Older & Wiser with Sue Grant

Posts in the Healthy category

Don’t Fall for It – Household Horrors!

As you can imagine, I am a little wacky about anything that could cause a fall, so you’ll understand why I am horrified when I see trip hazards in people’s homes!

Here are some things you can do to make your home less scary:

Bathroom

  • Install grab bars around the shower or tub and toilet. Many people fall in the shower as they close their eyes when they shampoo their hair and tilt their head back to rinse.
  • Put top quality non-skid mats in the tub or shower – slippery bathroom floors are terrifying!
  • Use a padded tub or shower seat if you’re unsteady standing.

Floors

  • Remove all clutter from the floor. Pet toys, papers, clothing – not on the floor!
  • Get rid of throw rugs – they are evil!
  • Secure carpet edges down so you don’t catch a toe on the edge.

Stairs and Steps

  • Install handrails on both sides of stairs.
  • Put reflecting tape on the top and bottom stair so you will automatically know where the beginning and end of the stairs are.

Clothing

  • Hem pants so they don’t touch the floor in bare feet.
  • Wear sturdy shoes with thin, non-slip soles.
  • Consider wearing a medical alert device – they are worth their weight in gold if you fall and are all by yourself.

Lighting

  • Install good lighting by doors and walkways.
  • Install night lights or motion sensor lights in the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom. Walking from the bedroom to the bathroom in the pitch dark = petrifying! 

Away from Home

  • Even if you have your own home fixed up to be as fall proof as possible, you still need to be vigilant about trip hazards and fall risks wherever you go.
  • Keep a nightlight in your suitcase and install it immediately on the path between the bed and the bathroom when you check into a hotel.
  • If you find yourself somewhere with stairs or steps without a bannister, ask someone for their elbow. They will be happy to help, and it’s SO much better than falling!
  • If you visit your grandchildren, watch out for menacing toys on the floor that are just waiting to trip you up.

In short, you need to be your own advocate to prevent a fall – no one else is going to do it for you!   I encourage  you to be constantly on the lookout for horrifying trip hazards both in, and outside of your home.

 

Sue Grant holds numerous certifications within the health and wellness industry.

  • Certified as a personal trainer by the ACE
  • Certified as a Master Instructor for the FallProof Program
  • Certified by the Arthritis Foundation
  • Certified in Older Adult Fitness by the American Institute of Fitness Educators

Sue has also studied personal training and group fitness through U.C. San Diego’s Fitness Professional Certificate program. Click here to find her collection of DVDs.

Happy New You! (Helpful hints to help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions)

It’s that time of year again, where we vow to make some sort of fitness related resolution, only to have abandoned our best intentions by March. Research shows that about 60% of people make them — and that more than half of those of us who do, don't keep them for longer than a few months.

The secret to making a fitness New Year’s resolution last is to admit that getting and staying in shape won’t always be easy.  But SO worth it!  Here are some tips that will help you succeed:

Ditch the term “New Year’s Resolution”

That infamous term is associated with failure and broken promises, so avoid mentioning that expression when thinking and talking about your fitness goals. 

Instead of getting stuck in the “New Year’s resolution” mindset, come up with specific, achievable goals. 

Aim low

It goes without saying that most New Year's resolutions are easier announced (or written) than done-but if you set the bar too high, you're doomed from the start.

Start small, and make your goals realistic enough that you can easily imagine them becoming reality.  If you only focus on your big, long term goal, you might feel like a failure and give up if you don’t achieve that big goal soon.  Set yourself up to succeed by creating reasonable, manageable goals that will bring you to your big goal.

For example, instead of a sweeping declaration like “I’m going to get fit!”, schedule three or four days a week at the gym instead of seven. Or, if the gym is not your thing, track the number of steps you take each day and work on increasing that number by a reasonable amount each day.

Be Specific

Your declaration should be absolutely clear. Making a concrete goal is really important rather than just vaguely saying “I want to lose weight.” Come up with an explicit goal: How much weight do you want to lose and at what time interval? 

The timeline toward reaching your goal should be realistic and definite too. That means giving yourself enough time to do it with lots of smaller intermediate goals set up along the way. Focusing on these small wins keeps you encouraged along the way—each time you meet one, you have reason to celebrate your progress.

Change one behavior at a time 

Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. Thus, replacing unhealthy    behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life this month. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time. The key to success is to zero in on one goal, not three.

Spread the Word!

You will be much more likely to succeed if you tell your friends and family about your plans (but carefully avoiding the “Resolution” term!). Social support can help you stay accountable, so let your world know about your aspirations. If you’re into social media, post regular updates on your progress. Your fans will cheer you on!

The more people to whom you announce your plan, the more people there'll be to prod you along if you fall behind. Just letting others know that we've committed makes it more likely that we'll follow through — we're less likely to slide if somebody else knows what we've said we'll do. 

Put “exercise” in your calendar for the entire year

There’s a saying that when people retire, they can either schedule their new free time for exercise or for Doctor’s appointments.  Plan on committing to whatever form of movement you enjoy in February, March and the rest of the year, not just January!

Don’t beat yourself up

Perfection is unattainable. Remember that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal and OK. Don’t give up completely because you ate a brownie and broke your diet or skipped the gym for a week because you were busy. Everyone has ups and downs; resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.

Don’t Fall for It – Eyes and Feet!

You might be surprised to learn that your eyes and your feet have a huge impact on your balance.  Here’s why:

Your body uses three different sensory systems to maintain balance:

  • Vision – I’m sure you know all too well how hard it is to balance when your eyes are closed!
  • Somatosensory – This system provides us with information about our spatial location and the movement of our body by the sense of touch in your feet.
  • Vestibular – this delicate balance system is located in your inner ear and is activated when your head moves. I’ll discuss this in detail in my next blog.

Eyes
Since your vision is key to maintaining your balance, get your eyes checked at least once a year, or more often if you have a gradually worsening condition like cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration.  Don’t put off getting cataract surgery – blurry vision can cause a catastrophic fall.

If you wear glasses, be sure to update your lens prescription regularly. Speaking of glasses, progressive or bifocal lenses can increase the risk of falls, especially on stairs.  Even though it is not as convenient, I recommend that you have two different pairs of glasses – one for distance and another one for reading.

Feet
Your body receives crucial somatosensory cues when from your feet touching the  firm surface of the ground.  It’s much harder to balance when standing on something compliant, like soft sand or a squishy pad, than when standing on a solid surface. Sneakers with an extra thick padding on the bottom are sort of like standing on a soft pad and will reduce the somatosensory cues your body needs from your feet.  Because of this, shoes with thin soles are better for balance.  I understand that many of us need to wear padded shoes because of bunions or sore feet, so you might want to consult your doctor or a podiatrist about the best choice of footwear for you.

Obviously, never ever walk around in socks or stockings, and if you wear slippers, make sure that they can’t slip off your feet and that they are not slippery. 

Your eyes and your feet are your balance buddies – these tips will help them help you prevent a fall!

By Collage Video | | Healthy, Older & Wiser, Sue Grant, tips, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Sue Grant's Holiday Fitness Tips

You know you “should” keep active all year long, but when you add holidays to the mix, many of us find exercise becomes less of a priority.  However, staying active in some way will give you energy, reduce tension and stress, and of course, help mitigate some of the extra calories you may be eating.  Here are some easy tips that will help you keep moving, even during this busy time of year:

Travel

  • If you’re traveling, pack (or wear!)  your comfortable walking shoes, fitness videos, and your  resistance band.
  • If flight delays leave you with extra time at the airport, rejoice!  Store your luggage in an airport locker and enjoy people watching as you take a hike through the airport.
  • Plan Ahead!  Search for walking or park trails nearby, or find out if any nearby gyms allow guests to use their facility. 
  • Malls are also a great place to walk, and if parking is crowded this time of year, consider it a bonus if you have to walk a bit to get to the mall. 
  • If your joints can tolerate it, take the stairs whenever possible.  Just be sure to have a free hand next to the banister for safety’s sake.
  • Invite your family and friends to walk with you.  It’s such a wonderful way to connect.

