Be Physically Fit And Active In Life For Life At Any Age

Remember being physically active just for the sheer pleasure of it? The delight of jumping rope with your best girlfriends? The thrill of roller skating or bike riding with neighborhood buddies? Unfortunately, as we age, we have fewer opportunities for such spontaneous exercise. Our freetime is more limited. Our schedules more structured. Our way of life more hectic. It seems thatwork, family, and community obligations along with sedentary lifestyle habits - increased computer usage at work and home, longer commute times, and more hours spent channel surfingthe tube – all conspire to lower our level of physical activity.

personal training, fitness training, bootcamp, fitness classes, weight loss, fat loss

At the same time, we’re all aging – though each person and each body is affected differently.

The typical American experiences a decline in muscular strength with aging that averages 15%

in the 60’s and 70’s then up to 30% with each successive decade of life. Dr. William Evans of

Penn State University has named this muscular decline, sarcopenia. While sarcopenia’s impact

depends on a number of factors including genetics, diet, smoking, alcohol and/or drug use, recent

studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health confirm that low physical activity play a

critical role. In terms of muscle strength and flexibility, a physically active 65-year old can even

out perform a sedentary 25-year-old!

Just think about it. Our bodies would look a lot different if we were really designed to sit all day.

“Hunters and gatherers walk for miles, find food, and carry it back,” says Dr. Bernard Roos,

director of the Geriatrics Institute at the University of Miami. An expert in aging and exercise

physiology (musculoskeletal function), Dr. Roos spent some time observing the lifestyle of the

San or! Kung people (also known as “Bushmen”) in Botswana. "By virtue of their walking 30

miles on an average day, Bushmen maintain ideal musculoskeletal function," he said.

Decreasing levels of physical activity to the point of an almost complete lack of exercise is a

recent byproduct of modern life. “Until about 100 years ago,” Roos continues, “people rode

horses, or walked, or biked. People walked up stairs because there were no elevators. They

pulled up the potatoes and cut them, and cooked them, instead of driving through at McDonalds,

eating in the car, parking in a garage, and then sitting again before going to sleep.”

By now, we’ve all heard the facts about our generation’s increasing longevity. It’s predicted that

we ‘boomers’ will live at least until our mid-90s, with many of us surpassing the century mark.

The issue then is not how long we will live, but what will be our “active life expectancy” – a

phrase coined by the National Institute on Aging to describe the amount of time in our

advancing years that is free of disability. While the mechanisms of aging aren’t completely

understood, one way we all can control our ‘active life expectancy’ is by engaging in a routine

fitness program. New York Times personal health reporter Jane Brody cites that geriatricians

report the lack of exercise has a direct link with poor aging and premature health decline. Just as

Brody states, “Regular exercise is the only well-established fountain of youth."

“What benefits will I get from exercising?”

INCREASED                                                                          DECREASED

♥ Mental Agility                                                                          Depression

                                  ♥ HDL (“good”)    Cholesterol                                                    LDL (“bad”) Cholesterol                                                                                                      

♥ Muscle Strength                                                                    Blood Sugar Level

♥ Oxygen Intake                                                                             Memory Loss

♥ Bone Density                                                                      High Blood Pressure

♥ Muscle Flexibility                                                                             Body Fat


I’m embarrassed to say this, but I’m afraid of exercising. Am I the only one?”

Many midlife and older adults are reluctant to exercise - afraid that exercise will be too

strenuous, that physical activity will harm them, or that they are too old or out of shape.

Research by the National Institutes of Health confirms that exercise is safe for most people of all

age groups; and that aging and mid-life adults actually diminish their health by not

exercising. Of course, you should always check first with your medical professional before

starting an exercise regimen, especially if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition or

haven’t been physically active for a while.

The benefits of regular exercise are powerful motivators for older adults to initiate and continue

a physical activity regimen, according to a new study published in the American Journal of

Preventive Medicine. "It is possible that perceiving benefits in fitness outcomes, such as

appearance and weight, communicates to participants that they have been successful in their

exercise regimen," says Glenn S. Brassington, Ph.D., of the Stanford Center for Research in

Disease Prevention. "This perception may build confidence that they can successfully (exercise

regularly) in the future. Moreover, improved fitness and appearance, increased energy and better

eating habits realized through their exercise regimens motivated the participants to continue with

an exercise program.” The fact of the matter is that exercising on a regular basis is one of

the healthiest and most life-affirming gifts we can give ourselves!


“So, how exactly will exercising impact my body?”

**EXERCISING PURIFIES THE BODY: When you exercise your heart pumps faster.

This increased rate of pumping boosts blood flow to the lungs where the blood is then

saturated with fresh oxygen. Thus enriched, the body baths your cells in this healthy

oxygenated blood ridding your tissues of cellular waste while re-invigorating your brain,

heart, muscular-skeletal structures, liver, kidneys and other vital organs.


