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Are you able to walk for miles on a treadmill, but can barely ascend a few flights of stairs? I explain to Marty Gonzalez, KRON 4 Morning News Weekend anchor, why stair climbing is so different from walking — and how it not only benefits your life but your sex life as well.😉
Stair Climbing vs. Walking
Stair climbing improves cardiorespiratory fitness. It is officially classed as a “vigorous” form of exercise. Stair climbing is a more POWERFUL form of walking because it:
Stair Climbing and Sex
Researchers in Canada monitored healthy male volunteers averaging age 64 while they walked, lifted weights, or climbed stairs. Stair climbing was the most demanding. Stair climbing was:
Twice as taxing as brisk walking on level ground.
50% harder than walking up a steep incline or lifting weights.
Faster at attaining peak exertion than walking (thus, explains the “huffing and puffing” going upstairs).
How to Stair Climb Your Way to a Longer Life and Stop Middle-Age Weight Gain
If you’re like most people, you don’t think about your grip strength until you struggle to open a jar or untighten a knob. But now there’s reason to know your actual grip strength. KRON 4 Morning News Weekend anchor, Marty Gonzalez, tests his grip, and I explain what your grip strength (or lack of it) says about your health.
What a Strong (or Weak) Grip Says About You
Research shows your grip strength is a good predictor of overall strength; and overall strength is a good predictor of overall health.
According to a four-year global study of over 140,000 people aged 35-70 years old in 17 countries, a weak grip is a stronger predictor for death from ANY cause compared to systolic* blood pressure. In other words, a firm, strong hand grip is a better health assessment tool than your blood pressure.
*Systolic blood pressure is the pressure in your arteries when your heart contracts. In one of our previous health segments, a high pulse pressure is a predictor of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease — a sign of stiff, damaged arteries.
These findings were published in The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal, and were broadly consistent across various countries and economic levels.
How to Measure Grip Strength
Muscle strength is measured by grip. Your handshake can reveal your health status. Do you have a weak handshake or are you known for having a “vice grip”?
Grip strength testing is inexpensive, easily performed in a doctor’s office, and the results are immediate. NOTE: Grip strength is affected by a person’s stature:
Circumference of the forearm
Circumference of the hand
Since stature affects grip strength, relative grip strength is a better method of assessing muscle weakness (i.e., comparing changes in strength) vs. absolute grip strength using standard normative values.
See how certain types of food can soften a chicken bone — just like your enamel. Your toothless grin at six may have been cute back then, but as an adult, it’s not so adorable. Check out my ‘chicken bone experiment’ to demonstrate dental health to Marty Gonzalez, anchor of KRON 4 Weekend News. We all know that candy and sweets aren’t good for your teeth, but preventing tooth decay and preserving your aging teeth involve more than what NOT to eat…
Enamel Enemy No. 1
Your enamel is the hard outer layer on your teeth that protects them from harmful acids. Your teeth are covered with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. When sugars from the food you eat/drink mix together with plaque, acid is formed. SUGAR + PLAQUE = ACID
Acids attack your teeth. Repeated attacks can cause the tooth enamel to break down (soften) which can lead to cavities. When acid levels in your mouth drop below 5.5 on the pH scale, tooth enamel begins to be destroyed.
On the pH scale (a measure of acidity in chemistry), 1 is a strong acid and 7 is neutral.
Coca-Cola is More Acidic than Vinegar
Everyday food and drinks contain varying amounts of acid and sugar (an acid producer). Acids dissolve the calcium and minerals out of bones to make them soft. Similarly, the acids that attack your teeth can erode your enamel (by removing minerals from the enamel) making them susceptible to wear, pain and decay.
pH levels of the following drinks:
Water = 7 (neutral)
Milk = 6.8
Fruit juices = 3.3 to 3.8
Vinegar = 2.9
Coca-Cola = 2.5 (with 9 1/3 teaspoons of added sugar in a 12-oz. can)
Foods that Build Strong Teeth
Foods that contain bone-building vitamins and minerals (e.g., magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D) will help you preserve your aging teeth.
