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Exercises That Can Add Years to Your Life

By Huffington Post Editors

Working out isn’t only about how you’ll look in that bikini. Getting — and staying — in shape boosts heart health, helps your skin and improves your sleep, to mention just a few of the healthy perks.

And just last week, we added another motivation to the list, when a new study linked jogging to increased life expectancy. Researchers from the Copenhagen City Heart Study found that jogging one to two-and-a-half hours a week in two or three different sessions was associated with an additional 6.2 years for men and 5.6 years for women.

The CDC recommends healthy adults get two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (like brisk walking), plus two or more days of strength-training a week.

The research doesn’t quite prove that jogging helps you live longer, asThe Boston Globe points out, but it is certainly encouraging, and hopefully inspiring for anyone who is more inclined to sit on the couch than lace up a pair of running sneakers.

And jogging isn’t the only form of exercise that has been found to add years to your life — and in some instances, it only takes a few minutes of physical activity to make a big difference. Here are six other ways fitness has been linked to increased longevity.

Take the Stairs

In 2008, a small Swiss study found that sedentary people who switched from taking escalators and elevators to taking the stairs cut their risk of dying prematurely by 15 percent.

“This suggests that stair climbing can have major public health implications,” lead researcher Dr. Philippe Meyer, told the BBC.

An earlier look at data from the Harvard Alumni Health Study also found that climbing 35 or more flights of stairs a week significantly increased longevity when compared to people who climbed fewer than 10 stories a week.

Bike… Faster!

Biking to work is a great way to squeeze exercise into your day, spend some time outside and even save on gas money. But a leisurely ride, while it might leave you less sweaty upon arrival at the office, won’t do as much for your lifespan as if you really ride it out.

A study of Copenhagen cyclists found that men who pedaled the fastest lived more than five years longer than slower cycling men, and the fastest women cyclists lived almost four years longer.

Take a Swim

A 2009 analysis of data from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study found that men who swam regularly had about a 50 percent smaller risk of dying than sedentary men — but swimmers also had a lower mortality rate than men who walked and ran for their exercise.

Pick up the (Walking) Pace

A 2011 study found that people who naturally walk at a pace of one meter per second, about 2.25 mph, or faster,lived longer than their slower peers.

But walking pace might be more of an indicator of longevity rather than a way to increase it, the study’s author cautioned. “Your body chooses the walking speed that is best for you, and that is your speed, your health indicator,” lead researcher Dr. Stephanie Studenski told MyHealthNewsDaily. “Going out and walking faster does not necessarily mean you will suddenly live longer,” she said.

Work Out For 15 Minutes a Day

Some think to get the full benefit of a good workout, you need to be sweating for a full 30 minutes — or longer. But with so many people struggling to find a spare 30 minutes, researchers have begun to investigate if a shorter sweat session could be just as good.

A 2011 study found when compared to sedentary people, 15 minutes of daily activity, like brisk walking, added three years to life expectancy, according to Reuters.

Kick It Up a Notch

Walking faster, cycling harder — there’s an underlying theme to many of the benefits of exercise: intensity. Overall, vigorous activities seem to have more life-lengthening powers than nonvigorous activities, according to a 1995 study.

In fact, intense exercise may double the years added by moderate exercise, according to a 2005 study. Five days a week of walking for 30 minutes led to 1.3 to 1.5 additional years, The Washington Post reported, but intense exercise, like running half an hour five days a week, resulted in 3.5 to 3.7 extra years.



What You need to Know about Workout Supplementaion

by TC Sept 19, 2013 on T Nation

Here’s what you need to know…

When you consume nutrients is as important as what nutrients you consume, at least if you want to optimize muscle size, body comp, recovery, performance, and strength.

If you don’t take charge of insulin during your workout period, you’re flat-out wasting your time.

There are few things as indisputable in the strength game as proper workout supplementation. It’s perfect logic and it’s perfect science.

There have been big advances in muscle-building nutrition and supplementation over the years, but the one thing that supersedes all others in terms of flat-out effectiveness is our knowledge of the importance of timing.

