May 29, 2024

The Benefits of an Elliptical Trainer by Fred Waters

The Benefits of an Elliptical Trainer for Baby Boomers

It is no coincidence that the popularity of elliptical trainers has grown with the aging of the baby boomer population.  For many in this generation, excessive high impact exercises have limited their activities.  Elliptical trainers are appealing to aging baby boomers for a number of reasons…

Low Impact Workout

As the name implies, an elliptical trainer moves your lower body in an elliptical motion.  Consequently this minimizes impact to your joints.   Moving in an elliptical motion minimizes the pressure on your knees, ankles and lower body.  The action is like running on air.  Elliptical trainers allow individuals with stress and strain injuries to continue to get an intense cardio workout.

Combined Upper and Lower Body Workout

With an elliptical trainer you get a combined upper and lower body workout.  Your arms move in a back and forth motion with the upper handle bars.  And by alternating the resistance between your arms and legs you increase the benefits to both areas of your body.

Variable Workout

With any elliptical trainer you can adjust the resistance.  By varying the resistance you enhance your workout by putting additional strain to your legs and upper body while increasing your cardio exertion. To even further target additional muscles and increase your cardio exertion, most elliptical trainers allow you to incline the motion, making you feel like you are climbing a hill.

Weight Bearing Workout

Weight bearing workouts should be an essential part of any baby boomer’s exercise routine.  This is when the bones work against gravity to support the body, or where they work against other kinds of resistance, as in weight-lifting.  As you push down on the pedals of an elliptical or push and pull the upper handle bars you are getting a double dose of weight bearing resistance.

Fred Waters has worked in the fitness equipment industry for over 17 years and is a recognized authority on fitness machines.  You can learn more about elliptical trainers and get reviews at

The Fountain of Youth by Daphne Haddock

3 Steps to Optimizing Your Exercise Program

Optimize your fitness program and incorporate the following 3 types of training to continue to look and feel young:
• Strength Training
• Interval Training
• Flexibility Training through Yoga

Strength Training:

Prevent the age related decline in muscle mass through strength training. If you are inexperienced, incorporate weight training with a personal trainer to insure proper form and to avoid injury. Strength training will increase muscle mass and boost metabolic rate. By boosting your metabolic rate, you will also be burning more calories at rest or sleeping. Incorporating strength training 2-3 times per week is ideal.

Interval training:

Interval training is the most efficient type of aerobic training. It is a short burst of a high intensity exercise followed by a longer period of a lower intensity exercise. Interval training forces your body to use more oxygen and burn more calories. The increase use of oxygen will also boost detoxification in your body.  Combine interval training with your 2-3 strength workouts per week.

Here is an example of a simple interval workout:

Step 1:

Start by jogging or cycling for 5 minutes at a 50% effort.

Step 2:

Run or cycle for 60 seconds at about 90% of your all out effort.

Step 3:

Finish the steps by slowing down to 60% effort for 90 seconds.

Repeat Step 2 and 3 –5 times then finish with a 5 minute cool down at a 50% effort rate.

Flexibility training:

Flexibility training is often overlooked in one’s exercise program, but integrating it will help improve your overall performance. A great way to add flexibility training to your program is to incorporate an hour of yoga a week into your exercise routine. This will help your body remain flexible and agile. Staying flexible will reduce your potential for injury. Yoga is also great for reducing stress and boosting relaxation.

Incorporate those 3 steps into your workout routine to keep looking and feeling young! Be sure to obtain medical clearance before beginning any exercise program.

Written by Daphne Haddock / Nutrition and Yoga coach with www.PersonalPepper.Com.

Life Changes by Colin Milner

This article is brought to you by Maggie Ayre. Maggie is the UKs Leading Fitness Coach for Teenage Girls. She has recently developed the 3G Program designed to be run in schools and youth clubs with the aim to get every teen girl active. She also offers Personal Training for Teenage Girls in person and via email, skype and video sessions. To learn more visit:

100 Years of Change

I am at odds with the prevailing philosophy that older adults don’t want to change. At age 100, my grandmother has seen two global wars change the world. She watched the rise and fall of fascism in Europe, plus the rise and fall of communism in Russia and the Eastern Bloc. She experienced the prosperity of the 1920s and the hardships of the Great Depression that followed. In her lifetime, many new countries have been created, and travel has become common, thanks to the advent of commercial flight. A man walked on the moon, and she was able to watch because of the invention of television. The power of technology has increased the pace of change and reshaped the world since her birth. Telephones have become mobile and “smart,” while personal computers and the Internet have put the world at people’s fingertips. This is the remark- able level of change my grandmother has experienced, yet this is the same person society believes incapable of change.

