Tuesday, January 7, 2020

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.

 It's tough work and can take every bit of mental fortitude to get through a well programmed 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 until we find out we are struggling to get out of chair.

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 from just wear and tear.

 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 total knee replacements.

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

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 a 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 leg workouts 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 then 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 will separate you from the average citizen.

Stronger legs mean better overall growth, more strength balance along with 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 later in life when it comes to preventing falls.

Richard Haynes PTA/CPT
Total Joint Fitness LLC
Bradenton, Florida.
Richard Haynes is a Physical Therapist Assistant who works in the home health sector in Bradenton, Florida.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Common Everday Mistakes I See Made In The Gym

Have exercise misconceptions prevented you from starting an exercise program?Having been in the field of strength training for many years, I can tell you there is a lot of confusing and conflicting information that can keep you frustrated. 

 I also was very confused when  I first started weight training and did things that only hindered my progress instead of helping me advance and improve.

The more I spoke with other lifters, the  more confused  I got.  The more information I saw in magazines lead to more confusion, of course this was before we had even heard of the internet which today, has it share of misinformation too.

There are however four tips in my own personal opinion that I promote and use with my clients to be sure they stay on the right track, and not waste their time while getting them positive results.

1. Common Mistake: Failure To Set Goals. 

Do you exercise without a clear goal in mind? Having a clear goal and why you are in the gym in the first place is a critical step in your exercise and weight loss success. 

 Tracking your progress in a journal will help ensure you see your improvements, will help motivate you and help you meet your ultimate goal.

 You should have a plan before you set foot in the gym just what muscle group you are working that day and, an idea what exercises you plan to use. 

Why are you working out? Are you doing it for you or someone else? My personal reason for instance is to stay as healthy and strong as possible to avoid having my personal finances eaten up in medical costs.

 Also, staying stronger and healthier will allow me to do the work I enjoy doing longer and earning an income as well.

having a game plan in place before each workout and knowing why I am working out is my key to consistency and getting results!

I make sure I know my workout in advance the night before and  visualize the workout, this will help you with your exercise intensity and getting results. Who wants to waste their time in the gym anyway?

2. Common Mistake: No Pain, No Gain. 

Pain is your body’s way of letting you know something is wrong. Do not ignore this. When you go beyond a normal exercise intensity with a higher weight or repetitions,  and your testing yourself, you will encounter physical discomfort and need to overcome it.

You need to understand what is the type of pain you encounter when you working a muscle to failure and, and understand the type pain when you have injured something.

As I have gotten older however, 63 as of this writing , I do not push myself to absolute failure as I may have done years ago.

 I find now I work close to failure then shut it down. I find I have a better overall recovery and come back stronger.

3. Common Mistake: Sacrificing Quality for Quantity.

 When you are ready to increase the number of reps of a particular exercise, and strengthen the corresponding muscles, instead of forcing yourself to do a little more each time try decreasing the number of reps in a set but increase the amount of weight used.

  You will feel less fatigue and will be able to gain strength in your fast-twitch muscles.Your fast twitch muscles is were your growth comes from and the majority of your strength.

And training those fast twitch muscles as we age is, vital as they are the first to go and result in many older adults losing their ability to function day to day.

4. Common Mistake: Over-Emphasizing Strengths.

You should start focusing on your weak points rather then what you are good at.

This will help you keep your body more balanced and prevent other problems like tendinitis and bursitis due to muscular imbalances.

For example, if your lower body is stronger than you upper body, then try to work only on this area one day a week.

Be sure to work both your abdominal muscle and back to prevent muscular imbalance.

 Working chest four days a week and working back one day a week is another common mistake made.

 Just because the chest or biceps are regarded as show muscles does not mean you disregard your back or other muscles that you do not see in the mirror.

This especially a problem with younger lifters who work these show muscles every workout and will disregard other body parts like their back and legs. Big mistake!

Being smart about how you exercise will take you a long way. It is important to exercise correctly to prevent injury and make exercise and weight training a lifelong event.

 Your quality of life and the ability to live a life of independence as you age will be determined by your physical condition.

Richard Haynes PTA
Bradenton, Florida.

Richard Haynes is a Physical Therapist Assistant who works in the home health sector in Bradenton, Florida.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Building Muscle and Strength After 50

The idea that you cannot build muscle or, add to your strength  any longer is an old idea that has been debunked for some time now.

 Its no secret that your body at any age will respond to resistance training if you use good common sense and, make sure you follow several key areas that will need some extra attention.

  • Use Heavier Weight For The Compound Exercises: The idea that you have to lift very light or with moderate weight as you age to avoid injury is not necessarily true. Yes for some, good common sense will always go along  way however, with the bench press, the squat or leg press and the dead lift or rowing movements for your back, you want to use weights that you can get 6-10 repetitions with.
Using weights where you can get 15-20 repetitions with will not build the thick dense muscle you need as you age. You want to use heavier loads to stimulate new growth and kick in those anabolic triggers like growth hormone and testosterone.

  • Practice Good Nutrition: This should be something everyone should know and practice if you are involved in the weight game at all. It really makes no difference what age you are if you are trying to build muscle, you need to equip your body with the right nutrients. Food choices like chicken and turkey breast, tuna, and salmon for protein, along with fibers and carbohydrates such as broccoli and beans. One of my favorites is black beans for instance. I eat a lot of black beans and broccoli with my evening meals.
Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and oatmeal will be just a couple of your main food staples that ought to be in your cupboards at home. Your nutrition should be modified anyway as we age and, eating like a bodybuilder is the way to go if you plan on getting in the best physical shape you can once you hit the 50 mark.
  • Get Enough Sleep: This can become a big problem as you get older and if your not careful, you can become one of the casualties of poor sleep habits. Poor sleep will absolutely sabotage your efforts in the gym! Many of us over the age of 50, would sleep a lot better by following a strength training and fitness regimen along with staying consistent with our sleep patterns.
In other words, try your best to get to bed around the same time every evening, your body loves consistency and by going to bed at a certain time each night, you build up a regular schedule that your body will adjust to and will perform much better.

These are just three key components that you need to follow if you plan on improving your muscle development and overall fitness after the age of 50.

 Of course there are more requirements however,as you see, there is nothing magical here nor is it information that many of you didn't know already.

 These are the three basic recommendations to fulfill to be successful. However, how many of you are following these recommendations on a day in day out consistent basis?

Understand, its consistency that will either make you or break you if you lack consistency.

Review what you are doing from the time you spend in the gym to the type of exercises you are doing.

 Don't waste your time playing small ball in the gym or following what someone else in the gym is doing.

 Develop your own program, stick with it, make wise food choices and get the needed rest and you will see results.

You will always get out of life what you put in it. Nothing beats hard work and consistency when it comes to developing muscle!

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

Saturday, January 4, 2020

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, 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.


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 a lot about a trainer.

Is the trainer prepared and has he or she reviewed your file and has the workout session planned ahead of time?

  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, you 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 and communication  skills.

 They also should 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 required a complete work-up on your medical conditions for us over 50 and, be aware of any contraindications that are associated with them.

Now this may also depend on your overall physical condition as well. However if you have had medical conditions in the past or have no exercise experience it may be wise to go to your doctor and get checked out and cleared for exercise.

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 24 years in physical rehabilitation and seeing what takes place with trainers in the gyms I attend, I can see that many clients are 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

Richard Haynes is a Physical Therapist Assistant who works in the home health sector in Bradenton, Florida

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.

http://www. total-jointfitnessllc.com

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.

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.