The Treadmill Test: It Just Became A Powerful Predictor of Longevity… It’s All About Fitness!

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“Fitness level was the single most powerful predictor of death and survival, even after researchers accounted for other important variables such as diabetes and family history of premature death—a finding that underscores the profound importance of heart and lung fitness, the investigators say.”

This is the conclusion from the just-released study by Johns Hopkins cardiologists involving 58,000 people.

You can read the complete article here: http://m.medicalxpress.com/news/2015-03-treadmill-mortality-formula-gauges-year.html

You must search far and wide to find statements more definitive and authoritative than this.

No need to say more.

A simple question, however, is certainly in order:

If not now, when?

For yourself and those who love you and depend on you, make health and fitness core values in your life!

To Your Health and Fitness,

Steven

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Shoe Showdown: Big Difference in the Squat!

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I don’t consider myself a runner – – more of a treadmiller who occasionally ventures outdoors to beat feet. And although squatting is part of my fitness regimen, I’d rather handle lighter weight than heavier. Guess you could say that l’m a lightweight in both categories.

Nevertheless, when I bought a pair of Merrell Vapor Gloves (for the feet, not the hands) and tried them at the gym, squatting became a new sensation – – literally, it felt different.

You can see from the picture of both shoes, the relative size of the heels. What you can’t see is, inside the Reebok, the insole at the heel is nearly as high as the Merrell shoe itself. That’s quite an angle. And while it makes for a very comfortable treadmill experience, I realize now that it was making it much harder for me to balance my weight on the heels while squatting – – an important dynamic in squats.

In fact, with the feeling of almost being barefoot, the effect is quite dramatic. I am enjoying the real feedback of floor contact and the difference that the change in elevation makes in stability.

The other observation worth noting: there is no doubt that it makes the squat a more effective exercise for me.

To Your Health and Fitness,

Steven

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Imagine The Difference That Fitness Could Make!

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This morning as I surveyed the news landscape for articles pertaining to health and fitness, two in particular caught my attention. As a fitness aficionado, most of these issues that appear are familiar to me, and have probably been addressed in this site before.

One of them, a Time article reveals the potential for exercise to effectively prevent depression:

http://time.com/3713268/exercise-depression/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+time/topstories+(TIME:+Top+Stories)

Please read my post, “Exercise As A Prescription For Anxiety” regarding a major study from Australia:

http://theseniorhealthandfitnessblog.com/2014/09/01/exercise-as-a-prescription-for-anxiety/

The second article that caught my attention came from Breaking Muscle regarding Seniors over sixty getting involved with weightlifting for the first time. Seems out of context, right? Wrong! Read what happens: Breaking Muscle: Two Over-60 Athletes Who Prove You Can Compete at Any Age. http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIw3-mNtiA

Let me connect the dots for you.
Exercise represents one of the most powerful and important tools in existence to change the course of our physical and emotional lives, yet it is virtually nonexistent in preventive and therapeutic practice!

It’s not for lack of scientific proof. It’s sad but true – – in one of the psychological journals evaluating the efficacy of exercise in treating depression–they concluded that the effect of exercise was only temporary – – once the subjects stopped exercising, the effect diminished. It was therefore concluded that exercise could not be a workable treatment modality.

And once I stop bathing, I start to stink.

Don’t wait for mental health professionals to figure this one out – – put on your running shoes, get the dumbbells in hand, learn to squat and get it done! Multiple times a week. Case closed (successfully)!

Imagine the difference in our society – – from the cost of health care to the enjoyment of life itself –if we just got up and made the effort like those sixty year olds picking up the weights.

Get it done,

Steven

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Yoga With DJ’s? Say It Ain’t So, Yogini!

Just when I thought Yoga– my vision of the ultimate in meditative movement–was being compromised by competitive events–now I read that they’re rolling with DJ’s?

Don’t get me wrong, I can get cranked up to move more iron in the gym with the right tune; but Yoga?

With tunes:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/15/deep-house-yoga_n_6661264.html?utm_hp_ref=new-york&ir=New+York

I don’t know who the main spokesperson would be for the Yoga folk, but somebody needs to step up and tell us where you’re going to be down the road, for all those who are considering which Yoga style works best: Competition Yoga, or Rhythm Yoga?

Competitively:

http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/yoga-competitors-pose-extreme/story?id=25574164

Just when I thought I had it all figured out….

Just Some Fitness Fun,

Steven

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Fitness Extremes or Fitness For the Finer Things?

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(photo of my training partner/coach, Hector)

Athletes who drive themselves to extremes inspire and enlighten; they challenge us to dream and show us what can happen when we do!

Fitness can be defined by raw numbers describing VO2 max, repetitions per minute, single rep maximums, and/or a mass of other scientific data.

Let’s make it simple; Let’s make it functional!

Fitness, as I am foreseeing the future, becomes the capability of enjoying the things that mean the most to me –not (necessarily) as an end in itself, but as an indispensable component of enjoying what life offers in all of its adventures. I will continue to enjoy training as something intrinsically rewarding, of course. To me, movement is life, and a side benefit is the contribution it makes to health. As Ralph Waldo Emerson penned a century and a half ago, “It is good health and appetite that impart the sweetness to the sugar…”

When your body is in a state of ill health and disease it’s difficult, if not impossible, to enjoy even the most basic of pleasures.

