Category Archives: Exercise

10 Brain-saving techniques – Alzheimer’s Association

As regular readers know, I am very sensitive to cognitive impairment, having lost three close family members to Alzheimer’s and dementia. So I was very happy to come across this list of recommendations for building up our mental muscles and reducing our chances of contracting Alzheimer’s from the Alzheimer’s Association.

dementia

“Research on cognitive decline is still evolving,” said Theresa Hocker, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association – North Central Texas Chapter. “But there are actions people can take. Certain healthy behaviors known to combat cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes also may reduce the risk of cognitive decline. These include staying mentally active, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a heart-healthy diet that benefits your body and your brain.”

1. Break a sweat. Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body. Several studies have found an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline.

2. Hit the books. Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. For example, take a class at a local college, community center or online.

3. Butt out. Evidence shows that smoking increases risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking can reduce that risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked. Continue reading

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Filed under aging brain, Alzheimer's disease, brain, brain exercise, brain function, cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits

Is Cycling Past 70 Different Than Cycling Past 50?

I wanted to reblog this because I ran it six years ago and it seems unlikely that a lot of you are familiar with it. Also, there are some great ideas inside. Enjoy!

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

I ran across this excellent discussion of senior cycling on RoadBikeRider.com. They have graciously permitted me to reprint it. See permission at end.

RBR Editor’s Note: Coach John Hughes copied me on a recent email exchange he had with Marty Hoganson, an RBR reader with whom he had ridden on tours in years gone by. Marty wondered what, if any, differences there are in terms of recovery, motivation, etc., between 50-somethings and 70-somethings. Both agreed to let me share the exchange with RBR readers. It provides a wealth of solid, useful information.

Marty Asked:
These days I live and ride in Yuma, Arizona. I am involved in our local bike club called Foothills Bicycle Club, which is primarily made up of retired folks – late-50s to mid-80s. Many strong riders in their 60s and 70s, for their ages — or any age, for that matter.

Now that I am older…

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Filed under aging, aging myths, biking, blood pressure, Exercise, exercise benefits, successful aging

Urban green space boosts mental health – Study

For the record, I pretty much live in downtown Chicago. I am a city guy and love the fact that I have access to everything a great city has to offer. Within a mile of my apartment, I have dozens of restaurants of every kind, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Public Library for starters. In the evening, there is the Chicago Symphony, the Lyric Opera and tons of smaller, but very professional theater groups. Those are some of the high points of living in a major metropolitan area. Nonetheless, despite this uber-urban environment, my favorite aspects of where I live are Lake Michigan over which I get sunrises every morning, along this lakefront lie a bike path stretching for miles. In addition, there is also the wonderful nature scene along the shore where rabbits, squirrels, ducks, geese and other wild life flourish. I carry nuts and seeds on the bike when I ride so I can feed the sparrows, ducks and squirrels.

I truly believe I have the best of both worlds – an urban environment as well as the beauty of nature – here.

body of water between green leaf trees

Photo by Ian Turnell on Pexels.com

So, I was very happy to read about how urban green space relates positively to mental health in a study from Australia. Continue reading

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Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, exercise outdoors, green space, nature, outdoors

Seniors Improve Brain Function by Raising Fitness Level – University of Kansas

Science Daily reported that a professor of neurology at KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center, led a six-month trial conducted with healthy adults ages 65 and older who showed no signs of cognitive decline.

The randomized controlled trial attempted to determine the ideal amount of exercise necessary to achieve benefits to the brain.

Exercises-for-Seniors-and-Benefits

Before proceeding, I would like to add that I am now in my tenth year of writing this blog. To continue that long at a healthy pace (+3000 posts) you have to be motivated and get positive feedback.

Reading about this new study on exercise benefiting the brain was extraordinarily positive feedback. I have written about the benefits of exercise and the brain for several years. You can check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise) for more details. Suffice it to say that the KU report was most welcome. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, aging brain, brain function, brain health, Exercise, exercise benefits

Nutritional tips for cyclists

As a dedicated bike rider, I confess to loving the Superheroes Edition of this info-graphic.

