Can you avoid the side effects of pharmaceuticals?

Nature has some alternatives...

A fairly common treatment for respiratory issues is Prednisone. Unfortunately, like many drugs today, this treatment comes with a long list of potential side effects.

Among the side effects listed on Drugs.com are the following.
* blurred vision, eye pain, or seeing halos around lights;
* swelling, rapid weight gain, feeling short of breath;
* severe depression and seizures (convulsions);
* coughing up blood;
* pancreatitis;
* low potassium (confusion, uneven heart rate, extreme thirst, increased urination, leg discomfort, muscle weakness or limp feeling); or
* dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure).

As would be expected, many people would like to avoid these side effects and somehow try to treat their issues and symptoms more naturally. Unfortunately most doctors are either not aware of the more natural options or are discouraged from recommending them due to risk of malpractice law suits and insurance headaches. So what are people to do if they want to try to help themselves before submitting to pharmaceuticals and surgery.

In many cases, health issues can be address through changing the way you eat and adding in some exercise. Don’t use the D word – Diet – because you don’t necessarily need to go on a diet to feel better and be healthier. Just change some of the things you eat. To start just eat less processed food and less added sugar. Eat a lot of vegetables and some fruit, add in grass-fed and organic meat if you aren’t vegetarian or vegan. Don’t eat things in a can or a bag with a lot of ingredients you can’t pronounce.

On the exercise side, you really just need to walk regularly and maybe occassionally speed up beyond your typical pace, go up and down stairs or up and down a hill, whatever you can accomplish without going into too much distress.

Additionally, you need to take responsibility for your life and educate yourself on what is available beyond what the medical community is willing or able to offer. Other cultures have been using alternative therapies for 100s if not 1000s of years with great success so why not give it a try. Talk to knowledgable alternative therapy practitioners or to other people in your community with similar challenges. Try something new.

A great example is Dry Salt Therapy or Halotherapy. Due to its natural anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and absorbent qualities, salt has been used medicinally for 3 thousand years, all the back to ancient Egypt. More recently in about the 13th century, people in Eastern Europe discovered that salt miners tended to not get sick and to not have any respiratory or skin issues like others in the community. Now we have figured out how to take what is good from the salt mine and make it available to everyone through Dry Salt Therapy or Halotherapy.

Halotherapy is simply breathing in very fine particles of pure dry salt to reduce inflammation, reduce the affect of any microbes you have breathed in as well as absorbing what is in your lungs and helping you expectorate it out of your body.

If you are on the Southcoast of Massachusetts and would like to try Dry Salt Therapy, CLICK HERE TO BOOK.

How are you different and why does it matter?

Getting fit can mean something different for everyone

How many people have a New Year’s Resolution to get fit or lose weight?

What does that mean? Since we are all different, it should mean something a little different for everyone. First of all, you need to set some reasonable doable goals and second you need to create some metrics and activities to hold yourself accountable and to measure your success.

Lets start with fitness or getting fit. Get fit for what? To run a marathon, to walk up and down the stairs in you house or to keep up with your kids or grandkids on the sledding hill.  This could be anything from lowering your PR in that marathon to not having to stop on the stairs to catch your breath on the way up.  If you reach the goal early, just set another one. Make them reasonable and measurable.

If you don’t think you can do it because your too old or too broken, think again. Jere’ Longman recently profiled, Ed Whitlock in the NY Times. Ed is an 85 year old runner who recently ran a marathon in under 4 hours. In fact, Ed was the first person older than 70 to have run a marathon under 3 hours. This is amazing and should be sufficient to get you off the couch no matter how old you are.

Now on to weight loss. Is weight loss your actual goal or are you more interested in how you feel or how you look in clothes. Again everyone is different. If you work out enough and eat right you could gain muscle and lose fat but not lose any weight as muscle weighs more than fat. So perhaps the right metric isn’t the scale but perhaps it is a measuring tape or your favorite pants that don’t fit anymore. If your doctor told you to lose weight, ask why? Is it to lower your cholesterol or blood pressure? You can probably do both of those things using nutrition and exercise without necessarily losing weight.

The final question is what do you mean by eat right or proper nutrition. Again, everyone is different. Some people are Vegans or vegetarians, others will never stop eating meat. One thing it seems everyone can agree on though is to eat less added sugar and processed foods. Start there and see how it works. Add it 3-4 times a week of exercise at some level and then just continue to add on as you improve or get bored. Good Luck!

