Fitness Tips for 50-Plus

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Upping your daily activity level at 50-plus is more manageable when you follow these fitness tips from a Johns Hopkins fitness expert.

One of the most important reasons to exercise at 50-plus is to keep your weight in check.

By maintaining a healthy weight, you lower your blood pressure and decrease your risk of heart disease, diabetes and arthritis, says Johns Hopkins sports medicine expert Raj Deu, M.D.

Inspired to break a sweat? Before you grab your water bottle and gear bag, keep these six fitness tips in mind.

DOs

1. Strength train.

Muscular strength declines with age, so strength training is key for maintaining strength and preventing muscle atrophy at 50-plus. “Strength training has also been shown to help with bone density,” says Deu, “and that decreases the rate at which bone breaks down, which is important for reducing the risk of fractures later in life.”

2. Get an exercise partner.

“If you work out with a friend or your spouse, you generally tend to exercise more regularly because you have that person to coax you,” says Deu. “Even owning a dog will get you out and walking.”

3. Stretch regularly.

As our bodies age, our tendons get thicker and less elastic. Stretching can counter this and help prevent injury at 50-plus. Remember to stretch slowly; do not force it by bouncing.

DON’Ts

1. Start exercising without your doctor’s blessing.

Consult your health care provider if you have underlying health risks such as a cardiovascular, metabolic or renal disease. Inactive individuals who are healthy do not need an evaluation but are recommended to start slow and progress gradually. If you have any concerns or are unsure how to start, consult your physician, says Deu.

2. Sign up for an expensive gym.

If you’re on a budget, you can get plenty of exercise at home. Great fitness tips: Moderate time spent walking, gardening and even vacuuming all count as exercise. A modest investment in dumbbells and exercise bands will also allow you to do strength training at home.

3. Focus on cardio only.

While cardiovascular exercise is important, so is stretching and strength training (see the “Dos” for details) as well as core strength and balance exercises. Deu likes tai chi, Pilates and certain kinds of yoga for working on balance and core strength at 50-plus, which will help support and protect your spine and may help prevent a future fall.

TRY IT
Sit Less, Move More

Knowing you should exercise more can feel daunting, especially when you’re just starting out. Some people don’t feel they can fit in the full amount of physical activity their doctor recommends—and they give up on moving altogether. “But those recommendations are just guidelines,” says Johns Hopkins expert Kerry Stewart, Ed.D. “It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Try to focus on being less sedentary rather than more active. For example, you do not have to reach the goal of 10,000 steps per day in a week, but this should be the goal to reach over two to three months.”

Research shows that sitting still for long periods of time can cancel out the effects of 30 minutes of exercise. “There’s good evidence that being too sedentary, such as prolonged time in front of a TV, is perhaps as harmful to your heart health as not formally exercising at all,” Stewart says. Prolonged inactivity is linked to obesity and diabetes, even in people who are active for part of the day.

Yes, daily exercise is important, but so is regularly getting up and just moving around throughout the day, Stewart says.

Article Source: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/fitness-tips-for-50-plus?utm_medium=social&utm_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=Health&utm_term=FitnessTipsfor50-Plus&utm_content=HealthyAging

 

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Scientists challenge recommendation that men with more muscle need more protein

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Sports nutrition recommendations may undergo a significant shift after research from the University of Stirling has found individuals with more muscle mass do not need more protein after resistance exercise.

Health and exercise scientists from Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence found no difference in the muscle growth response to protein after a full body workout between larger and smaller participants.

Kevin Tipton, Professor of Sport, Health and Exercise Science in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, said: “There is a widely-held assumption that larger athletes need more protein, with nutrition recommendations often given in direct relation to body mass.

“In our study, participants completed a bout of whole-body resistance exercise, where earlier studies — on which protein recommendations are based — examined the response to leg-only exercise. This difference suggests the amount of muscle worked in a single session has a bigger impact on the amount of protein needed afterwards, than the amount of muscle in the body.”

Experts also found participants’ muscles were able to grow and recover from exercise better after a higher dose of protein.

Consuming 40 grams of protein after exercise was more effective at stimulating muscle growth than 20 grams. This increase occurred irrespective of the size of the participants.

Professor Tipton continued: “Until now the consensus among leading sports nutritionists, including the American College of Sports Medicine and the British Nutrition Foundation, is that weightlifters do not need more than around 25 grams of protein after exercise to maximally stimulate the muscle’s ability to grow.

“In order for nutritionists to recommend the correct amount of protein we first need to consider specific demands of the workout, regardless of athletes’ size. This throws commonly held recommendations into question and suggests the amount of protein our muscles need after exercise may be dependent on the type of workout performed. These results are limited to younger, trained men so we may see different results with other groups, such as older individuals or females digesting different amounts of protein.”

Young, resistance-trained males were recruited for the study and divided into two groups, one with lower lean body mass of less than 65 kilograms and one with higher lean body mass of more than 70 kilograms.

