Paleo Diet – What’s Paleo?

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How can I maintain my balance?

As my son and I discussed how rapidly we lose our balance as we age, I asked how he maintained balance. He both told and showed me how he would stand while putting on socks and shoes. A week ago Kelly, one of the Group Power instructors, told of her mother’s inability to put on underwear without sitting down.  Kelly then had the class lift one leg, like a dog, and then extend that leg to the side. After a number of repetitions we switched legs. Continue reading

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Diet and exercise work together to achieve fitness!

Yesterday while talking about weight loss with some friends, one said, “I want to report that I’ve been eating grass all week and when I weighed myself this morning, I found that I haven’t lost a pound”! Another friend replied, “Have you ever looked at the size of a cow? They eat grass all the time and they are big.”

Those comments got me thinking. We all get suckered into believing the diet ads – Lose 10 lbs in a week on the “all grass diet” or drink Mega Green Tea to lose the “muffin top” or some other such undocumented huge claim that we are too quick to believe. By-the-way don’t believe for one second that those athletic ripped models used the product or tool that they are demonstrating to get ripped.

The March 30, 2011 New England Journal of Medicine posted a one year study involving 93 obese adults aged 65 and older. The research compared those who dieted only, those who exercised only, those who made no changes, and those who both exercised and dieted.

“Those in the diet plus exercise group saw more gains in a test measuring physical abilities than study participants who were randomly assigned to diet or exercise alone. Test scores for participants who took part in diet, exercise, or diet plus exercise were greater than scores for those in the comparison group who did not make any changes. Participants in the diet group were asked to cut back on their daily calories with a goal of losing 10% of their body weight by six months and maintaining that loss for another six months. Those in the exercise group took part in three 90-minute group exercise sessions per week. The sessions included aerobic activity such as walking on a treadmill, indoor cycling, stair climbing, and flexibility and balance exercises. “

The two most popular current weight loss theories are: Burn more calories than you take in by exercise and limit caloric intake to less than you are using. Of the two the first is infinitely more difficult. In other words it is about impossible to out exercise your eating. The NEJM study shows that the combination of limiting caloric intake and an appropriate exercise program gives the best results.

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What Motivates?

My favorite uncle took me on my first plane ride when I was six years old. What a thrill it was when that little yellow Champion lifted off the grass field. Once we got up to cruising altitude, my uncle asked If I wanted to fly. Yes! Of course I wanted to fly, and that I did. It was fun! As I entered my teen years, the memory of that first flight continued to motivate me to pursue a career in aviation.

Yes fun was a motivation factor in my life but so is fear. Fear of flying kept my mother from enjoying air travel until she had to fly to see one of her children that was in serious condition after a major auto accident. Fear of falling keeps many seniors from enjoying activities that require balance. Fear of failure can keep us from trying new – even fun activities. Sometimes fear of the unknown is our biggest fear of all. What if I fail? What if I fall?

According to Main Health Exercise is one of the most important ways to lower our chance of falling. Regular physical activity strengthens muscles, enhances balance, and improves flexibility and endurance. This in turn helps prevent falls. A fall can lead to a loss of confidence, a dependence on others and fear of falling.

I want to put off decrepitude and dependence on others for as long as possible and I know that I can best do that by regular functional exercise.

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Flexibility and Seniors

I am so exciting about this new site Senior Fitness. Thanks Vic we appreciate all your hard work. I just wanted to remind everyone about stretching and staying limber. Yoga is a great way to work on flexibility. Just doing some basic yoga moves for 10 to 15 mins. will make a world of difference.

 With the link Yoga you can go to and look at basic yoga moves. You can also Google Senior Yoga moves. I have a yoga/pilates class I do on Mondays at 10:00 am. If you would ever like to come and try. I show modifications on all moves. Look for our Spring Fling coming up in March. I will Post the date soon.
Be true to you.
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What about shoes?

I couldn’t help but notice the new shoes on the feet of one of the instructors at the gym. They were flat with minimal stability like Christopher McDougall suggests in his book Born To Run. More than that they were colorful and stylish.