Ride on!

f963e754bb8a403428df00133149c789.jpg

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Filed under cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise benefits, nutrients, nutrition, nutrition information, regular bike riding

Seniors – Raise fitness level; Improve brain function – KU

Science Daily reported that a professor of neurology at Kansas University (KU) Alzheimer’s Disease Center, led a six-month trial conducted with healthy adults ages 65 and older who showed no signs of cognitive decline.

The randomized controlled trial attempted to determine the ideal amount of exercise necessary to achieve benefits to the brain.

Exercises-for-Seniors-and-Benefits

Before proceeding, I would like to add that I am now in my sixth year of writing this blog. To continue that long at a healthy pace (+2500 posts) you have to be motivated and get positive feedback.

Reading about this new study on exercise benefiting the brain was extraordinarily positive feedback. I have written about the benefits of exercise and the brain for several years. You can check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise) for more details. Suffice it to say that the KU report was most welcome. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, aging brain, brain, brain function, Exercise, exercise benefits, successful aging

Tips on living a longer life – WebMD

Regular readers know that I am a big fan of WebMD. I often quote from them to share ideas with readers. They have just run an item on living longer that has some wonderful suggestions. By no small coincidence, I have also included many of the same suggestions in this blog over the past nine plus years. However, here are a few that were new to me:

Profiles of two partners looking at each other while arm wrestling

Profiles of two partners looking at each other while arm wrestling

“Be Conscientious – An 80-year study found one of the best predictors of a long life is a conscientious personality. Researchers measured attributes like attention to detail and persistence. They found that conscientious people do more things to protect their health and make choices that lead to stronger relationships and better careers. “

As a person who considers himself to be conscientious I was happy to learn that it may be instrumental in my living longer.

Continue reading

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Filed under aging, aging brain, Exercise, exercise benefits, good night's sleep, sleep, successful aging

Exercise, but respect the weather

As regular readers know, I feel strongly about the great outdoors, savoring the experience of it as well as actually exercising outside. Summer is taking its time arriving this year. We are still getting 50F temps this week in Chicago. But the heat is coming. You can count on it.

man running beside street

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Pexels.com

In view of the upcoming warm temps, I wanted to remind you of my Page – How to deal with extreme heat for lots more examples.

Meanwhile the Go4Life folks offer the following excellent suggestions for heat extremes:

• Walk on the treadmill, ride the stationary bike, or use the rowing machine that’s gathering dust in your bedroom or basement. Or use one at a nearby gym or fitness center.
• Work out with an exercise DVD. You can get a free one from Go4Life.
• Go bowling with friends.
• Join a local mall walking group.
• Walk around an art gallery or museum to catch a new exhibit.
• Check out an exercise class at your neighborhood Y.
• If you like dancing, take a Zumba® or salsa class.
• Try yoga or Tai Chi.
• Go to the gym and work on your strength, balance, and flexibility exercises or set up your own home gym. All you need is a sturdy chair, a towel, and some weights. Soup cans or water bottles will do if you don’t have your own set of weights.
• Go to an indoor pool and swim laps or try water aerobics
• How about a game of indoor tennis, hockey, basketball, or soccer?
• Go indoor ice skating or roller skating.
• Maybe it’s time for some heavy duty cleaning. Vacuum, mop, sweep. Dust those hard-to-reach areas.

Tony

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Filed under aging, Exercise, exercise benefits, hot weather exercise, successful aging

Breaking down barriers to exercise

Eat less; move more; live longer is the mantra of this blog. Like so many good ideas, it is simple, but not easy. Herewith some suggestions from The National Institute on Aging.

Exercise is good for almost everyone, but there are so many things that can get in the way of staying active. It’s time for some positive thinking. No more excuses!

woman in white cap shirt on stability ball

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Here are some tips to help you overcome those barriers and improve your health. Continue reading

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The Joys and Benefits of Bike Riding – National Bicycle Month – May

There will be lots of celebrations of the bicycle in the coming four weeks because May is National Bicycle Month. As regular readers know, I ride more than 100 miles a week here in Chicago, all year ’round. So cycling is a labor of love for me.

I have tried to explain to myself first, as well as others, why I love to ride my bike. Until recently, the best I could come up with is that I feel like I am flying. Not soaring high, just flying along several feet above the bike path.

Riding on Northerly Island in Chicago

Riding on Northerly Island in Chicago

I know that when I ride, I am at once totally in the moment of propelling the bike forward and at the same time I experience a very enjoyable feeling of expansion – an almost out of body sensation.

