Category Archives: Fitness & Exercise

Elderly people who exercise live five years longer

relay3Regular exercise in old age has as powerful an effect on life expectancy as giving up smoking, researchers say.

The analysis of 5,700 elderly men in Norway showed those doing three hours of exercise a week lived around five years longer than the sedentary.

The authors, writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, called for campaigns to encourage fitness in older people.

In the study – conducted by Oslo University Hospital – researchers found that both light and vigorous exercise extended life expectancy.

Official advice in the USA and UK recommends 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per week for all ages.

The study, tracking 68 to 77 year olds, found that doing less than an hour a week of light exercise had no impact.

But overall those putting in the equivalent of six, 30-minute sessions of any intensity, were 40% less likely to have died during the 11-year study.

The report said: “Even when men were 73 years of age on average at start of follow-up, active persons had five years longer expected lifetime than the sedentary.”

It added that physical activity was as “beneficial as smoking cessation” at reducing deaths.

familyjoggingThe British Heart Foundation published a report showing that the percentage of adults doing no moderate exercise across Europe is:

  • 69% in Portugal
  • 55% in Poland
  • 46% in France
  • 44% in the UK
  • 34% in Croatia
  • 26% in Germany
  • 14% in the Netherlands

Here in the USA, we are worst of all: surveys show that a full 79% of adults don’t meet the physical activity guidelines of at least 2½ hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking, or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, such as jogging.

Regular physical activity has been shown to lower the risk of early death, help control weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and some types of cancer and a host of other conditions. It lowers the risk of cognitive decline and hip fractures. That’s pretty compelling!

Other research indicates that people are even less active than these statistics suggest. Scientists with the National Cancer Institute, using actual motion sensors, found that fewer than 5% of adults in the USA get at least 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity physical activity in bouts of at least 10 minutes. That’s not a lot!

If you are like me, over 65, this information can extend your life. If you are younger but having older parents, please pass this on to them with the encouragement that you want them around longer! Finally, whatever your age, know that exercise is vital for wellbeing, optimum health and longevity. The younger you get in the habit, the more likely you are to continue exercising into old age.

So, (if you aren’t already) START NOW! Your life depends on it!

#OneSimpleChange – physical activity.


30 minute upper body workout

This is one even I could do (and need to!) – even though I much prefer being outdoors.

Some fitness fads come and go, but others, like yoga or Pilates, aren’t going away anytime soon. Another trend that’s definitely here to stay? High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, which involves short bouts of extreme effort alternated with periods of rest. “HIIT workouts are quick and dirty, never lasting more than 30 minutes including a warm-up and short cool-down,” explains Gina Harney, certified personal trainer and creator of Fitnessista.com. “You’re working as hard as possible for a short amount of time and then reaping the rewards throughout the day.”

Workout_Instructional_V2
Read the full article…

Staying fit as you age keeps you young

cyclist-bike-2We often hear that nothing stops the physical decline of aging. But research consistently demonstrates otherwise.

Research published in 2011 in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, exercise reduced or eliminated almost every detrimental effect of aging in mice that had been genetically programmed to grow old at an accelerated pace.

Brand new research out this week has found that highly active older adults are fitter than previously thought … and younger.

In a new study, published this week in The Journal of Physiology, scientists at King’s College London and the University of Birmingham in England decided to use a different approach, not least that they tested humans instead of mice.

They removed inactivity as a factor in their study of aging by looking at the health of older people who move quite a bit.

Scientists recruited men and women between 55 and 79 who were serious recreational riders but not competitive athletes. The scientists then ran each volunteer through a large array of physical and cognitive tests. The scientists determined each cyclist’s endurance capacity, muscular mass and strength, pedaling power, metabolic health, balance, memory function, bone density and reflexes.

In comparison to their younger counterparts, these active older adults performed far beyond expectations. On almost all measures, their physical functioning remained fairly stable across the decades and was much closer to that of young adults than of people their age. As a group, even the oldest cyclists had younger people’s levels of balance, reflexes, metabolic health and memory ability.

Only muscular power, muscular mass, and aerobic endurance succumbed to the ravages of time. If you gave this dataset to a clinician and asked him to predict the age of one of the cyclists based on his or her test results, it would be impossible. On paper, they all look young. The numbers suggest that aging is simply different in the active.

