Tag Archives: men’s exercise choices

What Happens in Las Vegas …

No, this time it isn’t staying there. I have been in Las Vegas for the past couple of days and thought there might be some value in sharing a few of the details of my trip with you. Certainly the exercise part.

I had a nice view of the Eiffel Tower and the Las Vegas strip from my room.

I had a nice view of the Eiffel Tower and the Las Vegas strip from my room.

First and foremost, I am not able to ride 20 miles a day on my bike. So, my body is not going to get its usual super cardio workout. I am staying at the Paris Hotel which offers health club facilities so I have been using that. Guess what, although I am a seasoned bike rider, 20 minutes on the exercise bike here wears me out. How can that be? Is it the extra helpings of goodies at the buffet, or the late nights at Jersey Boys taking their toll?

No. My first instinct was to feel guilty about having fun and over indulging which was damaging my conditioning.

Although there are no signs posted anywhere in the health club, or in the city for that matter, no one mentions the fact that Las Vegas is 2000 feet above sea level. The air is thinner. Air compresses under pressure. At sea level there is greater pressure than there is 2000 feet above, so while there is the same amount of oxygen in the air, the molecules are farther apart and you get less oxygen when you breathe.

Basketball fans know about this regarding the Denver Nuggets who play in Mile High Stadium. It is harder for visiting teams to keep up with the home team because of the elevation. While Las Vegas is only about 40 percent as high as Denver, there is more oxygen available, but less than we are used to at sea level. The effect is more subtle and more unexpected.

As you can imagine I was gratified to learn this elevation fact, as I thought my body had begun going to seed after only one night of overindulgence. The second and third mornings I did the treadmill instead of the bike to get some weight-bearing work, too.

Cracked crab legs at Joe's were part of my overindulgence.

Cracked crab legs at Joe’s were part of my overindulgence.

You need to drink more water in the higher altitude and pay attention to alcohol consumption as drinks pack more wallop higher up. Just what you need in Las Vegas, right?

My game of choice is video poker. The Royal Flush is a jackpot winner.

My game of choice is video poker. The Royal Flush is a jackpot winner. Chances of catching a Royal when holding only two cards are one in 16,215.

So, it is possible to exercise and eat well without losing your conditioning. You just need to be alert and not overdo it on either end of the spectrum.

Tony

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Filed under biking, cardio exercise, Exercise

What Food Cravings Really Mean – Infograhic

Here is one word picture worth a thousand words …

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How to Exercise Safely in Hot Weather – NIH

With summer upon us it is important to play it safe when we play outside. Too much heat can be risky for healthy 40 year olds as well as seniors. The National Institutes of Health has issued the following tips for hot weather fun.

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Check the weather forecast. If it’s very hot or humid, exercise inside with a Go4Life DVD or walk in an air-conditioned building like a shopping mall.

Drink plenty of liquids. Water and fruit juices are good options. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. If your doctor has told you to limit liquids, ask what to do when it is very hot outside.

Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes in natural fabrics.

Dress in layers so you can remove clothing as your body warms up from activity.

Get medical help right away if you think someone might have a heat-related illness. Watch for these signs: Continue reading

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Filed under aging, cardio exercise, health, healthy living, hot weather, hydration, men's health, mortality, National Institutes of Health, running, seniors, strength, stress, walking, water, Weight

What is a High Energy De-Caf Coffee Drink?- Mr. Lazy Cook

A couple of things to lay out before we start here. First, I don’t drink coffee with caffeine as I try to keep drugs of any kind out of my system. Second, I am a regular bicycle rider and am always on the lookout for new sources of energy.
Cup-of-Coffee-Beneficial-Preventing-Diabetes
The other morning I had a new situation. I had a date for early afternoon to attend a play. In addition, we had reservations for brunch at noon. From this schedule, I was not going to have a lot of time to get in a bike ride. So, I thought I would rise at first light and take out the bike for a ride ahead of walking the dog and my social schedule for the day.

Normally, I start the day with what I call my rocket fuel. It is a smoothie that contains all my vitamins. You can read about it in A super breakfast smoothie.

On the morning in question, my reservation about my smoothie was that it takes 15 minutes to make and another 15 minutes to drink. I didn’t want to spend 30 minutes doing that. I wanted to be riding my bike. On the other hand I was concerned that having just awakened from a night’s sleep, my energy reserves were low. I sure didn’t want to black out. I hadn’t eaten in over nine hours.

So, what to do instead to give me a quick shot of energy. I like my coffee in the morning, but since it is decaf, I don’t expect a boost from it. Here is the beginning of a light bulb going off in my head. As recently as April, I got turned on to coconut oil as a wonderful source of nutrition. Check out Why should I try coconut oil? for more details. Since that time I have been using coconut oil in every way I could think of to cook in, shave with, etc. Coconut oil has a lot of healthy fat in it which provides energy. I decided to add a tablespoon of coconut oil to my coffee. Continue reading

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Filed under biking, coffee, endurance sports, energy, Exercise, health, healthy eating, healthy living, lazy cook

How Good is the Costco Energy Blend Snack?

