Saturday is Here Again
Saturday is Here Again

Saturday is Here Again

Good news - you've made it through another week! It may have been crazy. You may...

Saturday is Here Again

Lifestyle

Saturday is Here Again

Good news - you've made it through another week! It may have been crazy. You may not have gotten everything done that you wanted to. But you know what? That's okay. Sleep a little longer. Make time for a run. Enjoy some comfort food. Whatever you need to do, do it!

TGIF: The Weekend Starts Tomorrow
TGIF: The Weekend Starts Tomorrow

TGIF: The Weekend Starts Tomorrow

TGIF! The weekend starts tomorrow. Plan a few things to look forward to. How about a...

TGIF: The Weekend Starts Tomorrow

Lifestyle

TGIF: The Weekend Starts Tomorrow

TGIF! The weekend starts tomorrow. Plan a few things to look forward to. How about a feel good project? The boys and I are making a huge batch of chocolate chip cookies and dropping them off at friends' houses around the neighbourhood. Spoil yourself and those you love with something decadent. Bubble bath? Expensive bottle of wine? Purchase an awesome movie through Cineplex? Have an over the top dinner - candles and all.

It's Thursday...Already?!?
It's Thursday...Already?!?

It's Thursday...Already?!?

It’s Thursday already?  It’s APRIL already? Despite the sort of...

It's Thursday...Already?!?

Lifestyle

It's Thursday...Already?!?

It’s Thursday already?  It’s APRIL already? Despite the sort of (?) slower pace, the days are still flying by at alarming speed. On the days when I don’t specifically set aside time to exercise/move it isn’t happening. A dedicated window in the morning with a specific task works best for me. I recommend you find what works for you. Schedule it in. And make it happen. Daily. You can be flexible on the start and finish time – for example plan to do your mobility and stability workout from 9:00 - 9:45am. If you end up only having time to do 20 minutes, so be it. Just GET IT IN!

April Fool's Day Feels Different this Year...
April Fool's Day Feels Different this Year...

April Fool's Day Feels Different...

It's HUMP day... April Fool's Day... Definitely a day to have a bit of fun!

April Fool's Day Feels Different this Year...

Lifestyle

April Fool's Day Feels Different this Year...

It's HUMP day... April Fool's Day... Definitely a day to have a bit of fun!

Celebrate the Little Things
Celebrate the Little Things

Celebrate the Little Things

How are you holding up? Are you prioritizing your self-care? Have you made time to...

Celebrate the Little Things

Lifestyle

Celebrate the Little Things

How are you holding up? Are you prioritizing your self-care? Have you made time to regularly connect with friends and loved ones? I challenge you to do something for yourself today - even if it's just taking a few minutes to meditate, 10 minutes to get a circuit in, or spending some quiet time in the kitchen preparing dinner. It's a start.

Chase Away the Monday Blues
Chase Away the Monday Blues

Chase Away the Monday Blues

Happy Monday everyone. I have reams of thoughtful, interesting, and motivating content...

Chase Away the Monday Blues

Lifestyle

Chase Away the Monday Blues

Happy Monday everyone. I have reams of thoughtful, interesting, and motivating content for today and the days ahead. First off, I would be remiss in not posting an apology in relation to Saturday's workout...

Staying Healthy in a Time of Unrest
Staying Healthy in a Time of Unrest

Staying Healthy in a Time of Unrest

While the TAC Sport Medicine Clinic is temporarily closed due to the public health...

Staying Healthy in a Time of Unrest

Lifestyle

Staying Healthy in a Time of Unrest

While the TAC Sport Medicine Clinic is temporarily closed due to the public health concern surrounding COVID-19, we want to regularly reach out to all of you with our Healthy View Blog. These articles will feature current, relevant topics helping you to stay healthy and engaged over the next few weeks.

Cheers to the Weekend!
Cheers to the Weekend!

Cheers to the Weekend!

It IS the weekend. Schedules are really helpful these days. But not so much today....

Cheers to the Weekend!

