much smaller than usual, and it turns out my mother had the same problem my aunt Carol had when she died in 2010. This wasn’t necessarily the last of my mother’s problems. A stent didn’t take. Her pills were giving her problems and had to be adjusted. She had to go through another procedure the week of my sister’s wedding, which fortunately for her went off without a hitch and she was calm and happy throughout the duration of it. If anything, my mother’s condition once again sent a shockwave through her side of the family. My aunts all went and had stress tests done on their hearts, making sure the genetic shortcoming wasn’t something they were afflicted with as well. It brought about a lot of recoil much in the same way when one of my aunts nearly died from complications due to diabetes, a problem that has taken her eyesight and put her on a kidney donor waiting list. When that happened in 2012, it was the final catalyst for my mother to actually get some blood work done. It came back in a negative way, for my mother was pretty much at the doorstep of diabetes. Fortunately, she made another choice and opted to go to Parsons Training to start losing weight and start getting healthier. Along with my father, they ultimately convinced me to join and begin the journey I have been on for nearly three years.
If anything, I probably wouldn’t be talking about my mother at all if she hadn’t taken the steps to fix her health. Despite the blockage having built up for many years, she was still busting hump in Christa’s old Super Women classes and still working hard in her personal workouts. If anything, all of the work she put on her health and in the gym might have been the very key that saved her from a sudden and early death. By working out and adopting a better diet, she strengthened her heart enough to withstand the stress and the rigors of all the procedures that had to be done on her body. And by eating better, the blockage was much more manageable, for she hadn’t made the minute changes she did make she might have suffered a 100% blockage, which would have been instant death and another unexpected funeral. In the time since those problems, it has been an often times tough road for my mother. Some days are better than others while some days go by easily. Personally, this whole episode also put a lot of perspective in my life, that going this hard and difficult route does have a good endgame for me. If anything, that whole episode made me thankful about what I am doing. Sure, I more than likely inherited my father’s side of the heart health spectrum-much of his family seems to have strong hearts-this is really something I needed to address. Now I will admit, hubris is what initially compelled me to not care about my heart, for back in 2011 I did a quick test and the doctor said my heart, despite lugging around a 333-pound body and former home to thousands of pizzas and burgers, was doing just well. But that is the issue when rolling the genetic dice. I could have inherited the size and strength of my father’s side but the diabetes and poor heart health of my mother’s side. Genetics stills plays a role in a lot of health risks, so reducing the risk is certainly worth the trouble.
I’m glad I still have my mother around, considering I still need the guidance of my parents. With all of the new experiences I am going through (while some may be frustrating, is actually quite exhilarating) it helps to have those who have perspective and understand your life. Working out did quite a few wonders for her, and by doing so has helped tremendously with her lifestyle. Needless to say, women’s health is always something that is being talked about in public forums. Unfortunately, the negative is always being pushed to the forefront, mainly in regards to body weight and image. Having people argue about what is an ideal weight for a woman doesn’t really advance anything, for it ultimately creates arguments about what is truly the right path to take. And then of course, there are some other issues that take up a lot of print space, like abortions, birth control and who ultimately has control over who’s body. But much like a blog I wrote once about men and their lack of health being discussed, a new article recently came out examining the links between women’s health and exercise. A study mostly focused on the health of middle aged women, which typically is a difficult time for most women health wise due to health issues like osteoporosis and menstruation. http://news.health.com/2015/02/16/more-evidence-that-even-moderate-exercise-helps-womens-hearts/
The article, which speaks of a study that was conducted by Oxford University, conducted a long term study of some one million British women, examining their heart health and their exercise habits. Over the course of a decade, the study shows that women who moderately exercised two or three times a week had much better heart health than their more sedentary counterparts. Now the definition of moderate exercise according to the study was “exercise that caused the person to sweat or elevate their heart rate.” The downside of the study was it indicated there is no real difference in the health of the same women in regards to the level of the exercise, so sorry to all my CrossFit friends and my hard core ultra marathon runners. But let’s look at the final results…exercise is good, sedentary life is bad. Now this certainly adds a little more to the plate for a woman when it comes to maintaining personal health. During the span of a woman’s health life, she has to constantly get checked for various cancers and other ailments, which means adding exercise to the mix will certainly add a little stress if one has a full meal on their plate. But the good news from the study indicates that just being active is the key, and this simple philosophical change “ will be good motivation for middle-aged women who are currently inactive to do something. Physical activity does not need to be complicated, time-consuming or involve expensive equipment.”
