Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lifting Weights Can Be Fountain Of Youth For Maintaining Health

“Of all the history lessons about explorers, the one about Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon searching for the legendary Fountain of Youth while traveling in present-day Florida always stuck with me. My interest, however, may have been more about the idea that even in the early 16th century people were intrigued by something you could consume to live vital, long lives and that they would devote an entire, peril-filled exploration to find it. We're still fascinated by preserving our vitality, and the exploring hasn't stopped. It's just moved from the landscape to the laboratory. In recent decades, scientific researchers have learned a lot about health and longevity, and that there is not one fountain of youth but multiple ones. Yet some of us still refuse to drink from them. Exercise, one of those fountains of youth, consists of several aspects: flexibility, circulation and strength. And we need to tap into all of them. Two weeks ago, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that undertaking a program of weight lifting may help breast cancer patients prevent lymphedema, a painful and unsightly swelling of an arm or leg near the site where lymph nodes have been removed or damaged by radiation. Yes, weight lifting: the activity that still suffers from steroidal stigmas of self-consumed bodybuilders, of thick-necked football players and of pot-bellied Olympic lifters from Russia.”


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