Volume 5, Issue 10
March 8, 2012

Nothing delays aging like this...

Robert, an 88-year-old grandfather, said it best — “Getting old is h-e-double toothpicks!” And nothing makes aging worse than losing your mobility, suffering in pain, and fighting disease. They all take the joy out of life. We all get old. But none of us wants to be unhealthy. Unfortunately, Robert never did the one thing that could have made getting older a little easier.

Oh, he watched what he ate, took supplements, and didn’t smoke. But nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing is as effective in delaying the effects of aging and preventing disease as the one thing he rarely did — exercise. Ask your doctor how many optimally physically fit people he has seen who become sick with chronic disease. He'll have a very hard time thinking of even one. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, it doesn't matter. The single best way to avoid them all is to have an effective exercise routine.

But here's the problem. Most people don’t know how much exercise they need. And they don’t know what kind of exercise they should do. Many people think that going out for a walk or lifting weights for 30 minutes two to three times a week is all they need. Sorry, but this is just not true for the majority of people. And now a study published only this past month is underscoring this point. It’s also pointing to how much exercise you really need to get maximum results.

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The authors of this meta study looked at 3,194 studies on the effects of exercise as a prevention for coronary artery disease. Then they eliminated all of the studies that did not report on exactly how much exercise the participants did. This left only nine studies! Out of more than 3,000 studies on the effects of exercise, only nine detailed the time that the participants actually exercised. I think this just reflects the fact that most people in the medical community don’t really take exercise seriously. They still don’t appreciate that exercise properly done is the most powerful drug a doctor has in his arsenal. I mean, how many studies do we see on the effects of drugs in which the authors don't indicate the dose? None! But the amount of time you exercise is equivalent to the dose. So these nine studies are very important. Here’s what they said.

In all nine of these studies, the form of exercise that the participants were doing was what is called “moderate-intensity leisure-time physical activity.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the best way for you to confirm whether you are exercising at a level of moderate-intensity leisure-time physical activity is the talk test. They say, “As a rule of thumb, if you're doing moderate-intensity activity, you can talk, but not sing, during the activity.” The CDC then gives the following examples: walking briskly (three miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking), water aerobics, bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour, tennis (doubles), ballroom dancing, general gardening. In other words by this definition, the exercise used in every study was not very intense at all.

When researchers finally analyzed the results of the meta study, here's what they found. People who engaged in 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity leisure-time physical activity had a 14% lower coronary heart disease risk when compared with those reporting no physical activity at all.

But in terms of moderate-intensity leisure-time physical activity it turns out that more is better. Those engaging in the equivalent of 300 minutes per week had a 20% lower risk. And those who engaged in 750 minutes per week had a 25% reduction in risk.

So if you’re looking to slow the effects of aging, and you don’t like to do any intense exercise, you need to do more moderate-intensity exercise. And the more the better. I’d recommend at least one hour every day, but I’d prefer you do it for 90-110 minutes every day. Unfortunately, even this level of exercise won’t completely prevent disease. So next week, I’ll show you an even better way to exercise. It takes only 15 minutes a day, three times a week, and it’s far more effective.

Finding your Real Cures,

Frank Shallenberger, MD

Wilson TM, Tanaka H, Meta-analysis of the age associated decline in maximal aerobic capacity in men: relation to training status. Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. Vol. 278: 829-834, 2000

Sattelmair J, Pertman J, Ding EL, et al.  Dose response between physical activity and risk of coronary heart disease. A meta-analysis. Circulation 2011; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.010710. Available at: http://circ.ahajournals.org.

Little JP, Safdar A, et al. A practical model of low-volume high-intensity interval training induces mitochondrial biogenesis in human skeletal muscle: potential mechanisms. J Physiol 588.6 (2010) pp 1011-1022 1011

Copyright 2012 Soundview Publishing, LLC.

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