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Here you will find useful articles on health and fitness

What is a Functional Aging Specialist and What is Functional Fitness?

I am a Certified Personal Trainer, a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant, as well as a Functional Aging Specialist. Let me share with you what a Functional Aging Specialist is and what functional fitness can do for you. This certification is specifically for training those 55 and over. As part of the natural aging process our bodies and minds change. It focuses on the natural aging processes and how exercise can help minimize the changes of aging or even reverse it with exercise. Functional aging exercises are necessary to maintain a high quality of life and prevent aches, pains and injuries during day to day activities as we age. This knowledge allows me to create a program to increase balance, mobility and strength as you age in a safe and healthy way to achieve your goals and for you to continue to live your best life!

Functional fitness is exercise that can be done anywhere to strengthen your muscles in the same way you would need them to perform certain tasks or  everyday activities. Functional fitness can benefit active agers and those that are more sedentary. If your goal is to age in place, remain independent, keep doing all of the activities you love for as long as possible and have a high quality of life, then functional fitness is important to include in your routine. Even if you don’t like to exercise, think about movement being your medicine for maintaining a high quality of life. Functional fitness is a way for you to keep up with your grandkids, be able to clean your house, garden, continue to play golf, dance at family weddings or simply age with less aches and pains. Functional fitness doesn’t require fancy equipment and it is not about losing weight or developing large muscles, it is about strengthening the muscles you need strengthened to enjoy everyday life and to help improve your balance, mobility and prevent falls. 

For a FUNctional fitness program contact A to Z Personal Wellness

Spring Cleaning Tips

The weather is changing and I am feeling energized and excited for Spring! I do not love cleaning but at this time of year I do get a small urge to organize and deep clean my house. If you are in the mood to Spring clean here are some tips to help make it productive, healthy, and not a dreaded experience. 

First, remember that there is no real benefit of rushing through the cleaning process and getting it all done as fast as possible. It is important for your body to take frequent breaks or to pick a few tasks to tackle each day instead of doing it all at once. Try doing one room a day. Doing too much in a day can cause aches and pains or even injury. 

Using good body mechanics is key, if you don’t your body will let you know later on. Here are some tips to help with that:

If you are vacuuming, keep the vacuum handle at your side and walk with it instead of reaching out with your body. Walking with the vacuum allows you to maintain better posture to avoid low back or shoulder discomfort. 

If you are mopping or sweeping, try to avoid stooping/leaning too far forward by moving your legs back and forth and working in a small area at a time. Also, if mopping try using a spray bottle for cleaner and clean water to avoid dealing with a large bucket.

Use a secure step ladder or step stool to wash windows or paint to help keep your body level with the area you are working on. This will allow you to avoid straining, twisting, pulling or over-reaching which can sometimes cause pain to the low back, neck or shoulders. 

If you are carrying containers, laundry baskets or other heavy or large objects keep them close to your body – at your center of gravity. Remember to bend at the knees and hips when lifting so that you don’t strain your back. 

Spring cleaning can be a great way to be active and feel good afterward. For an added bonus and to make you feel even better after try to keep your core muscle activated as you clean.

If you are having trouble or feeling out of shape doing any of these activities contact A to Z Personal Wellness to design an exercise program to make cleaning easier for you and get you ready to enjoy the rest of Spring!

Muscle Power and Why It Is Important as we Age

You probably already know that muscle strength starts to decline as you age, but did you know the rate of decline accelerates after age 65, and that lower body strength decreases faster than upper body strength? Muscle power declines faster than muscle strength, but the good news is we can incorporate both muscle power and muscle strength into a personalized training program.

You may be thinking what is muscle power and why does it matter as I age? Muscle power is the ability to generate force rapidly. The loss of fast twitch muscle fibers as we age impacts the muscles ability to generate the necessary force for functional tasks. It is important for active agers to train to increase muscle power for functional activities such as getting up from a chair or climbing stairs. Muscle power plays a crucial role to preserving your independence later in life.

