Thursday, December 29, 2016

Boomers are Fitter Than Ever

People are considered to be in their "prime" during their 20s, and they often accept that their physical fitness and health are meant to decline as they age. Contrary to this belief, a recent report says that many people aged 50 and older feel healthier than ever. The research found that 17% of the 1,500 respondents "over 50" believe they are more fit now than they were in their 20s. More than half believe they look younger than their age. This group also says that they eat more fruit and vegetables than they did in their earlier years. The study was conducted by Engage Mutual, a financial institution in the United Kingdom.
"This study challenges many of the preconceptions around aging and is good news when we consider that in light of increased life expectancy, many more of us will be spending a larger portion of our life 'over 50,'" says Engage Mutual's spokeswoman Louise Withy.

Do you feel you may fit into this group? As the year draws to a close, recognize your past year fitness successes! Making New Year's "resolutions" can be as simple as some small positive changes you can incorporate into your life next year. Contact me if you'd like any assistance and please pass along my information if you know someone who might.

What type of Exercise helps most with Sleep

While you may know that that physical activity improves sleep quantity and quality, new research indicates that the choice of activity plays a role. Studies have found that people who get less than 7 hours of sleep are at greater risk for poor heath and functioning and that physical activity is associated with healthy sleep. Researchers recently teased out the differences between specific types of activity and sleep quality.

The investigators used data on sleep and activity from 429,110 adults from the 2013 Behavioral Risk Surveillance System, a survey collected every year by the CDC. The respondents gave information on amount of sleep and types of physical activities they engaged in.

Data analysis showed that while walking was beneficial, activities like aerobics/calisthenics, bicycling, running, weightlifting, and yoga were even more likely to be associated with healthy sleep.
"Not only does this study show that those who get exercise simply by walking are likely to have better sleep habits, but these effects are even stronger for more purposeful activities, such as running and yoga, and even gardening and golf."

"Sleep, fitness, and diet are the three pillars of health. When any one of them is out of balance with the other, the body is not able to do what it needs to do to maintain optimal functioning. That also means that these three pillars all support each other."

How has increasing your physical activity levels affected your sleep? Can you or your loved ones relate to the findings of this investigation?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

New Nutrition Facts Label Coming Soon!

On May 20, 2016, the FDA announced the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The new label will make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices. FDA published the final rules in the Federal Register on May 27, 2016. Food manufacturers will be required to comply with the new food labeling by July 26, 2018.
Highlights of the Final Nutrition Facts Label

1. Features a Refreshed Design
  • The type size will be larger for Calories, Servings per container and Serving size, and the number of calories will be in bold. 
  • Manufacturers must declare the actual amount, in addition to percent Daily Value of vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium. 
2. Reflects Updated Information about Nutrition Science
  • “Added sugars,” in grams and as percent Daily Value, will be included on the label. Scientific data has shown an increasing link between added sugar and heart disease.
  • While continuing to require “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat,” and “Trans Fat” on the label, “Calories from Fat” is being removed.
3. Updates Serving Sizes and Labeling Requirements for Certain Package Sizes
  • By law, serving sizes must be based on amounts of foods and beverages that people are actually eating, not what they should be eating.
  • The servings sizes listed on most products will increase to more accurately reflect how much people are eating in one serving. This will help consumers avoid confusion when eating what they expected was one serving, but was actually 2.
Will these new labeling rules make you more or less likely to read nutrition labels? How will it influence your choices? If you'd like any further help understanding the nutrition label, please view the infographics below, consult the FDA website, and ask me for help or advice.



Friday, September 23, 2016

Adults Benefit from Short Bouts of Exercise

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that adults aged 65 and older should aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week. This is in addition to at least 2 or more days of muscle-strengthening exercise per week. However, many individuals in this age group don't fulfill the recommendations. The good news is that even small amounts of physical activity can be beneficial.

A study presented at the EuroPrevent 2016 meeting suggested that just 15 minutes of daily exercise can yield a positive response. The conclusion was based on data from two studies involving more than 123,000 subjects. The researchers looked at weekly physical activity records and death rates, and found that as activity levels increased, death rates declined. Subjects classified as highly active had a 35% lower risk of death during the study. However, subjects at the lower end of the activity spectrum--who exercised for just 15 minutes per day--still saw their risk decrease by 22%.

