Best Exercises for Seniors (Part III)

Walking positively impacts your health.

Walking

Even if you can’t find a way to do a structured workout, you likely have time to put one foot in front of the other to get you where you want to go. It is recommended most folks do 10,000 steps a day, even on days they don’t exercise. The research found that people who heightened their activity levels up to 10,000 steps per day were 47% less likely to die in the following 10 years contrasted to those who remained sedentary.

For some seniors with a chronic condition, 10,000 might not be the correct number. But the fact remains: Walking is a free, great workout that can have a huge impact on your health.

Cycling

Another low-impact way of exercising, cycling is perfect for those who want to heighten their leg strength but can’t participate in other high-impact sports due to joint issues. Research shows that cycling also helps enhance cardiovascular health, metabolic health, and cognitive performance in adults over 70.

If you have cycling trails close to your home, consider doing regular bike rides with family or friends. Indoor cycling is another good option for those without access to trails or when the weather is bad. Also, with a stationary bike, you don’t have to worry about falling or needing to wear safety gear.

Strength and Aerobic Classes

If you attend a SilverSneakers class, you already understand that group exercise isn’t just a great way to break a sweat. You’ll also have lots of fun and find new friends along the way, both of which are really important when it comes to regular exercise. In fact, studies note that the social aspect of group exercise raises activity levels in older adults over the long run.

There is no end to the different group exercises out there, from boot camp to Zumba. 

 

Best Exercises for Seniors (Part II)

Yoga has many benefits for the body, soul, and mind.

Yoga

With a holistic approach to fitness, yoga aids in building muscle strength, aerobic fitness, core stability, and total-body mobility. Studies show these are all vital for seniors.  

And though yoga is gentle and low-impact on your body’s joints, it’s still weight-bearing, signifying that you have to support your body’s weight with each posture. That’s crucial to strengthening not just your muscles, but your bones too.

Pilates

Similar to yoga, Pilates is recognized for being a low-impact strength program. However, its focus on core stability makes it excellent for older adults. One study in the European Review of Aging and Physical Activity concluded that Pilates participation enhances balance in older adults.

Many gyms provide Pilates classes designed for first-timers, which is particularly important for those interested in classes that depend on the “reformer,” an exercise machine that uses bars, springs, and straps for resistance.

Bodyweight Training

One out of every three seniors experiences serious muscle loss. In the meantime, when it comes to combating age-related abdominal fat, key for overall health, studies show that strength training is more time-effective than cardiovascular exercise.

Luckily, you don’t have to bench press a lot of weight to keep your muscles healthy and stop fat gain throughout the years. In fact, for many older adults, it’s way safer to begin small. Easy bodyweight exercises like wall pushups, chair squats, single-leg stands, and stair climbing will do a good job of keeping your body strong and able to manage everyday activities.

Resistance Band Workouts

Your gym undoubtedly has an assortment of resistance bands ready for use, but these beginner-friendly, affordable exercise tools are great for at-home workouts too.

Also, bands can aid you to challenge your muscles in ways you may not be able to with equipment-free training. For example, when it comes to strengthening your back and bettering your posture, rows and other pulling motions are crucial. But, it’s difficult to do if you don’t have any exercise equipment around.

Best Exercises for Seniors (Part I)

 

Stay strong, be safe, and keep your independence by putting these top fitness selections into your training plan.

Regardless of your age, the best exercise for you is the one you like the most. After all, if you don’t enjoy your workout, how long are you going to keep doing it?

Still, when trying any of the many forms of exercise out there, it’s crucial to bear in mind what you want and need to get out of your workout. And that most likely will alter over the years. For seniors, the main priority has to be sustaining your quality of life.

For this to happen, focus on workouts crafted to help you remain mobile, build strength, and improve balance. Additionally, the key is considering the requirements of any given fitness option. Are your bones durable enough for high-impact exercises like running and jumping? Is your balance where it’s supposed to be for fall-free bike rides? How much time to do you truly have to go to the gym?

