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  • 14 Apr 2017 10:11 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Functional Living 

    The components of physical fitness are just as important as we age as when we were 30 years old. As we age our attitudes often change and we become more concerned with 'functional living'. This term refers to the ability to complete basic bodily movements so we can get through the day and do our basic tasks. 

    Many people become so dependent on others they need help to: 

    1. get in and out of bed 
    2. get in and out of a car 
    3. sit down and stand up again 
    4. get up off a floor 
    5. pick up a bag of groceries 
    6. reach up to high shelf to get something 
    7. walk around the block
    8. get on and off a toilet 
    9. go up and down stairs
    10. and as incredible as it sounds, even cleaning your backside


    Obviously many of these people have crossed the dependency threshold (see Aging Curve) and have severe restrictions. However, they can still exercise but in a different way. They can still exercise even though 'Pain Restricted'. 

    Each of the components listed below contributes to overall fitness and you need to work on all of them. It would be difficult to work on one of them in isolation so don't look at this as a big task. The more active you are, the more likely it is that you are covering all of the components, with the exception of 'nutrition'. 

    Aerobics - getting the energy needed from your heart and lungs. Ever see someone get winded from going up a flight of stairs, or just walking a bit? 

    Strength - maintaining your muscle mass and the ability to open a jar, pick up a bag groceries or your grandchild.

     Flexibility - being able to easily move through a full range of bodily motions.

    Agility - the ability to move quickly and gracefully. This can also be applied to your mental ability to think quickly.

     Balance - the ability to maintain control of your body through its support base whether stationary or mobile. Fall prevention is a key as we get older.

    Posture  (yes...I said posture) Keeping your body properly aligned and why?

     Nutrition - the fuel we put into our bodies (this is at least 70% of fitness!) 

    Now that you what the components are, you can ensure you are working on them in such a way as to positively impact your 'aging curve'. You will recognize the components in these sample videos or as you observe others working out in a gym, or in a park. 

  • 01 Mar 2017 9:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We all read about the millions of people that have heart disease, and the millions who die from this each year. Many of these people are extremely obese and many look perfectly healthy! On the outside. I know I did!

    I have heard comments from many people that they were completely surprised that I needed open heart surgery last year, 2016. More about this in my blog series, My Complete Loss and Recovery of Fitness.

    Cancer and heart disease are the leading causes of death in Canada and the United States. You can check this out at the Canadian Cancer Society and the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta.

    They have many articles talking about risk factors and the most common ones are:

    1) high blood pressure

    2) high cholesterol

    3) smoking

    My blood pressure has always been a bit on the high side but after my surgery it was very high. I never tracked my cholesterol because I have always been relatively fit and didn’t think I needed to track it. And I smoked!

    Now it looks to me like a recipe for disaster.

    If you are following the same recipe I did…it is time to change that recipe, before it is too late.

    I have always exercised a considerable amount. If I hadn’t I don’t think I would be here today. I smoked from the age of 14 until I was 37 years old. I don't think I had high cholesterol, but I don't really know. So you can see I had two of the three risk factors, and maybe 3 of them. To top that off I was born with a slight heart murmur. As I write this down and re-read it, I have to think that I have been extremely lucky to get to 70 years of age.

    I quit smoking a long time ago, 1983 to be exact and I still have a blood pressure issue but I am getting it under control. Since I underwent open heart surgery 6 months ago, I have been told I need to be on drugs (for high blood pressure) likely for the rest of my life. That is not acceptable to me so I am determined to find another way. When I do, I will have pushed back all three risk factors.

    You must remember that high blood pressure is called hypertension and we are told it happens naturally as we age because our blood vessels lose some of their elasticity. If you live a lifestyle with little or no exercise, the rate at which they lose elasticity is increased. So, we are somewhat in charge of this.

    High blood pressure and high cholesterol can be influenced by lifestyle. That means exercise and nutrition are the keys. Where have you heard that before?

    I believe that nutrition is a huge part of fitness, maybe as much as 75% of fitness. You can exercise all you want, but if you maintain a bad diet you will never exercise your way past it.

    Some common activities that can increase the workload on your heart and lungs (the engine) are walking, running, biking, swimming, wrestling with your grandchildren. These are called cardiovascular exercises and doing them will strengthen your heart muscle.

