Category Archives: Exercise

The Happy, Healthy Holiday Plate – Tufts

It’s possible to make healthy choices and still enjoy the holidays. Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter has some useful suggestions.

Celebrations often lead to overindulgence, unhealthy choices, and unwanted weight gain. Here are some tips for keeping holiday meals happy and healthy:

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Make new traditions…and update the old: Many holiday dishes are high in added sugars or salt. Consider making new traditions: try roasted string beans with slivered almonds in place of creamy string bean casserole, for example. Or look for recipes that substitute ingredients to “lighten” traditional dishes. Continue reading

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Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, holiday eating, holiday weight gain, overeating, portion control, portion size

Exercise and heart-healthy diet may slow memory problems developing

Cognitive impairment without dementia (CIND), or mild cognitive impairment, is a condition that affects your memory and may put you at risk for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. According to the U.S. National Library for Medicine, signs of mild cognitive impairment may include frequently losing things, forgetting to go to events and appointments, and having more trouble coming up with words than other people of your age.

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My go-to exercise is biking. My dog comes along when the weather is willing. At 79, everything seems to be working …

Some experts believe that risk factors for heart disease also are risk factors for dementia and late-life cognitive decline and dementia. Recently, researchers examined two potential ways to slow the development of CIND based on what we know about preventing heart disease. They published the results of their study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, aging brain, cognition, cognitive decline, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, successful aging

Walking improves vision – Study

As a big fan of walking I was thrilled to learn of this further benefit to the Cinderella of the exercise world. Walking leads to an increase of peripheral visual input, according to a study from the University of Wurzburg.

How do we perceive our environment? What is the influence of sensory stimuli on the peripheral nervous system and what on the brain? Science has an interest in this question for many reasons. In the long term, insights from this research could contribute to a better understanding of diseases such as ADHD and Parkinson’s disease.

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The topography of the EEG response (l) and its localization in the brain (r) show visual sensory processing during the walking conditions slow and normal – green and red, and standing – black. The image is credited to Barbara Händel.

Perception and the underlying neuronal activities are usually measured while subjects are sitting or lying, for example while doing magnetic resonance imaging. As a rule, the head is fixed and people are encouraged not to blink. The measurements therefore take place under well-controlled but rather unnatural conditions. Continue reading

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Filed under Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, Uncategorized, vision, walking

Improved fitness can mean living longer without dementia – Study

“It is important to say that it is never too late to begin exercising. The average participant in our study was around 60 years old at baseline, and improvement in cardio-respiratory fitness was strongly linked to lower dementia risk. Those who had poor fitness in the 1980s but improved it within the next decade could expect to live two years longer without dementia,” says Atefe Tari of the Cardiac Exercise Research Group (CERG) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

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Tari is lead author of a new study that was recently published in Lancet Public Health, a highly ranked journal in the prestigious Lancet family.

“Persistently low fitness is an independent risk factor for dementia and death due to dementia,” the authors concluded. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, aging brain, cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, exercise frequency, successful aging

Some tips for biking (or any exercise) in cold weather …

“The hawk is back.” That’s what we Chicagoans say when temperatures turn cold here. I woke up to 20F degrees the other morning. The second week in November is a bit early for such temps, but if you want to ride your bike, you deal with it. By the way, when temps fall to sub zero, the expression here is, “The hawk is back … and he brought his whole damn family.”

So, winter seems to have come early to Chicago.

Whether you ride a bike or not, I think you will find some useful info here.

From the Toronto Star

The Wall Street Journal a while back had a cleverly written item on Your Outdoor Sports Survival Guide, by Jason Gay. He aptly describes “the maniacal joy of Survival Season,” and observes “Nobody looks suave playing sports in the freezing cold. If you are doing it correctly, you look a little unhinged and suspicious. Are you going to play golf…or rob the Bank of Alaska?”
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Filed under cold season, cold weather, cold weather biking, cold weather exercising, Exercise, exercise benefits, good health

Thinking about shoveling snow …

It is for many of us the onset of snow shoveling season. If you are a reader on the East Coast, where the El Nino blizzard hit a while back, please be aware that in terms of your body shoveling snow is not a totally innocent activity.

While I strongly support calorie burning exercises to build up your cardiovascular system and other benefits, it is important to know your limits. If you are not currently working out or don’t consider yourself to be “in condition,” please think twice before you grab that snow shovel and race out to clear the walk.

