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11.30.23 | Sage Advice

Why Staying Active in Winter Matters

Winter can be challenging, especially with shorter days and colder weather influencing our activity levels. But staying active is crucial, particularly for anyone. Regular physical activity during these colder months can help combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), maintain physical health, support immune function, and promote mental well-being. Engaging in exercise, even indoors, enhances our mood, keeps our bodies strong, and ensures we’re living a vibrant life.

The Benefits of Winter Activity

Physical activity, regardless of the season, is a cornerstone of vibrant living. It strengthens muscles, boosts heart health, and improves balance, reducing the risk of falls. Exercise also releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood elevators, helping to brighten our days even when the sun is scarce.

Indoor Activities for a Healthy Winter

  1. Home Workout Routines: The internet is a treasure trove of exercise videos tailored for older adults. From chair yoga to light aerobics, these routines are designed to keep you moving safely within the comfort of your home.
  2. Swimming and Water Aerobics: Many community centers offer indoor swimming and water aerobics classes. These low-impact exercises are gentle on the joints and effective for improving cardiovascular health and muscle strength.
  3. Yoga and Stretching: Yoga and stretching are excellent for maintaining flexibility and balance. Regular practice can also provide mental calm and stress relief. There are many online classes available, ranging from gentle movements to more challenging poses.
  4. Stair Climbing: If you have access to stairs, use them to your advantage. Stair climbing is an excellent cardiovascular exercise and helps build leg strength.
  5. Engaging in Chores: Never underestimate the power of household chores to keep you active. Vacuuming, dusting, and organizing can be surprisingly effective in keeping you moving and can be a great way to stay active indoors.

Winter is a season to embrace warmth and activity. By finding ways to stay active, we not only nourish our bodies but also keep our spirits high. At Sage Collective, we encourage each other to explore different forms of indoor exercises and find joy in movement, even as the snow falls outside.

Let’s remember, that each step we take towards staying active this winter is a step towards sustaining a vibrant and fulfilling lifestyle.

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05.25.23 | Sage Advice

Staying Agile: Flexibility and Balance Exercises to Help You Maintain Independence

As we navigate through life’s different stages, physical changes often accompany us. At times, these can impact our strength, agility, and sense of independence. However, at Sage Collective, we are firm believers in the body’s innate capacity to adapt. Today, we’re exploring how to stay agile with flexibility and balance exercises. 

Flexibility and balance are the pillars of maintaining independence as we age. They are crucial in our daily tasks, from simple movements like bending to tie our shoes, to complex actions like reaching for an item on a high shelf or navigating stairs. Regular flexibility and balance exercises can enhance muscle tone, improve coordination, reduce risk of falls, and promote independence. Let’s delve into some exercises that can help.

Gentle Yoga 

Yoga is an exceptional choice for promoting flexibility and balance. The slow and deliberate movements of yoga poses, such as the “tree pose” and “warrior pose”, can dramatically improve balance. For increased flexibility, try poses like “downward dog” and “cobra pose”. These poses work on various muscle groups, enhancing flexibility in the legs, spine, and shoulders. Starting with guided sessions by a trained instructor can ensure proper technique and safety. 

Stretching Exercises 

Regular stretching exercises are integral to maintaining and improving flexibility, and in turn, your range of movement. Basic stretches, such as the calf stretch, hamstring stretch, and gentle neck rotation, can be highly effective. Aim to hold each stretch for about 30 seconds, ensuring you feel a gentle pull, not pain. Over time, you’ll notice improved flexibility, which can make everyday tasks easier and more comfortable. 

Balance Training 

Simple balance exercises can significantly improve stability. Start with exercises like standing on one leg, shifting weight from one foot to the other, or walking heel-to-toe in a straight line. Initially, use the support of a chair or railing until you gain confidence and can perform these exercises without aid. Consistent practice can lead to noticeable improvements in your balance, coordination, and confidence in daily movements. 

Staying agile involves more than physical flexibility and balance; it requires mental adaptability too. Incorporating these exercises into your daily routine sets you up to tackle life’s challenges with grace and resilience. Growing older doesn’t mean surrendering your independence. It’s about thriving, adapting, and embracing life’s ever-changing landscape. By dedicating time to activities like these, you’re investing in your independence, enhancing your quality of life, and paving the way to healthier aging. Let’s stay agile together, every step of the way.

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01.13.22 | Sage Advice

How to Continue Aging Successfully in 2022

At Sage Collective, we advocate for aging better, whether you are 75 years old or 55. No matter your age, incorporating these strategies into your life can help dramatically as time passes. Here are a few secrets on how to successfully age in the new year: 

Gain Self-awareness

As we age, health continues to be a huge priority for many adults. Gaining self-awareness means taking a critical look at your life right now and deciding what you’re able to maintain and what is no longer possible. As you continue to age, reflect on how your body reacts to certain activities and make adjustments where you feel is needed. For example, if you’re noticing that your usual workout routine is becoming too strenuous on your body, switch it out for something more forgiving like swimming or yoga. 

The same goes for your appearance! If it’s becoming too much work to color your grays away, embrace your natural look. A major key to aging successfully is embracing the changes in yourself and your body and adapting as necessary. 

