The 50 Plus Community

Submitted by Diane Maurer, Watchung resident on behalf of Reggie Tyler

The population of the United States is aging at a rate never before seen. Since older adults have the greatest financial burden on the Health Care System, it is imperative that you as a citizen and fitness professionals employ strategies to help ensure healthy aging.

Several psychological and anatomical changes occur within the human body as individuals age. Physical activity performance diminishes, such as in sports, exercise, and general daily activities. This increases the risk for injury during physical activity or exercise. While many physical changes are inevitable, habitual participation in physical activity and structured exercise can prevent and reduce the effect of changes or injury. It is essential for aging adults to understand the physical changes that occur in the human body and the effect of physical activity. We must be aware of the structural and functional changes that occur in the muscular skeletal system with aging. At Fitness-Essentials we have an understanding of these changes therefore our program design is a more efficient and safer exercise program for older adults.

We at Fitness Essentials realize that older clients are fearful of getting injured during a workout or concerned about exacerbating existing conditions such as arthritis. As Senior Fitness Specialists we are specifically trained in helping older clients achieve more without pain. Our sessions will include gentle warm up, stretching, and wind-down periods. At Fitness-Essentials we are trained to distinguish between minor soreness and the warning signs of a potentially serious injury. Nearly three-fourths of Americans 50 or older want more information about exercising safely and more than half want individualized exercise plans.

It is vital to get assessed by a health and fitness professional to ensure safe and effective exercise training programs and progressions. The use of subjective and objective information is essential to the assessment process.  Collectively, these assessments provide a foundation of personal information that enables Fitness-Essentials to provide a safe and effective exercise training environment.

Clif “CJ” Joseph and Reggie Tyler operate Fitness-Essentials in Warren. Diane has been a client for 11 years.

Fitness-Essentials vision statement: “To create a judgement free zone that allows our members to reach their maximum potential by embracing positive changes in their mind and body.”

Nutrition: Food Vs. Supplements – PART 2

Submitted/Written by Diane Maurer, Watchung resident – as told and advised by Clif Joseph

Welcome back fellow Watchung residents! Last month we introduced a nutritional mindset that brings awareness to the fuel we use in our bodies. This month we continue with the list of power Foods and discuss Supplements.

  • Blackcurrants: Get a blackcurrant boost

Vitamin C has long been thought to have the power to increase mental agility and protect against age-related brain degeneration including dementia and Alzheimer’s. One of the best sources of this vital vitamin are blackcurrants. Others include red peppers, citrus fruits and broccoli.

  • Pumpkin seeds: Pick up pumpkin seeds

Richer in zinc than many other seeds, pumpkin seeds supply this valuable mineral which is vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills. These little seeds are also full of stress-busting magnesium, B vitamins and tryptophan, the precursor to the good mood chemical serotonin.

  • Broccoli: Bet on broccoli

Broccoli is great source of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower. Researchers have reported that because broccoli is high in compounds called glucosinolates, it can slow the breakdown of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which we need for the central nervous system to perform properly and to keep our brains and our memories sharp. Low levels of acetylcholine are associated with Alzheimer’s.

  • Sage: Sprinkle on sage

Sage has long had a reputation for improving memory and concentration. Although most studies focus on sage as an essential oil, it could be worth adding fresh sage to your diet too. Add at the end of cooking to protect the beneficial oils.

  • Walnuts: Eat more nuts

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that a good intake of vitamin E might help to prevent cognitive decline, particularly in the elderly. Nuts are a great source of vitamin E along with leafy green vegetables, asparagus, olives, seeds, eggs, brown rice and whole grains.

Brainpower supplements

Although research linking diet and dementia is still in its infancy, there are a few important relationships between nutrients and brain health that are worth exploring. Having a nourishing, well rounded diet gives our brain the best chance of avoiding disease. If your diet is unbalanced for whatever reason, you may want to consider a multivitamin and mineral complex and an omega-3 fatty acid supplement to help make up a few of the essentials. If you are considering taking a supplement it is best to discuss this with your General Practitioner or qualified healthcare professional.

The importance of exercise

Don’t forget that as well as a healthy diet, exercise helps to keep our brains sharp. Research suggests that regular exercise improves cognitive function, slows down the mental aging process and helps us process information more effectively.

All health content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider.

Clif “CJ” Joseph and Reggie Tyler operate Fitness-Essentials in Warren. Diane has been a client for 11 years.

Fitness-Essentials vision statement: “To create a judgement free zone that allows our members to reach their maximum potential by embracing positive changes in their mind and body.”

Nutrition: Food vs Supplements

March is National Nutrition month which helps bring awareness to what we use to fuel our bodies. In my training and workouts I have heard it said by my personal trainer, CJ, focus on the mind and the body will follow. Many people say Fitness is only 20% and Nutrition is 80%. CJ tells me that mindset is 50%; fitness is 20% and nutrition is 30%. The battle of being healthy, disciplined and consistent starts and ends with the mindset. Let’s dive into some of his advice for me.

Food Vs. Supplements: Instead of considering them enemies can’t they all just get along?

1. Clean Organic Wholegrains: Opt for wholegrains
Like everything else in your body, the brain cannot work with- out energy. The ability to concentrate and focus comes from an adequate, steady supply of energy — in the form of glucose in our blood to the brain. Achieve this by choosing wholegrains with a low-GI, which release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, keeping you mentally alert throughout the day. Opt for ‘brown’ wholegrain cereals, granary bread, rice and pasta.

2. Fish Oil or Oily Fish: Eat oily fish
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) cannot be made by the body which means they must be obtained through diet. The most effective omega-3 fats occur naturally in oily fish in the form of EPA and DHA. Good plant sources include linseed (flaxseed), soya beans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and their oils. These fats are important for healthy brain function, the heart, joints and our general well- being. What makes oily fish so good is that they contain the ac- tive form of the fats, EPA and DHA, in a ready-made form, which enables the body to use it easily. Choose salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers.

3. Organic Blueberry: Snack on blueberries
Evidence accumulated at Tufts University suggests that the con- sumption of blueberries may be effective in improving or delaying short term memory loss. They’re widely available, but you can also look out for dark red and purple fruits and vegetables which contain the same protective compounds called anthocyanins.

4. Organic Tomatoes: Eat more tomatoes
There is good evidence to suggest that lycopene, a powerful anti- oxidant found in tomatoes, could help protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s. Favor cooked tomatoes and enjoy with a little olive oil to optimize absorption and efficacy.

5. Add vitality with vitamins
Certain B vitamins – B6, B12 and folic acid — are known to reduce levels of a compound called homocysteine in the blood. Elevat- ed levels of homocysteine are associated with increased risk of stroke, cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. A study of a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment found that after two years of intervention with high doses of B6, B12 and folic acid there was significantly less brain shrinkage com- pared to a subset given placebo treatment. Opt for B-rich foods like chicken, fish, eggs and leafy greens.

Next month we’ll add to the list of my nutrition options. In the meantime, join me as I work towards staying fit and eating right. Hopefully, I’ll see you at Fitness-Essentials, I’ll introduce you to CJ and Reggie.

Clif “CJ” Joseph operates Fitness-Essentials in Warren.  Diane has been a client for 11 years.

Fitness-Essentials vision statement: “To create a judgment-free zone that allows our members to reach their maximum potential by embracing positive changes in their mind and body.”

Submitted by Diane Maurer, as told by Clif “CJ” Joseph