    If you increase your cardio ability you will lower your resting heart rate and lower your blood pressure. In my case I have taken my blood pressure before working out and recorded something like 143 / 98…then worked out and rested 5 minutes, and recorded 120/ 78. I have done this many times over the last 6 months and my blood pressure is now almost always in the range of 120/80.

    I record it and track it so I can compare trends. I am on two drugs for blood pressure. One to slow my heart rate and one to make my blood vessels more elastic.

    By watching trends and continually increasing my aerobic capacity and my strength I am accountable to myself. I can help you do exactly the same thing.  You can be accountable to me as your personal on-line Trainer.

    Get a Free copy of my introductory ebook and get ready to change your life. The miracle of FITNESS can improve everything about your life.

  • 14 Feb 2017 12:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    My wife is still laughing about the one thing I forgot to write about. I forgot to tell you about my memory loss.

    My doctor told me that being on Heart/Lung machine during the surgery and the drugs I received (Fentenal and Curare) could cause me to have some short term memory losses. I actually had my wife listen to all instructions in the hospital because I found I could not remember any details. In the hospital I found I could not remember how to tell time! That was scary and frustrating. This sort of thing carried on for quite a while. I had to take my sister and my wife to doctor appointments because I knew I would not remember conversation details. 

    It is now 5 months since surgery and I am still forgetting some things but not as much. My workouts are getting better. I am now back to using 20 and 25 lb dumbbells and I just started running. My aerobic capacity still needs a lot of work and my strength is slowly returning, but it is returning. Every time I add a new exercise the muscles let me know. 

    I am so thankful that I was quite fit going into this whole episode. This experience has made me realize how difficult exercising can be for those who are not used to it. I can see how many people just accept where they are and carry on living the way they are. They just find the energy and cannot put in the work to get fit. I keep thinking about people who have not exercised in 20 or 30 years. What a daunting task they face!

  • 21 Jan 2017 11:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I still have my heart pillow, don't think I will ever get rid of it. Nor will I forget how needed it was and how I dreaded not having it in hand when the urge to cough arose.

    Now that I had clearance from my surgeon to do some light weight lifting I designed a program to build a solid fitness base over the next 6 weeks. 

    I concentrated on my engine, (heart & Lungs) bodyweight exercises and some light weight lifting. I wanted to work up to exercising for 60 minutes at an average intensity level of 6-7 on the Borg Scale, 4-5 days each week. I added swimming when possible. It is one of the best all around exercise methods.  I spent time on a treadmill, bike or rowing machine each day and added in a balance routine, several bodyweight routines and some weights. Did I overdo it...of course. that's what men do!

    Then I realized that I wasn't at the end of my fitness recovery, I was at the beginning! Time to ease up a bit. What a difference that made. When you do it properly, the progress is amazing. I did less each day and felt better each week.

    I was improving my range of motion,  my strength was returning along with my previous levels of agility. I could see the progress and I was loving it.

    I finished my 6 weeks and I am very happy with my results. I am tracking my blood pressure daily and it is down to normal, usually 110 over 77.  I am now starting to experiment with reducing the two blood pressure medicines I am on and I will be off both with-in a short time.

     My weight is 4-6 lbs over my target and my fitness is on track to my previous best levels. Another 3 months should see me back to what I call normal fitness and off any kind of medicines (I hope).

  • 17 Dec 2016 12:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I continued on my own and the only thing I missed from the organized structure was the other people who were going through the same thing I was. Few of them were relatively fit when their heart event occurred. That meant their fitness level was significantly lower than mine and they had very difficult times doing the workouts because in many cases it had been years since they had exercised at all. I missed talking to them about their stories.

    For these three weeks I worked out at home in my gym. I thought this is going to take me six months to get back to my previous fitness level. My workouts started to change as I added a few new things each week but still stayed away from weights other than carrying the 3 lb dumbbells when walking. I began doing body weight exercises and full body stretching. 

    In the middle of the 12th week I met my cardiologist and he gave me clearance to go back to some light weightlifting. I felt great and couldn't wait. Back to my gym, holy crap, the weights were a lot heavier than I remembered. And I was only lifting 10-15 lb weights. I decided to concentrate on building a base for the next 3 weeks.

    I was terrified when I thought about doing a pushup! How do I overcome that?

