Fitness Resources

Month: February 2014

Fitness Assessment Service

Fitness Resources assesses the fitness of your employees to more accurately determine their health and wellness levels. We make testing convenient by performing basic assessments right in your workplace. We conduct more complicated, in-depth tests at the Fitness Resources studio.
We conduct state-of-the-art fitness assessments using approved techniques including:

blood-pressure screening
health-risk appraisal
body-composition analysis
aerobic capacity
nutrition profile
healthy back examination
cholesterol screening
flexibility analysis
muscular strength analysis

After we have conducted an individual fitness assessment, we provide employees with an exercise program and general nutrition advice along with a log for recording their progress. Our Fitness Assessment Service allows your employees to begin exercising safely and encourages a long-term commitment to a healthy and active lifestyle with emphasis on improving personal productivity.

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Fitness Resources Education Service

DSC_0408In pursuit of our company’s mission, Fitness Resources strongly emphasizes health and wellness education. Our Education Service provides pertinent, up-to-date information from a variety of sources to help your employees make intelligent decisions about how best to improve their overall health. We offer information to your employees through several channels:

health fairs
on-site workshops
lectures and seminars
articles in your company newsletters
fitness test results
health-awareness quizzes

In general, information provide to your employees comes from government literature and from local or national health and wellness publications. We release educational materials as your employees progress and become better able to absorb and understand more complex health and wellness information. We also synchronize our instruction with promotions that your company may be offering in order to build on and reinforce programs you already have. We design our Education Service to make all of the health and wellness information we provide easily accessible and readily available.

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Fitness Resources Survey Service

Fitness Resources conducts employee surveys to clarify how your company will benefit from a health and wellness program, to customize the program so that it will meet the specific needs of your employees and to analyze the program’s effectiveness so that adjustments can be made as your employees’ needs and goals evolve. Our Survey Service can be conducted prior to the design and implementation of your company’s health and fitness program. If you already have a program in place, our survey will highlight areas for improvement.
We can develop a customized survey for your employees including any or all of the following topics:

hidden health risks
major and minor risks for heart disease
risk factors for having a stroke
stress and the body
risk factors for developing diabetes
risk factors for developing cancer

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Making Your Health Span Match Your Life Span

Biointervention—Making Your Health Span Match Your Life Span

Mark Mayes
Cert. Health Fitness Specialist

Ponce de León supposedly searched for it in the New World. Herodotus thought it might be near Ethiopia. People have sought a fountain of youth for centuries. Disappointed by the fruitless search for a miraculous pool that could rejuvenate them, people turned instead to elixirs, creams, and cell-rejuvenating drugs—anything that offered glimmer of hope for retaining youth. No one yet has discovered a magic formula that can guarantee a never-ending life span. Diet and exercise researchers, however, have made significant progress discovering ways to extend one’s health span and, thereby, one’s life span.

William Evans, Ph.D. and other researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University (HNRCA) have identified ten biomarkers that may slow down the aging process. “Advanced age is not a static, irreversible biological condition of unwavering decrepitude,” Dr. Evans says. “Rather, it’s a dynamic state that, in most people, can be changed for the better no matter how many years they’ve lived or neglected their body in the past” (14–15). Evans and his colleagues at the HNRCA have outlined the following ten biomarkers of vitality that they believe we can alter through exercise and proper nutrition: muscle mass, strength, basal metabolic rate, body fat percentage, aerobic capacity, cholesterol/HDL ratio, blood/sugar tolerance, blood pressure, bone density and regulation of internal body temperature.

Vital to extending one’s health span, according to Evans, is to concentrate on building muscle while decreasing fat. “Losing weight is the wrong goal,” he points out. “You should forget about your weight and, instead, concentrate on shedding fat and gaining muscle”. One might ask in reply, “I’m 65 years old, and I weigh much the same as I did when I was 21. How would increasing my muscle mass improve or extend my life?” As we get older, we lose muscle tissue at a rate of about 6.6 pounds per decade, and we tend to replace this lost muscle tissue with fat.

