Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews

Posts in the practice category

Surprising Fitness Facts after 50

by Suzanne Andrews

One surprising aspect of practicing fitness after 50 is how it affects your endocrine system. That's the system of organs in your body that produce and regulates hormones in your bloodstream. Just like a thermostat signals your heating and air conditioning system when to turn on and off, so does your body. If you're going through menopause, you feel how important it is to regulate your hormones every time you get a hot flash. So what can you do besides stripping and throwing a bucket of ice water on you? First, and bear with me, I need to explain how your body works…

The pituitary gland in your brain produces growth hormone (GH) and that production is increased during aerobic exercise. This is vital for muscle tone and bone density and also helps strengthen your tendons, cartilage and ligaments which literally holds you together. So if you're having a mood swing that even chocolate can't fix and someone says, "Get it together," if you exercise, you can proudly claim, "I'm being held together quite nicely, thank you".

Growth hormone also communicates fat deposits to be used as fuel instead of blood glucose which helps you to stay energized longer while exercising, which is also why exercise is vital for people who have diabetes and why it helps to keep your metabolism running smoothly during menopause.

You've probably heard that the longer you exercise, the easier or less painful it gets. The pituitary gland also produces endorphins. This is one of my favorites because it sends a chemical signal to the brain to reduce anxiety, tension, decreases your appetite, blocks pain and gives you sense of euphoria known as "runners high" where you can exercise for longer periods of time with less pain. Now, you don't have to be a runner to experience this. An increased sensitivity to endorphins can be achieved if you've exercised for several months because it winds up staying in your blood for longer periods causing that "runners high" to last longer as well. Good stuff.

Testosterone is produced in both sexes, in the ovaries in women and the testes in men. Women have about one tenth the amounts of men but it still affects your metabolism by burning fat during exercise along with increasing muscle strength and tone, and producing a sense of self confidence. When you're healthy and strong you feel good! Testosterone can remain in your bloodstream at elevated levels up to three hours after exercise. In women it can also benefit the intensity of orgasms and that's never a bad thing.

Here's another reason to exercise. Another hormone that helps to breakdown unwanted body fat is estrogen. It increases your metabolism (burns fat as fuel), increases both your libido and your mood. The ovaries produce less of it as menopause is reached but exercising can elevate its levels in the blood for up to four hours after exercising so you feel sexier and happier. Now that's better than a valium and has much better side effects than any anti-depressant.

The thyroid gland produces thyroxine which again increases your metabolism in nearly all cells in your body. The increase induces a feeling of being more energetic, burns more calories which promotes weight loss. You get about 30% more thyroxine in the blood during exercise and it remains for several hours afterwards. The longer and harder you exercise the longer it flows through the blood even at rest. You can literally be burning fat stores long after exercising.

The adrenal medulla produces epinephrine (adrenaline) whose primary purpose is to signal the heart to pump harder and it also directs blood flow to the muscles being worked using the stored fat in those muscles as fuel/energy. While this chemical is flowing through your bloodstream it also activates the breakdown of carbohydrates (glycogen) in the liver and the active muscles. The higher the time and intensity of exercise the more epinephrine is released into the blood. But more is not always better. If you haven't exercises for a while it's best to start off with a beginner's fat burning program and progress as tolerated to avoid injury.

The human body is an amazing biological machine that isn't programmed so much as it responds to inputs we decide to place upon it. If you sit and eat, it responds by weakening, fattening and sickening. If you exercise and eat nutritious foods; it strengthens, tones and fights illness and disease. You ultimately choose the way your body reacts to the lifestyle you live. Exercising on a regular schedule causes the body to react with chemical signals that strengthen cells, burn fat deposits and increase blood flow to all the organs responsible for better bodily functions and health.

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.

3 Weight Loss Tips for Success

by Suzanne Andrews

One of America's Top Nutrition Experts, Dr. Roy Vartabedian, Reveals 3 Weight Loss Tips for Success in this Video.

