The Right Run- Incorrect vs. Correct #Graphically


NOTE: This post explains Biomechanics of Running pictorially.

Which Runner are You?

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Incorrect Vs. Correct

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Achieving Good Running Form

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Why should Senior Citizens Exercise?


Welcome to one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. Exercise!-The fountain of youth!

For the most part, when older people lose their ability to do things on their own, it is not because they have aged. More likely, it is because they have become inactive.

The human body is made for movement, and this applies to senior citizens too.
As you grow older, leading an active lifestyle is more important than ever. Regular exercise can help boost your energy, maintain your independence, and manage the symptoms of any illness or pain. Exercise can even reverse some of the symptoms of aging. And not only is exercise good for your body—it’s also good for your mind, mood, and memory.

No matter your age or your current physical condition, you can benefit from exercise. Reaping the rewards of exercise doesn’t require strenuous workouts or trips to the gym. It’s about adding more movement and activity to your life, even in small ways.

Don’t worry if you’ve never exercised, or if you stopped exercising for some reason. Being physically active can help you continue to do the things you enjoy and stay independent as you age. In addition, the right kind of regular exercise can reduce your chance of heart disease, diabetes, and falls.
You may have a hard time starting an exercise routine. Once you do start, though, you will begin to notice the benefits, including improved sleep and self-esteem.

What can Exercise do for Me?

Most people know that exercise is good for them. Somehow, though, older adults have been left out of the picture — until recently. Today a new picture is emerging from research: Older people of different physical conditions have much to gain from exercise and from staying physically active. They also have much to lose if they become physically inactive.

Exercise isn’t just for older adults in the younger age range, who live independently and are able to go on brisk jogs. Researchers have found that exercise and physical activity also can improve the health of people who are 90 or older, who are frail, or who have the diseases that seem to accompany aging. Staying physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay some diseases and disabilities as people grow older. In some cases, it can improve health for older people who already have diseases and disabilities, if it’s done on a long-term, regular basis.

Physical Health benefits:

  • Helps maintain or lose weight: As metabolism naturally slows with age, maintaining a healthy weight is a challenge. Exercise helps increase metabolism and builds muscle mass, helping to burn more calories. When your body reaches a healthy weight, overall wellness improves. 
  • Reduces the impact of illness & chronic disease: Among the many benefits of exercise for seniors include improved immune function, better heart health and blood pressure, better bone density, and better digestive functioning. Seniors who exercise also have a lowered risk of several chronic conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and colon cancer. 
  • Enhances mobility, flexibility, and balance: Exercise improves your strength, flexibility and posture, which in turn will help with balance, coordination, and reducing the risk of falls. Strength training also helps alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis. 

Mental Health Benefits:

  • Improves your sleep: Poor sleep is not an automatic consequence of aging and quality sleep is important for your overall health. Exercise often improves sleep, helping you fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply. 
  • Boosts mood and self-confidence: Endorphins produced by exercise can actually help you feel better and reduce feelings of sadness or depression. Being active and feeling strong naturally helps you feel more self-confident and sure of yourself. 
  • Exercise is good for the brain: Exercise benefits regular brain functions and can help keep the brain active, which can prevent memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia. Exercise may even help slow the progression of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. 

Not sure if you can Exercise

You may be reluctant to start exercising, even though you’ve heard that it’s one of the healthiest things you can do. You may be afraid that physical activity will harm you; or you might think you have to join a gym or buy expensive equipment in order to exercise. Or, you may feel embarrassed to exercise because you think it’s for younger people or for people who look great in gym clothes. You may think exercise is only for people who are able to do things like jogging.

In fact, just about every older adult can safely do some form of physical activity at little or no cost. And you don’t have to exercise in a public place or use expensive equipment, if you don’t want to.

Even household chores can improve your health. The key is to increase your physical activity, by exercising and by using your own muscle power.

Benefits Everyday Life:
The most rewarding part of beginning a fitness routine is noticing the difference it makes in the rest of your life. Even if you begin exercising with a few simple stretches while seated or a short walk around the block, you’ll notice an improvement in how you feel as you go about your day.

