Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Astronauts in Space

Posted in Exercise, Workouts, & Fitness on August 22nd, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

When astronauts come back to earth after extended space missions, they sometimes, at first, can’t walk or perform other physical activities very well. The reason for this is that the weightlessness of space makes it possible for astronauts to push and pull objects without the effort, and their muscles become weak as a result.

In the future, NASA hopes to develop ways to make exercise in space more effective, more efficient, and more pleasant.

Back here on earth, the same prinicple applies to the muscles of sedentary older adults: If you don’t use them, you lose them.

The good news… at any age, almost any older adult – or astronaut – can improve their strength through exercise.

Every time you stand, walk, or pick something up, your muscles work against gravity. With each gravity-defying activity, your bones react by triggering the formation of additional bone mass. The more you lift and the faster you move, and the more often you do both, the stronger your bones and muscles become. If you are active enough for long enough, your cardiovascular system gets a workout as well.

Exercise is a necessity. Get moving!!

Difference Between Physical Activity and Exercise

Posted in Exercise, Workouts, & Fitness on August 21st, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Both physical activity and exercise refer to the voluntary movements you do that burn calories.

Physical Activities
Physical activities are activities that get your body moving such as gardening, walking the dog, raking leaves, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Exercise is a form of physical activity that is specifically planned, structured, and repetitive such as weight training, tai chi, or an aerobics class.

Physical activity and exercise are both important and can help improve your ability to do the everyday activities you enjoy.

There are many ways to be active every day. Find something you enjoy doing, include it in your regular routine, and try to increase your level of activity over time.

Adults 90 Years Old and Older

Posted in Exercise, Workouts, & Fitness on August 20th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

More than 2/3′s of older adults don’t engage in regular physical activity.

Many adults who are 90 years old and older, who have become physically frail from inactivity can more than double their strength through simple exercises in a fairly short time.

For these adults, that can mean the difference between being able to get up from a chair by themselves or having to remain seated until someone is available to help them get up.

In one study, some adults 80 years old and older were able to progress from using walkers to using canes after doing simple muscle building exercises for just 10 weeks.

61 year old Ron Ekovich, of Leesville, South Carolina says, “Exercise is like a savings account. The more you put in, the more you’re going to get out of it.”

Whatever your age, stay as physically active as you can. Always talk with your doctor first before starting a new exercise program, so that you will feel safe and that you are doing the right thing.

Judging Your Effort

Posted in Exercise, Workouts, & Fitness on August 18th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Some informal guidelines you can use to estimate how much effort you are putting into your endurance activities are listed below:

  • Talking
    Talking does not take much effort during moderate activity. During vigorous activity, talking is difficult.
  • Perspire
    If you tend to perspire, you probably will not sweat during light activity, except on hot days. You will sweat during vigorous or sustained moderate activity.
  • Muscles
    Your muscles may get a rubbery feeling after vigorous activity, but they won’t after moderate activity.

Endurance exercises are any activity that increases your heart rate and breathing for an extended period of time. Some examples are walking, jogging, raking, and swimming.

A doctor who specializes in exercise for older adults tells her patients this about how hard they should work during endurance activities: “If you can’t talk while you’re exercising, it’s too difficult. If you can sing a song from an opera, it’s too easy!”

Moderate Activities:
These activities are also good for the average older adult. Some older adults, especially those who have been inactive for a long time, will need to work up to these activities gradually.

  • Bicycling
  • Cycling on a stationary bicycle
  • Dancing
  • Gardening – mowing, raking
  • Golf, without a cart
  • Mopping or scrubbing floor
  • Rowing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis – doubles
  • Volleyball
  • Walking briskly on a level surface

Vigorous Activities:
People who have been inactive for a long time or who have some of the health risks should not start out with these activities.

  • Brisk bicycling up hills
  • Climbing stairs or hills
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Digging holes
  • Downhill skiing
  • Hiking
  • Jogging
  • Shoveling snow
  • Swimming laps
  • Tennis – singles

Four Levels of Physical Activity

Posted in Exercise, Workouts, & Fitness on August 17th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Levels of Physical Activity


  • Being inactive is unhealthy
  • Summary of overall health benefits – None!!