Comment below on what your resolutions are for 2017?

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Could Five Minutes Change Your Life?

office-walking

Many of us work all day at an office and sit down for most of that time. Recently, we have heard that sitting is the new smoking and that we need to stand up all day, maybe even buy a standing desk.

Full disclosure: I use a standing desk and find it to be worthwhile. You can find out more about that HERE. A new study, however, has found that you might not need to go that far.

According to a study cited in a recent NY Times article by Gretchen Reynolds, “standing up and walking around for five minutes every hour during the workday could lift your mood, combat lethargy without reducing focus and attention, and even dull hunger pangs”.

“The study, which also found that frequent, brief walking breaks were more effective at improving well-being than a single, longer walk before work, could provide the basis for a simple, realistic New Year’s exercise resolution for those of us bound to our desks all day.”

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Get Up, Stand Up, Stand Up for Your Life

What one exercise can help you live longer?

screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-2-45-09-pmTo paraphrase the classic Bob Marley song, being able to get up off the floor, to stand from a sitting position, can be a great predictor of how long you will live.

In a article I just found in Outside Magazine entitled Why You Need to Be Doing BurpeesMichael Joyner MD from the Mayo Clinic sites a study from Brazil that indicates that “there was a clear relationship between how easy it was for people to get off the floor and how long they lived.” If you are interested in the study, click through above to the Outside article and there is a link.

Dr Joyner goes on to say that Grip Strength is another great predictor of longevity. Additionally, in my experience balance is another skill that will go quickly as you age if you don’t stay on top of it.

So, what can you do? Are just doomed to dwindle away with old age? NO.

As the article’s title implies, if you want to get good at or stay good at getting up and down off the floor then you should practice. Here’s some ideas:

  1. Good old fashioned burpees. If you don’t now what a burpee is, HERE is a link to a great instructional video courtesy of the coaches at the Spartan Obstacle Race group. If you don’t know what Spartan Race is, you should check it out HERE and you should go try one. There are races all over the country as well as coaches certified to help you succeed all on their website. I have done 5 of them so far and they are a great challenge to get you off the couch.
  2. Turkish Get Ups. The Turkish Get Up is a fairly old exercise that I found out about when I got my Kettle Bell Certification through the RKC. HERE is a video that shows you the steps. Try it with no weight at first and then you can add weights via a kettle bell or dumb bell.
  3. Just get up and down off of the floor. No Frills. Lie down on your stomach and stand up. Lie down on your back and then stand up. Or, as I learned at seminar from legendary coach Dan John, challenge yourself to get up and down off the floor using only one arm or no arms, etc. Mix it up. Take your time and when this gets easy try the two exercises above.

So what about Balance and Grip Strength. Well, balance can be improved by the drills above as well as simply standing on one foot, or standing on one foot and closing your eyes. Try standing on one foot and closing your eyes while you brush your teeth. As for Grip Strength, get a something grip while sitting at your desk or in the car like a tennis ball or grip strength device like the Captains of Crush Gripper. Or, simply hang from a bar, do pull ups or dead lifts.

What exercises do you do everyday?

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Don’t Throw Away Your Stinky Workout Gear. Try This First!

     If you are like me, you have to keep your used workout gear in a separate room from where you live and sleep until laundry day.

DeFunkit

     Then, even though it smells okay when it comes out of the wash, it really starts to stink once you get warmed up and start to sweat. And when you are finished, you and your clothes are banished to the far reaches of your home. But I don’t want to throw away perfectly good work out gear just because it smells.
     It turns out there is a really good reason for this behavior and better yet a way to deal with it that doesn’t include throwing out your favorite gear, buying new gear or an expensive divorce.
     Bacteria and other microbes latch on to the microfiber fabric that makes up most workout gear. Remember cotton. Didn’t smell as much but it has its own problems. So regular washing doesn’t break this bond between that which smells and your clothes, it just hides it until you start to sweat again.
     Other things I have tried in the past like soaking my workout gear in vinegar have worked to get the stink out because it kills the bacteria but it didn’t stop it from coming back.
     Now I have found a way to both remove the stuff that smells and stop it from coming back with DeFunkit. I have tried this myself with gear that needed to be hung up outside for days after each workout and it did the job. It is a bit expensive but realize that you have to wash gear using this system once to rid it of the bacteria and block it from coming back. After that you just wash normally.
     Give it a try and come back to tell us how it worked….

