tampabay.com

Stay fit to stay young longer

By Sally Anderson, Special to the Times
Published August 28, 2007


We all could maintain a biological age that is many years younger than our chronological age by eliminating negative behaviors, thus slowing down our personal time clocks.


How rapidly we age depends largely upon how physically, nutritionally and intellectually fit we are. Researchers at the Human Nutrition Center at Tufts University created “biomarkers” to measure aging. Their conclusion was that declines in every biomarker were greatly influenced by high-fat diets and by the lack of aerobic and strength exercising.


Other negative habits that can sabotage your health and induce premature aging are chronic stress and depression, drug use, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and negative attitudes. As the medical doctors who wrote You: The Owners Manual note, “By the time you reach 50, your lifestyle dictates 80 percent of how you age; the rest is controlled by inherited genetics.”


Impact of loss of strength

One looming threat to aging adults is the steady loss of lean body mass (muscle and bone). Without resistance training, muscle mass typically will decrease 40 percent between ages 30 and 70.
Strengthening the muscles can become our fountain of youth by increasing bone density (helping to prevent osteoporosis), increasing muscle mass (which consumes more calories than fat, thus helping control weight), increasing body balance and enhancing your physical appearance.


Maintaining cardio fitness

“The more active you are, the more you are able to stave off many of the negative changes associated with aging,” says Dr. Marilyn Moffat, professor of physical therapy at New York University and past president of the American Physical Therapy Association.

“You put your body in jeopardy and increase your risk of mortality if you don’t do aerobic exercise.”

You will be strengthening the entire cardiovascular system by performing aerobic activities. These are generally defined as any rhythmic activities that involve using large muscles in your arms, legs and hips for a sustained period of time, and repeating such activities at least three times a week.

Improving flexibility


You can look and feel younger just by the way your body moves. Stretching the muscles and keeping the joints loose will help you to walk without stiffness, improve posture and make everyday movements easier. Studies tell us that sedentary lifestyles have more to do with loss of flexibility than biological aging.

Balance control

The decline in balance usually is noticed after age 65. If you have always been physically active, your chances of maintaining balance in your later years are much greater.A study from France finds that people who start exercising after retirement do almost as well in measures of balance, (reported in Food and Fitness Advisor, April 2007). However, if you should stop exercising, your balance will be just as poor as it is in people who never exercised, (January 2007 issue of the International Journal of Sports Medicine).


Healthy nutrition
Many scientists think much of premature aging is caused by a build-up of free radicals, which are electrically charged particles that attack the body’s cells.


High-fat diets are one of the major causes for this build-up. When too many fat molecules are consumed, the free radicals cause plaque to build up in the arteries. Eating fruits and vegetables can be an antidote.


Your attitude


Studies have shown that being optimistic can improve your immune system and even extend your life. As noted in a Mayo Clinic report:


Optimists deal with a troubling situation as an isolated incident and accept that it will eventually go away. They don’t assume blame, but if they are at fault, they accept it, learn from it and move on; they remain in control.
Pessimists dwell on the bad and let it take control of them. They tend to blame themselves and have feelings of helplessness.


Exercise for the eyes


Researchers at the University of Wisconsin did a study on a large group ages 43 to 86 over a 15-year period and found that exercise three or more times a week was linked to as much as a 70 percent reduction in the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.


Physical activity was thought to have reduced problems that lead to a failure of the cells that line the inner walls of blood vessels.


If you are 50 or older and have not been exercising, check with your physician before beginning. Sally Anderson, a trainer, is happy to hear from readers but cannot respond to queries. Write c/o LifeTimes, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.

 

 

Jumping jacks on ball, use as a warm-up or a cardio workout.

Sitting tall, begin bouncing on ball, then move feet out to the sides as you lift arms to shoulders. Bring feet back while lowering arms.

We all could maintain a biological age that is many years younger than our chronological age by eliminating negative behaviors, thus slowing down our personal time clocks.

How rapidly we age depends largely upon how physically, nutritionally and intellectually fit we are. Researchers at the Human Nutrition Center at Tufts University created "biomarkers" to measure aging. Their conclusion was that declines in every biomarker were greatly influenced by high-fat diets and by the lack of aerobic and strength exercising.