Stay Active

In the same vein, staying active plays a huge role in how your body fares as you age. For older adults, studies have shown that maintaining an active lifestyle rather than a sedentary one leads to a longer, happier life. In the new year, engage in exercise that is more forgiving for older adults; we recommend water aerobics, pilates, walks and resistance bands workouts! As you exercise, listen to your body and pay close attention to how your muscles and joints are feeling – if you’re feeling tense and achy, opt for something gentler. 

Adopt Super-Aging Techniques 

Keeping your brain healthy is as important as keeping your body fit while aging. A ‘cognitive super-ager’ is someone who is towards the end of their life but has the brain cognition of someone thirty years younger. Scientists are looking to these special seniors for additional tips on keeping your mind pristine as you get older. The main takeaways right now are that many super-agers are highly educated, consume a Mediterranean-style diet, take time for themselves and socialize with their peers. In the new year, try adopting some of these tips to up your chance of being a super-ager.

In order to live a vibrant life as we age, we must take vital steps to ensure the best for our bodies and mind. Gaining self-awareness, staying active and adopting super-aging techniques are just a few of the countless approaches you can take in 2022 to continue aging successfully.

My love Granddaughter
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08.19.21 | Sage Advice

Find the future of efficient workouts in “exercise snacks”

As part of our 9 Ways of Vibrant Living, Sage Collective advocates for moderate and regular physical activity. Developed in pandemic times when it was challenging to find ways to stay active, “exercise snacks” — a new and effective set of movements was born, and has become increasingly popular among older adults. Interestingly, research is demonstrating these snippets of exercise are equally or more effective than traditional workouts!

How to perform exercise snacks

“Exercise snacks” are short bursts of movement anyone can perform throughout the day, allowing people to arrange exercise as their time permits. Because the movements don’t require a fixed or dedicated location to “work out” as we normally define the act of exercising, you can find a host of spaces in your home or office to do squats, sit-ups, walking in place, lunges and more.  

Professor of Kinesiology Dr. Martin Gibala, argues that these brief bursts of exercise throughout the day can trigger the same reaction from our bodies that traditional workouts produce. In his study published by the International Journal of Exercise Science, Gibala and his partners introduced an 11-minute workout consisting of walking and running in place, lunges and other light calisthenics that improve cardiovascular health. One of the many thrilling findings was that the conditioning improved cardiovascular fitness by 7% for those who participated. 

Gibala explains that being rigorous with each movement is fundamental for exercise snacks. It is essential, however, to remember to cater to what works best for your body. 

Sage Collective believes that incorporating exercise snacks into the lives of older adults and anyone looking to fulfill fitness needs can be a fundamental – and easy – way to live vibrantly. That’s why we produced our exercise snack menu based on Dr. Gibala’s workout plan below!

 

A graphic titled "Sage Collective: Exercise Menu" lists eight different "exercise snacks" and times allotted for people to take part in throughout their days.

A graphic titled "Sage Collective: Exercise Menu" lists eight different "exercise snacks" and times allotted for people to take part in throughout their days.
Sage Collective: Exercise Menu
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02.25.21 | Sage Advice

The Health Benefits of Tai Chi

Tai chi is an internal Chinese martial art, practiced for defense training, health benefits and mediation. As one of the most gentle martial art forms, tai chi is a great exercise option for older adults across the health and mobility spectrum — bringing with it a slew of benefits, healthful and otherwise. Let’s take a closer look:

Tai chi

Tai chi, short for T’ai chi ch’üan or Tàijí quán (太極拳), is an ancient Chinese martial arts practice, rooted in a deep history and philosophy. (You can read more about that on CultureTrip, here.) According to MayoClinic, tai chi “is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion.” The movements emphasize deep breathing, encouraging participants to slow down and get in touch with their body and feelings.

Because tai chi is low-impact, slow-motion and emphasizes the mind-body connection, it’s become a popular practice globally, attracting a broad spectrum of participants. And thanks to its wide array of health benefits, it’s since been adopted as a common practice at hospitals, community centers, older adult facilities and the like.

Health Benefits

Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but because its health benefits are so great, Harvard Women’s Health Watch jokingly calls it medication in motion.”

The low-impact exercise boasts physical health benefits such as improved lower- and upper-body strength, improved flexibility, improved balance (and possibly even decreased risk of falling), improved joint pain, enhanced immune system, enhanced quality of sleep, lowered blood pressure and healthy aerobic conditioning (where heart and lungs are trained to pump blood more efficiently, allowing more oxygen to be delivered to muscles and organs). All of the listed benefits are crucial to older adults seeking to maintain or better their health. 

In addition to its physical health benefits, the meditative aspect of tai chi brings with it an array of mental health benefits. These benefits include decreased stress, anxiety and depression; improved mood, energy and stamina and a general boost to wellness overall. 

Part of the appeal is that tai chi can be practiced independently or within a group setting, and it doesn’t require any equipment. If a low-impact, slow-motion and mindful form of exercise sounds like a good fit for you, then tai chi might just become part of your next fitness regimen routine.

Two people practice tai chi, silhouetted against a night sky and the moon
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