Aging Gracefully Blog

Archive for April, 2012

A Pain in the Neck Leads to Inertia

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Recently I developed a nagging pain in my neck, upper back and shoulder area.  Stretching didn't help, so I stopped doing upper body weight training and doubled-up on lower body exercises.  Then my low back went out.  Now, I was really out of commission!

I stopped doing all weights to let my body rest and called Roseann, my brilliant massage therapist who lives down the hall from me in my apartment building.  She worked her magic hands on the trouble spots and was able to release the muscles and restore proper alignment in a couple of sessions.

Now, I was ready to resume weight training, but wasn't in the mood!  Overcoming inertia is a real challenge at times.   So I decided to pick four exercises, two for the upper body and two for the lower body, and start with one set of 12-15 repetitions for each exercise.  That takes about five minutes, so no excuses.

I chose compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups.  For upper body: push-ups for the chest and bent-over rows for the back muscles.   For the spine and lower body: "good-mornings" (back extensions) and squats, using my 27# body bar.  In a week or two, I added a second set of each exercise.  After doing my cardio walk or run, I come home, put on some music, and do the weight training interspersed with yoga stretches.  It's easy, effective and convenient.

If you're stuck with inertia, try this rule of four:  Pick four exercises that work the major muscle groups and do one set of each, to start.  You might try the "4 for Life" exercises from my book Strength Training for Women .  Or pick any four that you like and start with them.  You can always add to them, but at least you'll have a start.

Joan Pagano returns to Judson Retirement Community

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Joan Pagano returns to Judson Retirement Community
Join Us for a Live Event:
"Drop a Decade:  Get Fit, Stay Strong with Joan Pagano"

Are You a Boomer or a Senior?  Is old age creeping up on you? Would you like to drop a decade and look good in your jeans?  You're invited to join us in Cleveland when I return to Judson Retirement Community for a live appearance.

DATE:              Thursday, April 19
TIME:              10 am ET
LOCATION:   Judson Park Auditorium
__________---1801 Chestnut Hills Drive
__________---Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
RSVP:            Call Heather at 216-791-2168 or Register online at
_________ ---Complimentary admission

I'll lead an interactive lecture and demonstration of exercises that keep you strong at any age.  Prepare to get energized as we explore:

  • 5 myths of exercise and aging
  • why strength training is the key lifestyle factor in an active aging process
  • what the experts are saying about the new biology of aging
  • centenarians' 3 secrets for longevity

Hope you can join us!

Joan returns to “Doctor Radio” Show

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Joan returns to "Doctor Radio" Show
SiriusXM Radio Channel.81
8-9 am ET, Wednesday, April 11
Call in with questions:  877-NYU-DOCS

The Sirius XM studio that broadcasts Doctor Radio  is actually located within New York University (NYU) Hospital, so the docs can do the shows in their scrubs and the listeners are brought into the medical setting. I'll be appearing again with Dr. Marina Kurian, Bariatric Surgeon and Medical Director for the NYU Langone Weight Management Program.  She's very sparky and a lot of fun!

We'll be discussing "Strength Training by the Decade", how weight training can positively impact your weight, health, fitness and well-being at every decade of life, from your 20's through your 90's.  Tune in to learn about strength training's effect on "skinny fat", metabolism, midlife belly and more.

Please call in with your questions to:  877-NYU-DOCS

Success Stories: Norma Got Smart(er) and Beat the Munchies!

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

Norma had developed a bad habit of munching on pretzels every night after dinner.  No sooner did she get up from the table than she started on her quarter pound of pretzels.  She wasn't hungry for them, just hooked on the munchies!

To kick the habit, I suggested that we add a "no snack" line to her workout reporting chart. It's interesting to me that as soon as she became accountable, she was able to gain control of her behavior.  She stopped munching two weeks ago (with the exception of one night when she had a "small snack.")

Norma's results, in her own words: "I mentioned yesterday that I tried on my dress pants without the pantyhose, and they were comfortable. This morning I put them on with pantyhose and they were actually loose. If this keeps up, I will soon go from a size 8 to a 6, which I've never been in my entire life. I think I was born at least a size 10 :-)"

Being in control and managing your weight are behaviors we all can benefit from.  And there's also a hidden benefit to the brain.  Delayed gratification builds the pre-frontal cortex, which stops you from repeated patterns of behavior.  When I shared this with Norma, she said, "Thought I felt a little smarter this week!  Although the evening hunger pangs are difficult to ignore, it really does feel like quite an accomplishment when I don't give in to them.  I'm going to try to use this new power in other areas of my life."


Dr. Alvin Busts a Big Number!

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

This is a monumental moment in the ongoing chronicle of Dr. Alvin Jones' weight loss process (check back through blog for previous posts).   With hard work, dedication and a change in diet, Dr. Alvin has met his first major goal: His scale now registers below 300.  At 299, he has lost a total of 27 pounds in ten weeks.

How did he do it?  He accelerated his cardio workouts! On his bike he burned between 500 to 1100 calories a day.  In addition, he realized that he needed to add more activity into his daily life, so one day he hand-scrubbed the kitchen floor with both hands.  He also modified his food intake, reducing the total number of calories he consumes each day.

On the diet side, however, I noticed from his reporting chart that he'd been skipping some breakfasts and lunches, just drinking water instead.  We discussed the importance of maintaining a balanced diet while losing weight, being sure to eat three meals a day composed of a well-rounded, nutritional variety of foods.

Personally, I'm a big fan of Weight Watchers which teaches a sensible method of making good choices while allowing you to exist on the planet – no fancy prepared meals, no extreme measures like a liquid diet, no magic bullets!  Just good, sound common sense guidelines that you can live with over the long haul.

Congratulations, Dr. Alvin!