Dr. Roy Vartabedian, selected as one of America's top experts by PBS TVs Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews, reveals three tips for successful weight loss in this weight loss video interview. 

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.

5 Triggers that Cause Weight Gain

by Suzanne Andrews

5 Triggers that Cause Weight Gain and Diet Failure
Here's How You Can Overcome Them...

I lost 60 pounds after giving birth and have been struggling to keep it off now that I’m in menopause, so I can relate with weight loss being a daunting challenge.  From yo-yo dieting to unrealistic goals and deprivation, people who struggle to lose weight often face an uphill battle. By identifying the triggers that lead to overeating and overcoming them, you will be well on your way to successful weight loss.

  1. Stress

People have to deal with stressful situations every day. From hectic work schedules to strained family life and the pressures of the daily grind, stress can wear out even the strongest person. Some who struggle with weight loss use food as a way to ease the stresses in their life. This leads to weight gain, which leads to more stress, creating a vicious cycle that is difficult to break. You can’t get away from stress, but you can learn how to react in stressful situations.

  1. Culture

One of the main obstacles to people trying to lose weight is pressure from family. It can be very difficult to eat healthy meals when the family members are snacking on high fat and diet busting high calorie foods. In some cultures, it is a badge of honor to be overweight. Family gatherings such as holidays and celebrations may also lead to the pressure to overeat. Have an apple, soup (not creamy soup) or salad as an appetizer. This will help fill you up so you don’t eat too much.  

  1. Time of Day

Does the clock dictate what goes on your plate? Many people eat not because they're hungry, but because they are accustomed to eating at a certain time every day. Others fail to listen to their body's cues and allow social pressures to dictate what they eat. Visualize yourself at your goal weight before ordering your food.

4.  Place

Studies have shown that where you eat has a huge bearing on how much we eat. When you sit down at a table to eat a meal you tend to eat less than if you're sitting on the couch. Eating while doing other tasks such as working at a desk can lead to overeating and weight gain. When eating a meal or a snack, focus on eating only. Attempting to multi-task while eating can cause you to lose track of the amount you're eating and take in too many excess calories.

5.  High Expectations

There is no pill or potion that can make you lose weight.  As a practitioner of Occupational Therapy, I cringe when I see those hyped up claims, “Lose 30 pounds in 30 Days!”  Be accountable and responsible for what you put in your body.  Combine that with exercise and the weight will come off.

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.

5 Types of Urinary Incontinence

by Suzanne Andrews

Did you Know There are 5 Types of Urinary Incontinence?

Find out Which One You Have to See if You Can Treat it At Home!

  1. URGE INCONTINENCE: you have this if you have involuntary large leaks at unexpected times, including sleep. You also have a strong urgency to void. This can be treated naturally, providing you don’t have a neurological condition like dementia, multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries.
  1. STRESS INCONTINENCE: if you leak small amounts of urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh or jump you have stress incontinence. (Very treatable without drugs or surgery provided you don’t have a neurological condition as mentioned above). The most common causes are:
    • Weak pelvic floor musculature.
    • Pregnancy
  1. MIXED INCONTINENCE: if you have a combination of urge and stress you have mixed incontinence. Most common causes are:
    • Disuse atrophy of the uro-genital anatomy (weak pelvic floor muscles).
    • Sedentary lifestyle.
    • Non specific engagement of muscle innervation. (Not doing specific exercises correctly for this area).

This is highly treatable without drugs or surgery.

  1. OVERFLOW INCONTINENCE: Sudden leaking because of a full bladder. This happens without physical movement. Causes are:
    • Fecal Impaction - dry stool that cannot pass out of the body. Caution: this can cause death so see your doctor immediately if you suspect this!
    • Weak Detrusor Muscle: ( A muscle that forms the wall of the bladder). Highly treatable with 30 Day Bladder Fix. 
  1. FUNCTIONAL INCONTINENCE: Leakage due to inability to reach a toilet because of physical disabilities and/or dementia and tramatic brain injuries. This type is not When a patient has functional incontinence, they are the ones who need adult diapers and pads. 

