Super Seniors Fitness Solutions

Keys to Living Well, Feeling Great & Enjoying Life

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

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Pilates Classic Exercise – #1 The Hundred June 15, 2014

Filed under: Fitness,Health — jax allen @ 10:17 am
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The Hundred
Joseph Pilates 34 contrology poses

Important
(1) Serious students: buy & study “Return to Life…”!
(2) Avoid potential injury! – Join the “Pilates Community” at your local gym or studio.
(3) Tips on posture and muscle tensioning – “Pilates Contrology”.

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Pilates Hundred, Pose 1:-
Zip and hollow in preparation, and maintain zip and hollow throughout. Note that the toes are pointing away.
Anchor your scapulas, and keep them gently anchored throughout.
Tuck your chin and lift your head and shoulder blades off the mat. Make sure that you are looking down at your belly.
Raise your straight legs just 2″ off the floor.
Raise arms to the position shown in pose 2.

Pilates Hundred, Poses 2 and 3:-
Beat your arms up and down just 6 to 8 inches (elbows locked)-
Fives beats while inhaling slowly.
Fives beats while exhaling slowly.
A total of one hundred beats.

Pilates Hundred, Pose 4:-
Relax completely (note that the abdomen is still zipped or scooped).
Pilates demonstrating the Pilates One Hundred, Poses One to Four:
(diagram derived from original photo).
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Pilates Hundreds, Watch Points:-

Keep your lumbar spine glued to the floor!
Neck pain: perform the hundred with your head resting on a cushion, & seek physiotherapist, chiropractic, or therapeutic massage advice.

Pilates Hundreds, Joseph’s Comments:-
At first you probably will not be able to carry out instructions as ilustated in poses – this proves why these exercises and all succeeding ones will benefit you. However, with patience and perseverance you eventually should succeed in achieving the ideals as posed – with accompanying normal health(1).

Pilates then and now:-
Nowadays, the Pilates Hundred is often performed with thigh bones angled higher, and arms angled lower(2). Higher angling of the thigh bone works the Rectus femoris very hard over its shorter range: a sure fire recipe for triggerpoints and muscle pain. So why is it taught this way? – Presumably it evolved to help dancers condition their Rectus femoris muscles to cope with the enormous stresses of straight leg raises during dancing(3)?

Reference
J H Pilates and W J Miller: Return to Life through Controlology. 1st Ed, publ. 1954 J.J.Augustin New York (Review & purchase…)
Bruce Thomson: The Modern Pilates Hundred
Jack Giangiulio: Anterior Hip Pain in Young Dancers: Don’t Be Fooled
Pilates Hundred, Free Pilates Poses, Pictures © Bruce Thomson, EasyVigour Project

 

Pilates: Truths January 10, 2014

Filed under: Fitness,Health — jax allen @ 8:40 pm
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Pilates: Truths

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Pilates is body conditioning that involves performing a series of controlled and very specific exercises. It will improve your strength, flexibility, posture and
co-ordination.
After class you will feel invigorated and relaxed at the same time, breath control is an important part of the Pilates Method and is a great benefit for most of us.
Even though Pilates has been around since the early 20th century, there are still many misconceptions about it.

1. Pilates is low impact exercise.

This is because there is NO impact force to your joints, as you won’t jump, walk or run in a Pilates class. ‘Impact’ is often confused with Intensity, you will find Pilates exercises can be intense even without high impact activities.

2. Pilates Will Help Give You a Flatter Stomach

This is true. Pilates focuses primarily on your core, so a person who does it faithfully will be rewarded with a flatter stomach, and a stronger back. However, for a six pack you will need to reduce your body fat %. Normal Pilates classes don’t reduce body fat!
See #6 below.

3. Pilates Can’t Cure Aches and Pains

Many people choose Pilates because it offers a safe workout, but it cannot cure aches and pains. Those who suffer from chronic pain should consult with their doctor before they start Pilates or any other form of activity.
Many of my clients are referred to me by their GP, Physiotherapist, Osteopath and Chiropractors once their treatments have completed and they need to prevent further problems.

4. Pilates Won’t Make You Taller

Pilates can create a longer, leaner look, but it will not increase your height. Some people appear taller after they have done Pilates for a while, but this is most likely due to the fact that their posture has improved. Some say that they feel taller and it could be that their intervertebral discs are plumped up rather than compressed.

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5. Pilates Can Improve Athletic Performance

Tiger Woods and Andrew Murray are two of the many athletes who admit they use Pilates to improve their performance. Dancers and cyclists also use Pilates as a part of their training regime. It helps improve strength and flexibility, which are two important components of fitness, by improving joint mobility and range of motion.
I have golfers that have found their Drive much more powerful after regular Pilates practice.

6. Pilates Can’t Help You Lose Weight

Pilates is great for toning muscles, but it is not the ideal exercise for people who want to lose weight. A 2006 study showed that Pilates does not have any significant effect on a person’s weight or body composition. Although if you build a few pounds of healthy muscle your measurements will reduce even if your scale weight remains the same. See #2 above.

7. Pilates is NOT Just for Women

Even though Pilates is viewed as an activity for women, it is also very popular among men. In fact, Pilates was invented by a man. Joseph Pilates or ‘Old Joe’. There are also a lot of male Pilates instructors.
I have many keen male clients – golfers, walkers, cyclists and extreme runners as well as desk jockeys!

8. Pilates Is Ideal for Those New to Exercise

Pilates is a great choice for the novice as all exercises can be easily progressed and regressed to suit your abilities. A mat and the right activewear are all that you need to do Pilates.
I am sometimes asked to plan and teach introductory courses for beginners within big box gyms and private health clubs.

It seems although most people have heard of Pilates they don’t really understand what it is!

If you are within travelling distance you can contact me for a FREE trial session.

Check out my teaching schedule page at http://www.JaxAllenFitness.com for available classes in Cheltenham.

 

Inspirational Seniors #9 October 26, 2013

Filed under: Fitness,Fun,Senior Moments — jax allen @ 10:21 am
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You are never too old to do something about your disappearing muscle!

Just because statistics suggest muscle is lost with age – you don’t have to sit back and let it happen.

I’m not saying that you go directly to a weight machine and start leg pressing- as this fantastic lady has- she has probably been training for years, and lucky for her has continued her sport and the training that goes with it.

We know that strength training is valuable at any age, I use resistance bands with my Super Seniors. They are easy to use, suit lots of fitness abilities and you can even sit down and get good results. When you are stronger you can progress easily. They are quite cheap, take up no storage space and you can take them with you if you travel.

We’ll be recording some band routines soon to give you some ideas of exactly how easy band exercises are….

Jax Allen

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