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The Space Between Fitness and Medicine: Where “the Good You Do For Others” Brings the Reward you Deserve | Part 3

If you’ve been following this article/series since Part 1, here’s what you now realize:

There is a massive market of adults in “need” of exercise and nutritional interventions to rediscover the health they’ve moved away from.
Although the conventions of the medical field are poorly equipped to reverse chronic disease, and the conventions of the fitness field primarily offer protocols for training healthy individuals (even the “special pop” certifications address safety more than an aggressive approach toward dis-ease reversal), there is MASSIVE OPPORTUNITY for you to prosper in working with this “unwell” market.


Heart-brain connection: Fitness now protects your brain in your 70s and 80s

Stay fit today; avoid dementia tomorrow

It’s well-known exercise plays a vital role in your physical health, and now studies propose staying fit in midlife may protect your brain as well, avoiding mental deteriation in later years.

A new study, published in Neurology, that followed Swedish women for more than 40 years,  suggests one’s level of physical fitness predicts the amount of protection from dementia decades later.1

Swedish dementia/exercise study began 50 years ago

At the onset of the study in 1968, 191 Swedish women ranging in age from 38 to 60 took part in a vigorous stationary cycling test to measure their exercise work capacity. Based on work capacity, women were split into low, medium, and high fitness categories. The women were followed from 1968 to 2012, and dementia diagnoses were recorded.

The measurement of exercise capacity is an important aspect of the strength of this study –  it was based on the participants’ actual performance rather than relying on participants’ subjective reports of how much, how vigorously, and how often they exercised.

Strong association between fitness and likelihood of dementia decades later

Dementia incidence correlated with fitness level, the greater the fitness level, the less the dementia: 32 percent, 25 percent, and 5 percent of women developed dementia in the low, medium, and high fitness groups, respectively.1 This particular study is one of the longest, following participants for up to 44 years, but shorter studies have come to similar conclusions.2-4

Another very interesting finding: in the subset of women whose initial exercise tests had to be stopped because of issues such as excessively high blood pressure, chest pain, or an abnormal EKG change, almost half (nine out of twenty women) developed dementia. Fit women who did develop dementia did so much later in life. Among the five percent of fit women who eventually developed dementia, the average age of development of dementia was eleven years later compared to the medium fitness group – age 90 vs. 79 – an extra eleven years of dementia-free life.

Midlife fitness also linked to brain volume 19 years later

In another study, the effects of midlife physical fitness on the brain were visualized with MRI. Participants at an average age of 40 performed a treadmill test to determine their exercise capacity. Lower exercise capacity at midlife was associated with smaller total cerebral brain volume 19 years later, suggesting having a higher fitness level helps prevent brain shrinkage with age.5

Diet determines your propensity for fitness

Important to note, one’s fitness level is strongly linked to what you eat.  People who are overweight  as well as those who don’t eat healthfully, do  not have the will, energy or capacity for regular exercise.  When you eat right, you’re more likely to get fit; when you don’t eat right it is very difficult to get fit.

A nutrient-dense, plant-rich diet (Nutritarian) is the most critical determinant influencing whether one gets dementia or not.  When you eat right  you automatically crave exercise and it becomes pleasurable to do so.

This study also demonstrates the wide variety of health benefits, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and several cancers when you get fit. Mixing together nutritional excellence and exercise is when the magic happens to protect yourself from the common diseases of aging.  Exercise offers additional benefits to cardiovascular health and insulin sensitivity, as well as some direct effects in the brain, such as the release of protective compounds called neurotrophins.6,7

At any age, fitness is vital for your present and future brain health.

It is never too late to start exercising and you are never too old. Studies have documented cognitive benefits from exercise (strength training and aerobic training) in all age groups, from children to the elderly.6-9  Today is the day to make sure you do both; eat right and get fit.

Originally printed on DrFuhrman.com. Reprinted with permission.

Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a board-certified family physician, six-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. Dr. Fuhrman coined the term “Nutritarian” to describe his longevity-promoting, nutrient dense, plant-rich eating style.
For over 25 years, Dr. Fuhrman has shown that it is possible to achieve sustainable weight loss and reverse heart disease, diabetes and many other illnesses using smart nutrition. In his medical practice, and through his books and PBS television specials, he continues to bring this life-saving message to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.