On a recent trip to Costco, I happened upon the Energy Blend snack. As I shop there regularly and have never seen this before, I have to believe it is new to Costco. Since I ride my bike as close to daily as is possible in a four season city like Chicago, i am always on the lookout for fresh and portable sources of energy to take with me on rides.
energyblend
The Energy Blend seems to fill the bill. It has a simple composition of edamame (soybeans) , cranberries, almonds and pumpkin seeds. In addition there are blueberry pomegranate juice and natural strawberry flavor. These are some very good sources of nutrition on their own so the combination looks promising.

At this point, I have only had a single serving of it which comes to 1/4 cup or 30 grams – about an ounce.

I enjoyed eating it. Very nice taste and texture.

The nutritional breakdown is as follows:
Calories 130
Total Fat 6 grams
Saturated fat 0.5 grams
No trans fat
No cholesterol
Sodium 65 mg
Total Carbohydrates 14 grams
Fiber 4 grams
Protein 7 grams

This seems a very good nutritional breakdown to me. There is fat for energy, not too many calories, enough sodium to restore salt sweated away, a good slug of fiber and protein. I think it is worth the try.

Let me know what you think.

If you aren’t a regular reader, here are some other recommendations on Costco items:

Roasted Seaweed

Coconut oil

Fruit and Nut treats

Organic Chocolate Love Crunch

Rotisserie chicken

Sunrise energy bars

Tony

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Filed under energy, energy bars, Exercise, portion control, portion size, salt, sodium, Weight

What Are Some Differences Between Fat and Muscle Tissue?

So many people are hung up on their body weight, but fail to realize that the more important issue is their body composition.

All there is to us is fat, muscle and bone. Our body weight is equal to the sum of these parts.

I hope this illustration will help you to see the issues clearer.

It is clear from this picture that fat weighs less than muscle, so it takes up much more room than muscle.

It is clear from this picture that fat weighs less than muscle, so it takes up much more space than muscle.

Once you have an idea how much more space in your body that fat takes up, you can understand the importance of knowing your percentage of body fat. You can read about how to measure your body fat percentage in an earlier post.

Once you know this you will have a baseline from which to work. This is important because often when a person starts to do cardio and resistance exercises his weight doesn’t tell him there is much change going on. Yet, if he is burning fat and building muscle, his body will be changing in important ways. Shirts will fit differently, pants will become looser around the waist line.

Another important consideration in body composition is that one pound of fat burns about 5 calories each day while one pound of muscle burns 50 calories in a day. So, once you get yourself on the road to fitness and start building muscle and burning fat, you will be transforming yourself into a calorie and fat burning machine. You will have started a wonderful positive spiral.

It is important to understand your body fat composition because while you may presently think you are at a good weight, if you have too large a percentage of fat, you may not be all t hat healthy and may be headed for medical problems despite you ‘good weight.’

Similarly, if you are overweight, once you learn your percentage of body fat you will have a guideline against which to measure yourself by and you won’t be troubled by the fact that you ‘aren’t losing weight,’ when you begin an exercise program and start trying to eat in a more healthy manner. You will be burning off fat and muscle weighs more than fat. Often when an overweight person starts working out and getting healthy he/she finds that their close fit looser/better despite no change in their weight.

Tony

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Filed under belly fat, body fat, calories, cardio exercise, Exercise, healthy eating, healthy living, nutrition, obesity, overweight, percent of body fat, Weight

Weight Training Techniques for Seniors

One of my problems with most advice on working with weights is that it is written by young jocks for young jocks. I am a senior citizen and I don’t want to break or tear any parts of my body. If I tried to emulate some of the recommendations or workouts done by you younger guys and gals I think I would end up in the emergency room.

The principles of exercise change for seniors whether it is cardio or resistance work. I have written about seniors doing endurance sports and also seniors lifting weights.

Dr. Anthony Goodman, in the course I took called Lifelong Health, said that seniors should concentrate on using lower weights, but do higher reps because seniors want to strengthen their ligaments and tendons as well as the muscles. Ligaments and tendons weaken as we age and lead to injuries that can really slow you down. Strengthening ligaments can also protect you from common aging problems like Achilles tendon rupture, rotator cuff tears in the shoulder and hip and knee injuries.

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Having said that, I am very pleased to pass on the bottom quarter of a recommendation from Dr. Doug McGuff as reported by Dr. Mercola on his fitness website in January of 2012. Although over a year old, it was news, welcome news, to me. I hope it will be to you, too. Sometimes old news is good news.

