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Alzheimer Concept.

Alzheimer’s Disease, Fitness and Exercise

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease that strikes fear and terror into those who are getting on in years and family members who are in line to care for them. According to the Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation, in 2015 it is estimated that 5.3 million Americans have the disease. It is the 6th leading cause of death behind heart disease, strokes, and cancer but it is the only one that cannot be prevented (1) although some experts now estimate that it may be the third highest (2).

doctor-health

When It Comes to Health, There Is No One Size Fits All

Have you ever wondered why a particular diet, workout routine or cleanse offers remarkable results for some people, but not others?

It’s because of bio-individuality and Metabolic Chaos®.

When it comes to health, there is no one size fits all!  Each person is unique on a cellular and metabolic level.  They have their own health strengths and weaknesses, or vital voids as Reed Davis, the founder of Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® calls them.  So, instead of treating symptoms, tests and/or assessment results, the key is to assess the specific needs of each person.

Functional lab testing is the best way to analyze a person’s specific needs on a deeper level.  The comprehensive data obtained through lab testing can be used to inform and guide a health-building program, to get real results that last a lifetime.

Reed Davis, the founder of Functional Diagnostic Nutrition®, worked for over a decade as a certified nutritional therapist and case manager perfecting lab testing and resources.  And now for over 10 years, he has been sharing his knowledge through the FDN course with a mission to empower as many people as possible to help as many people as possible to get well and stay well naturally.

After helping hundreds of clients, Reed discovered that while each was unique in their health challenges, they also had much in common – H.I.D.D.E.N. stressors.

Through clinical work, Reed identified 5 foundational lab tests essential for in-depth insights in order to uncover a client’s H.I.D.D.E.N. stressors and reveal their true healing opportunities to build their health.

Having access to lab testing, knowing how to properly interpret the results and use the data to guide a health building protocol is what makes certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioners so successful in getting their clients real results.

Like you, most of our FDN practitioners started off as health coaches, personal trainers, nutritionists, nurses, homemakers or were in non-health related fields and changed their career because they were inspired by their personal health journey.

No matter what their prior profession was, all of them have these 3 things in common:

  • A strong desire to help others on a deeper level
  • Willingness to walk the talk and empower others to do the same
  • A feeling as if they were missing some very important pieces to the health puzzle.

FDN’s complete methodology has empowered over 3,000 trainees in over 50 different countries to help people get well and stay well naturally.

Learn more from Reed Davis. Watch his MedFit webinar…


Reed Davis is a Nutritional Therapist and has been the Health Director and Case Manager at a wellness clinic San Diego for over 15 years; he is the Founder of the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Certification Course.

pretzels

Winning the War Against Snack Attacks

“I wish I didn’t have snack attacks. I eat way too much chocolate…”

“I eat only healthy foods during the day. My snacking problem starts the minute I get home from work. Chips are my downfall…”

“I try hard to not snack after dinner, but I have a bad habit of getting into the ice cream…”

Day after day, I hear athletes complain about their (seemingly) uncontrollable snacking habits. Some believe they are hopelessly, and helplessly, addicted to chocolate. Others believe eating between meals is sinful & fattening; snacking is just plain wrong. Some equate snacking to doing drugs. They bemoan they are addicted to sugar and can’t eat just one cookie. Snacking is all or nothing.

Despite the popular belief that snacking is bad, the truth is that snacking can be helpful for active people. Athletes get hungry and need to eat at least every three to four hours. That means, if you have breakfast at 7:00, you’ll be ready for food by 10:00 or 11:00, particularly if you exercise in the morning. By 3:00 p.m., you will again want more food. For students and others who exercise mid to late afternoon, a pre-exercise snack is very important to provide the fuel needed to have an effective workout.

The trick is to make snacks a part of your sports diet—preferably with an early lunch at 11:00 that replaces the morning snack. (Why wait to eat at noon when you are hungry now?) and a second lunch instead of afternoon sweets, to energize the end of your work or school day. A planned wholesome meal is far better than succumbing to sugary snacks or stimulant drinks.

Snacking problems commonly occur when athletes under-eat meals, only to over-indulge in snacks. Inadequate breakfasts and lunches can easily explain why snacks can contribute 20 to 50 percent of total calories for the day. Fingers crossed those snacks are nutrient-rich!