My grandmother has lived, loved and experienced loss over her 100 years, but rather than resist change, she has embraced it due to her innate adaptability—a key contributor to longevity.

Here are five lessons we can learn from those who have experienced 100 years of change:

Have passion: One of the most important things; find what excites you. My grandmother, for example, experiences great joy in her boys—the Vancouver Canucks. Forget avid follower; my grandmother is a rav- ing fan of this National Hockey League team. In fact, I’m sure that in her mind, she is part of the team. Passion prompts staying engaged in daily happenings and surroundings!

Be adaptable: Life is full of challenges, learning to and even embracing challenges is imperative. No matter what happens, keep moving forward.

Remain positive: Due to a mild stroke several years ago, my grandmother lost vision in one eye and transitioned to using a wheelchair. Asked what she thought of her wheelchair, she explained that it was a new exercise tool and she was learning the ways in which to use it. Find the positive!

Love: Be a giver, not a taker. Be generous in your spirit. Doing so, keeps us connected and invested in our relationships.

Enjoy the ride: No doubt there will be times where we wish to have done some things differently, but regrets are a waste of time and energy. Enjoy and experience life’s journey!

What changes will we see in our lifetimes and our careers? Questions—and opportunities—arise every day. What matters is how we respond. So, how are you responding to getting older?

By Colin Milner, founder and chief executive officer of the International Council on Active Aging® (ICAA), is a leading authority on the health and well-being of the older adult. An award-winning writer, Milner has authored over 250 articles. He is a Contributing Blogger to the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Be Active Your Way Blog, and has been published in journals such as Global Policy and the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk. He recently contributed a chapter to the book Global Population Ageing: Peril or Promise? (Published by the Forum in 2012.)

Top Tips for Active-Aging

This article is brought to you by Maggie Ayre. Maggie is the UKs Leading Fitness Coach for Teenage Girls. She has recently developed the 3G Program designed to be run in schools and youth clubs with the aim to get every teen girl active. She also offers Personal Training for Teenage Girls in person and via email, skype and video sessions. To learn more visit:

Top Tips for Active-Aging

Active-aging expert offers “e-tips” for attaining and maintaining health.

Whether you’re turning 30, 40, 50, 65, or 90, there’s no reason to assume you’re doomed to decline after a certain age—especially if you’re doing everything you can to stay healthy and active.”

Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging offers the following “E-tips” to help you extend a healthy life, or embark on one if you haven’t yet done so.

Expectations. If  you’ve been following a healthy lifestyle up ’til now, simply keep going; if you need to make changes, anticipate succeeding, not failing—and don’t let age be a barrier. Research has shown that thinking positively about getting older can extend your life by as much as 7.5 years.

Enthusiasm. Few people are thrilled with every aspect of their lives, but many have at least one area—family, friends, work, avocation—they feel good about. Identify an activity or connection that sparks your enthusiasm and make it your lifeline; try to extend that enthusiasm to other areas of your life.

Energy. Having the energy and motivation you need to age well are hallmarks of healthy living. If you’re fatigued all the time, don’t let apathy and lethargy bring you down; pursue a check-up to try to determine the cause—and the solution.

Eating. Eating a balanced diet and attaining/maintaining a normal weight are keys to physical and mental health; if you need to lose weight or make changes in your diet, keep your expectations high—you can do it.

Exercise. Staying physically active fuels the body and mind. If you’re already exercising regularly, keep it up; if you’re getting started, know your skill level, set goals, progress at your own pace, and be consistent.

Engagement. Volunteers have higher levels of well-being and life satisfaction than those who don’t volunteer; volunteering and other forms of civic and social engagement can play an important role in maintaining good health in later life. “Get involved,” Milner urges.

Emotions. Everyone feels down at times, but full-blown depression is a major cause of disability. If you’re feeling out of sorts for two weeks or more, talk with your doctor or take an online screening test at In many instances, simply exercising and eating right can improve your mood.

Education. Life-long learning is important to living an independent and fulfilling life. Start now to learn a new area of knowledge or physical activity. It’s good for the brain.

Effort. Changing expectations and embarking on a new behavior takes energy and effort, but the results are well worth it.

Enjoyment. A healthy life generally is a joyous one. “Savor the process of being or becoming active, engaged, and truly alive,” Milner enthuses.

“Now is a great time to take stock and ask yourself, where do I want to go from here?” Milner says. “Emphasize the positive and don’t let your age, or anyone else, deter you.”

