Walking From The Core

WalkingI’ve been shooting some walking sequences in the Colorado Rockies these past couple of weeks and it’s been spectacular. We planned it just right. The aspens are turning gold, and that clean crisp flavor of Fall is in the air.

It’s a perfect time to walk, and walking is about as perfect a human exercise as we’ve got. It’s a great combination, Fall and walking: not too hot, not too cold, lots to look at. And, doctors always want us to walk when the tell us to get some exercise. I wonder if they walk themselves. So your doctor should be very pleased when you call and say “I’m starting a walking program, what do you think”? Do check with your doctor to make sure you don’t have any issues that will keep you from brisk walking, and then if all’s good, get to it.

Besides getting a great cardiovascular workout you’ll strengthen and sculpt your legs and butt. If you swing your arms you’ll get some shoulder action too; all this while leaf peeping, or people watching if you’re in the city, and enjoying the fall air.

Walking Video Tips

 

Walking From The Core

There’s been plenty of buzz lately about core exercise and how a strong core, the abs, back, butt and upper thigh muscles, can keep you mobile into old age. There’s a lot of truth to that. The core muscles hold you torso erect and promote good posture and general body strength.

If you do it right, walking can strengthen your core and improve the way you walk at the same time.

A weak core makes you slouch and walking slouched messes up your gait and can even give you back injuries. Start by standing tall with your head over your shoulders, shoulders over your hips, hips over the feet, abs pulled in. If you’re not used to it, it’ll feel like work at first. But, try keeping that posture while you walk, even for 5 minutes at a time. It will become more and more comfortable. You’ll start to realize it’s the natural way for humans to stand and walk. Your gait will improve, your core will get stronger, you’ll be less fatigued and you’ll enjoy your walks more. And won’t you look cool and snappy out there with that perfect gait.

I’ve got another week of walking in the Rockies for a living and I’m enjoying every minute of it; being out in the open air, checking out the fall color and looking cool and snappy.

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Osteoporosis: What Does Buying A Purse Have To Do With It?

We all have a lot to lose if we take a serious fall. Assuming we survive, the effects can be life altering. And if you have osteoporosis, what would have been a minor slip and fall for others, could have devastating consequences for you. Here’s a fall prevention video that should be of interest to anyone interested in staying upright.

Osteoporosis Fall Prevention Video

There’s a story that prompted me to post this video and write this article. Here it is.

OsteoporosisI have a friend who had been eyeballing this cute little red purse for a couple of months.  She didn’t need it but she wanted it and sort of became obsessed with it.

She’d visit it online and wave to it in the store. But, there’s no way she was going to buy that purse because wanting it that bad made her feel a little stupid.

Well, the darn thing went on sale the other day at 40-percent off and another 10-percent off with her store card. Now, of course, she had to have that red bag.

Apparently, so did every other woman in the United States. Because, she had it in her online shopping cart and by the time she got her credit card out, it was no longer available. It had been snatched right out of her cart.

She was furious. She felt violated. “How dare they sell MY red purse?”

She called the company.  They apologized and looked for one in their inventory anywhere. They gave her stores and a warehouse to call and reserve it before the last one could be sold. She called around for over an hour and finally got to someone who found one in California and ordered it for her.

As she was patting herself on the back for her investigative skills and persistence my friend had an aha! moment. She had recently been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Her doctor had given her a list of endocrinologists he’d be comfortable recommending but she hadn’t even looked at it, let alone researched it.

“I had been meaning to but I had been putting it off for no good reason. I thought why on earth don’t I apply that same purse passion to taking charge of my own health care?”

She thought about it for a minute and the answer she came up with unnerved her a little. “Health care is not sexy,”  Purses are sexy! Purses are sexier than being healthier and maybe living longer? Eek!

But health is sexy! Quality of life is sexy!

As she started to Google the doctors on the list, she began to sing a parody to that old rock song.
“I’m too sexy for my purse, too sexy for my mouse pad, but not too sexy for my doctor’s office. Maybe a little bit too sexy, but I’m goin’ anyway.”

I think perhaps my friend has touched a nerve in many of us. Would we really rather look good than to feel good?

