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 Post subject: DON'T act your age
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:12 pm 
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This article came out yesterday in the Wall Street Journal. The topic is sarcopenia, or loss of muscle mass with age. What I find interesting is how the proposed solution parallels another ailment that comes with age - osteoporosis. For both conditions, WEIGHT BEARING EXERCISE combined with vitamin D (and some important minerals) is the answer. Also... the conditions are easier to prevent than they are to cure. The best way to think about it is to think of it like your retirement account. You add to it when you are young, and withdraw from it when you are older. If you haven't saved enough in your younger years, you're going to be in trouble.

Martial arts works well with this - particularly martial arts approached as an *anaerobic* form of exercise. Karate aerobics? No, no, no!!!!!!! That's MMA (Metrosexual Martial Arts), and it's oxymoronic. Proper martial arts practice which extends life and enhances well being must include resistance training somewhere. And for the Uechi practitioner, you really should be doing the jar training. (I do mine with dumbbells that have the weight indentations on the hexagonal ends. You can also use protein powder jars filled with sand.) Body pounding (kotekitae, ashikitae, and karadakitae) also helps - when done correctly. If a certain amount is good, more may not be better. As with weight training, there's a fine art to finding the sweet spot in your training regimen. This is where experience and/or having a good teacher come into play.

For those of you trying to measure your progress, BMI may not be the answer. Body Mass Index assumes things about body composition that aren't true with weight trainers - hence the whole reason for this article. (See the cross-sectional images below.) I recommend several things to monitor:

  • Waist circumference (good)
    ...
  • Waist to hip ratio. (better)
    ...
  • Standing nekked in front of the mirror test. (self explanatory)

Enjoy!

- Bill

Quote:
How to Keep Your Muscles Strong as You Age
Experts Are Looking Into Promising Treatments for Muscle Decline. But There Are Things You Can Do About It Now.

By LAURA LANDRO CONNECT
June 22, 2014 4:54 p.m. ET

Muscle strength is one of the keys to healthy aging, yet after we achieve peak mass in our early 40s, it's pretty much downhill from there. Most people begin to lose modest amounts of muscle at that point and experience progressive deterioration as the years go by, especially if they are sedentary.

Now, with a growing population of aging baby boomers, experts are turning their attention to interventions to help stem the loss of muscle mass, quality and strength, known as sarcopenia. It is caused by a number of complex factors that are not entirely understood, including decreasing amounts of testosterone in men. Muscle decline often goes hand in hand with frailty, a decline of physical function that leads to falls, hospitalization and the need for nursing-home care.

Researchers are looking at promising treatments including inhibiting a naturally occurring protein called myostatin that curbs muscle growth. Pharmaceutical companies already have drugs in the pipeline that act by blocking myostatin or blocking the sites where it is detected in the body, potentially rebuilding muscle.

For now, however, the best medicine available to maintain muscle mass and strength is less complicated and costly—namely, exercise and a healthy diet. Yet about 60% of people over 65 are insufficiently active or overtly inactive, and many have poor nutrition, says Nathan LeBrasseur, a researcher who directs the Muscle Performance and Physical Function Laboratory and the Healthy Aging and Independent Living Initiative at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Dr. LeBrasseur estimates that most people will lose approximately 30% of muscle mass over their lifetime, and as much as 50% by the time they reach their 80s or 90s.

Keep Your Motor Running
Muscle is also central to metabolism, or the rate at which fat and calories are burned, and can help improve resiliency to the stressors of aging, Dr. LeBrasseur says. By simply stepping up activity like walking, gardening and household tasks, "we can slow the loss and prevent crossing that critical threshold that leads to functional limitations and metabolic issues."

Image

Chronic diseases such as diabetes, which inhibits the metabolism of nutrients in the body, are believed to contribute to age-related muscle loss, and older obese individuals with decreased muscle mass or strength are at special risk for adverse outcomes, according to research funded by the National institute on Aging. Related conditions include cachexia, a state of general physical decline and malnutrition associated with chronic disease and cancer, and wasting disorders that can be associated with nerve disease or injury.