Let me put it to you this way: when you consume certain nutrients is as important as what nutrients you choose to ingest in terms of, well, just about everything including muscle size, body comp, recovery, performance, and strength.

T Nation has talked about it for years and even coined the term, The Third Law, which explains that to get the greatest gains from training, you need to consume the precise compounds to fully fuel, reload, and rebuild muscle. But this can only be done immediately prior to, during, and immediately after training. This time period is sometimes referred to as peri-workout, meaning all around the training period. It’s the backbone of our supplement philosophy.

There’s been an enormous amount of corroborating research on the subject and numerous articles and books have given a passing nod to the concept, but few have actually explained what happens when you consume a certain combination of nutrients at very specific times before, during, and after training.

If they did, then maybe more people would get it, and there’d be a whole new era of weight training where people were actually making significant and steadfast progress.

In short, if you’re not following the rules of workout supplementation now, you absolutely will by the time you finish this article – assuming of course you live in a universe that abides by logic.

To get a better understanding of nutrient timing, let’s compare and contrast the traditional approach to training nutrition to a proper, science-backed workout supplementation protocol.

If You Don’t Understand Workout Supplementation

Here’s what happens…


In years past, presumably knowledgeable lifters would eat or drink a protein/carb meal about an hour or two before a workout. They’d kick their feet up, maybe peruse their workout notes, and let their food get broken down a bit so it could be absorbed by the villi of their intestine, where the nutrients would then ooze into capillary tributaries that serve the rivers of blood vessels.

Insulin levels would rise accordingly and the recently ingested/digested nutrients would piggyback onto the hormone. Together, they’d ride the currents until they reached other capillaries that led directly to muscle cells. The insulin would then present the various amino acids and glucose molecules to the muscle cells as metabolic gifts. Thus fortified, the lifter would head to the gym and begin his workout.

During the Workout

Unfortunately, insulin levels, elevated after the pre-workout meal an hour or two ago, have by this time likely fallen to baseline levels. As a result, the glycogen/glucose that muscles rely on, quickly starts to drop during the first few sets.

The hormone glucagon then begins to raise its opportunistic head. The hormone is an insulin antagonist (meaning it works against insulin, in a sense) and starts to rob muscles of amino acids so it can convert them to the glucose that the muscles need for fuel. Simultaneously, levels of other catabolic hormones, like epinephrine and cortisol, begin to rise.

Epinephrine, in its search for glucose, has started to rob the liver of glycogen. Cortisol, too, is committing larceny in a desperate search for energy. However, cortisol is amoral – it doesn’t discriminate. It takes energy from wherever it can get it, be it from fat, carbs, or, unfortunately, from the building blocks of muscle itself, protein.

The harder the workout, the greater this breakdown of protein for fuel. Add that loss of protein to the damage incurred by the workout itself in the form of torn muscle cells and rampant free radicals and you have the setting for a systemic Katrina-like disaster scene.

While the super-hero anabolic hormones like Testosterone, growth hormone, and IGF-1 make their appearance during a workout, any increases are relatively small and transient and they often drop below baseline levels after a workout. True, they’ll do some repair work in the hours in-between, but the workout period itself is prime time when it comes to muscle growth.

It’s too bad insulin, often regarded as the most anabolic hormone, is now in short supply in our hypothetical scenario. Insulin is what’s needed to offset the collective efforts of all the workout-induced catabolic hormones. But unfortunately, insulin levels were already at baseline or below baseline by the time our lifter pulled his Jeep into the gym parking lot.

(Of course, even if insulin levels were still high, they wouldn’t have much to transport as our lifter swallowed his last bit of protein an hour or two before his workout began!)

Additionally, muscle cells are amazingly sensitive to insulin during and after a workout – more so than any other time of day or night. As a result, very few, if any, nutrients would be stored as fat during the workout period. But alas, this sensitivity starts to fall precipitously as the post-workout minutes pass.


By the time our lifter drags his energy-depleted butt home an hour later and blends up a protein shake, his muscle cells are almost deaf, dumb, and blind to any rise in insulin from the shake he’s ingesting. As a result, insulin can carry amino acids and glycogen to the muscle cells’ doors, but they won’t hear and they won’t answer.

