Myth no 1: You can’t escape creaky, achy joints
It turns out that not exercising is one of the main mistakes that make painful joints inevitable. Researchers at Monash University School in Australia observed 176 women aged 40 to 67 with no clinical osteoarthritis or history of significant knee injury.
The women all had magnetic resonance imaging on their dominant knee to assess tibial cartilage volume and defects. The participants also completed a questionnaire to determine exercise habits. Researchers found that those who exercised at least once every two weeks for 20 minutes or more had more healthy cartilage in their knees. THIS STUDY SUGGESTS THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE ARE LESS LIKELY TO DEVELOP ARTHRITIS.
Myth no 2: Muscles will wither
There is a bit of truth here, as it’s normal to experience loss of muscle mass (a condition called Sarcopenia) after age 40. This is largely because aging muscle becomes populated with malfunctioning mitochondria, the little powerhouses found in all cells. When mitochondria tank, muscle cells waste away and fat cells set up housekeeping.
But this doesn’t have to be everyone’s fate! An important study published in Public Library Science offers hope. Canadian researchers biopsied muscle from active and sedentary adults between 53 and 75 years old. It turned out the couch potatoes’ muscles had few robust mitochondria. In contrast, active adults’ muscles featured almost as many thriving mitochondria as you’d find in much younger adults.
And here’s the good news: the study found JUST ABOUT ANY EXERCISE CAN IMPROVE AND EVEN REVERSE THE SIGNS OF AGEING IN MUSCLES.
Myth no 3: It’s too late to benefit from exercise
Nothing could be further from the truth! In the oft-cited Nurses’ Health Study, researchers surveyed more than 13,500 women on their lifestyle habits. The scientists found that even if you don’t become active until middle age, exercise still greatly improves your odds of ageing without cognitive or physical issues or developing a chronic disease.
In more good news, researchers in the United States and Europe have deduced that just about any kind of activity, at any age, helps preserve telomeres – the caps on the ends of chromosomes in your cells. When these caps become shorter, the cell stops dividing and dies. Exercise can help maintain telomere length, which potentially extends a cell’s life span. Even better, research shows that EVEN MODERATE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY CAN PROVIDE THIS PROTECTIVE EFFECT.
Myth no 4: Bones are more likely to break with age
Not necessarily! You see, researchers now believe INACTIVITY IS THE BIGGEST THREAT TO BONE HEALTH. Indeed, it’s proven that the best type of activity for bone health is weight-bearing exercise, which promotes formation of new bone.
Multiple studies with older men and women who performed weight-bearing exercise, or wore weighted vests, showed increases in bone mineral density, bone strength and bone size. In other studies, researchers found that exercise can also help protect against bone loss in post-menopausal women, including those with osteoporosis or osteopenia.
Now, you don’t have to become a gym rat – merely walking is a weight-bearing exercise! Using exercise bands or carrying light weights while you walk will give you additional benefit.
By now, everybody knows that ditching sugary drinks (even “diet” drinks) and high-carb foods is a good idea to keep your blood sugar under control. But did you know there are actually other factors that may silently be wrecking your efforts?
When you are stressed, your body dumps stress hormones in your blood stream, which release sugar to give you energy to run away from whatever danger you are faced with. Unfortunately, our bodies are still wired to flee from predators such as sabre-tooth tigers and can’t tell the difference between a physical stressor or a mental one.
This is where self-care steps in – find some alone-time to do something that relaxes you, whether it’s talking a walk or meditating, but also make sure you take active steps to reduce the sources of stress in your life (toxic relationships are a good example of this).
2. Exposure to WiFi
We often don’t give our WiFi gadgets a second thought but whether we feel the effect of the electrosmog we live in or not, it always has a detrimental effect on the body at a cellular level. Indeed, mobile phones and routers emit microwave radiation that make us feel tired all the time and raise our blood sugar, amongst other effects.
Position your router as far away from your living area, turn it off night, put your mobile phone on airplane mode whenever possible and put as much distance between your phone and your body when it is on.
3. Lack of deep sleep
Lack of sleep blunts your body’s ability to process blood sugar and will make it very difficult for you to lose weight. Take steps to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep by sleeping in a cool, dark room, not exposing your eyes to blue light emitted by phones or tablets one hour before bedtime, trying to go to bed at the same time each day and going easy on the alcohol and coffee in the afternoons.
4. Too little or too much exercise
You probably know that walking or even just moving around can lower your blood sugar and make you more insulin-sensitive. But equally, tough exercise such as heavy weight-lifting and running marathons can cause it to rise. That’s not to say you should avoid these activities, it just means you have to ramp up your exercise intensity more carefully and monitor your blood sugar regularly if you want to take part in these activities.
5. Some medication
Corticosteroids, diuretics, some drugs for high blood pressure and depression can keep your blood sugar high even when your lifestyle and diet are on point. Talk to your doctor if you take any of these.
Even if your diabetes is well under control, any illness or infection can cause your blood glucose to rise. This is because illness is a stress on the body, and is associated with increased levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which counter the effects of insulin.
It makes it harder for your body to control your insulin levels, therefore pushing your blood sugar up. If you smoke, you need to take steps towards quitting.
8. Lack of vitamin D
Vitamin D has many functions in the body, including maintaining calcium levels and phosphorus, blood pressure regulation, immunity and insulin balance. Getting 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight per day without sunscreen is recommended to get sufficient levels of vitamin D3. Failing that, you need to either get a UVB lamp, or supplement with vitamin D3.
9. Exposure to environmental pollutants
Heavy metals like mercury (in dental fillings) and aluminium (in vaccines and deodorants) can accumulate in the pituitary gland, disrupting hormone production, one of them being insulin. They also increase your chances of developing degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism and diabetes. Then we have glyphosate in our food, chlorine and fluoride in our drinking water and parabens in our toiletries, which all contribute to disrupting your hormones.
A good start would be to limit your exposure by filtering your drinking water, buying organic food whenever possible and removing anti-bacterial hand-wash from your house.
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