There is still debate about how best to define and measure sarcopenia, and doctors caring for the elderly may not even be aware of the term, which was derived from Greek words for poverty of the flesh and was introduced in the late 1980s. Researchers have a better handle on frailty, a syndrome of decreased strength reserves, reduced resistance to physical and psychological stressors, and cumulative decline across multiple systems of the body, including the brain. A number of frailty scales are available to help doctors evaluate patients.

Jeremy Walston, a professor of geriatric medicine and co-director of the Biology of Healthy Aging program at Johns Hopkins University's Center on Aging and Health, says a major goal of research is to understand the complex interplay of molecular and physiological declines in multiple systems of the body with advancing age—a mix that may increase general vulnerability in frail, older adults. His team is studying changes in mitochondria, the energy-generating components of cells, and the impact of chronic inflammation in the body.

The Johns Hopkins researchers are also studying whether the drug losartan, commonly used to treat high blood pressure, can slow muscle decline in adults 70 and older, after promising results in mice.

More Protein
In addition to the mounting evidence of the benefits of physical activity in stemming decline, Dr. Walston says there is an emerging body of research that suggests older people should eat more protein, with a focus on leaner sources.

According to guidelines published in 2010 by the Society on Sarcopenia, Cachexia and Wasting Disorders, a nonprofit group, as many as 41% of women and 35% of men age 50-plus ingest less than the recommended daily allowance of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.36 grams per pound). The group recommends that total protein should be higher in that age range, or 1 to 1.5 grams per kilogram per day (0.45 to 0.68 grams per pound), spread equally through three meals.

The group also says low vitamin D levels are associated with low muscle strength, and supplementing it in those cases has been shown to increase strength and function and reduce falls. But it's best to talk to a physician before starting any supplements such as protein or vitamin D.

As for exercise, the group notes that resistance exercises can improve strength, while aerobic exercise can improve overall health and quality of life. The group recommends a combination of the two for 20 to 30 minutes three times a week.

Building Up Reserves
Evidence continues to show the benefits of exercise at any age. Last month, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that an exercise program reduced the onset of major disability for at-risk older adults by 18% over about 2½ years. The study, the largest of its kind, was conducted by a consortium of major aging research centers and funded by the federal government.

Known as the LIFE study—for Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders—it compared a supervised, moderate-intensity physical activity program with a health education program on aging in 1,600 sedentary older adults. The activity portion included aerobic, strength, flexibility and balance training, based on individual levels of fitness, while the education arm had only limited focus on physical activity.

The study defined major mobility disability as the inability to walk 400 meters within 15 minutes without sitting, leaning against a wall, or getting assistance from another person or walker. Roger Fielding, a co-author of the study and director of the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at Tufts University, says the study shows that "even as we advance into very old age, physical activity can help preserve independence." The study group hopes to follow the subjects for three more years to gauge longer-term benefits.

There is some inevitability to declining strength and muscles in aging, "but whatever we can do to mitigate that by building up the health reserve can pay off in dividends later," says Karen Bandeen-Roche, another researcher at the Johns Hopkins aging center. "We can't say frailty can be prevented in all people, but we can compress it to a smaller proportion of the end of life."

Ms. Landro is an assistant managing editor for The Wall Street Journal in New York and writes the Informed Patient column. She can be reached at encore@wsj.com.


- WSJ


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 Post subject: Re: *Don't* act your age
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:18 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: DON'T act your age
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:23 pm 
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I like the analogy of "health reserves," which we draw from as we age. To continue the analogy, working in skilled nursing facilities what I seem to be seeing is people who draw, again and again, from reserves that they haven't replenished in years, if not decades. There appear to be two particular blind spots: (1) A sort of end-of-history illusion. That is, "how strong I am now is how strong I will always be," or in reverse "How strong I was when I was X is how strong I am now," despite evidence to the contrary; and (2) a lack of awareness of the attrition that occurs quietly when fitness is not proactively maintained - for the analogy, perhaps an inevitable monthly "fee."

