Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Posts Tagged ‘exercise

No Pain Required for Muscle Gain

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Cecil Scaglione

Mature Life Features

    You may be too tired to do any exercise. Or too lazy. But you’re never too old.

And you’re never too old to benefit from lifting weights, or strength exercises, according to the National Institutes of Health’s National Institutes of Aging.
That doesn’t mean you have to adopt the regimen of a Terminator body builder.  Nor do you have to spend hours at a gymnasium.
There a strength-exercise guide called “Exercise: a Guide from the National Institute on Aging” available on the Web at book or by calling toll-free (800) 222-2225. There’s also a video available through its Go4Life program on the website.
You don’t have to rush down to an athletic-equipment or sporting-goods store to pick up sets of bar bells, or ankle and hand weights.
There are many household items you can use.
A one-pint bottle of water or a 16-ounce can of peas can substitute for a one-pound bar bell, for example. Or you can fill empty milk jugs or cartons with water or sand.
An early step to take during any exercise program is to check with your doctor, especially if you’re among the 40 percent of Americans who’ve been sedentary for the past few years.
Keep in mind that there are many forms of non-strength exercise: walking, swimming, bicycling, jogging, gardening, tennis, and bowling are examples. None of these require a medical imprimatur if you don’t have any serious handicap or disease.
But it’s not a bad idea to do a bit of muscle-building even if you participate in some other form of activity. A tip to follow at all times is to exercise different groups of muscles. Never exercise the same group – legs, arms, back, stomach, chest, shoulders, or arms, for example – two days in a row. Give your muscles time to rest.
You should exercise your major muscles groups, such as shoulders, back, arms and legs, twice a week. And start slowly. Start with one pound weights. And don’t rush up the poundage.
Do 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise. Take about three seconds to slowly lift or push a weight, hold that position  for a second, and take another three to five seconds to return to the original position.
Exhale as you lift or push a weight. Inhale when you relax and lower the weight to your original position. Don’t hold your breath while you’re doing exercises.
Once you can lift or push a weight 15 times easily with smooth, steady motions, you may increase the weight a couple of pounds as your muscles become stronger. This can take two to three weeks.
You should experience a bit of soreness and fatigue in the beginning. That’s normal. But you should not experience sore joints, pain, or exhaustion. Those are signs that you’re overdoing it. If any of this persists, check with your doctor again.
Just remember: forget “no pain, no gain.”
                      Mature Life Features, Copyright 2004

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 4, 2013 at 12:05 am

Posted in Health

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Urban Sprawl May be Harmful to Your Health

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By Cecil Scaglione

Mature Life Features

Walking, which has been called the best exercise investment, can be helped or hampered by where you live. While it costs nothing, can be done anywhere at anytime, and requires no special equipment — except, perhaps, for a good pair of sturdy shoes — your environs could be less than walking friendly.

If you live in a sprawling suburban community, you’re more likely to weigh more, have higher blood pressure, and walk less than residents of more compact counties, according to the American Journal of Health Promotion. A research team headed by Dr. Reid Ewing of the National Center for Smart Growth, University of Maryland, cites a strong association between your health and urban environment, which is of serious concern to older residents.

After accounting for such personal variables as age and education, the researchers found residents of the most compact — you might consider the word “congested” here — counties weighed more than five pounds less and walked almost 1 1/2 hours more a month than people living in counties that are more sprawling — you might consider the word “open” here. The team gathered information from more than 200,000 people living in almost 450 counties in more than 80 metropolitan regions. The areas were graded on their levels of sprawl based on factors such as the density of its residential neighborhoods, connections between roads, and the physical separation of homes, shops and workplaces.

“Poor accessibility is the common denominator of urban sprawl,” Ewing said. “Nothing is within easy walking distance of anything else.” Among the most-compact counties were the New York City boroughs, San Francisco County, and Hudson County in New Jersey. Those with the highest level of sprawl included Geauga County in the Cleveland area, and Goochland County in the Richmond, Va., region.

Those who said they had safe, convenient places to walk or to get other forms or exercise were most likely to be physically active, according to  a team of Georgia Department of Human Resources researchers. Access to indoor and outdoor exercise areas was also an important factor for residents of North Carolina communities to attain daily guidelines for physical activity.

Increasing the number of desirable location destinations within a 20-minute-walk radius might encourage older women — the least active Americans — to exercise, according to a University of Pittsburgh study. Older women in the Pittsburgh region who lived within walking distance of a biking or walking trail, park, or department, discount or hardware store logged significantly more walking time than those who did not have similar facilities nearby, said researcher Wendy King. “Adding businesses or recreational facilities to residential areas may be effective (to boost exercise levels among older women),” she said.

Mature Life Features, Copyright 2004

Written by Cecil Scaglione

August 26, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Posted in Health

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