Read the full article… 

Exercise Not Only Treats, But Prevents Depression

depression-and-exercisePsychologists have touted for decades that exercise can go a long way in treating depression. Dr. James A. Blumenthal, a professor of medical psychology at Duke University, led a recent study in which he and his team discovered that, among the 202 depressed people randomly assigned to various treatments, three sessions of vigorous aerobic exercise were approximately as effective at treating depression as daily doses of Zoloft, when the treatment effects were measured after four months.

A separate study showed that the depressives who improved with exercise were less likely to relapse after 10 months than those treated successfully with antidepressants, and the participants who continued to exercise beyond four months were half as likely to relapse months later compared to those who did not exercise.

Even as little as 20 minutes a week of physical activity can boost mental health. In a new Scottish study, reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, 20,000 people were asked about their state of mind and how much physical activity they do in a week. The results showed that the more physical activity a person engaged in—including housework, gardening, walking, and sports–the lower their risk of distress and anxiety.

But now PhD candidate George Mammen’s review published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has taken the connection one step further, finding that moderate exercise can actually prevent episodes of depression in the long term.

This is the first longitudinal review to focus exclusively on the role that exercise plays in maintaining good mental health and preventing the onset of depression later in life.

Mammen—who is supervised by Professor Guy Faulkner, a co-author of the review— analyzed over 26 years’ worth of research findings to discover that even low levels of physical activity (walking and gardening for 20-30 minutes a day) can ward off depression in people of all age groups.

Mammen’s findings come at a time when mental health experts want to expand their approach beyond treating depression with costly prescription medication. “We need a prevention strategy now more than ever,” he says. “Our health system is taxed. We need to shift focus and look for ways to fend off depression from the start.”

Mammen acknowledges that other factors influence a person’s likelihood of experiencing depression, including their genetic makeup. But he says that the scope of research he assessed demonstrates that regardless of individual predispositions, there’s a clear take-away for everyone. “It’s definitely worth taking note that if you’re currently active, you should sustain it.  If you’re not physically active, you should initiate the habit. This review shows promising evidence that the impact of being active goes far beyond the physical.”

Workplace Wellness

Today’s is a guest post by Chandler Stevens.

There’s More To It Than Spin Class

The Data Are Clear

In this day and age you simply can’t do without a workplace wellness program in your business, large or small.

A healthy team is a productive—and economical—team. Conservative estimates place the ROI on wellness programs at just shy of $3 per dollar spent. Some programs bring up to 600% return on dollars spent. The benefits extend far beyond the financial. Healthy people are happy people, and a strong wellness program in the workplace can boost morale and keep your team motivated.

Workplace wellness is a no-brainer. This is your team, your tribe. It pays to treat them well. We all know that golden rule, right?

The Basics

If you have yet to implement in your business, you may be wondering: what goes into an effective wellness program? The most common components are:

-preliminary screening to identify risks

-interventions to address the screens

-promotional activities to facilitate healthy decisions

Most programs these days also add in group fitness or reduced-rate personal training for employees. Not rocket science, right? We simply test & retest, adjusting course as needed. Yet if it were this easy, every company would be implementing this on some level, right? What’s holding us back? By and large it has to do with…

Motivation

Many employers feel that despite the mountains of evidence, their business will be the ONE exception to tremendous returns. I understand. The most common fear is that employees simply won’t take advantage of the program’s benefits. I’d posit that this is more a matter of how we motivate (or fail to motivate) our team. The motivation to engage in these programs can’t be based on carrots and sticks (I encourage every leader to read more on the subject here). Motivation to participate must be internal. Our role as facilitators is to tap into this internal motivation, demonstrating wellness as way to grow as individuals and an organization.

Next Steps

If your group has no program in place, what are you waiting for! Go out, get healthy, and grow as a team. If you have one, evaluate its efficacy. Test, retest, and stay hungry for improvement.

Chandler Stevens MCT, FMS is passionate about the transformative power of movement: physically, emotionally, and socially. 

He works with private clients and organizations, helping them move better, get stronger, and be better humans.

