You might be surprised to know that the speed that you walk can be reflective of how long you will live. As we age, walking speed tends to decrease. Your ability to walk is your key to independence; we likely all know someone who lost their independence concurrently with the loss of their mobility.
Walking is, in my nerdy opinion, an almost magical feat. We need millions of neurons, most of our skeletal muscles, and an assortment of small and large bones to all work in unison in order to take a single step. Add in energy systems and perceptual input, and you start to get a picture of how complex human movement really is.
When there is a change (or damage occurs) in any of the systems related to walking (like the changes that arise from a stroke or a hip fracture), the speed of walking can slow. Age-related decline (e.g., loss of muscle) can also cause you to slow your pace. Slowed walking speed in older women and ill health or reduced function are so closely related that some...
This January, you may plan to be part of the enthusiastic masses that flood the local gyms in the pursuit of better fitness. Unfortunately, the odds are that by mid-February, your interest in pumping iron or sweating out your “toxins” in a spin class will have likely waned.
As a modern population, we are a highly inactive bunch. If you’re a woman over 50, the probability that you are sedentary is higher than most. Unfortunately, as women age, activity levels take a steep downward slide, and our resultant chronic disease risk climbs. Add in the health impacts related to being post-menopausal and we have a perfect storm for ill health.
And yet we all know that we need to exercise to reduce these risks. When you are active for 150 minutes a week, your risk of cardiovascular disease, many types of cancer, and dementia all decrease dramatically. There’s good evidence that your bone health, mental health, and sleep quality also improve.
If we all know that being...
At this time of year, many of us are browsing online or in stores to find those post-holiday deals. If you intend to buy exercise gear, there are some things that you may want to consider before you pull out your Visa. Here are some ideas to help you narrow down your purchases.
I get asked a lot about what kind of shoes are best, what clothes are needed to get started in an exercise program, and what gear is necessary. The underlying question is really, “What do I need to purchase to get fit?” Like most answers that are health-related, I would say, “It depends.” It’s important to think not only about cost but also about which items are really worth the outlay.
If you are new to exercise, you may want to begin by reading my blog post about increasing your safety when starting a program. Otherwise, here is a list of some general things to think about when buying winter-specific exercise gear:
As the days get shorter and the holidays are now almost in full swing, I understand how hard it is to get motivated to exercise. It’s likely, however, that in January, many women will find themselves wanting a fresh start. The new year is always a great time to get back to an active lifestyle.
If you’re one of the people trying to make a change, I want you to be successful. Last week I talked about ways that you can deal with the issue of not having enough time in your schedule for physical activity. Today, I want to help you get over the second most-cited barrier to exercise; lack of motivation.
In a really interesting study looking at women who adhere to exercise long-term versus those who don’t, the researchers found some impressive results. The first issue for those who didn’t stick with exercise was attributed to them not having good enough fitness classes to attend. When researchers looked at why the classes might be an issue, they found that classes...
My mother used to say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Nothing could be more accurate than for those trying to exercise regularly. All of us can put exercise on the backburner; I have a fantastic gym in my home, and I have days when I tell myself that I don’t have enough time to spend 45 minutes working out. Seriously.
If someone like me who promotes exercise for a living has problems dragging herself to a workout, what hope is there for those with less experience? The short answer is plenty. Here’s the thing - if I miss a workout, I know that I have a well-established program and an exercise habit that will have me out again tomorrow and the next day. I also usually do something to make up for a missed workout, like an extra walk or taking a few more sets of stairs.
For the women just starting who struggle to find time to exercise, take heart. Lack of time to exercise is the number one reason that most people cite when asked...
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...
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