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Posts Tagged ‘Move’

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WANNA LIVE LONGER? GET FIT.

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

There’s a new study out that shows that cardiorespiratory fitness (max effort on a treadmill – like a “stress test”) is associated with decreased risk of death due to cardiovascular disease. The findings are pretty cool and the effects are pretty large. Let’s break it down.

What did they do?

  • The researchers enrolled 1,000-4,000 people between the ages of 20 and 90 each year from 1970-2006 who came to their clinic in Texas for a complete clinical visit.
  • They excluded anyone who had a heart attack previously, which still resulted in a sample size of 66,371 people, which is pretty solid.
  • The researchers collected a bunch of information like blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking status, and fitness. Fitness was assessed with a maximal treadmill exercise test by setting the speed to about 3.3 miles/hour and then increasing the grade by 1% each minute until the person was exhausted (note: I don’t think anyone is arguing that this is the best measure of fitness, but just a straightforward and standardized one).
  • Then the researchers followed-up with these people either until they died or up to 36 years (1970-2006). The main outcome measure was death from cardiovascular disease.

What did they find?

Take a look at the figure above. It shows the relative risk of dying from cardiovascular disease associated with the variables on the left. A risk of 1 (dotted line) means no change or no effect of the variable. What you can see from this figure is that the usual suspects like smoking and diabetes increased the risk of death from cardiovascular disease – maybe no surprise here. However, what is most interesting about this study is how the results of the treadmill test (i.e., fitness) predicted decreased risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Those who had the best fitness scores and were in the top 40% (quintiles 4 and 5) for both men and women were approximately three times less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.

The results are impressive. Cardio fitness has a greater impact than smoking. So, what do you say folks? Let’s get (and stay) fit.

 

GET STRONGER

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Men’s Journal has a nice article titled, “Everything you know about fitness is a lie.” I’m not gonna go that far, but the article offers five “truths” that bear repeating.

1. Your gym is your enemy. Not always, but gyms can lead to boring, ineffective workouts that become loathed. Instead, get outside, play (when was the last time you played tag or climbed a tree?)

2. You need to break yourself down before you rebuild. Start at the beginning – simple movements to build strength. Squat. Deadlift (i.e., pick up heavy things). For movement, I agree with this article in that if you could only own one book on fitness it should be “Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training” by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore.

3. Once you “get it,” you’ll love it. Variety, feeling good, and looking good are all reinforcing. ‘Nuff said.

4. Inside every man’s body is a weak muscle waiting to fail. This “truth” highlights the importance of whole body movements and exercises.

5. Being fit is about the freedom to train yourself forever. Amen. When I think about what “health” or “being healthy” means to me, I think about how I feel and I am performing (and how I want to feel and perform into old age) more than any blood test or bodily measurement. Do you wanna be the guy in the wheelchair or one of the Art De Vany or Jack Lalanne‘s of the world?

WAY, WAY BETTER THAN ANY STAIRMASTER

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
Snowman_Slide_Puts_Normal_Sledding_Hills_to_Shame.flv
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We’ve talked before about how it can be difficult to muster the effort (and sometimes the courage) to get some physical activity when the weather isn’t great. Well, this video makes me want to get out in the snow right this minute.

Now, I have to warn you, that what you are about to see just might be the most kick-ass snow slide you have ever seen. I grew up in Michigan, so having built and sledded upon many a snow slide, I feel I have some basis for comparison and some standing to speak on the matter – but really, check this thing out!

It looks so fun and awesome that you might not even think about how many “stairs” those folks are doing as they keep going back for more. Spend all day on the stairmaster? No thank you sir. But, spend all day on this thing? You bet!

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