Questions and Answers
Can people of any age benefit?
Yes, the benefits are:
Click on the items below to read more
Of all the biomarkers of aging the most important is the loss of strength. The number one reason the elderly are placed in nursing homes is the loss of strength necessary to carry out everyday activities. Many biomarkers such as the graying of hair, balding, and wrinkles can be addressed cosmetically. Others can be addressed through science such as by wearing glasses or a hearing aid. The exercise we do at Kelly personal Training is effective in addressing the biomarkers that effect not only how young we look, but more importantly, how we young we feel.
- Muscle mass decreases. As adults we lose about five pounds of lean muscle each decade. Through proper strength training you can get back much of the muscle you had in your twenties and even add to it.
- Base Metabolic Rate (metabolism) decreases. More muscle requires more calories. Stronger muscles are more toned and this requires more calories. Stronger toned muscles present a younger look.
- Fat increases as a percentage of body weight. By increasing muscle mass, fat as a percentage is automatically less, and this extra muscle requires more fat burning calories.
- Strength, energy and speed of the body decreases. Proper exercise will make you stronger, and day to day activities will be less strenuous and be less taxing energy-wise. Stronger muscles produce more force, more power, and more speed.
- Aerobic Capacity. We employ a non-stop circuit training method has a very significant cardiovascular effect and increases both aerobic and anaerobic capacity.
- Body cells become resistant to insulin. Added muscles will lower your blood sugar level and lessen the need for insulin.
- LDL Cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) increases, and HDL Cholesterol ("good" cholesterol) falls. In one exercise study HDL cholesterol doubled for subjects using the very same exercise protocol employed at our gyms in Austin.
- Bone mineral density decreases. Increase the demands on the muscular-skeletal system, and as self-protection, the body responds by maintaining stronger muscles and bones.
- Loss of flexibility. The medical grade MedX equipment we use at or Austin gyms permits one to work the muscles through a range of motion not possible with other equipment and thereby enhances flexibility.
- Increased susceptibility to sickness and injury. A stronger body is less like to get injured and will have a stronger immune system.
While other forms of exercise might improve a certain biomarker more effectively such as running to improve aerobic capacity or yoga to improve flexibility, none address so many as effectively weight training. No other form of exercise increases the most important biomarker, strength, as effectively as weight training. Further, no strength training program is safer or more efficient than the program at Kelly Personal Training. You need not spend hours in the gym to make a profound difference. Mickey Mantel once said, .If I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself.. Is it worth spending less than an hour a week to slow the aging process? We think it is.
With the conventional overhead press a barbell is lifted with speed from the shoulders directly overhead putting stress on the rotator cuff that often results in injury. One local trainer of note stated on TV that this exercise should be avoided. With the MedX overhead press there is far less stress on the rotator cuff, as the machine movement follows a gentle arc in sync with the natural arcing movement of the arms when raised overhead.
One of our trainers, Kyle Kloor, had shoulder operations on each of his shoulders because of injuries from performing the standard overhead press. Kyle had sustained permanent injuries performing the standard overhead have experienced no problems with the MedX overhead press using our exercise program.
Injuries sustained in our youth will come back to haunt us in the form of arthritis or restricted range of motion when we are older. The best preventative is to be as strong as possible now and not wait until we are older and the damage is irreversible. This does not require hours in the gym. In fact too much time in the gym can lead to overuse injuries such as those experienced by Kyle.
A recent study showssignificant differences in strength increases comparing the Superslow®® protocol to the conventional protocol.
[Note: Our program is similar to the Superslow® system in the one respect that at exercises are performed far less frequently than with other protocols.] In the study one group exercised using the Superslow® protocol and the other followed the recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). We have some of the data but we can.t give specific details as the study is undergoing peer review and has not yet been published. Over 16 weeks the Superslow® group exercised an average of @ 3.5 hours of exercise, while the ACSM group exercised an average of 35 hours of exercise. The strength increases on the leg press for the both groups were similar. On the row and chest press the Superslow® method produced better results.
Those using Superslow® improved on the row exercise every week - a 21% increase from week four to week 16 The ACSM improvement on the row was only 5%, and 11 out 13 peaked or got weaker before week 16 using the ACSM protocol. Those using Superslow® improved on chest press every week - a 25% increase from week four to week 16. The ACSM improvement on the chest press was only 9%, and 8 out 13 peaked or got weaker before week 16 using the ACSM protocol.
