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Push Ups and Longevity

Recent Study is a Biomarker Reminder

Take a moment and read the recent New York Times article, How Many Push-Ups Can You Do? It May Be a Good Predictor of Heart Health. It appears that being able to perform well on a push up test is a better predictor of heart health than the traditional treadmill test.  The article postulates several reasons for the research results.  We only need to read the book Biomarkers for a thorough explanation.

In the book Drs. Evans and Rosenburg looked at the measurable “biomarkers” that keep humans healthy, independent, and fit over an entire life span.  They have determined the top four biomarkers are:

  1. Muscle Mass.  What percentage of your body is made of muscle.
  2. Strength.  Can you use that muscle to push, pull, lift and carry.
  3. Basal Metabolic Rate.  The number of calories your body expends at rest.
  4. Bodyfat Percentage.  What percentage of your body is composed of fat.

The authors named these top four biomarkers, the decisive tetrad.  They are the prerequisites to maintaining healthy numbers in all of the other essential biomarkers.

  1. Aerobic Capacity
  2. Blood Sugar Tolerance
  3. Cholesterol / HDL ratio
  4. Blood Pressure
  5. Bone Density
  6. Internal Body Temperature Regulation

Push up proficiency requires muscle mass, strength, and a minimal amount of extra load to lift in the form of bodyfat.  Those three traits are all a part of the decisive tetrad. To age well, stay durable–no injuries, and maintain control of all health parameters–we need to maintain or improve muscle mass / strength and not avoid extra bodyfat.  An ongoing program of strength training and nutritional discipline are the foremost components of fitness and health.

Now get on the floor and give me twenty.

View the article here.

Michael O’Hara PT, OCS, CSCS

November Is Diabetes Awareness Month

The big thing to remember about diabetes is that it is a 24 hour a day, seven day a week disease that slowly and steadily robs your body of vitality.  The good news is that diabetes (especially type 2-the most common) can be managed with proper diet, exercise, and medication.  Read the information listed below and take the time to visit the website stopdiabetes.com.

Tragic Trend
•    Nearly 26 million adults and children in the USA have diabetes.
•    Another 79 million Americans are what is called “prediabetic”.  They are at risk of developing full blown diabetes.
•    If we remain on our present trend, by the year 2050, one in three Americans will be diabetic.

Health Consequences
•    Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
•    Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.
•    Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults.
•    About 60-70 percent of people with diabetes will have nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy) that can cause pain, disability, and digestive problems.
•    The rate of amputation among diabetics is ten times higher than in the general population.
•    A woman’s health is more intensely impacted by diabetes.

Exercise and Diabetes
A 2006 concensus study by the American Diabetic Association gathered together the most recent research studies on the effect of exercise on type 2 -adult onset diabetes.  The latest research finds that exercise activity that increases muscle mass and facilitates coordination / motor control produced the best blood sugar levels and at the same time, enhanced mobility.

Muscles take circulating sugar out of your blood stream and store it as glycogen.  If you have more muscle, you are more efficient at managing blood sugar levels.  Exercise selection that enhances motor control creates a neurologically enriched environment that permits the diabetic person to make the most of their neural connections.  While walking on the treadmill is a nice start, if you wish to optimally manage your diabetes, you need to start some strength training that challenges your balance and coordination.

I am convinced that most people are unaware of how effective exercise is in the management of diabetes and the elimination of prediabetic symptoms.  You can dramatically improve blood sugar levels with as little as six weeks of training.  Most diabetic patients think they have to exercise for months before they see any results.  You have to convince them that the proper activities, performed three times a week, for thirty minutes can work wonders.  They complete eight weeks of consistent training and blood sugar levels get better and medications are eliminated or reduced.  All of them are surprised at how quickly they improve.  We need to get this message out.

Michael S. O’Hara, P.T., OCS, CSCS