Areas of Expertise
Strength training is the process of exercising with progressively heavier resistance for the purpose of strengthening the musculoskeletal system. Muscles utilize energy to produce movement and generate strength, functioning as the engines of our bodies. Muscles also serve as shock absorbers and balancing agents. A comprehensive strength-training program that addresses all the major muscle groups may be the most effective means of reducing the risk of injury and many degenerative diseases. Moreover, an increase in muscle tissue causes a corresponding increase in our metabolic rate which means we burn more calories at rest. Therefore, strength training can play a major role in enhancing our body composition and physical appearance!
Flexibility is the range of motion within a joint along the various planes of motion. Within each joint and for each activity, there is an optimum range of motion essential to peak performance. A number of factors can limit joint mobility:
* the joint structure itself
* connective tissue elasticity within muscles
* skin surrounding muscle group
* neuromuscular coördination
Flexibility is an essential component of good health. It helps balance muscle groups that might be overused during physical training sessions or as a result of poor posture. By increasing your flexibility and range of motion, you can avoid injury and most importantly, enjoy your life more!
As my client base has expanded into an older population, I have witnessed how important balance is as a component of overall fitness. Balance is a matter of collecting information from the environment on where your body is in space and how its position is changing and then responding with adjustments using the musculoskeletal system. Muscle strength and range of motion play key roles in one’s ability to control the position of the body in movement and in situations that include responses to balance disturbances. Age-related changes occur in the sensory, motor, cognitive, and musculoskeletal systems, all affecting your ability to receive and process the necessary environmental cues and to respond quickly and efficiently to the information. One of the best ways to improve and maintain balance is to use free weights. Lifting dumbbells for strength requires attention to posture and form, while core-stabilization muscles continuously adjust to the motion of the weights.
Posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity. Muscle strength is vital in order to do this. Understanding opposing muscles and knowing whether to strengthen or stretch them is key. Your arms and legs have opposing muscles but your back muscles, spine and abs have a lot to do with your posture.
Most activities that we do daily like sitting at a desk, using a computer, driving, riding a bike, even reading round our shoulders forward. Over time these activities stretch and weaken the muscles in the back and tighten the chest muscles. Add the weight of our heads and it is no wonder that people start to hunch over as they age.
Muscles pull when strengthened so most people need to work their back muscles doing exercises such as rows and lat pull downs to pull the shoulders back. Sitting and standing you want your ears to be aligned over your shoulders. Abs play such an important role in body stance. We have four layers of abdominal muscle. Deep breathing is very important also.It seems simple but most folks do not breath properly. Adipose tissue (a nice way of saying fat) has more to do with diet than exercise. Therefore, both exercise and nutrition are essential in order to shape up your posture and reap all the benefits that come along with it!
Weight loss is the result of consuming less calories than those expended. In other words, eat less, move more! Regular exercise and proper nutrition result in the best long-term weight loss. One pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. For realistic weight loss, ACSM recommends burning 300 - 400 calories per workout session a minimum of three times a week. In addition, create a deficit of 500 - 1000 calories each day. An average person can expect to lose 1 - 2 pounds a week!
Fitness for Seniors
Aging is a normal biological process. The signs of aging include loss of height, reduced lean body mass, changes in eyesight, and less coordination. There are noticeable changes in the functioning of the cardiovascular, endocrine, respiratory, and musculoskeletal systems. Weight bearing and resistance training exercises are known to help maintain bone mass as well as strength gains. Regular exercise preserves lean body mass, decreases fat stores and stimulates protein synthesis which may reverse these adverse changes which are associated with growing older. I encourage seniors to become more physically active in all their daily activities (use the stairs, walk to the store) and to bend, move, and stretch to keep joints flexible.