Maintaining & Even Improving Your Health As You Age

Pick up any fitness magazine these days and it’s likely to contain an article about exercise and aging. You’ll read about losing muscle tone and muscle mass at an alarmingly increasing rate as advanced age sets in. What’s more, you’ll read that as you lose the muscle it’s likely to be replaced by fat. Muscles and skin lose tone and start to look more like drapery. Very depressing, and it all starts at ripe old age of 40.

The technical term for this process is “Sarcopenia“. It’s something that is built into the human aging process. Until recently it was believed there was nothing to be done to slow it down. And the simple truth is, it is inevitable. But there’s some hope! Studies performed on older athletes that exercise seriously and are dedicated to their workout routines can dramatically delay the loss of muscle.

There is a lot of good advice available on-line, in magazines and in books on how to deal with muscle loss. One of the best books is “Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley and Dr. Harry Lodge. The book is an easy read. The authors use humor, and switch back and forth to keep it interesting.

Standard Aging/Decay Delaying Aging/Decay

The authors use a simple graph to demonstrate the aging process and the human ability to stay conditioned. The graph is in the form of an arc. Starting as a young person the arc curves upward gently and reaches a peak at about age 28. It may level off for a while and then starts to drop off as we age. As we approach our 80’s most of us find ourselves on a steep downward slide. What I find really interesting about this is that for some of us the arc drops of very rapidly after 40, while others glide down more gradually into old age. Some people manage to stay active and even compete athletically well into their 90’s.

Improving Aging/Decay

The purpose of the book is to show us how we can slow down the rapid decline of our condition or even reverse it to a point where we become more fit than we were in years previous, thus the term “Younger Next Year.”

A recent study on muscle loss has shown some very dramatic and encouraging results. The research was based on men that were dedicated to exercising most of their lives. In response to the arc described earlier, this study asks: “If a person is dedicated to staying active throughout their life, as they finally start the downward slide in their physical condition, at which point (age) is their condition equal to what it was at age 19 when they were on the way up?” If you thought this point would arrive at a much younger age, the answer may surprise you. The study showed that an individual that takes exercise seriously can be in as good condition at age 65 as s/he was at age 19.

Senior and Teen Lifting Weights

In the March/April copy of AARP magazine, contributor Gretchen Reynolds points out how important it is to be aggressive about your workout routine as you age. She asks, “Are the changes in our bodies due to aging or to lifestyle?” In other words, do we talk ourselves into slowing down just because we’re 60 or 70? When in reality, taking those regular long walks, as many older people do, may benefit your cardiovascular condition but you need to include serious weight resistance training at least three times a week to slow down the loss of muscle and bone strength.

For some of us, that’s not as easy as it sounds. We are conditioned to believe slowing down is good as we age and we look forward to “time on the couch.”

The first wave of the “Baby Boomers” are already over 65, and believe it or not, we are seeing more and more “seniors” coming in to the club to work out. They are no longer “too busy” to have a daily dedicated exercise routine. They just need to be a bit more aware of their heart rate, and recognize when they are over doing it and learn to throttle back. But beyond that, many of our older members are right there with the younger ones, working out regularly.

Senior Woman Exercising on Weight Machine

As you age, it takes longer to recover from injuries when they do occur (and you are more susceptible to disease). Recovery time means “down time,” which in turn allows backsliding to happen. Inactivity means “decay” as Crowley calls it in his book. Decay will come with time. It is inevitable. However, fighting it off can give you pleasantly surprising results. You can become more fit than you were in previous years. Granted, it does take hard work, dedication, and a steady hand on that throttle. If you’re willing to invest, the payoff is great. You’ll not only feel good about yourself, you’ll look better and your quality of life will improve.

The investment is well worth the return.

At Elite we strive to offer health & fitness programs for all age groups, including our growing senior population. But don’t wait to get old, to get fit! Start now with a fitness assessment and orientation to see the areas you need to improve or maintain. Not familiar with our five Elite Sports Clubs locations? Take a tour today!

Do you believe age is just a number? What is one thing you are already doing or plan to do to help “delay your decay”? Tell us in the comments!

