Health and Fitness Articles

Fitness After 40...The weight room is calling

By Kate Kane-Joyce

Today's 40 year-plus generations don't feel like they should be slowing down. But even though the mind is willing, the flesh, inevitably, will start to weaken, after a time. While science and infomercials are trying to create (bottle, package and sell you) the Fountain of Youth, you already posses the ability to combat the loss of muscle and strength that can come with age.

Lifting weights becomes increasingly more important after 40 because the stress on the body (when exercises are performed properly) yields positive results.

  1. Microscopic tear and repair = stronger muscle. When you feel mild soreness the day after a weightlifting workout, you have torn that muscle on the cellular level. This stimulates the body's immune response and the tissue that is rebuilt is stronger than what was there before. This is one of our amazing adaptation skills, and enables us to tackle the same weights with ease in time.

  2. The body produces a Human Growth Hormone that aids in our development when we are young and continues until about the age of 40, when production slowly diminishes. Along with good nutrition and sleep habits, exercise can help the body continue to produce HGH. Higher levels of this hormone have been shown in studies to increase muscle quality and bone mass.

  3. Speaking of bone mass, our bodies have an efficient system when it comes to the skeletal structure. Bone remodeling occurs where specific demands are placed on the skeleton. Bone is added where the body experiences stress, and removed where it is not required. What this means is that if a person is sedentary, their bone does not receive enough stimulus to maintain optimum strength and there is a greater likelihood of fracture. Lifting weights and running (also vigorous walking) create sufficient impact to the bones to encourage bone remodeling, and keep a healthier level of bone mass.

If you are unsure of where to start with weight-training, it is a goods idea to enlist the help of a personal trainer, or an experienced friend. It can be confusing with all of the equipment available to use, and it is a good idea to have some guidance in the beginning.

 

Good news for chocolate lovers​

By Dr. Melyni Worth

Good news for chocolate lovers...scientists at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine say that a few squares of chocolate a day can reduce the risk of a heart attack by almost 50 per cent in some cases. The discovery came after volunteers for a trial on the effects of aspirin were disqualified for eating chocolate, despite being warned that this would interfere with results from the study. (Hey, when the craving strikes, who can resist?)

Despite being barred from participating in the drug study, the chocolate-eaters blood was examined and compared with others who hadn't indulged in order to determine what effect cocoa has on platelets. Platelets from those who had eaten chocolate clotted more slowly than those who had not - taking an average of 130 seconds to clump together compared to 123.

Professor Diane Becker said: "What these chocolate 'offenders' taught us is that the chemical in cocoa beans has a biochemical effect similar to aspirin in reducing platelet clumping, which can be fatal if a clot forms and blocks a blood vessel, causing a heart attack."

She continued: "Eating a little bit of chocolate or having a drink of hot cocoa as part of a regular diet is probably good for personal health, so long as people don't eat too much of it, and too much of the kind with lots of butter and sugar."

The full results of the study were presented to the American Heart Association's annual Scientific Sessions in Chicago recently.

 

Is Vitamin D Important?​

By Dr. Melyni Worth

As we head into winter, most of us anyway, let's remember the importance for an increased need for vitamin D in our diets to make up for a shortfall due to the lack of sun exposure. Lack of sun exposure also contributes to the fact that millions of people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Vitamin D deficient patients are prone to muscle weakness because vitamin D is important for muscle function. Sometimes patients are misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Research at McGill University in Canada, as well as at the University of California and elsewhere has shown that Vitamin D acts as a natural antibiotic and can help boost the bodies natural defense against invading bacteria.

Vitamin D has also been shown to be effective in immune system support and important feature as we get into the colds and flu season. People with low Vitamin D levels are more likely to get an opportunistic infection that those with adequate or high vitamin D levels.

In fact it has been suggested that one reason so many people get sick during the winter months is due to the low levels of sunlight causing a reduction in the skin synthesis of vitamin D. So winter might be a very good time to increase your intake of Vitamin D.

 

Bustin' Out! Tips on how to get through when the body won't budge​

By Kate Kane-Joyce

Oh, the dreaded plateau! If you are trying to achieve fitness and body composition changes, inevitably you will reach a point in your journey everything seems to come to a grinding halt. But fear not! Change can be constant, even for a stubborn metabolism. Here are some ideas on how to keep your engine running, and move on towards your goals.

Add exercise/add a diet plan:

If you have been doing one of these without the other and are stuck in limbo, now is the time to make a move. Consider this; if you are eating more calories than necessary on a daily basis, it is illogical to think that 30-45 minutes of exercise 3-4 times a week is going to give you optimum results. Likewise, if you are eating healthfully (proper caloric intake for your lifestyle) but asking no more work from your body than necessary, you will burn no more calories. Consulting a nutritionist for an eating/diet plan, or a personal trainer for a workout that works for you is an investment in yourself.

