Grey Hair, or No Hair, Black Iron By John Steele

     For older men, who have been subjected to a decade by decade crash of testosterone, there is an alternative to hormone replacement, which could make the old prostate even worse. Exercise may be just what the doctor did not order, and not just any type of exercise, weight training, pumping iron, even if the iron will be pretty puny. Better puny than not at all:

“A Finnish study demonstrated that people over 65 years of age enjoy better overall health after taking up resistance training at least once a week. Interestingly, the participants did not need to work out very often to enjoy the benefits of physical exercise. Once-a-week sessions of resistance training sufficed to enhance various aspects of their health throughout the trial. Bi-weekly workouts achieved the best effects. Furthermore, people with poorer health derived the greatest amount of health benefits from physical exercise. Older people who did resistance training every week experienced increases in muscular strength. They also displayed improvements in their cardiac health, cholesterol and inflammatory levels, and systolic blood pressure. Last but not least, their mental health also improved. “We found that individuals who were close to having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood glucose, or high levels of inflammation improved the most after our 9-month training program,” remarked University of Jyvaskyla researcher Dr. Simon Walker. “Training two or three times per week didn’t provide greater benefit in these individuals.” 

Walker and his colleagues examined the effects of different regularities of resistance training on body composition, inflammation markers, and lipid and glycemic profiles in older people. They divided their participants into four groups with one control and the others going through resistance training either once, twice, or thrice a week. The age of the participants ranged from 65 to 75 years. Under the supervision of experts, they took up whole-body strength training for six months. Before and after a session of resistance training, the Jyväskylä researchers measured the body fat present in the participants. They also took fasting blood samples for analysis of blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease markers, and inflammatory molecule levels. The researchers reported that total and abdominal fat masses of the participants changed over time for all physical resistance groups. They also found considerable reductions in fat mass and bad cholesterol concentrations in the thrice-a-week exercise group. All training groups displayed considerable improvements in the levels of good cholesterol. Meanwhile, the values for interleukin-6, high-sensitivity c-reactive protein, and systolic blood pressure went down. Interleukin-6 regulates inflammatory responses in the body. High-sensitivity c-reactive protein, on the other hand, serves as an indicator of cardiac disease risk.’

     So, there you have it. Numerous benefits to all systems of the body come from around two weight lifting sessions per week. Now, once when I mentioned this to someone he said that sure, you get the same benefits from walking with the wife after dinner. Well, that is fine, but the fine print does say, lifting, progressive resistance exercise. Maybe lift your wife, if you can. Perhaps if men did more of this, along with a good diet, we would have less pussies and might see a bit more political action. Anyway, out here in the scrub, in my tent home I lift logs and rocks to get my workout, and I am way past 70. Also, to prevent early loss of your marbles, do what mother says, and eat your greens:

“New research from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago suggests that a simple step can be taken to prevent and reverse age-related cognitive decline. Researchers found that eating one serving of green leafy vegetables a day can slow brain aging by a decade. Meanwhile, eating two servings produces even better results. “Adding a daily serving of green leafy vegetables to your diet may be a simple way to help promote brain health,” said study author Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush. “There continues to be sharp increases in the percentage of people with dementia as the oldest age groups continue to grow in number. Effective strategies to prevent dementia are critically needed.” The Rush researchers investigated the effects on cognitive decline of the primary nutrients found in leafy greens, such as: folate (vitamin B9), alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), phylloquinone (vitamin K1), lutein, beta-carotene, nitrate, and kaempferol. For their study, they recruited 960 older adults aged 58 to 90 from the Rush Memory and Aging Project, which began in 1997. The participants were part of Chicago-area retirement communities and residents of senior public housing complexes. The researchers divided the participants into five groups based on how often they ate leafy greens. Each participant answered a food frequency questionnaire and underwent cognitive assessments for a mean period of 4.7 years. The researchers then compared the cognitive assessments of participants with the highest (an average of about 1.3 servings per day) and lowest vegetable intake (0.1 servings per day). They took into account age, sex, education, cognitive activities, physical activities, smoking, seafood consumption and alcohol intake and adjusted their data accordingly. The researchers found that consumption of green leafy veggies is associated with slower cognitive decline. Participants with high vegetable intake showed a slower rate of decline than those with low vegetable intake. The difference in decline rate was equivalent to being 11 years younger in age, reported the researchers. Based on their findings, the Rush researchers concluded that high daily intake of green leafy vegetables, or any foods rich in phylloquinone, lutein, nitrate, folate, alpha-tocopherol, and kaempferol, can help slow age-related cognitive decline.”

     Eat plenty of green veggies, and add a splash of colour with other bright vegies too, such as melons, and fruit such as blueberries. Here in the scrub I am limited by conventional vegetables, so, having lived with Aboriginal folk in my twenties in the NT, I use my bush knowledge and eat fresh bush food which hits the same spot. I take my trusty 14-inch Bowie with me each day, my one true friend, and a real man’s knife, to forage for natural goodness.



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