Get In Shape With Ageility
3/23/2020 – By: Chris Parchmann, MS, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
How to Work Out While Stuck at home
Recent challenges surrounding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak has left the country stuck at home in order to help prevent the spread of this infectious disease. Restrictions have been placed by the local and federal government to minimize social contact. Many businesses are shuttering their doors including gyms in order to keep people safe. Most of us have dramatically adjusted our routines to cope, which includes our workout regimes. With all the gyms closed until further notice, you can continue on your journey of health and wellness by working out at home.
Begin with a warm-up to start your in-home exercise routine. Warm-ups provide a slow progression from simple movements to the more complex movements that are similar to those used during the exercise sessions. Warm-up exercises serve to increase neuromuscular functioning, improve ease of movement throughout joint range of motion, increase blood flow, motor awareness, dexterity, and improve overall physical and psychological preparedness. Ageility suggests warm-up exercises last 5 – 10 minutes. Choose a variety of exercises that target the entire body. Exercises can be performed seated or standing. Example exercises are dynamic quad stretches, toe touches, shoulder circles, and jumping jacks. 1-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions using bodyweight exercises is a good starting point. There are times when cardiovascular exercise such as jogging or biking (when available in-home) is used as the primary mode of warm-up, especially when these are the primary modes of exercise within the workout. Breaking a light sweat is an easy way to know that the warm-up was adequate. Be sure to keep the intensity low so that the warm-up is not overly fatiguing. This is relative based on individual fitness levels and must be adjusted accordingly.
The segment of exercises following the warm-up are chosen based on client goals and needs such as improving strength, balance, coordination and endurance of the body. Exercises can be performed seated or standing. Perform the most complex and metabolically demanding exercises first in order to maintain form and technique and manage fatigue. For example, compound multi-joint exercises such as the push up should be performed before single joint assistance exercises like a lateral arm raise. Exercises can be performed one at a time for 1-3 sets of 5-15 repetitions and again are dependent upon training goals. Rest periods between each set should last anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes. Strength exercises should precede endurance exercise or be performed on alternate days. Bodyweight exercises are generally recommended if there are no resistance equipment options on hand. However, the use of dumbbells, resistance bands, jump ropes, etc. are some examples of low-cost options that can be added to your workout. You can also get creative and find things around the house to provide external resistance. Examples include soup cans, books, boxes, brooms, shovels, and wheelbarrows.
Ageility recommends each workout conclude with a cool down to allow the heart rate and blood pressure to recover toward resting levels before exercise stops completely. Cool downs consist of exercises such as static stretches or low-intensity cardiovascular exercise. Cool down stretches are performed using body weight, simple in nature, slow and controlled, and low level of difficulty. Each stretch is brought to an end range of motion that brings on a sensation of slight tension in the targeted muscle group. Static stretches are commonly held for around 20 to 60 seconds depending on your ability to hold the stretched position.
The following is an example workout using bodyweight exercises that can be done at home.
