Steroids: Seniors Deserve Credible Research and Real Answers


Read this 2017 update before you read my piece published in 2014:

I’ve followed the debates for many years now. The only thing that is clear in the steroid controversy is our sad lack of clarity regarding its long-term safety when used to treat the effects of aging. Having searched through many articles trying to find a definitive answer regarding what some have called “a fountain of youth”, everyone avoids definitive conclusions by stating, “but further research is indicated.”

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, when referring to his evolving position on the medical uses of marijuana, stated that valid research on the subject has always been stifled by the fact that it has been classified as a controlled substance by the DEA. Who’s willing to fund research? I’m guessing that the status of anabolic steroids as a controlled substance also prohibits a functional scientific dialogue from existing.

The main focus against steroids has usually been anecdotal evidence from extreme steroid abusers who made headlines. Some of those examples were consuming in excess of 100 times the amount of what the body normally produces. Try eating 100 times the normal amount of calories you need. We would conclude, by the same logic, that food should be a controlled substance; it can be highly addictive and too much can kill you. Extremes prove only that extremes are dangerous. Likewise, anecdotal evidence leaves too many variables unaccounted for to qualify as conclusive.

What evidence do we have that this dialogue should take place?

(Major Update 6/21/16)

“The evidence does not support increased risk of prostate cancer with testosterone therapy.
The evidence supports a major research initiative to explore possible benefits of testosterone therapy for cardiometabolic disease, including diabetes.”

Read the conclusions delivered at a major international conference:

Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2012 Jan 1;4:976-97.
Sex hormones, aging, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Barron AM1, Pike CJ.
A promising strategy to delay and perhaps prevent Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is to identify the age-related changes that put the brain at risk for the disease. A significant normal age change known to result in tissue-specific dysfunction is the depletion of sex hormones. In women, menopause results in a relatively rapid loss of estradiol and progesterone. In men, aging is associated with a comparatively gradual yet significant decrease in testosterone.

J Sex Med. 2007 May;4(3):558-66.
Canadian Society for the Study of the Aging Male: response to health Canada’s position paper on testosterone treatment.
Bain J1, Brock G, Kuzmarov I; International Consulting Group.
Testosterone treatment of older symptomatic men with reduced testosterone availability is increasing. There is an expanding body of literature to support such treatment in a large subset of aging men, but there has not yet been a long-term placebo-controlled double-blind study of several thousand men to confirm the efficacy and safety of this treatment as indicated by shorter-term studies. The absence of a long-term study has been used by governmental agencies as a limiting factor in providing full access and payment for this treatment in government-sponsored health care plans.

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2003 Jan;51(1):101-15; discussion 115.
Testosterone supplementation therapy for older men: potential benefits and risks.
Gruenewald DA1, Matsumoto AM
Serum testosterone levels decline gradually and progressively with aging in men. Many manifestations associated with aging in men, including muscle atrophy and weakness, osteoporosis, reduced sexual functioning, and increased fat mass, are similar to changes associated with testosterone deficiency in young men. These similarities suggest that testosterone supplementation may prevent or reverse the effects of aging.

Effects of Testosterone Therapy on Muscle Performance and Physical Function in Older Men with Mobility Limitations (The TOM Trial): Design and Methods
Nathan K. LeBrasseur,* Newsha Lajevardi, Renee Miciek, Norman Mazer, Thomas W. Storer, and Shalender Bhasin
The gradual but progressive decrease in serum testosterone from age 20 to 80 [14–16] and indisputable evidence that testosterone supplementation increases skeletal muscle mass not only in states of health [17, 18], but also disease [19–22] and older age [23–26], have underscored its potential as a function promoting anabolic therapy.

Let’s look at the tsunami of change ahead that begs for valid conclusions from real science.

On its way to overtaking heart disease as a major killer

The World Health Organization ten years ago declared it an impending global disaster

A major health issue among seniors; being treated with antidepressants having side effects much more dangerous than anabolic steroids

Personal health care choices necessitate choices regarding probabilities. Let’s suppose that an elderly man who is frail and weak has significant mobility issues. We know that hormone replacement and exercise will add strength and muscle mass. Let’s say that this reduces his chance of a slip and fall incident by 70 %. Assume (we must assume, because reliable data is non-existent) that his risk of developing cardiovascular problems due to cholesterol issues increases by 30%. Now, let’s pretend you are this person and you did have this choice. Knowing the frightening statistics on hip fractures in the elderly due to slip and fall accidents, the choice to me is obvious. And from a health care cost/benefit approach, wouldn’t it make sense to treat the physical frailty with the highly possible side benefits of decreased depression and lowered Alzheimer’s risk?