This article has some of the best exercises for older adults. As always, be sure to check with your physician before starting a new fitness program, particularly if you have injuries, a chronic condition, or balance issues. The good news: Assuming your doctor hasn’t said a method of exercise is off-limits, pick which one you like. All of them are fabulous.

Swimming is an excellent exercise for seniors.

Swimming

There’s a reason swimming is known as the world’s perfect exercise. Regardless if you’re doing the breaststroke, taking a water aerobics class, or playing Marco Polo with the grandchildren, getting in the pool is a good way to develop your cardiovascular fitness while at the same time strengthening your muscles.

It does all this while using little stress on your bones and joints, which is a huge plus for men and women who have osteoporosis or arthritis. As if that isn’t plenty enough reason to jump in a pool, research suggests that swimming can help seniors keep their minds as sharp as their bodies.

How to Train for a Marathon (Part III)

When race day comes you don’t have to try to do extra to prepare. Stick to your normal routine.

Race Day Tips

Don’t attempt anything new on race day including no new shirt, shoes, or shorts. Don’t drink four cups of coffee if you always have just one. Your long training runs are when you must fine-tune your gear, clothing, and fueling strategies.

Before the Race

Hydrate well for a number of days going up to your marathon. Drink a huge glass of water before you go to bed the evening before race day. Drink another one in the morning.

Eat a light, high-carbohydrate breakfast a number of hours before the beginning of the race. Bars, bagels, oatmeal, and fruit all are excellent. 

Layer up with Vaseline in any spots vulnerable to chafing. You most likely learned where during training runs.

Get to the starting line beforehand. If need be, go to the port-a-potty at least 40 minutes before the official start time. The lines might be long.

The temperature usually rises over the progression of the race, so don’t overdress. If you’re really chilly at the start, put an oversize trash bag over you to stay warm until the starting gun goes off.

If you decide to run with music, check ahead of time whether earbuds are allowed in the race; not all marathons allow them. Running with headphones can be hazardous if you don’t hear what’s going on around you, especially if you’re not on a closed course. Lastly, there’s something special about hearing the sounds of the crowds and your fellow runners.

During the Race

Begin slowly. It’s easy to get sucked up in race-day hype. But beginning too fast is a huge rookie mistake. There will be lots of miles over which to increase your pace if you’re feeling amazing.

Don’t fly pass every aid station or try to drink something while running full speed. Either practice drinking while running before race day or just stop for a couple of seconds to drink.

Bathroom lines are longest at the first few aid stations. If you can wait for another few miles without discomfort, it might save you time.

If you have a friend coming to cheer you on, plan ahead at which places along the course she or he will meet you. A friend along the way can be a big boost.

 

How to Train for a Marathon (Part II)

Hydration is important.

Hydrating and Fueling on the Run

Hydration

Nearly all marathons include water and aid stations along the course. If you decide to bring your own water on race day, buy a hydration pack or belt beforehand and get use to running with it. Don’t try something new on race day.

While training, of course, you will be doing lots of long runs without the advantage of aid stations. Several tried-and-true techniques to think about:

  • With a hydration belt or pack, bring your own water 
  • Do long runs on a short loop course, so you can put water in one spot along the way.
  • Plan your long run route to pass water fountains (but during colder months, be sure that they’re turned on).
  • Stash water bottles along your route the evening or morning before your run.

Fueling

You’ve most likely heard about the marvel numerous marathoners experience somewhere around the 20-mile mark, referred to as “bonking” or “hitting the wall.”

Your body can only hold a specific amount of glycogen. It’s your key source of energy throughout the marathon. As this level becomes reduced over the course of your marathon, your muscles will start to feel heavy and tire. While no quantity of fuel consumption during the race can completely replace your depleted glycogen, consuming little amounts of carbohydrates can aid in stopping you from hitting the dreaded wall.

Energy chews or gels are simple to carry and the easiest to digest. However, a fan energy bar or a couple of pieces of fruit can do the trick as well. For any race over two hours, try to take in around 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour.