Lifestyle

Cheers to the Weekend!

It IS the weekend. Schedules are really helpful these days. But not so much today. Today, make sure it FEELS like the weekend. Indulge a little. Play a lot. Take a break from the serious news and dive into some positive media. Curl up and watch a movie or read a book in the middle of the day... And...if you feel the need to be productive, surprise and delight someone you love. Write a love letter... start a dance party in the kitchen... make breakfast in bed... give a foot massage...

It's Been a Week...
It's Been a Week...

It's Been a Week...

We've just completed week one of this Series. And I so hope some of you are finding...

It's Been a Week...

Lifestyle

It's Been a Week...

We've just completed week one of this Series. And I so hope some of you are finding the content helpful and inspiring. For me, I am loving creating and collating these posts. I REALLY miss coming into the Clubs and am so missing the opportunity to physically connect with all of you. This is helping me feel like we can still make at least a small positive difference in a few lives. So, I'm extremely grateful for this space.

This One's For You
This One's For You

This One's For You

Have you noticed an increase in runners out on the roads in your neighbourhood? Maybe...

This One's For You

Lifestyle

This One's For You

Have you noticed an increase in runners out on the roads in your neighbourhood? Maybe it's because of Club closures across the city. Maybe it's just the start of the spring weather. Whatever the reason, if you're an avid runner, cyclist, stepmiller, or power walker, today's workout is for you!

Sharing Some Wednesday Wisdom
Sharing Some Wednesday Wisdom

Sharing Some Wednesday Wisdom

We know you've had to make a lot of adjustments in the last couple of weeks. You...

Sharing Some Wednesday Wisdom

Lifestyle

Sharing Some Wednesday Wisdom

We know you've had to make a lot of adjustments in the last couple of weeks. You may now be working from home. Your stress and anxiety levels might be keeping you awake. You might be struggling with isolation and social distancing. Just take a breath. In. Out. And read on for some health, wellness, and fitness tips to help you structure your day. We're all in this together.

Today is Your Day
Today is Your Day

Today is Your Day

For many of us, we're into our second week of isolation. That means more time at...

Today is Your Day

Lifestyle

Today is Your Day

For many of us, we're into our second week of isolation. That means more time at home with the family, increased stress, and maybe even fewer workouts. There is no better time to shake those bad habits and get yourself back on track.

Much Needed Monday Motivation
Much Needed Monday Motivation

Much Needed Monday Motivation

Soup. Chock-a-block full of goodness and surprises. You never know what's going to...

Much Needed Monday Motivation

Lifestyle

Much Needed Monday Motivation

Soup. Chock-a-block full of goodness and surprises. You never know what's going to end up on your spoon! So, dig in...

Your Saturday Morning Wake-Up
Your Saturday Morning Wake-Up

Your Saturday Morning Wake-Up

Our schedules are really all over the place right now. Did you wake up this morning...

Your Saturday Morning Wake-Up

Lifestyle

Your Saturday Morning Wake-Up

Our schedules are really all over the place right now. Did you wake up this morning wondering what day of the week it even is? We did! And that's why we want to help you keep your routine going, even on a Saturday morning.

"Soup of the Day"...just got...

'Cause soup is good food. Healthy, comforting...a gentle hug from the inside out....

"Soup of the Day"...just got serious!

Lifestyle

"Soup of the Day"...just got serious!

'Cause soup is good food. Healthy, comforting...a gentle hug from the inside out. With all this social distancing, who couldn't use a good hug?!? Please tune in every day as we share our inspirations for food, movements, practices, and thoughts to keep you positive, healthy, and connected in the days ahead.

Diet & Exercise Tips for Canadians 55 and Up
Diet & Exercise Tips for Canadians 55 and Up

Diet & Exercise Tips for Canadians...

Ali El-Mokadem – one of our personal trainers at the Toronto Athletic Club...

