Category Archives: muscles

Your muscles can ‘taste’ sugar – Study

As a guy with a highly developed sweet tooth, I have to say I was not surprised at the findings in this study.

It’s obvious that the taste buds on the tongue can detect sugar. And after a meal, beta cells in the pancreas sense rising blood glucose and release the hormone insulin—which helps the sugar enter cells, where it can be used by the body for energy.

sugar

Now researchers at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute have uncovered an unexpected mechanism of glucose sensing in skeletal muscles that contributes to the body’s overall regulation of blood sugar levels. Continue reading

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Crawling has excellent physical benefits

I am now in my seventh year of writing this blog and I pretty much learn something new every day about living a healthy life because I read about the subject constantly. Nonetheless, I was amazed to learn that crawling is a serious form of exercise with excellent benefits to both the body and brain.

I have written repeatedly that walking is the Cinderella of the exercise world in that its physical benefits are almost totally unappreciated. I’m not sure what to call crawling, that’s right, the same thing that babies do before they are able to walk. I was not even aware that crawling was in the exercise world. I was ignorant.

 

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The Health Science Journal says, “Crawling is an important functional milestone as it strengthens the muscles and connective tissues in and around the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, spine and hips. Furthermore, this weight-bearing quadruped motion also helps to stretch the hand ligaments, facilitating the development of the arches. Crawling also opens up the saddle joint at the base of the thumb – essential for being able to perform fine motor skills like holding cutlery, pens and pencils.

“In adulthood, the increasing prevalence of sedentary lifestyles results in many of the deep stabilizing muscles becoming weak and ineffective at performing their functional role. Muscles and connective tissues weaken, posture changes and instability, dysfunction, tightness and pain usually follow, particularly during physical exertion.

“This is why crawling exercises are as effective in adults as they are in infants and can help restore the optimal musculoskeletal health that has occurred as a result of a sustained period of inactivity.”(my emphasis)

This is from The Breaking Muscle website, “Yes, crawling, a seemingly childish and foolish “exercise,” could be the one thing that improves your health, your strength, your mobility, and your performance in any athletic area. It could even improve your ability to think, focus, and reason.

“Crawling is a developmental movement pattern that ties everything about you together. In developing children, crawling activates and integrates the different parts of the brain. Through crawling, neural connections and pathways are established in the brain that allow the brain to become more efficient at communication between the left and right hemispheres. The better the brain can communicate and process information, the better the body moves.1 Crawling also unites your sensory systems. It integrates your vestibular system (your balance system), your proprioceptive system (your sense of self in space, or your self awareness system), and your visual system (your visual system). It can even improve your hand eye coordination.”

Here is a You Tube video on it:

I don’t know about you, but I am going to start crawling today.

Tony

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Filed under aging, aging brain, balance training, core exercises, crawling, Exercise, exercise benefits, muscle building, muscles

Want to Build Muscle? It’s Not What You Eat, But When

Of course, you don’t build muscle just by eating. The anabolic effects of eating protein are doubled if combined with exercise, which is one of the reasons athletes are encouraged to refuel immediately after working out. But if you follow the advice to spread out your protein intake, then you don’t need to worry about the precise timing, according to Paddon-Jones.

Cooking with Kathy Man

Alex Hutchinson wrote in the Globe and Mail ……

Studying the human body isn’t rocket science – in some cases, it’s much harder.

“I tell my grad students that we can put a man on the moon, but we still can’t come to a consensus on how much protein to give him here on earth,” says Dr. Rajavel Elango, a researcher at the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health.

Elango and his colleagues are using a new measurement technique to rewrite assumptions about how much protein you need at different stages of life. But just getting the right amount isn’t enough: There’s a limit to how much protein your body can use at once, so to maximize muscle-building you need to spread your intake throughout the day – and for most Canadians, that means ramping up the protein content at breakfast and lunch.

Your muscles are…

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Body Weight Exercises

I don’t know if this table is comprehensible or not, but I thought I would give it a try.

Ads I said in the earlier post – “Body-weight workouts are the best because you can pretty much do them anywhere. Your living room, hotel rooms, the beach, your backyard, a gym…they go where you go.”

Periodic Table of Bodyweight Exercises
Courtesy of: Strength Stack 52

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Is Cycling Past 70 Different Than Cycling Past 50?

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 also I have taken some interest in your articles on cycling and aging. I was wondering how cycling over 70 relates to your articles on cycling over 50? I’m pretty sure they don’t necessarily relate well. I am arriving in that 70+ age group this year, and have been feeling the difference in recovery time and healing from injuries for quite a few years.

The plus 70 year old blogger riding with his dog on Northerly Island in Chicago.

The plus 70 year old blogger riding with his dog on Northerly Island in Chicago.

What used to take three days to recover from, while riding a tour, may now take longer than the tour lasts. Maybe months longer. I ride year-round and still ride pretty strong, but I’m also experiencing a loss of interest in doing long days. I still like to do long tours, but with shorter days. I’m wondering if the lack of desire or drive might be a major contributing factor in the loss of performance, or if the loss of performance leads to the lack of desire to train harder? Also, if the shorter days might lead to the longer recovery times? Continue reading

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Filed under aging, biking, blood pressure, cardio exercise, Exercise, general well-being, health, healthy living, heart, living longer, men's health, muscles, seniors, stretching, Weight

What About Seniors Doing Endurance Sports?

