Face your fears, they are the only thing holding you back.
Even More Reasons to Get a Move On
“I’m 83 going on 84 years! I find that daily aerobics and walking are fine. But these regimens neglect the rest of the body, and I find the older you get the more attention they need.”
These are two of many comments from readers of my Jan. 12 column on the secrets of successful aging. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, a new series of studies prompts me to again review the myriad benefits to body, mind and longevity of regular physical activity for people of all ages.
Regular exercise is the only well-established fountain of youth, and it’s free. What, I’d like to know, will persuade the majority of Americans who remain sedentary to get off their duffs and give their bodies the workout they deserve? My hope is that every new testimonial to the value of exercise will win a few more converts until everyone is doing it.
In a commentary on the new studies, published Jan. 25 in The Archives of Internal Medicine, two geriatricians, Dr. Marco Pahor of the University of Florida and Dr. Jeff Williamson of Winston-Salem, N.C., pointed to “the power of higher levels of physical activity to aid in the prevention of late-life disability owing to either cognitive impairment or physical impairment, separately or together.”
“Physical inactivity,” they wrote, “is one of the strongest predictors of unsuccessful aging for older adults and is perhaps the root cause of many unnecessary and premature admissions to long-term care.”
They noted that it had long been “well established that higher quantities of physical activity have beneficial effects on numerous age-related conditions such as osteoarthritis, falls and hip fracture, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, cancer, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, low fitness and obesity, and decreased functional capacity.”
One of the new studies adds mental deterioration, with exercise producing “a significantly reduced risk of cognitive impairment after two years for participants with moderate or high physical activity” who were older than 55 when the study began.
Most early studies demonstrating the benefits of exercise were done with men. Now a raft of recent studies has shown that active women reap comparable rewards.
Sedentary skeptics are fond of saying that of course exercise is associated with good health as one ages; the people who exercise are healthy to begin with. But studies in which some participants are randomly assigned to a physical activity program and others to a placebo (like simply being advised to exercise) call their bluff. Even less exacting observational studies, like the Nurses’ Health Study, take into account the well-being of participants at enrollment.
Thus, in one of the new studies, Dr. Qi Sun of Harvard School of Public Health and co-authors reported that among the 13,535 nurses who were healthy when they joined the study in 1986, those who reported higher levels of activity in midlife were far more likely to still be healthy a decade or more later at age 70. The study found that physical activity increased the nurses’ chances of remaining healthy regardless of body weight, although those who were both lean and active had “the highest odds of successful survival.”
Taking the benefits of exercise one system at a time, here is what recent studies have shown, including several published in The Archives of Internal Medicine in December.
Cancer. In a review last year of 52 studies of exercise and colon cancer, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis concluded that people who were most active were 21 percent less likely to develop the disease than those who were least active, possibly because activity helps to move waste more quickly through the bowel.
The risk of breast cancer, too, is about 16 percent lower among physically active women, perhaps because exercise reduces tissue exposure to insulin-like growth factor, a known cancer promoter.
Indirectly, exercise may protect postmenopausal women against cancers of the endometrium, pancreas, colon and esophagus, as well as breast cancer, by helping them keep their weight down.
Osteoporosis and fragility. Weak bones and muscles increase the risk of falls and fractures and an inability to perform the tasks of daily life. Weight-bearing aerobic activities like brisk walking and weight training to increase muscle strength can reduce or even reverse bone loss. In one of the new studies, German researchers who randomly assigned women 65 and older to either an 18-month exercise regimen or a wellness program demonstrated that exercise significantly increased bone density and reduced the risk of falls. And at any age, even in people over 100, weight training improves the size and quality of muscles, thus increasing the ability to function independently.
Cardiovascular disease. Aerobic exercise has long been established as an invaluable protector of the heart and blood vessels. It increases the heart’s ability to work hard, lowers blood pressure and raises blood levels of HDL-cholesterol, which acts as a cleansing agent in arteries. As a result, active individuals of all ages have lower rates of heart attacks and strokes.
Though early studies were conducted only among men, in a 2002 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. JoAnn E. Manson and colleagues found that among 73,743 initially healthy women ages 50 to 79, walking briskly for 30 minutes a day five days a week, as well as more vigorous exercise, substantially reduced the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular events.
In another study, women who walked at least one hour a day were 40 percent less likely to suffer a stroke than women who walked less than an hour a week.
Diabetes. Moderate activity has been shown to lower the risk of developing diabetes even in women of normal weight. A 16-year study of 68,907 initially healthy female nurses found that those who were sedentary had twice the risk of developing diabetes, and those who were both sedentary and obese had 16 times the risk when compared with normal-weight women who were active.
