Archives for posts with tag: men’s health over 40

Drop your pants, lay down on your side on the examination table. The snap of rubber gloves and a then a cold moist finger being put….

Yes, that’s how it goes gentlemen when we have to succumb to the dreaded of all test at the doctor’s office – the Prostate Exam! We all know that this is the test/exam that we don’t like to talk about, however remember it is actually one of the most important that we need to have on a regular basis.

November is Prostate Cancer Awareness month, that is why I am growing a moustache in honor of Prostate and Testicular Cancer Awareness. For more information go to:  http://www.pcf.org/site/c.leJRIROrEpH/b.5699537/k.BEF4/Home.htm

Here are some important facts to know:

Did you know that Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America affecting 1 in 6 men? There are several factors that influence risk:

Age – the older you are the more likely you are to be diagnosed with Prostate cancer – for example the rate for men under 40 is 1 in 10,000 men, but that rate shoots up to 1 in 15 men for ages 60 – 69.

Race – African-American men are more likely t develop Prostate cancer compared with Caucasian men, and are nearly 2.5 times as likely to die from the disease. Asian men who live in Asia actually have the lowest risk.

Family history/genetics – A man with a father or brother who developed prostate cancer is twice as likely to develop the disease.

Where you live – For men in the U.S., the risk of developing prostate cancer is 17%. For men who live in rural China, it’s 2%. However, when Chinese men move to the western culture, their risk increases substantially.

Men who live in cities north of 40 degrees latitude (north of Philadelphia, PA, Columbus, OH, and Provo, UT, for instance) have the highest risk for dying from prostate cancer of any men in the United States. This effect appears to be mediated by inadequate sunlight during three months of the year, which reduces vitamin D levels.

Also, keep in mind that not everyone experiences symptoms of prostate cancer. Many times, signs of prostate cancer are first detected by a doctor during a routine check-up.

Some men, however, will experience changes in urinary or sexual function that might indicate the presence of prostate cancer. These symptoms include:

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Difficulty in having an erection
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs

You should consult with your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms above.

The above information was provided by the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Stay tuned for my next installment about Prostate cancer and why I believe Men and those who love Men need to know the facts and understand all of aspects of this disease! I truly believe that the attention and funding that we have given to Breast cancer in Women, should be the same that we give to Prostate cancer in men.

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You know the old saying – ‘you are what you eat’ may be true. Well it certainly  may be that we are (at least in size that is) based upon how much we eat. There was a recent article by Herman Pontzer published in the NY Times. Pontzer is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Hunter College in NYC. Pontzer and colleagues did a study of energy expenditure of a native tribe in Africa. They compared their energy expenditure vs other humans energy expenditure and came up with some interesting information:

Our findings add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that energy expenditure is consistent across a broad range of lifestyles and cultures. Of course, if we push our bodies hard enough, we can increase our energy expenditure, at least in the short term. But our bodies are complex, dynamic machines, shaped over millions of years of evolution in environments where resources were usually limited; our bodies adapt to our daily routines and find ways to keep overall energy expenditure in check.

All of this means that if we want to end obesity, we need to focus on our diet and reduce the number of calories we eat, particularly the sugars our primate brains have evolved to love. We’re getting fat because we eat too much, not because we’re sedentary. Physical activity is very important for maintaining physical and mental health, but we aren’t going to Jazzercise our way out of the obesity epidemic.’

You can read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/opinion/sunday/debunking-the-hunter-gatherer-workout.html?_r=0

I found this article quite interesting and thought provoking. I also came across an interesting eating strategy or program based upon less is more called ’80 Bites’. This program basically works by teaching the participant to be aware of ‘How Much They Eat’ and 80 bites per day should be our maximum according to Meredith Luce, MS, RD, LD/N. This Ms. Luce determined based upon FDA approved portion size – and therefore 80 bites is the limit. The thought here is that our stomachs are overstretched and if we decided to follow a diet that recommends lower calorie foods so that you can ‘eat as much as you would like’ continue to play into the fact that we keep our stomachs stretched and our stomachs continue to want to be fed. Therefore when your stomach is no longer stretched you will no longer be hungry…interesting. If you need more information you can check it out for yourself. http://www.80bites.com

A recent article in Men’s Fitness Magazine by Janna Leyde provided some interesting information about what is actually in the food that we eat. Some of these items are actually added to our food and others make their way in there during the production process. Either way it is quite surprising as well as – unappetizing and/or disgusting. Further according to the FDA all of these items are perfectly harmless to ingest at certain levels.

Here are a few examples of what’s in our food:
Wood – powdered wood pulp or cellulose is a product used to keep prepackaged cheese from balling up in globs and to make low fat ice creams and pre-made milkshakes extra creamy.
L-Cysteine – a common ingredient in most commercial breads, pastries and pizza dough is made from boiling human hair in acid. This hair is gathered from the floors of salons and barber shops in China.

