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Health & Fitness Advice

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Elsie Bowman

Easy Exercise Routines for Seniors

As we get older our bodies require more and more upkeep to stay healthy and active. Anyone over the age of 50 can tell you that it becomes more difficult to keep flabby arms and belly at bay the older you get. Exercising certainly doesn’t get any easier with age either.

There are four main types of exercise, and it’s important to do at least a little bit of each one to stay in good shape. The benefits of diversifying your exercise routine include: better weight control, reduced risk of heart disease, better blood sugar and insulin management, improved mental health and mood, reduced risk of falls, improved sleep, and many more. The four categories of exercise are as follows:

  • Endurance – Also known as aerobic exercise, endurance exercises increase your breathing and heart rate. Some examples are running or walking, dancing, swimming, and biking.
  • Strength – Strength exercises are focused on building muscle. Lifting weights or using resistance bands are a good way to improve your muscle tone and retain strength.
  • Balance – Balance exercises help to prevent falls. Yoga is a common balance exercise that can also help with strength and flexibility training.
  • Flexibility – Flexibility exercises involve stretching your muscles to keep them limber and prevent sprains and muscle tears. Regular stretching and yoga are a good way to practice flexibility.

If you’re over the age of 65 and not sure where to start when it comes to exercising, here are some easy exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home or at your local gym:

  • Aerobics Training – Aerobics training is great for seniors because it’s low impact, and can be tailored to your level of strength and ability. There are a wealth of online Aerobics exercises, as well as routines you can purchase on DVD. These can be done with very little space and equipment in the comfort of your own home, or if you prefer more social exercise, there are generally several aerobics classes a week at most gyms. There may even be a specific aerobics class for seniors. Water aerobics is particularly popular for seniors because exercising in the water reduces impact even further.

  • Lifting Weights – I’m not talking about doing any intense deadlifting or anything, just some simple exercises with 3-5 lb weights or resistance bands can work wonders for your upper body strength. Hold your weights or bands, and raise your arms to the sides, pause, then overhead, pause, back to sides, pause, and back down. Shoot for about 10 reps each day, and you’ll be amazed at the results over the course of a few weeks. When it starts to get too easy, add extra weight.
  • Toe and Chair Stands – Toe and Chair stands are a great balance exercise that can help to reduce your risk of falling. Start by sitting in an armless chair, and raise your arms out in front of you. Stand up out of the chair without using your arms. Slowly lower yourself back into the chair. Repeat this 10 to 15 times. For toe stands, stand behind the chair and use the back for support, push up on your toes to stand on tiptoe for about 30 seconds, then slowly come back down. Repeat 10-15 times. This will help strengthen both your calf muscles and your thigh muscles to improve your overall balance.
  • Low Impact Stretching – There are many different kinds of low impact, flexibility based exercises, such as yoga, tai chi, and pilates. Often a full routine in any of these disciplines will help with strength, flexibility, balance, and aerobics. These are all exercises that are easily completed in the comfort of your own living room through online videos or DVDs, but again if you prefer more social exercise, your local gym probably has regular sessions for each of these types of exercise.

For many people it can be difficult to motivate yourself to exercise, but the benefits will definitely be worth it. If you’re a senior who is still able to drive yourself around, it might be easier to motivate yourself by going to the local gym. Exercising in a group is a great way to push yourself to exercise harder because you’ll be watching other people who are also working hard to get in shape. If you aren’t able to drive yourself to the gym, you could ask your in-home caregiver, or a friend or relative if they can take you to the gym for regular classes.

If you prefer to exercise in the comfort of your own home, it’s recommended to make it a part of your daily routine. Set up a time of day that you like for exercising, it could be in the morning after you make breakfast, or maybe in the afternoon before dinnertime. Making exercise a part of your routine will make you less likely to forget to do it, and more likely to look forward to it and enjoy what you’re doing.

Take the time out of your day to start doing some basic exercise routines. It will increase your overall health, make you more active in general, and might even help you get some extra rest at bedtime. If you have an in-home senior care service, you could even ask your caregiver to get involved with you. A little healthy competition goes a long way when it comes to regular exercise.