Another study that randomly assigned 3,234 prediabetic men and women to modest physical activity (at least 150 minutes a week) found exercise to be more effective than the drug metformin at preventing full-blown diabetes.
Dementia. As the population continues to age, perhaps the greatest health benefit of regular physical activity will turn out to be its ability to prevent or delay the loss of cognitive functions. The new study of 3,485 healthy men and women older than 55 found that those who were physically active three or more times a week were least likely to become cognitively impaired.
One study conducted in Australia and published in September 2008 in The Journal of the American Medical Association randomly assigned 170 volunteers who reported memory problems to a six-month program of physical activity or health education. A year and a half later, the exercise group showed “a modest improvement in cognition.” Various other studies have confirmed the value of exercise in helping older people maintain useful short-term memory, enabling them to plan, schedule and multitask, as well as store information and use it effectively
Structured Diet, Exercise Plans Seem to Shed Pounds
Monday, October 11, 2010
SATURDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) — Two new studies support the notion that structured diet and exercise plans — and perhaps some free prepared meals — can help the obese and severely obese lose weight.
Both studies used prepackaged meals in their protocols, with one utilizing the Jenny Craig program. That study was funded by Jenny Craig.
“Physicians should be aware that lifestyle changes actually do work. . . [and] they could refer people to this or another program and be optimistic [that although] this is not a magic bullet, people have to adhere,” said Cheryl Rock, lead author of the Jenny Craig study, which appears with the other study in the Oct. 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Rock reported being on the Jenny Craig advisory board in 2003 and 2004.
Also encouraging, she added, is the fact that participants had not gained the weight back by the end of two years.
“This shows the promise of lifestyle interventions and I think people [have been] really discouraged,” said Marcia G. Ory, director of the Aging and Health Promotion Program at Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health in College Station.
But, she cautioned, “the real question is does it work in the real world and will it sustain, not just in the real world but through a person’s life.”
Other outside experts also expressed cautionary notes, especially given that such structured plans can not only be difficult to adhere to but also expensive.
“I think we’re looking at a best-case scenario,” said obesity researcher Rena Wing, author of an editorial accompanying the Jenny Craig article. “Perhaps we need to be studying how to pay for the programs.”
“Right now, obesity disproportionately affects lower-income individuals and minorities, and those individuals may not be able to afford commercial programs. So we need to see whether incentivizing or making these programs free would both increase the number of people who participate and lead to good [weight] losses,” added Wing, who is a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, R.I. and has done extensive research on the behavioral treatment of obesity.
In her commentary, Wing also noted previous research suggests that an obese individual enrolling in commercial weight-loss programs will be unlikely to achieve results as favorable as those in the Jenny Craig study.
“I’m skeptical about long-term success when I see programs that provide prepackaged meals,” added Keri Gans, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. “After the program is done, have they actually learned how to prepare these meals again? It doesn’t teach you about situations that occur in the real world, for instance, at parties dining out, vacation and on your own. . . [and] for some, financially, this could also be a bit of a strain.”
The papers were released early to coincide with presentations slated to be made Saturday at the Obesity Society annual meeting in San Diego.
The first study randomized more than 400 overweight or obese women aged 18 to 69 to receive individualized in-person counseling or weekly telephone counseling as well as free, prepackaged meals and instructions to increase exercise to 30 minutes a day, five days a week, as part of the Jenny Craig program (these participants were later “weaned” off the prepared meals). The control group received two beginning sessions with a dietician plus monthly follow-up contacts.
Jenny Craig participants also received “helpful information such as how to choose from a menu” and eating out was also factored into the program, said Rock, who is a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine.
After two years of follow-up, weight loss in the center-based Jenny Craig group was about 16 pounds, or 7.9 percent of the starting body weight. In the telephone-based Jenny Craig group, mean weight loss was almost 14 pounds, or 6.8 percent of body weight, while those in the control group lost only 4.5 pounds, about 2.1 percent of their initial body weight.
Participants received $25 each time they visited the clinic. The normal cost of enrolling in Jenny Craig for a year in the United States is $359. Beyond that, enrollees also have to cover the cost of pre-packaged food, which averaged about $100 a week, but, said Rock, “people would be spending money on food either way.”
The second study, led by Bret Goodpaster of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and colleagues, randomized about 100 severely obese people without diabetes, 37 percent of them black, into one of two groups. People in the first group started a diet and exercise plan (also including prepared meals) right away. The second arm was the same, except physical activity started six months after beginning the diet. Both groups had regular contact with a nutritional expert.