- Arm Circles: 1-2×10 each (forward/backward)
- Arm Swing Across Chest: 1-2×10
- Torso Twist: 1-2×10 each
- Quad Stretch: 1-2×10 each, alternating
- Knee to Chest Stretch: 1-2×10 each, alternating
- Toe Touch: 1-2×10
- Hip Cradle: 1-2×10 each, alternating
- Jumping Jacks: 1-2×15-25
- Squat: 1-3×10
- Push Up: 1-3×10
- Lunge: 1-3×10 each
- Plank: 1-3×30 seconds
- Hip Bridge: 1-3×10
- Side Bridge: 1-3×20 seconds each
- Calf Raise: 1-3×10-15
- Back Extension: 1-3×10
- Run or Walk: 1 mile
- Quad Stretch: 1-2×30 seconds
- Lying Knee To Chest Stretch: 1-2×30 seconds
- Hip Flexor Stretch (kneeling): 1-2×30 seconds each
- Butterfly Stretch: 1-2×30 seconds
- Hands Behind Back Stretch: 1-2×30 seconds
- Arm Across Chest Stretch: 1-2×30 seconds
- Calf Stretch: 1-2×30 seconds each
3/13/2020 – By: Chris Parchmann, MS, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Relationship Between Fitness and Age
Everyone has two ages classified as chronological age and biological age. Chronological age refers to the actual amount of time a person has been alive. In other words, the number of days, months or years a person has lived is the same, regardless of how healthy a lifestyle one leads. Chronological age is a superficial number and not necessarily a true representation of how old you are. Many fitness experts believe chronological age to be an incomplete figure because it does not consider other factors. Alternatively, biological age is the age at which your body functions as it compares to average fitness or health levels. We all age at different biological rates that are primarily based on genetics. However, physical fitness, nutrition, sleep, and exposure to various environmental conditions play a vital role in the aging process. Biological age determines our health and ultimately the lifespan of an individual.
There is broad biological variation among older adults of similar chronological age. This is why we see many older adults competing at a high level at the National Senior Games while other older adults of similar chronological age have difficulty with basic daily living activities. Consistent participation in a fitness program as offered by Ageility Physical Therapy Solutions has been shown to improve biological function while combating the aging process. A combination of strength, power, and endurance training in older adults seems to be the most effective strategy to counteract declines in muscle mass, strength, cardiorespiratory fitness, neuromuscular function, and functional capacity. Fitness training also promotes the prevention and control of age related diseases. Declines in physical and cognitive function are expected with age. Fitness training combined with healthy nutrition habits are essentially the basis of known natural methods to improve overall health. As a result, individuals can move and feel as if they were younger due to their biological age being much lower than their chronological age states.
Fitness programs for older adults should include an individualized and progressive approach to maintain or improve physiological function and minimize the risk of injury regardless of age. However, training age is another variable to consider when exercising. Training age is the length of time an older adult has participated in a structured fitness program. Adaptations to exercise are influenced by training age, and the amount of improvement in any fitness related measure are affected by the adaptation that has already occurred. For example, an 80 year old with 2 years resistance training experience (training age of 2 years) may not achieve the same strength gains in a given amount of time as an 80 year old with no resistance training experience.
Individualization of the fitness-training program based on biological age, training age, and specific needs is imperative to achieving your goals. General recommendations by Ageility Physical Therapy Solutions are to work out consistently at least two to three times per week, per muscle group. Resistance training and cardiovascular training should both be included in the fitness program.
2/24/2020 – By: Chris Parchmann, MS, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Physiological Changes with Age
Vast evidence demonstrates there is a trajectory of decline in functional ability as we age, especially after the age of thirty. Physical decline varies based on the peak attained earlier in life, which is why it is so important to take care of your body and stay in shape. Working with an Ageility Personal Fitness Trainer is a great way to start.
Aging has been linked to a progressive decrease in aerobic fitness, strength, and lean body mass. These decrements have been related to a prevalence of conditions such as osteoporosis, sarcopenia, and risk of injury from falls. All are interrelated and contribute to losses in fitness levels that are important factors for competing in the National Senior Games, and affect the non-athletic older adult in that degenerative conditions impair autonomy and functional capacity. Leading an active and healthy life is extremely important to preserve attainted levels of fitness in conjunction with independence as you age.
Skeletal changes with age involve bone loss beginning to exceed bone formation known as osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a chronic disease that greatly affects older adults due to a reduction in bone mineral density and bone quality. Bones become brittle and accumulate a greater number of microfractures with this disease. Lack of loading activities is also a huge factor as to why bone degenerates over time. Women have been shown to lose more bone than men because of menopause. Ageility strength training programs using weights are a great way to combat changes to an aging skeletal system.
