April 7, 2014
Did you know that consuming alcohol after a workout, practice or competition can cancel out any physiological gains you may have received during your session. Not only does long term alcohol use diminish protein synthesis that results in a decrease in muscle build-up, short term alcohol use prevents muscle growth, which is one of the reasons we work out so hard.
Now, I'm not saying you should become a teetotaler. I like wine tasting and here in Cambria we live in one of the world's great wine regions. But if you're trying to make progress
— whether you're a walker or an elite athlete
— it's wise to be judicious about alcohol consumption. We know a lot more about its effects on athletic performance today than we did back when Tour de France riders drank wine on their bikes during a race!
In view of Alcohol Awareness Month in April, here are some effects to be aware of on athletic performance when drinking alcohol:
Human Growth Hormone
— To build bigger and stronger muscles our body needs sleep to repair itself after a workout. Because of alcohol's effect on sleep the body is robbed of HGH or human growth hormone. HGH is a part of the normal muscle building and repair process and the body's way of telling itself your muscles need to grow and get stronger. It can decrease this secretion by as much as 70 percent.
Testosterone — One thing that is essential for muscle development and recovery is testosterone. But alcohol triggers the production of a substance in your liver that is toxic to testosterone. And yes, testosterone is important for women too. According to Clif Arrington, of anti-agingmd.com based in Hawaii, says it can improve memory, boost energy, revive your interest in sex, and in general increase your entire sense of well being.
Dehydration and Muscle Cramps — Alcohol slows down the body's ability to heal itself. Alcohol is a toxin — toxins travel through our bloodstream to our body's organs and tissues. By the time you become severely dehydrated your body no longer has enough fluids to get blood to your organs. In extreme situations an individual can go into shock which can be life threatening.
Vital Nutrients — Not only is alcohol lacking any nutritional value it also inhibits the absorption of thiamin (vitamin B1), vitamin B12, folic acid and zinc. Thiamin is essential to optimal performance. It plays an important role in metabolizing carbohydrates. Vitamin B12 helps maintain healthy red blood and nerve cells. Folic acid is involved in the formation of new cells. A lack of folic acid causes megoloblastic anemia which is a lowering of oxygen carrying capacity. This will effect one's endurance. Zinc is essential to your energy metabolic process.
Energy Source — Once absorbed through your stomach, small intestines and cells, it can can disrupt the water balance in muscle cells. This disruption changes their ability to produce ATP, adenosine triphosphate, which is your muscles’ source of energy. ATP provides the fuel needed for muscle contraction.
So given all this information I will conclude that, yes indeed, alcohol does affect athletic performance. And let's face it whether we are running our first 5k, powerwalk, marathon, triathalon or just trying to build muscle and stay healthy it can effect our ability to reach our goals. I truly believe that we are all athletes in our own way and the more information we have to figure out the best way we can achieve our goals the easier it is to make those decisions along the way.
There are a few medications prescribed for specific conditions that cause muscle weakness. One of those medications is systemic corticosteroids, often prescribed for people with asthma or inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Statins are used for preventing and treating atherosclerosis that causes chest pain, heart attacks, strokes, cholesterol and diabetes - muscle pain is one of the side effects.
If you're over 40, maybe you've discovered the wonderful world of reading glasses. But exercise might help!
March 24, 2014
Tomorrow is the American Diabetes Association Alert Day. It's a day we're reminded to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The test is available year round.
Do you or someone in your family have diabetes? Diabetes runs in my family. Both my parents were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the their mid 50s. They were diagnosed in the days when urine was tested for glucose .
Of people who have diabetes about 90 percent have type 2, which occurs when for some unknown reason the body cannot use insulin effectively. The pancreas is designed to produce enough insulin for the body. But if the body does not use insulin effectively, over time the production decreases. Sugar builds up in the blood and overflows into the urine. It passes out unused, depriving the body of an important source of energy.
My fathers life with diabetes is what I wish to share with you. In the early 80’s we were noticing our usually active and energetic father tiring easily. Always one to stay well-hydrated, his constant thirst was something that we noticed.
