A Balanced Exercise Program

Just like your need for a balanced diet of vitamin rich vegetables and fruits, protein, and carbohydrates, your body needs a balanced routine of exercise that includes cardiovascular, strengthening, and flexibility.

Any exercise that raises your heart rate slightly is considered Cardiovascular, such as walking, biking, or swimming. In the Oasis, the Nustep, the treadmill, and the recumbent bike will increase your heart rate. As we age, it is not necessary to push ourselves to the point of being out of breath and heart pounding. Slight perspiration and increased respiration rate is good and still being able to carry a conversation is a sign of exerting enough energy to utilize our hearts and lungs without overdoing it. If you do experience shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dizziness or pain – SLOW DOWN or STOP to rest.

Strengthening exercises build muscle and endurance. Lifting weights, and using Upper body and Lower body resistant equipment in the Oasis are strengthening exercises. Noodles and barbells in the water and water walking use resistance to strengthen arms and legs. When exercising, a little soreness is normal, but constant or a sudden sharp pain for more than two hours following exercise may mean “you overdid it.” Always begin a new program gradually, beginning with using lighter weights for a shorter period of time. On the bike or Nustep set the resistance on a lower number for 10-15 minutes. Each week add a few more minutes and increase resistance slightly.

Exercise classes provide a balanced program for cardio, strength, and stretch. Gentle stretching with deep breathing before and after an exercise session restores muscles and helps blood flow to muscles and joints to remove waste products (lactic acid) and bring oxygen and nutrients to replenish muscle cells. Stretching and drinking a tall glass of water may help prevent muscle cramps. Here is a quick review of the classes we offer here and how they can help keep you fit. Water Aerobics and Sit/Stand classes provide Cardio, Strength and Stretch. Yoga Stretch and Exercise help with strengthening, stretch, and range of motion (reach and flexibility).

Always drink water before, during and after exercising. Check with your medical doctor before beginning a new exercise program. Begin exercise sessions with 15 minutes three times per week. Gradually work up to 30 minutes five times per week. That is 150 minutes of moderately strenuous exercise each week which is recognized by the Arthritis Foundation, American Heart Association, and Centers for Disease Control for Cardiovascular health and healthy Joints. Visit the Oasis and/or join a class this week and experience that “good” feeling that comes with exercise.


Energize! Simple Ways to Revitalize

Are you tired of feeling tired? Does your fatigue rule your daily activities? Do you want to be more active? Years ago the philosophy of growing old was to retire, rest, and take it easy. Today’s way of life for retired folks is stay busy, enjoy your hobbies, and keep moving. Most Kirby Pines residents’ appointment books stay booked up. I would much rather hear someone say, “Sorry I won’t make your exercise class today: I have too much to do.” Rather than I’m too tired to do anything.” The Arthritis Foundation recently printed an article with some great tips to boost your energy level and restore that happy, vibrant feeling. 

Try some of these helpful ideas the next time you feel a little drained. 

1. Check your posture. Slumping makes your muscles work harder than sitting up right. 

2. Make time for quiet time. Prayer and meditation relaxes your body, slows breathing, lowers blood pressure, and relieves worry. 

3. Drink a glass of cold water. Dehydration is a major cause of fatigue. Try to get in 8 glasses daily. Water also improves digestion, helps control obesity, and helps kidney function. 

4. Be positive with yourself. Speak to yourself with encouragement not criticism. “It’s a new day!” “Take quit out of your vocabulary“ 

5. Wear red. A brightly colored scarf or sweater can improve your mood and alertness. 

6. Listen to good music. Irish folk music with fiddles and accordions is quite invigorating. 

7. Laugh out Loud (LOL). A good chuckle, giggle, or side-busting guffaw reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and raises endorphins, our body’s natural painkiller. Read the comics, watch an Andy Griffith rerun, or connect with someone who shares your sense of humor. 

8. Get enough sleep. 

9. Pop a peppermint in your mouth. The scent of peppermint can decrease fatigue by up to 25 percent. 

10. Exercise and stretch every day, several times each day. 

Step away from the TV and fatty, sugary foods and step up your energy level with some of the many opportunities Kirby Pines has to offer. Join a card group or play Bingo. Sign up for a Bible study. Join one of the exercise classes that are available Monday through Friday to help with stretching, cardio, exercise and strengthening. Join the Line Dancers or Ballroom Dancers. The Oasis exercise room never closes, and we encourage you to have a workout partner. 


