New Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults

Physical Activity Guidelines for Older AdultsOne of the most important things people of all ages can do for their health is getting regular exercise. Moving more and sitting less will go a long way in improving your health. Exercise is an integral component of a healthy lifestyle. This applies to even older adults, but it is common to see seniors lose their health and balance when they age.

Regular exercise can provide substantial health benefits for adults age 65 years and older. Being physically active makes it easier to perform daily activities such as eating, bathing, toileting, dressing, getting into or out of a bed or chair, and moving around the house or neighbourhood, without any help. Physically active older adults are less likely to experience falls, and if they do fall, they are less likely to be seriously injured.

The Department of Health and Human Services issued the federal government’s first-ever Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans in 2008 to help Americans understand the types and amounts of physical activity that offer important health benefits. The key guidelines just for older adults are as follows:

  • As part of their weekly physical activity, older adults should do multicomponent physical activity that includes balance training as well as aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
  • Older adults should determine their level of effort for physical activity relative to their level of fitness.
  • Older adults with chronic conditions should understand whether and how their conditions affect their ability to do regular physical activity safely.
  • When older adults cannot do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week because of chronic conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.

According to Healthline, older adults should use their level of fitness to determine the effort for physical activity. For example, on a scale of 0 to 10, where sitting is 0 and 10 is maximum effort, moderate-intensity activity is a 5 or 6. At this level, you should be able to talk, but not sing, during the activity.

But now, new guidelines have been introduced that provide specific suggestions for certain age groups. The U.S. government has updated its guidelines for regular physical activity for the first time in ten years, notes Harvard Health. The guidelines, published in the Nov. 20, 2018 issue of JAMA, still suggest adults get at least 150 to 300 minutes each week of moderate-intensity physical activity (such as brisk walking, swimming and cycling), and the more you can do, the better.

The new guideline report recommends mainly two things for older adults:

  • Incorporating recreational activities like dancing, yoga, tai chi, gardening, or sports often along with multi component activities (balance training, aerobic exercise, and muscle strengthening) all of which can help older adults reduce their risk of falls.
  • A change in time you should exercise per workout. Previously, sessions had to last at least 10 minutes to count toward your weekly quota. But now researchers suggest that any duration is fine, and the focus should be on consistency. For instance, even small bouts of activity like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, all can contribute to your weekly activity.

It is never too late to start being physically active. Physically active older adults are less likely to experience falls, and if they do fall, they are less likely to be seriously injured. Physical activity can also preserve physical function and mobility, which may help maintain independence longer and delay the onset of major disability. Research shows that physical activity can improve physical function in adults of any age, adults with overweight or obesity, and even in those who are frail. Promoting physical activity and reducing sedentary behavior for older adults is especially important because this population is the least physically active of any age group, and older adults spend a significant proportion of their day being sedentary. So try to break up long periods of sitting with light activity, as sedentary behavior is now considered an independent risk factor for ill health, no matter how much exercise you do.

However, older adults with chronic conditions should talk or consult with their health care professional to determine whether their conditions limit, in any way, their ability to do regular physical activity. This would help them learn about appropriate types and amounts of physical activity they can perform.

7 Effective Exercises for Back Pain

Exercises for Back PainLow back pain is a common problem. It can occur due to many reasons such as tight or weak back, abs or core muscles, muscle sprains or strains, or a herniated disc. Core strengthening and stretching exercises can ease back pain and reduce the risk of back injuries. According to a 2018 American Journal of Epidemiology review of 16 prior studies, people who exercise regularly are 33 percent less likely to develop lower back pain.

It might be difficult to hit the gym for regular exercise, but there are some effective exercises that can be performed at home. Here are 7 exercises that can reduce back pain:

