Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews

Posts in the exercise category

Why Slower Workouts Gets You Faster Weight Loss Results!

by Suzanne Andrews

I just got back from the gym (choreographing my next PBS series) and have a swollen tongue from biting it! Not literally, but figuratively. I look around and see so many people doing the exercises way too fast to be effective. Not only that, but with every forceful lightning speed lift, they are putting themselves at a huge risk for injury.  I overhear someone who has sore knees and cringe when I see what she is doing to her joints.  I see the guy with the bad back lifting way to much weight and swaying his torso and I want to say something to help but bite my tongue because some people don’t welcome unsolicited advice. At the gym, no one knows that I’m a clinician with 30 years of experience.  They don’t recognize me from my show as I wear no make-up and very baggy clothes.  I’ll be the first to admit, make-up, good lighting and clothing really makes a differenceJ.

Most exercisers feel that the key to an effective workout is to try to move the body as quickly as possible. The thinking is that more movement leads to more energy consumption, which leads to fat loss and strength gaining. The fact is, when it comes working out for strengthening muscles, increasing flexibility and losing weight, exercising at a slower pace will get you faster results.

As far as lifting weights, raising and lowering the weight slower is much more effective than fast weight training because when your muscles have to continually exert force in order to keep the weights in position, your muscles are forced to contract longer causing them to adapt by building more muscle which causes your body to tone up much more quickly.  (Ladies, don’t worry about getting big bulky muscles, you don’t have the testosterone needed for that). When your muscles are placed under enough strain to become fatigued, they send signals to the rest of your body to strengthen your muscles enough so they can avoid fatigue in the future. Lifting weights slower might look easier, but it is actually more challenging.  The beauty of training this way is that you don’t have to do countless sets either, so a 30 minute workout can be just as effective as an hour workout.  Just lift the heaviest weight that you can do correctly and safely. How do you know if you’re lifting the right amount of weight? The first rep will feel moderately easy, but by the last rep, you can barely lift it.  When the last rep becomes easy, just increase the weight and keep the repetitions the same. The end result?  A sleeker, toned appearance in 30 days.

The added benefit of increased muscle is a faster metabolism.  Since I have a thyroid disorder that slows my metabolism,(making it difficult-  to say the least- to lose weight), I’ve found this technique really works and has the added benefit of increasing your energy and making you look and feel younger.  Instead of feeling totally worn out after a super-fast paced work out, you’re left with enough energy to get through the day and your metabolism gets a jump start on weight loss – even if you’re weight loss resistant like most of us ladies over 50. Need some inspiration?  I do to and I get it in the form of letters.  Here’s one I would like to share with you.

Another plus of going slower is you’re more likely to stick with a program that doesn’t leave you feeling like you got hit by a truck!

By developing more skeletal muscles, you’ll have the strength needed to get through your day and perform activities with energy. You’ll gain improved lung capacity, a stronger heart rate, improved oxygen saturation and lower cholesterol. All of these factors, combined with the overall improvement in body tone, makes Functional Fitness exercisers feel younger.

Not only is lifting weights slower more effective, but it is also a lot safer. Lifting weights slower makes it less likely to perform movements incorrectly, which is one of the leading causes of injury.

As a rehab therapist it is expected that I, and my Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy colleagues use this technique; because insurance wants us to get the client off therapy as fast as possible using only evidenced based exercises. (Exercises that have been medically proven to work for specific conditions – this includes the order of the exercise, the speed of the exercise, how many sets and how many repetitions).   So it’s up to the therapist to get the person well enough for discharge fast.  Although this way of exercising is not commonplace at the gym or in exercise classes, it has been medically proven to get the fastest results.  One day longer really can be one day stronger with Functional Fitness!

Love and healthiest blessings,

Suzanne Andrews

Suzanne Andrews is a licensed Occupational Therapy Clinician with 30 years exercise expertise. Airing to over 49 million on Public Television, Suzanne Andrews, a licensed Occupational Therapy Clinician, (they specialize in function) creates evidenced based fitness programs for specific health conditions. Originally created in 2008 with it’s first run on WDSC TV, Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews broadcasts on 113 Public Television stations.

How Medical Yoga Speeds Weight Loss

by Suzanne Andrews

 

How Medical Yoga Speeds Weight Loss

I’ve been practicing yoga way before it became popular. I did my first yoga pose 30 years ago and I was hooked so it was only natural to incorporate yoga into my patient's treatment plan to help them decrease stress. What followed was surprising - my overweight patients who had tried diet after diet unsuccessfully were losing weight.

