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.