Sure seems like it. I think it’s that very premise that prompted an ad agency to come up with a TV commercial for a dietary supplement featuring a sexy dancing X-ray skeleton of a baby boomer model that’s protecting her looks by protecting her bones.

It got my attention. If you can’t get them to do it for health, get them to do it for beauty. Twistedly brilliant!

So I guess, if beauty is your motivation, go for it; especially when the health comes with it.
But what do you do if you already have osteoporosis like my friend, or have low bone mass, or you just have the good sense to want to take of your bones?

Osteoporosis And Calcium

I asked Susan Randall, MSN, FNP-BC, Senior Director, Science and Education at the National Osteoporosis Foundation and she said:

Getting enough calcium in our diet is really important. The NOF recommends
an intake of 1,000 miligrams for adult women from age 50 or younger, and age 51 and older — 1,200 milligrams a day for adult women. If a woman isn’t paying enough attention to calcium in her diet she puts herself at risk. But more is not necessarily better when it comes to calcium. Neither women nor men should get more than about 2,000 milligrams a day.

She also said “Weight bearing exercise actually builds bone in youth and will help maintain bone.”

When I asked her about fall prevention she said, “As we get older the type of exercise changes a little bit. We still have to do some impact work but it has to be safe to avoid injury and falls so you want to add balance training, flexibility training, and safe movement to make sure the individual is able to stay active and healthy.”

So what’s the takeaway here? My takeaway is if you like standing on your own two feet, taking care of your bones is about as sexy as it gets.

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Exercise Relieves Back Pain

Exercise Relieves Back PainAlthough specialists once thought that resting was the best prescription for a bad back, it is now shown that exercise relieves back pain. And carefully designed exercises may be even more effective in reducing back pain. A sedentary lifestyle and unnatural alignment of the spine have a lot to do with back pain, a condition that affects 31 million Americans at any given time, according to the American Chiropractic Association. One study found that half of all working Americans report back pain symptoms whether they are seated or standing on the job.

Exercise Relieves Back Pain

Exercise Relieves Back PainIf you spend most of your time sitting at a desk, it’s easy to hunch your shoulders and neck forward to look at a computer screen without even noticing. And if you hold that position for hours at a time, especially with your legs crossed at the knees, your spine can really suffer. For women, wearing high-heeled shoes can add to spine stress.
By the time we reach our fifties, many Baby Boomers have created bad habits and bad backs.

Luckily, it’s possible to change your posture for the better, standing or sitting, and relieve that chronic pain – as well as the restricted breathing, digestion and circulation that holding an unhealthy posture may cause.

The most effective way to improve your posture is by stretching your spine and strengthening your back and abdominal muscles so that your whole core area gets stronger. Exercise also works to remedy sudden injury to back tissue and muscles.

One of the most effective ways to relieve back pain is back extension. Back extension helps to reset your vertebrae into proper alignment and to relieve nerve pressure. You can do it standing, sitting or lying face down (yoga cobra pose).

Exercise Relieves Back Pain

Exercise Relieves Back PainHere’s the standing version:

Stand feet comfortable apart. Place your two hands behind you at the lumbar area. Gently arch your back and look upward without stretching the neck too far back. Hold for 10-20 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Try this anytime your back feels fatigued. You’ll be surprised at how much relief it gives you. But don’t do it if you are in severe back pain. In that case it’s time to call your doctor.

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Belly Fat: How to Lose It!

Belly FatBelly Fat: How to Lose It!
Once upon a time, not so long ago, belly fat was a sign of prosperity.  Much to our chagrin, that little, or not so little belly, it’s actually a sign that you may be at risk for some serious health issues like Heart Disease, Diabetes, and High Blood Pressure, among others.

Also many women after menopause see a thickening of their waistline due to hormonal changes.

Whatever the cause, the evidence is clear. Apple shaped people are more at risk!
So, how much is too much belly fat?

It’s all about your waist size.  For women it’s a waist measurement of 33 or more.

So, okay you say, I’ve got too much belly fat. What can I do about it? I’ve heard there’s no such thing as spot reducing.

While that’s scientifically true, there’s a lot you can do to target any specific area of you body for work.

Aerobic exercise can burn calories and help you lose weight in general. Targeted ab exercises can help you develop lean muscle mass in that area and help flatten your tummy.