To easily and painlessly resolve nutrient-poor snack attacks, eat before you get too hungry. Hungry athletes (and all people, for that matter) tend to crave sweets (and fats) and can easily eat too many donuts, chocolate chip cookies, candy bars—foods with sugar (for quick energy) and fat (for concentrated calories).That honking big muffin can easily win out over a piece of fruit, hands down!

Athletes who report they “eat well during the day but get into trouble with snacks at night” need to understand the problem is not the evening snacks but having eaten too little during the active part of their day. Snacking is the symptom; getting too hungry is commonly the problem. One way to eliminate a mid-morning snack attack is to have a protein-rich, satiating breakfast (such as 3 eggs + avocado toast + a latte for 500-600 calories) as opposed to just a packet of oatmeal (only 100-150 calories). Enjoy soup + sandwich for lunch (500-700 calories), not just a salad with grilled chicken (only 300 calories).

Identifying hunger

Do you spend too much time thinking about food all day? If so, your brain is telling you it wants some fuel. Thinking about food nudges you to eat. If you were to never think about food, you’d waste away to nothing.

Other hunger signals include feeling droopy, moody, cold, bored (I’m eating this popcorn just because I’m bored), unable to focus, and easily irritated. If you fail to honor these hunger signals, they will escalate into a growling stomach (too hungry) and an all-out snack attack. Prevent hunger; eat enough during the active part of your day.

Please remember that hunger does not mean “Oh no, I’m going to eat and get fat.” Hunger is simply a request for fuel. Just as a light on the dashboard of your car signals when your car needs gas, your brain sends you hunger signals when your body is low on fuel. To not eat when you are hungry is abusive to your body (and mind) and puts your body into muscle-breakdown mode, which is counter-productive for athletes.

Losing weight without daytime hunger

Even if you want to lose undesired body fat, you should eat enough to feel satiated during the active part of your day. You can lose weight (“diet”) at night when you are sleeping. This is opposite to how most athletes eat: They diet by day, then attack the snacks at night. They eat the whole pint of ice cream, too many chocolates, and/or non-stop chips. Winning the war against hunger requires white knuckles. Not sustainable and not fun. The better bet is to fuel by day and diet at night by eliminating high-calorie evening snacks.

Dieting athletes commonly report the most concerns about snack attacks. As one rower complained, “I’m hungry all the time.” If that sounds like you, and you feel hungry within the hour after you eat a meal, experiment with eating heartier meals. For help figuring out a food plan that works for you, I encourage you to meet with a registered dietitian (RD) who specializes in sports nutrition. The referral network at www.SCANdpg.org can help you find a local sports nutrition professional.

Winning the war against snack attacks

I encourage my clients to convert snacktime into mealtime. Instead of reaching for cookies, candy, caffeine, and other typical snack foods, they opt for a peanut butter & banana sandwich for an early lunch at 10:00 or 11:00ish. (As long as they have a flexible eating schedule, no need to eat a donut just to bridge the gap to the more traditional eating time of noon.) They then can enjoy a later second lunch at 2:00 to 3:00ish, which gives them energy to be productive throughout the last hours of the workday.

By enjoying two lunches instead of snack foods + one lunch, they generally end up eating more quality calories and fewer sweets. If their meal schedule is inflexible, I nudge them to at least snack on mini-meals instead of sweets:

  • Whole-grain English muffin + nut butter
  • Oatmeal cooked in milk + dates
  • Hummus + baby carrots.

The benefits of being well-fed are fewer snack attacks, more energy, and easier weight management. Give it a try?


Sports Nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875). The new 6th edition of her best-selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook offers additional information on how to manage snack attacks. Visit NancyClarkRD.com. For her online workshop, visit NutritionSportsExerciseCEUs.com.

Trainer helping senior woman exercising with a bosu balance

Stroke Survivors Worldwide Desperately Seeking Great Care. Don’t Be a Deceiving Professional

15 Million People Suffer Stroke Each Year. There is a huge “real” need for stroke survivors to have continued physical therapy after their insurance has covered their (usually very limited) physical therapy sessions.

It’s an important time for fitness professionals to step up and gain stronger knowledge in physical rehabilitation with stroke survivors. This need is worldwide!

I know this because I have helped survivors worldwide and heard their stories of struggle. I’ve personally heard their human desire to get their bodies back to movements for everyday life. This includes things like walking, arm and hand function, balance, cognitive skills, stability, driving and much more!! Hundreds of thousands of survivors are desperately seeking proper care and guidance.

