7 Reasons To Try Spinning

When I was younger, “spinning” was called “riding a bike.” It was fun, for the most part, and a good way to look for trouble with my girlfriends or, much later, look at autumn leaves with my husband. Today, spinning classes are all the rage, and the type of bike riding you do looks nothing like those sun-dappled daytrips to gaze at fall foliage. Instead, riders pedal together indoors on a fleet of stationary bikes under the motivational leadership of an instructor. Some classes feature pulse-pounding pop music; other keeps the lights low. No matter the atmosphere, spinning is a fun, high-energy way to stay healthy.

1. It’s Low-Impact

With all the music and words of encouragement, spinning classes may be high-octane but, unlike running or dancing, spinning itself is not a high-impact activity. Instead, it’s gentle on your joints, which makes it an excellent type of exercise for older riders or those bouncing back from injury. With spinning, the chances of a stress fracture or torn ligament are virtually nonexistent.

2. It’s Not Boring

Unless you have an iPad and a Netflix subscription at your disposal, putting in an hour on the treadmill can be a real snoozefest. Whether you’re walking or running, you’re also unlikely to vary your pace. In spin class, your instructor will have you changing your pace and your resistance throughout the entire workout. This variety is great for your muscles and a sly way to keep you from getting burned out.

DOWN 55lbs – “all I did was balance my hormones”

When your hormones are in balance…

Your body will flip the switch on your metabolism.

Do this Simple 30-sec routine to Flip the Switch on Your Metabolism

3. It Burns a Ton of Calories

How’s this for a statistic? An hour-long spin class typically burns about twice the calories of other exercise classes. What’s more, all of that variety described above makes it a HIIT workout, i.e., a session that combines high-intensity bursts of activity with lower-intensity recovery movements. HIIT workouts cause your body to keep burning calories and blasting away the fat long after you’ve left the gym.

4. You Can Pick Your Own Pace

Just because your instructor cranks up the pace or the resistance, it doesn’t mean you have to do the same. With spinning, you can ride at a level of challenge that works for you. (P.S. No one else will be able to tell what resistance your bike is set to.)

Similarly, if you have any mobility issues, you can adapt your workout to fit your needs. If you have a bad back like me, for example, you can stay seated throughout the class instead of standing up when prompted.

5. Weather Can’t Cancel Your Class

Walking is great exercise. When rain, snow or sleet are part of the forecast, however, your motivation to lace up your shoes and don 19 layers of warm clothing may wane. In some cases, such as those involving ice, it may be downright dangerous to walk, jog or break out your trusty Schwinn. Since spinning takes place indoors, you can rest assured that a downpour will never cancel your workout plans.

6. It’s Good for Your Whole Body

Think spinning’s just good for your legs? Think again. It’s also a fabulous workout for your core and your cardiovascular system. A spinning class really gets your blood pumping, which can lower your chance of stroke, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions.

7. It’s a Group Effort

My favorite part of attending spin class is the community spirit. Sure, your instructor will motivate you throughout your ride, but so will your classmates. You’re all in this together. If you often find yourself in need of encouragement when you sweat, spinning is an excellent choice. I’ve made lifelong friends from spin class.

Don’t let the fear of a group class or a lack of cycling experience stop you from spinning. Your local gym likely has spinning classes for all ages and levels of experience — and a bike with your name on it!

What Causes My Leg Pain?

Have you been experiencing unexpected leg pain recently? Leg pain can be frustrating, especially if you don’t know what the underlying cause of you discomfort could be. Here are some common conditions that can cause leg pain, as well as some things you can do about it.

Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps are those sudden jolts of pain that I call “charley horses.”  They can affect any part of the leg, but tend to occur more often in the lower part. If you’ve ever been woken from a deep sleep by a muscle cramp, you know how awful they can be. When the pain strikes, it usually happens very quickly and often gets worse before it gets better. The pain can be debilitating.

Muscle cramps often occur when your muscles are dehydrated or very tired. If you’re prone to leg cramps, make sure you’re getting enough water every day. You may also want to use a foam roller after working out to help relax your muscles.


