Exercising Is Like Saving For Retirement

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We all hope to have what we need when get older. The primary focus for most is money. It is, of course, the power to get the necessities and luxuries. And while having lots of money certainly gives you more choices regarding cures and treatments, in the end, it’s not a substitute for good health.

But in a way, it’s good to have a similar mindset regarding both: setting aside reserves for the future benefits fiscally and physically.

But how does exercising now effect my future health?

I’m glad you asked!

Like saving money, having reserves on hand makes sense. In the case of your body, aging changes organ capabilities resulting in diminishing capacities. For instance, as your bones lose mass, their capacity of bearing weight and withstanding trauma is compromised. As you grow older, the amount of oxygen that the alveoli can transfer from the blood diminishes as the proportion of dead space in the lungs increases. This is taking place at the molecular level and is inevitable. In addition, the act of breathing itself is a function of the muscles and bones of the breathing apparatus moving in concert to accomplish the flow of air into and out of the lungs. As these muscles and bones lose strength and flexibility, the amount of air that is processed declines.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2695176/

You can think of other bodily functions that suffer from diminishing capacities as aging progresses, but let’s focus on these two as we develop our simile.

Fact: You can increase the density of your bones by stressing them. A German surgeon, Julius Wolff, gave us this insight in the 19th century. The opposite, he noted, is also true; that lack of stress causes atrophy.

See the connection to saving for the future?

Knowing that aging brings bone loss naturally, if you enter your Senior years with stronger bones to begin with, the effects of diminishing capacity will be less catastrophic. There is no better activity for building bone mass than resistance exercising. In addition, you can certainly slow the effects of aging by continuing your healthy habits.

In the same way, your ability to effectively process oxygen – – your aerobic capacity, can be increased through consistent aerobic exercise. Here again, aging takes a toll which can be mitigated by increasing your capacities before and during Seniorhood.

There are numerous other benefits to exercising that make it absolutely your smartest investment, both short and long term!

Whatever your conclusion from the above, it’s never too late to start, but of course, sooner is always better than later!

Go Do It Now,

Steven

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More on Shoulder Pain: Battling the Bursae

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(Illustration from Essential Medical 3 app for Android)

In the news today is the following article discussing the treatment of shoulder pain using steroids versus physical therapy:

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/08/05/study-steroid-injections-and-physical-therapy-equal-for-treating-shoulder-pain/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+foxnews/health+(Internal+-+Health+-+Text)

I’m compelled to give you my feedback because I’ve been on a shoulder pain journey for a few years now. My recent article described the pain resulting from 6 weeks of weight training, but in reality, a few years ago the pain was so disabling and restrictive that I had one of the huge syringes of corticosteroids shot into the shoulder… so now it’s time to give you the rest of the story.

Frankly, I didn’t mention it before because it was a rather strange event, in that it was so intense that I was convinced that something was seriously wrong, and then, after about 4 months, it was perfectly fine.

Let me tell you why I now think that it was bursitis all along (and still is).

Why didn’t I proceed with treatment after the corticosteroid injection?

Flashback:

The doctor (Orthopedic Specialist) gave the initial exam and we discussed my limited range of motion and intense pain in the left shoulder. He explained that the injection he was giving me was corticosteroids and anti-inflammatories that would allow us to determine if the pain was simply a result of inflammation. After receiving the shot deep in my left shoulder, I was instructed to wait about 20 minutes while the medicine took effect. Upon returning, the doctor asked me about the degree of pain compared to twenty minutes prior. The pain was just as bad and so was the poor range of motion. It was the doctor’s expressed opinion that there was definitely something more going on than inflammation, and only an MRI could tell the story. I knew the necessity of an MRI before going in. Because it would be at my expense, I intended to shop the local market and find out the range of what was reasonable. At the checkout desk, one of the staff asked me if Monday was a good time for the MRI. I told her that I wanted to educate myself about the costs in the area first. She immediately replied that the imaging equipment that they used “had a better resolution than other facilities, and, therefore, the doctor would be able to make a better diagnosis.” It was my guess that the doctor was also in the imaging business, but either way, I rejected the hard close and decided never to go back there. (The other reason for making that decision was that I had to wait over an hour and a half to get in, and then, another 40 minutes in the patient room). I’m done with doctors who overbook with no respect for my time. When it comes time that I have no choice, of course I’ll wait.