Other negative habits that can sabotage your health and induce premature aging are chronic stress and depression, drug use, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and negative attitudes. As the medical doctors who wrote You: The Owners Manual note, "By the time you reach 50, your lifestyle dictates 80 percent of how you age; the rest is controlled by inherited genetics."

Impact of loss of strength

One looming threat to aging adults is the steady loss of lean body mass (muscle and bone). Without resistance training, muscle mass typically will decrease 40 percent between ages 30 and 70.

Strengthening the muscles can become our fountain of youth by increasing bone density (helping to prevent osteoporosis), increasing muscle mass (which consumes more calories than fat, thus helping control weight), increasing body balance and enhancing your physical appearance.

Maintaining cardio fitness

"The more active you are, the more you are able to stave off many of the negative changes associated with aging," says Dr. Marilyn Moffat, professor of physical therapy at New York University and past president of the American Physical Therapy Association.

"You put your body in jeopardy and increase your risk of mortality if you don't do aerobic exercise."

You will be strengthening the entire cardiovascular system by performing aerobic activities. These are generally defined as any rhythmic activities that involve using large muscles in your arms, legs and hips for a sustained period of time, and repeating such activities at least three times a week.

Improving flexibility

You can look and feel younger just by the way your body moves. Stretching the muscles and keeping the joints loose will help you to walk without stiffness, improve posture and make everyday movements easier. Studies tell us that sedentary lifestyles have more to do with loss of flexibility than biological aging.

Balance control

The decline in balance usually is noticed after age 65. If you have always been physically active, your chances of maintaining balance in your later years are much greater.

A study from France finds that people who start exercising after retirement do almost as well in measures of balance, (reported in Food and Fitness Advisor, April 2007). However, if you should stop exercising, your balance will be just as poor as it is in people who never exercised, (January 2007 issue of the International Journal of Sports Medicine).

Healthy nutrition

Many scientists think much of premature aging is caused by a build-up of free radicals, which are electrically charged particles that attack the body's cells.

High-fat diets are one of the major causes for this build-up. When too many fat molecules are consumed, the free radicals cause plaque to build up in the arteries. Eating fruits and vegetables can be an antidote.

Your attitude

Studies have shown that being optimistic can improve your immune system and even extend your life. As noted in a Mayo Clinic report:

Optimists deal with a troubling situation as an isolated incident and accept that it will eventually go away. They don't assume blame, but if they are at fault, they accept it, learn from it and move on; they remain in control.

Pessimists dwell on the bad and let it take control of them. They tend to blame themselves and have feelings of helplessness.

Exercise for the eyes

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin did a study on a large group ages 43 to 86 over a 15-year period and found that exercise three or more times a week was linked to as much as a 70 percent reduction in the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

Physical activity was thought to have reduced problems that lead to a failure of the cells that line the inner walls of blood vessels.

If you are 50 or older and have not been exercising, check with your physician before beginning. Sally Anderson, a trainer, is happy to hear from readers but cannot respond to queries. Write c/o LifeTimes, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.

Rock the baby, stretches hips and helps to relieve lower back discomfort.

Sitting in a chair with back straight, bring right leg up to chest, holding your thigh in the right hand and foot in the left hand. Bring your calf as close as you can to your chest, keeping back straight and calf parallel to floor. Gently move right leg back and forth as though you were rocking a baby. Repeat the rocking motion for approximately 30 seconds, then repeat on opposite leg.

Upper body rotation, targets shoulders, arms, abdominals.

Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, hold weights in each hand, extending arms to the sides at chest level; palms facing forward. Contract abdominals, and slowly turn torso as far as you can to one side, bringing left arm across chest, keeping hips and head facing forward. Return to center and repeat to other side. Do 8-12 times, alternating sides.

Sylvia Walowitz, 55, of St. Petersburg demonstrates this month's exercises.

- - - 

Read more

You: The Owners Manual, by Drs. Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz, (Collins, 2005); $16.47 at Amazon.com.