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Why fish is good for the heart and arthritis

fish is good for the heart and arthritis

. Packed with nutrients

. Experts recommend eating fish two to three times a week

. Limit eating fish that is high in Mercury such as swordfish and marlin

Fish has long been considered good for both the heart and the brain but is also valuable in the fight against arthritis. It’s high protein and packed with nutrients such as Vitamin D, B2 and Omega 3 fatty acids. Dieticians and nutritionists recommend eating fish two to three times a week as does the Australian heart foundation.

Studies have shown that it provides benefits in the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease and depression as well as helping to lower cholesterol. It should also be part of your armoury in the battle against arthritis. Today we look at how it can be beneficial to both your heart and joints.

But the first thing to note is that there is a sliding scale in terms of which fish provide the most nutritional value. There are certain fish that are best to avoid. As a general rule, try and steer clear of fish that are heavy in mercury such as shark, swordfish and marlin. Mercury is a metallic substance that often attaches itself to fish and can cause long term health issues down the road.

What the experts recommend

Fish that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids are the choice of the experts. These include Salmon, Mackerel and Herring. If you actively look to incorporate these types of fish into your diet you are on the right path. They are rich in calcium and protein and help to lower blood pressure.

The Australian Heart Foundation ‘recommends all Australians should aim to include 2–3 serves of fish per week as part of a heart-healthy diet. They go on to say ‘Because our bodies cannot produce omega-3s we need to source them through our diet.

The scientific evidence supports fish as the best dietary source of omega3s and found higher fish intake was consistently associated with lower rates of heart disease (heart failure and sudden cardiac death) and stroke.’

However, this study suggests that different types of fish provide different value: ‘Modest consumption of tuna or other broiled or baked fish, but not fried fish or fish sandwiches, is associated with lower risk of IHD death…..Cardiac benefits of fish consumption may vary depending on the type of fish meal consumed.’

Anti-inflammatory effect

The secondary benefit obviously relates to the issue of arthritis and how to best manage the ailment. As this study states: ‘Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce morning stiffness, the number of tender joints and swollen joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.’

But it takes time before you see the full benefits of the program. They say: ‘In our study, a significant improvement was seen at the end of the twelfth week in 7 clinical variables.’

The Arthritis Foundation states:

‘Research finds that people who regularly eat fish high in omega-3s are less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA). And in those who already have the disease, marine omega-3s may help reduce joint swelling and pain. 

The anti-inflammatory effects from omega-3s are helpful not just for relieving arthritis, but also for preventing other diseases linked to inflammation, such as heart disease.’

Correlation between heart health and arthritis

And that’s an important point to note that these two ailments often go together. Your heart relies on exercise and blood circulation but arthritis often prevents people from engaging in any form of physical activity because of the pain and discomfort involved.

So you have to look at the big picture. Exercise is important, as is diet, but they often go together. If you can get your diet right that could lead to becoming more mobile down the road and eating fish regularly is certainly a great start because it’s highly beneficial to both the heart and joints.

References

The Heart Foundation

https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/getmedia/4adbe011-db9a-4777-8a99-db6365e27cb1/Consumer_QA_Fish_Omega3_Cardiovascular_Health.pdf

NCBI: Cardiac benefits of fish consumption may depend on the type of fish and meal consumed: the cardiovascular health study

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12642356/

NCBI: The effect of Omega 3 fatty acids in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis receiving DMARD’s therapy: Double blind randomized control trial

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4965662/

Arthritis Foundation

https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/nutrition/healthy-eating/best-fish-for-arthritis

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Berries are all purpose and particularly good for arthritis

berries are good for arthritis

. High in antioxidants

. Significant anti-inflammatory effect

. Help to reduce pain associated with arthritis

Diet can impact your management of arthritis and one of the best food groups in that regard is fruit and vegetables. Berries in particular are considered to be of great benefit and we will look at the therapeutic and nutritional value of berries, strawberries and blueberries.