  1. Horder H, Johansson L, Guo X, et al. Midlife cardiovascular fitness and dementia: A 44-year longitudinal population study in women. Neurology 2018.
  2. Defina LF, Willis BL, Radford NB, et al. The association between midlife cardiorespiratory fitness levels and later-life dementia: a cohort study. Ann Intern Med 2013, 158:162-168.
  3. Liu R, Sui X, Laditka JN, et al. Cardiorespiratory fitness as a predictor of dementia mortality in men and women. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2012, 44:253-259.
  4. Willis BL, Gao A, Leonard D, et al. Midlife fitness and the development of chronic conditions in later life. Arch Intern Med 2012, 172:1333-1340.
  5. Spartano NL, Himali JJ, Beiser AS, et al. Midlife exercise blood pressure, heart rate, and fitness relate to brain volume 2 decades later. Neurology 2016, 86:1313-1319.
  6. Kandola A, Hendrikse J, Lucassen PJ, Yucel M. Aerobic Exercise as a Tool to Improve Hippocampal Plasticity and Function in Humans: Practical Implications for Mental Health Treatment. Front Hum Neurosci 2016, 10:373.
  7. Kirk-Sanchez NJ, McGough EL. Physical exercise and cognitive performance in the elderly: current perspectives. Clin Interv Aging 2014, 9:51-62.
  8. Fiatarone Singh MA, Gates N, Saigal N, et al. The Study of Mental and Resistance Training (SMART) study-resistance training and/or cognitive training in mild cognitive impairment: a randomized, double-blind, double-sham controlled trial. J Am Med Dir Assoc 2014, 15:873-880.
  9. Mavros Y, Gates N, Wilson GC, et al. Mediation of Cognitive Function Improvements by Strength Gains After Resistance Training in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment: Outcomes of the Study of Mental and Resistance Training. J Am Geriatr Soc 2016.
Hands Laptop

Healthy Aging and You: Technology, Consciousness: the Sedentary Society – Part III

In examining this subject I have found myself wondering about the challenges that this complex issue of technology and its impact on our lives is having. The reality is that NO ONE really knows what the impact of technology and our way of life holds in store for any of us. We DO know there is going to be a “reckoning” and that if we remain seated and stressed then significantly negative consequences will surely emerge. These include ongoing chronic medical issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and mental disturbances of all kinds to name a few. Finally an unhealthy aging process where people of all ages will be treated for these and other conditions will become a daily part of life for families all over America.

President Clinton was quoted in the past as saying that “this may be the first generation of children to not outlive their parents”. Quite frankly that thought shocked me so I became even more convinced that there is much work to be done before that statement can be labeled as true. It is still a real possibility and it will take all of us to find he answers. My grandson of 12 has already been diagnosed with high cholesterol and high blood pressure and this is only the “tip of the iceberg”. What about all the other children? What will their futures be like? What can be done? That is the question I will be spending the rest of my time on earth attempting to define and understand.

In this Part III I will examine the sedentary society and its corresponding partner the obesity epidemic and suggest ways we can move forward without “sitting still” until a crisis emerges that forces us to make changes to address the issues that we may have prevented in the first place! I believe in the possible and although this challenge may seem impossible we have to keep trying and not just throw up our hands in despair and do nothing. Our younger generations are counting on us to find answers and also to encourage us to ASK the best questions in order to present solutions and not merely shallow “guesses” or suppositions. That would be totally wrong!


After my training sessions I go to a nearby McDonald’s to read the paper and ponder and think – without any technology! Two examples are present in my mind of what I observe almost daily. The first one is of an elderly man who sits for hours staring at his phone and never speaking to anyone. He is always alone and he is there when I arrive – and when I leave. He is in my opinion in the “sitting and waiting to die” mode. I don’t know his circumstances but he appears to be alone in life. He is physically weak, overweight, always cold (he wears layers of clothes) and probably younger than me. Why he lives this way is a mystery to me but I DO know he is completely unaware of how his behavior is creating a future I am sure he would rather avoid!