After resting for 3 months, it disappeared.

Let’s learn about the bursa.

They are little sacs that are between muscle and bones that act as lubricating agents as muscles move across bones, ligaments, and tendons. They can become rough on the surface if over stressed, or can become inflamed by infection. When no longer smooth and slippery, the bursae become enlarged and quite painful with normal motion.

This is what was happening to me, and here is why I eliminated the prospect of a tear from my fears. I would get the same kind of pain in both shoulders; the weirdest one being on the top of my clavicle (collarbone) over my shoulder. You’ll notice #4 in the illustration above is a bursa located directly there.

Maybe I’m wrong about the diagnosis, but because these pains emanate from exactly where these bursae are located, I do believe it is ‘the battle of the bursae’.

They, of course, always win… that’s just part of getting old.

To Your Happy Bursae,

Steven

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When Did Proper Nutrition Become Cleansing?

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Learning about nutrition was fun for me because I’ve always been fascinated by the marvelous complexities of the human body. The nutrients we ingest through food are chemically disassembled during digestion, and then specifically reconstructed along the way to become part of us. What we don’t use is eliminated, and so it goes, every moment we are alive.

Knowing that nutrition and exercise go hand in hand, eating properly has been a personal value for quite some time.

Blenders and food have been a paired staple for a long time (as in Jack LaLanne), but I’m at a loss to pinpoint when this concept of ‘Cleansing’ became the marketing buzzword du jour.

When the food we ingest is broken down into its constituents in the process of digestion, what is it that is being cleansed?

It is a convenient concept to think that particular combinations of food possibilities blended mechanically can wash away years of internal neglect.

The reality is that you’ve always been able to mechanically alter food by mastication (be careful here), and that’s actually where the process of digestion begins.

I’ll definitely agree that blending nutritional but strange tasting ingredients may make them more palatable and might, therefore, give you different sources of nutrients.

Cleansing? I don’t think so. Marketing? Quite possibly… But do yourself a favor and become an educated consumer.

To Your Nutritional Health,

Steven

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For Balance, Bones, And Belonging– Tai Chi and Seniors Are Perfect Together!

Originally posted on The Senior Health and Fitness Blog:

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Many years ago, while experiencing the unique and beautiful city of San Francisco, I happened upon a sight that, to this day, brings a smile to my face.

It was about eight in the morning, on a foggy, cool Saturday. As I ambled along, turning a corner, I headed down a quaint, short street that angled into another. In the distance appeared, through the hovering mist, a large group of people in a small neighborhood park, all moving in perfectly synchronized slow motion. As I neared, the grayed hair and wrinkled faces came into focus. I was captivated by the beauty of the flowing motion of these unusually agile seniors as they practiced their Tai Chi.

This I have never forgotten.

These are some of the benefits they experienced on that still and tranquil Saturday morning.

Hip Strengthening and Development     It may be difficult for you to see…

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Over-Extending On Heavy Lifting: Wrong Technique, Wrong Results.

One of the ideas that I developed in my years of training focused on extending a little extra at the end of an exercise. For example, in a seated lat pull down, I would use the weight at the end of the rep (arms fully straight over head) to stretch as much as I could. My thinking was to fully involve the tendons and ligaments as much as possible and expand the safe range of motion.

Here’s where I think that I may have created my own problem regarding the ‘clicking and popping’ discussed in the previous post. Visualize this… When doing the bent over dumbbell row (knee on bench, using opposite arm to pull weight to chest), I allowed the arm to fully straighten at the bottom and slightly dropped the shoulder. When pulling the weight up, especially max weight, the shoulder was extremely stressed. The starting position, I’m thinking now, should have been with a slight bend in the elbow and not dipping the shoulder toward the floor to extend the stretch.