With regular exercise, you’ll find that your quality of life will increase dramatically in a very short amount of time. Paired with a healthy diet and a good sleep schedule, you’ll feel 10 years younger in just a few weeks!

Developing Good Dental Hygiene Routines

When it comes to your teeth and dental routines, there are pretty stark differences between men and women. Although the basics of both are the same, men are more likely to ignore their dental care, which can drastically increase their risks for tooth loss, disease, mouth cancers, and cavities. Some of the most basic dental practices include brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and actually visiting the dentist – preferably twice a year! It’s easy to overlook the foundation of good dental hygiene, and once you start prolonging your trips to the dentist, it’s easier and easier to keep putting them off, but in the long run, this is the wrong decision, that could lead to intense dental pain or require serious dental work to take care of. Taking the 5-10 minutes daily to maintain your teeth will save you thousands of dollars, and plenty of time, in the end.

It’s important that you find a good dentist who can take care of your family dental needs, emergency dental care, and handle any general dentistry complaints you may have. In my case, I go to a local dentist, who specializes in family dentistry, Shoreview Dental.

There are a few ways to develop a great dental hygiene routine, and it starts with knowing what neglecting your mouth can lead to. If you happen to eat sugary foods, drink acidic beverages, and don’t take care of your teeth, gum disease, dry mouth, and cavities will begin to take over, leading to pain, irritation, and potentially serious illnesses such as mouth cancer or an infection.


One of the biggest consequences of not taking proper care of your teeth is gum disease. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, nearly 60% of all men have some form of gum infection, compared to a significantly lower 38% of women. Unfortunately, neglecting your teeth can have negative consequences on the rest of your body as well. Because gum disease and mouth problems lead to inflammation, it can eventually begin damaging your blood vessels if the infectious bacteria makes it into your bloodstream. This could potentially lead to various inflammation-based issues such as heart disease, prostate issues, or even erectile dysfunction.

Like everyone else, the health and well-being of anyone’s mouth can affect your body in other ways as well. In order to maintain and stay in the best shape possible, it’s vital that you don’t skip over your teeth!

The 7 Most Common Types of Knee Injury

Your knees are one of your body’s most important joints. Without a properly functioning knee it would be impossible, or at least very difficult, to stand, walk, run, or even sit down. Unfortunately, knees are often the first joint to be injured from sports or common wear and tear as a result of age.

The human knee is a fairly complex system of ligaments, tendons, bones, and cartilage, meaning there are many ways that it can be injured. The majority of knee injuries are a result of contact or impact heavy sports, and can require treatments ranging from rest and ice at home to full blown orthopedic surgery. In very serious cases a knee injury may require a total knee replacement surgery.

What are the most common types of knee injuries?

Let’s take a look:

  1. Fractures – Bone fractures in the knee are extremely common. The most commonly fractured or broken bone in the knee is the patella or kneecap, though the ends of the femur and tibia can also fracture as a result of knee trauma. Knee fractures can cause extreme pain and make it difficult or impossible to walk or stand. Generally knee fractures are caused as a result of high energy trauma like car accidents or a fall from a significant height.
  2. Dislocation – Dislocations are similar to fractures, but instead of the bone breaking or cracking, it is dislodged or misaligned from its normal placement. Dislocation can affect any of the bones in the knee with the most common cases involving the tibia and femur being forced out of alignment, or the patella being knocked out of place. While some dislocations are caused by abnormalities in a person’s knee structure, the majority of dislocations are related to high energy trauma, such as sports related contact or a car accident.
  3. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries – Tearing your ACL is a very common sports-related knee injury. You may have heard about famous NFL or NBA players tearing their ACL and being out for a season. Generally an ACL tear is caused by rapidly changing direction, or landing incorrectly after a jump, making it a common injury for soccer, basketball, and football players. Often, ACL injuries occur alongside other knee injuries like twists and sprains. In serious cases ACL injury requires surgery to regain proper function.
  4. Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Injuries – PCL tears are not as common as an ACL tear, but they do happen. Usually these injuries are only partial tears and have the potential to heal on their own with proper care. PCL injuries are usually a result of a blow to the front of the knee while it’s bent. They commonly occur as a result of sports-related contact or car accidents. In serious cases, a PCL tear may require knee arthroscopy surgery to correct.
  5. Collateral Ligament Injuries – The collateral ligaments run along either side of the knee joint holding the femur to the tibia and fibula. Tearing these ligaments is far less common than tearing an ACL or PCL, but in cases where the knee is pushed or bent sideways these ligaments are the first to be injured. These ligaments are usually torn when the knee experiences a direct blow to the outside of the knee, and are most often sports related.
  6. Meniscal Tears – There are two chunks of cartilage that sit between the points where the femur meets the tibia, this cartilage is referred to as the meniscus, or menisci (plural). Meniscal tears are common in sports, but can also result from old age as your menisci get weaker with age. Meniscal tears are generally sudden and result from twisting, pivoting, quick direction change, or being tackled. Sometimes in the elderly, all it takes is an awkward twist when standing up to cause a meniscal tear. Usually a torn meniscus can be treated non-surgically, but in cases where that doesn’t work, knee arthroscopy is a popular option for treatment.
  7. Tendon Tears – The two major tendons in the knee are the quadriceps and the patellar tendon. Normally these tendons are overstretched or torn by middle-aged people who play running or jumping sports. Generally these tendons are injured from falls, a direct blow to the knee, or landing awkwardly from a jump. Many times, small partial tears are treatable with non-surgical methods, but when there is a complete tear, surgical procedures are often required.