As with everything, be sure to try out several types of fuel on your training runs to find out what your stomach tolerates best, so you can fuel with confidence on race day.

 

How to Train for a Marathon (Part I)

Start small and work up to the larger marathons.

For numerous runners, the need to do a marathon is all about doing a personal challenge. You may want to test your limits or prove that you are able to go the distance. Maybe a loved one has talked you into it. Perhaps you’d like to be healthier, lose weight, or raise awareness for a charity.

Regardless of your reason, keep it in mind and tell yourself of it frequently during the months that come ahead. When the weather is nasty or when your legs are tired, sustaining your motivation will aid you in getting out the door.

Getting Started

Be conscious of your limits: The 26.2 miles in a marathon put you at a truly higher risk for injury than your everyday neighborhood jogs. Talk with your physician before beginning any training program.

Start early: Conventional wisdom suggests that aspiring marathoners run steady base mileage for at least 12 months before starting on a marathon training program.

One of the most typical causes of injury is increasing weekly mileage too fast, too soon. Therefore, don’t underestimate the significance of unfailingly running at least 25–30 miles a week consistently before pledging to train for a marathon.

Start small: Run a couple of short races like 5Ks, 10Ks, or a half marathon. This is the perfect way to get ready mentally and physically for the first marathon.

Choosing a First Marathon

Marathons range from low-key, quiet races on backcountry roads to spectator-lined city races with millions of runners. To help you get used to the race vibe and find your preference, run a couple of shorter races, volunteer at marathons, or cheer on a friend.

Selecting a marathon close to home might provide home-field advantage with the chance to run on familiar roads; on the other hand, picking a “destination” race can truly stoke your motivation fire in the months going up to race day.

The Legendary UCLA Gymnastic Coach Valerie Kondos Field (“Miss Val”) – Part II

 

How did this dancer transform herself into one of the most successful gymnastics coaches ever?

I picked up Coach Wooden’s book, “They Call Me Coach”, and it didn’t seem like all this other coach talk I’d heard. It was complete with plenty of tough love, but honest love. Discipline and compassion. I was raised in the ballet world and there was a lot of discipline in my life.

“I was brought by a very typical Greek family, where a family was vital, so there was plenty of discipline with respect. And I think that the discipline, united with the love that came out of Coach’s words, struck home with me. It’s about instilling life’s lessons through the sport that we’re a part of.”

Miss Val is doing a two-hour television ballet special on NBC. 

When Miss Val isn’t encouraging young athletes to be the best they can be, she is utilizing other platforms to distribute her love for life and dance. Lately, she pitched her own kind of a contemporary nutcracker ballet to Warner Bros. NBC purchased the rights to air it as a two-hour television special. The date for the live ballet show has yet to be decided. 

in October 2018, she also published a book that explored how a professional ballerina became one of the winningest coaches in NCAA history. The novel is titled “Life Is Short, Don’t Wait to Dance.”

The Greek American also stated her retirement last September as the head coach of the Bruins gymnastics team and she did leave at the end of the 2019 season with an incredible send-off by her team and UCLA. 

Although Miss Val will be truly missed, her legend will live on. She will continue to be an incredible inspiration, encouraging people to live passionately by not giving up and finding a way to re-experience your joy.

The Legendary UCLA Gymnastic Coach Valerie Kondos Field (“Miss Val”) – Part I

Miss Val leaves her legacy in the women she inspired to compete.

It’s way more than getting a perfect 10 or doing a sky-high double layout for the coach and choreographer of the UCLA Gymnastics team, Valorie Kondos Field. The Greek American has been the head coach of the Bruins for 28 years.

But she has also been an inspiration to young women to find again the joy of competing that they had when they started gymnastics as kids. She has made it imaginable for them to share their joy with the world on a very huge stage.

Over the past 28 years, she has formed one of the best gymnastics teams in the U.S. Most importantly, one which is always setting new standards for beautiful and complex routines. 