A visit to his primary care physician resulted in diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. The doctor set up a treatment plan of regular glucose monitoring, diet change, daily walks and medication. With careful monitoring and implementation the new regime allowed dad to stabilize his condition for another 20 years. He even took up motorcycle riding, something he had always wanted to do. Frequent rides to the beach replaced my childhood memories of week-end sailing excursions.
In early 2001 my mom, his wife of 39 years, passed away and dad's diligence with taking care of his condition began to waiver. In his early 70’s he ate out more frequently and began to ignore some of his dietary restrictions. Depression found him sitting more and instead of several walks a week and motorcycle rides, he switched to movie watching from the sofa and snacking. My visits often included long walks with him along the waterfront, gym workouts and comfortable strolls heading for a meal or coffee break. As time passed dad moved to Leisure World in Seal Beach, California, which offered lots of activities and companionship.
In October 2009 dad was diagnosed with emphysema. That explained his shortness of breath and fatigue. Shortly thereafter he became an insulin dependent diabetic. Now having to give himself shots several times a day his little blue bag and ice chest became his new companion. At 77 dad’s memory faded and the constant need for oxygen made his ability to recall things a real chore - notes and timers were added to his regime.
With these new conditions problems soon arose. He would forget to administer his insulin, or forget he had already done so, or forget to eat. The paramedics became familiar with his address and his condition... as well as his local hospital. After hospital stays dad would return home bright eyed and peppy back to the father I knew reaping the benefits of regular meals, consistent medication and monitoring. It didn’t take long, once he was home, before this scenario would be repeated.
My father passed away on June 10, 2013 taking his last breath at home as he wished. He was 82.
I write this in honor of him but also to share this story to remind that life with diabetes can be as full as you want it to be if you take all the steps needed to keep it under control.
Gotta love it! This is where my clients get to... just kidding. Or maybe not.
One mineral that's important in the building of bones is calcium. About 99 percent of the calcium in our bodies is in our bones and teeth. Each day we lose calcium through our skin, nails, hair, sweat, urine and feces, but our bodies can't produce new calcium. It's important that we get enough calcium for our bodies through food that we eat. If we don't, it will be taken from our bones. Over time this leaching from the bones causes osteoporosis. Studies indicate that 16 percent of women and 4 percent of men ages 50 and older have osteoporosis.
Sometimes bone loss occurs without any cause. But there are a few tendencies science has observed. The tendency to have bone loss and thin bones is passed down through families. White women are more likely to have bone loss issues. Other causes include medical conditions, medications, low body weight, menopause, drinking large amounts of alcohol , smoking and being confined to bed.
Awareness and prevention is your best line of defense. It's important to have regular bone density screenings so that you and your physician can prepare the best course of action for you.
What constitutes happiness for you? Is it more money, more things, free time, many friends, good health, a safe place to live, laughter? As different as we are as human beings so is our definition of happiness.
I realize that happiness is not easy to define. My definition is wide ranging. But a core piece of it is a feeling of being healthy and mobile. There was a study done in the late 90s which focused on the concept of vitality. They called it "a positive feeling of aliveness and energy." That's great! It's a pretty involved research paper and you might say we already knew this, but what a great topic to investigate.
There has been lots of thinking about well-being, perhaps the most famous I remember is Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs which was a popular topic in college psychology classes. Many people still immediately relate to it and would say that self-actualization defines happiness.
This Thursday, it's the 2nd International Day of Happiness which was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012. The language of their resolution starts:
"Conscious that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal..."
That ties right into our Declaration of Independence in which Thomas Jefferson wrote:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
"Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be."Reading a bit of history, Americans didn't invent the idea but we certainly pushed it forward as something more than a personal thing. It's part of the charter of the country. I think it's a good thing that happiness is getting a worldwide official treatment. It's a reminder, even in one small measure, of what makes life worth living.
San Luis Obispo is our own pot of gold offering a
wonderful way to live, thrive and grow at any age. Who couldn't be
happy living here?
Bring a friendly smile to everyone you see.