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Resistance Exercise Becomes Even More Important As You Age

Recent studies suggest that lifting weights can help to prolong your life. An analysis of 16 studies including almost 480,000 people, 18 to 98 years of age, found that those who spent 30 to 60 minutes per week in strength training had a 40 percent lower risk of premature death, 46 percent lower risk of heart disease, and 28 percent lower risk of dying from cancer.

All Exercisers Can Benefit from Elite Training Methods

You will gain the most benefits from your exercise program if you follow the “stress and recover” training principles that competitive athletes use. A study using accelerometers to measure the physical activity of more than 90,000 healthy people over six years found that the more and harder they exercised, the less likely they were to suffer heart disease.

Can Intense Exercise Increase Your Risk for a Heart Attack?

The American Heart Association has cautioned that, "Exercise, particularly when performed by unfit individuals, can acutely increase the risk of sudden cardiac death and acute myocardial infarction in susceptible people." However, a recent review of 48 research articles found no reduction in lifespan, no matter how much a person exercises

Cancer Patients Benefit From Exercise

Exercise is recommended as part of the treatment for cancer by the American College of Sports Medicine, American Society of Clinical Oncology, National Comprehensive Cancer Network, American Cancer Society, Oncology Nursing Society, the Commission on Cancer, and the Cancer Foundation For Life. A regular exercise program reduces carcinogenic inflammation, strengthens the immune system, and improves mental processing.

Flat Feet, Pigeon Toes and Bow Legs

Many of the world's great sprinters have flat feet. In the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Bob Hayes tied the world record when he won the 100 meter dash, and five days later, he ran the anchor leg in the finals of the Olympic 400 meter relay. He took the baton with the US team in fifth place and he passed Jamaica, then Russia, then Poland and then France to run his 100 meters in an incredible 8.6 seconds, the fastest of all time.

Exercisers Should Follow a Heart-Healthy Diet

Exercise helps to prevent heart attacks, but exercise does not prevent plaques from forming in arteries. What you eat is far more important in determining how much plaque you have in your arteries, so even competitive master athletes should follow a heart-healthy diet. A recent study showed that lifelong male athletes older than 40 had increased markers that doctors use to predict a future heart attack.

Benefits of Exercising for Both Endurance and Strength

A systematic review of 18 studies found that combining aerobic exercise such as running, walking and cycling with resistance strength training helps older people to be more active and less likely to fall and hurt themselves, compared to those who did just aerobic or strength training alone. They become stronger, more coordinated, and have greater balance.

Knee Pain in Bicycle Riders

The most common cause of knee pain in bicycle riders is having the seat set so high that it forces you to fully straighten the knee as the pedal reaches its lowest level. You are never supposed to fully straighten your knee when you do any kind of exercise, particularly cycling or running.

How Exercise Reduces Risk for Dementia

A recent study of 62,286 participants found that even a low amount of light-intensity activity is associated with reduced risk of dementia in older adults. Almost 50 percent of North Americans over 85, and 13 percent of those over 65, suffer from dementia.

Just a Little Exercise Every Day Could Prevent 110,000 Deaths Per Year

A new study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that approximately 110,000 U.S. deaths could be prevented each year if adults over 40 added 10 minutes of daily physical activity to their normal routines (JAMA Internal Medicine, Jan 24. 2022). For this study 4840 adults, 40-85 years old, wore an accelerometer for seven days and were followed for 9-12 years. Increasing moderate to vigorous activity by 10 minutes/day was associated with a 6.9 percent decrease in date rate.

How We Learned That Lactic Acid Is Good For You

In the 1920s, experiments suggested that the accumulation of lactate acid in the bloodstream interfered with a person’s ability to exercise by causing muscles to stop contracting. However, Carl and Gerty Cori won the 1947 Nobel Prize for discovering the “Cori Cycle,” in which lactic acid produced by reduced oxygen levels from intense exercise may be good for exercisers when it travels from muscles to the liver, where lactic acid is converted to the sugar, glucose, to be used by muscles to supply extra energy

NSAIDs Can Interfere with Exercise or Training

It is very common for recreational exercisers to take NSAIDs, such as Advil, Motrin or aspirin, to lessen muscular pain, but NSAIDs can interfere with muscle growth by delaying recovery from exercise. To strengthen a muscle, you have to take an intense workout that damages muscle fibers to make them feel sore on the next day.

Over-Training, or Too Much Exercise

A regular exercise program can help to prevent disease and to prolong lives, but every serious exerciser learns sooner or later that exercising too much can cause injuries and health issues. A recent study from Austria reports that emotional symptoms can often be an early sign that a person is exercising too much: restlessness, mood changes, irritability, emotional instability, recurring states of fear, emerging indifference and reduced performance motivation

Running Injuries from Over-Striding

A recent study found that the incidence of running injuries can be markedly reduced by increasing the cadence during running, which helps to reduce the impact force of your feet hitting the ground. Most running injuries are caused by the high impact of your foot hitting the ground, which is determined most by the length of person's natural stride

Low Vitamin D Increases Risk for Sports Injuries

If you suffer muscle or tendon injuries, particularly during the winter or early spring, ask your doctor to order a blood test for hydroxy vitamin D. If it is below 30 ng/mL, you probably need more exposure to sunlight or you need to take vitamin D pills.   A review of sports injuries showed that lack of vitamin D can be a major cause of recurrent winter-time injuries in athletes and exercisers

How Much Should You Exercise?