Diet & Exercise Tips for Canadians 55 and Up

Lifestyle

Diet & Exercise Tips for Canadians 55 and Up

Ali El-Mokadem – one of our personal trainers at the Toronto Athletic Club – recently gave us some excellent exercise and nutrition tips targeted towards our Members in the 55+ age bracket, helping them to live a healthier lifestyle in retirement.  

5x5 Minutes with Meg: Women's Edition
5x5 Minutes with Meg: Women's Edition

5x5 Minutes with Meg: Women's...

Since 1910, the 8th of March has been considered globally by many as a day to celebrate...

5x5 Minutes with Meg: Women's Edition

Lifestyle

5x5 Minutes with Meg: Women's Edition

Since 1910, the 8th of March has been considered globally by many as a day to celebrate women. International Women's Day Organization 2020 is supporting a number of important and laudable missions including highlighting and applauding important gains that are being made, celebrating women's achievements and accomplishments, and taking a stance to call out and raise awareness about inequality. They also encourage everyone to "do what you can to truly make a positive difference for women".

Performance Enhancement Specialization: The Cambridge Club's New Training Program
Performance Enhancement Specialization: The Cambridge Club's New Training Program

Performance Enhancement...

Are you looking to improve your strength, power, speed, agility, and quickness? At the...

Performance Enhancement Specialization: The Cambridge Club's New Training Program

Lifestyle

Performance Enhancement Specialization: The Cambridge Club's New Training Program

Are you looking to improve your strength, power, speed, agility, and quickness? At the Cambridge Club, Sharlton, a Performance Enhancement Specialist, has created a new program based on the Optimum Performance Training (OPT) model that is designed to do just this.

Learning the Power of Community with Nat & Tina
Learning the Power of Community with Nat & Tina

Learning the Power of Community...

A new year means new ads in the PATH around the Adelaide Club. If you've recently...

Learning the Power of Community with Nat & Tina

Lifestyle

Learning the Power of Community with Nat & Tina

A new year means new ads in the PATH around the Adelaide Club. If you've recently gone underground to travel to and from the Club, we're guessing you've seen our new marketing pieces featuring members Nat & Tina! Both Nat and Tina are staples around the Club, often being found working out in the STRENGTH Gym, taking advantage of the Club's amenities, and challenging themselves with their friends in Strength Lab.

5 Minutes with Meg: Valentine's Day Edition
5 Minutes with Meg: Valentine's Day Edition

5 Minutes with Meg: Valentine's Day...

I've been thinking a lot about...Valentine's Day. With Valentine's Day just...

5 Minutes with Meg: Valentine's Day Edition

Lifestyle

5 Minutes with Meg: Valentine's Day Edition

I've been thinking a lot about...Valentine's Day. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I find myself, similar to last year, thinking a lot about the heart. And again, like last year, both the biological and the emotional heart. Those who know me, know I'm a huge proponent of high intensity training (HIIT) - in both the weight bearing and cardiovascular arenas.

Diet & Exercise Tips for Canadians 55 and Up

Posted: Mar 9, 2020

Originally posted in conjunction with HomeEquity Bank, Ali El-Mokadem – one of our personal trainers at the Toronto Athletic Club – recently gave us some excellent exercise and nutrition tips targeted towards our Members in the 55+ age bracket, helping them to live a healthier lifestyle in retirement.  

Focus on Exercise

How often should Canadians 55 + exercise?

In order to achieve health benefits from aerobic exercise, the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults aged 18 to 64 accumulate a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity in bouts of at least 10 minutes. Moderate-to-vigorous means working at 70% to 85% of maximum heart rate. 

Any tips for getting Canadians 55+ motivated to work out?

You have to start by getting an assessment from a qualified trainer. Someone who is certified with the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiologists is trained to follow a specific protocol to help you figure out your strengths and weaknesses so that you understand what you need to focus on, what you need to stay away from and how to progress properly.

This will help you focus your time and resources on what will challenge you best so that you can progress safely and effectively.

Once you figure that out, there are a host of available options from yoga classes, to group fitness classes, or even finding a workout partner so that you can keep each other motivated when the going gets tough!