Magnesium is an especially important mineral in strengthening aging teeth and bones, so include plenty of:
Nuts, nut butters, seeds
Dried beans, lentils, whole grains
Green leafy vegetables. dried fruits
2. Calcium and Vitamin D
In general, dairy products are good sources, but non-dairy foods are also excellent sources of bone-building calcium. They include:
Dark-green leafy green vegetables (e.g., kale, spinach, arugula, basil)
Ever wonder what your blood pressure numbers mean? Here’s an explanation using a water faucet and pipe to demonstrate. And now there’s a THIRD pressure that’s important to your overall health and is worth monitoring as well.
What’s Your Pulse Pressure?
Pulse pressure is the numeric difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Predictor of Heart Attacks and Cardiovascular Disease
A resting pulse pressure in sitting position in healthy adults is about 30-40 mm Hg. For adults over age 60, especially men, a pulse pressure higher than 60 can be a useful predictor of heart attacks or other cardiovascular disease.
A greater pulse pressure indicates that your vessels are stiffer and more damaged.
If the aorta becomes rigid, such as from atherosclerosis, a.k.a., “hardening of the arteries”, your pulse pressure would be very high.
Per a meta-analysis of several studies of 8,000 elderly subjects, the combined results found that a 10-point increase in pulse pressure increased the risk of major cardiovascular complications and mortality by nearly 20%.
NOTE: A low pulse pressure (i.e., 25 mm Hg or less) may mean aortic valve stenosis or congestive heart failure where a low volume of blood is ejected per beat.
Causes of Arterial Stiffness
The most important cause of an elevated pulse pressure is arterial stiffening, in particular, stiffness of the aorta (the largest artery in the body). Arteries stiffen with age, just like tissues in your skin, lungs, heart, tendons, and joints, due to:
Fatty deposits damaging the arterial walls and resulting in them being less elastic (atherosclerosis)
Results of Arterial Stiffness
Your heart enlarges. When arteries stiffen and lose their elasticity, your heart must contract more forcefully with each heart beat in order for your blood to circulate adequately. The extra work that your heart must perform can lead to physical changes in the musculature of your heart (e.g., size and shape), specifically the lower chambers (the ventricles). It’s just like how your biceps get bigger that occurs when you exercise them harder.
You’re prone to irregular heart beats (cardiac arrhythmias). If the remodeling also affects the upper chambers (the atria), it can disrupt the electrical pathways that generate the signals telling your heart when to contract.
You’re at a higher risk of a heart attack and stroke. The cause of most cardiovascular events and cerebrovascular accidents is the growth and eventual rupture of arterial plaques.
Which Is the Better Pulse Pressure?
160/120 mm Hg OR 110/70 mm Hg? (The pulse pressure in each pair = 40 mm Hg.)
Higher systolic and diastolic pairs imply higher risk of heart attacks and heart disease
Can Atherosclerosis (Coronary Artery Disease) Be Reversed?
Have you ever talked to someone on the phone and determined the person is old just by the sound of his/her voice? You’ve likely heard an older person speak with that classic gravely, weak. raspy, wavering, hoarse, and/or breathless voice. When it comes to anti-aging, most people think about how to look younger and how to feel younger, but don’t usually think about how to “sound” younger.
As with everything else, your voice ages too, and most people don’t think about taking care of their ‘voice muscles’ like they do their biceps. On this KRON 4 health segment, Weekend News anchor, Marty Gonzalez, and I talk about how to keep your voice sounding “young”.
Causes of Sounding Old
Over 30% of people over age 65 have voice problems. As you age, your larynx (a.k.a. voice box) changes. The following conditions may be causing your voice to become hoarse and weak causing you to sound “old”:
Vocal cords are less elastic (just like aging skin and muscles) and are unable to work in the same way as when you were young. Your vocal cords move and vibrate to make sounds. When the surrounding muscles move, your vocal cords either tighten or loosen. To make higher sounds, your cords tighten.
Vocal cords and muscles in the larynx wear out and become more thin. As a result, your voice may sound higher.
Vocal cords are dry due to a decrease in blood supply and number of lubricating glands.
Weak abdominals – In order to form a sound, your abs and rib cage squeeze your lungs which make you exhale air.
Decreased lung capacity – By the time you’re 80, you may have 50% less volume compared to when you were 20.
Acid reflux can cause harshness, sore throat, cough.
Rheumatoid arthritis – This condition can lead to hoarseness because your vocal cords cannot move well. The inflammation limits the ability of the joint near your windpipe (cricoarytenoid joint) to move.