Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I turn 67 next week and I feel GREAT

I don't know when I've felt this good before. I'll turn 67 on July 5 and I've been slowly gaining weight, but I rationalized this was just part of getting older. I wasn't sleeping as well, but I figured that was just part of getting older. Activity would wear me down quicker, but I figured that was just part of being nearly 67. There were so many things that I swept under the rug and attributed them to "just getting older," but then Southwest Age Intervention Institute entered my life.

The program they developed for me and the education they gave me has truly have changed my life. I feel so much more energetic. I have no idea how much I weigh and don't care. I've donated my old "fat pants," because they don't have fit anymore. And now, the pants I replaced them with are also getting too big. I'd guess I've lost 12 -14 pounds, but I've also converted some of my mass to muscle...THIS IS NOT A DIET! It IS a change of life. I'm here to tell you, you don't have to "age gracefully." So join me at the Southwest Age Intervention Institute. My life, my approach and my view of my future years have all changed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Science Behind Hormones & Aging

Imagine finding an elixir that would allow you to have more energy, turn fat into muscle, sleep better, improve your sex life, and feel healthier.

At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, we know there isn’t a magic potion or a quick fix for turning back the clock to the youthful vigor of our 20s. But we do know that using scientific evidence-based medicine that combines diet, exercise and proper hormone balancing can help people achieve their goals, getting them to their desired body weight, shape, fitness and energy level.

Hormone Optimization is The Key

Conventional wisdom says that declining hormone levels are a normal function of aging and just something we must face as part of life. But maintaining a healthy hormonal balance at every decade of life is critical to aging gracefully, whether you’re in your 40s, 50s, 60s or beyond.

Our body’s hormones have a powerful and pervasive influence on just about every function taking place within our bodies. Produced by the endocrine system glands, hormones are the chemical messengers that circulate in the blood, looking for the right target receptors with which to interact and communicate. Nearly every aspect of our mental, physical, emotional, social and sexual capabilities is affected by how well these receptors to respond to the hormonal messages.

Why Is Hormone Balancing Necessary?

Making sure that the hormones are in the right balance offers so many benefits that it just doesn’t make sense not to make it a priority for everyone. In fact, some experts say aging is a disruption of the body’s ability to produce and maintain the appropriate hormone levels for optimal health and well-being.

When the body is in its prime, all of the hormones – estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, DHEA, thyroid and cortisol – work together to orchestrate the various biological and chemical processes, from cell growth and repair to the menstrual cycle in women. How much or how little of each hormone is made at any one time relies on a complicated feedback system between the brain and the various endocrine glands.

But a decline in these hormone levels upsets the delicate balance that is necessary to keep the body in best shape. It can also set the stage for a variety of problems starting with sexual performance and leading to a greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and depression.

For most women, the dramatic drop of estrogen and progesterone at menopause has a major impact on their enjoyment of life and their overall health. Men undergo hormonal changes in a much more subtle and gradual process called andropause, which signals a decline in the androgen hormones, specifically testosterone. But they too experience serious consequences from a reduction in hormones.

In older men, testosterone can convert to estrogen in a complex process called aromatization, which leads to further imbalance. Higher estrogen levels in men may contribute to greater risk for problems with the prostate, including enlarged prostate gland.

For women, hormonal imbalances may not just be a matter of low estrogen. It might actually be related to estrogen dominance, which occurs when the proper ratio of estrogen to progesterone is altered. This imbalance may result from diet, pollutants in the water and other chemicals in the environment. In addition, estrogen dominance can be aggravated when high levels of cortisol, which occur when the body is under chronic stress, further reduces the amount of progesterone circulating in the blood.

It’s important to understand that replacing hormones with a one-size-fits-all prescription is not an effective or desirable plan. A careful fine-tuning is required to ensure the right hormonal balance is achieved for your particular situation.

Is Hormone Balancing Safe?

