You Can Improve Fitness at Any Age! January 19, 2019
Read this article – what do you think?
Even Low Levels of Exercise Is Valuable. NEW STUDY. November 25, 2017
New European research has found that when it comes to exercising in our senior years, something is better than nothing for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Carried out by the Academic Medical Centre, in Amsterdam, the 18-year study looked at 24,502 adults aged 39 to 79 years to compare the association between different levels of physical activity and the risk of cardiovascular disease in elderly to middle-aged individuals.
Innovations Ease Older Age Living December 31, 2016
Trend #1: Longer, Healthier, Happier Lives for Seniors
Innovations in surgery, pharmaceuticals and other medical care continue to extend the life of human beings. But for those additional days to be happy and fulfilling ones, seniors need to maintain physical wellness, mental acuity and social engagement.
Technology can play a key role in this. Basic technologies such as visual doorbells and simplified video conferencing help seniors stay connected with friends and family. Wearables encourage people to be more active. And popular apps such as Lumosity and CogniFit are proving to be supportive of improved brainpower.
Dr. David Rhew, chief medical officer at Samsung Electronics America, envisions a future where these first-wave technologies morph into even more powerful tools to enrich senior life. Fitness, socialization and cognitive training programs will be unified and customized to address the needs and capabilities of each individual. Gamification techniques will help motivate entire communities of seniors to strive for better personal performance.
“Technology can clearly help seniors achieve much better outcomes as they age,” Rhew says. “The key is to create digital experiences that promote the broadest possible adoption and the most complete possible utilization of available resources.”
More to come on this subject.
Happy New Year
Exercise Helps Depression December 30, 2016
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Factors such as advanced age and greater aerobic capacity increase the likelihood that exercise will work as a treatment for depression in elderly patients, a recent study published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society has shown.
The research expands the Safety and Efficacy of Exercise for Depression in Seniors (SEEDS) study, which found that exercise together with the antidepressant medication sertraline was significantly more effective in reducing depression symptoms than sertraline alone. The combined treatment approach, however, worked well for some but not all study participants.
“There isn’t a lot of information available to help clinicians decide who should receive exercise therapy and who is less likely to benefit from it,” said senior author Klea Bertakis, professor of family and community medicine at UC Davis. “We wanted to better understand the modifiers of exercise therapy for depression.”
The risk of depression, along with its accompanying risks of physical disease and suicide, increases with age. It is thought to affect more than two million Americans over 65. That estimate, however, could be low, since depression is often overlooked or incorrectly considered a normal part of growing older.
Primary care has become a critically important setting for reducing the rates of undiagnosed and undertreated depression among the elderly, Bertakis said.
“We are the sole health care contacts for more than 50 percent of older patients with mental illness,” Bertakis said. “With remission rates of just 28 to 44 percent, even with first-line antidepressants, there is a huge need for find alternative treatments for depression for this population.”
SEEDS involved about 120 study participants between the ages of 65 and 85. All were sedentary, diagnosed with clinical depression and patients of primary care clinics in Italy. Primary care and mental health care are linked services in Italy, making it an ideal location for the study.
One group received sertraline, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor thought to work by balancing brain chemistry. Another group received sertraline plus low-intensity exercise such as mat work. A third group received sertraline plus high-intensity exercise using exercise bicycles. Participants who received the combined treatment achieved depression remission more frequently and earlier than those who just received sertraline.
For the current study, all three SEEDS groups were evaluated for depression symptoms as well as sociodemographic, physical and medical, psychiatric and cognitive factors. The results showed that the exercise interventions were especially effective for those who were aged 75 or older, who were taking three or more daily medications, who had higher aerobic capacity before beginning the intervention or who had fewer symptoms of anxiety.
One of the most interesting outcomes was that exercise was more effective at reducing depression for patients with psychomotor impairments, a common outcome of depression that reduces mobility, speech and executive function. Studies have shown that antidepressant medications like sertraline tend to be less effective in patients with psychomotor impairments.
“It’s possible that exercise on its own benefited this group more or that it changed brain chemistry in ways that helped make sertraline more effective,” Bertakis said. “There needs to be more research to tease out the benefits of exercise for this group, because psychomotor impairments can be some of the most disabling features of depression.”
The study overall proves that the elderly are not a homogenous population when it comes to depression treatment.
“We need to continue to find new options for older patients with depression and overcome the ‘one size fits all’ treatment approach,” Bertakis said.
The research team is currently studying alternative treatments to sertraline for depressed elderly patients with anxiety, including breathing and postural exercises.
Bertakis’ primary collaborator was lead author Stamatula Zanetidou from the Consultation Liaison Psychiatry Service in Bologna. Their co-authors were Martino Belvederi Murri, Marco Menchetti, Giulio Toni, Fabrizio Asioli, Luigi Bagnoli, Donato Zocchi, Matteo Siena, Barbara Assirelli, Claudia Luciano, Mattia Masotti, Carlo Specia, Monica Magagnoli, Mirco Neri and Mario Amore.
