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Are Muscles The Key To A Longer Life

If you check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for exercise this year, you’ll notice something different. While the CDC used to simply recommend any type of exercise a few days a week, it now recommends both cardiovascular activities and toning exercises in the form of strength training. Specifically, Americans age 65 and older are encouraged to learn how to build muscle and do muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, arms, shoulders, chest, and abdomen) at least twice a week.

 

Why this change to the government recommendations? Experts now realize just how important toning exercises are to your overall health and longevity. “Every health professional will agree that strength training is essential for health, injury prevention, and prolonging quality of life,” says certified strength and conditioning specialist Cody Foss, owner of the Fitness Loft in Newtown, Conn.

 

Whether you’re a young person just learning how to build muscle or an older person looking for toning exercises to increase your longevity, strength training has benefits for everyone. “The major advantage of strength training is to keep older adults active and moving,” says Glenda Renee Westmoreland, MD, a geriatrician at Wishard Health Services and an associate professor of clinical medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. “Strength and resistance training are helpful to reduce functional decline and loss of endurance.”

 

When it comes to preventing some of the health concerns and accidents that befall the elderly, this advice about learning how to build muscle with toning exercise is especially true. For example, a group of researchers recently looked at 111 studies with over 55,000 total subjects on the topic of falls in the elderly. After examining all this data, what they found was that exercise programs that focused on at least two of these — building strength, balance, flexibility, or endurance — were the best way to prevent future falls in the elderly.

 

Tips on Toning Exercise

 

If you are an older individual who is first learning how to build muscle, it’s important to start slowly to avoid overexerting yourself, says Dr. Westmoreland. “The major consideration before embarking on strength training as an older adult is to make sure that from a cardiovascular standpoint you are fit to start,” she says. That means getting the okay from your primary care physician before you begin.

 

Once you receive clearance from your doctor, walking is a good place to start. Then, as your fitness improves, you can incorporate some light strength training exercises into your routine. “The older adult should do muscle-strengthening exercises that work all the different muscle groups: legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms,” says Westmoreland.

 

If you’re concerned that strength training means lifting massive weight over your head, you needn’t be. You can do toning exercises that are low-impact but will still build muscle.

 

For example, tai chi is a very effective strength training exercise that has helped promote longevity in many people. Find a local class to participate in or simply follow a video at home to get the benefits of tai chi.

 

Other simple toning exercises are actually not that different from stretches. Val Walkowiak, the medical integration coordinator at Loyola Center for Fitness in Chicago, recommends the following exercises to strengthen your core every other day:

 

Abdominal twist: Sit in an armless chair with your feet flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart. Your hands should be in the center of your torso and your elbows along your sides. Slowly twist to the right, then to the left. Your shoulders should face to the right and then to the left during the movement, but you should not be swinging your arms from side to side. Do two to three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.

Lying abdominal crunch: Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands by your ears. Keep your elbow and shoulder joints aligned during the movement. Slowly curl your upper body upward until your rib cage comes up off the floor. The goal is to create a “C” with your torso by bringing your chest toward your legs. Don’t let your lower back come up off the floor, just your rib cage. Perform two to three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.

Pelvic tilts: Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Pull your belly button in toward your spine until your abdominal muscles feel tight. Slowly shift your pelvis up toward the ceiling until you feel your lower back press against the floor. Your buttocks should not come off the floor. Return to starting position. This exercise works the lower portion of the abdominal muscles.

Bridges: Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Pull your belly button in toward your spine. Slowly lift your torso off the floor until you have formed a bridge with your body. Your upper back, shoulders, and head should remain on the floor. Return your body to the floor and repeat. Perform two to three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.

 

If you have osteoporosis, particularly if you have had compression fractures of the vertebrae in your back, you should get your doctor’s okay before doing these floor exercises.

 

Adding a strenth training component to your fitness routine doesn’t have to be complicated, and the benefits to overall health — including reducing your risk of falling — are more than worth the time you put in.

