Training For Your Brain: Going Aerobic is Awesome!

Even though we’ve known for a long time that exercise is beneficial for the brain, along come new research results that really emphasize this phenomenon.

“How Physical Exercise Prevents Dementia”

“Now researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt have explored in one of the first studies worldwide how exercise affects brain metabolism.”

“Their conclusion: regular physical exercise not only enhances fitness but also has a positive impact on brain metabolism.”

(reference sources here:

Understanding ‘Aerobic’

When you’re exercising at a moderate level that has your heart beating faster and your breathing rate elevated but sustainable for a long period, you’re in that zone.

Because aging lowers the maximum heart rate for everyone, regardless of how fit you try to be, there’s a rudimentary formula that can guide you to ‘your zone’.

I say rudimentary because the margin of error is a swing of about 10 bpm (beats per minute) in either direction.

220 – (your age) = approximate maximum heart rate

The reason we start with the maximum is because that’s not where we want to be. We want to be about 60 – 80 % percent of that if you’re new to exercise.

Let’s Make It Easier

Here’s a great way to recognize your aerobic zone without the mathematics:

Maintain a level of activity that increases your breathing pattern; but not quite to the point of gasping for breath. You should still be able to talk without straining for air. Engage in this level of activity, ideally, for 20 – 30 minutes.

‘Aerobic’ simply means ‘with oxygen’ and signifies the body’s specific energy system that processes oxygen to create a continuous supply of energy for your workout.

If you are new to exercise, a moderate to brisk walk can get you processing oxygen at an aerobic pace. Those of you who have been exercising regularly may be on the treadmill or in a fitness class getting it done.

Your goal should be at least 20 – 30 minutes daily of this level of activity. You can even break it up into two or three 10 minute sessions.

For those of you who are looking to incorporate the latest technology to make sure you’re in your zone, here are some data to help find ‘The Best Fitness Tracker’

The Best Fitness Trackers

However you can get it done, get it done!

For Your Brain,


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You’ve Got To Go Aerobic!

If you want the euphoric feeling that exercise induces–and it really is a tranquil calm to be experienced–you can only get there with a heart pounding, oxygen pumping, 20 minute

There is no substitute.

The muscle-shredding five sets of fifteen reps working major muscle groups for twenty minutes won’t take you there; even when you make it aerobic by shortening the time
between sets. I’ve done this many times and, certainly, the feeling of accomplishment is there, but not the feeling of tranquility that is the essence of ‘the runner’s high’.

Caution: This is a statistically insignificant sample size… just me as a test subject. It’s entirely possible that I am the only one who feels this way.

So go out and move some oxygen through your lungs. Pump some nutrient rich blood through your brain. Revitalize life on the cellular level inside your entire body… forcefully… for twenty minutes.

Then tell me if I’m the only one.

Waiting To Hear From You,


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Exercising Is Like Saving For Retirement


We all hope to have what we need when we get older. The primary focus for most is money. It is, of course, the power to get the necessities and luxuries. And while having lots of money certainly gives you more choices regarding cures and treatments, in the end, it’s not a substitute for good health.

But in a way, it’s good to have a similar mindset regarding both: setting aside reserves for the future benefits fiscally and physically.

But how does exercising now effect my future health?

I’m glad you asked!

Like saving money, having reserves on hand makes sense. In the case of your body, aging changes organ capabilities resulting in diminishing capacities. For instance, as your bones lose mass, their capacity of bearing weight and withstanding trauma is compromised. As you grow older, the amount of oxygen that the alveoli can transfer from the blood diminishes as the proportion of dead space in the lungs increases. This is taking place at the molecular level and is inevitable. In addition, the act of breathing itself is a function of the muscles and bones of the breathing apparatus moving in concert to accomplish the flow of air into and out of the lungs. As these muscles and bones lose strength and flexibility, the amount of air that is processed declines.

You can think of other bodily functions that suffer from diminishing capacities as aging progresses, but let’s focus on these two as we develop our simile.

Fact: You can increase the density of your bones by stressing them. A German surgeon, Julius Wolff, gave us this insight in the 19th century. The opposite, he noted, is also true; that lack of stress causes atrophy.

See the connection to saving for the future?