Pain in your lower calf (near your heel) may be an indication of tendinitis. This injury is fairly common in active people or older people and can cause the Achilles tendon to swell or tear. This type of injury often occurs after overworking the calf muscle or after taking a lot of stairs because you’re trying to prove to your grandkids that you’re tougher than you look.

Unfortunately, tendinitis can be slow to heal, so it’s important not to get impatient and injure yourself again. Apply ice to the area to relieve swelling and talk to your doctor if your pain is severe and you think you may have a tear. You may be able to relieve the pain with medication, or you may need surgery to repair the torn tendon.

DOWN 55lbs – “all I did was balance my hormones”

When your hormones are in balance…

Your body will flip the switch on your metabolism.

Do this Simple 30-sec routine to Flip the Switch on Your Metabolism

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are very common, and they usually don’t cause much discomfort. I have them all over and they don’t always bother me. However, in some cases, varicose veins can cause a dull ache in the legs, especially after physical activity or after standing for long periods of time.

I have found that support stockings help relieve my pain. I also try to alternate frequently between sitting and standing. Wiggling your feet and legs regularly may also help prevent some of the discomfort varicose veins can cause. If your veins are very painful, make an appointment with your doctor. He can recommend treatments that will help.

Sciatica and Narrowed Spinal Canal

If you have sciatica, a herniated disc or a narrowed spinal canal, you could experience pain all the way down in your legs. Here are some of the common symptoms of these back conditions:

  • Tingling

  • Numbness

  • Cramps or leg pain while standing or sitting

  • Weakness

  • Pain in the leg, hip, and lower back

Resting may help relieve some of the pain, but this is a problem for which you’ll likely need professional care. Physical therapy may help relieve the symptoms, as well as other treatments recommended by your doctor. He or she can also prescribe medication to help you deal with the pain from sciatica or narrowed spinal canal.

Blood Clots

Sometimes as you get more “mature,” your blood can become thicker and get clumped up in your veins. When this happens, it forms a clot. A clot that forms in a deep vein is called a deep vein thrombosis, and it’s more likely to occur when you are inactive for long periods of time, if you smoke, or if you’re overweight. If you think you have a blood clot, visit your doctor or the emergency room immediately.

These are just a few of the more common causes of leg pain. Hopefully you’ve learned some things about what could be causing your pain and how you can treat it.

6 Exercises You Can Do Sitting in a Chair

If you think you need a gym membership, a rack of dumbbells or the stamina you had 30 years ago to get a workout in, think again. If you can sit, you can get fit. Try these six seated exercises the next time you’re behind your desk at work or on your couch binge-watching “The Crown.”

1. Arm Circles

They may look a little silly, but arm circles are a great workout for your arms. They use your arms themselves — plus a little gravity — for resistance, so you can do them virtually anywhere.

Sit up straight and extend your arms to each side like you would while crossing a balance beam or pretending to be an airplane for your grandson. Move your arms in small circles like you’re polishing the rim of a coffee cup with your fingertips. Continue “polishing” until you feel the burn, then do your circles backward.

2. Punches

These are a personal favorite. Channeling your inner Sugar Ray Leonard for a quick air-boxing session provides an excellent workout for your upper body. It targets not only your arms but also your back, shoulders and core.

Start by throwing 20 punches in front of you, exhaling as you hit your imaginary target. Take a breather, and then repeat five times.

3. Soup-Can Press

You don’t have to use cans of soup to do this overhead press, but it’s my preferred method. You can hold whatever you want, including nothing at all.

Hold your cans up to your ears. Your elbows should be bent, with your upper arms parallel to the ground. Slowly extend the cans above your head, straightening your arms completely, then bring them back down slowly. Repeat for three sets of 15 reps.

4. Marching

Were you in marching band in high school? If you’re like me, you have fond memories of band trips and football games, and you have less-fond memories of marching through town in a sweaty polyester uniform. With seated marches, you can put your legs through their paces, literally, without having to remember how to play the theme from “Love Story.”

