Reverse Aging Archives

Fiber reduces risk of deathHigh Fiber intake reduces death risk by 23 percent.

A scientific analysis of a nine year study conducted by the National Institutes of Health and AARP has found a meaningful link  between high fiber intake and longevity.

The analysis studied the results of over 400,000 people over fifty. The participants between 50 and 71 years old had  fiber intake that ranged from 12.6 to 29.4 grams per day in men and from 10.8 to 25.8 grams per day in women.

The average dietary fiber for most Americans is about 12 grams a day, current US dietary guidelines recommend 28 grams for the average person eating a 2,000 calorie a day diet.  This would suggest that the people in this study of people over 50 with the highest fiber intake are simply in line with the recommendations. The study excluded people with extremely high fiber intake.

Men with the highest fiber intakes had a 23% reduction in the risk of dying while women experienced a 10% reduction when compared to those eating the least amount of fiber.

It’s important to point out that the greatest benefits came from particular sources of fiber, whole grains and beans. While vegetable fiber had a small impact on longevity fruits showed no effect at all.

Fiber is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory

Most researchers believe that the anti-inflammatory effects of eating more fiber is possibly part of the reason for lower numbers  in cardiovascular, respiratory, and infectious disease death.

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This is the introduction to a series of post that we will be doing on exercises for over 50. The first of the series will focus on beginner work out routines and working our way up to a more strenuous work out plan.

These exercises are designed for those who have either never worked out or haven’t in a some time. Therefore the first order of business was to decide what kind of exercises would be best suited to a beginner over 50. We decided they had to meet at least at least 4 requirements.

  1. Ease of Motion – No fancy dance steps or twists and gyrations. I personally have felt my body “pop” just getting out of the car, and I’ve been working out for years! We’ll leave the Tae Bo and Hip-Hop for further down the road (maybe)
  2. Can be done at Home – I think that a lot of people and us over 50 especially are somewhat intimidated by the thought of going to a gym and being around a lot of people who are already toned and trim. A few weeks doing things alone in the privacy and comfort of home can build our level of confidence so that we wont feel like a complete newbie the first time in the gym.
  3. Full Body Work Out – This one is important whether you’re a beginner or have been working out for years. It’s best to engage as many of the “large” muscle groups as possible with each exercise. For those of us over 50 this is especially true as it helps fight sarcopenia and battles the aging process. Doing 100 bicep curls will make you great at doing bicep curls and make your arm muscle bigger but it won’t do much for the rest of your body.
  4. No Equipment Necessary - Okay maybe we fudged a little on this one but any equipment needed will be everday items found around the house. Or maybe even a part of the house (one exercise uses a wall for support). These work outs are designed to use body weight for resistance. The weight of your body along with a chair, the floor or a wall for support will be all you need. Of course as you get stronger you may want to add small hand weights (or milk jugs), resistance bands, or kettle balls for added resistance but they’re not needed to get started.
Although there are many exercises that could fit these basic requirements we decided on three really simple ones. Squats, wall push ups and lunges can all be done at home, are easy to learn and need no equipment other than a chair or wall. We  added resistance bands to the list because their versatility,  ease of use and low cost make them the best add-on to any home fitness routine.

Exercises Over 50

Squats for Beginners Over 50

Wall Push Ups for Beginners Over 50

Lunges for Beginners Over 50

Resistance Bands

These are great exercises to get you started and remember CONSISTENCY is the key. Don’t worry about starting out of the gate in a full gallop, in this race the winner is the one who sets his or her goals and keeps at it. The suggested beginner exercises will soon get dull and your workout will become boring. This is one of the biggest reasons that people quit. No fun anymore! Well you might consider adding a home workout DVD to the mix. For beginners over 50 we suggest Moving Free Longevity Solution Easy Strength Level 1 Body Sculpting and Weight Loss Fitness/Exercise DVD For Beginners, Boomers, Women Over 50, and Active Seniors by Mirabai Holland. Ms Holland is a 50+ health activist that is certified by the American Council on Exercise (ACE)  and her DVD is designed especially for Boomers, women and seniors.

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Fitness Over 50 - Resistance BandsIf you’re over 50 and either new to the idea of working out or haven’t been in a gym in years I have the perfect solution to getting you started on the path to getting in shape and fighting the inevitable muscle and coordination loss of sarcopenia that is just a natural art of aging.

