Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews
Reverse Age with Exercise- the How, What and Why!
When I was born, coke was a soft drink, and weed was something you removed from your flower beds.
I was born before color television, automatic dishwashers – and lucky for me –the birth control pill. My, how time flies! Yes I’ve dedicated my life to fitness, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel like Frankenstein’s bride when I get up in the morning.
We all have an angel on one side saying, “get up, get going, do the right thing." On the other side is that little voice that says, “skip your workout, eat the donut, you can start your diet tomorrow.” How do I know? My two sides argue every day. I just have to make sure the angel wins most of the time.
We Baby Boomers don’t want to get old, but we do want to grow old by staying healthy and remaining functional. And we should; the first of the baby boomers are now turning 65 and today's 50 year old will live on average to be 81. So every day the 5,000 women and 5,000 men who turn 50 are beginning to realize what George Burns stated so eloquently, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”
Many 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. However, when it comes to looking and more importantly feeling younger, slower is often better.
The reason why slow weight lifting is much more effective than fast weight training is that the muscles are put in a state of contraction for longer. The muscles have to continually exert force in order to keep the weights in position. The more that muscles are placed in a position where they must bear weight, the more that the muscles are forced to adapt to this situation, causing your muscles and body to tone up much more quickly.
The muscles must be placed under enough strain so that they become fatigued. When this happens, they send signals to the rest of your body to strengthen the supporting muscles so they can avoid fatigue in the future. Lifting weights slower might seem easier, but it is actually more challenging and will tire most people out more quickly.
Those who develop more of their skeletal muscles will have the strength needed to get through the day and perform activities with greater ease. They will also have an improved lung capacity, a better heart rate, improved oxygen saturation and lower cholesterol. All of these factors, combined with the overall improvement in body tone, will make you feel younger!
We all know exercise is good for us. It allows us to feel younger, sleep better, and control our weight. Unfortunately joint pain as we age can leave you asking “I want to exercise, but how can I with arthritis pain?”
Why Functional Exercise Fights Joint Pain
Joint pain can make everyday activities difficult. This may tempt you to sit still, but the throbbing, aches, and hurting can actually be reduced by movement. Lack of movement weakens supportive muscle and tissue surrounding your joints. As these weaken, stress is created on the joint. This stress causes more pain.
In addition, movement and exercise triggers a response by the synovial membranes to produce more synovial fluid. This oil-like substance keeps joints healthy through lubrication. Synovial fluid keeps the cartilage, the cushion between joints, from drying out so that they aren’t as achy. I tell my patients to imagine a raisin – all dried up and no moisture. That’s what cartilage looks like in people who don’t exercise. Now imagine a juicy plum, that’s your cartilage when you move. Age is not the only deciding factor to having younger joints – movement is. As a rehab therapist, I’ve seen 40 year olds walk older than 90 year olds – all due to lack of movement. As a grandmother to a 16, 11 and 1 year old, I know exercise keeps you moving.
How Walking and Strengthening Exercise Decreases Joint Pain
Even though painful and stiff joints make the thought of walking or enjoying moderate exercise seem impossible, these activities ease joint pain. Your first thought may be that exercise will only aggravate the joints that are already painful. In reality, a lack of walking and strengthening exercise will lead to more pain and stiffness. Functional Exercise makes you feel younger by allowing you to postpone or even eliminate surgical relief. As the strength builds and pain lessons, you’ll find you can once again do many activities you had removed from your life due to pain. You’ll end up looking and feeling much younger!
Q: I love your show and watch it regularly on my PBS channel, But Why Do You Include Breathing Exercises in all of Your Functional Fitness Workouts?
Jenny P. Orlando, Florida
A: As seen in Suzanne Andrews Functional Fitness Arthritis Relief Walking Workout
If you're like many people, you've probably never given much thought to breathing.
It's just one of the body's natural functions, right? How could paying attention to your breathing possibly help you look younger, lose weight and ease joint pain?
The most powerful muscle for breathing, your diaphragm, is responsible for 75% of the volume of each breath you take. In just one red blood cell, there are one billion oxygen molecules being transported throughout your entire body.
Diaphragmatic breathing increases your body's supply of oxygen, eliminating the brain's stress response... and by curbing stress, it sets the stage for effective weight loss, retards arthritis, and helps reduce wrinkles.
During an interview for Functional Fitness, Margaret Chang, MD revealed, “Stress causes cellular aging, stress prematurely ages the body, and ages the DNA in the cells of the body, so stress can retard the process of aging. Since osteoarthritis is a disease of aging, by retarding stress relief, you retard osteoarthritis as well.”
Now, lest you think that you have to spend your whole day in a sort of meditative trance, diaphragmatic breathing can be practiced anytime, anywhere.
