E-Vitamins

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Getting Enough BCAAs In Your Diet Is Crucial To Maintaining Healthy Muscle As You Age

The natural process of losing muscle as you age is called sarcopenia and it can begin in your 30s, and this process accelerates with time if you don't do anything to slow its progress.  The good news is there are two things within your power you can do to slow and even reverse muscle loss with age, They are resistance training two to three times each week, and getting an adequate amount of Branched Chained Amino Acids (BCAAs ) in your diet each day.  These two activities combined have been shown to slow the effects of sarcopenia in people well into their 90s.

BCAAs  are the three essential amino acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine that come from the protein that you eat, such as chicken, fish, and dairy products, or a protein supplement..  They are called essential because your body cannot make them out other amino acids, and therefore they must come from the food you eat, or a protein supplement.

BCAAs are most well  known for triggering protein synthesis,(the building, and repair of muscle cells).  Combining BCAAs with weight lifting results in maximal protein synthesis because both these activities trigger something called the mTORC1 signaling pathway that is essential for muscle building.  The proper amount of BCAAs can increase protein synthesis by as much as 145 percent when you consume it right after a session of resistance training.

As you get older, getting the proper amount of BCAAs is paramount for building, and maintaining muscle.  Creating a muscle building environment in the body is important, but becomes harder to do as you age.  Activation of protein synthesis is impaired, and starts to decline after the age of 35.  This decreased muscle building effect along with the tendency to eat less dietary protein with aging are the primary contributors to muscle loss and sarcopenia.

You need at least 21 grams of good quality protein in a meal in order for your body to have an adequate amount of BCAAs for the amino acid Leucine to turn on the signal for protein synthesis to take place.  This signaling process to begin muscle building, and repair can also take place if you have a BCAA supplement that is 40 percent Leucine.

The goal of protein consumption as you age should be to maximize, and maintain muscle mass.  Studies have shown that consuming 25 to 30 grams of protein at each meal is optimal for building and maintaining muscle mass, and strength.



Friday, September 16, 2016

Physical Activity and Cancer - National Cancer Institute

Below is a link to an article showing the benefits of exercise in reducing the risk of developing certain types of cancer.  Although exercise is not a cure for cancer it's certainly something you can do to reduce your risk for this deadly disease while improving your quality of life.  You've probably lost someone special to cancer, as have I, so please share this information with your loved ones.

Physical Activity and Cancer - National Cancer Institute

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fitness Over 50, Three Exercises to Build a Strong Foundation

Just as a house is only as strong as the foundation it sits on, strong legs are the foundation for a fit and strong body.  Below are three of my favorite exercises for developing a strong lower body.



Exercise # 1 - Leg Press










The leg press is one of the best exercises for overall strength and development of your legs.  First, sit in the seat, positioning your feet about shoulder width apart and chest high on the platform.   Adjust the seat height by pulling the handle and sliding forward until your thighs are parallel to the platform.  This is your start position (make sure that your lower back is pressed firmly against the back of the seat).  With your feet flat, slowly press upward until your legs are fully extended but short of locking.  Slowly return to the position where the weight almost touch the weight stack.  The breathing pattern for this exercise is to exhale as you press up and inhale as you return to the start.  I suggest you perform 10 to 15 repetitions with a resistance which the last 3 repetitions are difficult to complete.


Exercise # 2 - Step Ups

Step ups are great for developing and shaping your butt.  With this exercise you will do 10 repetitions on one leg followed by 10 repetitions with the other.  Hold a dumbbell in each hand and position yourself in front of a bench.  Place one foot flat on top of the bench, positioning your body to make a right angle at your knee.  With your chest held high and shoulders square step up through your heel and lightly tap the bench with your other foot before returning to the starting position.  Breathing pattern for this exercise is to exhale as you step up and inhale as you step back down.  Again, use a resistance with which the last three repetitions are difficult to complete.



