anti-aging

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The best exercise for aging muscles

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As we age muscles weaken, cell damage accumulates, and mitochondria, which produce energy, decline in number and energy output. A study sought to determine what type of exercise might best repair that mitochondria damage.

The study was composed of two groups, men and women under thirty and men and women over 64. Subjects were further divided into four sub-groups. Each group did one of the following exercise regimens for 12 weeks:

  • Vigorous weight lifting
  • Moderate bike riding plus light weight lifting
  • Interval training on a bike
  • Those who did nothing

As would be expected weight lifters experienced gains in muscle and strength, and the bike interval trainers increased endurance. Unexpectedly were the changes measured in the cells. From the NYT article reporting on the study, The Best Exercise for Aging Muscles - NYTimes.com, this quote:

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Increasing Capillarization and Reversing the Aging Process

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As we age there is a decrease in capillarization and an increase in anabolic resistance.

If you increase the amount of capillaries of muscles (capillarization) you’ll more quickly get more blood flows, oxygen, and nutrients to those muscles. You’ll be able to engage in physical activities longer.

As we age our body down-grades its ability to synthesize protein (anabolic resistance). This protein is necessary to maintain muscle.

How can you reverse anabolic resistance and increase capillarization?

From this study, Resistance Training Increases Skeletal Muscle Capillarization in Healthy Older Men:

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Got Sarcopenia? If you are over forty you have it

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The term sarcopenia has not been in common usage for very long (see graph), but the condition has been around forever.  Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle tissue that occurs as a natural part of the aging process. According to this article, Why You're Aging Ungracefully, there are two things we can do to help maintain our muscle as we age - lift weights and eat high-quality protein.

A quote from the article:

Sarcopenia begins naturally in the 4th and 5th decades of life, making your 40s and 50s an ideal time to increase dietary protein and weight training, but even those in their 60s and beyond can benefit."

Another quote:

"The stronger you are, the more muscle you have, the less likely you are to become sick or die."  

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Strength training study shows seniors improving far more than younger set

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Two groups of men and women strength trained for six months. One group was older and the other younger. At the start of the study the older group was 59% weaker than the younger group. After six months the older adults were only 38% weaker than younger adults. Both groups improved, but the older group improved much more. 

From this study Resistance Exercise Reverses Aging in Human Skeletal Muscle

“We conclude that healthy older adults show evidence of mitochondrial impairment and muscle weakness, but that this can be partially reversed at the phenotypic level, and substantially reversed at the transcriptome level, following six months of resistance exercise training”.

Mitochondria, found in most cells, is where respiration and energy production takes place. Six months of strength training partially reversed mitochondria impairments to a level consistent with a younger stage in life. It is like having a fountain of youth.

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How to stay limber and avoid aches and pains

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Injuries can happen suddenly such as a pulled muscle or can happen slowly over time such as a repetitive use injury.  Years later these injuries can come back to haunt us as the aches and pains we live with.  You can keep those aches at bay by remaining strong and limber.  The trick is to do exercises that do not aggravate those old injuries.

At Austin Personal Training and  New Orleans Personal Training  we use MedX medical rehab equipment that can be precisely customized with a premium on safety for those who have those haunting injuries. Exercise safely, release those endorphins, and the pains will go away.

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Reversing the Biomarkers of Aging

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Wearing glasses, hearing aids and dying one’s hair are effective methods of reversing the effects of aging, but the most effective thing we can do to reverse the aging process is to do regular strength training exercise. It is the most effective exercise in addressing the biomarkers that effect not only how young we look, but more importantly, how we young we feel. Our bodies undergo many changes that can be reversed by proper strength training:

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The benefit of exercise that cannot be measured

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When we are younger we exercise to look better and perhaps to perform better at a sport or activity, and of course, to be healthy. When we are older we still want to perform well and look good, but there's other benefits that move to the forefront. At we get older our old injuries begin to haunt us. As we get older we are not as resiliant, and we need an added measure of protection against injuries. At my age I just want to feel good and not get hurt or sick. I am at a point that I have to exercise to avoid the pains that old injuries bring.

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Strength training for seniors - yes

The results from this study Once-weekly resistance exercise improves muscle strength and neuromuscular performance in older adults:

" A program of once or twice weekly resistance exercise achieves muscle strength gains similar to 3 days per week training in older adults and is associated with improved neuromuscular performance. Such improvement
could potentially reduce the risk of falls and fracture in older adults".

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52 weeks and a new lease on life

Every new year we have great expectations of improvement in our well-being, but few achieve those improvements. One man did:

At 72 years old Marcus was slowing down; he could no longer play golf every day. He could play nine holes but lacked the stamina to pay eighteen holes. He began strength training at
New Orleans Personal Trainers (our other location – Austin Fitness Trainers). He strength trained for about 30 minutes once a week for a year.

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Don't hang up those cleats just yet

At 78 years of age Jack had few golfers his age to golf with. His friend Marcus was 73 and about ready to hang up his cleats for good. Marcus could play nine holes and that was about it; the next day he’d be too rundown to play again. Jack insisted that Marcus start doing the strength training program Jack had been doing for years. Jack said, "Anybody can stick to one half hour a week. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain."

A year later Marcus was playing 18 holes of golf, and the next day, he would play 18 holes again. He was hitting the ball farther and enjoying golf again. Marcus had added quality years to his life, and it took just minutes a week.

Every time Marcus exercised he would do a little more. Each week he gave himself ample time to recover, and because of that each week he would improve.  52 weeks of continuing improvement add up.

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