Our speculation on why the subjects using the ACSM approach actually got weaker toward the end of the 16 weeks - without adequate recovery one cannot expect to improve. Everybody got stronger in the first couple of months of the study, but as the weights got heavier and the demands were greater the body needed more time to recover from exercise. It is not how much exercise you can withstand; it is how much is needed to produce a result. Exercising more often will not give you more results if you cannot recover from the workout, and it can actually make you weaker. Some just stay at the same level year after year and claim they are maintaining. It does not have to be that way.
Higher Intensity of Exercise Linked to Lower Risk of Coronary Heart Disease
Properly performed high intensity strength training has been shown to reduce high blood pressure and lower HDL cholesterol. Exercise in general has been linked to lower risk of coronary heart disease. There are plenty of studies out there, and they are not all in perfect agreement, but it appears that higher intensity exercise might be more beneficial in lowering the risk of coronary heart disease. The type of exercise performed at our gyms in Autin is high intensity exercise where the major muscle groups are worked to exhaustion with little rest between each exercise. The results are a stronger, more flexible, injury-resistant, higher calorie-burning skeletal-muscular system. With minimal rest between exercises there is the additional benefit of improved cardiovascular health. Combining the workout at Kelly Personal Training with additional cardiovascular exercise will be even more beneficial to the heart. Below are some studies. The first study employed a protocol of circuit strength training that was later developed into the protocol presently used at our Austin gyms.
Excerpted from: Project Total Conditioning, Conducted at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. James A. Peterson, Ph.D. Paper presented to the Pre-Montreal Olympic Conference of the International Congress of Physical Activity Sciences, Quebec City, Canada, and July 15, 1976
"In the present study, by maintaining the intensity of the training at a high level, substantial improvement was achieved in both the level of muscular fitness and the cardiovascular condition of the experimental subjects. In addition to enabling the subjects to accommodate more resistance in a shorter period of time, the level of aerobic capacity of the experimental subjects was significantly increased. These results are contrary to the traditional viewpoint that weight training does not affect the cardiovascular efficiency of the individual trainee. Obviously, however, the consequences of a weight-training program are dependent upon the methods and equipment used in the program. Utilizing the mechanical and design advantages of Nautilus weight training equipment, a high intensity workout of relatively short duration resulted in improvement in more than merely the level of muscular fitness. Unfortunately, the misinformation and speculation attendant to many traditional practices in weight training have hampered the search for insight and clarification into the proper ways to train and the benefits of such training. Hopefully, the results of "Project Total Conditioning" provide, not only a partial solution to many of the enigmas associated with weight training, but also the impetus for additional scientific inquiry into this area."
Another excerpt from: Project Total Conditioning — James A. Peterson, Ph.D.
"Contrary to most commonly held beliefs on the subject of strength training, the training also significantly improved the cardiovascular condition of the subjects. By maintaining the intensity of the workouts at a high level and by limiting the amount of rest between exercises, the training resulted in improvements on each of 60 separate measures of cardiovascular fitness. Contrary to widespread opinion, not only will a properly conducted strength training program produce increases in muscular strength, but will also significantly improve an individual's level of cardiovascular conditioning. The data suggests that some of these cardiovascular benefits apparently cannot be achieved by any other type of training."
Lee I-Min, Sesso HD, Oguma Y, Paffenbarger RS. Relative intensity of physical activity and risk of coronary heart disease. Circulation. 2003;107:1110-1116.
In this study researchers found that it is the intensity (or effort) that matters. The study followed 7,337 men with an average age of 66 years from 1988 to 1993. The main finding from this study is that among older men, the higher a person.s perceived level of intensity, the lower their risk of developing coronary heart disease. The relative risk of coronary heart disease among men who perceived their exercise exertion as moderate was 14% lower than those who rated their exercise level as weak or less intense. Men who perceived their exercise level as somewhat strong had a 31% lower risk compared to men who perceived their exercise level as weak or less intense, while men who perceived their workout as strong or more intense had a 28% lower rate. Men who exercised at a higher perceived level of intensity had a lower risk of coronary heart disease than those who exercised at a lower relative perceived level of intensity even after the authors adjusted for age, body mass index (BMI), cigarette smoking, prevalence of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, early parental mortality, alcohol intake, and diet.
Tanasescu M, Leitzmann MF, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, Hu FB (2002) Exercise type and intensity in relation to coronary heart disease in men. Journal of the American Medical Association 288: 1994-2000.
In this study researchers assessed the amount, type, and intensity of physical activity in relation to chronic heart disease (CHD) among men. The study found that total physical activity, running, weight training, and rowing were each inversely associated with risk of CHD. In other words, the more active the man, the less likely he is to suffer from heart disease. Men who ran for an hour or more per week had a 42 percent risk reduction compared with men who did not run. Men who trained with weights for 30 minutes or more per week had a 23 percent risk reduction compared with men who did not train with weights. Rowing for an hour or more per week was associated with an 18 percent risk reduction.