 

Source:  http://www.everydayhealth.com/longevity/physical-health/add-muscle.aspx 

Last Updated: 01/18/2011

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Health and Science

 

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Pooches’ Vomit Threat To Vets

 

veterinary medical

THURSDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) — Dogs who accidentally eat a commercial poison to combat gophers and moles can emit a toxic gas that can sicken veterinary staff, a new report indicates.

Experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say such canine gas attacks felled workers at four veterinary clinics between 2006 and 2011, and such incidents “might be underreported.” All of the workers (and dogs) involved in the four cases recovered, the report added.

The cases involved zinc phosphide, a “readily available rodenticide that, on contact with stomach acid and water, produces phosphine, a highly toxic gas,” explained a team led by Rebecca Tsai, an epidemic intelligence service officer at the CDC. People who use the rodenticide are typically aiming to rid properties of burrowing rodents such as gophers or moles, and the products’ instructions say that the pellets should be inserted within the animals’ tunnels or burrows.

However, sometimes users may have simply spread the pellets on the ground, where dogs could eat them, or “even with correct application, dogs might be exposed while digging in treated areas with their paws or by consuming poisoned prey,” the CDC team noted.

Once the zinc phosphide is ingested, the dog quickly becomes sick and owners typically rush them to a vet for care. But the chemical reacts with stomach acid and water to produce the toxic gas phosphine.

In one such case in Washington state last year, owners rushed a “limp,” semi-comatose dachshund to a veterinary hospital, where she vomited into paper towels. A 34-year-old veterinary technician nearby who breathed in fumes from the vomit “immediately developed pain and nausea,” the report said, but she recovered after 20 minutes.

Other cases have been more serious. In 2008, a 62-pound dog was taken to a vet clinic in Michigan after eating three zinc phosphide pellets. The veterinarian induced vomiting in the dog “in a poorly ventilated room” and quickly experienced symptoms such as “respiratory pain, headache, dizziness, chest pain, sore throat and nausea.” Still sick 15 hours later, she went to a local emergency room and was kept under hospital care overnight. Three other workers at the same clinic were also sickened; all eventually recovered.

Similar events were also reported at vet clinics in Michigan in 2006 and in Iowa in 2007.

The CDC says many other cases might go undetected. “Because symptoms might only last a few hours and can resolve without medical treatment, victims might never associate symptoms with poisoning,” the researchers said.

For now, the agency recommends that pet owners use products containing zinc phosphide as directed or, better yet, try alternate means of eliminating burrowing rodents such as snap traps. And in cases where pets are suspected of becoming sick by ingesting the pellets, veterinarians should always induce vomiting outdoors to disperse any toxic fumes.

Veterinary staff treating horses with phosphine poisoning have also become sick, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, which issued guidelines this year for vets regarding phosphine products. Besides rodent bait, these include aluminum phosphide, an insecticide used to fumigate grains and animal feed.

The findings on dogs were published in the April 27 issue of the CDC’s journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

More information

The ASPCA has more on what to do if you think your pet has been poisoned.

— E.J. Mundell

SOURCE: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, April 27, 2012

http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=664144

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2012 in Health and Science

 

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Who Is Sleep Deprived?

Sleeping

Nearly one third of U.S. workers come to the job with less than six hours of sleep — meaning they are almost certainly sleep-deprived, government researchers say. Among the sleepiest workers: Those who work night shifts (think nurses and cab drivers as well as factory workers), people ages 30 to 64 and those who are widowed, separated or divorced.

http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/healthyperspective/post/2012-04-27/shift-workers-sleep-least-supplements-for-cancer-unproven-toxic-dogs-sicken-vets-helmets-for-tornadoes-nutella-settlement/682167/1

http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/26/11412660-one-third-of-us-workers-dont-get-enough-sleep?lite

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Health and Science

 

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