Monday, April 28, 2014

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"Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire."

Exercising - No Gym

Not everyone can or wants to go to a gym for working out.  If you are home, or away from home....not to worry!  Can you lift a weight?  How about a smart phone (cell phone)?  You're stronger than you thought so now is the time to focus on exercising.  Remember, it's the best medicine you can take, it's cheap, not very time consuming, and helps preserve good health.

If you can get out of bed, visit the toidy, and walk to your breakfast table without shortness of breath you have no excuses not to work out.  If you are overweight, your first exercise is to push yourself away from your table after eating a smaller portion than you're used to.  Also keep the portions no larger than your fist.  You should also consult this blog on diet information and also attend Google University (the Internet) on nutrition, diet, and fitness information.  If you are in really bad shape, consult with your doctor and see what he recommends relative to exercising and diet control.

There are certain principles you should follow if you plan to structure an exercise program without help from a trainer or knowledgeable person trained in exercising. They are listed below and not necessarily in order of importance:
  1. Rather than look at a book for pictures of how to perform any exercise, check out an online video for descriptions, before and after views on each exercise, and the author's comments.
  2. Videos help you to follow the form, rhythm, and sequence of an exercise program.
  3. Videos are available for your desktop, laptop, tablet, and/or smart cell phones that are much better than viewing photos or drawings in a book.
  4. Try to include the major muscle groups in any exercise program.  They are chest, back, abs, legs,  arms and shoulders..
  5. Work out on core exercises, balance, stretching, and aerobics if you can.
  6. Don't expect exercise to lose weight.  Look to an intelligent diet you can follow and include exercising to maintain your muscles in good condition.  If you only diet and not exercise you can lose weight, including fat and muscle - not good, McGee! Save the muscles for later.  You'll need them!
Walking, jogging, and running outside or around a track are excellent examples of exercise.  You can do any of them with a friend or your dog.

Some sites you may want to visit for help in setting up an exercise routine are:

  1. Ace Fitness Programs with 25 exercises.
  2. The Huntington Post Crash Course of Exercising at Home.
  3. The No-equipment Workout You Can Do At Home (
  4.  wiki How to Exercise (has a very good description of various exercises).

Monday, April 21, 2014

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"If you're going to do something tonight that you'll be sorry for tomorrow morning, sleep late."
-  Henny Youngman

The What and Why of a "Sleep Study"

After a workout your muscles may be a little sore, depending on the intensity of your exercising. High intensity training (HIT) causes some damage to the muscle fibers.  There may be some fibers that are torn, some microscopic bleeding, and maybe soreness of the muscles directly affected by the exercises performed. Sounds bad, huh?  Not really.  When you sleep your muscles heal, regenerate, and are strengthened.  In other words, they are slightly firmer and healthier than before the workout.  And the better and deeper your sleep is, the faster you progress in your fitness goals.

There are a number of problems serious enough to reduce the time and depth of your sleep. Just as you improve your form and intensity of your exercises, you should try to improve your sleeping period. Sleep studies are tests that record what happens to your body during sleep.  They are performed in specialized rooms equipped with medical devices that record several body functions during sleep. Thus, brain activity, eye movement, oxygen and carbon dioxide blood levels, heart rate and rhythm, breathing rate and rhythm, the flow of air through your nose and mouth, snoring, body muscle movements and chest and belly movements are all recorded.  This is an over-night visit to some sleep lab such as in the hospital or sleep lab privately owned by a doctor or group of doctors. Polysomnography is this type of sleep study and is usually recommended in cases of sleep apnea, seizure disorders, periodic limb movement disorders, insomnia, and narcolepsy. 

Some of the sleep studies can help diagnose or rule out a number of disorders and they include:
  • sleep apnea
  • periodic limb movement disorders related to sleep, including twitching of the feet, arms, or legs during sleep
  • seizure disorders
  • insomnia caused by depression, hunger, physical discomfort, stress or some other problem
  • extreme daytime tiredness, such as narcolepsy
  • bruxism or grinding of the teeth during sleep
  • shift work sleep disorder because of working period changes
  • stages of sleep, non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement sleep (REM)
  • sleepwalking, night, terrors, or bed-wetting, each one a nighttime behavior problem
So after reading some or all of the above, how about some shut-eye?


Monday, April 14, 2014

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"Nobody cares about your excuses. Nobody pities you for procrastinating. Nobody
is going to coddle you because you are lazy.  It's YOUR ASS.  You MOVE IT! "

Measuring Your Fitness

As you progress in your exercising program, your heart becomes more efficient at delivering oxygen and fuel to the muscles.  VO2 and Heart Rate methods are available tor tracking your progress. VO2 max is a measure of the maximum volume of oxygen that a person can use under intense exercise.  VO2 can give you an indication of a persons ability to provide essential fuel (oxygen) to your working muscles. It is also a measure of the efficiency with which the muscles use this fuel to create movement. 