Exercise helps to prevent disease and prolong life. The Copenhagen City Heart Study found that those who exercised 2.6 t.o 4.5 hours per week were 40 percent less likely to die over the next 25 years than the less active people.

Arm Exercises: Conductors Often Have Long Lives

Eighty-year-old Ricardo Muti just extended his contract to conduct the Chicago Symphony to 2023. Pablo Casals, Nadia Boulanger, Arturo Toscanini, Arthur Rubinstein, Mehli Mehta and Paul Paray all conducted major orchestras into their nineties,. The constant exercise involved in the act of conducting may be a strong part of the reason for their long lives.

How to Prevent Wear-and-Tear Injuries

If you think that football is the sport with the most injuries, you would be wrong. Each year, 79 percent of long-distance runners suffer injuries that force them to take time off from running (Br J Sports Med, Aug, 2007;41(8):469-80). The most-injured part is the knee and the chance for an injury increases with running longer distances and having previous injuries.

Keep Muscles Strong As You Age

We can all expect to become weaker as we age, but you can markedly delay this inevitable loss of muscle strength by having a regular exercise program and following the same anti-inflammatory lifestyle rules that are recommended to help prevent heart attacks, arthritis and many other diseases.

Walk Faster, Live Longer

The faster you walk, the longer you live. Picking up the pace is more healthful than just walking slowly, even if you go longer than the recommended 30 minutes per day. 

Intervals: The Best Way to Increase Intensity

The most efficient way to increase the intensity of your exercise program and feel less stress on your muscles is to use interval training. When you exercise, pick up the pace for a short period. As you start to feel burning or fatigue in your muscles, slow down. When the burning and fatigue are gone, pick up the pace.

Should You Cool Down after Exercise?

Cooling down means that after vigorous exercise, you move far more slowly for several minutes before you stop exercising for that session. The main reason for "cooling down" is to keep you from feeling dizzy or passing out after very vigorous exercise

No Need to Measure Maximum Heart Rate

Your maximum heart rate is the fastest your heart can beat and still pump blood effectively through your body. As you age, your maximum heart rate drops. The maximum heart rate formulae used by heart rate monitors (such as MAXIMUM HEART RATE = 220 – age) are all based on averages. They can be used to help you plan your exercise program, but they should not be interpreted as absolute limits or goals.

Sleep Improves Athletic Performance

Sooner or later, every serious exerciser learns that after a hard workout, they feel sleepy and need to go to sleep to recover. Older people may need even more sleep after intense exercise than younger people. A recent review of 37 studies recommends that competitive athletes and serious exercisers should consider napping 20 to 90 minutes every afternoon.

Standing Is Not Much Better Than Sitting

A recent study from New Zealand compared the effects of prolonged sitting, prolonged standing or taking regular activity breaks on blood flow and insulin levels. We know from earlier studies that prolonged sitting increases risk for forming clots, but this new study suggests that people with jobs that require them to stand for long periods may be even worse off.

How to Become Stronger: Weight Training for Middle-Aged and Older People

A review of 22 studies specifically on how to grow larger and stronger muscles found that the best way for untrained people to grow muscles is to use lighter weights with more repetitions. On the other hand, most trained athletes gained more strength by using heavier weights with fewer repetitions

Exercise for Both Endurance AND Intensity

For maximum health benefits, you should work for both endurance and intensity in your exercise program. We have lots of evidence that exercise prolongs lives by reducing risks for chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart attacks and diabetes, and adding intensity to a workout increases its health benefits

Runner’s Heart: The Consequences of Competitive Exercise

Medical researchers agree that exercising from the early years into old age helps to prevent heart attacks, strokes and cancers, but this month a study from The University of Manchester showed that long-term intense training for racing in animals can damage the atrial-ventricular node that regulates the frequency of heart beats to cause heart block.

The Rime of The Ancient Marathoner

At age 86, I can look back at more than 75 years of daily exercising and can tell you that there is a huge difference between the way that your body responds to exercise when you are young and when you are old. The key to healthy exercising for younger people is to try to put some intensity into some of their workouts.

Exercise to Boost Your Immune System

A review of 54 studies found that a regular exercise program strengthens the immune system, increases antibody response to vaccinations, and reduces risks for community-acquired infectious disease by 31 percent and death from infections by 37 percent in various populations. It does this by increasing IGA antibodies in all body cavities and CD4 T cells that help to kill invading germs.