In 2007, the original 2002 Women’s Health Initiative study that raised concerns about hormone replacement therapy was shown to have serious flaws. The study only looked at women taking Premarin, an artificial synthetic hormone, not the bioidentical hormones we use at Southwest Age Intervention Institute that closely mirror the body’s own natural hormones. Nearly half the study participants were smokers or had a history of smoking. Some 34 percent were clinically obese. In addition, the average age of the women participating in the study was 63, while most women begin treatment for perimenopausal and menopausal systems in their 40s and 50s.

In 2008, the First Global Summit on Menopause-Related Issues in Zurich, Switzerland concluded that hormone replacement therapy is the first line and most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms. The summit also reported that replacing or supplementing hormones offers numerous preventative measures, including:

Protection against estrogen-related bone loss and fractures
Improved quality of life and sexuality by maintaining the health of the urogenital tract in women
Reduced potential for cognitive impairment, including possible decreased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Reduced mortality and risk of cardiovascular disease

What You Can Expect During An Executive Health Physical

At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, we offer a comprehensive executive health physical for both men and women. The exam will include an extensive laboratory workup, history and physical.  At this time, we will evaluate the following biological markers:

  • Blood pressure
  • Lipid panel, including HDL and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
  • Insulin and blood sugar levels
  • Thyroid and cortisol levels
  • Hormones levels – testosterone, estrogen, progesterone and DHEA
  • Fitness, strength, flexibility and balance
  • Bone mineral density
  • PSA (prostate specific antigen, a marker for risk of prostate cancer in men)

The results of your executive health profile will give the physician a baseline of your hormonal and metabolic health. From there, an individual plan will be designed that includes diet, exercise and hormone balancing.

Supplementing or replacing hormones lost due to the aging process can turn your health around in numerous ways, from strengthening your immune system and improving your mental and emotional outlook, to enhancing your sex life and building stronger muscles and bones.

We have so much more to share with you. Our goal is to help you age well, enjoying all the days of your life feeling great all the way! Call us today at Southwest Age Intervention Institute to schedule your executive health evaluation with one of our age management specialists. Let us help turn the rest of your life into the best of your life.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Can you believe Norm loves his new diet?

It's been more than a month since I've been on my custom program from Southwest Age Intervention Institute. I feel fantastic! I've been terrific at adjusting to my new life style eating program. In fact, I've done so well, I've actually made a major decision about my future eating habits. My nutritionist, Judiann Van Beest, taught me how the body actually uses food as a fuel. Her step-by-step information was a revelation for me. The first 28 days, termed the "induction phase," called for me to focus on eating only specific foods. Good foods. Tasty foods. Satisfying foods. It's not some weirdo diet plan, but the idea was to change the way my body got nutrition and to eliminate those foods that actually were counter-productive. That first 28 days went SO WELL that I'm, for the most part, going to continue eating that array of foods. After 28 days, the program allows me to re-introduce certain foods (some potatoes, corn and certain fruits), but I'm so happy with the results and how I'm feeling I've decided to continue with the foods in the induction phase indefinitely.

Now, a criticism of myself, I've got to be more faithful to my workout program. My incredibly busy schedule simply does not allow me enough time to do the specially designed workout plan every day. Now that the Mavs have won the NBA title, that has got to change. If it doesn't change, my exercise therapist Vanessa's not gonna be very happy with me.

But for now, I'm happy!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Role of Good Nutrition

Eating the right nutrient-rich foods is essential for maintaining a healthy body. A sound nutritional diet will keep your energy levels high, boost your immune system and fight off illness.

Supplying the body with what it needs is an important part of Southwest Age Intervention Institute’s comprehensive program of health and wellness. The role of nutrition in maintaining a good quality of life and preventing the symptoms of premature aging can’t be emphasized enough.

For both men and women, the  40s and 50s are a time when the bad habits of youth may begin to catch up and set the stage for problems later on. A lifetime of poor eating habits – both too much food as well as the wrong food, can be a recipe for disaster.

