We have all heard the old saying “use it or lose it”. This is especially true for the physical body. Whether we like it or not, we cannot always blame ‘old age’. There is experience and some science that shows no physical activity is actually a pivotal difference in who will tend to age more quickly or actually what causes our bodies to start to age.
During the early stages of the space program, the impact of weightlessness was a concern for the astronauts. Testing was done to simulate weightlessness in space involving 3 weeks of total bed rest. This was done to simulate the lack of activity and weightlessness to be endured in space. The findings were significant. Fitness can be measured in part by aerobic capacity. Aerobic capacity had decreased by 27% when fully lying down for the 3 week period. However, sitting or standing for as little as 1 hour a day only saw a reduction in aerobic capacity of 3%.(1)
Further to this question of how vital is standing up against gravity and being physically active, was addressed in a study in 2004. This study also noted that there was actually an overall 24% loss of muscle mass in a body following a period of 90 days in bed. Such a period of bed rest also resulted in an equally disturbing loss of bone mass. It seems that getting active following a fracture or such severe injury, is probably very important for healing and long term health.(2)
It appears that bone loss such as this, which has occurred during a relatively short period of bed rest, as you would find in a resting patient with a broken limb, (11-61 days) took 15 weeks of exercise to replace.(3).
Question: “What does this all mean? How am I to stop the aging of my body?”
Answer: “Put simply, please do not stop moving. Movement is the fountain of youth!”
The chiropractors of Australia (the group called the CAA) are very focused on good posture for all Australians of all ages. The message is the benefits of moving well and exercising regularly. Please start getting up from your desk/TV lounge/video games every 30 minutes; this is very important for your wellbeing! The daily effects of sitting are not good; individuals who sit for 6 hours or more each day have a clustering of poor health outcomes over time. They suffer higher blood fats and sugars; poor fitness; depression and are said to age quickly and suffer early deaths from a chronic illness.(4)
If it is true and a lack of movement is killing us, what is the prescription?
The Exercise Sport and Science Review Journal found that altering the time each day that you spend sitting is beneficial for all people. It seems that it is the ‘total sitting time’ spent in the day that is important. But there are some things you can’t alter e.g. time sitting when commuting to and from work. So alter the times spent in front of TV each day or time sitting playing your video games; these can be changed. The New Scientist Journal confirms that significant health power is found in standing over lying, or sitting in your day! Actually quite low levels of activity (low grade muscle activation) are sufficient to reduce your mortality. That is, your risk of dying early is reduced.
Please note the science on fat!
Increasing your level of activity will keep body fat under control; men and women alike! Start to exercise each day for 20 minutes or just start to move your body; put on your favourite music and dance!
With less activity there is a notable increase in body fat and reduced muscle mass; for men this causes a reduction in testosterone levels and increased oestrogen levels; this leads to aging of the body.(5)
In an ideal world a mix of exercise is best. This involves two styles of training. There is the resistance training to increase muscle mass and endurance/aerobic training to reduce body fat.
Just using your own body-weight in training is an ideal start for an exercise program. Start with a ‘classic army workout’. This is a set of push-ups, star jumps, step ups or body weight-only squats. Each of these uses the body as resistance and thus stimulates both muscle growth and bone density. A brisk 15 minute walk is a great way to get our aerobic training. A skipping rope or treadmill or stationary bike are all excellent ways to ensure that the routine is not lost on bad weather days. Then learn about Tai Chi, yoga or do some stretching at the end of each day before you go to bed.
The experience of Hands On Superhealth is that we all need a friend to exercise with or a goal to help keep us on track. Setting a goal, such as “City to Surf” or a party with a set of clothes that we want to wear comfortably, is often enough to keep us motivated! Many of us will exercise if it means we stay young and look more attractive! Studies have shown that when using aerobic training on a daily basis, the quality of the tissue of the brains in older people (aged 60-79) actually increased! This did not occur when only stretching exercise was done daily. (6)
Changes associated with ageing are related to lack of movement.
As we age, we move less and this appears to be the vital key to reversing the ageing process. Muscle mass and fibre type will continue to respond to stimulation if we keep exercising as we age. Remember, you lose it if you don’t use it. Muscle mass can increase as much as 9% and fibre type by as much as 24% in just 6 months; this has been observed in men in their 70’s who follow a weights training program. (7)
“Move Well, Eat Well and Be Well”, is a central theme at Hands on Superhealth
Hands On gentle whole body corrections get the nervous system working better for all ages from nine to ninety! Our patients tell us that their fortnightly whole body balancing adjustments keep them feeling supple and youthful; remember it is the chiropractor that checks you for a healthy nervous system.
Is your body younger than you; or do you need a tune up?
Book a review for us to focus on your aging processes. We are aware of the power that is in your body and the importance of knowing where you are at as an individual in your own health journey.
At Hands on Superhealth we have a complete system.
We are very experienced in systems that allow your body to tell us where you are in the aging processes. Whether good feet with the Podiatrist and improving your energy levels with the Chiropractor, or finding the best natural supplement to support you in your stressful day; the focus is on stopping the aging processes.
Dr Brian Callan DC and Dr Sue-Ellen McKelvey PhD
(1) New Scientist 29 June 2013
(2) Bone Volume 36, Issue 6 , Pages 1019-1029, June 2005
(3) Calcified Tissue International 1983, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 265-267
(4) Exerc Sport Sci Rev. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2012 July 25.Published in final edited form as:Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2010 July; 38(3): 105–113.doi: 10.1097/JES.0b013e3181e373a2
(5) Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism, 98: 2442-2450, 2013 – The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 1 January 2008 vol. 93 no. 168-75
(6) J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci(2006) 61 (11): 1166-1170.
(7) Experimental Gerontolgy. 48: 492-498, 2013)