Even my paraplegic patients who were in wheelchairs lost as much as 50 pounds and another obese patient bound to a wheelchair, a 60 year old male, lost 145 pounds. The most challenging part is convincing them to do the yoga, but once they see the results, there's no stopping them. Dr. Marcella Bakur Weiner, Ph.D. states, "Simply put - we deplete ourselves by constantly thinking, worrying and wondering. Then when clear thinking is needed, we may lack the focus and reserve to a satisfying functional life. Medical yoga offers a way of gaining control above the over - expansion of your emotions and removing all the distracting debris in the overactive mind."

What is Medical Yoga?

Medical yoga's unique approach to weight loss focuses on both physical fitness and physiological fitness of the mind, body and spirit offering cutting edge weight loss techniques. With its focus on gaining control over stress eating medical yoga offers a distinctive solution to promote weight loss through scientifically researched therapeutic yoga techniques.

How Does Yoga Help You Lose Weight?

By recognizing that meditation is undoubtedly the most important step one can do to lose weight, medical yoga centers on the most important aspect of successful weight loss - our minds. Meditation increases self-awareness, so that we are in tune with what we need to do. Instead of eating mindlessly, one becomes aware of their actions, resulting in a "domino effect" empowering the mind's ability to fine tune what the body really needs instead of what it wants. By combining stress releasing meditation with modified yoga poses, the plus size person eliminates cravings for food that sabotage a weight loss plan and is able to participate in yoga poses designed especially for the larger sized person.

 

For myself, there is a personal side to offering medical yoga for the larger size population because with my 5'2" frame, I was a very uncomfortable size 18 and I wasn't able to participate in the unattainable yoga poses made for the slimmer population. By combining medically proven stress releasing techniques I changed my relationship to food and began eating to achieve fitness of the mind, body and spirit.

Release Stress and Lose Weight Now with Beginners Dynamic Yoga for Stress Release and Weight Loss which includes doctor recommended meditation for weight loss made exclusively for plus size. Used in medical centers as a weight loss aid to eliminate stress related eating and instructed by licensed occupational therapy practitioner, Suzanne Andrews.

Suzanne Andrews is a licensed Occupational Therapy Clinician with 30 years exercise expertise. Airing to over 49 million on Public Television, Suzanne Andrews, a licensed Occupational Therapy Clinician, (they specialize in function) creates evidenced based fitness programs for specific health conditions. Originally created in 2008 with it’s first run on WDSC TV, Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews broadcasts on 113 Public Television stations.

How to Get a Firm Belly

by Suzanne Andrews

(This is week one of my three-month FREE fat burning course!)

It seems that we place a lot of importance on taut, flat stomachs. Everywhere we look, we see commercials promising to help us "Get a firm belly", or "Get sculpted abs.”

What they don't tell us is that there is no such thing as spot reducing.  But don’t despair because excess fat comes off wherever you have an excess of it.  So if you have too much fat on your belly and you do all the right things to burn that fat, it will come off.  That being said, if you firm up your abs, once the fat comes off, you will see a great set abdominal muscles that are no longer hidden by fat.

But as a medical professional, I advocate being fit for far more important reasons than getting into a little black dress.

Research connects belly flab with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a serious disease and until I got my diabetes educator certification, I had no idea that 60 percent of diabetic (2) lose a limb! With exercise and proper diet, those odds can be greatly reduced.

Measure your waist to see if you have a dangerous level of abdominal fat. For optimal health, men should have a waist circumference below 40 inches. Women should have a waist circumference below 35 inches.

Here are some proven techniques to help you get a firm belly and reduce dangerous abdominal fat:

Consistent Movement and Eating Right

There are foods that can help you get a firm belly, too. Unused sugar turns into fat, but foods high in protein, vegetables and fiber are slenderizing. Look for a diet plan comprised mostly of vegetables, some fruit, lean protein sources, and unsaturated fats.

Exercise doesn't have to be done at a gym. You can burn calories while you participate in activities that you consider fun or fulfilling. For example, gardening burns several hundred calories per hour. Swimming is also a great fat-burner, and fun to boot. You could also take long walks down nature trails.

Cardio exercise will kick your fat-burning metabolism into overdrive. All it requires is persistence; if you can find an activity you like, and stick with it, the pounds will melt away. It's also important to vary your routine for maximum calorie burning, and to ward off boredom.