Get the Facts About Exercising Myths

“It is what it is.” That’s what my brother always says when a problem arises. It’s his excuse to avoid facing a difficult situation. Too often we just accept our conditions without looking at options that could actually benefit us. Avoiding exercise is an example. Here is a list of some of the most common myths about exercise and aging:

Myth 1: There’s no point to exercising. I’m going to get old anyway. 

Fact: Exercise and strength training helps you look and feel younger and stay active longer. Regular physical activity lowers your risk for a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity. 

Myth 2: Older people shouldn’t exercise. They should save their strength and rest. 

Fact: Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy for adults over 50. Inactivity often causes older adults to lose the ability to do things on their own and can lead to more hospitalizations, doctor visits, and use of medicines for illnesses. 

Myth 3: Exercise puts me at risk of falling down. 

Fact: Regular exercise, by building strength and stamina, prevents loss of bone mass and improves balance, actually reducing your risk of falling. 

Myth 4: It’s too late. I’m already too old to start exercising. 

Fact: You’re never too old to exercise! If you’ve never exercised before, or it’s been a while, start with light walking and other gentle activities. 

Myth 5: I’m disabled. I can’t exercise sitting down. 

Fact: Chair-bound people face special challenges but can lift light weights, stretch, and do chair aerobics to increase range of motion, improve muscle tone, and promote cardiovascular health. 

Fact: Check with your medical provider before beginning a new exercise program if you have been inactive. 

At Kirby Pines we have many exercise options with a variety of exercise classes from the sit/stand class to water aerobics to Yoga Stretch. Check our schedule and see what works for you. The Oasis has free weights and 10 different machines to build strength and endurance. 

The Serenity Prayer [God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference] reminds me at times we really don’t have to accept, “It is, what it is.” Just maybe “what it is” isn’t what it could be. 


Don’t Let Summer Heat Get You Down… IT’S TIME TO ENERGIZE

Are you tired of feeling tired? Does your fatigue rule your daily activities? Do you want to be more active? Years ago the philosophy of growing old was to retire, rest, and take it easy. Today’s way of life for retired folks is stay busy, enjoy your hobbies, and keep moving. Most Kirby Pines residents’ appointment books stay booked up. I would much rather hear someone say, “Sorry I won’t make exercise class today: I have too much to do.” Rather than I’m too tired to do anything.” Here are some great tips to boost your energy level and restore that happy, vibrant feeling. 

When we try to relieve stress, we often turn to “comfort” foods and a plan to get away from it all. Some of our choices which actually steal away our energy are: 

  1. Television often over stimulates our minds like choosing a channel, raises our stress and emotion levels and watching hours at a time makes us feel sluggish and stiff. 
  2. Highly caffeinated beverages may give us a sudden burst of energy, but that soon wears away leaving us in a down mood and it may interfere with a good night’s sleep which causes even more fatigue. 
  3. Fatty and fried foods and sugary snacks also give us that quick energy but can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar bringing on that sinking feeling. 

Try some of these helpful ideas the next time you feel a little drained. 

  1. Check your posture. Slumping makes your muscles work harder than sitting up right. 
  2. Make time for quiet time. Prayer and meditation relaxes your body, slows breathing, lowers blood pressure, and relieves worry. 
  3. Drink a glass of cold water. Dehydration is a major cause of fatigue. Try to get in 8 glasses daily. Water also improves digestion, helps control obesity, and helps kidney function. 
  4. Be positive with yourself. Speak to yourself with encouragement, not criticism. “It’s a new day!” “ Take ‘quit’ out of your vocabulary”. 
  5. Wear red. A brightly colored scarf or shirt can improve your mood and alertness. 
  6. Listen to good music. Irish folk music with fiddles and accordions invigorates me. 
  7. Laugh out Loud (LOL). A good chuckle, giggle, or side-busting guffaw reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and raises endorphins, our body’s natural painkiller. Read the comics,watch an Andy Griffith rerun, or connect with someone who shares your sense of humor. 
  8. Get enough sleep. 
  9. Pop a peppermint in your mouth. The scent of peppermint can decrease fatigue by up to 25 percent. 
  10. Exercise and Stretch every day, several times each day.

Step away from the TV and fatty, sugary foods and step up your energy level with some of the many opportunities Kirby Pines has to offer. Join a card group or play bingo. Sign up for a Bible study. Join some of the exercise classes which are available Monday through Friday to help with stretching, cardio, exercise and strengthening. And remember, the Oasis exercise room never closes. 


