Kelowna Personal Training

Balance

Balance

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

 

 

As we get older it is important to retain good balance. Research shows that maintaining good balance can help to reduce falls and fall-related injuries. A recent Japanese study found that difficulty balancing on one leg for 20 seconds or more was linked to a higher risk of brain blood vessel damage and reduced thinking in otherwise healthy individuals, so balance may also be an indicator of brain health. The Medical Research Council found a poor result in a standing balance test was linked to higher mortality.

How do we test our balance? Stand with hands on hips and place the bottom of one foot against the inside knee of the other leg. Lift the heel of your standing leg off the floor so you’re balancing on the ball of your foot and time how long you can maintain this position, 30 seconds or above indicates good balance, below 10 seconds means you probably need to get practising. If this proved easy for you, try closing your eyes. The visual part of your balancing system sends signals to your brain regarding the body’s position and its surroundings and you may find this position hard to maintain.

So how can we improve our balance, well strength and flexibility exercises will help you increase muscle strength, maintain bone density, improve balance and reduce joint pain. Exercises that improve leg strength, balance and co-ordination can help people maintain and improve their muscle strength and avoid falls as they get older. Muscle-strengthening activities help maintain the ability to perform everyday tasks and slow down the rate of bone and muscle loss associated with ageing.

A strength exercise is any activity that makes your muscles work harder than usual, this increases your muscles’ strength, size, power and endurance. The activities involve using your body weight or working against a resistance.

Examples of leg-strengthening exercises include:

  • Walking up stairs, you’re working against gravity as you push your body weight upwards so it’s good for strength and
  • balance
  • Hiking and hill walking
  • Lifting weights, squats
  • Cycling
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga
  • Dance

Health professionals believe that improving your flexibility can improve your posture, reduce aches and pains and lower your risk of injury. Good flexibility can also help you to continue carrying out everyday tasks.

Posture is very Important as good alignment minimises the load on muscles and joints and in turn creates maximum mobility and stability for the whole body. Avoid locking your knees, keep shoulders and arms relaxed. Strong abdominal muscles are key as they help to protect the back and help to keep you stable. Simple abdominal tucks that can be done anywhere involve drawing the lower part of your tummy back to your spine for a count of 10 without holding your breath or clenching buttocks. Try not to slump or arch in the lower and upper back, stand tall keeping your head upright neither tipping forward or backwards.

Try shifting your weight when standing still, make sure your weight is equally distributed, standing with feet hip-width apart then shift your entire body weight to your left side and lifting your right foot a few inches, hold for up to 30 seconds before switching sides.

Standing on a variety of surfaces will help to provide an added balance challenge, a thick carpet or a thin pillow or cushion. Lift one leg off the surface, hold for a count of five and repeat.

And it’s worth mentioning that it is thought that lack of sleep slows reaction time and a study found those who slept more than 5-7 hours each night were 40% less likely to fall than those who slept for less time.

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

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Kelowna Personal Training

Motivation

Motivation

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

 

So has the boredom with your January healthy regime kicked in yet. Motivated to start with but staying motivated is another matter. Went shopping for those healthy veggies but felt drawn to the chocolate aisle? Maybe those exercises are not being performed which so enthusiastically. Well it happens to all of us, you just need to refocus, you can do it.

You first need to check why this is important to you, is it to:

  • Control your weight
  • Strengthen your bones
  • Enhance your muscles
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer

Once you have in your mind what matters to you, take healthy steps to reach it. Make sure you have set step-by-step goals, such as dropping one dress size, losing the next 3 kilos or running a 5km race.

You need to regularly track your progress so far. We sometimes forget how well we’ve actually done, focus g on our failures and not our successes. So try to make sure you keep a record of your progress. That doesn’t mean keep measuring or weighing yourself too often, there will be minor day-to-day fluctuations that are often due to water retention but can seriously derail motivation. Check measurements as well as weight – if you’re exercising, you could be building lean muscle, which weighs more than fat.

Put a couple of dollars in a jar for every kilo you lose. After a few months, you’ll be able to treat yourself to something nice and feel good at the same time.

Remember you need to be doing this healthy regime for yourself, not because somebody else wants you to do it. Don’t be made to feel guilty, do it because it’s important to you, and when you really want to do it you are more likely to succeed.