If you have one of the treatable types of Urinary Incontinence mentioned above, there is no reason you should be flushing your money down the toilet. The average person with Urinary Incontinence spends $4008.00 a year on pads, creams, laundry, soiled clothing, soap and doctor’s visits. Start saving money and preview what 30 Day Bladder Fix can do for you.

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.

Why Urinary Incontinence Kills: How to Protect Yourself

by Suzanne Andrews

(Part 4 of My Pelvic Floor Journey)

I remember the exact moment when I realized that I no longer had to worry about having those pesky embarrassing accidents…

“3,2,1,” cued the stage manager as she pointed at me to begin another episode of Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews® for Public Television. I was fearful of doing workouts that could cause leaks, but this workout was a gentle stretch so no worries – Until – “ACHEW!”  I sneezed and immediately thought, “Oh no, not now!’  As soon as that thought raced through my mind, I realized that I was dry!  Hallelujah! What a far cry from the first time that happened (that I shared in part two of My Pelvic Journey). My patients from age 30 to 90 were also reporting great progress every week. 

Doris, an articulate 50 year old lady originally came to me for treatment of a fractured wrist. Because the relationship between rehab therapist and patients is a close one, she eventually confided in me that she hurt her wrist from falling on urine.  She leaked, rushing to the bathroom, the floor got wet and boom - down she went and instinctively reached her hand forward to protect herself from the impact. So I immediately added treatment for urinary incontinence to her plan of care.

Fast forward to 30 days later…her sleep wasn’t interrupted by an urgent need to pee. 60 Days later, she could cough and sneeze pee free!  More importantly she was no longer at risk for a fall. Fall prevention is vital because according to Erika J. Mitchell, MD, and numerous studies, “Hip fractures kill,” the 30-day mortality rate after hip fracture is about 9 percent. It rises to 17 percent if the patient already has an acute medical problem. If a patient has heart failure while being treated for a hip fracture, the 30-day mortality increases to 65 percent. And if a patient has pneumonia after a hip fracture, the 30-day mortality increases to 43 percent.”  Because I’m a therapist, everything I teach is evidenced based which simply means research supports my claims.   According to Pub Med, “Urinary frequency, nocturia, and rushing to the bathroom to avoid urge incontinent episodes most likely increase the risk of falling, which then results in fractures. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of urge incontinence may decrease the risk of fracture.”

Doris’s plight is an all too common one and thankfully she survived.  My heart goes out to all women who suffer in silence so I’m breaking the silence by offering help with 30 Day Bladder Fix: a medically proven sequence of easy pelvic floor exercises to treat overactive bladder and urinary incontinence naturally.

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.

I Want to Lose Weight But How Do I Stop Pigging Out on the Weekends?

by Suzanne Andrews

I Want to Lose Weight But How Do I Stop Pigging Out on the Weekends?

Are You What You Eat?

Yesterday I received a phone call from a 95 year old lady who watches my show, Functional Fitness, on Public Television. Considering my audience is from 40 – 70, this was remarkable.  Even more remarkable - she does the standing version, not the seated version. She sounded healthy and vibrant.  She mentioned her secret to a long life was the pride she felt about her kids and no surprise here, she eats right and exercises regularly.


Have you noticed that after a weekend of wolfing down sinfully delicious foods you don’t feel at your most attractive? Maybe even felt “clogged” up? Wise old men (and women) have stated from ancient times that the stomach is the key to good health, i.e., you are what you eat.

You might be surprised at how much better you will feel by just changing your diet. Eating balanced, nutritious meals with moderate fat and caloric intake can help change your whole attitude and give you the energy to make further progress on creating a new you.

Of course, again, it is not all that easy. If it was, then we would all be eating perfectly and not having any fat or other related problems. We all know how tempting unhealthy food can be. For whatever reason, the forces that be decided to make the unhealthiest foods also the most difficult to resist. A chocolate cake, from the standpoint of the health-conscious, is obviously the creation of the devil. Heck, they even have a version called Devil’s Chocolate Cake. (So delicious!)