  • Partial Crunch – Pelvic Tilt: This is one of the best exercises to ease back pain and develop spinal stabilization.
    • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor
    • Contract your abdominal muscles and press the small of your back into the floor, while exhaling.
    • Lift your head and shoulders slightly up off the floor as you reach toward your feet with your fingertips.
    • Hold on for 5 to 10 seconds and relax.
    • Return to the starting position and repeat 5 to 10 times.
  • Bird Dog: This exercise strengthens the core muscles, stabilizes the spine, improves posture control, strengthens the shoulder muscles, and reduces lower back pain.
    • Get on the floor on your hands and knees, with your hands placed directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips.
    • Look downwards and contract the stomach muscles to prevent sagging or your back from arching.
    • Squeeze the glutes and lift and extend your left leg and right arm up to a point where they are in line with your back. Your extended leg must be parallel to the floor and your biceps should be level with your ear.
    • Remain in the position for a few seconds before lowering your arm and leg back to their original position.
    • Repeat with the other arm and leg.
  • Dead Bug: This is an excellent exercise to strengthen the abs and core without putting strain on your lower back.
    • Lie flat on your back with your arms extended toward the ceiling and knees bent 90 degrees over hips, calves parallel to floor.
    • Contract your core to lightly press your lower back into the floor and get into the starting position.
    • Lower one leg down until your heel almost touches the floor, while also lowering your opposite arm toward the floor behind the top of your head.
    • Hold, and then squeeze your core to raise your arm and opposite leg back to start. Repeat with the other arm and leg.
  • Cat-Cow Stretch for Back Pain: This is a balanced exercise for the back because it is both a stretch (cat) and an extension (cow) exercise.
    • Start the on your hands and knees on exercise mat, with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
    • Your spine should be parallel to the ground in this position.
    • Then round your back, stretching your mid-back between your shoulder blades-similar to how a cat stretches by rounding its back.
    • Hold for 5 seconds, then relax and let your stomach fall downward as you gently arch your low back and hold here for 5 seconds.
    • Repeat these movements for 30 seconds or longer.
  • Low Side Plank: Start this exercise
    • Lie down on the floor on one side, rest on your forearm, and make sure your right elbow is directly under your shoulder.
    • Bend your knees and stack them on top of each other and in line with your shoulders.
    • Squeeze your core to raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your head to your knees.
    • Keep your muscles contracted and as tight as possible, and hold this position for five seconds, then lower your hips to reset.
    • Repeat these short movements, making sure not to let your hips rotate or sag. Then, switch to the opposite side.
  • Seated 90/90 Hip Switches:
    • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and heels on the floor in front of you, almost twice shoulder-width apart.
    • Hold your hands in front of your chest and rotate your body to the right, allowing the outside of your right thigh and the inside of your left thigh to fall toward the floor.
    • Your chest should point directly over the right knee.
    • Pause, and then reverse the movement in the opposite direction so that you’re performing the rep over your left knee.
  • Bridges (Bridging): This exercise helps strengthen various supporting areassuch as hamstrings, buttocks, abdomen, and hips to reduce back pain.
    • Lie with your back to the floor, knees bent with only your heels touching the floor.
    • Tighten your abdomen and buttock muscles.
    • Lift your hips up to make a single, straight line from your knees to shoulders.
    • Hold this position for about ten seconds and then slowly bring your hips back to the floor and give yourself about 10 seconds of rest.Repeat 8 to 12 times.

It’s very important to consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Based on your symptoms and causes of your back pain, your doctor will help you plan the exercise program that’s best for you.

How to Stay Active when Living with Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a chronic condition in which the bones become brittle, weak and easily damaged or broken. It occurs due to decreased bone tissue mineralization and bone strength over time. Bone loss is caused by aging and women are affected earlier and to a greater extent than men. Osteoporosis increases risk of fracture. Exercise is the best way to increase bone mass and prevent fractures that can occur due the condition.

OsteoporosisWeight-Bearing Exercises: This includes activities that make you move against gravity while staying upright. These can be high-impact or low-impact exercises to strengthen muscles, improve balance, and enhance flexibility. If you have broken a bone due to osteoporosis or are at risk of breaking a bone, you may need to avoid high-impact exercises or check with your health professional before doing them. High-impact weight-bearing exercises include

  • Dancing
  • Aerobics
  • Hiking
  • Jogging/running
  • Jumping Rope
  • Stair climbing
  • Tennis

Low-impact weight-bearing exercises are a safe alternative also keep bones and muscles strong and are a safe alternative if you cannot do high-impact exercises. Examples of low-impact weight-bearing exercises are:

  • Using elliptical training machines
  • Doing low-impact aerobics
  • Using stair-step machines
  • Fast walking on a treadmill or outside

Muscle-strengthening Exercises: These are resistance exercises or activities where you move your body, a weight, or some other resistance against gravity. They include

  • Lifting weights and using weight machines. Start slow and gradually work up to heavier weights.
  • Using elastic exercise bands
  • Lifting your own body weight
  • Functional movements, such as standing and rising up on your toes

Activities like yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi are also good for osteoporosis patients as they improve strength, balance and flexibility. However, guidance is important as some positions in yoga or Pilates are not safe for them. Tai Chi requires no special equipment and can be done by individuals of all ages. The activity involves a sequence of smooth, patterned movements done along with breathing exercises.

