Posts Tagged ‘functional training’

Exercise for Independence

Monday, April 13th, 2015

by Sheila Kalas, personal trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

Sheila Kalas, owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington KYExercise is THE best way to ensure that you will remain independent as you age. Why? Because exercise is the key to your mobility. The key to independence is mobility; if you can’t move enough to do daily chores like getting dressed, feeding yourself, going to the store, and taking care of your home, then you will be dependent on someone else to do these things for you. Research indicates that regular exercisers have an average of 9 to 13 more years of independent living than non-exercisers. That’s a great reason to get out there and move.

The first baby boomers turn 69 in 2015 and the youngest boomers are 51 this year. This population is consumed with health, fitness and keeping a good quality of life as they age. They have seen or are seeing their aging parents deteriorate into old age, losing independence and dignity. They are determined not to follow in their parents’ paths.

This is clearly seen in my business of personal training. A large percentage of our clients are baby boomers. On average they workout more consistently than the younger population. They are more interested in exercising for health than they are exercising to look good. They have the right attitude.

Besides helping you keep your independence as you age, regular exercise reduces your chance for every major disease, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, risk of stroke, cancer, peripheral artery disease, Alzheimer’s and obesity.

Knowing that just a 30-minute walk a day could greatly reduce your risk for all of these diseases should provide enough reason for you to get out there and do it. No, there is no absolute guarantee that you won’t get or die from these diseases because you exercise. However, the research shows overwhelming evidence that you do reduce risk significantly.

There is also the issue of a condition called “sarcopenia.” This term refers to the age-related loss of muscle mass. Without some kind of weight-bearing exercise to challenge your muscles, your body will begin to lose muscle mass in your 30s. This loss will continue and speed up as you age. Simply lifting weights once or twice a week will stop this process of “rotting” and put you on a path of aging in a healthy, strong, independent manner.

Losing muscle mass also leads to a lower metabolism, making it easier to gain weight. Many people believe that getting old and getting fat are synonymous and that there is no way to avoid this trend. Not so. Intervening with weight training does stop this process and in many cases can reverse it.

Improved self-efficacy is yet another reason to exercise. For the first time, in 2010, the American Psychiatric Association formally recognized exercise as a part of the standard of care recommended for the treatment of depression. Depression is a huge problem in the United States. The statistics on how many people suffer from this disease is staggering. People who participate in regular exercise report a higher level of self-efficacy than those who do not exercise. Several studies show that people who suffer from depression and/or anxiety find marked benefit when exercise is added to their treatment.

These are just some of the reasons to make exercise a regular part of your life. The next time you see an older person who represents where you DON’T want to be when you are that age, burn that image into your mind and recall it every time you are thinking about choosing the couch over your daily walk or run.

How to Avoid Common Gym Injuries

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Everyone wants to stay safe, inside the gym and out. Sheila Kalas, founder and owner of Fitness Plus, gave some safety tips to news anchor Lauren Gawthrop during a segment of “Good Day Kentucky” (GDK) on Thursday, March 27, 2015.

First of all, the quest to be in perfect shape can make people push themselves too hard. “Let’s get a reality check when we’re trying to be healthy,” Sheila said.

Three areas in particular that can easily be injured in the gym are the shoulder, low back and knees. These injuries are often caused by doing too much and using incorrect form. The prevention? Don’t attempt to do too much, whether working out in the gym or going about your day-to-day activities. Use the correct form. An educated personal trainer is a great resource.

Shoulders.
The shoulder is a delicate joint. Lifting heavy weights way up over your head isn’t the best way to go, especially as we age.

Low back.
Back pain is common for many people, mainly because we sit too much at the computer and in the car. A lot of muscles in the front of the body are strong, but also tight. Muscles are weak and overstretched in the back.

Knees.
Another vulnerable joint, knees can “wear out” with aging, especially due to weak hips and backside. This surprises a lot of people, but strengthening the hips and the gluteus maximus muscles help protect the knees.

Watch Lauren’s GDK interview with Sheila:

Previous GDK interview:
How to Choose a Personal Trainer

Trainer Tip: Train smart, not hard

Monday, November 11th, 2013

The Benefits of Functional Training

by Joey Hacker, Personal Trainer

Joey Hacker, personal trainer at Fitness Plus in Lexington, Ky.The human body is an effective vehicle that is built to help us do the necessary things we need to survive. It is created to help us with everyday activities, so why is it when we train ourselves or others we only train for how much we can push, pull, or move an object/weight? When looking at the human body we must first assess how to help it to move properly and strengthen it in those areas.

Every person, from the experienced training enthusiast to the most novice in the fitness world, needs a foundation. Functional training provides a baseline of physical fitness for the body. No matter what a person’s fitness goals may be, we must first prepare the body for movement in the gym and in the “real world.”

The term functional training refers to a method of training that prepares and strengthens your muscles for daily tasks by simulating common movements you may do at home, work, or extra-curricular activities (sports, hobbies, etc.). While incorporating a training program that requires the use of upper and lower body muscles at the same time, we also activate core stability. Core stability is key to our level of success, as it is the center base of gravity for our body. A happy core is a happy body.

There are several functional training exercises that prepare the body for everyday activities. Examples include:

  • Multidirectional lunges (vacuuming and yard work)
  • Squat to biceps curls (lifting a laundry basket or lifting a young child from the floor)
  • Step ups with weights (walking up stairs)
  • Medicine ball chop and lift (housework and cleaning)

The benefits of functional training are simple. It can make everyday activities much easier, reduce your risk of injury, and improve your quality of life. Are these three benefits more beneficial than how much weight you can move? That is the question every person needs to ask before deciding what their goals are on their own or with a fitness professional.