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Inactivity 'kills more than obesity'

posted by Fitness Focus    |   January 19, 2015 23:25

A lack of exercise could be killing twice as many people as obesity in Europe, a 12-year study of more than 300,000 people suggests.

University of Cambridge researchers said about 676,000 deaths each year were down to inactivity, compared with 337,000 from carrying too much weight.

They concluded that getting everyone to do at least 20 minutes of brisk walking a day would have substantial benefits.

Experts said exercise was beneficial for people of any weight.

Obesity and inactivity often go hand in hand.

However, it is known that thin people have a higher risk of health problems if they are inactive. And obese people who exercise are in better health than those that do not.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, attempted to tease out the relative dangers of inactivity and obesity.

Obese versus Inactive

Researchers followed 334,161 Europeans for 12 years. They assessed exercise levels and waistlines and recorded every death.

"The greatest risk [of an early death] was in those classed inactive, and that was consistent in normal weight, overweight and obese people," one of the researchers, Prof Ulf Ekelund told BBC News.

He said eliminating inactivity in Europe would cut mortality rates by nearly 7.5%, or 676,000 deaths, but eliminating obesity would cut rates by just 3.6%.

Prof Ekelund added: "But I don't think it's a case of one or the other. We should also strive to reduce obesity, but I do think physical activity needs to be recognised as a very important public health strategy."


Prof Ekelund, who is based in Norway, is into cross country skiing and clocks up at least five hours of vigorous exercise each week.

However, he says all it would need to transform health, is brisk walking.

"I think people need to consider their 24-hour day.

"Twenty minutes of physical activity, equivalent to a brisk walk, should be possible for most people to include on their way to or from work, or on lunch breaks, or in the evening instead of watching TV."

The diseases caused by inactivity and obesity were largely the same, such as cardiovascular disease. However, type 2 diabetes was more common with obesity.

Tackle both

Commenting on the findings, Barbara Dinsdale, from the charity Heart Research UK, said: "This study once again reinforces the importance of being physically active, even when carrying excess weight.

"Changing your lifestyle is all good news for heart health, but physical activity is always easier to achieve and maintain without carrying the extra 'body baggage' of too much weight."

Prof John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, said changes were needed to make exercise easier.

"We need substantial investment in cycling infrastructure to make our streets safer.

 

"If more people cycled or walked to work or school, it would make a big difference in raising levels of physical activity."

PERSONAL TRAINING IN SASKATOON WITH TEAM WAWRYK PRO TRAINERS

posted by Fitness Focus    |   October 2, 2014 14:55

Ever thought about getting a trainer to because you are a bit lost in the gym?  Or maybe you've changed your fitness goals and need a bit of direction. Whatever the case, here are some great fundamental reasons that a personal training might be right for you.

 

1. A Trainer Provides Expertise through Experience

A good trainer will watch you during your exercises to make sure that you are doing the exercises correct; but an experienced personal trainer can give you great tips and add subtle changes to your workout that make a big difference to your results. For example, when targeting a specific muscle, a simple twist of the wrist at the top of certain exercises can develop that muscle in ways it otherwise wouldn’t.

 

2. A Trainer Provides Accountability

There are other ways to get accountability, like a training partner or a spouse who keeps on you to get to the gym; but a good personal trainer knows that they succeed when you succeed. They have built a program specifically for you, so your victory also becomes their victory; they want to see you succeed.  Whether you have one-on-one sessions with them or do monthly follow-ups, since no one likes failing you want to show them you've made progress.

 

3. A Trainer Gives You Direction

Goal setting is the key to the success of any journey, and sometimes we become conflicted about just where it is we want to go with our personal health and fitness journey. A person may have the urge to get stronger but not necessarily bigger, or increase their endurance but don’t want to sacrifice any muscle. We don’t always know how to start identifying attainable goals, especially when it comes to subject as complicated and diverse as health and fitness. A good personal trainer can help you identify you significant strengths and weaknesses, then help you set attainable goals and objectives that will lead to your eventual success.

