Tag Archives: Fitness

Straight, No Chaser: The Other Side of 40 – The Musculoskeletal System – Changes, Challenges, Solutions

The second part of this series on how your body changes with age is about your muscles. This section combined with the previous skin section explains why you wrinkle. As before, I’m going to go through system – changes – challenges – solutions. If you’re keeping score, especially focus on the take home messages within solutions. I welcome any questions or comments.
Changes: Did you know that muscle cells are unable to replace themselves once they are formed? Therefore, muscle cell loss is permanent. Plus, muscular response gradually slows with age. That said, the loss of muscular capabilities over time is by far the result of cell loss due to inactivity. As muscle cells are lost, weakness and slowness increase. Plus, some of you don’t exercise at all, or as much/vigorously as you used to, so you’re not building up anything new.
Challenges: The effects of these changes on our health status are mostly due to the fact that the muscles are the main tools for effecting strong circulation throughout the body (i.e. muscular contraction pushes blood around). As the muscles become smaller, including the muscles in the face, and as fat tissue accumulates, including in the face, the entire appearance changes to that of an older person, with all the ramifications described in the post on the description of skin changes with aging. In addition, as muscle fibers decrease, weaken, and slow, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with younger people, who may make allowances, but who may also become avoidant. Your recognition of this creates a vicious cycle, and you eventually settle into ‘being old’.
Physical Therapist Working with Patient
Solutions: In two words – exercise & activity. A well designed, consistently followed exercise program addressing both strength and response is indispensable for the maintenance of muscle cells, and of good health over time. A personal trainer is a pretty good idea after a certain age. You neither need to under nor overdo your weight lifting regimen. In any event, move those muscles as much as you can, whether via walking, yoga, running or sex. Being a couch potato is never a good thing.
Post-scripts:

elderly-couple-stretching

  • Another thing that very few of us do is stretch. Those old muscles are tight, and the tendons/ligaments are short and ready to pop. You really must stretch before your weekend warrior events or most any big exertional activity. That’s a big part of why yoga promotes longevity.
  • Fortunately, the main muscles of the heart and the diaphragm (your breathing muscle) do not lose muscle fibers with age because they are continually active. Yet, your heart and lungs have their own problems besides the muscles. That topic is forthcoming. All that said, be mindful that through ongoing exercise and training, you can stem the tide on these changes.

Young is as young does.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Fat Burn vs. Cardio – How Do I Best Exercise?

fat crying

You’re working out. Congratulations! But do you know what you’re doing?

If you’ve ever been to a gym, perhaps on an elliptical, a treadmill or stationary bike, perhaps you’ve seen a table like this. (You may want to click the pictures and tables to enlarge them.)

 target-heart-zone

Your target heart rate zone points to a range of health and fitness benefits based on how much energy you exert during your workout. With that in mind, let’s discuss two of the settings you’re likely to see on your exercise equipment: fat burn and cardio.

fatburn_vs_cardio-400x300

It’s best to view your workouts as achieving incremental benefits. Any physical activity burns calories. Calories are units of energy, and you burn energy to lose weight. If you burn enough calories (relatively to how many you take in), you will lose weight. (We’ve discussed that previously here.)
Now your body has different ways of storing energy. Depending on how intensely you exercise, you will preferentially attack different energy stores. The important point is that different levels of activity and exercise progressively take you from burning calories to burning fat to improving your heart’s conditioning.

  • Fat burn: A lot of the confusion among those starting to exercise is found in the seemingly intuitive notion that people exercise because they want to “lose fat” rather than also thinking about “burning carbs” or “conditioning the heart.” In the hierarchy of expending energy, the body actually burns a higher percentage of fat relative to carbohydrates at lower levels of exertion. Lighter workouts afford the body a greater level of oxygen, which is needed to burn fat most efficiently. This level of exercise corresponds to reaching approximately 65% of your average maximum heart rate.
  • Cardio: When your exercise level reaches approximately 80-85% of your maximum heart rate, you’re in cardio mode, which means you’re working at a level sufficient to strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system. This level of exercise also best improves your blood pressure and lowers your cholesterol levels. In the grand scheme of things, cardiovascular fitness is much more important than fat burning. It’s important to note that at the higher levels of exercise, you don’t lose any of the benefits obtained at the lower levels of exercise.

