Sheri Colberg: exercise for living your best life as you age

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Adapted from BMJ 30 Oct 21: A study from the Mayo Clinic indicates that cardiorespiratory fitness tests were a better predictor of of survival in older people than blood lipids, diabetes, smoking and hypertension.

6,500 people aged 70 or over were tested on treadmills. The fittest showed the lowest mortality rates ten years on, and the burden of other risk factors made no difference at all.

Adapted from Diabetes in Control 10 August 21: Sheri Colberg says: Aging successfully takes a lot of work, If you don’t use it, you lose it. Physical fitness peaks around the age of 25 and then declines. Balance gets worse after the age of 40, bones get thinner, muscle bulk diminishes, and even with training maximal aerobic capacity declines. Your reflexes get slower and recovery from workouts takes longer.

The good news is that you can’t stop the aging process but you can slow it down to some extent. This means paying attention to regular physical training, nutrition, sleep and stress management.

Her advice is:

In addition to regular activities like walking, cycling, and swimming, add in some faster intervals to any workout such as walking faster for ten to sixty seconds at a time during your normal walk or doing a hill profile on a cardio training machine. This will improve your cardio respiratory fitness and improve insulin sensitivity for longer. It is fine to to high intensity interval training once a week, but if you don’t already do this you need to work up to it slowly. You should vary the intensity of your workouts to allow recovery and reduce the risk of injury.

Pick at least eight to ten resistance exercises that cover the major muscle groups in the upper, core and lower body and do them two or three days a week. You can use your own body weight, weights, kettlebells, resistance bands or water bottles. Improving muscle mass and strength is critical to being able to live independently through your lifespan.

Improve your balance by standing on one leg for a minute at a time. Make sure you can grab something if you feel unsteady. Once you can do this, make it harder by moving the raised leg in different directions. My comment: Wii Fit has a lot of balance exercises included. Ballet and Yoga also include balance exercises and Tai Chi is a good starting point.

High blood sugars take a particular toll on the flexibility of joints and tendons. Stretch two or three times a week. The worse your flexibility and the older you are the longer you should hold the stretch. Up to a minute with each stretch may be necessary. My comment: There are lots of You Tube videos on stretching. You may like to use rubber bands and yoga blocks or use props such as chairs.

Weight bearing exercises to reduce bone loss can be achieved by weight training, carrying shopping in both hands, and hopping up and down on one leg at a time, and by doing body weight exercises such as press ups.

It is very important that you can get off of a chair as you get older. Practice standing up from the sitting position without using your hands. You can enhance your strength by sitting against a wall with your knees at 90 degrees. My comment: I used to do this for two minutes at a time. I would suggest 30 seconds to start with.

Last, but not least, pelvic floor exercises. You pull in all the muscles around your urethra and anus and practice a combination of long holds and pulses. This improves continence.

Sheri Colberg: Key exercises to help you age well

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Adapted from Diabetes In Control Jun5 2021

Exercises can help maintain your physical abilities and independence during the aging process.

Aging successfully needs a lot of work. If you don’t use it, you lose it! Our body system peaks at 25 and declines thereafter. Even if you exercise diligently you will lose aerobic capacity as you age.

Balance also worsens from the age of 40. Bones also thin, particularly for women post menopausally. Muscles get smaller and weaker, reflexes get slower and recovery from workouts takes longer.

Although you can’t do that much about neurological decline but by regular physical training, nutrition, enough sleep, and stress management you can delay or prevent a lot of normal aging and even sometimes reverse damage done from inactivity.

These are my top tips for exercises to reduce aging:

Cardio workouts with faster training intervals. Apart from walking, cycling and swimming add in faster intervals lasting 10 to 60 seconds at a time. You can walk up hills deliberately or do a hill programme on a cardio machine. High intensity interval training can be done up to once a week but start low and build up.

Resistance exercises covering your upper body, core and lower body will help your muscles. Do 8 to 10 exercises covering these groups two to three days a week. You can use your body weight, dumbells, kettlebells, resistance bands. You should be able to get in and out of a chair without using your arms at the very least.

Standing on one leg at a time helps balance. My comment: one of my friends says doing this helped her not feel dizzy when riding on the London Underground.

Stretches for all of your joints helps your joint mobility and cartilage health. Do this two or three days a week. Diabetics are particularly prone to stiffness from glycation. Hold the stretch for up to a minute for each one.