 

4. A Trainer Increases Your Intensity

Having a personal trainer will empower you to raise the intensity of your workout, this equates to better results.  A training partner can increase your intensity too, because you’re both there for mutual benefit but it’s the job of the personal trainer to be there, keep your cadence and tempo right where it needs to be. 

Personal Trainers at Fitness Focus Saskatoon




























Color Me Rad 5K Run Saskatoon

posted by Fitness Focus    |   July 9, 2014 18:35
Calling All Gym Members and Non-Members!  Color Me Rad 5K, our team is growing and now all of our team members receive one month free at the gym.
 

DON'T RUN ALONE! 
If you want to partake in the 5k madness of Color me Rad but have no one to run with, join our team in support of the Children's Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan.

TEAM FITNESS FOCUS
September 6th, 9:00am Wave Time
TEAM CAPTAIN: Blackwell
PROMO CODE: Children

QUESTIONS: info@fitnessfocus.ca

REGISTER: http://www.colormerad.com/race/saskatoon

Saskatoon Ask The Experts Magazine

posted by Fitness Focus    |   April 8, 2014 14:45
Group Fitness
Group Fitness is the perfect way to overcome a workout plateau or add some variety to your routine. The Instructor isn’t there to force you past your limits, but to motivate you and challenge you. Add a new dynamic to you workout routine with Group Fitness; we offer everything from Yoga to relax and strengthen to Spin Classes that challenge your cardio.

 

 

 

 
Childcare
You love your kids, but sometimes you need to get away to take care of yourself. Take advantage of our childcare while you’re working out.  Our Childcare Workers are First Aid & CPR Certified; with no age restrictions, easy Parent access, a private Kids Washroom and activities for Kids of all ages. 
Open Weekdays 9:00 am - 1:00pm & 4:00 pm - 8:00pm
Open Weekends 9:30 am - 1:30pm

 

Weight Room – Resistance Training
Did you know, resistance training is a more efficient way of burning calories than cardiovascular training? No matter what your skill level, it is important that every experience in the gym be a great one. The weight room offers you an essential selection of equipment in a friendly and mature atmosphere with plenty of natural sunlight and open space so you will never feel crowded.Fitness Focus Saskatoon Gym Weight Room Arm Curls Gyms

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cardio Theatre

 

Fitness Focus Saskatoon Cardio Treadmill Running GymsCardiovascular Training is an important part of everybody’s regimen for maintaining overall health, but not necessarily the part everybody looks forward to. No sign-up boards or time limits, ample TV screens and endless music will help make your cardio seem effortless.

 

 

Juice Bar

 

Nutrition is a key factor in maintaining your healthy lifestyle; you can grab a quick bite or protein shake to compliment your workout.  The Fitness Focus has a convenient selection of food and drinks available at the Juice Bar. Tab service is available in case you forgot to bring some spare change.

15 Minture Free With a Personal Trainer

posted by Fitness Focus    |   January 17, 2014 14:02

Now is your chance to jumpstart your training. It's the New Year and a great time to take your training in a different direction; 15 minutes free with a Personal Trainer is an excellent opportunity to get answers to those questions you have about your training.  Maybe there are areas of your workout that are missing something or maybe there's a part of your routine you could work on.  Have questions about diet and nutrition?  Ask a Trainer about ways to improve your diet and weight management.  If you have been planning on meeting with a Personal Trainer, why not setup a 15 minutes meeting to get the ball rolling?

Contact Fitness Focus at (306) 244-6413 or by email to info@fitnessfocus.ca to reserve your spot today.  Free training sessions will take place Friday, January 24th at Fitness Focus. If you Prefer Specifically a Male or Female Trainers Please Let us Know.