Find him online at www.chandlerstevens.com

Running too hard? Light jogging linked with living longer

090328-running-jogging-02

That’s the title of several articles  that gleefully report the findings of a study from Denmark, which “suggests that a light jog a few times a week may help you live longer, whereas running too hard may have drawbacks.”

Researchers analyzed information from about 1,000 healthy joggers ages 20 to 86, and about 400 people who were healthy, but did not jog, and were mostly sedentary.

The analysis showed that light joggers were about 78 percent less likely to die over the 12-year study than those who were sedentary. “Light joggers” were defined as those who ran at a speed of about 5 mph (8 km/h) a few times a week, for less than 2.5 hours per week total. [7 Common Exercise Errors and How to Fix Them]

In contrast, those who jogged strenuously were just as likely to die during the study period as those who were sedentary, according to the research published Feb. 2 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Strenuous joggers were defined as those who ran at a speed of more than 7 mph (11 km/h), for more than four hours per week.

The finding “suggests there may be an upper limit for exercise dosing that is optimal for health benefits,” study co-author Dr. Peter Schnohr, of the Copenhagen City Heart Study and Frederiksberg Hospital in Denmark, said in a statement. “If your goal is to decrease risk of death and improve life expectancy, jogging a few times a week at a moderate pace is a good strategy. Anything more is not just unnecessary, it may be harmful.”

Dr. Karol Watson, co-director of preventive cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, agreed, and said that many previous studies have produced similar findings: A moderate amount of jogging is linked with the best outcomes in terms of a longer life span, but when people run too far for too long, the health benefits start to drop off.

“[Humans] weren’t meant to do mountain biking or marathon running every day … and you don’t have to” to live longer, said Watson, who was not involved in the study.

Being a marathon runner is still likely going to be good for heart health overall, but those runners should be aware that there is a slight increase in mortality over a given period for extreme runners compared to moderate runners, Watson said.

Other experts stress that more research is needed to determine whether there really is an upper limit on how much exercise is good for you.

“The goal is not to unnecessarily frighten people who wish to participate in more-strenuous exercise,” Duck-chul Lee, of Iowa State University’s Department of Kinesiology, and colleagues, wrote in an editorial accompanying the study in the journal. Although most research suggests that, beyond a certain point, more physical activity is not necessarily better, “we still need more data to truly determine ‘is more actually worse?'” they said.

The authors of the editorial also noted that in the new study, the “strenuous” jogging group included only 40 people, while the other groups included hundreds. If the study had included more people who jogged strenuously, the researchers may have found a link between strenuous jogging and a decreased risk of dying during the study, the editorial authors said. Also, the study relied on participants’ own reports of how much they run, which may not have been entirely accurate.

The study’s authors offered a possible explanation for the negative effects linked to strenuous exercise in the results. It could be that long-term, strenuousendurance exercise has harmful effects on the heart, the researchers said. Some studies of marathon runners have found that these athletes have a higher rate of heart scarring than people who don’t run marathons.

The study also adds to a growing body of evidence that has shown that evensmall amounts of exercise can have health benefits. In the study, people who jogged less than one hour a week were less likely to die than those who didn’t jog at all.

The best outcomes in the study were associated with running between 1 and 2.4 hours per week, with no more than three days of running per week, at an average or slow pace. “Many adults will perceive this to be a goal that is practical, achievable and sustainable,” the researchers said.

Original article… 

Even Exercising Can’t Combat Sitting At Your Desk All Day Long

Eating a healthy diet and exercising may not be enough to ward off disease if you spend most of your day sitting in a chair. This is a disheartening conclusion from a study published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

In a review of 47 studies, Toronto researchers pored over exercise data, sedentary time, and rates of disease and death, and found a clear correlation between the the amount of time spent sitting and ailments such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. It did not matter if the subject was a regular exerciser or not!

Does this mean you should stop exercising? Of course not.

What you should do is stop sitting for long stretches of time without getting up to move about. If you work in an office, try to find 5 minutes every hour to get up out of your chair and move about.

This is one reason the stand-up desk has been trending of late. If you follow that trend here are some tips:

No Whey, Man. I’ll Pass on the Protein Powder

This article is by guest author Robert Cheeke, bestselling author of Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness, and author of the new book, Shred It!