Here’s how to do it: Put your hands on either side of your chair for support (or on either side of you if you’re on the couch). Keeping your tummy tucked in tight, bring your right foot off the ground as high as you can, knee bent. Bring it back down, keeping your core muscles contracted, and repeat with your left foot. Do three sets of 15 reps on each leg, and if all that core tightening is too tough, try leaning backward a bit.

5. Ankle Stretches

Another personal favorite, these stretches both boost your ankle flexibility and reduce your risk of blood clots.

Sit up straight and hold on to your chair for support. Lift your leg off the floor so that it’s parallel to the ground. Point your toes away from you and hold, then point them back toward you and hold.

That’s it! I usually do three sets of 10 reps, but as with all of these exercises, do what feels right for you and your experience level.

6. Leg Extensions

Leg extensions are like squats without all the, well, squatting. Sit up straight and once again brace yourself by holding onto the sides of your chair. Your feet should be flat on the floor or, even better, dangling above the floor.

Next, contract your glutes (yes, your rear end) and straighten both of your legs out in front of you, as parallel to the ground as you can get. Hold that position for three seconds, and then lower your legs slowly. Repeat for three sets of 15 reps.

Staying active is fundamental to longevity. You know the old saying: “If you don’t move it, you’ll lose it.” Keep your joints and muscles active by adding these seated exercises to your regular routine.

5 Home Workouts Without Equipment to Lose Weight

When most people think of exercise, they immediately imagine a gym with loads of equipment. While a gym is nice every once in a while, it is not necessary (thank goodness) for exercise. With the current health crisis, many establishments are not even open, so it is best to discover new ways of exercising without equipment.

Those who love to go to the gym and are used to working out with fancy equipment may balk at the idea of an equipment-free workout, but there are plenty of people who refuse to use equipment in their routines. The simple fact is that your body weight often provides enough resistance to help build and maintain muscle, especially when you combine it with a nutritious diet. Therefore, to prepare for your pandemic workout routine, consider the following.

1. Cardio

A treadmill is not necessary for cardio, and neither is a bicycle. Heck, you do not even need to run to get your heart pumping. Instead of burdening yourself with the thought of running, consider going for a brisk walk. You can even take a stroll and experience the benefits of the cardio activity, as long as you are committing to a long enough trek. Most professional trainers recommend taking at least 10,000 steps per day, which is around a four to five-mile walk.

2. Strength Training

As you get older, strength training is both essential and potentially risky. However, you can eliminate much of the risk by relying on your body weight rather than dumbbells. Some excellent strength training exercises are squats, lunges and pushups. You can also try planks and hip raises if you are capable of getting down on the floor. If you cannot get down on the floor, try doing pushups against a wall. You can also use a chair to perform squats.

3. Yoga

Yoga is extremely popular, and it has many significant health benefits. For one, it helps a person relieve stress and anxiety, which is terrific for psychological health. However, on the more practical side, yoga is a practice of balance and flexibility.

As people age, their flexibility and balance become more restricted, leading to accidents, like slips and falls. To reduce the safety risks of aging, incorporating a healthy activity like yoga into a daily or regular routine is an excellent idea.

4. Core

Core strength is also vitally important as people age because it relates to posture. There are several exercises you can perform without equipment to aid in core development. For example, sit-ups tend to be the go-to option for building abdominal muscles but using the plank exercise is another excellent tool. Performing a plank exercise, which is essentially holding your body in the pushup position, helps build core, back, leg, arm and shoulder strength. It is a whole-body exercise.

5. Legs

If you wish to build your leg muscles, then consider using your stairs or performing lunges and squats. You can also perform knee lifts to strengthen your thigh muscles.

As you can see, a gym is not necessary for an exercise routine. If you are interested in more helpful exercise or health-related tips, then continue reading the Smarter Science of Slim.

Healthy Changes To Make Today

If you’re like me, it seems like it was only yesterday that you were a 20-something who could eat whatever she wanted, stay up until the wee hours of the morning and take a flight of stairs like it was nothing. Today, it's considerably harder to feel energetic, fresh and ready to scale heights. As you age, staying healthy seems like it’s always just outside your grasp. The thing is, it’s actually right in front of you: You just have to take it!