Are Weight Loss Goals Part of Your New Year’s Resolution List?

posted by Fitness Focus    |   January 3, 2013 17:20

This next year will be different, and you're going to make a fresh start this New Year. Around this time of the year, a lot of us find ourselves reflecting on what we accomplished in the past year and decide what changes we want to make to make a positive difference in our lives for next year. After all the prioritizing, you make your big decisions, and then within a month or so, the ‘New Year’s resolutions’ are all but forgotten.

Weight loss goals don’t have to be another promise to yourself which got lost along the way. Setting a goals is only part of the work; plan smart and get ready for the task and make it a success and avoid being in the same spot next year.  Weight loss doesn't have to be hard; it's all in your approach. Try asking yourself and this is very important; is it that you want to lose the weight or is it that you don’t want to eat or live the way you have been any more? The later is a lot harder if your heart’s not in it.  Long-term planning is important; you have to define your path, not just where you want to be.

1. Be realistic

It's been said a million times over, be realistic in when trying to make changes in your life.  Be honest with yourself about what is possible and what suits your lifestyle.  Planning to lose too much weight in a short period of time will only lead to failure and discouragement.  Make your decision with reality in mind. What is it that you can do, and how much time do you have to spend in exercising or follow a meal plan and so on. Start with what you can’t do and then build around it.

2. Enjoying the holidays

This doesn't mean you should give in to all urges and have massive eating spree, but just eat sensibly.  The smart thing to do at times like these is, for a few days, try not to diet on the holidays. Eating sensibly isn't the same as constantly sticking to some lettuce and cabbage diet while everyone around you is allowed to enjoy all the goodies that come with the season.

Try looking at it this way, everyone loves the holidays and they only come around once a year. If you don't take advantage of some of the holiday treats you'll be depriving yourself of all the Christmas excitement.  Why spend your holidays hating every minute of it.  By the end of all the festivities, you will be so sick of the dieting you have been sticking to and will find it harder to stay with that good eating plan as long as you had planed.  Don’t stress yourself about your food intake for a few days over the holidays, relax and eat sensibly.

3. Small is bigger

There is no need to go to completely radical lengths to lose weight. Usually it's the small changes we can comfortably make are the ones that last the longest and make the biggest difference.  Lifestyle changes, even the smallest of changes, like replacing certain snack foods with for veggies and greens; you can also cut down or space out your portions into more-smaller meals rather than attempting a very low restrictive diet.

Simply losing weight doesn't mean much if you don't change your eating and lifestyle habits as well.  Set a goal that you'll start walking to work every day instead of saying you want to lose 8 pounds in a month. Small commitments like that will add up expending extra calories.  These types of lifestyle changes are easily made permanent by incorporating it into your day to day lifestyle.

4. Measure the results

It's the reason you want to make changes in the first place, you want to see change and results. You don't want all your effort and time invested to be all in vein.  Measure your results to reassure yourself that you're on the right track. Measure your results consistently at the same time every week. And don’t just look for a change in your weight, results can come in many different ways.

Take Measurements at your waist or other parts of your body right before you start down this new path.  Your weight can be influenced by a few factors, one being water retention, but your waist may have shrunk or that your clothes feel baggy, it all counts because desired result are the biggest motivator. Record your results so you can actually see your progress and all the results.

5. Keep it interesting and keep it moving

The most frustrating part of weight loss and weight management are plateaus.  It happens to everybody at some point in time. This is what happens when your body adapts to the changes you previously made. If you are following a specific diet or workout regime maybe swap regimes every month or every 3 weeks. This may also help in keeping things interesting and battle boredom. Allow at least 2 weeks for any adaptations before changing your diet.

6. Keep a food diary

Try it, by the end of the day chances are you don't remember everything you consumed over the past 12 hours.  Maybe you're eating more than you think you are or more than you subconsciously want to admit.  Keep a diary of everthing you consume including drinks; it is surprising how much extra sugar and calories you probably consume through drinks.

