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Blueberries and Strawberries Lower Blood Pressure - Proven

Hello all.  Again I sit down to write about a proven natural method of improving your health, without having to take a pill.  I tell patients all the time if they can fix their High Blood Pressure or Blood Sugar naturally and no longer need their pills, it will not hurt my feelings at all, and I'm not joking.

Every day in the clinic I see new patients with High Blood Pressure who are shocked when I tell them their condition is quite likely self-inflicted and probably curable, without having to take pills for life.  No doctor has ever talked to them like this; they have only heard the defeatist, un-empowering "all you can do is take a pill the rest of your life" speech.  Now granted, there are some people who just need blood pressure pills due to their genetics or other medical problems; but in reality, they are few and far between.  As we all continue reclaiming our health, and retaking responsibility for our own well-being, more and more patients will no longer be needing those pills.

With that in mind, I'd like to tell you about a recent study showing that natural substances in berries prevent High Blood Pressure and almost certainly decrease existing High Blood Pressure.  You can read the abstract of the study here.  The more I study and read, the more I find these naturally occuring medicines all around.

Berry Grower's Companion
A Great Book
In this study, Harvard scientists studied 134,000 women and 47,000 men from the Nurses Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study over a period of 14 years. None of the people studied had High Blood Pressure at the start of the study. Subjects were asked to complete health questionnaires every 2 years and food intake questionnaires every 4 years. New onset High Blood Pressure during the 14-year period was then related to eating various flavonoid-containing foods.  These very large studies were not done initially to study such things as the effects of eating berries on High Blood Pressure.  But, the researchers recorded so much information about the people in the study we are still able to go back and discover new things by picking through the information and crunching the numbers.

The Backyard Berry Book: A Hands-On Guide to Growing Berries, Brambles, and Vine Fruit in the Home Garden
A Great Book
During the course this huge study, 35,000 people developed High Blood Pressure.  When the researchers looked at the relationship of different foods containing flavonoids and their relationship to High Blood Pressure, they found that people consuming the highest amounts of anthocyanins (found mainly in blueberries and strawberries) were eight per cent less likely to be diagnosed with hypertension than those consuming the lowest amounts. These flavonoids had an even larger effect in people under age 60; so that probably means it is better to start eating right younger in life.

The effect was a little stronger for blueberries than strawberries.   Compared to people who ate no blueberries, those eating at least one serving of blueberries per week were 10 per cent less likely to develop High Blood Pressure.  The researchers seemed shocked by their findings:

“Our findings are exciting and suggest that an achievable dietary intake of anthocyanins may contribute to the prevention of hypertension ...  Anthocyanins are readily incorporated into the diet as they are present in many commonly consumed foods. Blueberries were the richest source ... Other rich sources of anthocyanins ... include black currants, blood oranges, eggplants, blackberries, red grapes and raspberries.”
I love it that these university researchers were surprised and excited to discover health benefits from eating berries.  If just one serving per week had this kind of effect, just imagine what effects a serving per day might have!

Of course it matters how the blueberry has actually been grown, harvested and treated after the harvest.  After the berries have been processed and put into a can, or frozen, all bets are off as to the contents.  The cheapest and healthiest way to enjoy blueberries and receive the greatest amount of these flavonoids is to grow your own.  It is easy to plant blueberry bushes and strawberry plants in your back yard; it is also easy to care for them, and they will live for decades.  In another article, I have written about organically grown berries having more nutrients than the kind you buy at China-Mart; click on the tasty berries on the right to read it.

Akro-Mils RZJMEDI Medium Stack-A-Pot, 30-Quart
Grow them
on your Deck!
If you just can't grow your own, then the ones at China-Mart are much better than nothing; also in the Winter they'll have to do.  Yes, I know they are pricey, but don't forget the money you will be saving on co-pays for that hand-full of pills you no longer take...  Ms. Bridget and I have a back-yard full of blueberry bushes, raspberry brambles and strawberry plants, and we plan on putting in even more this spring.  We are, to say the least, quite busy with our careers and kids, but we find the time to care for these plants so they will care for us.  More than one sunny morning, I have caught Ms. Bridget and Abby Grace eating our raspberries right off the bramble (yes, without washing them; we put no pesticides on them).

