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Benefits of Crossfit and Challenging Workouts: Fitness Over 50


benefits of crossfit

Can Seniors Crossfit?

A common misconception is that certain types of exercise are appropriate only for certain age groups and that when we get older, it’s time to take it easy. Well, older adults today are breaking the mold and doing amazing things with fitness over 50 (and 60, 70, 80!). Obviously, at any age if you have medical conditions, you need to check with your doctor before starting a fitness routine. But, there is no fitness routine that should be inaccessible to any age group. Just check out these inspirational older adults who are proving you can gain ultimate fitness over 50 and beyond: “Fit at 102”, Video: Seniors Using the Crossfit Method, and Crossfit Grandma’s Video Diary After Losing 79 Lbs.

What is Crossfit?

Crossfit™ is a strength and conditioning program which is designed for overall fitness (versus a specialized program). CrossFit is focused on “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement” and brings in various types of exercise. There are many Crossfit gyms across the country and there are also competitions held for Crossfit athletes.

Fitness Over 50: Research

“Exercise is almost always good for people of any age,” says Chhanda Dutta, PhD, chief of the Clinical Gerontology Branch at the National Institute on Aging, stated on WebMD. Some older people will worry that they might fall/hurt themselves if they exercise when in fact exercise has been shown to prevent falls: it can prevent bone loss, make you you stronger, improve balance, boost your memory and mood, and ease symptoms of many chronic conditions associated with aging.

Unfortunately, according to the National Institute on Aging, just over half of adults 65+ are inactive and only 11% of people 85 and over engage in any regular exercise. Evidence shows that most could work out safely, especially if shown how.

Maria Fiatarone Singh, who’s been studying strength exercise in older adults at the University of Sydney for many years concludes, “If I had to do only one thing for the frail older person, it would clearly be weightlifting exercises.” She has done studies with frail elderly in nursing homes and post-hip fracture patients showing the benefits of relatively intense strength training. Even if Crossfit isn’t for you, the concept of incorporating strength training and a well-rounded fitness routine should be part of most older adults’ lifestyles.

Benefits of Crossfit for Older Adults (Even if you don’t Crossfit!)

Here’s a great post from one older adult who saw many benefits of Crossfit in her daily life. She noticed obvious improvement in balance and strength: being able to regain balance if she trips over something, climbing stairs and opening jars with ease. Little things that can become harder with age (and lack of fitness) like getting up and down from chairs and the toilet or in and out of the car suddenly became easy. Her endurance for all kinds of activities improved. We often accept the aches, pains and limitations of an aging body as part of getting older but her story shows how some challenging exercise can really turn that around. The strength training benefits of Crossfit style workouts can be perfect for reversing muscle mass and strength.

Crossfit and other exercises that challenge the body can also give you a new sense of confidence. The group nature of Crossfit can make it more fun and inspiring.

Another one of the benefits of Crossfit for older adults is the increase in core strength. This helps you maintain balance and more easily handle a stumble or trip.

The benefits of Crossfit for fitness over 50 can apply to other types of routines. The important point is to build strength and endurance, especially to make up for the muscle loss that comes with aging, and to enhance balance. Fitness classes or working out with a personal trainer can motivate you and ensure you benefit and stay safe. We have a whole host of fitness ideas for you!

What’s your fitness over 50 secret? Have you experienced the benefits of Crossfit or started a new routine later in life and found success? Come over to our Facebook page to share more!

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Aging Wisely: America’s Big Aging Misconceptions


It’s time for a “senior care reality check”, say many experts in the field of aging, including our own Executive Director at Aging Wisely and EasyLiving, Alex Chamberlain. Alex was recently interviewed as part of’s report on the misconceptions about aging.

aging wisely, aging misconceptions

As Alex shared, “when it comes to aging or chronic care needs, everyone thinks they will be okay or that they have family to take care of them” and lack of preparation “just makes conflict and hard choices more likely”.

Fortunately, there are more choices than ever. As Alex urges, “think about what you want as you age and then learn a little bit about the realities”.

americans have more long term care choices than ever

Alex shares, “Unfortunately as an owner of a home health business, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have seen families’ quality of life disappear due to being unprepared for the challenges of long-term care.I have seen loved ones and family members never speak to one another again because they weren’t prepared and began fighting over everything”.

The families who navigate the challenges successfully did their homework, got help from quality professionals, and availed themselves of the choices that were best for them. The statistics shared in this report and the opinions of all the experts point to the same important advice: be prepared!

aging wisely preparation

To talk to Alex Chamberlain about this thoughts on this subject or get more information from our expert team so that you can be prepared, contact Aging Wisely online or call 727-447-5845.

aging wisely alex chamberlainAlex Chamberlain, Aging Wisely and EasyLiving Executive Director, shares his expertise here and on our EasyLiving blog regularly. Alex is a Clearwater Chamber Young Professional of the Year and has been named a top business leader by several business publications. Most importantly, Alex has a passion for bringing innovation to eldercare and has dedicated his career to giving families better options and creating a better environment for caregiving professionals. Connect to Alex on Linkedin.