heart_rate_chart

So let’s clear any confusion regarding fat burning, weight loss and exercise. When you exercise in cardio mode, you exhaust your oxygen stores to the point where you aren’t as efficient in burning fat, although you are still doing so. In cardio mode, you switch to preferentially burning carbohydrates, which doesn’t require the same oxygen levels as fat to be utilized for energy. This point is illustrated in the following table.
fatcalburn
If weight loss is your goal, you will absolutely burn more calories (and more fat) in cardio mode than fat burning mode. Fat burning mode points to the intensity level needed to start the fat burning process. For the most comprehensive workout, incrementally increase your workouts until you can perform in the cardio mode, because what you care about is the total number of calories, not the percentage of fat burned. And yes, you’ll still look better burning more calories than focuses on burning a higher percentage of fat relative to carbs.
Finally, as a measure of health, know your target resting heart rate. Where you fall in that range is a decent measure of your level of fitness.

Resting-HR-Table

Don’t forget to consult your physician before you begin an exercise routine.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: The Benefits of Exercise and Other Physical Activity

physical activity

At Straight, No Chaser, we understand it’s the most optimistic time of the year. You’ve made many New Year’s resolutions, usually related to smoking cessation, eating better, lowering your levels of stress and starting an exercise routine. We’re here to help. The next several posts will feature our best advice to educate and motivate you as you pursue those goals.
As we begin the conversation on exercise, we will split the conversation into the “why” and the “how.” This post will remind you of why keeping your body moving is so important and why, no matter your age, sex, ethnicity, physical condition or presence of existing disease, you can improve from your current state.
Remember that your heart is a muscle, the purpose of which is to pump blood with its nutrients and oxygen around the body, supplying your organs. The more efficiently that muscle performs, the healthier you’ll be, because your vital organs will stay nourished. It’s important to restate that everything is relative, so starting with most any regular activity that’s more than your current baseline will improve your conditioning and eventually your health.
How, you might ask! Here are medically established ways that a routine of regular exercise provides physical and mental health benefits.
exercisebens

  • Exercise controls your weight by burning calories.
  • Exercise reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease by improving your heart’s function. It lowers the risk of both heart attacks and strokes.
  • Exercise reduces your risk for type 2 diabetes and combinations of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high glucose levels (together known as metabolic syndrome).
  • Exercise specifically reduces your risk of colon and breast cancers, and it probably reduces your risk of endometrial and lung cancers.
  • Exercise improves the functioning of your immune system.
  • Exercise strengthens your bones and muscles, and it keeps your joints functioning well.
  • Exercise maintains your mobility and agility, it improves your ability to perform the activities of daily living and prevent falls as you age.
  • Exercise slows the development of arthritis.

exercisebrain

  • Exercise improves your mental health and mood by stimulating pleasurable parts of your brain and improving blood flow to your brain.
  • Exercise reduces the rate of depression.
  • Exercise reduces the development of insomnia and other sleep disorders.

The sum total of these facts is that exercise increases your chances of living longer.
At Straight, No Chaser we talk a lot about healthy and unhealthy decisions and the impact these decisions have on the length and quality of your life. There aren’t many lifestyle decisions you can make that will more positively impact those than the decision to stay physically active. Furthermore, that decision doesn’t need to be followed by the fear that in order to improve your health you have to turn your body into that of a stereotypical teenager, body builder or model. Moderate activity will produce measurable health improvements. In a subsequent post, we will explore the “how” of physical activity to improve your health, but for now, don’t just sit there. Do something!

exercise

If you can sprint, do so.

If you can’t sprint, jog.

If you can’t jog, walk.

Even it you can’t walk, move what you can!

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Here’s Steps For You To Take – Get Active!

Fitness

Here’s how you get started with a work out regimen.  If you’re currently inactive, worried about becoming active or worried about boosting your level of physical activity because you’re afraid of getting hurt, fear not. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking) is generally safe for most people, and even if it’s been a long time and/or you have medical problems, the health benefits of being active are far greater than the risks of getting hurt and the consequences of remaining inactive.
First things first: Get cleared by your physician.
If you have a chronic medical illness like diabetes, heart or vascular disease, arthritis or asthma/COPD, talk with your physician about your ability to be active. Your doctor will work with you to develop a plan matching your capabilities, and you or you and your personal trainer can execute it. You’d be surprised how much health can be generated with a reasonable amount of effort. As little as 60 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking) produces measurable health benefits. The key is to avoid being inactive.

