Author Archives: Tracey

About Tracey

I'm a lawyer interested in the upside and downside of the bail bond system used in the U.S. (and Philippines).

Fitness in your Forties: Issues and Strategies

If you’re in your forties, and have started to notice new and more frequent aches and pains, you’re not alone.  We all know that as we age our bodies are going to change, but do you know what is most likely to change and what you can do to work with it?

A very common issue is that as we age our connective tissues become less elastic, and can lead to a greater likelihood of joint injury.  It’s important to respect that connective tissue.  Try to incorporate activities that can stretch and strengthen those connective tissues.  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Yin Yoga: has recently experience a surge in popularity.  That particular discipline focuses on strengthening the connective tissues from the waist to the knees, so if you have tight hips (say, from years of cycling or running and not spending enough time stretching!), yin yoga could be for you.  Check your local yoga studios to see if they’re offering yin yoga classes in your area.
  2. Weight Training:  preserves and maintains muscle mass.  As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass and our metabolic rate also declines.  Even if you get plenty of cardiovascular exercise, if you do the same thing you’ll lose muscle and gain fat.  Strength training is the only way to preserve, or increase, muscle.   Weight training also helps with bone density and joint elasticity.
  3. Lengthen:  for many people, height begins to decrease in their forties.  Focus on posture, sitting and standing tall as if a string is attached to the top of your head and  pulling you up.  Push your shoulders back and down, opening up the space around your neck and ears.  Try to lengthen your spine by stretching.  Yoga is great for length.
  4. Warm-up before you exercise:  take 10-15 minutes to warm up before you exercise, especially if you’re a weekend warrior!  Warming up starts the flow of synovial fluid, which lubricates your joints.  Warming up also increases your core temperature which can loosen your muscle and reduce the change of injury.

Being in your forties doesn’t mean the end of exercise.  It just means you should need to exercise wisely and listen to your body.

1 Comment

Filed under fitness tools, health goals

Personal Training: Disc Problems – Is Pilates for You?

© Wisky - Fotolia.com

Do you have a family history of spine/disc problems?  I do – and it’s pretty significant.  My brother and mom have both had multiple back surgeries, and my maternal grandfather and great grandmother were plagued with neck pain.  Watching my mom and brother suffer over the last decade makes me want to do all I can to avoid their situation.

I recently accompanied my brother on an appointment to his surgeon (he was about to have a fusion done on some discs in his neck).  I asked the surgeon if there is anything you can do to prevent disc issues if you know you have a family history.  The surgeon’s answer: there is no magic pill.  BUT core strength, exercise and a healthy diet can help.

Any time I think about core strength, I think about pilates.  Pilates is a form of exercise that helps build flexibility and strength in the abdominals, legs, arms, hips and back.  Spinal and pelvic alignment are emphasized, along with building a strong core and breathing.

I had been taking private and semi-private pilates lessons with a personal trainer for a couple of years, but stopped taking classes when I moved to a new town.  With my mom and brother recuperating with my family after having surgeries this summer, it was definitely in my face that I needed to get back into pilates.  At the same time, I’d been having some back/neck pain issues and tweaks – which I felt were muscular, but there was enough of a doubt to freak me out a bit.

So, I made an appointment with Debby Bowen at Bend Pilates, and have been going twice a week ever since.  About 4 months later, I feel great.  My core is stronger than it was and is protecting my spine – I actually feel relief in my spine when I engage my core correctly during physical activity.  I can feel my core support my body when I run, ride my mountain bike, and do yoga.  I’m more flexible in my hips and legs, and I’ve also been working on strengthening my rotator cuffs. What’s more, my body awareness is better – I’m learning how to use the right muscles so I don’t tweak out.

Although there is no guarantee that I won’t ever have a disc problem, at least I know I’m doing something about prevention!

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Your Personal Trainer and Nutrition: Benefits of Quinoa

As much as a personal trainer can help you with exercise, your exercise regime will benefit you more if you also fuel your body with the proper nutrients.  While there are lots of diet fads at any given moment, there are some “superfoods” out there that really do provide significant benefits.  Included in this group is quinoa (pronounced keen-wah).

Image

© Andre Bonn – Fotolia.com

Quinoa is an ancient seed (it’s actually not a grain) that was cultivated by the Incas over 5000 years ago.  It is related to leafy green vegetables, such as chard and spinach.

Quinoa is packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients.  When compared with wheat, barley and corn, quinoa is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese and zinc.  Because of its nutrients, quinoa is said to protect cardiovascular health, prevent migraines, and help with diabetes.

Quinoa is gluten-free, and does not feed fungal or bacterial infections. Quinoa is high in protein.  In fact, the protein in quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids.   It is an especially good source of lysine, which is necessary for tissue growth and repair.

Quinoa is quick and easy to cook:

1.  Always make sure you rinse the seeds well as something called “saponin” coats them, and can make them taste bitter when cooked.

2.  Using a ratio of 1:2, quinoa to water, bring to boil in a saucepan, with a pinch of salt.

3.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until water is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes).

A quick search on the internet can produce lots of yummy quinoa recipes – one of my favorites is quinoa tabouli.

To make it, you need the following ingredients:

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tomatoes, diced (and seeded if you want)
1 cucumber, diced (and seeded if you want)
2 bunches green onions, diced
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Cook the quinoa, and let cool; then mix in the rest of the ingredients. Eat as a stand-alone dish, or serve with hummus and pita bread, and maybe some grilled chicken.

Image

© waymoreawesomer – Fotolia.com

Have it ready in the fridge to chomp on after your next workout!

1 Comment

Filed under food and energy, healthy eating, Uncategorized

Food for Thought: If you could take one supplement, what would it be?

A naturopath I know was once asked this question by a friend of mine, and his answer after giving it some thought?  Salmon oil.

The benefits are many:

  • Salmon oil is important for brain development and memory; it also helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Studies show that HDL (good cholesterol) increases by 10% if you eat a high salmon diet for 20 days.
  • Salmon oil has been shown to help reduce high blood pressure.
  • Salmon oil protects again heart attack and prevents cardiovascular disease.
  • Salmon oil helps in improving eyesight and protects against macular degeneration.  It also prevents dry eyes.
  • Salmon oil reduces the pain, discomfort and inflammation from arthritis.
  • Salmon oil reduces symptoms related to menstruation.
  • The Omega 3 fatty acids in salmon oil reduce joint pain and stiffness from osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Children who consume salmon oil every day have a lower risk of asthma.
  • Salmon oil reduces the symptoms of various diseases, including arthritis, atherosclerosis, psoriasis and gallstones.
  • Salmon oil reduces depression symptoms.
  • Salmon oil can be helpful in treating diabetes.

And the list actually goes on.

The benefits of salmon oil on brain function give a whole new literal meaning to the phrase “Food for Thought”!

Leave a comment

Filed under food and energy, healthy eating