10 Reasons Why You Want To Do Cardio Exercise

What is Aerobic Exercise v. Cardio Exercise?

Aerobic exercise is the same as what we all know as cardio exercise. Cardio exercise is any exercise when blood starts pumping rapidly and sends oxygenated blood that has come from the heart to the muscles. Breathing starts to accelerate and the heart starts beating more rapidly.

Good examples of aerobic exercises are running, swimming, walking, dancing, boxing. If a person performs these at too high of a level, it will then become anaerobe exercise.

Anaerobic exercise is a quick exercise that puts out a lot of energy but then you are quickly winded and have to stop. Sprinting or heavy weight lifting are good examples of anaerobic exercise.

All exercise is great for your health. It can improve your emotional health as well as your physical health. Diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, heart issues and even osteoporosis can be reduced and even prevented by exercise.

So what is the big deal? Why is getting aerobic exercise so important and what affects does it have on the body?
Keeps you slim. Oxygen is necessary for your body to lose weight. Increasing oxygen in the bodies muscles will help keep weight off and fight off any extra calories you took in for that day.

  • Increases your stamina and reduces fatigue
  • Raises your immune system leading to better health and fights off the flu and other contagious diseases.
  • Decreases your risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancers.
  • Keeps your blood sugar levels controlled.  Leading to less cravings for sugar
  • Makes your heart stronger and pumps blood more efficiently. This improves how blood flows through your whole body keeping you healthy.
  • Keeps your cholesterol low
  • Improves you mood. Anxiety, depression have all been proven to reduce with regular exercise.
  • Helps keep you mobile as you age. Aerobic exercise allow your muscles to stay strong and the more you move, the easier it is to move when you get older.
  • Live longer! Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly live longer than those who don’t.

These all sound like great reasons to me! Try and get at least 3 days a week in for exercise, your body will love it.   Here are some places in Redwood City that offer aerobic classes:

  •  24 hour Fitness: 1050 Broadway
  • Powerhouse Gym: 2075 Broadway
  • Heartcore: 930 Main Street

Good luck!

Exercise Really Does Pay Off!

A new study suggests that becoming physically active in middle age, even if someone has been sedentary for years, substantially reduces the likelihood that he or she will become seriously ill or physically disabled in retirement.

This study joins a growing body of research examining successful aging, a topic of considerable scientific interest, as the populations of the United States and Europe grow older, and so do many scientists. When the term is used in research, successful aging means more than simply remaining alive, although that, obviously, is the baseline requirement. Successful aging involves minimal debility past the age of 65 or so, with little or no serious chronic disease diagnoses, depression, cognitive decline or physical infirmities that would prevent someone from living independently. Basically, no dis-ease in the body.

Previous epidemiological studies have found that several, unsurprising factors contribute to successful aging. Not smoking is one, as is moderate alcohol consumption, and so, unfairly or not, is having money. People with greater economic resources tend to develop fewer health problems later in life than people who are not well-off.

But being physically active during adulthood is particularly important. In study that looked at more than 12,000 Australian men aged between 65 and 83, those who engaged in about 30 minutes of exercise five or so times per week were much healthier and less likely to be dead 11 years after the start of the study than those who were sedentary, even when the researchers adjusted for smoking habits, education, body mass index and other variables.

Whether exercise habits need to have been established and maintained throughout adulthood, however, in order to affect aging has been less clear. If someone has slacked off on his or her exercise resolutions during young adulthood and early middle-age, in other words, is it too late to start exercising and still have a meaningful impact on health and longevity in later life?

To address that issue, researchers with the Physical Activity Research Group at University College London and other institutions turned recently to the large trove of data contained in the ongoing English Longitudinal Study of Aging, which has tracked the health habits of tens of thousands of British citizens for decades, checking in with participants multiple times and asking them how they currently eat, exercise, feel and generally live.

For the study, scientists isolated responses from 3,454 healthy, disease-free British men and women aged between 55 and 73 who, upon joining the original study of aging, had provided clear details about their exercise habits, as well as their health, and who then had repeated that information after an additional eight years.