Average exercise intensity was associated with reduced CHD risk independent of the total volume of physical activity. This means that the more intense the exercise, the greater the benefits that follow for your heart health even if the activities only take place in short bursts. Activities performed at moderate and high intensities were more effective in lowering CHD risk than activities performed at low intensity. The researchers concluded that increasing the intensity of aerobic exercise from low to moderate, or from moderate to high, and adding weight training to the exercise program were among the most effective strategies to reduce the risk of CHD in men.
Excerpted from: Aerobic Versus Strength Training for Risk factor Intervention in Middle-Aged Men at Risk for Coronary Heart Disease, M.A. Smutok, C. Reece, P.F. Kokkinos, C. Farmer, P. Dawson, R. Shulman, J. DeVane-Bell, J. Patterson, C. Charabogos, A. P. Goldberg, and B.F. Hurley, University of Maryland.
"The results of this study suggest that strength training and aerobic training have comparable effects on risk factors for Coronary Heart Disease. In Summary, 20 weeks of Strength training had the same effect as 20 weeks of Aerobic Training on risk factors for Coronary Heart Disease."
Excerpted from: Circuit Weight Training in Cardiac Patients, M. Kelemen, MD, FACC, K.J. Stewart, EdD, R. E. Gillian, MD, C.K. Ewart, PhD., S.A. Valenti, MD, J.D. Manley, BS, M.D. Kelemen, John Hopkins School of Medicine, Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland.
"Circuit weight training appears to be safe, and to result in significant increases in aerobic endurance and musculoskeletal strength compared with traditional exercise (aerobic only) used in cardiac rehabilitation programs. In fact a control group of cardiac patients engaged in only a walk/jog program did not improve."
As we age we lose muscle, strength, bone density, and balance. Falls inevitably occur, hips break and a severely compromised quality of life and a shorter life results. In 1982 Arthur Jones, the founder of MedX, commissioned a study to see if strength training could reverse osteoporosis in elderly women. A high incident of injury resulted from performing exercise at the conventional speed of movement; they slowed the repetitions down, the injuries stopped and the subjects' bone intensity increased. Research at MedX has resulted in unmatched medical rehab equipment and important advances in exercise science showing the importance of strength training for maintaining good health.
One study (1) using the MedX lumbar machine showed that strength training was effective in increasing back extensor strength, reducing the number of vertebral compression fractures and increasing bone mineral density. Another study (2) using MedX equipment showed that high-intensity training was successful for improving bone mineral density of the femoral neck in healthy elderly subject.
We have had clients who have used our system to recover from hip replacements, knee replacements and reverse the effects of osteoporosis. Less than an hour a week is all that is necessary to being as strong as you possibly can be at any age. Is it worth the effort of exercising about 15 to 18 hours a year now to avoid serious life compromising conditions later on? We think it is.
- Can strong back extensors prevent vertebral fractures in women with osteoporosis?; Sinaki M, Wollan PC, Scott RW, Gelczer RK. Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota 55905; USA. Mayo Clin Proc 1996 Oct;71(10):951-6
- Resistance exercise and bone turnover in elderly men and women; Vincent KR; Braith RW Center for Exercise Science, College of Health and Human Performance, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611; USA. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2002 Jan;34(1):17-23
According to one study high intensity strength training of the type employed at or Austin gym burned fat at a rate nine times greater than the rate of an aerobic program.
Metabolism 1994 Jul;43(7):814-8 Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism by Trremblay A, Simoneau JA, Bouchard C. Physical Activity Sciences Laboratory, Laval University, Ste-Foy, Quebec, Canada.
The impact of two different modes of training on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism was investigated in young adults who were subjected to either a 20-week endurance-training (ET) program (eight men and nine women) or a 15-week high-intensity intermittent-training (HIIT) program (five men and five women).
The mean estimated total energy cost of the ET program was 120.4 MJ, whereas the corresponding value for the HIIT program was 57.9 MJ. Despite its lower energy cost, the high-intensity intermittent-training program induced a more pronounced reduction in subcutaneous adiposity compared with the endurance training program.
When corrected for the energy cost of training, the decrease in the sum of six subcutaneous skinfolds induced by the high-intensity intermittent-training program was ninefold greater than by the endurance-training program. Muscle biopsies obtained in the vastus lateralis before and after training showed that both training programs increased similarly the level of the citric acid cycle enzymatic marker.