After six months, those who had started exercising right at the start had lost more weight (24 pounds) than those who delayed the start (18 pounds). By the end of the year, though, the delayed group was catching up (22 pounds vs. 26 or so pounds in the prepared-meal group).
This represented a clinically significant loss of 8 percent to 10 percent of initial body weight.
Physical exams also showed that blood pressure, insulin resistance, visceral abdominal fat, waist circumference and other warning signs of impending heart disease and diabetes were improved.
Participants were also paid for their involvement in this study and given financial incentives for reaching their behavioral goals, which included brisk walking 60 minutes daily, five days a week, for a target of 10,000 steps a day.
“It’s the components that are really important,” said Ory. “Maybe to sustain weight loss over time, we’re going to have to have the food product along with some counseling, along with physical activity. Any one by itself is not going to be as successful as all the approaches together.”
SOURCES: Rena Wing, Ph.D., professor, psychiatry and human behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, R.I.; Keri Gans, R.D., spokeswoman, American Dietetic Association; Cheryl L. Rock, Ph.D., R.D., professor, family and preventive medicine, University of California San Diego School of Medicine; Marcia G. Ory, Ph.D., regents professor, social and behavioral health, and director, Aging and Health Promotion Program, Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, College Station; Oct. 9, 2010, presentations, Obesity Society annual meeting, San Diego; Oct. 27, 2010, Journal of the American Medical Association
Physical activity can be part of your daily life. This booklet can help you get moving by offering ideas to beat your roadblocks to getting active. In addition, you will read comments from people who have done it. Maybe their stories will inspire you.
You know that physical activity is good for you. So what is stopping you from getting out there and getting at it? Maybe you think that working out is boring, joining a gym is costly, or doing one more thing during your busy day is impossible. Physical activity can be part of your daily life. This booklet can help you get moving by offering ideas to beat your roadblocks to getting active. In addition, you will read comments from people who have done it. Maybe their stories will inspire you.
|Why should I be physically active?||You may know that regular physical activity can help you control your weight. But do you know why? Physical activity burns calories. When you burn more calories than you eat each day, you will take off pounds. You can also avoid gaining weight by balancing the number of calories you burn with the number of calories you eat.
Regular physical activity may also help prevent or delay the onset of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. If you have one of these health problems, physical activity may improve your condition.* Regular physical activity may also increase your energy and boost your mood.
*If you are a man and over age 40 or a woman and over age 50, or have a chronic health problem, talk to your health care provider before starting a vigorous physical activity program. You do not need to talk to your provider before starting an activity like walking.
|What is standing in my way?||Would you like to do more physical activity but do not know how to make it a part of your life? This booklet describes some common barriers to physical activity and ways to overcome them. After you read them, try writing down the top two or three barriers that you face in the space below. Then write down solutions that you think will work for you. You can make regular physical activity a part of your life!
Can you use any of these ideas to become more physically active?
|What can I do to break through my roadblocks?||What are the top two or three roadblocks to physical activity that you face? What can you do to break through these barriers? Write down a list of the barriers you face and solutions you can use to overcome them.
|What’s next?||You have thought about ways to beat your roadblocks to physical activity. Now, create your roadmap for adding physical activity to your life by following these three steps:
Set up short-term goals, like walking 10 minutes a day, 3 days a week. Once you are comfortable, try to do more. Try 15 minutes instead of 10 minutes. Then walk on more days a week while adding more minutes to your walk. You can try different activities too. To add variety, you can do low-impact aerobics or water aerobics for 30 minutes, 2 days a week. Then walk on a treadmill or outdoors for 30 minutes, 1 day a week. Then do yoga or lift weights for 2 days.
Track your progress by writing down your goals and what you have done each day, including the type of activity and how long you spent doing it. Seeing your progress in black-and-white can help keep you motivated.
If you are a man and over age 40 or a woman and over age 50, or have a chronic health problem such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, or obesity, talk to your health care provider before starting a vigorous physical activity program. You do not need to talk to your provider before starting an activity like walking.
Think about answers to the following four questions. You can write your answers on a sheet of paper. Your answers will be your roadmap to your physical activity program.
What physical activities will you do? List the activities you would like to do, such as walking, energetic yard work or housework, joining a sports league, exercising with a video, dancing, swimming, bicycling, or taking a class at a fitness or community center. Think about sports or other activities that you enjoyed doing when you were younger. Could you enjoy one of these activities again?