The Arthritis foundation states that ‘Berries top the charts in antioxidant power, protecting your body against inflammation and free radicals, molecules that can damage cells and organs.’

And according to this study:

‘Dietary fruits, especially berries are a rich source of several phytochemicals and nutrients which may explain much of their physiological effects as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Commonly consumed berries, such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are a rich source of several polyphenols.’

Berries are quite often found in plant based foods, so any diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables is a great start. What antioxidants do is essentially protect and repair cell damage and arthritis is essentially the wearing away of ageing joints so it’s a perfect match.

As stated here, berries bring with them a potent anti-inflammatory element: ‘Fruits, such as berries and pomegranates are rich sources of a variety of dietary bioactive compounds, especially the polyphenolic flavonoids that have been associated with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.’

Berries help to manage pain and discomfort

One of the issues with arthritis is the pain and discomfort that comes with it. Staying active and losing weight, which releases stress on your knees and joints, is an excellent remedy but food also plays a part. This study suggests that the compounds found in strawberries are a useful weapon in alleviating some of the pain that comes with knee arthritis.

‘Given the economic burden of obesity and related conditions, including knee OA, our study suggests that simple dietary intervention, i.e., the addition of berries, may have a significant impact on pain, inflammation, and overall quality of life in obese adults with OA.’

The following study also suggests that blueberries have significant anti-inflammatory effect:

‘Dietary polyphenols have been studied for their anti-inflammatory properties and potential anabolic effects on the cartilage cells. Blueberries are widely consumed and are high in dietary polyphenols, therefore regular consumption of blueberries may help improve OA.’

It goes on to say that ‘blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, as well as pomegranates are among the commonly available fruits that may offer some protection against arthritis.’

In conclusion, all forms of berries have the potential to be a potent weapon in the fight against arthritis. The great thing is they provide other benefits as well so you should certainly look to incorporate them into your diet regardless of age. In addition to being anti-inflammatory they are high in fiber, can help balance blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol, which makes them a valuable and all-purpose type of nutrient.

References

NCBI: Dietary fruits and arthritis

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5788027/

Arthritis Foundation

http://blog.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/tag/health-benefits-of-berries/

NCBI: Strawberries improve pain and inflammation in obese adults with radiographic evidence of knee ostheoarthritis

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5622709/

NCBI: Blueberries improve pain, gait performance and inflammation in individuals with symptomatic knee ostheoarthritis

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6413191/

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Arthritis and the Mediterranean diet

Arthritis and the Mediterranean diet

. Some elements of the Mediterranean diet are useful in the fight against arthritis

. Fish, grains and berries are foods you should look to incorporate into your diet

. Use discretion in regards to alcohol when trying to manage arthritis

When constructing a diet to reduce the symptoms of arthritis there are certain foods you can incorporate.  These include fish, grain and berries amongst others. They provide value because they are good at reducing inflammation which is one of the keys to managing arthritis. Foods you should look to avoid are fats, sugar and salt. It’s a matter of common sense but you should avoid foods that inflame the condition and eat foods that improve the condition.

This health study goes on to say that ‘Twenty-four percent of subjects reported that foods affect their RA, with 15% reporting improvement and 19% worsening. Blueberries and spinach were the foods most often reported to improve RA symptoms, while soda with sugar and desserts were most often reported to worsen RA symptoms.’

Is the Mediterranean diet helpful?

Over the years some have advocated the virtues of the Mediterranean diet which embodies a more traditional way of living. Excess sugar is avoided, meat is eaten sparingly and the focus is food sourced from the earth. The emphasis is on plant foods, fruit and vegetables, fish and seafood, all of which can provide value. For flavour, meals are cooked in olive oil and topped up with red wine.