Exercise # 3 - Hip Lifts


Hip lifts strengthen and develop the back of your legs and calves.  Lay flat on your back, extend your legs and place a therapeutic ball under your heels.  This is your starting position.  Lift your hips off the floor, and pull the ball toward your butt.  Now, press through you heels and lift your hips as far as possible.  Then, slowly return to the starting position.  Breathing pattern for this exercise is to exhale while rolling the ball towards you and to inhale while returning to the starting position.  I suggest you perform 10 to 15 repetitions of this exercise.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Fitness Over 50, You Can Be Stronger Next Year

Lately I've noticed a lot of fitness videos and programs aimed at those of us over the age of 50.  It seems that these programs have good intentions, however the exercises and fitness routines they recommend are more geared toward people in rest homes.  Just because you are over 50 doesn't mean your exercise routine should only be composed of resistance bands and light weight dumbbells.

If you are in poor physical condition, using resistance bands, and light weights is a place to start in your journey to improve your health and fitness level, but it isn't a place for you to stay for very long.  The ripe young age of 50 is where you really need to concentrate on building and maintaining your muscle mass and the best way to do this is with strength training better known as weight lifting.

Building muscle is important because you naturally start to lose your muscle mass at a rate of about 1 lb per year beginning in your 40s and this process accelerates with time if you don't do anything about it.  The good news is that you can slow and  even reverse age related muscle loss by lifting weights on a regular basis. 

Muscle is that component of your body that makes your bones and joints strong, keeps your metabolism high (which makes losing weight easier), and helps you remain youthful and strong.   Studies have shown that people in their 80s and 90s can build muscle and get stronger by lifting weights on a regular basis.

I believe firmly in the benefits of regular strength training.  I'm in my fifties and I've been strength training three to four times each week for over 30 years and believe it or not, I'm stronger and more fit than I was in my 20s.  And you can be too.  If you are over 50, starting a regular strength training program is one of the most important things you can do for your fitness.  If you start now, I guarantee you will be stronger and more fit next year.  Wouldn't that be awesome?




Friday, August 26, 2016

The Benefits Of Protein As You Age

 Image result for protein rich foodsProtein is one of the most important resources for the body, and is considered a "macronutrient," a nutrient which is necessary in large amounts to maintain a healthy body. Protein is found in every cell of the human body, and almost entirely composes some parts of it such as hair or fingernails. But how does it help you in old age? Protein is also hugely important for muscle growth, recovery, and maintenance, and as you get older, that will become more important. As you age, your muscles start to naturally atrophy, and unless action is taken early and regularly to maintain them, you'll find yourself unable to be fit or get fit in your old age. With a high protein diet, you help your body to build up strong, lean muscle early on.

Protein has also been linked to a range of other health benefits, in particular weight loss. High-protein diets sate you better, curbing hunger earlier without additional caloric intake. That means you'll have the urge to eat less, and you won't pack on pounds as a result. Note, however, that this doesn't mean you should eat a lot of meat. Many cuts of meat end up being more fattening than just about anything else, and so the best way to get high levels of protein are through fish, poultry, beans, and supplements, all never fried.

In old age, some of the most commonly-encountered problems people have include keeping weight gain away, keeping their muscles strong and built, and keeping hair on their head. Protein helps to solve all of these problems either directly or indirectly, and as such is an excellent health tool and supplement. Use it wisely, however, as protein from the wrong sources and in too high of a quantity can end up doing more harm than good. Just keep up a balance, and your health will begin to shine even as you age.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Eating Low Glycemic Carbohydrates Is Important For Losing Weight

Maintaining a steady blood sugar level is very important component of your dieting effort. While your body breaks down all digestible carbohydrates into blood sugar, some are converted into blood sugar faster than others. Thus, some carbohydrates cause a spike in your blood sugar level which causes you to feel hungry faster and to crave more sugary foods. While other carbohydrates are converted into blood sugar more slowly leveling out you blood sugar resulting in less hunger and less food cravings.

For this reason, the Glycemic Index (GI) was developed to classify how quickly your body converts carbohydrates into blood sugar as compared to pure glucose. Glucose has a GI of 100 and all other carbohydrate based foods are ranked against it. Foods with a score of 70 or more are defined as having a high GI while those with a score of 55 or less are considered as low.

Eating lots of food with a high GI causes spikes in your blood sugar level which can lead to many health issues such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. While eating low GI foods causes your blood sugar level to stay even thus, keeping your energy level balanced and causing you to fill fuller longer between meals. The following are some additional benefits of eating low GI carbohydrates.