  • House cleaning, gardening, shopping, and errands. Want to feel less winded while vacuuming or rushing to and from appointments? Doing just 15 to 20 minutes of heart-healthy cardio each day, such as walking, biking, swimming, or water aerobics will help give you the stamina you need. 
  • Lifting grandchildren, carrying groceries, household chores. Building muscle mass a few times each week through weight lifting, resistance exercises, and nautilus machines will help give you more strength. 
  • Tying shoes, looking behind you while driving, navigating steps. Incorporating basic stretching—even while seated—into your fitness routine will make the most ordinary movements easier. 

Check with you doctor if you have…

  1. Chest pain 
  2. Irregular, rapid, or fluttery heart beat 
  3. Severe shortness of breath 
  4. Significant, ongoing weight loss that hasn’t been diagnosed 
  5. Infections, such as pneumonia, accompanied by fever 
  6. Fever, which can cause dehydration and a rapid heart beat 
  7. Acute deep-vein thrombosis (blood clot) 
  8. Hernia that is causing symptoms 
  9. Foot or ankle sores that won’t heal 
  10. Joint swelling 
  11. Persistent pain or a problem walking after you have fallen 
  12. Certain eye conditions, such as bleeding in the retina or detached retina. Before you exercise after a cataract or lens implant, or after laser treatment or other eye surgery, check with your physician. 


DISCLAIMER: Always talk to your health care provider before starting an exercise program.

Towards a Healthy Menopause…


Menopause marks the opening of the new chapter in women’s life. It is the time when women stops having menstruation.
Menopause can be divided into following phases:
Perimenopause: Its the transition years when the hormonal levels start depleting and women experiences changes at the physical and emotional levels.
Premenopause: These are the years leading up to the last menstrual period.
Post menopause: Its the phase when the women hasn’t experienced the menstrual bleeding minimum 12 months
Women experiences a variety of symptoms as a result of hormonal changes associated with transition through menopause. It occurs in age group of 45-55 years.The hormonal levels decline to a level that menstruation is no longer possible with this shift comes several physical and psychological changes. Its important for women to prepare for these changes by taking good care of their bodies.





SYMPTOMS

  • Hot flushes: It is most common symptom. It is the feeling of warmth that spreads over body, lasting around 30 seconds to few minutes. Flushed(reddened) skin and palpitation and sweating.
  • Urinary incontinence, burning on urination, itching and dryness.
  • Vaginal changes as estrogen affects vaginal lining, experimental women may feel pain during intercourse and may note a change in vaginal discharge.
  • Breast changes: shape changes,signs of atrophy can be seen.
  • Bone loss: The bone loss is rapid in perimenopausal phase.Typically women reaches her peak bone mass by 25-30 years, after that there is decrease in bone mass 0.3% per year.This bone mass is 3% per year in perimenopausal phase which may lead to osteoporosis.Other associated symptoms may be back pain,joint pain.
  • Cholesterol levels: The total cholesterol and LDL (Bad) cholesterol levels increase which leads to increased risk of heart problems.
  • Weight gain
  • Emotional symptoms: Menopause doesn’t always create a series of emotional issues. Some women celebrate the menopause as freedom from birth control concerns or menses.However it is also common to feel unsettled about body changes which seems beyond one’s control.The symptoms include, loss of fertility, aging, loss of sexuality, mood swings, fear of cancer.
But, dear ladies remember; the clouds do eventually lift! meanwhile try alleviating your menopausal symptoms with proper diet and exercise.

EXERCISES TO ALLEVIATE SYMPTOMS OF MENOPAUSE
Even if you’ve never formally exercised, its never too late to start… nor it is too late to reap benefits.The key is to start slowly and do things you enjoy such as:

AEROBIC EXERCISE: Exercises such as walking, cycling, dancing, etc. Aerobics have shown to reduce the stress levels,increase your stamina levels and prevent you from gaining weight.

STRENGTH TRAINING EXERCISES: Low to moderate intensity strengthening exercise helps to build muscle mass which typically is lost due to ageing. Also the bone density increases thus preventing you from getting injuries or osteoporosis. It helps you to increase metabolism and thus preventing from gaining weight.

FLEXIBILITY: It is very important to maintain flexibility of joints and muscles as it prevents from injuries.

Following exercise program can be implemented :
Warm up: active range of motion and mild stretches to major muscle groups
Exercise period: 30-45 min of aerobic exercise
Cool down: slow down the exercise and do stretches.