On the other hand, the activity of muscle glycolytic enzymes was increased by the HIIT program, whereas a decrease was observed following the ET program. The enhancing effect of training on muscle 3-hydroxyacyl coenzyme A dehydrogenase (HADH) enzyme activity, a marker of the activity of beta-oxidation, was significantly greater after the HIIT program. In conclusion, these results reinforce the notion that for a given level of energy expenditure, vigorous exercise favors negative energy and lipid balance to a greater extent than exercise of low to moderate intensity. Moreover, the metabolic adaptations taking place in the skeletal muscle in response to the HIIT program appear to favor the process of lipid oxidation. Note: The training program we use is a high-intensity intermittent-training program (HIIT).
While diet and drugs are important in controlling Type II diabetes, high intensity strength training such as the program used at our gyms in Austin can be an important role as well.
In a study published in the October 10th issue of Diabetes Journal Care the co-author stated: "The effects of the resistance training program were as great as those typically seen with drugs for diabetes."
Insulin helps blood sugar enter the body tissues that need blood sugar to produce energy. A slower metabolism and less activity without a corresponding adjustment in diet result in higher blood sugar levels and consequent higher insulin levels. Eventually the body can become insulin resistant; more and more insulin is needed to control blood sugar levels. Type II diabetes results when the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin or the body can't effectively use the insulin it does produce.
16 million Americans have diabetes with 1,700 new cases being diagnosed everyday. 90% of the cases are Type II, which is most common in older individuals. Diabetes has been linked to the development of a variety of diseases including heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and neurological disorders.
Skeletal muscle accounts for 70% to 80% of removal of sugar from the bloodstream. Research indicates that weight training can increase glucose utilization in the body by as much as 23 percent in four months. Also when people do strength training, they feel fitter and are more likely to take part in other activities. After the age of 30 adults lose about 5 pounds of muscle a decade and as a result our metabolism slows. At our Austin gyms we want to keep that muscle we had when we were younger and even add additional muscle. Is it worth less than an hour a week to be as strong as you can be, raise your metabolism, increase glucose utilization and lessen the likelihood Type II diabetes? We think it is.
Sarcopenia, the term for age-related muscle loss, is largely avoidable
If you're over the age of 30, there's something you ought to know about your muscles: They're probably shrinking.
Once most adults pass the physical prime of their teens and 20s, they lose an average of 10 ounces of lean body mass a year, mostly in the form of muscle tissue.
It's a process more insidious and crippling than osteoporosis, but few people notice until they realize it's getting difficult to climb the stairs or heft themselves off the sofa. Unchecked, the gradual erosion of muscle strength is the major reason elderly Americans are forced to move into nursing homes.
It wasn't until a few years ago that medical experts put a name to the phenomenon: sarcopenia, derived from the Greek words for vanishing flesh. In the mid-1990s, several labs across the country launched the first major studies of the subject.
Today, a new understanding of age related muscle loss is beginning to emerge, along with some hopeful indications. Far from being as unavoidable as gray hair and wrinkles, sarcopenia can be reversed or slowed significantly by strength-training exercise.
While it's best to start exercising early, several studies show it's never too late to regain some muscle strength. "It's not an inevitable consequence of aging," said exercise physiologist Michael Hewitt. "It's an inevitable consequence of disuse."
Hewitt is director of health and healing for Canyon Ranch, an exclusive health spa in the Tucson foothills where guests pay upward of $5,000 a week to be pampered and coached in healthy living.
But it doesn't take a trust fund or even a health club membership to learn four simple exercises that can stave off the ravages of sarcopenia, Hewitt said during a recent Seattle conference on aging.
"It only takes five to eight minutes, twice a week," Hewitt said. "No one can say: I don't have time for that.'"
These strength-training exercise, or others like them, should be a part of any fitness regimen, said Hewitt and other exercise experts.
While many people focus their workouts on jogging, stair climbing or other aerobic activities, that doesn't help counter the gradual deterioration of muscle strength, said Larry Woodward, occupational therapist for a YMCA.
"Since we don't work in the fields like we used to, we don't go hunting, we're more sedentary; we need to exercise those muscles," he said.
At the same time muscle begins vanishing from our bodies, fat begins accumulating. Few people actually lose 10 ounces of weight every year. Most adults gain about a pound a year - nearly all in the form of fat, which masks the loss of lean tissue.
"It's such a slight loss yearly that we just don't notice it until 10 or 12 years have gone by," Woodward said. "If you don't do something, it really sneaks up on you."