 In other words, it is an accurate measure of the amount of energy you expend, and therefore the number of calories you burn. The higher your VO2 max, the greater your oxygen consumption across all levels of effort. Well conditioned athletes can a have high VO2 max.  An example is Lance Armstrong's measurement of 85 millilitres of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute.  An average untrained person has a VO2 max of 40.  With years of training you can get yours up to 50 or 60.

Physiologists have discovered that the rate of oxygen used by the muscles during exercise is the best measure of aerobic work.  An individual runs on a treadmill while the heart rate and the volume of oxygen that is inhaled and exhaled are sampled and measured.  The difference between the volume of oxygen inhaled and exhaled during the test is what the muscles used to burn fuel (mostly carbohydrates and fat).  The rate of this oxygen consumption, in liters per minute, is called VO2.

Since VO2 requires expensive equipment, and trained personnel, it is usually done as part of a physical examination.  A more practical way the trainee can use VO2 is by measuring ones heart rate.  It has been observed that the relationship between the percentage of VO2max and the percentage of maximum heart rate is very predictable.  There are apps for smart phones that figure out the VO2max and all you have to do is fill in your average heart rate over a period of time to walk a mile as fast as you can go. Press the button and it's all figured out for you.  You can save this answer, along with the date the test was taken.  As you exercise you will have higher and higher VO2 measurements.

So now you can measure your muscles, breathing, heart rate, and VO2 (max) to help to go faster, reach higher, and be stronger.  All this proceeds on to better health, and the quality of your life in a state of health.

Monday, April 7, 2014

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"The trouble with jogging is that, by the time you realize you're not in shape for it, it's too far to walk back."

Two Forms of Exercise:
Biking or Running

Both types of exercise are popular and for some they do only one of them for their workout period.  Or maybe it could be spinning compared to running or walking - the choice is yours.  

Hirofumi Tanaka, a professor of kinesiology and director of the Cardiovascular Ageing Research Laboratory at the University of Texas in Austin says "Both are rhythmic aerobic activities that involve large muscle mass."  Dr. Tanaka states the difference is that running burns more calories per minute than cycling but the a downside of running is that it causes more injuries than cycling.  Cycling is a non-weight bearing activity, so it is better for your knees and joints. All of these exercises are basically aerobic in nature and the greater aerobic fitness will help reduce the risk of chronic disease and aid in obtaining a longer life span.

Which type is better for you?  If you do any exercise day after day you'll soon tire of it. Like most exercise, you should vary aerobic exercises as well as strength training workouts.

As you get more proficient in any form of exercise, by increasing the intensity of the workout you'll get more benefits for the time spent exercising.  Start with an intensity and length of workout that is comfortable for you and progress by varying the exercises to keep your interest and performance from stagnating!
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014


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"I still indulge in a glass of wine or chocolate - treats are mandatory.  Without deviating from the day-to-day healthy diet once in a while, it wouldn't be sustainable for me, and that's what I wanted: an approach to eating to last my entire life."
- Alanis Morissettee 

Weight Control Explained

Quick question:  When you get out of the shower, is that YOU in the mirror and if it is, are you happy with what you see?  Pot belly, 6-pack, flab, trim and sexy, and if your answer is not acceptable to you, for your heath's sake and your peace  of mind, let's get busy with your body!  We will get to the very basics of weight control and leave out the details that can be found online, at the book store, or in the doctor's office.

People come in all differing sizes, shapes, and weights.  Let's look at someone and you can refer to them as Mr/Miss A.  Mr. A consumes about 3200 calories and his basal metabolic rate consumes about 140 calories an hour at rest.  That amount of calories is utilized to keep him alive, and includes no movement or exercise and that's why it's referred to as "basal" metabolic rate, or BMR. If he jogs for an hour, he will burn only about 150 calories above his BMR.   However, it takes about 30 seconds to eat 150 calories of cookies! So whatever is the amount of calories burned you have to subtract the BMR for the same equivalent time taken during the exercise.

There are about 3,500 calories in a pound of fat. If you are a couch potato that doesn't exercise, it could take about 21,875 days to burn off a pound of fat!  So you can see that exercise is not the best source of losing weight!  Also there is the fact that as Mr. A grows older, muscle loss occurs and this is referred to as "sarcopenia." It is a condition which causes muscle loss starting in the 30's and increases in muscle erosion, especially after age 45.  This gradual loss of muscle is what seniors want to avoid happening too fast or postpone it for as long as possible.  The most obvious intervention against sarcopenia is exercise in the form of resistant training.

The  point to be made is that reducing the amount of food consumed and also lowering the calories eaten is the best way to lose weight.  Also with watching one's diet, strength conditioning exercise is essential to keep muscle loss at a minimum as one ages.

Exercise block helps you NOT lose weight