Keep the diary before you start your diet and then see how many things you can change to lose the weight. To be honest the Christmas week may not be an ideal representation of your average week but it can provide you with an idea of what your actual eating habits are like.

Do You Know What Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance Are?

posted by Fitness Focus    |   December 3, 2012 16:30

Studies now shows that celiac disease and gluten intolerance, affect around 15% of the North American population.  It is possible that you are one of these people. It is important that you are able to identify gluten intolerance symptoms?

We first need to identify the difference between celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Celiac disease is an immune reaction. It is a sudden and severe onset allergic reaction to the wheat protein called gluten. Gluten can be found in several different but very common grains such as wheat, rye, barley and oats. Celiac disease is initially a disorder of the auto-immune system, it is also a disease of malabsorption because essential nutrients are not able to absorb into the body. One of the most devastating symptoms of celiac disease going undiagnosed is malnutrition.

Typically, gluten intolerance often has a much slower onset than celiac disease, and tends to be harder to diagnose due to the wide range of symptoms and the many sources in which it is hidden.

Imagine a continuum of gluten intolerance symptoms; celiac disease would be found at the most extreme end with immediate autoimmune reactions. There are people with celiac disease that may not immediate symptoms, but internally the malabsorption of all these essential nutrients can erode one's health over many years. It is important to note that both celiac disease and gluten intolerance can be exacerbated by infection, surgery, emotional stress pregnancy and childbirth. Not everyone with a gluten intolerance or allergy will experience the exact same symptoms or to the same degree.  This creates a great challenge for medical practitioners trying to do a diagnosis.

    Here are some of the symptoms but not necessarilly limited to gluten intolerance and celiac disease.

  • Fluctuations in weight
  • Nutritional deficiencies, example: low iron levels
  • Gastro-intestinal problems (bloating, pain, gas, constipation, diarrhea)
  • Body Pains
  • Stiff and Aching joints
  • Eczema and Skin Irritations
  • Depression
  • Head aches
  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability and behavioral changes
  • Infertility, irregular menstrual cycle and miscarriage
  • Cramps, tingling and numbness
  • Slow infant and child growth
  • Decline in dental health

If Gluten intolerance remains undiagnosed for a long enough period of time, conditions have been found to contribute to diabetes, cancer of the bowel, anemia and osteoporosis.

So, why are the symptoms of gluten intolerance so varied?

Much about gluten intolerance and celiac disease is still unknown.  Gluten intolerance can affect anyone from children to adults in a variety of ways, but one thing that has been found is the less stress the better for the affected person.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that emotional trauma and stress play a large role in amplifying the symptoms. Several studies have findings that show that the longer a baby is breastfed and the further it's delayed that they start eating gluten rich foods, it will creates a lower chance of developing celiac disease.  Completely avoiding gluten through a pregnancy and in a child’s younger years of development may also raise the possibilities of an allergic reaction, as the child's developing digestive system cannot recognize the substance at all.  Researchers remain unsure but perhaps a more moderate approach is best when attempting to preventing celiac disease, especially if the parents know that there is a genetic predisposition to the disease. Mothers might reduce but not eliminate gluten foods when pregnant, breastfeed for a longer than average period, and start introducing low gluten grains as first foods for baby.

How to diagnose celiac disease and gluten intolerance?

Until recently it was somewhat of a challenge to diagnose celiac disease because it does have such a wide variety of symptoms and are quite similar to a few other common diseases. Some examples of these are Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue, iron deficiency as well as intestinal infections can all have similar symptoms. There may be in fact a relationship between gluten intolerance and some of these conditions.  An person may have a combination of issues that become worse by food choices that do not agree with their body.  Doctors now know to test for raised levels of certain auto-antibodies in the blood. These antibodies are produced when the body senses a dangerous allergen, such as gluten. If the results indicate an allergy to gluten the doctor may perform a small intestine biopsy. This will reveal the damage to the villi in the small intestine. It is important to eat an ordinary diet including gluten, before being tested.