Allow me to take the liberty, then, of framing the concept of fitness in this most unscientific perspective: having the level of physical ability, including cardiovascular fitness, strength, and ability of movement, to enjoy what means the most to you!

Am I missing anything?

For the rest of my days, this becomes my training mantra, with sporadic episodes of peak performance along the way. It’s my journey, and of course, yours shall be yours and, happily, both are correct and true! Individualism is part of the fitness trail, and a welcome and significant part, indeed.

I admire the strongest, the fastest, and the biggest. But the road I travel need not be theirs. It’s only important that I train for the strength and stamina to travel my own path–the one that brings me fulfillment and joy.

Fitness is photographed and marketed heavily. It has a beautiful face, a sculpted body, and the look of victory and determination.

Do not be discouraged about who you are and the road you are traveling. Give yourself the health and wellness you need that a fitness lifestyle will bring to you.

Take reasonable care of yourself and enjoy the finer things along the way!

The Secret Is…
there’s no secret,

Steven

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When Supplements Become Substitutes: It’s Time To Appreciate Real Food!

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Have you noticed that when a food is discovered to have uniquely beneficial properties, shortly thereafter a supplement is created to concentrate those benefits in pill form for your convenience?

I appreciate the properties of resveratrol, but I prefer sipping a mellow red wine with my low carb meal because it’s what I enjoy. A slight bit of alcohol in the system also triggers the release of natural antioxidants in the body, as well. Fortunately, they haven’t yet figured out how to supplementize (word creation) that response yet. But when they do, it will be of course, the next best necessary thing.

It’s a fact that, as far as food is concerned, we as Americans do not approach it primarily as a source of nutrition. I understand that, and really don’t expect human nature to change quickly and immediately. There is, for this reason and others, such as disease, faulty genetics,– the need to add what is missing and necessary to our diets. Nutrients that are necessary but missing can have disastrous and fatal consequences if neglected.

For both sides, however– consumption and supply– it seems that supplements have overtaken our psyche as the primary source of nutrition. On one side, convenience and perception (or misperception) dominate, on the other, good old fashioned profit dominates.

Both reasons are acceptable and I, of course, do not pass judgment, but simply make this observation for your consideration.

We’ve discovered in the last couple of decades that the longest living people on the planet have that distinction because they consume nutritious foods, live active lives, and share a strong sense of community.

To Your Health and Wellness,

Steven

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Cholesterol: The Hero of Brain Health!

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A Summary Look At ‘Grain Brain’ by Dr. David Perlmutter – – part 2 (All quoted material is from his work)

Cholesterol, for as long as I can remember, has been villainized. It has been indicted to such a degree that it has been recommended by the medical establishment that all Seniors, even without excessive cholesterol, should be drugged with Statins to guard against the potential of cholesterol complications! The ramifications of such a recommendation are mind-boggling; but hold that thought.

The reality is that cholesterol is a critical component of numerous important functions in the body. But its role in brain chemistry is particularly vital to appreciate, especially in light of this pervasive Statin controversy.

Function in the Brain

“Cholesterol is a critical brain nutrient essential for the function of neurons and it plays a fundamental role as a building block of the cell membrane.”

“Cholesterol is looked upon as an essential fuel for the neurons.”

Another misunderstood, yet indispensable element in brain health function, is commonly referred to as ‘bad cholesterol’. It is not actually a cholesterol molecule, however. The role of this low density lipoprotein is to transport cholesterol to the neurons. “When cholesterol levels are low, the brain simply doesn’t work well.”

The Cholesterol Component

“The brain holds only two percent of the body’s mass, but contains twenty five percent of the total cholesterol, which supports brain function and development. One fifth of the brain, by weight, is cholesterol.”

“We’ve actually determined that the ability to grow new synapses in the brain depends on the availability of cholesterol.”

“Cholesterol in the brain serves as a powerful antioxidant.” Because deterioration of the brain is, in part, a function of inflammation–an oxidative process– this antioxidant characteristic adds to its importance in brain health!

The Heart Disease Connection

You’re wondering, now, about its role in coronary artery disease, right? This quote summarizes the data and studies presented in the book–a fascinating historical look, as well, regarding how we came to accept dietary guidelines so popular today.

“Reviews of multiple large studies have routinely failed to find correlation between cholesterol levels and heart disease.”

According to Dr. Perlmutter, this phenomenon has more to do with oxidized LDL; a result of sugar molecules attaching themselves to and changing the shape of these life-giving transporters. Consumption of carbohydrates is directly related to the levels of sugar in the blood. Get the connection?

Back to Statins

This point will be briefly made, but it is a monumental one: Statins work by decreasing the output of cholesterol formed by the liver. Evidence suggests that Statins also effect the functioning of cholesterol in the brain, as well.

If you are taking Statins, I urge you to become as educated as possible about the issue. I am not qualified to dispute or corroborate the evidence presented by Dr. Perlmutter. My hope is that the scientific community, without bias, will move us forward to find the answers that truly are in our best interests.

To Your Health and Wellness,

Steven

The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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