Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

Mid-Life Fitness & Exercise Keeps Us Healthy

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jun 10, 2015 @ 04:17 PM

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Many people exercise to look better – to improve body composition and control weight, but the other health benefits of exercise are motivating factors as we approach middle-age – for good reason. According to a recent study, exercise is “good medicine” for keeping common chronic health problems at bay as we age. After all, what good is it to look “hot” in a pair of jeans if you’re not healthy?

The Importance of Midlife Fitness

In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers looked at Medicare claims for 18,670 participants, both men and women, over a 26-year period. This group of people had undergone treadmill fitness testing during middle-age, around the age of 50. After adjusting for factors like blood pressure, body mass index, alcohol use and smoking history, they discovered the most fit participants, as measured by their treadmill test, had a lower risk for developing eight medical conditions – heart disease, emphysema, stroke, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, lung cancer and colon cancer over a 26-year period.

That’s a lot of prevention! Although this study doesn’t necessarily show cause and effect, it does suggest that staying fit is a simple and medication-free way to potentially reduce the risk of the most chronic health problems that rob people of their ability to fully enjoy life as they age. According to a 1993 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, an inactive or sedentary lifestyle is a contributing factor in 23% of deaths due to chronic disease. Pretty sobering, huh?

Health Benefits of Exercise: Other Ways Exercise Improves Health

Did you know that half of all women over the age of 50 and a quarter of all men will have an osteoporosis-related fracture at some point during their life? High-impact exercise and resistance training help to build stronger bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The simple act of muscle moving bone, as when lifting a weight, stimulates bone-producing cells called osteoblasts to churn out more bone tissue to reinforce and protect your bones. Combine that with a calcium-rich diet and adequate amounts of vitamin D and you have a head start at preventing bone loss with age.

What about joint health? By the age of 65, about two-thirds of people have osteoarthritis on x-ray, although not everyone has symptoms. Weak quadriceps muscles increase the risk for knee osteoarthritis. The good news? Strengthening your quadriceps muscles through resistance training helps to prevent osteoarthritis of the knee. Plus, it helps with weight control. Being overweight or obese puts greater stress on joints, causing more loss of cartilage – not to mention resistance training helps to preserve lean body mass with age. Why is that important? There’s an epidemic of sarcopenia among older people. Sarcopenia is the serious age-related loss of muscle mass that puts older people at risk for frailty, falls and disability. Strength-training helps to combat this problem.

Exercise Boosts Mental Health Too

Exercise reduces stress and anxiety and may help to prevent depression. It even helps to ward off age-related memory loss and those “senior moments” that become more common after middle-age. One way it does this is by increasing the volume of a portion of the brain called the hippocampus that’s linked with memory and cognitive function. The hippocampus normally shrinks with age, and exercise, primarily aerobic exercise, reduces hippocampal shrinkage. Aerobic exercise boosts the volume of this portion of the brain even in people who begin exercising later in life. Just goes to show, it’s never too late to get the benefits of exercise.

The Bottom Line?

Who doesn’t want to stay healthy as they age? Exercise and a healthy diet are two of your best defenses against age-related diseases – and it’s never too late to start.  Start by walking utilizing the -10,000 Steps Program each and every day.  The more you move the more movement your body will crave.

For more great fitness tips, contact our fitness director/certified personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi, at noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.

ose weight and gain confidence with a personalizedprogram and the ongoing support of Step Ahead's expert team, including a physician, certified fitness trainer, and certified nutritionist. We now accept health insurance!


Get Started Today!

Sincerely,
Dr. Deborah Neiman MD

49 U.S. Highway 202
Far Hills, NJ  07931
908-470-2235
www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com

Tags: losing weight tips, health insurance coverage, health insurance, Diet and Nutrition, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, group excercise classes, weight loss insurance coverage, lose weight with a partner, Step Ahead Wellness Center

Lose Weight With a Partner

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Feb 04, 2015 @ 02:32 PM

Lose weight with partner

Want to get healthy? New research finds lifestyle changes are more successful when couples do it together.

 

Men and women who want to stop smoking, get active and lose weight are much more likely to meet with success if their partner also adopts the same healthy habits, according to new research. Married, or cohabiting couples who have a 'healthier' partner are more likely to change than those whose partner has an unhealthy lifestyle. The study also revealed that for both men and women having a partner who was making healthy changes at the same time was even more powerful.The findings are published in the Jan. 19 online issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.

10 pound take down challenge


To explore the potential benefit of partnering up for change, the study authors analyzed data collected between 2002 and 2012 on more than 3,700 couples who participated in the English Longitudinal Study of Aging. Most of the participants were 50 or older, and all the couples were married or living together. Starting in 2002, the couples completed health questionnaires every two years. The couples also underwent a health exam once every four years. During this exam, all changes in smoking history, physical activity routines and weight status were recorded. By the end of the study period, 17 percent of the smokers had kicked the habit, 44 percent of inactive participants had become newly active, and 15 percent of overweight men and women had lost a minimum of 5 percent of their initial weight. The research team found that those who were smokers and/or inactive were more likely to quit smoking and/or become newly active if they lived with someone who had always been cigarette-free and/or active.
But overweight men and women who lived with a healthy-weight partner were not more likely to shed the pounds, the study reported.


However, on every measure of health that was tracked, all of those who started off unhealthy were much more likely to make a positive change if their similarly unhealthy partner made a healthy lifestyle change. For example, about half of male and female smokers quit smoking after their smoking spouse quit. This compared with just 8 percent who quit when their smoking spouse did not. Similarly, about two-thirds of inactive men and women became newly active after their inactive spouse got moving. This compared with only about a quarter who got physical while their spouse remained a couch potato. And about a quarter of men shed some pounds after their wife had lost weight, while just 10 percent of men lost weight when their wives had not. More than one-third of women lost weight along with their partner, while only 15 percent of women lost weight when their spouse did not.

The study only found an association between healthier habits and spousal support.


The moral of the story is changing together makes change easier -- support, encouragement and maybe a little bit of competition. Perhaps, as they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. Behavior choices are highly influenced by social surroundings and support.
For those looking to embrace a healthier lifestyle, you might want to enlist your spouse or significant other.

Support and camaraderie can also be found outside the home. Taking a class, hiring a trainer, or working with a registered dietitian are also ways of getting the support one may need when making healthy changes. Just having another person on your side, whoever that is, can be very motivating.

Lose weight and gain confidence with a personalized program and the ongoing support of Step Ahead's expert team, including a physician, certified trainer, and certified nutritionist.


Sincerely,
Dr. Deborah Neiman MD, Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT
49 U.S. Highway 202 Far Hills, NJ 07931 908-470-2235


Tags: lose weight, lose weight with a partner