Look For The Gluten Free Symbol

Another method is to self test for gluten intolerance.  This requires a complete modification of a person's diet. It's a relatively simple thing to do, but does take a little bit of commitment.  For it to work properly a person needs to remove many normal things from their diet and resort whole/natural foods without wheat gluten such as rice, fruits and vegetables, and any fresh meat.  You can trust packaging that has a "Gluten Free" symbol on it.  Foods that contain gluten will have ingredients on the packaging that include Maltodextrin, caramel color, and wheat flour.  At this point it becomes important to understand how to read a food ingredients label.  If a person is feeling any of the possible gluten intolerance symptoms at the start of this process, they should begin to recede within a week or two.  At the time when the symptoms have all subsided, other foods can start to be introduced back into the diet a little bit at a time. It then takes a conscious effort to be aware if and when the symptoms begin to return.

Warning Signs Of Primary Immunodeficiency

posted by Fitness Focus    |   October 13, 2012 22:14

Approximately 13,000 Canadians suffer from Primary Immunodeficiency.

Your Immune System is a vast internal network of cells, tissues and organs whose job it is to protect your body from harmful invasion by foreign bodies such as viruses, bacteria and toxins. Primary immunodeficiency (PI) refers to an immune system that is either broken or completely missing from birth. It is not acquired after birth from infection or accident. It is a genetic malfunction, unique to an individual. Early diagnosis is crucial. Untreated PI can lead to serious damage to organs, physical disabilities and, in the most severe cases, death.

There are warning signs of PI, like recurrent infections of the ears and skin, pneumonia, bronchitis and sinusitis. For some, the first infection will be serious and life- threatening—a definite red flag that there may be a problem with their immune system. Some will suffer recurrent infections from infancy. However, some infants with PI will not show symptoms early on due to Immunoglobulin A (IgA), an antibody that plays a critical role in mucosal immunity. Babies receive IgA through breast milk from the mother or from antibodies that cross the placenta in the womb and remain in the infant’s body until four to six months of age when normal infants start to make their own antibodies. In some cases, warning symptoms will not show up until later in life, sometimes as far along as middle age.

Diagnosis begins with the understanding and recognition of the warning signs. Are there more infections than normal? Do infections recur after treatment with medications? Do infections not respond to usual medications? The infections involved differ for adults and children. Please see the charts to the right. All too often the significance of the warning signs is overlooked, sometimes because they may seem quite mild.

 

The Anti-Aging Agents of Exercise and Weight Training

posted by Fitness Focus    |   October 2, 2012 23:00

Questions from around the gym: Working out helps me shape and tone my body, what are some of the health benefits of weight training?

The Anti-Aging Agents of Exercise and Weight Training

By the time you finish reading this article, you, like every other person alive on the planet, will have gotten a bit older. From the moment we are born, we begin to mature but naturally, we don’t really pay any attention to getting older until we start actually seeing and feeling all the tangible signs of the passage of time on our body. We are living longer than ever before mostly due to advances in medical technology and improvements in living conditions.  In fact, by the year 2030, there will be over double the amount of North Americans over the age of 65 than in the year 2000. Unfortunately, we have been  influenced once again into viewing the aging process as an illness that we must treat and reversed.  Increased body fat, significant loss of muscle mass and strength to the point of infirmity in addition to the slew of age associated conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and osteoporosis are erroneously seen as an inevitable consequence of growing older. However, studies of older individuals who regularly engaged in weight training and bodybuilding have always challenged the idea that such infirmities come more as a self-fulfilling prophecy as a result of inactivity and poor dietary choices than a fate that we are all destined to suffer.  This article is going to take a look at the physiological aspect of aging and how weight training and exercise can create what gerontologists nowadays refer to as successful aging; basically getting older with a low probability of disease or physical disability, maintaining high cognitive and physical function and having an active engagement with life in later years.

