Tagged as: muscles

The Best Exercises for Seniors

At Rep 1 Fitness we’ve seen our older adult clients achieve amazing health and fitness results. Perhaps the word ‘amazing’ is downplaying their achievements and we should say ‘life changing’!  

Our senior clients can be seen working on single leg balance drills, learning to lift weights or even venturing into weekend cycling races. No matter what your level of fitness is, it’s without a doubt that exercise can positively impact one’s health.  Being physically active can improve your quality of life, mental and physical well-being and can even lead to living longer.  Participating in a safe fitness program contributes to well-being at every age but is essential for older adults.  The best exercise for seniors combines 4 pillars of fitness; strength, cardiovascular, mobility and balance. 

Regular exercise can help reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, heart disease and can even slow cognitive decline.  It can help control blood pressure, cholesterol, increase circulation and maintain a healthy body weight.  Also some studies reveal that regular exercise can help reduce the risk of some diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s up to a whopping 50%!  A smart and safe exercise program can help strengthen your muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones helping fight against falls and osteoporosis.  

Best of all, exercise can help you stay strong, agile and energetic so you can continue the activities that bring you the most the joy in life! 

There is no ‘one best exercise’ but an exercise program that combines strength, cardiovascular and flexibility work is the most beneficial for seniors.  Try and find an exercise routine that not only includes those but one that you enjoy the most! This way exercising will be fun and you’ll be more likely to stick to the program long term. 

What if I’m a Total Beginner?

 If you’re new to fitness or haven’t been active in a while fear not! It’s never too late to start and reap the benefits of exercise.  First and foremost, before you begin any new exercise make sure you speak to your doctor.  Ensure any existing health conditions or medications are taken into account.  Ensure you start slowly and gradually build up.  If you have no idea where to start consider working with an experienced personal trainer. They have the knowledge and abilities to work safely with all age groups.  

If you’re new to fitness start with walking. Walking is one of the best exercises for seniors. You can start with 10-15 minutes several times a week. Work your way up to being able to walk comfortably for 30 minutes. This is a great cardiovascular foundation to have.  From there you can build upon your foundation! 

Starting a Fitness Program

The good thing is that greater health and fitness can be achieved by exercising just 30 minutes most days of the week. Let’s take a closer look at what your fitness program should like in detail below:

“Older adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity…” recommends the World Health Organization.

Moderate intensity exercise includes walking, swimming and even mowing the lawn. Moderate exercise should feel somewhat hard. Physical clues will be breaking a light sweat after 10 minutes, breathing quickens but you can still hold a normal conversation. 

Vigorous intensity exercise should feel very challenging. Your breathing would be rapid, you’d break a sweat after only a few minutes of exercise and you cannot carry a conversation comfortably. 

If you’re new to vigorous exercise be careful not to overexert yourself.  If you experience any pain, feel faint or dizzy be sure to stop and rest. Then gradually build up next time.  Again, working with a certified personal trainer can be very helpful as they know how to prescribe exercise intensity for your personal level. 

The Best Exercise for Seniors:

Strength Training

From there we suggest adding in a strength training regime.  Resistance training (strength training) is another best form of exercise for seniors as it helps maintain and improve your muscular strength and endurance.  This leads to better posture, stronger bones and even contributes to your quality of life! 

As we age our bodies naturally lose muscle mass.  Humans lose 3% – 5% of muscle mass every decade after the age of 30.  This can even speed up around the age of 65 if a person remains inactive.  It is crucial to stay active and strength train as you age to help slow this process down.  Sarcopenia (muscle loss with age) can come with symptoms like loss of stamina, muscle atrophy (muscle shrinking) and weakness.  With regular resistance training woman can expect to gain 0.5-1 lbs of muscle per month and men 1-2 lbs of muscle every month. These numbers can vary greatly depending on genetics, hormone levels, age, quality of sleep and diet.  Nonetheless – we can ensure you will see and feel a difference even in the first month of regular strength training!

Daily tasks like climbing stairs and carrying groceries for example all require muscular strength. With stronger muscles you can expect to do these things with ease and confidence. 

How Much and How Often?

We suggest strength training a minimum of two days per week.  Strength training includes exercises using free weights, resistance bands, weighted balls, cables and even your own bodyweight. Again, make sure you start gradually with a weight you can safely lift for 10-15 reps.   Movements that strengthen all the major muscle groups like squats, lunges, modified push ups and rows are the best exercises for seniors.  