The second one is the young man who brings his computer and sits for hours working on “whatever” while never looking up and “checking in” with his surroundings. He spends time checking websites and apparently without much purpose to his searches. The reality is that his computer appears to be his source of stimulation and while it can be a source of inspiration, a computer is not a companion. No real interaction occurs while he sits and stares at his computer. By the way, he is just one of many who do the same thing – especially on weekends. On many days there will multiple seating areas taken up with this same activity by as many as ten people.

These people are ALL “sitting their way to an early grave” and the only person who seems to notice this phenomenon is ME. Everyone, including the families with children, appear to be addicted to this form of behavior. I rarely see any people engaged in conversation and virtually NOBODY ever once looks at someone and smiles. This environment is not the one of my childhood on Maui or the times of my adulthood but it is the reality I observe everyday. Consequently, I live in a world where people no longer really interact with one another and the “quiet is deafening? This is not a world I know or feel I belong in except to say that I feel it is my job to say “WAKE UP” and MOVE!


This challenge exists but no one really knows why. Every diet in the world has not saved the world from its own gluttony. We are fatter and heavier than ever. When I was in college in the mid – late 60’s I saw virtually NO overweight or obese person. I walked everywhere on campus and exercised at the gym. I saw activity everywhere. The years following college saw more of the same. No technology – no obesity. The change came in the early 90’s. My daughter graduated from the Journalism School at USC in 1993. Her class was the last to use typewriters to write their stories. The school transitioned to computers and Lisa’s class was the last one to study her career specialty “the old fashioned way” that stories were told. News was reported with people being at the center of her universe – no twitter, Instagram, social media and all that has come to dominate our world.

From that moment on the world changed and with Steven Job’s invention of the cell phone a decade later the change became REAL and LASTING. We now live in a “seated world” where the only movement people get is when they get out their cars to do something that they CAN’T do from their cars. We line up at the drive through for banking, food and other services that keep us from walking. People even order at the drive through and now employees “walk” their order out to their cars. People SIT in their cars with the engine running eating their fries and burgers. I see this everyday also and it makes me wonder how their lives will turn out. Will they live lives of fulfillment and excitement and health or be in hospitals for “procedures” to keep them alive?

We are seeing huge increases in joint replacement surgeries on younger and younger people and because we are so inactive and heavy the issues will NOT go away without intervention and programs that address the underlying issues at the core. My answer as to why diets still are the main form of weight loss in this country is because a diet doesn’t require anything other than eating different food than we are accustomed to eating. Less than 5 percent of the people who stop dieting retain the loss – the rest gain the weight back – AND MORE!

The experts cannot agree on the solution(s) because the CAUSES are so complex. They cover a wide spectrum of possibilities from emotional, self esteem, physical, hormonal and so much more. This is why I recommend a comprehensive approach that encompasses examining all these areas in concert to arrive at an individualized approach than CAN work for EACH person in the population. However. the cost for this process may be prohibitive. There is no way we can know until we try new protocols beyond surgery, diets and drugs. I CAN say that if we do not address this issue it will cost the healthcare system billions – and possibly trillions – of dollars in the future. We just DON’T know at this point and if anyone says they THE answer – run the other way. Drugs and diets alone DON’T WORK!


I believe in the three basic principles of healthy aging. They encompass the mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of life itself. These paths can combine to bring us relief and the answers we need in order to solve this crisis. I believe technology will keep us seated and not moving as long as we remain “unconscious” to our choices, activities and days. If we choose to keep our heads buried in our computers and continue to stare at our phones, then I don’t know what else to say except “good luck getting old”.

As my dear friend Edith Bird has said to me on numerous occasions: “Getting old is NOT for sissies”! Edith is 84 and works out four times a week doing cardio and weights and stretching. She has a wonderful soul and never makes excuses while being blessed with a wonderful heart and nature. I respect her and admire her. I tell her she is MY role model and we laugh and enjoy the time we spend together at the gym – and then we go our separate ways until the next time we see each other.

When she finally passes on (assuming I am still here), I will always hold her in my memory as someone who made a significant difference in my life. She will have left me the gift of hopefully inspiring someone else as I live out the remaining years of my journey through life. I want you to think about HOW you treat yourself and remember to think – and be – like Edith: Fearless, honest, and devoted to living each day to its fullest – with no regrets. This is the beginning to acquiring – and embodying wisdom – and that is finally after all the ONLY goal that really matters at the end of our lives!