These two studies show that the more physical activity older adults do, the greater the health benefit. The implications of this research are also likely true for adults younger than 65.

Do you meet these activity recommendations currently? If not, you can start by adding in short bouts of exercise until you are achieving the recommended amount of time. If you are meeting these recommendations, congratulations! Keep up the good work and keep in mind that going over the recommendations only yields greater benefits.

Do you know others who are not currently meeting the minimum exercise requirements that could benefit from incorporating more exercise into their lives? Please pass along the findings of this research. If you or anyone you know would like help in achieving the health benefits of exercise, I'd be be happy to meet and discuss some solutions.

The study appeared in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (2015; 49 [19], 1262-67).

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Spin into health

Cardiovascular exercise is vital to keeping our organs healthy, for example, heart, lungs, circulatory system, etc. Cardiovascular or Aerobic exercise is physical exercise of low to high intensity that depends primarily on the aerobic energy-generating process. Aerobic literally means "relating to, involving, or requiring free oxygen", and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism. Generally, light-to-moderate intensity activities that are sufficiently supported by aerobic metabolism can be performed for extended periods of time. When practiced in this way, examples of cardiovascular/aerobic exercise are medium to long distance running/jogging, swimming, cycling, and walking.

Spinning is a convenient indoor version of cycling that may be more convenient. While attending a spin class is the best way to keep motivated to maintain a high intensity session, there are also online resources that can help you make your own personal spin class. The Global Cycling Network has a YouTube channel, where they have posted 16 spinning workouts ranging in length from 13 to 60 minutes.

Train with Global Cycling Network

Benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise:
  • Improved hormonal profile: ease symptoms of depression and fatigue and release hormones that decrease appetite
  • Increased metabolism: can lead to weight loss
  • Improved heart health: decrease in blood pressure, decrease in bad (LDL and total cholesterol, increase in good (HDL) cholesterol
  • Improved recovery ability
  • Diabetes management: increased insulin sensitivity

Monday, August 29, 2016

Fridge Makeover

We all know that when the healthy choice is the easy choice, we're a lot more likely to make the healthy choice. On the other hand, if the unhealthy choice is right there in our face, we're a lot more likely to go with the unhealthy choice. It's not just about willpower, it's about being human and going for what's easy. Studies have shown that 70% of the food eaten in the home is food that the nutritional gatekeeper purchases for the home. So, it's about going to the store and making healthy purchases and then positioning those healthy options in an easy to see and grab location to actually eat them. One way to do that is through a fridge makeover.
  1. Clean it all out: how does what you've got line up with your meal plans for the week and the way you want to be eating.
  2. Take inventory of what you need and what you have and strategically restock your refrigerator.
  3. Make fruits and veggies highly visible: when you open up the fridge, they're the first things you see. Move fresh items to the front and have them easy to grab and snack on. They're very easy to see and they won't go to waste because you forgot about them in a bottom drawer. 
  4. Move sweets to the back: if you're not always seeing it, you're less likely to eat it as often. You're creating a visual environment to make healthy eating easy and attractive.
  5. Have healthy, low calorie options at the front of your drink shelf: water, milk, unsweetened iced tea; push the soda and sugary drinks to the back of the drink shelf.
  6. Move the condiments to the bottom drawers: This creates an easy to find place for fruits and vegetables in the side shelves. When they're easy to see, it'll make it easier to grab an apple instead of a soda or sugary snack. 
Ultimately an easy way to make your family choose to eat healthier is by changing the environment in which you live, so that the healthy foods are easily accessible, easy to get to, and the unhealthy foods and less healthy things aren't even in the house, or if they are, they're a little bit harder to find.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Walking: Spiced Up

Have you noticed your physician paying greater attention to your exercise habits? Healthcare leaders are calling on physicians and their industry to routinely prescribe exercise, in general--and walking, in particular. For example, the Journal of the American Medical Association (Berra, Ripee & Manson 2015) recommends that clinicians do the following to integrate physical activity counseling into their practices:
  • Make physical activity a vital sign at each clinic visit
  • Ask if the patient exercises regularly or engages in physical activity
  • Associate physical activity with reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and many cancers
  • Write a prescription for an agreed-upon daily physical activity
  • Encourage use of a pedometer and advise recordkeeping
I'm excited about the continued recognition of exercise as a vital part of health. Increasing your exercise frequency can be as simple as walking more. Here are some ideas for how to adapt high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to walking. Which will be your favorite?