Understanding The Mechanisms Of Aging
Start by understanding just how exactly does aging occur. It is easy to recognize the results of aging, however there are certain biological mechanisms at work that we are often unaware of. The number cells that make up our body are kept at a relatively steady number through the process of mitosis (remember back to hisgh school biology, cells dividing) typically even with the number of cells that are dying. This balance is know as homeostasis, and it is utterly necessary for optimal health and body function however this equilibrium cannot be maintained indefinitely.  In what is called the Hayflick limit, all animal cells have a limited number of times that they can reproduce. As we get older, senescence sets in- which is a decline in the ability of our bodies’ cells to divide. This usually starts in our early thirties and continues on throughout our lives. One prevailing theory is that the everyday occurrence of cellular reproduction leads to cumulative damage to our DNA and cells begin to die or not function correctly. This process, called apoptosis is actually beneficial as it acts a way of ‘cleaning up’ that benefits the healthy remaining cells. Taken as a whole, aging thus is nothing more than our bodies decline in being able to deal with stress. Maintaining homeostasis becomes more and more difficult until a point is reached where the organism dies.

The Role Of Weight Training In The Prevention of Muscle Wasting

 Building muscle however through the use of a well executed weight training program of sufficient intensity is a way of increasing our bodies’ potential response to stress. As we get older, one of the main aspects working against us from being as strong and as built as we were in our younger years is sarcopenia. Sarcopenia which means literally ‘poverty of the flesh’, refers to the loss of skeletal  muscle mass that comes with aging which in turn leads to weakness and frailty. For the average member of the population, as much as 50% of your skeletal muscle mass is lost between the ages of 20 and 90 years resulting in in a corresponding reduction in muscular strength. Such loss of muscle mass is usually associated as well with an increase in overall body fat. However as normal an occurrence this might be for most of us, studies suggest that lack of exercise- or more specifically weight bearing resistance exercise (like weight training) may be one of the overriding causes of sacropenia.

We don’t have to lose such large amounts of muscle mass as we age, but without an active lifestyle that incorporates some form of resistance exercise over the course of time our bodies will indeed fall victim to the syndrome of ‘use it or lose it.’ While it would be absurd to think that weight training can allow you to be strong and muscular as you were in your twenties, preliminary research shows that those who engage in intense weight training over the course of their lifetime are able to demonstrate physical qualities and abilities on par with if not exceeding that of untrained individuals in their twenties while well into their fifth decade of life. With most of our medical anti-aging focus resting on the shoulders of pharmaceutical companies trying to find a pill form solution to the combat the effects of the march of time, comparatively little is invested in researching protocols that are far less potentially lucrative such as weight training. Nevertheless, short term studies thus far do indeed show that resistance exercises like weight training increase the ability of our muscles to synthesize proteins and thus minimizing the advent of skeletal muscle decline over the years.

Getting Older- A Detailed Look At The Physiology

As we get older, it is not only our muscles that get significantly weaker without physical activity but also our bones. Increased bone porosity and reduction in bone mass can lead to the debilitating effects of osteoporosis. Which as we know can be both reversed and prevented by the implementation of weight bearing activities such as weight training. There are some aspects however that are beyond our control, as with the advancing years comes a natural decrease in the speed of nerve conduction, reduction in peak cardiovascular ability as well as a decline in kidney and other organ function. As mentioned earlier in an explanation of the Hayflick limit, our cells have a limited number of reproductions; and as you get older the motor units (motoneurons) in your fast twitch muscles begin to die. You don’t immediately notice it, as our bodies have a remarkable system of compensating. Consider that a muscles in  your leg may have 250 motor units with each motor unit having as many as a thousand muscle fibers under its control.