The researchers stratified the chosen respondents into those who were physically active or not at the study’s start, using the extremely generous definition of one hour per week of moderate or vigorous activity to qualify someone as active. Formal exercise was not required. An hour per week of “gardening, cleaning the car, walking at a moderate pace, or dancing” counted, said Mark Hamer, a researcher at University College London who led the study.

The scientists then re-sorted the respondents after the eight-year follow-up, marking them as having remained active, become active, remained inactive or become inactive as they moved into and through middle-age. They also quantified each respondent’s health throughout those years, based on diagnosed diabetes, heart disease, dementia or other serious conditions. And the scientists directly contacted their respondents, asking each to complete objective tests of memory and thinking, and a few to wear an activity monitor for a week, to determine whether self-reported levels of physical activity matched actual levels of physical activity. (They did.)

In the eight years between the study’s start and end, the data showed, those respondents who had been and remained physically active aged most successfully, with the lowest incidence of major chronic diseases, memory loss and physical disability. But those people who became active in middle-age after having been sedentary in prior years, about 9 percent of the total, aged almost as successfully. These late-in-life exercisers had about a seven-fold reduction in their risk of becoming ill or infirm after eight years compared with those who became or remained sedentary, even when the researchers took into account smoking, wealth and other factors.

Those results reaffirm both other science and common sense. A 2009 study of more than 2,000 middle-aged men, for instance, found that those who started to exercise after the age of 50 were far less likely to die during the next 35 years than those who were and remained sedentary. “The reduction in mortality associated with increased physical activity was similar to that associated with smoking cessation,” the researchers concluded.

But in this study, the volunteers did not merely live longer; they lived better than those who were not active, making the message inarguable for those of us in mid-life. “Build activity into your daily life,” Dr. Hamer said. Or, in concrete terms, if you don’t already, dance, wash your car and, if your talents allow (mine don’t), combine the two.

Reference: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/29/exercise-to-age-well-regardless-of-age/?ref=health

Is Laughing Exercise?

Is laughter a kind of exercise? That offbeat question is at the heart of a new study of laughing and pain that emphasizes how unexpectedly entwined our bodies and emotions can be.

For the study, which was published this year in Proceedings of the Royal Society B,  researchers at Oxford University recruited a large group of undergraduate men and women.

They then set out to make their volunteers laugh.

Most of us probably think of laughter, if we think of it at all, as a response to something funny — as, in effect, an emotion.

But laughter is fundamentally a physical action. “Laughter involves the repeated, forceful exhalation of breath from the lungs,” says Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford, who led the study. “The muscles of the diaphragm have to work very hard.” We’ve all heard the phrase “laugh until it hurts,” he points out. That pain isn’t metaphoric; prolonged laughing can be painful and exhausting.

Rather like a difficult workout.

But does laughter elicit a physiological response similar to that of exercise and, if so, what might that reveal about the nature of exertion?

To find out, Dr. Dunbar and his colleagues had their volunteers watch, both alone and as part of a group, a series of short videos that were either comic or dryly factual documentaries.

But first, the volunteers submitted to a test of their pain threshold, as determined by how long they could tolerate a tightening blood pressure cuff or a frozen cooling sleeve.

The decision to introduce pain into this otherwise fun-loving study stems from one of the more well-established effects of strenuous exercise: that it causes the body to release endorphins, or natural opiates. Endorphins are known “to play a crucial role in the management of pain,” the study authors write, and, like other opiates, to induce a feeling of euphoric calm and well-being (they are believed to play a role in “runner’s high”).

It’s difficult to study endorphin production directly, however, since much of the action takes place within the working brain and requires a lumbar puncture to monitor, Dr. Dunbar says. That is not a procedure volunteers willingly undergo, particularly in a study about laughing. Instead, he and his colleagues turned to pain thresholds, an indirect but generally accepted marker of endorphin production. If someone’s pain threshold rises, he or she is presumed to be awash in the natural analgesics.

And in Dr. Dunbar’s experiments, pain thresholds did go up after people watched the funny videos, but not after they viewed the factual documentaries.

