#293 Forever Young
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You know you're getting old when all the names
in your black book have M.D. after them.

Arnold Palmer

5 Ways to Stay Young

By Steve Edwards

YouthIt's not that we age but how we age that matters. We're all going to grow old and, from all scientific accounts, eventually die. Some of us will do it more gracefully than others. Although genetics will play a role, we have a lot of control over how the aging process affects us. Modern medical enhancements have allowed us to alter the aging process to a degree, but there is no reason to get upset if you can't afford a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, because nothing can modify the way you age like a few lifestyle changes. Here are five steps that will help you age more gracefully than Hollywood's elite.

  1. RunningExercise harder (though not necessarily longer). Far and away, the most important thing you can do to offset the aging process is exercise. You don't need to spend a lot of time doing it, however. Short bouts of intense exercise are more effective than longer workouts. Long, easy workouts have their place in a fitness program, especially for aerobic efficiency and fat burning, but nothing comes close to high-intensity training for keeping your body young (try programs like P90X® and Turbo Jam®).

    Your body loses muscle mass as you age. Resistance training creates hypertrophy (muscle building), which will offset some of that loss. Furthermore, increasing your heart rate to 90 percent of its maximum for short intervals (by doing things like jumping, sprinting, and heavy resistance training) raises capillarity, mitochondrial activity, and bone density—all important components to counteract aging.

    Here's why high-intensity training can counteract aging. High-intensity training forces your body out of its comfort zone. Your heart rate rises beyond your anaerobic threshold—the point at which you can no longer eliminate lactic-acid buildup and your workout time becomes finite (you'll fail in less than a minute, perhaps far less). When this happens, your body uses something called the Krebs cycle to produce energy without oxygen. During this anaerobic ("without oxygen") process, your body is pushed to its physical limits—and this creates a hormonal response to keep it going. The subsequent hormone production is in direct opposition to the aging process. As we age, our bodies produce fewer hormones over time, leading to the inability to rebuild ourselves, until we eventually break down and die. Intense exercise counteracts this by forcing our bodies to produce more hormones than are produced naturally at a given age. This keeps our muscles, bones, and organs from deteriorating as fast as they naturally would. The result is that, with continued exercise, the aging process slows down.

    Intense WorkoutYou may have heard of hormone replacement therapy. Intense exercise is the cheaper, natural way of doing the same thing. It's also more effective. Ten to 20 minutes a day of pushing yourself to your physical limit is all it takes for this response to occur. It's also addictive due, again, to hormone production. And of all of the possible addictions in life, this is the one that will benefit you the most.

    This may be in contrast to what you generally hear about aerobic exercise being important, especially for the elderly. There are a few reasons for this misunderstanding, but most of what you hear is simple misinformation. Aerobic exercise is healthy and important. Aerobic is defined as "with oxygen," so this could be anything you do that is under your anaerobic threshold. However, this is a broad statement because there are actually many training zones that lie in your aerobic realm. Regardless, the overall point is the same. Lower-intensity exercise is generally safer than high-intensity training. It's also healthy—very much so. A steady diet of low-level aerobic training is a million times better than no exercise at all. It can be done by almost anyone, no matter their physical limitations; it's relatively easy and painless; chances of injury are low; and it will keep your heart and circulatory system healthy. Therefore, it's easy to recommend aerobic training to almost anyone. But it doesn't have near the effectiveness of high-intensity training. And, furthermore, the cardiovascular effects of high-intensity training are just as good for your heart, which must work overtime once your workout goes anaerobic.


  2. SnackEat less food, especially sugar. A now-famous study was done on two monkeys, in which one was fed a yummy, filling diet (no overeating) and the other was deprived of calories. The monkey on the "normal" diet aged much more quickly. Even starker was the contrast in lifestyles—the calorie-restricted monkey was extremely virile and active into old age. Studies in humans are recent but seem to show a decrease in free-radical damage to proteins, lipids, and DNA. The older you get, the lower your caloric requirements. This doesn't mean you shouldn't eat, but small frequent snacking is the way to go, and calories should be altered daily depending on your activity level.