What types of exercise do you recommend to Canadians 55 +? 

There is more and more research that is showing benefits of all types of exercise, whether it’s high intensity interval training, aerobic training or resistance training. But in my professional opinion, it has to start with a proper assessment, to find out your strengths and limitations, and progress from there.

High intensity training is very demanding and taxing, and you want to make sure that you are physically and mentally prepared to take it on. Understanding your own body and how it moves will help you get the most out of any type of exercise.

After spending one or two sessions assessing my clients, I typically take them through a series of resistance training exercises and teach them how to listen to their bodies: What’s too much? What’s too little? How do I know when I should back off or keep going? How far down should I go into a squat? How fast should I walk/jog/run on a treadmill? Should I do any upper body training? If so, what should I focus on? 

There are a lot of nuances to consider, and just like with any investment, you want to take your time and understand who you are, what you have, what you can own and what you can tolerate, when thinking about risk and reward.

Should Canadians aged 55+ and up focus more on cardio, or weight training? 

It has to be a mix of both. There is no reason why anyone of this age group, who is otherwise healthy, can’t focus on both resistance/weight training or aerobic. 

Again, following the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, in order to achieve health benefits of a strength-based workout, adults aged 18 to 64 should engage in resistance training exercises at least two times a week, between 15 to 60 minutes, working at 40% to 85% of heart rate reserve. Note that this depends on a person’s level of experience. Beginners should ease into it.

Does hitting the 10,000-step every day mark count as enough exercise? Is that the right number to aspire to? 

Before answering this question, we have to understand the difference between physical activity and exercise. Physical activity is activity that is done for its own sake, because it’s fun and we enjoy it, like taking a walk with a loved one, playing with our kids or grandkids or going for a hike on a nice day.

Exercise, on the other hand, is structured and more methodical — for example, I have to jog three miles, on a treadmill, three times a week at a speed of four miles an hour with an incline of 1%. Or I have to do three rounds of a given set of resistance training exercises, using “X” number of pounds of weight times “X” number of repetitions. There is much more structure, and it may not always be fun…kind of like eating your vegetables, not always fun but are they ever good for us!

That said, I look at the 10,000-step mark more as a physical activity goal rather than an exercise goal; it should be the bare minimum. We should strive to be more physically active, but we should also incorporate the structure and challenge of exercise into our lives.

Any exercise tips you can share to those who don’t have access to a gym and want to work out from home? 

Absolutely! There are plenty of trainers who offer “in-home” training. Find a qualified trainer, get assessed, and they can start you off with a program you can do in your own home. I always half-jokingly tell my clients that all I need is a six-by-six foot area, and I can give you an amazing workout session. Once you understand the basics of exercises, movement and your own capabilities, you can have a great workout anywhere, whether you are in a gym, at home, a hotel room, or even outside!

What do you recommend to Canadians 55+ to improve their mobility? 

I know I’m beating a dead horse now, but I’ll say it again, get assessed by a qualified and professional trainer to figure out what your limitations are. For some people, lack of mobility could be due to “tight” muscles, for others it could be weak muscles, for some it could be a condition like osteoporosis or sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass).

Once you have that figured out, your trainer can help you figure out the next steps, which may be as simple as walking more often, or training with weights, or incorporating yoga or swimming into your exercise routine/daily activity. 

Do you see any emerging trends in types of exercises Canadians 55+ are turning to? 

Group classes including spin, yoga, and resistance training classes are definitely picking up among that age group, for a number of reasons: More research that shows the benefits of exercise, having fun with a friend, being part of a group, etc. 

But most commonly, I’ve been seeing many more people seeking out qualified personal trainers because they want to learn more about how to get the most out of their investment of time and resources into their own health and fitness. They want to make sure they are progressing safely and properly, and that they aren’t setting themselves up for injuries or setbacks.

Almost every one of my clients in that age group who trains with me at least once/week does at least one class on their own, whether it’s spin, or yoga, or Pilates.