Dr. McGuff is explaining super-slow weight lifting. As you will see in his conclusion it is especially helpful for seniors.

Essentially, by aggressively working your muscle to fatigue, you’re stimulating the muscular adaptation that will improve the metabolic capability of the muscle and cause it to grow. McGuff recommends using four or five basic compound movements for your exercise set. These exercises can be done using either free weights or machines. The benefit of using a quality machine is that it will allow you to focus your mind on the effort, as opposed on the movement, because the movement is restricted by the structure of the machine.

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Filed under aging, endurance sports, seniors, Weight, weight-bearing exercise, weight-training

What Is the Co$t of Obe$ity?

I have talked about overweight and obesity statistics here repeatedly. By now, is there anyone who doesn’t know that 60 percent of us at overweight and 30 percent of us outright obese.

You can read chapter and verse on How Does Obesity Affect You? personally.

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We have let ourselves go to the point that employers are now paying for it.

The Saturday edition of the Wall Street Journal talks about the costs in detail. “A 2011 Gallup survey estimated obese or overweight full-time U.S. workers miss an additional 450 million days of work each year, compared with healthy workers, resulting in more than $153 billion in lost productivity.”

Typically 20 percent of a company’s employees drive 80 percent of the health-care costs. and about 70 percent of the costs are related to chronic conditions resulting from lifestyle choices like overeating or sedentary behavior.

Companies, trying to get control of their rocketing healthcare costs, are fighting back. Last month CVS shocked some employees by asking for personal health metrics, like body fat, blood sugar, etc. or pay a $600 penalty. Michelin is adding as much as $1000 to health care costs of employees with high blood pressure or large waistlines.

After talking and writing about this for over three years, I wonder what it will take to get folks to do something about their personal health.

If you are reading this blog, perhaps that can be a first step. Check out How to Lose Weight – And Keep it Off.

Tony

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Filed under arteries, blood pressure, cardiovascular risk, fat, health care costs, healthy eating, healthy living, heart, heart disease, heart problems, living longer, Weight

What is the Most Balanced Exercise Program?

The more I read and write about exercise, the more the element of balance becomes important. Exercise if crucial to our well being, but it is easy to overdo it, or use bad technique and set ourselves back with an injury. Heaven knows I have had biking injuries galore.  So what is the most balanced exercise program, let me count the options.

Among the possibilities, are walking, running, weight lifting, bicycling, yoga, tennis, kick-boxing to name a few.

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WebMD says that walking, weight lifting and yoga constitute the most balanced plan because there are “three different types of exercise: aerobic/cardio (walking), strength training (weight lifting), and flexibility training (yoga).

“All three are important. Aerobic or “cardio” (walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, tennis, basketball) boosts the strength of your heart and lungs; strength or “resistance” training (weight lifting, resistance band exercises, etc.) help to keep your muscles and bones strong, and help with balance and coordination; and flexibility exercises (yoga, stretching, tai chi) can improve your range of motion and reduce your risk for injury.”

You can take the WebMD test on Fitness Do’s and Dont’s at the link.

I really like their breakdown because I consider walking to be the Cinderella sister of exercises. Everyone does it to some extent, but very few people appreciate the benefits.

Here are some of my posts on walking.

Benefits of Walking and Cycling

Walking, not Sudoku for Seniors

National Walking Day – American Heart Association

Mall-Walking

Tony

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Filed under aerobics, aging, Exercise, stretching, tai chi, target zone, walking, warming up, Weight, weight-bearing exercise, weight-training, yoga

Some Exercise Motivation Slogans

I ran across these on the web, they are available as posters, water bottles, etc.

sweat_is_fat_crying_small_workout_poster

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the_only_person_small_gym_poster

I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.

Tony

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Filed under aerobics, calories, cardio exercise, Exercise, fat, health, healthy living, motivation, Weight, weight-bearing exercise, weight-training

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

Practice Strength Training for Bones as well as Muscles – Harvard

Men don’t suffer from osteoporosis as often as women, but they are indeed vulnerable. The International Osteoporosis Foundation says that the lifetime risk of experiencing an osteoporotic fracture in men over the age of 50 is 30%, similar to the lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer.

osteoporosis2

Harvard HealthBeat said, “Most of us know that strength training (with free weights, weight machines, or resistance bands) can help build and maintain muscle mass and strength. What many of us don’t know is that strong muscles lead to strong bones. And strong bones can help minimize the risk of fracture due to osteoporosis.