High-Intensity Aerobic Interval Walking: Complete up to 10 high-intensity walking intervals lasting 4 minutes each, interspersed with 2-minute relief intervals (walking at a lower intensity). About 1 hour duration

Sprint Interval Walking: Complete 4-6 sprint-walking intervals lasting 30seconds each, interspersed with 4.5 minutes of light walking at a self-selected pace. 20-30 minutes duration

Step-Wise Interval Walking: Start with a relatively easy walking workload for the first 5 minutes, then increase intensity by 15% for 4 minutes and continue to increase intensity every 4 minutes. This program can be halted at a particular intensity or after a specific duration; follow with a cool down walk. 20-60 minute duration

Near-Maximal Interval Walking:
Perform a 5-minute walk at near-maximal intensity, followed by a 5-minute recovery walk; repeat. 20-60 minute duration

Supramaximal Interval Walking: Complete 7-10 sprint-walking intervals lasting 90 seconds, interspersed with 30 seconds of walking at a self-selected slower pace. 20-30 minute duration

Happy Walking!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Weight Management

I'm excited to announce that I'm working on a new specialty certification from ACE (American Council on Exercise), "Weight Management." I am about 25% through the learning material and the content of the material is a bit of a surprise to me.

It doesn't approach weight loss from a nutrition or exercise prescription, but rather, a more empathetic understanding of people's needs. I've been learning about the prevalence of weight bias. Even among health and fitness professionals, many assume normal weight individuals are "fit", and overweight individuals are "unhealthy." Research shows that one's lifestyle, exercise and nutritional habits, are far more indicative of overall health and longevity than a number on a scale. The certification material stresses the importance of creating a "weight neutral" environment. In a weight neutral environment, goals are set based on controllable factors, such as exercise frequency and nutritional intake. "Exercise and good nutrition are things you can do, weight is something that happens."

The educational materials also stress the importance of acknowledging unmodifiable genetic and previous lifestyle factors, and focusing on maximizing the health of whatever body we may have. I'll keep you updated on the later material in the certification, but for now, focus on the process of maximizing your health and how every day that you continue to make a commitment to your health is a goal achieved!

New research evaluates how many of us live a healthy lifestyle

Despite the billions of dollars spent on gym memberships, diet programs, and low-fat food options, American't don't seem to be getting any healthier. In fact, a recent paper published by the Mayo Clinic (Loprinzi et al. 2016) reports that fewer than 3% of American adults are living a healthy lifestyle.

THE STUDY
The researchers in this study defined living a healthy lifestyle as meeting four parameters: being sufficiently active (150 mins of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each week), eating a healthy diet (based on a 24-hour recall), being a nonsmoker (serum cotinine level) and having a recommended body-fat percentage (5%-20% for men, and 8%-30% for women). Researchers then examined the association between having different combinations of these characteristics and several biomarkers for cardiovascular disease. The results from the study came from a survey of 4,745 adults.

THE RESULTS
Although many people accomplished multiple lifestyle goals--16% had three healthy characteristics and 37% had two--fewer than 3% met all four. Moreover, 11.1% met none of the criteria. Overall, the survey revealed the following:

71.5% did not smoke.
37.9% consumed a healthy diet.
9.6% had a normal body-fat percentage.
46.5% were sufficiently active.
2.7% had all four characteristics.
11.1% had none of the characteristics.THE BOTTOM LINE
This study does an excellent job of providing four concrete steps anyone can take to achieve a healthier lifestyle: Become a nonsmoker, be sufficiently active, eat a healthy diet, and achieve a recommended body-fat percentage. Of course, as the research reveals, none of these steps are easy to take. However, even small improvements matter, and any effort toward these lifestyle goals--even if it's below the defined threshold--can have a life-changing, or even life-saving, impact.

How many of these lifestyle goals are you currently accomplishing? What changes can you make to increase that number?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Exercise and Rheumatoid Arthritis

I wanted to share my personal success story with exercise and rheumatoid arthritis. It has now been 13 years since my diagnosis and exercise has played a very significant role in my disease management.