The only difference between the two experiences was that in one, people laughed, a physical reaction that the scientists quantified with audio monitors. They could hear their volunteers belly-laughing. Their abdominal muscles were contracting. Their endorphin levels were increasing in response, and both their pain thresholds and their general sense of amiable enjoyment were on the rise.

In other words, it was the physical act of laughing, the contracting of muscles and resulting biochemical reactions, that prompted, at least in part, the pleasure of watching the comedy. Or, as Dr. Dunbar and his colleagues write, “the sense of heightened affect in this context probably derives from the way laughter triggers endorphin uptake.”

The physical act of laughing contributed to the emotional response of finding something to be funny.

Why the interplay of endorphins and laughing should be of interest to those of us who exercise may not be immediately obvious. But as Dr. Dunbar points out, what happens during one type of physical exertion probably happens in others. Laughter is an intensely infectious activity. In this study, people laughed more readily and lustily when they watched the comic videos as a group than when they watched them individually, and their pain thresholds, concomitantly, rose higher after group viewing.

Something similar may happen when people exercise together, Dr. Dunbar says. In an experiment from 2009, he and his colleagues studied a group of elite Oxford rowers, asking them to work out either on isolated rowing machines, separated from one another in a gym, or on a machine that simulated full, synchronized crew rowing. In that case, the rowers were exerting themselves in synchrony, as a united group.

After they exercised together, the rowers’ pain thresholds — and presumably their endorphin levels — were significantly higher than they had been at the start, but also higher than when they rowed alone.

“We don’t know why synchrony has this effect, but it seems very strong,” Dr. Dunbar says.

So if you typically run or bike alone, perhaps consider finding a partner. Your endorphin response might rise and, at least theoretically, render that unpleasant final hill a bit less daunting. Or if you prefer exercising alone, perhaps occasionally entertain yourself with a good joke.

But don’t expect forced laughter to lend you an edge, Dr. Dunbar says. “Polite titters do not involve the repeated, uninhibited series of exhalations” that are needed to “drive the endorphin effect,” he says. With laughter, as with exercise, it seems, there really is no gain without some element of pain.

References: Article by Gretchen Reynolds of the New York Times on the science of fitness.


Sitting For Long Hours Per Day Takes Years Off Your Life

Can someone exercise and still be a couch potato? That peculiarly modern question motivated a new study from Finland in which a group of healthy, physically active volunteers donned special shorts that measure muscular activity in the legs. The volunteers then went about their daily lives.

All were diligent exercisers. Some ran. Others lifted weights or played soccer. A few Nordic-walked. On one day during the study, they worked out as usual. On another, they did not exercise.

Throughout, the shorts measured how much they actually moved.

A growing body of science suggests that prolonged inactivity, a practice known more familiarly as sitting a lot, is both widespread and unhealthy. In a representative study published last month in The Archives of Internal Medicine, Australian researchers compared medical records and lifestyle questionnaires for more than 220,0000 Australian adults 45 and older.

They found that the more hours the men and women sat every day, the greater their chance of dying prematurely. Those people who sat more than eight hours a day — which other studies have found is about the amount that a typical American sits — had a 15 percent greater risk of dying during the study’s three-year follow-up period than people who sat for fewer than four hours a day.

That increased risk held true in the Australian study even if the people sitting eight hours a day spent at least part of that day exercising.

But that study and many others examining sitting and health have relied on self-reported measures of physical activity, like questionnaires. A few have used accelerometers to determine how many steps people were taking during the day.

No one, though, had directly studied people’s muscular activity during sitting and exercising, outside the artificial environment of an exercise physiology lab, until the Finnish researchers came up with the idea of embedding flexible electrodes into shorts fabric.

Measurement of muscle activity matters. In earlier studies with animals whose legs were immobilized with casts or traction devices, physiologists noticed swift, dramatic and deleterious changes in the levels of certain enzymes in cells throughout the animals’ bodies that affect fat metabolism and blood sugar regulation. The researchers concluded that the lack of muscular contractions in the animals’ legs had caused a chain of biological reactions that led to the alterations in enzyme production.

In the current Finnish study, after volunteers donned the shorts, the electrodes began constantly tracking contractile activity in the quadriceps and hamstring muscles, two of the largest sets of muscles in the body. The volunteers also completed detailed logs about their activities during the days of the study.