Below are just some of our amazing older adults at Rep 1 Fitness showing us some of the best exercises for seniors:

  1. The Wall Push Up – this is a great place to start building your upper body strength. If you haven’t done a push up in a while start with your hands on the wall to decrease the difficulty. 
  2. The Squat – This lower body exercise is excellent for building strength in the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes.  If you’re smiling and laughing like our trainee in the video it means you’re doing it right! 
  3. The Lunge – Similar to the squat, this exercise builds the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes as well as challenges balance! 

Flexibility and Mobility

Our muscles and joints lose flexibility and range of motion gradually with age.  Mobility is important for performing exercises correctly as well keeping simple daily tasks easy.  Flexibility can be improved by static stretches, holding a stretch for up to 60 seconds. A joints range of motion can be improved with dynamic stretches and specific mobility drills.  

Below is one of our favourite stretches for the hips and lower back and you can do it lying down – bonus! 

Below is one of your favourite stretches for your hamstrings. Step 1, start by lying on your back, bend one leg in towards your chest and wrap a band or strap around the bottom of your foot. Step 2, slowly begin to straighten the leg until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of the leg. Hold for 30-60 seconds. 

Step 1

Step 2

Better yet, assisted stretching therapy like the Fascial Stretch Therapy, a pain free, table-based technique can increase your flexibility.  The Fascial Stretch Therapy offered at Rep 1 can help improve flexibility and mobility, reduce muscle soreness and leave you feeling relaxed. 

Balance

The ability to balance better has to be one of the best outcomes of exercise for older adults. It is widely known that over 2 million older adults in North America fall each year resulting in injuries due to loss of balance.  The great thing about balance exercises is that they can be done almost anywhere.  Try standing and holding onto a railing, fence or sturdy chair for support, then slowly take one leg off the ground so that you’re balancing on one leg. Try and stay here for 10 seconds then take a break. Repeat 5 times on each leg. Once you feel comfortable try balancing on one leg without holding onto something. 

If you’re a seasoned fitness enthusiast or a complete beginner we encourage you to continue or start your fitness course no matter your age! You’ll be sure to see and feel the positive benefits of exercise on your mind and body. And who knows where your fitness venture will take you! 

 

Why should I get FASCIAL STRETCH THERAPY?

Glutes assisted stretch

Fascial Stretch Therapy is coming to  your favorite personal training studio in Kitsilano! In this article, we will be explaining:

  • What is Fascial Stretch Therapy?
  • What are the benefits of Fascial Stretch Therapy?
  • How it fits in your exercise program.

What is FASCIAL STRETCH THERAPY (FST)? 

FST is a pain free, assisted method of stretching that will help you increase your flexibility and fitness. It is complementary to any stretching or foam rolling you might be doing at the moment.
 
The session is designed to re-balance your body as a whole, and decompress your joints before applying a long lasting stretch. It will help you recover between those hard fat-burning or weight-lifting sessions, and get you ready for your next workout.
 
During an FST session you will be laying comfortably on our massage table. A personal trainer will be moving your body in a sequence of movement and guiding your body, gently pulling it in the right path. You will feel almost instantly more relaxed, lighter and will be moving with more ease. Usually those nagging aches will be reduced after just a couple of sessions. 
 
Make sure to wear athletic clothing as you don’t want those tight jeans keeping your from getting the best results.
 
Book your first appointment today and move pain free and with more ease. 
 
 
What is fascia?
 
Fascia is the term we use for all connective tissue in your body. Fascia includes but isn’t limited to tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue around the muscles. In a way, fascia is the connection between your muscles, bones and nervous system.
 
This notion of fascia helps us understand and see the body as a whole, not as separate compartments. 
 
Life factors can cause the fascia to be short and tight which can transmit stress unevenly throughout the body.
 
Tight fascia could be responsible for painful movement, increased muscle tightness, strains, tendon injuries, headaches, scar tissue formation, decreased blood flow and reduced energy levels.
 
For example a tight shoulder can explain the pain you have in your elbow, and increasing the mobility in the shoulder could be what you need to be pain free.
 
 

What are the differences between fascial stretch therapy and other modalities of stretching?

There are any different ways you can stretch your body, but fascial stretch therapy is different in several ways:
  • FST targets the whole fascial net, not just muscle.
  • FST stretches without pain. “No pain, no gain” doesn’t apply here. We relax the muscle/fascia and gently elongate it. One of the goals is to have you feel more relaxed after just one session!
  • FST uses multiples planes of movement. It is a dynamic stretching modality, in other words, you won’t be holding a stretch for a long period of time, rather your body will be guided properly in a movement sequence.
  • FST uses traction: it decreases the compression in the joint capsule and allows for a deeper stretch without pain
  • FST is an assisted form of stretching, you will be on a table, and the therapist will be moving your body.
 

What are the benefit of Fascial Stretch Therapy?

Hamstring assisted stretching

Gui, personal trainer at rep1 fitness is assessing the hamstring flexibility of his client.

 
  • Increased mobility even after only one session.
  • Better appearance: a better posture and muscle symmetry will help you look better
  • Better recovery: improves blood flow to tired muscles, which helps you to recover faster from your tough training sessions with less soreness.
  • Reduced pain and risk of injury by reducing the compression or impingement that can happen in overused joints.
  • Improved energy throughout the day.
  • Reduced stress level: breathing will be a key part of your session. Breathing deeply activates your para-sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for your relaxation.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

How does FST fits in your workout routine?

Stretch therapy is a complementary part of your training program. Therefore you still need to do your cardio, do your fat burn sessions and lift your weights. And of course, you still have to works on those trigger points by spending some time on the foam roller.
 
Most people need a couple of session per week to start. However, once your body is in a balanced state again, one session per month should be enough to maintain the range of motion you earned with FST.
 
Also remember to avoid doing a high impact workout right after an FST session. Instead, you would rather want to gently use the new range of motion, and not re tighten your body right away.
 
Keep this in mind and your FST sessions will help you have a better posture, have better workouts, and have more energy throughout your day!
 

But Gui, why did you bother learning about fascial stretch therapy?

As many people in the gym know, I love to lift heavy things, including myself. And I want to keep exercising, sweating and rock-climbing for a long time!
 
As I get older, I realized that I should not only plan my workouts, but also my recovery. FST helps me recover better and faster by decompressing the joints (especially after a heavy kettlebell day), by allowing a better nutrient exchange in the join capsule and relaxing the nervous system.
 
After a quick restorative fascial stretch session, I feel more relaxed, looser, and more important I feel I can move better. After experiencing all the benefits of Fascial Stretch Therapy, I had to find a way to offer that service to my clients. That’s why I decided to learn the technique and I am now a certified FST provider in Vancouver!
 
Call us and book your first appointment at your favorite fitness facility!
 
Book your first session now

Rep1 Fitness, personal training facility is now providing Fascial Stretch Therapy!

 
 
 

Foam Rolling

If you are a gym rat and have been for the past decade, you’ve noticed a change in the gym. People have been starting to use this weird roller and grimacing while sitting on it. You are probably aware of the name of this practice: foam rolling or self myo-fascial release (SMR). But why are people doing it if it hurts so much?

WHAT IS FOAM ROLLING?

  • Foam rolling, or SMR, is a fancy term for self massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points. It can be performed with rollers, Theracane, trigger point balls or even your bare hands.
  • Trigger points are “knots” (a bunch of overactive muscle fibres) that can be found in the muscle. It is very easy to find them: they hurt under pressure. A common example is the tenderness you feel when you put pressure on some specific area of your IT band (side of your thigh).

WHY SHOULD YOU SPEND TIME ON THE ROLLER?

There are many reasons why, here are the most common:

  • foam rolling can assist in releasing trigger points and breaking up adhesions and scar tissue.
  • foam rolling increases the blood flow in the muscle.
  • foam rolling forces the muscle to relax. It stops the overactive muscle from starting the movement and allowing the under-firing muscle to work properly. This gives you a short window of time where you can teach your body a proper movement pattern. As you probably guessed, this is my favourite reason.  An example would be the client that performs push-ups with a shoulder shrug: chances are the upper trapezius are overactive, and start before the rhomboids can kick in, releasing the upper traps with SMR and stretching allow you to perform a proper push up (article coming soon).

  • I like to use rolling as a compliment to stretching. Imagine an elastic band with a knot in the middle, if you pull on it, the elastic stretches but the knot doesn’t. Foam rolling allows you to “untie” the knot before stretching, making your stretching session more efficient.

HOW NOT TO DO IT

  1. do not simply roll back and forth. It takes longer to get the relaxation that you are going for
  2. Make sure not to roll the same body part every day: you will be rolling your muscle/tendon to a pulp, creating dysfunction, and increasing the chances of injury.