Hopping up and down on one leg helps bone mineral density and so does carrying shopping in both hands. Press ups, against a door or kitchen counter are a good start.

Pelvic floor exercises are good for the prevention of stress incontinence.

Physical activity can improve cognitive function if you have type two diabetes

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Adapted from Diabetes in Control Aug 10 2021 by Macrina Ghali, Pharm D candidate, Florida.

Hyperglycaemia has been linked to reduced cognitive function and can impair life through impairing memory and language. Mistakes with medication are more likely. Some studies have shown that exercise can reduce the risk of dementia on the long term.

The meta-analysis sought to answer the question, does cognitive ability change from baseline, while on the exercise programme compared to the non-exercising controls? Just over 2,500 patients with diabetes were analysed, almost evenly split to control groups and exercise groups.

The exercise group did aerobic exercise, resistance exercise and non aerobic exercise. The control groups did monthly telephone calls, stretching, gentle movement and education. The interventions ranged in time from 12 months to 9.8 years and sample sizes ranged from 47 to over a thousand.

Standard tests such as the mini-mental state examination, mental state examination and global cognitive score were undertaken.

Surprisingly the study found that the greatest change in cognitive scores between both groups was in the studies done for 12 months rather than longer periods. They were not sure if this was due to patient drop out or the development of dementia. They think that more studies would need to be done to clarify the issue.

Meanwhile they think that physical activity programmes should be started soon after diagnosis of type two diabetes to prevent a worsening of cognitive functioning as time goes on.

Consistent exercise improves your survival if you have a heart attack

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Adapted from BMJ 27 Feb 2021

After a heart attack, the risk of sudden death is influenced by your past levels of physical activity.

People who performed moderate levels of leisure time exercise reduced their risk by 33% and those who performed high levels of exercise reduced the risk by 45%.

This study combined data from ten European longitudinal studies and found 30,000 people who had a heart attack. Around 5,000 people (18%) died within 28 days. Of these, 3,000 (62%) died instantly.

European Journal of Preventative Cardiology

Fish oil supplements however had no worthwhile cardioprotective effects according to a Cochrane Systemic Review done several years ago. A study looking at secondary prevention in 70-80 year olds, recently found similar effects. There was no difference between the omega 3 fish oil supplemented group and placebo over two years.

Cochrane Database Systemic Review and Circulation

Walking is a miracle cure

Adapted from BMJ  Sept 19 Promoting physical activity to patients by Christine Haseler et al.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has described walking as a miracle cure. Despite this many of us are not as active as we should be and inactivity is thought to result in as many deaths as smoking. More than a quarter of UK adults do less than 30 minutes physical activity a week.

Quantified, these are the benefits of just plain walking:

30% lower all cause mortality, even 10 minutes a day is worthwhile.

20-30% lower risk of dementia.

Better relief from back pain than back exercises

30% lower risk of colon cancer

30% reduction in falls for older adults

22-83% reduction in osteoarthritis

even lower body fat than playing sports

20-35% lower risk of cardiovascular disease

20% lower risk of breast cancer

30-40% lower risk of metabolic syndrome or type two diabetes

 

 

The people who need to see their GP before undertaking exercise are few but include people with unstable angina, aortic stenosis or uncontrolled severe hypertension.

In pregnancy the sort of activities that need to stop are: impact activities, lying on the back for long periods, high altitude activities and underwater activities.

Sheri Colberg: Motivate yourself to exercise

From Diabetes in Control: Getting and Staying Motivated to Be Physically Active
Jan 4, 2020