10 Tips to Tread Safely

Using the Treadmill with Arthritis

Treadmills seem simple, but they can be hazardous, particularly for people with joint or balance issues. “Trying to catch yourself when you lose your balance can result in muscle strains or injury in almost any joint”, says physical therapist Mary Ann Wilmarth, CEO of Back2Back Physical Therapy in Andover, Mass. 

“Injuries can go all the way up the kinetic chain when people slip and try to recover by catching themselves. This can mean foot injuries, strained or sprained ankles, shoulders and wrists – as well as the back and hips if you’re twisting as you lose balance,” she says. 

You can protect yourself by using these tips to tread more safely. 

  1. Use a full-sized treadmill with side rails. The belt should be at least 22 inches wide and 50 inches long, and the machine should have handrails on both sides you can use for balance. 
  2. Wear sturdy, low-heeled athletic shoes. Soles higher than 1 inch can lead to ankle rollovers. Use the topmost shoelace hole for extra stability. 
  3. Learn the controls. Before you step on, get familiar with how to adjust the speed, incline and especially the red “fast-stop” button. 
  4. Use the safety key. Before you hit start, clip the safety key to your shirt so if you slip, the machine will stop immediately. 
  5. Start, then step on. Hold the rail and stand on either side of the belt as you start it at a low speed. Then step on the belt and increase speed slowly. 
  6. Use a slight incline. An incline of about 2% can reduce impact on the spine, hips, knees, feet and ankles, but a steeper climb increases joint stress. 
  7. Find the right stride. You’ll know it’s on target when you’re walking comfortably – not overstretching your lead leg – with arms swinging freely. 
  8. Look straight ahead. Looking down or around can throw off your balance and cause you to trip. 
  9. Stay centered. Know where you are on the belt and avoid drifting sideways or toward the back of the belt. 
  10. Catch Your Fall: If you start to fall while you’re on the treadmill, hit the emergency stop button. Grasp the rails and move your feet to one side, then step off and sit down until you’ve recovered. 

Use the NuStep as an alternative if you are currently using an aid for balance, such as a cane, walker or wheelchair or having balance issues. You should not attempt to use the treadmill. 

Tomorrow’s Treadmill – One day in the near future, a treadmill that uses sonar technology to automatically adjust its speed to match the pace of the user may be the future of treadmills. But until then, follow these guidelines for safety on the treadmill. 

Never use exercise equipment if you have any questions about how to use it. Exercise is important, but your safety is more important. 


What Can I Do About This Belly? 

I get that question more often than any other in the Oasis. Not how can I improve my health? Or what is the best exercise to strengthen my body? 

Belly fat comes in two places: There’s the stuff right under your skin that you can pinch (ugh), called subcutaneous fat. But that’s actually the less harmful kind. It’s visceral fat that poses a real threat to your health. It plumps your middle from the inside out, surrounding organs such as your liver, lungs, and heart—and putting you at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers, says Kristen Gill Hairston, M.D., an endocrinologist at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC. 

Visceral fat gets worse for all of us as we get older, especially if we’re under a lot of stress or not sleeping well, says nutritionist Sara Vance, author of The Perfect Metabolism Plan. That’s thanks to hormones that make us hungrier even as our bodies are practically hoarding fat. 

Lack of exercise adds to the belly fat problem. Sit-ups may build and strengthen your abdominal muscles, but the real winner is….. Walking: At 11 miles a week, it made no difference whether people in the study walked or jogged, “It’s not the intensity of the exercise that matters,” Cris Slentz, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC says. “It’s the amount.” And you can break it up into 10 or 15 minute increments. Start slow and easy and then work your way up to 15 miles a week over six weeks or more to reduce belly fat. Another simple exercise to flatten your tummy is Core Compressions: Sit tall in a chair with your feet hip-width apart and your belly flattened toward your spine. Place one hand on your upper abs and the other on your lower. Take a deep breath in, then exhale forcefully to draw your abdominal muscles in even tighter, keeping your back straight and still. Continue for five minutes, focusing on slow, complete tightening of the muscles. Do two sets. 

Diet: It’s low-carb, but don’t let that put you off. “Too many carbohydrates spike your blood sugar,” Vance says. Your body converts that glucose into energy or stores it as fat. “When you take those carbs away, it has to get energy somewhere, so it starts burning fat.” The good carbs: Instead of simple carbohydrates (like baked goods or chips), reach for complex carbs. Generally, vegetables are the lowest in grams, followed by beans and legumes, fruits, and whole grains. Stick to 30 grams or fewer at a sitting to avoid spiking your blood sugar. 

