Aging strong, healthy and wise

Aging strong, healthy and wise

Eric Falstrault
I still hear my parents say ‘’I told you so!!’’ more time than I can remember and all I can think is that they were right. Get to bed early! Don’t eat this crap or don’t make those faces because you’ll stay stuck like this! Except for the last one, they were completely right. With all the fake news and useless information roaming around daily across the internet or the news, who or what are we going to believe. If you read well, you will easily smell the phishing newsflash looking for the gullible and easy to fool. Unfortunately, it sells. And in the media, in general, “fear” sells. Twenty years ago, I didn’t worry about the sun and getting skin cancer or play dodge ball without getting killed or think about that one person who gets picked last and how it would impact the rest of his life. I felt like taking naps? Great! It wasn’t a sign of laziness or some type of condition with an acronym to make it easier for doctors to diagnose and prescribe. I started lifting weights at 12 years old, when my parents bought my first Joe Weider bench and barbell kit with plastic covered cement plates. I ate proteins at every single meal for the last 30 years and I never became a monster because of it… and yes, I’m still alive. Nowadays, you can’t get out without putting sunscreen, play fight with your kids without someone intervening or lift weights without someone sharing his opinion based on what he learned on Dr. OZ. My goal with this post is not to exploit your fears to sell you some kind of product or special program. For that, all you need to do is listen to some infomercial about new meds. Listen carefully though, about the possible side effects these meds can provide, while you watch grandpa running around with his grand children. Almost like selling a dream to someone going through hell. Growing old is inevitable and what I would like you to learn from this article is what can prevention do for you and your loved ones. What should you do to age gracefully while trying to hold on to your strength and health and limit mental and spiritual damage? Read on… There is no single degenerative illness that is contagious. However, cancer, Alzheimer, osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases are fed by stress, estrogen and inflammation and what feeds them. When one of those 3 bad boys is in the picture for too long, a torrent of hormonal problems comes rushing in and if ignored, the worst can be expected. Inflammation has not yet been proven to be the first suspect in cardiovascular diseases but is often present in heart disease and stroke victims. It is believed to be a sign of atherogenic response (the formation of plaques in the lining of arteries). It is important to know what inflammation is and what it can do for your heart. Chronic inflammation is a major risk factor for aging and all related diseases. Of particular interest is insulin resistance during aging (which we'll explore later on). Chronic inflammation alters normal lipid accumulation, adipose tissue function and mitochondrial function leading to insulin resistance. However, some studies show that insulin resistance itself amplifies chronic inflammation. Think of a splinter in your finger. Your body launches an attack, with white blood cells and chemicals that cause redness and swelling, to kill the bacteria or to rid the body of the intruder. When nothing is done, the plaque builds up and the danger of clots becomes greater. Healthy arteries are very flexible, like a water hose. When your diet sucks, after a while, little issues become big problems. Cardiovascular diseases are the result of a few years of abuse and bad habits. Hypertension, cholesterol, etc. I have seen the worst situations become reversible with great success, but not without great effort. The longer you wait, the longer you will have to fight to regain health. The same logic applies to your muscles, tendons and ligaments. The lack of essential nutrients will make them weaker and more fragile. Research suggests that there is a link between nutrition and inflammation, your body's response to an injury or infection. While this normal response of the immune system is important for healing, sometimes inflammation can become chronic. Long-term inflammation is associated to several conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease. As if it wasn’t enough, the air we breathe is rarely our ally. Whether you live in a city where smog forecasts are routine or in a quiet suburb, small particles of air pollution can cause serious heart problems. Pollution can come from traffic, factories, forest fires or even cooking. "There is a wide variety of things in the air. Some are natural, some are artificial," said Russell Luepker, MD, cardiologist and the Mayo professor in the School of Health at the University of Minnesota. "We are all exposed, to some extent." For example, a person with an accumulation of fatty deposits on the inner lining of the arteries could experience problems when pollutants play a role in breaking the plaque in a blood vessel causing a heart attack. "This is the kind of situation that is pushing them on the edge of the cliff," said Dr. Luepker. Studies have shown an increase in deaths and hospitalizations when there are high concentrations of smog in Los Angeles, and research indicates that this is happening in other countries, said Dr. Luepker. They also think that pollution has inflammatory effects on the heart, which triggers chronic cardiovascular complications. The current obesity epidemic is obviously not caused by genes, but is the result of unfavorable changes in lifestyle and environment (the "obesogenic" environment). The obesogenic environment has different effects on different individuals in the same environment, highlighting an underlying and hereditary susceptibility to obesity and fat distribution. With that being said, it is easy to drop everything and let nature take its course. On the other hand, to follow the current is of an extraordinary dullness and I can assure you that no one is a victim of his genetics. What to do? Aging should not be tantamount to discomfort, injury, fatigue, depression, incontinence and new friends at your pharmacist. But what you do now will certainly have an impact on your old days. Everyone knows this, because it's an undeniable fact, but when I see some young people (and even more advanced) begin their workout with practically their maximum weight on the bar, I think that memory is starting to become an issue, or ego. So here are my top 3 strategic advices to age gracefully in strength and health: 1. Stay active 2. Manage your stress 3. Eat to live Wow! That’s it??? Devil is in the details though… Stay Active! Do so intelligently. You are