    Calorie restriction is now popular enough that it has its own acronym, CR. And while many of its practitioners seem a bit wacko and have yet to gain the immortality status they're after, there is no denying, through science and lore, that eating less has its benefits. In fact, when we break down what CRers actually eat, they're hardly starving. Most average around 2,000 calories a day, which is around what the average American "claims" to eat. The reality of those claims (which came from numerous surveys) is a stark contrast to the 3,900 calories per person of food that we produce. So unless half the food we produce goes uneaten, chances are, we're overeating, which is also pretty easy to confirm using nothing but anecdotal evidence.

    Healthy MealCR practitioners are fastidious eaters. This seems prudent for anyone limited in the number of calories they are eating. If you aren't going to eat much, what you do eat had better be packed with nutrients. And we don't need science to tell us that eating high-quality foods is healthier than eating junk, which brings us to the easiest way to eat less food: eat less sugar.

    Sugar is the single largest caloric source we consume. And it's bad for us. It hastens the aging process because eating sugar hinders our bodies' natural production of growth hormones—one of the key players in the aging process. GH (growth hormone) levels decrease as we age. You can supplement HGH (human growth hormone), but studies are still inconclusive as to whether or not this has adverse side effects. It's also expensive. The natural way includes intense exercise and eating less sugar and other starchy junk foods because all high-glycemic carbohydrates reduce GH production.


  3. VitaminsSupplement your diet with aging in mind. As stated above, nothing increases hormone production as well as exercise. Second on this list is doping—also know as anti-aging medicine that includes hormone injections, which some professional athletes such as Barry Bonds purportedly use (though apparently not Roger Clemens). The cheaper—and safer—alternative is to use natural food supplements. Remember that hormone production is a natural process and that the healthier your body is, the less quickly hormone production will diminish as you age. Therefore, almost any healthy dietary supplement is a plus. This means that simple multivitamin (ActiVit® multivitamins are a great option) and mineral supplements help with the anti-aging process, as do pretty much any positive changes that you make in your diet through foods, drinks, or supplementation. Here are a few that are more directly responsible.

    Amino acids. Even if you get plenty of protein in your diet, supplemental ornithine, arginine, and glutamine will help increase your body's GH release. And an arginine/citrulline mixture has also been shown to work as a vasodilator, which can help with alertness, playing sports, and sexual performance.

    Core Omega-3™Fish oil. Its fatty acids, EPA and DHA (which have become increasingly scarce in our diets), are two of the more important nutrients for myriad functions. Furthermore, our diets have become unbalanced in relation to how much omega-3 fatty acid we get compared to omega-6. Balancing our omega consumption will help reduce chronic inflammation brought on by a poor diet, smoking, drinking, breathing unhealthy air, etc. This is not the same type of inflammation that you get when you, say, sprain your ankle. Chronic inflammation is a state that weakens your body's ability to stave off disease. Being stiff and achy, which we often associate with getting old, is often a sign of chronic inflammation. Our Core Omega-3™ is a high-quality fish oil supplement that can help satisfy your omega-3 needs.

    Melatonin. A hormone that your body makes less of as you age. Melatonin, known more as a sleep aid, has powerful antioxidant properties that have been shown to stimulate the immune and endocrine systems. Since your natural levels drop radically beyond age 30, supplementing with small dosages (under 2 mg) a few times a week can counteract this process, and may also help you sleep better. On that note . . .


  4. SleepingImprove your ability to sleep. Sleep also increases GH production, along with many other things that repair breakdown from the rigors of living. Sleeping 7 to 8 hours a day—along with short naps when you can manage it—will keep your body tuned and ready to run. Deep sleep is where we make the most dramatic changes in our bodies' physiologies. Those changes are directly related to what we do when we're awake but, if we don't take the precautions to ensure we get a good night's rest, our hard work can get sidetracked.