In the early history of AIDS, before the development of an effective treatment, patients experiencing wasting syndrome–dangerous loss of body mass–were treated using injectable anabolic steroids to combat the effects of wasting. These patients lived years longer and with a much better quality of life as a result. In this group having extremely compromised immune systems and weakened organ systems, the use of steroids was the most effective way to sustain life.

It’s time to rise above the chatter and get to the definitive answers.

To Your Health and Fitness,

UPDATE: 4/4/16

The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Forget the Six-Pack Abs and Do It For the Cough Reflex


You already know that my fitness goals changed long ago. Looking at what the future might bring, let me urge to you look at a different and more compelling reason to focus on your midsection development.

A large percentage of people walking in to see the doctor are coming in because of a serious cough. You’ve had the experience before and so have I. But you’ve probably never considered its role as a primary defense mechanism which becomes increasingly important with age.

At first glance, this fascinating reflex loop can be understood as an important reaction to something that would pose a threat to the ability to breathe, or a potentially toxic chemical. Another extremely critical function of coughing is the expulsion of secretions from the lungs.

As we age, the ability to cough can be compromised by weakened muscles and bones. Remember, the movement of air in and out of your lungs is not accomplished by your lungs, it is a function of the movement of the surrounding muscles and bones.

The primary muscles and bones are the diaphragm and rib cage, along with surrounding muscles and bones that work in concert to accomplish expansion and contraction. Many focus mainly on the diaphragm and its strategic importance, but breathing improvement should involve strengthening the entire physiological breathing apparatus.

This means that exercises like seated close grip pull-downs and bench presses enter into the equation, as well, because the ribcage, diaphragm, and intercoastal muscles form the means of creating the expansion and contraction of the lungs. One of the best exercises for the entire ribcage musculature is the dumbbell pullover shown here:


Coughs, at times, can generate enough pressure and force to crack ribs. This possibility becomes more likely in the event of osteoporosis. These points are not made to scare you but simply to enlighten you regarding the importance of aerobic and resistance training to the maintenance of your general good health. Nothing is better for bone health than proper nutrition and resistance exercise. Nothing!

If you can pick up some well defined abs along the way, consider it a bonus!

To Your Health and Fitness,


If you like my blog, you’ll find my collection of Health and Fitness articles on Pinterest good reading, also:

The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

How Much Is Your Good Health Worth to You?


Occasionally we see the numbers from studies done which attempt to calculate the costs of ill-health and disease to our society in real dollar terms. We examine how much money businesses lose, for example, due to employee absenteeism because of the flu, or a particular ailment or condition.

Take a tally, given the start of another year, of a more personal calculation, if you will: what does good health mean to you? Realize, as you ponder the question, that your answer involves every person who is important to you and depends upon you: what does your good health mean to them, as well?

Certainly, health and wellness go a long way when it comes to building your financial security. But, for that alone, you could instantly accrue the dollar amount with the purchase of a life insurance policy in a matter of minutes. Someone will gladly calculate the cash value of your life’s work that needs to be replaced.

Only you can calculate the emotional and relationship value of really caring enough about yourself and those around you to incorporate a healthy lifestyle into your busy schedule this coming year.

To Your Healthy Lifestyle in 2015,


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Got 20 Minutes For An Amazing Makeover?


In the grand scheme of things, twenty minutes is not a long period of time.

In the grand scheme of things, totally energizing and transforming the chemistry and metabolism inside your body IS a life changing event… if it becomes your lifestyle...Got 20 minutes?

Going Aerobic Changes Everything!

  • Your Lungs
  • Your Heart
  • Your Blood
  • Your Brain
  • Your Mood
  • Your Confidence
  • Your Concentration
  • Your Appearance
  • Your Attitude


See more on Facebook:

To Your Health and Fitness Lifestyle,

Steven Siemons

I almost forgot…

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!

