Otago Exercise Programme

The Otago exercise programme was developed to help prevent falls in the older adult. It was researched and developed by the Falls Prevention Research Group at the University of Otago Medical School.

The programme reduced the fall rate by 35 percent among program participants (with no gender bias) compared with those who did not take part.  Participants aged 80 years and older who had fallen in the previous year showed the greatest benefit.

The programme consists of strengthening and balance exercises combined with a walking plan. No expensive equipment is needed and it can be done at home.  The programme involves four home visits over the first two months, a home visit at 6 months and a telephone call every month between visits, concluding with a final home visit at 12 months.

More information about the trial, the programme and the exercises can be found here

Otago Exercise Programme to help prevent falls in older adults.

In the UK Later Life provide training to people who wish to teach this programme. Their leaflet can be found here.
http://www.laterlifetraining.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Otago-Home-Exercise-Programme.pdf

Some qualified Otago Leaders are registered on Later Lifes Falls Directory http://www.laterlifetraining.co.uk/falls-directory/ if you wish to try and get in contact with someone who provides the programme.

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

Helen Witcomb is a personal trainer in the Farnham area, please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over 50s. for more information. This will open a new browser window.

Are you standing up correctly?

Do you spend a lot of time hunched over a desk or slumped on the sofa watching TV or reading a book? Even  standing we tend to slouch rather than hold ourselves upright. Yet our posture is so important in preventing back pain and also preventing injury whilst exercising. Bad posture can even be a cause of headaches.

When we are actually standing correctly then the spine is aligned so that the centre of gravity passes down the ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.  This position is called neutral spine.

Here are some quick tips to ensure you are standing  with a neutral spine. Think about your pelvis as a bucket filled with water. If you tip the bucket either forwards or backwards then water will pour out. This is bad.

Firstly let’s find the two positions where water will flow!

  1. Stand sideways in front of a mirror.
  2. Place your hands on top of your pelvis, just below your waist (If you bend to the side, the crease that forms is your natural waistline)
  3. Soften your knees and roll your pelvis forward and towards the floor (your bottom should be sticking out)
  4. Now slowly roll your pelvis backward dropping your tailbone to the floor
  5. These two are the extremes and what you are trying to find is the place in the middle where the bucket (your pelvis) is not tilting in either direction.

Practice finding this position and how it feels, it will probably feel odd at first. Do this several times a day so you get used to it.

Other things to remember

  • Your shoulders don’t belong by your ears! Relax and keep the shoulders back and down and chest up.
  • Look forwards.

The next blog post will discuss how you keep this position!

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

Helen Witcomb is a personal trainer in the Farnham area, please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over 50s. for more information. This will open a new browser window.

63-Year-Old Woman Powerlifter Takes Home Gold at First Competition

I LOVE this, more proof it’s never to late to change your health, to become a stronger you.

Full article here

Badass 63-Year-Old Woman Powerlifter Takes Home Gold at First Competition

Why it’s never too late to pick up a weight

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

For more information on Personal Training in the Farnham area, please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over 50s. This will open a new browser window.

Another quadricep exercise if you have arthritis.

The most common search term that lands a person at my blog usually incorporates the words quadricep exercise and arthritis.  I have already covered the topic here  but I thought I would explain another exercise that you can do to strengthen your quadriceps if you have arthritis in your knees.

This is not only for those with arthritis, if you still find wall squats difficult for any reason then this might be a good substitute.  This exercise does need a piece of equipment, a resistance band. Now you can get various different types of resistance bands, if you have any problems with your wrists I recommend you get ones with a handle.

Here are some examples of what you could use (not price checked)  Fitness-MAD studio Pro Safety Resistance Tube  or Perfect Fitess Resistance Band system  or USA Pro Body Bands (no handles).

As this exercise is for a large muscle group I recommend you get one of the heavier resistance bands.

I will be doing some more articles using resistance bands as they really are perfect for throwing in your bag and taking with you for a walk around the park.

Leg Press using resistance band

  1. Sit on a bench/chair, bend your left knee, and lift your foot from the ground. You can lean back slightly during the exercise but be careful that your don’t slump with rounded shoulders.
  2. Wrap the center of the resistance band around your left foot and hold both ends of the band in your hands.  Your hands should be  either side of your body at about waist level. Your toes should be pointed down at a slight angle.
  3.  Pushing out  with your foot straighten your  left leg out in front of your body and stop just before locking your knee.
  4. Bend your knee slowly to return slowly to your starting position.
  5. Do 5 repetitions and change leg.

Remember to do this exercise slowly to get the full benefit, there should always be tension in the band.

Once you are comfortable doing 5 repetitions on each leg then increase the number of repetitions you do.

Before starting any new exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise changes with them.

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

For more information on Personal Training please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over 50s. This will open a new browser window.

