To Your Health
March, 2007 (Vol. 01, Issue 03)
How Can Exercise Help?
Regular physical activity can help control blood lipid abnormalities, diabetes and obesity. Aerobic physical activity also can reduce blood pressure. For health benefits for the heart, lungs and circulation, perform any moderate-to-vigorous-intensity activity for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Enjoy any of the following activities:
- brisk walking, hiking, stair-climbing or aerobics classes;
- walking for pleasure, gardening and yard work;
- housework, dancing and prescribed home exercise; or
- recreational activities such as tennis, racquetball or golf.
Remember, no one is asking you to train for the Iron Man Triathlon! You can accumulate 30 minutes in 10- or 15-minute sessions. What's important is to include physical activity as part of a regular routine.
Fighting Osteoporosis: The Relationship Of Muscle Mass To Bone.
Physical Activity has numerous health benefits, particularly as we age. Consistent daily or near-daily exercise can help prevent obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis and even some forms of cancer.
In addition to broken hearts, inactivity can lead to broken bones in the golden years. Osteoporosis - a word meaning "porous bones" - is a condition characterized by weak, brittle bones that break easily. The most severe cases of osteoporosis leave patients susceptible to fractures at the slightest bending of the back, lifting of a household appliance or even a sneeze! These fractures are most common in the back, wrist and hip. And although osteoporosis is commonly considered a "women's disease," as the sudden drop in estrogen levels due to menopause is thought to accelerate bone loss, a great number of men are diagnosed each year.
So, what can you do to prevent the condition? And equally as important, if you have it, how can you reduce your risk of suffering the back problems and broken bones that osteoporosis often encourages? The best measure in the prevention of this debilitating disease is weight-bearing exercise. Simply put: Because bone supports muscle, added muscle mass demands healthier, stronger bone for added support, so weight-bearing exercise increases bone density and strength.
It's Never Too Late To Start.
In the absence of any strength training, our strength naturally peaks at approximately 25 years of age, plateaus through 35 or 40, and then strength begins to decline, and how, with about 25 percent loss of peak force by age 65. And women are most often limited by a loss of strength at an earlier age than men. Add strength training, however, and the body responds with a marked increase in strength over just a short period of time. In a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, several subjects undertook a strength-training regimen. After only eight weeks of resistance training - even in 90-year-old subjects - overall muscle strength was greatly improved. Stronger muscles further enhance overall function by stabilizing osteoarthritic joints, reducing the risk of falls and lessening labored breathing.