What do most older adults want to achieve as we age? Yes, we want to have financial security, but the biggest concern is that we do not want to suffer from physical and cognitive ailments. It is no secret to readers of my blog that physcial activity helps to ensure both physical and brain health. Working with older adults is rewarding because I am able to see the progress my clients make that allows them to live life more fully.
I am looking to grow my business for just this reason. Of course, I want At Home Senior Fitness to be successful from a financial standpoint, but I know that there many people out there who could benefit from the services we offer. They just do not know about us yet, or they think that there is no one out there who understands them and their particular circumstances. To try to reach out more, I am expanding into social media to help get the word out.
If you are interested in your own personal growth or know someone who is, check out our instagram account or our FaceBook page. These are updated on a regular basis and share the latest that is going on–even some great pictures of my clients doing their workouts! As always, more info is available at my website, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute. For the record, I did not see this guy there…and if I did, I might have run in the other direction!
This was my third time at the PTI–and the second since the pandemic necessitated two years of on-line sessions. There is an interesting mix of personal trainers at the conference; I seem to recall that the first time I went in 2019 there were a lot less “senior” trainers. Now it looks like we are almost a majority! I think that many older adults who have worked out with personal trainers in the past decided that they would get certification during the pandemic. In any case, it definitely reflects a shift in perceptions about what personal trainers do; it is not all about training elite athletes and well-to-do clients.
The theme of the conference (two years running now) is Train with Purpose. I am not exactly sure what that means, but I will give it a shot. It challenges us to look beyond athleticism and to focus on what we can do to make peoples’ lives better. This is especially true for those of us who work with older adults. A few of my clients are looking to tone up or participate in competitive events, but most are either trying to build or maintain muscle strength, mobility, flexibility, and balance. It is less about prowess on the playing field and appearances, and more about being able to live the lives we want with courage and confidence. This is part of what motivates me.
This year I took four courses: 1. shoulder health and posture, 2. pricing and programming, 3. how to overcome mind traps in building business, and 3. adaptive fitness–working with individuals with disabilities. I was able to learn something in each of the classes. Every month I also do continuing education in order to maintain my certifications. Of course, I do it for the credits, but I find that more often than not I learn valuable insights to bring back to the work that I do with my clients.
I look forward to next year’s conference. The learning never ends. And that helps make me a trainer with purpose!
Almost two years ago, I blogged about the benefits of shorter workouts. Studies show that short bursts of activity have positive effects on one’s physical health; this is good news for those who do not necessarily have a lot of time in their day to exercise, but who might have smaller chunks of time throughout the day. Getting up from a desk or couch and engaging in moderate physical activity can still have a positive effect.
New research was reported on this week that not only can Quickie workouts have physical benefits, but they can also improve our brain health. A study at the Institute of Sport, Exercise, and Health at University College London found that people who spent even smaller amounts of time (6-9 minutes) in vigorous activity each day had higher cognition scores compared to those who did not. Vigorous activity was defined as aerobic dancing, jogging, running, swimming and biking up a hill–activities that boost heart rate and breathing. The researchers looked at how this affected participants’ short-term memory, problem-solving, and processing skills.
This is just one more important piece of research that proves how important exercise is–and reinforces the connection between physical activity and brain health. Although there are some brain games and other activities that help build brain health, the single biggest factor in improving cognition is physical activity; the more we exercise, the more blood our hearts pump to the cells keeping them properly nourished and doing their jobs. Of course, this includes all those cells in the brain.
In upcoming blog posts, I will explore this further and talk about ways that brain health can be boosted further by exercises that combine both physical and cognitive tasks.
Until then, get up off the couch–even if it is for less than 10 minutes–and get moving! Your body and your brain will thank you.
It’s not what you think. Unlike the song from Fiddler on the Roof, we are not talking about alcohol, but instead our good friend H2O.
NBC News and many other news outlets reported on a new study from the National Institutes of Health indicating that poor hydration may lead to chronic disease and early aging. The study took place over the course of 25 years; participants started in their mid-40s to mid-60s and follow ups went through ages 70-90.
There is not total agreement on the meaning of the results. The research used blood sodium levels as an indicator of dehydration, which some scientists believe may not be the most accurate way to measure. Others believe that dehydration is not as widespread a problem as most people believe it to be; in other words, most of us are properly hydrated most of the time.
