Health & Fitness

Boomer health: Keeping fit as you age

Aging well: You need to take steps to stay healthy as you age.
Aging well: You need to take steps to stay healthy as you age. MCT

Just as your physical conditioning is always evolving, so too are the industries that help keep your body in prime working order. So, let’s look into our magic medicine ball for some health, fitness and nutrition trends we’re likely to see in 2015.

Body weight training. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, a return to the old staples — push-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups, dips, lunges, planks, etc. — will become the most prevalent fitness trend in the coming year.

That’s because, especially for aging baby boomers, these barbell-/dumbbell-free movements tone and strengthen vital muscles while limiting risk for injury. An added bonus: They require minimal, if any, equipment.

Functional strength training. In conjunction with body weight training will be an increased emphasis on improving our aging population’s “functional strength” — that is, developing and/or maintaining the ability to continue easily performing life’s everyday tasks: getting in and out of a car; carrying groceries; negotiating curbs and stairs, etc.

Stand-up work stations. Not only does standing burn more calories than sitting, the Mayo Clinic says it decreases your vulnerability to “a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.”

Many of my colleagues do it regularly — and one of these days, I may even give it a try.

If you decide to adopt a bi-pedal approach to office work, be certain your computer monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. are positioned ergonomically, and that you maintain straight posture.

Compression gear. No longer just for elite athletes, compression apparel — everything from tights, shirts and socks to “sleeves” for knees, elbows and ankles — can be an important component for keeping the aging weekend warrior active.

That’s because these form-fitting pieces — which are typically made of lightweight microfiber materials (think spandex) — provide muscular support and increase circulation.

One popular manufacturer, Tommie Copper — which is endorsed by retired athletes such as former Olympic swimming medalist Dara Torres and former tennis pro Tracy Austin — claims that many of its copper-infused garments, when worn around the clock, will even aid in reducing post-activity muscle soreness.

GMO labeling. The cause of much controversy in recent years, GMOs — “genetically modified organisms” — are found throughout our food supply. Meats, fruits, nuts, vegetables, soy — they all have ’em.

Depending on who you believe, GMOs are either among the worst nutritional developments of the last 50 years, or a modern way to safely, efficiently and affordably bolster our food supply.

Regardless, non-GMO advocates have been pressuring various state legislatures to force manufacturers of foods containing GMOs to label them as such. Last year, Vermont became the first state to pass such a law.

In 2015, we can expect continued political posturing on this issue — as well as “Non-GMO” and “GMO-free” labeling being used as a sales tool.

Better brain care. In the latter part of 2014, Palm Beach County saw the opening of two more world-class neurological treatment centers — the Joe Namath Neurological Research Institute at Jupiter Medical Center and the Marcus Neuroscience Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital.

These two facilities have already made a major local impact with their state-of-the-art protocols — including non-invasive “brain baths” via hyperbaric chambers (Namath Institute), and a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure to eliminate brain aneurysms (Marcus Institute).