Article – Anti-Aging is a Fraud. Functional Aging is the Future.
Author: Jonathan Tait, D.O., owner/operator Rejuv Medical Southwest, author of The Pain Free Diet
A 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run.
Individually these are astounding feats of physical fitness and endurance. Collectively and consecutively done in a single day, those completing this triathlon hear as they cross the finish line – “You are an Ironman”.
Can you imagine conquering this challenge at any age? How about at age 82?
Well that is exactly what Madonna Buder, otherwise known as the Iron Nun, did in 2012 at the Subaru Ironman Canada in a time of 16 hours, 32 minutes. Not bad for someone who started seriously training at age 48, and competed in her first triathlon at age 52. Sister Buder entered the convent at age 23, but left at age 63 to form a new and non-traditional community of Sisters, the non-canonical Sisters of the Christian Community.
It was Father John, one of her mentors, that suggested in addition to her spiritual discipline and exercise, that she begin some form of physical training. He told her it was a way of “tweaking mind, body, and spirit”, and great for the relaxation and calmness it can bring to an individual. Doctor John whole-heartedly agrees with Father John.
Throughout her competitive sporting career, Buder has worked tirelessly to raise money for various charities. When asked her secret to longevity and success in such a grueling physical challenge as competing in Ironman Triathlons – she has been quoted as saying “I train religiously”.
I am sure you have been bombarded with anti-aging ads and imagery on TV, online, and in print media. The guy with a 65-year old face looking like it was cut and pasted onto a 35-year chiseled physique. This is a no judgment zone if that is your thing, but what I am interested in helping each and every one of my patients achieve is Functional Aging. Not just looking 35, but feeling and functioning like 35.
Buder embodies a new concept of Functional Aging. Functional Aging is a stark contrast to the anti-aging “movement” pre-occupied with manipulation of hormones as a means to turn back the clock. In addition to “training religiously”, I am also certain she treats her body like a temple. Eating well, resting well, managing stress, and surrounding herself with like-minded individuals interested in living well. This is the foundation of Functional Aging.
In his best-selling book, The Blue Zones, Dan Buettner traveled the world to figure out the longevity secrets of places in the world where higher percentages of people enjoy remarkably long, full lives. These are not communities where people experience a sputtering decline in health and function, and spend their time in doctor’s offices. These are communities of people like the Iron Nun, going after life and living it to the fullest right to the end. You can find them open-ocean swimming, climbing mountains, and competing in various physical challenges. Many of them continue (by choice) to function as a pillar in the towns and business communities they have been part of for decades. They don’t regress and wither away as they age. They keep growing and thrive as they age.
So, can we crack the code? Can we figure out the secrets of those living in The Blue Zones throughout the world?
You may think it has a lot to do with genetics. If they came from a healthier population, then they should also carry forward that health. A good thought as we hear a lot about genetics influencing development of various diseases. However, it is now thought that as little as 10% of your long-term health potential may be dictated by the genes you inherited from your parents.
In other words, just because there is a family history of diabetes, heart disease, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, etc., it DOES NOT mean that you will inherit these problems. It does mean that you have a stronger likelihood then someone without those genetic factors that were passed on to you. There is something much larger at play, and the great news is that it is largely within your control.
In Buettner’s exhaustive research of The Blue Zone communities, he determined that lifestyle and environment were a much greater influence on health, comprising more than 80% of your long-term health potential.
There is an exploding field of research now looking at Epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of external or environmental factors that turn genes on and off. If you are a nerd like me, this is really cool stuff. This means that how you care for yourself, and the make-up of the internal and external environment you subject your body to on a daily basis, will have a much greater influence on how you age – and what diseases you may encounter as you age. I can get into this into a future article if Chris will have me back!
Do you want to know the lifestyle and environment factors that contributed to optimal health, vitality, and Functional Aging?
There are 9 elements that had the greatest impact:
Chris and his team of experts (most of them Certified Functional Aging Specialists) structure smart training programs focusing on functional, fundamental and natural movement patterns that we all must maintain in order to maintain optimal function.
Have a Defined Sense of Purpose
Do you groan and hit the snooze button on the alarm clock, or pop-up with the first morning’s light ready to attack the day? What is your purpose? What motivates you? Do you have a challenge that keeps you focused on prioritizing your day around your health, or are you challenged to fit anything for your health around your day?
Feeling purpose, future goals or challenges is thought to add more than 7 years to your life. Do you know anybody that retired, and sputtered away to an early death? Do not have that be your future.
Stress kills. That simple. Stress, and the inflammation within the body that comes as a result of persistent stress, is associated with every chronic disease state.