Patience: Be patient with yourself. That extra tummy fluff didn’t happen overnight and it will take more than a week to go away. As you improve your walking stamina and develop healthier eating habits: Pounds and inches will fall away and strength, balance, stamina and energy levels will improve. 


May is Arthritis Awareness Month

It’s odd to say Arthritis Awareness, because if you have one of the over 100 medical conditions that fall under the diagnosis of Arthritis you are probably aware of arthritis everyday and every night. While no cure for arthritis has been developed yet, with much research, medical science has improved its understanding for the causes of arthritis and better treatments including new medications for pain and inflammation relief have been developed. Exercise that emphasizes stretching, strengthening, and cardiovascular has an important role in the improvement and continuing function of daily activities. The Arthritis Foundation sponsors research, educational programs, exercise programs, public awareness and advocacy efforts in Congress. Through their Live Yes Program, The Arthritis Foundation offers several resources and virtual events to help people manage their disease and live their best life with arthritis by keeping people informed on new products, diet, exercise and medications. 

Arthritis affects over 54 million people in the US and two-thirds are under the age of 65. Over 300,000 families deal with arthritis in children under the age of 16. The Arthritis Foundation has been fighting juvenile arthritis and supporting families for more than 60 years. Every year they invest more than $4.5 million in outreach and research that advances treatments and will lead to a cure. Two of our exercise classes are sponsored through the Arthritis Foundation: Basic Water Aerobics on Tuesday/Thursdays at 9:30, Sit and Stand Class Tuesday/Thursdays in the PAC at 11. Interest in the Arthritis Foundation exercise programs brought Mary Hand to teach classes at Kirby Pines ten years ago. 

In support of the Arthritis Foundation, we are planning a Bake Sale on May 18 from 9 to 2 and our own Walk to Cure here at Kirby Pines on May 25 at 10:30. We need your help. Baked goods for the sale, volunteers to run the sale, and customers to purchase our delicious offerings. Then on the day of our walk we will need volunteers to help at our registration table and walkers to participate. We will have a course marked for around the lake and another course for inside walkers. Water and healthy refreshments will be served following the walk. Please join with our family at Kirby Pines to support the Arthritis Foundation with financial gifts and physical support. 

Last year we raised over $1000 for the Arthritis Foundation. We can make a difference when we team up to Walk to Cure Arthritis. Let’s show our support physically and financially. 

How can you help? Here is what we need: 

May 18th – Bakers and bringers of goodies, helpers for set up and sales, and customers. 

Participants for the walk on May 25th. Sign up with Mary Hand in the Oasis or by email at programs@nullkirbypines.com 

Contributors and supporters 

Volunteers to help with registration and serving refreshments for the walk at Kirby Pines May 25th. 

Thank you for making this fundraiser a success every year. 

 


Working Out Through Pain

Learn when to keep moving through exercise pain and when to stop.

By Camille Noe Pagán

Exercise is crucial if you have arthritis. But knowing just how much activity to do when you’re hurting can be tricky. Research shows that moderate activity can help prevent the progression of arthritis and improve overall function. But while mild muscle soreness after a workout is normal, sharp pain during or immediately after can signal injury. And sometimes simply the fear of pain can keep you from wanting to do any kind of exercise. Here’s how to determine when it’s OK to work through exercise pain – and when it’s not. 

If you have mild to moderate pain in a specific joint area before you work out: Some mild pain is typical when you first start to move, but after a few minutes you’ll usually start to feel better, says A. Lynn Millar, PhD, a professor of physical therapy at Winston Salem State University. “Our joints and muscles get nutrition through movement,” she explains. “With some movement, you’ll improve the lubrication and circulation around that joint.” Start with some gentle range of motion movements and if that feels OK, progress to some low-impact activity like walking. 

If you have moderate to severe pain in a specific joint area before you work out: Focus on a different area for a day or two. If your knees hurt, decrease the intensity. If the pain becomes worse, then stop the lower body moves and work your upper body instead. “Continuing to put pressure on a joint when it’s especially sore could contribute to joint damage, so it’s best to ease up for a while,” says physical therapist Richard Kassler, supervisor at New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases. 

sitting on a yoga mat

If you have moderate to severe joint pain during exercise: Stop immediately. “Most people with arthritis can work through mild pain safely. But if you’re experiencing a lot of pain while you exercise, even if you’re not doing a particularly joint-taxing workout, it may be a sign that you have inflammation in the joint, or even joint damage that requires treatment,” says Kassler. 