  • 20 Nov 2016 2:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    After the first six weeks were up (Oct 30, 2016) I was enrolled in a 'Healthy Heart Future' program at the Talisman Center here in Calgary, Canada. It started with a couple days of lectures, mostly from nurses about how to take care of your heart. They spent time on an overview of heart disease so we all had a good understanding of what was ahead.

    Then we spent a short amount of time on nutrition, which they knew very little about. And what they did know was quite outdated, but they are a union and I understand they have to follow the union guidelines. Thats too bad really!

    I started out with a 30 minute aerobic workout on either a stationary bike or a treadmill 3 times a week on alternate days, and walking continued on the other days. It was a lot tougher than I thought. My surgeon told me no resistance training or medium to heavy weight lifting, and then they handed out stretch bands so we could add some resistance. I thought whaaat! 

    Okay, stop complaining Ron, they are supposed to know more than us!

    Just concentrate on redeveloping the lung capacity. I could not breathe deeply and I found that really discouraging. I am now three weeks into this and it is tougher than I thought it would be. I want to lift some weights but my sternum has not completely healed so I need to be smart about this. 

    For the first time in my life, I am listening to someone else!  Then after 2 and one half weeks I was totally bored with the workouts and when they tried to get me to sign up for a shopping tour with the nurses...I dropped out and decided to work out at home. 

    I also decided to work very carefully and not do any weightlifting until my 3 months was up. That was the target my surgeon set. I continued with the daily walks and started to carry 3 lb dumbbells on my walks. My walks got faster and when I used my treadmill at home I was walking at a 4.3 pace and a 4.3 incline. Most treadmills are pretty close to the same setting so you can see I was getting stronger.

  • 15 Nov 2016 8:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I was born with a slight heart murmur. In my case it was a leaky Mitral Valve. It was never a problem but in January 2016 I had a bad lung infection. I had previously had pneumonia 3 times and the latest one seemed to last for months. My energy levels dropped so low I stopped working out, I couldn't sleep due to a shortness of breath and I was coughing like crazy. 


    Turns out the murmur was now a complete orchestra! And it was so serious I was admitted to the emergency department and underwent open heart surgery to repair the valve. My 'heart event' (as I found these things are called) occurred on Sept 15, 2016. 

     I was lucky, I didn't have a heart attack, but the lack of exercise for 8 months followed by the impact of surgery (just light walking for 6 weeks) left me feeling like I was at zero on a scale of fitness. I had almost no aerobic ability, deep breathing was difficult and I tired very quickly. My surgery involved opening my chest by cutting through my sternum, so for 6 weeks following surgery I could not drive or fly, couldn't lift more than 5 lbs. I could not open our patio door or lift up one of my Bichon Friese dogs (they weigh about 16 lbs each). I was told not to put any stress on my chest or even open my arms wide. Getting out of bed was exciting let me tell you! You cannot use your elbows or arms to push yourself up. Weight resistance training is a no-no. I had to squeeze my heart pillow (they actually give you a heart shaped pillow to hold against your chest if you are going to cough) a lot. Coughing was tough but sneezing was terrifying! My doctor said it would take 3 months before I could resume normal activities.

    But I could walk everyday. The first day home I think I walked less than a quarter mile and I was pooped!

    I felt like I had completely lost my fitness level! I was so weak I wasn't sure where to start. 

    Then I realized: I did know where to start! 

    1. I knew what my fitness level was
    2. I knew where I wanted it to be
    3. I understood what had to be done and why
    4. I just had to put in the work to make it happen. 

    I had to rebuild my aerobic ability so I could start rebuilding my strength.

    I walked every day for the first 3 weeks and that is all I could do! My sister Brenda stayed with us for a while to ensure I did my daily walk and that I did not mess around with any weights as I talked about doing. She was the enforcer and she know I hate following anybody else's rules! How could such a tiny thing be such a bear? I was sleeping 9-12 hours at night and taking a nap each afternoon. It seemed like the weeks were flying by and I was not making any progress.

    Then around week four I started to feel a little stronger and thought I could lift some 5 lb dumbells and do some simple upper body work. The thought of a push up terrified me. Remember I had my chest cut open.

    I still walked daily and was now going faster and I felt some strength returning.

    All my workouts through this process will be available in the membership Workouts Library.