If you have osteoporosis and want to do start an exercise plan, ask your physician for advice. This is important because not all exercises are suitable for all people. One should not put unnecessary pressure on bones that could lead to further problems.

Get Moving with These Exercises You Can Do in Your Office

Sedentary behaviour is related to poor health and can increase your risk of developing everything from heart disease to diabetes. Prolonged sitting is bad for health. A recent article in TIME reports that one study found that sitting can increase your risk for cancer by more than 60 percent. The reality is that working people simply don’t have time to hit the gym or jogging. However, there are some stretching and strength-training moves that you can do from your office seat which will lessen your sedentary time at work. They may not produce the same results as hitting the gym or going for a run, but when it comes to workouts, every little bit helps.

Here are 10 exercises that can be done when you’re at work:

Exercises You Can Do in Your Office1. Climbing the Stairs: If you need to go to another floor, take the stairs. It’s a simple way to get some cardio exercise. Running or walk up and down the stairs briskly can help raise the heartbeat.
2. Knee Tucks: Knee tucks work the core muscles. Sit tall on the front half of your chair. Grasp the sides lightly with your hands and lean back slightly as you tighten your abs and bring your right knee up to chest height. Lower it as you raise your left knee on the next rep. Alternate sides. Once you get good at this, try lifting both knees at once, even just a few inches. Do up to 5 reps per leg.
3. Shoulder Blade Squeezes: This exercise is good for improving hunched posture. To do this exercise, imagine you’re trying to hold something like a pencil between your shoulder blades. Squeeze the shoulder blades together and hold for 10 seconds.
4. Chair Squats: This exercise is very effective for building lower body strength. Stand in front of your chair. Exhale and bend your knees and lower your bottom down toward the chair, letting it touch briefly down on the edge of the chair. Then stand back up. Repeat 10 times.
5. Leg Raise: This exercise helps tighten the abs. Sitting on your chair, raise and straighten one leg at a time. Raise it to a 90-degree angle and then lower, but don’t touch the floor before raising your leg back up. Try lifting both legs at the same time.
6. Exercise the Hands: Clasp your hands together and sit straight with your feet firmly on the floor. Lock your hands and pull in opposite directions. You will feel the strain on your arms.
7. Wall Sit: This exercise tones your quads and boosts your strength. Stand against a blank wall space, then squat down to a 90 degree angle. Slide your back down the wall while bending your knees. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor and hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
8. The “Magic Carpet Ride”: While sitting on your chair, cross your legs so your feet rest under your ankles. Put your hands on the chair’s armrests, engage your core, and lift the rest of your body a few inches off the chair. Hold the pose for 10 to 20 seconds, rest, and repeat about 5 times.
9. Calf Raise: This is a simple but effective calf toner exercise. Stand behind your chair and hold on for support. Raise your heels off the floor, as high as possible, until you are standing on your toes. Slowly lower yourself back to the floor.
10. Take a Walking Break: Walking is the best exercise you can do. Schedule 10-15 minutes for walking. If the weather permits, go get some fresh air and relax for some time.

Tips to Boost Male Health in Later Life

Boost Male HealthAs you age, you can expect your body to witness gradual changes. The secret to staying youthful as you grow older is to see aging as a new stage of opportunity and strength. Many health problems can creep is as you age, but the good news is that they are preventable. In fact, the goal of International Men’s Health Week held from June 12 through June 18 was to spread awareness among men about preventable health problems and the importance of early detection and treatment of disease. Older men should stay physically and socially active. Those who develop healthy habits can expect to minimize the risks of chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancer.

According to Healthinaing.org, though Americans are living longer than before, they are not living as long as American women. The average life expectancy for men in the US is now roughly 75 years. For women, it is more than 80. This could be because risky behaviours like smoking and drinking are more common in men. With the right lifestyle choices and healthy habits such as maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, following a healthy diet, and not smoking, men can boost their chances of living a healthier and longer life. Adopting the following strategies can boost male health in later life:

  • Lower the risk of Prostate Cancer: Eating a diet high in vegetables and low in fat, red meat, burnt meats and processed meats can reduce prostate cancer risk. Screening or checking, for early signs of certain health problems can help in diagnosing it early. Early diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer improves the chances of successful treatment.
  • Lower the Risk of Falls and Fractures: Falls and fractures are a common problem among older adults, and difficult to treat as calcium and vitamin D levels get depleted as you age. Ask your doctor’s advice on taking bone-healthy calcium and vitamin D supplements to lower the risk of falls and fractures. These vitamins and nutrients play a key role in keeping you healthy. You can also ask your doctor to recommend suitable exercise programs to improve your strength, balance, and flexibility. If you are medically fit, you can do weight-bearing, bone-building exercises such as walking and jogging.
  • Maintain a Balanced Diet: Include more fresh vegetables and fruits in your diet. Limit the intake of fatty foods and maintain a balance between good and bad fats. Avoid foods such as sausages, sausages, canned meat, pastry cream, sundaes, black tea and coffee. If you need to have meat or poultry, then you need to boil, cool the broth and remove fat from the surface. Cooked meat can be baked or stewed. Instead of black tea and coffee, switch to green tea, cocoa, fruit and vegetable juices. And limit intake of salt and sugar.
  • Do Brain Exercises: Exercise your brain and keep your memory sharp by doing crosswords, word puzzles or jigsaw puzzles. You can also try to learn new languages, read books, or engage in a new hobby. Such brain exercises can lower the risk of dementia.
  • Quit Smoking and Drinking: Quit smoking to avoid blood pressure and heart disease. Avoiding these risky habits can greatly improve health.
  • Meet your Healthcare Provider Regularly: Even if you are in perfect health, you should see your provider at least once a year for a check-up. If your provider has prescribed vitamins or any other supplement, take them as directed.

Spending time and doing things with other people, of all ages, can help keep you mentally, physically and emotionally fit.

Engage in These Everyday Activities to Burn More Calories

Everyday Activities to Burn More CaloriesAre you looking to shed a few pounds and get back in shape? Burning the calories that you consume everyday is the key to achieving this goal. People often sign up for hard-to-do exercise regimens to meet their goals and of course they do help. However, many may get exhausted with these tedious activities midway and drop them altogether. Are you one among such people looking for alternate means that can help you burn some calories in a lighter way?

Here are some everyday activities to engage in. Make sure that you also watch your diet to meet your goal easily. After all, you won’t get bored if you enjoy what you do.

  • Spend some time everyday to play with the kids. This not only helps you burn a few calories but also helps you relax.
  • Invest some time for an everyday hobby such as gardening. Plucking weeds, digging and watering your crops all help you to burn calories in addition to giving you pleasure.
  • Iron your clothes yourself. It would be good if you can take the role of ironing the clothes of your family members too.
  • Spend some time dusting the surfaces of tables, shelves, and knickknacks in your home once in a week. This makes your house look clean and in addition helps to burn calories.
  • Brush your teeth for at least two minutes. In addition to oral health, this also helps you burn a few calories. Do it two times a day, in the morning and before bed.
  • Fix a day of the week to wash your car or bike. Also, take some time to wash the windows of your home. Cleaning and washing may not be fun but it definitely helps you lose a few calories. Or do the stuff with a partner and the whole thing will be much more enjoyable.
  • Make it a point to cook your own meals. It not only helps you to have healthy home cooked meals but is also an activity that will help get rid of some extra fat.
  • Have an evening walk with your dog down the street. In addition to burning calories, it gives you an occasion to relax after the day’s tiring job.
  • Last but not the least you should get your daily good night sleep of 8 hours that complements all your calorie burning activities.

You can also try out some other ways to burn some extra calories everyday such as walking to work rather than driving, taking the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator, walking down the hall to see a colleague rather than making a phone call or sending an e-mail, and so on. Make a list of your everyday activities and keep a close watch on those activities that involve minimum movement on your part. Bring more movement into such activities and benefit in the long run.

Learn about the Many Benefits of Strength Training

Benefits of Strength TrainingWe all know that regular exercise is important to achieve and maintain good physical and mental health. When it comes to physical activity, there are several options such as running, walking, jogging, swimming, and strength training. However, most people have no idea about the beneficial impact of strength training on overall health and wellbeing. Here are the important benefits of including strength training as part of your daily workout:

  • The prime benefit is improved muscle strength and tone, which helps maintain flexibility and balance, and improves your ability to remain independent as you age. An added benefit is improved posture.
  • According to a Chiro One report, strength training helps you live longer. Yes, it increases lifespan by decreasing mortality rates in all major illnesses.
  • Strength training improves your stamina so that you don’t tire easily.
  • Is it a true metabolism booster? Training with weights helps you burn more calories as your body works hard to break up muscle fiber, and then rebuilding and strengthening it. This reduces body fat and makes you lean.
  • This kind of workout also strengthens your tendons and ligaments, which would help prevent joint injuries and degeneration.
  • According to a Harvard Health report, strength training releases increased levels of serotonin which helps improve mood disorders, including depression.
  • Osteoporosis is a condition in which people have weakening bones, decreased bone mineral density, and increased risk of fracture. Strength training can be incorporated into your daily workout, which would help to prevent or treat the condition.
  • Strength training also plays a crucial role in preventing or controlling chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, depression and obesity. It is a popular pain management strategy.