For the past fifteen years, I have been closely involved with the bodybuilding industry. I have an intimate understanding of how the industry operates. In a nutshell, it is sustained by the supplement companies that sponsor the athletes who represent them. This in turn inspires fans who admire the athletes to purchase the products they represent, thus creating a cycle that drives record sales and profits, all the while potentially harming the health of many involved in the industry later on down the line.

Two of my favorite professional bodybuilders, Nasser El Sonbaty and Mike Matarazzo, recently died in their forties, likely from diet-related health issues. In all probability, their deaths were a result of too much protein consumption, coupled with the use of performance enhancing substances day after day until their organs failed. Now they’re gone. This is not a rare occurrence in bodybuilding. Though bodybuilders exercise more than the average person, the rate of bodybuilders suffering from diet-related health problems is often more common than the general American public falling ill to diet-related diseases. Clearly, there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

If there is one thing in the sport of bodybuilding that is as common as weight training, it is the use of supplements. No supplement is more widely consumed than protein powder. The powders of choice among mainstream bodybuilders are whey and casein, which are proteins derived from cow’s milk. In fact, these are the substances of choice for most protein powder consumers worldwide.

Athletes from all walks of life embrace the consumption of excess protein under the assumption that more is better. Many companies (and entire industries) have gone to great lengths to convince the public that they need to seek out high protein foods and consume as much protein as possible, without any consideration of the health consequences that accompany excess consumption. The focus on consuming large amounts of protein is so engrained in our culture, there are often warnings given out by friends and relatives of those following a plant-based diet that protein will be hard to come by without consuming animal products. That is another way protein supplements squeeze their way into the diets of citizens everywhere, through the unwarranted fear that we won’t get enough of this specific nutrient, suggesting whey and casein as plausible aids in this quest.

Years ago, I learned from Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s book, written with his son, Dr. Thomas Campbell, The China Study, that casein has the ability to turn on and turn off cancer growth simply by adjusting the level of intake of that protein. This was determined through years of clinical trials, experiments, and tests, which yielded these results, and are outlined in detail in Dr. Campbell’s research. His findings show that when casein is consumed in large quantities, cancer cells increase in size, and when there is a cessation in consumption of casein, cancer tumor cells recede. I later learned that elevated levels of protein can also cause kidney damage, liver problems, kidney stones, excess fat gain, contribute to the damaging of the lining of artery walls, lead to plaque build up in arteries, result in lethargy, diminish bone density, and cause a host of other health problems. If this is truly the case, as it has been revealed by Dr. Campbell and numerous other world renowned experts who came to the same conclusions through experimentation, observation, and scientific research, why are these products consumed at such high levels? With their direct correlations to increased risk of disease, why is casein, which has been linked to illnesses such as prostate cancer, more than any other protein, allowed to be sold in stores? Why are these products even produced? After all, who needs them, besides calves?

If we have special protein powders created from cow’s milk for human consumption, it would only make sense that it must be because our society sees a very high rate of protein deficiency. But, that isn’t the case at all. In fact, a protein deficiency is almost unheard of in America and only exists in someone who does not consume adequate calories. The reason this is so, is because of the macronutrient make-up of food. Food is only made up of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and water (and sometimes alcohol). Some level of protein is present in all foods, and in significant quantities in specific types of foods such as beans and other legumes, nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables, other vegetables and grains. The amount of protein required by the human body (5-10% of total calories per day) is relatively low in comparison to the other macronutrients. It is therefore impossible to be protein deficient when sufficient calories are consumed. This is how nature works. In reality, most people in developed countries, including those following a plant-based diet, eat too much protein, not the other way around. We clearly don’t have a health or nutritional need for whey or casein protein powders, so why are they here, why are they so popular, so common, and why is their use so infrequently questioned?

Part of the answer lies in the world of bodybuilding and the magazines, books, websites, athletes, and other individuals that feed the industry. The community that I have been part of for so long is a key factor in keeping these antiquated ideas about protein alive. It is therefore my (and others’) mission to effectively dispel these myths by showing a healthier way to support fitness goals without the use of any substances that came from a cow’s udder. As a semi-retired bodybuilder and current health and wellness advocate and multi-sport athlete, I endorse a whole-food, plant-based diet for optimal results, even when bodybuilding. I aim to put the desire for elevated levels of protein to rest by showing how a relatively low protein, whole-food, plant-based diet can support all athletic endeavors effectively and efficiently. I have achieved great results as a plant-based athlete for the past two decades, and have sought to lead by example.