Homeless, many of the glucose molecules get stored as glycogen or fat. And while it’s doubtful any protein would be stored as fat, much of it would end up in the liver, which is kind of a purgatory for unused amino acids.

Metabolically, the lifter’s body has gone to hell but it hasn’t come back. Glycogen levels remain depressed, catabolic hormones remain elevated, and the rate of protein breakdown exceeds the rate of protein synthesis.

So the net effect of this supposedly conscientious workout is probably little or no anabolic stimulus or resultant muscle growth, and possibly even some storage of fat in the post-workout meal. Muscle strength might still increase, though, as strength is often largely a response to neurological stimuli. But if muscle growth and better body comp were the goals, the lifter is pretty much out of luck.

It’s not a pretty picture, is it?

Let’s contrast the above with what would happen if the lifter knew something about modern day, science-backed workout supplementation.

If You Do Understand Workout Supplementation

Here’s what happens…


The science-savvy lifter consumes nutrients about 45 minutes to an hour before a workout, too, but it’s comprised of about 40 to 50 grams of easily digested functional carbohydrates and about 35-40 grams of unique di- and tripeptides that are absorbed directly into the bloodstream to set up his metabolic machinery. Insulin levels surge and amino acids and glucose are carried to muscle cells to prime the pump.

Fifteen minutes prior the workout, the lifter ingests another 35 to 40 grams of a special functional carbohydrate blend and another 15 to 20 grams of quick-acting protein, also in liquid form. Again, this is to make sure that the body’s most anabolic hormone, insulin, is flowing at peak capacities and that there are plenty of glucose molecules and amino acids for insulin to carry to hard-working muscle cells.

If the lifter wants to further enhance the anabolic effects of insulin, he’d also ingest cyanin 3-glucoside (C3G) at this time. C3G increases insulin sensitivity on muscle cells (not fat cells), thus enhancing glucose and protein transport, so all the good stuff you get with insulin is amplified and translates to bigger pumps, faster strength gains, and enhanced work capacity and recovery.

During the Workout

During the workout itself, our smart lifter continues to sip a combination of this same special carbohydrate blend and di- and tripeptide formulation. By now, even during what would normally be the most metabolically devastating part of the workout, his insulin levels are high, as is his insulin sensitivity.

His blood flow has increased, his pump is mind blowing, and insulin molecules are loaded down with amino acids and glucose like Santa’s sleigh, and they’re greedily being accepted by muscle cells.

With all that insulin surging through the body, cortisol levels remain low, and the glycogen or amino acid-robbing effects of it and its evil cohorts don’t amount to anything. Likewise, free radical production is kept to a manageable minimum.

Protein breakdown in general is extremely low. The carbs, still being regularly ingested, are fueling the ATP/creatine phosphate system, ensuring higher reps and more intense muscle contractions. Fat is also being oxidized at a much higher rate than would otherwise be possible, and this fat oxidation continues even after the workout.



Our still outrageously pumped lifter drives home – even though he feels he probably could have kept on lifting until they shut the lights out and locked the doors – and fixes himself another small protein drink or “pulse.”

Muscle cells are still extremely sensitive to still-high insulin levels and the just-introduced di- and tripeptides are quickly shuttled off to still greedy muscle cells. Cortisol levels, normally elevated after a workout, have been beaten down and shamed.

The net result of this evolved approach? We have a lifter who gave his muscles every advantage.

1. The anabolic environment he created is perfect for muscle growth and recovery.

2. Protein synthesis is super high.

3. Catabolic hormones are low.

4. Fat oxidation is proceeding, furnace like.

5. Free radicals have been minimized.

6. ATP and creatine levels have been fully reestablished.

And, if you were to actually weigh his muscles, they’d actually be much heavier, percentage wise, than they would be if you followed the traditional approach.

This lifter has done everything to stack the muscle-building cards in his favor and he’ll be rewarded with significant additional muscle growth and improved body composition. Furthermore, he probably won’t be sore or fatigued at all the next day. He’ll feel unbreakable, every single workout.