Advocates of the Mediterranean diet love the freshness and vibrancy of the food but in terms of reducing arthritis the medical information is varied. This journal looked at four studies that had incorporated Mediterranean elements and found that ‘Only one study reported a reduction in the 28 joint count disease activity score for rheumatoid arthritis.

This review has identified beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet in reducing pain and increasing physical function in people living with rheumatoid arthritis. However, there is currently insufficient evidence to support widespread recommendation of the Mediterranean diet for prevention of rheumatoid arthritis.’

In regards to olive oil this study suggests it has a positive impact. It says that ‘Studies have also shown that incorporation of olive oil in diet decreases the risk of developing RA.’  

What about wine?

Wine is a staple in that part of the world but what is its effect on arthritis? The studies are varied but it’s generally accepted that excessive alcohol can be detrimental to those already suffering from the ailment. It can potentially inflame the condition.

But if you drink in moderation, it might not be all bad. You have to find the right balance. In regards to red wine there might be some good news. According to the Arthritis foundation: ‘Red wine has a compound in it called resveratrol, which has well-established anti-inflammatory effects. Some studies show wine consumption is associated with a reduced risk of knee OA, and moderate drinking is also associated with a reduced risk of RA.’

But it does also state that ‘many experts question the strength of these studies.’ However, other studies have drawn similar conclusions. This study states that ‘intra-articular injection of resveratrol may protect cartilage against the development of experimentally induced IA.’  

Look at all options

There is certainly a mixed bag in regards to the scientific backing of the virtues of red wine, but if you are going to incorporate it into your diet perhaps it’s best to tread lightly and do so gently and moderately.

When looking a the big picture, The Mediterranean diet certainly has some elements to it that make it an attractive option. You can certainly source specific nutrients that have proven therapeutic value. But you still have to research thoroughly, consult with your doctor and consider all the other options at your disposal as well.

References

NCBI

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5563270/

NCBI

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29256100/#:~:text=Only%20one%20study%20reported%20a,people%20living%20with%20rheumatoid%20arthritis.

NCBI

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5682732/

Arthritis Foundation

https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/nutrition/healthy-eating/best-drinks-for-arthritis#:~:text=Red%20wine%20has%20a%20compound,a%20reduced%20risk%20of%20RA.

NCBI

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17115116/

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What does your heart rate mean?

A woman checking her heart rate

. Your target heart rate is between 50 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate

. Listen to your body and understand the signs

. A lower resting heart rate is optimal because it means your heart is highly efficient

Today we talk about heart rate and the things you should be mindful of when exercising. To calculate your maximum heart rate the most basic rule is to subtract your age from 220. For most people the target heart rate is considered to be somewhere between 50 and 85 percent of their maximum heart rate. While experts differ on whether people should obsess over this, the best approach seems to be to use it as a guide. If you’re falling under that 50 per cent threshold, it could be interpreted as a sign that maybe you can afford to work a bit harder, but within reason.

The most important thing is to know your own body. You have to listen to the signs and understand what you’re capable of. Things of this nature are a guide to help you in the right direction. The more informed you are and the more knowledge you have the better off you will be. Your resting heart rate is one of the benchmarks that medical experts will use to determine your overall health. What this is really judging is efficiency and functionality by assessing how hard your heart has to work on a day to day basis.

Lower is better

With that in mind, a lower resting heart rate is optimal because it means your heart is so efficient it doesn’t need to work as hard to do its job properly. Everything is in good order. For adults, between 60 and 80 beats per minute is considered optimal any anything above 90 is usually considered a little high.

A high resting heart rate is considered dangerous because it’s interpreted as a predictor of cardiovascular disease down the road. It’s important to address the issue early and rectify it while you’re healthy enough to do so. The way to do that is through diet, exercise and lifestyle.