The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

2 Things You Must Stop Doing Immediately


When it comes to health and fitness, there are two types of behavioral changes that can be made. First, you can start doing new things that will improve your health: a new walking program, taking the Yoga class you’ve been thinking about, etc.

Secondly, you can stop doing the things that are hurting you. What I say in the following few words is ‘to the point’. I understand the struggles and disappointments  involved in facing internal drives that propel us in the wrong direction. But you’ve got to:

Stop Smoking Now!

There are no exercises, supplements, herbs, or prescribed medications that can make up for the damage that you’re doing by smoking. You know this already and yet continue the behavior. I do not have the answers to this. I do know people who have simply quit. If others can do it, you can do it, too. Don’t tell me that you enjoy it, you’re still killing yourself slowly. Don’t tell me that Aunt Betty smoked and lived till 100. She would have lived longer and healthier if she hadn’t smoked. And that’s simply a hollow rationalization. I breathed my share of second-hand smoke as a child.

Stop Overeating Now!

Once again, there are no exercises, pills, or medications that can ‘add more health’ than you’re subtracting by engaging in this behavior. This is a difficult and controversial issue, I know, but the facts are overwhelming and there is no doubt about long-term effects. There are no miracle diets. Techniques do exist for losing weight quickly and are used by athletes ‘cutting weight’ in order to qualify to compete at specific weight categories. They utilize massive fluid loss, can be dangerous, and the body must be returned to normal hydration and weight immediately after competition. This is not for you. Permanent weight loss is a lifestyle change. Ingesting fewer calories than what your body requires results in losing weight. I’ve seen many diet ‘secrets’ recycled through the years.  New diets sell products–just like the newest style of clothing. The shoe designers decided a while back that fashionable women now wear extremely high heals. That means lots of high heel shoes have been sold the last few years, right? Fad diets are exactly the same. The newest fad diet generates new fad diet dollars. Stop spending money on the latest ‘diet style’. You must eat what your body needs…the excess is stored as fat. If anyone out there can show me that this metabolic fact is now untrue, please do. I lost 27 pounds by adopting the practice of not eating to the point of feeling full. It was difficult for me, and the weight did not disappear quickly. That’s how the body works. Respect it and understand it as it is.

Please, right now, stop doing the things that you know are robbing you of your precious good health.

To Your Health and Fitness,

Steven Siemons

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The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The Joy of Fitness Training With My Mother-In-Law


The Gold’s Gym in central Florida where I was training at the time was one of my favorites. It became special to me, as well, because it was my first time training with a lady of seventy six years… my Mother-In-Law.

She is a spirited and adventurous soul. She speaks a little English, I speak a little Spanish. Of course, before we decided to embark on this exercise/linguistic experiment, I confirmed her state of overall good health. She, in fact, amazed me with her ability to begin a journey to the United States from Sweden, travel for twenty four hours on trains, planes and automobiles, and look beautiful and be positive until retiring for the night in her bed in our home.

I was not worried about her being intimidated by what might be encountered at the gym, and neither was she. What happened in the days and weeks that followed amazed me… and her.

The main focus she shared with me (through the interpreted discussion before we started) was concerning the use of her shoulders and arms. Her diminishing strength and ability to reach overhead saddened her. She was somewhat depressed, as well, because she had been diagnosed with osteoporosis and, of course, felt intimidated by it.

The first day was simply getting a feel for what was there. She watched, I demonstrated. She learned quickly and joyfully. After seeing me do seated close-grip pull-downs, she was anxious to try.

Cuidate (be careful)… Suavemente (smoothly)… Ay dolor? (is there any pain?)

These are the words I spoke most frequently. But always upon hearing “muy bien” (very good), Mom got the biggest smile on her face! At that point, I knew she was hooked.

My normal routine was three days a week, one day resting between workouts. After three weeks of gradual but noticeable increases in strength and range of motion, Mom insisted on going every day that she didn’t have something special happening!

Mom is in her eighties now and no longer has the stamina and confidence to do battle at the airports. We no longer are able to train together. During my years of working out, I’ve had the opportunity to train together with some accomplished athletes.

It all pales in comparison to the joy of saying, “Muy Muy Bien, Mamita.”

To Your Health and Fitness,

Steven Siemons

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