This has been wonderfully explained by former University of Chicago professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Flow. Continue reading

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Filed under bicycle riding, Exercise, exercise benefits, National Bicycle Month, regular bike riding

The benefits of walking – backwards

Last month I started my tenth year of writing this blog. When I began I was a financial journalist writing about an entirely new subject. Now, after some 3000+ posts, I consider myself to be a reporter on the health, fitness and longevity beat. Compared to a doctor, I probably don’t know much, but compared to what I knew when I started, I have learned a ton.

So, it is with some small embarrassment that I tell you that I just learned about how very good for the body it is to walk backwards.

grayscale photography of five people walking on road

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Here are three experts on the subject:

The famed (and respected by me) Dr. Mercola says, ” Walking backwards helps you to use muscles and movements that you probably rarely use, making it an ideal way to change up your exercise routine for greater fitness gains. When you walk backwards, it puts less strain and requires less range of motion from your knee joints, which is useful for people with knee problems or injuries. Backward walking may help relieve lower back pain, improve hamstring flexibility, burn more fat and calories in less time than traditional walking, improve balance and even sharpen your thinking skills and vision. When walking backwards, do so in a safe location, such as on a track, to avoid falling over obstacles in your path; you can also take a buddy with you to act as your “eyes” and alert you to any upcoming dangers.”

Livestrong “Two University of Oregon professors, Barry Bates and Janet Dufek, have studied the benefits of backward walking and running on people since the 1980’s. They found that backward walking creates reduced shear force on the knees, and may be useful for anyone experiencing pain going up and stairs or doing lunges or squats. Walking backwards uses more energy in a shorter period of time, and burns more calories. It is good for those recovering from hamstring strain because of reduced hip range of motion. Backward walking creates no eccentric loading of the knee joint, the lengthening phase of going down hills or stairs, and can give hikers and scramblers some rest from overuse.”

Lastly, and perhaps most interesting because of the neurobic aspect, The Asian Heart Institute. “When we walk backwards, we obviously cannot see what is happening behind our back so with regular practice our senses automatically build a defense mechanism against potential dangers. This gradually improves balance, peripheral vision and hearing skills. Retro walking is more of a neurobic activity; a physical activity that unofficially invites the brain’s enthusiastic participation. Neurobic activities create a nexus of brand new neural connections in your brain that help you stay mentally sharp, polish your memory and dodge the unwelcome and debilitating guests of later life such as the Alzheimer’s.”

As usual, your comments are invited. I am always interested in your reactions to these posts.

Having added backwards walking to my day, I would like to add the following: Start slow and take small steps. Don’t try to walk long distances, start small, less chance of falling. No point in setting yourself back.

Finally, for the record, check out my Page – Why you should walk more.

Tony

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Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, flexibility, neurobic exercise, walking, walking backwards

Update on my surgery and biking …

I am now past one week since my oral surgery and feel like I am recovering nicely, thank you. You can read details of the operation here. One of the most difficult aspects of being 79 is that I don’t have a lot of people that I can share experiences with to give me a perspective on mine. In the past few days I have managed three bike rides. It took more than four days to feel that I had enough energy to ride at all. I had to wonder is that normal (for someone 79)? None of my bike riding friends is within decades of my age. I can only go by how my own body feels.

Screen Shot 2019-02-26 at 8.36.25 PM.png

Gabi and me a couple of years ago.

Continue reading

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Filed under aging, biking, Exercise, oral surgery, recovery rate, successful aging

When Fathers Exercise, Children Are Healthier, Even As Adults – Study

Exercise appears to be a tree that bears rich fruit. Indeed, it even benefits unborn children according to this study.

Men who want to have children in the near future should consider hitting the gym.

photo of man lifting dumbbell

Photo by Cesar Galeão on Pexels.com

In a new study led by Kristin Stanford, a physiology and cell biology researcher with The Ohio State University College of Medicine at the Wexner Medical Center, paternal exercise had a significant impact on the metabolic health of offspring well into their adulthood.

Laurie Goodyear of the Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School co-led the study, published in the journal Diabetes

“This work is an important step in learning about metabolic disease and prevention at the cellular level,” said Dr. K. Craig Kent, dean of the Ohio State College of Medicine.