The higher the proportion of fat in your body, the lower your metabolism, which exacerbates the problem of muscle loss by making it more difficult to be active and shed fat, Hewitt said.
Irwin Rosenberg coined the term "sarcopenia" and leads the Human Nutrition Research Center on aging at Tufts University in Boston, where many of the ongoing studies are centered. In 1997, the National Institutes of Health began a broad-based research program on the phenomenon, which can be devastating to the elderly.
Not only does loss of muscle mass lead to frailty and helplessness, it also contributes significantly to life threatening bone breaks.
"The weakness that results in imbalance that results in falling is a very important element, along with low bone mass, in the high incidence of hip fractures," Rosenberg said.
So far, studies show that even people in their 90s can improve their muscle function through strength training exercise, he said. And for people who begin exercising earlier, the news is even better.
"If you take people that have maintained physical activity from early on, and you compare them to ones that haven't, at the age of 70 or 75 there's a striking difference," Rosenberg said.
"Not only do the ones who have been physically active and have done resistance training have more muscles, but they also have less fat in their muscles."
Often, people in their 30s and 40s are so busy with their careers and families that they neglect their bodies, Woodward said. It's not until they have an injury or get a warning from their physician that they're jolted back into activity.
By then, their muscle loss can be significant. And while they can make up some of the difference, it's harder.
"If you don't get started and stick with it, it only gets tougher on your body," Woodward said.
Age does bring some inevitable, physical losses, Hewitt pointed out. It's entirely possible for a fit 70-year-old to have more muscle mass than she had at the age of 30. But it's not possible for her to develop more muscle in old age than she could have had in her 30s, had she been in tip-top shape.
Still, even a slight increase in muscle strength at any age can significantly improve quality of life-- and stave off the frailty that used to be considered a normal part of getting old.
—SANDI DOUGHTON Scripps Howard News Service
Enzyme adaptations of human skeletal muscle during bicycle short-sprint training and detraining. [1: Acta Physiol Scand. 1997 Dec;161(4):439-45.]
Linossier MT, Dormois D, Perier C, Frey J, Geyssant A, Denis C.
Laboratoire de Physiologie, Faculte de Medecine Saint-Etienne, France.
The effect of sprint training and detraining on supramaximal performances was studied in relation to muscle enzyme adaptations in eight students trained four times a week for 9 weeks on a cycle ergometer. The subjects were tested for peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), maximal aerobic power (MAP) and maximal short-term power output (Wmax) before and after training and after 7 weeks of detraining. During these periods, biopsies were taken from vastus lateralis muscle for the determination of creatine kinase (CK), adenylate kinase (AK), glycogen phosphorylase (PHOS), hexokinase (HK), phosphofructokinase (PFK), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and its isozymes, 3-hydroxy-acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (HAD) and citrate synthase (CS) activities. Training induced large improvements in Wmax (28%) with slight increases (3%) in VO2peak (P < 0.10). This was associated with a greater glycolytic potential as shown by higher activities for PHOS (9%), PFK (17%) and LDH (31%) after training, without changes in CK and oxidative markers (CS and HAD). Detraining induced significant decreases in VO2peak (4%), MAP (5%) and oxidative markers (10-16%), while Wmax and the anaerobic potential were maintained at a high level. This suggests a high level in supramaximal power output as a result of a muscle glycogenolytic and glycolytic adaptation. A long interruption in training has negligible effects on short-sprint ability and muscle anaerobic potential. On the other hand, a persistent training stimulus is required to maintain high aerobic capacity and muscle oxidative potential. This may contribute to a rapid return to competitive fitness for sprinters and power athletes.
Publication Types: a.. Clinical Trial PMID: 9429650 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Treating back pain is a $40 billion a year industry. About 80 percent of the people in this country, at one time or another, will suffer from acute bouts of lower back pain; pain that comes and goes for no apparent reason. If care is not taken these acute cases can become chronic and more severe.
The gradual weakness and loss of flexibility that comes with age leaves us vulnerable to lower back injuries. In this compromised state we become less active, weight gain often results further compounding the problem. Often we overcompensate putting more strain on other parts of the body and creating move problems. Reduced movement of the lumbar region results in less hydration of the discs and even greater likelihood of injury. Movement of the lower back keeps the discs healthy. This is accomplished through proper exercise.
