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Weak Muscles Predict Accelerated Aging, Disability and Death

A study of 1,275 men and women found that those who had very weak handgrip strength had signs of accelerated aging, as measured by deterioration of the DNA in their cells. The authors of this study cited earlier studies showing that grip strength appears to be a better predictor of life expectancy than blood pressure. Many other studies show that having weak muscles is associated with a host of diseases and premature death.

Benefit from a Few Minutes of Vigorous Activity Each Day

You may be able to prolong your life just by moving more vigorously a few times a day. Australian researchers found that non-exercisers who had 3-4 short bouts of vigorous activity each day had a 40 percent reduction in all-cause death rate, a 40 percent reduction in cancer-related deaths, and up to a 49 percent reduction in heart attack deaths.

Exercising in Cold Weather

Cold weather is associated with an increased incidence of heart attacks. The majority of cold weather deaths are associated with elevated blood pressure and increased clotting to cause heart attacks and strokes. If you have heart or lung disease, you are far more likely to die in cold weather than in the heat. Even a short-term drop in air temperature in the tropics is associated with increased heart attack risk

Lack of Exercise is Worse Than Prolonged Sitting

A recent study followed 105,677 participants from 21 countries for an average of 11 years, and found that those who sat for 6-8 hours a day had a 13 percent increased risk for early death and heart disease, while those who sat for more than eight hours a day had a 20 percent increased risk. Furthermore, those who sat the most and exercised the least had a 50 percent increased risk, while those who sat the most and exercised the most had only a 17 per cent increased risk.

Eating Carbohydrates Before Lifting Weights Can Help You Lift Heavier Weights

It is well known that taking carbohydrates before and during endurance exercise helps to increase both speed and endurance. It is not as well known that taking carbohydrates before and during resistance training for strength can increase intensity and duration of workouts. A review of 21 randomized controlled studies that included 226 young adults found that taking carbohydrates before or during lifting weights increased training volume, and caused higher peak blood lactic acid and sugar levels

Second Wind

Second wind means that when you run very fast, you reach a point where you gasp for breath and your muscles burn so much that you feel like you have to slow down, but you try to keep on pushing. After several seconds, you feel recovered and pick up the pace.

Keep Your Muscles Strong As You Age

A review of 16 major studies found that just thirty minutes a week of strength training is associated with up to a 20 percent reduced risk for dying from any cause, or from cancer, heart disease or diabetes. Adding aerobic exercise reduced risk for dying by 40 percent. The World Health Organization recommends at least two days a week of muscle-strengthening activities for adults because having larger and stronger muscles appears to help prevent many diseases and prolong lives.

Being Physically Active Helps to Prevent Heart Attacks and Some Cancers

A prospective study of 78,500 men and women, ages 40-79, used wrist accelerometers to see whether daily step counts and measurements of intensity would predict future heart attacks or cancers. They were followed for an average of seven years, and during that period, there were 10,245 heart attacks, 664 deaths from heart attacks, 2813 cancers and 1325 deaths from cancer.

Late Afternoon Exercise Helps to Control Blood Sugar, Cholesterol and Triglycerides

A study from Japan found that exercising in the late afternoon (4-6 PM) helps to control blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels better than exercising in the morning (9-11 AM).

Physical Activity and Longevity

Four interesting studies supporting the benefits of physical activity have appeared in recent medical journals.

Don’t Straighten Your Knees While Running or Cycling

Always try to keep at least a slight bend in your knee when you run or ride a bicycle. When you run, you are supposed to land on each foot with a partially-bent knee. Otherwise you transmit the shock of your foot hitting the ground directly onto your knees, hips and back. Straightening your knees when you pedal markedly increases risk for knee pain by increasing the force on your joints.

Weekend Warriors Gain Full Benefit From Their Exercise

A recent study found no significant difference in death rates between adults who exercised once or twice a week versus three or more times a week, as long as they exercised moderately for a total of 150 minutes or vigorously for 75 minutes per week. This study followed 350,978 U.S. adults for more than 10 years. The participants reported their activity levels and were divided into an active group and an inactive group.

All Exercise is Good, and Vigorous Exercise is Better

An analysis of more than 36,861 deaths in a study of 403,681 participants found that the greater proportion of vigorous exercise to total exercise, the less likely a person was to die, die from a heart attack, or die from cancer during the 10 study years. The U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines recommend trying to exercise for 150 minutes a week for optimal health, and  this study showed that compared to people who do not exercise that much, people who exercise 150 minutes or more each week are 15 percent less likely to die, 23 percent less likely to suffer heart disease and 12 percent less likely to develop a cancer.

Eat and Sleep to Recover from Intense Exercise

Top endurance athletes use hydration, nutrition, and sleep to help them recover from intense exercise. When you exercise for endurance, you use up glycogen, the sugar that is stored for energy in your muscles, and you damage muscle fibers.

Exercise to Reduce Muscle Loss and Inflammation

Women and men who exercise regularly have larger and stronger hearts, and greater endurance and strength, than those who do not exercise regularly. Their muscles are stronger and more coordinated.  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. 

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