October 2020

Fitness exercise

Fitness: exercise is a golden opportunity for the elderly

But does age justify a new set of guidelines?

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In the old days, the golden years were all about getting up and relaxing. But that was before exercise was linked to reduced risk of chronic disease and increased longevity. Physical activity is now seen as an essential part of a long, healthy life, and is especially important for older people, including those who have not yet jumped on the bandwagon.


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But there is no clear consensus as to which type of physical activity is best suited for older populations looking to take advantage of all that exercise has to offer. Is the non-specific age recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week the best option? Or are there some workout routines that provide better results for older athletes?

A team of researchers sought answers by comparing the long-term and short-term results of three exercise programs on a large group of Norwegians aged 70 to 77, divided into three groups. The control group (780 people) were asked to follow the national physical activity guidelines, which in Norway provide for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. The second group (387 people) swapped two days of 30-minute general training for 50 minutes of continuous exercise performed at an intensity equivalent to 70% of their maximum heart rate. The third group (400 people) were also asked to swap 30-minute workouts two days a week, but their routine consisted of four four-minute high-intensity intervals performed at 90% of their maximum heart rate. Data on the fitness and health of the three groups, whose average age was 72.8 years, were collected at the start of the study and again one, three and five years later.


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To ensure that the two non-control groups stayed on target, they met regularly with professionals who supervised workouts designed to ensure that participants were exercising in the appropriate training zone, with intensity measured by heart rate monitors and perceived exertion ratings. Adherence to the exercise routine was analyzed by self-report, with anyone who participated in less than 50% of the workouts being considered non-compliant. At the end of the study, two doctors analyzed medical data from all three groups, including deaths, without knowing what exercise routine they were following.

The researchers predicted that the two groups who exceeded national physical activity guidelines would benefit from a further increase in longevity, but there was no difference in the death rate between those who followed the general routine of 30. minutes and those who hadn’t. There was, however, a slight increase in longevity among the high-intensity interval group compared to users who performed 50 minutes of continuous moderate-intensity exercise.


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The researchers are unsure why their hypothesis was not realized, but suspect it has something to do with the overall good health of the study subjects. A whopping 80 percent reported an average or high level of physical activity at the start of the study, suggesting that exercise was already contributing to their overall health and longevity. Another finding to consider is that 47% of people who did high-intensity interval training followed it until the end of the study, compared to the 69% of controls who maintained their routine for the five years. complete.

“Participants in the control group did not receive supervised exercise, but exercised at relatively high levels throughout the five years,” the researchers said.


Content of the article

Another unexpected finding is that peak oxygen uptake, a measure of cardiovascular fitness, showed no age-related decline during the study. This is good news for older athletes, as a drop in peak oxygen uptake is typical in this age group and is associated with an increased risk of premature death and coronary heart disease.

The bottom line is that there are a number of options for older people who want to reap the full health benefits of physical activity. It is also clear that for active seniors, judging the effectiveness of a workout by its duration or intensity is not good practice.

“The central implication is that either vigorous physical activity of short duration, or moderate physical activity of longer duration or a combination of both, which equals the same amount of work each week, will have the same favorable health outcomes. , with vigorous physical activity. being the time-efficient alternative, ”the researchers said.

So go ahead and pick the workout you want – or better yet, mix it up between the three routines featured in this study. For the elderly, not only does exercise have the potential to alleviate many of the negative health problems associated with aging, it can really make the last few decades of life a golden one.

  1. Early morning athletes train in a Montreal gymnasium on October 5, a few days before the city's gymnasiums close.

    Fitness: Stay active when gyms are closed and sports are on hiatus

  2. A man does arm exercises while walking his dog at Lafontaine Park in Montreal on Wednesday, September 2, 2020.

    Fitness: a HIIT workout for walkers

  3. Some healthcare professionals are starting to recommend milder forms of exercise such as Pilates as options for persistent lower back pain, but a recent study emphasizes the effectiveness of a wide variety of approaches.

