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  • The Importance of Strength Training for Seniors

    When you first think of strength training, what image comes to mind? For most, it’s young, muscular individuals, athletes, or strength sports. However, strength training is not just for the young and agile, in fact – if you’re over 50, strength training is something you absolutely should be doing!

    While most seniors practice daily walking, one study found that 40% of people over 65 do not strength train at all. Many trainers, including Casey Hewitt at Speedflex, believe that strength training has major benefits for those in their 50’s, 60’s, and even older:

    “Regularly working out in this way builds muscle and replenishes the muscle mass that steadily declines as we age. It also boosts bone density and aids the metabolism. Over time, this could reduce your chances of suffering with arthritis, as it supports muscles around the joints, and diabetes, due to a boosted metabolism,” Hewitt said.

     

    strength training seniors

    Stop for a second and consider a few of the many benefits strength training provides for seniors:

    • Prevents bone/muscle deterioration
    • Helps preserve independence
    • Slows effects of aging
    • Prevents falls, immobility, and the rehabilitation costs that come with falls
    • Decreases chances of arthritis, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes
    • Increases serotonin production, resulting in better sleep and decreased anxiety
    • Strengthens the heart, pumping blood throughout the body
    • Reduces headaches, joint aches, and joint pain
    • Increases confidence and self-esteem

    Experts are starting to believe that exercise, particularly strength training, is a major key to keeping more seniors safe from falls. While Medicare hasn’t come around on subsidizing exercise programs yet, the evidence is clear that preventative maintenance on the body can prevent issues from arising. Programs like Band Together, a free strength training program offered by Penn State Hershey Medical Center, are starting to form.

    If you’re a senior and want to begin strength training, the first step is to re-define what strength training means to you! Get the image of professional athletes and strongmen/women out of your head. You aren’t doing this to set any records, you’re doing this because it can help you live longer, prevent disease, and improve quality of life.

    National Institutes of Health recommends strength exercises for seniors, working out all major muscle groups at least 2 days per week for 30 minutes at a time. Start small, with a weight you can only lift 5-8 times and use that weight until you can lift it 8-12 times. Wrist curls, arm curls, elbow extensions, chair dips, leg raises, and knee curls are all great workouts to start out with.

    Start small with some of BODYCRAFT's benches and racks that allow you to utilize free weights of your choice. BODYCRAFT also features top-of-the-line functional trainers that allow you to define the path of motion! Our team can help you select the perfect home gym that offer fitness solutions for all fitness levels, as well as the ability to exercise in the comfort of your own home.

  • The Benefits of 10,000+ Steps Per Day

    10,000 steps

    You’ve heard it before – your body needs 10,000 steps in a day to decrease the risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. While this health goal was made popular in the 1960’s, it’s become more prevalent in recent years with the onset of fitness trackers and wearable devices. But is walking all it takes to be healthy and fit? Is 10,000 steps still a relevant benchmark? We explore the answers to those questions and more below!

    “Walking is the Superfood of fitness”

    Author and scientist Katy Bowman, a biomechanist out of California, recently had a great quote about walking. She compared it to the essential dietary nutrients that our bodies need:

    “Walking is a superfood. It’s the defining movement of a human. It’s a lot easier to get movement than it is to get exercise,” she stated.

    This is a great point because many people look at getting healthy or fit as an all-or-nothing approach, thinking that if they aren’t running, lifting weights, or going to the gym, what’s the point? But simply walking, or trying to get those 10,000 steps per day, has major physical and mental benefits!

    For one – it combats inactivity and sedentary lifestyles, which could be just as dangerous as smoking according to recent research. Clearly, frequent daily walking reduces inactivity along with the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Secondly – walking has been shown to improve mood and decrease work-related stresses.

    With our all-new SpaceWalker – combating inactivity and improving mood is easier than ever! We designed a compact, multi-purpose treadmill that is small enough to fit in any studio apartment, as well as any office. It doubles as a standing desk, folds into a nice-looking piece of furniture, and is perfect for getting in those daily steps without having to change your daily routine.