Every one of us who exercises seriously looks back at injuries and tries to figure out why. Obviously, we don’t want it to happen again, and it’s part of how we think when we can’t train.

Here’s another reason pointing me to the evidence regarding the issue of technique: still sore, but functional, I did a back routine last week including the same exercise and the same 3 rep max weight on the third set…but this time no over extending on the downstroke. The following rest days proved to be less popping and clicking.

The complicating problem here is, that with aging and use, things just wear out. I am convinced, however, that the overemphasis on extending the range of motion on heavier sets was counterproductive.

Train Safely,

Steven

Clicking, Popping, and Pain: Sidelined By Shoulder Pain

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You may have noticed a silent period. My shoulder pain has sidelined me at the time of my best gains.

For those of you reading this who are also grimacing with every move of the shoulder joint, read the excellent information posted here by Dr. Howard Luks, to gain an insight:

http://www.howardluksmd.com/shoulder-faq/my-shoulder-snaps-and-pops-and-i-hear-clicking-why/

Clicking, popping, and pain–for three weeks now; that’s me. Obviously, rest is the order of the day… or even weeks, perhaps. Those of you with the fitness mindset understand my frustration. As usual, let me share a few observations, so that you can compare your own experiences and solutions, and perhaps share them for our benefit–especially if you’ve followed through with treatment.

Observations:

The pain was not a result of a sudden trauma. As you see in the accompanying article, it can simply be worn out parts.

Having had a bad experience with Ibuprofen, I avoid anti-inflammatory medications:

https://theseniorhealthandfitnessblog.com/2014/03/24/believe-the-warning-labels-my-near-death-experience-with-ibuprofen/

My gameplan for now is to completely switch gears toward ‘light and lean’ again. I had no popping and clicking issues until this last five week emphasis on poundage.

If the pain persists, of course I’ll have further tests.

I’d wave ‘Goodbye’ but it hurts,

Steven

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

Cellucor: Maximum Effort, More Sets

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I’ve never been one for pre-workout supplements before, but while shopping for my creatine on Amazon, they directed me to an item which they thought would be of interest.

They were right.

After reading the reviews of others (always a useful information source for me on Amazon), I added it to my cart and placed the order.

It’s Thursday before the 4th of July. Knowing that I won’t be able to train again until Monday, I decided to try my C4 on a full body routine but with the same number of sets as if split over two days. This is the first trial with the supplement.

It’s my day off, and we had out of town guests last night, so I slept in till 9:30. Breakfast was light–a couple of eggs, toast, coffee and an orange. The directions on the C4 suggest not having caffeine in addition to the shake. I’m a morning coffee guy and not prone to taking directions seriously.

A number of users on Amazon wrote that the effects of C4 (tingling in the hands and energy surge, among others) kicked in within 5-10 minutes, while the directions said about 30. For me, the directions were correct. Drinking it on the way to the gym, I arrived in 15 minutes, and 15 minutes later I felt an overall surge of energy. Nothing dramatic, but it was there.

My workout was strong for the first hour. Normally I am done in an hour, being spent and pumped, but feeling good–you know what I’m talking about. But today I was only half done after an hour. I still had back, legs, and shoulders to do.

It got done… with satisfying intensity.

Observations:

I’m impressed.

Right now, 2 hours after the workout, I feel great. Listening to smooth jazz as I write this, I would describe it as mellow.

I have no connection to any of the products I discuss.

There are warnings on the label, so I guess I should advise you to use at your own risk to cover the legal angle of liability of recommending this product.

Having said that, I recommend it.

To Your Health and Fitness,

Steven

See what I’ve created just for you…hit the Pinterest Bar below to to see today’s breaking Senior Health News Updates …Your only source for senior health news in one place! In between blogs, this is where you’ll find me: bringing it to you! Try it with your morning coffee.

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