    Fitness: Get back in shape with a little exercise



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Weight training

Bodybuilding introduced in fire stations

The gymnasium was set up District fire officer of the district of Villupuram Robin Castro.

In an effort to improve physical condition within the force, the Fire and Rescue Service opened a gym in Villupuram to help firefighters attached to 14 fire stations in Villupuram and Kallakurichi districts to stay physically fit for the task.

The gymnasium was set up District fire officer of the district of Villupuram Robin Castro. A 2019 batch officer, Mr. Castro has set a schedule for the 145 firefighters in Villupuram and Kallakurichi districts to sweat and stay in shape physically and mentally.

Inspired by the DGP of the Fire and Rescue Service C. Sylendra Babu, a fitness enthusiast, Mr. Castro roped up enthusiastic firefighters, including commandos attached to the force, for an hour of daily practice before resuming the job.

On average, firefighters in the two districts respond to 130 distress calls in addition to performing life-threatening livestock, snake, bird and human rescue operations.

Due to the pandemic, staff are also engaged for decontamination work in public places under the responsibility of civic bodies.

“Such a fitness program was necessary not only to keep the strength in shape, but also to reduce their stress level. It helped them improve their performance, ”he says.

As part of their training, commandos must run 5 kms per day followed by 20-minute strength training, rope training and tire exercises. The team led by Mr. Castro also cycle on weekends for a minimum of 100 km from Villupuram.

P. Sivagurunathan, fire chief attached to the Villupuram fire station, said physical training was an integral part of his daily routine.

“I make it a point to exercise in the gym here every day for an hour and a half. It not only helped me build muscle, but also improved my overall well-being and productivity, ”he says.

Mr Castro says weight-training facilities have been set up for firefighters at 14 stations in both districts.

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Physical fitness

New multimodal intervention improves fitness and cognitive function

Researchers studied the effects of a 12-week exercise program on 148 active-duty Air Force Airmen, half of whom were also given a twice-daily nutritional drink containing protein; omega-3 fatty acid, DHA; lutein; phospholipids; Vitamin D; B vitamins and other micronutrients; with a muscle promoting compound known as HMB. Both groups improved their physical and cognitive functions, with additional gains in those who regularly consumed the nutritional drink, the team reports.

Results appear in the journal Scientific reports.

Participants were randomly assigned to the two groups. The exercise program combined strength training and high-intensity interval aerobic fitness challenges.

One group received the nutritional drink and the other consumed a placebo drink devoid of the added nutrients. Neither the researchers nor the participants knew who received the nutrient-fortified drink or the placebo.

The exercise intervention alone improved strength and endurance, mobility and stability, and participants also saw increases in several measures of cognitive function. They had better episodic memory and processed information more efficiently at the end of 12 weeks. And they did better on tests that required them to solve problems they had never encountered before, a skill called fluid intelligence.. “

Aron Barbey, Professor of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Barbey led the study with postdoctoral researcher Christopher Zwilling.

“Those who also consumed the nutritional supplement saw all of these improvements and more. For example, they were better able to retain new information in their working memory and had faster responses to fluid intelligence tests than they did. those who took the placebo, ”said Barbey.

Physical power increased in both groups as a result of physical training, Zwilling said.

“Power is a measure of physical fitness based on several factors, such as how fast a participant can pull a heavy sled a set distance, how far they can throw a weighted ball, and the number of push-ups, pull-ups or sit-ups. perform within a defined period of time, ”he said.

Physical training reduced participants’ body fat percentage and increased their oxygen uptake efficiency, or VO2 max. The airmen also performed better than they initially did on several measures of cognitive function. Most notable of these was an increase in the accuracy of their responses to problems designed to measure fluid intelligence.

“But we also wanted to know if taking the supplement conferred a benefit beyond the effect of exercise,” Zwilling said. “We have seen this to be the case, for example with regard to resting heart rate, which fell more in those who took the supplement than in those who did not.”

Participants who consumed the nutritional drink also saw greater improvements in their ability to remember and process information. And their reaction time to fluid intelligence tests improved more than their peers who took the placebo, the researchers found.

