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Pilates Benefits for all Ages

The word Pilates tends to evoke images of Jennifer Aniston and other Hollywood names.  It has been one of the hot fitness trends for some time, now. Even pro athletes are taking on Pilates to complement their regular training regime. However, Pilates is here to stay and is a great method of exercise for the 50+ population with many benefits to offer.

The heart of Pilates training is strengthening the core. When the core in strengthened, all over body power, flexibility, balance, and stamina are greatly increased.  As you learn to breathe and move more efficiently with greater body awareness, performance improves noticeably.

Leg and knee injuries from your college days that have been plaguing you are greatly diminished due to increased flexibility and uniform body development. Pilate’s works a strong foundation from the inside out and thereby focuses on opposite and supporting muscles rather than just one or two larger muscle groups.

As you gain strength and flexibility through your Pilates training, you will see in improvement in your performance in other sports or activities that you participate in.  Golfers see an increase spinal rotation as well as core strength which in turn gives more power to their swing. Runners improve balance and joint issues.

As you learn to strengthen the core, a greater mind-body connection occurs. This creates more body awareness, reduces injury, develops coordination and flexibility, as well as improves balance and endurance. All of these elements are needed for success in the activities we want to try, but also for stronger overall fitness and health for life-long fitness.

People of all ages to start Pilates training see a noticeable improvement in balance after just a few sessions. The primary cause of injuries for the elderly is falls due to a decline in balance in the senior years.  We all will age much better as we keep fit. But the injury prevention factor that Pilates brings is a great reason for the 50+ population to get in the Pilates game!  Pilates is an excellent alternative to typical fitness programs due to its lower impact on joints and focus on stability, core balance, breathing, and body awareness.

Featured photo source: Pilateson10th.com.

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Activity Trackers: Do They Make a Difference?

Activity trackers seem to be the rage this holiday season. Apple, Samsung, Fitbit and more are available and each one seems to have different features from the one before it.

We would like to help you make a bit of sense of the options to look for, but also discuss the success of activity trackers. It is clear they are effective at tracking your activity, but is all this data collection and presentation resulting in lifestyle changes that make a difference in your fitness and overall health and well being…or is it just another gadget that will be abandoned in a month or so?

A recent study by the Journal of Medical Internet Research looked at just that and more.

They evaluate a variety of activity monitors that measured physical activity and provided feedback via an app. 93 behavioral changes were monitored and evaluated. They found that all the monitors provided feedback and methods for self-monitoring, as well as behavioral goal-setting and prompts/cues for rewards.

However, the success of such data depends on how the trackers are used and if the users know how to implement behavior and habit change. In other words, a whole lotta data is just that if we don’t change our behavior.

Bottom line, when looking at activity trackers, examine the techniques used to provide you with data and if that works with you and your lifestyle. Just because a tracker has a lot of bells and whistles don’t mean those features work for you. Perhaps a simpler gadget with more effective features is the way to go for you.

Just a few of the popular activity trackers out there and their features are listed below. We urge you to look deeper at each one to be sure it works best with your goals and lifestyle.

  • Fitbit Flex: $99.95 Charge lasts approx. 5 days, battery rechargeable. Data accessed via Mac, Windows, or smartphone. Data is uploaded via Bluetooth to your phone or wirelessly to your computer. Activities tracked: Active minutes, calories burned, distance, sleep and steps. Does not track elevation/stairs or heart rate. Worn as a wristband.
  • Fitbit Orb: $49.95 Battery lasts four months, replaced, not charged. Data accessed via smartphone, Mac, Windows. Data is uploaded via Bluetooth to your phone or wirelessly to your computer. Activities tracked: Active minutes, calories burned, distance, sleep, and steps. Does not track elevation/stairs or heart rate. Worn on a wristband via a clip.
  • Up24 by Jawbone: $149.99 Charge lasts approx. 10 days, rechargeable. Data accessed via Bluetooth to your smartphone. Activities tracked: Active minutes, calories burned, distance, sleep and steps. Does not track elevation/stairs, or heart rate. Worn as a wristband.
  • Withings PulseO2: $119.95. Battery lasts approx. 2 days, rechargeable. Data accessed via Mac, Windows, or smartphone. Data is uploaded via Bluetooth to your phone. Activities tracked: Active minutes, calories burned, distance, elevation/stairs, heart rate, sleep, and steps.

You can see there are a lot of choices out there and a wide variety of prices. Go to each product’s site for more details on how each tracker works in detail. Try this quiz to help you evaluate your personality and methods that work for you for behavioral change.

Featured photo source: Wikipedia Commons.

“Walkies” FAIL: Humorous Exercise Story

Humorous Exercise Stories

Do you have a humorous exercise story? We at Fit After Fifty love to hear it! Anything about exercise that makes us laugh can only help to keep us moving.

To get the ball rolling, here’s Terry’s story. OK, it wasn’t funny at the time, but it’s good for a chuckle now that the pain has subsided. Read more