1. Inhale through your nose for 2 counts like you’re smelling flowers.
2. Exhale through your mouth for 4 counts like you’re blowing out your birthday candles.
Repeat three times whenever you feel stressed. Do you want to know how to look and feel younger – ask!
Break the Relationship, Break the Weight!
Pictures may say 1,000 words, but numbers speak volumes. Every sixty seconds a person dies from an obesity related cause. Studies show prolonged stress can actually cause you to gain weight and age much faster. I will never forget a life changing moment listening to my anatomy and physiology professor reveal the harmful effects of stress. In that instant, I knew my (now ex) husband was killing me. I lost 170 pounds in one day - by leaving him!
You probably didn't know how much a stressful relationship can cause you to gain and retain weight. However, the science shows this is exactly what happens when you are under stress from a toxic relationship. For example, did you know that a stressful situation can raise your sugar levels as much as eating a candy bar? This means your blood sugar can rise massively each time you hear a belittling comment from your significant other.
The stress in a toxic relationship also makes you crave comfort foods. This is a double blow to your weight loss goals. You will need to fight food cravings every time you have a negative experience with your partner. Additionally, a stressful home life with a partner often leads to insomnia. This lack of sleep will make food cravings difficult to avoid. It will also inhibit your body's ability to burn calories effectively.
All of these factors cause additional problems over time. Most alarmingly, the stress from an unhealthy relationship can lead to heart disease. It can also contribute to breast, colon, and prostate cancer. Yikes!
The answer is clear. You can lose weight by making a single choice in a single day. Break up with the heavy stress in your life today for a lighter life tomorrow.
Have you had a stressful relationship that sabotaged your weight loss? Leave your questions and comments. Looking forward to hearing from you!
Does your stomach call out to you with hunger pangs late at night making yesterday’s leftovers look like a five star meal for two eagerly awaiting to be devoured - alone? Does the whisper from your pantry turn into a loud-mouthed echo in your head repeatedly crying out for you to “just go take a little peak and see what’s in there” because you’re just so darned hungry? Stop a second before you have seconds and eat this to quiet the ‘but’ that can’t be ignored: ‘But’ I’m so hungry, I just have to eat!
Since the television adds ten pounds, I always look for ways to get rid of those ‘extra’ pounds before we begin taping my PBS TV series, Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews ®. Since being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, (a thyroid disorder that slows the metabolism) getting the weight off has become quite a challenge. The hardest part is at night when I’ve eaten all of the allotted daily calories and I’m still hungry. Therefore, I always make sure to keep plenty of this filling, delicious and nutritious fruit in my fridge to stop hunger pangs.
Watermelon: Weight Loss Superfood!
- One Cup = 46 Calories
Excellent source of Vitamin C and Potassium
Helps boost your immune system
Helps protects your body from harmful free radicals
Helps protect from heart disease
Sometimes we become our own worst enemies when it comes to changing our lifestyles, eating healthy and losing weight. Consequently we accelerate our body’s internal clock aging us before our time. We start down an earnest path to achieve our fitness goals, and succumb to our big - bad – BUT! As time goes by our waistline and our ‘BUT’ gets bigger and bigger: I want to exercise ‘But’… I want to lose weight ‘But.’ I want to lose these love handles ‘But.’
Suzanne Andrews, PBS star of Functional Fitness, shares motivational tips in this sometimes funny and always factual blog with a no more excuses guide on cutting edge, non-surgical techniques to put passion back into your mind, youth back into your body, and vitality back into your spirit by reversing the effects of aging with medically proven techniques for middle age to seniors. Feel free to ask questions and comment!
Occupational Therapy Practitioner/L and creator of PBS TV’s popular Functional Fitness series, Suzanne Andrews specializes in increasing mid-life to senior’s quality of life through evidenced based functional fitness techniques with two to three fitness levels. Whether you need to decrease stiffness and pain caused from arthritis, improve your balance, increase bone density due to osteoporosis, Suzanne Andrews vast therapeutic exercise knowledge supercharges your health with a special consideration on safety and injury prevention in all of her DVDs offered right here at Collage Video!
Suzanne Andrews is the President at Healthwise Exercise, LLC. Licensed Occupational Therapy Clinician, Suzanne Andrews is the founder of Functional Fitness airing to over 49 million on Public Television. Originally created in 2008 with it's first run on WDSC TV, the series has aired on over 113 Public Television stations. After sustaining back and neck injuries from a major car accident and bilateral shoulder injuries from a work accident, Suzanne regained full function through an integrative health plan that included functional fitness and sound nutrition. Now a rehab professional herself, Suzanne Andrews is constantly updating her medical knowledge to insure each exercise program demonstrates carefully researched and medically proven techniques. She has also contributed to numerous books, major magazines and written over 200 health and wellness articles for midlife to older adults.