Category Archives: weight-bearing exercise

Are you taking care of ‘dem bones?’

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.

Now hear the word of the Lord.

Those lyrics from an old spiritual have been running through my head since I started reading about osteoporosis and our bones.

More women are affected by osteoporosis than men, but we guys are definitely vulnerable, especially as we age.

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Facts and statistics:

  • Up to one in four men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
  • Approximately two million American men already have osteoporosis. About 12 million more are at risk.
  • Men older than 50 are more likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis than they are to get prostate cancer.
  • Each year, about 80,000 men will break a hip.
  • Men are more likely than women to die within a year after breaking a hip. This is due to problems related to the break.
  • Men can break bones in the spine or break a hip, but this usually happens at a later age than women.

Here’s what the National Osteoporosis Foundation has to say about it:

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9 Facts about bones – infographic

I wanted to include this for two reasons, first, it has excellent information about our bones and a lot of people are pretty ignorant about them, myself included. Second, I thought it was really beautiful, very creatively constructed.

Let’s face it most people take their bones for granite (sorry, couldn’t resist it). But, it is important to realize that we need to work to strengthen our bones, too. Make sure you include weight-bearing exercise in your life. It will keep your bones strong.

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Tony

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Weight-bearing exercises protect against osteoporosis – Study

Just two days ago I posted on older men being at risk of osteoporosis. “As I reported here, after the age of 50 men are as likely to get osteoporosis as prostate cancer. More to the point, older people of both sexes have great vulnerability to it.”

Now comes a new study that explains how weight-bearing exercises affect our bone structure and fight that disease.

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Osteoporosis affects more than 200 million people worldwide and is a serious public health concern, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Now, Pamela Hinton, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, has published the first study in men to show that long-term, weight-bearing exercises decrease sclerostin, a protein made in the bone, and increase IGF-1, a hormone associated with bone growth. These changes promote bone formation, increasing bone density. Continue reading

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Older men at risk of osteoporosis – Harvard

Because three out of four cases of osteoporosis are women, most people consider it a women’s disease,  especially men. However, as I reported here, after the age of 50 men are as likely to get osteoporosis as prostate cancer. More to the point, older people of both sexes have great vulnerability to it.

Here’s what Harvard Health Publications has to say:

Don’t think men need to worry about osteoporosis? Think again. In fact, about one in four men older than 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis during their lifetime, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

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How can men protect themselves and lower their risk of osteoporosis? Here are some strategies: Continue reading

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7 Tips for successful weight training – Harvard

Although I don’t consider it fun, I realize that weight training is a necessity for living a healthy life and keeping my body working.

Here are seven tips from Harvard Medical School that my brother passed along to me.

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“Strength or resistance training challenges your muscles with a stronger-than-usual counterforce, such as pushing against a wall or lifting a dumbbell or pulling on a resistance band. Using progressively heavier weights or increasing resistance makes muscles stronger. This kind of exercise increases muscle mass, tones muscles, and strengthens bones. It also helps you maintain the strength you need for everyday activities — lifting groceries, climbing stairs, rising from a chair, or rushing for the bus.

“The current national guidelines for physical activity recommend strengthening exercises for all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms) at least twice a week. One set — usually 8 to 12 repetitions of the same movement — per session is effective, though some evidence suggests that two to three sets may be better. Your muscles need at least 48 hours to recover between strength training sessions.

These seven tips can keep your strength training safe and effective.

1    Warm up and cool down for five to 10 minutes. Walking is a fine way to warm up; stretching is an excellent way to cool down. Continue reading

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Time Magazine cover story – Exercise

It’s really thrilling to see stuff we write about here pop up in the popular press. Time has a cover story on exercise in its latest, 12 Sep 2016, issue. Please buy it! I guarantee you will learn valuable information on this important subject.

Mandy Oaklander does a bang up job and it is well worth the cover price if you are not already a Time subscriber.

Before quoting from it, I want to direct you to my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits).

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I loved the following: “Eating alone will not keep a man well,” Hippocrates famously wrote. “He must also take exercise.”(my emphasis)

Following is the conclusion of the Time piece:

“Everyone knows exercise is healthy. Now scientists are understanding exactly why. Here are some of the amazing things that happen to a body in motion.