Whether you want to lose 30 pounds, have more energy for your grandkids or not have to take a breather after hiking to balcony-level seats, there are plenty of small changes you can start making today to feel better. Here are two of the most important.

Get Your Beauty Rest

I can’t overstate the importance of a good night’s sleep. When you’re tucked in tight and dreaming, your body is repairing, rebuilding and rejuvenating itself from head to toe.

As an adult, you need at least seven hours of beauty sleep each night. That's beauty not just for your complexion but also for your brain. When you fall short of those 7 hours, your body and mind rebel. In addition to feeling groggy and slow, inadequate sleep can lead to a variety of health issues, no matter how fit you are. For example, the risk of both heart attack and stroke increase for adults who don’t get enough sleep.

If, despite your best intentions, falling asleep is an issue for you, there are several ways to make trundling off to dreamland easier:

  • Get into the routine of going to bed at roughly the same time every night. Set an alarm on your phone if you have to.

  • Keep screens out of your bedroom. The light given off by many electronic devices is a one-way ticket to Insomnia Town, Population: You.

  • Try a sleep app. It seems like every day there’s a new app designed to help you fall asleep. I’m partial to the Sleep Stories on the Calm app.

Make Eliminating Stress a Priority

As women, we’re often expected to take care of everybody else. We’re mothers, daughters, best friends and CEOs. We run companies and households. We cook. We clean. We — well, you get the drift. The majority of women are subjected to an incredible number of stressors. Meanwhile, as caretakers, we may feel guilty if we take a moment to look after ourselves.

That line of thinking needs to stop. Over time, constant stress can lead to an array of health problems, including depression, ulcers, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, IBS and migraines. It also increases your likelihood of obesity.

If reading the above paragraph stressed you out, don’t worry. Small changes can yield big, healthy results. Making as little as 10-15 minutes per day to relax and have fun can put a huge dent in your stress levels. Those 10 minutes don’t have to be spent in silent meditation, either. For me, taking a break often entails one or more of the following:

  • Reading a magazine (the more celebrity gossip, the better)

  • Going for a walk

  • Watching an episode of “comfort food” TV

  • Listening to music

  • A hot bath, heavy on the rosemary oil

  • A glass of wine, preferably red

  • Playing a quick game or two on my iPad

If nothing else, check in with yourself often and take a few deep breaths. Self-care should be a priority in your life, not an indulgence.

Getting plenty of sleep and taking time each day to de-stress are just two of many small modifications you can make to improve your overall health. Even better, they’re two changes you can make today.

How To Use Household Items as Exercise Equipment

Whether you have no interest in joining a gym or simply haven't been there in a while, you're probably looking for ways to get in a good workout at home. Sure, you could buy a bunch of equipment and create a home gym, but maybe you're short on space or don't want to make that kind of commitment yet. The solution: work out at home using random household items to supplement your moves. At some point, you'll likely get bored with your simple, no-equipment routine, and you'll want to add a little bit of resistance. When you find yourself in that place, don't run out and buy the latest workout gadget. Instead, here are a few common household-items-turned-workout-props to get you started.

Chair as Barre

Let's start with a classic from every exercise video ever: using a dining room chair to hold onto while doing barre work. The trick here is to be sure and use a sturdy chair that won't topple easily and won't slide out from under you when you need it most. Try placing the chair against the wall for added stability. Once you're sure it won't move, you can use it as a support for mountain climbers, triceps dips, and modified planks, too.

Broom as Barbell

Your broom will only hold so much weight, and you don't want to try to lift too much without a spotter anyway, so think of this a lightweight bar, at best. To use it: Fill a pair of sneakers with heavy items, such as cans, and try to make the weight equal. Then slide them onto the broom handle by the ties. Be sure they're double-knotted so they won't come undone during your workout. You can also use a broom or long dowel without added weight to keep your hands in position for lat pulldowns.

Canned Food as Dumbells

This is another oldie-but-goodie. Don't have any dumbells? Just use cans from your pantry! It's an excellent option because you can use different sizes to give you different weights. However, be sure you can grip the cans well. If they're too big to hold, you'll risk dropping them on your toes, which, as you can imagine, is no fun at all.