Originally published on Healthy New Age. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.

Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.


The Biggest Population in US History

Did you know the Baby Boomers were the biggest population in US history?
Well, that was until their kids, the millennials, came along. Baby boomers were born from 1946-1964 and were 79 million strong. We are now down to about 76 million boomers and 10,000 are turning 65 or 70 every day! The millennials only outpaced them by 81 million, but for some reason the entire fitness industry is competing for their business and their attention and completely ignoring the largest, wealthiest, longest living generation in US history!

The leading Boomers are 63-72 and they are becoming “seniors” in a completely new way. In fact programs like Silver Sneakers, and other “senior” fitness programs, they are not attending, because as they would put it, those are for “old people ”….maybe for my mom or dad, but not me! This entire generation is breaking the mold on aging and is looking for something new, something cutting edge, something to give them a competitive advantage on their next 20-30 years. They want to give the grand kids a run for their money and they are only just beginning to take on new adventures. So they need personal trainers, group fitness instructors and fitness programming to be the best it can be.

If you want to stand out and dominate this market, then you need expertise and credentials that set you apart, because they are not going to just train with anyone.

In 2014 we set out to change the fitness industry introducing the first ever Specialist program based on decades of research and over 2,000 clients. We knew the industry didn’t need just another “senior fitness ” lite exercise course, but rather, one grounded in the science of human function and longevity…..and one that believed people could be vibrant, healthy and fit at any age….up until their very last breath!  We believe there will be hundreds more like Dr. Charles Eugster who decided to take up sprinting and wakeboarding in his 90s…..because it simply looked like a “hell of a lot of fun”!

If you want to be part of the functional aging movement I encourage you to check out the Functional Aging Specialist certification, and join the growing ranks. Save $100 on the certification with code 100OFFMFN. Click here for course details. 30% of proceeds from this FAI purchase is donated to the MedFit Education Foundation!

Dan Ritchie, PhD, has a broad background in the fitness industry including training and management in commercial and university/hospital-based fitness, for-profit, notfor-profit and educational facilities. His primary areas of expertise are in personal training for special populations: athletes, pregnancy, blind, stroke recovery, Parkinsons, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Fibromyalgia, Alzheimers, etc.

This article was reprinted with permission from the Functional Aging Institute.


Successful Aging with Positive Thinking

This article was written with the intent to inform as well as inspire trainers, coaches and other practitioners who work with the aging population. As a gerontologist who studied the evolution of reflective wisdom, I am intrigued by famous quotes from years past. Henry Ford once said: “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” The aging process should be an enriching experience that involves our appreciation of our personal significance. However for many, it is a time of loneliness, depression, isolation and purposelessness.  Is this purely due to circumstances, our outlook, or a combination of both?

We have approximately 60,000 thoughts daily and 80% of them will be present tomorrow. Our thoughts and beliefs generate our feelings and emotions, our emotions drive our actions, and our actions create our outcomes. So there might be something to the statement – “Think positive and change your thoughts because it can change your world”. There are some studies looking at the possibility of meditation and gene expression. That in turn raises the intriguing possibility of dodging our supposed genetic destiny by changing our thoughts and attitudes which affect our mental and emotional stress. Positive emotions are an essential daily requirement for successful aging. Not only do they improve our physical and mental health, they provide a buffer against depression and illness. Science shows that people who are happy – live longer and have healthier lives. It was also noted that positive people are 50% less likely to have heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke and that increasing positive emotions could lengthen life span by 10 years.

Over 60 % of US centenarians called themselves “Positive People”

Even though Positive psychology has been around for 20 years, it seems to be absent in our conversations and teachings. Dr. Seligman did not want to focus on the negative issues but instead the positive. Positive psychology is “the scientific study of what makes life most worth living”, or “the scientific study of positive behavior and thriving on various levels that include the cultural, personal, physical, social, and comprehensive dimensions of life.” This way of thinking is concerned with “the good life”, consideration about what is our ultimate value in life – the factors that contribute the most to a well-lived and fulfilling life. Positive psychologists note many ways to cultivate happiness. Happiness can achieved with a productive and meaningful existence. Social connections with family, friends and networks become more important as we age. Physical exercise in numerous methods and the practice of meditation may also contribute to happiness.

