Why Strength First

Why Strength First

When many of us hear the word fitness, we think cardio fitness, that is, heart health and activities like walking and jogging. While cardio fitness is important, we should never forget the critical role of strength training.

Due to a combination of hormonal, lifestyle, and neuromuscular factors, as we pass 50 years of age, we experience a loss of muscle mass. The scientific name for it is sarcopenia. Loss of muscle mass can result in inability to perform everyday tasks, thus restricting options for work and play, and, ultimately, leads to frailty and falls.

Fortunately, this condition is something we can greatly slow, even reverse, with resistance training. Many Boomers, especially women, associate strength with bulked up body builders. This is unfortunate because effective strength training has little to do with lifting huge barbells in a gym, and few Boomers need fear ever looking like Conan the Barbarian because that option, even for men,  passed decades ago.

At Cascade Boomer Fitness, our focus on functional strength, the kind that enables a long, independent life. While improving strength always entails some effort, we achieve it with  exercises using our own body weight or a variety of inexpensive tools like bands, tubes, stability balls, and dumbbells. Our focus is on all the muscles in your body, not just the ones visible in the mirror.

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Of course we also need to maintain all our other physical abilities – cardio, balance, agility, flexibility. But all of these begin with a solid foundation of overall body strength.

Once the decision is made to improve strength, if has been a while since you did resistance exercises, you need to start slowly to get your muscle motor units re-adapted to resistance challenges. Resist the temptation to start trying to do too much, too fast, which can result in too much muscle soreness or, worse case, an unnecessary injury.

What’s cool is that within a few weeks of commencing regular strength training 2-3 times a week, you will feel and see results as you go about your daily life. You’ll be surprised what you are capable of. You are younger than you think.

 

 

 

 

Exercise Beats the Stock Market

Exercise Beats the Stock Market

Regular exercise confers so many physical benefits that it’s easy to forget there are significant economic benefits as well, as you will discover in this informative article by Elizabeth O’Brien, who writes about retirement and wellness at Market Watch.

During a trip to Japan, she noticed groups of older people exercising everywhere and wondered if this had something to do with Japanese women and men having the longest average lifespan of all industrialized countries.

She confirmed her hunch with experts in the U.S. In fact, she writes, “When it comes to preventing disease and disability, many experts say physical activity trumps all other healthy behaviors.” One of the experts believes exercise is the fountain of youth.

But what we found really eye-catching in her article are the financial returns both individuals and the nation enjoy when people remain well through exercise. They avoid chronic diseases and, most important as we age, remain independent and avoid nursing homes.

The good news is that none of us is too old to start exercising and the benefits are immediate and phenomenal. You save your life and your money at the same time. Such a deal!

 

 

 

 

 

Never Too Late

Never Too Late

Check out this great article from CNN about Flo Meiler, a 79 year old senior pole vault champion. Although physically active all her life, she didn’t take up track and field until she was in her 60s!

At Cascade Boomer Fitness, we’re more focused on being fit for life than on training for competition. However, Flo’s story is an inspiration for all of us. She’s living proof that, as we age, we’re physically capable of much more than we might imagine.

She has an important message for seniors:

“I keep telling them that it’s never too late. If I can take up track and field at 60, anybody can take up another sport at age 50 and up. I recommend anyone who really looks at wanting to be healthy, they have to get going, get off the couch.”

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Flo’s motivated by competition, but even more motivated by the desire to stay healthy. She’s absolutely correct about the role of exercise and health for everyone, and especially seniors. Tons of scientific evidence show even the very elderly can develop more strength, better balance and agility, and greater flexibility with exercise. It’s never to late to start exercising to receive all these benefits and more.

We don’t all need to be like Flo jumping over a bar, but we should all heed her wise advice and “get going.”

How to Bend Your Aging Curves

Bending Your Aging Curves

We’re all familiar with the signs of aging we see in those wrinkles in the mirror. But those are just superficial indicators of changes underway inside our bodies that can have huge impacts on our ability to enjoy our favorite acitivities and like independently for as long as possible.

If we surrender to aging by being inactive and sitting too much, we accelerate aging - cause faster declines in balance and muscle mass, bone and joint health, endurance, metabolic health, and cognitive skills.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. With a little effort, we can slow the aging process. If fact, we can move your physiological clock back. Nobody stops Time, but we can improve the quality of the time we have.

Cascade Boomer Fitness was founded to utilize the encouraging scientific evidence that exercise can add years and quality to our lives because of the miraculous effects it has on bodies of all ages, especially older ones. You can find the evidence and the exercise strategies that shape our approach to training in Bending the Aging Curve: The Complete Exercise Guide for Older Adults by Joseph F. Signorile, PhD. In his book, Professor Signorile shows graphs with curves on a number of body systems with and without exercise. The curves without exercise fall fast. The positive impacts of exercise are reflected in curves that fall very slowly, and result in less time in hospitals and assisted living.

We can help you bend your aging curves. There is absolutely no doubt that exercise is the ultimate anti-aging drug. It’s inexpensive, safe, and effective. The only side effects are you feel more energetic, smarter, sexier, and happier.