That’s quite a difference from the traditional, time-honored approach employed by our first hypothetical lifter, huh?

There are few things as indisputable in the strength game as proper workout supplementation.  It’s perfect logic and beyond that, it’s perfect science.

To echo the “3rd Law,” what you do the rest of the day is up to you, but give your peri-workout supplementation the attention it deserves and you will absolutely, definitely make the progress that might have eluded you in the past



Metabolism and Weight Loss

How your body burns fuel is a complex process that involves careful planning of what and when you eat and how you exercise. Learn how to put your metabolism in perspective and focus on your weight-loss program.

The biggest factor in whether someone gains or loses weight is not metabolism. Your weight loss primarily hinges on your body’s daily energy balance — how many calories you are taking in every day vs. how many you are expending.

“What determines whether you’re gaining or losing weight is whether you’re eating more calories than you’re burning,” says Michael Rosenbaum, MD, associate professor of clinical pediatrics and clinical medicine at Columbia University Medical College in New York. “Burning more calories through exercise will allow you to eat more or lose more weight.”

Exercise and diet boost your resting metabolic rate, which is the rate at which your body burns calories every day just through the process of staying alive. By boosting your metabolism, you increase the amount of calories you burn during rest or normal activity, which aids in your weight loss. Resting metabolic rate also plays a large role in keeping lost weight off. But ultimately exercise and diet are what determine how much you weigh.

Boosting Your Metabolism: Diet

Diet can have a large impact on your metabolism, but only if you keep eating. Cutting back the amount of food you eat through a fad diet or skipping meals can send your body into fat-storing starvation mode, slowing down your metabolism and hindering your attempts for lasting weight loss.


To keep your metabolic rate up, you should:

  • Eat breakfast, which gives your body an early energy boost and deters it from fat storage.
  • Eat many small meals and snacks throughout the day to keep your metabolism busy burning fuel all day long.
  • Increase the amount of lean protein you eat. Your body burns more calories when it is digesting proteins, compared with carbohydrates and fats.

Boosting Your Metabolism: Exercise

Aerobic exercise provides your metabolism a temporary boost, but it only lasts for a short time after the exercise has ended. The main role of aerobic exercise is to burn calories and influence your body’s daily energy balance.

Strength training is the form of exercise that can have an influence on your resting metabolic rate. Increasing your muscle mass increases your metabolism. In fact, that’s why your metabolism winds down as you get older: as you age, you lose muscle. While muscle and fat weigh exactly the same on the scale, muscle is compact tissue and it is also active tissue — it burns calories.

Activities that naturally boost your metabolism — strength training and eating lean protein — contribute to weight loss. But keep in mind that when you stop these activities, your body will revert to its original metabolism. To keep the weight off, you need to adopt healthy habits that you will be able to live with for a long time.

Learn more in the Everyday Health Weight Center.

Last Updated: 6/8/2010



Carbohydrates: Your Diets Fuel

Many fad diets give carbohydrates a bad rap, leading you to believe that they’re the cause of unwanted weight gain. But carbs are an essential part of a healthy diet.

Before you feast on chicken and boycott carbs, take a closer look at the U.S. Food Pyramid. Carbohydrates are highlighted as an important part of a healthy diet, and not banned by any means. Your body needs a wide variety of foods to function and stay healthy.

“Carbohydrate is one of the macronutrients that we need, primarily for energy,” says Sandra Meyerowitz, MPH, RD, a nutritionist, online nutrition coach, and owner of Nutrition Works in Louisville, Ky. While fats and protein are also necessary for energy, they’re more of a long-term fuel source, while carbohydrates fulfill the body’s most immediate energy needs. “It’s your body’s first source of energy — that’s what it likes to use,” adds Meyerowitz. Why does the body prefer carbs? Specifically because they’re easier and faster to break down and use than proteins or fats, she explains. So don’t deny your body what it needs to keep up with your active lifestyle.

What Are the Types of Carbohydrates?

There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Complex carbohydrates, which should make up most of your carbohydrate intake, require more work and take longer for your body to break down.