Author: Sheri R. Colberg, PhD, FACSM

Every New Year all of the fitness clubs and gyms run specials to bring in new members, and they know—and even count on the fact that—most of those people will no longer be regularly attending classes or doing workouts by the time spring hits. How do you avoid becoming one of those exercise dropouts?
Even elite athletes have some days when they are not as motivated to exercise. You know those days—the ones when you have trouble putting on your exercise gear, let alone finishing your planned workout. For the sake of your blood glucose and your health, do not use one or two bad days as an excuse to discontinue an otherwise important and relevant exercise or training routine.
Here is a list of motivating behaviors and ideas for regular exercisers and anyone else who may not always feel motivated to work out:
Identify any barriers or obstacles keeping you from being active, such as the fear of getting low during exercise, and come up with ways to overcome them.
Get yourself an exercise buddy (or a dog that needs to be walked, you can borrow one!).
Use sticker charts or other motivational tools to track your progress.
Schedule structured exercise into your day on your calendar or to-do list.
Break your larger goals into smaller, realistic stepping stones (e.g., daily and weekly physical activity goals).
Reward yourself for meeting your goals with noncaloric treats or outings.
Plan to do physical activities that you enjoy as often as possible.
Wear a pedometer (at least occasionally) as a reminder to take more daily steps.  You can get free pedometer apps that turn your mobile into a pedometer.
Have a backup plan that includes alternative activities in case of inclement weather or other barriers to your planned exercise.
Distract yourself while you exercise by reading a book or magazine, watching TV, listening to music or a book on tape, or talking with a friend.
Simply move more all day long to maximize your unstructured activity time, and break up sitting with frequent activity breaks.
Do not start out exercising too intensely, or you may become discouraged or injured.
If you get out of your normal routine, and are having trouble getting restarted, take small steps in that direction.
As for other tricks that you can use, start with reminding yourself that regular exercise can lessen the potential effect of most of your cardiovascular risk factors, including elevated cholesterol levels, insulin resistance, obesity, and hypertension.

Even just walking regularly can lengthen your life, and if you keep your blood glucose better managed with the help of physical activity, you may be able to prevent or delay almost all the potential long-term health complications associated with diabetes.
From Colberg, Sheri R., Chapter 6, “Thinking and Acting Like an Athlete” in The Athlete’s Guide to Diabetes: Expert Advice for 165 Sports and Activities. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2019.
Sheri R. Colberg, Ph.D., is the author of The Athlete’s Guide to Diabetes: Expert Advice for 165 Sports and Activities (the newest edition of Diabetic Athlete’s Handbook), available through Human Kinetics (https://us.humankinetics.com/products/athlete-s-guide-to-diabetes-the), Amazon (https://amzn.to/2IkVpYx), Barnes & Noble, and elsewhere. She is also the author of Diabetes & Keeping Fit for Dummies. A professor emerita of exercise science from Old Dominion University and an internationally recognized diabetes motion expert, she is the author of 12 books, 28 book chapters, and over 420 articles. She was honored with the 2016 American Diabetes Association Outstanding Educator in Diabetes Award. Contact her via her websites (SheriColberg.com and DiabetesMotion.com).

 

There are benefits to that pre-breakfast workout

Adapted from Edinburgh RM et al. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 21 Oct 2019 

Research suggests that blood sugar levels can be better controlled by planned eating and exercise timings.

This study was conducted in Bath and Birmingham and involved a six week trial of 30 overweight or obese men. They were divided into three groups. One group ate breakfast before exercise, one group after exercise and the third group made no changes to their diet or exercise (or lack of it). Groups one and two swapped over after the first six weeks.

The researchers showed that you doubled the amount of fat burned during exercise if breakfast was delayed. This was mainly because the group had lower insulin levels due to their prolonged overnight fast. They could therefore burn more fat in their fat stores or muscle. The groups did not do more exercise than the pre-workout breakfast group.

Groups one and two swapped over after the first three weeks. The men’s BMI averaged at 30 and was closely matched in each group. Although insulin sensitivity was improved in the longer fasting group, there was not any significant weight loss.

BeTravelFit: Ultimate travel workout

From: BeTravelFit blog:
While I was traveling I saw myself faced with situations in which I didn’t have access to any sort of gym, not even a bar to do Pull-Ups with, hell, not even a damn park bench to do Tricep-Dips on because every single bench in the park was used by loved up couples and other people who don’t work out because they actually do have a social life and other things do to then lifting (what a bunch of losers).
So here’s a workout that you can perform anytime, anywhere, with absolutely no equipment needed – just as promised.
The workout consists of three different circuits with three different exercises in each circuit. The exercises in each circuit are to be performed directly one after another with no rest in between. That way the heart-rate stays elevated over an extended period of time and more calories are burned as a result.

Circuit 1: Upper Body (Chest, Shoulders and Triceps) – To be performed 5 times, 60 secs rest
Hindu Push* up x 5
Diamond Push-Up x 5
Push-Up x amrap (as many repetitions as possible)
Circuit 2: Lower Body (Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings and Calves) – To be performed 5 times, 30 secs rest
Single Leg Box Squat x 10
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift x 10
Single Leg Calf-Raise x 15
Circuit 3: Core (Abs And Lower Back) – To be performed 5 times, 30 secs rest
Oblique Crunch x 10
Crunch x 20
Plank for 60 secs
And there you go, here’s your first full body, zero equipment, bodyweight only workout!
It burns a ton of calories, engages all major muscle groups and keeps you occupied for at least an hour to an hour and a half. Feel free to add extra repetitions or sets to make the workout more challenging as you progress and don’t feel intimidated if you can’t perform as many repetitions as suggested in the routine. Just give it your best shot and you’ll be fine!