As the daughter of two avid runners, I grew up running, running, running. In high school, I competed in cross-country, track, and orienteering. I continued to run in college, but chose not to compete in Boston U's athletics initially. I intended to start sophomore year after becoming accustomed to college life.
During the winter of my freshman year, I noticed I was having some difficulty with small tasks, like flipping on lightswitches, typing on a keyboard, and walking around in bare feet. I didn't think much of it, until one January Sunday morning when I stepped out of bed and literally couldn't walk. I felt this ridiculous pain in all the joints of my feet, so standing and walking were incredibly painful. Confused and in tears, I got myself to the ER of Mass General Hospital, where they did a multitude of tests and sent me home without a diagnosis, but in slightly less pain. Days later, I followed up at the Student Health Center, where I received results indicating rheumatoid arthritis, and was instructed to go to a rheumatologist.
My visit to the rheumatologist was depressing. I was 18 years old, surrounded by old patients in the waiting room as well as old people magazines. This wasn't me! The rheumatologist confirmed the rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis and prescribed me Celebrex to take as needed.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the joint linings causing painful swelling. Over long periods of time, the inflammation associated with RA can cause bone erosion and joint deformity. My arthritis manifests itself in my wrists, knuckles, elbows, shoulders, and the joints of my feet. Different areas are affected at different times.

I returned to Boston and continued with school. I had to start running less and took up swimming and limited weightlifting. The weightlifting was tricky, because my fingers were frequently very swollen. I was happy to be learning more and more about fitness, so I could make the appropriate modifications to avoid damaging the inflamed joints further. I started to notice that exercise helped decrease my inflammation and pain.
4 years after my diagnosis, the pain and swelling started to return. I had become wrapped up in my senior year of college, had been exercising less, and had gained 20 lbs. Research has since shown that body fat increases inflammation. My rheumatologist then recommended prednisone and methotrexate, very strong medications that required regular liver blood tests. The medication only helped for a few months before my symptoms returned, and my rheumatologist wanted to add more medications to my treatment plan.
I thought back to when I had managed to keep pain at bay in the past and made a conscious effort to get ample sleep, increase my exercise frequency, and improve my eating habits. I didn't fill my next prescription of prednisone or methotrexate. After about a month of modifying my lifestyle, I noticed a remarkable decrease in my joint pain and inflammation, despite not taking any medication. I later told my rheumatologist, who was supportive, as long as I was managing my joint pain.
Since then, for the past 9 years, I've managed to stay medication free. My current doctor insists that it is because of my active lifestyle, and I agree. Working as a trainer allows me to keep a moderate activity level all day long, so that my joints don't get a chance to stiffen up. My exercise program decreases the inflammation in my joints on a daily basis.

Although I have been active since a young age, it has at times been frustrating and a real struggle. There are still some days when certain joints will be in so much pain that I'm reluctant to get out of bed. However, I know that once I start moving, the pain will decrease; and once I exercise, it will be almost gone. It's doubtful whether I'll ever be fully "pain free," but exercise helps me have a better outcome than anyone I know with RA. The genetics we're dealt don't have to determine our future. We're all working with the body we've got and trying to make the best of it.
Have you had a similar "success story" with exercise and a health condition? Please share your story with me or contact me if you'd like to improve your health.

Life After Dieting

A recent New York Times article looked at former contestants on Season 8 of "The Biggest Loser." Sadly, almost all of the contestants had regained the weight they'd lost on the show. The article concludes that after drastic weight loss, resting metabolism plummets to below average, and hunger and cravings increase. The article is also a testament to the faults in extreme weight loss through drastic measures.

The article doesn't mention how the follow up investigation was funded by the show's producers, nor does it compare the "Losers' " metabolisms to those of others who had lost equivalent amounts of weight, but at a much slower rate. For example, the show's winner, Danny Cahill lost 191 lbs in 7 months, and had regained 104 lbs in the 6 years since. That's an average weight loss of 7lbs/week for 7 months.

I don't recommend losing any more than 2lbs per week because that's the maximum amount of stored body fat one can lose in a week. Any weight lost beyond that is most often muscle or water. Losing muscle leads to even greater drops in metabolism. Strength training and muscle mass play a very important role in weight loss. As far as weight loss is concerned, "Exercising to build muscle (strength training) is like paying off a mortgage." The muscle mass you build is an investment in increasing your metabolism long term.