Recent studies have linked development of type 2 diabetes and impaired metabolic health to the parents’ poor diet, and there is increasing evidence that fathers play an important role in obesity and metabolic programming of their offspring. Continue reading

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Novel 5-minute workout improves blood pressure, may boost your brain – UC

As regular readers know, the mantra of this blog is eat less; move more; live longer. Moving more means discarding your sedentary lifestyle and exercising regularly.  University of Colorado Boulder have uncorked a novel angle on exercising. Not cardio or weight bearing exercise, but a muscular challenge just the same. Following comes from CU Boulder Today, by Lisa Marshall.

Could working out five minutes a day, without lifting a single weight or jogging a single step, reduce your heart attack risk, help you think more clearly and boost your sports performance?

Preliminary evidence suggests yes.

Now, with a new grant from the National Institute on Aging, CU Boulder researchers have launched a clinical trial to learn more about the ultra-time-efficient exercise known as Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training (IMST).

“It’s basically strength-training for the muscles you breathe in with,” explains Daniel Craighead, a postdoctoral researcher in the Integrative Physiology department. “It’s something you can do quickly in your home or office, without having to change your clothes, and so far it looks like it is very beneficial to lower blood pressure and possibly boost cognitive and physical performance.” Continue reading

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Filed under blood pressure, Exercise, exercise benefits, Uncategorized

9 Tips on staying hydrated – Tufts

Adequate fluid intake is essential to your good health. These tips from the Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter will help keep you on track.

clean clear cold drink

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

-Drink mostly water. Unsweetened coffee, tea, and milk are also good choices.

-Limit sweet drinks. Sugar-sweetened beverages are bad for your health, increasing weight gain and diabetes risk.

-Track your fluids. If you find you don’t normally feel thirsty, especially in the summer, fill a quart container in the morning and finish before the end of the day.

-Keep it visible. Carry a water bottle when you go out, keep a quart container visible, and place a cup of water by your bed.

-Give it bubbles or flavor. If plain water doesn’t appeal, try adding carbonation, orange slices or other fruit, cucumber, or mint leaves.

-Eat water-dense foods. Fruits (like melons, grapes, and citrus) and raw vegetables (like cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, and peppers) contribute to hydration, as do soups and stews.

-Create habits. Make it a routine to take a drink of water before a meal, before you get out of bed in the morning, or whenever you start a new activity.

-Replenish. Go into physical activity well hydrated and be sure to drink water after activity (or during longer active periods).

-Stay cool. Be sure to drink plenty of water on hot days.

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Brain health connects to heart health – CDC

Eat less; move more; live longer is the mantra here. Apparently, it also leads to think better, too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seems to think so.

Did you know that the health of your brain and your heart are connected? By keeping your heart healthy, you also lower your risk for brain problems such as stroke and dementia. Learn more about the connection between the heart and brain and steps to take to keep both healthy.

woman in white cap shirt on stability ball

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Heart disease, stroke, and vascular dementia are preventable. Take steps to reduce your risk.

 

  • Control your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. Over time, high blood pressure puts too much stress on blood vessels. Scientists now know that having uncontrolled high blood pressure in midlife also raises your risk for dementia later in life. Know your numbers by getting your blood pressure checked regularly. If your blood pressure is high, work with your doctor, nurse, or health care team to manage it. One way to manage your blood pressure is to take your medicines as prescribed. Learn more ways to manage blood pressure.
  • Eat healthy foods and limit alcohol. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, and include seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon) each week. Limit foods with added sugars and saturated fats, and lower your sodium (salt) intake. If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. Drinking too much alcohol raises blood pressure, which can lead to stroke and increase the risk of some kinds of heart disease.
  • Get diabetes under control. Diabetes causes high blood sugar, which can damage blood vessels and nerves. This damage raises the risk for heart disease, stroke, and dementia.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking damages blood vessels and makes blood more likely to clot, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, learn how to quit.
  • Stay active. Lack of physical activity can lead to high blood pressure and obesity. Most Americans don’t meet guidelines of getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Find ways to get your heart pumping for at least 150 minutes per week. Take the stairs, schedule a walk at lunch, or do jumping jacks during commercial breaks. Learn more about how to get enough physical activity.

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Filed under aging brain, brain, brain function, brain health, dementia, Exercise, exercise benefits