The consequences of unhealthy lifestyle choices related to diet and nutrition are serious, with significantly increased risk for developing everything from high blood pressure and high cholesterol to heart attack, stroke, gastrointestinal problems, cancer, and adult onset diabetes. Diabetes is now at epidemic levels in the U.S.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control reports that obesity is one of the major public health concerns today. One in three adults are classified as obese, which puts them at risk for an enormous number of problems. Studies also show that just having excess fat in the abdomen and waist – the middle-age spread or pot belly – raises your risk for colon cancer.

For the most the part, many of these medical conditions are preventable. At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, it is our goal to reverse this trend. We help you work toward correcting nutritional imbalances and reducing your risk for disease. Food is the body’s fuel, and our objective is to keep you fit, active and at the top of your game no matter what your age.

A Tailor Made Plan Based On Your Body’s Needs

Good nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all plan.  Everyone’s needs are different. But we do know the best plan calls for a low-fat diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, lean meats and essential fats, while reducing or eliminating processed fast food and trans fats, refined sugar and simple carbohydrates. We also recommend a regimen of nutraceutical supplements to boost the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential fatty acids that your body needs.

This type of diet is not a fad, but a proven means of reducing disease risk and preventing premature aging. For example, the American Institute for Cancer Research reports that fruit, vegetables, beans and whole grains have the necessary minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals and fiber to help fight cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. On the other hand, a diet high in red meat (beef, lamb and pork) and processed meats (bacon, hot dogs and sausage) can increase the risk for developing colon cancer.

Here’s a closer look at how these foods can help keep you healthy:

Phytochemicals are natural chemicals found in fruits, vegetables and beans. They include beta carotene, flavonoids, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin E, antioxidants and other substances that have many healing properties.

Fiber is found in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and beans. It is the roughage or bulk that the body can’t digest or absorb. Fiber in the diet is helpful in lowering cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar, and maintaining a healthy colon by reducing constipation, hemorrhoids and preventing colon cancer. High-fiber diets are also good in combating weight gain and obesity.

Protein is found in lean meat, eggs, nuts, beans, some dairy products and some vegetables. Protein is essential for growth and energy, building and repairing body tissues, and production of enzymes, hormones and other substances. It is important to understand that muscle strength and size is less a function of protein in the diet and more about exercise, fitness levels, balanced hormones and overall good health. Most Americans eat more protein than is needed.

What is BMI?

Body mass index is a measure of body fat levels based on height and weight. Calculating BMI is a simple way to determine whether you are overweight or obese compared to the general population. Southwest Age Intervention Institute uses BMI as a screening tool. It is part of an overall evaluation of your health and well being that also includes a comprehensive laboratory blood profile.

Knowing your BMI is useful in developing an appropriate plan to help meet your health and nutritional goals.

To learn more about the age management protocols we have in place to help you age successfully, enjoying your health all the days of your life, call Southwest Age Intervention Institute today. Speak to our expert team of age management specialists and schedule your private consultation so you can get started living extremely well and achieving and maintaining great health.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Four weeks in and wow!

June 7, was the four week anniversary starting the Southwest Age Intervention Institute's custom designed program and to steal the quote from McDonald's, "I'm lovin' it". I haven't felt this good in years. In fact, there's real proof of what's happening to me. I went to my regular doctor, Dr. Phil Aronoff, for an EKG. He took my blood pressure measurements. In just under three weeks, my readings had gone from 148 over 81 to 130 over 70! Remarkable! People are beginning to notice and have asked what I'm doing to lose weight. They've commented on my thinner-looking face. On Monday, I went back to Foundry Big and Tall Supply and exchanged a pair of cargo shorts for a smaller size, the waist was simply too big. I wore them to the Rangers game last night and realized that in a another few weeks they might be too large also.

But this ISN'T about weight loss. It's about feeling better and having more energy. My life is better and it's only been four weeks. The Southwest Age Intervention Institute program, the one they designed for me and the one they'll design for you, really, really works! I can't wait (weight?) to see what the next few weeks bring because the last four have been terrific!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Many Benefits of Exercise

Exercise is one of the best kept secrets for lifting your mood, keeping your heart strong and healthy, helping your body look fit and trim – even improving your sex life. Don’t underestimate the power of exercise to pump new energy into just about every area of your life.