“Wherever” Exercises

Here are some easy exercises that you can do anywhere:

  • Chair Sit to Stands - Try sitting down very slowly – defy gravity!  This extremely functional exercise will strengthen your “fall prevention” lower body muscles.  Try doing as many as you can before every meal.
  • Wall pushups - Stand facing a wall, and put your hands on the wall about shoulder high and shoulder wide.  Bend and straighten your arms, keeping your body straight.  Don’t forget to breathe!  This exercise is easier if your feet are close to the wall, and harder the farther your feet are farther from the wall.  You’ll be strengthening the “pushing” muscles you use every day with this exercise.
  • Luggage rows - Stand beside a chair, and put the hand next to the chair on the back of the chair for support.  Lean your torso forward, but if your back protests, then stay more upright. Hold something fairly heavy (like a suitcase) in your hand that is not next to the chair.  Lift the suitcase up and down, bringing your elbow up and then straightening your arm.  This exercise strengthens your back muscles, which are crucial for good posture.
By Collage Video | | Healthy, Older & Wiser, Sue Grant, tips, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Don’t Fall for It – “Sit to Stands” are Grand!

I met with a new home client yesterday who told me that he falls all the time but assumed that this was a normal consequence of his clumsiness.  Goodness NO!  As you probably know, one of the most frequent causes of death for older adults is “complications from a fall.”  At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I told my new client that fall prevention is truly a matter of life and death.

There are many ways to minimize the chances of a dangerous fall, but I’m just going to write about one thing you can do in this article today.  Keep an eye out for my upcoming blogs to learn about additional things you can do to reduce your risk of falling.

Regular exercise:

This is (in my opinion as a Master Certified FallProof Instructor) THE most important thing you can do to reduce your risk for falls.  Exercise helps you to maintain lower body strength, which is crucial.  Let’s face it – everyone stumbles and trips a little during the day, but if your legs are strong enough, they can help you catch yourself.  If your legs are weak, then you will be much more likely to fall.

One of the easiest and most practical ways to improve your lower body strength is to do “Sit to Stands.”  You simply sit down and stand up from a chair.  Try to do a few Sit to Stands before every meal, and gradually increase the number of repetitions.

When you sit down, try to descend as s-l-o-w-l-y as possible – this will really help to strengthen your fall prevention muscles.

If you need to use your hands on the chair to stand up, then do so, but work towards using your hands as little as possible. The most advanced hand position is to cross your arms across your chest so that you are only using your lower body muscles to propel yourself. 

To measure your progress, see how many Sit to Stands you can do in 30 seconds.  Take note of which chair you use, and record the number of times you stood up.

It will be rewarding to see how much you’ve improved when you time yourself again in a month or so.  Just be sure to use the same chair so you’re comparing apples to apples.  As I’m sure you know, it’s a lot easier to stand up from a tall rigid chair seat than a low squishy couch.

These super-fast Sit to Stands are also a great way to add power to your workout, which is especially important as we get older.  Adding speed and power help to keep your fast twitch muscles tuned up, which help you to react quickly (which is essential when you stumble.)

Boring? You bet!  But anything’s better than falling and ending up in the emergency room!  Stay tuned for more fall prevention tips in my next blog.

"Ask Sue" - (2-Part) Exercising with Injury & Daily Meal Breakdown

Question: Good morning Sue.  I have 2 questions for you:

1). How would you suggest I continue exercising when I am suffering from hip bursitis and tendinitis in one arm/shoulder? I am 70 years old and have always exercised (your videos now but Leslie Sansone, Joyce Vedral, yoga, plus some balance ball, Jari Love, and HIIT). Right now I am doing some gentle walking videos plus MELT and other foam rolling.  I am basically healthy- most of my "issues" are structural so this is very discouraging.

2). You are so slim. Would you break down the type of meals you have over the course of a day. I am a healthy eater but can't lose that "last 10 pounds."

Thank You.

Answer:  Hi!  Thanks so much for your questions!   

OH!  I feel your pain and frustration with your bursitis and tendinitis!  Your joints might be happy exercising in warm water, but I’m not sure that’s a possibility for you where you live.  Have you been to a physical therapist? They might be able to help your “itis” issues heal faster.  If you do continue exercising on your own, you obviously need to have pain be your guide - don’t do ANYthing that hurts!  You can also try “tweaking” the plane of motion that you are moving - for example, if it hurts your hip to do a forward lunge, you could try tweaking that forward lunge to a diagonal lunge or a “rotational lunge” to see if  that helps.  Feel free to shoot me a private email if that does not make sense!

As for my meals - I’m so boring!  I eat lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, clean proteins, and stay clear of processed foods and added sugar.   Sodas are an obvious no-no, and I’m sure I bug people when I always say “no thank you” to dessert.   I fill up on delicious healthy food, but always stop eating when I’m full.   This is probably not news to you because it sounds like you are already a healthy eater.  It’s actually more important, health wise, to be active and fit rather than to stress too much about those pesky last 10 pounds.  Keep moving as much as your hip and shoulder will allow, and enjoy your healthy food and active life!

 

 

Sue Grant holds numerous certifications within the health and wellness industry.

  • Certified as a personal trainer by the ACE
  • Certified as a Master Instructor for the FallProof Program
  • Certified by the Arthritis Foundation
  • Certified in Older Adult Fitness by the American Institute of Fitness Educators

Sue has also studied personal training and group fitness through U.C. San Diego’s Fitness Professional Certificate program. Click here to find her collection of DVDs.

Change Your Cell’s DNA with This Type of Exercise!

High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is a very popular exercise regime, but many people have assumed that it is only for elite, highly trained athletes.  Not so!  Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have found that HIIT has even bigger benefits for older adults!

The idea of HIIT is very simple.  You exercise hard for a short while, rest for a bit, and then do it again.  You alternate between a short bout of intense exertion and a nice easy recovery.

The astonishing results of the Mayo research study were that some age-related deterioration of muscle cells had actually been reversed on people over 65 that did HIIT.  This is huge!  HIIT seemed to change a cell’s DNA in a way that boosted the muscle’s ability to produce energy.  It also triggered the growth of new muscle, helping to counteract the inevitable muscle loss that is part of the normal aging process.

These changes were more dramatic in the over-65 exercisers compared with a group of people under 30.  We rule!  

If you are considering giving HIIT a try, you should definitely check with your physician first. However, many studies have shown that intervals can be safe and beneficial for people with diabetes, heart disease, and more. 

If your physician gives you the green light, start off easy!  Begin your workout with a nice easy warm up (as always). If you enjoy walking, try walking briskly for a couple of minutes, followed by a slow stroll until you recover.  You can do the same sort of interval on a stationary bike or any piece of cardio equipment.  Gradually increase the number of intervals you do, but again, don’t overdo it at first!

I recommend that you do just one or two HIIT workouts a week, combined with light or moderate exercise on the other days.  You need to give your body time to rebuild bones and muscles to increase strength.

HIIT is not for everyone, but you may want to give it a try, now that we know how beneficial it is for us Older Wiser folks! 

 

Sue Grant holds numerous certifications within the health and wellness industry.

  • Certified as a personal trainer by the ACE
  • Certified as a Master Instructor for the FallProof Program
  • Certified by the Arthritis Foundation
  • Certified in Older Adult Fitness by the American Institute of Fitness Educators

Sue has also studied personal training and group fitness through U.C. San Diego’s Fitness Professional Certificate program. Click here to find her collection of DVDs.

"Ask Sue" - Recommendations for a Stretch Strap

Question:  I want a stretch strap make of textile possibly with loops and routines to go with it. Can you recommend anything?

Answer:  Glad you asked!  Be sure to be warmed up before you stretch.  Think of your muscles as being like salt water taffy - easy to stretch when nice and warm, but if you put the taffy in the fridge overnight and tried to stretch it in the morning…. Ouch!  Check out the OTPT original stretch out strap on Amazon - it comes with an instruction poster.

 

Sue Grant holds numerous certifications within the health and wellness industry.

  • Certified as a personal trainer by the ACE
  • Certified as a Master Instructor for the FallProof Program
  • Certified by the Arthritis Foundation
  • Certified in Older Adult Fitness by the American Institute of Fitness Educators

Sue has also studied personal training and group fitness through U.C. San Diego’s Fitness Professional Certificate program. Click here to find her collection of DVDs.

Adopt a "NEAT" Lifestyle for Better Health!

If you are one of the millions of people that don’t enjoy traditional exercise, take heart!  You’ll be happy to hear about the NEAT term, which stands for
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. (Big word!)  Thermogenesis is a metabolic process during which your body burns calories to produce heat.