The researchers had hypothesized that they would see considerably less muscular inactivity over all on the days the volunteers exercised, says Taija Juutinen Finni, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland, who led the study.

But the results did not turn out that way. There was, in fact, virtually no difference in how much time people spent being couch potatoes on the days when they exercised compared with days when they did not. On nonexercise days, about 72 percent of volunteers’ waking time, or about nine hours, was spent sitting.

When they formally exercised, volunteers used about 13 percent more energy over all than on days they didn’t exercise. But they still sat 68 percent of the time.

Surprisingly, how much people exercised or what kind of exercise they chose did not change sitting time. Whether volunteers worked out for less than an hour or for more than 90 minutes, they spent an equivalent amount of time the rest of the day being mostly torpid physically.

It seems that after exercising, the study authors concluded, people “substitute either lighter and/or sedentary activities.”

David W. Dunstan, a professor at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Australia, who has studied inactivity and wrote an editorial to accompany the new Australian paper, says he found the study fascinating. By measuring muscular inactivity using electromyography, he says, “the measurement is getting closer to the heart of the sitting problem, that being a problem of muscular disuse.”

Dr. Finni agrees. Although she and her colleagues did not look directly at the downstream biochemical effects of the inactivity, she says, their results suggest that normal exercise, which fills so few hours of even active people’s days, “may not be enough in terms of health.”

Of course, exercise remains valuable, she and Dr. Dunstan are both quick to add. It reduces risks for cardiovascular disease and other conditions and burns calories.

But exercise paired with otherwise unalloyed sitting should be avoided, Dr. Dunstan says. “It is important the general public become more conscious about what they do in their nonexercise time,” he says. Almost everybody, he says, “should look for opportunities to reduce their daily sitting time and move more, more often, throughout the day.”


Hip Fractures May Triple Death Rates

Women in their mid-to-late 60s who break a hip are five times more likely to die within a year compared to women of the same age who didn’t break a hip.

This death rate, according to a study published in the latest Archives of Internal Medicine, is surprisingly higher than those seen among women in their 70s and 80s who broke a hip.

“You’d think a 65-to-69 year-old would be more able to bounce back from a hip fracture,” says Erin LeBlanc, a study author and investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, which led the study. But women in their 60s have a lower risk of dying from other causes than older women, so a hip fracture is more likely to translate into a higher mortality risk.

It has long been known that hip fractures are associated with an increased mortality rate in older women, but LeBlanc says it hasn’t been clear whether it’s from the hip fracture itself or an underlying health condition. So she and a team of researchers designed a study involving about 5,500 women to look more closely at the impact of hip fractures among women in certain age groups. The study used participants in a larger, federally-funded Study of Osteoporotic Fractures, which began in 1986 and enrolled 9,700 women age 65 and older to see how changes in bone density affects the risk of fractures as women age.

During a 20-year period there were 1,116 hip fractures. Researchers categorized the women with fractures by age and then matched them with 4,464 women of the same age who didn’t break a hip to serve as controls. The study also controlled for other underlying health conditions.

The study found that a hip fracture in women ages 70-79 doubled the risk of dying within a year. For women age 80 and older death rates were similar among those who broke a hip compared to those who didn’t. But for women 80 and older who were considered to be in good health, a hip fracture nearly triples the risk of dying within a year compared other healthy women in the same age group.

LeBlanc says the findings suggest the hip fracture increases the risk of dying. She says women can take steps to reduce the risk of hip fractures by getting screened for osteoporosis, making sure they get enough vitamin D and calcium.

LeBlanc said preventing falls is also important. Removing tripping hazards like small area rugs and improving lighting in the home can help, along with strength and balancing exercises.

Balance and nutrition is key when getting older and preventing hip fractures.  As we get older our balance diminishes and we are more prone to fall.  If we do fall, we need strong bones to prevent a break.  Eat green foods, drink a lot of water and take whole food supplements for your body.   This will help your chances of not fracturing bones when you get older.

References: Article published in Wall Street Journal By Jennifer Corbett Dooren

Always Stretch Before And After Workouts!