Resistance bands or exercise bands as some people call them are great for resistance training at almost any level but especially for the beginner. Just some of the benefits are:

  • No gym required – You can get a workout just as effective as a gym workout without leaving home. This will certainly save you time and provides you with privacy and the luxury of scheduling your fitness routine around your lifestyle.
  • Low Cost – Many resistance bands can be purchased for less than $20. I recommend buying a few different ones, they come in different thicknesses to give you different levels of resistance. You could even throw in an instructional DVD and still come in under $50 – $60. I know some gyms that charge that or more a month.
  • Portable - Resistance bands  can be folded up and put in a small hand bag, carry all, or even fit in a glove compartment. Just right for maintaining your routine while traveling.
  • Versatility - These simple little things can perform HUNDREDS of different exercises that when done correctly and with proper form provide you with the same resistance as weights. Your muscles don’t know the difference between weights and bands, it’s all in the amount of tension and positioning of the bands. That’s why I suggest getting a pack of varying thicknesses.
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About Anti Aging – 5 Best Tips

  1. Don’t Smoke – Number One for good reason. Causes cancer, hardens arteries, ages skin and leads to cardiovascular disease.
  2. Resistance exercise. Sure aerobics are good for the heart and respiratory systems but resistance or weight training fights Sarcopenia, the sagging skin, stooped posture and loss of coordination that comes with aging.
  3. Eat your veggies (and fruit too). Vegetables and fruits contain antioxidants that aid in preventing heart disease and cancer, lower blood pressure and slow aging. Berries, broccoli and tomatoes are the best sources for antioxidants.
  4. Manage stress and anxiety. Learn to Let Go and Let God. If we’re honest with ourselves and take a look back at our lives we can see that a lot of the things that we worried so much about in the past either didn’t happen or seemed to work themselves out in the end. That’s one advantage of getting older. We have a history to reflect on and learn from.
  5. Maintain and develop solid personal relationships. One of the key indicators of growing old unhappily is withdrawal and isolation. It’s insidious and can feed on itself. Left alone with our own thoughts the world can become a lonely, dark and scary place. Get out, have a few laughs, take a class. Enjoy life! If you’re over 50 like me you’ve earned it!
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In a previous post I covered the causes of sarcopenia and discussed how the muscle loss associated with age can effect our health and quality of life. In this article I will go over how resistance exercises can help us avoid or reverse this.

The medical community has shown that all healthy adults benefit from some type of exercise which will raise their pulse for at least ten minutes at a time. This should be done for a total of at least 30 minutes a day 3 – 5 days a week.

This is known as endurance exercise and while the benefits are many, improved cardiovascular health, strengthened joints, increased mental sharpness, increased metabolism and more energy come to mind, this kind of exercise really does little to build muscle so is ineffective at fighting the loss of muscle mass.

To prevent or reverse losing muscle mass requires some kind of resistance training, exercises that cause the muscle to work against an opposing force. This causes the muscles to grow or at least not decline. An added benefit is that it also helps the bones retain their strength and density.

In a study of women aged 50 to 70, the women who strength trained gained 1% more bone density in the hip and spine while the group that did not lift weights lost 2.5 % bone density. Those who trained had strength increases from about 35 to 76% above the control group. Balance improved 14% and general physical activity increased by about 27%.  – About.com
Resistance training is optimally done using weights but the typical weights found at the gym can be subsituted at home by using cans from the pantry, milk jugs filled with water or even socks filled with sand. It’s important to note here though that the stronger one gets the more resistance one will need in order for the training to remain effective.

A lot of older people that I know swim on a regular basis. Swimming is an excellent resistance exercise and it combines the benefits of endurance exercise.

Another good choice is resistance bands. They’re cheap, portable and can be stored in a drawer.

Whatever your choice make sure you incorporate some resistance and strength training, 8 to 10 exercises of 8 to 12 repetitions, twice a week into your fitness plan.

Next time I’ll cover some examples of the best exercises for resistance training for those over 50.

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In the previous post about aging I covered sarcopenia, the term that scientist use when discussing the loss of muscle mass, stooped posture and slowed uncoordinated movement that often besets older people. This is the combined result of biological changes in the body that include a slowing of synthesis of needed proteins, a loss of the hormones testosterone and HGH (human growth hormone) and the dieing off of neurons that the body uses to stimulate the muscles to action.

According to a USDA website these normal aging processes begin to occur at around the age of 45 when we start to lose about one percent of muscle mass per year. The loss is accelerated at the age of around 60.

Leading a sedentary life will make the effects of sarcopenia worsen as we grow older. This has been proven over the years by tests performed by NASA who noticed “old age” type symptoms of otherwise very fit astronauts who returned from long periods in space where their movement and exercise where extremely limited.

Doctors and scientist have discovered  that sarcopenia and the  muscle degradation that the astronauts faced have  a common cure: resistance training . Doctors have long recommended at least 30 minutes of moderate daily exercise like jogging or walking. This kind of exercise is great for the cardiovascular system, it may even add a little muscle, but resistance training that requires the use of weights to build muscle is what is needed to have any real gains. Multiple  studies since the late 1990s point to resistance training  as the best  tool against sarcopenia, many physical therapists and doctors  are advising resistance training  over aerobic exercise.

Beginning resistance training in mid-life delays and reduces the appearance of sarcopenia later and  one study showed that elderly people aged 78 to 84 who went on a program experienced an average increase in protein synthesis of 182 percent. Another study, funded by the USDA, found that elderly participants who trained  for 45 minutes three times a week for 12 weeks saw an average increase of 32 percent for muscle fiber and a 30 percent increase in strength.In effect, reversing the signs of aging!

Exercises for Fitness Over 50

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