This study looked at the correlation between resting heart rate and the overall fitness of Brazilian adolescents. It first defines the meaning behind the numbers:

‘Heart rate reflects the number of contractions of the ventricles per unit time and fluctuates substantially with variations in systemic demand for oxygen.’ What this basically means is that the heart has to work harder when it’s not getting the appropriate supply of oxygen. The findings indicate that aerobic exercise is beneficial to your overall health. They also underline why it’s important to get into good exercise habits at a young age and maintain them right throughout your life.

Above 90

But what if you start entering that danger zone above 90 beats per minute. This study interprets the data as such:

‘Results from this meta-analysis suggest the risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality increased by 9% and 8% for every 10 beats/min increment of resting heart rate….but a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular mortality was observed at 90 beats/min.’

So again, when you approach that 90 beats per minute threshold you’re entering dangerous territory and it’s important to activate lifestyle choices for your own health and wellbeing. You need to make some serious life decisions before it’s too late.

It’s important for people of all ages to monitor their heart rate and take the data seriously. But the good news is that through diet and exercise you can rectify any underlying issues and preserve your long term health provided that you fully commit to the correct course of action.

References

NCBI: Association between Resting Heart Rate and Health-Related Physical Fitness in Brazilian Adolescents

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6046174/

NCBI: Resting heart rate and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in the general population: a meta-analysis

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4754196/

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Progression and resistance training

Progression and resistance training.

. Set clear goals in regards to progression and resistance training

. Volume builds endurance and intensity builds power

. Work at your own pace

To make progress with resistance training you first have to establish what you’re trying to achieve. The target and the pace you move at is heavily intertwined. That’s true for most things in life but especially in this regard because of the work and commitment required. It’s not a bad idea to ease yourself into your work and lay the foundation first. You want to build your body for the long haul and not just attempt a quick fix.

The first thing we will look at is volume and intensity and how to balance those variables. As a general rule, volume in fitness is directed more towards improving and increasing endurance while intensity is geared towards power, strength and explosiveness. How you structure your resistance training program and specifically what you want to accomplish will be determined by the balance you’re trying to strike. There are different studies available that outline how different methods have performed.

How to structure your program

This study suggests that ‘high-intensity (3–5 RM), low-volume resistance training program utilizing a long rest interval (3 min) is more advantageous than a moderate intensity, high-volume (10–12 RM) program utilizing a short rest interval (1 min) for stimulating upper body strength gains and muscle hypertrophy in resistance-trained men.’

It goes on to say that ‘These results are consistent with previous comparative studies in resistance-trained individuals showing high-intensity programs were more conducive for increasing strength while producing similar magnitude of muscle hypertrophy.’

To sum up, a high intensity workout is the fastest way to burn fat, lose weight and build strength. But this type of high intensity workout is something you should ease yourself into. It’s not always suitable for those starting out or those susceptible to injury. You want to build up to this point and get some experience before you move into the high intensity phase. In terms of increasing repetition and increasing weight it’s more a case of common sense.

When you feel your body is strong enough you can start to add weight and add repetitions. You should only do so when you have enough confidence in your own body. As this study states: ‘Progression in resistance training is a dynamic process that requires an exercise prescription process, evaluation of training progress, and careful development of target goals.

Specificity when progressing

The single workout must then be designed reflecting these targeted program goals including the choice of exercises, order of exercise, amount of rest used between sets and exercises, number of repetitions and sets used for each exercise, and the intensity of each exercise.’ They conclude by saying ‘The resistance training program design should be simple at first for untrained individuals but should become more specific with greater variation in the acute program variables during progression.’

So these are the basics of formulating and progressing through a resistance training program. We have talked about why resistance training is important and how you can vary the program but in regards to working through your progressions specificity is possibly the key. You need to clearly define your goals as you strive to move through the ranks.

References

NCBI: The effect of training volume and intensity on improvements in muscular strength and size in resistance-trained men

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4562558/

NCBI: Fundamentals of resistance training: progression and exercise prescription

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15064596/

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Different forms of resistance training

Different forms of resistance training.

