With Thanksgiving looming, this is a great time to reaffirm our resolve to exercise regularly. OR, it is the ideal time to resolve to exercise regularly in the coming year and maybe begin to address physical and weight problems that we have neglected.
Regular readers know that I have posted numerous times on the value of exercise not only for our bodies, but also for our brains. On the top of this page is IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT YOUR BRAIN.
If you click on that link you can find a page full of blog posts on the subject.
Our ancestors engaged in some serious cardio exercise just to get food. No walking down a supermarket aisle for them.
And now, the New York Times joins in the fray with Gretchen Reynolds’s article Exercise and the Ever-Smarter Human Brain.
We have only about six weeks of winter left, but it it never too late to remind you that snow shoveling is dangerous business.
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%.
Increased muscle strength leads to improved brain function in adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), new results from a recent trial led by the University of Sydney has revealed.
Regular readers know how strongly I feel about exercise benefiting the brain as much as the body. A look at my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) will fill you in. What is exciting about this study is that it focuses on weight training. Most of the exercise benefits I have read about follow cardio work. So, this is indeed new and exciting.
With 135 million people forecast to suffer from dementia in 2050, the study’s findings–published in the Journal of American Geriatrics –have implications for the type and intensity of exercise that is recommended for our growing aging population. Continue reading
This seems particularly timely as I wrote about my own cycling – Riding a bike on Chicago’s Lakefront on Chicago’s Lakefront yesterday.
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.
“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
With apologies to George Thorogood, whose Bad to the Bone is a true rock classic, you really don’t want to be bad to your bones.
WebMD has produced a slideshow demonstrating things we do and don’t do that damage our bones. Our bones are as strong as cast iron yet remains as light as wood. Keep in mind that our bones are not all solid. The outside is solid surrounded by a few small canals. The inside, however, looks like a honeycomb.
The way we strengthen our bones is with weight-bearing exercise and good diet choices. As a bike rider, I am very aware of this. My regular riding is super cardio exercise, but does nothing for my bones. Not long ago, Tour de France riders, started integrating weight lifting with their workouts as they were coming down with osteoporosis.
WebMD offers eleven examples in a slide show that is worth checking out.
Here are a few examples in case you don’t have time right now. Skip that next pitcher of Margaritas. “When you’re out with friends, one more round might sound like fun. But to keep bone loss in check, you should limit the amount of alcohol you drink. No more than one drink a day for women and two for men is recommended. Alcohol can interfere with how your body absorbs calcium.”
I have written a Page about the damage smoking does and it turns out smoking damages your bones, too. “When you regularly inhale cigarette smoke, your body can’t form new healthy bone tissue as easily. The longer you smoke, the worse it gets.
Smokers have a greater chance of breaks and take longer to heal. But if you quit, you can lower these risks and improve your bone health, though it might take several years.”
See what you can do to be good to your bones.
I am a firm believer in walking as an exercise for good health. Although I ride my bike nearly daily and love it as well as the exercise benefits I derive from it, biking is not weight-bearing exercise. Walking is. Your bones benefit from walking, so you are defending yourself from osteoporosis with every step.
We all need weight-bearing exercise as well as cardio.
To read further on walking , check out my Page – Why you should walk more.
“Obesity is an epidemic among youth,” says Dr. Ron Sigal of the University of Calgary’s Institute for Public Health and Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta. “Adolescents who are overweight are typically advised to exercise more, but there is limited evidence on what type of exercise is best in order to lose fat.”
This is interesting. I experienced a similar result when I Lost 50 pounds in 52 weeks. Also, at that point in my life, I had little understanding about cardio vs resistance exercise.
Cooking with Kathy Man
What exercise program can best fight the “epidemic” of teen obesity? According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, by combining aerobic exercise with resistance training.
The Healthy Eating Aerobic and Resistance Training in Youth (HEARTY) study, led by researchers at the University of Calgary and University of Ottawa, involved 304 overweight teens in the Ottawa/Gatineau area between the ages of 14 to 18. All were given the same four weeks of diet counseling to promote healthy eating and weight loss before being randomly placed into four groups. The first group performed resistance training involving weight machines and some free weights; the second performed only aerobic exercise on treadmills, elliptical machines and stationary bikes; the third underwent combined aerobic and resistance training; and the last group did no exercise training.
What’s the best exercise to lose fat?
“Obesity is an epidemic among youth,”…
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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
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?
Eat less; move more; live longer. Words to live by.
Short bursts of exercise like walking up stairs or doing yard work are excellent for warding off health problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, according to an article in the Daily Mirror.
This is fascinating news to me as Chicago recently succumbed to winter with snow, ice and vicious cold weather here. Because of the weather conditions, I was unable to ride my bike outside and had to opt for the health club. The good news is that I got some welcome weight work done as opposed to just cardio on the bike. However, there was something about riding the exercise bike and pumping the rowing machine indoors that felt unsatisfying. I missed the fresh air and general sights and smells of the outdoors. So, this news about short bursts of more generalized exercise were heart healthy was music to my ears.
Maybe trips to the health club aren’t as necessary as we had thought …
NHS Choices said, “The news is based on the results of a cross-sectional study which suggested that even less than 10 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity, such as climbing stairs, ‘count’ and may be as beneficial as longer periods of exercise. Continue reading
Filed under aging, blood pressure, blood sugar, calories, cardio exercise, cold weather, Exercise, Oleda Baker, senior supermodel, seniors, treadmills, Weight, weight-bearing exercise
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.”
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.
As I said in About Me and elsewhere on the blog, I love to ride my bike and burn up calories, but don’t do very well on the weight work and building lean muscle mass. Usually, I get to the health club when the snow and ice comes in winter here in Chicago and I am no longer able to navigate my bicycle outdoors. But, when winter conditions start to dissolve, so does my interest in health club workouts. Weight no longer has been the rule.
I no longer think about a club visit like a kid having to eat his veggies
This year, however, I have resolved to continue to work out with weights even when I can ride my bike every day.
Tuesday is a good example. I rode 20 miles in the morning, ate, walked the dog and then went to the health club instead of going back out on the bike.
My new workout consists of five minutes on the rowing machine to get my heart started. I considered my roughly 2 hour bike ride as my cardio instead of 30 minutes on the rower.
Then I do three sets of my three ‘big muscle’ exercises. These include leg presses, lat pull downs and chest presses on a machine.
On the one hand these are the same exercises I did when I lost 50 pounds in 52 weeks. However, with my new information about senior workouts cutting down on the actual weights and increasing the reps to benefit the tendons and ligaments, I am no longer finished in 15 minutes as before.
I just did a workout and it lasted 45 minutes including the 5 on the rower.
The fact that I am still doing weight work two months after the start of winter has had an interesting side effect. I find my shirts slightly tighter and my pants a little looser. Not a bad thing.