 

  • Assume the downward dog position. Move your upper body backwards,  into child’s pose, and then move your head and trunk forwards taking your weight in your arms till you then extend your head up with your trunk in the upward dog position.

Making Sundays Special

roast pork on the Diabetes Diet
Roast pork – eat this to make your Sunday special… (recipe Ministry of Food, Jamie Oliver).

New Year’s resolutions? Pah! One, you can makes changes any time you want, and two, most of us see them as miserable—the lose weight, take up punitive exercise regimes kind. In this part of the world, January is a challenging month. The weather’s dreich, the nights are long and the pennies few and far between. Who wants to add starvation and exhaustion to the mix?

One resolution I do intend to stick to is my campaign to Make Sundays Special again. Years ago, my husband and I used to make a point of doing something on Sundays. He works most Saturdays, so the Sundays were the one day a week we could visit castles, go to Edinburgh, take the motorbike out for a spin, bike to Balloch, drink too much and cycle back via the main road while piddled*. Last year, we fell into the habit of doing nothing. He’d be downstairs catching up on Colombo (why, why, why?), and I’d hide away upstairs working or writing. We added doing the supermarket shopping to a Sunday. As I love food, I don’t mind the supermarket shop but does it belong on a precious day off? I think not.

Cut the screen time

In 2019, I’ve vowed to spend less time in front of a screen. I’m there for work and as a hobby, and I dread to think how many hours I spend hunched over my laptop. On the plus side, I use a standing desk so it’s not as sedentary as it could be. On the other hand, it’s still not healthy. Time to reinstate the Sunday activities, such as:

Ben Lomond

I have Ben Lomond in my sights. Hill climbing is one of the best activities you can do in Scotland. The Munro is right on my doorstep, and the shame is I’ve yet to climb it.

Three Lochs Walk

I’d also like to walk from Balloch to Helensburgh with Sandy. I’ve done it a couple of times with my friends, and it’s a fabulous walk because of the views you get of Loch Lomond.

Linlithgow Palace

We’re members of Historic Scotland and we’ve yet to visit Linlithgow Palace so a train trip there and a pub lunch is in order.

Uni tour

The University of Glasgow offers walking tours. As I work there, it will be fascinating to find out more about this iconic Glasgow building. Another tour that has always piqued my interest is the one you can do of Glasgow Central station. If I book now, we might get there in the summer. (It’s terrifically popular.)

Sunday roast

Roast pork, the before version.

Finally, it’s nice to include special meals in your Sunday plans. As a child, I didn’t like the Sunday roast—probably because it meant sitting at the table waiting for adults to finish so we children could be excused, and I have memories of thick slabs of meat and nasty bits of under-cooked fat. These days, I’m a fully paid up member of the Sunday roast forever club. While the meat is nice, the best bits are the accompaniments – home-made gravy with a decent amount of wine thrown in, roasted parsnips and carrots, crackling if you’re making pork (or just make it as a side dish anyway) and one roast potato as a treat.

Bring on the special Sundays!

What’s your idea of a treat on a Sunday? Is cutting back your time online part of your plans for 2019, and if so what do you intend to do instead?

*Don’t do this at home, folks!

Your pulse is an indicator how long you will live as well as your fitness

A study published in Heart reports that your resting pulse generally indicates how fit you are. It also modestly predicts mortality rates from the obvious cardiovascular disease but just as strongly with such things as breast, colorectal and lung cancers. A difference of 10 beats per minute equates to a 10-20% difference in mortality.

Also reported in Neurology, Swedish women had their baseline fitness tested in 1968 by ergometry while cycling. There neuropsychiatric status was checked at intervals since.  Women in the highest fitness group delayed in onset of dementia by 9.5 years compared to the low fitness group and by 5 years in the medium fitness group.

Keep it up Emma, all that running about is doing you good. Meanwhile I’m sitting here typing with my resting pulse at 56. Maybe I don’t need to?

From articles originally published in Minerva BMJ 28 April 18 and 7 July 18