“Increased blood flow to the brain creates new blood vessels. Exercise also triggers the release of chemicals that dull pain and lighten mood.

“Exercise revs up blood flow to the skin, delivering nutrients to the epidermis and helping wounds heal faster.

“The body is better able to burn fat for energy instead of carbs, causing fat cells to shrink.

“Moving quickly makes the heart pump more blood to the body’s tissues, including the muscles. That extra oxygen helps muscles better withstand fatigue.

“Repeated weight-bearing contractions make muscles grow and put pressure on the bones, increasing their density.

“Exercise may protect telomeres, the tiny caps on the ends of chromosomes. This appears to slow the aging of cells.”

Tony

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Filed under cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise and brain health, weight-bearing exercise

Good chance you have sarcopenia …

I remember a short story in high school about a man who happened upon a medical encyclopedia. Reading it, he decided that he was suffering from every malady except housemaid’s knee.

As the ‘one regular guy’ producing this blog, I read a lot on various aspects of living a healthy life. I confess to a temptation to occasionally wander into hypochondria myself.

I recently ran across the term ‘sarcopenia.’ Ever heard of that?  It was a new one to me.

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Here’s what the Mayo Clinic blog  had to say, “It is a simple fact. As we age we lose muscle and strength. There’s even a medical term for this — sarcopenia. It’s derived from the Greek words “sarcos” (flesh) and “penia” (lack of).

“Estimates of how much muscle is lost with age vary from 8 percent to about 50 percent of our muscles. Men seem to lose muscle faster than women. Strength is lost more rapidly than muscle.”

WebMD  says, “Physically inactive people can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you’ll still have some muscle loss. Continue reading

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7 Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that drinking water—about 17 ounces—increases metabolic rate by 30 percent in healthy men and women. The body needs water in order to process calories, so even if you’re mildly dehydrated, your metabolism may wind down. Even on non-training days, you should aim to drink a minimum of 2 or 3 liters of water a day; on days you do workout, amp up that amount depending on the intensity of your activity.

Our Better Health

SpryLiving.com    November 21, 2014

You hit the gym five days a week. You eat all the veggies you can get your hands on. You religiously avoid all white carbs. But in spite of your good intentions, the number on the scale refuses to budge. WTF?!! If this scenario sounds familiar, your metabolism might be to blame. Before you start thinking you’ve been screwed in the genetic lottery, take a deep breath. It’s okay. You can fix this.

First thing’s first. What is metabolism, exactly? After all, it’s a word we hear tossed around a lot in the health world. Your skinny friend who lives solely off junk food credits her thin frame to “a fast metabolism,” but what does that even mean? Is the concept of a fast metabolism scientifically legit, or is it a load of B.S.?

From a purely technical standpoint, metabolism refers to the “chemical processes…

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Talk a walk, it’s good for your brain

Consider this lovely post an additional chapter on my yesterday entry How good is walking for you? While you are at it please check out my page Why you should walk more.

I especially liked her excerpts  from The New Yorker and  the New York Times.

Tony

 

 

Newvine Growing

My dad used to be a runner. Now he takes a long, brisk walk every day. We go with him when we visit, and that helped spur us to add a second walk to our daily routine. My dad used to be a runner. Now he takes a long, brisk walk every day. We go with him when we visit, and that helped spur us to add a second walk to our daily routine. Here’s me walking with Dad past the mid-Michigan cornfields this summer.

John and I have gone for frequent evening walks for most of our 14-year marriage.

When we were newlyweds, our neighbors across the street often went for night walks, and soon we were passing them on the street pretty regularly.

More recently we added morning walks to our routine. Depending on the weather and the time we have, we might take an ambitious 45-minute brisk walk or we might cut it shorter.

So I was happy to see a recent New Yorker article headlined, “Why Walking Helps Us Think.” Ferris Jabr wrote:

What is it about walking, in particular, that makes it so…

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Body Strengthening Yoga Poses – Infographic

Wandering through Pinterest, I ran across another super infographic that I wanted to share with you. Yoga is not a new subject to the blog. I wrote Why Should I Do Yoga? two years ago. One of the best reasons that yoga works for me, a bicycle rider, is that yoga is weight-bearing exercise and while bike riding is superb cardio exercise, it is not weight bearing so does not protect against osteoarthritis.