greatly mistaken if you think that all you have to do is move or train. Overtraining is just workouts with bad nutrition and habits. Experience, as in training age, is a determining factor in your preparation and programming. It must be understood that the dose and response of the training is very unique to the individual, that is to say relative to his experience. A meta-analysis of 140 studies was performed to identify the dose-response relationship. Training with an average intensity of 60% of 1 RM resulted in maximum gains for beginners, while 80% of 1RM is more effective among those who are experienced. Beginners experience maximum gains by training each muscle group 3 times a week and advanced trainees, twice a week. Four sets per muscle group generated maximum gains in both beginners and advanced individuals . So the more experience you are, train less frequently but with a greater % of your 1RM due to nervous system adaptation. Training intensity plays a big role here. Always favor quality over quantity. Despite the complexity and many variables required in the design of a training program, even that meta-analysis seems incomplete. If only one variable can influence the results, how can we control the interaction between them or how to accurately assess the impact of one when the others are not controlled? No matter what research tells us, always take it with a grain of salt. The key lies in periodization. No, it is not only for top athletes. Even if you have a day job or if you are a well-known executive with little time to train, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t alternate between intensity and accumulation phases. Long intensity phases (higher % of your 1RM) will tax your nervous system as well as your joints so it is best to do 2 accumulation phases for each intensity phase. This ratio will help prolong your training career as well as your musculoskeletal system. With that being said, most of your workouts growing old should probably go around hypertrophy/bodybuilding. Less of a burden on the joints and body, you’ll slow down the effects of stress, the environment and aging in general. STRESS MANAGEMENT If I had to name the most common hindrance to the achievement of a healthier lifestyle, or the much desired six-pack, anxiety would be on top of the list. Anxiety and subsequent emotions are known to exert a set of specific psychological as well as physiological effects. Among such effects was that noted by Dr. Beaumont, an army surgeon located in northern Michigan over a century ago. A famous patient of his, Alexis St. Martin, was a trapper who suffered bullet wounds in the upper abdomen and stomach. When the wounds healed, the opening in the stomach was intentionally left patent, so that Dr. Beaumont could make periodic observations of the contents and mucosal lining of the stomach. Dr. Beaumont found that in the presence of fear, anger or any other emotional disturbance that affected the nervous system, the lining of the stomach would consequently lose its healthy appearance and the secretions were greatly decreased or ceased all together. Beaumont concluded that when his patient had a quarrel, the movements of the stomach were not normal .
‘’you do not get stomach ulcers from what you eat, you get stomach ulcers from what’s eating you’’
-Dr. Joseph Montague The first step is identifying the source of the anxiety. This seems like an obvious and easy start but at times, confusion is the principle cause of anxiety. Worrying comes when people try to make decisions before they have sufficient facts or substance on which to base the decisions . Once you have considered all the factors, think not of one, but a series of possible solutions. Once you have written everything down, there will always be one solution that shines brighter and becomes the obvious choice. The biggest mistake I’ve seen is failing to write it down. If you think of some possible ways of solving a problem, you’ll forget them as the day passes and you’ll be back to square one. Writing down every thought clears your mind, and it makes it much easier to sort everything out. Once all is done and clear in your mind and on paper, you’ll feel a sense of release, like a ton of bricks off your chest. It is now clear in front of your eyes, you have a plan and all you have to do is execute. EAT TO LIVE There is now an impressive body of literature involving the signaling of insulin in aging and longevity. New information from in vivo and in vitro insulin receptor studies has led to a better understanding of the physiological role of insulin in the brain. Insulin sensitivity is associated with longevity. It’s been shown that insulin resistance predicted the development of age-related diseases, including hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer and type 2 diabetes . In the general population, the association between aging and the decline in insulin sensitivity has been demonstrated in several studies . It is not clear how insulin contributes to the differences in glucose metabolism that are observed in the context of conditions associated with accelerated aging, such as obesity, as it also has a role in healthy aging. However, new data indicate that obesity is associated with a reduction in the action of insulin in the brain. Potential mechanisms that contribute to cerebral insulin deficits interfere with the transport of insulin from the periphery to the brain and reduce the insulin sensitivity of the brain due to hypothalamic inflammation. Given the increasing prevalence of the aging population, improving the action of cerebral insulin may be an important therapeutic option for elderly patients . What is the lesson to learn from all this? Too much or too little carbohydrates may have an effect on your brain, energy levels and much more. Much less complicated than it sounds, the rule is simple. You have been abusing them, cut down. You have been on low carbs for a while, bring some back slowly and watch what happens. The choice and timing of carbs is the key for success. Everything you will be reading is aimed at the general population, with little or no activity. Needs are very much different for those who are regularly active like you and I. For the majority of our clientele, once the initial low carbs phase is done, I add them back slowly, especially around the workouts. Improved recuperation is best for results and also, it keeps the metabolism going and far from metabolic damage induced by severe dieting and restriction. ONE LAST WORD Growing older is simply the art of learning from our mistakes. Learn how you can adapt your habits to fit your goals because your habits are the mirror of your health. Without it, you are just borrowing time on your final days.
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