Make sure all the stretched are held for 15-20 seconds and repeated twice each side.While doing exercise do monitor your heart rate. Perform all exercise atleast 4-5 days a week and alternate 3 days complement aerobic exercise with strengthening of all major, muscles and small muscles group in form of circuit training.

Start aerobic exercises with 50-60% intensity and strengthening can be done by using weights, 40-50% of the weight they can lift maximally for 1 repetition.

STRESS REDUCTION
Aerobics do help to reduce stress.
Tai Chi has also shown positive results for reducing the emotional imbalance caused due to changes in hormones. Meditative exercises and relaxation can done.

Rhythmic Breathing: Rhythmic breathing involves a fixed rhythmic pattern where of inhalation,retention, exhalation,retention is of 2:1:2:1. Don’t hold breathing if you are suffering from blood pressure or any heart disease. 
  • Inhalation 1-2-3-4
  • Pause after inhalation 5-6
  • Exhalation 1-2-3-4
  • Pause after exhalation 5-6
BALANCE EXERCISES
When we reach our 40s,it is not always easy upright. This is because after the age of 25, our balance begins to decrease falls in the later years often result to wrist and hip fractures,which can have devastating effects on lifestyle or even threat to life

Exercise A
Stand directly behind a table or chair and place your feet slightly apart. Lift one leg six inches outside.
Hold the position for 10 seconds.Repeat with the opposite leg.

Exercise B
Stand directly behind a table or chair and place your feet slightly apart. Slowly bend towards your chest lifting your foot six inches off the floor.
Hold the position for 10 seconds and repeat with The opposite leg.

Exercise C
Stand directly behind a table or chair and place your feet slightly apart. Lift one leg back keeping your knee straight.
Hold the position for 10 seconds. Repeat with the opposite leg
The above exercises should be performed 2-3 times a day.

Balance exercise safety guidelines:
Be aware of your posture.Try to maintain your weight over your ankle.
Avoid fast movements including quick turns or changes in position.
Use a chair as a place to not only perform seated exercises but also to hold on to while standing.
always get up slowly when rising from the chair.
Donot close your eyes when exercising or standing from your chair.

T-TAPP exercise
A series of unique movements that are designed to improve spinal alignment, flexibility, strength as well as to build muscle, to improve lymphatic function, raise metabolism and control glucose levels.

YOGA
It helps to maintain flexibility and promote relaxation.



 

                       YOGA POSES
 FOR PERIMENOPAUSAL SYMPTOMS

OTHER MEASURES
  1. Have a regular annual check-up
  2. Breast examination,mammogram
  3. Pap smear
  4. Blood tests
  5. Bone density
  6. Heart risk assessment

Whatever you do,make the commitment now to become more active.Taking control of your health is one way to make menopause a more pleasant experience.

DISCLAIMER :Refer your gynecologist before starting any of the above exercises.

Living Active at 60+


“What is Age?”

 

“Just a number!”
It doesn’t matter whether you are 17 or seventy, if you decide to be happy, healthy and enjoy life!
Bright examples of the likes of Pandit Ravishankar who, at the grand old age of 90 is still playing his Sitar so magnificently that his concerts are drawing capacity crowds. Let’s not forget the biggest star of Bollywood Amitabh Bachan who is still acting, even at the age of 60! Lata Mangeshkar is still belting out hit songs, while Gulzaar is still writing beautiful and soul touching poetry along with hit scripts!
Still we see that people have wrong assumptions about the old, when instead ‘Life begins after 40….’. We see ads talking about anti-ageing properties of creams, we see celebrities who go to extreme measures to look young. Everywhere you see there is an obsession of not aging and looking younger. While being young is celebrated, old age is something we feel we need to hide.
The obvious reason why we would all like to defy ageing and remain young is because getting old has been associated with illness, ailments, dependency and a general deterioration in quality of our life.
But we fail to note that old age is not cause of all these; it is ill health that is to be blamed.
So, how do you AGE HEALTHY?Quite Simply … By Being ACTIVE!
Being physically active reduces the onset of many chronic diseases and reduces the physical decline in the elderly.