I have been asked by stroke survivors and caregivers worldwide for help. After I published my first book in 2017, The Stroke of an Artist, The Journey of a Stroke Survivor and a Fitness Trainer, I began being contacted from all over the world for help. I wanted so badly to help them all.

I also received calls and messages from personal trainers who had a survivor client. I was surprised at how some reacted. For example, one trainer, after spending an hour sharing knowledge and telling him to seek out more education beyond the one-day certification he had, responded with “So basically…” — he tried to sum up in one sentence how to train a survivor. And he had it all covered. I thought, wow, that survivor’s recovery is determined by this trainer’s ego and lack of listening skills. Most trainers I spoke with wanted a quick answer to full-body stroke recovery. They did not want to take the time needed to extend their knowledge.

I decided to begin a Stroke Recovery support group via private Facebook group page. There are almost 3000 members. It breaks my heart, but it keeps me constantly motivated to do what I can to help them and try my best to educate fitness professionals.

It is wonderful to have such a gathering from all over the world in this stroke recovery support group. It is serial and fascinating.  Everyone is so kind and supportive in the group to one another. They encourage and try to help each other so much.

Look at all the different countries our members have gathered together from: Israel, Europe, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, UK, Africa, Great Britain, Vietnam, New Zealand, Scotland, Philippines, Fiji, Ireland, Indonesia, Micronesia, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Turkey, and many States in the United States.

I know how real the urgent need is for fitness professionals to gain knowledge to help survivors get their lives back.

I decided to help get the survivors and caregivers educated since finding the professionals to help them sucked.

I then wrote my book, Stroke Recovery, What Now? When Physical Therapy Ends But Your Recovery Continues

Around this time Lisa Dougherty with the MedFit Education Foundation contacted me to be on the Education Advisory Board and write a Stroke Recovery and Exercise CEC course. I was very excited to have a platform to reach professionals to educate them to bring needed care to stroke survivors.

Fitness professionals and physical therapists must continue their education way beyond the basics of getting their original certification, license and credentials.

Hundreds of survivors have shared with me their struggles to find great care. The stories blow my mind and frustrated me tremendously.

Here is one recent story.

A 54-year-old female survivor, who lives 3 hours away from me, was so excited and filled with hope again after we met in my support group and reading my books and watching my videos. She began to get hand movement back and decided to go find a physical therapist again. She searched, asked questions and found someone who appeared and sounded like they had the knowledge and expertise to help her. She was excited, she sent me a private message and told me what the therapist said. It sounded good. This therapist spoke the neuro words.

This survivor shared in the support group how excited she was and tagged me, thanking me for helping her feel hope again. Everyone was proud of her and encouraging her. I was thrilled.

A few days ago, she sent me a message that after her 5th session with this therapist, the therapist told her that she’d never worked with a stroke survivor before and can’t help her.  She said she had gained more knowledge and recovery from me than 5 sessions with this therapist.

This upsets me so much. She deserves great care and real help. All stroke survivors do. Now she has wasted 5 insurance paid PT session and 5 co-pays. That is not okay!

I have hundreds of stories like this and some are worse.

So, to all fitness professionals and therapists…

Please don’t fake your knowledge and experience to gain a client. Don’t just talk the talk. Put the time and effort into continuing your education. Have integrity, a heart of passion and honesty in your work.

This can mean someone may walk or not walk again.

This can mean someone can hold a fork in their hand again or not.

This may mean someone can go back to work or never again.

And so much more!

In the case of the Survivor who was an artist in my first book, it meant he would paint again or not. He did paint again.

Survivors are encouraged and try to believe, never give up and don’t quit. But they need to have educated professionals they can trust to join their personal stroke recovery team.

And the fabulous 54-year-old stroke Survivor refers to me as “God’s Stroke Angel”. That makes my heart feel warm and fuzzy. ❤

I will be presenting a 4-hour “Stroke Recovery and Exercise” workshop on Thursday, February 6 from 7:30-11:30am at the Medical Fitness Tour in Irvine, CA (at UC Irvine campus). Find details at medicalfitnesstour.org/socal. Come gain a lot of knowledge to help stroke survivors gain the stroke recovery the deserve.