Muscle mass, Evans first biomarker, is a key component to other biological functions and in some way affects the other nine biomarkers. A strong and toned musculature contributes to overall well-being, especially for older adults. Evans and other researchers have found that an increase in musculature:

·         increases the body’s metabolism, thus enabling one to burn more calories, which, in turn, helps decrease body fat.

·         increases one’s aerobic capacity because denser muscles require additional  oxygen; an increased aerobic capacity allows one to be more active.

·         increases the body’s ability to utilize insulin, which decreases the chance of developing diabetes later in life.

·         helps one maintain a high level of HDL cholesterol—“good cholesterol”—in the blood.

·         adds to bone density because strength training and other exercises that increase musculature also stress bones, causing them to become harder.

Many researchers believe that old age is not a time to relax and become idle. Many of the diseases and much of the deterioration that we see in our bodies during our senior years can be prevented or mitigated through exercise. Improvements in Evans’s second biomarker, strength, provide abundant examples.

Among many misconceptions concerning the bodies of older adults are that they cannot improve their strength or that they should not stress their muscles the way that a younger person does. Studies reveal that between the ages of 20 and 70, we lose almost 30 percent of our muscle cells due to inactivity. But research at Tufts has shown that a decline in muscle strength and size is not inevitable. Through strength training, a 70-year-old male could regain the strength of a 20-year-old sedentary male.

Another misconception is that with old age comes an increased likelihood of falling. Evans, however, has demonstrated that the increased incidence of falls in seniors is caused by a decrease in muscle tissue and strength in the legs. Falling in one’s senior years is not due to age but rather to a sedentary lifestyle and a lack of exercise!

Our body’s ability to shed fat and burn calories at rest is called basal metabolic rate (BMR), Evans’ third biomarker. BMR is an indicator of how efficiently our bodies break down tissue and release energy so we can perform daily functions. However, if we take in more fuel (calories) than our bodies can use given our BMR, those calories are stored as fat. After age 20, our BMR drops by about two percent every decade. But studies have shown that no matter what our age, through exercise and increased muscle mass we can stop this decline and even restore our BMR and our ability to burn calories.

The fourth biomarker, percentage of body fat, is directly related to increased disease in older individuals. Excess body fat places an added stress on the heart and increases the chance of stroke and diabetes. Seniors have the ability to lose fat weight—the same as a younger person—through diet and exercise.

Aerobic capacity is Evans’ fifth biomarker. It describes the body’s ability to move large amounts of oxygen through the bloodstream to tissue in a given amount of time, a process that depends on a good cardiopulmonary system—the heart, lungs, and circulatory mechanisms. It is true that aerobic capacity declines 30 to 40 percent by age 65. However, the decline is less pronounced in individuals who exercise regularly. Evans believes that inactivity in seniors reduces the muscles’ oxidative capacity and causes the muscular fatigue that many aging people experience. Exercise physiologists have shown that seniors who start to exercise make greater improvements to their aerobic capacity than younger adults. Certainly, older adults who have been inactive and then begin to exercise have much more room to improve, but it’s important to note that drastic improvements to aerobic capacity can be made even in advancing years.

Everything in the supermarket these days seems to claim to be cholesterol-free; cholesterol is Evans sixth biomarker, but what is it? Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by the body that is a necessary component in cell membranes and certain sex hormones. It circulates in the bloodstream and is associated with a protein called lipoprotein. There are several types of cholesterol that we need to be concerned with: HDL, LDL, and VLDL. HDL is known as “good cholesterol” because it helps remove plaque or LDL from the arteries. LDL and VLDL are known as “bad cholesterol” because in excess, they can cause a narrowing of blood vessels. As with the other biomarkers, several factors influence our control over cholesterol: genetic make-up, a lack of exercise, obesity, and diet. All but one of these components can be altered through lifestyle changes—we have little control over genetics.

If the body produces too much cholesterol or if one’s diet is high in cholesterol, lipo proteins can start to collect in the body tissue. “Atherosclerosis” is a condition in which excess lipo proteins collect in the blood vessels, and it can eventually develop into heart disease and other circulatory problems. Since the body produces its own cholesterol, it is NOT important that we include it in our diet, but we should be concerned about consuming foods with too much of it. LDL and VLDL levels can be lowered through changes to our diet, but according to the latest studies, HDL can only be increased by lowering body fat and through exercise.

