Is the Fitness Industry Leaving Seniors Behind?

There’s the Fitbit and the Garmin, Daily Burn and CrossFit… the fitness technology and trending programs that are added to the mix change almost daily. These days, there are so many fitness trackers on the market that people need comparison articles to find the right one.

But in the midst of all of the growth and changes in the fitness industry, a huge market seems to be repeatedly left behind. Even though seniors are a high-yield audience for fitness technology and services, being that they need fitness for a longer and better quality of life, this demographic is mostly ignored.

It’s not just because technology is something they have to learn instead of being something ingrained in their lives since childhood. Today’s seniors and individuals who have just passed the 50th year threshold are somewhat engaged with technology. Many of them are more active than their kids are on Facebook, and most have a smart phone.

It’s also not because they are uneducated about the need to be healthy and fit as they age. Many are aware that fitness now means a longer, better life. Admittedly, some don’t recognize just how important fitness is, but they are not completely in the dark – they are simply unengaged. As a University of Michigan study found, many seniors over the age of 65 are often unwilling or unable to take advantage of innovations in fitness- and health-related technology.

While more awareness and more education could certainly have a strong impact toward improving these statistics, it seems that individuals over age fifty are ready and on the cusp of being a powerful force within the fitness industry. However, this group is largely overlooked in the industry’s marketing.

But while technology may be disregarding seniors in their marketing efforts, more and more celebrities over the age of fifty as well as everyday men and women are talking about how fitness has transformed their lives for the better. This heightened conversation serves to raise awareness and increase seniors’ health literacy. This kind of real-life inspiration is exactly the foundation of the Fit After Fifty movement!

Featured photo source: Pixabay.com

Spring Maintenance Checklist for Your Bike

Most of you cyclists have already hit the road, taking advantage of this amazing spring we have been enjoying, but just in case you have not yet conducted your annual bike maintenance, it is not too late. You will enjoy more miles uninterrupted on the road and your bike will thank you for taking the time now to tend to these tasks.

There are always some basic checks you should do before each ride, preferably the night before so that you can take care of any issues that arise and still get on the road for that fabulous ride you have planned.

  • Be sure to have spare tubes, tools, air cartridge and pump in case of flats
  • Test brakes for proper “grab” and that your brake pads are in proper alignment to make contact with the rims and not the tires. Brake pads should also be in good condition.
  • Check tire pressure and adjust, if needed
  • Inspect tire tread for thin spots and any objects that could lead to a puncture
  • Check wheel releases to be sure they are tight
  • Be sure wheels are true by spinning and looking for wobbles
  • Check and lube chain

If you are just pulling your bike out for the first time this season, in addition to the above, make sure to conduct these seasonal checks:

  • Wipe and degrease chain and cassette cogs with a clean rag and degreaser
  • Check (and replace if necessary) all cables for binding, fraying, or rust
  • Check pedals and cleats to be sure there are no loose screws or bolts
  • With a wrench, test and tighten crank arms, seat and post bolts, handlebar bolts, pedals and chain ring bolts.
  • Maintain and lube suspension components
  • Wipe clean the frame and wax to protect against rust
  • Clean the drivetrain using biodegradable solvent.
  • Replace brake pads and rubber brake hoods, as needed.
  • Check wheels for cracks or worn tread and sidewalls.

If you are unsure how to address any of the above, check out REI’s Bike Maintenance Basics class for tips on routine care. YouTube also has endless videos to learn basic care for your ride. In no time, you will be up to speed on basic bike maintenance and taking to the road with confidence that your bike is well cared for and reliable.

If you have some helpful resources for bike care, we would love to hear them!

Featured photo source: Pixabay.com

Thinking About Getting into Hiking? Here is what you Need

Now that you are motivated and ready to take you fitness activities to the outdoors, it is important to consider the basic gear needed for those fun, new adventures that await you! Hiking is a wonderful outdoor fitness activity that most people can do just about anywhere.

10 Essentials: In the greater Pacific NW, although we have some wonderful trails very close in that are easy to get to and start hiking, don’t let that proximity lead you to not being prepared.  Getting lost late in the evening on one of the trails can mean an overnight and you need to be prepared.

A pack: If you are not planning on hiking the back country, you don’t need to invest in a highly technical overnight pack. A decent day pack that can hold your ten essentials, some extra food and water, and your water repellant clothing is all you need. Many day packs on the market have “camelback” style water bladders engineered into the pack and help you to hike hands-free.

Water: Carrying a water bottle is fine for short hikes, but you will soon appreciate a water bladder incorporated into your pack to not only keep your hands free, but allow you to carry up to 3 liters for those longer and overnight hikes.

Base Layer clothing: In warm weather, synthetic t-shirt and shorts are all you need.  An extra shirt to change into at the summit or when it turns dark is a welcome addition for your comfort against chills. No cotton

Warm, insulating layer: fleece jackets or pullovers or a light wool sweater for warmth. Again, no cotton.