Water Jug as Kettle Ball

Using a gallon jug to add some resistance to your home workout is pure genius. It's got a nifty, built-in handle that prevents you from easily dropping it, it weighs just under 10 pounds when full, and you can drink the water afterward. When choosing a container to use this way, be sure it's either factory-sealed or has a screw-on cap, not one that easily pops off. You don't want to deal with a gallon of water on the floor mid-workout. The best way to use this household item in your exercise routine is to substitute it anywhere you would typically use a kettle ball. If you're up for it, you could also use one in each hand to add resistance to bodyweight exercises.

Being stuck at home can quickly get old, but there's no reason to let your health slip because of it. Keep that body moving and mind engaged with whatever you happen to have on hand.

How to Work in 30 Minutes of Cardio During Your Busy Day

Many adults report that they have very little time for themselves during the day. Whether your job, children or community responsibilities take up most of your day, it’s important to make sure you take time for your health as well. Regular exercise is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for older individuals who need to keep a close eye on their physical health.  The good news is that working out doesn’t have to take up a huge chunk of your day. In fact, there I use a few simple hacks to make sure I get at least 30 minutes of cardio, no matter what my schedule is like. I can help you do it, too!

The Importance of Regular Cardio

No matter how full your schedule may be, regular cardio is essential for your health. Performing cardio not only raises your cardiorespiratory endurance, but it also helps lower blood sugar and regulate insulin levels. In short, performing just 30 minutes of cardio each day can help you live a healthier, more energetic lifestyle well into your senior years. Plus, it will help you keep extra pounds at bay.

Tips for Fitting Cardio Into Your Busiest Days

Now that you know how important cardiovascular activity is, you may be wondering “but how am I supposed to fit 30 minutes of exercise into my day?” Don’t worry, I’m here to help you with that. Here are a few things I do now or have done in the past to sneak cardio into my busiest days.

  • Ride your bike to work. This one is not only highly effective, but it’s also fun. Of course, it’s not a valid option for everyone, but if you work close by, riding your bike to work and back each day is an excellent way to squeeze some cardio in.

  • Take a walk during your lunch break. If you have an hour-long lunch break, why not use half of it to take a walk? Take advantage of nearby walking trails or just take a brisk stroll around the block. You’ll still have plenty of time to eat, and you’ll likely find that your walk energizes you so you can be productive the rest of the day.

  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Taking the stairs at work won’t give you 30 minutes of cardio, but it may give you anywhere from 1-5 minutes. If you do it several times per day, you could receive up to 15 minutes of cardio exercise by just taking the stairs. That means you’ll only need to figure out how to squeeze in another 15 minutes of cardio throughout your day. That’s doable for practically anyone!

  • Schedule your workouts and commit to them. In the grand scheme of things, how important is your physical health? The answer is “extremely!” That’s why you should never put yourself on the back burner. If you’re not getting enough exercise to stay healthy and happy, start scheduling it into your calendar. Give your workout the same importance you give professional meetings, and don’t break your cardio appointments.

  • Keep your workout clothes nearby at all times. Opportunities for short bursts of activity can come up at any time, but you won’t be able to take advantage of them if you aren’t prepared. Keep a gym bag of workout clothes nearby at all times, so you can go for a quick jog or bike ride if a meeting is canceled unexpectedly or if a friend invites you for a last-minute run.

The truth is, it’s easy to come up with excuses not to take care of your body. Believe me, I know! But if you keep these little tips in mind, you can get 30 minutes of cardio in without even realizing it.

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) for Seniors


Have you been wondering what in the world HIIT means? I’ve been hearing people tout it as an effective exercise strategy, but never knew what they were referring to. So I decided to hop online and spend some time learning more about it. Here’s what I found out.

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a type of cardiovascular exercise that’s done in intervals. So, instead of exercising for 30 minutes at a steady pace, it requires you to alternate between shorts periods of intense cardiovascular exercise and recovery periods. For seniors, most people recommend exercising at a high intensity for 20-30 seconds, then switch to low intensity for up to 60 seconds. Repeat this cycle until you’re finished with your workout.