Most people who go to the gym love to lift weights but don’t stretch out before or after their workout.  It is recommended to warm up before lifting weights and even better to also stretch after lifting weights.

Stretching before a workout helps to get your muscles ready for the load you are about to put on it and helps prevent injuries which commonly occur when a muscle is tight and a load is added.  This added load puts additional pressure on the muscle and it gives way and rips muscle tissue (ouch!).

To prevent injuries, always stretch!  We tighten up more and more as we get older so stretching and improving our flexibility and balance are key to living a pain free and healthy life.

Belmont Is Putting New Turf At Sports Complex

The city of Belmont is attempting to find a design firm to help them build a synthetic turf athletic field at the Sports Complex.  This project will cost around 2.5 million dollars.

This new field will include three soccer fields and will refurbish the softball and baseball fields as well as install energy efficient lights.

It should take around three months to select the proper company and the design is estimated to take about one year.

Belmont started to consider synthetic turf at the complex in 2009.  began considering synthetic turf at the complex, located on the east side of Highway 101, in 2009.   It has been debated since then.  It has been estimated that the city uses approximately 4.5 million gallons a year which means more than 12,000 gallons a day, to water the field.  Synthetic turf is estimated to be less expensive to maintain and allow for increased usage.  It will be easier to maintain and require less labor than real grass.

A synthetic turf field can mean an increase of up to 61 percent in playable hours.

If interested in knowing more, the Belmont City Council meets 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22 at City Hall, One Twin Pines Lane, Belmont.

16 Reasons for Constipation: Why And What To Do

Constipation is very common these days with our busy schedules.  People don’t make the time to eat the foods that are necessary for optimal food breakdown and elimination.   In some cases it can be caused by a disorder of bowel dysfunction and/or a structural problem. Here are some reasons for constipation:

•    Obstructed nerve and muscle function in the bowel.
•    Not drinking enough water.
•    Not enough fiber in the diet.
•    Changes in diet regular diet (traveling).
•    Sedentary lifestyle (decrease physical activity)
•    Eating large amounts of dairy products.
•    Increased Stress.
•    Resisting the urge to have a bowel movement.  This can result in hemorrhoids
•    Overuse of stool softeners which decrease bowel muscle strength.
•    Hypothyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome
•    Too much calcium or aluminum
•    Strong pain medicines, narcotics, anti-depressants or iron pills).
•    Depression.
•    Eating disorders (disrupt bowel function)
•    Pregnancy.
•    An obstruction in the colon (cancer)

What Are the Symptoms of Constipation?

•    Infrequent bowel movements and/or difficulty having bowel movements.
•    Swollen abdomen or abdominal pain.
•    Pain.
•    Vomiting.

If you have constipation for more than two weeks, you should see a doctor so he or she can determine the source of your problem and treat it.  It can become dangerous if you are unable to release your bowel.

How Can I Prevent Constipation?

1. Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fiber. Good sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole-grain bread and cereal (especially bran). Fiber and water help the colon pass stool.

2. Drink 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of water and other fluids a day.  Drinks which have caffeine should be avoided because they dehydrate you.  as dairy products may be constipating for them.

3. Get into an exercise program.

4. Do not hold in your bowels.  Go to the bathroom when you need to.

What Should I Do If I Am Constipated?

•    Drink two to four extra glasses of water a day (unless fluid restricted).
•    Try warm liquids, especially in the morning.
•    Add fruits and vegetables to your diet.
•    Eat prunes and/or bran cereal.
•    If needed, use a very mild stool softener or laxative (such as Peri-Colace or Milk of Magnesia). Do not use laxatives for more than two weeks without calling your doctor, as laxative overuse can aggravate your symptoms.

Sometimes I have patients with this problem and in most cases, they have lumbar or pelvis misalignments.  After consulting them about their diet, a gentle adjustment to their hips and lumbar spine allows the constipation subsides.  It can really be that easy!  Adding the proper foods and making sure the body is aligned properly may make the difference.  Call our Redwood City Wellness Center for more information.


How Much Water Do I Drink?