If health is your goal, clearly, your answer to cow-based protein powders should be, “No whey, man.” Let’s put this into perspective. If you had to buy a clearly labeled animal-derived fat powder and carbohydrate powder at the same time of purchase as a whey or casein protein powder, would you proceed with the purchase? Or would it seem so silly to get your required macronutrients from canisters of animal by-products, the cashier at the store would raise an eyebrow and question your sanity? Consider these questions the next time you think about buying powders made from cow secretions for proper nutrition. How about eating something from a garden instead? Not only is it a much healthier choice, but fresh produce is a lot more appetizing, too.


Our all-plant-based drink mix, Juice Plus+ Complete, is perfect for all ‘athletes’ in the game of life!

Go to the Gym to Improve Your Memory

Here’s another reason why it’s a good idea to hit the gym: it can improve memory. A new Georgia Institute of Technology study shows that an intense workout of as little as 20 minutes can enhance episodic memory, also known as long-term memory for previous events, by about 10 percent in healthy young adults.

lisaweightsGeorgia Tech research isn’t the first to find that exercise can improve memory. But the study, which was just published in the journal Acta Psychologica, took a few new approaches. While many existing studies have demonstrated that months of aerobic exercises such as running can improve memory, the current study had participants lift weights just once two days before testing them. The Georgia Tech researchers also had participants study events just before the exercise rather than after workout. They did this because of extensive animal research suggesting that the period after learning (or consolidation) is when the arousal or stress caused by exercise is most likely to benefit memory.

The study began with everyone looking at a series of 90 photos on a computer screen. The images were evenly split between positive (i.e. kids on a waterslide), negative (mutilated bodies) and neutral (clocks) pictures. Participants weren’t asked to try and remember the photos. Everyone then sat at a leg extension resistance exercise machine. Half of them extended and contracted each leg at their personal maximum effort 50 times. The control group simply sat in the chair and allowed the machine and the experimenter to move their legs. Throughout the process, each participant’s blood pressure and heart rate were monitored. Every person also contributed saliva samples so the team could detect levels of neurotransmitter markers linked to stress.

The participants returned to the lab 48 hours later and saw a series of 180 pictures – the 90 originals were mixed in with 90 new photos. The control group recalled about 50 percent of the photos from the first session. Those who exercised remembered about 60 percent.

“Our study indicates that people don’t have to dedicate large amounts of time to give their brain a boost,” said Lisa Weinberg, the Georgia Tech graduate student who led the project.

Although the study used weight exercises, Weinberg notes that resistance activities such as squats or knee bends would likely produce the same results. In other words, exercises that don’t require the person to be in good enough to shape to bike, run or participate in prolonged aerobic exercises.

While all participants remembered the positive and negative images better than the neutral images, this pattern was greatest in the exercise participants, who showed the highest physiological responses. The team expected that result, as existing research on memory indicates that people are more likely to remember emotional experiences especially after acute (short-term) stress.

liftingweights_smallBut why does it work? Existing, non-Georgia Tech human research has linked memory enhancements to acute stress responses, usually from psychological stressors such as public speaking. Other studies have also tied specific hormonal and norepinephrine releases in rodent brains to better memory. Interestingly, the current study found that exercise participants had increased saliva measures of alpha amylase, a marker of central norepinephrine.

“Even without doing expensive MRI scans, our results give us an idea of what areas of the brain might be supporting these exercise-induced memory benefits,” said Audrey Duarte, an associate professor in the School of Psychology. ” The findings are encouraging because they are consistent with rodent literature that pinpoints exactly the parts of the brain that play a role in stress-induced memory benefits caused by exercise.”

The collaborative team of psychology and applied physiology faculty and students plans to expand the study in the future, now that the researchers know resistance exercise can enhance episodic memory in healthy young adults.

“We can now try to determine its applicability to other types of memories and the optimal type and amount of resistance exercise in various populations,” said Minoru Shinohara, an associate professor in the School of Applied Physiology. “This includes older adults and individuals with memory impairment.”

Read the complete article here. The watch my webinar on why great nutrition is vital the more you exercise.