Why Generation X Women (and Boomers) Should Weight Train

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 7– 1/19/15

When Bea was 47, her doctor told her she had osteopenia, a pre-cursor to osteoporosis (a not-so-fun inheritance from her mom) and put her on Actonel and calcium supplements. Being the drama queen she is, Bea kept picturing her bones getting weaker and more brittle until they dissolved into dust. The answer to her dilemma was weight training. She figured she’d give it a whirl, and see if what the experts said was true: that we can strengthen our bones by lifting weights. She added weight training to other weight-bearing exercises: brisk walking and jogging.

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Now in her late fifties, she continues this exercise routine, using weights that range from 3 to 10 pounds. She alternates the weight lifting with her favorite aerobic activities: power walking, running, or Tae Bo. Bea no longer has to take Actonel – her bone density tests have shown that her bones are back! Well, they never actually went anywhere – they’re just stronger and denser. How cool is that?

Bea has also been able to maintain a reasonable weight for her age and height; she weighs around 130 and has a 21.6 BMI. Not bad for someone who’ll be 58 years old this year.

What are some of the other ways that our bodies benefit from strength training? 

  • Strength training adds to our muscle mass, which in turn enhances our metabolism.
  • Strength training can help burn fat – studies have shown that training with weights can be great for reducing stomach fat.
  • Strength training makes us stronger, more flexible, and increases our sense of balance.
  • Strength training reduces arthritis and back pain.
  • Strength training helps control blood sugar in people with Type II diabetes.
  • Strength training can help us sleep better.
  • Strength training, along with other kinds of exercise, boosts self-confidence!
  • Strength training can boost our brain function. A recent study at Georgia Tech University found that lifting weights can boost our memory. You can read more about that benefit here.

Keep in mind that you should check with your primary care doctor if you decide to undertake a strength training program. He or she may advise you to limit yourself to certain types of exercise programs, depending on your current physical condition.

For further reading:

You may want to read this article from The Women’s Heart Foundation which talks about techniques and provides a “how-to” for several weight training exercises.

Risks for osteoporosis

What is osteopenia

Ladies, Don’t be Afraid of Weight Training

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Ways to Enhance your Physical Health in 2015

 Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 5 – 1/14/2015

  • Add protein to your breakfast. A breakfast that’s high in carbohydrates can make you feel sluggish before lunch. Try a hard boiled or scrambled egg, high protein cereal or Greek yogurt, along with a whole-grain carb.
  • Try a new fruit or vegetable every week. Many fruits and veggies provide us with high levels of antioxidants, are high in fiber and rich in vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Mixing it up by adding a new fruit or veggie every week keeps our palates from getting bored.

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  • Craving something sweet? Pass on the Snickers bar! For a low-calorie treat, try Dole Dippers, found in the frozen foods section of your supermarket – strawberry or banana pieces dipped in dark chocolate (good for our hearts!). Warning: if you don’t like dark chocolate (67% dark cocoa) you won’t like ‘em.
  • Do you drink a lot of soda? Replace one glass of soda with good old water. You may find that once you start drinking water or plain iced tea with meals, your sugar cravings may be lessened. Don’t like plain water? Add a little lemon or lime juice. Of course, if you’re eating pizza, there’s nothing else you can drink but a soda or an ice-cold beer.
  • Work at a desk all day? Research has shown that too much sitting can lead to heart disease, obesity, and other health issues. Get up at least once every hour; walk around your office building or if possible, take a brisk outdoor walk. Fresh air is energizing.
  • Are you on your feet all day at work? Do your footsies a favor and give them a good soaking while you’re enjoying a television show, reading a book, or listening to music in the evening. Not only will your feel thank you, but you’ll also be lowering your stress levels and preparing yourself for a good night’s sleep as well.
  • Do you exercise? Mix it up to keep it from getting boring and to keep your muscles guessing. For example, if you do cardio exercises, add strength training. Try a new workout, such as Zumba or a Spin class. Add yoga for increased flexibility, muscle toning, and improved posture.

 Answers to questions from Bea’s January 12th post:

Most diet experts say we should weigh ourselves once a week, since our weight tends to vary from day-to-day, and people who are attempting to lose weight may find it frustrating to see those up-and-down variances.  WebMD points out the “4 S’s” of weighing ourselves in this article.

For a different point of view, here’s what Melissa Conrad Stoppler has to say in this MedicineNet article, To Weigh or Not to Weigh 

And as for the best day of the week to weigh ourselves?  Bea recently heard the answer to this on her local news station, and the Cleveland Clinic agrees:  Wednesday is the best day of the week to step on that scale.  Read more here: The Best Day of the Week to Weigh Yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Fight Back against S.A.D.

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 2 – 1/7/15

 

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Bea gets S.A.D. every year. It usually starts early in November, when the days dim their lights sooner, and nights seem endless.  The summer sun becomes a distant memory.  S.A.D., of course, is Seasonal Affective Disorder, and many of us are affected by it during these dreary winter months.

This year, however, instead of wallowing in her misery, Bea has made a serious effort to combat this winter depression. This effort lifted her spirits and made a big difference in her outlook.

Do you battle S.A.D. during the winter months? Here’s how Bea fights back:

  • Walking outside whenever possible to breathe in the fresh air. Even just 10 minutes can be invigorating.
  •  When it’s just too cold out there, she does aerobic exercise or strength training with fitness DVDs in her living room.
  • Drinking water regularly to fight off lethargy and avoiding sugary foods and simple carbs.
  • Being productive really helps her feel better – cleaning the house can be satisfying. De-cluttering her home office space is another activity that, believe it or not, enhances her serenity.
  • Starting a long-overdue project for those dark winter nights.
  • Making an effort to be social: calling a friend on the phone, planning a night out with the “girls.” This year, she joined an online book club; then went to the movies with some of her new reading buddies.
  • Bea needs a good night’s sleep to stave off depression, and this has become more difficult as she’s aged. To help enhance her sleep quality, she gets off the computer at least an hour before bedtime. She’ll get comfy on an easy chair, put on her earphones and listen to meditation music while reading a good book. This helps her unwind from her day.

If these ideas don’t work for you, check out some additional tips from health experts:

How to Cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder – Definition

6 Depression Traps to Avoid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bea’s 3 Favorite Strength Training DVDs

 

 

 

Bea loves strength training and finds it does great things for both her body and mind.  Heck, what’s not to love about an exercise that strengthens your bones, builds muscle and ramps up your metabolism?

Here are a few of her current favorite DVDs:

  • Star Trainers –  5 fitness experts, 5 twenty minute weight workouts.  The routines are easy to follow. The workouts may be short, but they definitely make you sweat.

 

  • Denise Austin 3-Week Boot Camp – 2 twenty minute workouts and a bonus 6 minute “ab fat blaster.” After all these years, Denise’s voice still annoys Bea. But once she learned the routine, she just muted the audio!

 

  •  Chris Freytag’s Walk and Sculpt – a combination of cardio and strength training. Bea enjoys interval training and Chris makes her work! Ahh, but it feels so good when it’s over.  (This routine is from her Walking Cardio Shape Up Max DVD)

 

All three of these DVDs are available at Amazon.

Hey readers!  Bea’s always on the lookout for new strength training DVDs.  Got any suggestions?

 

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