Joints are affected by the aging process in several ways. Lack of strength causes joints to become weak and more susceptible to injury. Joints grow stiff and inelastic. In addition, they become less stable and mobile causing common movements to be far more difficult. Mobility and flexibility programs offered by Ageility can improve balance that may be lost with unstable joints.
Body fat increases and total body water decreases with age. This becomes especially pronounced at ages 40 – 50 when muscle mass begins to decline. Substantial loss in muscle mass known as sarcopenia negatively influences strength and aerobic capacity. Type I muscle fibers inclined to endurance capability are preserved while type II muscle fibers important for strength and power output associated with many sports are predominantly lost.
Nerves become less able to regenerate after they are damaged with age. Older adults find that their reaction time is slower due to this phenomenon. As a result, they lose the ability to generate strength and power influencing sport skills such as jumping ability. Loss of fine tune motor control is another change to the nervous system that occurs. This affects actions such as accuracy in throwing sports. Ageility fitness programs preserve the nervous system by including exercise components that involve strength, power, and coordination to attenuate declines to the nervous system.
Contact Ageility today to begin a fitness program tailored to meet your goals!
2/10/2020 – By: Chris Parchmann, MS, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Specificity of Fitness Training Programs
What’s the only thing smarter than getting in shape? Getting up to speed on all the techniques, training theories and even tricks that can make it easier and more efficient to achieve your fitness objectives. At Ageility, we are passionate about helping adults to unlock their physical potential and we are focused on crafting great solutions to meet each individual athletes’ specific needs. It’s helpful to partner with experts like our therapists and trainers to understand how to avoid injuries, and to understand some of the secrets of effective fitness training.
Specificity is a great example of a theory or idea that can really make one’s training program more effective. In the context of fitness, specificity refers to the concept that the types of training undertaken should be tailored specifically to the activity in which improvement is desired. For example, if you are looking to improve your tennis game you might want to focus on specific exercises for racket strokes such as the dumbbell fly, reverse fly, and the wrist flexion and extension. This probably seems obvious, but we are always surprised by how often fitness programs are undertaken without considering what the desired end result is. The better we can define this, the more likely we’ll all be pleased with the results.
Our trainers and therapists are adept at helping to identify key joint actions, muscles, energy systems, and injury sites most relevant to a particular sport. The more similar the training activity is to the actual sport movement, the greater the likelihood that there will be a positive transfer to that sport. Running can be improved with unilateral lower body exercises such as lunges. Jumping can be trained through power cleans and back squats. Ball passing and dribbling is trained with upper body exercises such as the bench press with various width grips, triceps pushdown, and reverse curl.
Working with a qualified trainer can make putting together a good program much easier since the mechanics of the human body can be complex and can start seeming overwhelming very quickly. Leveraging specificity begins with a strong understanding of the human body’s anatomical planes of movement. The sagittal plane, for example, is an anatomical boundary that runs parallel to the longitudinal axis from the head to the feet, dividing the body into left and right sections. Joint actions that occur in the sagittal plane are flexion and extension. Some examples of sagittal plane sport activities are sprinting, kicking, and throwing. Frontal plane is a vertical plane that divides the body into front and back sections. Joint actions that occur in the frontal plane include abduction and adduction. Laterally shuffling the legs and feet when playing defense in basketball is a sport related movement occurring in the frontal plane. Transverse plane bisects the body perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis creating upper and lower sections. All joint actions involving rotation occur in this plane. The tennis forehand and backhand swing are example movements taking place in the transverse plane. If all this last bit sounded a bit complicated to you, you aren’t alone, which is why it’s always great to have an expert’s assistance when you are crafting a program.
Specificity isn’t just for competitive athletes. In fact, older adults can really benefit since they need to be more efficient and set aside more time for recovery. Fewer sets or reps means that each has to be as focused as possible on delivering the desired improvement. Any individuals seeking quality of life improvements among daily living activities can benefit from the concept by applying the same principles to their training. Specificity can be applied very successfully to address some of the unique challenges and requirements of fitness for older adults.
