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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.

Exercise to Reduce Risk for High Blood Pressure

The CARDIA study followed 5115 adults in nine separate examinations over a period of 30-40 years, from ages 18-60. By age 60, 73.1 percent of the subjects in this study had developed high blood pressure, and the lower the level of physical activity, the more likely a person was to develop high blood pressure

Recreational Exercise Better Than Physically Active Jobs

A new study from Denmark shows that while leisure-time physical activity is associated with reduced heart attack risk, occupational physical activity is associated with increased risk. Participants with leisure-time physical activity had a 15 percent reduced risk for heart attacks, while those with heavy physical activity at work had a 35 percent increased risk.

Muscles Weaken with Aging Even If You Exercise

With aging you can expect to lose muscle size and strength, which increases risk for lifestyle diseases and disabilities. Progressive loss of muscle starts at about 25 years of age. It is caused mainly by a loss of muscle fibers and to a lesser extent by a reduction in type 2 strength fast twitch fibers.

Exercise and the Gut Microbiome

The hottest area of research in medicine today is about the bacteria in your colon called the microbiome. More and more studies show that exercise, in addition to a healthful diet, helps to increase the numbers of healthful bacteria in your colon that may prevent or treat obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, inflammation and even certain cancers.

Too Much Intense Exercise May Harm You

Exercising regularly helps to prevent disease and prolong lives, and exercising intensely can prevent disease and prolong lives even more. However, a study from Karolinska Institute suggests that exercising intensely too often can harm your health, and perhaps even shorten your life.

Muscle Cramps: Prevention and Treatment

Muscle cramps occur most often at night when you are sleeping, but they also can occur when you exercise vigorously, tear a muscle, or keep one leg in an awkward position, such as sitting in a chair in the same position for a long time. Muscle cramps are classified into those that occur during exercise and those that can occur at any time not related to exercise, usually at night.

Recreational Runners and Cyclists Should Lift Weights

To preserve muscle and bone size and strength, recreational runners and cyclists should do upper body and core weight lifting and resistance training. Everybody will lose muscle and bone size and strength with aging. Your bones weaken progressively after age 30, and between ages 35 and 50, about 28 percent of North American men and women suffer from bone weakening called osteopenia.

Cold Weather Exercise in 2021

This winter is more dangerous than previous winters because cold weather increases your risk for COVID-19, since it increases the time that people spend indoors where the virus can accumulate in the air. More than 95 percent of COVID-19 appears to be acquired indoors, particularly where people congregate.

Should You Breathe Through Your Nose or Your Mouth When You Exercise?

Just about everyone with an unobstructed nose will breathe through their nose when at rest or during casual activities, but most people will breathe through their mouth during exercise. The more intensely you exercise, the more likely that you will have to breathe through your mouth because you may not be able to get enough air through your nose to feel comfortable back of your mouth.

Prevent Running Injuries with Shorter Strides and Orthotics

Chronic foot, leg and knee pain during running can be caused by the foot hitting the ground with excessive force and excessive rolling in of the feet after they hit the ground. These problems can often be alleviated just by taking shorter strides to reduce the force of the foot hitting the ground, and putting special inserts called orthotics in your shoes

How to Prepare for Skiing When There’s No Snow

The best way to train for skiing is to ski, but snow isn’t always available. To prepare for a skiing trip, you need to strengthen both your heart muscles and your skeletal muscles. You can strengthen your heart for skiing with any exercise that will raise your heart rate for at least 10 minutes, at least three times a week.

Bicycles Are Most Energy Efficient

A positive outcome of the many COVID-19 restrictions has been a huge boom in bicycling. If you are a regular cyclist or are new to the sport, be proud. Humans riding on bicycles are more energy-efficient than any other form of transportation and any other animal. Vance Tucker of Duke University compared bicyclists to people and animals running, birds flying and fish swimming, as well as to people in motor-powered cars, boats, trains and planes

Why Humans Can Run Marathons and Apes Cannot

Extensive research by Dr. Ajit Varki at UC/San Diego suggest that 2-3 million years ago, our pre-human ancestors had a single genetic mutation that could explain why humans can outrun their primate relatives.

Resistance Training for Endurance Sports

A recent review of 22 scientific studies shows that adding a resistance program such as lifting weights to endurance sports such as running or cycling can increase muscle size and strength, with greater benefit from low volume, high-resistance weight lifting than high volume, lower-resistance exercise.

High Blood Sugar Limits Benefits from Exercise

A study from Harvard Medical School shows that a high rise in blood sugar after meals can limit increases in your ability to take in and use oxygen during exercise. This means that if your diet causes high blood sugar levels when you eat, you lose one of the major health benefits of exercise.

Restricting Carbohydrates Slows You Down

Restricting carbohydrates with a keto diet or fasting will tire you earlier when you exercise. Many studies show that low-carbohydrate diets impair performance in sports that require speed. On a low-carbohydrate diet, you can't train very fast and you can't move as fast in races.

Resistance Exercise You Can Do at Home

Resistance exercise is the best way to slow down the loss of muscle strength that occurs with aging, and I believe that everyone should do some type of resistance exercise (moving your muscles against an opposing force) as part of their regular exercise program.

Exercise May Change Gut Bacteria for More Endurance

An interesting study showed that after finishing the 26-mile Boston Marathon, runners had changes in the bacteria in their colons that may have helped them to run faster and longer.

Drink Sugar and Caffeine Only During Vigorous Exercise

I have often recommended that exercisers take a sugared, caffeinated soft drink for a performance boost during prolonged vigorous exercise. I still think this is good advice, but people who are exercising at a casual pace for an extended time may want to restrict their intake of soft drinks

Your Muscles Make Your Heart Stronger

When you contract your skeletal muscles, they squeeze the veins near them to pump extra blood back to your heart. The extra blood flowing back to your heart fills up your heart, which stretches your heart muscle, causing the heart muscle to contract with greater force and pump more blood back your body.

Should You Wear a Mask When You Exercise Outdoors?

The problem with wearing masks when you exercise outdoors is that they can limit your ability to breathe. This may not be an issue if you are doing casual exercise, but if you are running or cycling vigorously, you will probably find yourself gasping for air.

Why You Sweat More After Exercise

It's normal to sweat more after you finish exercising than you do while you exercise. Your body temperature varies throughout the day, going from around 97 degrees in the early morning to about 99 degrees in the early evening. Exercise raises body temperature considerably.