Sometimes a little encouragement (or commiseration) from someone in a similar position makes all the difference. Or better still get support from your personal trainer who will not only design a program to suit your needs and lifestyle but will always be there for you when your enthusiasm is flagging.

If avoiding your favourite foods is making you miserable, try a plan which allows treats in moderation. A healthy diet doesn’t have to be boring and can include some tasty treats that are not necessarily bad for you. Your personal trainer can help to tailor a diet around your needs and lifestyle.

Shop with a list and stick to it to avoid temptation. Also if you preplan your food and shop accordingly it will save you time and maybe you could fit in that extra exercise class – how good will you feel then.

Visualisation is one of the most effective motivational tools at your disposal. If you have an old picture of yourself at your goal weight, stick it on your fridge. If you’re trying to lose weight in time for a summer holiday or wedding, hang the bikini or dress you plan to wear (in the size you hope to be by then) on your wardrobe door.

Everyone falls off the wagon now and again, it’s the getting back on that separates the success stories from the failures. Don’t give yourself a bad time for it, acknowledge its happened and then get on back up there.

No matter how you get there, you know you’ve succeeded once the day arrives when you can’t imagine skipping your workout or not eating healthily most of the time. You can call it an addiction, a pleasure or an escape, but the important thing is that you’re doing it on a regular basis, and that you’re doing it for you.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

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Personal Training Kelowna

Exercise Benefits

Exercise Benefits

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

 

The benefits of exercise are many and although weight loss may be at the top of your list you may be interested in the list of other things you’ll benefit from when you include exercise in your life.

Muscle gives your body its strength, shape and definition and more metabolically active than fat tissue, so it enables you to burn calories more efficiently. Therefore the more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you burn 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In this way, adding muscle to your body through resistance training helps you to become a higher-calorie-burning individual. This helps you lose weight that is fat without sacrificing muscle gain. Your exercise routine needs to vary so that you’re working your muscles in a variety of ways. Your personal trainer will design a program of appropriate exercises to suit your needs.

Your bones benefit on multiple levels when you exercise, as weight bearing exercise including the day-to-day stuff such as walking and stair-climbing as well as sports like tennis, running and even dancing, are all useful ways to strengthen your muscles, ligaments and joints. Resistance training also helps to stimulate bone growth as well as prevent bone loss. Resistance training uses muscle strength to stimulate bone growth as well as prevent bone loss. This is where the action of the tendons pulling on the bones boosts bone strength and examples include press-ups, weightlifting or using weight equipment at a gym. Again your personal trainer will design a program that is appropriate for your needs.

Many illnesses and conditions can benefit from or be prevented with exercise. Regular exercise can improve heart health, and strengthens muscles to help prevent joint pain and joint stiffness associated with arthritis. Often exercise can help control the frequency and severity of asthma attacks by improving how well your lungs work so you have more stamina and get less breathless. People with diabetes are encouraged to exercise regularly for better blood sugar control and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Muscles which are working use more glucose than those that are resting, leading to greater sugar uptake by muscle cells and lower blood sugar levels. Regular low-impact aerobic activities can increase strength and endurance in your back and improve muscle function. Abdominal and back muscle exercises (core-strengthening exercises) may help reduce symptoms by strengthening the muscles around your spine.

Your personal trainer will ensure your workouts are tough enough to guarantee you’re continually increasing fitness, by introducing new exercises and covering all the relevant muscle groups.

Exercising regularly isn’t only good for your body – it’s good for your mind and can help prevent and treat some mental health conditions. It’s thought that physical activity can reduce your risk of developing depression and dementia.

Exercise can help relieve stress and anxiety, and improve your mood. This is because exercise has an effect on certain chemicals in your brain, such as dopamine and serotonin, which can affect your mood and thinking.

There is good evidence that exercise directly improves sleep. We use energy during exercise and our body recovers with increased pressure for sleep – food doesn’t produce the same effect. Everyone’s body temperature naturally goes up slightly in the daytime and back down at night, reaching its low just before dawn. Decreasing body temperature seems to be a trigger, signalling the body that it’s time to sleep. Vigorous exercise temporarily raises the body temperature as much as two degrees, after which it drops lower than if you hadn’t exercised. This lower body temperature is what helps you sleep better.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia found regular aerobic exercise increased the size of the hippocampus, the area of your brain responsible for verbal memory and learning.