  • 03 Aug 2016 6:19 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The top 10 biological markers of aging (getting older) are the things we see changing in our bodies as we get older.  Logic tells us that we cannot stop this process...but we can slow it down with the right lifestyle. We have to take care of our body and give it the right fuel. If we do those two things,  we can age gracefully and we can age well.

    There are more than 10  biological  markers of aging but I like a Top 10 list because they include those things that most of us can see happening to our own bodies. We see them, we feel them, they are constantly in the news and they affect how we live our daily lives. 

    The list  is  very logical and in the order most of us experience. 

     

    Biological Markers Of Aging 

    1. Decrease in muscle mass - If you are less active than when you were younger,  you will or already  are experiencing  a loss of muscle mass. 

    2. Decrease in strength - With less muscle mass, you will experience a decrease in your strength. The best way to prevent this from happening or to fight back if it is already happening is to increase or maintain your activity levels.

    3. Slowing of metabolic rate -  If #'s 1 and 2 happen the rest become like dominos. You will  have less muscle as the majority of middle aged  and older people do. This leads to  a decrease  in  your bodys need for oxygen and calories.
       

    4. Increase in body fat Percentage - Most of us don’t change our eating habits easily. If we are less active and we use less energy but still eat the same way,  we add fat which is simply storage cells. 


    5. Decrease in ability to use oxygen (aerobic capacity) - This is the ability to rapidly breathe amounts of air into the lungs  for aeration of the blood, to deliver large volumes of blood  by the pumping action of the heart and  to transport oxygen to all parts of the body via the bloodstream. For example, some people find it getting harder going up the same flight of stairs, getting up from a chair or from the floor! 

    6. Blood sugar intolerance - As we age, we can gradually  lose the ability  to efficiently use the sugar in our blood,  so our blood sugar rises and may  increase  our chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

    7. Increasing cholesterol - Cholesterol  is not a required substance in our diet because  our body is able to produce what it needs.  Cholesterol is a fatty substance that’s essential in  the construction of cell membranes.  Sometimes it can collect and form deposits in tissues.  When this happens in blood vessels, it is called ‘atherosclerosis’,  a condition that contributes to the development of heart disease.  Cholesterol in our diet comes from animal food sources;  there is no cholesterol in plant food.  High cholesterol is largely caused by bad dietary  habits like eating too much fat and salt.

    8. Increased blood pressure - While this may be partially hereditary, contributing factors are obesity, eating too much fat and salt, drinking too much alcohol and too little exercise. Blood pressure is measured in two parts. The first, systolic, is the pressure the blood exerts on the walls of the arteries when the heart contracts or pumps, and secondly, diastolic, is between beats when the heart is taking a rest. If the diastolic is raised your arteries never get a rest. They are constantly stressed, and over time the walls may thicken and stiffen.
       

    9. Decrease in bone density - As we get older there is a decline in the mineral content of bones that leaves  a weaker, less dense,  more brittle skeleton. When this reaches the point where there is a large increase in the risk of fracture, it’s called  osteoporosis. By the time this occurs some people are old, feeble and frail. As the signs of aging become more prevalent, more people over 60 are apt to suffer from falls because of poor balance and weak muscles, and then, serious injuries result. They have  poor muscles,  poor balance  and  brittle bones.
       

    10. Decreasing ability to control internal temperature - Our bodies have an excellent  temperature control system.  If it is too hot the main cooling mechanism is to sweat, too cold and the body shivers. The evaporation of the sweat cools the body while shivering generates heat. Both help maintain the 37.5 C or 98.6 F required. To do this properly you need the correct amount of water and blood flow. An imbalance here shows up as the gradual loss of effectiveness of this system.  It seems that as we age our sensations of thirst decline so we don’t drink enough water. The lack of exercise leads to a lower heart rate and a smaller heart stroke volume (we don’t pump enough blood). This means less blood flow to the skin. Some sources report that it takes a higher internal temperature to make an older person sweat. This is how heat escapes from the body. 

      These biological markers of aging are happening to all of us and we can work to delay them. Your knowledge of these markers can help you impact your Aging curve
      ! So now if you are New To Fitness, this information can only help you.


      Conclusion:

      For years we have all heard that we need to eat a healthy diet. But with all the information that is written about a wide variety of opposing theories, is it any wonder people are confused. Watch my short video called 'The Aging Curve' again to see how I am pushing back against my 'Aging Curve'.  I have been studying fitness and nutrition for many years and I want to share it all with you. 


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