. Isotonic, Isometric and Isokinetic are all different forms of resistance training

. Important to incorporate a program that is diversified and not one-dimensional

. Elastic resistance is a useful alternative to conventional resistance

Isotonic, Isometric and Isokinetic are the three different forms of resistance training. Isotonic refers to exercises where you apply weight and then ask the muscle to go through a full range of motion. Most exercises at the gym will fall under this category. In contrast, Isometric exercises are lower impact and more body friendly. They are designed to be not quite as strenuous. The range of motion is perhaps the biggest difference with your own body weight often used as resistance.

Finally, elite athletes who want to develop power at speed will generally incorporate some form of isokinetic exercise. However, it has to be said that while these type of exercises can diversify your program they aren’t quite as important if you’re just starting out. Initially, it’s perhaps best to lock down the basics first as these are slightly more advanced exercises.

Structuring your program

In terms of how you to formulate and structure your program there are different options available. As this study suggests it’s important to consider all the variables when compiling your program: ‘Variables that should be considered include cost of equipment, motor performance increases, amount of strength gains, and range of motion of the strength gains.’

Another study states: ‘One of the many variables that coaches and researchers face when designing RT programs is exercise selection. They can be classified as multi-joint (MJ) or single-joint (SJ) exercises. Most popular recommendations postulate that RT sessions should involve 8 to 10 exercises performed in multiple sets with both single (SJ) and multi joint (MJ) exercises.’ To achieve optimal benefit what emerges is that it’s important to diversify your program to give you a full complement of benefits.

Load building

The next concept is load building. Load management is an important concept to consider when deciding if you want to place the emphasis on increasing strength or building endurance. A large load with low repetitions will build strength while a smaller load with more repetitions will develop endurance.

This study looked at the difference in impact between moderate load resistance and low load resistance. The program ran for six weeks, eight exercises, four times a week. The study concluded that both variables help to achieve muscle strength and achieve body composition:

‘RT performed with moderate-to-heavy loads is recommended to recruit fast-twitch muscle fibres…RT with a low  number of repetitions and intermediate RM is considered an appropriate stimulus to increase strength and skeletal muscle mass. Alternatively, RT performed with a higher number of RM is well recognized to increase muscular endurance.’

Elastic resistance

And the final point we will look at is the difference between elastic resistance and conventional resistance. One of the benefits of using elastic bands is versatility and portability. The drawback is that you might not get as strenuous of a workout as you would with free weights and conventional resistance but it’s certainly a piece of equipment that is worth the investment because of the convenience and options they provide.

This study suggests that elastic resistance is a very valuable tool and doesn’t lose anything in comparison to conventional resistance: ‘Evidence from this study suggests that resistance training with elastic devices provides similar strength gains when compared to resistance training performed from conventional devices.

These findings allow coaches, physiotherapists, and even patients to opt to use devices with low costs, ease of handling, and which can be used in different places, such as elastic devices, for maintenance and gain in muscular strength.’ There’s a broad overview of the different forms of resistance training at your disposal and the things you can consider when developing a program.

References

NCBI

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6843979/

NCBI

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5744434/

NCBI

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5548165/

NCBI

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6383082/

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Why resistance training is good for you

Man exercising through resistance training

. Resistance training improves balance, bone density and mental awareness

. Strengthens vulnerable parts of your body and makes them flexible and malleable

. Targeted training helps to strengthen muscles, tendons and joints

A workout regime that places a strong emphasis on resistance training is a great option for people at different stages of their fitness journey. It hits a lot of the key target areas in terms of what you want out of an exercise plan. It shouldn’t be your only focus because you should also incorporate some form of cardiovascular component but resistance training can certainly be one of the building blocks.

As the name suggests, the basic principle is a strength program where you work against an obvious force and challenge the muscles to become stronger and more developed. The benefits are a combination of strength, stamina and injury prevention. You can strengthen the vulnerable parts of your body such as your muscles, tendons and joints by making them more flexible and malleable. By doing this they are more likely to withstand the rigors of day to day life.