Fitness Specialist and Educator Tracy Markley is the Founder of Tracy’s Personal Training, Pilates & Yoga in Florence, OR. Tracy has over 2 decades experience in the fitness industry; she holds numerous specialty certifications, including many for those with medical conditions & chronic disease. She’s also studied the Brain and the neurological system, and has had great success working with seniors and special populations in stroke recovery, neurological challenges and fall prevention. Tracy also serves on the MedFit Education Foundation Advisory Board

She’s authored 3 books: “The Stroke of An Artist, The Journey of A Fitness Trainer and A Stroke Survivor” and “Tipping Toward Balance, A Fitness Trainer’s Guide to Stability and Walking” and “Stroke Recovery, What Now? When Physical Therapy Ends, But Your Recovery Continues”. Her books bring hope, knowledge and exercises to those in need, as well as sharing her knowledge and experience with other fitness professionals.

Friends With Kettlebells On Exercise Mat In Gym

VO2 Max: Connecting the Dots Between Fitness Metrics and Healthcare

Cardiovascular fitness has become universally acknowledged as a major determinant of health outcomes.  Yet relatively few fitness facilities help their members quantify fitness in the way that is recognized by the research and medical communities as being scientifically valid.  As the fitness and medical communities become more connected and increasingly partner with one another, a common language about cardiovascular fitness should be used. 

blood pressure cuff

Be a Blood Pressure Hero!

Did you know as a health-fitness professional you can have a positive effect on a client’s health, longevity, and brain function by simply helping them prevent and manage hypertension? The good news is that it is easy- just get them to exercise regularly. The influence of exercise on blood pressure is significant, and for most clients promoting healthy blood pressure is as easy as learning how to assess BP, prescribe regular exercise, and re-assess BP.  Almost every client with elevated BP will see results with regular exercise… so why not be the BP hero?

To be a BP hero, it is important to be educated in the anatomy of BP, how BP works, how to assess BP, BP disease exercise warning signs, and what has a positive effect on maintaining a good BP or lowering an elevated BP. This article gives you a snapshot insight into the fascinating world of blood pressure and exercise.

The body delivers vital oxygen and nutrients and removes waste and metabolic by-products through the combined effort of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, referred to in combination as the cardiorespiratory (CR) system. The lungs in the pulmonary system are of particular interest as the closed loop vascular system passes through the lungs to pick up oxygen and dispose of carbon dioxide. The success of this closed-loop system relies heavily on a delicate balance to provide effective distribution of blood to virtually all organs and cells in the body.

The proper function of the cardiorespiratory system, and the ability of blood to continuously loop though the system, depends on maintaining the proper pressure in the vessels and organs of the cardiorespiratory system. The pressure is primarily controlled by the vascular system. The pressure maintained in the CR system is measured and monitored by blood pressure.

Blood Pressure is defined as the pressure/force exerted on the arterial walls with each heart beat. (Cleveland Clinic 2019) Blood pressure can be measured directly by a catheter in the artery, or indirectly with a blood pressure cuff and sphygmomanometer. Two pressures in the arteries are measured to determine blood pressure:

  • Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP): represents the highest pressure (against the artery walls) in the artery occurring during ventricular systole, or ventricular contraction, and ventricular blood ejection.
  • Diastolic Blood Pressure (DBP): represents the lowest pressure (against the artery walls) in the artery occurring during ventricular diastole, or ventricular relaxation, which allows the heart to refill.

Blood pressure is the amount of force (hydrostatic pressure) that pushes the blood through the vascular system. Pressure drops gradually as the large arterial vessels branch resulting in lower venous pressures (compared to artery pressure) as the blood progresses through the closed loop system. Blood pressure and associated measures are commonly expressed in millimeters of mercury or “mmHg.”

BP is expressed by ventricular systole over ventricular diastole, for example 120/80. Blood pressure does not remain constant and varies throughout the day or over time in the aging process depending on many factors including exercise, stress, body position, medication, cardiovascular condition, respiratory health, proper hydration, and age.

Did You Know?

Blood Pressure depends primarily on body size.