Benefits of HIIT Training for Seniors

HIIT training is a great way to raise your metabolic rate and gain muscle. It can also improve your blood pressure and heart rate. The key is to start out slowly. Remember, your body is far from a spring chicken, so treat it kindly! Here are a few suggestions for HIIT training that’s appropriate for seniors to try.


Walking is one of the simplest HIIT exercises you can do, and it’s a great way to get started. Here’s how to differentiate between high and low intensity when walking.

  • Low-intensity intervals: Walk at a slow, easy pace. You should be able to talk fairly easily.

  • High-intensity intervals: Walk briskly while pumping your arms. You should go as fast as you can, and you shouldn’t be able to speak during your high-intensity intervals.

During your high-intensity intervals, you can raise your arms above your head, lift your knees higher, or do anything else that helps you get your blood pumping quickly.

Stationary Bike

A stationary bike is the perfect solution for HIIT training for seniors. It’s very gentle on the joints and doesn’t require you to even leave your home. Here’s what low intensity and high intensity intervals should feel like on your bike.

  • Low-intensity intervals: You should be able to pedal effortlessly, with very little resistance.

  • High-intensity intervals: You should raise the intensity by either increasing the bike’s resistance level, pedaling faster, or doing both at the same time. You shouldn’t be able to carry on a conversation when you’re doing a high-intensity interval.

To raise the intensity level even more, try raising the resistance level high enough that you can stand and pedal through your high-intensity interval.


Swimming is one of the best ways to incorporate HIIT into your life if you have any joint issues or if you’re very heavy. Swimming doesn’t jar the joints at all, and it makes you feel so much lighter. Here’s how to switch between high-and low-intensity he next time you swim.

  • Low-intensity intervals: Swim slowly and smoothly for one or two laps. You should be able to speak and breathe easily.

  • High-intensity intervals: Swim as fast as you can for one lap. You should be breathing hard throughout the lap.

If you don’t have access to a swimming pool, you can also do HIIT intervals in a swim spa.


Who says boxing is just for young kids? For me, it’s a great way to get my frustrations out while losing weight in the process! Here’s what boxing intervals look like for me:

  • Low-intensity intervals: For these intervals, I usually stop boxing completely and give myself time to rest.

  • High-intensity intervals: I throw as many punches as quickly as I can during these intervals. It doesn’t take long to get completely winded!

Never lock your elbows out when throwing punches, or you can do some damage to the joints. Remember to protect your hands and wrists by wearing supportive boxing gloves.

Now that you know some of the best ways to get fit and healthy with HIIT, give them a try! Remember to take it at your own pace and have fun!

Can Losing Weight Help With Joint Pain?

Now you have yet another reason to stay active and eat a delicious, healthy diet. According to research from the renowned National Institute of Health, Arthritis Foundation and Cleveland Clinic, losing weight has a major effect on reducing joint pain and improving mobility. Here are 5 reasons why burning those calories should be a priority.

1. Osteoarthritis Relief

Losing weight can alleviate pain significantly in people who have OA. This is because every pound of weight is equal to four pounds of pressure on joints. If you drop just 10 pounds, it’s like you lost 40 pounds when it comes to your joints. Lose 20 pounds and your body feels 80 pounds lighter!

2. Less Cartilage Loss

Weight loss can make life much easier for people who have OA. Losing weight reduces the wear and tear your joints have to deal with. This can slow the damage to your cartilage, especially in knees and hips. Healthy cartilage cushions your joints, so you want to protect it as long as possible.

According to one 2017 study of knee OA patients, people who continually lost weight experienced much lower cartilage damage. What’s especially interesting is that weight loss was directly related to the speed of cartilage loss. The more weight patients lost, the slower OA advanced.

3. Reduced Inflammation

Did you know that fatty tissues send signals to your body that trigger inflammation? Too much fat can cause sore muscles and joints throughout the body, making the pain of arthritis much worse. Stop this inflammation cascade by keeping your weight in a healthy range. A diet rich in inflammation fighting foods can also provide significant relief.

