EXERCISE FOR FALL PREVENTION

Get Stronger and Fall Down Less! (or not at all)

September is Healthy Aging Month.  According to the CDC, elderly people benefit greatly from being active, as do the rest of us.  You may not want to think about it, but it’s never too early to learn how to age well.  Whether you are young or old, physical activity improves your emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.

Your risk of falling and injuring yourself increases as you get older.  More than a fourth of seniors fall every year.  Every 11 seconds, an elderly person is being treated for a fall in the Emergency Room.  These accidents can lead to fractures, broken bones, loss of confidence and more serious injuries.  Unfortunately many of these events can be life-changing. One of the most beneficial things you can do to minimize your risk of falling is to exercise.

Physical activity is a great way to add more years to your life.  Being active also improves the quality of your life by keeping you healthy and independent.  When a person becomes unable to take care of themselves, they often become fearful, depressed, angry and guilt-ridden.  This negatively affects their health, disposition and outlook.  What you do today will benefit you greatly today as well as tomorrow.

How Does Exercise Help in Fall Prevention?

Exercise improves your strength, posture and flexibility.  This boosts your coordination and balance which makes it less likely you will fall.  Strength training improves bone density.  Stronger bones mean fewer fractures and better balance.  Pressure is taken off joints when surrounding muscles are strengthened, leading to less pain and stiffness.  Physical activity decreases and reverses muscle loss, as well as improving mobility and burning fat.  It also improves your stamina so you can do more.

What Types of Exercises Are Best for Fall Prevention?

Ideally a combination of strength training, balance, flexibility and aerobic exercise.  But keep in mind that any physical activity –such as walking or stair climbing–  is going to help keep you more upright and agile.

Top Five Exercises for Fall Prevention

  1.  Sit to Stand.  Stand in front of a chair or sofa.  Push your hips back and slowly lower them down towards the surface.  Press through your heels to return to an upright position.  Work up to 10 repetitions.
  2. Heel-Toe Walking. Stand with your arms out straight to the side.  Place the heel of your front foot in front of the toe of your back foot.  Alternate this movement pattern while walking in a straight line.  Work up to 20 steps.
  3. Marching in Place. Lift one knee up towards your waist at a time, alternating, while swinging your arms. Work up to 60 seconds at a time.
  4. Balance on One Leg.  Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.  Lift one knee up and hold for about 30 seconds.  Repeat on the other side.  Repeat 4 more times per leg.
  5. Leg Extensions.  Sit in a chair.  Straighten one leg in front of you without locking out your knee.  Hold for a second and lower slowly.  Repeat up to 15 times per leg.  This exercise can decrease knee pain by increasing quad strength.

How Much Exercise Should I Do?

Shoot for 150 minutes per week, or 30 minutes at least five days a week.  This can be broken down into three ten minute segments daily.  It’s best to include strength training at least two days a week.

The Takeaway

If you are afraid of falling down as you get older, don’t slow down get moving!  You’re never too young or too old to improve how well you age.  You can feel and look younger than your years by staying active.  This will allow you to stay independent and keep doing what you love to do for years to come.  

Your fitness routine doesn’t have to involve a drastic change  –just add more movement to your days.  Switch up your activities for maximum benefit and entertainment.  Cardio will help you battle fatigue, while balance work will help keep you upright.  Strength training is great for building muscle and strengthening bones.  If you want to be able to move your joints through their full range of motion, flexibility training is for you.  Combine them all and you will greatly reduce your risk of falling.  This is a pleasurable and totally doable way to improve your longevity and quality of life. 

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Health.gov;  aging.ohio.gov;  ncoa.org;  thegreenfields.org;  medineplus.gov;  HelpGuide.org;  dailycaring.comg

BATTLING DIET CULTURE

battling diet culture

Getting off the Weight Loss Hamster Wheel and Repairing Your Relationship with Food and Exercise

Do you find yourself prioritizing the number on the scale over your wellbeing? Diet culture tells us to control everything we eat and do in order to feel accepted and worthy.  If you live in the US, every day you are bombarded by the implication that thinner is better.  These limiting beliefs have been shown to affect children as young as three as well as every segment of our population.  Six out of ten women regularly avoid social interactions due to a poor body image. Contrary to popular belief, you can be fat and healthy as well as thin and unhealthy.

Despite diet culture messages, weight loss is not a path to worthiness.  If you are stuck in a perpetual dieting pattern, you are doing yourself more harm than good.  Diet-culture-driven habits are detrimental to your mental and physical well being.  An obsession with food choices and compulsive exercise interfere with a fulfilling life.  They can also lead to eating disorders.