As a general rule, resistance training can be achieved through some combination of your own body weight, resistance bands, medicine balls or free weights such as dumbbells and barbells. There’s enough variety there to put together a workout plan that is stimulating and rewarding at the same time without being too predictable, and that’s the balance you’re trying to achieve. The goal is to harness and manipulate these different apparatus in such a way so that your body is challenged and forced to respond positively and decisively through the basic principles of force and resistance.

What do you want to achieve?

The next step is to determine exactly what you’re trying to achieve:

What’s the goal?  What’s the endgame?

For seniors, the benefits are both physical and neurological. There is evidence that resistance training helps to improve balance, bone density and mental awareness, so a carefully structured program can certainly be of great benefit to elderly people who are possibly coming to terms with the changing nature of their bodies.

This study states that ‘A program of once or twice weekly resistance exercise achieves muscle strength gains similar to 3 days per week training in older adults and is associated with improved neuromuscular performance. Such improvement could potentially reduce the risk of falls and fracture in older adults.’

For younger people resistance training can still be a cornerstone component of your training program because of the high-impact nature of the exercises which make it a great way to burn calories and manage your weight, which is obviously one of the things that most people are trying to do with their fitness regime.

Young adults are also creating good habits they will carry on later in life. These include benefits to the heart such as reducing cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. They can also delay the effects of arthritis by cultivating a body that is stronger and more resilient.

Older bodies deteriorate

Older bodies naturally start to deteriorate so it’s important to put in place measures that prepare us for that transformation. Resistance training is a great way of doing that. This study states that ‘Inactive adults experience a 3% to 8% loss of muscle mass per decade. Ten weeks of resistance training may increase lean weight by 1.4 kg, increase resting metabolic rate by 7%, and reduce fat weight by 1.8 kg.’

They also say ‘Resistance training may promote bone development’ and ‘enhance cardiovascular health by reducing resting blood pressure’. These are the benefits to adopting a structured resistance training program. If you want more information you can also learn the best way to safely progress through a program as you gain more experience.

References

NCBI: Once weekly resistance exercise improves muscle strength and neuromuscular performance in older adults

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10522954/#:~:text=Conclusions%3A%20A%20program%20of%20once,and%20fracture%20in%20older%20adults.

NCBI: Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22777332/

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Muscle strength for seniors

Muscle strength for seniors.

. Muscle strength for seniors is important because a natural decline occurs as we age

. We need to replenish what we are losing

. Those who engage often report feeling happier and more outgoing

As we get older our muscles, joints and tendons naturally lose strength, flexibility and function. It’s an unfortunate fact of life. To counteract that it’s important for seniors to do their own muscle strength training to replenish what they are losing. We can’t go back in time but we can certainly slow the decline. If you commit a certain amount of time each week to strengthening your muscles, tendons and joints you will continue to be physically productive.

This study outlines how the ageing process can be attributed to ‘a number of physiologic and functional declines that can contribute to increased disability, frailty, and falls’ through a reduction of muscle strength. The study suggests that strength training is an excellent way of combating the natural deterioration of the body. ‘Done regularly (e.g., 2 to 3 days per week), these exercises build muscle strength and muscle mass and preserve bone density.’

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a common ailment that arises as we get older and there is evidence to suggest that strength training helps to neutralise the effects of this condition. This is because one of the goals is to improve bone strength by challenging the body to respond and get stronger. As this study states ‘Of the several exercise training programs, resistance exercise (RE) is known to be highly beneficial for the preservation of bone and muscle mass.’

It goes on to say that ‘Exercise training, especially RE, is important for the maintenance of musculoskeletal health in an aging society’ and that ‘Based on the available information, RE, either alone or in combination with other interventions, may be the most optimal strategy to improve the muscle and bone mass in postmenopausal women, middle-aged men, or even the older population.’

