Archives by: Jeff Tomaszewski

Jeff Tomaszewski

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About the author

Jeff Tomaszewski is owner of MaxStrength Fitness in Westlake. He is a certified athletic trainer and a strength and conditioning specialist. Visit maxstrengthfitness.com or call 440-835-9090.

Jeff Tomaszewski Posts

Vacation

Fitness Health & Wellness May/June 2017

Fitness

Rejuvenate Yourself

Get an Energy and Productivity Jumpstart

By Jeff Tomaszewski

 

Four hundred and thirty-eight million: That is the number of vacation days Americans failed to take last year, more than any other industrialized nation, according to Harris Interactive Research Group.

Here’s the result: America ranks first in both depression and mental health issues.

Americans are burned out. Our productivity and creativity are dropping, relationships are failing and our rising stress is leading to record levels of heart disease, stomach ulcers and depression.

All Work, No Play

We’re judged by how much we work. We’re afraid of being replaced or left behind, and we’re addicted to busyness. It’s not only destroying our mental and physical health but also our creative productivity.

This is especially true in our global economy, where our future lies with our ability to think creatively, innovatively and productively.

Rest and recovery are vital to looking and feeling your best. Unfortunately, it’s viewed as a weakness rather than as an integral aspect of growth and sustained performance.

We become flatliners mentally, emotionally and physically by endlessly spending sufficient energy without recovery. We slowly wear down and become ineffective.

Taking a break might be difficult for some of us. Consider these tips:

Reframe it: Instead of calling it time off and thinking we are slackers, reframe it as “rejuvenation time.” This sounds more purposeful and meaningful, doesn’t it? This might be mental manipulation, but we’ll take whatever works.

 

Schedule it: What gets scheduled gets done. Like any critical appointment, you have to plant your time-off flag on your calendar and defend it. Take a break from email. Put your phone and other electronic devices aside.

 

Declare it: Don’t feel guilty or try to keep it a secret. Lead by example and show others how to make rejuvenation part of an overall health plan.

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Strength Training

Fitness March/April 2017

Fitness

The Few, the Long-Lived … The Strength Trainers

 

Strength training is the way to live better longer.

Yet, few people do it. It’s hard to understand.

Over the past decade, researchers have demonstrated the benefits of strength training for strength, muscle mass and physical function, as well as for improvements in chronic conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, lower back pain and obesity.

Only about 9 percent of older adults do strength training at least once a week, according to one study — a small fraction of people but higher than researchers expected.

The researchers in one study followed the respondents for 15 years. About a third of the respondents had died within the time period. The remaining who trained at least twice a week had a 46 percent lower risk of death than those who did not do the training. They also had 41 percent lower odds of cardiac death and 19 percent lower risk of dying from cancer.

Significantly, after the researchers controlled for physical activity levels, people who did strength exercises lived longer than those who did only physical activity.

The study is strong evidence that strength training in older adults has benefits beyond improving muscle strength and physical function.

Jeff Tomaszewski is owner of MaxStrength Fitness in Westlake. He’s a certified athletic trainer and a strength and conditioning specialist. Visit maxstrengthfitness.com or call 440-835-9090.

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Look Good Feel Good – Jumpstart Your Routine to Slow Down the Aging Process

Look Good Feel Good – Jumpstart Your Routine  to Slow Down  the Aging Process

Are you as old as you feel? Does your chronological age match your biological age? We’ve all met people who seem much younger than their age and have boundless energy. We’ve also known people who look and act much older than their age.

As we age, our metabolism slows, making it tougher to lose weight. After 40, our biological age starts to speed up, and we age faster than our chronological age. It doesn’t need to be this way. You have more control over the aging process than you think. You have the power to slow aging and prolong your youth.

TRY STRENGTH TRAINING

When we add strength training to an exercise routine, we can stimulate our muscles to unleash a powerful flood of muscle-strengthening, fat-burning and anti-aging hormones to reverse the aging process and greatly slow down both biological and chronological aging.

Stimulating and exhausting all of our muscle fibers is the key that will cause the other metabolic processes and organs of the body to respond better.

In order for a strength-training workout to produce results, sufficient rest and recovery time are necessary to allow growth. If we provide a sufficient stimulus to the body and allow for rest and recovery, the body will respond in a positive way with the desired physical and metabolic changes.

