As I was travelling most of June, I kept catching up on reading the books and magazines, for which I had had no time in the past months. Among others, I read “Biomarkers” by W. Evans, Ph.D. and I.H. Rosenberg, M.D., professors of nutrition and medicine at the Tufts University. This one renewed my faith in the fact that we can improve our fitness levels ad health status, regardless of our genetic load. They list 10 biomarkers of vitality, which we can improve: muscle mass, strength, basal metabolic rate (BMR), body fat percentage, aerobic capacity, blood-sugar (glucose) tolerance, cholesterol/HDL ratio, blood pressure, bone density, body ability to regulate its temperature.
Some aspects are clear: if we weight train, we improve our strength, muscle mass and power. As a result, the BMR and body fat % improve, even more so if we train aerobically (which leads to direct gains in terms of the aerobic capacity). Bone density can be helped by getting involved in some form of plyometric exercise (the simplest being the motion of rope jumping or, simply… running!). The point is to suddenly load the body (while jumping on a box, for example), which strengthens the osseous structure and diminishes the risk of osteoporosis. As I work with trainees who used to have issues with high blood pressure, I witness myself how nicely their systems respond to the increased load of exercises: I even have quite a few of them who are weaning off their high blood medication (or already did so): their bodies become more efficient, their arteries are less clogged, and their blood pressure levels stabilize. I have multiple devices at my Studio and one of them is the blood pressure monitor. In some cases, we started our fitness adventure with regular blood pressure checks: before the session, a few times during it and a few minutes after it was completed. As we progress and the trainees respond favorably to their respective training loads, they get a go-ahead from their physicians to check the levels less and less often. Their systems stabilize at a new, healthy level.
Now, you can ask me, how we can improve the glucose tolerance? Well, it declines with age – especially if we do not exercise: as the older adults gain more body fat by not training and eating some not too healthy fare, suffer from lower muscle mass as a result of not lifting weights, this tolerance diminishes. This gives us some hope, as commonly the glucose tolerance is associated with diminished ability to secrete insulin by the pancreas. If it is not exactly so and if it is also related to some factors that we can work on and which we can improve, why not? On top of that, it is proven that the risk of type 2 diabetes depends on where your body fat is stored (‘beer belly’ owners, beware!). This is yet another aspect we can work on and which is easily improvable.
This book was very uplifting and I’d recommend that you read it: it offers us a close insight into our own body systems and explains how, at the end, we have the upper hand at making sure we live a long, healthy, fit life! Once we are in control, we can do anything. It is the feeling of powerlessness which leads us to abandoning our attempts at a healthy lifestyle, making and implementing changes into our daily habits and succeeding. So, take action NOW, it is all in your hands! Stay Fit-Fit!