Psychological benefits of building muscle strength

While the majority of health benefits are physical there is also evidence emerging that there are definite psychological benefits that are a direct by-product. Seniors who engage in this type of strength and resistance work often report feeling happier, more confident and outgoing. A chemical reaction is unlocked as well as being a natural boost to your self-esteem when you successfully challenge yourself.

This study suggests that ‘Resistance training improved exercise-related motivational and volitional characteristics in older adults. These improvements were linked to continuing resistance training 1 year after the supervised intervention.’ Greater motivation and positive reinforcement are certainly some of the psychological benefits that can come with strength and resistance training.

Structuring your program

So that’s an overview of why it’s important to build muscle strength as we age. The final point we will touch on is how best to structure your program. The first thing to consider is frequency. Two to three times per week with eight to ten repetitions for each exercise is a good starting point. You can ease yourself into your work and it’s not too time consuming. As a result, your body will naturally adapt.

Once you are confident you can either add repetitions or frequency but still be mindful of not overloading your body. You want to try and achieve a balanced fitness program and one that is sustainable over the long run. Muscles also need time to grow and relax in between so it’s important to put some distance between your workouts. Stay dehydrated, keep a safe work area and develop your strength training slowly and steadily.

References

NCBI

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14552938/#:~:text=Current%20research%20has%20demonstrated%20that,independence%2C%20and%20vitality%20with%20age.

NCBI

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6279907/

NCBI

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29878445/

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How you can manage arthritis

Managing arthritis with diet, exercise and lifestyle

. Diet, exercise and lifestyle are three keys to how you can manage arthritis

. Keep active, stay moving and avoid slipping into a sedentary lifestyle

. Limit salt, sugar and processed food and incorporate fish and vegetables

Arthritis is commonly referred to as pain, discomfort or dysfunction in the joints. It’s often seen in seniors because of a lifetime of wear and tear but can occasionally be seen in younger people as well. The first thing to note is that like a lot of ailments it’s sometimes out of your control. You may not be able to prevent it from taking hold due to a variety of hereditary and genetic factors.

But by committing to a regular exercise plan you can strengthen the area around the joints which lessens the potential for inflammation down the road. It should be said that exercise doesn’t have to be taxing or time consuming – it has to be consistent and regular – a couple of times a week so your body can adapt and get stronger over time.

Get into good Exercise Habits

A national health survey recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week. But it seems there is certainly room for improvement as the AIHW states that 75 per cent of people over 65 were not sufficiently active as of 2014/5. This study outlines the correlation between exercise and the management of arthritis and states:

‘The importance for the inclusion of exercise training in the treatment of RA is now clear and proven. Exercise in general seems to improve overall function in RA without any proven detrimental effects to disease activity. RA patients should be encouraged to include some form of aerobic and resistance exercise training as part of their routine care.’

While it’s important to exercise regularly, it’s also important to exercise correctly. Your joints are like shock absorbers so you want to treat them well. Learn to use the right technique so you’re not putting unnecessary stress on the body. Also make it a point to stretch properly as a flexible body is a body less likely to succumb to injury.

Eating well helps to manage arthritis

In regards to diet, one theme that always emerges is the value of fish. As the Arthritis foundation states:

‘Among the most potent edible inflammation fighters are essential fatty acids called omega-3s – particularly the kinds of fatty acids found in fish.’ In terms of the type of fish they say ‘The best sources of marine omega-3s are fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel. Eating a 3- to 6-ounce serving of these fish two to four times a week is recommended for lowering inflammation and protecting the heart.’

Similarly, this study makes further observations on the value of dietary interventions:

‘We believe that an ideal meal can include raw or moderately cooked vegetables with addition of spices like turmeric and ginger, seasonal fruits and probiotic yogurt’. These are ‘good sources of natural antioxidants and deliver anti-inflammatory effects.’ It goes on to say that it’s best to avoid processed food and high salt.