Benefits of staying Active in Old Age:
  1. Reduced Loss of Muscle Mass: As we grow older, our muscle mass reduces thus we experience reduced strength. But regular exercise can improve circulation and reduce loss of muscle mass.
  2. Prevent Falls: When we are active, we move constantly thus strengthen the joints while improving flexibility, which prevents them from falls or other accidents.
  3. Strengthen Bones: Regular weight bearing exercises- walking maintains bone strength and protects against fractures.
  4. Reduced Risk: For ailments- Blood pressure, Coronary heart disease and delay onset of Diabetes.
  5. Reduced Osteoarthritis Pain: Because of improved blood circulation and greater bone health, you would feel reduced osteoarthritis pain.
  6. Social and Emotional Benefits: Those who are active, feel better about themselves, remain happy, are more sociable because they can go out and visit others, they can sleep better.

Those who are active can maintain their balance, have control over their weight, can move around independently and are able to lift, pull and push things easily. Thus those who are active live a more happy, healthy and fulfilled life.

 
Avoid Smoking:
We have all heard about the health hazards caused due to smoking, but still many senior citizens continue to smoke. Studies suggest that smoking not only contributes to the fine wrinkles on your face but is also harmful to the health of your heart.

Regular Medical Check Ups:
Senior citizens should very importantly get regular checkups done. This is the best way to prevent chronic medical problems. Regular checkups help to fix whatever problem you have before they get worse.

Keep Busy? How?
Positive attitude helps to keep you healthy. Being positive and thinking about all the good things in your life even when things are not going right helps to remain calm and relaxed. A relaxed mind and a positive approach help to improve your immunity and gain good health.

How to Stay Active?
There are plenty of benefits of staying active in our senior years, but does that mean you have to buy expensive equipment or join gym to do so?– Definitely not.
Doctors believe that any kind of moderate exercise like walking, jogging, swimming, gardening, cycling are excellent to maintain a good fitness levels and also stay fit.
What about being Mentally Active?
According to Help Age International which in an organization working for elderly, “Most people’s mental abilities (memory, learning, creativity, intelligence) remain unchanged as they grow older, especially if they remain mentally active and involved (listening, talking, advising, reading, telling stories).”
Thus unlike what we think, old age is not about weak cognitive and memory, if we remain active and keep ourselves busy, we can definitely keep our wits about us. Further, research also shows that human brain can adapt and grow even in old age. The decline in mental abilities in old age is more because of degenerative diseases rather than old age. The other age related losses like poor memory and cognition is more due to mental inactivity rather than old age per se.
How to stay mentally active?
In old age, more activity equals to better health so like physical activity, more mental activity means increased connections between nerve cells.
A study conducted on 2000 seniors over the age of 65 who engage in exercising, reading and indulging in conversation had 38% less chance of suffering from Alzheimer’sSo, play games (Sudoku, puzzles, board games, card games), read interesting books or magazines, indulge in stimulating conversations, also socializing is also a good way of staying alert mentally.
Exercise: Exercise is the best way to remain healthy and fit at any age. Exercise in form of walking, jogging or even simple stretches can be very beneficial. Exercising, not only helps in preventing many diseases but also in fighting ageing process.
It is rightly said,
‘If you do not use your body, you will lose it.’
Exercise can also improve gait, balance, coordination, reaction time, and muscle strength—even in very old and frail elderly people. It also proves that current physical activity protects against hip fracture, reducing the risk by up to 50. Thus, people who regularly exercise are less likely to fall.


Group Walks: Walking is good, whether the outcome measurement is blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, joint problems or mental health.
For people in their 60s, regular walking appears to lower the risk of dementia. Walking helps stave off dementia as it improves cerebral blood flow & lowers risk of vascular disease.
Sitting is bad for cholesterol. Its bad for your back & muscles.
Story teller: Old parents make great storytellers. If your grandkids are too young, then you can tell stories to your grandkids very often or every day. And you can help your grandchildren in their studies.
Reading:
“Books are a man’s best friend” 
is a famous old adage and is very true. Many people like to read mythological books in old age. So next time you pass by a book stall, remember to buy one.
Laughter Club: You can also become a member of the laughter club as we all know that laughter is the best medicine. Laughter raises the serotonin levels in the brain and offers a ‘feel good’ factor. Exercising regularly will not only keep you active but will also decrease your risk of injury and age related diseases.
Kirtans: If you are devotional then go to kirtans and bhajans regularly. Going to kirtans and bhajans will not only keep you engaged but will also help in making new friends of the same age group, which is quite important as it helps you socialize.
Hobby: If you loved doing something but couldn’t do it because of work responsibilities and family then old age is the time right time for you to nurture your hobby. For instance, gardening, painting, writing etc.
Doing plenty of mentally-stimulating activities – such as playing chess, reading a newspaper, or attending a play – in old age helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Going out: Sitting home can be really boring for old people. Go for a stroll in the evening, meet friends. You can also go for plays, picnics etc with your friends.
Volunteer: Many people after retirement join some NGO and volunteer in many activities. If you are really interested in volunteering, join a NGO.

