Mixing Recreation & Exercise for Seniors and Baby Boomers

Today I started a new journey of hosting a streaming internet show called The Second Half: Health & Fitness Show broadcast live on Facebook.  I have never hosted anything live on any kind of media so it was a pretty amazing experience!  The first Thursday of every month I will be interviewing people in the health and fitness field who’s market are Baby Boomers and senior citizens.  The guest today was C Hope Health Services and its owner Wesley Cornelius.  I met Wesley at a networking meeting earlier this year and we hit it off as our businesses relate and overlap.

Wesley is a recreational therapist and went to the same college I did, the University of Southern Mississippi, but he is a bit younger than me.  Our interview involved combining exercise and recreation to create an optimal enjoyment for physical activity.  One of the commonalities of recreational therapy and physical exercise is the positive effects they have on cognitive response.  Physical exercise helps to improve neuroplasticity which then enables a person to have more intellectual stimulation from games and social interaction.  Creating the new neural pathways that complex movements and aerobic training allows for more and longer enjoyment of games that require thought and strategy.  Combined with doing recreational therapy in a social setting with new and old friends, a person experiences a deeper pleasure and satisfaction with themselves.

At the end of the day, if exercise and activity are not fun, a person will not stick with it.  They know the physical, mental, and social benefits, but it does not matter without any enjoyment.  When looking or directing an older family member/friend to be more active, remember it can be a combination of activities that they enjoy doing.  It is easier said than done at times when a loved one refuses to be active, but don’t give up on them.  Find out what they consider fun, then gear exercise and games toward it.  Your success rate will be much higher and the smile on their face a lot broader when they truly love being active and healthy.

Matt Peale does his best to make exercise fun for his personal training clients, although sometimes in the process they don’t like him.  But you can create your own fun with Movement Academy’s Active Aging System for Boomers and seniors. Contact Matt at mpeale@ltmacademy with any questions. #thoughtfulthursday #babyboomers #exercise #workout

 

 

 

 

 

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Socializing & Working Out for Seniors & Baby Boomers

Every Monday and Friday morning I teach an exercise class that has become predominantly people over 55 with the oldest being 86.  Besides the physical health benefits, they also enjoy talking to each other and the socialization that occurs.  I could be a drill sergeant type and make them workout harder with no time to talk, but that will only drive them away and reduce their enjoyment of showing up.  Not everyone likes to workout in a group.  I also see a number of seniors on machines in the fitness area of my health club staying to themselves.  Either way is fine, overall point being to be active and healthy.

Why do I allow the class participants to roam around some and skip a few movements here and there?  Because if exercise is not fun to an extent, my class will be empty.  Livestrong talks about socialization also improving memory through companionship and interaction.  In previous blogs I have discussed the benefits of physical exercise on neuroplasticity, and adding a social outlet can stimulate the brain further to push off signs of dementia.  As the seniors sing to songs of their adolescent and young adult years, they don’t consciously realize all of the benefits their brains are receiving from the multitude of stimuli.  Complex resistance movements, cardiovascular, and forced cognitive functioning through conversation is the best of all worlds.

 

From a personal trainer standpoint, it is important to vary the movements for continued physical and mental progress.  One of the downfalls to attending the same class regularly is the lack of development when the body does the same thing for 4 weeks or more.  The FITT (Frequency, Intensity, Time, Type) must change regularly for the body to adapt and improve.  This is a biological fact regardless of a person’s age and also important to reduce injuries from over training the same body parts in the same directions.  Vary everything, including working out alone and with groups.  Change is beneficial to improved physical and mental fitness over time.  For an example of a program that can be done anywhere, anytime, in a group, or alone, check out Movement Academy for only $10.95 a month.

 

If you have any questions, email me (Matt Peale) at mpeale@ltmacademy.com.  I am certified by NASM as a personal trainer and have been so since 2009.  Thanks for reading!

Physical Exercise is Good for the Brain at Any Age

My company has changed names to Movement Academy from Learn To Move Academy.  A big part of that change is to share the ongoing scientific developments about physical exercise being important to cognitive functioning at various stages of life from young to old.  The brain is susceptible to development, and in this case development just means any change, in the adolescent stage and old age stage.  Obviously youth is in a progressive development and old age in a regressive development.  From a physical standpoint, both age ranges are also similar in balance and stability issues, so the mental similarities make sense.

Physical exercise has been found to have a positive effect on executive functions in both adolescent and aging adults (Barenberg et al., 2011; Best, 2010).  What kind of physical exercise is important?  Studies vary on whether coordination, balance, resistance, or stretching/toning.  All of them play an important role and need to be included as part of any exercise program.  Aerobic exercise is a critical factor across all levels of development (Chaddock et al., 2012; Kramer et al., 1999;
Pontifex et al., 2011), and can be accomplished in whatever manner is fun and appropriate for the individual.  As always, consult your doctor for guidelines if you are new to exercise.

In common language, what does all the scientific jargon mean?  The simple answer is start moving at your level if you are sedentary or have minimal physical activity.  Different areas of the brain light up with specific movements of the arms, legs, and torso.  Which movements do what, science is not sure yet, just that moving improves brain functions.  Scientists do know that the hippocampus is the area of the brain most positively affected by physical exercise.  The hippocampus is responsible for memory and learning functions, so using it in new ways helps your overall ability to stay focused on everyday tasks.  We all want to live longer and without assistance, so get out there and exercise your brain by exercising your body.

 

For more information on an example of a physical exercise program to improve brain function, go to the Movement Academy site and see if it is right for you.  If you have questions or comments, email Matt Peale at mpeale@ltmacademy.com

Can You Teach an Old Dog Old Tricks..

As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.  In working with Baby Boomer generation and senior citizens, it’s more can you teach an old dog old tricks they don’t think they can do anymore.  The short answer is yes.  The science of neuroplasticity states just that concept.  Medicine Net defines neuroplasticity as the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.  As people age and become more sedentary, they learn new (and yes bad) habits in regards to posture and movement.  Through exercise, people have to relearn the movements and habits they had as younger adults.

Does this mean exercise can reverse the signs of aging and years of poor healthy habits?  No.  What a structured physical exercise program like Learn To Move Academy can do, is teach Baby Boomers and senior citizens the movement patterns they stopped doing years ago.  It’s not about how much weight a person can lift, but building in the neuroplasticity to perform these tasks in an efficient manner to reduce injury and strengthen muscles, bones, and connective tissues.  Once the movement patterns are reintroduced, then it is a repetition and quality of practice issue.  Time spent on performing over and over again these movements with correct form and appropriate resistance (if necessary) is the only way to learn and improve.  Take the time and invest in some kind of professional help to ensure you are starting at the correct point and progressing in a reasonable manner.

The mental benefits of learning new old movement patterns are just as beneficial as the physical ones.  Tons of new research coming out on physical exercise reducing symptoms of dementia and improving cognitive functions.  Go learn those old tricks, your heart, brain, and muscles will thank you!

 

Matt Peale is a certified personal trainer with NASM since 2009 and the Sales Director/Partner at Learn To Move Academy.  Soon he will be contributing a monthly article to Boomers Lifestyle Network magazine.  Contact Matt with any questions or comments at mpeale@ltmacademy.com.