Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Benefits of Weight Training For Adults Over 60

There are multiple reasons that have been covered and discussed over the years concerning the importance of weight training for older adults. Having worked in both the fitness and field of physical rehabilitation for over 16 years now, I see the difficulties people my age and older face by not taking better care of themselves through strength training and controlling their dietary intake.

Many of my patients that I treat in home health somewhere in their medical history have taken multiple falls and end up injuring themselves. Of course some of these falls can have multiple causes however, one of the biggest is the fact that they have allowed themselves to become physically weaker and deconditioned.

One of the best ways to combat this dilemma as you age is to get involved in a strength training program at your local gym or fitness center. It is never too late to start either.If you have not had a complete physical examination in a while I would suggest before start that you see your doctor and get a complete check-up.

Once you have been cleared to start a fitness and strength training program seek advice from a certified personal trainer that has experience working with older adults. In my opinion find a personal trainer you can relate to and is somewher close yo your age if possible. They themselves have lived what you are going through.

The benefits you receive from strength training is acquiring more muscle mass, improving your metabolism that we all know slows down causing that unnecessary weight gain that we see as we age.
Better glucose moderation, decreased blood pressure, and sleeping better are just a handful of improvements that you receive from weight training.

I know getting older is tough enough as it is on our bodies physically. I have witnessed first hand the ravages that aging begins to bring on. I cannot imagine how people take on the aspect of getting older and do not somehow prepare their bodies and minds for the onslaught of aches and pains  that accompany it.

By weight training you build a stronger foundation to absorb some of these blows you will take and it keeps your body and mind healthier. Having a better quality of life as you age can be achieved if you take it upon yourself to improve starting today, through a structured weight training program and cleaning up your diet.

Getting older is tough business, going into it weak and deconditioned is not preparing yourself for the battle that lies ahead.

Stronger bodies and creating a mental attitude to overcome is what you want to take with as you enter the the title of senior citizen.

Richard Haynes PTA/CPT
Total Joint Fitness LLC
Bradenton, Florida.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How to Control Knee Pain After Total Knee Replacement Surgery

After total knee replacement surgery is performed in some cases your orthopedic surgeon will tell you " I did the easy part" now the rest is up to you". The rest being getting through your physical rehabilitation successfully while getting your body and mind back on track.

One of the areas I see in physical therapy that slows down my patients progress in both reducing healing time and becoming successful in the physical rehabilitation is the ability to control their pain levels.

I have written a condensed special report that I put together after my years 23 to be exact in treating total knee replacement patients and helping them get their pain under control and make their physical therapy visits as beneficial as possible.

Give the information a try, why try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to pain management when I have put together the key information you can follow from a physical therapists perspective and from someone like myself that has gone through this surgery myself.

Its not necessarily information we do not know about or heard but its about putting it to use and being disciplined enough to use it.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Stronger Legs For a Higher Quality of Life After 60

Just because you got older and maybe feel the best years of your life working out in the gym are behind you, does not mean you start to neglect certain body parts namely your legs.

I have been training in gyms for over 25 years, needless to say, working your legs is one of the hardest workouts you will go through if done correctly and with proper intensity, that's why so many avoid leg work to begin with, its tough work and can take every bit of mental fortitude to get through a well programed workout.

As we age,our legs become even more important to our longevity and quality of life. Yet, I see many of my counterparts over 60 neglecting their legs and hip area all together, its almost like they have forgotten they have a pair, we tend to take them for granted.

They become more important to us as we age for our day to day functioning. When your younger they are not necessarily show case muscles and get put on the back burners more or less.

For many of us if we do train our legs, it's minimal work with a couple of machines possibly at the end of a workout. As we get older no doubt we all begin to suffer some sort of orthopedic problems whether it knees or hips due to osteoarthritis  or other previous injuries for instance, so there will be times some precautionary measures like the type of exercises or the amount of weight that is used needs to be taken into consideration.

However,  building and maintaining strong legs is vital not only to your overall mobility as you age but, it also has a tremendous anabolic effect if worked using compound exercises like the leg press for those of us that cannot squat safely any longer as one example of exercise modification.

Compound exercises in general or multi-joint exercises as they are known also, has a tremendous effect in stimulating anabolic hormones within our bodies as they tend to work multiple muscles at once and who can benefit more from that then older adults?

Some of the exercises I take myself through at least two times a week a week are as follows:

Cybex Leg Press 10-15 repetitions for 5 sets.