This is just another little reminder that you actually are what you eat.  Eat right and you will prosper and flourish; eat junk and you will suffer, and pay lots of co-pays!

Coffee Lowers Your Blood Pressure

As I sit here writing this morning, sipping my first cup of coffee, I feel that sense of calm satisfaction you get when you've been right about something all along.  I'm not gloating here, just saying...

It all started years ago when I was a Family Medicine resident doing my first rotation in Obstetrics in 2001 in downtown Memphis.  Being an intern is never fun, but I had a reasonable chief resident which made life tolerable.

Bodum Chambord Coffee Press
My favorite...
One morning on rounds we entered a young ladies room, who was sipping her morning's first cup of coffee.  She had preeclampsia so bad she was being kept as an inpatient on a Magnesium drip, and for fetal monitoring.  My chief resident, during his exam/discussion, asked her about the coffee.  She said she had two or three cups every morning.  He then did what countless doctors do every day with the very best of intentions, he gave her medical advice based on nothing but the foggiest of assumptions;
    "You shouldn't drink coffee, Ma'am, it'll run up your blood pressure."
    "Oh?", she said with raised brow.
    "Yes," he said, "better to drink milk or juice."
    "Oh." she said without emotion.
When we finished our exam and "counseling" session, and left her room, my chief resident turns to me and says,    
    "Hey dogmeat (my intern name), get me some research on how coffee is bad for you; I don't think she believed me."
    "OK?" I said with raised brow.
    "Yeah, everyone knows it's bad for you, I just need the proof." he said.
    "OK." I said without emotion.

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This is a tactic used by chief residents the world over to get research done without actually doing it.  In the process of "educating" me, he also gets free research done for himself.  I guess that's a fair trade.  So off I go to the computer.  It was obvious what his opinion on the matter was so I was on  a mission to prove him right.

I soon ran into a little problem.  After a few hours researching "coffee consumption" on PubMed (the clearing-house of all medical research), I had discovered several key facts:

  • Researchers have been trying for decades to prove coffee consumption is bad for you
  • All Researchers seem to initially believe coffee consumption is somehow bad for you
  • The studies keep showing, time and again, that coffee consumption is NOT bad for you
  • Most studies actually show positive effects from coffee consumption
  • After years of trying, Researchers can't prove that coffee consumption is bad for you
  • They can't even prove it's bad for that most precious and fragile creature, the pregnant woman
  • In our lady's case, there was not a shred of evidence to prove what he had told her; actually, the research leaned the other direction
I relayed this info to my chief resident who seemed unmoved by the evidence.  Early next morning, we again visit with our preeclamptic patient, checking her labs and her reflexes;
    "Good morning." she said, sipping her coffee.
    "Good morning, let's check those reflexes." said my chief resident, without emotion.

The Joy of Coffee: The Essential Guide to Buying, Brewing, and Enjoying - Revised and Updated
A Good Book
So, let me perhaps be the first doctor to every say the following;

  • Coffee is not bad for you
  • Coffee has been proven time and again to be good for you in multiple ways
  • You should probably drink a few cups of coffee every morning
  • Don't criticize your pregnant friend if you "catch her" drinking coffee
  • Just for fun, ask your doctor is coffee bad for you...
Here are just a few of the 2500 articles currently listed on PubMed you might like:

I could go on all day.  The great irony here is that most of these studies where undertaken to prove just the opposite of the findings.  For example, in a Finnish study, researchers were pretty convinced that coffee consumption lead to an increased risk of Heart Failure.  Poor fellows, after they had crunched all their numbers, they found that not only was their assumption dead wrong, but probably the more coffee one drank, the less likely one was to suffer from heart failure.