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The 10 Commandments of Lifelong Fitness

ned-overendNed Overend is a legend in endurance sports. And, at age 61 he keeps on competing at an amazingly high level.

Here is a list of some of his accomplishments over the years: 1) 6 time NORBA U.S. Mountain Biking Champion in the late 80s and early 90s. 2) UCI World Mountain Biking Champion in 1990. 3) 2 time XTERRA World Champion in 1998 and 1999. 4) UCI Masters Cyclecross World Champion in 2012. 5) 2015 USA Cycling National Fat Bike Champion.

Earlier this year Outside Magazine did a profile of Overend that is worth a read. If you are short for time, however, one key aspect of the piece was Overend’s list of the 10 Commandments of Lifelong Fitness.

10 Commandments of Lifelong Fitness

  1. Mix it up – Cross train with other activities aside from your main focus. Do different things in different seasons like switching to snow shoeing in the winter from running.
  2. Make fitness fun – Avoid too much structure in your schedule. Give yourself permission to have fun.
  3. Never lose fitness – It is much harder to get your fitness back as you get older so don’t lose it.
  4. Pay attention to potential injuries – If you notice a pain somewhere, don’t ignore it. Slow down or take the day off and go get a massage.
  5. Recover harder then you train – High intensity workouts are still good but high intensity recovery needs to follow.
  6. Understand the science – Understand what your body is going through and why.
  7. Know your gear – If you want to stay competitive and not get hurt, you need to understand your gear, you need to maintain it and you need to replace it when it is unsafe or worn down.
  8. Stay positive – Getting older brings new challenges so stay positive and don’t give up.
  9. Be in control – Losing control often leads to injury and you can’t afford injuries and lay offs as much when you are older.
  10. Focus on yourself – Compete with yourself more and with others less. We are all in different situations, with more or less time to train and different genetics.

If all of this sounds familiar it is because Overend subscribes to the training tenets of coach Joe Friel.

“Ned lives what I preach,” says Joe Friel, 72, masters coach and author of Fast After 50. “He’s always been a fan of short workouts with high intensity.” Whittled down, the recipe for success as a geezer is this: 1) Decrease volume and increase intensity. 2) Recover, recover, recover. 3) Don’t stop training, ever; you can retain much of your VO2 max as you age, but once you lose it, it’s a lot harder to get it back. “When you’re 60, you can’t take a month off at the end of the season, have a good time like younger athletes can,” Friel says. “There’s an accelerated loss of fitness. Take Greg LeMond, for example—he just quit. Hung it up. Ned never did that.”

There is more on Joe Friel here in another BoomerangFit post.

What do you do to stay fit after 50?

How Do You Stay Fast After 50?

Advice from Legendary Coach Joe Friel

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-3-02-03-pmIs it possible to stay fast or even increase your speed or fitness after turning 50? America’s leading endurance coach, Joe Friel, has a book out that answers that question with a resounding yes. The way you go about it though may surprise you.

Drawing from the most current research on aging and sports performance, Friel shows how athletes can race strong and stay healthy well past age 50.

Friel’s latest book, Fast After 50: How to Race Strong for the Rest of Your Life, synthesis what Friel has learned over the past 50+ years as an athlete and a coach. “The book came out of my personal experience. It was me trying to give myself a birthday present, trying to understand what happens when you turn 50 or more, what happens in your life athletically. So the book was a birthday present to me and ended up being, as far as I know, the only book written on this topic based on the research.”

The book, published by VeloPress, presents guidelines for high-intensity workouts, focused strength training, recovery, cross-training, and nutrition for high performance:

  • How the body’s response to training changes with age
  • How to adapt your training plan and avoid overtraining
  • How to shed body fat and regain muscle density
  • How to create a progressive plan for training, recovery and competition
  • Workout guidelines, field tests, and intensity measurement

More Recovery

“Probably the first thing the aging athlete discovers is the fact that they don’t recover as fast as they did when they were younger. There is something about my body that is not responding like it did a few years ago. So, that’s the starting point for most athletes in understanding that they are becoming old is they just don’t bounce back anymore.”