While this list doesn’t cover every knee injury, these are the most common injuries people experience. Sports-related knee injuries are incredibly common, and should be treated by an orthopedic professional like Dr. Bill Nordt in Richmond, VA.

Knee injuries can be very serious and if not treated properly can cause a lifetime of pain and difficulty walking. If you are suffering from a knee injury, make sure to contact your local orthopedic specialist today and get the treatment you need to get back on your feet.

Keep Outdoor Allergens Where They Belong – Check Your Ductwork

If you’re like me, you have a rough time with seasonal allergies during the spring and summer. This year started out particularly bad for me, and try as I might I wasn’t able to get away from my allergies even when I would try to stay inside all day.

For a while I was trying everything I could to keep my runny nose and itchy eyes at bay: doubling up different kinds of allergy medications, keeping all the doors and windows shut, and even wearing a mask and goggles to mow the lawn. While these all had varying effects, I was still having far more trouble than usual with my allergies indoors.

One article I came across mentioned the fact that leaky ductwork can be a major source of pollen and allergens getting into the home. I realized that I hadn’t had the ventilation system in my home checked since we bought the place 10 years ago, so I decided to call some local experts to come take a look at my system.

I called the technicians at Bradley Mechanical, one of the local HVAC companies here in Richmond that specializes in custom ductwork, and they came to check out my home’s ventilation. As it turns out, there was a gash in my duct near the edge of my attic that was pulling dust from the attic as well as pollen from outside into my ventilation system. That meant that pollen from outside was getting pulled into my ductwork, along with other indoor allergens, and then being actively pumped into my home. No wonder my allergies were so out of control!

Luckily for me, the technicians see this kind of thing all the time, and it was a quick fix on their part. Since they make custom ventilation systems and ductwork on a regular basis, they were able to change out the torn piece of ductwork and replace it pretty quickly. Once the new piece was in place, they performed an air quality check to make sure there weren’t any other issues with my ventilation. They were very thorough with their work, and after a week and a half I’ve been able to breathe again in my own home.

So, if you feel that you’ve been suffering from seasonal allergies more than usual this year, it might be time to have your ductwork and ventilation looked at by a local professional. In many cases a torn duct can cause other respiratory issues, like asthma, in addition to seasonal allergies. It’s the kind of thing that has a constant impact on your life, but might never cross your mind.

Even if you don’t have particularly bad allergies, it’s a good idea to get your home’s ventilation system checked for any rips, tears, or bad connections. Over time, ductwork tends to wiggle out of its couplings and lose efficiency in addition to pulling unwanted particles into the system. Most places will run a test on your ventilation for pretty cheap, and if there are problems, getting them fixed promptly will save you money throughout the year by making your system more efficient.

It’s an easy thing to forget about when you look at the long list of maintenance tasks that come with owning a home, but it’s worth it to make sure your home is circulating clean air and maintaining a high indoor air quality.