You can enlarge this by clicking on it

You can enlarge this by clicking on it

To read further on yoga check out: Are There Health Risks to Hot Yoga?

Yoga for Arthritis; Yoga for Seniors
Are There Immediate Benefits to doing Yoga?

Why is Yoga Good for You?

Tony

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Kettlebell Training

Historically, the kettlebell was first used for elite military training in Russia. It now has gone mainstream; used widely in sports training and general strength training. You can find them in sporting goods stores, and even regular department stores. I actually found mine on sale at Target.

Bite into Nutrition

images-kbell I have been consistently training with a kettlebell for several months now. I have to admit that it was not initially one of my favorite forms of workout.  At first it seemed intimidating and I felt clumsy using it, but once I got the hang of it and embraced the challenge, it became more enjoyable and empowering. Mainly, I do the basic two-handed swing move with it. This morning, I got brave and tried out a kettlebell workout class. It was way more challenging than I thought it would be.  It was a combination of aerobic and strength training moves, all using various sized kettle bells (8 – 25 lbs). One of the great things about the kettlebell, is that it comes in several weight sizes, so you can ease into it and progressively increase the weight level as you go. I am currently able to use a 35 lb…

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Stair Climbing is Good For You – Part Three – ACSM

I started climbing stairs in my building a couple of weeks ago and began writing about the experience shortly thereafter. You can read Stair Climbing Part One and Stair Climbing Part Two if you want to catch up.

In the past few weeks I have spoken with neighbors and readers about their stair climbing experience and in the process as many questions have been raised as answered. I went back to my friends at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) for more info.

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I was lucky enough to get Henry N. Williford, Ed.D., FACSM, HFS, Department Head Physical Education/Exercise Science to give us some further observations. Mr. Williford is also the co-author with Michele Olson, Ph.D., FACSM of the ACSM brochure Selecting and Effectively Using an Elliptical Trainer or Stair Climber which is available free at the link and contains a super rundown on using these machines.

Following is a list of my questions and his answers:

How does actual stair climbing compare with the machines? Is one more effective, healthier, safer?

Williford: The energy costs of stair climbing are based on the weight of the person, height of the step, and speed of stepping. There are stepping machines that are used for fitness development, and groups such as firefighters use the devices to evaluate job performance. Generally the stepping machines move at a designated rate and the person must keep up with the machine.  With treadmills or other devices the individual tends to be traveling on a flatter surface, unless the device is elevated.  As the incline goes up, the energy cost goes up greatly. I have not seen any data on a comparison of health or safety.  The benefits of physical activity are generally based on the total amount of work the person does.  The more work or energy spent the greater the benefit.  The ACSM has appropriate guidelines for individuals of different fitness levels and risk factors.

As I usually do about 15 flights in around five minutes, I was interested in whether or not this was beneficial. I asked, Is there a minimum time required to benefit from stair climbing? Is five minutes a session enough? 

Williford: Five minutes does not meet the minimal ACSM guidelines for health. Individuals can do multiple 5 minute segments throughout the day to meet the daily 30 minute daily recommendation.  Intense exercise 3 days for shorter durations may be appropriate. However, any exercise is better than none.

Is there a difference in physical benefits between climbing 15 flights of stairs straight up vs. 15 flights by climbing three and and then descending two. I read some place on the web that a good way to climb stairs for a beginner (me) is to go up three flights and then down two and continue with that.

Williford: The energy cost of going down is approximately 1/3 of climbing up.  So the person would use more energy going up as compared to down.  Going down is what is called eccentric exercise. There is less energy use, but a greater risk of muscle soreness.

Speaking of down, is it a good idea to walk down stairs, or is it better, safer to take the elevator?

Williford: Avoid the elevator.  Going down stairs can add to the total amount of work.  Always use caution.

In conclusion, as regular readers know, I am a bicycle rider here in Chicago so I was interested in the effects stair climbing might have on my biking. I rode for the first time in the past few weeks yesterday after climbing stairs regularly in that period. I was absolutely aware of further strength in my legs to the point that I found myself checking the gear shift because I thought I was riding in too low a gear. So, anecdotally, I can attest that a just couple of weeks of climbing stairs has added to my strength pedaling the bike.