“The older you get the more you have to focus your whole concept of training around recovery instead of focusing more on high quality workouts which is going to be done anyway. You need to give a lot of thought on how am I going to make sure I will recover so that I can do the next hard work out after this one. In the book I offer suggestions for the athlete to start including more recovery days between hard workouts as opposed to just one.”

More Sleep

“Another one of the key issues that I had with my clients was that typically none were getting enough sleep. How I determine if you get enough sleep is if you use an alarm to wake up in the morning. It’s an artificial waking mechanism which means you just interrupted your sleep and we need to get to the point where you don’t have alarms. The key point is when you go to bed not when you wake up. Sleep is recovery so as you get older sleep becomes more and more important.”

What Do You Eat

“Nutrition can become somewhat like religion. We have these strong beliefs because it has been beaten in to us since late 1970s that you need to eat a high carbohydrate diet. Otherwise you you won’t be able to train hard and are going to die of heart disease and cancer and all these other problems. That’s just the way we’re supposed to do it.  It is kind of ordained that we are supposed to eat a high carb diet.”

“Only in the last, 5 or 8 years has it been questioned, so now we’re starting to see more research on the topic. We’re starting to see good athletes who are abandoning the concept of eating constant carbohydrates and are depending more on fat and protein. If you’re in your 50’s and you weigh more than you think you should weigh or want to weigh, its likely you have some insulin resistance and if you do have that then you probably shouldn’t be eating many carbs.”

Friel actually wrote a book about this with Professor Loren Cordain called The Paleo Diet for Athletes. There is also more information on this in an earlier post called Why Do We Get Fat As We Get Older?

Less Time Off

Finally, between finishing the book and the publication at age 70, Joe had a nasty training accident. Joe was not able to train for an extended period of time and learned a new lesson: “What I discovered was basically that the older you are the less you can afford to miss training for long periods of time. You lose fitness very rapidly at this age and take much longer to come back.”

Joe Friel

Joe Friel has trained endurance athletes since 1980. His clients are elite amateur and professional road cyclists, mountain bikers, triathletes, and duathletes. They come from all corners of the globe and include American and foreign national champions, world championship competitors, and an Olympian. Friel is also still a competitive age-group athlete in his 70s.

He is the author of ten books on training for endurance athletes including the popular and best-selling Training Bible book series. He holds a masters degree in exercise science, is a USA Triathlon and USA Cycling certified Elite-level coach, and is a founder and past Chairman of the USA Triathlon National Coaching Commission.

Friel has also been active in business as a founder of Training Peaks (www.trainingpeaks.com), a web-based software company, and TrainingBible Coaching (www.trainingbible.com)

What’s Next for Joe?

“I’m still writing, I just finished totally rewriting one of the first books I wrote back in the nineties which was called “The Triathletes Training Bible.” I came to realize that in the 17 years since I wrote that book it has become outdated. I threw the entire manuscript away and just rewrote the entire book from scratch and that will be out this fall (2016).”

Boomerangfit interviewed Joe Friel via Skype from his home in the McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale, AZ.

Why do we get fatter as we get older?

And how to avoid it...

Why we get fat as we age

Why we get fat as we age?

It almost seems inevitable. As we get older we all seem to gain weight. When is the last time you ran into an old friend or acquaintance and remarked that they weighed less than when you last saw them?

This age driven weight gain isn’t inevitable. It is actually rather easily addressed.

First as we get older we believe that we can’t do as much as we used to so we slow down our activity. This simply burns fewer calories. Instead, we should go out of our way to continue to move as much as possible. Walk, take the stairs, do something to stay active throughout the day and keep moving.

Also, our muscles will begin to deteriorate as we age mostly because we become less active. So once in awhile say once a week it is okay to lift something heavy and/or do something fast. Find a big rock or a bucket of small rocks and pick it up and down. Squat. Walk around with it. Find a hill and run up it slightly faster than you would normally jog.

Second, as we get older our bodies seem to be less able to handle carbohydrates as well as when we were younger. If you have extra fat on your body now it is a good bet that you are becoming what is called insulin resistant. This means your body has dealt with so many carbs over your lifetime that the sensitive signaling system for noticing carbohydrates in the blood stream and clearing them out using the hormone insulin has gotten less sensitive. Your body demands more and more insulin to clear out the same carbs and carbs are more likely to be turned directly into fat.