Squats in the Power Rack  15 repetitions with 100 pounds, I stay light due to a total knee replacement and OA in the opposite knee.

Air Squats   15 repetitions  4 sets.

Hamstring Curls either prone or sitting 12-15 repetitions 3 sets

Calf Raises 15 repetitions for 4 sets

I also work at a fast pace allowing 20-30 seconds between sets therefore it helps increase the intensity I lack by not using heavy weights that could compromise my knees at this point. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have one total knee replacement now and another coming within the next year or two depending on how I treat the knee as it stands.

Neglecting our legs is just not something people in my age group should do, injuries, pain etc... are just a part of life, learn to work around it and modify your workouts. Its better to modify things than to stop training your legs altogether.
Hamstring Curls /prone

Stronger legs, hips and low back for that matter help build a solid foundation. When you train your legs, you also get some carryover to all the other muscles throughout your body.

You want to include at least one day and preferably two days a week and concentrate on your legs for quality growth and strength. If you work your legs properly and with adequate intensity, one time a week will be sufficient for those of us over 50. Just listen to your body when it comes to frequency however.
Air Sqauts

Dumbbell Squats

To have a great looking upper body physique and a pair of legs that look like they came out of a bucket of chicken tells most of us that you are not willing to put in the work needed to become the best you can be. This is what separates you from the average citizen.

Stronger legs mean better overall growth, more strength balance and, body stability.

Stronger legs, hips and gluteal area as we age also will mean a higher quality of life when it comes to being able to physically function and help greatly later in life when it comes to preventing falls.

Richard Haynes PTA/CPT
Total Joint Fitness LLC
Bradenton, Florida.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Advice in Preparing For Knee Replacement Surgery

Occasionally I get  a call or email from someone that I know that wants to talk for a moment about a decision to get their knee replaced. Of course their decision to go through with the surgery will depend on how much pain they are in and, how much their quality of life has suffered.

Generally, I may be one of a dozen people they have spoken with and usually they all have heard it all from  " its the best thing I have ever done",  and " I should have had it done sooner" to,  " I would never go through that again". It all will depend on that persons total experience and, how well they followed the instructions from their orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist.

The famous question everyone seems to have at their fingertips is when should I have it done?  Like your orthopedic surgeon will tell you " you will know when its time"! When your quality of life has digressed to sitting all day and your cant sleep at night its time to get it done ASAP.

Waiting never made it easier in fact, the longer you wait the longer your recovery may be.

A couple of things I do mention to them as someone that has worked with knee replacement patients once they get home is, to be sure they get a good quality ice pack and, do not and I repeat do not, try to get off the pain medication too quickly.

There is of course much more information to pass along however, These are just two things that I  tend to drive home. I can't count the number of times I see patients come home using under sized ice packs that do not encompass the whole knee.

When I  say whole knee, I mean an ice pack that covers both the top, bottom and sides. You should be able to cover you knee completely when you apply it. You will have a difficult time keeping the swelling down with poor fitting ice packs. Get the ice pack before you go in for surgery so you will have it ready to go one day one once you arrive home from the hospital.

Furthermore, I advise them to learn how to " embrace the suck". In other words the surgery is not pain free, learn how to get mentally tough to work around the pain and stay on top of your pain medication. " Embrace the suck" is a saying the navy seals carry with them when dealing with pain or harsh environments.

You will have some good days and some rough ones be prepared to face the fact that the knee replacement surgery healing process is not a linear event, there will be some turbulence at times, nothing you cant live with however.

Nothing is more frustrating to your PT or nurse then for us to come into your home,  and you are reporting a level of pain at 8/10 in your surgical knee and tell us you haven't been taking your medication as prescribed on top of it.

If it isn't working or you are having a bad reaction to it, call the surgeons office and get something else prescribed.

As I said earlier, of course there is much more to cover however information overload never works and, only leaves them you whelmed for the time being.

If you are a previous knee or hip replacement patient what advice do you have to share?

Or, if you are getting ready for joint replacement surgery, what questions would you like to ask?

Knowing what to expect is key for a successful recovery.

Richard Haynes PTA, CPT
Total Joint Fitness LLC
Bradenton, Florida.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sarcopenia The Battle On Aging

The human body has over 600 muscles, Its a machine that requires training.
Sarcopenia also known as muscle wasting,  has become a major problem in the US health care system. Though it is not addressed at your local doctors office often enough, many of the physical problems we have regarding living a high quality of life as we age can be contributed to sarcopenia.