If your back deteriorates beyond a certain point you will not be able to exercise the back without the risk of injury. The problem is finding a safe effective way to exercise the back. In 1988 Arthur Jones founded MedX Sports Medical Industries. By 1993 alone he had spend 83 million on research developing an exercise machine to effectively work the muscles of the lower back. Breakthrough MedX technology produced the lumbar exercise machine featuring a patented pelvic restraint system allows movement of the lumbar region while the hips are locked. The means the spinal muscles alone must lift the weight. a first.
One of our trainers, Stephanie Nee, suffered from three herniated discs. She had been told by two different doctors that she would require surgery. She couldn’t do everyday household activities involving bending or even lifting light objects. Since she began exercising using the MedX low back machine her pain has completely disappeared.
Specific intense exercise of the lower back results in a back that is stronger, more limber and less prone to injury. Short, infrequent sessions of low back exercise are all that is needed to strengthen and maintain a strong healthy back. We feel it is better to take steps now to avoid back injury rather than wait until injuries occur.
Age, exercise may boost memory
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
(CNN) -- "You're not getting older, you're getting better." New research shows this traditional compliment may be true when it comes to memory, especially for someone who stays in shape.
Recent studies indicate that a simple exercise routine helps put the brakes on memory loss. And one aspect of memory automatically improves with age, according to a new book.
Like body, like mind
What you do to improve your physical health may actually go to your head, according to Dr. Antonio Convit of the New York University School of Medicine.
"We thought that we were born with a brain and that brain degenerated as we aged until we died," he says. "Now we know that there are many triggers that make parts of the brain regenerate themselves."
One of those triggers may be linked to your fitness level.
"Cardiovascular exercise that's done over a longer period of time will tend to reduce the amount of tissue you lose as you age," says Stan Colcombe, a researcher at the University of Illinois-Urbana.
That includes brain tissue, and losing less of it may mean keeping more precious memories.
Colcombe was part of a team of researchers at the University of Illinois who looked at MRI scans of people 55 or older and discovered dramatic differences in their brains. The people who were physically fit had gray matter in better shape.
NYU's Convit found that losing weight can also improve memory function.
"[Losing weight] will improve how you regulate your glucose, and we have shown that improved glucose regulation is associated with better memory."
Dealing with blood sugar poorly not only affects one's ability to remember but also the size of one area of the brain.
Convit found that individuals with poor glucose regulation had a smaller hippocampus, the part of the brain dealing with memory.
Bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger may have benefited twice from "total recall," but it doesn't take hours in the gym to improve your memory.
Moderate cardiovascular exercise, such as a brisk 30-minute walk a few times a week, should do the trick, according to the University of Illinois-Urbana study.
Improve with no effort
Problems remembering names or appointments, while unpleasant, means trouble with only a small part of your memory, according to Dr. Barry Gordon of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
"A much larger and more important kind of memory is the one that does our thinking for us," said Gordon, author of the book "Intelligent Memory."
"Intelligent memory" works in different parts of the brain from the memory that recalls a spouse's birth date or a friend's name. And intelligent memory grows with age.
Intelligent memory helps people figure things out faster and sparks creativity. It does this by storing memories and skills learned over time.
The brain then uses this knowledge to help it learn automatically by itself. This makes it easier to understand situations and solve problems very quickly -- sometimes even subconsciously.
As you age, intelligent memory increases because it has added a lot of data to a person's memory storage, Gordon says. So, getting older may mean getting wiser.
"It won't guarantee it, but it's the only way to make it happen," says Gordon. "Socrates said there are no boy philosophers. You cannot become wiser without experience."
Unfortunately, intelligent memory doesn't help you remember where you put your keys, says Gordon, but "it will teach you to put your keys in the same place every time."
Exercise Recommendations for Chronic Fatigue Sufferers Spark Debate
A study by British researchers suggests that exercising beyond the point of fatigue is one way for people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) to build strength and feel better. But this recommendation for exercise has sparked a debate among experts who treat CFS patients.
"This study suggests that those with chronic fatigue syndrome remain disabled because they don't get off the couch," says Richard Bruno, MD, who has conducted other research involving CFS. "The more fundamental question is: What caused their muscles to become so weak that they were forced to stay on the couch in the first place? Our research in polio survivors and CFS patients suggests that there is a central cause of fatigue in all chronic fatigue syndromes: damage to the nerves that activate the brain and allow the brain to activate the muscles."
The researchers in this new study compared 66 people with CFS, a disorder characterized by general lethargy and the inability to perform basic physical activities without feeling tired, to those without CFS but who did not exercise regularly. They found that people with the disorder had weaker leg muscles and more difficulty exercising than did those without CFS. The study is published in the September issue of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry.
The researchers suggest, however, that the muscle weakness in these CFS patients is due more to changes in the brain than in the muscles themselves.
