Category Archives: Exercise

Fitness Training at Midlife and Beyond

You won’t see her at your home gym

From American Partisan:

If you have chronic pain or have been out of the gym a long time, build up volume (number of sets x number of reps x weight) slowly.  Pick weights you can lift without pain and increase weight and volume in pain-free steps.  The great thing about weight training is it allows you to easily control training variables in a safe, measurable, and repeatable manner while building work capacity and strength.  If one exercise hurts, substitute for another.  For example, if it hurts to back squat, substitute for a front squat….Right now, for example, I’ve built up a bit of pain in my biceps so I’ve substitute pull-ups for chin-ups which seem to take the stress off my biceps due to the weird angle between my upper and lower arms.

Cardio is built-up in a similar manner.  If one thing hurts, do something else or do it only within a pain-free time-interval and intensity to prevent pain flare-ups.  Develop a large variety of ways of doing cardio rather than do the same thing every day since training benefits heavily from novelty.  For example, you can use the assault bike one day, the agility ladder the next, barbell complexes a third day, and agility ladders a fourth day.  If you’re very overweight, start with walking.

Source: Fitness through midlife | American Partisan

I would add: Advance work load slowly. It took you years to get out of shape. What’s the rush? Progressing too quickly leads to injuries.

The article recommends a book by Bill Hartman called All Gain No Pain. The numerous five-star reviews (and very few with lesser stars) at Amazon.com seem a bit fishy to me due to over-the-top praise and few details. Do you have an opinion on the book?

Steve Parker, M.D.

low-carb mediterranean diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords.com.

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Is 10,000 Steps a Day Really Necessary for the Longevity Benefit?

Dog owners live longer. Is it because of dog-walking?

It depends.

Among older women [average age 72], as few as approximately 4400 steps/d was significantly related to lower mortality rates compared with approximately 2700 steps/d. With more steps per day, mortality rates progressively decreased before leveling at approximately 7500 steps/d. Stepping intensity was not clearly related to lower mortality rates after accounting for total steps per day.

Source: Association of Step Volume and Intensity With All-Cause Mortality in Older Women | Geriatrics | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network

10,000 steps is about five miles, depending on stride length. 6,000 steps would be about three miles. Walking at two miles per hour, a leisurely stroll, it would take 90 minutes to walk three miles.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com

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Burn More Fat With Interval Training Than Continuous Exercise

You can do interval training on a bicycle

From JAMA Network:

Exercisers can burn slightly more body fat with interval training than moderate-intensity continuous training, according to a recent systematic review and meta-analysis in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Although the differences in fat loss weren’t huge, the interval workouts were shorter, which could make it easier for people to adhere to them.

Source: For Fat Burning, Interval Training Beats Continuous Exercise | Lifestyle Behaviors | JAMA | JAMA Network

Click for info on interval training.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com

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Is Weight Training Better Than Aerobics for Heart Health?

One…..more…..rep!

“Lifting weights is healthier for the heart than going for a run or a walk, new research has found. Scientists looking at the health records of more than 4,000 people have concluded that, while both forms of exercise reduce the risk of developing heart disease, static activities such as weight lifting or press-ups [push-ups] have a greater effect than an equivalent amount of dynamic exercise such as running, walking or cycling.

The research challenges commonly held assumption that so-called “cardiovascular” pursuits like running are of greatest benefit to the heart.”

Source: Weight lifting better for heart health than running, new study finds

I like these findings, but wonder if they can be replicated.

Steve Parker, M.D.

low-carb mediterranean diet

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Are Drugs the Answer to Unhealthy Lifestyles?

paleobetic diet, low-carb diet, diabetic diet

“This is much easier than exercising and losing 30 pounds!”

Fiona Godlee, editor-in-chief of the British Medical Journal, has a heretical short article at BMJ. I recommend you read the whole thing. It starts thusly:

More than half of adults aged over 45 will be labelled as hypertensive if new US guidelines are adopted, concludes a study in The BMJ this week (doi:10.1136/bmj.k2357). This equates to 70 million people in the US and 267 million people in China being eligible for antihypertensive drugs, a marked increase on already high rates of drug treatment for high blood pressure. Furthermore, the study calculates that 7.5 million people in the US and 55 million in China would be advised to start drug treatment, while 14 million in the US and 30 million in China would be advised to receive more intensive treatment. The evidence from trials indicates some benefit from drugs in terms of reduced risk of stroke and heart disease, but is mass medication really what we want?

Hypertension is just one of the many heads of the lifestyle disease hydra. Another is type 2 diabetes. Once thought to be irreversible and progressive, it is now known to be potentially reversible through weight loss. This is the cautious conclusion of the review by Nita Forouhi and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.k2234), part of our series on the science and politics of nutrition (bmj.com/food-for-thought). Whether by calorie or carbohydrate restriction, weight loss has been shown to improve glycaemic control, blood pressure, and lipid profile and is the key to treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes, they say.

She goes on to talk about fatty liver disease (NASH) and offers an alternative, of sorts, to pills. Good luck with that.

Source: Pills are not the answer to unhealthy lifestyles | The BMJ

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ACFT to Replace Army Physical Fitness Test

Look into “body weight training” if weight machines and free weights like dumbbells don’t appeal to you

I have long advocated measuring your fitness level periodically and seeing how you stack up against a benchmark. My favorite benchmark is the U.S. Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT).

The new Army standard testing will be too complicated for most non-military folks.

UPI has the story:

The U.S. Army is introducing an extensive overhaul of its physical fitness test that, with minor changes, has mostly been the same since 1980.The new test, announced this week, changes the name from the Army Physical Fitness Test to the Army Combat Fitness Test and is planned to become gender and age neutral. It will include a series of physical events, while the APFT was a series of pushups, situps and a 2-mile run.

The new standards call for deadlift tests, throwing ten-pound balls for distance backwards, and hand-release pushups that require hands to be taken off the ground for greater muscle tension. It also includes sled drags to simulate casualties, sprints with 40-pound kettle bells, hanging from a pull-up bar with legs up and the standard 2-mile run.

Source: U.S. Army to introduce new physical fitness test – UPI.com

You will also find the comment section interesting.

Steve Parker, M.D.

low-carb mediterranean diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com

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Certain Blood Pressure Medications May Injure or Impair Athletes

Not that serious…yet

Seriously athletic folks, particularly those in sports with high aerobic demand, should avoid these BP drug classes:

  • Diuretics (they predispose to dehydration)
  • Beta blockers (they may decrease exercise tolerance via slowing of heart rate)

Better choices for athletes are:

  • Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs)
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • long-acting dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers

These latter drugs are not likely to affect athletic performance or cause other complications. If you can’t figure out which class of drug you take, ask your physician, pharmacist, or Dr Google.

Steve Parker, M.D.

low-carb mediterranean diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com in the U.S.

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