There are several exercises you can do to tighten your belly. The downfall with a lot of ab exercises is that they are usually demonstrated on the floor and this puts a lot of pressure on your spine.  That’s why I designed Vertical Ab Toner in the Total Strength and Conditioning DVD. The entire workout can be done seated on a chair or standing. It’s also important to note that if you have osteoporosis and you do workouts that don’t offer a modified level, you run the risk of fracturing your spine so it’s important that you choose your exercises carefully.

Order HERE!

Next Week: How Relaxing This Way Burns Fat!

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

By Collage Video | | exercise, Functional Fitness, Suzanne Andrews, tips, Weekly Blog, Wellness | Read more

A question from a fan...

by Suzanne Andrews

Which exercise DVDs are best for someone with L4-L5 herniated disc specifically designed to flatten the abs? Also something for torn rotor cuff? Rachel L

Hi Rachel,
Thanks for writing. Herniated disc of the lumbar region exercise contraindications (things you shouldn't do) are when you combine rotation (twisting) and side-bending which creates shearing and torsion forces to the discs. This is a general answer and your doctor would be able to specifically tell you what you can and can't do. We have a workout called Vertical Ab Toner that's on our Total Strength and Conditioning DVD with three levels: seated, modified standing (gentle) and full standing workout so you never have to get on the floor. Our Get Stronger Bones has a back strength and stretch workout.  This workout has physical therapy moves that includes strengthening the accessory muscles needed for a healthy back. 

As far as your shoulders - so sorry to hear you are going through that. I had two rotator cuff injuries and I know how painful they are. Went from 0 to 99% function with lots of hard work. Again your doctor would be the one to advise you what you are able to do since I don't know your specifics.  The arthritis exercises in the Arthritis Relief may be good for your condition, provided your doctor gives you the OK.  You would need to be past the stage of doing the exercises in supine (lying down).

If your doctor says you are able to progress to active range of motion exercises, the arthritis walking workout has physical therapy exercises in it for the shoulder with an exercise band.  Start without the band and progress to active resistant exercises with the band according to your tolerance level. When it warms up, I highly recommend our Arthritis Water Therapy DVD/CD/booklet as that offers pain relieving healing moves for the entire body, including shoulders and back. 

Wishing you the best of health and a very happy New Year!

FUNCTIONAL FITNESS: ARTHRITIS WATER THERAPY WITH SUZANNE ANDREWS

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

Look and Feel Ten Years Younger

by Suzanne Andrews

How This Type of Workout Makes You Look and Feel Ten Years Younger

How do you look and feel 10 years younger? The holidays can age you when you want to look younger and feel energized. It's important to integrate stress releasing breathing exercises into your workout routine as you will end your workout feeling exhilarated, not exhausted.

Heightened physical awareness occurs when your body systems is in a state of optimum health, (homeostasis)  and all the body systems, including the mind, are at their peak.  After all - the mind and body are married, and intimately united; when one suffers, the other empathizes.

Fitness begins in the mind and resonates in our spirit. How do we mind our mind? Our mind constantly chatters and converses with itself, discussing likes and dislikes, projects and incidents from the past. This is the way we are much of the time. Thinking – that tremendously useful tool has become our prime energy expenditure, consuming our attention at every turn. Simply put – we deplete ourselves by constantly thinking, worrying and wondering. Then when clear thinking is needed, we may lack the focus and reserve to a satisfying functional life.

FUNCTIONAL FITNESS: BRAIN POWER MEMORY BOOST 

 

Guided Visualization and meditation offers a way of gaining control above the over–expansion of your emotions by sitting still in a secluded place and removing all the distracting debris in the overactive mind. Here, you are to direct your constantly wandering mind into dwelling upon itself. Focused on obtaining “truth,” people doing meditation come to realize their own personal truths. This realization helps you function at your best.

Thanks for taking the time to be with a very important person - YOU. 

Suzanne Andrews, President popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

 

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the mos

Exercising These Muscles Can Eliminate Back Surgery

by Suzanne Andrews

Does your back ache? Most back pain can be treated without surgery. As a rehab clinician, I’ve seen many people who’ve had unsuccessful back surgery and often wonder why a non-surgical approach wasn’t recommended by their doctor first?  

Numerous studies suggest that physical therapy is very effective at treating back pain with far less risks. 

When you go to the physical therapist, you may be surprised that they don’t just focus on your back muscles when treating you for back pain.  

Your back pain treatment will include working your glutes, hamstrings and your abdominals utilizing therapeutic techniques because these muscles support your back and your pelvis.  It’s important that you don’t just go to a gym and work these muscles yourself as the pacing and form are crucial for best results and to decrease injury risk. 

You can see the correct form and pacing in the Get Stronger Bones DVD which has a Back Stretch and Strength and a walking workout that works all the necessary muscles safely. In addition, the Total Strength and Conditioning has a vertical ab workout you can do sitting or standing. 

Meanwhile check out this free video I made for you to work your glutes to help you get a pain free back!

Make sure to subscribe to my You Tube channel for more.

 

 

                       

                                            GET STRONGER BONES                                TOTAL STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

What Does a Hurricane Have To Do With Your Health?

by Suzanne Andrews

With the impending Hurricane Irma predicted to land in Florida, we are busy preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. There are long lines to purchase water and it seems like the entire town has purchased all the non-perishable goods. I’m going over my check list and making sure we have enough supplies. Not sure if we’re going to have to evacuate, but if it’s headed for us, we’re not sticking around. A category 5 is serious business.

Just like your health, preventative measures are a must. Don’t wait till your health is hit by a storm. So many patients I’ve treated could have prevented their heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer, diabetes 2 and other lifestyle diseases. That was one of the catalyst for me producing Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews on Public Television. I provided it as a public service because it is heart breaking to hear the ones who survived reply (when asked what they liked to do) say, “I like to read.” Reading is good, don’t get me wrong.  When pressed further, I ask if they did any physical activity prior to their rehab admittance and the response? “Well I walk to my mailbox and the bathroom.”

Did you know if you sit a lot your legs can become fixed in that position? (Knees bent as if you’re sitting). Your hamstring muscles shorten and it makes it impossible to walk.  

Try this test:  (Do not do this if you have osteoporosis).

See how far you can bend down and touch your toes while keeping your legs straight. Make sure to not lock your knees while keeping them straight. 

Is this hard to do? Does the back of your legs (your hamstrings) feel tight? That’s a warning signal. It means you need to add stretching into your routine daily... (Please scroll down to keep reading)

FUNCTIONAL FITNESS: TOTAL STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING 

Tip: Since tight hamstrings also cause back pain, stretching them can help your back.

I’ve seen too many people wondering why they can’t walk. That’s why reading, which I confess is an enjoyable past time of mine, should not be all a person does. It’s important to practice prevention. 

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

How Can You Fight Arthritis Naturally?

by Suzanne Andrews

Arthritis is often accompanied by chronic debilitating pains that can make life difficult at best, sometimes intolerable. Today we understand better the origins of this disease, and we know that with some treatment you can smile again.

 Arthritis is not an illness. Rather, it is an irreversible degeneration of joints cartilage. It is most often found in the joints of the fingers, hips, knees, and back. The severity and the evolution of arthritis can vary, and sometimes even lead to a total destruction of the joint, which will inevitably result in a replacement of the joint.

 It is, therefore, important to pay attention to any symptoms and pains as early as possible, and start a natural treatment to slow the progression.

There are two main origins of arthritis, the first one is the wearing of cartilage due to aging and it should occur only late in life. The second is an accelerated aging of articulations due to nutritional imbalances and to lifestyle. In the second, we can include pathological and physical sources of arthritis that resulted from shock or trauma. Joints can also be worn by repetitive motion in one's professional life or activities.

Pain is the first symptom of arthritis. Its intensity varies, sometimes bearable and mild, sometimes acute. Usually in the beginning the pain is present after an exertion, a long walk; for example, but it is bearable. It can go away with a little rest. As time goes on, the joint can become more and more painful, even during rest. In the later years, research has proven that inflammation is at the source of the disease.

Own Arthritis Relief Walking Workout on DVD

How can you fight arthritis?

Exercise is not the enemy of arthritis, far from it. It is essential to keep moving. You should choose programs that are not too taxing on the joints and avoid tennis jogging and skiing. A group of researchers in Cleveland Ohio have noticed that people with chronic arthritis were suffering fewer symptoms after 10 weeks of daily practice of exercise, when compared with sedentary people. The improvement was directly linked to the movement; it improved blood circulation in the joints and strengthened muscles and tendons around the joint. According to a new Cochrane Systematic Review, exercise programs designed to improve strength and stamina are perfectly safe for rheumatoid arthritis. Their research found benefits associated with dynamic exercise programs that were designed for chronic arthritis patients.

The goal of arthritis exercise is to reduce inflammation, eliminate pain and increase your ability to function. By increasing blood flow and providing important nutrients to your joints, Functional Fitness keeps the muscles around your joints strong, and supports your joints so you function at your best. Functional Fitness also lubricates your joints by encouraging your body to produce a natural lubricant called synovial fluid and that reduces joint friction.