What is important about the research is that it sheds light on the continuing benefits of drinking water and other non-sugary decaffienated beverages. Drinking plenty of water tends to keep the kidneys healthier; kidneys filter the blood which is then circulated to the rest of the body. The “cleaner” the blood the better it is for the cells that rely on blood for nutrition.
It is also significant that those with higher concentrations of sodium in their blood (which could be the result of not enough hydration), were more likely to have high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar. These are all signs associated with faster aging. On the flipside, those with lower levels of sodium were less likely to have these conditions. While most participants were in the normal range for sodium, those at the higher end had a 20% increased risk of death than those at the lower range.
More research will need to be done, but current recommendations are that women drink 6-9 cups of water per day, and men should consume 8-12. Although water is best, other non-caffeinated beverages are also OK; fruits and other foods with high water content can also increase hydration levels.
Until that research is done, it is always a good idea to keep hydrated–especially before, during, and after workouts, as well as when the weather is warmer.
Tevy from Fiddler on the Roof, had it right. Drink…to life!
It has been about four months since I told you about my welcoming At Home Senior Fitness’ first additional personal trainer, Sam Kalamasz. She is steadily growing her client base and bringing our unique brand to the Brunswick/Medina/Strongsville area near Cleveland as well as the rest of the world via the internet. I am looking forward to her continued success and growth.
As of the first of the year, I welcomed Victoria (Vicki) Yannie to AHSF as well. I hinted at it in my year-end reflection, and now it is official. Vicki brings a wide range of skills and experience. Both her undergraduate and Master’s Degrees are in the areas of physical education and she is a certified Silver Sneakers instructor. She has extensive experience working with older adults, has written papers, and made presentations on a wide variety of topics related to fitness. Vicki will be helping me to cover the eastern suburbs of Cleveland as well as some on-line work.
When I started AHSF, I was not sure if there really was demand for what I was offering. It was a risk, but it has paid off–not only from a business standpoint, but also in the ways that we have been able to help older adults become stronger, more flexible, and even more independent.
As 2022 draws to a close, I have a few reflections on the work that I have been doing for the last 12 months.
There were many successes. I have engaged two other trainers to work with me; the newest will be introduced on this blog soon. This has become a necessity as I continue to get regular inquiries about my services and there are only so many hours in a week. My book of clients has been maxed out for a while. Once I get these two trainers up to their desired number of hours, I will consider expanding further. All of this was unimaginable to me when I started At Home Senior Fitness over two years ago.
The rabbi work continues to be fulfilling. My part-time pulpit at Beth El – The Heights Synagogue continues to allow me to do some of the work that I enjoy best and for which I have decades of experience. Our small congregation of 80 families feels just like that–family; this, of course, means that there are squabbles just like in any family, but we always look out for each other. The most exciting developments this year have been the addition of some new families/individuals who have brought fresh ideas to what we do, and the inititation of a fundraising campaign to raise $250,000 to write a new Torah scroll and have some money to cover extraordinary expenses.
I continue to help out at a local synagogue that is “short” a rabbi. This is like being a substitute teacher but, in general, the “students” are more respectful and appreciative of the work I am doing. Most of the time (sometimes weeks on end), I have no responsibilities, but there are other times when I have my hands full with hospital visits, funerals, leading services, etc. I am glad that I can help this congregation as my family and I have many wonderful connections there.
I also have a very part-time gig as a consultant for American Greetings, based here in Cleveland. They have a line of greeting cards for Jewish occasions and I make sure the content and artwork are appropriate for the given purpose. This is actually fun and lets me flex some creative muscles (see what I did there?).
On a less positive note, two of my clients passed away. I blogged about one earlier; the other passed away in the fall–quite suddenly. He was one of my best clients, training with me three times/week for 45 minutes; I really enjoyed our time together and miss him and his sense of humor. Other clients have been through injuries and medical crises, but thankfully most are back to working out or on their way to recovery.
Best of all, I have had a good year health-wise: no surgeries! I did have COVID and am still dealing with Long COVID, but I am grateful that my case was mild and my continuing symptoms are mostly manageable.
It has been a good year. 2023 will be filled with lots of opportunities. I will continue to blog about what matters to older adults when it comes to their health, and I will continue to service the community in other ways as well.