Those who practice positive psychology use affirmative attitudes toward one’s personal experiences, and life events. The objective is to minimize negative thoughts that may arise in hopelessness, and instead, cultivate positivity toward life. This method encourages the acceptance of one’s past, enthusiasm about one’s future, and a sense of desire and gratitude in the present.

Margaret Lee Runbeck states, “Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.”

According to Andrew Weil, MD, healthy aging includes an ethical will which is pertinent to those of us “concerned with making sense of our lives, giving back, and leaving a legacy”. It is a way to express optimism for future generations. An ethical will could be in many forms such as a letter, card, book, project, etc.  The ethical will includes:

  • A way to leave something behind, to be remembered
  • A way to document your history and stories for others to learn from in the future
  • A way to help you understand your own values and to share your ideals with future generations
  • A way to help you learn more about yourself
  • A way to help you accept mortality and create a way to ‘live on’ after you are gone
  • A way to provide an immediate sense of worthiness, completion, and accomplishment

Death is inevitable and aging wisdom is the process of our coming to terms with losses and changes.   We must focus on the life in our years not the years in our life, as well as passing down our pearls of wisdom from our years of learning and experiences. This in itself gives us purpose.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand – strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming… WOO HOO!!! WHAT A RIDE!!!” 

May you live all they days of your life and may your life live on forever.

Dianne McCaughey Ph.D. is an award winning fitness specialist with more than 35 years experience in personal training, group exercise, coaching, and post-rehabilitation. She is a master trainer for multiple companies and practices and teaches optimal wellness emphasizing the mind, body and spirit. She works with special populations and focuses on posture, gait, balance and corrective exercise programs for better function and health.

man with food  rich in protein showing thumbs up

Sports Nutrition Update from the American College of Sports Medicine

Staying on top of the latest sports nutrition information is a challenge. That’s why I attend the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). ACSM is a professional organization for sports medicine doctors and health-care providers, sport dietitians, exercise physiologists and sport science researchers. More than 3,000 ACSM members gathered in Minneapolis (May 2018) to share their knowledge and latest research. The following summarizes a Sports Nutrition Update session presented by many leading exercise scientists from around the globe.

Fat vs. Carb

Gareth Wallis PhD, Univ. Birmingham, UK

Which will better enhance athletic performance: A high carbohydrate or a high fat sports diet? Despite growing interest in a high fat sports diet, research does not support it for athletes who exercise at high intensity. Rather, research supports consuming 3 to 4.5 grams carbohydrate per pound  (7-10 g carb/kg) body weight per day to be well fueled for hard training and competitive events.

Grains, fruits and veggies are obligatory if you want to exercise hard. Some athletes eat a high fat diet for training and then switch to carb-loading before a competitive event. Bad idea. The enzymes involved in metabolizing carbohydrate become less active, so the muscles are less able to access carbs for fuel when it is needed for winning sprints and surges.

Protein for Athletes

Nicholas Burd PhD, Univ Illinois and Trent Stellingwerff  PhD. Canadian Sport Institute

If you want to build muscle, when is the best time to eat protein: before, during or after you lift weights? It might not actually matter because resistance exercise stimulates a muscle-building effect that is most robust within the first 4 hours but lasts for 1 to 2 days. You need not carry a protein shake around the gym! More important is to pace your protein intake evenly throughout the day.

Resistance exercise is far more potent than a high protein diet for increasing strength and muscle gains. That said, most athletes could expect to see only a gain of about 2 pounds (1 kg) of muscle in 13 weeks. That’s not very much compared to what they really want to see.

Maximal anabolic (muscle-building) effects are seen with about 25 to 30 g protein per meal. More precisely: 0.75 g protein per pound of body weight per day, or 0.1 to 0.2 g protein per pound per meal in young men. More than that has little or no further benefit. However, these recommendations do change with age. If you are >50 years old, you should target an additional 10 grams of high quality protein (milk, egg, fish, soy) per meal. That’s just a little bit more: a glass of milk or 1.5 ounces of meat-fish-chicken.