  • Fewer than 150 minutes a week
  • Summary of overall health benefits – Some.
  • Note that low levels of activity are clearly preferable to an inactive lifestyle.


  • 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week
  • Summary of overall health benefits – Substantial!!
  • Activity at the high end of this range has additional and more extensive health benefits than activity at the low end.


  • More than 300 minutes a week
  • Summary of overall health benefits – Additional.
  • Current science does not allow researchers to identify an upper limit of activity above which there are no additional health benefits.


Posted in Exercise, Workouts, & Fitness on August 9th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Endurance is the measure of your body’s ability to keep up an activity without getting tired. The more endurance you have, the longer you can walk, swim, bike, run, or play a sport before tiring out. Examples:

  • Cardiorespiratory endurance is the ability of the circulatory and respiratory systems to adjust to and recover from the effects of whole body exercise or work. This means using your heart and lungs nonstop. When you exercise, your heart beats faster, sending more needed oxygen throughout your body. If you are not fit, your heart and lungs have to work harder during exercise. Long runs or swims are examples of activities that can help your heart and lungs work better over a long period of time.
  • Muscular endurance is the ability of your muscles to perform repetitive contractions over a prolonged period of time. Push ups are often used to test endurance of arm and shoulder muscles. Aerobic exercise also helps to improve muscular endurance. Activities such as running increase your heart rate and make your heart muscle stronger.

Endurance-building or aerobic exercises improve the functions of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Vital to fitness are:

  • A strong heart to pump blood to nourish billions of body cells.
  • Healthy lungs where the gases of cell metabolism are exchanged for oxygen and elastic blood vessels free of obstructions.

Without a healthy level of endurance, you may feel tired, lack zest, or you may also experience shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat or even nausea.

Some activities to improve endurance include brisk walking, cycling, swimming, dancing and jogging.

Why You Should Walk

Posted in Exercise, Workouts, & Fitness on August 8th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Walk for Fitness

  • Walking is actually one of the best all around exercises.
  • The massaging action your leg muscles exert on your veins as you walk improves the flow of blood back to your heart and also strengthens your leg muscles.
  • At least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, on 5 or more days a week, can produce long-term health benefits, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. If you can’t walk for 30 minutes at one time, take 5 minute walks, 10 minute walks, or 15 minute walks throughout the day. It all adds up to better health for you. You are probably already walking more than you think you are.
  • Walking can help mid-life and older persons build and maintain cardiovascular endurance.
  • Walking can give you more energy and make you feel good.
  • Walking can reduce stress and help you relax.
  • Walking can strengthen your bones.
  • Walking requires no previous instructions.
  • Walking can be done almost anywhere, and almost anytime of the year.
  • Walking costs nothing.
  • Walking has the lowest rate of injury of any form of exercise.

It takes a little longer to achieve conditioning results through walking than through more strenuous activities, but not much. One study showed that jogging a mile in 8 and 1/2 minutes burns only 26 more calories than walking a mile in 12 minutes.

Make Walking a Daily Habit
There are many ways to get walking into your life. Try taking advantage of all the opportunities around you to walk more every day:

  • Many people find it more enjoyable to exercise with others, so walk with family or a friend.
  • Walk up the stairs instead of taking the escalator or elevator, or get off a few floors below your destination and walk up a few stairs.
  • Choose the farthest spot in the parking lot or at the opposite end of the mall, the grocery store, or where you work, etc.
  • Walk the last few blocks instead of riding the bus all the way to work, if you can and if it is safe.
  • Eat lunch outdoors instead of at your desk.
  • Walk to your co-workers desk instead of emailing him/her.

Conditioning benefits from walking improve dramatically if you increase the pace to faster than 3 miles per hour (20 minutes in a mile). In another study, participants burned an average of 66 calories per mile walking 3 miles per hour, but 124 calories per mile when they increased the pace to 5 miles per hour.