Elite Outdoor Fitness Facilities: Mequon & Brookfield

Adventure course, obstacle course, boot camp, TRX rack, outdoor fitness structures, outdoor training facility, whatever you want to call it, we are excited to be able to offer such facilities to our members on BOTH sides of town! Many of you have been following our progress as we build our new outdoor fitness facility at our Mequon location, however not all of you seem to know that we have an existing functional training space and structure at our West Brookfield location. Check out photos of both facilities below!

Elite Sports Club-Mequon Outdoor Fitness Facility:

Elite Sports Club-West Brookfield Outdoor Fitness Facility:

Many of our small group training programs and personal trainers take advantage of each of these spaces when the weather permits. Check out our fitness calendar for current small group training programs. Interested in the outdoor facilities, but not sure where to start? Let us set you up with a trainer and a fitness plan!

Have you used the outdoor training facility at either club? What are your favorite exercises to do using the outdoor structures? Tell us in the comments!

Drink Water for Weight Loss

By Dory Karinen, Personal Trainer, Elite Sports Club-West Brookfield

There’s so much more to water beyond just quenching your thirst! And as the weather heats up, there’s no better time than now to use weight-loss as an excuse to stay properly hydrated!

Water Glasses

8 glasses a day keeps the fat away.

As incredible as it may seem, water is quite possibly the single most important catalyst in losing weight and keeping it off. Although most of us take it for granted, water may be the only true “magic potion” for permanent weight loss. Water suppresses the appetite naturally, hydrates your body, and helps the body metabolize stored fat. The kidneys cannot function properly without enough water. When the kidneys can’t function properly, they deposit everything into the liver. The liver’s function is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy. If it is doing some of the kidney’s work, then it is not working at 100% capacity and more stored fat stays as stored fat. Water reduces fluid retention in your body. When your body doesn’t get enough water, it perceives this as a threat to survival and begins to hold on to every drop of water and every drop of fat. More often than not, when you feel hungry, it is because your body is dehydrated, not food-starved.

Water Facts:

  • You can survive for weeks without food, but only days without water.
  • 60-70% of your body is water.
  • Obesity decreases the percentage of body water – to as low as 45%.
  • 8-12 cups of water are lost daily and must be replaced.
  • Thirst is often misinterpreted as hunger.
  • By the time you feel thirsty, your body may already be dehydrated.

Water is critical for all bodily functions, especially when you are losing weight.

Water is required to maintain muscle mass. Muscle is the “furnace” for burning fat and calories. You need to maintain your muscle mass while losing weight. In fact, every chemical reaction in the body, including the breakdown of body fat, requires water. Water also helps rid the body of waste. During weight loss, the body has a lot more waste to get rid of – all that metabolized fat had toxins stored in it that must be eliminated. Without adequate water, waste products just stay in the system.

Water helps to suppress the appetite naturally and is the best treatment for fluid retention.

When people feel hungry, they may actually be thirsty! Drinking more water than recommended does not cause bloating or water retention when you have normally functioning heart and kidneys. Excess water is very quickly eliminated, and allows the body to function properly. If you have a consistent problem with water retention, too much salt may be to blame. Processed foods contain a tremendous amount of salt. The more salt you eat, the more water your system needs to get rid of it. If you don’t get enough water you will feel bloated. But getting rid of unneeded salt is easy – just drink more water! The more you drink the more ya shrink!

Drinking Naturally Flavored Water

Water is such an integral part in our overall health and wellness. Often people complain that they don’t like the “taste” of water. Instead of purchasing processed and sugar-filled bottled “health” waters, or adding crystallized (sugar) flavoring, consider adding fruits like berries, or lemons to your water. Or you can even try mint & cucumber for more of a “cocktail” flavor!

Our certified and educated staff at Elite Sports Clubs are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to this and other topics! You are always welcome to consult our trainers & Registered Dietitian for health & nutrition advice. Interested in becoming a member at our clubs? Stop in for a tour of any of our 5 Elite Sports Clubs locations. We look forward to seeing you soon!

How many glasses (or ounces) of water do you drink each day? Do you drink it plain, or add in some healthy “flavors”? Tell us in the comments!

