Category Archives: Health & Fitness

Fitness During Midlife

Hot flashes. Raging moods. They’re symptoms typically associated with midlife hormonal bedlam. But hormones control so much more, from our energy and metabolism to how we build muscle. Hormonal changes are an inevitable part of ageing but these can be influenced by the choices we make. Namely, how we move and what we eat.

“As we get older, exercise is key,” says Dr Richard Quinton, consultant and senior lecturer in endocrinology at Newcastle University, UK. “Hormones are important to physical fitness but while they change with age, exercise can have similar benefits to what hormones do and help make up for some of those age-related changes.”

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Tackle insulin resistance:

“As people get older, they get more resistant to insulin,” says Dr Quintan. This means your cells are less able to use this hormone effectively, leading to high blood sugar, weight gain around the middle, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. “Exercise, however, can be transformative for insulin resistance,” he explains. A study published in the Journal of Obesity and Weight Loss concluded that not only did exercise help insulin resistance, it also influenced the way our muscles use glucose.

Can diet help? “Research suggests that eating more in the morning, followed by smaller meals as the day progresses, may be more favourable in terms of insulin sensitivity,” says Rick Miller, a clinical and sports dietitian. “This is especially important as we get older and insulin sensitivity goes down.”

Plan for perimenopause:

If you’re perimenopausal — the decade prior to the menopause —your oestrogen levels fluctuate dramatically, says Miller, which is going to affect your weight.

“As oestrogen levels fall, muscle cells become less sensitive to blood glucose changes, leading to insulin resistance,” says Miller. “This leads to an increase in appetite, especially for sweet and carbohydrate-rich foods, making the cycle worse.” So, what to do about it?

“Choose smaller portions of starchy and wholegrain carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, rice,wheat and quinoa, healthy fats such as avocados, olives, olive oil or nuts or seeds and a source of protein such as meat, fish, eggs, lentils, beans, pulses or tofu at each meal.”

Master the menopause:

Once your menopause hits, oestrogen levels fall off a cliff edge. The two most important effects of this are weakening bone mineral density and the loss of the heart-protective effects of oestrogen, explains Greg Whyte, a sports scientist. “Exercise can impact both, particularly walking or jogging, with a couple of sessions of circuit training that gets you sweaty with some weights.”

Indeed, resistance training twice a week has been shown to help strengthen bones, as a 2017 study on 101 women found.

Katherine Brooke-Wavell, senior lecturer in human biology at Loughborough University, UK, said the study provided evidence that brief circuit training exercises involving weights or jumping can improve spine and hip bone density in postmenopausal women, so may have a role in prevention of osteoporotic fracture. “Racket sports such as tennis are great for bones and the heart, too,” Whyte explains.

Handling the MANopause:

“We talk a lot about the menopause but men go through a similar process, something we term the somatopause,” says Whyte. “Falling testosterone is important, but another key hormone responsible is the reduction in human growth hormone middle-aged men are experiencing.”

Human growth hormone (HGH) is important for muscle growth and fat metabolism. Levels of HGH begin to decline in our mid-20s, but according to Whyte, declining levels in middle-aged men has a profound effect. “This combination in men over 40 of reduced testosterone and falling HGH affects things like strength and mobility, along with central adiposity. In fact, that belly traditionally attributed to beer is in fact linked with this fall in HGH,” Whyte asserts.

Men and muscle:

“As men age they should lift more [weights],” Whyte explains. “They also need to increase their aerobic activity to help deal with the increase in fat mass and also to protect their hearts,” he adds. Ideally, a couple of sessions of heavy lifting, a couple of sessions of high intensity interval training (HIIT) and a couple of sessions of longer duration aerobic activity at lower intensities for 45 minutes or more, like running, cycling or swimming.

Food for thought:

“As HGH goes down, muscle tissue starts to develop an ‘anabolic resistance’, which means it becomes more resistant to muscle building,” says Rick Miller. “This means that whatever amount of protein we used to eat when we were younger has less impact on maintaining muscle than before.” So eat more protein in midlife, aiming for 1g per 1kg of body weight.

The stress factor:

Middle age is also the time most of us face a peak in stress hormones, especially cortisol. “Increased cortisol levels over a long period can contribute to weight gain,” says Dr Quintan. Cortisol starts to get destructive when its levels are chronically raised, due to a grinding, underlying stressor that doesn’t seem to have an endpoint. Think a bad marriage or thankless job.