“It’s a slower process,” says Meyerowitz. But that’s a good thing — while simple carbohydrates are broken down more quickly, they don’t do much for your body. Because complex carbohydrates are broken down slowly, they give your bloodstream a more consistent level of energy, so you avoid the “highs and lows” that simple carbohydrates can give you, explains Meyerowitz.

What’s the Best Source of Carbs?

You need to get between 50 and 60 percent of your daily calories from carbohydrates, according to Meyerowitz. Most should be whole grains and other complex carbohydrates, but the fiber in fruits and vegetables make them a good simple carbohydrate choice. If you don’t get enough carbohydrates, you run the risk of depriving your body of the calories and nutrients it needs, or of replacing healthy carbs with unhealthy fats.


To get the carbs you need, fill your plate with the best carbohydrate sources for your body:

  • Whole grains like barley, bulgur, buckwheat, quinoa, and oats
  • Whole-wheat and other whole-grain breads
  • Brown rice
  • Whole-wheat pasta
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Beans, lentils, and dried peas
  • Whole-grain cereals like 100 percent bran

This doesn’t mean that you’re never allowed to have a sweet treat for dessert, a bowl of white rice, or a baked potato. It just means that those should be the exceptions instead of everyday carbohydrate selections.

At the same time, you should also avoid loading up on complex carbohydrates or making them your primary source of calories. A diet too rich in even complex carbohydrates — or in any food — packs more calories into your body, which eventually leads to weight gain.

Complex carbohydrates are good for you, so don’t look at a bowl of hearty whole-wheat pasta or brown rice as a bad thing or a big diet no-no. Instead, consider it a source of healthy fuel that your body needs to maintain consistent energy.

Last Updated: 3/27/2013



Exercise is not Optional: Your Life Depends on It!

by Linda B White, M.D.


If regular physical activity didn’t make your list of New Year’s resolutions, add it now. Your life depends upon it.

Sedentary lifestyles count as a major risk factor for chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis (brittle bones). A 2010 study found that, compared to women who spent fewer than three hours a day sitting, those who sat six hours or more were 34 percent more likely to die.

The remedy is simple: Move. The benefits are plentiful.

  • Muscles increase in size, gaining strength and endurance. You have the energy to enjoy dancing, hiking, cycling, skating, and sledding with friends.
  • Body weight is easier to maintain. Because muscle uses lots of fuel, the rate at which you burn calories increases.
  • Bones thicken under the influence of weight-bearing and resistance exercises (working against weights, bands, or your own body weight), which reduces the risk of osteoporosis. To stimulate bone, do weight-bearing and resistance exercises
  • Joints become more flexible when moved through their full range of motion. Strengthening the muscles around joints protects them and eases arthritis symptoms.
  • The health of heart, lungs, and blood vessels improves with aerobic exercise—the type that uses big muscles and increases your pulse and respiratory rate to the point you can talk but not sing.
  • Exercise protects against stroke and cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and heart attacks. It lowers LDL (“lousy”) cholesterol and elevates HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
  • The nervous system functions more optimally. Mood, attention, learning, and memory improve. Aerobic exercise seems to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
  • Exercise relieves stress and anxiety and aids recovery from depression.
  • Moderate daily exercise improves nighttime sleep and reduces fatigue, even in energy-zapping conditions such as cancer.
  • The immune system benefits with moderate exercise.
  • Exercise increases tissue sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that ushers blood sugar inside cells. For that reason, the risk of type 2 diabetes declines.
  • Exercise also increases growth hormone, which stimulates growth, cellular reproduction and regeneration, and maintenance of muscle and bone.
  • The digestive system perks along better. Constipation becomes less likely. Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome improve.
  • Exercise has benefits for your sex life. Working out makes you feel better about yourself, stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which is involved in sexual arousal, and protects arterial health, thereby reducing the risk of erectile dysfunction. A study in women found that a bout of exercise counteracted the libido-dampening effect of antidepressants.
  • Exercise reduces the risk of some cancers.
  • Lastly, regular physical activity extends your life. Research has shown that people who follow federal guidelines for physical activity reduce their risk of dying by 25 to 35 percent.




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