Get lean in 2017 Tahoe |

Get lean in 2017 Tahoe

Let me guess what your new year’s resolution is. According to the No. 1 resolution made in 2015 was to lose weight. Yet the percentage of people over 50 who achieve their resolution each year is 14 percent, (2016). I wish I could tell you that they have invented a magic pill that will help us all lose weight and look like Jillian Michaels this year. But a healthy diet and regular exercise are still the best ways to maintain a healthy weight.

I’ll leave the diet advice to a professional dietitian. Let’s just talk about getting the appropriate amount of exercise. And as a disclaimer, everyone should have clearance by their physician before initiating a new exercise program.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, (i.e., brisk walking) every week and muscle strengthening activities on two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups. However, older adults should increase their activity to 5 hours (300 minutes) each week, (2016). Wait a minute, older adults need twice as much exercise as younger adults?

The National Strength and Conditioning Association found that adults between the ages of 50-80 years old can lose up to eight times more muscle mass than is lost in the previous 30 years. Fortunately, they also found that resistance training has proven effective in decreasing the rate of sarcopenia, especially if it is implemented in the correct manner. Sarcopenia is the gradual loss of muscle tissue that occurs due to normal aging. Although the process of sarcopenia is inevitable, the rate at which it occurs can be attenuated by strength training, (2013).

The American Society of Exercise Physiologists recommends that you create your exercise program based on the maximum amount of weight that you can lift only one time. How do you find out what that is? Try a specific warm-up set of eight repetitions at approximately 50 percent of the estimated max weight then a set of three repetitions at 70 percent of the estimated one rep max weight. Subsequent lifts are single repetitions of progressively heavier weights until failure, (2001). That is your one rep max.

For strengthening stick to four to six reps at 70 percent of max, and for tone complete 12 to 15 reps at 50 percent of max. You can do three to six sets of each type of exercise depending on your fitness level and goals. When choosing which exercises to add to your program it would be wise to speak to a certified personal trainer. If you are recovering from an injury then you should contact a physical therapist. As a general rule, free weights recruit more muscle groups and are more functional than utilizing machines. Body weight exercises such as TRX count as strengthening activities.

But how do I choose moderate intensity activities? Since the CDC is vague, I’ll agree that anything that has you short on breath but still able to talk is a good place to start. Utilizing FitBit or other heart-rate monitors are great tools. Unfortunately, there is argument in the biz about the best way to calculate your max HR and zones. I recommend getting a VO2 max test. It is the gold standard for measuring your maximum cardio respiratory output. This test can be scheduled at most universities with an exercise physiologist. The results are in units are milliliters of oxygen per minute per kilogram of body weight(ml/min/kg). As an added bonus, almost any lab that does VO2 max testing will measure your heart rate at the same time, so you’ll find out your maximum heart rate. This can help you create a personalized program based on your physiology which will give you the best results.

The bottom line is: Try to exercise every single day. And since we live in Tahoe, why not make it something fun and outside? See you on the mountain!

Christina Frohlich is a doctor of physical therapy and U.S. Army veteran. You can find her serving the South Lake Tahoe community at Gallanty PT and Emerald Bay PT. Contact her directly at

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