Amanda Sterczyk, author
We first met Amanda last year when she launched her book “Move More – Your Life Depends On It”. We catch up with her again to find out more about her latest book “Balance and Your Body: How Exercise Can Help You Avoid a Fall”. Amanda is very passionate about her work. She specializes in helping seniors and sedentary office workers move more. Her knowledge can help us all, regardless of age and ability.
BYCFitness: We met you back in July of 2018 . For our new readers, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Amanda: I’m an author, mobile personal trainer, and certified Essentrics® instructor. I work primarily with seniors and sedentary office workers. In 2016, I created The Move More Institute™, which is an initiative to teach people how to add more movement — both exercise and non-exercise activity — to their daily lives. My slogan is “Move more, feel better.”
BYCFitness: When you were featured in the July 2018 newsletter, you had recently published your first book called “Move More – Your Life Depends on It”. Can you give us a brief description of that book?
Amanda: Want to live longer and be healthier? Your body is designed to move, not sit. Not sure how to start? This book teaches you how to reap the benefits of being less sedentary without sweating it out at the gym. Your better body comes from forming better habits. This book will help you change your habits by teaching you how to add more movement to your day. That’s right — movement, which is another way to say light physical activity. Physical activity doesn’t need to be costly, time-consuming, or even sweaty. But it does need to happen. Every. Single. Day.
BYCFitness: Now, a year later, you have published your second book “Balance and Your Body: How Exercise Can Help You Avoid a Fall”. Can you give us a taste of what the book is about?
Amanda: Falls are the leading cause of injury, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations for seniors in North America. Every 11 seconds, an emergency room in the United States sees a senior fall victim. Falls can reduce independence and accelerate the need for long-term care. The good news is that you can reduce the risk of falling with simple exercises that anyone can easily learn. This book provides a home-based fall prevention workout that doesn’t require special equipment, sweating, or getting down on the floor. The exercises improve balance, increase muscle and bone strength, and liberate joints throughout your body. Modifications are provided to make each sequence easier or more challenging.
BYCFitness: What motivated you to write this new book?
Amanda: I was asked to present a workshop for volunteer fitness instructors on teaching “fitness for fall prevention” classes to low-income seniors. In researching the workshop, I decided to see what resources are available for senior’s fitness — i.e., workout dvds and books geared to the older population. I’ve been working almost exclusively with this age group for 7 years, so I have a toolkit of exercises I use, but I wanted to see if was missing key components. WIth each resource I reviewed, I could think of an individual or group who couldn’t do the exercises as prescribed:
- They can’t or won’t get on the floor to work out.
- They don’t have the equipment for the workouts and they’re not willing to buy it.
- They can’t stand for long periods and would like some seated exercise options.
- They don’t know how to do the exercises safely, in some cases because the exercises
are too advanced and they need a simplified version.
I thought of the exercises that I give to my clients to do as homework, and I realized other seniors would benefit from them. They’re foundational exercises for balance, muscle and bone strength, and joint mobility. Each exercise includes illustrations for guidance, detailed step-by-step instructions, and modifications to make them easier or harder.
BYCFitness: Can you give us a few tips that we would find in your book that we can implement right now?
Amanda: Here’s the first exercise in the book, called Finger Follow.
The Finger Follow is an eye-tracking exercise that helps improve balance by focusing on your visual and vestibular systems. Eye tracking exercises counteract deterioration that is a natural part of aging. The head movements will improve your ability to look around while your body is in motion throughout your day.
To start: Stand near a wall, counter, or sturdy chair and make sure you can reach it with your hand. I recommend you do this standing up, but you can also do it sitting in a chair.
Remember: If you feel dizzy during the exercise, stop, sit down, and look straight ahead until the feeling passes.
- Visual only:
Using either hand, make a fist and stick your thumb towards the sky. Lift your hand in front of your face at eye level, approximately 12 inches away. Keep your arm bent at the elbow and hold your hand in this position.
- Side to side:
Slowly move your arm to the left, watching your thumb with both eyes, without moving your head or neck. This is a small movement because only your eyes are moving. Slowly move your arm back to the middle, and then to the right, and back to the middle again — always following with just your eyes.
- Down and up:
Continue tracking your thumb with both eyes as you slowly move your arm towards the floor, then back to the middle, up to the ceiling, and back to the middle again.
- Visual and vestibular: Do Steps 1 to 3 a second time, but this time, stretch your arm straight out in front of you with no bend at the elbow. Follow your thumb with your eyes and your head as you move your arm through the same positions: left, middle, right, middle, down, middle, up, middle.
Do you need to make it easier? Sit down to complete the finger follow.
Are you ready to make it harder? Reduce your base of support by staggering one foot in front of the other.
BYCFitness: Do you have any other projects on the go? Any new books coming up?
Amanda: I’m setting up workshops to accompany the launch of Balance and Your Body, which I will deliver to seniors, caregivers, and/or their loved ones. My goal with this book is to have an easy-to-follow guide that anyone can use to help Aunt Irma avoid a fall, including Aunt Irma herself!
And I’m working on my third book, geared to sedentary office workers. It’s called Your Job Is Killing You: A User’s Guide to Sneaking Exercise into Your Work Day. It will be out later this year or early in 2020.
BYCFitness: Where can we buy your book?
Amanda: It’s available worldwide on Amazon, in e-book and paperback format. Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07T5X2QBV/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0
BYCFitness: How can people contact you?