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

What You Need to Know About Balance After 40

by Suzanne Andrews

Did you know that balance is not natural? That's right -we must work on balance to keep it as we begin to lose it as early as age 40. Another thing to note is the exercises you've been doing to improve your balance might not be enough. Keep reading and I'll explain: (I'll keep it brief)

Maintaining and improving balance is an important factor in enjoying a healthy lifestyle, strengthening your body and preventing injury. Most falls occur within the home, (from my experience as an occupational therapy clinician, the bathroom is the number 1 place to fall.) These injuries include broken hips, wrist/shoulder fractures and brain injuries. 

Not only do these injuries result in long hospital stays and painful recoveries, they also cause loss of independence, decreased daily function and loss of the ability to participate in social activities. Lack of proper balance can inhibit daily activities that we often take for granted such as getting in and out of bathtubs, climbing stairs and using a car. It is important to be proactive in your health and prevent balance injuries before the happen by participating in an exercise program that strengthens “spinal stabilizers”, (back and abdominal area) your legs and specific balance exercises to increase your “proprioception”, (your brain's ability to sense where your limbs are positioned in space).  Since your proprioceptors weaken over time, it is vital to strengthen this sense, just like you strengthen your muscles. 

You won't find these balance exercises in most DVDs as these specific balance exercises are therapy based. Therapists will place you on "uneven surfaces" to strengthen your balance muscles and your proprioception. Why? Because when you are on an uneven surface, you activate all your balance muscles by challenging them. That's why in the Get Stronger Bones DVD, you will see the most advanced version demonstrating on an uneven surface.   

If you're not ready for that, it's advisable to start either seated on a chair - and yes - you can strengthen your balance muscles sitting if done to medically proven exercises. If you're beyond chair exercises, you can do the modified standing version using a chair for balance when necessary. Happy balancing and if you have any questions about your exercises make sure to message me - (link below).

 
 
Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

4 Functional Fitness Tips to Increase Your Energy (Part 2)

by Suzanne Andrews

Missed Part I? Click here to read it

Functional Fitness Tip 4: Take power naps. 

I've always take a power nap when time allows as it helps me power through the rest of my very long and active day.  

Of course, your fatigue could just be a sign that you're not getting enough sleep. Most adults require 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, but most of us don't get that much. You can make up for lost sleep by taking power naps. Power naps can refresh you and improve your mental clarity and focus. To benefit, set aside 30 to 60 minutes for a restful nap during the day. Wear ear plugs or a sleep mask if lights or sounds disturb you. 

Functional Ftiness Tip 5: Reduce stress and anxiety.

Have you ever felt emotionally exhausted? In times of stress, we tend to worry more. All of that worrying takes energy, so it's no wonder that stress is linked to low energy levels. Tell a trusted confidant about your worries and fears. If you've been harboring unspoken anger or keeping secrets, now is a great time to bring your feelings into the open. Keeping your emotions bottled up only stresses you out more, leading to greater exhaustion. Share your burden with someone else to get some perspective and lighten your load. 

Functional Fitness Tip 6: Stay hydrated.

Fatigue is a symptom of dehydration, and is more common than you'd think. Many adults suffer from mild to moderate dehydration. If you're an athlete, frequent dieter, or diabetic, you could face an elevated risk of dehydration. Try to drink 64 oz of non-caloric beverages each day. Most of this fluid intake should come from plain water. Sugary sport drinks are rarely necessary, and caffeinated drinks can leave you more dehydrated. For the best results, find a portable drink container you like, and sip water from it throughout the day. If your energy level quickly rises, you'll know dehydration was keeping you tired. 

Functional Fitness Tip 7: Address underlying health concerns.

A low energy level can be an indicator of a more serious condition. Fatigue is associated with depression, diabetes, malnutrition, sluggish thyroid, and a score of seasonal ills like colds and flu. I have a slow thyroid and combat low energy with medication and regular exercise.  The medication is not enough and workouts that require hard core moves are too much.  Low impact cardio and strength does the trick.  If you suspect you may have a medical condition, ask your doctor to perform a thyroid test, blood glucose test, and routine blood work (CBC). The results will help you identify and treat the root cause of your lethargy, or rule out diseases so that you can look elsewhere for a cause. Healthiest blessings!

Would you like to lose weight and boost your energy doing low impact workouts that leave you exhilarated and not exhausted? Try Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews Total Body Strength and Conditioning.

 

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

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