Despite rumors, protein does not damage the kidneys nor cause a decline in kidney function. Even people with chronic kidney disease should consume the RDA for protein (0.8 g/kg). A high protein diet also does not cause bone loss. Bone is 40% to 50% protein (collagen).

Over-consuming protein is not only a waste of money but it also stresses the environment. As athletes, we need to take a holistic and whole-foods approach to our diets. Natural protein-rich foods, as opposed to processed supplements, are best (if compatible with your training schedule) because they offer a complex and complete matrix that is more effective than processed proteins. One example of the benefits of whole foods can be seen with eggs. A whole egg promotes 40% greater muscle protein synthesis in the 5 hours post-exercise as compared to eating just the egg white (van Vliet AJCN 2017). Nutrient interactions seem to facilitate a more robust response when compared to eating isolated protein.

Sport Supplements

Eric Rawson PhD RD, Messiah College

There is no one single sport supplement that works for all athletes. To better understand why, we need a more specific scientific approach to studying supplements based on age, sex, body size, training status, and genetics. That would help us give better advice to target groups of athletes, rather than simply make population-wide recommendations. Many athletes take multiple supplements, so research with “stacked” supplements would also be helpful. Here’s some of what we do know:

Creatine enables an athlete to lift harder in the training room—and build more muscle. But not everyone is a responder. For example, 3 of 11 subjects in a research study had a strong positive response, 5 had a slight response—and 3 did not respond at all (Syrotuik, Bell 2004). Why not? Maybe their daily diets impacted their baseline creatine levels?

Creatine is found in meat and other animal proteins.  When a meat-eating athlete goes on a meat-free lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet (milk, eggs, beans) for 26 days, his or her creatine levels will drop. (Lukaszuk, 2005). To normalize the level, athletes could take creatine monohydrate supplements (the most effective form of creatine).

Caffeine is a known energy-enhancing sport supplement. Your response to caffeine will depend on your genetics. Caffeine works best when you are starting to fatigue. Athletes can consume it in coffee, tea, soda, gels, gum, and pills, preferably consumed with carbs.

Sodium bicarbonate is used by some athletes to buffer the lactic acid that builds up during intense bursts of exercise. Research suggests peak response times can vary widely, from 40-165 minutes. (Jones 2016 ISSN). This variability makes it hard for exercise scientists to offer firm recommendations; hence, outcomes vary. Sub-elite athletes seem to respond better then elite athletes. Because sodium bicarbonate easily causes nausea and vomiting, a solution it to take it in gastro-resistant capsules.

Fluids and Hydration

Linsday Baker, R&D Principal Scientist, Gatorade Sports Science Institute, Pepsi Co.

When you sweat, you lose proportionately more water than sodium, hence sodium levels in the blood increase with dehydration. The amount of sodium you lose in sweat varies from a lot to a little, related to both sweating rate and how well you are acclimated to exercising in the heat, among other factors. A high concentration of sodium in your blood stimulates thirst.

Thirsty athletes have three ways they deal with replacing fluid losses: hit-or-miss ad lib drinking as desired; drinking to quench thirst; and drinking on a set schedule. The effectiveness of these strategies depends on the individual athletes, availability of fluids, the weather, and exercise intensity and duration. If you happen to have a lot of tattoos, take note: tattooed skin may sweat less and excrete saltier sweat.

Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes at her office in Newton, MA (617-795-1875). Her best selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook and food guides for marathoners, cyclists and soccer players offer additional information. They are available at www.NancyClarkRD.com. For her popular online workshop, see www.NutritionSportsExerciseCEUs.com.

Alzheimer Concept.

Alzheimer’s Disease, Fitness and Exercise

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease that strikes fear and terror into those who are getting on in years and family members who are in line to care for them. According to the Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation, in 2015 it is estimated that 5.3 million Americans have the disease. It is the 6th leading cause of death behind heart disease, strokes, and cancer but it is the only one that cannot be prevented (1) although some experts now estimate that it may be the third highest (2).


Taking it Slow. Not Every Fitness Goal Needs to Be Fast and Hard.