But Bruno doesn't agree with this logic. "That's like having [a shrunken] muscle in a leg that's been in a cast for several weeks and saying that the reason it's harder to walk is because your brain has changed, not the muscle," he tells WebMD. Bruno is director of the Post-Polio Institute in Englewood, N.J., a facility that treats patients with CFS.
The study authors suggest that something called "graded exercise therapy" would help reverse the weakness and difficulty exercising that CFS patients experience.
But Ellen Goudsmit, PhD, editor of a London CFS publication for physicians, is critical of these exercise recommendations. Although she agrees that patients should attempt to do some type of activity, she tells WebMD that the question is, "How much and when to stop? With graded activity, you don't stop when you're fatigued. What is better is to do what you can, then stop. I'm recommending that CFS patients implement a pace-and-switch regimen -- that is, do what you can with one muscle group, then do something that requires different muscles."
Those who develop CFS, she adds, are more often than not "activity-prone people who go and go and crash and recover, then start feeling better, then crash again. We try to get them to rest before they are fatigued."
In an editorial on the subject that is published in the same medical journal, Russell Lane, MD, of the Imperial College School of Medicine in London, writes that inactivity may be an important factor in CFS. However, the findings of this study raise the possibility that some patients with CFS have a form of metabolic problem with their muscles.
"Whatever the mechanisms underlying fatigue," he notes, "exercise therapy is likely to become ... increasingly important ... particularly in the management of chronic fatigue syndromes."
—E'Louise Ondash, Aug. 31, 200
Balancing Painful Swelling With a Desire to Exercise
FOR almost 20 years, the prevailing wisdom among most doctors has been that breast cancer survivors at risk of contracting lymphedema — a debilitating, irreversible swelling of one or both arms — should avoid most upper-body exercise or lifting anything heavier than five pounds. For many women, the stern warnings meant they could not shop for groceries or even carry their children. Running and walking were safe, but anything that taxed the arms was considered dangerous.
Women living with lymphedema received the same advice because of the concern that stressing their upper bodies would exacerbate their swelling, pain and stiffness.
But a study at the University of Minnesota that was released this week contradicts decades of restrictions. It found that slow, progressive weight training did not increase the onset of lymphedema in breast cancer survivors who had had lymph nodes removed, nor did it worsen the symptoms of longtime sufferers.
"While current clinical guidelines say that this type of exercise may be harmful, our research indicates that it is indeed safe," said Kathryn Schmitz, an author of the study and an assistant professor in epidemiology at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania. "More research is needed to know whether exercise prevents lymphedema, but there are physiologic reasons to believe that it might." The study, the largest and longest randomized one to date to examine how upper-body exercise affects breast cancer survivors at risk of contracting lymphedema, was published online Monday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
The exercise group only increased how much they hoisted with their arms in the smallest increments possible. After six months of twice-weekly workouts, the 23 weight lifters found no difference in arm circumference and reported fewer symptoms than the 22 women in the control group.
"Doctors aren't telling women not to lift anything because they want to hold women back," Dr. Schmitz said. "It is because lymphedema is one of the most poorly understood, hated and feared side effects of breast cancer treatment and they don't want to see women suffer. There is a need for caution, but we have thrown the baby out with the bath water."
For more than a decade, many breast cancer survivors who feared lymphedema limited themselves to five-pound weights. Others stopped lifting weights, choosing peace of mind over its potential benefits, such as preventing osteoporosis.
Of the roughly two million breast cancer survivors in the United States, 30 percent have lymphedema, estimated Dr. Joseph Feldman, the medical director of the Lymphedema Treatment Center at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare in Evanston, Ill.
Research has only begun to confirm why some women develop the condition. Though it hasn't been proven, most experts agree that women who are overweight or who have had radiation treatments are more at risk. They also suspect that infection or an arm injury might cause lymphedema, as might cabin pressure during air travel.
Cheryl Hogle, a teacher's aide from Minneapolis, felt discomfort in her right arm after a flight. The swelling got so bad that her fine motor skills were affected and eventually she struggled to open twist-cap bottles.
"People don't understand that it is chronic, painful," Ms. Hogle, 55, said. "And you can't hide a swollen arm." That didn't stop her from trying. She wore long-sleeve shirts when she jogged, unless it was too hot.
After participating in Dr. Schmitz's study, Ms. Hogle regained full use of her arm. And now that she has worked up to 60-pound lateral pull downs, she carries groceries that she would never have dared to lift before.