“Our work is driving the design of novel multimodal interventions that integrate both aerobic training and nutritional supplementation, and illustrate that their benefits go beyond improvements in fitness to improve several measures of cognitive function,” said declared Barbey.

The U. of I. led the intervention with study co-author Adam Strang, a scientist in the applied neuroscience branch of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, as well as his Air colleagues Force Research Laboratory.

The U. of I. also worked with a researcher and co-author of the Tapas Das study and colleagues at Abbott Nutrition, who led the design of the nutritional drink, which is a blend of nutrients targeting both muscles and the brain.

The specially designed ingredients for the drink that previous studies have shown are associated with improved physical cognitive function.


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, News Bureau

Journal reference:

Zwilling, CE, et al. (2020) Improved Physical and Cognitive Performance in Active-Duty Airmen: Evidence for a Randomized Multimodal Nutrition and Fitness Intervention. Scientific reports.

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Weight training

The Benefits of Strength Training: Why Heavy Lifting Makes Us Feel Great

Why do we get such a buzz after lifting weights? (Photo: Ella Byworth for

Exercise gives us endorphins. We know it. Go to a spinning class, or even just a light jog, flood your body with feel-good chemicals that make you feel really good.

But there is a special kind of buzz you get when lifting weights. A feeling of invincibility, as if you are untouchable – and this effect can stay with you for centuries.

But why does lifting weights make us feel so good? What is the real connection between the physical effort of picking up something heavy and the emotional release that comes with it?

A 2018 study found that strength training was linked to improvements in depressive symptoms, such as bad mood, loss of interest in activities, and feelings of worthlessness.

“Interestingly, larger improvements were seen in adults with depressive symptoms indicative of mild to moderate depression compared to adults without these scores,” the University of Limerick researchers wrote.

“This suggests that resistance training may be particularly effective for those with more severe depressive symptoms.”

The benefits were pretty much the same, even though people only lifted a few times a week – you didn’t have to do weight training every day. And the results revealed that it wasn’t improving strength or appearance that helped improve mental health, it was just doing the workout.

To get to the bottom of this link between weightlifting and mental health, we asked Jessie Pavelka, fitness and wellness expert and founder of JP4 lifestyle app, to explain why this feeling occurs.

Why does lifting weights make us feel so good? Jessie says some of the science behind this is quite unexpected.

Improves general well-being

According to Jessie, there really isn’t any part of the body that isn’t affected by weight training. Which makes sense when you remember that muscle covers almost every inch of you.

“Let’s start with the muscles themselves,” Jessie says. “At the physical level, muscles are cells or fibers that create strength and movement in the body. Resistance training increases the size and strength of muscles; this is called “hypertrophy”.

“But to really get into resistance training, let’s take it a step further.

“When we contract a muscle repeatedly, the muscle releases proteins called myokines.

“At first glance, myokines promote skeletal muscle, which increases bone health and the absorption of nutrients into the bones themselves.

“Take a closer look and we see that there is a network of systems communicating with each other.

“From deep and dense skeletal muscle to the skeletal system, to the brain.

“This is where things get really exciting.”

Illustration of a woman working in her living room

You only have to train with weights a few times a week to feel the mental benefits (Photo: Ella Byworth for

Improves cognitive function

Jessie explains that myokines – those proteins that our muscles release when we work them hard – support cognitive function.

“Cognitive function includes mobility, memory, logic and reasoning, processing, perspective and attention,” he says. “Sounds pretty important, right?”

“When we support our cognitive brain functions, our perception of life is elevated and we tend to experience the world with more positivity.”

Which perhaps explains why things tend to look a lot less bleak after a hard workout at the gym.

Relieves depression and improves mood

“With today’s hyper-connected and ever-active lifestyle, we experience more stress, anxiety, worry and overwhelm than ever before,” says Jessie.

“There is a disconnect with our nature as human beings. We’re supposed to move and challenge our bodies, but for many of us the only thing that moves is our thumbs. It creates a disconnect with our reality and constant mental illness. This is where resistance training can help again.