Combined with good nutrition and hormone optimization, exercise is a cornerstone of the Southwest Age Intervention Institute program for health and wellness.

The best fitness plan will incorporate resistance training with weights to build lean muscle, aerobic exercise to increase heart rate and stretching to improve flexibility and range of motion. Incorporating these types of exercises into your weekly schedule is a proactive way to ensure you remain healthy, vital and sharp at any age. It is one of the best investments you will ever make in your future.

Value Added Benefits

A sedentary lifestyle that ignores the body’s need for exercise is a contributing factor in so many problems associated with aging. A recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine noted that “physical inactivity is one of the strongest predictors of premature aging in adults.”

The old adage, “use it or lose it” is true when it comes to muscle strength. Without some form of exercise, muscle strength can quickly diminish, perhaps even by one half to one pound of muscle mass per year as we grow older.

In addition, a sedentary lifestyle raises the risk for numerous chronic medical conditions, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and osteoporosis. It also can have a negative impact on your brain power, diminishing your cognitive abilities related to memory, focus, concentration and overall ability to think and reason.

On the other hand, a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise three to four times a week can increase your metabolism, lower your blood pressure, strengthen your bones, muscles and connective tissue, and prevent stiff joints and many aches and pains associated with growing older. Building core strength helps with posture and balance to reduce your risk of falling.

Don’t forget the correlation between exercise and a greater sense of well being.  The positive effect of exercise on mood is well-known among athletes. The euphoria or “runners high” many people experience after a vigorous workout is due to the flood of neurotransmitters and endorphins that the body releases. These hormones help reduce stress levels, allowing you to feel better and more able to cope with day-to-day challenges. If you’re having problems with insomnia, exercise during the day is often recommended as a good way to promote better sleep.

In addition, a long-term commitment to exercise will help your body look and feel better, which enhances confidence and self-esteem.

Let’s look at the different forms of exercise and their specific health benefits:

Cardiovascular exercise is any aerobic activity that increases heart rate for a sustained period of time.  This type of exercise, which includes walking, bicycling, swimming, running, tennis, skiing, rowing and dance, strengthens the heart and the lungs to reduce the risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Vigorous exercise allows the heart to become stronger and more efficient at pumping blood and oxygen through the body, which can reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and keep the resting heart rate low. It can also increase your endurance so you tire less easily, including being less “winded” climbing stairs or performing similar activities.

Cardiovascular exercise can also increase your metabolism and help your body burn stored fat, which aids in maintaining a healthy weight.

Resistance training strengthens muscles, bones, connective tissue and joints through the use of any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance. This can include weight lifting with free weights or the use of weight machines, as well as push ups, squats, chin ups or other form of exercise where you are working against your body weight.

The benefits of resistance training are extensive, from increasing your metabolism, building lean muscle and reducing overall body fat to remodeling and sculpting the body with greater tone and definition. Weight training is considered one of the best ways to lose weight and take off inches from the thighs, waist and abdomen. It can also build bone mineral density to guard against osteoporosis.

Flexibility training incorporates stretching exercises into your fitness regimen. Why bother to stretch? These exercises can improve blood flow to the muscles, increase your range of motion, reduce risk of low back pain and improve your posture. As we age our flexibility can diminish, so stretching regularly is essential to reduce the risk for a number of health problems, even something as simple as preventing the general aches and pains and stiffness many people feel as older adults. Yoga, tai chi, Pilates, and simple stretching exercises on the floor are all beneficial.

Exercising has a positive impact on your physical, mental and emotional well-being. At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, we will develop a plan that is best suited to meet your overall health and fitness goals. Give us a call today to schedule your private executive health evaluation with our age management team of specialists. Learn how our age management program, complete with the best exercise regimen designed for you, will help you live your best life today and for the rest of your life.