The study also validates what a handful of experts have practiced for years. Dr. Anne Rosenberg, a breast surgeon at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, said that she has found that patients who vigorously exercise their upper bodies do not necessarily have adverse effects. "You have to do it cautiously," she said. "But you can do it."
Some women living with lymphedema have managed to do repetitive upper-body exercise in a way that doesn't aggravate their symptoms. Two years after her right arm became painfully swollen, Tracy Novak, a conference manager at West Virginia University in Morgantown, began to swim again with the approval of her physical therapist. Monitoring her arm for swelling, Ms. Novak started by doing the breaststroke for 12 laps and is now swimming 40 laps. Having bolstered her upper body, she is again able to help care for her boyfriend's daughter, who has severe cerebral palsy.
In the last decade, Linda Miller, the director of the Breast Cancer Physical Therapy Center in Philadelphia, has found that patients who strengthen their arms controlled their lymphedema symptoms better than those who didn't lift weights. "For years, I was spitting in the wind," said Ms. Miller, a physical therapist. "This study is going to rock the lymphedema world."
Some experts remain unconvinced. Although the Minnesota study was well-designed, Dr. Feldman of the Lymphedema Treatment Center cautioned that it only tracked women for six months. (Dr. Schmitz recently began a yearlong weight lifting study with 288 breast cancer survivors, half of whom have lymphedema.)
Dr. Feldman said he would not start advising his patients to use weights heavier than five pounds until a study spanning several years was done. Exercisers should also always use a compression sleeve and have a lymphedema expert take their baseline measurements, Dr. Feldman said. "Better to err on the side of caution."
On the other hand, advocates of progressive weight training have begun to suggest that exercise may even protect breast cancer survivors against lymphedema, which is a buildup of lymphatic fluid under the skin. When lymph nodes are removed during surgery to gauge the spread of cancer, there are fewer nodes to drain the protein-rich fluid, and swelling can occur. But given that exercise enhances the flow of lymphatic fluid and improves protein reabsorption, Dr. Schmitz hypothesized in her study that it may help "prevent lymphedema."
Dr. Carolyn Kaelin, a surgeon and the founding director of the Comprehensive Breast Health Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, offered this theory. Slow, progressive upper-body weight training places a gentle stress on the channels that lymphatic fluid flows through, causing them to dilate slightly. She theorizes that the circumference of the channel may actually enlarge over time to accommodate extra fluid when there is an injury or stress.
Because acute injury often triggers lymphedema, experts remain adamant that it is possible to overdo exercise. A doctor mistakenly told Elizabeth Warren, a personal trainer in Chicago who had had nodes removed, that she was so fit that she need not worry about straining her body. But in 1995 she experienced a burning sensation as well as swelling in her left arm after catching a 135-pound weight that a client dropped.
The ordeal left Ms. Warren, 55, so devastated that she stopped lifting even the lightest weights. Her weakened upper body eventually became a problem. "Because I lost muscle tone," she said, "I kept hurting my arm." She now practices slow, progressive weight lifting, but she laments not being advised to do so earlier*. If she had, Ms. Warren said, she might have avoided lymphedema or at least better managed her symptoms.
—The New York Times, May 18, 2006
*Note this is the type of training employed at our training studio
Is there any other exercise program that can produce the same benefits training is such a short time?
Most exercises primarily improve one area of fitness such flexibility, strength, or aerobic capacity.
No other exercise program produces all these positive effects to the degree possible with high intensity training as little as once a week - NONE.
If you have to exercise you might as well get the most benefit in the least amount of time. See the results.
- The higher the intensity, the greater the potential results.
- High intensity work cannot be sustained for very long.
- The workout will take about 18 to 25 minutes. The workouts will require more time to fully recover, so workouts are less frequent, usually once a week. For some with superior recovery ability they may be able to workout twice a week. In either case you will be spending less than an hour in the gym a week. If exercise is performed with sufficient intensity any additional time spent strength training is a waste of money, time, and effort.
- We eliminate the injury producing jerking movements. There is no need with this equipment.
- The equipment we use is designed with natural body movements in mind, allowing you to work at high levels of intensity without injury.
- Regardless of one's age or present level of fitness there will be an appropriate level of intensity that one can manage and produce positive results
Research shows that it is not necessary to weight train as often as one does for aerobic activities. From a study where the subjects stopped training for 12 weeks: Enzyme adaptations of human skeletal muscle during bicycle short-sprint training and detraining.
"A long interruption in training has negligible effects on short-sprint ability and muscle anaerobic potential. (In our words, it is not necessary to strength train more than once a week in order to maintain the gains made from exercise and to improve your condition.)"