Tag Archives: exercise

Your Genes Determine Your Personal Response to Physical Training

Her response depends on genes, training program, nutrition, discipline, adequate sleep, adequate rest, etc.

Her response to depends on genes, training program, nutrition, discipline, adequate sleep, adequate rest, etc.

Here’s an excerpt from an interview with author David Epstein in Outside online. Epstein wrote The Sports Gene: Inside the Science Of Extraordinary Athletic Performance:

Interviewer: That’s one of the most fascinating and unexpected parts of the book, where you discuss the Heritage study’s findings on trainability. Explain its implications.

Epstein: That’s the most famous exercise-genetics study ever done. It’s the collaboration of five colleges in the U.S. and Canada. They took sedentary, two-generation families, which didn’t have a training history, and put them through stationary-bike exercise plans that were totally controlled. Families had to go into the lab and exercise over five months. The goal was to see how people would improve, and they were split into four different university centers to do the training and every center saw the exact same pattern. About 15% of people improved their aerobic capacity very little or not at all. And 15% improved 50% or more doing identical training. Families tended to stick together in the improvement curve, so about half of any person’s improvement was determined by their parents. I remember the editorial that ran in the journal of applied physiology “some people’s alphabet soup—meaning their DNA—didn’t spell ‘runner.’” One person training the exact same as another person can have completely different outcomes.

The exercise in this study was aerobic training. If I recall correctly, I’ve read similar reports regarding response to weight training, aka resistance training. Am I right?

Many folks don’t like to admit this genetic limitation, assuming it’s true. “Set your mind to it, work hard—10,000 hours—and you can do or be anything you want.” Have you ever been tortured by unrealistic expectations? The truth will set you free.

Read the rest.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Book Review: The Heart Healthy Lifestyle – The Prevention and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes, by Sean Preuss

I recently finished an ebook, The Heart Healthy Lifestyle: The Prevention and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes by Sean Preuss, published in 2013. Per Amazon.com’s rating system, I give it five stars (I love it).

♦   ♦   ♦

This is an invaluable resource for 1) anyone recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, 2) those who aren’t responding well to their current therapeutic regimen, and 3) type 2 diabetics who want to reduce their drug use.

Strength Training Helps Get Excess Blood Sugar Out of Circulation

Strength Training Helps Get Excess Blood Sugar Out of Circulation

Mr. Preuss is a fitness trainer who has worked with many type 2 diabetics. He demonstrates great familiarity with the issues diabetics face on a daily basis. His science-based recommendations are familiar to me since I reviewed many of his references at on of my other blogs, Diabetic Mediterranean Diet.

Like me, Mr. Preuss recognizes the primacy of lifestyle modification over drug therapy for type 2 diabetes, as long as drugs can safely be avoided or postponed. The main lifestyle factors are diet and exercise. Too many physicians don’t spend enough time on these, preferring instead to whip out the prescription pad and say, “Here ya go. I’ll see you in three months.”

I have gradually come to realize that most of my sedentary type 2 diabetes patients need to start a work-out program in a gym where they can get some personal attention. That’s Mr. Preuss’s opinion, too. The clearly explained strength training program he recommends utilizes machines most commonly found in a gym, although some home gyms will have them also. His regimen is easily done in 15-20 minute sessions two or three times a week.

He also recommends aerobic activity, such as walking at least several days a week. He recommends a minimum of 113 minutes a week of low intensity aerobic work, citing evidence that it’s more effective than higher intensity effort for improving insulin sensitivity.

I don’t recall specific mention of High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT holds great promise for delivering the benefits of aerobic exercise in only a quarter of the time devoted to lower intensity aerobics. It may be that it just hasn’t been studied in type 2 diabetics yet.

I was glad to see all of Mr. Preuss’s scientific references involved humans, particularly those with type 2 diabetes. No mouse studies here!

Another strength of the book is that Sean tells you how to use psychological tricks to make the necessary lifestyle changes.

The author notes that vinegar can help control blood sugars. He suggests, if you can tolerate it, drinking straight (undiluted) red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar – 2 tbsp at bedtime or before carbohydrate consumption. I’ve heard rumors that this could be harmful to teeth, so I’d do some research or ask my dentist before drinking straight vinegar regularly. For all I know, it could be perfectly harmless. If you have a definitive answer, please share in the comments section below.

I read a pertinent vinegar study out of the University of Arizona from 2010 and reviewed it at one of my blogs. The most effective dose of vinegar was 10 g (about two teaspoons or 10 ml) of 5% acetic acid vinegar (either Heinz apple cider vinegar or Star Fine Foods raspberry vinegar).  This equates to two tablespoons of vinaigrette dressing (two parts oil/1 part vinegar) as might be used on a salad.  The study authors also say that “…two teaspoons of vinegar could be consumed palatably in hot tea with lemon at mealtime.”

The diet advice herein focuses on replacement of a portion of carbohydrates with proteins, healthy oils, and vegetables.

I highly recommend this book. And sign up for Mr. Preuss’s related tweets at @HeartHealthyTw.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Disclosure: Mr. Preuss gave me a free copy of the book, otherwise I have received no monetary compensation for this review. I met him once, about two years ago.