The body’s ability to control blood sugar is the seventh biomarker. With advancing age, the body’s ability to take up and utilize blood sugar decreases. This, in turn, causes the sugar level in our blood to rise, which can develop into mature-onset diabetes, also known as “type 2 diabetes.” By age 70, 20 percent of men and 30 percent of women have an abnormally high blood sugar level. Researchers have found that a decline in sugar tolerance is due to a decrease in the activity level of older adults, an increase in body fat and reduced muscle mass, which leads to a reduction in the body’s ability to absorb insulin. The body produces insulin to regulate the level of sugar in the blood; insulin causes the muscles to use the sugar for energy. The bodies of older adults cannot absorb insulin as readily because their muscle mass has been reduced as they have aged. This lack of muscle mass also continues the cycle of fat storage; excess sugar in the blood that is not used over time is converted to body fat. Age, however, has been shown NOY to decrease one’s ability to influence blood sugar.

Blood pressure is Evans’ eighth biomarker. Increased blood pressure is caused primarily by obesity; smoking; a high-fat, high-salt diet and a lack of exercise. Heredity and race do have some effect on blood pressure, but even considering risk factors beyond our control, blood pressure can be controlled with medication, diet and exercise. High blood pressure, or hypertension, does not have to be a limiting factor for the older person. Scientists at Copper’s Clinic for Aerobic Research in Dallas found that people who maintained their fitness level had a 34 percent lower risk of developing hypertension.

Bone density, the ninth biomarker, is, in part, affected by hormonal changes in women, poor eating habits, deficient calcium absorption and a sedentary lifestyle. Research has shown that an individual’s bone loss is about one percent per year. “Osteoporosis” is a substantial bone loss that increases the risk of bone fractures. Osteoporosis is associated with growing old, but, Evans argues, “Osteoporosis is not a necessary or normal component of aging”. The loss of bone density can be influenced by diet and exercise. Researchers at Tufts found that women who exercise have a higher level of Vitamin D, which aids in the absorption of calcium. They also found that weight-bearing exercises that continually apply stress to the bone cause the bone to become harder. Research to date has not concluded that an increase in calcium intake prevents or slows the effects of bone loss. Tufts researchers combined high-calcium intake with exercise in their study and found that only exercise affected bone loss.

Biomarker ten is the body’s ability to regulate its internal temperature. The body has its own built-in thermostat, but the effects of aging can impair this control mechanism. In a typical older adult, cardiac output, including blood flow to the skin, is reduced. This diminished blood flow to the skin makes sweating harder for the older person’s body because blood flow brings heat to the skin, causing the body to sweat and release that heat. When the body cannot sweat, it cannot release heat as effectively, so it’s internal temperature rises. On the other hand, shivering, which is the body’s way to produce heat, is also decreased in older adults—primarily due to a loss in muscle mass. An inability to shiver makes it more difficult for an older person’s body to raise its internal temperature. The older adult who stay in shape is better equipped to keep his or her body’s internal temperature at a safe level through increased blood flow to the skin and through an improved BMR.

Unfortunately for us, Herodotus and Ponce de León’s searches were in vain. There is no magic formula to slow the aging process. The latest research shows, however, that it is possible to close the gap between one’s health span and one’s life span through regular exercise and proper nutrition. Dr. Evans’ ten biomarkers map it all out for us.

Reference: William Evans, Ph. D., and Irwin H. Rosenberg, M.D., Biomarkers: The 10 Determinate s of Aging You Can Control, (New York, Simon & Schuster,1991)

Ball Squats

Squats can be hard on one’s knees and back if not right. Ball squats are a good way to learn proper form and take stress off your knees.

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Exercise and Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes

Have You Been Told You Are Prediabetic or a Type I, II or Gestational Diabetic?

