This week I covered part one of a three-part Facebook Live series on starting and maintaining exercise during the holiday season. In this video, I talk about the small changes that you can make to get more physical activity in your life, starting today.
Yoga is by far the most popular exercise program used by Age Sisters around the world. Many women tell me that, as they get older, yoga seems to work for their bodies and lifestyles. Why does this ancient practice enhance the modern ageing body? Let’s explore.
In recent years, yoga has moved from a niche activity to a mainstream exercise craze. Yoga’s popularity comes from both mental and physical health benefits. Yoga is a combination of focus on mind, body, and spirit. The practise of yoga integrates these three elements to foster compassion, well-being and inner peace.
Many women over 50 manage chronic pain conditions. Few find complete relief from medications, and many are looking for additional ways to better deal with aches and soreness. As a result, many studies have been conducted to look at the use of exercise to manage pain.
When researchers looked at the results of a study of using different types of exercise to control pain, they initially...
I always tell my students that if you think of maintaining bone mass like using a bank, you are making more deposits than withdrawals when you are young. You build your savings to the highest levels in your twenties. In your thirties and forties, you start to make small withdrawals, and then after menopause, you go on a bit of a spending spree. Both men and women begin to lose bone at a similar rate in their mid-30s; at menopause, women typically have bone loss of about 3 to 5% per year for the first five years post-menopause and another 1% per year afterwards.
The formal definition for osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder characterized by compromised bone strength predisposing a person to an increased risk of fracture. Simply put, osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become thinner (bone quality) and more porous (bone density). Thinning bone can lead to decreased strength and subsequent increased risk of fracture.
Osteoporosis is responsible for...
If we had a pill that conferred all the benefits of exercise, physicians would prescribe it to every patient. Our health care system would find a way to make sure that every patient had access to this “wonder drug.”
~Dr. Robert E. Sallis
Remember last week I talked about the idea of prescribing exercise as a treatment, in the same way we would prescribe a drug? This week, that vision became closer to a reality in the prevention and treatment of one of the most significant chronic diseases we all face.
Unfortunately, cancer touches most of us. The good news is that cancer deaths are actually declining in the western world due to advances early detection and treatment. Nonetheless, cancer continues to be the second leading cause of mortality worldwide.
Like other chronic illnesses, many cancers can be prevented and better managed with lifestyle changes. Not surprisingly, exercise has emerged as a powerful weapon in cancer prevention and treatment. This week,...
One of the things that I hear most often from women wanting more guidance in their programs is that they want to know how to exercise safely. But to clarify, this can mean many things to different people (e.g. the design of the program, type of exercise, outdoor safety etc.). Keeping general safety considerations in mind, here is a run down on some of the basics to think about when you’re getting started.
If you are interested in having support, I would recommend that you start by working with someone who is certified and qualified to design a comprehensive program. Depending on where you live, qualifications may vary. You should look for a minimum of an undergraduate degree in exercise science and a national level certification. You will also want to look for someone who has experience and qualifications that are specific to women over 50.
Let’s assume you are taking on a program on your own. Here are 12 ways that you can help increase how safely you are approaching...
As modern women, we take planning our lives very seriously. We schedule appointments into our favourite daytimers (probably one of several), we write lists, and we shape our careers by carefully planning for all the different stages. We also plan for the transitions in the lives of our children and the subsequent changes in our homes. But one thing many of us fail to plan for is the eventual responsibilities of caregiving for someone we love who is ill or at end-of-life.
For some reason, having responsibilities for the care of parents never really factored into my own plans; it seemed like some esoteric idea that was seemingly years down the road. When my mother died, everything in my careful planning was turned on it’s ear.
I don’t think that in our grief, my sister and I could have ever imagined the toll that becoming the sole emotional support for my heartbroken, aging father would take. Before my mother’s death, my father was the pillar of the family - he...
Every morning, one of my favourite males lumbers down the stairs and plops himself down in front of the fire. Although he’s not much of a conversationalist, he’s a great walking partner. After 10 years together he still loves me unconditionally. All he asks for is the occasional head scratches and a cookie here and there. Oh, and just by having him in my life, research confirms that I will sit less and move more. Where do you find a great guy like this? In the large breed section at your local animal shelter .
Will you really move more by getting a dog? The simple answer is yes. Anyone who owns a dog will tell you that depending on the energy level of the breed, dogs need to be exercised several times a day. Many dogs, like mine, need a significant amount of high-level physical activity per week. This typically equates to less overall sitting time, especially in urban-dwelling owners.
There is a term in the research for the dogs, people, and physical...
This week goes out to one of my favourite Age Sisters, Gail, who asked me to write about the association between menopause and joint pain. I have to be honest - these are two things that I had never linked together. Intrigued, I set out to find out more about the pain and menopause connection.
When I searched through the research, what I found was a collection of studies about something called “menopausal arthralgia”. This phenomenon is thought to occur around the time of menopause and may or may not relate to a common condition of aging, osteoarthritis.
Many studies have found a significant change in joint pain and stiffness when comparing pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women; regular pain and stiffness seems to be more severe during and after menopause. In fact, in one of the most comprehensive studies done on joint pain and menopause, post-menopausal women were twice as likely to report joint pain and stiffness as premenopausal women. Reported levels...
Every year, I sit in a little booth while a technician coaches me to expand my lungs as much a possible. “Big breath in! And blow out as hard as you can”, she coaches, as she tests my lungs for overall function and capacity.
The exercise physiologist in me knows that a childhood of constant indoor exposure to secondhand smoke, working in smoke-filled pubs when I was young, along with my genetics, has likely led to my more delicate lungs in adulthood. When you work in health promotion, it feels quite humbling to manage your own chronic health problem, but I’m luckier than most asthmatics in that my condition has remained stable for the last 15 years.
My own experience (and those of loved ones) led me to an interest chronic disease prevention. We know unequivocally that some of the biggest killers and illness-producers (e.g., heart disease, some cancers, type 2 diabetes) can be managed and/or prevented with reducing lifestyle- related risks. Twenty-five years ago, I...
Don’t you love that feeling of new beginnings that happens as we start September? Maybe it’s because I spent a lot of time in school, or maybe it’s from watching the transition every year with my own kids, but September always feels like an opportunity to start fresh and get back on track. The fall is the time of year that many of my fellow Age Sisters think about making some changes to live a healthier life. As women, sometimes the change we tend to focus on most often is diet.
I’m asked a lot these days about my view on the latest diet trend, intermittent fasting. Let me start by saying that many of the modern diet approaches have some merit, especially if you are eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, thinking about more variety, or being more thoughtful about when you eat. But the thought of intermittent fasting always causes some tension in my psyche. Here’s why…
Growing up in the era of the grapefruit diet, the lemon-juice and cayenne...
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