· Helps you to lose and manage weight your weight.
· Increases your body's sensitivity to insulin.
· Decreases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
· Reduces your risk of heart disease.
· Improves your blood cholesterol levels
· Reduces hunger and keep you fuller for longer.
· Helps you prolong physical activity.
· Helps you to re-fuel your carbohydrate stores after exercise.

The GI is very interesting because some foods that you intuitively think would have a high rating do not. For instance, fructose which is fruit sugar has a minimal effect on blood sugar while white bread and French-fried potatoes are nearly converted to blood sugar as fast as pure glucose. In other words, you can’t classify foods as having a high or low GI according to the sweetness of taste. Many factors affect a foods GI such as:

· Processing: Grains that have been milled and refined have a higher GI

· Type of starch: Starches come in many different configurations. Some are easier to break into sugar  molecules than others. For example, starch in potatoes is digested and absorbed into the bloodstream relatively quickly.

· Fiber content: The sugars in fiber are linked in a way that is hard for your body to break down. Thus, the more fiber a food has, the less digestible carbohydrate, and consequently the less sugar it can deliver into your blood stream.

· Fat and acid content: The more fat or acid a food contains, the slower its carbohydrates are converted to sugar and absorbed into your bloodstream.

· Physical form: Finely ground grain is more rapidly digested, and so has a higher GI than more coarsely ground grain.

The basic technique for eating the low GI way is simply a "this for that" approach - i.e., swapping high GI carbohydrates for low GI carbohydrates. You don't need to count numbers or do any sort of mental arithmetic to make sure you are eating a healthy, low GI diet. Follow these easy to implement suggestions.

· Use breakfast cereals based on oats, barley and bran
· Use breads with whole-grains, stone-ground flour, sour dough
· Reduce the amount of potatoes you eat
· Enjoy all other types of fruit and vegetables
· Use brown rice
· Enjoy whole-wheat pasta and noodles
· Eat plenty of salad vegetables with a vinaigrette dressing

Friday, August 12, 2016

Health and Strength Over 50, Cardiovascular Exercise



Cardiovascular exercise known as cardio by most in the fitness profession is associated with numerous health benefits; therefore, it is an invaluable part of any fitness program. Cardio exercise is any activity that increases the work of the heart and lungs. Activities such as brisk walking, running, training on the elliptical machine, biking, and working on the Stairmaster, are some of the more well-known forms of cardio. 

During cardio exercise you repeatedly move large muscles in the upper and lower parts of your body. Your body responds by breathing faster and more deeply providing increased blood flow to these muscles and back to your lungs. Your small blood vessels widen to deliver more oxygen to your muscles and carry away waste products, such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid. Your body also releases endorphins which are natural pain killers that promote an increased sense of well-being.

Regardless of your age, cardio exercise is good for you. As your body adapts to a cardio routine your heart and lungs will become stronger and more efficient in performing their activities. The following are additional benefits of cardiovascular exercise:[1]
·        Helps to lose and maintain a healthy weight. Combined with strength training and a healthy diet cardio helps you to lose weight and to keep it off.

·        Increase your stamina. Cardio may make you tired in the short term, but over the long term, you will enjoy increased stamina and reduced fatigue.

·        Ward off viral illnesses. Cardio activates your immune system, thus making you less susceptible to minor viral illnesses such as colds and flu.

·        Reduce health risks. Cardio, combined with strength training, reduces the risk of many conditions including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer.

·        Manage chronic conditions. Cardio, combined with strength training, helps to lower blood pressure and to control blood sugar.

·        Strengthen your heart. A stronger heart doesn’t need to beat as fast and pumps blood more efficiently. Consequently, blood flow is improved to all parts of your body.

·        Keeps your arteries clear. Cardio boosts your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol and lowers your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol, which results  in less plaque build-up in your arteries.

·        Boost your mood. Cardio can ease the gloominess of depression, reduce the tension associated with anxiety and promote relaxation.

·        Stay active and independent as you get older. Cardio, in conjunction with strength training, keeps your muscles strong, helping you maintain mobility as you get older. Cardio also keeps your mind sharp. At least 30 minutes of cardio three days a week seems to reduce cognitive decline in older adults.


[1] MayoClinic.org