3 hours walking a week may cut female stroke risk…

Now if you have been a reader of this blog for a while you know I am a huge advocate for just getting outside and going for a walk. It’s free, it gets you lots of fresh air and it can be sociable. So I am delighted that there is new research just published in Stroke magazine that shows that 3 hours walking a week reduces female stroke risk.  Now to be completely honest there were faults in the study but the conclusion drawn was the following

Conclusions—Recreational PA of moderate intensity was inversely associated with stroke incidence in women, whereas PA showed no effect on CVD risk in men. Increasing time dedicated to activities such as walking would be expected to help to reduce the stroke burden in women. ”

If you are looking for a way to start or even improve your fitness with walking may I suggest you follow the 6K Daily Steps Challenge set up by Over Fifty Fitness. A way to ensure you stay motivated is to rope in friends. Why should a catch up only be done over a cup of coffee and piece of cake instead find a lovely walk (maybe with a coffee shop or pub at the end!) and go, make it a weekly appointment in your diary.

Before starting any new exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise changes with them.

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

For more information on Personal Training in the Farnham area, please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over 50s. This will open a new browser window.

Butternut Squash Soup

Last week I ordered a butternut squash on my online shopping and this 1.7kg behmouth turned up!  I had planned having it roasted with chicken but it was so big I decided to turn it into a soup for lunch. It is an excellent source of vitamin A and C and good source of vitamin E. Surprisingly enough it is also a source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids (not as much as fish or flaxseed but if you are not taking a supplement every little helps)

  1. Turn on oven. Mine is a fan one and appears to have nuclear tendencies but 170 would probably be good.
  2. Cut squash in half lengthways.
  3. Mix 2 tablespooons of olive oil or coconut oil with 1 teaspoon of garlic (I am very lazy and use jar garlic, if you are not then I would crush about 2 cloves)
  4. Baste the tops of the squash with the oil
  5. Add a sprig of rosemary and sprinkle paprika all over
  6. Butternut Squash Soup - Whole Life Fitness

  7. Bake for about 45 minutes  or until a knife goes in easily, again oven dependent.
  8. Boil a pint of chicken stock, if you have home made it will taste better (after having a roast just boil the carcass with some water for a couple of hours, strain and then freeze)
  9. Remove the rosemary (I find it too overpowering)
  10. Butternut Squash Soup - Whole Life Fitness

  11. Scrap all the squash into the boiling chicken stock and simmer for about 20minutes.
  12. Butternut Squash Soup Farnham

  13. Use a handblender to blend the ingredients of the saucepan and there you go gorgeous butternut squash soup with a little bit of a kick from the paprika.

P.S I love coconut so if you want add roughly 50g coconut cream to the pint of chicken stock. Also test whilst the soup is cooking and add more paprika/chill if you want a real kick.

This thinking is worthy of the Daily Mail, not a think tank.

This is a bit of a rant rather than a helpful post, but then sometimes I find it’s helpful to get things off my chest.

A new report has been published by Westminster City council and written in conjunction with think-tank Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), which states that:

“Linking welfare measures to behaviours that promote public health. Relocalisation of council tax
benefit and housing benefit combined with new technologies provide an opportunity for councils to
embed financial incentives for behaviours that promote public health. The increasing use of smart
cards for access to leisure facilities, for instance, provides councils with a significant amount of data
on usage patterns. Where an exercise package is prescribed to a resident, housing and council tax
benefit payments could be varied to reward or incentivise residents.”

According to one of Westminsters councillors this report is forward and radical thinking.  Some of the ideas in this report make sense, but they are overshadowed by the utter stupidity of this one paragraph which shows very little grasp of the complexities that can lead to being obese.

So my thoughts.

  • Would someone show me ONE former obese person who is now slim that can attribute  all their weight loss to exercise.
  • They are going to monitor use  of the leisure centre using smart cards. The same leisure centres that are packed with machines dispensing chocolate, crisps, soda pop and sports drinks (sports drinks ARE NOT HEALTHY). This smacks of Big Brother. Also apparently it’s ok to be rich and fat, just not poor. (I’m looking at you Eric Pickles).
  • What about obese people who might also be parents or carers? The government want to penalise children for their parents weight? !?!
  • If the obese person does happen to be a carer what are they suppose to do with the children or person they care for whilst they are at the gym? Many might have creches – but these cost money.
  • Where is the money for the gym membership going to come from? My local leisure centre costs £37 a month for off-peak membership.

Currently if you are obese you can ask your GP to put you on a  GP referral scheme however it is limited to a 10-12 week  course of gym membership (and support) after which membership MAY be subsidised but will not be free. Many of those on benefits can’t afford the luxury, and gym membership is a luxury even if our health is not.

Education is what is needed in how to cook healthy food cheaply, these courses should be available to everyone no matter what their BMI (every heard of skinny fat?) or bank account. How to exercise by using the local park and cheap equipment. The government could  look into ways that fruit and vegetables  can be subsidised so even those who do not have easy access to a huge supermarket can afford them. In Scotland the Scottish Food and Drink Federation (SFDF) and the Scottish Government  are working with local food businesses to  reduce levels of sugar, fat and salt in their everyday products.

What is not needed is the humilation and pushing into further poverty of people whose crime isn’t really to be fat but to be unemployed and poor.

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