Featured Member: Kim McQuillan

We’re extremely proud of our members. Over the years their work out agendas and sporting endeavors serve as healthy examples of how it feels to be Elite, and how exercise not only adds years to your life, but life to your years! Today we’d like to highlight another member’s accomplishments:

Elite Featured Member Kim McQuillan

I first came to Elite as a guest in January & February 2012. I decided to do the training for the Ridin’ 4 Research to help with increasing my endurance for running my first marathon in May 2012. I immediately felt at home at Elite. Karen Bruckner was so positive about Elite helping me with all of my stress of a first time marathon. Annie Weiss was also very positive and helpful not only for the great spin endurance rides, but with how to fuel your body during long workouts.

My favorite workouts will always be in the pool. I got the opportunity to meet Jessica Byrd, an intern at the time. There are not a lot of people who understand and appreciate swimming. She had some great encouragement for me about the marathon. I had a really hard time leaving after only working out here for 5 Sundays.

I did my first marathon and finished! It was great to come back to share my experience with all of the new supportive people I had met. Everyone was so happy for me. I wasn’t even a member! I got lucky at the R4R and I won a one month family membership to Elite. My family and I joined in July. I met many more friendly and encouraging employees and really nice members. At the end of July I chose to continue my membership.

I have committed my life to being healthy. In 2009 I weighed 315 lbs, that year I lost 48 lbs then in 2010 I lost 130 lbs through healthy eating and exercising (spinning, swimming, and walking).

I feel happy when I come to Elite. I think if you pick an activity you like to do and you join a health club you are happy at, it makes it a lot easier to stay committed to being healthy. I have to drive 40 minutes one way to come here, but I am always happy when I leave. I have a new swim partner. I think having someone to workout with is another great way to keep your workouts exciting and fun, or at least in knowing someone else is suffering right along with you during a long, hard workout!

If you have an “elite” story to share about your own personal accomplishment or someone else’s, please share it with us at MyStory@eliteclubs.com or tweet it to us @MyEliteStory! We’d love to hear from you too!

What helps you stay committed to being healthy? Is it your health club, your workout buddy, encouraging staff, or something else? Tell us in the comments!

Day in the Life: Petite Elite Preschool

My name is Christina Garthwait and I am the director and a teacher of the Elite Sports Club-Brookfield Petite Elite Preschool. (Petite Elite Preschool at Elite Sports Club-River Glen opens next Fall!) I have been in education for 11 years and absolutely love my time with the 3 and 4 year olds in Petite Elite.

The Petite Elite school day in the 4 year old class looks a little like this…

Petite Elite Preschool Elite Sports Clubs Children Masks

9:00 a.m.

Kids arrive and free choice playtime.

9:20 a.m.

Carpet time (hello song, counting, calendar and songs, theme of the week, letter of the week activities, travel the map, math skills, story).

10:00 a.m.

Bathroom break followed by snack time.

10:20 a.m.

Rotation of small group learning time with the teachers (when not with the teachers, children work in small groups on theme-based, curriculum-based, or skill-based centers).

11:20 a.m.

Art project.

11:40 a.m.

Music, parachute games, play-dough, scavenger hunts, movement games.

12:00 p.m.

Story and good-bye.

We have karate and swimming lessons alternating on Monday mornings during school time.

Optional Afternoon Enrichment program on Mondays and Wednesdays after the 4 year old class looks a little like this…

Petite Elite Preschool Elite Sports Clubs Children Educational Project

12:00 p.m.

Lunch.

12:30 p.m.

Tennis lesson or swimming lesson depending on the day.

1:00 p.m.

Art project or game in classroom.

1:30 p.m.

Outdoor play.

2:00 p.m.

Pick-up.

About 75% of the Petite Elite students stay for the Afternoon Enrichment program.

Open enrollment for Petite Elite Preschool at Elite Sports Clubs is still open! Start your child’s educational journey with Petite Elite and have your child come grow with us, register today!

Did you, or do you plan to enroll your child in a preschool? What do you look for most in a preschool curriculum? Tell us in the comments!