A fee that is definitely highlighted for me when I spend too long away from the gym.

Enjoyed the read, thanks for sharing!


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 Post subject: Re: DON'T act your age
PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:43 pm 
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Welcome to the Forums, Nicole!

Nicole501 wrote:
I like the analogy of "health reserves," which we draw from as we age. To continue the analogy... There appear to be two particular blind spots

Excellent observation, Nicole. Your input is helpful.

I'm a bit of an outlier in several ways. First... I listened to my dad and have always lived beneath my means. Second... I've cared about my physical fitness ever since my dad bought me a Sears Ted Williams barbell set when I was a kid.

My dad survived and in fact thrived financially during the depression. He talked constantly to me about living smartly. Consequently he was doing well in his twilight years. He in fact lost a LOT of money in the 2008/2009 market collapse. I'd sit with him each evening at the market closing, and look at his online investment accounts with him. There were days when he was close to tears. "I can't make that back up again in my lifetime" he would lament. And yet at the end of it all he survived the massive hit, and earned most of the money back on the market upswing.

Physically and mentally? My dad wasn't quite as much on the same page. Yes... when I was growing up he constantly would "play catch" with me. If you've ever played baseball or seen Field of Dreams, you would get that. He also did yard work - as I do - when he really could have afforded to have someone else come in and take care of things. But I couldn't get him to the gym, and I couldn't get him to read a book. I couldn't get him to do crossword puzzles. I couldn't get him to play online math games. Understand that this was a fellow who got a civil engineering degree from Manhattan, and was a pitcher on that college baseball team. (He was a submarine pitch thrower, which is a very rare commodity.) Yes... it was pretty cool seeing him play catch with my son when my dad was 83 years old. My son - who was trying out for his high school team - was shocked and delighted. He had never seen a submarine pitch, much less see an 83 year old man throw one. He didn't know that such a man could throw a curve and a "screw ball" (called a cutter these days). But there you have it. But I couldn't get him to pick up a barbell, and I couldn't get him to pick up a book. He *never* retired as a trader of securities, but he did slow down a lot when things started to go south. When he lost half his weight while fighting cancer, the reality finally hit him. When he started to lose cognitive abilities and subsequently have unbounded emotions, it was too late to get him to appreciate why it was happening. But... he did better than most.

Death and taxes are a certainty. But nobody said we shouldn't do our best to avoid both.

Professionally my job title is metrician/scientist. As a metrician, I use descriptive and inferential statistics to study health care using insurance claims data. There's a relatively new professional out there called a sabermetrician. The father of the field of Sabermetrics is Bill James. Sabermetricians calculate things like the WAR statistics (Wins Above Replacement). In other words if we trade for Joe Blow and he has a WAR stat of 2.0, then we know we'll win 2 more games vs. hiring the average player in Major League Baseball.

Sabernetricians understand the subtle but measurable decline in athletic performance with age. Back in the day of rampant steroid use, we'd see athletes like Roger Clemens pitching world class baseball in Yankee Stadium in his 40s. With the Congressional investigation and subsequent rules set by MLB about Performance Enhancement Drugs (e.g. steroids, human growth hormone, amphetamines), baseball pitchers don't stay at "world class" level as long. The exception is a group of pitchers who have learned the rare but fine art of the knuckleball. Normal pitching relies on speed, speed variability, location, and ball spin. The knuckleball is predictably unpredictable, or mathematical chaos in real life. Speed doesn't matter quite as much.

Still... every good MLB athlete understands the importance of conditioning. Nolan Ryan pitched a no-hitter at age 43. And how? He was the very first of a generation of baseball players who ignored their coaches, and spent time in the weight room. Now all of them do it.

You can't avoid the inevitable, but you *can* extend the number of quality years you have left in life. You can do this with modern medicine/pharmacology. But you can also do this at low cost by just eating right and exercising.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: DON'T act your age
PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 12:20 pm 
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Great topic. Especially for me because I haven't been in the gym for years and I now feel like I am paying for it as my body is constantly aching.