Senior Woman Holding Fitness Sign With Family In BackgroundGo big or go home? We all want to see fantastic results from our hard work and dedication to any fitness program. If we maintain nutrition, eat well and work as hard as we can, we are going to see results: that is inevitable. But, do we have to train as hard as possible each and every time we workout, each and every day? Sure, we fit in a rest day, but what else can we do to make sure we are restoring our bodies and minds?

Fitness goals are most easily reached when they are part of every aspect of our lifestyle and not compartmentalized into a few hours of the day. We have limited energy sources no matter how healthy we are, so it is important to maintain awareness about how each of our decisions and actions influence our wellness and choose accordingly.

From a physical aspect, we can slow down some of our workouts to build strength. This works in a variety of ways. By increasing resistance, continuing muscle exertion over a period of time and working muscles beyond the support of initial momentum, strength can be gained, even with relatively light weights or by using the weight of the body alone. This can be true of some weight training programs and is something you can discuss adding to your fitness routines with a certified personal trainer. It is also one of the key elements of building strength through yoga practice and asanas (yoga postures). An additional consideration from a holistic health perspective is the effects of the stress hormone cortisol on weight loss. By taking part in calming physical activities such as restorative, gentle, yin and meditative yoga practices, it is possible to reduce stress, allowing the body to shed weight, heal and be at top capacity for more intensive strength and cardio training when you are working with your personal trainer or in other group fitness programs. By taking time to slow down, you can actually optimize performance and fitness results.

Nourishing your mind can also come in handy, as a way to promote your health when you are not busy exercising or working. Take time to read, learn, talk with fitness experts, organize your time and plan your meals. A wealth of free information is available online to support you in your fitness goals. Blogs with entries from personal trainers and other fitness experts are a great place to start. Personal trainer certification organizations such as the National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT), maintain blogs with a variety of advice for personal trainers and fitness enthusiasts. You may also get inspired and decide to take your fitness goals one step further. Once you get involved learning more about fitness, biomechanics and how amazingly capable your body is, you may even get inspired to become a personal trainer or group fitness instructor yourself!

If you find yourself interested in learning more about how to incorporate fitness into every aspect of your life, maybe even your work, you can find out more from the NCCPT.

No matter where you are at in your fitness journey, don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Slow down sometimes to speed up your progress!

Reprinted with permission from NCCPT.

John Platero is the founder and CEO of the National Council of Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT) which has certified thousands of personal trainers both nationally and internationally.


Healthy Aging and You: Technology, Consciousness and the Sedentary Society, Part 2

In my previous article on the impact of technology on our lives, I shared some of my thoughts with you on why I felt it was important to address this issue now rather than later. I believe that as we become more inactive we WILL pay a price for our future health and our lives will be lessened as a result. I see my future through the lens of health and fitness – not money or power. I know this world relies on technology in all its forms and also due to the nature of how complex our lives become, we may have lost sight of what IS really important to us until it becomes too late to change course.

When I ask a future audience what would they value most among time, money, family, work, or health, what do you think your answer would be if you were present with me that day? Which would you choose as your first priority? I would choose my health every time because without our health, nothing else becomes possible. All the money in the world could not restore you to health and your time be used up fighting to get it back. Money is an issue in all our lives but money can be acquired through our work and with our health in tact everything else becomes possible. Finally, we can’t serve others, including our families, if we can’t serve ourselves first.

I would like to explore this important subject a bit further because I believe it is that important to ALL our futures. I want my legacy to be one of having changed lives and I can only accomplish this mission IF I continue to change my OWN life. Today is all we have and my question is: What will we each do with it to insure a positive and healthy future for ourselves?


I view habits like the grooves in the Roman road called the Appian Way when over centuries the carts and wagons that travelled over that ancient highway carved “grooves” into the stone that can still be viewed today. The subconscious mind creates our individual reality. The “grooves in our minds” become “hardwired” over time and this is why it is so difficult to not only change our behavior – but create new ones.

I am “hardwired” to run and become stronger through years of repetition and commitment to this purpose. It is a habit I acquired over 6 decades (and nurtured) and because I stayed “available” to this important aspect of my life over the years it has most likely the main reason why I am still here today. This is an example of a habit that can have a huge impact on the quality of life going forward and it did just that in my case.