Sport-specific training exercises are designed to provide resistance to relevant movements through the appropriate range of motion. This can also be applied if one’s goal is to train weak areas that may be susceptible to injury. The exercises aren’t always the same, but the goals are. In fact, many older adults must modify exercise range of motion due to degenerative conditions associated with age. Older adults should always be careful with end range of motion activities to minimize the risk of injury and also be concerned with movement speed. With care, explosive exercises that generate higher power outputs can be incorporated into training programs for older active adults with excellent results. Medicine ball throws from various angles are one great way to include power training into your fitness program.
Specificity is just one of the many ways to make a fitness program more impactful and effective. It might seem complex, but the benefits can be enormous and a certified expert, like one our Ageility therapists or trainers, can help put together a program that is objective driven and focused on delivering the results you want. Our team members are passionate about helping adults of all ages to unlock their physical potential and enjoy the benefits of a healthier and more active life. Contact us to see how we can help craft a fitness program for your specific goals and personal needs.
1/20/2020 – By: Chris Parchmann and the Ageility Team
Osteoporosis Exercises for Active, Aging Adults
Getting in shape is always a great idea, but it pays to be well informed about some of the potential pitfalls and challenges that might get in the way of a more active and enjoyable lifestyle. At Ageility, we are passionate about helping adults unlock their physical potential no matter their age or condition, and we are focused on crafting great training solutions to meet each individual athlete’s specific needs. It’s helpful to partner with experts like our therapists and trainers to understand how to avoid injuries, overcome physical challenges, or even to understand some of the hidden benefits of a more active lifestyle, such as reducing the threat of falls and fractures because of osteoporosis.
What Is Osteoporosis & Who Is at Risk?
Osteoporosis is a chronic condition that can impact older adults and is caused by a natural reduction in bone mineral density and bone quality. It is a common condition, and although postmenopausal women over the age of 70 need to be especially vigilant, anyone over fifty should be aware of its potential effects since it can lead to increased frailty, falls and debilitating fractures.
Fortunately, osteoporosis can be treated in a number of ways including various medications, diet, vitamin supplements, and exercise. Although you should consult your doctor on a full course of preventative measures, exercise plays an essential role in the treatment of osteoporosis.
Jogging & Resistance Training
Exercising on a regular basis has been shown to improve bone mineral density. Several studies have shown that resistance training exercise programs and weight-bearing activities such as jogging are effective for maintaining bone mass that resists deterioration and osteoporosis. Fitness programs with older men and postmenopausal women can actually change bone loss to bone gain with regular training over time.
We generally recommend resistance training two to three nonconsecutive days each week. Multi-joint and single-joint movements are both effective. Exercises that load and strengthen the musculoskeletal system, particularly prone areas of the wrist, hip, and spine, are important when treating osteoporosis.
An example of a good lower body multi-joint exercise is the squat, which involves the musculature of the hip, knee, and ankle joints and provides an axial load through the spine (as opposed to a single joint exercise like the seated leg extension that only uses the knee joint and is not weight-bearing).
An example upper body exercise is the overhead press that loads musculature of the shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints while also loading the spine. Each exercise must induce some type of overload to promote adaptation and bone formation.
Do Multiple Sets and Take Your Time!
Performing single to multiple sets for a variety of exercises that comprise of major muscle groups including the hips, legs, chest, upper and lower back, abdominals, shoulders and arms are appropriate. Movement speeds are of a slower tempo lasting up to 5 seconds per repetition and a full range of motion movements. Avoid movements that cause discomfort and end ranges of motion. Older adults may train with a wide range of repetitions depending on physical condition and experience. Beginners and less fit individuals can start with light loads that allow many repetitions. Advanced individuals can perform fewer repetitions with greater loads. The load typically dictates the number of repetitions in strength training and anywhere from 5 – 15 repetitions is suitable for older adults.