Becoming “Miss Val”

Valorie Kondos Field, also called “Miss Val”, grew up preparing to be a classical ballet dancer. Born into an artistic Greek American family, she breathed and lived dance. Valorie trained relentlessly and went on to perform as a professional ballerina with a number of ballet companies, such as the Washington, D.C. Ballet.

When UCLA needed a dance teacher for their gymnastics team, the 22-year-old professional dancer fit the bill impeccably. Also, coaching at UCLA gave her the opportunity to satisfy one of her personal goals. As she says on her website, officialmissval.com, “My dream was to go to UCLA, so when they flew me out for the interview and offered me a full scholarship in lieu of a salary, I thought I had hit the jackpot.”

But the strong-minded young dancer would put her learned discipline and respect into her career as a coach to become a living legend. She has led the UCLA Women’s Gymnastics team to win seven NCAA Championships, many Pac-10 and Pac-12 Championships, and numerous individual champion titles and academic honors.

Also, Miss Val has picked up some special awards herself. She was voted the national and conference coach of the year four times. In 2010, she became the 2nd active coach ever to be inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.

G.O.A.T. – Simone Biles: Why She is Like No Other (Part II)

Simone crushed her competition.

The rest of the gymnasts don’t fare much better against her. Biles won the all-around titles at the Rio Olympics and the 2018 world championships both by just two points. As her friend and teammate Aly Raisman, who finished in second at the 2016 Games, famously stated: “If you get silver, you’re the best since Simone doesn’t count.”

She has no weaknesses

If it is believed that Simone Biles has a weakness (and in all honesty she doesn’t), it would be on the uneven bars. She frequently talked about how much she struggled and disliked participating in the event, and she has not won an Olympic or world medal on the apparatus. However, she has made a substantial effort to get better at the event during her comeback after her post-Olympic break. Good grief: now she is a true medal threat in that event as well.

She’s a vocal leader

Not only is Biles the greatest of all time, but she also has a winning personality. Known for her funny quips, charming social media presence and for speaking up on things that matter to her, she is nobody to mess with outside the gym as well.

A survivor of sexual abuse from former team doctor Larry Nassar, she has been a true advocate for her fellow survivors, and even wore a teal leotard in solidarity during nationals in 2018. She has spoken up on many occasions due to not being pleased with the leadership of USA Gymnastics, and it has resulted in real change.

Simone Biles was the runaway champion due to the fact that she’s better not just than any American, but any person on the globe. Any way you break it down, Biles is the greatest female gymnast of all time.

G.O.A.T. – Simone Biles: Why She is Like No Other (Part I)

She holds four Olympic gold medals. 

It most likely goes without saying that she is the greatest gymnast of all time. The 22-year-old possesses more titles than there is space to post. If you are keeping count, Biles has in per possession four world all-around titles and four Olympic gold medals. She has earned more world medals (25 to be exact) than anyone in history.

So, as you can tell, she’s very, very good.

And after her amazing performance at the 2019 nationals qualifier, the U.S. Classic, it appears as if 2019 and the time going up to the 2020 Olympics, is beginning to be just like the other winning years that Biles is known to be famous for. Another way to put it is that it will be more of the same.

But what precisely makes Simone Biles so good? Here are a few of the many, many ways she is so amazingly special:

She keeps pushing the boundaries of the sport

Biles is famous for her gravity-defying floor routines. Even though her skills are leaps and bounds ahead of her competition, she still is constantly trying to bring new elements to her already tricky repertoire.

She’s virtually unbeatable

There are winning streaks in sports. Then there is the Simone Biles’ winning streak. She has earned 19 straight all-around titles, going on for six years. In a sport where the normal senior best career usually lasts no more than one Olympic cycle, Biles’ dominance is typically the gymnastics equivalent to what the Chicago Bulls did in the 1990s.  If Michael Jordan hadn’t left the team for a year and a half to play baseball.

And not only does Biles win, win, win, but she also towers above her competition and barely leaves her opponents even a chance to win gold.