Weight training for the over 50s

September 8, 2010 by  
Filed under At Home, Fitness & Sport, Health, Healthy Ageing

When you mention weights to me, I tend to think of dark and sweaty rooms full of people (well men actually) sweating away to the accompanying noise of clanging barbells. However it seems that I am wrong as I was just sent a new book which has been written by two very respectable looking ladies (one even wears pearls) which offers the complete program to what they describe as staying stronger longer and contains easy exercises to avoid the effects of the ageing process and be fit for life.

Pauline Eborall and Patricia Furber are the authors of ‘Wonderful Ways With Weights’ and were inspired to write it because of their own unsatisfactory experiences as middle-aged women in fitness classes and gyms. For both men and women osteoporosis is a real danger as we get older and weight bearing exercise is one of the best ways to combat it and these exercises focus on building a strong body and happily they also say that you do not have to be fit to start. The exercises are based on their own experience and were roadtested on a group of their friends for over a year aged between 40 to 80. What they found was that if exercise is regular and progressive than strength can be gained and maintain even by those in their 80s and 90s.

This regime is gentle and gradual and you never need push yourself beyond your current level of fitness as it is a continuous process. Indeed they even have exercises in their easy to follow illustrated guide that include exercising in water and from a chair. What I particularly liked was that the photographs used show people of the right age doing these exercises which makes it seem much more realistic.

As well as exercises there is also good dietary advice and tips scattered through the book on improving things like arthritis and even suggestions for spicing up food without using salt. If you’d like to get a copy then it is available from Amazon or at www.kintburypublishing.co.uk

Want to boost your IQ

June 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Fitness & Sport

Exercise is the keystone for healthy living, but it is not often advocated to help you to boost your IQ. We already know that older people who exercise three or more times a week have a significantly reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Whatever your age, if you exercise regularly you have a 30 to 40 percent lower risk of dementia, and even as little as 15 minutes of exercise, three days a week, cuts your risk significantly. One short, brisk, walk every day can make a real difference, but what is new is that recent studies have shown that some forms of exercise may actually help you think better, while others have little or no impact on your brain matter. Here’s three suggestions for what works, and what doesn’t, for those ‘little grey cells’.

Aerobic Training:
In 2006, Arthur Kramer of the University of Illinois used MRIs to prove that aerobic exercise builds grey and white matter in the brains of older adults. Later studies found that more aerobically fit schoolkids also perform better on cognitive tests. Widely accepted now that aerobic exercise is one of the best things you can do to stay mentally agile into old age.
Impact on intelligence: STRONG

Weight Training:
It might make you feel good to have ripped muscles, but researchers have found only the most tenuous link between heavy resistance training and improved cognitive function.
Impact on intelligence: NEGLIBIBLE

You need as much oxygen as you can get, particularly for brain function, but under stress we tend to hold our breath and reduce our intake which can certainly affect our memory. Yoga can break that habit by helping you learn to breathe correctly which results in less stress and more oxygen.
Impact on intelligence: POSSIBLY STRONG