Muscle wasting and the lack of resistance training as we age leads to the overall deterioration of our bodies and lead to fraility during our senior years. The fact that most of us as we age do engage in resistance training, Our day to day activities in itself not work the muscle fibers that are predominately involved in muscle wasting the type II muscle fibers. This alone is a big reason for the loss of muscle mass and overall physical breakdown as we age leading to a restricted quality of life.

Unfortunately, there are many older adults who still think that this is the normal aging process and its out of my control. This is the furthest thing from the truth you can imagine. Too many people listening to and living a lifestyle that was predominant decades ago.

We all know that exercises such as swimming and walking are advocated for seniors however, I still suggest and recommend that all of you incorporate some sort of resistance training into your exercise routines. Your muscles need resistance to stay strong and to function at their highest levels.

I see patients every day in the home health setting that have not gotten this memo or have taken the stand that this is a problem that affects someone else. Some however do understand the importance of weight training as they age but do not take the initiative of starting an exercise program.

 Physical deterioration as we age also brings on other disabilities and chronic medical condition's due to the fact our movement and ability to participate in exercise activities has greatly decreased.

The problems with falling for instance is a major problem in the US by the elderly in this country and it affects not only the individuals quality of life at that point but it also adds mounting expenses in medical bills to the individual and the US health care system. many of these falls could have been reduced by learning the importance of keeping your body strong in the first place.

Weight training exercises that you can and should incorporate into your strength training routine are bench presses, back exercises such as seated rows, and lat pull downs along with seated leg presses and hamstring curls.

Deadlifts though maybe the best of them all,  they will require some instruction form a professional before you just jump into them and injure yourself. In my estimation there is not a better exercise to train your entire body with one lift than the deadlift!

There are a multitude of exercises that can be done and of course what exercises you use may depend on factors such as pre existing medical and orthopedic conditions. As we age we are all dealing with something and exercise modification in most cases will be required.

For instance I have a ruptured long head of the bicep tendon in my left shoulder. Flat bench presses with free weight are out for me but, I can do the same exercise in the smith machine which affords me safety. Today there are numerous machines and cable exercises that you can use instead. There are no longer any excuses!

Stick with the basic compound exercises to stimulate the type ll muscle fibers I talked about  earlier.  No need to get fancy. Resistance training is about working the wonderful machine you have to keep it tip top shape, its not a time for entertainment.

Isolation exercises are good however, they are like desert, they should be done only after you have consumed the main course which is your compound exercises.

By working the powerful muscles of the legs,chest, shoulders and back, this will assure you plenty of strength and stamina to help you remain strong and active as you age and, as an added bonus staying strong by developing some lean muscle, this will help keep your metabolism stoked and burning body fat as well. Resistance training is the best prescription your Dr. can write you for your overall health and fitness.

Getting older does not mean we have to become weak and over weight, this all can be prevented with  dedicated strength training and a strong work ethic to improve yourself.

Richard Haynes PTA, CPT
Total Joint Fitness LLC
Bradenton, Florida.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Motivation, Isnt Your Health and Well-being Motivation Enough?

Exercise and strength training takes a lot of work when it comes to self discipline to a commitment of getting yourself in the best physical condition you can.

  People will in many occasions find it mentally  hard to get up for the  same exercise or physical rehabilitation  routine each and every week. I know this for a fact after strength training myself for over 22 years now, even I mix things up a bit. I also face the same challenge in home health when it comes to keeping patients and clients actively involved that do not have a fitness or exercise background to begin with.

One of the most important things you can do with any physical rehabilitation or fitness program, is to find ways to stay motivated and committed to stay on board and get the results you seek  in the first place. Though as an instructor myself, my job is to bring to you the knowledge and the correct way to get started and,help you find what it is you are after and,find out the why behind your wanting to either " get into shape" or " I want to be able to walk again to grocery store" to begin with.

In other words,are you doing this for someone else or are you doing it for yourself? Listen to someone and in a few minutes if not sooner, you can determine whether that individual will be successful or not. In other words, are they internally motivated or externally motivated?

Motivation is something that does not happen in an instant. The desire to overcome and to be a better version of yourself has to have a pressing and important enough cause that is affecting your life today and the pain has to be high enough that action is needed now.