Research showed number of office workers’ experience comparing their performance on exercising and non-exercising days. On gym days, workers found their time management was better, they were more productive as well as being more resilient and tolerant to co-workers.
Did you know exercise is good for your skin? The combination of enhanced delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your skin comes from the boosted blood flow and this helps to boost collagen production, the protein that gives your skin its strength and elasticity.

So as you can see weight loss is not the only benefit you will get from regular exercise.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today of your free consultation

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Functional Strength Kelowna

Brain Food

Brain Food

Leigh Carter 

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

 

 

Exercise and diet both play a part in helping to keep our brains sharp. Research suggests that regular exercise improves cognitive function, slows down the mental ageing process and helps us process information more effectively. There is all good evidence to show that the right kind of diet can certainly prevent cognitive decline.

Broccoli is a great source of Vitamin K which is known helps to strengthen cognitive abilities and also of folic acid, which can help ward off Alzheimer’s disease.

Choline is found in egg yolks and when you eat eggs, your brain uses choline to make acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that may be important for maintaining memory and communication among brain cells, as shown in research where choline intake correlated positively with better performance on certain types of memory tests.

Sage has long had a reputation for improving memory and concentration. Although most studies focus on sage as an essential oil, it could be worth adding fresh sage to your diet too but add at the end of cooking to protect the beneficial oils.

Walnuts are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers studied the lifestyle habits of 6,000 people who were unaffected by the memory-robbing condition, and found that those who ate the most vitamin E-rich foods had a reduced Alzheimer’s risk. It is thought that Vitamin E may trap free radicals that can damage brain cells. Nuts are a great source of vitamin E along with leafy green vegetables, asparagus, olives, seeds, eggs, brown rice and wholegrains.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) cannot be made by the body which means they must be obtained through diet. These fats are important for healthy brain function, the heart, joints and our general wellbeing. The most effective omega-3 fats occur naturally in oily fish in the form of EPA and DHA. Good plant sources include linseed (flaxseed), soya beans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and their oils. The main sources of oily fish include salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers. Low DHA levels have been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss whilst having sufficient levels of both EPA and DHA is thought to help us manage stress and helps make the good mood brain chemical, serotonin.

Vitamin C is thought to have the power to increase mental agility and protect against age-related brain degeneration and one of the best sources of this vital vitamin are blackcurrants. Others include red peppers, citrus fruits and broccoli.

Richer in zinc than many other seeds, pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc which is vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills. They are also full of stress-busting magnesium, B vitamins and tryptophan, the precursor to the good mood chemical serotonin.

Research has suggested that eating blueberries may be effective in improving or delaying short term memory loss, blueberries helped protect the brain from oxidative stress, and may have worked to reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. You could also eat dark red and purple fruits and veg which contain the same protective compounds called anthocyanins.

Avocados are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health, rich in monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow in the brain, they may also help lower blood pressure, which can reduce your risks for hypertension or a stroke that could permanently damage brain tissue.

Certain B vitamins, B6, B12 and folic acid, are known to reduce levels of a compound called homocysteine in the blood. Elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with increased risk of stroke, cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. B-rich foods include chicken, fish, eggs and leafy greens.

There is good evidence to suggest that a powerful antioxidant called lycopene found in tomatoes, could help protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s. Cook tomatoes with a little olive oil to optimise absorption and efficacy.

Like everything else in your body, the brain cannot work without energy. The ability to concentrate and focus comes from an adequate, steady supply of energy – in the form of glucose in our blood to the brain. Achieve this by choosing wholegrain cereals, bread, rice and pasta with a low-GI, which release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, other carbohydrates such as white rice and pasta are a more unstable source of glucose and will cause energy levels to peak and then crash, leaving your brain feeling weak and exhausted.

It is said cocoa can improve verbal fluency and cognitive function in elderly people, while eating a daily portion of dark chocolate has been found to improve blood flow to the brain, so don’t feel guilty about that occasional chocolate bar.

And don’t forget the brain is about 80% water, so it is important for us to drink lots of fluids for it to function properly, if we don’t drink enough fluid, this can affect our mood and concentration. So a healthy diet and a good exercise program from your personal trainer and you will have the best chance to increase the odds of maintaining a healthy brain for the rest of your life.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

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