All of these conditions are defined by the body’s inability either to make or to use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that your body needs to help it turn glucose from the food we eat into energy. Think of insulin as the body’s messenger who collects glucose in the blood and delivers it to the cell receptor sites that, in turn, use the glucose to produce energy. Without enough insulin, glucose stays in the blood, and over time, this excess glucose builds up, leading to damage in your kidneys, heart, nerves, eyes and other organs.

Let’s look at what each condition is.

A person who is prediabetic suffers from a mild form of diabetes sometimes called “impaired glucose tolerance.” Being prediabetic is a major risk factor for developing type II diabetes. The primary risk factors for becoming prediabetic are poor nutrition and a lack of exercise.

Type I diabetes starts in childhood when the pancreas stops producing insulin. The primary risk factor is family history of this chronic disease.

Type II diabetes is sometimes called “insulin resistance.” Type II diabetes develops when the body’s cells can’t use the insulin that the pancreas produces. When cells are unable to absorb efficiently the glucose carried by insulin, the pancreas tries to compensate by producing more insulin. Eventually, it can’t keep up, and the body’s glucose level gets out of balance. Type II diabetes typically develops in adults, but it can begin any time in life. The childhood obesity epidemic is leading to an increase in type II diabetes among teenagers. The primary risk factor for this form of diabetes is being overweight or obese.
Gestational diabetes is triggered during pregnancy. It is caused by hormones that are produced by the placenta and that sometimes block the function of insulin in the mother’s body. Risk factors include weight, a history of glucose intolerance, a family history of diabetes and age.

The general risk factors for diabetes are a family history of the disease, ethnic background, age, a sedentary lifestyle, hypertension, low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and high triglyceride levels.

Diabetes and prediabetes are increasing at alarming rates; an estimated 39% of women and 33% of men born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes during their lifetimes. In African American and Hispanic populations, the incidence of diabetes is expected to be even higher (45% to 53%). Both diabetes and prediabetes can lead to serious health problems including heart attack, peripheral arterial disease, stroke, blindness and kidney failure. Lifestyle changes including exercise and diet are important factors in the treatment of type 1 diabetes as well as the prevention and treatment of type II diabetes and pre diabetes. (This needs a citation. I have made tweaks to fit the style of the rest of the article, including using “II” instead of “2” and “prediabetes” instead of “pre-diabetes” [per Merriam Webster, “prediabetes” is correct.])

Fitness Resources trainers work with clients to design an exercise routine in an effort to prevent and manage diabetes.

An  important part of any exercise program for the prevention and management of diabetes is increasing muscle mass (glucose receptor sites) through resistance training. Each 10% increase in skeletal muscle results in a 10% reduction in insulin resistance and a 12% reduction in prediabetes.

Researcher Arun S. Karlamangla, MD, PhD and associate professor of medicine in the division of geriatrics at the University of California, Los Angeles argues that “[i]t’s not just weight that matters, but what portion of your weight is muscle mass.” His point is clarified by John Buse, MD, PhD and chief of endocrinology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who points out that muscle is among the most insulin-sensitive tissues in the body. “The more muscle mass you have,” says Buse. “the more glucose you can dispose of in response to insulin.”


Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, September [year]

[From where did you get the quotes from these two doctors? You need the publication or web page, not just their names.]
John Buse, MD, PhD, chief of endocrinology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Arun S. Karlamangla, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine in the division of geriatrics at the University of California, Los Angeles

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Flexible in Scheduling

Mark has helped to keep me in shape for many years (11 plus). He pushes me to do my best and adjusts the workout to accommodate my body’s “quirks”. Mark is very flexible in scheduling (makes it harder to find an excuse to not work out), and mixes up the workout so it doesn’t get boring. I once asked him if I would ever get to a point when I didn’t feel like “jelly” after my workout, and he said not if he is doing is job right! The facility is new, bright and has a good assortment of equipment.

P. Wigel

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Clients of All Ages

I have been a fitness customer of Mark Mayes and Fitness Resources for many years.  His trainers are experienced and in tune with the needs of clients of all ages. For me, the best part of working out with trainer Mike is that he keeps introducing new exercises and variations.  The workout session is not predictable and boring at all.  I love the ease of using Fitness Resources facilities.  Very clean, good parking, anytime access and no hassles.

J. Camper 

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