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brain-neurons

Why Fitness Professionals Must Learn to Help Mature Adults with Brain Health

Humanity is racing toward a brain-health crisis, according to the World Health Organization. The number of people with dementia is expected to triple in the next three decades.

The helpful news from WHO is this: Exercise plays a key role in fighting cognitive decline and dementia.

So, those of us in the fitness industry have a greater chance than ever to make a big impact by including brain health in our training and interactions with people over 50.

That’s the message of Ryan Glatt, a brain health coach at the Pacific Brain Health Center.  Ryan and the Functional Aging Institute worked together to bring you the Brain Health Trainer Certification. It’s a unique program that teaches about the connections between brain and body health – and about how fitness professionals can help mature adults with both.

“We can play a significant role in delivering exercise interventions for the primary outcome of brain health, and not just as a secondary benefit of exercising,” Ryan says. “We need to do more.”

Fitness professionals have three steps to follow, he says.

  1. Educating the public about the cognitive benefits of exercise.
  2. Referring people with possible cognitive decline to doctors for early intervention – much like physical therapists refer patients to relevant medical professionals.
  3. Building exercise programming to create primary brain-health results.

Trainers need to encourage clients to have a well-rounded exercise routine that includes balance, resistance training, and cardio work. It helps to know how some activities can have specific benefits on memory, attention and other brain functions. That includes, for instance, dance, sports and martial arts, which involve some level of choreography, which is good for the memory.

Even in initial assessments with prospective clients, fitness pros can learn to raise the topic, Ryan says. For example, if a prospect in her 50s says she wants to lose weight, you can bring up the topic of brain health even at that early stage. “There’s a growing body of research that links exercise to brain health,” you might say. “Does that sound like something you’d like to work on, as well?”

That can open the conversation to topics that might indicate a referral is necessary – or help you build a fitness program to address them.

“We like to tell people that exercise will help them be able to play with their grandkids,” Ryan points out. “But we can also help train them so that they also can remember their grandkids’ names better.”


Join Ryan Glatt for the upcoming webinar on this topic, Cognitive Fitness: Modifying Your Exercise Variables for Brain-Based Outcomes


Brain health is a big, rich topic that we’re going to be hearing more about. Any fitness professional helping mature people live well should be educated on how to help with their brain health, too.


Ryan Glatt, FAFS, BSc is a psychometrist and Brain Health Coach at the Brain Health Center in the Pacific Neuroscience Institute. With a strong background in exercise science and human health, Ryan develops curricula specifically targeted towards those with dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and traumatic brain injury, coaching individuals towards optimal brain health. He is the author of the Brain Health Trainer Course with Functional Aging Institute.

mold

Is Mold Your Root Cause?

Once upon a time I was engaged. I was 21 years old and more in love than I had ever been, and perhaps more than I have even to this day as I sit here writing this at 6 am on a calm Summer morning.  I lived with my fiancé and her children. Although life was a bit nutty at times. We had something. Something good. For a moment there, it was permanent…

Use Exercise Bands to Boost Your Cardio Endurance and Reduce Inflammation

Researchers studied 1,544 people age 50-plus. Some of those in their 80s had the lowest inflammation levels in their bodies because they took care of their health. This included cardio exercises along with resistance – weight training with weights and bands, stretching for flexible joints and mobility. Even in extreme old age, centennials showed positive outcomes when they exercised. Low levels of inflammation were also an important predictor of people’s cognitive function, especially those in the oldest age group.

Lori Michiel in her studio

I’d have to say that of all the exercises I do, I love anything aerobic (getting my heart rate up) the most.  Walking, jogging, biking and dancing are the most common forms to get your motor running and is a great way to shake off the cobwebs. Any quick, sustained movement can increase your heart rate.

Before you start moving around, think about what motivates you to push a little harder. Are you interested in exercise to reduce stress and shake off the blues, lose weight, build a healthier brain (cognition), or make new friends?

Researchers say those who believed exercise was good for stress reduction valued it more with increased age. Motivation to move when reaching 60-plus can yield different benefits. For instance, people who exercise experience less inflammation in their bodies. Inflammation can lead to illness (stemming from a lower immune system) and difficulty losing weight. Losing weight can be especially troublesome if you have joint issues (hip, knees or back). With each pound you lose, the equivalent of four pounds of pressure can be released.