There is no one ideal, perfect or normal body size or shape.  The key to a healthy lifestyle is to focus on your overall well being rather than obsessing over being thin.

For many people losing weight is a decision that will lead to better health. Lowering your risk of disease and lengthening your life are two great motivators.  Maintaining your independence as you age, getting stronger, avoiding injury and pain, getting off of medication, being able to participate in sports and keeping up with your kids are a few more.  

What Is Diet Culture?

Diet culture is subconscious messaging that equates being thin with being healthy, and being fat with being unhealthy.  This mindset attributes thinness with positive traits such as kindness, and obesity with negative ones such as laziness.  

Diet culture causes feedback loops of shame that lead to abnormal behaviors.  It can cause disordered eating and eating disorders.  Diet culture means unnecessary anxiety, depression and body image issues for much of the population.  It also leads to discrimination.  Many overweight people avoid going to the gym or to the doctor’s office out of fear of being judged and mistreated. 

Why Is Diet Culture a Problem for Every One of Us? 

45 million Americans diet every year. At least half of New Year’s resolutions have to do with losing weight.  $33 billion dollars are spent annually on diet products.  Unfortunately diets only work long-term for 5% of people.  35% of dieters become obsessive, and a quarter of those end up with eating disorders.  The truth is diets don’t work for most people.  The best diet of all isn’t a diet at all.  It’s a variety of nutritious foods eaten mindfully, paired with an active lifestyle.

Focusing only on weight loss can lead to never feeling good enough.  It can be harmful to your physical and mental health.  You can make beneficial changes and also accept and love your body exactly as it is today.

Most of us have experienced diet culture throughout our lives.  The problem is self-perpetuating.  Children’s perceptions are affected by diet culture from a very young age.  More than half of six to eight year old girls, and one third of the boys in that age group, wish they were thinner.  Eighty percent of ten year old girls have already been on a diet.  We have the power to stop this kind of degradation and discrimination.

Top Ways to Battle Diet Culture

Stop labeling food as being “good” or “bad”.

Stay active to feel good and not just to look good.  Appreciate everything your body and mind can do rather than fixating on your physical appearance.

Educate yourself about health.  You can’t judge a book by its cover and you can’t tell if a person is healthy just by looking at them.

Disengage from media platforms that perpetuate diet culture myths, or disregard their negative messaging.

Don’t look at fitness and nutrition with an “all or nothing” mentality.

Focus on your health and wellbeing rather than on weight loss.

Allow yourself to eat intuitively.  Listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues.

Compliment people on their efforts rather than on their appearance.

Focus on healthy goals and actions rather than on the number on the scale or on your jean size.

Look out for signs of diet culture/ fat phobia in your own interactions with yourself and with others.

Think about how you feel during and after exercise rather than about how many calories you burned.

Don’t think of your workouts as punishment or “payment” for food.

Learn to love yourself right now, whether you are thin or fat, on a fitness journey or not.

Focus on avoiding disease, injury and dysfunction rather than on looking good in a swimsuit.

Engage in physical activities you enjoy such as dancing, roller skating, surfing and hiking in addition to, or in place of, more traditional workouts.

Try adding more nutrition to what you eat, rather than eliminating food groups and calories. 

Avoid negative self-talk  –you’re not “good” or “bad” based on your food or activity choices.

The Takeaway

At Golden Home Fitness we want to be part of the solution, not the problem.  Our mission is to empower people of all ages, abilities and sizes to live long, healthy and happy lives.  We have helped all types of people succeed at obtaining their wellness goals.  Our Personal Trainers are available whenever and wherever you are, and will customize a plan that fits your values and lifestyle.  You can comfortably work out in our state-of-the-art studio or in the comfort of your own home.

Your size should not determine your self-worth. Why not rethink how exercise and food fit into your life?  You can develop a better relationship with food, exercise and with yourself.  Focusing on your overall health is better than obsessing about your looks.  Eating a variety of balanced and nutritious foods and staying active improves your wellbeing.  While society at large might value thinness over health, you don’t have to.  As pervasive as diet culture is, together we can work towards a more positive mindset and a happier tomorrow for all of us.

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Verywellfit.com;  npr.org;  webmd.com;  refinery29.com;  self.com;  mashable.com;  wunc.org;  medium.com;  acefitness.org

Establishing a Healthy Nighttime Routine

Establishing a healthy nighttime routine is a great way to improve your sleep. This simple self-care ritual can have a big impact on your health and wellness. According to the CDC, one third of Americans don’t get the seven to nine hours of sleep necessary to operate at their best. Regularly sleeping less than seven hours raises your risk of stroke, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. In fact, poor sleepers live less. Get better at falling and staying asleep, and you will get better at life!