Colin Milner, founder and chief executive officer of the International Council on Active Aging® (ICAA), is a leading authority on the health and well-being of the older adult. An award-winning writer, Milner has authored over 250 articles. He is a Contributing Blogger to the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Be Active Your Way Blog, and has been published in journals such as Global Policy and the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk. He recently contributed a chapter to the book Global Population Ageing: Peril or Promise? (Published by the Forum in 2012.)

Getting Better (and More Fit) with Age by Nicki Anderson

As we age, our ability to burn the same amount of calories we did when we were 20 years old changes. The reason is our organs are not as efficient, our muscle mass diminishes and of course hormones play a role in body composition. All of these factors combined can result in weight gain and slowed or inability to lose body fat. Both of these are top health concerns for women according to the experts.

Here are three keys to managing weight gain:
Lift heavy weights. Not enough women are lifting weights, really lifting weights. Working with an appropriate amount of weight (1-5# weights are typically not enough) is essential to build healthy muscle mass. Walking is a wonderful activity and while it does burn calories, the outcome on body composition is different than that of strength training. There is also research showing that strength training plays a role in minimizing hot flashes.

Skip packaged foods. As for food, though many women diet to lose weight, the mistake they make is not paying attention to the quality of foods they consume. Firstly, focusing more on a plant based diet helps to regulate hormones and reduce symptoms of menopause. Secondly, eliminating any and all junk food that is boxed or processed is a good choice. Make your last meal of the evening your lightest meal. Many women who follow these guidelines for their nutrition notice a dramatic difference in weight and positive difference in how they feel.


Drop stress. Days are hectic, responsibilities are overwhelming and often the high stress levels are constant. Reduce stress with regular restorative exercise. Specifically check out your local yoga, tai chi or stretching class. Learning the art of meditation also helps to reduce stress levels.

Gaining weight in addition to the difficulty or slowed ability to lose weight makes for a tough duo. Granted, the challenges of menopause can play havoc with your body, but doing a quality check of your lifestyle factors will jump start your body’s fat burning capacity.

To jump start weight loss, evaluate your wellness program on a monthly (at a minimum) basis.

Examine your exercise program by asking three key questions:

Question 1: Are your workouts challenging?
Question 2: Do you finish each exercise session and know that you tried hard? Too often people get comfortable with their exercise and do the same thing day in and day out rarely challenging themselves. You’ve got to work out at a higher intensity and make your exercise time count.
Question 3: are you using weights that are challenging or simply going through the motions?

Next, evaluate food intake. Of course food plays a role in the weight loss equation and the most common mistake women make are eating the wrong foods and only paying attention to calories. It’s important to pay attention the types of foods you’re eating. Stay away from sugar (very common for women to over eat) and avoid any fried and processed foods. Also, just because something is healthy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t monitor portions. Portion sizes are often the number one weight loss blunder women make. Use a smaller plate, stick to one serving and always precede a meal with a tall glass of water.

Finally, remember body shape also changes as we age. The human body is made up of fat, lean tissue (muscles and organs), bones, water, and other substances. As we age, the amount of fat, lean tissue, muscle and organs get redistributed. For example, fat tissue tends to be more prevalent around the center of the body, abdominal organs and if you’re inactive, body fat may increase by as much as 30%. It’s also natural as you age to become shorter. Change in height is often related to aging changes in the bones, muscles, and joints. People typically lose about a half-inch every 10 years beginning around 40 years old. Once you reach 70, even more height may be lost each subsequent year. Bottom line, you may lose 1 to 3 inches in height as you age which will obviously redistribute your weight. In addition to the natural changes in the body, medication can also have an effect on the body shape.

Stick to the basics of physiology and biology to better manage the weight gain and slowed ability to lose body fat that may come with age. That means stick with proper exercise and quality nutrition! Be proactive about your wellness plan by evaluating your intensity and performing a quality check of your program in general. Be consistent and you’ll find it easy to become more fit with age!

Nicki Anderson
Columnist, Business Owner, and NASM Certified Trainer with over 25 years in the Health and Fitness Industry. She can be contacted at or

Fitness at Every Age by Craig Thomas

Recent research has shown age expectancy for men and women is getting longer and will continue to grow with each generation. As of 2011, the golden years are averaging 20% of an average person’s life or roughly 13 years. In light of that, “older” is not synonymous with incapacitated—nor does it necessarily mean to slow down.

For those fitness enthusiasts who find the inside of a gym familiar, a full-body workout that spans 60 minutes 3 times per week is an great option. However, 4 -5 days per week of 40-45 minutes can also be beneficial. For those folks accustomed to weights, a barometer in which 8-12 repetitions are achieved and the final rep is highly challenging is a good measuring stick.