The root cause behind the right motivation for exercise and training comes from the very reasons why you even wanted to start at all. If you wanted to lose weight to help increase your overall health and lower your blood pressure, then that will be an internal motivating factor. If you are doing something because " my wife keeps hassling me about my weight" you more than likely will struggle with your cause.

One way of reminding yourself of what you are doing to keep the motivation up is learning to have a visual cue of what you want to become and how you want to look and feel after an exercise program. If you wish to lose weight, you might want to have a visual image of what you would possibly look like after achieving your goals.

Remember we now know that the body will follow the mind. If you can see yourself losing those extra 20 pounds or,you can see in your minds eye that you are able to walk to that grocery store again without losing your breath, then it will more than likely happen if you put the time and commitment into it.

Another way to keep your motivation up with an exercise program is by not doing it alone. Getting friends or family member's involved also leads to accountability for each other and, brings a sense of enjoyment and camaraderie rather than a task that seems like punishment.

Another way to keep up your motivation sustainable is keeping a log or journal from where you started and how far you have come when it comes to losing those unwanted pounds to seeing how your blood pressure has improved over time. Break those health and fitness goals into small bite size pieces in other words, do not look at the big picture all at once as many will get overwhelmed when seeing just how much work may be involved.

One of the best prescriptions older adults can use when it comes to decreasing the chances of type 2 diabetes or controlling type 2 diabetes without medications and numerous doctor visits is a prescription of physical exercise and following a proper nutritional program.

After having a serious medical scare or finding out you cannot walk around the block without the possibility of going into cardiac arrest, ought to be motivation enough to get us moving.

With the cost of healthcare in this country its a hell of a lot cheaper to work on keeping yourself in top physical condition than it is to pay outrageous medical costs on medical conditions that could have been avoided in the first place.

Motivation? It lies and begins with yourself!

Richard Haynes PTA,CPT
Total Joint Fitness LLC
Bradenton, Florida.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Natural Bodybuilding And Strength Training

Training naturally in the world of bodybuilding or for that matter any type of strength training is an art that has to be taken seriously and with careful and methodical thought applied as well. In other words, you the natural lifter like myself, has to become more aware of your body in the sense that over training or an injury can easily be something that will shut your body down physically and mentally and take you away from the activity you love.

Being a natural lifter myself, I always have to monitor my body closely and become attuned to what it is saying in regard's to injury prevention and finding ways to continue to grow. Now at the age of 59 at the time of this writing,  I  work hard to keep and improve on the muscle I have, My goals of course are somewhat different now then what they were at 29 years of age.

When you train naturally, you want to be sure you are taking advantage and using all the tools you have available and make sure you have a game plan to follow to help you achieve your goals. More importantly, have a consistent action plan with discipline sprinkled in as the key to your success.

We all know that lifting is important but for the natural lifer no matter what age when it comes to muscle growth and maintaining  lean muscle mass. Your diet, sleep habits and mental attitude and focus will be more important then ever. For instance,our biggest gains you all may know now will be made outside the gym rather than in it. Becoming attuned to your body and learning what is known as instinctive training as you gain experience, will play a major role in your success.

If you are taking steroids or other performance enhancing drugs, you can throw some of this information out the window. Though most lifters on drugs follow the same protocol when it comes to diet and rest for instance, they just do not have to be as exact as the natural lifter, over training may not be as important to them as the natural trainer and injury recovery will be quicker as well. Just ask some of your NFL or MLB players about that .

The key component to having success when training natural is to make a concerted effort to keep your diet as clean as possible. Eating ample amount's of protein with some simple and complex carbs and when to consume each of them make a big difference in your gains and recovery.  Don't get to carb  crazy though and try to limit them to almost nothing, your body needs them to fuel your muscles and provide needed glucose for your brain to function properly for starters.

We know that each individual will respond differently to carb intake for instance along with differences in our metabolism will dictate how we respond. No two people will respond the same, this is where some of us have a learning curve to adjust too.

Your sleep habits will determine your success as well. I for example stay on a schedule where I am in bed a certain time and get up at a certain time. I do that basically seven days a week. Now when I was younger, that was not the case and, of course you can get away with more when your younger as well.
Poor sleep habits will stunt your progress and wear your immune system down for instance causing you to fight numerous types of bugs constantly. This equates to down time in the gym.