This ratio of motor units to muscle fiber is known as an innervation ratio and in this case would be 1,000 muscle fibers per motoneuron.
Over the course of time, those 250 motor units in your leg muscle may drop by as much as half to 125 by the time you are 70 years old, and you would think that this would make you only half as strong, but it isn’t that straightforward. You see, we lose muscle fibers at a much slower rate than motor units so you would have only lost 10% of the muscle fiber in that leg muscle by the age of 70. However, the remaining 125 motor units sprout new branches to the muscle fibers that have lost their motor units to activate them and do more work than they did before. As a result, there is a higher innervation ratio, in this example it would be let us say 1,500 muscle fibers per motoneuron as our motor units take control of more muscle fibers as a way of helping us retain our strength as we get older.

Our nervous system also slows with the passage of time and so the mechanisms of muscle contraction slows down as well. Despite these natural declines, regular resistance type exercise and an overall active lifestyle can help minimize and offset the effect of these changes in our bodies. The more muscle mass built up over time, the more strength, coordination and motor skills you will have as you get older. A point lost sadly on the millions of women who invest most of their time pursuing aerobic type exercises and lower impact activities like yoga out of a misplaced fear of developing man-sized muscles and thus curtail their involvement in weight training- the very exercises that will help them stay looking and feeling younger as the years go by.  

Hormone Replacement Isn’t Always The Answer
Our hormones also play a role in the reduction of our muscle mass as we get older. Testosterone, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) help our bodies’ build and maintain muscle mass but there is a marked reduction in production as we get older. High intensity weight training has been shown to increase all three hormones naturally and within standard human parameters. It might sound like a good idea to forgo weight training and instead turn to hormone replacement therapies but research shows that this reduction in hormones may be a key mechanism that allows us to live longer. Mammalian models with reduced growth hormone (GH) and/or IGF-1 appear to live longer and while the administration of testosterone replacement therapy for men has become a lucrative and fast growing industry here in the United States, presently available data do not justify the broad use of such hormones for anti-aging purposes.

Effects Of A Lifetime Of Weight Lifting On the Aging Process

While it is established that there is a natural decline in our bodies from the age of 30 or so due to the processes mentioned above- there are also many examples of individuals who defy the narrative of decline for far longer than one would expect. In 1987, Dr. Fredrick Hatfield- (or Dr. Squat as he is affectionately known) set a world powerlifting record squatting over 1,000 lbs at the age of 45- more than any human being in history had ever successfully lifted in competition. A feat he was able to continue well into his fifties. My good friend and natural bodybuilder Kenny Hall started competing in his twenties and kept on winning titles for the next half a century. His greatest accomplishment was winning the Pro Mr. America in 1969 but he maintained a level of muscle mass and definition that allowed him to easily best other competitors decades younger than he was until he retired in his 70’s so that others would have their chance to win as well.

The science of Gerontology has only just started to pay attention to the amazing examples set by those engaged in a lifetime of weight training and drug free bodybuilding and research reveals that involvement in such activities can ‘create possibilities for people to age positively and reconstruct what aging “normally” means.” Such studies also highlight the self fulfilling prophecy that our society’s acceptance of advancing age as a time of disengagement, dysfunction and disease goes a long way in our not taking action to prevent it from being just that.  As long as we see aging as a downward trajectory of physical and mental deterioration, we are doomed to experience it as such. One of the common perspectives of men and women involved in weight training activities over the course of their lives and who exhibit remarkable physicality into the later sixth decades of life is what was termed a ‘mondadic styled’ body. In short, they focused on who they were and what they were doing as opposed to being influenced by what society expected them to be or the examples of their peers whose aging process tended to follow the narrative of decline that we are so used to hearing. Without turning to hormonal solutions that can often cause more problems than they solve, these individuals centered themselves on following a lifestyle. A lifestyle that allows them to significantly offset the impact of aging and achieve what we are all looking for- twilight years that aren’t defined by disease and disability but by engagement with life on all levels. We don’t need drugs or DeLeon’s fabled fountain of youth, we just need to make certain forms of exercise a part of our lives at all times.

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