Exercise raises cortisol levels in the short-term, bringing them back to normal after recovery. But that’s healthy, because it provides your body with a stressor to which it’s forced to adapt by becoming stronger and fitter.

“Much of that occurs during sleep and rest,” Whyte says. “That’s why recovery is essential for over-40s exercisers. The older we get the more seriously we should ensure that we’re sleeping enough, rehydrating properly, eating enough protein, and taking 48 hours off between bouts of heavy strength training to help muscles recover. You can do active recovery during these times, with low-intensity walks or swims, but you have to let muscles rest and recharge.”

At length it can be said to maintain a good health physically & mentally in every stage of life doing Yoga with Meditation for atleast half an hour every day, eating diatery food and drinking good amount of fresh water is the best solution.

Resources: The Telegraph (Kolkata India)

HOW TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY AND TROUBLE FREE LONG LIFE

Incorporating yoga into one’s lifestyle:

Yoga should be like brushing your teeth. It should be a thing that you do on a daily basis. It doesn’t need to be for long or be complicated. It can just be a 30-minute practice that includes a bit of pranayama, breathing, a bit of meditation and asanas. ...CLICK & SEE

Focusing on the breath:

Without breathing, there’s no yoga! The body is tangible and the mind is subtle. And the only connection from the body to the mind is through your breath. If you close your eyes and sit for only five minutes a day and just focus on your breath, you’re starting to take your awareness inside. This starts to develop the practice of meditation.

Even in the practice of asanas, if you’re not breathing, there’s no point. The act of breathing is our life force, our energy. The extension of the breath is the extension of our energy. The more you slow down your breath, extend the breath, the longer and healthier you will live. If you see yourself getting angry or scared, you’ll see that your breath becomes shallow and fast.

When you first start practicing yoga, you get stressed out. But when you get a control of your breath, you can control that. The longer you breathe, the calmer you breathe and the more you breathe, the healthier your mind is.

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Primary benefits:-

It works on two levels. First of all, yoga helps directly in detoxifying the body. It works with the internal organs like the liver and the spleen; that keeps the metabolism and immunity system of the body higher.

It gives you better sleep. A lot of people suffer from insomnia and most of them face difficulty in waking and sleeping. When you start practising yoga, your mind becomes calmer and you get more quality sleep. When you sleep, a lot of things happen. You grow, you’re healthier, your immunity system reboots.

It’s not only that yoga helps you lose weight, it also helps you in controlling it by making you a mindful eater. You’re mindful of what goes into your body.

Eating healthy:

When you are practising yoga, you cannot have really heavy things. It’s impossible to have a hamburger and then do yoga. You don’t want things that are not good for your body or for the environment. So you start to eat cleaner; often people choose a vegetarian diet. A lot of people today are also choosing a vegan diet.

Staying fit:

Yoga decreases a lot of body ache by increasing flexibility and making the muscles and bones stronger.

On a mental level, yoga works directly with the parasympathetic nervous system which is basically what’s responsible for making us relaxed. When you are constantly active, the parasympathetic nervous system is not activated. Even when you’re doing the active kind of yoga, whether it is ashtanga, vinyasa or hatha, there are times when you rest, whether before or during or after, in Shavasana, and the parasympathetic nervous system gets activated and it makes us relaxed.

When you control your breath, you’re more in control of your mind and you start to increase your capacity to focus. You are living in awareness. So, really it’s a practice that changes people.

Starting out:-

Yoga is not a pill that you take and get magic. You need to be consistent. Don’t waste time. There is nothing more important than your mental and physical health and happiness. Yoga is ultimately a journey of self-exploration.

When you are very angry, anxious and unfulfilled person. Yoga gaves you a lot of peace of mind. It will make you very healthy and happy person. You will become much more aware of your body, mind and spirit. It will make you happier.

Living healthy for 100 years

Living to be a 100 years old with sound health & mind is a very real possibility for many many people in the near future. After all, in present days there are sprightly 80 year olds running businesses, managing their finances and living independently (with a very little help from friends and relatives)!

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Health is the only key to a long and happy life. The only effort to maintain a healthy life allalong is to start when one is young, before disease sets in as one gain age.
A great deal of research has gone into understanding aging, as the world’s population is getting older. In one study, senior citizens were divided into three groups. The first group did an hour of aerobic activity (such as running, jogging, walking or cycling) a day combined with weight training with weights of 1-2 kilos. The second group did only little flexing and stretching exercises. The third continued with their usual sedentary life. After a period of six months, the first group was found to not only have gained muscle but also developed a positive outlook on life and become mentally strengthy & sharper. There was no noticeable difference in groups two and three. Uniformly though, they had lost muscle mass and “slowed down” mentally and physically.