Honesty is the best policy:

What are you eating, really? Are you really working out as hard as you could? If you are serious about change, have a heart to heart with yourself and ask for the truth. It may mean that you have to eat up a no-cal slice of humble pie, but when you do the things that bring about positive change in your physique, you learn how to bring about well-being, and become a better friend to yourself. And if you decide you don't need the extra 300 calories from your daily latte, you may save a little cash. Bonus!

Pack your lunch:

When you prepare your own food daily you are able to control the content and quality of nutrients. You know exactly how and what something was cooked in, and you can keep out any unwanted extras, like trans fats. Prepare your meals in large batches and package them in individual-serving plastic containers in your fridge. In the morning when you leave, just take the meals that you need. If you do not cook, learning some basic techniques in the kitchen will prove priceless to your waisteline, and can also impress a date.

Water, water, water:

It is a myth that drinking water will make you feel more full. It can only make you feel less thirsty. That being said, thirst can be misinterpreted by the brain as hunger. Water is a major player in all of the body's functions, especially the digestion and breakdown of food for fuel. Having optimum levels of H2O in the system keeps things humming. An average person with a moderately active lifestyle should aim to drink 2-3 liters a day. An elite athlete should be drinking close to two gallons. Where do you fit in?

Fiber:

In addition to a healthful diet, fiber provides the stimulation necessary to keep the intestines and colon clean and functioning. Natural sources of fiber include unprocessed grains and raw or lightly cooked veggies. Besides these, fiber can be found in health food stores in capsule or powder form. A great source of supplemental fiber that has numerous additional health benefits is flax seed oil. Flax seed oil can be found in capsule and liquid form. You can also enjoy the seeds whole or milled.

 

Muscle Move of the Month: The Bent-Over Row

By Kate Kane-Joyce

(Before beginning any exercise or diet program, please be sure to consult with your physician.)

Select a barbell or dumbbells of a moderate weight. Place your feet in a base position, shoulder-width apart, with a soft, slightly bent knee. Keeping your hips lined up with your heels, hold the barbell or dumbbells over-hand, in front of you, with your arms straight and bend forward from the waist to a 45degree angle. Your lower back should remain flat or slightly arched.

Bend your elbows and pull the weight in towards your navel. Strive to feel your back muscles initiate the pull; allow the arms to follow. Pinch your shoulder blades together at the end of the pull. As you lower the weight, keep a slight bend in the elbow, and repeat. Two sets of ten is sufficient for beginners.

Tips:

  • The upper body does not move out of position until the end of the set. Try not to "rock" as you lift.

  • Concentrate on keeping your weight in your heels.

  • Eyes forward, and check your position in a mirror whenever possible.

 

Facts About HyCel ®
Nutritional Supplement for Muscle, Arthritis & Joint Pain Relief​

By Dr. Melyni Worth

HyCel ® consists of three ingredients each designed to help your joints and skin.

Celadrin™: Celadrin is an mixture of esterified essential fatty acids. These special fats will help the cells to rebuild their membranes and be more efficient. This results in a rebuilding of the joint cartilage and improvement in joint flexion and comfort levels. It also has an effect on all the other cells in the body and will result in an improvement in skin texture and feel. Celadrin has been shown in studies at University of Connecticut to improve the activity level and reduce the discomfort associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. Anecdotally the Celadrin helps scars to soften and reduce, even very old scars.

Hyaluronic acid: HA is a component of joint fluid, it acts as a lubricant, and a buffer to absorb concussion. It helps to move nutrients in and out of the cartilage lining the joints. HA is also a vital component of the connective tissue in skin. As you age the bodies level of HA drops and so the skin becomes less resilient and elastic and begins to wrinkle and sag. HA is usually injected into skin to improve it's appearance, and is injected into joints to supply 'joint oil' and improve function and reduce discomfort, but now we have available the oral forms which can get to all parts of the body and help the skin all over as well as the joints.

Magnesium Chelate: The body requires the mineral magnesium for very many enzyme processes especially in the working muscle and in the skin, magnesium also has an effect to relax the muscles and to improve peripheral circulation, this improvement in blood supply to the limbs and skin results in more nutrients getting to where they are needed! Addition of magnesium to HyCel has a synergistic effect on the HA and the Celadrin.

