Older & Wiser with Sue Grant

Posts in the Healthy category

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 | 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.

The Surprising Benefits of Colorful Produce!

I just read a fascinating article about the benefits of colorful produce in one of my favorite health publications –  Berkeley Wellness.  I don’t pretend to be a registered dietitian, but I thought you might enjoy reading about the unique benefits we get from different colors of fruits and vegetables.  For the details, I encourage you to check out Berkeleywellness.com.

We all assume that colorful fruits and vegetables are “good for us,” but it’s fun to learn about each individual color’s specific benefits.  Here goes!

RED

Tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon and guava contain something called lycopene, a red pigment.  Lycopene may inhibit the growth of cancer cells in various ways.  Who knew?

RED, PURPLE AND BLUE

Blueberries, strawberries, beets, eggplant, red and blue grapes, red cabbage, plums, red apples and cherries contain potent antioxidants that provide a reddish blue color.  These antioxidants may help protect against heart disease.  What a delicious way to keep your heart healthy!

ORANGE

Acorn and butternut squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, apricots, carrots, mangoes and cantaloupe contain alpha and beta carotene, which provide an orange color.  As an antioxidant, beta carotene helps mop up free radicals that may promote cancer.  Alpha carotene intake has been linked with a reduced risk of various cancers, including lung and cervical cancer.  Go, carotenes!

ORANGE-YELLOW

Peaches, oranges, tangerines, nectarines and papayas are rich in beta cryptoxanthin.  (I have no idea how to pronounce that……).  But it must be great, because in addition to acting as an antioxidant, this pigment may help suppress the growth of tumor cells, as in cervical cancer. What’s not to love?

YELLOW-GREEN

Corn, cucumbers (with skin) green beans, green peas, yellow and green peppers, honeydew melon, kiwifruit, romaine lettuce and spinach contain lutein and zeaxanthin,  two carotenoids that seem to protect eye  health.  They may reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which can cause loss of vision.  So much for our outdated assumption that only carrots that are good for our eyes!

So, think COLOR when you shop for and eat produce!  The darker and richer the colors, the better.   Pale plant foods such as bananas, pears, and cauliflower also have their share of phytochemicals, and well and vitamins and minerals, so don’t feel like you have to eliminate them from your diet.  But after learning about the impressive benefits of each color, you’ll want to include highly colored produce in every meal and snack.  Enjoy the colorful spectrum!

 

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.

How Many Steps a Day: Is 10,000 Necessary?

10,000 steps…….. or not!

You have probably heard of the recommendation to walk at least 10,000 steps each day.  This is a commendable goal, but if we don’t reach that target, it’s tempting to simply give up and throw in the towel.

New research has concluded that the 10,000 step target might actually be a little on the high side, in a report from Atlantic.com. 

Researchers from Harvard gave fitness trackers to 16,000 women ages 62 to 101 and counted their steps.  They then monitored their health for a four-year period.  In a comparable study, scientists from the renowned Karolinska Institute in Stockholm gave a similar device to 851 subjects, including almost 400 men, and tracked them for 14.2 years.  In other words, one trial observed an impressively large number of subjects, and the other monitored its subjects for an impressive number of follow up years.

Surprise!  After adjusting for diet, lifestyle, and other factors, the Harvard researchers found that the women who walked about 4,400 steps a day had a 41% lower risk of premature death than the least active gals, who averaged 2,700 steps.  The Swedish study also found that the most active subjects had a 50 to 70 percent decline in mortality during a defined follow up period compared to the least active, most sedentary participants.

Walking more than 4,400 steps further on decreased the risk level moderately, and the benefits plateaued  at around 7,500.

Harvard lead author i-Min Lee says the 10,000-step goal should be lowered to encourage more people to get walking.  “If you’re sedentary,” she says, “even a very modest increase brings you significant health benefits.”

Fun fact to ponder:  The 10,000 step target isn't actually based on scientific research – it stems from a 1960s marketing campaign for a Japanese pedometer that played on the fact that the Japanese character for 10,000 resembles a man walking!  

Take away message:  Don’t give up if you aren’t walking 10,000 steps a day.  Shoot for at least 4,400 – a much more manageable target.

 

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.

2 Surprising Myths About Fat That'll Make You Rethink Your Diet

Fat Chance!  I just read a fascinating article by registered dietitian Matthew Kadey in the June 2019 issue of Idea Fitness Journal concerning  some common myths and realities about fat in foods.  You might be surprised  by these findings– read on!

The Myth:  Fat-Free or Low Fat is Healthier

The Reality: The low fat-craze led to the formulation of thousands of lower-fat products, from yogurt to cookies.  However, fat tastes good, so when it is removed or reduced from a food, it loses a lot of its flavor.  To make up for this loss of flavor, manufacturers often add artificial flavors, salt, and sugar –not exactly a nutritional bonus!
Bottom Line: As long as you don’t overindulge, it’s better to enjoy foods in their natural, full-fat state.

 

The Myth:  Coconut oil is a “Super-food”

The Reality:  Often demonized for its upper-high saturated fat content (91% of its calories) coconut oil has experienced a renaissance.  Its supporters claim that it can help with building muscles, losing weight, improving heart, liver and kidney helps, and even taming frizzy hair! 
But coconut oil is not nearly the health boosting, fat-fighting miracle that its fans want it to be.
“There’s no strong evidence directly tying coconut oil either to a greater or reduced risk of cardiovascular disease,” says Patrick Wilson, RD, PhD, assistant professor of exercises at Old Dominion University.
Officials at the American Heart Association still say we should steer clear of coconut oil, citing concerns about its potential impact on cardiovascular health (Sacks et al.2017).
Bottom Line:  If you like the flavor or the moistness it adds to baked goods, it’s probably fine to include modest amounts (no more than a tablespoon daily) as part of a healthy eating plan.

 

I’ll continue to keep you updated as more research is published about health and nutrition.  In the meantime,  keep moving, and keep enjoying your unprocessed, natural foods!

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 ● Collage@CollageVideo.com

From Our Blog

  • Vacationing Without Neglecting Your Fitness Routine

    Hello Fitness Family! Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Kate and I am an employee at Collage Video. I am passionate about maintaining a healthy lifestyle; however, my body has had its struggles keeping up with the level... read more

  • American Flag Caprese Salad

    This recipe was found on the Food Network and is courtesy of the Food Network Kitchen Photo By: Matt Armendariz We find the Food Network's American Flag Caprese Salad to be the perfect compliment to any 4th of July party!  Although it's a... read more

  • Important: Notice Regarding Our Shipping Policy

    To all our Customers, Please take a moment to review the following change in our return policy. We currently accept any DVD, opened or unopened, to be returned within a 15-day window after delivery.  Effective July 1st, we will continue... read more