As for managing arthritis day to day there are some common sense principles you can apply. Make the effort to stay active or your condition will deteriorate. Keep the blood circulating, the joints moving and the body in motion to alleviate some of the pain. Avoid living a sedentary lifestyle which only exacerbates the condition. Walking and swimming are low impact exercises that are a great way of doing this. If you can stay active and lose a little weight you will certainly ease the burden on your knees, hips and joints which is a great first step.

References

ABS stats

https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/health-pubhlth-strateg-active-evidence.htm

AIHW stats

https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/australias-health-2018/contents/indicators-of-australias-health/physical-inactivity

NCBI

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3042669/

Arthritis Foundation

https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/nutrition/healthy-eating/best-fish-for-arthritis

NCBI

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5682732/

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Healthy eating for the heart

Healthy eating for the heart

. Healthy eating for the heart comes back to balance, moderation and portion control

. Fruit and vegetables should be keenly incorporated into your diet

. Limit salt, fats and sugar

Balance is the key to developing a diet that doesn’t put your health in long-term jeopardy. Try and adhere to the basic principles of balance, moderation and portion control. Now let’s move to the specifics. The first point we will address is portion control. Eat what you have to eat and and resist the temptation to splurge because that moves everything out of sync. By doing this you can start to control your weight and sugar level which is important to your long term health.

The most dangerous scenarios are high blood pressure, diabetes and potentially heart disease. By exercising disciplined portion control you can limit your exposure to these harmful ailments. High blood pressure is caused through stress, smoking and a lack of physical activity but can also be caused by your diet. There is a strong correlation between excessive salt as well as certain fats and sugar. By cutting these items out, or at least limiting them, you can minimise the risk of high blood pressure. In regards to diabetes, you also have to be careful with your sugar intake, especially in regards to soft drinks.

What to put on your plate if you want a healthy heart

The next point to consider is what to actually put on your plate. Try and make a concerted effort to limit your consumption of fats, oils, sugar and salt. Look to incorporate a healthy serving of fruit and vegetables, grain and certain fish such as tuna and salmon. In terms of energy, two key sources are protein and wholegrain. You can source protein from lean meat and eggs as well as fish and poultry and wholegrain that is high in fibre such as oatmeal, brown rice and bran are also a valuable source of energy.

It’s good to incorporate these types of food items because they help to keep your weight in check while still giving you ample energy and that’s a good combination to have. The other food group that you really have to be diligent about perusing is obviously fruit and vegetables. This should be a staple and is almost mandatory for your long-term health.

According to the AIHW, between 2007/8 and 2017/8 approximately 50 per cent of Australians did not meet the fruit recommendations and almost 95 per cent did not meet the guidelines associated with vegetable intake. 7.3 per cent of the total burden of disease in Australia was attributed to poor diet and 1.4 per cent was attributed to a diet low in fruit, so it stands to reason that we all need to be vigilant about our food choices.

Australian dietary guidelines

According to the Australian dietary guidelines, one should make a concerted effort to source items from the five key food groups. The recommendation is that we seek a wide variety of food to achieve a balanced diet, not always in one day but certainly over the course of a week. As stated in the guidelines: ‘No single food can provide all the nutrients in the amounts needed for good health’. You have to expand your boundaries and actively source those nutrients.

The evidence for consuming a wide variety of foods as summarised in the guidelines suggests that a ‘higher quality diet is associated with reduced morbidity’ and that ‘diversity in food intake can reduce an individual’s exposure to any one group of toxicants.’ But it also goes on to say that Australians as a general rule eat from a wide variety of cuisines which should supply the ‘nutritional needs of the population but appropriate choices must be made to ensure that all nutritional requirements are met.’

References

AIHW stats

https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/food-nutrition/poor-diet/contents/poor-diet-in-adults

Australian dietary guidelines pages 32-33