Water repellant jacket and pants: These are a lifesaver when caught out on the trail and it starts to rain. Avoid getting the chills by staying dry

Hiking socks: Choose socks for cushioning and breathability, avoiding cotton tube socks.

Hiking boots or Sturdy Trail shoes: Although you can find trails that are smooth forest floors, you will still encounter plenty of rocks and roots embedded in the trails.  When descending trails with significant elevation gain, your feet will thank you for investing in the appropriate, supportive footwear.

Keep in mind, this is just a basic list of the necessities you will need to start some hiking.  As you get more serious about hiking, you will likely need to invest in more gear to keep you not only comfortable, but safe.

Featured photo source: Pixabay.com.

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.

Go-To Health and Fitness Blogs for Inspiration in 2015

Getting ready to tackle those New Years’ Resolutions? Prep your mind and body now with all the motivation, inspiration, new ideas, education, and sometimes just plain entertainment to get you on track to a 2015 rich with health and fitness. We have some go-to blogs that are providing some great, cutting edge information in the health and wellness industry. These blogs have useful, quality posts and tend to attract knowledgeable followers who in turn provide helpful links and content, creating a great, interactive community around fitness.

Running

  • Mile Posts is the blog to go to for daily inspiration, motivational quotes, and running tips. This real time mom is personable and helps readers overcome roadblocks to success and get you out the door each day on your run.
  • Trail Running is for the … um.. trail runner, of course! You will find product reviews for all the cool new running toys, injury prevention and treatment, training ideas, race reports and relevant health and nutrition information. It’s a great resource for learning of trail races in your area and nation wide.
  • Strength Running is a great online resource for runners looking for coaching, injury prevention tips, and race training tips. The blog also provides a rich resource of free tools such as live Twitter Q &A with the “Coach”, workout printouts, strength and core routines, re-hab info, grocery shopping lists for real food, race training tips for PR’s and more. This site is your own personal running coach and supportive community online.

Nutrition

  • Precision Nutrition offers a great education on making healthy eating choices, understanding nutrients and our bodies’ needs without assuming the reader has a degree in nutrition. You will find a ton of resources and some really informative blog posts!
  • The Salt is NPR’s answers blog to questions on food trends, science and nutrition. All the things you wanted to know about carbs but were afraid to ask!
  • Fit Foodie Finds’ blogger Lee is a down to earth fitness lover who also loves food. She shares her tips on healthy living, free recipes, GREAT food pics (that she takes herself) and gluten free tips and recipes.

Strength Training

  • Girls Gone Strong’s mission is to empower and educate women in body and mind strength. You will find resources and tips on every weight lifting topic, recipes, nutrition education, a favorite book list and more.
  • Jason Ferrugia will inform, train, motivate, and relate to guys in their pursuit of fitness and strength training. In addition to leading strength training information, Jason provides his readers with nutrition education, equipment evaluation, and even men’s mid-life discussions.
  • Performance and Health by Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Eric Cressy will give you one of the industry’s top recognized professional coach’s advice and education. He includes YouTube links and detailed diagrams chock full of top tips and training advice.

Life Wellness

  • Luminosity News keeps you up on some great info for brain health. You will find resources to understand how the brain works, grows and how to keep challenging it to optimal brain health
  • Get Organized Wizard offers concise, information filled posts covering life management, time management, home organization, and business and technology. Think beyond home maker tips and you will come away with some great jewels, here!
  • Manifest Yourself is a wonderful journey into inspiration and optimistic living. You will find motivational quotes and daily encouragement to keep you on your road to health and wellness.

These are great places to start and each of these blogs has information packed links that connect you even more with others in the health and wellness community. Take advantage of the fabulous information and encouragement out there to keep you moving toward your healthful goals in 2015.

Featured photo source: Pixabay.com.

 

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.

Announcing The V-Book Launch of “Fit After Fifty: Because It Makes Everything Better”

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Buy Now:

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We are very excited to announce the official release and v-book launch of Fit After Fifty. It’s a celebration of living “better” in the 2nd half of life, and a start to creating a fit movement. Real stories of real people to motivate more people to live better at age fifty and beyond. The book offers encouragement, tips, and inspiration to start or restart living a healthy, fit lifestyle so your next 50 years are even better. Read more

New Home at FitAfterFifty.com

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Welcome to our new home at FitAfterFifty.com! For those of you who followed us at FitBehavior.org, the message should sound familiar. For those of you joining us for the first time, welcome to the site that promotes living better via fitness at age 50 and beyond.

So what’s in it for you?? Read more

“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

Starting a New Workout Plan? You Need More Than the Latest Tracking Device

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STARTING A NEW WORKOUT PLAN?

Perhaps your company started offering a wellness program and you decided, “Ah, what the heck, might as well try it.” Or maybe you took it upon yourself to buy the Groupon for your local gym…  How ever it took shape, congrats on your decision to actually take action! You’ve already succeeded by taking this important step.

Now you’re thinking, everyone seems to be talking about new fitness apps and tracking devices–nike something, fitbit something else…maybe I should buy one?? Read more