So what does a woman need to do to stay healthy? First and foremost, weight is always going to be an issue, especially now that new research is indicating the old preconceived notion of the “healthy obesity” paradigm really doesn’t match up with the bottom line numbers. http://www.webmd.com/diet/20150105/study-debunks-notion-of-healthy-obesity Now I can truly support this old medical lie, considering I was completely out of shape, yet somehow was in relatively good health numbers wise. But the question would have ultimately been along the lines of how long could I maintain those supposed levels of health? While I am not quoting along the lines of the rather sexist story that came out a couple years ago that indicated all women should be forced into a “pre-pregnancy” state of health (which of course, offered no alternative for men, thus allowing us to continue the awful lifestyle choices that would eventually force us to use things like Viagra and Low T junk treatments, the kind of stuff that is easy to manipulate a man into doing), maintaining a lower weight is something that should be high on the priority list. And while losing weight and maintaining good health is difficult, your body will thank you for it. https://www.yahoo.com/health/how-old-is-your-body-111182600298.html
According to some recent research conducted by UCLA, building up your body and maintaining a good weight is essential for long term health due to the deterioration of certain body parts. Most notably for women, breast tissue and joint health were featured. The most interesting finding from the study was from a cellular level, where the researchers conducted a comparison between marathon runners and sedentary participants based off another study conducted in Germany. When a cell divides, it leaves a DNA strand called a Telomere. As cells continue to divide, the telomeres become much shorter, and when they become too short, the cell ultimately dies and is gone forever. When a researcher looks at your age in relation to these telomeres, you can kind of compare it to looking at tree rings from old Redwoods. Either way, a healthy life and body brought some interesting results, for the telomere strands on the marathon runners were far longer than the people of equal age who were sedentary. Considering the amount of research that is out there in regards to too much running, this brings about some good news. So if you want to maintain that healthy skin, being active might be better than chemical, human made means. And if you want to keep your entire body healthy, being active is essential in regards to slowing down father time.
Now this whole idea of a healthy life really isn’t geared for older women, for gaining a healthy perspective on life is something should never have a time stamp. Take it from someone that was willing to put off good health and fitness for a long time. I initially thought it would be a good idea to go vegetarian or even vegan when I hit my 50s. I always figured that would be the best time to do it, because I always felt it would be easy to turn the switch on, lose a whole bunch of weight and justify my current (or now former) existence that was full of debauchery-style food eating. But now I see how ridiculously ludicrous (and self-destructive) that mentality truly was. I only have myself to blame for all for those bad years of poor eating. But here is the good news: I don’t think I will ever go back. If there was ever a couple weeks that has tested my resolve, it would be these last. And I will admit, I pigged out a little during one meal, but I never thought of straying from my diet or even doing something really crazy like eating a whole bunch of sweets or pigging out on French fries or something. And more importantly, I didn’t miss my fitness schedule, for that is the most important aspect in my life right now, and straying from that would certainly make me a bit lethargic. Once again, I will get to test my fitness in a quasi-competitive environment, as my third chance at Ragnar Del Sol is finally here. While I do not intend to have this be my only Ragnar this year (I’m thinking of doing McDowell Mountain in Arizona as well!), I have been jittery just to see how I will do, especially since I am trying out a new leg! Read all about it either Sunday or Monday, depending on how tired Jon is! Either way, have a good one!
About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
About Our Blog
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.