Full body strength training can raise your metabolism and help you return your body to its youthful shape.

Belly Fat: How To Lose It Exercises

Here are a couple of exercises you can do to strengthen and firm up that area to help you whittle away belly fat and replace it with muscle.

  • Try using the old army exercise of sucking in your tummy during every day activities, pulling your navel back to your spine.

And you can try this exercise to help you firm up faster. It tones the center as well as the sides of your abdominals.

  • Lie down on your back and bend one knee up towards your chest.
  • At the same time, turn you torso and point your opposite elbow toward the knee.
  • Start with a few: work up to 20 repetitions over several weeks.
  • Then do 20 reps, take a short break and do another 20.

Putting weight on around your middle is easy. Taking belly fat off is hard. Unfortunately there’s no secret formula. Take a no nonsense look at your diet. Reduce your potion size and cut out empty calories. Start exercising slowly, and progress in your comfort zone. Chances are that pretty soon you’ll be able to find your shoes simply by looking down.

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Weight Loss Panic

Weight LossWhenever the weather gets warmer, the idea of putting on summer clothes generates a ton of weight loss panic! I get a lot of panicky emails asking about quick weight loss. Here are a couple of familiar ones.

Weight Loss Panic Solutions

Q: I need to lose 20 pounds. I am doing aerobics three times a week and watching my calories but I am losing so slowly, I was wondering if there is any other type of exercise that could help me lose weight faster? I am really getting frustrated and I am almost ready to just give up.

Frustrated

A. Try adding 2-3 days of weight training to the mix.

weight lossStudies show the winning formula is a combination of aerobic and weight training exercise. Moderate aerobic exercise burns calories while you are doing it and for a short time afterwards. Weight training burns calories too but it also increases your lean muscle mass. So as you add more muscle, you’ll burn more calories all day long. Research from Tufts University found that after 12 weeks of weight training, total calorie burning increased by about 15 percent which for an average adult, could amount to an extra 240 to 400 calories a day.

Q: I’m carrying about 10 extra pounds around my middle. I’ve got 12 weeks to get into my dress for my daughter’s wedding. I would hate to have to go out and buy a bigger size. Is there anything I can do to get rid of this belly by then?

A: As we get older, particularly after menopause, women tend to carry extra weight around the middle. This change in body shape puts you at higher risk for heart disease and cancer. So, it’s even more crucial to do something about it.

weight lossFortunately, it’s not as difficult as you think.

If you lose a pound a week, you’ll still have 2 weeks to spare, just in case you get a little hungry.

So, here’s a formula for losing the weight and toning up at the same time.

One pound = 3500 calories. So to lose one pound a week eliminate 500 calories each day (500 X 7 days = 3500 calories)

Eat 300 calories less, and do one half hour to one hour of aerobic exercise, like brisk walking, to burn the other 200. You might want to write down everything you eat for the next 3 days or so to help you figure out what you can do without. Or, simply cut your portions in half.

As for aerobic exercise, you don’t have to do the whole workout at once. Three 10-minute walks are just as effective as one half hour walk.

Weight LossYou should also do some abdominal exercises about 20 a day to help tone up that belly as you lose weight. And, exercise actually picks up your metabolic rate so you burn more calories even after you’ve finished exercising.

Now, just try not to trip on your way up the aisle!

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Fall Prevention Home Exercise Video

Fall Prevention Home Exercise VideoImprove your posture and sense of balance. Help prevent falls. This fall prevention home exercise video is easy to do and effective. Try my tightrope balance exercise.  It’s fun to do. It improves body awareness.

Experience my core exercise to help strengthen abdominal and back muscles.  It will strengthen the spine, one of the areas most at risk for osteoporosis.

This short and easy to do fall prevention home exercise video is an effective  time saver. Invest in your body.  It will pay you back in improved quality of life.

Mirabai Holland has been designing Exercise After 50 Videos and Osteoporosis Exercise Programs for over 30 years. For more information visit her website

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Skeletal Fitness Core & Balance For Your Bones by Mirabai Holland, MFA © 2012

I’m up in the Colorado Rockies shooting a couple of new videos.

Here’s an exerpt from one of my soon to be released Osteoporosis exercise

videos shot in this location.

Let me know what you think.

 

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