For those who do not have access to a gym or just prefer the great outdoors, participating in active hobbies that are enjoyable will result in sustainable exercise. Hiking, walking and biking to more intense exercises such as skiing and tennis are fantastic full body aerobic activities. Choose exercises that are multi-planar and movement-based to gain the most varied benefits. Multi-planar means moving our body in all directions, such as tennis. Movement-based, translates to activities that include full body (arms, legs and core) movement, for example hiking. Water activities are also excellent examples of  multi-planar and movement-based exercise. In addition, the water acts as natural resistance through low-impact and joint friendly movements (for those suffering from osteoporosis or other arthritis conditions.)

If you’re new to the world of exercise, consider the principle of “just moving.” Walking is a wonderful workout that leads to increases in cardiovascular health and muscle endurance, as well as balance and agility improvements. Lack of blood flow is associated with stagnation and Eastern opinion believes that many body imbalances and diseases stem from stationary lifestyles. According to statistics over the past 10 years, heart disease is the number one culprit for deaths in those over the age of 65 in the U.S. Exercise and physical fitness has been shown to reduce blood pressure, improve circulation and improve cardiovascular disease (atherosclerosis).

Of course, the first action every new fitness protégée should take—regardless of age—is to consult with his/her doctor and request medical clearance to begin an exercise regime. Additionally, during your visit ask your doctor to outline any physical contraindications (movements that would be detrimental to your body if you did them) based on your current condition and past family health history.

By Craig Thomas, ACSM.

Fitness at All Ages by Marc Sickel

Did you know that, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), only 25 percent of people aged 65-74 say they engage in regular physical activity?
Adults should exercise at every age, even if they have not exercised in the past. The benefits of physical activity accumulate over a lifetime so it is important that those who have exercised in their younger years keep that exercise momentum.
You’re never too old to increase your level of physical activity and exercise! Any exercise that gets the heart pumping may reduce the risk of dementia and slow the condition’s progression once it starts, reports a Mayo Clinic study published in October 2011 in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Regular exercise is beneficial for people of all ages. Exercise helps to improve muscle and joint flexibility and keeps your heart healthy. It also can improve sleep and helps to maintain a healthy weight.
Here how to start:
Include your grandchildren in your new active lifestyle. Play catch or walk to the playground and push your grandkids on the swings.

Have a pet? Taking your four-legged companion on a brisk walk is a fun way to increase your heart rate and improve circulation.

Listen to your favorite song and dance for a few minutes! Be careful that your “dance floor” is clear of objects and that you have adequate room to “boogie.”

Get Outdoors. As the leaves begin to fall, increase cardiovascular endurance by raking leaves.  The raking motion will strengthen your arms and lifting the bags of leaves provides weight training.

Break it up. Instead of working out for 30-minutes, try breaking fitness activities into three 10-minute “mini workouts” throughout the day.  Begin your new exercise program slowly with moderate exercise and work your way up to more vigorous and challenging activities.

Marc Sickel, a certified athletic trainer and founder of Fitness for Health located in Rockville, MD, specializes in creating fun, individualized fitness programs for children and adults with varying needs and skill levels. To learn more about Fitness for Health, visit

Food for Thought by Lisa Wilcox

Research shows the biological benefits of exercise (motion) and social connections (emotion) and how that helps slow the aging process.

The book Younger Next Year by Dr. Henry S. Lodge and Chris Crowley explains why the things you know you should do for example, get daily vigorous exercise, eat well and stay close to family and friends are mandated by laws of biology. You can ignore the rules, the authors say, but you can’t change them. To oversimplify their theory: Your body and brain have evolved so that behaviors that helped our ancestors survive, robust daily physical activity and close links to others, send positive signals to our most fundamental biological systems that say life is good: grow, heal, thrive. Being sedentary and isolated tells our body and brain to slow down.

Co-author Lodge, a Manhattan internist who is on the faculty of Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, draws on current work in evolutionary biology and human neurochemistry to make the case. Dr. Lodge covers three major topics:

The biology of aging. This focuses mainly on growth and decay as the predominant biological functions of both body and mind, which are directly controlled by how you live your life. Seventy percent of what we call aging is not biological aging at all. It may be lifestyle driven with true aging as a minor part of the process.
The value and benefits of exercise. Exercise is the most concrete, powerful way of transforming biology. Dr Lodge believes aerobic exercise six days a week and strength training at least three times a week can turn back the biological clock of both physical and mental aging.