 

Nutrition facts and news!​

By Dr. Melyni Worth

Did you know that only about 38% of women over age 19 exercise regularly! This is especially concerning when fitness and exercise are critical in the menopausal years. These are times when a woman is at a dramatically increased risk for osteoporosis and fracture, heart disease, and chronic diseases such as diabetes. From age 35 onwards, women lose bone mass at a rate of about 0.75% to 1% per year. Regular exercise may decrease the incidence and severity of hot flashes, which occur in 75% of menopausal women. In one study, aerobic training reduced the severity of hot flashes in 55% of postmenopausal women.

Source: Burghardt M. Exercise at Menopause: A Critical Difference. MedGenMed 1(3), 1999.

Every patient in the cardiac care unit at the San Filippo Neri Hospital in Rome who survives a heart attack goes home with a prescription for purified fish oil, or omega-3 fatty acids. In a large number of studies, prescription fish oil has been shown to improve survival after heart attacks and to reduce fatal heart rhythms. The American College of Cardiology recently strengthened its position on the medical benefit of fish oil, although some critics say that studies have not defined the magnitude of the effect.

A study published last month in The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that only 17 percent of family doctors were likely to prescribe fish oil to their patients, including patients who had suffered a heart attack.

In a study conducted on behalf of the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) , researchers reviewed data from the National Institutes for Health (NIH), and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), involved data from approximately 7,000 Americans, taken in 1999-2000 and 2001-2002. The aim of the study was to determine whether diabetics who use dietary supplements differ from those who do not in a number of health and behavioral indicators. The data was pooled and the results showed that Use of dietary supplements is significantly associated with reporting oneself to be better health than a year before.

While the majority of diabetics (52%) perceive their health as fair or poor, as compared with non diabetics, the majority of whom felt that their health was good to excellent, of the diabetics who took dietary supplements 54% felt that their health was good to excellent.

Diabetics who take supplements generally scored higher on the NHANES Healthy Eating Index and were less likely to be heavy alcohol users.

Scientific literature showed promising evidence for several nutritional ingredients, including magnesium, omega3 fatty acids and Alpha Lipoic Acid. Among the popular dietary supplements taken by diabetics were chromium, calcium, folate and Omega-3 fatty acids.

The full report, A Study of Dietary Supplement use among people with Diabetes, is available online as a .pdf from the DSEA
www.supplementinfo.org.

Improve your conditioning with...The Muscle Move of the Month!

By Kate Kane-Joyce

(Before beginning any exercise or diet program, please be sure to consult with your physician.)

I. The Squat

The squat is a compound exercise, meaning it involves more than one group of muscles, the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. It is one of the "big three" powerlifting exercises (including bench press, and deadlift), but its results are beneficial for even weekend warriors. Because the squat is such a basic movement, you will find that learning to perform it correctly will improve function for every day life, from lifting boxes to climbing stairs.

Start with your feet placed shoulder-width apart, with your toes turned slightly outward. Keeping your abdominals pulled in, look up and with back straight, lower your hips down and a little behind you, as if you were sitting in a chair (you may want to extend your arms straight out in front for balance). Stop downward movement when thighs are parallel to the floor. Push up through your heels, being careful to keep your back very straight, chin up. Repeat for two sets of eight to ten repetitions, for beginners.

Tips:
You may find proper form is more easily achieved by placing a bench behind you.

Try to keep a good deal of weight concentrated in the heel of your foot, as opposed to the toe. This will take a degree of stress off of the knee joint and put it into the muscle, where it belongs!

POWER FOODS​

By Kate Kane-Joyce

Include these five super foods in your diet for the biggest nutrition bang per calorie!

Broccoli - Prepared steamed, stir-fried(lightly), or raw, broccoli is a vegetable to be revered. Praised by some physicians for anti-carcinogenic properties, it is also a good source of calcium.

Beans - Quite possibly a perfect food, beans are high in vegetable protein and fiber, making them a must for vegetarians. Be sure they are thoroughly cooked, as undercooked beans are known to interfere with proper protein absorption.

Eggs - Containing all essential amino acids, eggs are convenient, tasty and versatile. Don't want all of the calories of whole eggs? Use two egg whites and two whole eggs to cut calories and keep the flavor.

Nuts - As with our other power foods, nuts are best consumed as close to their natural, raw state as healthfully possible. Check the labels of nut butters to ensure that you are only consuming the healthy fats already present in the nuts, without additives. These fats are great for those on an otherwise low-fat diet, when consumed in proper serving sizes. Almonds are especially known for a multitude of health benefits.

Sweet Potatoes - Even for the carbohydrate-restricted, the yummy sweet potato is a powerful choice! Containing more fiber than white or baking potatoes, the sweet potato does not cause a violent insulin spike and pairs wonderfully with grilled chicken, baked fish, or just a protein shake.

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