HOW TO DO IT

There are two techniques that I like to use:

  1. find a tender spot and hold for a while (usually 30 seconds). You want to hold the tender spot until the pain disappears. I don’t like to give a number because it adds tension/stress to a practice that is designed to actually relax you. I like to tell my clients to breathe deeply while rolling, inhale through the nose, and exhaling completely through the mouth. This helps with the relaxation. The more relaxed you are, the quicker the pain will go.
  2. find a tender spot, and then stretch/contract the muscle. This is a more “aggressive” technique. Yes, it is my pick! One example of this method is rolling your quads (front of the thigh), then curling the leg as you would do in a hamstring curl 3 times.

A few muscles that could typically use some SMR love:

  • Calves
  • Quads
  • Hip external rotators
  • Lats
  • Rhomboids
  • Pecs

Let’s recap:

  • make sure you spend some time rolling before or after your work out, it can really help you stay injury free
  • roll out different muscle groups, and make sure you don’t always do the same spot.
  • do some stretching after to make sure the knot is completely released

How To Do Chin Ups

The Why and How of Proper Chin Ups

There is nothing more impressive in a gym than a person who can rip off perfect chin ups and make it look easy. If you have spent time in a fitness facility it is something we have all struggled with at one point. The jealousy of someone who can have great form and do over 10 chin ups is something we have all known. How did that guy, or girl, make doing chin ups look so easy?? How do I do that myself? Why should I do that? Well, here’s your explanation and here’s your plan. Stick to this program and not only see your strength go up but your waistline go down!

Why you should do them:

-Chin ups are a compound exercise: more than one joint is moving and therefore it uses lots of muscles… which equals more bang for your buck! This exercise targets the latissimus dorsi muscles of your back, but also involves a number of muscles in your arms, shoulders and chest, including your posterior deltoids, triceps, biceps and lower and middle trapezius.

-They are extremely convenient and are one of the most simple (but hard) exercises to do. You also reach your max very quickly, meaning they can be used in a superset and allow you to save time.

-Fat loss: Lots of muscles involved does mean that you will burn more calories in a shorter amount of time: they increase your basal metabolic rate (you burn even more fat even when you are sleeping).

-They are one the best core exercises around as your abs are fighting the pull of your lats to keep your rib cage from flying off your chest. It is not rare to have sore abs for days after a chin up work out

Technique:

Grab a straight bar, get your feet off the floor, and lift yourself up. Don’t over think it, just do it!

There are few rules though:

1: if you are kipping, it is not a chin up

2: if you are not fully extending your arms, it is not a chin up (except if you have an injury, but then, maybe chin ups are not for you)

3: if your clavicle doesn’t touch the bar, it is not a chin up

4: if you move your legs, it is not a chin up either (you can bend your knee at the starting point, but the leg position should not change throughout the exercise)

Program: 10 chinups in 6 weeks

To follow this program you need to be able to do at least 3 chin ups. Here is how the program works, first you will be doing THREE chin ups, rest (or work on something else -hint, hint: superset), then go on to the next set: TWO chin ups, rest, then ONE chinup, rest and finally ONE chin up. On the following day, you are going to add one rep in the following manner:

Week 1

Day 1: 3-2-1-1

Day 2: 3-2-1-1

Day 3: 3-2-2-1

Day 4: 3-3-2-1

Day 5: 4-3-2-1

Day 6: off

Day 7: off

Week 2:

Day 1: 4-3-2-1-1

Day 2: 4-3-2-1-1

Day 3: 4-3-2-2-1

Day 4: 4-3-3-2-1

Day 5: 4-4-3-2-1

Day 6: off

Day 7: off

Week 3:

Day 1: 5-4-3-2-1

Day 2: 5-4-3-2-2

Day 3: 5-4-3-3-2

Day 4: 5-4-4-3-2

Day 5: 5-5-4-3-2

Day 6: off

Day 7: off

Week 4:

Day 1: 6-5-4-3-2

Day 2: 6-5-4-3-3

Day 3: 6-5-4-4-3

Day 4: 6-5-5-4-3

Day 5: 6-6-5-4-3

Day 6: off

Day 7: off

Week 5:

Day 1: 7-6-5-4-3

Day 2: 7-6-5-4-4

Day 3: 7-6-5-5-4

Day 4: 7-6-6-5-4

Day 5: 7-7-6-5-4

Day 6: off

Day 7: off

Week 6:

Day 1: 8-7-6-5-4

Day 2: 8-7-6-5-5

Day 3: 8-7-6-6-5

Day 4: 8-7-7-6-5

Day 5: 8-8-7-6-5

Day 6: off

Day 7: off

Test yourself at the end of the week 6, and VOILA you should now be able to do 10 chin ups.

