Working Out & Aging: Getting It Right!
Anyone who works out knows that working out keeps you young - muscles are tighter, skin looks better and younger, you're more flexible, and your body just works better overall. But there's a catch: you have to workout in the right way to stop aging in its tracks.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham in England showed evidence that as you get older, working out to stop aging can actually cause you to age faster, simply because your body can't handle as much training stress as it once could. So, as you get older, the training stresses that once kept aging at bay may actually accelerate it - and that's not good news.
Researchers looked at data from a wide range of people from all populations and concluded that even elite athletes like regular people can accelerate aging if they don't train according to their age-and this is despite their superior conditioning and relative youth compared to people their own age who don't work out regularly.
So the message to bodybuilders from this study is clear: keep training, because it keeps you young. But, as you age, be sure to decrease the total amount of stress that you place on your body-or else it can make you age faster and compound the problems that come as you get older.
- Anna C. Phillips, et al. Stress and Exercise: Getting the Balance Right for Aging Immunity. Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev., Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 35Y39, 2007.
Everyone knows that eating the right "stuff" post-workout is critical for muscle growth. Known as the "post-workout anabolic window", the time immediately after a workout is by far the most important time to accelerate recovery because it is during this time that your body is hypersensitive to nutrients and your hungry muscles greedily devour glucose and protein so they can repair themselves as quickly as possible.
That's why it's critically important to feed your hungry muscles the right amounts of glucose and fast-acting whey protein during this time.
Surprisingly, some so-called experts still dismiss the idea that the post-workout anabolic window is important, and maintain that simply eating a "regular" diet will allow for increased protein synthesis and muscle growth.
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A new study investigated the differences between protein synthesis rate increases following eating a regular meal and compared them to protein synthesis rate increases following exercise.
The results of the study show that while the protein synthesis increases that happen as a result of eating a meal are "a systemic transient storage phenomenon" (generalized low-level storage), "physical exercise stimulates a local longer-term adaptive response."
Translation: use the post-workout anabolic window to your advantage and shuttle glucose and fast-acting protein to your muscles as fast as possible because not only do the increased protein synthesis rates last longer than from regular eating alone, but they're also local-specific-at the muscle tissue site where growth happens.
- MILLER, B.F. Physical Activity and Feeding. Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev., Vol. 35, No. 2,pp. 50-55, 2007.
Oxygen & Your Brain
When you blast through a hard workout, you're not just working your muscles-you're also working your Central Nervous System (CNS) that consists of your brain and spinal cord. And, the harder and heavier you work-the more intensity you bring to the gym-the more you increasingly work your CNS along with your muscles.
Because the working intensity needed to build muscle is close to the intensity that can burn out your CNS, there is always a risk that working out hard will fry your CNS and hurt your performance. But how, exactly, does lifting heavy and hard leave you out of breath and unable to keep going?
Investigating workout triggered exhaustion, a new scientific study took a look at the effects of a hard workout on blood flow to your brain and what effects, if any, a hard workout ultimately had on oxygen delivery to your brain. The results were surprising and very telling.
Comparing the behavior of blood flow to the brain pre and post-exercise, scientists discovered that while the brain is protected against oxygen shortage when you're at rest, a hard workout triggers hyperventilation and prevents an increase in blood flow to your brain, potentially causing an oxygen shortage that causes you to fatigue quickly and triggers your brain to automatically down-regulate your workout performance. To prevent this down-regulation from occurring, it's important to regulate your intensity.
More research is emerging on the role of the brain during exercise, so stay tuned here for the latest information.
- NYBO, L., et al. Inadequate Cerebral Oxygen Delivery and Central Fatigue during Strenuous Exercise. Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev., Vol. 35, No. 3, pp. 110Y118, 2007.
Vasodilation & Your Skin
For bodybuilders, vasodilation-the expansion in the diameter of blood vessels-is critically important, especially during a hard workout. Vasodilation, while naturally triggered by exercise, is also caused by increases in nitric oxide from supplementation. Vasodilation is critically important because an expansion in the diameter of blood vessels allows for an increase in overall circulation and an increase in the delivery of oxygen and nutrient rich blood to hard working muscles.
Researchers from the Pennsylvania State University have found that as your body temperature rises-as happens during a tough workout-blood flow increases to all parts of your body including your skin and that the frequency and magnitude of vasodilation decreases as you get older, both for your muscles and for your skin. This is, in part, responsible for the slower growth and slower recovery experienced by older athletes.
This study is important because it shows that older bodybuilders should use a nitric oxide supplement that boost nitric oxide levels. This will not only help keep your skin healthy, but will also improve your workout performance and speed your recovery after exercise.
- HOLOWATZ, L.A., et al. Altered Mechanisms of Vasodilation in Aged Human Skin. Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev., Vol. 35, No. 3, pp. 119Y125, 2007.
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