By Dr. Michael Koskiniemi
Aging is a fact of life, but there is no reason to let that affect your health, physique, or your physical capabilities. Someone very dear to me, who had just bumped into one of my clients, pointed out their youthful appearance. An active lifestyle can gain you more than I have room to write here. Over time, damage accumulates on everyone, whether on is affected by injuries or not, and can impede performance during activities of daily living. Mature individuals are especially at risk, since they have been alive longer. Although age makes you wiser (most of the time!), you can’t entirely avoid this process, but here are five tips to reduce its impact.
Take care of your neurotransmitters. Today’s training is all about the brain, or more precisely the neurotransmitters. These little chemical messengers are responsible for every action your dory and brain make, from thinking clearly to contracting your biceps. Four of the main chemicals are acetylcholine, GABA, dopamine and serotonin. It is paramount to ensure proper nutrition and supplementation in key nutrients to make sure the body receives enough raw elements to make these vital chemicals. The age-related decline in your capacity to make and use neurotransmitters is believed to be one of the factors involved the cognitive and physical decline that goes with growing older. But by taking care of the nutritional and supplemental aspects of the neurotransmitter production, it is possible to dramatically improve drive, mental clarity, and physical performance.
Stay on top of your fascial work and mobility drills. Without a doubt, the most common reason folks feel tight and weak is that they aren’t able to get into the positions/postures they used ot. It’s much easier to do a little work to preserve mobility than it is to lose it and have to work to get it back. Some fascial and mobility work with a Motions Movement Specialist every week goes a long way in keeping your body ready for anything.
Create and maintain structural balance. One of the concepts that led to success early on in my career was the ability to design programs that minimized my client’s aches and pains, helped alleviate previous injuries, and produced resistance to injuries.There is no secret to this, however impressive that claim seems to be. It’s just a matter of adequately recalibrating the individual’s musculoskeletal system. But I’ve take this one step further in creating a set of relative strength ratios between muscles that can be evaluated through lifts in the gym to find out the weakest muscles and then strengthening them. This provides a road map to prescribe more appropriate exercises in the routine; thus, making a client leaner and stronger while preventing injuries and resolving older issues. Muscles should be working in synergy to avoid imbalances that could lead to injury. Although it’s rather unpopular advice in the physical therapy realm, getting stronger is a great way to prevent injuries. But there is a caveat: only getting stronger in a smart way will prevent injuries.
Do a small amount of running and jumping. I think it’s important to preserve the ability to effectively use the stretch-shortening cycle. That’s not to say that every person needs to be sprinting full-tilt or doing crazy depth jumps. A better bet for many folks who worry about tweaking an ankle or hurting their knees is to implement some small group training to team training at Motions Fitness that incorporates side shuffles, skipping, carioca, and back-pedaling.
Maintain hormonal balance. There are two factors that are important, stress/cortisol management and insulin resistance in hormonal balance. And yes, both are connected to King Testosterone. Aging is no fun for your hormones, but it gets worse when you become aware of the relationship between cortisol and insulin. Cortisol is a “fight or flight” hormone, and as such it provides the energy to either fight or run away from danger. This energy comes in the form of glucose, released in the bloodstream. Insulin is called the “storage” hormone, because its role is to send macro-nutrients, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, in the cells. So when blood sugar is high, you produce insulin to lower it. If you produce too much insulin because of high cortisol and insulin resistance, you move that much closer to insulin resistance and diabetes. But with high insulin levels, blood sugars come crashing down. The body’s reaction to this is to produce cortisol, which will elevate blood sugar again. This see-saw relationship between cortisol and insulin is a vicious circle that produces a lot of stress on the body and could be avoided with simple dietary guidelines. It also produces a lot of inflammation, the underlying cause of many health issues.
If you want to stay young and able to do anything, don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and put some of theses tips to the test. The longer you’ve been alive, the more you realize how important these five tips are in order to preserve your health, physique, and functional capacity. So although all these factors are important at any age, they become more critical as we get older, especially if we want to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle, into an advanced age.
If you’re looking for a flexible program that’s proven effective across several populations, I’d encourage you to check out Motions Fitness. For more information, pricing and a schedule of Small Group and Team Training please stop by Motions Fitness, call (906)228-2233, email [email protected] or visit our website at www.motionsfitness.com and get started today!
Tyrosine, an important amino acid you may not know about
Like almost any nutrient, be it a vitamin, mineral, or botanical extract, amino acids are best introduced to the body via whole foods. In this way, they typically come packaged along with complementary and accessory nutrients that facilitate their absorption and fulfillment of their biochemical destinies. (It’s so nice of nature to do that for us, isn’t it?) But in just the same way that certain disease states, both acute and chronic, can increase the body’s need for particular vitamins and minerals above the levels someone would reasonably get from food alone, certain conditions may warrant supplemental amounts of amino acids.
There’s branched chain amino acids for potential skeletal muscle growth, tryptophan (and its metabolite, 5-HTP) for lifting a low mood or helping to promote sleep, and glutamine for gut health and tissue healing and repair after trauma.
What about tyrosine?
Like its aromatic amino acid brethren (phenylalanine and tryptophan), tyrosine is a building block for neurotransmitter synthesis. Unlike phenylalanine and tryptophan, however, it is not technically an essential amino acid, since it can be synthesized from phenylalanine. (For individuals with phenylketonuria [PKU], tyrosine is essential, as they lack the enzyme that facilitates this conversion.)
Tyrosine readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and is the starting point for producing L-DOPA, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. It is also the building block for thyroxine (a.k.a. T4, or thyroid hormone), but inadequate tyrosine is usually not the limiting factor in thyroxine synthesis. Individuals with suboptimal thyroid function might benefit from supplemental tyrosine, but likely only if hypothyroid symptoms are due primarily to insufficient tyrosine availability. Owing to its role in neurotransmitter and catecholamine synthesis, it has shown benefit for alleviating depression, acute stress, narcolepsy, and cocaine addiction. (With regard to cocaine addiction, tyrosine and tryptophan may be an effective combination, with these amino acids blunting the cocaine “high,” and reducing the depression that may result from drug withdrawal.)
Tyrosine competes with other large, neutral amino acids (phenylalanine, tryptophan, leucine, isoleucine, valine, and methionine) for transport across the blood-brain barrier, so for optimal efficacy supplemental tyrosine is best taken on an empty stomach, or perhaps with a carbohydrate-containing meal or snack that is low in protein. Taking vitamin B6 along with it may facilitate the conversion of tyrosine to dopamine, as the vitamin is a cofactor for the aromatic amino acid decarboxylase enzyme that catalyzes the reaction.
The Brain and Mood Link
Considering tyrosine’s role as a precursor to dopamine and thyroid hormone, it would seem that tyrosine supplementation would be a slam dunk for improving depression. Yet, results are mixed . Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have failed to show efficacy for tyrosine with regard to depression ; nevertheless, anecdotal evidence indicates there may be a role, so it’s possible it depends on an individual patient’s presentation. Depression is multifactorial, so there may be cases where supplemental tyrosine will help alleviate symptoms, and others where the issue is unrelated to inadequate levels.
On the other hand, tyrosine may be helpful for supporting cognitive function in acutely stressful situations. A review looking at the effects of tyrosine on behavior and cognition found that “tyrosine loading acutely counteracts decrements in working memory and information processing that are induced by demanding situational conditions such as extreme weather or cognitive load.” Most likely this is due to the influence of tyrosine on restoring healthy brain catecholamine levels. Other researchers had similar findings—that it does enhance cognitive performance, particularly in short-term stressful and cognitively demanding situations. One study’s authors caveated this by saying that it “is an effective enhancer of cognition, but only when neurotransmitter function is intact and DA [dopamine] and/or NE [norepinephrine] is temporarily depleted.”
Fortunately, it is an inexpensive compound to supplement with, so patients may be inclined to give it a try if their health care professionals suspect some of the symptoms they present with may be related to suboptimal tyrosine and/or reduced levels of hormones and neurotransmitters that come from tyrosine.
Note that tyrosine should not be supplemented in pregnant or lactating women, nor in individuals taking MAOIs for depression. Individuals with Parkinson’s disease may benefit from supplemental tyrosine, for the production of dopamine, but it should not be taken at the same time as levodopa, due to possible reduction in the drug’s efficacy.
Weight lifting is important to begin to building muscle mass and size, however it isn’t the only key element of shoulder training.
Posture is essential if you want to be injury free and want to start adding serious size to your shoulders.
Visual feedback and equal weight distribution are important to ensure that your muscles contract accurately.
New study demonstrates omega-3 fatty acids increase blood flow to regions of the brain associated with cognition
According to a new study published last Thursday in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, by using neuroimaging, researchers were able to demonstrate increased blood flow in regions of the brain associated with memory and learning in individuals with higher omega-3 levels.
Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders (ADRD) are a group of conditions that cause mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia. These conditions affect one’s ability to function socially, personally, and professionally. It’s important to recognize that Alzheimer’s disease begins long before symptoms start , just like many other conditions. There is evidence that simple prevention strategies can reduce the risk of ADRD by as much as 50%.
This new study included 166 individuals from a psychiatric clinic in which Omega-3 Index results were available. These patients were categorized into two groups: higher EPA and DHA concentrations (>50th percentile) and lower concentrations (<50th percentile). Quantitative brain single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) was performed on 128 regions of their brains and each individual completed computerized testing of their neurocognitive status.
SPECT can measure blood perfusion in the brain. In addition, performing various mentally stimulating cognitive tasks will show increased blood flow to specific brain regions. (Previous research has demonstrated that mentally stimulating activities reduce the risk of new-onset mild cognitive impairment even when performed later in life.) As a result, researchers identified significant relationships between the Omega-3 Index and regional perfusion on brain SPECT in areas that are involved with memory and neurocognitive testing.
This study demonstrated the positive relationships between omega-3 EPA and DHA status, brain perfusion, and cognition. This is significant because it shows a correlation between lower omega-3 fatty acid levels and reduced brain blood flow to regions important for learning, memory, depression and dementia.
By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS
See Strength Sensei for more information.
Fix Your Knee Pain in 2 Easy Steps
Tip Number 1 – Fix Your Feet Fix Your Knee
The movement of the knee joint is influenced by the movement of the ankle joint. To make sure you have proper biomechanics of your knee, you should first ensure that your foot has optimal movement. Start by testing your shoes. Position your foot on top of your shoe. You’ll want to make sure that the width and length of the shoe is big enough to accommodate the size of your foot and toes. If your toes are sticking out, then the shoe is too small. Change shoes.
Fix Your Low Back Pain (Two Tips)
When talking about lower back pain, we’re not inclined to think that the clenching of our teeth could have a negative repercussion. Our jaws (maxillary and mandible) is linked to our anterior and posterior muscular chains. As such, it would be impossible to display an outburst of strength without having our jawbones in contact.
Tip Number 1 – Red Dots
Use six red dots that you will alternate every six weeks. Position them in different areas of your house and working area at the level of your eyes. The red dots are meant to be used as a visual cue, so that when you see the dot, you become aware that your teeth are in contact. Immediately stop and move on to tip number two.
Is magnesium deficiency halting your gains?
To be valid, every hormone or mineral evaluation must be tested in the right compartment. Even if it is commonly prescribed, the serum magnesium test is a poor indicator of magnesium levels as serum magnesium represents only 1% of the body’s stores . Low serum magnesium indicates severe deficiency.
Red blood cell magnesium is the way to go. The optimal range is 6.8-7.2 mg/dL .
Most people hover around 2 mg/dL. Magnesium deficiency is a concern for 50-80% of the population depending on the source.
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Here’s what you need to know…
1. Bad posture increases muscle strain and tension, as muscles that are not aligned are forced to work harder to fight gravity.
2. Bad posture increases risk of back pain, nerve impingement and slipped disks, because the spine does not have the right curves and balance. While training, this imbalance of curves could lead to injury.
3. Bad posture increases the wear and tear of all joints because they are not moving in the way they are designed to and because the muscles stabilizing the joints do not receive the correct activation from the brain. This breaks down the cartilage and weakens ligaments leading to increased risk of injury such as ligament tears and muscle pulls.
4. Bad posture (and the above mentioned factors) can increase the production of stress hormones and inflammation in your body. This can lead to lowered immune system function, decreased sleep quality, digestion and energy levels.
The Brain Muscle Connection
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