What do you do? Eat fewer carbs especially processed carbs and added sugars. Eat more fats especially in fish and avocados and nuts and eat more protein instead.

Keep moving as you get older. There is nothing stopping you. And eat fewer carbs especially heavily processed carbohydrates and added sugar.

The Meaning of Life

Are you risking too much or too little?

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 2.03.14 PMIn a great video called Never Stop, sponsored by The North Face, Jimmy Chin ponders the meaning of life. Jimmy Chin is an excellent skier, climber and photographer. Somehow Chin caught the skiing and climbing bug despite growing up in Mankato, MN and attending  Carleton College in Northfield, MN. I also went to Carleton and can attest to the lack of any hills or mountains in Minnesota.

Now Chin is a North Face sponsored athlete who among many other accomplishments has climbed to the top of Everest and then skied down. You read that right. He has had photos published in Outside Magazine and National Geographic and also recently produced, directed, shot and starred in a stunning film called Meru, about his climb with two friends to the top of a foreboding peak in the Karakoram mountains between India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China. This film won the U.S. Documentary Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and is definitely worth watching.

So what does Jimmy Chin think about the meaning of life:

“I guess I have always been driven to see what happens if I really throw myself at something. I learned early on that unless you really do that you will never find out. And, I think that would be really sad if I didn’t ever find my true potential. In a way, this is almost like the meaning of life. Finding a purpose and then pushing yourself in that space no matter what it is.”

“There are two great risks in life: risking too much and risking too little. The one that scares me the most is risking too little because you are given this great opportunity and you should make the post of it.”

This sounds a lot like the Ancient Greek concept of Arete. According to Wikipedia, “Arete is frequently associated with bravery, but more often with effectiveness. The man or woman of Arete is a person of the highest effectiveness; they use all their faculties—strength, bravery and wit—to achieve real results” or perhaps we could call it reaching their potential.

Are you reaching your potential? Are you throwing yourself at anything? Are you risking too much or too little?

 

Why Watching the Olympics Can Make You Fat

Full disclosure: I love the Olympics and watch as much as I can every two years.

It is very motivating to see how a strong work ethic, some talent and focused training can createScreen Shot 2016-08-19 at 7.39.45 AM such incredible performances. Especially good are the stories of athletes inspired to become Olympians by watching the Olympics at an early age. The Daily Mail has an article about Joseph Schooling, a young boy from Singapore, who met his idol Michael Phelps at 14 years old and then went on to beat him in the 100m Butterfly in Rio eight years later. Amazing stuff.

The inevitable stories of athletes over-coming challenges to get to the Olympics are great as well.  Today’s NY Times has a story about how an American High Jumper once had to live in her car.  Even Ryan Lochte and his stupid antics can’t tarnish this great institution.

So what’s the problem? It’s the advertising. Envision that we have millions of people watching the Olympics perhaps being inspired to seek a Gold Medal or perhaps just inspired to get off the couch and stop playing videos games to take a swim or a jog around the block.  But then, what do they see in between the games? Advertising for huge amounts of Sugar. Sugar that will inevitably make them fat and sick.

The three major advertisers that I remember seeing most are Coca Cola, PowerAde and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. A 12-ounce can of regular Coke contains 39 grams of total sugar, which is about 9 1/3 teaspoons of sugar. In March 2015, the World Health Organization recommended that adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake (approximately 12 teaspoons. A further reduction to below 5% or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.

You read that right. A single can of Coca Cola contains approximately 3/4 of the daily sugar intake recommended by the WHO and 50% more than what they recommend for added health benefits. A 20 ounce PowerAde, owned by Coca Cola, has 7 teaspoons of sugar almost as much as a can of Coke. While admittedly a bigger portion, this is the typical size of sports drink that you see people drinking. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups have 8 grams of Sugar or 2 teaspoons per Cup or 4 teaspoons in a typical package of 2 cups. By the way, the Peanut Butter cups were being pitched by Olympic skier Lindsay Vonn.

What’s the message we are sending? If you work hard and stay focused you too can become an Olympian. But in the meantime, eat a whole bunch of sugar and get fat and sick. Don’t worry though because these great athletes you are watching are telling you it is okay.