What if you can’t do 3 chin ups?

If you are not currently able to do one pull up, here are a list of exercises you can do:

Lat pull down:

the easiest one, make sure to train the grip that you will be using for the chin up.

Do 5 sets of 5 reps with the maximum weight you can use with proper form.

Negative pull ups:

use a chair, a bench or jump to the top position, slowly lower yourself, the descent should take 10seconds, then repeat 5 times

ISO hold:

use a chair, a bench or jump to the top position, hold for 10 seconds, rest for 90 seconds then repeat 5 times. I personally like this exercise better than the negative pull ups.

Band: use a pull up band to assist you in doing pull ups. You can use the same program described in this article with the band

So you can do 10 chin ups, now what?

Side to side pull ups:

if you are able to do 10 chin ups, try the side to side chin ups:

pull yourself up, then pull yourself to one side and switch. Do 3-5 sets of 5-8 reps

Weighted chin ups:

simply hold a weight with your feet or a dip belt and do 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps

One arm braced on the side:

progression toward the single arm chin. Hold the bar with one hand, and use the other hand to stabilize yourself in the door frame or the squat rack

Single hand chin-up:

grab the bar with one hand and lift yourself up 🙂

21 Chins:

Lift yourself up, then lower yourself halfway down, and repeat 7 times. After the 7th rep, lower yourself all the way down and lift yourself halfway up, repeat 7 times. When you finish the seventh rep, you do 7 full range-of-motion chins. I don’t think there is anything special about the number 7, it is probably just gym tradition, but it burns so it must be good!

Challenge:

Who will be the first person doing a set of 21 and sending us a video as proof? The first person to do so will get a high 5 from me, and a huge amount of respect from the Rep1 team!

May 19th, 2011

Before this session with Jonathan starts I am told that Steve wants to start running in the trail with Jon and he really is not that interested in doing that but I am going to get him to do some running in our session today and I am not going to explain why and what his dad wants to do.

During our session I had him on the treadmill and he actually did a pretty good job with it, he may not like it but I really think it’s because he thinks it too hard. We did lots of boxing combinations today with various super sets of push-ups, cardio on the step etc.We also integrated some skipping today he did not like it to much because it is hard. Skipping is not an easy exercise because you are using a lot of different muscle groups, coordination, and cardio conditioning as well as foot speed and hand eye coordination. I think it is something that we will keep working on during our session.

Jamie is here and as usual she rode he bike her, I will say she is really making changes in her body and I am seeing it every session. Today I really want to light her up so I am really going to push her we start out on the treadmill and I asked her about the wedding and Jamie tells me that she has to do some cake tasting this weekend and she is worried about it. I did say to her that not so stress you do not have to have a full piece of cake just take little bits and don’t eat a whole piece. I think I might have eased her mind a bit; she is excited about her wedding.

So time for the session to begin, we did lots of walking lunges, cardio bursts on the step, I had Jamie run lines from hurdle to hurdle, we did medicine ball tosses and abs, tubing bicep and chest work, I really could go on but I will say that we went nonstop for the hour and she was amazing.

After her session I asked her about goals and how she was feeling with all the changes that she was seeing,Jamie also opened up about her mom and that they were not always supportive of her but I mentioned to her that they are going to be really surprised with her this time because she is really making a difference.

Kris and Jordy are here for their workout, I really have not seen them that much the past couple weeks because Jordy’s grandmother was really sick and she passed away last week and they had the funeral on the weekend. I just wanted to check in with him to see how he was doing. Jordy tells me he is doing really well and that he will miss his grandma but she is in a better place. I also checked in with him to see how his pop addiction was going, he has pretty much stopped drinking pop, that’s exciting.

The training session was tough today we did lots of crazy things and we were half way through and Kris was really starting to struggle. It was the first time I noticed that she struggled; I will say that Jordy was keeping up and doing really well, he has made some changes with this whole process as well. It is really nice to see that the ones that decided to take on this challenge and go with it are doing really well;there are some that are still struggling.

Back to the session, Kris rallied back to finish the session strong, there were some High 5’s all around.Kris still does not understand why she struggled today. I just tried to explain to her that some days are sometimes harder than others and don’t get discouraged her next session will be better.

mikeveinot