I personally train five to six days a week, never seven, but some do. Again everyone will respond to frequency differently.  I do not advocate seven days a week strength training but that is my philosophy . Many will find three to four is plenty. The bottom line here is that there is no magic number that is universally correct on the number of days you should train.

You will learn how your body feels and then be able to determine what is right for you.

Over training however is to be avoided and it is your number one enemy. Your body in time and as you gain experience, will tell you when you have pushed the recovery envelope.

Experience and time overall will be your greatest asset as a natural lifter. If you are just starting out three days a week is plenty for now, working on the basic  movements for your chest, legs, and back.. As you gain experience you then add additional days, begin to break your routines into body parts, and learn more about increasing volume the right way and how to take better care of your body.

And believe me what works for one person may not work for you, keep an open mind.

Natural strength training is such a large topic that I just touched on several key components, here as a blog post, it is not meant to be all inclusive, you as an individual involved in  fitness  and training your body, should be reading and researching to learn new ways to stay ahead of the information curve on nutrition, recovery and mental attitude and how to continue to improve your body and mind as you age.

Training naturally takes more patience and perseverance, but, you are healthier and are able to stay in the game longer due to the fact that drugs have not abused your body and possibly cut not only your career short but, your life!

Richard Haynes PTA, CPT
Total Joint Fitness LLC
Bradenton, Florida.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Hiring a Personal Trainer After 50 And What To Expect

If you are considering using a personal trainer to start your journey on getting healthier and stronger after years of neglect, than finding and hiring a good professional personal trainer is the avenue to take.

Learning how to properly lift and perform various movements and understanding why you are doing an exercise will help you cut through the confusing information that is all over the internet and in gyms nationwide when it comes to strength training.

Finding a good personal trainer may not be as easy as walking into your local gym. Personal training right now is a highly unregulated industry so anyone can claim to be a one. You should be on the lookout for a couple of items when hiring a trainer.
1. Certification. There are multiple certifications out there that are good but the ones you want to keep your eyes out for are NASM, ACSM, and ACE. Hiring a personal trainer that has been certified assures you that they have knowledge in what type of exercise programs you should be engaging in after 50 years of age, taking into account the important things like your medical condition, previous orthopedic injuries and what your goals are at this point in your life.For those of us over 50, generally it will be losing weight, getting stronger and, developing a little bit of lean muscle as well so that we can be functional later in life which will equate hopefully to a better quality of life.

Now with that said, not every one that has a personal training certification will be the right fit for you. You want to be sure that the trainer has knowledge and experience in working with older adults and understands what your body is going through in the first place. Better yet, is to hire a personal trainer that is over 50 and understands first hand the changes we all over 50 go through in the natural aging process.

Professionalism. Hopefully when you hire a trainer from one of these organizations being a professional you would think should go without saying. Not always true however. We know that this area also has something to do with an individuals character and moral makeup. Expecting your trainer to be there on time and ready to start at the agreed time tells me alot about a trainer. Is the trainer prepared and has he or she reviewed your file and has the workout session planned ahead?   A trainer that takes advantage of your time or leaves you waiting on the gym floor because of their poor time management will be a red flag. You should not tolerate that, maybe the younger crowd will not care the least but, having been in the work force for years and knowing a professional when you see one is expected.

Your trainer also should be a motivator and have good sound teaching skills. They also should be prior to any workout be taking and monitoring your vital signs such as blood pressure, oxygen saturation and heart rate prior to and, after your training session. They should have done a complete work-up on your medical conditions for us over 50 and, be aware of any contraindications that are associated with them.

Its also a major benefit to you if your trainer has an understanding about your goals and what you want to achieve and how to get your mind engaged in the process. What you see and believe you can do internally will manifest itself externally through a stronger and leaner looking body.

Your mind and how you involve it in your training will determine your overall success!

Expect nothing but the best from your trainer.. With myself working in the medical field now for 21 years in physical rehabilitation and, seeing what takes place with trainers in the gyms I attend, I can see that the client is not getting the attention they need in many cases. Find someone if possible that has a medical background and understands the human body from that perspective.

Training after 50 has to take  into account multiple variables than someone that is 21 years old.
There are plenty of good personal trainers out there of course, just do not hire one due to the size of their biceps. Investigate and talk to them to get a feel for their approach. You will know if the chemistry is right for both of you.

Richard Haynes PTA,CPT
Total Joint Fitness LLC