    Here's what happens in a nutshell. When we're awake, our bodies are constantly wearing down. During sleep, our bodies vary their behavior to rebuild themselves even more efficiently. Among other things, we make more proteins and release hormones at different rates. So while we tend to think of sleep as a passive process, it's actually very active. It all begins with our brains. Instead of shutting down for the night, our brains signal our bodies about what to do during the various stages of sleep. In short, neurotransmitters (one you've probably heard of is serotonin) signal the body that it's time to switch modes. Once this occurs, our bodies begin a five-stage rebuilding process that we call sleep.

    The main things that affect our sleep are food, exercise, medications, chemicals, and temperature. The neurotransmitters that tell us to sleep are all influenced by these factors and can be misled. Some of the more obvious examples of things that affect our sleep are caffeine, which we often consume when we want to stay awake, and medications, which usually provide warnings on their labels. But what's also important to consider here is how some of these things affect our sleep cycles. Certainly "sleep aids," such as alcohol, make it easier to fall asleep but harder to get into deep sleep. Improving your ability to sleep is generally as easy as improving your lifestyle. The biggest factors affecting sleep patterns are diet, exercise, hydration, and the ability to relax and unwind.


  5. Applying Lotion After a BathTake care of your skin. Your largest organ, your skin, needs both internal and external protection, and most of the steps listed above help keep it smooth, elastic, and youthful looking. Another huge factor is hydration, which, conversely, helps all of the other processes as well. Drinking enough fluid, water to be precise, is a huge factor for overall health, but nowhere will the effects of dehydration be more obvious than on your skin. You should drink six to eight glasses of water per day, at a minimum, and more when it's hot or you're exercising.

    Daily moisturizing can also keep your skin soft and vibrant. It's best to apply it as soon as you get out of the shower, and do your best to make this a ritual. Post-shower, when your natural oils have been washed off, is a vital time for moisturizing. Even if you're pressed for time, taking a few minutes to add moisturizer to your entire body is worth it, since your skin absorbs it best when it's warm and damp. You don't have to limit this to once a day—your skin would be pressed to get too much lotion—but after a shower is by far the most effective time.

    Try finding products free of fragrance and parabens. Also, don't buy products that contain mineral oil or petroleum. Both of these will clog your pores and can trap sweat and dirt, thus causing acne. For your face, you should also try to use a moisturizer that contains sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Small doses of sun are good for your skin, but overexposure is as bad as advertised.


Related Articles
"10 Tips for Restful Sleep"
"10 Anti-Aging Foods"
"Fish Oil: Nature's Miracle Ingredient"
"10 Tips to Help Your Skin Survive Winter"

Steve EdwardsIf you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, just email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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Tony's Top 10 Snacks

By Tony Horton, creator of P90X®

I rotate through this list of in-between goodies all week long. I'll even use the PROBAR and the protein shake as meal substitutes. Most of the things on this list can be packed up for travel time. The bars, pretzels, nuts, and graham crackers are perfect fast foods for when you're away from home. So no more excuses! Here are my top 10 snacks.

  1. Peanut ButterMy sticky bar of course (with banana, peanut butter, and granola); see below

  2. Almond butter (thinly spread) on organic whole-grain toast

  3. Snyder's of Hanover Organic Oat Bran Pretzels

  4. PROBAR nutrition bar (original blend), 380 calories of pure joy—and 100% vegan

  5. ShakeProtein shake—made with banana, half cup of frozen blueberries and strawberries, one tablespoon of flaxseed meal, two ice cubes, protein powder, and rice milk

  6. Food For Life's Ezekiel 4:9 cereal with almonds mixed into 8 ounces of plain nonfat yogurt and half cup of fresh blueberries

  7. Mixed NutsHandful of raw mixed nuts

  8. Mi-Del Honey Grahams (whole wheat; eight crackers are 280 calories)

  9. CLIF Nectar bars—I like the cinnamon pecan (four organic ingredients and only 170 calories)

  10. LARABAR snack bars (ingredients: dates, pecans, almonds; 220 calories)



Watch out for Tony's new 10 Minute Trainer program on sale next week—including 10-minute workouts for incredible results, his favorite 10-minute meals, and his super-effective 10-Day Lean Jean Plan! Learn more.