smallprogress

You’re not going to run a marathon on your first day back working out.
Strokes and heart attacks are rare during physical activity. The risk that does exist comes from someone who figuratively goes from 0–60. Don’t go from inactive to hyperactive, engaging in vigorous-intensity aerobics (e.g., that includes shoveling snow, running stairs, etc.). It’s a good idea to work with a personal trainer if it’s within your means. You need to have a plan in place to get from zero to hero.
We’ve previously discussed losing weight in the context of the caloric index. Just remember that in order to lose one pound, you need to burn an average of 500 more calories per day than you eat or drink—for an entire week. We’ll get back to the dietary consideration in an upcoming post, but for now let’s focus on the exercise/activity component of the equation.

fitness_challenge

To translate what “500 more calories per day than you eat or drink” looks like, follow these tips:

  • Strive for 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking) or
  • Strive for 75 minutes/week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or
  • Strive for an equivalent mix of the two

Be advised that your metabolism may play a role on whether you need more or less aerobic activity to accomplish your goal.
Now these aerobic recommendations represent a minimal amount likely to help you maintain your current weight. Increase these amounts and/or use the dietary intake side of the equation to help you lose weight. Check back tomorrow for a review of those.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Life Begins (To End) at 40 (Unless It Doesn’t) – The Musculoskeletal System

The second part of this series on how your body changes with age is about your muscles. This section combined with the previous skin section explains why you wrinkle. As before, I’m going to go through system – changes – challenges – solutions. If you’re keeping score, especially focus on the take home messages within solutions. I welcome any questions or comments.
Changes: Did you know that muscle cells are unable to replace themselves once they are formed? Therefore, muscle cell loss is permanent. Plus, muscular response gradually slows with age. That said, the loss of muscular capabilities over time is by far the result of cell loss due to inactivity. As muscle cells are lost, weakness and slowness increase. Plus, some of you don’t exercise at all, or as much/vigorously as you used to, so you’re not building up anything new.
Challenges: The effects of these changes on our health status are mostly due to the fact that the muscles are the main tools for effecting strong circulation throughout the body (i.e. muscular contraction pushes blood around). As the muscles become smaller, including the muscles in the face, and as fat tissue accumulates, including in the face, the entire appearance changes to that of an older person, with all the ramifications described in the post on the description of skin changes with aging. In addition, as muscle fibers decrease, weaken, and slow, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with younger people, who may make allowances, but who may also become avoidant. Your recognition of this creates a vicious cycle, and you eventually settle into ‘being old’.
Physical Therapist Working with Patient
Solutions: In two words – exercise & activity. A well designed, consistently followed exercise program addressing both strength and response is indispensable for the maintenance of muscle cells, and of good health over time. A personal trainer is a pretty good idea after a certain age. You neither need to under nor overdo your weight lifting regimen. In any event, move those muscles as much as you can, whether via walking, yoga, running or sex. Being a couch potato is never a good thing.
Post-scripts:

elderly-couple-stretching

  • Another thing that very few of us do is stretch. Those old muscles are tight, and the tendons/ligaments are short and ready to pop. You really must stretch before your weekend warrior events or most any big exertional activity. That’s a big part of why yoga promotes longevity.
  • Fortunately, the main muscles of the heart and the diaphragm (your breathing muscle) do not lose muscle fibers with age because they are continually active. Yet, your heart and lungs have their own problems besides the muscles. That topic is forthcoming. All that said, be mindful that through ongoing exercise and training, you can stem the tide on these changes.

Young is as young does.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Here’s Steps For You To Take – Get Active!

Fitness

Here’s how you get started with a work out regimen. As we left off in the previous post, fitness is for everyone. If you’re currently inactive, worried about becoming active or worried about boosting your level of physical activity because you’re afraid of getting hurt, fear not. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking) is generally safe for most people, and even if it’s been a long time and/or you have medical problems, the health benefits of being active are far greater than the risks of getting hurt and the consequences of remaining inactive.
First things first: Get cleared by your physician.
If you have a chronic medical illness like diabetes, heart or vascular disease, arthritis or asthma/COPD, talk with your physician about your ability to be active. Your doctor will work with you to develop a plan matching your capabilities, and you or you and your personal trainer can execute it. You’d be surprised how much health can be generated with a reasonable amount of effort. As little as 60 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking) produces measurable health benefits. The key is to avoid being inactive.