Each volunteer participated in two trials where they consumed protein after resistance exercise. In one trial participants consumed 20 grams of whey protein and in the second, they consumed 40 grams of whey protein after exercise. Scientists measured the muscle’s ability to grow at an increased rate with metabolic tracers and muscle biopsies.

Article Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-08/uos-scr082216.php

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Today’s men are not nearly as strong as their dads were

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You’re dad might have told you about his younger days when men were men. And he might not be wrong.

A new study suggests millennial men may have significantly weaker hands and arms than men the same age did 30 years ago.

The study was published in the Journal of Hand Therapy.

Researchers measured the grip strength (how strongly you can squeeze something) and pinch strength — between two fingers — of 237 healthy full-time students aged 20 to 34 at universities in North Carolina. And especially among males, the reduction in strength compared to 30 years ago was striking.

The average 20-to-34-year-old today, for instance, was able to apply 98 lbs of force when gripping something with his right hand. In 1985, the average man could squeeze with 117 lbs of force.

Grip strength isn’t quite the same thing as benching 200 lbs or doing a set of squats. But researchers have found it to be a great predictor of a lot of other strength and health related outcomes. So it’s a useful proxy for overall muscular strength.

The participants in the North Carolina study were recruited only from college and university settings, so they’re not representative of the population as a whole.

But it matches the findings of other similar studies.

A 2013 study found that American children today are less physically fit than they were 30 years ago.

– with files from The Washington Post

Article Source: http://www.calgarysun.com/2016/08/15/todays-men-are-not-nearly-as-strong-as-their-dads-were?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=recommend-button&utm_campaign=Today%27s+men+are+not+nearly+as+strong+as+their+dads+were

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Nitrate In Beetroot Juice Gives Elite Athletes Competitive Edge, Among Other Health Benefits

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Before a workout, many of us will drink smoothies and eat protein bars to up our carbs and protein intake. These pre-workout snacks are meant to give us the energy and stamina to get more from our routines and boost our recovery time. Now, a recent study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism suggests adding some nitrate-rich beetroot juice to our workout plan can enhance our stamina, strength, and endurance.

In the two-part study, Dr. Peter Peeling from the School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health at the University of Western Australia and his colleagues, looked at the influence beetroot supplements had on physiological and performance outcomes in a group of elite kayakers. The performance of six national-level male kayakers was measured in laboratory-based four-minute ergometer tests. For the evaluation of female athletes, five international-level female kayakers competed in a field-based kayaking time trial. The men consumed a 70 milliliter (mL) beetroot supplement, while the women’s team drank a double shot (140mL) during a 500 meter time-trial.

The findings revealed the beetroot supplement had a small effect on how far the men could go, but improved the energy needed to maintain their speed by 5 percent. Meanwhile, the women’s team improved their overall performance by 1.7 percent. The more beetroot juice was consumed the better the athletes’ physical performance.

The researchers believe the relatively small performance changes that they recorded are “clearly relevant.” In the 2012 London Olympics, the margin between gold and silver medals in the Men’s K1-1000m and the Women’s K1-500m races was 0.3 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively.

The team attributes the boost to the inorganic nitrate content found in beetroot. Nitrate helped improve the efficiency of the processes that occur in the mitochondria, known as the cell’s energy factory. This means ATP, the molecule known as the cell’s energy currency, can rest during muscle activity due to less oxygen use. After drinking beet juice, the amount of oxygen, or oxygen cost, needed to sustain moderate exercise goes down.

Reducing the oxygen cost of any activity will help us endure more strenuous exercise for longer periods of time, according to the researchers. These results can extend beyond kayaking to any activity of a similar duration of two to four minutes, as well as cycling time trials up to 10 miles.

The benefits of beetroot juice may also have positive effects on our heart health. A 2013 study found a naturopathic approach can lower the risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome (high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol). Beetroot juice can help establish healthy blood pressure levels.

The antioxidant-rich vegetable contains naturally occurring nitrates that increase nitric oxide, a molecule in the blood vessels. This helps open up the vessels to allow more oxygen flow as well as lower blood pressure. Previous studies have found inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplements were able to lower blood pressure by seven percent, and show systolic blood pressure (top number) to decrease the most.

So, should we eat or drink beets?

When it comes to lowering blood pressure, it’s best to drink beetroot to reap its maximum benefits. When a food, like beets, is cooked or fermented, the nutrients linked to good blood pressure diminish. However, when we juice beets, we are guaranteed to get all of the phytonutrients, or plant chemicals, linked to lower blood pressure.

The only side effects of beet juice are urine and bowel movements may produce a red color, but this is harmless. However, those whose bodies make oxalate kidney stones may want to avoid beets since they are high in oxalates.

Beets have become so popular, even in sports, that “seeing an athlete with red beetroot stained lips at an endurance event is no longer unusual,” said Peeling, in the statement.

Source: Peeling P, Cox GR, Bullock N et al. Beetroot Juice Improves On-Water 500 M Time-Trial Performance, and Laboratory-Based Paddling Economy in National and International-Level Kayak Athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2015.