**EXERCISING REDUCES DIABETES: Exercise not only reduces your overall body fat,

it also lowers blood sugar and makes cells insulin sensitive. Studies demonstrate that the

cells of exercising muscles extract glucose from blood more effectively than the cells of

resting muscles, and in so doing, reduces the body’s need to produce excess insulin.



million women and two million men in the US are afflicted with osteoporosis - in fact,

more women die each year from hip fractures (often the result of osteoporosis) than from

breast cancer! This is why it is imperative for aging adults to reverse bone loss.

Strength training (aka lifting weights) has been proven to build bone mass, especially in

the spine and hip. Also, by increasing your bone mass and muscle strength through

exercise you improve your balance and reduce the risk of falls and fractures.


**EXERCISING LOWERS ARTHRITIS PAIN: A recent study concluded that regular

exercise is an effective way to significantly improve and manage arthritis pain. "Many

people believe the myth that exercise exacerbates their symptoms,” explains Patience

White, M.D., chief public health officer of the Arthritis Foundation. “The truth revealed

in the study is that symptoms improved with exercise. Even minor lifestyle changes like

taking a 10-minute walk three times a day can reduce the impact of arthritis on a person's

daily activities and help to prevent developing more painful arthritis. Physical activity

can actually reduce pain naturally and decrease dependence on pain medications,"

asserted Dr. White.



study led by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center men who engage

in at least four hours of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise a week can significantly

reduce their risk of colon cancer. "In men who (participated in) an hour of aerobic

activity per day, six days a week for a year, we saw a substantial decrease in the amount

of cellular proliferation in areas of the colon that are most vulnerable to colon cancer.

However, we found that even four hours or more of exercise weekly was enough to

produce a significant benefit," said lead author Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D. Likewise

for women, researchers concluded that six or more hours per week of strenuous

recreational activity may reduce the risks of invasive breast cancer by 23 percent and

has a protective affect that last throughout the duration of a woman’s life!



outlet to “work off” the excess hormones produced by menopausal stress. If not, the

hormones will turn inward and cause cellular damage throughout the body. This is why

research has proven that women involved in regular exercise experience far fewer

problems during menopause than sedentary women.


**EXERCISING IMPROVES MENTAL WELL-BEING: A study conducted in the 1970’s

with 1,500 Finnish citizens’ ages 65 – 79 found that participants who exercised at least

twice a week were 50% less likely to have dementia than participants who remained

sedentary. Researchers also concluded that regular exercises appears to play a similar

role in reducing the effect of clinical depression – improving the sleep patterns and

moods of mildly to moderately depressed people.



exercise that keeps your heart pulsing at about 75% of its maximum rate for at least 30

minutes every other day strengthens your heart and enlarges the diameter of your

arteries providing a proven defense against our nation’s number-one killer,

cardiovascular disease. What’s more, the correlation between cardiovascular death and

a lethargic lifestyle is clearly supported by the preeminent Framington study.

“Which form of exercise should I choose?”

Flexibility/balance, endurance and strength training form the three tiers of a successful fitness

strategy. It’s important to include all three in your plan because, while they work together

harmoniously, each impacts your body differently.



Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi are examples of flexibility activities.

These programs keep your body supple and limber by leadingpersonal training, fitness training, bootcamp, fitness classes, weight loss, fat loss

you through a systematic range of movements, motions and

postures geared to minimizing stiffness and rigidity. Also,

flexibility training increases physical coordination and balance,

and reduces the possibility of falls – a major concern for older


One of the main reason midlife and older adults move the way

they do is because their body has become stiff and inflexible.

This physical rigidity can lead to the unbalanced, irregular

movement patterns that often result in falls. Therefore, it’s

critical to include flexibility/balance training early on in your fitness plan. Trying to increase

endurance or add strength to an already compromised structure can put you on the fast track for

discomfort and possible injury.

Additionally, flexibility training can improve posture and reduce muscle soreness. Soft tissue

injury is the number one reason why many exercisers experience muscle soreness. However,

flexibility training increases your muscles elasticity which aids in the prevention of muscle

soreness. Another benefit of flexibility training is that it increases blood and oxygen flow in

cellular tissues which causes increase burning of calories and greater nutrient absorption.

Flexibility training can be dynamic or static. Dynamic training uses your muscles and requires

strength, while static training adds the support of your weight, a partner or a prop such as a

block, a strap or a ballet bar.



Endurance or aerobic exercise involves continuous, rhythmic

activity that strengthens the heart and lungs and improves

respiratory endurance. The main characteristic of this formp

of exercise is that it is aerobic in nature, meaning your body

uses oxygen extensively to power the activity as well as

burns your body’s fat as fuel. Examples of aerobic activities

are jogging, swimming, rollerblading and high intensity

dance/movement programs.