smallprogress

You’re not going to run a marathon on your first day back working out.
Strokes and heart attacks are rare during physical activity. The risk that does exist comes from someone who figuratively goes from 0–60. Don’t go from inactive to hyperactive, engaging in vigorous-intensity aerobics (e.g., that includes shoveling snow, running stairs, etc.). It’s a good idea to work with a personal trainer if it’s within your means. You need to have a plan in place to get from zero to hero.
We’ve previously discussed losing weight in the context of the caloric index. Just remember that in order to lose one pound, you need to burn an average of 500 more calories per day than you eat or drink—for an entire week. We’ll get back to the dietary consideration in an upcoming post, but for now let’s focus on the exercise/activity component of the equation.

fitness_challenge

To translate what “500 more calories per day than you eat or drink” looks like, follow these tips:

  • Strive for 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking) or
  • Strive for 75 minutes/week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or
  • Strive for an equivalent mix of the two

Be advised that your metabolism may play a role on whether you need more or less aerobic activity to accomplish your goal.
Now these aerobic recommendations represent a minimal amount likely to help you maintain your current weight. Increase these amounts and/or use the dietary intake side of the equation to help you lose weight. Check back tomorrow for a review of those.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Life Begins (To End) at 40 (Unless It Doesn’t) – The Musculoskeletal System

musculoskeletal-system
The second part of this series on how your body changes with age is about your muscles. This section combined with the previous skin section explains why you wrinkle. As before, I’m going to go through system – changes – challenges – solutions. If you’re keeping score, especially focus on the take home messages within solutions. I welcome any questions or comments.
Changes: Did you know that muscle cells are unable to replace themselves once they are formed? Therefore, muscle cell loss is permanent. Plus, muscular response gradually slows with age. That said, the loss of muscular capabilities over time is by far the result of cell loss due to inactivity. As muscle cells are lost, weakness and slowness increase. Plus, some of you don’t exercise at all, or as much/vigorously as you used to, so you’re not building up anything new.
Challenges: The effects of these changes on our health status are mostly due to the fact that the muscles are the main tools for effecting strong circulation throughout the body (i.e. muscular contraction pushes blood around). As the muscles become smaller, including the muscles in the face, and as fat tissue accumulates, including in the face, the entire appearance changes to that of an older person, with all the ramifications described in the post on the description of skin changes with aging. In addition, as muscle fibers decrease, weaken, and slow, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with younger people, who may make allowances, but who may also become avoidant. Your recognition of this creates a vicious cycle, and you eventually settle into ‘being old’.
Physical Therapist Working with Patient
Solutions: In two words – exercise & activity. A well designed, consistently followed exercise program addressing both strength and response is indispensable for the maintenance of muscle cells, and of good health over time. A personal trainer is a pretty good idea after a certain age. You neither need to under nor overdo your weight lifting regimen. In any event, move those muscles as much as you can, whether via walking, yoga, running or sex. Being a couch potato is never a good thing.
Post-scripts:

elderly-couple-stretching

  • Another thing that very few of us do is stretch. Those old muscles are tight, and the tendons/ligaments are short and ready to pop. You really must stretch before your weekend warrior events or most any big exertional activity. That’s a big part of why yoga promotes longevity.
  • Fortunately, the main muscles of the heart and the diaphragm (your breathing muscle) do not lose muscle fibers with age because they are continually active. Yet, your heart and lungs have their own problems besides the muscles. That topic is forthcoming. All that said, be mindful that through ongoing exercise and training, you can stem the tide on these changes.

Young is as young does.
Feel free to ask any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Life Begins (To End) at 40 (Unless It Doesn’t) – The Musculoskeletal System

musculoskeletal-system
The second part of this series on how your body changes with age is about your muscles. This section combined with the previous skin section explains why you wrinkle. As before, I’m going to go through system – changes – challenges – solutions. If you’re keeping score, especially focus on the take home messages within solutions. I welcome any questions or comments.
Changes: Did you know that muscle cells are unable to replace themselves once they are formed? Therefore, muscle cell loss is permanent. Plus, muscular response gradually slows with age. That said, the loss of muscular capabilities over time is by far the result of cell loss due to inactivity. As muscle cells are lost, weakness and slowness increase. Plus, some of you don’t exercise at all, or as much/vigorously as you used to, so you’re not building up anything new.
Challenges: The effects of these changes on our health status are mostly due to the fact that the muscles are the main tools for effecting strong circulation throughout the body (i.e. muscular contraction pushes blood around). As the muscles become smaller, including the muscles in the face, and as fat tissue accumulates, including in the face, the entire appearance changes to that of an older person, with all the ramifications described in the post on the description of skin changes with aging. In addition, as muscle fibers decrease, weaken, and slow, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with younger people, who may make allowances, but who may also become avoidant. Your recognition of this creates a vicious cycle, and you eventually settle into ‘being old’.
Physical Therapist Working with Patient
Solutions: In two words – exercise & activity. A well designed, consistently followed exercise program addressing both strength and response is indispensable for the maintenance of muscle cells, and of good health over time. A personal trainer is a pretty good idea after a certain age. You neither need to under nor overdo your weight lifting regimen. In any event, move those muscles as much as you can, whether via walking, yoga, running or sex. Being a couch potato is never a good thing.
Post-scripts:

elderly-couple-stretching

  • Another thing that very few of us do is stretch. Those old muscles are tight, and the tendons/ligaments are short and ready to pop. You really must stretch before your weekend warrior events or most any big exertional activity. That’s a big part of why yoga promotes longevity.
  • Fortunately, the main muscles of the heart and the diaphragm (your breathing muscle) do not lose muscle fibers with age because they are continually active. Yet, your heart and lungs have their own problems besides the muscles. That topic is forthcoming. All that said, be mindful that through ongoing exercise and training, you can stem the tide on these changes.

Young is as young does.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright, Sterling Initiatives, LLC. 2013-2015

Straight, No Chaser: Fat Burn vs. Cardio – How Do I Best Exercise?

fat crying

You’re working out. Congratulations! But do you know what you’re doing?

If you’ve ever been to a gym, perhaps on an elliptical, a treadmill or stationary bike, perhaps you’ve seen a table like this. (You may want to click the pictures and tables to enlarge them.)

 target-heart-zone

Your target heart rate zone points to a range of health and fitness benefits based on how much energy you exert during your workout. With that in mind, let’s discuss two of the settings you’re likely to see on your exercise equipment: fat burn and cardio.

fatburn_vs_cardio-400x300

It’s best to view your workouts as achieving incremental benefits. Any physical activity burns calories. Calories are units of energy, and you burn energy to lose weight. If you burn enough calories (relatively to how many you take in), you will lose weight. (We’ve discussed that previously here.)
Now your body has different ways of storing energy. Depending on how intensely you exercise, you will preferentially attack different energy stores. The important point is that different levels of activity and exercise progressively take you from burning calories to burning fat to improving your heart’s conditioning.

  • Fat burn: A lot of the confusion among those starting to exercise is found in the seemingly intuitive notion that people exercise because they want to “lose fat” rather than also thinking about “burning carbs” or “conditioning the heart.” In the hierarchy of expending energy, the body actually burns a higher percentage of fat relative to carbohydrates at lower levels of exertion. Lighter workouts afford the body a greater level of oxygen, which is needed to burn fat most efficiently. This level of exercise corresponds to reaching approximately 65% of your average maximum heart rate.
  • Cardio: When your exercise level reaches approximately 80-85% of your maximum heart rate, you’re in cardio mode, which means you’re working at a level sufficient to strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system. This level of exercise also best improves your blood pressure and lowers your cholesterol levels. In the grand scheme of things, cardiovascular fitness is much more important than fat burning. It’s important to note that at the higher levels of exercise, you don’t lose any of the benefits obtained at the lower levels of exercise.

heart_rate_chart

So let’s clear any confusion regarding fat burning, weight loss and exercise. When you exercise in cardio mode, you exhaust your oxygen stores to the point where you aren’t as efficient in burning fat, although you are still doing so. In cardio mode, you switch to preferentially burning carbohydrates, which doesn’t require the same oxygen levels as fat to be utilized for energy. This point is illustrated in the following table.
fatcalburn
If weight loss is your goal, you will absolutely burn more calories (and more fat) in cardio mode than fat burning mode. Fat burning mode points to the intensity level needed to start the fat burning process. For the most comprehensive workout, incrementally increase your workouts until you can perform in the cardio mode, because what you care about is the total number of calories, not the percentage of fat burned. And yes, you’ll still look better burning more calories than focuses on burning a higher percentage of fat relative to carbs.
Finally, as a measure of health, know your target resting heart rate. Where you fall in that range is a decent measure of your level of fitness.

Resting-HR-Table

Don’t forget to consult your physician before you begin an exercise routine. Feel free to contact your SMA expert consultant with any questions you have on this topic.
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Straight, No Chaser: Here's Steps for You to Take – Get Active!