I am often asked how much water is enough? Well, that depends on each individual and what their lifestyle is. If you are an athlete, then more water is needed to re-hydrate yourself. If you do not work out, then the amount is lower.

Did you know that water accounts for over 60% of your body weight? Every organ and system in our body relies on water to survive. Lack of water leads to dehydration which can give you headaches and less energy.

Every person loses water when we breathe, perspire, urinate or defecate. We should replenish water frequently so our body can function and move properly.

So, how much water do we need? Most medical journals say 8-9 cups of water per day. This is a very vague rule and does not work for everyone. Lets review some other ideas for water consumption.

  1. Replenish: an average person normally urinates 6.3 cups a day. We also lose about 4 cups per day while breathing, sweating and defecation. Food accounts for about 20% of liquid per day so if you drink a little more than 8 cups a day along with a healthy diet, you can replenish any fluids lost.
  2. The 8×8 Rule: drink 8 ounces of water per day.
  3. Check your urine color: It should be clear or slightly yellow. If it is dark yellow, then this means you need to consume more water.

What factors lead to drinking more water per day?

  • If you exercise add 1.5 to 2.5 cups of water per day. You will notice that you body will crave the additional water anyway after a workout. If you are a marathon runner or exercise excessively, it is recommended to add salt to the water because of the salt lost with sweat.Weather: Hot or humid weather can promote sweat and lose valuable fluid. Heat provided in the winter will dry out the skin and high altitudes (higher than 8,200 feet) can trigger rapid breathing and increased urination. More water should be added to you diet.
  • If you are sick with the flu or have intestinal issues you may vomit, have diarrhea which will rapidly deplete water in the body. You may want to add electrolytes to the water to make sure you have energy after being sick.
  • Breast feeding and Pregnancy: It is recommended to drink about 13 cups of water if you are breast feeding. Babies take a lot of fluid out of your system. If you are pregnant, it is recommended to drink 10 glasses of water per day.

Drink water…it is great for your body and mind!

Weight Lifting Technique, Lets Do It The Right Way!

When I am at the gym, I see numerous people working out incorrectly and have no idea that it is going to cause a problem eventually.   Improper posture, lifting too much weight and rushing through the workout can cause long term issues.

Here are some ways of lifting weights at the gym the right way:

1. Lift the proper amount of weight. If you can comfortably lift a weight 12 to 15 times, it is the proper weight for you. As you get stronger, increase the weight while still maintaining the 12 to 15 drill.

2. Use the proper technique. If you have a problem maintaining your posture then try lighter weights and less repetitions. It really makes a difference. Your knees should be slightly bent, shoulders pulled back and back should be relatively straight

3. Breathe out as you lift the weight and in as you lower the weight. For more of a workout, keep a bit of tension on the way back down. This will work the muscle more and you get so much more out of your workout.

4. If you do weights with the front muscles of the body, do them in the back. Most people work on their quadriceps but neglect the hamstrings in the back. What is really popular is working the calf muscles in the back leg but not working the muscles in the front and side of the leg. You want balance in the body and not over work some muscles while under working others.

5. Exercise different muscles each day. Don’t do biceps and quadriceps two days in a row. Switch to triceps and hamstrings. Resting muscles after a workout allows them to regenerate and get ready for the next set of repetitions.

Here are the Don’ts:

  1. Don’t skip your warm up. Remember, we are shortening muscles with a workout. That means they should be stretched before and after. Shortening a muscle that is already short will provoke an injury. Each stretch should last 25-30 seconds.
  2. Don’t rush your workouts. This will make you lose your form and won’t work the muscle as much as you would like.
  3. Don’t overdo it. I quite frequently hear people saying they are so sore they can’t move the next day. Working the muscle to fatigue is really all you need. Becoming so sore that you can’t move will not motivate you to get back into the gym. I recommend going about 70% in the beginning and working your way up. This way, you won’t be at risk of hurting yourself and you will be motivated to keep doing your workout.
  4. No pain, no gain theory is not a good way of working out. If it hurts to do an exercise, stop! This is your body telling you that something isn’t right. You may need to alter your weight or check your body posture.

Now that you know the proper way to work out, you can avoid hurting yourself and have the workouts you desire.