Anything you’d like to add? 

Think of the time and resources you invest into your health and fitness the same way as you would look at a financial investment into your future. We don’t simply just start throwing our money around into anything that looks and sounds good. We can, but the results are usually detrimental. 

If I want to get the most out of my investments, I will go and speak with a qualified professional, who will help me understand and figure out the best strategy to get to where I want to be in the next 10, 20, 30 years.

Exercise, health, fitness, are the same, you get out of it what you put into it. Talk to a qualified professional, invest some time and effort into the most valuable asset that you have — your own self.

Focus on Diet 

What are some of the types of foods Canadians 55+ should try to eat more to promote a healthy heart? 

In short, less processed food, more whole foods, more fruit and vegetables because no one has ever gotten unhealthy from eating more greens, whole grains, less red meat. That’s a good place to start.

What are some bad eating habits you see with Canadians 55+?

Poorly informed food choices. I truly believe that all food is good food, but as with anything, the dose makes the poison. People over-consume certain foods that are high in calories and have little nutritional value. 

To give you an idea, I recently wrote a post on my LinkedIn profile comparing 100 grams of Doritos, which boast 520 calories, compared to a 450-gram mixed plate of food that included broccoli, cheddar cheese, kielbasa, a whole red pepper, asiago cheese and artichoke dip and red pepper dip to get 520 calories!

Neither food is inherently evil, or bad, but one will keep you satiated longer, has more fibre, more vitamins and minerals, less sodium, more protein, essentially a much better ratio of macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). 

Keep your diet filled with nutritious food, and fill in the small gaps with your “guilty pleasures”.

Any tips for cutting down sugar and/or salt intake? 

I believe that we all need to be better informed about food choices. Understand how to read packages and labels, and be mindful of what you are consuming. 

Limit your intake of processed foods. There is a lot of sugar and salt that gets packed into processed food to keep them fresh and tasty. To give you another example: 100 grams of white bread has about 45 grams of carbohydrates (that’s a sugar), while 100 grams of carrots has about 10 grams of carbs. I would have to eat about a pound of carrots to get the same amount of sugar that’s in 100 grams of bread! 

Similarly, 100 grams of celery has about 80 mg of sodium, while 100 grams of Doritos has about 900+ mg of sodium. And celery is a lot harder to chew than chips.

What are the best foods for lowering blood pressure? 

Foods high in potassium, and fibre, and low in sodium can help with managing blood pressure. Foods like celery, bananas, potatoes and sweet potatoes, beets, are all great sources of potassium and fibre.

What are the best healthy snacks to keep around the house? 

My go to are always fruits and Greek yogurt, as well as veggies and hummus. Cut your favourite fruit (banana, apple, pineapple) with 1/2 cup Greek yogurt and drizzle a spoonful of maple syrup on top, it’s heaven in a bowl. Or some baby carrots, a couple of celery stalks, a few radishes with some hummus and you have something to crunch on.

What kinds of foods would you urge Canadians 55+ to stay away from? 

I am not at all a fan of demonizing foods. I have spoken to enough dieticians and nutritionists to understand that it’s more about making informed food choices, while still being able to indulge. Sugar and sweets aren’t bad; the overconsumption of them can be harmful. Salt and red meat aren’t bad; eating too much of them can increase your chances of certain ailments. Processed foods aren’t evil, but we should focus on eating more veggies and fruits and whole foods.

So instead of staying away from certain foods, try to limit your intake of processed foods, alcohol and red meat.

Anything you’d like to add?

Eat more fibre. Most people don’t get enough fibre in their diet, and there’s been more research that shows how detrimental that can be. And try to stay away from “fad” diets that promote weight loss through food restriction. Here are a couple of resources everyone can start with: 

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/nutrients/fibre.html

https://www.ontario.ca/page/eatright-ontario

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Ali El-Mokadem, Personal Trainer & OWA Instructor, Toronto Athletic Club

ali@torontoathleticclub.com

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