How to Walk
A good walking workout is a matter of stepping up your pace, increasing your distance and walking more often. Some tips to help you get the most out of walking are:

  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after walking to cool working muscles and keep your body hydrated.
  • If you are going to do stretching exercises, be sure your muscles are warmed up first. Walk briskly for 5 to 10 minutes before stretching.
  • Move at a steady clip, brisk enough to make your heart beat faster and cause you to breathe more deeply. You should work hard to keep up your pace but still be able to talk while walking.
  • Practice correct posture – hold your head upright, back straight and abdomen flat, toes should point straight ahead, and arms bent at the elbow and swing at your sides.
  • Land on your heel and roll forward to drive off the ball of your foot. Walking only on the ball of the foot or walking flat-footed may cause soreness.
  • Take long, easy strides, but don’t strain. When walking up hills rapidly, lean forward slightly.
  • Breathe deeply with your mouth open if that is more comfortable.
  • If you are going for a long walk, include a cool–down period to reduce stress on your heart and muscles.

What to Wear

  • Shoes that are comfortable, provide good support, and don’t cause blisters or calluses are the only special equipment necessary. Examples are running shoes, walking shoes, or cross training shoes, or light hiking boots.
  • Wear lighter clothing than the temperature would ordinarily dictate because brisk walking generates a lot of body heat. In cold weather, wear several layers of light clothing. They trap body heat and are easy to shed if you get too warm. A woolen cap and mittens are important in very cold temperatures.

Safety Tips

  • Choose a comfortable time of day to exercise, not too soon after eating and when the air temperature is not too high.
  • Follow a walking program at the recommended rate, but be careful not to overexert yourself. Stop if you find yourself panting or feeling nauseous, if your breathing does not return to normal within ten minutes after exercising or if your sleeping is affected.
  • If you feel uncomfortable progressing at the recommended rate, spend additional weeks at each level of exercise. For example, if you reach a comfortable limit in the fifth week of the program at 3 one-mile walks on alternate days, continue one-mile walks but increase the frequency to 5, 6, 7 or more walks weekly until you can move on to activity recommended for the sixth week.

If you have a health condition or have not done any regular physical activity for a long time (men over 40, and women over 50), talk with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Upright Row

Posted in Exercise, Workouts, & Fitness on July 11th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

This exercise strengthens your upper arms and upper back muscles.

1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your back straight throughout this exercise.

2. Hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms facing your thighs.

3. Bend your elbows and raise the dumbbells in front of your body, to the count of two, until they are at shoulder height. Raise your elbows slightly higher than the dumbbells.

4. Pause. Then lower the dumbbells, to the count of four, to the starting position.

5. Repeat 10 times for one set. Rest for one to two minutes, then complete a second set.

Always be careful… what is easy for one person might be strenuous for you. Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Pelvic Tilt

Posted in Exercise, Workouts, & Fitness on July 6th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

The pelvic tilt exercise improves your posture, and tightens the muscles in your abdomen and buttocks.

1. On the floor or on a firm mattress, lie flat on your back with your knees bent, feet flat, and arms at your sides, palms facing the ground.

2. To a count of two, slowly roll your pelvis so that your hips and lower back are off the floor, while your upper back and shoulders remain in place.

3. Pause. Then, to a count of four, slowly lower your pelvis all the way down.

4. Repeat 10 times for one set. Rest for a minute or two. Then complete a second set of 10 repetitions.

Always be careful… what is easy for one person might be strenuous for you. Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Trunk Strength

Posted in Exercise, Workouts, & Fitness on July 2nd, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Example of exercises to improve trunk strength:

1. Alternating Leg Lifts

  • Lie face down on a floor or carpeted surface with legs fully extended.
  • Raise one leg at a time off the floor about 6 inches and hold for 10 seconds.
  • Return to floor and repeat exercise with the other leg.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times twice daily.

2. Crunches

  • Lie on your back with knees bent, hands across chest or behind head (only for support).
  • With eyes on ceiling, raise head and shoulders using abdominal muscles only.
  • Do 20 crunches 3 times per day. Note: Lower back should not come off the floor.

3. Raise Upper Body

  • Lay face down on the floor with hands loosely placed behind head or neck.
  • Raise upper body to an arched position and hold for a count of 10 seconds.
  • Return chest to floor, rest 15 seconds and repeat 2 more times.

Always be careful… what is easy for one person might be strenuous for you. Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.