**Graphics are from’s Report on the Major Misconceptions of Aging. Read more details of the report there and Help Close the #SeniorCareGap by sharing this and making sure others are aware!


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Dr. Phillips’ Expert Heart Health Tips


diet for healthy heart

Hello, I’m Dr. Paul Phillips and I’ve been practicing cardiology for over 30 years at Morton Plant in Clearwater. As managing partner of Clearwater Cardiovascular and Interventional Consultants, I’ve worked with thousands of patients throughout Pinellas County. I’m pleased to offer some heart health tips to the readers of Aging Wisely today to help you get a healthy start to 2014!

Every New Year brings a sense of renewal and the potential to change our lives. Unfortunately most New Year resolutions get put on the back burner and quickly forgotten. The goals of losing weight, changing our diets, exercising more regularly and adopting a healthier lifestyle become missing in action. However, with February being Heart Month it is good time to recall some of resolutions and try to lower the risk of future cardiovascular disease.

The epidemic of obesity in our country continues. The reasons include eating more high-calorie processed foods, larger portion sizes, more meals eaten away from home, and less physically active lifestyles. We consume more foods and drinks with added sugars. Portion sizes have increased and the average adult’s daily calorie intake increased by 350 between 1977 and 2005. Many of the meals that are served at restaurants, particularly fast food restaurants, as well as prepared meals bought at grocery stores are high in saturated fats, cholesterol, added sugars and sodium. As a society we spend more time in front of televisions, computers, and video games than  ever before.  The lack of physical activity places us at risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Fad diets and appetite suppressants are not the answer to combat these problems. They usually will not lead to sustained weight loss. Unfortunately, getting healthy requires work and discipline. The key is to find a daily eating plan that keeps the pounds off and provides the right balance of calories and nutrition with an appropriate amount of exercise. Although it seems simple the rule is that to lose weight you must take in fewer calories than you use through normal metabolism and physical activity. Don’t expect to lose more than 2 pounds per week. Without increasing your amount of exercise you will need to eat 500 less calories a day to lose 1 pound per week! Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.

These are some guidelines I suggest to help create a healthy diet:

  • Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits. 

They are high in nutrients and low in calories.  Eat whole vegetables and fruits (fresh, frozen, or canned) instead of drinking juices. Prepare without adding sugar, salt, or fats.

  • Eat whole grain and high fiber foods.

They can lower your cholesterol level and help you to feel full to help manage your intake. Whole wheat oats, wild rice, corn, barley, and popcorn are good choices.

  • Eat fish at least twice a week.

Grill, bake, poach, or broil (don’t fry). Use herbs, spices, lemon, and citrus juices instead of salt, lard, butter, or cream choices.

  • Select low fat dairy products.

Use low fat cheeses like mozzarella, Parmesan, and cottage cheeses and use fat free cheeses when available. For desert use frozen yogurts sorbets, sherbets, and fat free ice creams.

  • Give up sugar-sweetened soft drinks.
  • Limit the amount of food with saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Use oils that stay liquid at room temperature like olive, corn, safflower, and canola.
  • Grill, bake, or broil meat and poultry.
  • Choose lean and extra lean meats.
  • Use chicken without the skin.
  • Avoid processed meats i.e. hot dogs, luncheon meat, ham, and bacon.
  • Shellfish are acceptable in moderation.
  • Avoid trans fats found in margarine or shortening.
  • Limit the intake of French fries, cakes, cookies, pies, and doughnuts.

Some other tips to promote weight loss:

  • Control portion size.
  • Don’t snack between meals or eat anything other than fruits and vegetables after dinner.
  • Avoid, bread, pasta, white rice, and potatoes (sweet potato is a better alternative).

Now for some good news! A glass or 2 of wine a day promotes heart health, although wine does have calories you will have to burn off.

Make this a healthy year! Modify your diet, lose weight, get regular exercise, and enjoy some wine.

heart health month

Thanks to Dr. Phillips for sharing his valuable advice with our readers. Dr. Phillips works with many of our clients and is well known throughout the area for his excellent work as a cardiologist and his contributions to the community.  Here is a quick bio about Dr. Phillips: Paul L. Phillips, M.D., F.A.C.C. received his medical degree from the University of Virginia Medical School. His post graduate training continued with an internship, residency, and cardiology fellowship at New York Hospital- Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Phillips has practiced for over 30 years at Morton Plant and is currently managing partner of Clearwater Cardiovascular and Interventional Consultants. He received the Excellence in Medicine Award in 1999 and the teaching award from the Morton Plant Primary Care Program in 2005. He serves as an affiliate professor at the University of South Florida School of Medicine. 

In the days leading up to heart month, our Aging Wisely and EasyLiving blogs have been focusing on heart health for elders and caregivers and sharing resources for a healthier lifestyle. We hope these help inspire you towards good health in 2014. If you need any specific information or have a suggestion, we invite you to contact Aging Wisely any time.

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