Stretch If You Want, But It Won’t Prevent Sports Injuries

This is a U.S. Army-style sit-up. I do sit-ups with my arms folded across my chest, hands on my shoulders

This is a U.S. Army-style sit-up. I do sit-ups with my arms folded across my chest, hands on my shoulders

I’ve thought that for awhile. Now I’ve got a scientific reference to back it up. Also from the abstract:

Strength training reduced sports injuries to less than 1/3 and overuse injuries could be almost halved.

h/t James Steele II

Exercise Cuts Fall Risk by a Third

…in the elderly, according to an article at MedPageToday. (I thought we already knew that.) Add this to your list of reasons to exercise. Successful aging is a war against gravity.

Tai Chi was the exercise in two of the trials, but the rest consisted of gait, balance, and functional training for activities performed in daily life. Most trials also included strength/resistance training exercises.

***

All the exercises that proved to be effective for fall prevention emphasized balance training, which the researchers said is “ample evidence that this type of program improves balance ability.”

Exercise reduces the risk of fractures by about 40%.

Click for the original research report, a meta-analysis.

Another Reason to Exercise Regularly: Less Insomnia

The Well blog at the New York Times has details. The study at hand involved only 11 women with insomnia, mostly in their 60s. A key take-away is that it took as long as four months for some  to see an improvement. So don’t get discouraged and stop exercising too soon.

It doesn’t take much exercise.

Read the whole thing (it’s brief).

Lou Schuler’s Advice to Weight Training Newbies

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet, Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet

Not me or Mr. Schuler

I was glad to see that four of my basic exercises were listed by Schuler as foundational: squat, deadlift, pushup, and row. A little more from him:

Every good training program is based on bedrock principles like progressive overload. You give your body a stimulus. You repeat the stimulus an optimal number of times. And then you give your body the opportunity to recover from it. Every good lifter eventually learns how to apply the principles in a way that works for him or her, but it always starts with the basics: learn the movements, apply the movements, build on the movements.

Every bad training program ignores these fundamentals, but it ignores them in a unique way. Too much stimulus with too little recovery. Too little stimulus with too much recovery. Poor exercise selection for the individual’s abilities and goals.

Read the whole thing.

h/t Yoni Freedhoff, M.D.

QOTD: Ken Hutchins on Recreation Versus Exercise

Recreation, not exercise

Recreation, not exercise

Perhaps the most destructive as well as most misunderstood concept in fitness today among researchers, the commercial health facilities, and the general public alike is  the confusion of exercise and recreation.

Ken Hutchins

Who Needs Medical Clearance Before Starting an Exercise Program?

medical clearance, treadmill stress test

This treadmill stress test is looking for hidden heart disease

To protect yourself from injury, I suggest that you obtain “medical clearance” from a personal physician before starting an exercise program. A physician is in the best position to determine if your plans are safe for you, thereby avoiding complications such as injury and death.

Nevertheless, most adults can start a moderate-intensity exercise program with little risk. An example of moderate intensity would be walking briskly (3–4 mph or 4.8–6.4 km/h) for 30 minutes daily.

Men over 40 and women over 50 who anticipate a more vigorous program should consult a physician to ensure safety. The physician may well recommend diagnostic blood work, an electrocardiogram (heart electrical tracing), and an exercise stress test (often on a treadmill). The goal is not to generate fees for the doctor, but to find the occasional person for whom exercise will be dangerous, if not fatal. Those who drop dead at the start of a vigorous exercise program often have an undiagnosed heart condition, such as blockages in the arteries that supply the heart muscle. The doctor will also look for other dangerous undiagnosed “silent” conditions, such as leaky heart valves, hereditary heart conditions, aneurysms, extremely high blood pressure, and severe diabetes.

She looks healthy enough, but how can you be sure?

She looks healthy enough, but how can you be sure?

The American Diabetes Association’s Standards of Care state that routine testing of all diabetics for heart artery blockages before an exercise program is not recommended; the doctor should use judgment case-by-case. Many diabetics (and their doctors) are unaware that they already have “silent” coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD is defined by blocked or clogged heart arteries, which reduced the blood flow to the hard-working heart muscle. Your heart pumps 100,000 times a day, every day, for years without rest. CAD raises the odds of fainting, heart attack, or sudden death during strenuous exercise. I recommend a cardiac stress test (or the equivalent) to all diabetics prior to moderate or vigorous exercise programs, particularly if over 40 years old. CAD can thus be diagnosed and treated before complications arise. Ask your personal physician for her opinion.

Regardless of age and diabetes, other folks who may benefit from a medical consultation before starting an exercise program include those with known high blood pressure, high cholesterol, joint problems (e.g., arthritis, degenerated discs), neurologic problems, poor circulation, lung disease, or any other significant chronic medical condition. Also be sure to check with a doctor first if you’ve been experiencing chest pains, palpitations, dizziness, fainting spells, headaches, frequent urination, or any unusual symptoms (particularly during exertion).

Physicians, physiatrists, physical therapists, and exercise physiologists can also be helpful in design of a safe, effective exercise program for those with established chronic medical conditions.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Yet Another Reason to Exercise: Fewer Kidney Stones

…according to an article at MedPageToday. It doesn’t even take much physical activity. From the article:

Almost 10% of the adult population in the U.S. will develop a kidney stone at some point. Kidney stone incidence has increased 70% over the past 15 years, and women have accounted for much of the increase, he explained, adding that the increase has been attributed to the rising prevalence of weight gain, obesity, and metabolic syndrome.

The study at hand applies to women. We don’t know about men yet.

The higher rate of kidney stones may reflect higher obesity rates. Obesity makes you sick.

“Pre-exercise stretching is generally unnecessary and likely counterproductive”

…writes Gretchen Reynolds at the New York Times Well blog.  I agree.