Research shows that losing weight at a rate of 1 to 2 lbs per week through a combination of diet, strength training, and cardio leads to greatest success in keeping the weight off long term. It's also important that lifestyle change is maintainable and not extreme. The "Biggest Loser" environment was extremely different from any of the participants' home environment's. They couldn't learn how to lose weight while also going to work and interacting with friends and family.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Diet or Exercise for Weight Loss

Diet and exercise go hand in hand for a healthy body.  However, researchers have recently gone so far as to determine when diet and exercise are most important in the weight loss process.  

The key to weight loss is to consume fewer calories than you burn.  That deficit needs to be between 500 and 1000 calories per day.  For most people, it is easier to decrease calories consumed than it is to increase calories burned to that great an extent.  This is why cutting calories through diet is often most effective for weight loss.  However, doing both, cutting calories through diet and exercise, can give you a weight loss advantage.  Exercise will help you burn more calories than diet alone.  This New York Times article illustrates the importance of diet in weight loss.

Studies also show that exercise was the most important component in weight maintenance after weight loss.  People who lost weight and were successful in keeping it off long-term were those who got regular physical activity.

If weight loss is one of your goals, make sure that a proper diet accompanies your physical activities and exercise.  Without diet, you will still reap the many other health benefits of exercise, improved body composition, increased longevity, decreased risk of diabetes, decreased incidence of high blood pressure, decreased depression, etc.  Weight loss, however, may be elusive. 


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Cardio (or) AND Strength

I recently found a great quote from Younger Next Year, written by Chris Crowley and Dr. Henry S. Lodge:  "Cardio may save your life, but resistance training makes it worth living."  This means cardio is keeping our vital organs healthy, for example, heart, lungs, circulatory system, etc.  Resistance training keeps our limbs, muscles, and joints healthy.  Although these are less vital for survival than our heart and lungs, the health of our muscles and joints is essential to having a good quality of life.

Cardiovascular and resistance exercise do share some benefits, but also differ in the merits they provide.  I've compiled 5 of the many benefits of cardio and strength training.  Keep these in mind as you follow your workout program to appreciate the many ways you're improving your health and fitness.

Benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise:

  • Improved hormonal profile: ease symptoms of depression and fatigue and release hormones that decrease appetite
  • Increased metabolism: can lead to weight loss
  • Improved heart health: decrease in blood pressure, decrease in bad (LDL and total cholesterol, increase in good (HDL) cholesterol
  • Improved recovery ability
  • Diabetes management: increased insulin sensitivity
Benefits of Resistance Training:

  • Increased bone density: decreases the risk of osteoporosis
  • Increased strength of connective tissue, muscles, and tendons: improved motor performance and decreased injury risk
  • Increased muscle mass:  decreases risk of sarcopenia, increased metabolism at rest because muscle maintenance requires greater caloric expenditure
  • Improved body mechanics: improved posture, balance, and coordination; reduces risk of falling
  • Improved appearance: greater muscle definition, increased tone
Make sure to incorporate both cardio and strength into your workout program!

Full Body Workout with Fit Athletic Carmel Mountain's PT, Viktoria Braut...

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Decoding the Nutrition Label

Sometimes we need to take it back to the basics and review the good old nutrition label.  It can be an invaluable guide to helping us eat healthier by providing portion control as well as nutrient limits and goals.

Nutrition Label Powerpoint

Fuel Metabolism

Fuel metabolism can be a confusing subject.  There is a lot of misinformation in popular culture, gym equipment, and gym myths about the "Fat Burn" zone.  The fuel source used at different workout intensities is not as important than the number calories burned.

Fuel Metabolism presentation

Muscle Mass

The following study proves that body composition and not body mass index (BMI) is the a more important factor in determining mortality, or death.  BMI has for decades been the simple measurement used by life insurance companies and doctors to determine a person's expected health outcomes.  This study, however, found that relative muscle mass was a better predictor of how long the subjects lived.  The subjects with greater relative muscle mass lived longer than those with less muscle mass.

