Blood Pressure and Dementia

Given just how scary dementia and Alzheimer’s is for people, it is not a surprise that there are many different things that people are doing to help reduce their odds of getting it or improve   their quality of life once diagnosed. 

One area of interest that makes perfect sense to me is blood pressure. When your blood pressure is high (here is a link to the new updated guidelines) Hint: the definition lowered the numbers considered high), you are putting your circulation system under undo stress and are putting yourself at risk of many things including stroke and one form of dementia is specifically tied to stroke.

Worried About Dementia? You Might Want to Check Your Blood Pressure is an article on NPR.org recently that goes into more detail in this area. 

So what can you do? Obviously have your blood pressure checked regularly. However instead of just checking it every year until it gets too high and then taking a prescription drug, why not get ahead of the game by exercising and losing weight. Exercise is a great way to reduce blood pressure and has many other benefits as well.

If would you like to join our group or just want to get our newsletter and see what crazy things we are up to, how we eat, how we work out and how we drive ourselves to be better even at our age, then click HERE to register for the mailing list.

If you would like to donate money to help rid the earth of the scourge that is Alzheimer’s Disease, then click HERE to donate.

Whole Fat Dairy Turns Out To Be Good For You

More and more holes are being drilled into the dam that is the low-fat fallacy. And, sugar is more and more becoming the real culprit when it comes to obesity and disease.

This week yet another study pointed toward fat as what is good for us and not what is bad.

According to a recent story in Science Daily, “Enjoying full-fat milk, yogurt, cheese and butter is unlikely to send people to an early grave, according to new research by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

The study, published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found no significant link between dairy fats and cause of death or, more specifically, heart disease and stroke — two of the country’s biggest killers often associated with a diet high in saturated fat. In fact, certain types of dairy fat may help guard against having a severe stroke, the researchers reported.

“Our findings not only support, but also significantly strengthen, the growing body of evidence which suggests that dairy fat, contrary to popular belief, does not increase risk of heart disease or overall mortality in older adults. In addition to not contributing to death, the results suggest that one fatty acid present in dairy may lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, particularly from stroke,” said Marcia Otto, Ph.D., the study’s first and corresponding author and assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health.

Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, was senior author of the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health.”

Put down that sugar-laden skim milk and get back to the fat to get and stay healthy.

For more information on how BoomerangFit can help improve your health and wellness, click HERE to register for the mailing list.

Also Team BoomerangFit is dedicated to raising money for the CureAlzhiemer’s Fund as part of our mission to return to fitness. If you would like to donate money to help rid the earth of the scourge that is Alzheimer’s Disease, then click HERE to donate.

Should You Be Lifting Weights After 50

Bucket Carry at the 2015 Arizona Spartan Sprint.

Should you be lifting weights after 50?

A recent article in BarBend not only says yes but also recommends the more demanding subset of Olympic Lifting.

For those that don’ know, Olympic lifting is made up of the lifts that are a part of the Olympic Games and include lifts like the Snatch and Clean and Jerk.  This lifts can be fairly sophisticated but with the right coach can lead to enormous gains in strength, mobility and balance.

So why take up weight lifting of any kind after 50?

  1. Muscle mass – Muscle mass naturally declines as you age. However this can be offset to some extent by continuing to lift heavy things. Use it or lose it as they say. You don’t have to Olympic lift to get this however, as you can do other things like just lift rocks or other heavy items in the yard. You could also Powerlift which includes the Bench Press, Deadlift and Squat. The key is that you do something correctly and safely and build up naturally over time.
  2. Functional Fitness – In order to deal with every day life, you need to be prepared to move quickly or in a way that is not natural. Think slipping on the ice or picking up your grand kids. You need to continue to be able to move in your normal range of motion and you need to have balance. All of these things can be accomplished through proper weight training of some sort.
  3. Fun – for the right people in the right environment, weight lifting can be fun. It is also pretty easy to see progress and can be done with other people.

Whatever your situation, you could probably benefit from lifting some weights. So reach out to a coach or trainer if you haven’t done it before and give it a try.

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More Evidence that Exercise Keeps You Younger

In a recent article in the NY Times entitled “How Exercise Can Keep Aging Muscles and Immune Systems Young”, the author Gretchen Reynolds, makes a very interesting statement:

“Together, the experiments [referenced in this article] add to growing evidence that some of our assumptions about aging may be outdated and we might have more control over the process than we think.”

What this means to me is that more and more evidence points to the fact that age is just a number and that if we optimize our nutrition and exercise we can postpone or reverse what we typically identify as inevitable aspects of aging.

What are you doing to keep aging at bay?

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Is our health the nation’s biggest problem?

Almost half of Americans in a new Associated Press-NORC poll say health care is their top concern going into 2018. Health care outpaced other issues, like taxes, immigration and climate change, by more than 15 percentage points, according to an article in AXIOS.