While it has a positive impact on your entire body, endurance training is particularly helpful in

maintaining the healthy functioning of the heart and circulatory system. During aerobic exercise,

your cardiac output of blood flow increases to 20 or more quarts per minute, compared to about 5

quarts per minute at rest. This also increases your lung capacity and oxygen absorption rates. So,

it’s no surprise that, according to an article appearing in the Journal of the American Medical

Association (JAMA), patients with heart failure who participated in aerobic exercise training

showed notable improvements in self-reported health status compared to sedentary patients.

Furthermore, aerobic exercise appears to give older adults a boost in brainpower. According to

a recent review of studies from the Netherlands, “Aerobic physical exercises that improve

cardiovascular fitness also help boost cognitive processing speed, motor function and visual

and auditory attention in healthy older people,” said lead review author Maaike Angevaren.

Likewise, studies reported by the American Association for Retired People (AARP) conclude

that age-related shrinkage of the hippocampus (the area of the brain responsible for memory)

can be reversed by moderate aerobic exercise. Also, the Journal of Gerontology reported

evidence that six months of regular aerobic exercise prevented age-associated decrease in brain

volume and even increased brain volume in some individuals.



Too many midlife and older adults dismiss strength training

(also known as resistance or weight training) as an activity for

the young or the vain. However, strength training can be thepersonal training, fitness training, bootcamp, fitness classes, weight loss, fat loss

most influential of the exercise triad. It is the only kind of

exercise that substantially slows – and in many cases even

reverses – the decline in muscle mass, bone density, and

physical strength. Unlike aerobic exercise which improves

cardiovascular fitness by moving large muscle groups hundreds

of times against gravity, free weights (also known as dumbbells)

provide so much resistance that your muscles gain strength with

only a few repetitions. Also, free weights are better than exercise machines because they work

specific muscles while engaging stabilizing/core muscles, something exercise machines can’t do.

“Resistance exercise is a great way to increase lean muscle tissue and strength capacity so that

people can function more readily in daily life,” says Mark Peterson, Ph.D., a research fellow in

the U-M Physical Activity and Exercise Intervention Research Laboratory. “Our analyses of

current research show that the most important factor in somebody’s function is their strength

capacity. No matter what age an individual is, they can experience significant strength

improvement with progressive resistance exercise even into the eighth and ninth decades of

life,” Peterson says.

Adults over the age of 55 who haven’t been physically active on a regular basis often have weak

muscle tone, limited flexibility and precarious balance. As such, experts recommend beginning

by strengthening legs, arms, and trunk muscles with 3-4 weeks of weight training 2-3 times a

week before walking long distances or engaging in aerobic exercise. Consulting a certified

trainer or fitness professional can also be helpful. However, Dr. Peterson cautions to make sure

the trainer has experience working with midlife and aging adults. He declares, “Working out at

age 20 is not the same as at age 70. A fitness professional who understands those differences is

important for your safety.”


Hi, I am Trisha DeHall and that’s a picture of me smiling as

I reach a new milestone in my life – turning 62! That’s

Rick my husband in the photo next to mine. He’s 70 (hard to believe,personal training, fitness training, bootcamp, fitness classes, weight loss, fat loss

isn’t it?!) We’re the principle owners and operators of

Trisha DeHall Fitness. Between the two of us, we’ve been

in the Health and Fitness industry for more than 40 years –

with me as a Master Certified Personal Trainer for 25 years

and a National Champion Bodybuilder for 20 years. Also, I

have a Masters degree in Nutrition. As for Rick, he has a

degree in Criminology, and after retiring from the corporate world more than 10 years ago, he

achieved a long-held ambition of becoming a Personal Trainer.

Although we’ve been physically active on a regular basis throughout our entire lives, Rick and I

both know how it feels to wake up stiff in the mornings unable to do all the activities we use to

do. But, we also know from first-hand experience that it’s possible for mid-life adults to “turn

back the hands of time.” For years now, I’ve worked with both my ‘boomer’ generation and our

parents’ generation and I’m still amazed at how much improvement we all can make. Being able

to play a role in this improvement has lead me to devote my fitness career to helping mid-life and

older adults (“ageless adults,” as I like to say) feel physically better, thrive in our golden years,

and minimize the loss of our mobility, vitality and zest for living.

My Personal Fitness Center offers programs at all levels. Whether it’s a group class or a one-onone

program geared to helping you get back your mobility from an accident or medical

condition, Rick and I are here to help you achieve better health and fitness. We offer:

**One-on-one fitness programs scheduled at your convenience

**Small group classes held at daily and weekly intervals

**Cooking classes with plenty of healthy and flavorful recipes

**User-friendly answers to your nutrition and supplement questions

Feel free to check out what we can do for you at (click here) or give us a call at 513-291-3481