So, children and young adolescents have much lower blood pressures than adults. (Kenney 2019)

Current Guidelines for BP Classification and Management

American Heart Association 2019 (www.heart.org)

Systolic BP
Diastolic BP
Classification
*Recommendations
<120 and <80 Normal Healthy lifestyle choices and yearly checks.
120-129 and <80 Elevated Blood Pressure Healthy lifestyle changes and reassessed in 3-6 months
130-139 or 80-89 High Blood Pressure Stage I 10 year heart disease and stroke risk assessment. If less than 10% risk, lifestyle changes and reassessed in 3-6 months. If higher after reassessment, lifestyle changes and medication with monthly follow-ups until BP is controlled.
≥140 or ≥90 High Blood Pressure Stage II Lifestyle changes and 2 different classes of medicine, with monthly follow-ups until BP is controlled.
*Individual recommendations need to come from health care provider.

Source: American Heart Association’s Journal Hypertension published November 13, 2017.

Hypertension is defined as:

“Having a resting systolic blood pressure (SBP) >140 mmHg and/or a resting diastolic blood pressure (DBP) >90 mmHg, confirmed by a minimum of two measures taken on at least two separate days, or taking antihypertensive medication for the purpose of blood pressure control.” (ACSM 2018)

This chronic medical condition is called the “silent killer” because there are typically no symptoms. Learning how to assess BP for your client can put you forefront in the fight to detect and fight this deadly chronic disease.  Elevated blood pressure can increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, peripheral artery disease, and heart failure. There are both genetic and lifestyle factors that can affect the development of hypertension.

A client with hypertension should engage in regular exercise after their blood pressure is effectively controlled. Exercise to control and manage high blood pressure should only be initiated after the client has seen their health care professional and is under medical supervision and treatment.  Systolic blood pressure can increase significantly during exercise, so the client coming to you with high blood pressure should not exercise without medical clearance.

Did You Know?

Hypertension causes the heart to work harder than normal at rest and with activity because it must pump blood from the left ventricle against a greater resistance in the arteries. (Kenney 2019)

The American Heart Association updated guidelines recommend treatment options including lifestyle changes and blood pressure lowering medications. The lifestyle modifications for those with hypertension can lower systolic approximately 4 to 11 mmHg with the largest impact from diet and exercise. (Whelton et al., 2017)

It is well documented in research that even light-moderate exercise can help control and lower blood pressure if you have hypertension. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum threshold of 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity for health and quality of life. This threshold of physical activity plays an important role in cardiorespiratory health, longevity, brain health, muscle/bone health, balance and fall prevention, and function to name a few. Maintaining physical activity/exercise is recommended for prevention and control of virtually all chronic diseases.

In most people, hypertension responds very well to using physical activity/exercise as an adjunct therapy. Starting regular exercise typically helps you control hypertension with lower medication doses. As a health-fitness professional, it is very rewarding to see a client reduce or eliminate blood pressure medication through a regular exercise program.

To learn more, register for the upcoming webinar on the topic, Be a Blood Pressure Hero. Or take a continuing education course about blood pressure and exercise. Knowledge is power and will help you to become a BP hero!


Compiled by June M. Chewning BS, MA. The information from this article is from “Blood Pressure, Hypertension, and Exercise.”  A continuing education course offered by FLS.

June M. Chewning BS, MA has been in the fitness industry since 1978 serving as a physical education teacher, group fitness instructor, personal trainer, gym owner, master trainer, adjunct college professor, curriculum formatter and developer, and education consultant. She is the education specialist at Fitness Learning Systems, a continuing education company.

References

  1. Chewning, J and Schmidt-McNulty T. (2019) Blood Pressure, Hypertension, and Exercise. Fitness Learning Systems. nafconliine.com
  2. American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). (2018) ACSM’ Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. 10th Wolters Kluwer.
  3. Kenney WL, Wilmore JH, Costill DL. (2015) Physiology of Sport and Exercise. 6th Human Kinetics.
  4. Whelton PK, Carey RM, Aronow WS, Casey DE Jr, Collins KJ, Dennison-Himmelfarb C, DePalma SM, Gidding S, Jamerson KA, Jones DW, MacLaughlin EJ, Muntner P, Ovbiagele B, Smith SC Jr, Spencer CC, Stafford RS, Taler SJ, Thomas RJ, Williams KA Sr, Williamson JD, and Wright JT Jr. (2017) ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA guideline for the prevention, detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. Hypertension. doi: 10.1161/HYP.0000000000000065
Feet on bathroom scale

The Dreaded Menopod – Menopausal Belly Fat

The most common concern I hear from women in their 40’s and 50’s is increased belly fat. It isn’t weight gain that they are mostly upset about but where it’s deposited…right around the belly button.