A combination of age-related changes, inactivity, and poor nutrition conspire to steal bone mass at the rate of 1% per year after age 40. As bones grow more fragile and susceptible to fracture, they are more likely to break after even a minor fall or a far less obvious stress, such as bending over to tie a shoelace. Continue reading

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Filed under Exercise, osteoporosis, weight-bearing exercise, weight-training

Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid – Infographic

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February 14, 2013 · 5:33 pm

Some Facts About Weight Loss That Work

Since eating temptations abound around Valentine’s Day, I thought I would share these observations on weight.

“…. There are facts about obesity of which we may be reasonably certain — facts that are useful today,” says researcher Krista Casazza, PhD, RD, from the department of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in a prepared statement, WebMD reported.

Here they are:

1. “Your genes are not your destiny. Moderate environmental changes can promote as much weight loss as even the best weight-loss drugs.”

I love this one. So often people use ‘bad genes’ as an excuse for their weight problems, ignoring completely their own bad eating habits.

2.”Even without weight loss, physical activity improves health.”

Another winner. I have reiterated this statement in at least 25 different posts on this blog. Eat less; move more; live longer.

UNCLE-SAM-EXERCISE
3. “Physical activity or exercise in the right amounts does help people lose weight.”

Amen. Listen to Uncle Sam.

4. “Continuation of conditions that promote weight loss helps people keep the weight off. Think of obesity as a chronic condition.”

Likewise, I think of good eating and exercise habits as chronic, too.

5. “For overweight children, involving the family and home environment in weight-loss efforts is ideal.”

6. “Providing actual meals or meal replacements works better for weight loss than does general advice about food choices.”

Both 5 and 6 sound like first rate advice.

7. “Weight-loss drugs can help some people lose weight.”

I am not going to argue with the experts here, but I sincerely doubt that the weight stays off if they don’t change their eating and exercise habits. I repeat my recommendation to pay attention to what you eat and exercise regularly. That will melt the pounds away. You won’t need drugs.

8. “Bariatric surgery can help achieve long-term weight loss in some people.”

The study was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health. Our tax dollars at work.

I would like to say for the record that I don’t believe losing weight works. It is only temporary at best. If, instead, you get your head on straight and aim to live a healthy life by eating intelligently and exercising regularly, I can promise that you will never have a weight problem.

Tony

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Filed under bariatric surgery, calories, diet food, Exercise, weight loss drugs

Can a Vitamin Help Reduce My Waistline?

A recent study indicated that a vitamin supplementation plan was effective in reducing waist measurements. The journal Clinical Nutrition reported on a study including 23 overweight and obese individuals, who all completed 12 weeks of resistance training. Half of the participants received 4,000 International Units (IU) of Vitamin D. The other half took a placebo. Analysis indicated an inverse relationship between the change in Vitamin D status and the change in waist-to-hip ratio.

vitamin-d
They said, “”The results of the current study demonstrated that vitamin D supplementation improved muscular power in healthy overweight and obese individuals within four weeks and that elevated vitamin D status was associated with greater losses in waist circumference, with no additional benefits in lean mass accumulation, muscular strength, or glucose tolerance during participation in a 12-week resistance exercise training program.
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Filed under Exercise, health, Vitamin D, Weight, weight-bearing exercise, weight-training

New Year’s Resolutions, er, Revolutions

Getting through December in a four season climate like Chicago is a dicey experience for a guy who wants to ride his bike every day. You just don’t know what the weatherman will be serving up on any given day.

December usually has some of the most bizarre offerings, unfortunately. However, this year was one for the record books. No snowfall of an inch or more since March. This was the third most snow free season on record with 0.9 inch the lowest since 1939. The year 2012 was the warmest in Chicago’s 142 year observational record dating back to 1871.

Easily mistaken for Tony, this is an ad from J2 Studios. That' one hot set of wheels.

Easily mistaken for Tony, this hot-looking guy is from Shawn Jantzen’s J2 Studios. One hot set of wheels.

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I just finished adding up my bike riding for the year and it comes to, wait for it … 8,433 miles. I don’t know if you are impressed, but I am. This mellow December has been most helpful in my biking. Normally, we have snow and really difficult weather for riding at all, let alone virtually every day. This year, as you can see from the first paragraph – warmer and less snow. I bought a new car on February 25. I have driven it 4200 miles.

This cycling total is most gratifying to me because last year I rode 6,300 and thought I had begun to slow down due to my age. In 2010, the prior year, my total was 7,111 which was the most I had ever ridden. I was not surprised when I slid back the following year.

The 8,433 miles comes to a daily average – 366 days in 2012 – of 23.04 miles. A 23 mile ride lasts around two hours and burns about 1000 calories, thus expanding my gustatory horizons for the remainder of the day. It also works my heart and lungs and pumps up fresh oxygen to my brain creating new neurotransmitters.
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Filed under 2012 in review, aging, biking, calories, cardio exercise, cold weather, Exercise, happiness, heart, heart rate, men's health, seniors, Weight, winter