It's TIME to Strength Train

I have said it before and I will say it again: I am a big believer that everyone should be strength training with the time change. As daylight gets shorter and we change to daylight savings time, and we spend more time indoors, now is the time to start lifting. It works out great if you follow the principles of “progression “ and “adaptation” to lift until the day light gets longer, when we change the time back, and we are outside more.

As you begin your program, start out slow. Make sure your program involves both sides of the joint. This is done by remembering that if you push, then you have to pull. If you do a chest press (push) do a seated row (pull) to balance the joint.

Progression and adaptation is about using more resistance while allowing the muscles adapt and become stronger. Increase the resistance every two to three weeks the smallest amount possible and allow the muscles to adapt. You can find more information about this on the Strength Training page of the PPW website (www.properwell.com). If you do this, then just about the time you reach the maintenance level of your program it will be time to go back outside and enjoy your newly developed strength!

Here is the payout!

For years I have strength trained. Starting as far back as college, I have been in the gym on regular basis. Now at the age of sixty I am getting the payout! Less than a month ago I had my hip resurfaced. Now some may say that all the exercise I did was the cause of the hip going bad in the first place, and I have to admit that may be half true. It was not the exercise that caused my hip to go bad, but more the fact that I exercised while injured. I had a groin injury that meant I should have stopped running until it healed. I did not! The injury changed my running gate and put undue stress on my joints. The rest, as they say, is history.

However, I can tell you that, thanks of all the strength training I have done, I was a good candidate for a “Hip Resurfacing” instead of a “Total Hip.” The factors that made me a good candidate were my bone structure and bone density. Having a resurfacing instead of a total hip will allow me to continue/resume all the activities I enjoy and have enjoyed in the past. My life goal of running the Boston Marathon is now a real possibility!

The more immediate benefits are the recovery from the surgery and return to activity. Because I had the strength in my other leg and good upper body strength, my recovery is going great. The night of surgery, I was able to get myself out of bed and go to the bathroom by myself. I was back to work in 10 days and started to use a cane instead of a walker in just 2 weeks. I started driving in two weeks; last night I used the riding lawn mower to cut the lawn!

I still have a long way to go before I am running, but my point is that thanks strength training all those years, my recovery has been a lot easier. I truly believe that as we age, things like this are going to happen to all of us. It will be a lot easier on you if have the strength to deal with it.

Keep strength training

It’s time to take it to the Park!!

When you think of strength training, you don’t normally think of being outdoors; instead you think of a gym full of equipment or those dumbbells you have lying around your house. With the warm weather finally sticking around, I want to encourage you to try strength training outdoors. There is so much you can do with your own body weight and equipment you can find at a park or even in your own backyard.

Let’s be creative – If you go to a park with a playground (should be easy enough to find), head for the monkey bars. You can hang on one bar to practice your pull up strength or you can have fun with it and see if you can make it all the way across. Pretend you’re a kid again!! Trust me – it is not as easy as it used to be! You can use steps or benches for tricep dips, or just simply step up and down to strengthen your legs. If you have a workout buddy, use the playground to create your own obstacle course – challenge each other!

If you don’t have a playground, use the trees, find a bench, experiment and use anything. When I think of trees, I’m doing standing push-ups leaning against the tree. Or if you have low branches you can use those for pull-ups too! Treat the bench the same as you would a stair – just don’t sit – keep working!

Here are some other fun ideas you can try:
                ~ Alternating lunges around the entire park – OUCH!
                ~ Instead of sliding down a playground pole, try and climb up it!
                ~ Climb a cargo net or a rock wall.
                ~ Try a plank with your feet on a swing. Bonus if you can tuck your knees in & out!
                ~ If you have kids – try and keep up with them at the playground!
              ~ Try an EcoTrek Fitness Class
Run, Jump, Crawl, and Swing – but most importantly have fun while you’re trying out some new exercises. You can google playground workout for other fun ideas! 

Owwwww- It Hurts

We all know the feeling- you are working out and feeling great!  You decide to increase your weights and are thinking how strong you are - and 2 days later you feel like you were hit by a Mac Truck. Everything hurts- even the hair on your head!

Never fear you are not going to die and very soon you will be able to lift your fork to your mouth without pain.  What has happened is DOS- the dreaded delayed onset muscle soreness.  DOS typically starts about a day after intense exercise or pushing ourselves harder than usual. The pain usually peaks on day 3. Then never fear your body will start to feel better. 

Research shows that you can help reduce some of the pain by immediately using ice or cold packs.  Although the verdict is out on how long to ice- 20 minute intervals on the painful area for up to 24 hours seems to help the most and it is easiest to do.  Applying heat to sore muscles is another way to get relief, heat therapy relieves muscle soreness because extra heat increases muscle tissue metabolism leading to faster recovery.  Also remember to keep moving, I know it would feel good to just sit in the Lazy Boy but don’t give in Stretching and being active will help in recovery.  

I love variety

pilates isI love all kinds of fitness classes, it has always seemed so much easier to suffer and sweat with the company of others. I think that is why I wanted to teach aerobics. I even trained to be a yoga instructor only to find I could not be quiet and focused enough to teach that type of class. It has only been recently that I took my first Pilates class, I learned very quickly that Pilates is not for the faint of heart. Pilates can benefit anyone-male or female, young or old, beginner or an athlete.

A good Pilate’s workout can sculpt your core like nothing else. Pilates will help you stand taller, improve your posture, improve your balance, tone muscles and as you get stronger it can prevent and relieve certain issues like low back pain.

While Pilates is very challenging and if you are like me your muscles will be shaking. Keep in mind the key is to also incorporate traditional strength training into your workouts. It is important to strengthen your muscles against challenging resistance levels. By definition strength training means working your muscles to fatigue and increasing weight as you get stronger-these variables are not usually present in a traditional Pilate’s class. So, in an ideal world you want to aim for strength training with weights at least 2 times a week and then shoot for fitting in Pilates or yoga 2 times a week- and don’t forget the cardio! Variety is essential to achieving a healthy body.