Autumn A Time For A Change? September 18, 2016
With the shorter days coming and the prospect of chilly weather, you may be thinking about suspending your outdoor activities.
Here in Cheltenham I offer AquaSplash exercise sessions in a private pool twice every week.
Monday & Thursday 14:30-15:15
With 2 hours Free parking, good public transport connections and lift access to all levels there really is no excuse!
Watch these videos to see our group in action. Find them on our Facebook page search for
The pool is salinated, so kinder to your skin and hair kept comfortably warm. An even depth of 4′ with both ladder and stair access. Good changing facilities with free lockers.
Want a free trial? Message me
Or text (SMS) me on
Stay Active. Stay Independant.
Masters Sport – More Please! August 17, 2016
Does the Same Exercise Work At Any Age? July 15, 2016
Body is very youthful, resilient, and has not experienced pain from previous injuries yet. Risk tolerance is higher and should be kept in check, while continuously pushing limits and maintaining safety. This is the era for body design.
Body is extremely capable and muscle is easiest to grow; rather than focus on ‘impact’-based activities, we’re going to focus on joint stability, core strength, and developing a ‘life’ muscle base. This way, your metabolism stays high for a very long time to come.
Physical endurance, speed maintenance, and youthful aging become the priorities. Working on the ‘inside’ of your body becomes more important than ever before, and you experience the consequences of years of prolonged sitting, standing, or repetitive motions you’ve done at work and at home. Counter-acting aging becomes the highest priority to maintain and improve the quality of your life, and time is more of a factor than ever before.
This is the era that requires you re-build strength. Your metabolism is naturally slowing down, hormonal changes related to aging are taking place in both genders, and anti-aging exercise, nutrition, and mindset become the focal points of life, rather than career or education. This is the peek of your career, the onset of golden years, and the moment that makes you want to give back and teach others. The example you set now is one others will live by for years to come.
Body, figure, balance, pain elimination. Time to ‘tune in’ your body, activate as much muscle as possible, and take your body slightly out of the comfort zone every day, so you can move like a kid again.
Having just completed a second Instructor training course for the ageing population I know that although generally any movement and activity will promote health and wellbeing at any age.
What I have learnt over a thirty year career working with adults of all ages, is that those clients that exercise in a meaningful way, regularly more than 3 times a week are in much better shape than those that use increasing age as a reason NOT to exercise.
The technical side of exercise programming for me is about getting my older clients, those over 40, off the treadmill, cycle, stepper and rower. Then persuading them to pick up some weights or a restance band on a regular basis. Everything falls into place when you maintain or increase your lean muscle mass.
It is absolutely true that you can gain and regain fitness at any age.
Join a specialist gym – where the trainers understand ageing, understand that being over 50 doesn’t mean that you’re disabled and weak, or that you will benefit from a nice easy walk on a treadmill for an hour!
Find an experienced and educated trainer – who will plan a strength training program for you, to maintain important postural muscles and promote healthy movement and wellbeing.
Independence, Falling & Joints – the correct exercises will maintain your independent lifestyle, prevent you falling or just as important your fear of falling.
The right trainer will also advise you how to improve your nutrition and how best to keep your joint moving too.
Specialist Health Clubs are popping up all over, but your local community centre or village hall will have something fun and active for you to join in. Buy a dog, borrow a dog, join a walking group – just DO something EVERY DAY!!
Why is Exercise Important for Menopausal Women? June 29, 2016
Why is exercise important for menopausal women?
Women go through so many hormonal changes in their life and staying positive and living a healthy, active lifestyle can help them cope better with the changes, both physically and mentally.
What specific issues will exercise address?
A healthy, active lifestyle as you age can help counter ageing effects such as muscle loss, decreased bone density and decreased joint mobility. Bone loss during menopause is always a concern, so following a balanced plan which includes moderate impact exercises can help. As hormones change, many women also find that they gain weight. Being active, combined with healthy nutrition can help with weight loss and weight maintenance. Many people believe that as we age, our need for activity diminishes but, the older we become, the more focused we must be on staying active so that we can have good overall health.
What are the other benefits?
The benefits of being active go far beyond the physical. Exercising releases endorphins that make you feel good; sweating and improved circulation give your skin a youthful post exercise glow and although we can’t stop the ageing process, building lean muscle mass and promoting bone density can help counteract nature’s plan. Exercise is wonderful for all stages of life but especially during a period when women need a confidence boost and some stress relief.
Can exercise reduce menopausal symptoms?
I believe that exercise can reduce stress and feelings of anxiety as well as combat the feeling of being tired which often accompanies menopause. Exercise can help you to feel energised, positive and in control.
How often should they exercise?
How much exercise you need depends on your overall goal. For weight-loss and general health, 150 minutes (or about 30 minutes, five times a week) of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week may be enough. Although a workout time of 30 minutes is adequate, I believe it’s best to schedule for a slightly longer duration of approximately 50-60 minutes each day. Allocating an extra 20-30 minutes will allow adequate time for a warm up and cool down as well as time to write in an exercise journal or prepare a healthy post exercise snack. Exercise produces the best results when you are consistent in your routine. It should be part of an overall wellness strategy to improve your life. Thus, your activity plans should not be something that stresses you out. It’s counter-productive if you have to rush off right after your exercise routine because it somehow spoils the stress relieving effects.
