Physical Activity - September 2012 - Volume 4 Issue 5


Two years ago (August 2010) our newsletter was on the topic of anti-aging strategies. New information is becoming available all the time, so I thought an update would be a good idea. I hope you enjoyed a wonderful summer and that you find this information interesting and helpful.

Aging affects our bodies and our minds to a certain extent, but it’s becoming more and more evident that our minds, i.e. how we think, can strongly affect how our bodies and minds actually age. Pessimistic beliefs about aging generate negative health outcomes whereas positive beliefs result in positive health outcomes. Of course, we also need a healthy diet, adequate sleep, physical and mental activity, and social engagement to age well.

A recent British survey finds that people now consider middle age starts at 55 (as opposed to much earlier in previous surveys) and lasts until almost age 70. However, almost 20% thought middle age only began at age 60, and 20% said that middle age is a state of mind, not something that begins at a certain age.

   Physical Activity

Muscle mass and strength. We stressed the importance of maintaining a good ratio between muscle mass and fat as we age, particularly since people with a higher ratio of muscle to fat have a higher metabolism, so they burn more calories and have less to worry about gaining weight. We also noted that age does not decrease the ability of muscles to benefit from strength training such as weight training. Anyone can regain muscle mass and strength, no matter what shape they’re in now. It is well known that physical health has a direct impact on mental functioning as well.

Exercise has been shown to offset a genetic marker for Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers used PET scans to image the brains of 163 participants aged 45-88 who scored normally on a clinical assessment for cognitive functioning. They identified 52 of the participants as carriers of AOPE-Є4, a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Among sedentary APOE-Є4 carriers, the scans showed greater build-up of amyloid plaques in the brain, which is associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease. However, the carriers who were physically active, meeting the American Heart Association guidelines for regular exercise, showed no more build-up of amyloid plaques than the brains of non-carriers.

Combining aerobics and weights is best to battle metabolic syndrome. Brisk walking alone will help to ward off metabolic syndrome, but for best results, you should combine aerobic exercise with weight training according to an 8-month study of 198 men and women aged 18-70, who were overweight and had unhealthy levels of blood lipids such as triglycerides. Participants were randomly assigned to weight training 3 days a week, 120 minutes a week of walking or a combination of the two. Weight training did boost strength as expected, and aerobics improved fitness as measured by peak oxygen consumption. But only the combined group experienced a drop in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome. The researchers cautioned that they could not determine if the benefits seen by the combined group were simply due to exercising more than the other groups. Among the single activities, aerobics showed a greater improvement in health measures including weight.

Omega-3s may enhance the effects of strength training. Supplementing strength training with the omega-3s found in fish oil may make the weight training work better according to a small Brazilian study of 45 senior women. It is believed that fish oil that is rich in omega-3s plays a role in the plasma membrane and cell function of muscles which may enhance the benefits of training.

Even 15 minutes of exercise a day prolongs your life. Even if you can’t convince yourself to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, a Taiwan study showed that 15 minutes of exercise a day was associated with a 14% lower mortality rate and an extra 3 years of projected life expectancy, compared to no exercise at all. Every bit of exercise helps!

Avoid too much sitting! A Scottish study reported that people who spend at least 2 hours a day sitting in front of the computer or TV were more than twice as likely to suffer a cardiovascular event than those with less than 2 hours average daily screen time. The heavy “recreational sitters” were also 52% more likely to die. Even those who exercised when they weren’t sitting did not lower the risks associated with longer periods of sitting. The study analyzed data on 4,512 participants in the 2003 Scottish Health Survey aged 35 and up and followed the participants for about 4 years.

A second study in Australia measured activity by having participants wear accelerometers for an average of 14.6 hours a day. Among 4,757 adults, average age 4635, longer sedentary time was associated with less healthy measures of HDL, cholesterol, insulin, insulin resistance, fasting triglycerides and C-reactive protein, as well as greater waist circumference.

What can you do if your job demands a lot of sitting? Get up and move around for as little as 1 minute. Do this at least every 45 minutes. This will improve your circulation, keep you mentally sharper, and even burn a couple of calories.

Your brain benefits from exercise. While some scientists may still say that the theory is speculative, improved circulation (blood flow) to the brain has to benefit the brain, as it does all other parts of the body. Recent evidence links aerobic exercise to volume in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that’s key to memory. Researchers assigned half of a group of 120 men and women in their mid-60s to a program of aerobic walking 3 times a week. The other half enrolled in stretching classes and served as a control group. Participants were tested for fitness and memory ability and given MRI scans to measure hippocampal volume. It is normal for the hippocampus to shrink 1 – 2% per year with advancing age, contributing to memory loss and risk of dementia. After a year, the participants in the aerobic walking group had gained an average of 2% in hippocampal volume, whereas the control group lost an average of 1.4%. For those in the walking group, increases in hippocampal volume were related to improvements in memory. This study also demonstrates that it’s never too late to start exercising for the benefit of your brain!


It’s equally true that it’s never too late to eat right. An American nation-wide study of nutrition found that among 3,884 people aged 65 and over, those who ate the healthiest diet were less likely to die of cardiovascular disease and of all causes of mortality over a 13 year follow-up period.