This past Easter, I was scheduled to spend time with my daughter and her family but our plans changed to today. I wanted to take a day off from running even before our plan changed and I kept with that plan. It “felt” like the right thing to do – I needed a break – and today I am glad I listened to my “inner voice”. I feel rested today. If I had an addictive behavior pattern with regards to exercise I would have felt tired today. I am happy to “change my mind” whenever it feels right. This is how positive change can occur in your life as well. Instead of the “grooves” in your subconscious ruling your world, YOU can DECIDE to change your course at any time but it must be because you “listened” to your “inner voice” first. This is true consciousness in action!

This pattern of behaving “without thought” is where we get into trouble and our habits become addictive behavior. Drinking alcohol, taking drugs, gambling, and any other habit has to start “somewhere” and once set in motion this pattern becomes a “grooved” path like those in the Appian Way. Examine your behavior through the choices you make. Is looking at your cell phone constantly what you REALLY want to be doing or can you change that pattern and create a healthier one for yourself?

We CAN change ANY pattern if we want to strongly enough, but it takes a consciousness that will accept the change we desire. Release repetitive behaviors for moments throughout your day and examine what happens. Do you feel anxious? Nervous? Good! That is step one in the process of changing your mind! We ARE becoming our choices when it comes to our technology and this appears (to me) to be taking us into an uncertain future when it comes to our overall well being.


“The way back” as I am calling this thought is to become “the captain” of your “ship of life”. As the captain YOU have the power to determine your course and how you will handle the “winds of fortune” – or the “gales of strife” – that come your way. If you have behaved in a certain way over the course of your life, your “grooves” are well established and cannot be easily changed. It IS possible, however, through effort, and an “open ended” consciousness, coupled with a deep seated desire to change your path – and fortunes – in life.

This way back is the RECOGNITION that change is necessary if you are to become happy, healthy and fit. I desire NOTHING more than to make my own unique contribution to life before I die and this is WHY I am writing in advance of  getting my speaking career going. I know in my heart if I can change and become more flexible and adaptable in my OWN life, then I can discuss this subject with audiences in the future and perhaps save someone from unnecessary suffering in THEIR future. Remember that I wrote “change one thing in one person’s life today” on the first page of my website? This was so I could remember WHY I am doing WHAT I am doing everyday! I won’t mind creating a new “groove” in my subconscious if it embodies such a thought!

With this in mind I would like to pose a question to you. What are the “grooves” in YOUR subconscious? What do they encompass? If you know what they are do you need to change them? As in the wagon’s grooves on the Appian Way carved over the centuries, they remain to show us “where we have been” but do not yet tell us ANYTHING about “where we are going”! Isn’t that a wonderful thought?. As we age and experience both the joys and sorrows of life we either create ways to protect ourselves from further hurt or open more doors to experience the good that MAY come to us over time.

I built a wall around my heart 36 years ago when my wife left me in the summer of 1982 and I am STILL trying to find a path forward, through – or around – this wall. This is the biggest groove I know of in my life to date – not letting myself get close to people (especially a close relationship where I am asked to be vulnerable). I pray everyday that the work I am doing NOW will finally bring it down! What walls have you built in your own life and do they need to finally come down now? Only you can answer this important question as I am attempting to do in my own life. It is true: You teach what you most need – or want – to learn! This is why I say I am a STUDENT first because life has way of humbling us and finally getting our attention.


It is very possible I will continue this line of questioning in my future writing going forward because I don’t see my thoughts on this subject ending with this particular discussion. I believe life is expanding exponentially and it is up to me to try and “stay up” with change. This is my primary job if I am to be – and remain – relevant in today’s world. Are you relevant and “up to speed” when it comes to HOW you are living your life or are you oblivious to the “grooves in you own life”?

Each new day brings with it the possibility of making changes to your life. If you resist change – you eventually die – maybe not physically but spiritually and emotionally. I want to live to my highest and best nature and so nothing is “ever off the table” and I am willing to examine whatever will bring me closer to joy, harmony, love, peace and prosperity. I am willing- are you? Let’s address the “grooves in our thinking and behavior” NOW so that we may have the best that life has to offer come into our experience. Are you ready? I KNOW I am!

Originally published on Healthy New Age. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.

Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.