I have written repeatedly about the value of exercise on these pages. Regular readers know that I am a senior citizen and I ride my bicycle nearly daily here on Chicago’s lakefront. As I have said, I am paying for my old age one bike ride at a time. Anything I read about senior endurance athletes hijacks my attention. That’s why One Running Shoe in the Grave in The Wall Street Journal really stuck in my eye.

Getty Image

Getty Image

The Journal‘s sports editor, Kevin Helliker, writes, “A fast-emerging body of scientific evidence points to a conclusion that’s unsettling, to say the least, for a lot of older athletes: Running can take a toll on the heart that essentially eliminates the benefits of exercise.”

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What About Seniors Falling?

Falling down is a serious problem for senior citizens. For seniors,  65 years and older, one out of three falls each year. Half of these fall more than once. Seniors fall more often with each decade of life. Women are more likely to fall than men, but men are more likely to sustain a fatal fall injury. These statistics refer to individuals living in the community, not nursing homes.

So says, Adnan Arseven, MD, AGSF, Division of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, speaking before the hospital’s Healthy Transitions Program®.

Dr. Arseven defined falling as “coming to rest inadvertently on the ground or at a lower level.” This is not as a result of loss of consciousness or hazardous conditions, like slipping on ice.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, said, “Among older adults (those 65 or older), falls are the leading cause of injury death. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.

“In 2010, 2.3 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency departments and more than 662,000 of these patients were hospitalized.

“In 2010, the direct medical costs of falls, adjusted for inflation, was $30.0 billion.”

What outcomes are linked to falls?

• Twenty to thirty percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as lacerations, hip fractures, or head traumas. These injuries can make it hard to get around or live independently, and increase the risk of early death.
• Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). In 2000, TBI accounted for 46 percent of fatal falls among older adults.
• Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls. The most common are fractures of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm and hand.
• Many people who fall, even if they are not injured, develop a fear of falling. This fear may cause them to limit their activities, which leads to reduced mobility and loss of physical fitness, and in turn increases their actual risk of falling.
• The death rates from falls among older men and women have risen sharply over the past decade.
• In 2009, about 20,400 older adults died from unintentional fall injuries.
• Men are more likely than women to die from a fall.  After taking age into account, the fall death rate in 2009 was 34 percent higher for men than for women.
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What To Do On a 77 Degree October Day in Chicago? Exercise!

The high temperature today was 77F. That is about 20 degrees over the normal high. Wednesday also happens to be the day I have my weekly aerobics class.

I always try to get a bike ride in during the morning before aerobics because there is a chance I will not feel up to riding after a grueling hour of aerobics. So, this morning I set out just after sunrise with the dog on the bike and cranked out 23 miles. Just about two hours of cycling. I came home, fixed myself some watermelon and a light lunch, then walked poochie. After that it was time to leave for aerobics. The class is at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, about a mile from my place, so I walk for the extra exercise. Also, at the time, 11:15 AM, it was low to mid-70s, beautiful for an October day here in Chicago. The class which runs from noon to 1:00 PM was a good one and we all felt spent by the end. The teacher always makes a point of telling us to get some food into our systems, to make sure we get some protein, within the hour. I asked her if we shouldn’t be getting carbs as we had used up a lot of energy. She said that we should be getting both carbs and protein, because that will prevent us from getting sore muscles tomorrow.

I questioned in my post on October 13 whether I should continue my aerobics class. You can read about my doubts at the link.

Clearly, at this point I am still in the class. One of the reasons is that the teacher is very knowledgeable and I like the info on eating protein and carbs within an hour of the workout to prevent muscle soreness.

A delicious post-aerobic lunch with protein and carbohydrates

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Should I Continue With My Aerobics Class?

If I had signed up for an aerobics class I wouldn’t have an issue. However, I signed up for a “Strength and Conditioning” Class at Northwestern Memorial Hospital recently. I was ‘walking the walk’ after talking about strength training earlier this month.

The reason I am considering dropping the course is that we actually do 45 minutes of aerobics and 15 minutes of aerobics with light weights.


I guess this is strength training, but it certainly isn’t what I had envisioned when I signed up. I was thinking it would be more like 45 minutes of weight work and 15 aerobics, not necessarily in that order.

I already get an aerobic workout and calorie burn, since I average riding my bike 20 miles a day 365 days a year, I don’t need more aerobics work. I do want to keep my musculature as such from shrinking.
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Exercise, Aging and the Brain

Just a year of modest aerobic exercise reversed normal brain shrinkage by one to two years in older adults and improved their memory function, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Besides slowing aging, exercise also increases cognition, Brain Rules reported. “The human brain evolved under conditions of almost constant motion. From this, one might predict that the optimal environment for processing information would include motion. That is exactly what one finds. Indeed, the best business meeting would have everyone walking at about 1.8 miles per hour.”

brainbenefits-01
Writing in the Journal, Ann Lukits said that a growing body of evidence points to aerobic exercise as a low-cost hedge against neurocognitive decline. “In this study, magnetic resonance imaging was used to measure the effects of aerobic exercise on the hippocampus in 120 Americans in their late 50s to early 80s. Half the group walked three times a week for 40 minutes, aiming for their target heart rate, while the other half did yoga and toning exercises. The hippocampus in walkers increased by 2% after a year and shrank by 1.4% in controls. Both groups showed significant improvements on spatial memory tests conducted before and after the study. This could be due to taking the test repeated times, the researchers said. In the walking group, however, changes in hippocampus volume were directly related to improved memory performance, they said.” Exercise training increases the size of the hippocampus and improves memory.
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Filed under aging, brain, cardio exercise, Exercise, memory, muscles, walking, Weight