What is a Healthy Nighttime Routine?

A healthy nighttime routine is a series of actions you repeat 30 minutes to two hours before bed. Going through the same steps in the same order nightly helps you to unwind. It also cues your brain to prepare for sleep. This makes it easier to fall into a restful slumber so you can wake up re-energized tomorrow.

Why Is a Healthy Nighttime Routine Important?

A healthy nighttime routine encourages your mind to relax. This prevents nagging worries from ruining your sleep or causing insomnia. It also helps your brain to differentiate night from day so you feel tired when you need to. This makes for better sleep, and a happier, more productive tomorrow.

Top Ten Components of a Healthy Nighttime Routine

  1. Be Consistent. According to the CDC, having a consistent sleep schedule is the best thing you can do to improve your sleep. Choose a time to wind down, to go to sleep and to wake up every day. Don’t stray from that schedule by more than an hour even on the weekends. Research shows that the best time to go to sleep for heart health is between 10:00 and 11:00 pm. When you go to bed at a consistent and appropriate time, you train your brain to get sleepy when you need it to.
  2. Prepare for Tomorrow. The best time to start your morning routine is in the evening. By the same token, the best time to start your nighttime routine is in the morning. Once you have healthy morning and evening rituals, you have taken control of your days. You have nourishing and comforting habits that ensure that your time is spent on your priorities. Prepare your food, clothes and activities for the next day in the evening as much as time allows. A bowl of overnight oats prepared the night before lightens your morning load. Besides the physical prep work, you can also prepare mentally. A written to-do list for the next day works wonders. You are freeing up space in your mind. Spend a few minutes picturing tomorrow, prioritizing your tasks and visualizing positive outcomes.
  3. Calm Your Mind. De-stressing activities include journaling, listening to music, mindfulness meditation, breath work and reading. These put you in a peaceful emotional state. Focusing on taking slow deep breaths for a few minutes cues your mind to prepare for sleep.
  4. Calm Your Body. Activities such as Progressive Muscle Relaxation, stretching, massage and yoga allow you to release tension.
  5. Create Your Own Sleep Sanctuary. Make your room as dark, quiet, cool, clutter-free and comfortable as possible. The ideal temperature for sleeping is between 60 and 71 degrees Fahrenheit. Blackout curtains keep your room very dark. Use a fan or white noise if needed to block out noise. Removing physical clutter unburdens your mind. A scent diffuser or essential oil on your pillow can also elicit peaceful slumber.
  6. Turn off Electronics. The blue light from your computer, tablet and smartphone tricks your brain into thinking that it is daytime. This reduces your melatonin production, which makes you feel awake. Try to avoid these devices in the evening or use a red-light filter if necessary.
  7. Avoid heavy meals. Don’t consume caffeine or excess fat, sugar, alcohol and beverages in the evening hours.
  8. Set the Mood. Use dimmer lights at night. If possible, connect with loved ones or pets. A warm bath, candles and a cup of chamomile or lavender tea an hour before bed will make you feel relaxed and sleepy. This is a great time to ponder what you are grateful for.
  9. Start First Thing in the Morning. Get sunshine as early as possible, ideally during a morning walk. Exercise enough daily and eat nutritious meals at regular times. Hydrate properly throughout the day. Aligning your circadian rhythm with daylight hours will go a long way towards optimizing your sleep and your health.
  10. Make It Your Own. Test out a few strategies to see what works best for you.

The Takeaway

Sleep is a fundamental component of good health, along with exercise and nutrition. Unfortunately, one in three of us does not get enough of it. But there is a lot you can do to change that. Establishing a healthy nighttime routine lowers your health risks and lets you feel your best. Along with a healthy morning routine, it puts you in the driver’s seat of your life. The number one action you should take is to maintain a strict sleep schedule. Creating a standard operating procedure for your evening lets you properly unwind. This allows you to prepare for restful sleep as well as for the next day. Once you have a healthy nighttime routine in place, you will wake up relentlessly ready to tackle tomorrow!

CDC.gov; healthline.com; sleepfoundation.org; casper.com; goodhousekeeping.comand

Establishing a Healthy Morning Routine

establishing a morning routine

Win the Morning, Win the Day!

Establishing a healthy morning routine can be the difference between a good day and a great one. The movers and shakers of the world have morning routines that make each day work in their favor. While you may consider pe-planning a loss of freedom it is actually the exact opposite. Your morning routine lets you focus on what is most important to you. It puts you in the driver’s seat of your day. Rather than letting life happen to you, you are designing the plan. If health and wellness are your top priority, a solid morning routine ensures your intentions become reality.