This is why measuring body composition (body fat:muscle mass ratio) is an important part of being involved in an exercise program.  If you're trying to lose weight, make sure your body fat percentage is going down along with your weight so that you don't lose too much muscle mass.  If you're trying to gain weight, make sure you're gaining predominantly muscle, and not fat.

DiscoverSD's Top 10 Trainers

I'm excited to announce that I've been named one of DiscoverSD magazine's Top 10 Trainers.  It's an honor to represent Fit in this citywide publication.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Insulin Sensitivity

In the past, I posted an article about cardiovascular exercise and insulin sensitivity.  Research now shows that resistance training as well as cardiovascular exercise increases insulin sensitivity.  Increasing insulin sensitivity reverses the disease process of Type 2 diabetes.  This article explains now exercise increases insulin sensitivity, prevents Type 2 diabetes, as well as which types of exercise are most beneficial.  Note that these benefits of exercise were seen even without any weight loss.  Increasing insulin sensitivity, and preventing Type 2 diabetes, is one of the many benefits of exercise that don't have anything to do with weight loss.  However, weight loss together with exercise does offer greater benefits.

Brazil's Innovative Approach to Dietary Guidelines

Brazil recently revamped their dietary guidelines to focus more on sensible, mindful preparation and consumption of food.  Some are saying these guidelines are better than the nutrient-based American guidelines.  Others are saying more definitive structure, like in the American guidelines, is necessary.

Brazil's Dietary Guidelines

Eight Most Popular Diets Today

I recently found an article describing the eight most popular diets today.  The best diet is made up of mostly whole foods with processed foods kept to a minimum.  As long as you're eating a large amount and variety of fruits and vegetables while also receiving adequate animal protein, you're on the right track.  Of the 8 diets outlined, the Mediterranean has been shown to have the best health outcomes in research studies.  Which diets have you or others had success with.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Know Your Alphabet for Stronger Shoulders

The repetitive nature of tennis puts your body under severe stresses, which can result in overuse injuries.  The most common sites for these injuries are the knees, ankles, lower back, elbows, and shoulders.  A tennis strength and conditioning program focuses on decreasing the possibility of injuries in these areas and improving and perfecting tennis biomechanics.
Shoulder injuries are especially common because the muscles surrounding the shoulder are relatively small and under constant repetitive stresses.  Due to the large range of motion in the shoulder, the ligaments alone cannot provide enough stability through all planes of movement.  In a healthy shoulder, stabilization is provided by the rotator cuff muscles.  In tennis, and most of our daily lives, the internal rotators are overused and therefore very tight.  The external rotators are often underused and very weak.  Strengthening the external rotators will help decrease shoulder injuries and improve your tennis game.
Because the external rotators are very small muscles, I recommend using no weight or very little weight for these shoulder exercises.  These three exercises are progressions of the same exercise. Start by only working on the Ts.  After those become easy, work on the Ys, and later, on the Is.  All three exercises are done lying face down on a bench or on the floor. 
video
Ts: Lying face down, position your arms at a 90-degree angle to your body, so that you look like a T when viewed from above.  Rotate your shoulders so that thumbs are pointing up towards the ceiling.  Squeeze your shoulder blades in towards your spine, and, while keeping your arms straight, raise your arms up towards the ceiling.  Let your arms drop, and then repeat.  Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.
video
Ys:  Lying face down, position your arms so that you look like a Y when viewed from above.  Rotate your shoulders so that your thumbs are pointing up towards the ceiling.  Squeeze your shoulder blades in and downward towards your mid back spine, and, while keeping your arms straight, raise your arms up towards the ceiling.  Let your arms drop, and then repeat.  Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.
video
Is:  Lying face down, position your arms so that you look like an I when viewed from above.  Rotate your shoulders so that your thumbs are pointing up towards the ceiling.  Squeeze your shoulder blades in and downward towards your mid back spine, and, while keeping your arms straight, raise your arms up towards the ceiling.  Let your arms drop, and then repeat.  Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.

Incorporating these exercises two to three times weekly is the first step to improving your tennis game.  Developing and implementing a strength and conditioning program 2-3 times weekly is tantamount to continuing to play tennis as you get older with less interruptions for injuries.
           Viktoria Brautigam MS, CSCS is a personal trainer with 12 years of experience preventing and post-rehabing injuries, improving performance on and off the court, and weight management.  Contact viktoria@fitathletic.com for more information.