The combination of cardio mixed with bands is one solution for cardio exercise to keep inflammation at bay. It is fun. Be creative and you will never get bored. In this month’s Exercise Snack Video, I will show you a few quick examples. Pay close attention to my cues on form and technique and in the long run (pardon the pun), you’ll have fun!!

Side note: The familiar tune of the Bee Gees song “Stayin’ Alive” has been used for medical training for some time. It has the right beat — not to mention the perfect title — for providing CPR’s chest compressions at the right pace to revive a patient. Try playing it sometime when you exercise.

Reprinted with permission from Lori Michiel. Originally published on Lori’s Fitness Blog For Active Adults and Seniors.


Lori Michiel, NASM, has been assisting seniors in their homes since 2006 with customized exercise programs including those designed to address Parkinson’s, metabolic disorders, arthritis and diabetes. These adaptive programs are specifically designed to improve balance, circulation, flexibility, mobility and promote independence. Lori Michiel Fitness has over 40 certified trainers who are matched with clients in Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange Counties. Connect with Lori at www.LoriMichielFitness.com.

woman sleeping

Are Your Sleep Habits Damaging Your Liver?

Before we talk about which sleep habits are damaging your liver, let’s get to know this organ. The liver performs more than 500 vital bodily functions. Here are a few:

  • Bile production. The liver produces bile, which helps break down the fat in food.
  • Glucose storage. It stores sugar called glucose, which gives you a quick energy boost when you need it.
  • Detoxification. It’s responsible for detoxifying your blood by removing harmful chemicals, such as hormones that have done their job, that are produced in your body.

The Liver’s Working Hours

Plenty is going on in our body when we’re sleeping, but the most important function is detoxification. This happens ideally between 11 pm to 3 am. During these hours, our liver becomes much larger as blood supplies from all over our body converge here.

Researchers monitoring phases of activity and rest in mice saw that the size of the liver gradually increases to about 40% more towards the end of the night and that it returns to its initial size during the day. When the normal circadian rhythm is reversed, this fluctuation disappears. As mammals, our liver works much the same way as the liver of mice. What happens to your liver, and by extension to you, if you can’t sleep during these hours? Can detoxification take place if you’re awake between 11 pm to 3 am? Here are three studies that seem to indicate that you’re heading for trouble if you don’t catch your shut-eye at the right time.

Sleep and Glucose

Studies show that losing a single night’s sleep may affect the liver’s ability to produce glucose and process insulin. This increases the risk of metabolic diseases such as hepatic steatosis (fatty liver) and type 2 diabetes.

Sleep and Liver Fat

As many as 1 in 4 Americans are estimated to have excess liver fat. This can lead to inflammation and damage that could eventually cause liver failure. Fat production in the liver is affected by the circadian rhythm. So says a mouse study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania.  The study showed that liver cells change with the time of day and these changes influence gene expression. When mice are asleep and fasting, the genes involved in fat production are active and help prevent the liver from producing fat. Watch out if you’re disrupting your daily cycle with rotating shift work or night flights. This can increase the risk of diseases like obesity and diabetes.

Sleep and Liver Cancer

Researchers have also associated sleep disruption with increased risk of liver cancer. The American Cancer Society reports that 700,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with liver cancer each year. If you’re overweight, you run more of a risk for liver cancer. The same applies if you suffer from chronic sleep disruption. Scientists exposed mice to disrupted light and dark cycles for nearly 2 years. These cycles disrupted the normal sleep cycles of the mice. As a result, the mice developed a range of conditions, including skin disorders, neurodegeneration, and cancer.

Keep Your Liver Healthy For a Good Night

We’ve established that adequate sleep at the right times can keep your liver healthy. Sadly, if you already have liver damage, you’ll probably have trouble sleeping. Liver damage (cirrhosis) can be caused by harmful alcohol consumption, viral hepatitis B and C, metabolic disorders, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Most patients with liver damage have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. Their sleep is of poor quality, and in addition to sleeping less, they feel sleepy during the day. We don’t really understand why liver patients struggle with insomnia, but the hormone cortisol probably plays a part in things.