 

GET WITH THE (STRENGTH) PROGRAM

When you incorporate strength training into your exercise routine, you will:

• Re-ignite your metabolism, reprogramming your body to start burning body fat.

• Reboot the endocrine system, creating a resurgence of youth-enhancing hormones so you can get infinitely more energy and replace flab with lean, strong muscle.

• Fortify your body by regaining bone density and building a solid foundation.

• Boost your brainpower, enhance memory and improve cognitive function.

• Improve functional ability, making daily activities easier and more enjoyable.

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Beyond Daydreams: Think, Imagine, Do

Fitness January/February 2017

Visualization, done right, can be extremely powerful in achieving any goal. As you think about your goals for the New Year, consider using your imagination to see yourself already in possession of your goal.

Picture yourself with the healthy and fit body you desire, and literally feel what it is like to have it. You cannot achieve anything in your “outer world” until you first see it in your “inner world.”

IS VISUALIZATION REAL?

In one of the most well-known studies on creative visualization in sports, Russian scientists compared four groups of Olympic athletes in terms of their training schedules:

GROUP 1 had 100 percent physical training

GROUP 2 had 75 percent physical training with 25 percent mental training

GROUP 3 had 50 percent physical training with 50 percent mental training

GROUP 4 had 25 percent physical training with 75 percent mental training

The results showed that Group 4, with 75 percent of their time devoted to mental training, performed the best. The study showed that using mindfulness — actually focusing on mental images — can boost physical achievement.

Creative visualization is distinguished from normal daydreaming in a key manner. Visualization is done in the first person and the present tense, as if the visualized scene were unfolding all around you. Typical daydreaming is done in the third person and the future tense.

Using affirmations that begin with “I am so happy and grateful now that …” is an excellent way to begin programming your subconscious mind to move toward your goal.

Visualization is another tool that Olympic athletes use to get their minds in shape for competition. In this technique, athletes mentally rehearse exactly what they have to do to win. Sports psychologists say that visualization boosts athletes’ confidence by forcing them to picture themselves winning. It also helps them concentrate on their physical moves, rather than on distractions around them.

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An Attitude of Gratitude – The Mind Matters When it Comes to Health

An Attitude of Gratitude – The Mind Matters When it Comes to Health

As much as some of us (me included) would like to control every aspect of our lives, we can’t. What we can control is our attitude toward what happens to us.

We all experience and continue to experience trying times in our lives. The what in these situations is less important than the how.

CUT THE NEGATIVE ATTITUDE

How we react and move through these particular situations will determine their effect on our physical, mental and emotional well-being. Up to 40 percent of our happiness comes from how we choose to approach our lives. We tend to focus on our problems, especially during trying times. We then get in the habit of focusing our attention on all the negative things happening in our lives.

What would happen instead if we switched that focus to the many good things that happen to us each day?

What if we took time daily or weekly to reflect on things we are grateful for in our lives?

EXAMPLE GRATITUDE JOURNAL ENTRIES

• I am grateful for my knowledge of how to live a healthy lifestyle and that I can help others do the same.

• I am grateful that I devoted time to my strength-training routine today.

• I am grateful for my family and friends.

INCREASING HAPPINESS

Gratitude is the forgotten factor in happiness research. Studies show grateful people:

• Report higher levels of positive emotions

• Have greater life satisfaction

• Experience greater vitality

• Are more optimistic

• Are healthier

• Build strong relationships

• Handle adversity better

• Experience lower levels of depression and stress

 

People who have a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathetic and to take the perspec – tive of others. They are also rated as more generous and more helpful.

Grateful individuals place less importance on material goods, are less likely to judge their own and others’ success in terms of possessions accumulated, and are less envious of others.

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Move It – Exercise Now for Better Health Later

Move It – Exercise Now for Better Health Later

As people age and face the challenges of growing older, many turn to fitness programs to stay healthy and active.

When people enter their fourth, fifth or sixth decade, their bodies lose some resiliency. A well-rounded exercise routine can help reduce injuries and the onset or frequency of conditions associated with aging, such as heart disease, Type II diabetes, osteoporosis and some neurological conditions.