Remember it’s not about willpower, it’s about want power.

Once you break the habit of overindulging in unhealthy foods, you often wonder how you were able to eat so much of that stuff in the first place. I’m not suggesting to never indulge.  Just do it less, instead of every weekend, plan on every other weekend or even once a month.  Many people say they lose tolerance for excessive sweets or fatty foods once they’ve established good eating habits over a period of time.

Just think of the end result when you are having difficulty dieting or exercising. Do you want to still look and more importantly feel like you got hit by a truck every morning? Or do you want to rediscover the person that you once were: someone you actually recognize when you look in the mirror? By concentrating on the end results, you can work through the inconvenience to get to the results to feel and look years younger!

*If you have chronic symptoms of upset stomach, excessive thirst or feeling like you’re full after eating very little, see a gastroenterologist as soon as possible.

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.

Help! I Want to Exercise, “But” I Lose Motivation!

by Suzanne Andrews

How to Get and Stay Motivated!

Left to right: Suzanne Andrews, Glenn Poyer, Alina Z.

 

 If you let a "but" get in the way of losing your "butt," you won't get far towards meeting your weight and fitness goals.  My clients often confide, "Every time I start an exercise program, I lose motivation after a couple weeks."  It's not that these individuals don't know how to exercise - they do. "If only I could keep motivated," these people say, "I could really get my body into the shape I deserve." Such a common problem needs a common solution, and "get over it and get to the gym" doesn't really cut it in this sort of situation.

The truth is that motivation is not something anyone can give to you. Even the most motivating coach cannot make a team play well if the team won’t co-operate. You have to unlock the ability to motivate yourself and that begins with your attitude. If you are filling up your mind thinking about your lack of motivation, you sure aren’t going to get any better. Stop using motivation as an excuse and start telling yourself it doesn’t matter. The health of your body shouldn’t be punished because you are not motivated.   Exercise anyway. You don’t have to be motivated to do some sit-ups or go for a walk. You just have to be willing to do it. Motivation is not about willpower, it’s about want power. What do you want? Weight Loss? More Energy? Better Health. Once you start exercising, you will feel better and then you’ll feel motivated.

The word "Motivation" comes from the Latin verb "Moveo," to move. When trying to get in shape, this takes on a double meaning: you must move yourself internally in order to moves yourself externally, putting yourself into a position to be able to lose weight and get your life on track. The trick is knowing all the benefits and reasons to get up and get moving, then making yourself find a way to feel like doing what you already know is possible.

Motivation comes from within you.  It  can't be imposed from someone standing outside you barking to run faster and harder (well, except in the case of a personal trainer, where it's easy to find motivation from the simple and direct orders of the person you're paying to make sure you work out). Even with the best trainer, you may find that there are days when you just don't want to get out of bed and go to the gym. How can you solve this problem and motivate yourself to take your exercise and fitness seriously?

The first step is to stop using motivation as an excuse, and start telling yourself that whether you "feel" like working out or not doesn't matter. So what if you're not "inspired" to exercise, not motivated to get your heart pumping? Do you think every famous actor or athlete is motivated to get up every day and do their job? (Hint: Are you motivated to go to yours, every day?) The answer is no, they're not. But it doesn't matter. Your health is like a job. Do it poorly and you’ll be terminated. Do it well and you’ll be rewarded.  

The reward is a body that's in great shape, feels healthy and saves you money on medical expenses. Being a healthcare clinician affords me a unique perspective into the health choices people make.   60% of deaths comes from lifestyle diseases!

It doesn't matter if you're motivated to exercise. Nine times out of ten by the time you start working out, the natural endorphins your brain releases will do the job of making you feel motivated, healthy, and excited about the workout you've undertaken. You'll be surprised at how quickly you start to feel the natural endorphins released by exercise. But just like a professional in any field, you can't wait around to be inspired to produce exercise. You're not working toward a paycheck in this situation, you're working toward the most important resource you have in life - your body.

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.

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