Factors like depression affect your health as you age; hence it is necessary to keep your mind busy and entertained by pursuing a hobby, solving crosswords or Sudoku. Solving puzzles stimulates your brain, improves memory and offers clarity of mind both short term and long term.
You can also learn new things that you enjoy as there is no age to learning, or you can volunteer to share your talents with others.
Working out your brain prevents depression and frustration and offers mental peace and good health.
Growing old is a natural process that we all are approaching little by little each day. By implementing the above mentioned tips in your day to day life will keep your body and mind fit, and help you to age gracefully.
“Be Active, Live Longer and Healthier!”

Women and Weight Training


Being a fitness expert in a women’s only gym, I came across so many women for whom working out with help of free weights or Machines is a strict No-No. There are so many myths in mind of women who decide to workout in a gym. Most of them feel that weight training is only for men who aim to have a 20 inch biceps or a 6 -pack abs.

If you want to get stronger, leaner and healthy you have to supplement your aerobic workout with the key component of fitness and thats “Weight training”.


USE IT OR LOSE IT”
As we age our muscle mass gradually decreases and hence our metabolism (i.e the energy our body spents in normal functioning of our important physiological systems). So when all these depletes your fat percentage increases.

Lets look into some Myths related to weight training :
Myth I : Weight training will make you bulky or masculine
My dear ladies the hormone to be blamed for it is testesterone which is in abundance in males but is in very minimal quantity in females. Our oestrogen abundance prevents us to have a masculine body ,unless you take steroids externally.
Myth II : Weight training will Increase chest size
Breast size can never be increased or decreased. But yes it will surely make your chest look firm.
Myth III : Weight training will make your body stiff
There are many exercises such as dead lifts, chin ups, etc which will make you use your complete muscle length and hence maintain flexibility.
Myth IV : If you stop exercising your muscles will turn to fat
This myth is just like someone saying you can turn gold into brass!! Remember, both are different types of tissues so it cannot interchange.
Myth V : Women only should do cardio workout and if they want to do weight training they should only do with lighter weights.
I agree, cardio workout is very important component but if you are doing long hours of only cardio workout it will not only burn you fat but also your muscles. Also If you are weight training with light weights then its not of much use as there wont be any muscle breakdown. You need to overload your muscle to get the desired result of toning up.

So now as most of the myths are busted, lets quickly see the Effect of Weight Training :

1) Helps you to have stronger bone by increasing bone density thus preventing osteoporosis.
2) Increases your resting metabolism and thus you will burn the more calories even when you are at rest (as your Basal Metabolic Rate will increase).
3) Decreases the risk of injuries by making your bone,muscles and ligaments stronger.
4) Helps to improve balance and coordination.
5) Improves your stamina.
6) And above all for most of the women it gives you a fabulous toned body .
Now the question comes –
“How often ,how much and how we should proceed with this weight training program?”
According to American College of Sports Medicine :
Weight training should be done 2- 3 days per week and to get the best result supplement the weight training with aerobic workout in form of circuit training.
How much weight you should take will depend on your muscles ability to lift maximum weight in one go. Usually to start with 50-60% of this maximum weight can be used.

Also to start with 2 sets of 15-20 repetitions is sufficient to get desired results.
You can use a variety of options for weight training such as machines, your own body weight, dumbbells, tubes and the latest one the Kettlebells.

Just make sure you adopt the right posture, correct breathing (Exale when you exert) and right amount of weight. Consult your fitness trainer for the same.

So dear ladies, Pick up the dumbells and lets hit the gym with right kind of workout, food and rest.
COMING SOON : Some ‘MUST DO’ exercises for women who find no time to visit gyms!!
STAY FIT AND STAY HEALTHY !


Cheers!