Even women that don’t gain weight, see changes in where the fat is deposited. Is it an evil magic trick? I’ve heard it being called the belly bagel, spare tire, jelly center, and my favorite the menopod. Regardless of its name, it’s unwanted and you want to know how to get rid of it. Can you get rid of it or are you doomed to everlasting belly fat increases? Well, let’s break down why it happens and I’ll give you some ideas on what you can do.

Aging 

As we age, it is normal to see some weight gain. This is not something unique to women but women do see a larger increase in abdominal fat. In fact,  the prevalence of abdominal obesity in women in 2008 was 65.5% for women aged 40-59 years. So you’re not alone in this experience. Many different factors play a role in this. Changing hormone levels, loss in muscle mass, decreased activity level, and increased caloric intake, are just a few.

Estrogen

This is the queen bee of all hormones and sadly, this is the one that you’re being robbed off during menopause. Why is this such a big deal? Because she controls everything!! Estrogen plays a role in endocrine, immune, and neurologic systems. That’s why when it’s taken away, many women feel symptoms ranging from hot flashes to forgetfulness, depression and insomnia. One of the biggest connections of estrogen on increased belly fat is its relationship to cortisol. Ahhh, there it is, one of the biggest baddest buzz words in the health industry right now.

If you believe what you read in headlines, this is the one to blame for everything. If it’s out of control, you lose, but to control it seems impossible. Is it? How is estrogen related to it and how does it play a role in belly fat?

Cortisol deserves an entire article by itself (which will come soon) so here is the condensed version on why cortisol is so important to your menopod.

Cortisol is:

“Cortisol regulates energy by selecting the right type and amount of substrate (carbohydrate, fat or protein) that is needed by the body to meet the physiological demands that is placed upon it.” (5)

  • Energy production, exercising, eating, and under stress.
  • This chronic stress can cause excess fat storage deep in the abdomen (visceral fat).
  • Deep abdominal fat has greater blood flow and four times more cortisol receptors. That’s why when there is too much cortisol in your body, it goes right to your belly.
  • It naturally is higher in the morning when you wake up and tapers down as the day goes on.
  • When the body remains under constant stress, cortisol levels remain high regardless of time of day.

Estrogen – Cortisol Connection 

Estrogen has anti-cortisol properties, which helps the body counteract some of the negative effects of cortisol. So as estrogen starts disappearing, so do its cortisol-fighting superpowers. This means that if your body was able to handle some of the excess day-to-day stress before, it may not be able to handle it quite as well now, which translates into excess belly fat.

What can you do?

Chill out!!

  • This is the most important thing you can do
  • Eliminate little, unimportant things that drive you crazy. This is unnecessary stress.
    • In my case, every time I feel like getting stressed out over some inconsiderate driver on the road, I say to myself “menopod alert, menopod alert…not worth it!!” It helps 🙂
    • Stress will always be a part of life. Learning how to cope with it, is essential to controlling weight gain, belly fat, and overall health and well-being.

Resistance training

  • Don’t wait!
    • It is easier to maintain than to try and lose weight during menopause
    • Nobody knows exactly when menopause starts. It can be as early as mid-30’s to late 50’s.
    • Being active before midlife has advantages as it can contribute to entering menopause with lower BMI, higher bone density, lower fat mass, higher lean body mass.

Muscle mass decreases with age for every person, not just women. However, this decrease is accelerated in women as they transition through menopause.

Mindful exercises such as yoga, Tai Chi, meditation.

  • It can help with stress reduction as well as other psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression

Eat healthy and adjust your caloric intake to your energy output.

  • If you’re not working out as much as you did before, you can’t eat like you did

As we age, we are faced with many physical changes that affect us not only physically but also psychologically and emotionally. As women, those changes are exacerbated during menopause. Understanding these changes is a key factor in being able to overcome these challenges and transition happily through menopause. In regards to increased belly fat, you must remember that weight gain doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t start with menopause.

Don’t wait until you’re unhappy with your body… live healthy now!

