Shifting gears a bit today.

I’m “back in the saddle”…adapting to life with a newborn (again!)…and with it being September, i.e. back to the routine for many people, I feel inspired to talk about fitness.  In fact, I recently decided it was time for your humble author to re-commit to my own fitness program.

(More on that to come.)

I want to start by planting a seed.

A few years back, The Globe and Mail published an interesting article (“We Control 70% of How We age,” Alex Hutchinson).  The article talks about a study that examined fat and muscle content in the upper leg of recreational athletes between 40 to 81.

Amazingly, MRI samples showed virtually no decline in the strength and size of the muscles of a 70 year old triathlete when compared to a 40 year old triathlete!  In contrast, the muscles of a 74-year old sedentary man were, according to Mr. Hutchinson…

“Shrivelled and enveloped in fat.” 


NOT a pretty picture.

The results suggest that regular training prevents the kind of muscle loss we link with aging.  It’s proof positive of the “use it or lose it” principle.  But when a follow up study found Masters runners do not have a significantly higher amount of muscle in their arms than their sedentary peers, it led the author to conclude the two studies together…

“Rule out hopes that a single form of exercise can preserve muscle function throughout the body.”

Ok, first of all…

The discovery that working your legs doesn’t build your arms…

Not exactly a major scientific breakthrough.

But second, I thought this would be a great place to bring up the benefits of resistance training.  Resistance training can be thought of as any exercise that works your muscles against resistance.  Lifting weights, bodyweight exercises, and using weight machines, tubing, or kettlebells are all great examples.

A well-organized resistance training plan can bring about healthful “shifts” to posture, strength, bone-density, flexibility, balance, motor function, biomechanics (i.e. how well you move), as well as make you much less susceptible to injury.  Not to mention that resistance training has a huge impact on your metabolism and your ability to [pause for gravitas]…

Burn fat.

Whatever your short-term goals, you need an effective approach to challenging muscle.  This helps promote circulation, remove waste, and is also known to release stress-fighting, and youth-enhancing hormones.  In fact, two major long-term studies just came out that showed a BIG reduction in mortality rates for people who “pump iron” on the regular.

And that doesn’t even cover the boost to quality of life.

Anyway, I look forward to sharing what I’m up to with this over the next little while.

For now, if you’re not already an active gym-goer…

Let this sink in.

(Maybe read it over a few times.)

Bottom line, I do believe we can control aging to good extent.

Remember, DNA is a powerful tool…when wielded properly.

Sincerely In Health,

Dr. Josh