Related Articles:
"6 Quick Tips to Tip the Scale in Your Favor"
"Answers to Your Top 10 Diet Dilemmas"
"Stay Fit on the Road: The Traveler's Workout"
"10 Sensational Seasonals"

Tony Horton If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, just email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.



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Test Your Anti-Aging Food IQ!

By Monica Gomez

True or False?

  1. SoybeansTrue: Soy can help maintain healthy bones. Soybeans are rich sources of iron, phosphorus, B-vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber. Several soy foods are also naturally high in calcium. One 0.7-ounce serving of fresh, raw edamame (about 10 pods), which are immature green soybeans, contains 39.4 milligrams of calcium and 124 milligrams of potassium. Soy is also a good source of protein (2.6 grams per serving). Soy provides magnesium and boron—two important factors of calcium for promoting bone health. Isoflavones found in soy foods may prevent the breakdown of bones. A 1993 study by Erdman focused on post-menopausal women who consumed 40 grams of isolated soy protein daily for 6 months. Results showed that the subjects of this study significantly increased bone mineral density. A separate study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in September 2005, showed that soy food intake was associated with a markedly reduced risk of fracture—especially among early post-menopausal women.

  2. GarlicTrue: Garlic helps protect the body against heart disease and cancer. Garlic is a great source of manganese, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Regular garlic consumption may help stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the lining of the blood vessel walls, which helps relax them. As a result of this, garlic can help fight against atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. A study published in Preventive Medicine showed that garlic inhibits coronary artery calcification. A separate study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that study participants consuming the most garlic had a 39 percent reduced risk for cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx, a 57 percent reduced risk for esophageal cancer, a 26 percent reduced risk for colorectal cancer, a 10 percent reduced risk of breast cancer, and a 22 percent reduced risk of ovarian cancer (those consuming more onions showed similar benefits).

  3. AvocadosFalse: Avocado is a source of unhealthy monounsaturated fat. Actually, avocados are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fat that may help reduce levels of a bad type of cholesterol in the body. Avocados contain oleic acid, the monounsaturated fat that may help lower cholesterol. Among an avocado's myriad benefits are its potassium and vitamin E content. A 1.1-ounce serving of a California avocado provides 152.1 milligrams of potassium as well as 3.9 milligrams of calcium and 2.6 grams of total carbs (including 2 grams of dietary fiber). Potassium can help prevent fluid retention and high blood pressure. Vitamin E can help maintain healthy skin and prevent skin aging—vitamin E may even help alleviate menopausal hot flashes.

  4. Ground GingerTrue: Ginger has a long history of effectively treating gastrointestinal problems. Ginger is regarded as an effective carminative—a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas. It's also known as an intestinal spasmolytic, which is a substance that relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract. Ginger has antioxidant effects, the ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects. It can prevent motion sickness—especially seasickness—and its associated symptoms, including dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweating. Research presented at the 2003 Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research conference suggested that gingerols, the main active components in ginger, may inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells. These gingerols are believed to reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. There are many ways to enjoy this beneficial anti-aging food (ginger lemonade; grated ginger on a rice dish; in a salad dressing; on sautéed vegetables; and ginger tea).

  5. TomatoesFalse: Tomatoes are poor sources of vitamin C. One cup contains 57.3 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin C,* making tomatoes good sources of vitamin C. Somatoes are also excellent sources of vitamins A and K, potassium, and manganese. Lycopene, a carotenoid found in tomatoes, has been studied for its antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties. The antioxidant function of lycopene is its ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen damage. This antioxidant function has also been linked to the protection of DNA inside of white blood cells. Lycopene has also been shown to be protective against a list of cancers: colorectal, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic. One 4.3-ounce serving (approximately a medium tomato) contains only 22 calories, and 4.3 grams of total carbs (including 1.5 grams of dietary fiber), 1.1 grams of protein, 12.3 milligrams of calcium, and 291.5 milligrams of potassium.

*Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, just email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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