You must find a productive outlet. (Ahem, exercise at Body Basics)
80% Rule for Eating
Buettner found while observing those he shared meals with that they pushed the plate away when they felt 80% full. They did not overeat – even healthy food.
Plant Slant to the Diet
A heavy plant-based diet was the most common diet followed in The Blue Zone regions. Everything was whole food, or as close to it as possible with minimal processing, alteration, or Frankenstein engineering common in our food supply. Meat and dairy consumption was also found to be considerably less than the typical American diet.
Wine at 5
Before you get carried away, put down that bottle. What Buettner found, and what is generally supported from a medical perspective, is that a glass of wine every evening could have some positive health value. Residents of these communities would walk to a friend or family’s house, sip on a glass of wine while catching up on the day’s news, have a light dinner, then walk home.
Belong to a Faith-based Group
There is no question where Sister Buder derives her relentless strength. Spiritual and mental health can add anywhere from 4-14 years to your life.
Self-explanatory. Family is everything within these communities, with often times several generations living together.
Find the Right Tribe
Studies have shown that if you hang out with healthy people you are more likely to be healthy. You become the average of the five people you spend the most time with (whether in person or long-distance by phone). I’m confident you can find the right tribe with Chris and his staff.
Dr. Tait received his medical degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, and then completed a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan in Detroit, Michigan. Following his residency he pursued an additional year of fellowship training in Interventional Spine and Pain Management with Rehabilitation Physicians, P.C. in Novi, Michigan, and another year completing a Sports Medicine fellowship at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
He is board-certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation by both the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the American Osteopathic Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and in Sports Medicine by the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine.
Dr. Tait holds an academic appointment of Associate Research Faculty in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Arizona, and is a consultant for the University of Arizona Athletics Department.
He is the President and Founder of Rejuv Medical Southwest in Oro Valley, AZ where he practices Functional and Regenerative Medicine. His practice philosophy and treatments are rooted in safe, effective, sustainable and outcomes-based treatments for musculoskeletal injuries and other health ailments. Coupled with cutting-edge technology in diagnostics and treatment, patients are guided through necessary lifestyle interventions in the areas he believes we all must focus on to function and feel well – nutrition, exercise, sleep quality, stress management, and social engagement.
Marjory Wack is appropriately this month’s client spotlight first and foremost because of her exuberance. If you’ve met her you know what I mean. Her energy and spunk are enough fuses to set off any firework. And you’ll love her tenacity. When she started with the Foundations group workout in June of 2014, she had one primary goal. She wanted to stay as healthy as she possibly could as she continued to age. She was very adamant about not wanting to succumb to a gradual decline in her health or independence as she progressed from one decade to the next one. In the past she had tried Curves and even Gold’s Gym, but without lasting change. Several years back she first connected with BodyBasics when Chris and past trainer Nick spoke to an organization she remains to this day a member of. Two other fellows of that group were already clients of BodyBasics and Marjory contemplated joining then. But it was a final bit of encouragement from her daughter, telling her “it was time to do this” that ultimately guided her decision to go for it. Since that commitment in late May of 2014 to present day Marjory has remained loyal to her personal pledge by participating in 2 Foundations group workouts every week.
During the last year Marjorie is most proud of the fact that she has not fallen once! In addition to her balance improving dramatically, so has her strength. Early on in her small group sessions it was discovered that her leg strength was quite a limiting factor in her being able to get up off of the floor without using a chair or something else for leverage. Not anymore! Marjory shows us often how she can get right up. Presently she says her goals are to get more toned and keep getting better at getting up off of the floor by herself.
Marjory, we thank you for your ongoing dedication to taking care of you and for trusting us in being an integral part of that each week. And, given how much we know you LOVE to exercise, we love that you “almost enjoy coming to your sessions” and that they have become less dreadful.
Introducing Our New Team Members
Dana graduated from the University of Kansas with a BGS in English Literature. She holds two fitness certifications – National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA-CPT) and American Council on Exercise (ACE). In addition, she has completed many Fitness and Sports Science classes at Pima Community College.
Having been involved in fitness for over 25 years, Dana’s view of what TRUE fitness is has changed. When she was in her 20’s, she thought she was in good shape simply because she was thin. Fortunately, through education and experience, she knows that the rewards of weight training and exercise include increased bone density, lower resting heart rate, lower LDL cholesterol, higher metabolism, lower body fat, stress release – just to name a few.
Now being an empty-nester, she’s following her passion for helping others discover the freedom and empowerment that comes with taking charge of their health. Her belief is that our bodies are a miraculous gift. We have a choice. We can choose to neglect and abuse that gift or we can nurture, respect, develop, train and take care of it. No matter what age or circumstance, it’s never too late to choose to make positive change in lifestyle and fitness.