Why it matters: Congress and President Trump rushed to pass an overhaul of the tax system after failing to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Although Republicans may not spend more political capital on health care next year, the issue won’t go away as the public continues to grapple with high health care costs.

In other words, while the government and its opponents are going back and forth on taxes, the economy, the environment, and other important issues, preventable diseases driven mostly by our poor nutrition and lack of exercise are killing us.

According to the Global Wellness Institute and its new Wellness Moonshot focused on creating a world free of preventable disease: 

  • 69% of all deaths globally each year are a result of preventable diseases. Centers for Disease Control, 2017
  • More than 1 in 3 adults aged over 18 years is now overweight. World Health Organization, 2014
  • The global cost of largely preventable chronic diseases (cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental health) could reach $47 trillion by 2030. World Economic Forum, 2017.

One single potentially preventable disease, Alzheimer’s could bankrupt our healthcare system. Payments for care of Alzheimers in 2012 were estimated to be $226 billion (with a B) —and more than 15 million Americans provided unpaid care for persons with Alzheimer’s. Without a cure, these figures will nearly triple by the year 2050 (CureAlzheimer’s Fund).

The question then is if our government is not focused on it, how can we make an impact. The answer is simply that we each need to take responsibility for our own health and wellness by improving our diet and adding exercise wherever we can.

Are you too old for CrossFit?

Arguably you are never too old for anything. However some people are intimidated by seemingly extreme fitness modalities like CrossFit at any age and especially over 50.

CrossFit can be a useful tool for anyone to get fit though. At CrossFit South Brooklyn, there is a special group of people over 55 who are doing really well as you can see in the video below. As long as your trainers are working with you to assess and improve mobility and form and not just beating you to death, you should be fine. And, of course always consult your doctor before any intense fitness regime. My trainer, Angelo Gala from EDX CrossFit in Lafayette, CO, also integrates yoga, kettlebells, endurance and other modalities to keep things fresh and allow me to recover from day to day.

If you want help and motivation to get and stay fit over fifty, join register for Boomerangfit by clicking HERE.

 

Unbreakable Runner – What is CrossFit Endurance?

At 54 years old, I still run, work out, hike, paddle board, play ultimate frisbee and climb. I also compete periodically in events such as my upcoming StoneCat Trail Marathon to test myself and to raise money for charities such as The Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. The problem of course is how do you the find the time.

After reading two books, I think I have figured it out to a large extent.

The first book is called Fit After Fifty by legendary coach Joe Friel.  Coach Friel’s primary advice is to focus on more intensity less often and more recovery. The BoomerangFit blog has a lengthy review of the book HERE. 

The second book is called the Unbreakable Runner: Unleash the Power of Strength & Conditioning for a Lifetime of Running Strong.  This book is by Brian MacKenzie and TJ Murphy. For those of you who haven’t heard of Brian, he is a well know strength and conditioning expert who came up with an innovate system called Cross Fit Endurance. Again the premise here is that endurance training, in this case for all ages, needs to focus on form, cadence, strength and stamina and not just on the long slow distance that is still so popular with most people. Running long regularly especially without the proper form or core and leg strength is a recipe for injury. 

With CrossFit Endurance, I am focusing a lot of form and cadence while running. Intuitively I know that I need to have a faster turnover and to strike the ground with my forefoot. However, with practice and strength improvement, I can’t keep that up over a long run. I am constantly reminding myself to forefoot strike only to go back to heel strike when my attention wanders. It has to be subconscious or built into a patter over time through repetition. And, this pattern needs to be supported by the strength primarily in the feet or lower legs necessary to do it correctly at scale.

Additionally, I am spending a lot more time focusing on functional fitness than I ever have for running. The book, as you might guess, recommends CrossFit like workouts but I find I can do other things as well such as kettlebells or just doing burpees and carrying heavy things around the yard.

Can you work out too hard?

Yes. You can work out too hard for a whole slew of reasons.

The NY Times focuses on one of these reasons in an article entitled: “As Workouts Intensify, a Harmful Side Effect Grows More Common“. One woman highlighted in the article suffered some serious consequences from what should have been just a hard day at the spin studio.

“Over the next two days, her legs throbbed with excruciating pain, her urine turned a dark shade of brown, and she felt nauseated. Eventually she went to a hospital, where she was told she had rhabdomyolysis, a rare but life-threatening condition often caused by extreme exercise. It occurs when overworked muscles begin to die and leak their contents into the bloodstream, straining the kidneys and causing severe pain.” Ouch. This does not sound good.

