Impact Exercise and Bone Density

We are often told that weight bearing activities help prevent osteoporosis or bone loss. But, I know a few women who perform weight bearing activities regularly and have osteopenia or osteoporosis! So, it appears for some, it can’t be prevented.  Your bone mass density is subject to factors like genetics, lifestyle, hormones and nutrition. Even if it doesn’t prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis, know that it’s beneficial!

Interestingly, many studies that showed an increase in bone mass density (BMD) from weight bearing activity only applied to adolescents and pre-menopausal women. Only a few, like this study, showed it was beneficial for post-menopausal women.  Also, your bone density improvements can be limited to areas of the skeletal system which show a greater bio-mechanical stress. Osteopenia/osteoporosis doesn’t appear to be a big concern for men, but they too should recognize the benefits of impact exercise and discuss bone mass density tests with their physicians.

Interestingly, impact activity (think “jumping” activities like running and tennis) proved to be better at stimulating an increase in bone mass density, though weight training (resistance training) can be effective if the weight is challenging enough to provide a stimulus! Sadly, walking, which is considered a weight bearing activity, may not be enough of a stimulus to increase your overall bone mass density, but it is still beneficial. Impact activity, like jumping, may not be an option for your body. Studies agree there is a higher risk of injury involved with the over 60 population, that’s why it’s not typically recommended. Consider weight training if this is the case. You may not be able to reverse osteopenia or osteoporosis, but you can certainly slow down the process or maintain what you have!

 

Image result for jumping activity for bone density

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Cedars-Sinai Investigators Develop More Accurate Measure of Body Fat

For years I’ve been frustrated by the use of BMI (Body Mass Indicator) as an indicator of body fat, although my industry continues to use it. BMI measures a person’s height and weight and draws conclusions from that. It’s not an accurate means of determining ones body fat level. There are many other factors. In my opinion, the health and fitness industry needs to adopt a more accurate measure of body fat. This new development gives us hope!

 

8 digital resources to consider

Being healthy takes effort. Every. Single. Day.

Some of those healthy behaviors are harder to manage than others. Fortunately there are digital resources that can help!

Check out the few I’ve discovered and determine whether they may be of interest.

Eat Slowly

Do you find yourself gulping down food in a matter of 2 or 3 bites? If so, a mindful training tool, like this app, might help you slow down. You’ll enjoy the taste of your food and become fuller faster.

Healthy Wage

Eager to lose weight but lacking motivation? How about a financial incentive to get you going? By signing up for a money based challenge, you commit to a start date and see your goals through to the end. Place a bet you’ll reach your goal, if you don’t, you lose that money. If you do, you win money!

Do yoga with me

How does streaming yoga videos free of charge sound? Yes, please.

Calm

Good stress or bad stress, it’s still STRESS! This app helps reduce stress and anxiety, and promotes a more restful sleep with guided meditations, Sleep Stories, breathing programs, and relaxing music. Limited capabilities with free app but subscription available.

Apple Health

This app collects health data from your iPhone, Apple Watch, and third-party apps that you already use, so you can view all your progress in one convenient place. Besides managing your activity, sleep, mindfulness and nutrition did you know it can store a Medical ID card, your health records and can even sign you up to be an organ donor! Done.

Moment

How much time do you spend on your device? Are you curious? Track how much you (free) and your family (requires subscription) use your phone, tablet and apps each day, automatically and set limits.

Auto Sleep

Track your sleep with or without an Apple Watch. Discover how much time you spend in deep sleep and your resting heart rate. Very detailed and surprisingly quite accurate!

iHydrate

Track liquids, other than water, as part of your hydration efforts. The app calculates the water percentage in your beverage of choice and even keeps track of how much of each beverage you drink. Also offer reminders and syncs with a variety of devices.

What’s one of your favorite health and wellness apps or resources? Please share!

Stretching FAQs

This month I wanted to supply you with answers to questions I’m often asked on the topic of stretching. The American College of Sports Medicine holds the following positions on this often lengthy topic. View the complete article from the link below.

How long should a stretch be held?

Holding a stretch for 10-30 seconds at the point of tightness or slight discomfort enhances joint range of motion, with little apparent benefit resulting from longer durations. Older persons may realize greater improvements in range of motion with longer durations (30-60 seconds) of stretching. A 20%-75% maximum contraction held for 3-6 seconds followed by 10- to 30-seconds assisted stretch is recommended for PNF techniques (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation).