Dana’s hobbies include a love of horses and horseback riding, as well as assisting those with special needs as they participate in equine therapy. She and her husband also love to hike the beautiful trails near Tucson!
Ric is a native Tucsonan with over 30 years of experience in the Health and Fitness industries. He has earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise and Sports Science and Biology and his Masters in Exercise and Sports Science and Sports Administration both from the University of Arizona. Ric is also a Certified Athletic Trainer (NATA) and Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA). His experiences have taken him all over the world working with High School, College and Professional Athletes (Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, Boston RedSox and The Harlem Globetrotters). In addition Ric has run his own Strength and Speed Camps and counseled individuals in the areas of Nutrition and Sports Psychology to help them maximize their potential.
Ric believes that the best way to avoid illness and injury is through proper nutrition and a sound exercise program emphasizing flexibility, cardio and proper technique.
Ric enjoys swimming, dancing and working out especially with his family and reading mystery thrillers by Clancy and Patterson.
Welcome New and Returning Clients
Louise Adams referred by daughter-in-law Amy Adams
Mary Andersen referred by her cardiologist, Dr. Katzenberg
McCoy Dorr found us through flyer at Marana High School
Dan Moore referred by wife Barbara Moore
Terry Murrieta: referred by Mo Goldman
Toni Siler: referred by Dee Fletcher
Donna Leaman: referred by Ross Markwardt
New Fall Prevention Group Class Starting July 8th!
Reduces further bone loss
Our Fall Prevention Class has all of this in a fun group environment. Call the studio for more details and to get started!
Shout outs are about us voicing victories we witness you all having at BodyBasics. What you don’t know is that we start every Wednesday staff meeting with our shout outs. After doing this for several months and realizing how many incredible experiences are being shared, We thought it would be excellent to position a place within our newsletter to share also with all of you. We’ll keep it to our top 5 each month.
Joe Heater – for ongoing track record of 100% commitment to his pre-workout cardio time!
Deede Cumberland – for being mobile enough to stretch her own quad, a feat that has literally been out of reach for years!
Mary Lynn Guyot – for acing the cognitive balance game showing us all that age is simply a number!
Ross and Stephanie Henderson – for rocking a tandem ride together of 78 miles!
Molly Madigan – for mastering how to truly engage her core and kicking butt in her group workouts!
Recipe/Cooking Techniques – How to Grill Smarter
It’s summer and it’s also a great time of year to fire up the grill! Grilling is better than deep-frying or even pan frying but it does still have health risks. Scientists have found two types of carcinogens from grilling meat: heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that form with meat begins to char, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that form from the smoke caused by dripping fat onto the hot coals. I know these sound scary but don’t haul that grill to the curb just yet. Below are some tips to keep you grilling and healthy.
1. Choose lean cuts. According to the National Cancer Institute, when fat drips onto hot coals, it can produce a cloud of smoke filled with PAHs. These carcinogens have been associated with colorectal and pancreatic cancers. By choosing lean cuts of meat, you reduce the amount of fat dripping into the coals.
2. Add on the Antioxidants. Marinated meat in a mixture of herbs, including thyme, red pepper, black pepper, allspice, rosemary, and chives, has been shown to contain 88 percent fewer carcinogens after grilling, compared with meat that’s grilled without any marinade. These antioxidant rich herbs and spices help prevent the formation of HCAs during the cooking process. For maximum benefit be sure to marinate for at least an hour, then lightly baste the meat on the grill. Another great technique is to add a rub with chopped rosemary directly to the meat. This can also reduce cancer-causing agents.
Additional Antioxidant spices include: garlic, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, paprika and sea salt.
Easy Dry Rub Recipe: simply mix all ingredients together and rub directly onto meat before grilling. I like to add a small amount of olive oil to the rub to create a nice paste.
- ¼ cup ground black pepper
- ¼ cup garlic powder
- ¼ cup onion powder
- 2 tablespoons celtic sea salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
3. Microwave first. By briefly cooking meat in the microwave before grilling you can reduce HCA levels by up to 90 percent! Then for a final sear, throw them on the grill to get those signature crosshatch marks.
4. Block the smoke. If you do choose a more fatty meat, like ground chuck, protect your meat from the smoke by placing it on a piece of foil that’s been pricked with small holes. This way the fat can still drip down, but rising smoke won’t be able to permeate the meat. To further avoid a PAH-laced smoke, flip using a spatula instead of a fork, so juices don’t leak out.
5. Control the flames. Create two piles of coals on each end of the grill with a drip pan in between—and cook directly over the drip pan. This diffuses the heat, so it’s less likely that any one part of the meat will become charred.
Video – 3 Elements of Balance
Chris, Kris, Amber, Maureen, Mike, Myrya, Mary, Ric, Dana