When will you be physically active? List the days and times you could do each activity on your list, such as first thing in the morning, during lunch break from work, after dinner, or on Saturday afternoon. Look at your calendar or planner to find the days and times that work best.
Who will remind you to get off the couch? List the people—your spouse, sibling, parent, or friends—who can support your efforts to become physically active. Give them ideas about how they could be supportive, like offering encouraging words, watching your kids, or working out with you.
When will you start your physical activity program? Set a date when you will start getting active. The date might be the first meeting of an exercise class you have signed up for, or a date you will meet a friend for a walk. Write the date on your calendar. Then stick to it. Before you know it, physical activity will become a regular part of your life.
Exercise and Physical Fitness
URL of this page: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/exerciseandphysicalfitness.html
There are 1,440 minutes in every day. Schedule 30 of them for physical activity!
Regular exercise is a critical part of staying healthy. People who are active live longer and feel better. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. It can delay or prevent diabetes, some cancers and heart problems.
Most adults need at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days per week. Examples include walking briskly, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming for recreation or bicycling. Stretching and weight training can also strengthen your body and improve your fitness level.
The key is to find the right exercise for you. If it is fun, you are more likely to stay motivated. You may want to walk with a friend, join a class or plan a group bike ride. If you’ve been inactive for awhile, use a sensible approach and start out slowly.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The day you take complete responsibility for yourself, the day you stop making any excuses, that’s the day you start to the top.
“Not today”, “I will just work out hard tomorrow…or the next day”, “I don’t have time to work out”, “I don’t feel well”. Have any of these excuses, or others been your reason to not work out lately? There is no one but yourself that can make you work out. It takes strength, effort, guts, SWEAT, and a lot of determination to get yourself into a healthy regimen of a balanced diet and exercise schedule. Do you have what it takes? Of course you do! Take responsibility for your body, your health, and your goals. Its not going to be easy, and some days you certainly wont want to get out of bed to work out, but you WILL. You want this too bad to give up. So don’t.
Taylor Chapman- Personal Trainer, Nutrition counseling
When everything seems like an uphill struggle, just think of the view from the top
On every journey to the top of your mountain, there may be slips. There will be rough grounds, unpredictable weather, and even some scary and threatening situations. But just think, is all of this mess worth getting to the top? That is a question that only you will know the true answer. Should it be ‘yes’, which I promise is worth it, you will carry on and overcome any struggles that come your way to make sure you get to the top of the mountain. There is satisfaction, strength, power and relaxation at the top of that mountain and its your time to soak it in. Now, you cant stay on that mountain forever, so consider your options. You could go back down and be back where you started, or you can take a leap of faith, grab your parachute, and jump to your new life. You must trust that that your hard work will stay with you and lead you to your new and improved life.
Taylor Chapman- Trainer, Dietary Counselor
The future depends on what we do in the present- Mahatma Gandhi
What does your future look like? Do you aim to fit in size 6 jeans? Do you want to lose 20 lbs? Or how about you want to improve your overall daily lifestyle and feel happier and healthier every day? In any case it is absolutely vital to set your goals and focus on them intensely to achieve the future you desire.
Taylor Chapman- Trainer, Dietary Counselor
GRID: Why did you choose this location for Sweat?
I fell in love the exposed beams, exposed brick, and just being in an historical building. I do think my studio is on the nicest block in Richmond.
GRID: Starting up a gym seems pretty daunting.
Running my own business is one of the best decisions I have ever made, it has been a true learning experience. I am living my dream. It also helps that what I am doing is my true passion.
GRID: How important is the space and location of your business?
My goal here is to meet everyone’s individual needs and I believe being in such a centralized location helps me serve a greater cross-section of the Richmond area.
GRID: What are your future plans for the studio?
My future plans include expansion, possibly to a new larger location, so I can serve more of Richmond. If there is one thing I have learned it’s there is a much larger need in Richmond for a high-end fitness facility, which is my next project.
There are two things to aim at in life; first to get what you want, and after that to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind has achieved the second.
Logan Pearsall Smith
Here at Sweat we aim for the stars. We strive everyday not to make ourselves better, but to transform ourselves into the person we feel we are meant to be. We push ourselves hard and never quit, because we know that the end result is worth every drop of sweat we perspire. We need to work hard to achieve our goals and the many things we desire in life, but even more important is the necessity to enjoy the fruits of our labor when we have accomplished our goals. At Sweat we can help guide you along your path to find yourself and enjoy yourself. Come see us soon!
Taylor Chapman- Trainer, Nutrition Counseling