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Biomarkers of Aging, Cholesterol Levels, and Bone Density

Live Like You Can

By Janis McDonald

Once again, we continue our journey through the startling 1992 research results from William Evans, PHD, and Dr. Irwin Rosenberg from their studies with men in their 90s and intense strength training that changed the fitness world. Dr. Evans states, “My book, Biomarkers: The 10 Keys to Prolonging Vitality, is based on my hypothesis that these 10 biological markers that have been thought to occur as a result of chronological age are, in fact, a product of how we live our lives. These biomarkers include muscle mass, strength, resting metabolic rate, aerobic capacity, blood pressure, insulin action, HDL to total cholesterol ration, bone density, body fat percentage, and ability to control body temperature.”

Somewhat radical for the time, Evans and Rosenberg found that strength training was the intervention that most positively affected all of the biomarkers. The last 20 years have brought a multitude of research studies on exercise (all types) and their impact on the biomarkers of aging.

This article addresses both bone density and HDL ratio to total cholesterol. Osteoporosis is the age-related reduction in bone mineral density, leading to a reduction in bone mass and increasing the risk for bone breaks. While osteoporosis is most prevalent in postmenopausal women, the prevalence of osteoporosis also increases with age in men. One of the best methods to maintain current bone mineral density is through physical activity. Activity increases the physical stresses on bone. These stresses help activate the osteoblasts and favors bone deposition. Resistance training is one such physical activity that is increasingly advocated as a means of retaining and even possibly increasing bone mineral density.

However, what type of resistance training is best? The research study by Maddalozzo and Snow (2000) examined this question in relation to elderly men and women. Their results showed that high-intensity and moderate-intensity resistance exercises, when properly progressed and supervised, are safe and beneficial activities for many elderly clients, improving musculoskeletal health while reducing likelihood of falling. It appears that high-intensity resistance exercise yielded slightly greater increases in bone mineral density, lean mass, and muscle strength. However, proper progression needs to be emphasized in order to prevent overtraining and possible injuries. (As a side note, Power Plate vibration training has been proven to increase bone density and reduce bone loss.)

The Springer Sports Medicine Clinic conducted a study in 2014 on aerobic only, strength training only, and aerobic and strength training combined and how they impact people with elevated cholesterol levels. Results suggested that to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides and to increase HDL (good), the following protocol should be followed: increased physical activity to five times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes daily, prolonged moderate intensity aerobic exercise greater than 45 minutes daily (70-85% of maximum heart rate, 220-age), and moderate-to-intense weight resistance exercise three days a week. The data included in this review confirmed the beneficial effects of regular physical activity on cholesterol levels. After consideration of initial assessments, encouragement of maximum physical activity is strongly suggested. To obtain optimal benefits, the addition of aerobic and resistance exercises must be added.

Janis McDonald, Professional Wellness Coach, Designing Your Third Act Workshops, Private Training Gym, Power Plate Training, 152 0457. Follow the Live Like You Can Blog! Go to:


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