A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS

A fitness regime should include exercises that work on the cardiovascular system, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, balance or neuromuscular control, and proper nutrition.

It’s important to begin slowly and progress steadily. Exercise two to three times weekly at a minimum.

Strength training exercises should focus on the whole body. Lifting weights, pulling on resistance bands or using exercise machines, for example, can develop strength with proper use. Lift weights very slowly with proper form for best results.

FLEX IT

Over the decades, joint flexibility usually begins decreasing due to the natural aging of soft tissue and posture position. While it’s important to spend a lot of time stretching, it does not have to be intensely painful. Hold stretches for 20 to 30 seconds or longer in a position that causes slight discomfort.

A GOOD BALANCE

Weakness from muscle loss can lead to balance problems, especially when changing positions too quickly or walking on uneven or unstable ground.

Balance problems lead to falls and injuries. Simple drills such as balancing on one leg with the eyes open and then closed can help the nervous system stay “in tune” with the musculoskeletal system.

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Get Happy- Lift Weights, Lift Your Spirit

Fitness July/August 2016

For most people, much of what they do is aimed at improving happiness.

Careers can provide personal satisfaction and enhanced self-esteem from earning money and providing for others.

The same is true for many recreational activities, fulfilling marriages and some aspects of parenting (as a parent of three, I know firsthand that it’s not always fun, however).

Achieving happiness is often challenging. About one in six Americans experience anxiety for 15 to 30 days each month. Anxiety often results in feeling nervous, afraid or apprehensive. About 7 percent experience depression annually. Americans spend about $50 billion each year to treat depression. Anxiety and depression can lead to insomnia, pain, social withdrawal and poor health.

THE EXERCISE OPTION

Medications as well as psychotherapy can be effective for treating depression and anxiety. However, researchers from the University of Georgia studied another option: exercise. They found seven studies involving strength training in which anxiety levels were a measured outcome. Most people in the studies had moderate anxiety; two studies had people with high levels. All of the studies found that strength training reduced anxiety.

The research team looked at the effects of activity on depression. As a whole, physical activity reduces depression among all types of people (older adults, college students, cancer patients), Regardless of the initial depression level, strength training significantly cut depression. They found it was much more effective than low-intensity aerobic activities for reducing depression symptoms.

This leads to the next question: How does strength training improve mental health? Strength training increases the production of neurotransmitters, which are the chemical substances that send signals between nerve cells. One neurotransmitter is dopamine, which is responsible for delivering the message of joy that we feel after winning a game or receiving a gift. Strength training may also help create new blood vessels in the brain.

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Smart Choices for a Healthy Brain – Exercise Can Keep You Fit From Head to Toe

Fitness March/April 2016 Mind Matters

As we age, our mental abilities can begin to decline. Promising research shows that you can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias through a combination of healthy habits, including eating right, exercising, staying mentally and socially active and keeping stress in check.

LIFESTYLE CHOICES ARE THE KEY

Researchers are racing towards a cure for Alzheimer’s. But as prevalence rates climb, their focus has broadened from treatment to prevention strategies.

Fears about Alzheimer’s may discourage you from taking action. By identify- ing and controlling your personal risk factors, you can maximize your chances of lifelong brain health and take effective steps to preserve your cognitive abilities.

Alzheimer’s is a complex disease with multiple risk factors. Some, like age and genetics, are outside your control. However, many others are within your sphere of influence. These factors can be quite powerful when it comes to your brain health.

The six pillars of a brain-healthy, Alzheimer’s prevention lifestyle are: regular exercise, healthy diet, mental stimulation, quality sleep, stress management and an active social life.

The more you strengthen each of these pillars, the healthier and hardier your brain will be. When you lead a brain-healthy lifestyle, your brain will stay working stronger, longer.

GET REGULAR EXERCISE – AND STICK TO IT

To maximize the brain-protecting benefits of your workout, aim for at least 20 minutes of moderate intensity exercise daily. The ideal plan involves a combination of cardio exercise and strength training, but anything that raises your heart rate is a good place to start. Beginners can start with walking and swimming. Routine activities such as cleaning and gardening can count as exercise as long as they get you up and moving.

Build muscle to pump up your brain. Moderate levels of weight and resistance training not only increase muscle mass, they also help maintain brain health.

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