Social/emotional biology. The impact of connecting with others is equal to that of exercise. The chemistry is, in fact, almost identical. The morbidity and mortality of loneliness, and the power of social connections have a lot more to do with how we age than we thought. There is a sharp focus on the recent data that proves you can change your body and brain by how you live your life resulting in the significant reduction of illness. For example, being connected with a church, walking club, bridge club, or having a great connection with your family can help slow the aging process.

Lisa Wilcox,  Posture Alignment Specialist

Develop a Healthy and Graceful Body by Marc Reisman

From a physical therapist’s perspective, the secret to physical grace is to keep and maintain as much joint range of motion as possible, maximize muscle strength, improve cardiovascular endurance, and at the same time stay upright, keeping your balance. Here are several tips:

Move daily. For all joints, move them daily in every possible direction to the very end of range. Here’s an easy exercise for the shoulder joint. Sit on a stool with your hips, low back, shoulders, and head as flat as possible against the wall. If no stool, use a kitchen chair and straddle it. Now slowly move your arms over your head as far as possible. Do not arch your back. Hold for a few seconds to stretch, and then move your arms to the side in a circle to bring them down. Repeat this several times for 20, 30, or 45 seconds.  Don’t be surprised if the arms don’t make it to the wall. Motion will improve bit by bit.

Build strength. Strength exercises that are also functional are best. For example, find a comfortable chair with arms. Slowly, stand up from a sitting position (use your arms to push up if necessary), and then slowly sit down. Repeat multiple times for 20, 30, or 40 seconds. Try going very slowly. This is a terrific way to strengthen thigh, buttock, back, and abdominal muscles.

Do cardio. Cardiopulmonary exercise involves an activity that will elevate heart rate to a safe target, while also working the lungs. Walking, dancing, jogging or using exercise machines like a stationary bicycle or elliptical machine will do this safely. 
Improve balance. As to balance, the basic exercises involve narrowing your base of support (moving your feet closer together) while also moving your center of gravity. The best place to start is facing out from a corner of the room. Here, you have the walls behind and to the sides to protect you from falling. Safety is primary when practicing balance exercises. While in the corner, march in place. Then slow the steps down so you are standing for several seconds on one leg while trying to maintain balance. Use the walls for support as necessary. Vary this by placing your feet heel to toe and holding your balance. If you don’t need the corner for safety, simply practice standing on one leg, or walking heel-toe down the hallway.

It is always recommended to check with a health professional before beginning a new fitness regimen.

Marc Reisman is a Physical Therapist at the Human Performance Center, an outpatient physical therapy clinic in Santa Barbara, California. For more information about HPC or about other exercises for your physical health, contact us at

Keeping your eyes healthy by Dr. Stephanie Burris

Common complaints from my patients are often connected to a normal condition of aging. This condition is dry eye syndrome, also known as insufficient tear film.
If you have this condition your ocular symptoms can range from redness, burning, itching, tearing, sandy feeling, and glare sensitivity to even blurred vision. 

The tear film is a moisture layer on the cornea, the most delicate tissue on the surface, which focuses light through into the back of the eye, the retina. When the tear film is not sufficient due to decreased quantity or quality of production, it evaporates quickly, leaving your cornea dry and irritated. If you have a mild form of dry eye syndrome you may only feel symptoms in certain conditions, such as windy, dusty environments or in heated/ air-conditioned buildings. If you have a moderate or severe form of this eye disease, you may feel irritation most of the day even if you are using artificial tear eye drops regularly.

Common causes of insufficient tear film are:
Environment: hot, dry, windy, high altitude, indoor air flow, viewing television/ computer screen
Contact lens wear: contacts absorb moisture from your eyes throughout the day
Medications: decreased tear production possible from oral allergy or blood pressure medications, anti-depressants, or hormone replacement therapy
Systemic Health Conditions: all autoimmune diseases (thyroid, lupus, rosacea, rheumatoid arthritis), diabetes and others
Age: tear production gradually decreases in most people such that at age 65 the tear glands produce less than half of the tears they produced at age 18

Through extensive clinical research it has been determined that the decreased tear production is due to inflammation!  This is, in fact, the root cause of most disease in our bodies. Fortunately there are many ways to manage the symptoms of your dry eye syndrome and even to promote healing of your tear production glands so they can increase natural tear output.
Your treatment may include:

Prescription eye drops to reduce inflammation
Proper type and dosage of artificial tears
Tiny plugs for the tear drainage ducts
Warm eyelid compresses and massage
Oral medication
Oral nutritional supplements such as Omega 3-6-9, vitamin D3
Moisture goggles while sleeping

If you are troubled by the symptoms of dry eye syndrome please see your eye care specialist to discuss the best ways to treat your eyes.

By Dr. Stephanie Burris of Optometry Care Santa Barbara