As many of you know, I was asked to be a regular columnist for Northeast Ohio Boomer magazine last year. Each issue I wrote about a different issue related to exercise/fitness and older adults. The magazine also hosts a number of blogs and has a podcast as well for which I was interviewed. If you’d like to hear my voice and my thoughts about fitness, click here. The podcast is about 20 minutes long.
Many of us are familiar with the line from The Godfather, “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” Research from JAMA Network Open, a publication of the American Medical Association (AMA), says we should think about leaving the cannoli as well.
The investigation found that the number of adults in the USA over the age of 65 with poor diet quality increased 10% from 2001-2018; the percentage rose from 51% to 61%–both of which are alarming. The percentage in the same demographic whose diet was considered “ideal” in the study was 0.4%–that’s just 4 in 1000! This may help to explain why so many adults are living with diet-related diseases.
What is to blame? Older adults are eating more processed meats, sugar-sweetened drinks, and foods with high salt content. Intake of healthier foods like fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains has gone down. This is a trend nearly 20 years in the making, but the AMA hopes that by raising awareness it will be possible to reverse the trend.
The issue transcends older adults. Healthier foods are often more expensive and less readily available than processed foods and junk food. Restaurant food can vary widely from more healthy items to those that are downright artery-clogging. As adults age and are less able to prepare food for themselves–or less willing to do so–the choices become less and less healthful. Throughout many age groups this has contributed to the obesity epidemic in our country.
Older adults are living longer than in past generations. The question is whether those added years will be quality years or ones filled with poor health. A big part of the answer has to do with our diet. Improved eating habits can lead to better health outcomes and quality of life. The choice is ours.
I have blogged several times in the past about the health benefits of being grateful. Our general outlook on life (positive or negative) can have a profound effect on our health and wellbeing.
In the spirit of the holiday, and in the interest of good health, I would like to briefly reflect on those things for which I am thankful this year at Thanksgiving. Of course, I am grateful for my health, my family, my friends, and my general welfare, but I want to discuss a few more obscure blessings in my life.
I am truly grateful for the clients in my personal training business, At Home Senior Fitness. I am truly fortunate to have a great group of clients–not just because they help me pay the bills, but also because I have been able to build great relationships with most of them. I have shared meals with clients, visited them in the hospital, and seen them through joyous occasions and times of loss as well. They have also seen me through ups and downs. I really do care about my clients and that care and concern is returned in spades.
I am grateful for the personal trainers that I had as a client. I always enjoyed the workouts and the results, but did not realize what a huge effect they had on me, pushing me to always do more and better. This has influenced the way that I train my clients as well. I also learned from them the importance of relationships as well as building and maintaining trust.
I am thankful that I have a network that has helped me build my business. Sam Kalamasz, who is working with me, has been a great resource and is committed to helping me grow my client base. ACE (through whom I maintain my certification as a personal trainer) has been helpful and informative. FAI (through whom I have my specialization to work with older adults) continues to enrich my skills. IDEAfit is the main source of my continuing education credits; their on-line resources and conferences are pretty top notch. SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) is also an invaluable tool; they exist in most cities and helped me get organized as I launched my business. I definitely could not have done this all on my own and these organizations have been vital.
As we approach Thanksgiving, I encourage all of us to go beyond the “typical” things we are grateful for and consider some of the other factors that have helped us get where we are. The next step, then, is to try to be the person that others are grateful to have in their lives.
Best wishes to all for a happy and fit Thanksgiving!
Today marks two years that I am working on my own as a Personal Trainer. November 15, 2020 was my last day employed at the local JCC. Last year I blogged about my thoughts on the one year anniversary; and it was an interesting read.
I wrote “sort of” in the title because I am not exacly all on my own any longer. The addition of Sam Kalamasz to my team means that I have someone who is helping me expand my territory and business. Sam will begin offering on-line classes aimed at a more beginner/intermediate level; my fitness classes are more on the challenging side. Once we get one class up and running, we will expand the offerings further. These classes will be offered virtually, so if you are interested or know others who would be, please contact me at email@example.com.
There are still many opportunities out there. I would like to get into the digital realm and hope that 2023 will be the year that happens. I will be in need of more help the east side of Cleveland soon as I have potential clients whom I have turned away. I am also eager to find ways to partner with others who serve older adults. It is all looking up.
It is important to mark milestones like these. It is a time for reflection–looking back and looking forward. For now, as we are about to head into the Thanksgiving holiday, I am grateful for all the help and support.