With that said, and hopefully I will get off my butt and start lifting, what kind of workout do you recommend with weights? Should I go High weight and low reps to bulk up or low weight high reps to tone up the muscles?


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 Post subject: Re: DON'T act your age
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:05 pm 
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Scott Danziger wrote:
what kind of workout do you recommend with weights?

  • Your workout should primarily use free weights (open chain exercises) as opposed to machines. Free weights such as barbells and dumbbells allow you also to exercise stabilizer muscles that are so important to any real-world movement. In many cases they also force you to engage your core.
    ...
  • Do multiple muscle group exercises first, and single muscle group exercises last. Do the bigger muscle groups before the smaller muscle groups.
    ...
  • Multiple muscle group exercises include bench press, squats, Olympic style exercises, or things like a Turkish get-up. Also consider kettlebell and Uechi jar training in this class of exercise. Be thoughtful about which exercises you choose, and be prepared to change every 3 months or so.
    ...
  • Whenever you exercise an agonist, make sure you exercise the antagonist. Quads and hamstrings should be in balance. Chest and back should be in balance. Biceps and triceps should be in balance. Etc.
    ...
  • Finish your routine up using machines for the hard-to-get muscle groups such as hamstrings (Leg curls), and lats (Lat pull-downs). If you don't have machines, you'll need to be creative (e.g. with exercise bands, chin-ups, etc.).
    ...
  • Be sure to give a muscle group a few days rest before lifting again. Rest is when the rebound growth happens. Many people (myself included) do split routines where different muscle groups are exercised on different days.
    ...
  • Don't forget to work on the core in each workout. I have myriad abdominal, oblique, and lower back exercises that I mix into a workout every time I go to the gym. Your athletic ability and health start and end with the integrity of and control over the core.
    ...
  • For most exercises, you want to do anywhere from 3 to 20 repetitions. And you want to do 1 to 5 sets. The combination depends (See below). Except for core, a good benchmark from which to vary is 3 sets of 10 repetitions. It's kind of like your three Sanchins; that's not written in stone, but it's a good place to start.
    ...
  • Get your body physically warm via "warm ups" before engaging in resistance training. I personally like dynamic tension movements with proper breathing. This is also a chance to wake up the "owie" parts of your body before getting started. A few years ago I survived two (2) total loss car wrecks, and needed to warm up my neck and back before getting started.
    ...
  • The end of the workout is the perfect time to stretch. Don't omit.
    ...
  • Quality before quantity. Remember this! Try to squeeze more benefit from less weight by doing the exercises correctly, and listen to your body. Keep your ego in check. Remember that the tortoise beats the hare.
    ...
  • If you must weight train on the same day you do a karate (or other sports activity) workout, do the weight training AFTER the sports workout. It's best to do them on separate days. The exception might be jar training - a lighter form of resistance training - which can be incorporated into the Sanchin part of your karate class workout. I also sneak Turkish get-ups into the Sanchin phase of our karate class, as it teaches people how to get the whole body moving as one. Just don't overdo it with heavy weights.

Scott Danziger wrote:
Should I go High weight and low reps to bulk up or low weight high reps to tone up the muscles?

Yes.

But seriously...

Both are important. And whatever you do, your body's going to get used to it and start getting lazy by attempting to move the weights with the fewest muscle fibers possible. Thus you need constantly to be "fooling" your body to get the best anabolic effect. Plus you want to prevent repetitive motion injuries.

The solution is to train in 12 week cycles. Start the cycle doing more reps and lighter weights with your multiple muscle group exercises, and finish it with fewer reps and heavier weights. The change should be gradual. After 12 weeks, go on a week or two of *active* rest, and then start over again with a new training program using slightly different exercises.

Hope that helps.

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: DON'T act your age
PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:37 pm 
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Thank you. Great advice (printed it out). Hopefully I will keep up with it. I can't believe how out of shape I have become. Especially when I attempt to run around taping the HS football team I film for. It kills me how in shape they are and how out of shape I am.


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