Over 50, Outdoors

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    Hot and heavy

    Hot and heavy

    Two stories collided last week.   First, it was very, very warm, so that the heat map of the United States turned a radiant, stop-sign red—the color of Irish skin after the first day of a beach vacation. So hot, in fact, that the National Park Service had to nag people to stop frying eggs...
    Monitoring fitness monitors: the heart of the matter

    Monitoring fitness monitors: the heart of the matter

    In exercise, the flesh can be weak and the spirit too willing.   You know the stories: someone your age pushed too hard and then keeled over. (In fact, this happens at all ages, but you pay more attention when the deceased is someone your age.) The more often you hear the stories, the more...
    Boomers are all about the couch

    Boomers are all about the couch

    A post earlier this week contained a startling public health nugget: most Baby Boomers—52 percent—report zero physical activity. No jogging, no biking, no backpacking. No walking the dog. No wading in shallow water. No golf with a cart.   This is head-swiveling because (one) it’s an intellectual challenge to conceive of zero physical activity and...
    Failure to crunch

    Failure to crunch

     It might not be your fault. If you don’t like to exercise, or if the exercise you do doesn’t seem to count for much, there are reasons that have nothing to do with your discipline, your will, or your moral fiber. You are not a puss. It’s your DNA.   The Wall Street Journal recently...
    Don't know squat about squats?

    Don’t know squat about squats?

      The world falls into four camps: people who have no interest in leg strength and therefore no interest in squats (you are excused), people want leg strength but fear squats because they have seen too many crippled power-lifters, and people who swear by squats and believe the risks of working them into your routine...
    Afternoon workouts work best. Maybe.

    Afternoon workouts work best. Maybe.

    The popular press has a wealth of information on fitness. But if you are over 50, your reading will often leave you feeling confused or unsure. This is because so many studies focus on younger people and you know better than to generalize. Good health and fitness  guidance for a 12-year-old might not true for...
    Stop loving your couch

    Stop loving your couch

    The time between Christmas and News Years is, unofficially, the National Sweatpants Week. A time for long breakfasts that fade into lunch, naps, hanging out, informal family gatherings–all activities that can be undertaken and are perhaps best undertaken while wearing sweatpants.   But now it’s over. You know you need to get off the couch....
    Fitness can compress your inevitable debility. Yay.

    Fitness can compress your inevitable debility. Yay.

    If you turned 65 in the middle of the last century—in 1950—you could expect 13.1 years more of life if you were a man and 16.2 years if you were a woman. If you turned 65 in 2007, your remaining life expectancy was 17.2 (male) and 19.9 (female) years. So, in theory, that’s about four...
    Flabby old heart no impediment to wrecking knees, hips

    Flabby old heart no impediment to wrecking knees, hips

    “We always worry about marathoners who are sort of dropping dead, if you will, and having a heart attack during the marathon,” says Dr. Davinder Jassal as he explains the purpose of his recent study and, simultaneously, gives us our favorite quote of the month. Jassal (an associate professor of medicine, radiology and physiology at...
    Fitness is the big have

    Fitness is the big have

    If it seems to you that everything breaks down into haves and have-nots, you are as smart as you think you are. It’s a barbell world. You are at one end or the other. The middle class that connects the two extremes grows thinner and bends under the stress until it adopts a parabolic shape...
    Exercise might make you less fit

    Exercise might make you less fit

    It’s been a painful week for exercise. First, a review of six studies of physical exercise found that 10 percent of the subjects—people who exercised regularly—actually experienced a decline on one of four common measures of heart disease (blood pressure, insulin, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides). Seven percent scored worse on two measures. So, for reasons...
    The good news about your atrophying muscles is that maybe they aren’t

    The good news about your atrophying muscles is that maybe they aren’t

    About a year ago one of the networks ran a story about a detective who found people who’d gone missing. The detective advised his colleagues to study the lost person’s photograph, then make a mental adjustment to accommodate the fact that he was over forty and had invariably lost muscle mass over the past few...