If you consistently have joint pain (not muscle pain) after exercise: Switch to a workout that puts less pressure on your joints. “If you need an elaborate brace or have to pop ibuprofen constantly, it’s a pretty good sign that your activity is too hard on your joints. Swimming, water aerobics and biking are all good options for people with joint pain. 

If you occasionally have moderate to severe joint pain the day after you work out: Cut back on the intensity of your workout. Take a day off, then doing a shorter, less strenuous workout. If your pain still doesn’t let up, switch to a less intense form of exercise, such as water aerobics. 

Mary Hand’s favorite quote, ”No Pain, No Gain. That’s Insane. Listen to your body.” Our Arthritis Foundation exercise classes in the pool and in the PAC are good for everyone whether they have arthritis or not. Please consider joining us. See the schedule for times and places. 

-Camille Noe Pagán 

 


Shape Up Your Workout

Studies show that physical activity can reduce pain and improve function, mood, and quality of life for adults with arthritis. Physical activity is also important for the management of other chronic conditions that are common among adults with arthritis, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Structured physical activity programs are proven to reduce symptoms and teach participants how to safely increase their physical activity to manage arthritis and other chronic conditions. Here are ten steps to help you get started and keep your exercise program going:

Find an activity you enjoy. You’ll be more likely to stick with it.

Treat workouts like commitments. Block out time on your calendar to let people know you’re unavailable. 

Think like an active person. An active person thinks of ways to be active. 

Make everyday activities count. Pushing a grocery cart, strolling at the mall, walking the dog and doing housework all have benefits. 

Find a workout partner. Another person or group can make activities more enjoyable and help hold you accountable. 

Find excuses to walk. Take a walk to your neighbor’s instead of calling. 

Aim for 4,000 steps. Walking eases pain, and a recent study found that 4,000 steps a day is enough to boost longevity. 

Stand up. It eases stiffness, reduces disease risk and can prolong your life. 

Join a group activity. There are several chances at Kirby Pines, like yoga stretch, sit-n-stand exercise, water aerobics or line dancing. 

Be mindful of pain. Some muscle aches after exercise is normal, but if pain lasts beyond two hours, do less or modify the activity. 

Take advantage of the many opportunities here at Kirby Pines to stay active and physically fit. Discover miles of walking trails outside and inside. Visit the Oasis to use the equipment or to join a water aerobics class. Find your exercise class in the PAC or at home on the channel 2.1. Consult with your doctor if you need physical therapy to get started. And in a few weeks, reward yourself with a new pair of walking shoes or water bottle for sticking with your program. 

 


Taking Good Care Of Your Heart

Valentines and Hearts are everywhere this season. February is the American Heart Month reminding us to keep our heart healthy by diet, rest, and exercise. Remember your heart is a muscle and exercising makes it stronger and healthier. Research shows that people who do not exercise have a greater risk of heart disease than active people. Like all exercise programs, check with your physician before beginning any new regimen. So, “What exercise works best for my heart?” Here are a few basic pointers: 

Include Aerobic or Cardio Exercise like walking, swimming, or biking. You should move fast enough to raise your heart rate and breathe a little harder, but not so fast that you cannot catch your breath or be able to carry a conversation. Three to five times a week for 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise is recommended by the CDC. Ten or fifteen minute sessions work just as well as 30 to 60 minutes. Our water aerobics and the Sit and Stand Exercise classes will get your heart rate up without wearing you out. Also the Nustep, treadmill and recumbent bike can raise your heart rate and monitor your heart rate, too. 

Stretching is also important. Be sure to stretch after warming up for a few minutes and after each exercise session to keep your body more flexible. Stretch gently (no pain) and hold your stretch for at least 30 seconds. We offer Yoga Stretch classes to provide full body stretching as well as water aerobics and sit and stand classes that finish with stretching. 

Strength Training uses weights and resistance with stretch bands. The Oasis has weight resistance equipment for upper and lower body work. Do strength exercises 2 or 3 times a week resting a day between sessions. Resistance levels can be increased on the Nustep and the bike. 

It is never too late to begin an exercise habit. Start gradually 10 – 15 minutes at a time and increase slowly… If you experience pain or pressure in your chest or trouble breathing, stop immediately and get medical assistance. A little soreness in the beginning is normal, but if pain lasts more than 2 hours after exercise, it may mean you have overdone it. After a few weeks, you can increase your workouts for longer sessions and add more resistance gradually. Exercise is a key to a healthier heart. Check out the schedule of exercise classes or make an afternoon appointment with Mary Hand if you want to learn more about the equipment in the Oasis. Remember an active life leads to a healthy heart.