The American Journal of Emergency Medicine reported that more than 195,000 people were treated in U.S. Emergency Rooms for snow-shovel-related incidents from 1990 to 2006. This is an average of 11,500 individuals per year. Keep in mind that this information only covers folks who actually went to the ER for treatment. Plenty more stayed home and nursed their wounds ….

About 2/3 of these incidents occurred among males. Children younger than 18 made up 15.3% of the cases. Older adults (above 55 years) accounted for more than 20%.
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Fitter adults have more fit brains – Study

I have posted numerous times on exercise benefiting the brain as much as the body. But, I have been primarily interested in preserving brain function into our senior years. Here is fresh information immediate brain benefits from physical exercise for all ages.

In a large study, German scientists have shown that physical fitness is associated with better brain structure and brain functioning in young adults. This opens the possibility that increasing fitness levels may lead to improved cognitive ability, such as memory and problem solving, as well as improved structural changes in the brain. This work is presented for the first time at the ECNP Congress in Copenhagen, with simultaneous publication in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports.

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Scientists have previously shown that “exercise is good for the brain,” but most studies have not controlled for underlying causes which might give distorted results, such as body weight, blood glucose levels, education status, age and other factors, making it difficult to take an overall view of the benefits. In addition, studies have rarely looked at fitness in relations to both brain structure and mental functioning.

The scientists used a publicly available database of 1206 MRI brain scans from the Human Connectome Project, which had been contributed by volunteers who wanted to contribute to scientific research. The volunteers (average age 30 years old) underwent some additional testing. The first test was a “two-minute walking test”, where each person was asked to walk as fast as possible for 2 minutes and the distance was then measured. The volunteers then underwent a series of cognitive tests***, to measure such things as memory, sharpness, judgement, and reasoning.

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Lifestyle changes can help maintain cognitive health – Rush

A recent two-year clinical trial in Finland (the FINGER Study) reported that a combination of physical activity, nutritional guidance, cognitive training, social activities and management of heart health risk factors protected cognition in healthy older adults who were identified as being at increased risk of cognitive decline. Currently no pharmacological treatments are available that rival this effect.

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“There is an urgent need to expand this work to test the generalizability, adaptability and sustainability of the FINGER study’s findings in geographically and culturally diverse populations in the U.S. and across the globe,” Morris said. “While there is no proven cure or prevention for dementia, current research shows that combining healthy lifestyle factors may counteract risk and help stave off dementia.” Continue reading

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Filed under aging, aging brain, cognition, cognitive decline, Exercise, exercise benefits, successful aging

Exercise helps heart patients – Study

Ear less; move more; live longer. Works like a charm

Generally, exercise is considered good for you. However, physicians and medical doctors previously prescribed bed rest to people with heart failure, fearing exercise could potentially lead to additional health problems.

man running on ice covered land

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Now, research from the University of Missouri has found exercise can improve the health of blood vessels in the heart for people with heart failure. The finding is based on a study looking at swine, which have very similar blood vessels and heart muscles – both structurally and functionally – as humans. Continue reading

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Filed under coronary heart disease, Exercise, exercise benefits, exercise myths, heart disease, heart problems

Two more cool water bottles …

Having just written about The coolest water bottle ever, in fairness to my other cool water bottles, I thought I should mention them, too. They are really neat, too and make my bike rides as enjoyable as possible. For the mathematically keen, yes, that comes to a total of three water bottles. And, yes, my bike only has two cages for water bottles. Stay tuned, there is an explanation.

The first is my bottle from the Eddie Bauer store for outdoor activities.IMG_8232.jpeg

This is my bottle for riding in summer heat. As you can see, besides the drinking spout  there is a nozzle at the top and also a ‘trigger-like’ mechanism that, in fact, functions as a trigger. This allows me to spray my face with a cool mist during summer rides. The bottle boasts a wide mouth so, I have no trouble putting in ice cubes to keep the water temp down. Also, it is well-constructed with an ‘inner bottle’ which means the ice cubes stay solid a long time. Continue reading

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Filed under biking, Exercise, exercise benefits, hydration, water, water bottle

Exercise May Lower Cancer Risk, Improve Outcomes – NIH

Eat less; move more; live longer. Where have I heard that before? Nice to see the National Institutes of Health adding this aspect of positive results from exercise.

Exercise can work wonders for your health, including strengthening muscles and bones, and boosting metabolism, mood, and memory skills. Now comes word that staying active may also help to lower your odds of developing cancer.