So were you right all along and all of this workout nonsense was a lie? Is sitting on the couch safer? Not really. You should “workout” or exercise everyday if possible. You just need to remember two things first:

1) Fitness – what am I trying to get fit for? Do I want to play with my kids/grandkids without huffing and puffing? Do I want to ride my bike in the summer charity ride each year? Do I want to do better in summer ultimate or do I want to win my age category and some fitness-related sporting event. Have a serious chat with yourself to figure out where you should start your journey back to fitness. If you are looking to compete at a high level no matter what your age, consider getting a coach to help you build a plan and recognize problems and injuries.

2) Adapt – take your time getting into your new regime. Work your way up slowly, perhaps adding 10% or less of weight, resistance, time etc to your work outs each week. Take at least a day off a week to recover with some walking or yoga. Listen to your body and cut back when you are aware of over training symptoms such as elevated heart rate while working out (higher than usual), elevated heart rate when you wake up in the morning (take it every morning for a week to get a baseline) or are you having trouble sleeping? More ornery than usual? (Be honest).

So workout good. Workout too much and too soon less good.

If you are interested in more content like this to motivate you to get back to the fitness you once had,  Click HERE to sign up for their newsletter.

Titus Unlimited – Ripped Over 50

Fit over 50

“In order to be alive you have to constantly challenge yourself. You have to constantly grow.” says Jean Titus from Titus Unlimited in a profile on the website Metro. He is over 50 and is about as ripped as they come. The video in the Metro site is pretty motivational as well.

You don’t have to be this ripped to function in your life and be happy but you certainly need to follow his advice above. If you are moving, your dying. Exercise, whether it is going to the gym or hiking in the woods with your dog, is going to make you feel and look younger as well as helping you avoid diseases like Alzheimer’s, Diabetes and Heart Disease.

The biggest excuse for not taking your health seriously is that you don’t have time. But the truth really is that you always have time, what haven’t done is prioritized yourself above something else like television or video games or whatever else you do when you aren’t working or sleeping. So take the first step whatever is appropriate for you. Go for a walk or a run. Go back to the gym you have been avoiding. Or just start by eating less sugar and processed food. Whatever works for you but pick a primary goal and then stick to it.

If you would like more information on Jean Titus who is now a personal trainer, life coach and motivational speaker, you can find him HERE at Titus Unlimited.

If would you like to join our group or just want to get our newsletter and see what crazy things we are up to, how we eat, how we work out and how we drive ourselves to be better even at our age, then click HERE to register for the mailing list.

Why I came back to New Balance

I started running seriously in about 1975. When I say running seriously, I mean not just running away from something like my friends or my brother, but running towards something, in my case I was trying to lose weight and wanted to eventually compete in high school cross country.

Back in that day there were many different running shoes to choose from, however the shoe of choice on my cross country team at the time was New Balance. I don’t remember the name or number of the style and if I remember correctly they only had one anyway. It was pretty cool looking for the time and they worked well. I felt fast. This was also back in the time when if your shoe soles wore out, you just loaded on some Shoe Goo and kept going. Do they still make that stuff? We wouldn’t have dreamed – or been able to afford – replacing shoes more than maybe once a year.

Later in the 80s while going through college and the inevitable post college “I never weighed this much before so I better get back to running” phase, my commitment and nostalgia for New Balance wavered and I tried other shoes like Nikes, Saucony’s and even ASICS. I regularly tried new brands and new models but never found what I was looking for elsewhere.

Now that I have returned to the fitness fold and have again become “serious” about fitness, I have returned to my home with New Balance. It doesn’t hurt that they are a local company where I live near Boston. The real reason however is that they have a number of models that are just very comfortable at a reasonable price and that fit well with my focus on running, hiking, functional fitness and climbing.

I started with the New Balance Minimus for functional training. I do a lot of kettlebells, deadlifts, carrying things, crawling, burpees, etc. And it is important to have a small or zero drop to keep my body aligned and the Minimus works really well for this. It is also lightweight and pretty sturdy.

Next I decided to get back to running. To avoid injury, I wanted a lot of padding but I also didn’t want something that was unstable and mushy. I tried a few other shoes but ended up trying the New Balance Vazee Pace 2. This shoe had amazing padding but somehow without the bulk of the other shoes. I have two pair now one for crappy weather and one for nice weather.

As a former cross country runner, after I had gotten back into running, I started to crave the trails. So I went back to New Balance and came up with the Vazee Summit Trail V2. These shoes have some great traction and great padding but still have great stability.  This November I will be running the StoneCat Trail Marathon and these will be my go to shoe.

Finally, I have started climbing mountains as well to raise money for the CureAlzeimer’s Fund. In order to train for the mountains, I started doing some very vertical hikes carrying a lot of weight. For this I chose the New Balance Leadville.  The Leadville is also a trail running shoe but I found it to be substantial enough for hiking as well even with a heavy backpack. As a matter of fact, I hiked to base camp at 7000 ft on Mt Baker with about a 75 lbs pack using just the Leadvilles.

What shoes do you use and why?

Disclaimer – I do not receive any compensation from New Balance.  

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