    Walking as movement, not exercise

    Walking is a phenomenal maintenance activity that keeps you happy, decreases your chances of disease, and helps you age well. However, it shouldn’t necessarily be looked at as a way to get “fit.”

    While it may help some lose weight – strength training, cross-fit, functional training, and running will help you accomplish your bigger fitness goals. To use the food analogy again – walking represents your minimal daily nutrients that you must intake. You must have a healthy, balanced diet just like you must take a certain number of steps each day. However, to achieve a greater level of fitness, you’ll need to ramp up the activity.

    Is 15,000 the new 10,000?

    One new study proposes that 15,000 steps, not 10,000, should be the standard benchmark. This study looked at postal-service workers in Glasgow, Scotland. Their daily routines consist of a considerable amount of walking, but also a substantial amount of sitting behind a desk.

    The workers who sat for most of the day tended to have larger waistlines, higher BMI’s, and worse cholesterol profiles than those who moved more often. The greatest benefits were shown in those who walked for over three hours a day, covering at least 15,000 steps. This may be one of the few cases where more is better!

    Dr. William Tigbe, the physician and public health researcher who led this study, concluded the following:

    “Our metabolism is not well-suited to sitting down all the time. It takes effort, but we can accumulate 15,000 steps a day by walking briskly for two hours at about a four-mile-per-hour pace.”

    Is two hours of walking manageable for you? For many, there simply isn’t enough time to walk for 2-3 hours per day. That’s where the SpaceWalker comes into play. With this product, getting those 15,000 steps is easy when you can walk while you work, walk while you study, or walk while you watch TV!

  • Are You Getting the Most from Your Strength Training Routine?

    Strength or resistance training is one of the most important things we can do for our muscles to keep them conditioned and ready to work. Therefore, it’s important to know if your strength training your muscles in the correct order for maximum benefit and results.

     

    We’ve made it easy to find out. Simply answer these basic questions to find out if you’re getting the most out of your Strength Training program:

     

    1. How many days per week are you currently Strength Training? 

     A. Zero to One Day Per Week

     B. Two to Three Days Per Week 

     C. More than Three Days Per Week 

     

    2. How long do you spend Strength Training? 

     A. 15-20 minutes 

     B. At least 30 minutes 

     C. 45 minutes to an hour 

     

    3. What do you use the most during your Strength Training program? 

     A. Machines only

     B. Dumbbells and Body Weight

     C. Dumbbells, Body Weight, Kettle bells and Others 

     

    More As: 

    You want to make sure you are using the BIGGER TO SMALLER METHOD. You may want to split your body up by day as well. Spend 30 minutes at least three days per week to maintain your progress. DAY 1: Legs and Chest DAY 2: Back and Shoulders DAY 3: Core Exercises and alternate Legs, Chest, Back and Shoulders every third day. 

     

    More Bs: 

    You have experience and your tendons should be getting stronger. Therefore, you should use a PYRAMID METHOD with your strength training program. Spend three days per week and at least 40 minutes each time. DAY 1: Legs and Chest with triceps completing three sets progressing weight and decreasing reps. DAY 2: Back and Shoulders with biceps completing three sets progressing weights and decreasing reps. DAY 3: Core Focus while alternating major muscle groups.

     

    More Cs: 

    You should have strong tendons and stronger bones and muscle mass- toning is your focus. You will be concentrating on the EXHAUSTIVE SET METHOD and can refer to the More Bs paragraph for variety. Exhaustive sets can be timed (30-60 seconds) with slightly lighter weights and alternated with heavier weights with less reps (6-10 reps). DAY 1: Legs and Chest with triceps (set 1: time for 30-60 minutes; set 2: heavier weight less reps set 3: time for 30-60 minutes) DAY 2: Back and Shoulders with biceps (set 1: time for 30-60 minutes; set 2: heavier weight less reps set 3: time for 30-60 minutes) DAY 3: Focus on Core and alternate with two muscle groups (i.e. Core; Legs and Chest).

     

    Ready, set, STRENGTH TRAIN!

     

    Good Luck!

     

    Written by Guest Fitness Blogger Michele Cannell

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