Friday, March 23, 2012

The True Secret of Youth and My Nike Sensor

What a treat to enjoy summer spring right now. This week we hit record temperatures around 26C (80F). It's only March. In Canada where our daily highs are usually around 5C (40F) with snow covering the ground. The snow is gone, the sun is beating down and most people are in shorts and T's.

But the true excitement is the ability to return to walking outside. Like little ants we are swarming the sidewalks and parks.

I've exercised since my 20's. Most of the time I was overweight, sometimes obese but I kept it up. It didn't help me lose weight—that just didn't happen. In the 70's it was walking and some running. In the 80's it was feeling the burn with Jane Fonda (with the requisite leg warmers) and walking. The 90's brought steppers and treadmills into my life. And walking. As we entered the 21st century it was more walking and walking and walking. I did give up for a couple of years, frustrated that no matter how much aerobic and weight lifting I did my weight didn't budge. But I'm back enjoying the feeling that moving my body is so worth it.

My goal for exercise, specifically walking, is to stay young and fit. It feels so good to just move and I know it will make for a better life as I age. I know I won't lose weight. Just not going to happen for me but that no longer matters. I did lose weight by redesigning what I ate. I am no longer obese, just slightly overweight, ~27 by BMI standards, and I will keep on walking.

Hopefully you too can be motivated to move because last year this article appeared in our newspaper which confirmed my commitment to Just Do It!:

The true secret of youth? Exercise
Treadmill program reverses signs of premature aging in mice, study finds.
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Canadian scientists appear to have proven that you can, in fact, run away from old age. In what could stand up as the most powerful evidence yet that exercise prolongs life, a McMaster University study in Hamilton last year found that signs of premature aging were halted — and even reversed — in virtually every tissue and organ in the bodies of exercised mice. (now this must be true since McMaster is my Alma Mater)

The finding, which could be a turning point in antiaging medicine, suggests the proverbial fountain of youth won’t come from a pill or from an exotic berry from the Amazon, but rather plain old exercise.

Mice genetically altered to age faster were forced to run on treadmills for 45 minutes, three times a week (imagine those tiny little treadmills!). Five months later, the mice looked as young, healthy and active as wild-type mice while their sedentary and same-aged siblings were balding, greying and shrinking. While the exercised mice scampered and scurried about their cages, the aging non-runners huddled in a corner, barely moving.

Epidemiological studies in humans have shown that people who are physically active or exercise regularly have fewer chronic diseases and tend to live longer — runners especially.

But, the message is “it’s never too late” to start exercising. (I think they got a little wheelchair for the mouse on the right.)

Now that I'm moving closer to 60, I think I would like to look more like the mouse on the left than the haggard looking one on the right. For any of you still contemplating whether exercise in any shape or form is a benefit, just look at the picture. Who wants to actually look old!

My Motivation: The Nike Sensor

Last year I bought this little sensor that pops in the hole under the sole of Nike shoes and then uses the Nike app on either the iPhone or the iTouch.

One little amazing product. As I walk it figures out how far I've gone and when I get home, it uploads to the Nike site to record my distance, time and calories. I've hooked it to my Facebook page and it will give a status update at the same time. At any time during the walk, you can see distance, pace and length of time. I use it more as a record to keep my motivation but it also lets you set goals.

The only little wrinkle is that it keeps saying I ran and I haven't figured out how to tell it I am actually only walking. Well I guess walking is just slow running so I'll have to just leave it.

You don't need Nike shoes to use the sensor. You can get a generic holder which attaches to your shoe but you do need the iTouch or iPhone to record the info. And I'm told there are lots of other little gadgets that do the same thing. 

There are so many more studies showing the benefit of exercise on all ages, all abilities. But it only works if we actually do it rather than just read about it.

I'm now waiting for the drunken mouse experiment. You know the one where they let mice drink two glasses of wine a day to see if it really does lower cholesterol. I'll keep you all posted.
Sandy


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2 comments:

Holly from 300 Pounds Down said...

I had never heard of a sensor you put in your shoe before! interesting!!!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if I can participate in the drunken mouse experiment!
~whatimeant2say

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