Jessie points out the 2018 study I mentioned earlier – published by JAMA Psychiatry – which found “significant” reductions in symptoms associated with mild to moderate depression, based on resistance training two or more days per week.

“Add to that that the sample size of over 1,800 people also saw improvements in overall mood, and it’s clear that resistance training is gaining popularity,” says Jessie.

Tips for starting weight training for the first time

Slow and steady wins the race towards a toned and healthy physique. Pay attention to form, technique, rhythm / tempo and breathing.

By taking the time to understand and implement these elements from the start, you will build a solid foundation that will provide the platform to grow as you progress through your own resistance training journey.

This doesn’t mean you have to do anything drastic, but by making healthy choices it will only help you get to where you want to be.

An increase in protein will promote an increase in lean muscle mass, while by incorporating a little more complete protein into your daily diet, you will also be giving your body an extra boost to support muscle growth and repair.

Generally speaking, too, I think it’s important to try to have as much color as possible on your plate. Resistance training is fantastic for both body and mind, but the power of healthy eating alongside it should not be underestimated.

  • DO – Get your head in the game

By truly investing in your journey from the start – that is, taking the time to understand how resistance training can complement your routine and improve your overall well-being – you will put yourself in a privileged position to grow taller. from experience.

Goals are important to many, and by being mindful of yourself, you will have a better chance of achieving them.

Information is power and it increases buy-in. Educate yourself and talk to people who have been doing this for a while.

By building on your knowledge of what your efforts are doing, to benefit both physical and mental well-being, you will act to build a stronger belief system around exercise.

Exercise is an opportunity to connect with yourself and by developing your understanding, it will give you a better idea of ​​what it means to you. It’s more than just building the body, but building a relationship with yourself.

Share your progress with others! It’s a great way to empower yourself and feel part of a community. In doing so, you will always have your support network to connect to. You will grow by sharing experiences.

  • DON’T – Rely only on resistance training

Resistance training is great, but I always suggest supplementing it with other forms of exercise. It’s about finding the balance that makes you feel good about yourself.

Constant cardiovascular work can be ideal to incorporate into your routine in addition to the resistance work you are doing. By also incorporating low-intensity steady-state work around your resistance work, you will likely see results much faster.

Jessie Pavelka

Reduces anxiety

Jessie says the routine of lifting weights regularly can also help improve our mental state, especially reducing symptoms of anxiety.

“Resistance training is a very effective way to manage symptoms of anxiety,” he explains.

‘In to study, scientists at the University of Georgia took a group of women with generalized anxiety disorder and divided them into one of three groups: resistance training, aerobic exercise, and a control group.

“The results supported both exercise conditions for a ‘significant’ decrease in anxiety symptoms, but it was the resistance training group that had the best results.

“Digging deeper, the results didn’t stop them either, and resistance training just twice a week was found to offer an anxiety remission rate comparable to that of antidepressants.”

Increase self-esteem

“It’s important to look at mental health from a whole point of view,” says Jessie.

He says we need to take the big picture, and understanding the “why” behind our decision to train and lift can help us better understand our own mental state.

“With anyone looking to improve their health and fitness, I always encourage them to try and think about the meaning of their movement,” Jessie says. ‘By understanding and thinking about Why you are doing something, it allows you to fully embrace exercise as an opportunity to create a healthy relationship with yourself.

“Resistance training is a great opportunity to do just that, a large-scale analysis of 113 studies have found that strength training stimulates an increase in self-esteem.

“Certainly part of this is also directly related to the associated physical benefits, strength training a great engine to help muscle tone and the like to improve body image, but it goes much further than that in what I think. concerning.

“It reinforces that sense of self-worth and worth. This is something that I think we should all take the time to consider.

“My philosophy is that small changes can bring big results and that mental well-being should never be neglected at the expense of physical well-being.”

Physical and mental health are inextricably linked. One cannot flourish without the other. So it makes perfect sense that strength training also has a positive impact on our mental strength.

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