Featured Fitness Health

Walk with Ease Program in Hudson

Hudson Community Education and Recreation (HCER) will soon be offering adults ages 50+ a new way to stay fit – even if they have arthritis. Thanks to an instructor training grant from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HCER will offer the Walk With Ease (WWE) program to the Hudson community. HCER is one of 71 park and recreation agencies to receive the WWE instructor training grant.

HCER’s community education and recreation programs have long been centers of health and wellness in the community. The WWE program, developed by the Arthritis Foundation, is scientifically proven to help reduce pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. Studies by the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and the Institute on Aging at the University of North Carolina have shown that participation in Walk With Ease contributes to reduced pain, increased balance and strength, and improved overall health.

“Arthritis affects more than 52 million adults  in the United States — including people who live right here in Hudson,” said Meredith Zaffrann, HCER Director. “This grant from NRPA and the CDC allows us to help the older adults in our community, and adds a new way for Hudson residents to work to achieve a healthy lifestyle.”

The Walk With Ease program will be offered three times per week for six weeks by certified and trained HCER Walk With Ease instructors.  Classes will meet at Barlow Community Center on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am to 10am, May 15th – June 23rd.  An informational meeting and registration will take place on Monday, April 24th at Barlow Community Center, 41 S. Oviatt Street, Hudson.  Cost for the six week program is just $5.

The Walk with Ease classes are ideally suited for anyone that is interested in preventing or managing arthritis, but also for those looking for a regular, low-impact exercise program in their local community.

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Fitness March/April 2017

Strength Training


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 or call 440-835-9090.

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STRONG BONES – Reduce Osteoporosis Risk with Proper Exercise, Diet

More than 52 million women and men have either osteoporosis or low bone mass. If current trends continue, the figure will climb to more than 61 million by 2020. It’s a widespread condition in which the bone loses its density, putting you at risk of fractures.

Wrist, hip and spine are the most common fracture points. The worst aspect of osteoporosis is that there is no warning. The first sign of the condition is often a broken bone after a minor fall.


Many people promote ‘weight-bearing’ activities as a way to halt

and reverse bone loss. Unfortunately, general activity will do very little to reverse bone loss. We do, however, know that human bone will adapt to a stimulus provided from progressively loaded strength training exercise. This exercise starts at the muscles and goes down to the bones; it affects all of the connective tissue in between, making for a more resilient drive train.

The health benefits of high-intensity strength training are far-reaching and impressive. There is evidence to suggest that high-intensity strength  training can increase our bone mass and bone strength and help prevent loss of bone mineral density as we age. This is exciting news, especially as significant improvements in bone health can be achieved from just two, 20-minute sessions of high-intensity strength training weekly.


Walking, dancing, tennis, and yoga, however, have all been shown to benefit your bones. One exercise you can do at home to activate your muscles and help bone strength is a walking lunge. Here’s how to do it:

Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips.

Step forward with one leg, flexing the knees to drop your hips. Descend until your rear knee nearly touches the ground. Your posture should remain upright, and your front knee should stay above the front foot.

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Fitness January/February 2017

Beyond Daydreams: Think, Imagine, Do

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.”


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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Fitness July/August 2016

Get Happy- Lift Weights, Lift Your Spirit

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.


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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Fitness March/April 2016 Mind Matters

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

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.


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.


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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Fall 2015 Fitness

Impact Your Life- Starting a fitness routine at any age has benefits beyond physical.

Fitness trends come and go, but weight training in particular never seems to come into style. Most people tend to reach the apex of their physical strength during their 20s and 30s, and it gradually declines from there. Once our strength starts to go, so do other things.

Muscular weakness is indelibly tied to not just our quality of life, but also to our life expectancy.

Two recent studies published in The British Medical Journal revealed that muscular strength is a remarkably strong predictor of mortality — even after adjusting for cardio-respiratory fitness and other health factors.

This conclusion was reached after an analysis of more than 30 studies that recorded physical attributes like bench press strength, grip strength, walking speed, chair rising speed and standing balance. What the researchers found was that poor performance on any of  the tests was associated with higher all-cause mortality — anywhere from a 1.67 to a threefold increase in the likelihood of earlier mortality.

Now, here’s the good news — despite the inexorable effects of aging, physical strength is an attribute we can control. As the science is increasingly showing, resistance training can add years to your life — and the earlier you get to it, the better.


As these studies indicate, not all exercise is equal. Resistance training (like lifting weights) in conjunction with high-intensity workouts (like aerobics and running) are key. It’s never too late to start. And, yes, women, that means you, too. “Bulking up” is a myth. It’s arguably more important for women than men to lift weights because of a greater propensity for osteoporosis.

Studies show that older individuals can still experience the benefits of gene shifting even if they’ve never lifted weights. It also results in an  increased production of growth hormones and testosterone and lower levels of cholesterol.

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Fall 2015 Fitness Profiles

Keep Moving with Jack from the Cleveland Marathon

Nothing can slow down Jack Staph, who recently turned 70. Staph, executive director of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon and a business/corporate lawyer with a private practice in Pepper Pike, hasn’t run in two years.

Although he endures issues with both knees (including missing cartilage), it doesn’t mean he won’t one day navigate a hiking trail to a mountain peak or enter a marathon walking category.

“It’s hard to say I’m only going for a walk,” Jack says. He still sneaks in a run at times for a few seconds. “When I see an incline, I push it as much as I can, and I may run to a telephone pole.”

Jack relishes any opportunity to be outside in the sun and even when it rains while he walks with his umbrella. He also enjoys all the responsibilities that come with overseeing the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.


He bought the rights to the event in 2002, turning it into a year-round family business. His son Ralph helps run operations. The marathon and related events attract 40,000 runners, volunteers and fans. He’s always busy with race details and looking after elite athletes.

Staph, in fact, ran the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon only one time in 1978 – when the event began as the Revco Cleveland Marathon. He was general counsel for Revco, which asked him to take the helm the next year.

Over the years, however, Staph managed to run seven other marathons in West Palm Beach, Buffalo and Erie. He credits world-famous long distance runner Frank Shorter for inspiring him in the 70s when the running movement took off.

“Anyone who does something positive for others motivates me,” he says. “It’s not so much what they did but how they went about doing it.”

For now, Jack plans to continue leading the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon and to see how he can challenge his body and his mind.

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