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Here’s how you get started with a work out regimen. Joining me in this conversation is another SMA expert consultant, Fitness Guru and owner of Loving The New Me Fitness, Shina Michelle.
As we left off in the previous post, fitness is for everyone. If you’re currently inactive, worried about becoming active or worried about boosting your level of physical activity because you’re afraid of getting hurt, fear not. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking) is generally safe for most people, and even if it’s been a long time and/or you have medical problems, the health benefits of being active are far greater than the risks of getting hurt and the consequences of remaining inactive.
First things first: Get cleared by your physician.
If you have a chronic medical illness like diabetes, heart or vascular disease, arthritis or asthma/COPD, talk with your physician about your ability to be active. Your doctor will work with you to develop a plan matching your capabilities, and you or you and your personal trainer can execute it. You’d be surprised how much health can be generated with a reasonable amount of effort. As little as 60 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking) produces measurable health benefits. The key is to avoid being inactive.
You’re not going to run a marathon on your first day back working out.
Strokes and heart attacks are rare during physical activity. The risk that does exist comes from someone who figuratively goes from 0–60. Don’t go from inactive to hyperactive, engaging in vigorous-intensity aerobics (e.g., that includes shoveling snow, running stairs, etc.). It’s a good idea to work with a personal trainer if it’s within your means. You need to have a plan in place to get from zero to hero.
We’ve previously discussed losing weight in the context of the caloric index (click here for details). Just remember that in order to lose one pound, you need to burn an average of 500 more calories per day than you eat or drink—for an entire week. We’ll get back to the dietary consideration in an upcoming post, but for now let’s focus on the exercise/activity component of the equation.
To translate what “500 more calories per day than you eat or drink” looks like, follow these tips:

  • Strive for 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking) or
  • Strive for 75 minutes/week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or
  • Strive for an equivalent mix of the two

Be advised that your metabolism may play a role on whether you need more or less aerobic activity to accomplish your goal.
Now these aerobic recommendations represent a minimal amount likely to help you maintain your current weight. Increase these amounts and/or use the dietary intake side of the equation to help you lose weight. Check back tomorrow for a review of those.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Life Begins (To End) at 40 (Unless It Doesn’t) – The Musculoskeletal System

Physical Therapist Working with Patient
The second part of this series is about your muscles. This section combined with the previous skin section explains why you wrinkle. As before, I’m going to go through system – changes – challenges – solutions. If you’re keeping score, especially focus on the take home messages within solutions. I welcome any questions or comments.
Changes: Did you know that muscle cells are unable to replace themselves once they are formed? Therefore, muscle cell loss is permanent. Plus, muscular response gradually slows with age. That said, the loss of muscular capabilities over time is by far the result of cell loss due to inactivity. As muscle cells are lost, weakness and slowness increase. Plus, some of you don’t exercise at all, or as much/vigorously as you used to, so you’re not building up anything new.
Challenges: The effects of these changes on our health status are mostly due to the fact that the muscles are the main tools for effecting strong circulation throughout the body (i.e. muscular contraction pushes blood around). As the muscles become smaller, including the muscles in the face, and as fat tissue accumulates, including in the face, the entire appearance changes to that of an older person, with all the ramifications described in the post on the description of skin changes with aging. In addition, as muscle fibers decrease, weaken, and slow, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with younger people, who may make allowances, but who may also become avoidant. Your recognition of this creates a vicious cycle, and you eventually settle into ‘being old’.
Solutions: In two words – exercise & activity. A well designed, consistently followed exercise program addressing both strength and response is indispensable for the maintenance of muscle cells, and of good health over time. A personal trainer is a pretty good idea after a certain age. You neither need to under nor overdo your weight lifting regimen. In any event, move those muscles as much as you can, whether via walking, yoga, running or sex. Being a couch potato is never a good thing.
Post-scripts:

  • Another thing that very few of us do is stretch. Those old muscles are tight, and the tendons/ligaments are short and ready to pop. You really must stretch before your weekend warrior events or most any big exertional activity. That’s a big part of why yoga promotes longevity.
  • Fortunately, the main muscles of the heart and the diaphragm (your breathing muscle) do not lose muscle fibers with age because they are continually active. Yet, your heart and lungs have their own problems besides the muscles. That topic is forthcoming. All that said, be mindful that through ongoing exercise and training, you can stem the tide on these changes.

Young is as young does.

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