Four fantastic benefits - especially for women
At the gym I see lots of middle-aged people spending lots of time in the aerobics room, and few of them building strength in the weights area. Those that are in the weights area are more often than not sitting on machines taking a rest.
It's not hard to conclude that most people past 45 don't place a high value on all-round body strength. Yet, all round body strength is one of the most fundamental physical assets that will help them improve their quality of life - and their longevity.
And my observation over 22 years at the gym is that, in particular, most midlife women limit their understanding of "exercise" to cardio like biking or running. The idea that they could actually become strong perhaps seems absurd to the point that it never strikes them as a real possibility.
But more than men, women 50+ need strength training to regain essential components of their degenerating musculoskeletal system.
If you can do one, I'll show you to get to 15
Pull-ups are a fantastic pull exercise, and we don't do enough pull exercises. That's why we see so many rounded-hunched shoulders in the gym, and they look bad on men and even worse on women (because it makes them look so much older).
It's a shame to see people putting in all that work and building a poor posture instead of a stronger one. Pulls-ups develop a more robust and more attractive posture. If you can do one proper pull-up, I'll show you how to build that up to 15.
Up to 75% of lower extremity amputations are performed on diabetics
When it comes to health advice getting too much leads to indecision and inaction - we don't know what's best to do.
Et cetera. It's confusing, isn't it? I've provided answers to those questions at the end of this post.
I’ve had diabetes for 20+ years — I don’t want you to get it too!
The focus of this post is to provide you with the answer to this one critical question:
Question: What is an easy, reliable way to predict my chance of developing diabetes?
Each higher level of intensity improves your survival rate
Physical exercise guidelines generally recommend 300 minutes of moderately-intensive exercise a week as a good minimum. Doing any physical activity is better than none. But would you rather try a little harder and live longer?
A research study conducted nearly 20 years ago and since cited by nearly 1000 other studies tested the prognostic capacity of exercise for mortality. The study tracked 6,213 men over 6 years, during which time there were a total of 1256 deaths.
Here's what the data showed, which is exciting. Exercise capacity is the most powerful predictor of mortality, even among those with existing cardiovascular diseases risk factors. Exercise capacity is not relative capacity adjusted for age - that was not found to be a good predictor - but absolute fitness.
If you weigh the same and your muscles are shrinking, then you are adding fat
Since the lockdown began, I have had to stop doing my more intense strength exercises at the gym - I used to go three times weekly. Like you, I've read that our muscles "turn to fat" when we stop exercising.
That's a scary thought, especially after 20 years of progressively building my muscular strength and endurance.
There's good news and bad news. The good news is that our muscles don't turn to fat - that's not even remotely true. The bad news is that our bodies will accumulate more fat if we continue to eat the same amount as we did with more muscle.
How to stop trending towards “skinny-fat” as you age
Calculating your body mass index (BMI) is one way of trying to work out whether you are within a healthy weight range for your height. However, recent research found that a "healthy" BMI was not associated with the longest life - if you are over 65.
That's a surprising finding, despite the well-known limitations of the BMI as a predictor of good health. Let's examine some of those limitations and then review the implications of the research for over 65s.
You can beat fragility
I'm disappointed when I see someone prematurely fragile. Fragility is associated with a shorter lifespan, and with being put into care earlier - losing your independence.
It disappoints me because, with some simple additions to your lifestyle, you can significantly delay fragility caused by loss of bone and muscle mass.
I did a bone density scan last year, and it showed me having 25% better bone mass than males my age, and 5% better than the average 25-year-old male.
80% of the value is in the last 30% of the proper form
I was hooked on Russian Twists for a long time - over a decade. One day an instructor at the gym told me that at my age, it was a poor choice of exercise—too much tension on the lower back.
The answer was to move to exercises which extend our spine, not contract it. This is especially more beneficial as we get older.
It makes sense when you think about it. Being hunched over a desk and learning towards a computer screen all day compresses the lower spine (and pulls a whole lot of other things out of shape).
Muscle strength is one of the strongest predictors of future health status. Strength is most often measured via the grip strength test, which is a proxy for overall skeletal muscle.
Regular exercise is the obvious way to improve muscular strength. But is it possible that supplements might promote muscle strength?
The supplement industry would have us believe so. What is the evidence?
Recent research (December 2019 - a metastudy), concluded:
Recent research (December 2019 - a metastudy), concluded:
Over 50 and hit a plateau? Here's what to do
You're consistent with your training, but losing your motivation because you've hit a plateau.
Sound familiar? If you are consistent it should, because it happens to us all. I've noticed over the last 20 years of training that as we get older the plateaus get longer. I've had a few people lately express frustration with their plateaus, but don’t give up - all will be well. It's by perseverance that your fitness will get to the next level of reward for you.
Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter