A new study published by the National Institutes of Health pulls together a body of previous studies and makes it clear that middle-age and older adults should be doing anaerobic exercise - high-intensity wind sprints rather than standard, long, slow cardio. Anaerobic sprinting types of exercise - running, cycling, swimming, cross country skiing - is shown by medical researchers to make the body produce significant amounts of anti-aging growth hormone. It's no secret that several well-known entertainers take growth hormone (GH) injections for its body fat cutting, muscle toning, youth rejuvenating properties, but there can be serious side-effects from GH injections.
Unquestionably "natural". Natural is always best.
And producing growth hormone from high-intensity exercise is unquestionably "natural." Growth hormone injections are given to children with clinical stature growth problems to help them grow normally. Growth hormone does not make adults grow taller." For middle-age adults, GH can reverse several measurable clinical factors of the middle-age bulge - officially named "the somatopause" by researchers. The middle-age somatopause is signified by energy decline, weight-gain (around the middle, and hips), loss of muscle, and wrinkled skin after the age of 30. Researchers report; "Aging is often associated with a progressive decrease in the volume and, especially, the intensity of exercise. A growing body of evidence suggests that higher intensity exercise is effective in eliciting beneficial health, well-being and training outcomes. In a great many cases, the impact of some of the deleterious effects of aging could be reduced if exercise focused on promoting exercise produced growth hormone," ("The exercise-induced growth hormone response in athletes," Godfrey, Sports Med. 2003;33(8):599-613.2003)
Overweight causes Cancer.
Being overweight, which is far less than obesity, now accounts for 14 to 20% of deaths by cancer, report researchers in a major new study, (Overweight, obesity, and mortality from cancer in a prospectively studied cohort of US adults, 2003, Calle). This wasn't a small, out-of-context study. Over 900,000 adults were studied over 16 years. And the researchers estimate that more than 90,000 cancer deaths each year could be avoided if every American maintained a healthy weight. Researchers report; "we estimate that current patterns of overweight and obesity in the U.S. could account for 14 percent of all deaths from cancer in men and 20 percent of those in women." The study shows that the risk of dying from cancer from being overweight is 52% greater than men of normal weight, and 62% higher for women. All the more reason to start and maintain lifestyle that makes time for fitness training.
Long, slow, and boring.
Long, slow forms of cardio - like walking - is a great place to begin if someone is inactive. But don't be misled. The research is clear. This form of exercise doesn't compare to the benefits of anaerobic exercise. We're talking about the difference between kindergarten and college. Low-intensity exercise is absolutely necessary as a starting point, but it needs to be the starting point and a building block for moderate-intensity, which in turn, is the building block before moving into high-intensity anaerobic exercise.
Low-intensity does not prevent death from heart disease.
For years, the gold standard for exercise was 30 minutes of activity a day. And walking for 30 minutes a day was said to be adequate enough to delay heart disease and premature death. Not true, report researchers. A new study of 2,000 men over 10 years destroys the low-intensity, walking standard. Researchers show that low-intensity does nothing to prevent death from heart disease. Nearly 2,000 men, ages 45 and 59, were tracked for 10 years. Initially, none of the men had any evidence of heart disease. Exercise was performed and measured by three levels of intensity; low, moderate, and high. Low-intensity included walking & bowling. Golf & dancing qualified as moderate-intensity. Running & swimming were in the high-intensity category. Of the 252 deaths that occurred during the 10 year study, 75% were linked to heart disease and stroke. And cancer accounted for 25%.
Conclusion: Walking 30-minutes five times a week is not enough to prevent early death from heart disease. Moderate-intensity also failed to reduce premature deaths. Only the highest levels of exercise intensity lowered death rates.
Solution - add anaerobic exercise. Wisely.
Be wise. Don't read this and go run a 200 meter sprint full speed. Pulling a hamstring or killing yourself to improve fitness misses the point. Anaerobic exercise is the most productive form of exercise, and it should be a part of every fitness routine. However, anaerobic exercise is also the most dangerous form of exercise, and physician clearance is a must. A progressive build-up program - from low, to moderate, to high-intensity - is necessary to prevent injury.