Why is strength training important for menopausal women?
As part of the ageing process and the hormonal changes that take place, women naturally lose muscle mass which can negatively affect their metabolism, how they feel and how they look. Whether you are trying to lose or gain weight or maintain your current body composition, strength training can help you to achieve your body-focused goals while improving the way you feel. The benefits of strength training include weight loss, increased lean body mass and improved strength as the training adaptations that happen in the body as a result of strength training can greatly enhance the activities of daily living, such as lifting, standing, walking and enjoying simple activities. If you love to play sports, strength training can also help you to improve your overall performance. Training for strength does not have to mean lifting weights. You can do body weight exercises, use resistance bands or objects around the house, such as water bottles.
Should yoga and meditation be included in the fitness routine?Meditation is an ancient practice associated with health benefits; exercising your mind is just as important as exercising your body. Meditation is a great way to regain your focus, calm your mind and, at the same time, avoid the pitfalls that come with reaching for the cookie jar when stressed. Complementing meditation with yoga may help you develop mental strength, flexibility and physical strength. Whatever your needs or fitness goals, there are styles of yoga that will suit you.
What about dietary changes?
Our daily nutrition choices are important, not only for controlling our weight but for being and feeling our best. Nutrient-dense foods packed with vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, can enhance our overall sense of wellbeing. Calcium is important for bone health, protein essential for healthy muscles, and consuming healthy fats is also important. During times of major changes within the body, it’s best to make small daily changes instead of one big jump. It’s about being a little more mindful of what we are putting into our body each day. Hydration is also crucial because of all the sweating that menopausal women experience, so one must replenish lost fluids.
Train Smart. Eat Well. Feel Great !
Top Tips to Avoid Menopausal Heart Disease June 20, 2016
Top Tips to Avoid Menopausal Heart DiseaseHeart disease is the leading cause of death among women so taking care of it through diet, exercise and bioidentical natural progesterone will all help your heart stay healthy.
June 14, 2016
Once she reaches the age of 65 a woman’s rate of heart disease has caught up with that of men so it makes sense to be proactive and minimise your risk factors for a long and healthy life.
The biggest risk factors are smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, being overweight and having an unhealthy diet. They are also risk factors for a number of other serious health conditions including diabetes so reducing them will improve your health profile immediately.
It is a common misconception that women suffer exactly the same type of heart disease as men, but yet again there is a real difference between the sexes. Women post-menopause can have narrowing of the arteries and a build-up of deposits just like men do, but it is much more common for the cause of the heart attack to be spasm of the coronary arteries. Research suggests that the oestrogen component of HRT may aggravate coronary artery spasm, where bioidentical natural progesterone will relieve it.
What to do to minimize your risk:
You already know to eat a varied, healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables but there is now a new player in the mix. Interesting new research from Malmo in Sweden found that women whose diets were high in fibre had almost 25 percent lower risk of heart disease than women whose diets were low in it. The best fibre source is fruit and vegetables, rather than bread, so you are getting multiple health benefits as well as heart protecton.
A real health boost will be yours if you also follow an anti-inflammatory diet with lots of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants – including vitamins A and C – plus the minerals potassium and magnesium.
Good news if you love chocolate – and who doesn’t – because cocoa has been validated as having these cardiovascular benefits:
• Inhibits the oxidation of LDL
• Improves endothelial function
• Inhibits platelet activation
• Reduces LDL
• Increases HDL
• Increases insulin sensitivity
• Reduces inflammatory proteins
• Lowers blood pressure
Of course these are not just found in chocolate – you will get the same benefits in tea, fruit, vegetables and red wine so you can balance out your chocolate intake! The chocolate health winner though is raw chocolate and you can add it to smoothies, drinks and shakes. If you want to chew on a bar then go for dark (plain) chocolate with a high cocoa content of at least 75%.
Regular, enjoyable, exercise is also key and if it is weight bearing it will help with osteoporosis too.
Stress affects every single part of your body and if you are regularly stressed, and on a long-term basis, then this is a serious risk factor and needs to be addressed. Find ways to reduce the pressure whether that is taking a walk, talking to a friend or taking up a hobby. Singing, dancing, meditation are all good ways to relax – just find what suits you and stick to it.
Tackling your diet, exercise regime and stress levels will make a huge difference to your risk of heart disease. There is also another two other things you can do to protect your heart.
It has been known for many years that progesterone is effective in relaxing coronary arteries which have gone into spasm, and that excess oestrogen can in fact cause spasm. As we have seen, most menopausal women’s heart attacks are due to heart spasm so this is a simple and effective preventive measure to avoid a potentially fatal heart attack.
Oestrogen dominance is also linked to heart disease so tackling that as well will give you a good healthy way to take care of you heart.