If you are a beginner, get professional advice on how to start off. How you progress will depend on your goals. For example, if you want to improve muscle imbalance, you should focus on strengthening your weak spots and include exercises focused on those muscles. Experts recommended that beginners train two or three times per week to gain the maximum benefit. Varying your workouts in between is also important.

Exercises to Reverse the Effects of Aging

Exercises Reverse Effects of AgingStaying fit with proper diet and exercise is one of the best ways to counter the negative effects of aging on the body and mind. According to Everyday Health, a study from Taiwan found that as little as 15 minutes of exercise a day could increase a person’s life span by as much as three years.

The most important thing is to stay active throughout the day. Avoid sitting and standing for too long and minimize idleness. Here are some exercises and activities that can counter the impact of aging.

  • When it comes to exercise, every little bit counts. Seniors don’t have to run marathon to stay fit. Take short walks whenever you can. Exercise can also improve your mental health. One study found that people over 65 who exercise for 15 minutes three times a week reduced their risk for dementia by one-third.
  • One of the biggest threats to senior health is falling. So it is very important to be able to maintain your balance and stability by doing balance exercises. Tai chi and yoga can improve balance and prevent falls.
  • Yoga can increase strength and flexibility and reduce systolic blood pressure. This modality involves a series of poses, stretches, controlled breathing, and meditation. Making it a part of your daily routine can improve balance, endurance, and overall fitness.
  • Swelling in the legs, calves, and feet is a common concern among older adults. Exercises targeting the legs and calves can improve blood circulation and help fluid move more easily through the body.
  • Older people who have been ill or hospitalized also need to get back to physical activity as soon as their condition permits. Patients who exercise and stroll around can reduce the length of their hospital stay. After a hospital stay, running can help keep the brain active and prevent memory loss, say experts.
  • Osteoporosis or thinning of bones is also common among the senior health concerns. It can also lead to hip fractures, falls, and other serious injuries. Weight-bearing exercises can reduce bone loss.

The key to slowing the aging process is to stay active, both physically and mentally. Exercise should be balanced with a proper diet. Ensure that you get timely and proper medical attention for any issues you have. Maintain healthy social relationships. A combination of all these measures will definitely keep you feeling and looking younger.

Simple Exercises to Shape Up the Arms

ExercisesWith toned and shapely arms, you can look attractive and confident in sleeveless dresses and many other outfits. Unfortunately, this is the area where most women tend to gain fat – mostly due to weight gain, lack of exercise, and other factors. Getting rid of fat in this area is not easy and a standard diet and exercise may not work. What is needed is a targeted approach or methods specifically directed towards toning the arms. Let’s take a look at the measures that experts recommend to target arm fat.

  • Have you tried swinging across a monkey bar? This simple but interesting activity is one of the best ways to shape up the arms. Just climbing across and back for 2-3 minutes can work wonders as it involves all the muscles around your shoulders. Going for a wide grip hang for as long as you can is a great exercise.
  • As you may know, swimming freestyle or butterfly are good exercises to shape up arms. For those who are not swimming experts, alternate options such as water fly can help. This is a simple activity: stand in shoulder depth water, place your arms at side, and thumbs up. Then you push the water, keeping the fingers closed and arms straight. Now return to the starting position by turning your thumbs down.
  • Do you know that yoga can help and shape your arms in addition to increasing flexibility? Downward dog is a great yoga pose that help you work your arm area. From a proper standing position, bend over from the waist. Walk both hands forward and make sure that your hips are high. Relax your shoulders after pressing your heels into the floor. Walk hands forward to plank position again after holding for 3-5 breaths.
  • Just like any other body area, burning calories can help you get slimmer, toned arms. Take a walk on an incline of ten percent or more for about 30 to 45 minutes. During the trek, try leaning forward while holding on to the handrails to give your arms a workout.
  • Simple stretching exercises are also a good option as they keep your joints moving freely while toning them too. You have to stretch your triceps with one arm up. Then push your arm behind your head, targeting the middle of your back. Use your other hand to gently press the elbow. Hold the position for about 10-30 seconds.

Along with these exercises, you have to switch to healthy dietary habits. It’s only when exercise and diet do not work that women turn to arm lift surgery to achieve their body contouring goals.