she has a passion for supporting local non-profits and contributing to our community. 

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The Benefits of Wearing Compression

The Benefits of Wearing Compression

The Benefits of Wearing Compression

Compression socks and sleeves have gotten a fair amount of attention lately. They’ve been popular with people who spend a lot of time on their feet or are bedridden – both have concerns about proper circulation. In recent years, however, compression has become popular with athletes.

How does compression work?

A high-quality compression sock or sleeve applies direct, gentle pressure to a specific area of the body. Compression helps to improve circulation and ensures more oxygen gets to the muscles or back to the heart.

Help to heal.

Our feet and ankles carry our bodies, meaning they bear the brunt of our weight. That stress can make them particularly prone to poor circulation, which can lead to swelling and pain. It can be a domino effect! The pressure of compression, however, helps to ensure proper circulation so that the oxygen carried by blood reaches where it needs to go. That’s what makes them so popular with people who spend a lot of time on their feet, sit for long periods, or are bedridden.

But compression can be beneficial for athletes for two reasons.

If you’re recovering from an injury, proper circulation is vital for healing. The nutrients and oxygen in the blood help repair muscle. Wearing a compression item can help push critical nutrients to your muscles. Some athletes make them a regular part of their daily routine to help with recovery.

Some athletes will wear compression for sore muscles. They either wear them at night to help with soreness or help prevent it.

Everyday wellness:

Compression can be made a regular part of your workout and wellness routines, just as you would a healthy diet, stretching, and safe exercises. Some athletes wear them while training, while others wear them while stretching after they workout to ensure better circulation.

There are three types of compression socks to consider:

A low profile compression sock can be everyday wear targeting your feet to help avoid swelling.

Midrise compression socks add more support and circulation.

A calf compression sock can better addresses circulation throughout the entire leg and lower body.

You can also try a compression arm sleeve if you have issues with your elbow!

“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there”

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Is It Time to Throw Away Athletic Shoes & Bras?

Is It Time to Throw Away Athletic Shoes & Bras?

Is It Time to Throw Away Athletic Shoes & Bras?

Did you know your workout items – especially shoes and bras – have a shelf life? They can be the most significant (and important) investment after a gym membership or private trainer. You need to replace them regularly. For bras and shoes, that can mean yearly!

Annual Goodbye!

You should be refitted for both running/walking shoes and athletic bras every year. Yes, really! They wear down with each wearing. That means that mere months after buying them, you’re not getting the same support you got week one. So why does that matter if they still feel comfortable? Lack of proper support in your athletic gear can lead to health problems and risk of injury.

  • Athletic Bras: You know that expensive athletic bra you bought last year and worship each time you wear it? Don’t wait until you begin to see actual wear and tear before deciding it needs to be replaced. A good indicator? Does it still feel as snug as it did when you first bought it? Yellowing or fatigue in the underarm area of the bra is another sign it’s time to say goodbye to the bra!
  • Athletic Shoes: Shoes carry you through your day. Athletic shoes bear your weight during exercise. Their quality, as much as their wearing, matter greatly. Once they wear down beyond a certain point, they’re not providing sufficient support. That can lead to orthopedic issues and pain. Your knees, back, ankles, feet, and even hips can be affected by shoes that offer inadequate support. You also risk twisting an ankle or knee. – Depending on how much pounding your running or walking shoes take, you might need to replace them every few months or once a year. How they feel is not an indicator that you need to replace them. By the time they show wear and tear, they are way past their prime!
    • The middle layer of cushion in the sole begins to break down somewhere between 300 to 500 miles. Somewhere in that span of mileage is when you need to replace them, whether they’re walking or running shoes.

Quality Matters:

When it comes to buying athletic shoes, clothes, and bras, quality and care can help with their lifespan. You truly get what you pay for. You really should invest in the best quality you can afford. Also, you should pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions for washing and drying. Typically, they recommend hand washing (or on delicates in the machine) in cold water and line drying. You’ll get more mileage out of your clothes by doing so!

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Six Easy Tips to Stay on Track With Your Workout!

Six Easy Tips to Stay on Track With Your Workout!

Six Easy Tips to Stay on Track With Your Workout!

Sticking to any workout goals is critical to the ultimate success of any workout routine and goals. It can certainly be challenging to stick with exercise. We all know that life tends to get in the way! However, there are a few things you can do to help you create and stick to a routine. Here are six free, easy things to try.

No excuses: Eliminate excuses. Let’s face it. We can ALL find reasons not to work out. We might even convince ourselves they are good ones. But the reasons FOR working out are the best reason. Wake up each day, look at your schedule, and stick to it.

Each day counts: It’s easy just to say: “I’ll skip today and do it tomorrow or the following day.” Nope. Make each day count and track your workout days. Create a log if you have to. You’ll be more likely to hold yourself accountable.

Routines help: Just like you need to make each day count, creating a routine will matter. Decide how many days, how long, and when you’ll be working out. In other words, create a working schedule. Carve out time in your daily and weekly schedule.

Journey vs. goals: Some people do better if they focus on the overall journey rather than ultimate goals. Goals can be helpful, but they can also hinder or overwhelm right when you most need support. If you’re finding yourself intimidated by your goals, you can pull back – even if for a short time. Instead, focus on the process and journey of fitness rather than where you ultimately want to end up.

Check your habits: Part of a good workout routine should inevitably involve eliminating previous bad habits. How are your diet and nutrition? Are you walking instead of riding the elevator? Do an honest self-assessment of your daily habits and eliminate poor habits and choices that could be sabotaging your ultimate workout and health success!

Use technology: There are tons of health and fitness apps available today to help you stay on track. Do some research and find one that works best for your lifestyle and health goals. There are also many online forums where you can find support as well. Consider modern technology your workout buddy.

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Six Tips for Those Who Hate Cardio!

Six Tips for Those Who Hate Cardio!

Six Tips for Those Who Hate Cardio

There are those among us who hate cardio. Yes, it’s true. Folks tend to fall into two camps: those who love cardio and incorporate it into their workouts and those who look for ways to avoid all cardio. Here are a few tips for those who hate cardio. We promise that it’s not that tough. Take a deep breath and read on.

To make cardio more palatable, divide it up into shorter periods (10-minutes each is good), but aim for a total of 30 minutes. Ratchet up the intensity of each period to get the best results.

Jump rope:

Harkening back to childhood! A six-minute jump rope routine. Jump for one minute, rest for twenty seconds. Do a total of six minutes of jumping.

Uphill Intervals:

Short bursts known as intervals are your best friend if you don’t like cardio workouts. They’re short and sweet. Be sure to warm up before you begin. For a good challenge, take your intervals uphill, whether outdoors on a hill, on a treadmill, or stairclimber.

Sprints:

Another short and sweet cardio workout is sprinting. Start with a three to five minute warm-up of light jogging. Sprint as fast as you can for a minimum of 50-yards, then do a light jog back to the starting point. Repeat 10 times.

Swimming:

If you have access to a pool, swimming is a great aerobic exercise. Whether you give it the full 30-minutes or break it down into shorter times. Swimming is a fun way to get some cardio in.

Biking:

Jump on a bike, whether it’s stationary or outdoors. The greater the intensity, the bigger the benefits. But, something is better than nothing. If you want to add some diversity to your workout and have some outdoor fun, grab your bike (and helmet) and go for a spin around your neighborhood.

Hiking:

Studies have shown that exercising outdoors has many benefits, including we’re more likely to stick with it longer. Hit the nature trails near your home (grab a hiking partner) and enjoy all that nature has to offer. Those pesky but beneficial uphill climbs provide the most health benefits!

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