Tony

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5 Reasons Stair Climbing is Good For You – Part One

Regular readers know that I have been an avid bicycle rider for years. I logged over 7000 miles in the year just ended. And, I have not stopped riding. I have, however, begun a new exercise, for me – climbing stairs.

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Although this person is walking down the stairs, I don’t recommend it. You can develop knee problems among others.

How come? Well, the only drawback to cycling I know of is that it is not weight-bearing. So, while the aerobic activity benefits my cardiovascular system greatly, I get no benefits for my skeletal system. I need both and I just can’t get into weight workouts.

An additional benefit of  stair climbing over bike riding is that you can do it indoors so the weather conditions do not present a problem. Having just suffered through historic cold weather with much of the country, this is particularly relevant now. While current temps here in Chicago range in the mid 30’s, there is still a lot of snow, ice and slush around that makes for dangerous biking conditions.

So, what about climbing stairs? It burns more calories than running and doesn’t beat up your legs as much as running does. RunSociety says, “When you stair climb for exercise, you burn twice the fat in half the time than if you run and three times more than walking. An intense stair-climbing exercise session will produce more aerobic benefits in a shorter amount of time than running or walking. One hour of stair climbing will burn approximately 1000 calories.”

Nonetheless, you can climb at your own pace and still get a good workout.

A New York Times article by Dr. Harvey Simon on the heath sciences technology faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founding editor of the Harvard Men’s Health Watch, wrote, “What’s so special about climbing stairs? Researchers in Canada answered the question by monitoring 17 healthy male volunteers with an average age of 64 while they walked on the level, lifted weights or climbed stairs. Stair climbing was the most demanding. It was twice as taxing as brisk walking on the level and 50 percent harder than walking up a steep incline or lifting weights. And peak exertion was attained much faster climbing stairs than walking, which is why nearly everyone huffs and puffs going up stairs, at least until their “second wind” kicks in after a few flights.”
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Filed under aerobics, biking, Harvard, HDL Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol, men's health, stair climbing, Weight, weight-bearing exercise

Good Body Weight Workout from Pinterest

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30 Minute Own Body Weight Tabata Workout. 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.

Tony

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Test Your Fast Food Smarts – Web MD Quiz

I really enjoy the information available from WebMD. They offer articles, studies and quizzes on healthy subjects.

I want to tell you about this recent one – Test Your Fast Food Smarts.
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I have been writing this blog for the best part of four years. As a result of this project, I have taken off 15 pounds from what I had thought was my ideal weight 165 pounds. In addition I have a resting heart rate below 50 beats per minute and my body fat remains under 17 per cent. Before I took the quiz I thought I had a really good fix on fast food even though I don’t eat very much of it. However, of the 16 questions in the quiz I got less than half of them right.

Here are a couple of examples of questions in the quiz. I hope they will whet your appetite for more info on the subject.

How many Americans eat fast food every day?

How many of us guzzle sugary drinks daily?

To burn off an order of medium fries, a 155 pound adult needs to? Ride a stationary bike hard for 30 minutes or do high impact aerobics for 30 minutes or strength train for 60 minutes?

On average a teen will grab a fast food meal that has how many calories? 500 to 800; 800 to 1100; 1100 to 1500 calories?

No, I am not going to spoil your fun by giving you any of the answers. I hope you will take the test and derive the full benefit from it. At the risk of using a cliche – You’ll thank me for it.

Tony

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What is a New Weapon Against Osteoporosis?

I wrote about the dangers of osteoporosis for both men and women previously citing the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Generally speaking:
* 1.5 million osteoporotic fractures occur every year
* 10 million Americans suffer from it
* 34 million Americans have low bone mass (osteopenia)
* 40% of white women over 50 will have a hip, spine or wrist fracture in their lifetime
* By 2020 50 over age 50 will have, or be at high risk of developing osteoporosis

You can get all the details at the first link above.

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One of the strongest weapons against osteoporosis is weight-bearing exercise. One of the reasons so many people suffer from the disease, especially seniors, is that they don’t do much weight-bearing exercise. While walking qualifies as some of the lightest weight-bearing exercise, it often isn’t a person’s first choice.

That’s why this morning’s Wall Street Journal article on walking while wearing a weighted vest is so valuable.

Seems that the weighted vest increases the load on your bones and provides extra benefits for someone who is ‘only’ walking. Continue reading

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