NEAT is the energy you burn when you are not sleeping, eating, resting or deliberately exercising.  It’s a great alternative for those who either don’t have the time, or simply loathe exercising. 

Now that we have such accurate wearable fitness devices, researchers have been able to measure energy expenditure, rather than just count steps, and they have discovered that dozens of non-exercise activities can be slipped into our daily routine to help keep us healthy and fit.

Mayo Clinic endocrinologist James Levine coined the term when he was the director of the Obesity Solutions Initiative.  “Anybody can have a NEAT lifestyle,” he said.  “Our research showed that you can take two adults of the same weight and one can burn an extra 350 kilocalories (per day) simply by getting rid of labor saving devices and moving more throughout the day.”

If you are retired, home maintenance can be an excellent form of NEAT.  For example, making your bed uses as much energy as walking!  Scrub the counters, sweep the floor, walk the dog, carry the groceries, gardening, going up and down stairs – it all adds up. 

If you do need to sit a lot, emulate that wiggly kid in 3rd grade that drove your teacher crazy – move your legs in various directions, stand up and sit down, tap your toes and lift your heels.  The more you move, the better.

How NEAT!

 

Sue Grant holds numerous certifications within the health and wellness industry.

  • Certified as a personal trainer by the ACE
  • Certified as a Master Instructor for the FallProof Program
  • Certified by the Arthritis Foundation
  • Certified in Older Adult Fitness by the American Institute of Fitness Educators

Sue has also studied personal training and group fitness through U.C. San Diego’s Fitness Professional Certificate program. Click here to find her collection of DVDs.

Dance For Increased Brain Health

In addition to providing physical, psychological, and social benefits, did you know that dancing is also really good for your brain? 

In a new study from Germany in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, researchers divided healthy people 63 and older into two training  groups.  Half of the group did repetitive exercises that did not require new learning, and the other half enrolled in a dance program that required them to continually learn challenging new routines.  Classes were held twice a week for six months, and then once a week for the next 12 months.

As seen in MRIs, both groups had increases in gray matter in the hippocampus.  The hippocampus is involved in learning, long term memory, and spatial navigation.  However, the dancers had increases in more parts of this brain structure, and also had significant improvements in balance.

Atrophy in the hippocampus is part of the normal aging process, especially after age 70, but the great news is that this is one of the brain areas that can actually generate new neurons in response to physical and mental challenges – like dancing!  The key to the process, known as neuroplasticity, is to be moving while solving a cognitive task.

As we get older, many of us are worried about “losing our marbles.”  The authors of this study concluded that, “the additional challenges involved in our dance program, namely cognitive and sensorimotor stimulation, induced extra hippocampus volume changes in addition to those attributable to physical fitness alone.”

Even if you think you have “two left feet,” dancing, or doing some kind of activity that challenges you to learn new things while you are moving, will help you to keep those marbles!

 

Sue Grant holds numerous certifications within the health and wellness industry.

  • Certified as a personal trainer by the ACE
  • Certified as a Master Instructor for the FallProof Program
  • Certified by the Arthritis Foundation
  • Certified in Older Adult Fitness by the American Institute of Fitness Educators

Sue has also studied personal training and group fitness through U.C. San Diego’s Fitness Professional Certificate program. Click here to find her collection of DVDs.

Stay in Touch

Information

210 W. Parkway, Suite 7, Pompton Plains, NJ 07444 ● © Collage Video ● Exercise Video Specialists ● Fitness Videos and Workout Videos ● 1-800-819-7111 / 201-464-4921 ● CustomerCare@CollageVideo.com

From Our Blog

  • Labor Day Holiday Hours

    Dear Collage Video Customers: Just a quick note to inform you of Collage Video's schedule for the upcoming holiday weekend: Our phone and e-mail will close at 3:00 pm (Eastern) on Friday September 4th, and resume at 9:00 am on Tuesday, September... read more

  • Debra Mazda, An Introduction

    by Debra Mazda Eating the right food, exercise and living a healthy life. Sounds easy but can be very difficult. But does it have to be? We all want to stay fit and look good and of course to have... read more

  • An Important Announcement from Collage Video

    To Our Valued Customers, During this Public Health Emergency your Collage Video team is thinking of you and your desire for a healthy home and family. As the situation remains fluid, we at Collage are staying as flexible as possible... read more