Knowing that aging brings bone loss naturally, if you enter your Senior years with stronger bones to begin with, the effects of diminishing capacity will be less catastrophic. There is no better activity for building bone mass than resistance exercising. In addition, you can certainly slow the effects of aging by continuing your healthy habits.

In the same way, your ability to effectively process oxygen – – your aerobic capacity, can be increased through consistent aerobic exercise. Here again, aging takes a toll which can be mitigated by increasing your capacities before and during Seniorhood.

There are numerous other benefits to exercising that make it absolutely your smartest investment, both short and long term!

Whatever your conclusion from the above, it’s never too late to start, but of course, sooner is always better than later!

Go Do It Now,


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“It’s About You… It’s About Time!”

Exercise, Genetics, and Tragedy: What You Need to Know and What You Need to Do Now!


My father was going through his jogging stage at the time, and I knew that moral support was needed. His birthday was nearing, and the popularity of ‘The Complete Book of Running’ by Jim Fixx, made the choice of his birthday gift an obvious one. He wasn’t particularly dedicated yet to the runner’s favorite rituals, but I knew he needed to make better lifestyle choices. My hope was that this would encourage him.

Despite the best-selling, craze-starting runner’s bible, and the family’s encouragement, his jogging efforts remained half-hearted at best.

When the news of Jim Fixx’s death spread, it became the unbeatable excuse for my father to stop jogging.

Jim Fixx had changed his life from an overweight, two-pack-a-day smoker, to a fitness icon. But he brought along damage that had already been done, and probably a genetic predisposition, as well.

For a fascinating look that sums up the mood of the time, read this New York Times article:

A few years later, I received a call from the hospital informing me that my father was undergoing emergency bypass surgery.

Both of these men refused to seek routine medical checkups. From what I understand in the case of Jim Fixx, he displayed no symptoms (or, just didn’t tell anyone). But because his father died prematurely from heart problems, and because of his own previous issues with smoking and weight, regular checkups should have been sought.

From the hospital bed after surgery, my father recounted how he, for years, was short of breath after climbing the stairs from the basement. I couldn’t believe that this was the first time he was telling me this.


The suggestions that you see your doctor before engaging in an exercise program are not simply to guard against lawsuits over non-disclosure.

Ignoring your body signals is a stupid, deadly denial of reality, whether or not you choose to exercise!

Exercise can be a tremendous stress, albeit a positive one, on your system. Read this post:

Weightlifting is an excellent form of exercise. Because it can cause extreme spikes in blood pressure when doing maximum efforts, arterial walls are stressed beyond normal. See your doctor and know beforehand if you have a potential problem. Weight Training can be enjoyed by everyone, but if you’re predisposed to such an issue, your pace and effort should be adjusted accordingly.

There is no substitute for common sense. None.

Train Safely and Respect Your Signs,


Become a part of ‘Senior Fitness Issues And Ideas’–a Google+ Community, (even if you’re not a senior) and I will gladly answer your exercise and fitness questions personally!

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Great News For Seniors (and others): Moderate Exercise is Best!

There’s nothing newsworthy about a senior citizen getting an aerobic workout at the pool, taking a Yoga class, and simply staying active throughout life; but it’s still a life-changing way of living.

I’d say that’s very special, and in this blog it’s definitely newsworthy!

Extremes make the news. This time it’s the same, except with a different twist. Moderation trumps extreme exercising for heart health.

Let’s take a look at the latest news that surfaced this week, prompting the words I am writing now:

When it comes to exercise, moderation is best:

As always, let me share a few words and opinions.

While people are consumed about defining how much exercise ‘moderate’ really is (see examples below), let’s be practical. This new study will not change lifestyles, but will likely be comforting news to those who are already in the exercise mindset. Now they don’t have to feel guilty about never running marathons. That’s me. Having always admired long distance athletes, I can now feel better about my short distance efforts. In fact, according to the research, my moderate approach is better for my heart. I’ll never make the headlines or experience the exhilaration, but hey; my little cardiac friend is happier.

The fitness community, in one way, mirrors society in general; a lot of different people are involved who bring an infinite wealth of experiences and perspectives. And we learn new things as we go. If you are an extreme athlete, please don’t misunderstand my words. I, in fact, have the deepest respect for you–extreme sports represent self discipline to the highest degree. Those like yourself are responsible for raising the possibilities for all the rest of us.

To Your Health, Fitness, and Wellness,


Articles on suggested amounts of exercise:

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