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After research and several studies, 10,000 steps a day was declared a magic figure to maintain health. It works out to about five miles a day. Most people actually walk only 3,500 steps a day. The new smartphones, some watches and pedometers are able to track daily activity accurately. The other way is to get up every hour and walk for a minute. This can be added to, or alternated with, stair climbing – a 1,000 calorie per hour activity. Swimming, walking, jogging and running use about 300 calories per hour depending on the intensity, the distance covered and the speed.

Our body requires a certain amount of energy to stay alive even if we sleep all day. This can be calculated as the weight in kilos multiplied by 2.2 multiplied by 11. It works out to around 1,500 calories for a 60-kilo adult. 1,500 calories a day is a “restricted diet.” It is barely enough to enjoy a good meal or indulge even occasionally in tasty, high calorie snacks. To be able to eat more and enjoy it, you need to increase activity. Then the calories utilised in the activity can be added to the total daily consumption.

Every decade the metabolic rate falls by five per cent in men and three per cent in women. Muscles atrophy and become insidiously replaced by fat if they are not used, and with increasing age. Muscle, even at rest, consumes more energy than fat. This lowers the metabolic rate. It also reduces strength and affects balance. Weight training needs to be done. A litre bottle can be filled with water and held in each hand and the traditional school drill should be done using this. This consists of five up and down and side-to-side movements with the arms. Gradually work up to twenty repetitions of each circuit.

Mental activity like puzzles, Sudoku and learning verses by heart alone will not keep the brain sharp, it will only marginally delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It has to be combined with an hour of physical activity a day, preferably outdoors in the sunshine. Even walking up and down a portico or around a block of flats is all right.

It is proved that a person who does regular Yoga exercise with Pranayama & Meditation, with moderate & control diet keeps and maintains long healthy life.

The effect of an hour’s effort today and everyday will make a hundred fold difference in a lifetime. The other fact – one is never too old to start.

It is modern days recommendation that the busiest person should do work out daily …one should consider it as a daily routine as one needs to sleep,get up in the morning,go to toilet, brushing teeth etc. There is a saying that persons who skip daily exercise or physical workout with the excuse they do not afford any time to do exercise will have to spent more time IN BED  when they suffer from different kind of diseases.

In the conclusion it can be said : PHYSICAL EXERCISE IS THE ONLY WAY TO KEEP ONE PERSON HEALTHY & FIT WITH  LONG LIFE
Click & learn : My 2015 Exercise Recommendations and Update by Dr. Mercola

Resources: Health article from The Telegraph (kolkata, India)

Minimum Amount of Exercise Needed To Keep A Person Fit

 

When an extensive study was done in Taiwan on 4,20,000 randomly selected adults (men and women) for 10 years,  it was found that compared with individuals in a totally inactive control group, those in the low-volume activity group, (who exercised for an average of 92 minutes per week) had a 14 per cent reduced risk of all-cause mortality and a three year longer life expectancy. Every additional 15 minutes of daily exercise beyond the minimum amount of 15 minutes a day further reduced all-cause mortality by 4 per cent and all-cancer mortality by 1 per cent. These benefits were applicable to all age groups and both sexes. So the minimum required is probably 15 minutes a day (90 minutes a week) of moderate-intensity exercise.
CLICK   &   READ    :  Fun ways to keep fit in your office

Source: Published in The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Cutting Carbohydrates From the Diet May Increase Longivity

You may be able to extend your life and stay fit throughout your old age with a simple change of diet that switches on your “youth” gene.

Professor Cynthia Kenyon, whom many experts believe should win the Nobel Prize for her research into aging, has discovered that carbohydrates directly affect the genes that govern youthfulness and longevity.

By tweaking the genes of roundworms, she has been able to help them live up to six times longer than normal.
->The carbohydrates we eat directly affect two key genes that govern youthfulness and longevity
The genes that controlled aging in worms also do the same thing in rats and mice, probably monkeys, and there are signs they are active in humans, too. She found that turning down the gene that controls insulin in turn switches on another gene which acts like an elixir of life.

The Daily Mail reports:
“Discovering the … [first] gene has prompted the professor to ­dramatically alter her own diet, cutting right back on carbohydrates. That’s because carbs make your body produce more insulin (to mop up the extra blood sugar carbs ­produce) … so the vital second gene, the ‘elixir’ one, won’t get turned on.”

Source: Daily Mail October 26, 2010

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