Exercise, eat well, find a good balance between work and personal life, and enjoy the smaller things in life. Most importantly, don’t let inconsiderate drivers give you a menopod! 🙂

Have a comment or question? Tweet me @doctorluque

Republished with permission from doctorluque.com


Dr. Maria Luque is a health educator and fitness expert that specializes in helping women take charge of their own wellness. A native of Germany, she pursued a career driven by a passion for health and fitness. Dr. Luque currently teaches at the College of Health Sciences at Trident University International, in addition to conducting workshops, group/personal training, and writing. She’s an IDEA Fitness Expert and has been published in the IDEA Fitness Journal as well as appeared as a guest at local news channel to talk about quality of life and menopause. Visit her website, doctorluque.com

References

  1. Davis, et al. (2012) Understanding weight gain at menopause. Climacteric 15;419-429. doi: 10.3109/13697137.2012.707385
  2. Sammel, et al (2003). Weight gain among women in the late reproductive years. Family Practice, 20: 401-409. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmg411
  3. Lovejoy, J. C., Champagne, C. M., De Jonge, L., Xie, H., & Smith, S. R. (2008). Increased visceral fat and decreased energy expenditure during the menopausal transition. International Journal of Obesity, 32(6), 949-58. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2008.25
  4. Epel, E. S. (1997). Can stress shape your body? stress and cortisol reactivity among women with central body fat distribution. (Order No. 9930948, Yale University). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 96-96 p. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304388219?accountid=28844. (304388219).
  5. Maglione-Graves, C., Kravitz, L., Schneider, S. (no date). Cortisol Connection: Tips on Managing Stress and Weight. http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/stresscortisol.html
brain

Neuroplasticity and the Aging Brain

One of the greatest concerns for the aging population is cognitive decline which leads to loss of independence as well as an extreme burden on the caretakers.  Individuals worldwide are fearful of being diagnosed with any of the various cognitive issues: Dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other forms of cognitive debilities.  In 2015 there was an estimated 47 million people living with dementia and this number is expected to triple by 2050.  In 2014, the Alzheimer’s Association reported that they believe there is sufficient evidence to support the link between several modifiable risk factors and a reduced risk for cognitive decline and sufficient evidence to suggest that some modifiable risk factors may be associated with reduced risk of dementia. Specifically, that regular physical activity and management of cardiovascular risk factors (diabetes, obesity, smoking, and hypertension) reduce the risk of cognitive decline and may reduce the risk of dementia. The Association also believes there is sufficiently strong evidence to conclude that a healthy diet and lifelong learning/cognitive training may also reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Positive association between aerobic exercise or CV fitness and executive functions is highly consistent but cannot determine causality.  Aerobic exercise (AE) has shown moderate to medium sized effects on executive function and memory. Resistance Training (RT) has improved executive function and memory. Combined AE and RT has the biggest (potentially synergistic) effect. It has been proposed that the physical and cognitive exercise might interact to induce larger functional benefits.  Larger benefits on cognitive test performance were noted for combined physical and cognitive activity than for each activity alone.  “Claims promoting brain games are frequently exaggerated and at times misleading. … To date, there is little evidence that playing brain games improves underlying broad cognitive abilities, or that it enables one to better navigate a complex realm of everyday life (Consensus statement, 2014).

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize and rebuild itself by forming new neural connections. The more neural pathways you have, the more resilient your brain is. Neurogenesis is the process of creating new neurons (brain cells).

Contrary to popular belief, neurogenesis continuously occurs in the adult brain under the right conditions such as with exercise.  Substantial benefits on cognitive test performance were noted for combined physical and cognitive activity than for each activity alone. It was also noted that the physical and cognitive exercise together might interact to induce larger functional benefits.  “We assume, that physical exercise increases the potential for neurogenesis and synaptogenesis while cognitive exercise guides it to induce positive plastic change” (Bamidis, 2014).  To maximize cognitive improvement, combine physical exercise with cognitive challenges in a rich sensorimotor environment that includes social interaction and a heaping dose of fun.

Brain health is becoming extremely important as individuals live longer.  Today there is much more information available on how to train the aging brain.

Some great resources are:


Dianne McCaughey Ph.D. is an award winning fitness specialist with more than 35 years experience in personal training, group exercise, coaching, and post-rehabilitation. She is a master trainer for multiple companies and practices and teaches optimal wellness emphasizing the mind, body and spirit. She works with special populations and focuses on posture, gait, balance and corrective exercise programs for better function and health.

Cody Sipe, PhD, has an extensive background in the fitness industry with 20 years of experience as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, program director, exercise physiologist and club owner. He is currently an Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Research in the physical therapy program at Harding University. He is the co-founder and vice president of the Functional Aging Institute (FAI).