My Walmart Faded Glory $10 knockoff Chuck Taylors are still going strong. Target sells a better quality Converse Allstars for less than $50.  I must admit that it is taking longer than I expected to adapt to flat soft bottomed shoes after 30 years of cushioned and stabilized “special” – read that as expensive, running shoes. With the flat shoes or when going barefoot, I must initially land on the ball of the foot. If I walk or run, as I’ve done for many years, landing on my heels, they really hurt!

Rush Medical College in Chicago analyzed the gaits of 31 people with osteoarthritis, once without shoes and then four other types of footwear. The results were surprising: Supportive “stability” shoes were the hardest on knee joints. Wearing flat shoes with flexible soles or going barefoot subjected knees to 15% less force. Study author Najia Shakoor MD. says “Many rheumatologists recommend a cushioned gym shoe to provide shock absorption, based on common sense. But until now, we didn’t know what this type of shoe really did to the joints.”

It seems that going barefoot or using flat shoes with soft soles will not only protect the knees, but also the hips, back and the feet. If you do not need special protection for your feet due to diabetes or other foot/back issues, try a pair of inexpensive flat gym shoes or just go barefoot where you can.

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Challenging four element full body workout with modifications for seniors

Last Friday while attending a Group Step Aerobics class, I thought of and later found,  in the Men’s Health magazine, extra elements that would make a good fifteen minute workout. Our warm up two step-touch could be replaced with In-place weight shift (Heidens). Next add three more movements to make a four element circuit that could be repeated for a full fifteen minutes.
In-place weight shift
Stand with your hips pushed back and knees slightly bent. Dip  your knees slightly, and then shift weight off your right leg, swinging your arms and moving to your left. Shift weight to your left foot. Pause, and then reverse the movement to the right. Repeat movement for 15 to 30 seconds. After building strength and balance, try jumping off the right foot, as in the picture, and sticking the landing with the left foot.


Dumbbell goblet squat with pulse. Hold a dumbbell vertically at chest level, using both hands to cup one end of the weight. Brace your abs and lower your body by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Pause, and press the weight in front of you until your arms are fully extended. Bring it back to your chest and stand up. Do 4 to 10 reps.

Spider-man pushup

Assume a standard push up position, your body aligned from ankles to head (modify by using knees to head). As you lower your body toward the floor, lift your right foot, swing your right leg out sideways, and try to touch your knee to your elbow. Return to the starting position, and repeat with your left leg, Do 5 to 6 reps with each leg. Modify with kneeling pushups.


Place a towel on the floor. and assume a plank position with your feet on the towel. Brace your abs and squeeze your glutes, and then “push” yourself backward with your upper arms, with your feet sliding the towel. You’ll feel your core engage. Now return to the starting position, If your hips sag, you’ve pushed too far. Do 8 to 10 reps. Modify with 2 to 4 reps

Perform all four exercises as a circuit. Rest only after completing each circuit, for 60 to 90 seconds, modify with 2 to 3 minute rests. Repeat until your 15 minutes are up.
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Exercise And Hunger

Contrary to the belief of some, exercise does not increase your hunger later in the day. Research has shown that running on a treadmill for 1 & 1/2 hours a person consumed as many calories over the next 24 hours as they did on the days when they did not run on the treadmill. Some scientists suggest that exercise may suppress ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite. See: Science Daily.

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Is it too late to start squatting?

After years of a sedentary life style, seniors often feel that it is too late to start working on squatting especially when they are experiencing symptoms of Osteoarthritis.   It’s all too easy to link the pain that comes with certain functional exercises with a whole list of things we think we should not be doing. Inactivity from pain or a sedentary life style, will soon lead to decrepitude and dependence on others. If or when my doctor suggests I see an Orthopedic Surgeon for a knee replacement, I need to be strengthening all the muscles around my old painful knee to accelerate the recovery process. It would be a real shame to spend all that money I saved for my new sports car on a new titanium knee joint and then not be able to use it.

  Continue reading

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Machines or Lunges?

After this AM SilverSneaker class, one of the clients asked which machines he should use when he was not in the class.  I replied that the answer had a lot to do with what he wanted to accomplish with his workouts. Continue reading

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