Power training may sound intimidating but it doesn’t have to be! Exercises like sit to stands, step ups, or walking with a focus on quick starting and stopping/accelerating and decelerating, can all improve muscle power. Progressions and regressions can be made to the above exercises depending on fitness level.

Sit to stands can be done with various seat heights, with resistance and/or rising up from the chair quickly and slowly returning to seated position.

Step ups can be done with different height steps, while practicing carrying an object, and varying your speed.

Contact A to Z Personal Wellness if you would like to increase your muscle power!

Staying Active in the Winter

Winter is long and not all of us can be snow birds and go somewhere warm for the winter. When you add in navigating the pandemic, winter can seem extra long. It may be hard to motivate yourself to go out in the cold weather or you may be fearful of falling/slipping on ice or driving in bad weather but it is still so important to remain active. Lack of activity and exercise can decrease strength, balance, mobility and increase your aches and pains. So enough about the negatives of winter! Let’s make it more enjoyable. 

There are easy and safe ways to remain active and keep you energized, feeling good and allows you to be in a better mood. Here are some ideas:

  • Call a friend and instead of sitting down to chat, walk around your house instead. 
  • Set a timer to get up and move every 45 minutes. You don’t have to do any exercise but just get up and move around for 2-3 minutes and then sit back down. 
  • If you are watching TV do some type of exercise or walking during commercials. An example could be marching your legs and pulling your tummy in tight to activate your core, this could be done sitting or standing. 
  • Meet a friend to walk around the mall, a store, an indoor track or rec center. There are lots of benches and places to sit at the mall if you need a rest break.
  • Walk outside if the roads/and or sidewalks are clear. Fresh air helps boost your immune system, is good for you brain, body and mood. Be sure to bundle up!

If you need to go out and shovel, be sure to do it safely. Wear proper footwear and make sure you can clearly see the area you will be shoveling so that you are aware of ice or uneven ground to prevent a fall. Take frequent breaks and don’t rush through it. Typically if you are rushing through it you may not be using the best body mechanics which could lead to an injury or discomfort later on. When shoveling bend at the hips and knees, not at your back. Keep the heaviest part of the load close to your body. Use  your leg muscles instead of your back to lift the snow/shovel. Hopefully we will be done with shoveling snow soon!

Lastly, contact me for an at home exercise program or an in-home or virtual training session 🙂

Welcome to A to Z Personal Wellness and thank you for visiting my website!

I am so excited to share my passion for fitness and helping 55+ and those with chronic health conditions achieve their fitness goals. You may be an active ager or you may be more sedentary, but regardless of your fitness level, I look forward to helping you improve your quality of life.

This is my first ever blog post so let me share a little about myself and A to Z Personal Wellness. I am a Certified Personal Trainer and also a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant. I have worked with all different ages and the aging population has been my favorite and most fulfilling to work with. Exercise and staying active plays such an important role in the aging process. Exercise can really be the best medicine. It has many physical benefits but it also improves cognition and allows you to maintain a high quality of life and remain independent. You may think that decreased strength, mobility and cognition are just part of the aging process, however, the more active you are, the less muscle mass you lose and the better your cognition remains.

I decided to start A to Z Personal Wellness because this population is so unique and each individual has such different abilities that personal training can really be beneficial. You might be the same age as someone else, but you may be using a cane and the other person may be running a 5k. That is why having an individualized exercise program is so important with the 55+ population. So if you are someone that is unsure of how to exercise safely or does not even like exercise, I can help to make it a more enjoyable and less torturous experience! If you are someone that is looking to try a new exercise program designed just for you, or get into shape for the upcoming golf season, I can help with that too!

Let’s get started! Call, text or email to schedule your initial session. Scheduling is easy and flexible, and sessions take place conveniently in your home. The first session will be getting to know you, your medical history, your current fitness level and what your goals are. We will then develop a plan and exercise program to reach those goals.