What Is a Healthy Morning Routine?

Your morning routine can be whatever you want it to be. Ideally it is a self-care routine that aligns with your primary goals in life. You can make your day your own and start on the right foot with a little forethought. A healthy morning routine is a great way to invest in yourself before exchanging your precious energy with the rest of the world.

Why Is a Healthy Morning Routine Important?

A healthy morning routine is important because it sets the tone for your entire day. It is a great foundation for productivity and wellness. If you ease into the day with a sense of purpose you feel more in control, calmer and more productive. A healthy morning routine also helps you create an effective work-life balance. Since your life is just a series of days, it stands to reason that your productive and happy days lead to a productive and happy life.

Top Ten Elements of a Healthy Morning Routine:

  1. Start the night before. Reflect on the day, ponder big picture goals and focus on three tasks you want to accomplish tomorrow. If time allows, prep meals, clothes and activities for the next day. Most importantly, set your intentions. This allows you to start fresh in the morning, free of overwhelming tasks and decision-making.
  2. Find YOUR perfect wake time. For many of us, waking up one hour earlier is ideal. In fact, people who wake up an hour earlier have a twenty three percent lower rate of depression. But keep in mind that getting seven to eight hours of quality sleep takes priority. Experiment to find your most beneficial wake up time –could you go to bed an hour earlier?
  3. Cultivate a sense of gratitude. Start the day by writing down three things you are grateful for. Negative thoughts cannot creep in when you are in a state of gratitude.
  4. Move! There are countless benefits to working out first thing in the morning. Start by getting your blood flowing and your heart rate up.  A full-body workout all, or most, days is ideal. Exercise reduces stress, boosts energy, helps you focus better and makes you more productive. It also puts you in a better mood and improves your confidence. Working out lets you start your day with a sense of accomplishment. People who exercise daily have a more positive outlook and increased energy and concentration. If you are short on time (or energy), start by moving in every direction or stretching. Holding a plank for 30 seconds is a great place to start any healthy morning routine.
  5. Drink water before your morning coffee. You get dehydrated during the night. Rehydrating with a tall glass or two of water will give you an instant and lasting energy boost. A glass of water first thing in the morning can increase your metabolism by 30%. Water also benefits your skin, reduces calorie intake and improves your focus.
  6. Consume a Healthy Protein-Rich Breakfast. Eggs, a smoothie, yogurt or oatmeal with almond butter are all great choices. Adding fruits and vegetables makes these powerhouse meals even more nutritious, filling and satisfying.
  7. Declutter your mind, reduce stress and align your focus with a mindfulness practice. Journal, read, meditate, say positive affirmations, practice deep breathing, listen to motivational music or podcasts, call or channel loved ones, take a bath or plan an act of kindness. Choose an activity that fuels YOUR soul, which puts you in a flow state and recharges you.  Did you know that six minutes of reading reduces anxiety by 68% and also boosts your brain cognition?  The right activity for you can lower your stress and make you more productive and happy. If you do one or more of these activities before checking in with your phone, email and TV, you are controlling the day rather than letting it control you.
  8. Tackle your hardest task first. This makes it more likely it will get done and get done well. It will also give you the confidence and peace of mind to proceed to the next task, and the next.
  9. Get some sunlight and fresh air as early as possible to be in proper alignment with your Circadian Rhythm for optimal energy, mood and sleep.
  10. Make your bed. This simple task can be your first win of the day. It establishes your commitment to your own serenity, making both your days and nights more comfortable and stable.

Starting a Healthy Morning Routine

Most healthy morning routines take anywhere from 30-90 minutes. That being said, the key is to make it your own. You get to decide what is most important to you. Start small and add  (or remove) a component every week or two.

Maintaining a Healthy Morning Routine

Pinpoint what does and doesn’t work and revamp your routine as needed. Try to find the right balance between calming and energizing activities, and productive and nourishing ones.

The Takeaway

We all know life can get crazy. There is no need for a mad scramble to go with your morning eggs. A healthy morning routine allows you to get more done in less time with better results and less drama. Who doesn’t want a calmer, more productive day?

Establish a healthy morning routine to avoid overwhelm and mental fatigue. It’s a great way to kickstart your day and make it your own. Don’t let outside forces dictate the trajectory of YOUR day, mindset and life. You can take control. A healthy morning routine allows you to accomplish your goals, remain calm and carry on no matter what!

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CNN.com; trello.com; myfitnesspal.com; wework.com

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