Article Source: http://www.medicaldaily.com/beetroot-juice-competitive-edge-elite-athletes-377860

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Simple Strength Test May Predict Heart Attack, Stroke

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Previous studies have suggested that reduced muscular strength, as can be measured by hand-grip strength, maybe linked to early death, disability, and illness.  The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) Study investigators analyzed data collected on 139,691 adults, ages 35 to 70 years, residing in 17 countries, and followed them for an average of four years –  measuring hand-grip strength regularly through the study period. Data analysis revealed that every 5 kg declining grip strength associated with a 16% increase in risk of death from any cause, a 17% greater risk of cardiovascular death, and a 17% higher risk of non-cardiovascular mortality. Notably, heart attack risk rose by 7%, and stroke risk by 9%. In particular, a low grip strength was linked with higher death rates in people who develop cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular diseases, suggesting that muscle strength may predict the risk of death the people who develop a major illness. The study authors report that: “This study suggests that measurement of grip strength is a simple, inexpensive risk-stratifying method for all-cause death, cardiovascular death, and cardiovascular disease.”

Source: http://www.worldhealth.net/news/simple-strength-test-may-predict-heart-attack-stro/

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Beet juice boosts muscle power in heart patients

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Scientists have evidence that Popeye was right: Spinach makes you stronger. But it’s the high nitrate content in the leafy greens — not the iron — that creates the effect.

Building on a growing body of work that suggests dietary nitrate improves muscle performance in many elite athletes, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that drinking concentrated beet juice — also high in nitrates — increases muscle power in patients with heart failure.

“It’s a small study, but we see robust changes in muscle power about two hours after patients drink the beet juice,” said senior author Linda R. Peterson, MD, associate professor of medicine. “A lot of the activities of daily living are power-based — getting out of a chair, lifting groceries, climbing stairs. And they have a major impact on quality of life. We want to help make people more powerful because power is such an important predictor of how well people do, whether they have heart failure, cancer or other conditions. In general, physically more powerful people live longer.”

Based on research in elite athletes, especially cyclists who use beet juice to boost performance, the study’s corresponding author, Andrew R. Coggan, PhD, assistant professor of radiology, suggested trying the same strategy in patients with heart failure.

In the September issue of the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, the scientists reported data from nine patients with heart failure. Two hours after the treatment, patients demonstrated a 13 percent increase in power in muscles that extend the knee. The researchers observed the most substantial benefit when the muscles moved at the highest velocities. The increase in muscle performance was significant in quick, power-based actions, but researchers saw no improvements in performance during longer tests that measure muscle fatigue.

Patients in the study served as their own controls, with each receiving the beet juice treatment and an identical beet juice placebo that had only the nitrate content removed. There was a one- to two-week period between trial sessions to be sure any effects of the first treatment did not carry over to the second. Neither the trial participants nor the investigators knew the order in which patients received the treatment and placebo beet juice.

The researchers also pointed out that participants experienced no major side effects from the beet juice, including no increase in heart rates or drops in blood pressure, which is important in patients with heart failure.

Heart failure can have various triggers, from heart valve problems to viral infections, but the result is the heart’s gradual loss of pumping capacity.

“The heart can’t pump enough in these patients, but that’s just where the problems start,” said Peterson, a cardiologist and director of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “Heart failure becomes a whole-body problem because of the metabolic changes that happen, increasing the risk of conditions such as insulin resistance and diabetes and generally leading to weaker muscles overall.”

While the trial was not designed to find out whether patients noticed an improved ability to function in daily life, the researchers estimated the size of the benefit by comparing the improvement in muscle power with what is seen from an exercise program.

“I have compared the beet-juice effect to Popeye eating his spinach,” said Coggan, who specializes in exercise physiology. “The magnitude of this improvement is comparable to that seen in heart failure patients who have done two to three months of resistance training.”

The nitrates in beet juice, spinach and other leafy green vegetables such as arugula and celery are processed by the body into nitric oxide, which is known to relax blood vessels and have other beneficial effects on metabolism.

With the growing evidence of a positive effect from dietary nitrates in healthy people, elite athletes and now heart failure patients, the researchers also are interested in studying dietary nitrates in elderly populations.

“One problem in aging is the muscles get weaker, slower and less powerful,” Coggan said. “Beyond a certain age, people lose about 1 percent per year of their muscle function. If we can boost muscle power like we did in this study, that could provide a significant benefit to older individuals.”

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http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-09/wuso-bjb091615.php

This work was supported by The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital, the Washington University Mentors in Medicine and C-STAR programs, and Washington University Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences grant UL1 TR000448 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Coggan AR, Leibowitz JL, Spearie CA, Kadkhodayan A, Thomas DP, Ramamurthy S, Mahmood K, Park S, Waller S, Farmer M, Peterson LR. Acute dietary nitrate intake improves muscle contractile function in patients with heart failure: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Circulation: Heart Failure. September 2015.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient-care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

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