Fibre from grains has been linked to living longer. The US National Institutes of Health – AARP Diet and Health Study reports a link between dietary fibre and a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular, infectious and respiratory diseases, as well as from all causes after a 9-year follow-up. Fibre from grains showed the strongest protective effect, while only a weak effect was seen for fibre from beans and vegetables, and none from fruit fibre. However, even the participants consuming the most fibre barely met the current dietary guidelines, which could account for the lack of effect seen for vegetable and fruit fibre – participants may just not have been eating enough of them for an effect to be observed. I personally would not discount the benefits of fibre from fruits and vegetables.

The Mediterranean diet continues to be linked to slower mental decline. In a study of nearly 3,800 older Chicagoans, those who stuck most closely to a Mediterranean-style diet saw less cognitive decline with aging, and had brains that functioned as if they were several years younger.

A diet that is good for your heart is also best for your brain. This further supports the Mediterranean-style diet, as well as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan. The DASH plan has been shown to lower blood pressure, and so may also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia.

Many supplements have been found to be helpful for slowing down and even reversing the symptoms of dementia. A recent book, Awakening from Alzheimer’s: How 9 Maverick Doctors are Reversing Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Memory Loss, by Peggy Sarlin, details the recoveries of several individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia as a result of taking a variety of nutritional supplements and other natural substances with results that far surpass available medications. Among the supplements discussed in this book are MCT (medium chain triglyceride)oil, fish oil, coenzyme Q10 (Co-Q10) and mangosteen, which which is found in Zambroza (see below).


Nature’s Sunshine offers a number of supplements that can help slow the aging process. A few of them are listed here. For a full list, please go to our web site at

GreenZone. Each capsule of GreenZone consists of green foods like sea algae and long-grown cereal grasses. Full of nutrient-rich goodness, green foods are the most healthful foods nature has to offer. Green foods not only help us sustain energy but boost the immune system, strengthen connective tissues and provide the body with the benefits of cleansing and detoxification. GreenZone contains the finest blend of whole foods, algae, and herbs balanced for the best utilization by our bodies. The 40-30-30 principle (% of carbohydrates, protein, and essential fat) has been incorporated into the formulation of this product. /store/#ecwid:mode=product&product=6402718

Zambroza is a blend of the most healthful fruits and nutritional supplements from all over the world. Zambroza is replete with xanthones, bioflavonoids and powerful antioxidants. Bioflavonoids give fruits and vegetables their bright colors. In the body, bioflavonoids enhance vitamin C absorption and help maintain collagen and capillary walls. They also aid in the body’s immune–defense system. Zambroza contains mangosteen.

Super Oil (capsules). This unique dietary supplement provides the essential fatty acids (EFA) required in the diet because they cannot be manufactured within the body. Recent studies show that Omega-3 acid contained in cold fish oil reduces the LDL cholesterol and raises the good HDL cholesterol. EFAs are also considered essential in maintaining healthy nerve functions. /store/#ecwid:mode=product&product=6402628

Vitamin supplements are increasingly important as we age. Please check our web site for multi-vitamins, B vitamins, vitamin C, D and E.

Co-Q10 (coenzyme Q10) is a vitamin-like nutrient that fuels the body’s cells with special benefits to the circulatory system. Much like a car engine burns fuel to produce energy, the body’s cells burn nutrients to produce body energy. Co-Q10 is the catalyzing agent the body needs to convert raw nutrients into useable fuel. /store/#ecwid:mode=product&product=6402632

MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) oil (and unrefined coconut oil), which contains medium chain triglycerides, help to boost lean muscle mass. Perhaps even more importantly, they can help maintain and restore mental clarity. We sell MCT oil only, from our office, not online.

For additional information, please email; or call Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic at 613.829.0427 for an appointment. Please continue letting friends and family know about this newsletter. Also on our website, please see back issues of this newsletter, additional information about products, order products, and see information about our Clinic.

  1. Middle age begins at 55 years, survey suggests. BBC News, September 17, 2012.
  2. 7 surprising findings about exercise and your health. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2012;30(2):4-5.
  3. Sit or get fit? Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2011;29(2):4-5.
  4. More proof staying physically active keeps your aging brain sharp. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2011;29(9):1-2.
  5. It’s never too late to eat right. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2012;30(3):6-7.
  6. Fiber from grains linked to living longer. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2011;29(3):1-2.
  7. Mediterranean-style diet linked to slower mental decline. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 2011;29(2):8.
  8. Whole-diet changes may reduce Alzheimer’s risk. Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter 2011;29(7):1-2.
  9. Sarlin P. Awakening from Alzheimer’s: How 9 Maverick Doctors are Reversing Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Memory Loss. Lexington VA: Online Publishing & Marketing, LLC, 2012.
The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.

These newsletters will help you make better choices for better health. The choices that you make today can either have a positive or negative impact on your overall health. Begin by choosing better. It is a step toward longevity.


Ramila Padiachy
Ramila's Healing Arts Clinic