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After reviewing the scientific evidence, a panel of experts recently concluded that physical activity is associated with reduced risks for seven common types of cancer: colon, breast, kidney, endometrial, bladder, stomach, and esophageal adenocarcinoma. What’s more, the experts found that exercise—both before and after a cancer diagnosis—was linked to improved survival among people with breast, colorectal, or prostate cancers. Continue reading

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Frailty: Rising global health burden for an aging society

Eat less; move more; live longer. Also, if you keep moving and using those muscles,  you will reduce your chances of suffering from frailty as you age.

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Despite the evidence on risk factors for frailty, and the substantial progress that has been made in frailty awareness, the biological mechanisms underlying its development are still far from understood and translation from research to clinical practice remains a challenge, according to a new series on Frailty just published by The Lancet. Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH, dean of Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and DeLamar Professor of Public Health Practice, and Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine, was part of an international group of experts who contributed to the series of papers which provide an up-to-date clinical overview on preventing, identifying and managing frailty as well as its global impact and burden. The series also offers evidence-based interventions for individuals with frailty. The findings are published online.

In the paper on Clinical Practice and Public Health, Fried, a renowned gerontologist and expert on aging, highlights two emerging lines of life course evidence on frailty. First, Fried and colleagues make the point that the risk of adverse outcomes can be predicted. Secondly, there is a clinical syndrome of frailty which is an outcome of biologic aging, although risk levels are substantially higher among those with certain diagnoses and comorbidities. She also notes that while great strides have been made in understanding frailty in the past two decades, many gaps in knowledge remain: no universal consensus exists on the definition of frailty or its assessment, and more robust, high-quality trials of strategies to prevent and manage frailty are needed.

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The coolest water bottle ever …

This post will not help you to exercise more, lose weight or live longer.  However, it may pique your interest. I just found this great water bottle for my bike ( or any other travels ) and I wanted to share the details with you.

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As you can read I got it at Starbucks in Las Vegas. I was staying at Caesars Palace. Just got back and may get around to posting the trip details later. For now, what happened in Las Vegas stays there.

Right now – the water bottle. As  you can see it has cheery free form designs that may be construed as suggestive of gambling in the form of spades, clubs and hearts … or not. I do think they look delightful. The material is some kind of composite, very light weight and also insulated. Ice cubes stay firm and the drink cool for the longest ride.

But, besides its lovely visual appeal, I considered its construction to be ingenious. Check out the next picture. IMG_8118.jpeg

The top unscrews to reveal a wide mouth suitable for loading in ice cubes. For me that is a sine qua non for water bottles. As you can see the top also converts to a charming little cup with a finger hole if you feel like drinking that way. Personally, I just tilt it back and drink out of the bottle like it was a big glass – yet another cool option. But wait, there is more ….

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Next, if you are so inclined, you can unscrew the top and just drink out of it like a regular water bottle. Tell me that is not cool!

Last, but not least, is the handy orange acrylic ring that doubles as a carry ring if you don’t happen to be using it on your bike which has a bottle holder.

If you find yourself falling in love with it, you might find one at your Starbucks.

Tony

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Filed under Exercise, hydration, Las Vegas, Uncategorized, water, water bottle

My ticket to ride …

I am reblogging this item that I posted last year on the anniversary of my retirement. Today marks the 19th year since then.

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One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

I am thrilled to report that today marks the 18th anniversary of my retirement. On October 2 of 2000, I bade the financial world adieu and started my life as a guy who didn’t have to get up for work every morning.

I got my first job at the age of 10 sweeping the floor of a dry cleaner and continued to work till I reached 60. Although my degree is in Finance, I went into the publishing world writing and editing. I liked markets, but always knew I would write. I wrote and practiced journalism for most of my career, spending 20 years working for Reuters covering markets and then teaching journalism at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University for several years. Because I had written about markets for 30 years, my boss at a major philanthropy asked me if I would like to manage some money…

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It is possible to train too hard – Study

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Harvard on resuming bike riding

I know that we are late in September and a lot of folks will be putting away their bikes ‘for the season.’ I ride year ’round here in Chicago and enjoy it. If you are one of those who haven’t ridden in a while and would like to take up a super form of exercise, I hope you will consider cycling. There are still a few good weeks left before the cold sets in. You can get started now.

The Harvard Health Publications has a nice positive blog post on starting cycling again presumably as a senior.

Heidi Godman, Executive Editor of the Harvard Health Letter, states that she loved riding as a kid, but now only rides occasionally.

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“It’s fun, it’s socially oriented, and it gets you outside and exercising,” says Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Plus, cycling is an aerobic activity, it’s easy on the joints, and it helps build muscle and bone. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, biking, Exercise, exercise benefits, Harvard Health Publications, safe biking, successful aging