As well as getting to sleep on time, there’s one more thing that you can do to help your liver function: keep calm and relaxed so that your cortisol levels don’t rise. When you wake up in the morning, you usually feel energized. That’s thanks to the stress hormone cortisol that was secreted into your body before you woke up. Stress will elevate the cortisol levels in your blood. Your liver will have a harder time deactivating this hormone. The longer the hormone stays in your system, the harder it’ll be for you to fall asleep.


Rhona Lewis is a healthcare freelance writer with over 11 years of writing experience that she uses to help healthcare companies grow their authority and create brand awareness. Her background as a journalist means she’s curious enough to ask the right questions and committed to thorough research. She has a knack for breaking down complex medical concepts into content that a lay audience will read till the end.

Reference Articles:

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/molecular-link-between-sleep-liver-fat

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314318.php

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664866/

pilates  workout with personal trainer at gym

Embarking on a Health Journey: 5 Tips to Help Transform Your Life

Losing fat and embarking on a health journey can be a daunting task that requires commitment and discipline to achieve your desired results. If it were easy, the health rate for individuals where I live — in the Antelope Valley in Los Angeles — would be much better. The fact is, the Antelope Valley has some the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol in the Los Angeles County.

According to the L.A. County Public Health site, the obesity rate sits at a whopping 34.8% for residents in the Antelope Valley. Over a third of our population are in dire need of a health transformation. To make matters worse, many of those people that are considered obese have a much higher risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, limited mobility and other unwanted health problems.

To change your health and ultimately your life, there are five ways that you must employ in order to lose fat and transform your life.

Eat Supportively

You don’t need a diet to tell you to eat more veggies. That’s one thing that all nutrition experts can agree on. Your meals should have a rainbow of 3-5 vegetables that covers half of the plate. Your meals should always support your goals. Try getting at least 20 grams of protein, and 10 grams of fiber with each meal. This helps with digestion, fat loss, and lean muscle building. 3-5 meals per day, consumed every 3-4 hours is recommended, eating until you’re 80% full each time.

Add Resistance Training to Your Routine

2-3 days of total body resistance training can elevate your metabolism, prevent osteoporosis and maintain lean muscle that supports the sexy look you’re going for. You may not like having sore muscles so take it easy when getting started and progress steadily towards more intense workouts.

Smart Cardio

Gone are the days where you have to dreadfully plod along on a treadmill for hours on end and still not make any progress towards your goals. Be smart about your cardio. Interval training is the best way to lose fat in a shorter amount of time. Try doing 30 seconds of some form of high-intensity cardio, followed by 60 seconds of low-intensity cardio. A good cardio session shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to complete when done correctly.

Sensible Supplementation

There’s always a new weight loss supplement hitting the market that promises you the world with little to no work done by the person consuming the product. Most products fail to deliver so be cognizant of where you spend your money. Set your nutritional foundation by taking a vitamin supplement made from real foods, synthetic versions just will not do. You may also need a good omega-3 supplement, and perhaps a good probiotic. Do your homework and spend your money wisely.

Coaching & Community

You do not have to do this alone. Being a part of a supportive network of individuals who all have similar goals makes achieving your goals much more pleasurable and gives you a shoulder to lean on when you’re feeling stressed, or having a weak moment. A knowledgeable wellness professional will steer you to a successful path on your health journey. Look for wellness professionals that specialize in your demographic and health needs.

With discipline, commitment and patience, your health will change for the better. You can get past the trauma, the key is to stop being hard on yourself for past decisions and mistakes. Today is a new day for you to do what’s right for yourself and your family; take action and start your health transformation now.


Ron Kusek is Transformational Wellness Coach & Holistic Chef. He is certified as a personal trainer through the National Strength & Conditioning Association, as well as holding certifications with the Institute of Transformational Nutrition as a Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach, and a Functional Aging Specialist with the Functional Aging Institute. Ron specializes in functional aging for mature adults; he runs a home-based wellness program for women 50+ called the Lean & Sexy Fitcamp. He’s working to change the lives of the community in the Antelope Valley in a positive, holistic way.