Ageility Is Here to Help
Preventing or reducing the impact of osteoporosis is just one of the many reasons why it’s always a good idea to get into better shape. If some of this seems complex, you may find it helpful to connect with a certified expert, like one of our Ageility therapists or trainers. Our team members are passionate about helping adults of all ages to unlock their physical potential and enjoy the benefits of a healthier and more active life. Contact us to see how we can help craft a fitness program for your specific goals and personal needs.
1/6/2020 – By: The Ageility Team
It’s Never Too Late To Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life
Adults who want to adopt a more physically active lifestyle often start with some form of fitness program. That’s a great idea, but it’s important to approach things in a thoughtful manner, especially in the beginning. We always recommend carefully considering what your individual fitness goals are as a first step since exercise programs should be designed to target the areas each person wants to see the biggest improvement, such as mobility, strength, balance, flexibility, or endurance. It’s always a good idea to work with an expert trainer or therapist, but here are a few important factors to consider as you set out on your personal fitness journey.
Which Exercises Should I do?
There are hundreds of different ways to work out and dozens of specific exercises that are probably appropriate for your age, physical condition and individual goals. Generally, exercises are either multi-joint or single-joint. Multi-joint exercises involve more than one joint such as the squat that requires the hip, knee, and ankle joint to work synchronously in the execution of the movement. Single joint exercises involve only one joint such as a leg extension that only exercises the knee. Both types are important in a well-rounded fitness program, but there may be situations when a multi-joint exercise is more suitable and vice versa.
When and How?
Generally, we recommend that you start with large muscle multi-joint exercises first and then move onto small muscle single-joint exercises. This is because of the greater physical demand, complexity, and skill needed to complete multi-joint exercises when compared to single-joint exercises.
Older athletes will benefit from starting with higher demand exercises to ensure they have the energy to complete the exercise with proper technique. There are instances where single-joint exercises that are simple in nature may come first such as in a warm-up to prepare the muscles for the higher demand exercises.
How Much To Do.
The number of sets performed often varies for each exercise and is one of the factors, along with the number of reps and resistance, affecting the volume of exercise. A set is a cluster of repetitions done before a period of rest or moving on to another exercise. Multiple sets have been shown by numerous studies to be superior to single sets. Older active adults beginning in an exercise program may need to begin with a single set in order to minimize fatigue. Over time, a progression may be to increase the number of sets with different exercises.
Rest and Recovery is the Key.
No matter how fit you are your body needs time to recover between exercise sessions. Anywhere from 24-72 hours to recover is normal, but age and fitness level can impact this. Older athletes generally need more recovery time between workouts and this needs to be factored when putting together an exercise program.
Rest periods during your work out are important as well. Depending on the intensity of your work out and your physical condition, we generally recommend a short break of 1 to five minutes between each set to allow your body to recover.
Intensity Isn’t Always Ideal.
It’s always tempting to stack on more weights or repetitions early, but it’s important not to over do things, especially when you are just starting out. Older athletes beginning an exercise program should start by using lighter resistances that allow for 10-15 repetitions. This helps to build local muscular strength-endurance and prepares muscles, tendons, and ligaments for heavier resistance as the individual progresses.
As you build strength and your body becomes accustomed to the exercises, you can increase resistance to a point that allows 6-8 repetitions. No matter what your age, it’s important to remember that increasing the intensity should always be a gradual process.
The First Steps Are the Most Important.
It’s always a good idea to get into better shape. For most of us, it’s never too late to start a fitness journey. It can seem complicated at first, but the benefits can be incredibly rewarding and the simple guidelines we’ve outlined in this article will help get you started on the right path. Working with a certified trainer or therapist can take a lot of the guesswork out of the process and can potentially help you avoid injuries, frustration and false paths.
At Ageility we are passionate about helping adults of all ages to unlock their physical potential and enjoy the benefits of a healthier and more active life. Contact us to see how we can help craft a fitness program for your specific goals and personal needs.