4. Positive Effects on Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis

Hitting your ideal weight helps your body deal with autoimmune disorders such as RA and PsA better. One recent study found that weight loss produced significant positive effects on people who have PsA. This can mean fewer days where you wake up with pain and stiffness. Losing weight also increases your odds of RA remission.

5. Lower Uric Acid Levels

Burning calories can reduce overall levels of uric acid in your blood. If you have a tendency to get gout attacks, losing weight should be top on your list of natural remedies. Want to take gout pain relief to the next level? Here’s what to eat:

  • Grapefruit and oranges

  • Pineapple

  • Cherries

  • Leafy green veggies and broccoli

  • Beans

  • Nuts and peanut butter

  • Lentils

  • Whole grains

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water every day. Yogurt, low-fat milk and coffee are great for reducing uric acid levels. Yes, several cups of coffee a day can actually help with gout prevention.

The Best Exercises for Joint Pain

If you’re experiencing a lot of joint pain, the thought of exercise probably doesn't seem appealing. However, your joints need workouts to stay flexible and healthy. The good news is there are gentle exercises you can do that really work. Even better, they help your body release endorphins, natural pain relievers and mood boosters.

Try low-impact, moderately intense aerobics activities three or four days a week. Swimming, walking, biking or using an elliptical trainer all help you stay active while reducing joint stress. As you shed pounds and eat great, you can look forward to less pain each and every day.

10 Tips for Safe Summer Exercise

When the mercury rises, so does the risk for heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses. These risks increase for older adults, who may have difficulty adjusting to extreme temperatures. Seniors are also more likely to have chronic conditions or take prescription medications that make them more sensitive to heat. If you want to stay active when the summer sun takes over, try these smart tips for safer summer exercise.

Stay Indoors

Adjust your normal routine to move your workout inside. If your home doesn't have air conditioning, schedule your exercise sessions around the forecast, or head to a cool setting like a gym, senior center or community center. If you live in an area with a large shopping center, try walking the mall for a change of pace.

Dial It Down

If your typical exercise is fairly strenuous, take it down a notch on the hottest days. For example, if you usually jog or bike, go for a walk instead. Choose a path in your neighborhood with plenty of trees to stay shielded from the sun. As your body acclimates to the increasing temperatures this type of year, you can slowly increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts as long as your doctor says it's safe for you to do so.

Check the Clock

The sun tends to be strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., so schedule your workouts early in the day or toward dusk. If you like to exercise after dark or before the sun rises, make sure to wear lights or reflectors so you remain visible to cars.

Get Wet

Water aerobics is an incredible source of low-impact cardio and strength training, so it's often recommended for adults who struggle with joint pain. As an added bonus, you can keep cool on 90-degree days by taking a dip. If you aren't uncomfortable with an aerobics routine, simply swimming a few laps provides a healthy workout.

Remain Hydrated

Drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water each day, or more if recommended by your doctor. Don't wait until you feel thirsty to drink; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by the time you notice the symptoms, you may already be dehydrated.

Dress for Success

When you venture outside to exercise in the summer, protect your skin with loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Look for fabrics with UPF protection, since these garments actually block out the sun's rays. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to shield your face, along with sunglasses that have UV protection.

Go Golfing

Even if you're new to the sport, golfing provides a low-impact workout. Because you can ride the golf cart from hole to hole, you have the option of taking a break if you begin to feel tired. In between rides, swinging the club and seeking the ball get you moving. Golfing also provides a great opportunity to connect with others.

Work Out With a Buddy

Speaking of connection, a friend is the perfect complement to your exercise regimen. Using the buddy system is especially important during the summer, so one of you can get help if the other succumbs to the heat.

Practice Self-Care

After a workout, lower your body temperature with a comfortably cool bath or shower. You should also get plenty of sleep on the night after a workout and take it easy so your body has time to rest.

Know When To End

Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of hyperthermia and stop exercising right away if you don't feel well. Danger signs include confusion, dizziness, headache, weakness, nausea or muscle cramps. When these symptoms occur, go inside, drink water and call your doctor right away.

Staying active keeps you healthy throughout life, but too much exercise can cause issues when it's hot outside. With these strategies, maintain your fitness routine no matter what the sun has in store.