According to both the USDA and the FDA the above ingredients pose no threat to our health. Better yet there is actually a safe level of the following items that may find their way into our phone supply. These items include: Maggots, insect fragments,mold, insect eggs, Mammalian excrets (poop). So goes the saying – ‘You are what you eat’. NOT

Here’s a few suggestions to help you along the way if you want to avoid being exposed to some of these acceptable additives or ‘defects’.

Read the ingredients – if you do not understand the words, then you more than likely do not know what you are eating.

Buy local – at least you’ll have a better handle on exactly where your food is coming from.

Eat less processed food – or none at all. No artificial flavorings or color please!

Here’s an interesting tidbit: I recently read that the average Olympic Games viewer gained 4 pounds over the 2 week period – Really?

We are almost half way through the Summer (depending of course on how you look at it) and almost to the commencement of the summer Olympics. The Olympics have always provided me with a sense of inspiration of what truly can be achieved by the human body and being. Not doubt much time will be spent during the Olympic coverage on how these amazing athletes train for their particular Olympic sport both on and off-season.

Some of these Olympians utilize various forms of traditional and non-traditional fitness training and some have utilized  the Pilates method for their training – athletes such as Andre Ward (Boxing), Sanya Richards (Running), Julia Mancuso (Swimming), Thomas Finchum (Diving)  just to name a few. The point is that their sport specific training also includes a comprehensive approach to functional fitness, flexibility and health as should yours as a ‘Prime Male’.

So pull up a chair and watch the Olympics and don’t forget to take care of the athlete in you – no matter what your fitness level. Here are a couple of  tips to make the most of your Olympic enjoyment:

*If watching TV ignites your urge to snack – then snack healthy. Watching the Olympics while gorging on chips and dip (unless the chips are baked and the dip something low fat and healthy such as fresh salsa) doesn’t make for a good health and nutrition, allow the Olympics and MacDonald’s to set the poor nutrition example (don’t even get me started on this subject, that will be the topic on another blog). Try some fruit, vegetables, whole grain baked crackers, a little peanut butter, guacamole  – you get the idea.

* Better yet,  why not multi-task while watching the Games. Clear some space,  get down on the floor and do some simple exercises or stretches – such as a side lying bridge to work the abdominals or perhaps holding a plank position, or doing some regular bridges or sit-ups during the commercials.

Enjoy the rest of the summer, the Olympics and your commitment to health and fitness!

We are now one month into the New Year – Remember one month is not enough time to truly evaluate whether your new commitment is working or not. You need to maintain consistency for at least 3 month before you decided to switch things up. Just remember to keep the forward movement happening, some days you may go further than other days.

Here are a few tips to keep you on the right track:

*Be sure to warm up before you stretch.

*Be sure to drink plenty of water – before during and after your workout.

*Vary your grips on your exercises whenever and where ever you can.

*Try to learn a variety of free weight exercises – this will especially come in handy when you are traveling and working out in a different gym.

*Try to find a good time to workout and then stick with it.

Seated Hip Abductor Machine, Seated Rotation Machine, Seated Leg Press.

  • The Abductor machine is supposed to train your outer thighs – what actually happens is that because you are seated it trains a movement that has no functional use and if used incorrectly it could put undue stress on your spine. A better alternative, place a heavy, short looped resistance band around your legs and sidestep out 20 paces and back with control.
  • The Rotation Machine is supposed to train your abdominals and obliques – what actually happens is because the pelvis doesn’t actually move with your chest it can put excessive twisting forces on your spine. A better alternative would be the cable wood chop, letting your heels turn freely with your torso.
  • The Leg Press is supposed train the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings – what actually does is force th spine to flex without engaging any of the necessary stabilization muscles of the hips, glutes, shoulders, and lower back. Abetter alternative would be body weight squats. Focus on descending with control as far as you can without rounding your lower back.
Stay tuned for part III!

Gentlemen – if you are just starting to work out at this ‘prime time’ in your life. Let me offer a little advice.
I’ll start with 2 pieces of gym equipment and exercises you should definitely avoid.

Some gym equipment that you may think is really safe for you may actually be doing more harm than good. For example the Seated Leg Extension – Why? Because it actually strengthens a motion that your legs are not actually supposed to do, and can actually put undo strain on the tendons and ligaments surrounding the knee.

You should also avoid the Seated Military Press which is actually supposed to train the shoulders and triceps actually puts undo stress on the shoulder joint by placing them in a vulnerable bio-mechanical position, further the movement does not allow you to use your hips to assist your shoulders which is actually the natural way to press something over your head.

Stay tuned for more equipment and exercises to avoid as well as some creative suggestions for alternative safer exercises – remember always end everything you do on a positive note.