How many repetitions of stretching exercises are needed?

Repeating each flexibility exercise two to four times is effective, with enhancement of joint range of motion occurring during 3-12 weeks. The goal is to attain 60 seconds of total stretching time per flexibility exercise by adjusting duration and repetitions according to individual needs. For example, 60 seconds of stretch time can be met by two 30-seconds stretches or four 15-seconds stretches.

How often should stretching exercise be performed?

Performing flexibility exercises ≥2-3 days week is effective, but greater gains in joint range of motion are accrued with daily flexibility exercise.

https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2011/07000/Quantity_and_Quality_of_Exercise_for_Developing.26.aspx

The brain-changing benefits of exercise | TED Talk

I heard such fascinating information from Wendy Suzuki in this 13 minute TED Talk that I felt obligated to share!

 

When it comes to meeting exercise guidelines, Colorado is #1!

Reported by Jeff Hayden, contributing editor at Inc., Colorado ranked #1 for meeting the CDC exercise guidelines!  Read the article here: The CDC Just Ranked Every U.S. State by How Much People Exercise. (And Things Ain’t Pretty Down South) | Inc.com

or

Read the National Health Statistic Report here.

Sedentary, 65 and older? It’s never too late to start a physical activity program!

Over the age of 65, and sedentary, but want to start a structured physical activity program? Here are a few steps to safely begin a program and incorporate fitness into your life.

  1. Educate yourself on the weekly amount of structured activity needed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention individuals 65 and older that are in good health and have no limiting health conditions should strive for 150 minutes of aerobic (also known as cardio) activity per week as well as two total-body strength workouts. Aerobic activity needs to be performed at a moderate intensity. For example, on a scale from 1 to 5 – one being the feeling of lounging around the house and five being out of breath – you need to be working at a level 3, possibly a 4. A total body (legs, back, chest, abs, arms) workout should be performed at least two times a week. These basics requirements are for those active older adults that want to maintain their health, weight and fitness level. If you are want to achieve greater goals (improved health, weight loss, train for an event) then up to 300 minutes a week of aerobic activity and possibly an additional day of strength training is required. Fortunately, your aerobic activity doesn’t have to be in 60 minutes increments. Ten minutes here and fifteen minutes there can make your aerobic activity cumulative. Strive to meet the basic recommendations for structured activity as described above. This is your first step in starting a physical activity program.
  2. Find an activity, or two, that you enjoy. Does your gym, health club, fitness or community center offer group fitness classes? What about local churches or social clubs? SilverSneakers® programming is offered nationwide and can be found at most of these establishments. Look into class schedules to determine what works best for you. What about participating in a sport such as swimming or golfing? This may be the time to start a private lesson or join a league. Perhaps meeting a friend for a walk, jog or hike is more appealing. Ask your children or grandchildren about gaming systems such as the Wii, XBox or Playstation. These devices, as well as good old fashioned exercise DVDs, will allow you to workout in the comfort of your own home and for much less than a gym membership .  If all else fails, seek out a reputable and certified personal trainer for guidance. By opening your mind to what is available and identifying an activity (or two) that you enjoy, you’re more likely to exercise regularly.
  3. On a weekly basis, schedule and complete your activities. Just as you would schedule an appointment with your doctor or dentist, schedule your activities. Write it on your calendar or in your daily planner. Use an app if you are tech saavy. Be specific. For example, “2PM on Sunday. I will walk 3 miles outside.” or “Monday at 11:30AM I will attend the group strength training class at the community center with my friend, Bob.” Scheduling and completing your activities will ensure your long term success.
  4. Make adaptions based on your limitations. With any new activity, the body will need time to adapt. Learn to make adaptations for orthopedic or medical conditions (this is where a personal trainer can be helpful). Take things slowly to prevent injuries. Modify the exercise to fit your abilities. If you have been sedentary, 150 minutes of weekly aerobic training might be unrealistic. Instead, start with 15-20 minutes, three times a week. After one or two weeks, progress the duration or frequency of the activity. Continue in this manner until your body can handle the increased activity level. Making adaptations will ensure that your body responds properly to the increased activity level and help prevent injuries.

Even if you are sedentary and 65 years or older, it is never too late to start a physical activity program. The body has a unique ability to respond to exercise regardless of its age. Delaying or preventing disease, improving mood, managing stress, and pain management are all benefits of regular exercise. Use these steps to incorporate fitness into your life and you will soon be able to achieve the physical results and health benefits you’ve always wanted.