This seems to fit nicely with my theory that if something grows on trees, or in the garden, it is good for you.  So, I'm going to pour myself another cup of coffee, and I suggest you do the same.

Eating Your Veggies Makes You Prettier!

Getting kids and young adults to eat healthier may just have gotten a little easier.  As you may remember in your earlier life, adolescents and teenagers (and some 20-somethings) make food choices based solely on taste and often have not a care as to the health-value of what they ingest.  I may have finally found some information that parents can use to convince their kids and teenagers to eat their vegetables.  Turns out, not only is eating fresh, raw veggies good for you, it can also help make you more healthy looking and attractive to others.

The Green Beauty Guide: Your Essential Resource to Organic and Natural Skin Care, Hair Care, Makeup, and FragrancesThe Offical Journal of the Human Behaviour and Evolution Society published a small study in the June issue of their journal Evolution and Human Behavior which appears to show that the caratenoids you get from eating fresh veggies give caucasian skin a healthy glow and color that was noticed by the people in the study.  Not surprisingly, junk food and processed pseudo-foods just don't seem to lead to this attractive glow.

Carotenoids are pigment molecules found in vegetables, not in meat, which are responsible for the colors of vegetables.  They range  from pale yellow to deep red, and have been shown to prevent or improve many chronic medical conditions.  Carotenoid's health benefits probably stem from their role as free-radical scavengers, and they also enhance your immune system.

Grow Vegetables: Gardens - Yards - Balconies - Roof TerracesIt seems that this healthy golden glow is found to be quite attractive by members of the opposite sex, almost on an unconscious level.  Perhaps in past eons, since a healthy diet leads to a long life and strong offspring, possible mates were naturally drawn to this color in the skin.  A pale, sickly skin-tone would reveal a poor diet and less chance of reproductive success.

So, eat you delicious veggies every day and reap the benefits of that golden glow of health.  Compared to expensive cosmetic gimmicks, this natural (now proven) appearance enhancer looks like the natural choice.

I remember when I was a teen-ager, I couldn't  have cared less about "healthy" foods, but, my ears would have perked up at the mention of something that might have improved my looks in the eyes of the opposite sex...  Just a thought...

Making Your Own Healthy Yogurt

Here is a great video about making your own yogurt from Ms.Linda Watson.  I recommend goat's milk as it gives the yogurt a little extra kick, and is much easier to digest for most people.  This woman is all business and obviously knows the in's and out's of home yogurt production.

The yogurt you will make is healthier, fresher and costs pennies compared to dollars at China-Mart.  This is a very simple way to create what goes into your family's bodies, and save lots of money doing so; it's so easy even a doctor can do it!

After it is finished, you can add local honey, fresh berries or granola for a treat that tastes much better than the expensive, processed stuff at the store.

Try it and you'll see.  This would be a great Sunday night tradition to start with your little ones.  Then you guys can enjoy your creation for breakfast and snacks all week long.

    The Book Of Yogurt      Many Ways For Cooking Eggs   Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition - 2006

The Ten Worst Kid's Cereals!

Come on people!  The time has come for grown-ups to stop walking around in a fog thinking that if a company advertises something on TV then it must not be too bad for you.  Wake up.  The huge corporations that bring us all the nice, colorful kid's cereals are NOT concerned about our health. They are in business for a profit.  They have bean-counters who tell them just how crappy their product can be before people start to sue them.

Not long ago I saw an over-weight 30-something fellow in the clinic and I was going over the usual info and guidelines to start to turn his life around.  His blood pressure was already starting to creep up, and he had no energy most days.  I asked him what he had for breakfast that morning,  he looked me in the eye and with a straight face said, "Reese's Puffs, why?"

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After quietly counting to 10, I explained to him that breakfast cereals in general, and kid's cereals specifically, are a terrible pseudo-food, and probably the cause of his daily fatigue.  He looked as if he thought I was pulling his leg, and then said, "Com'on doc, if it was that bad, they wouldn't let them sell it.  Besides, they're good!"  I just didn't have time that day to explain to him that the they he thought was protecting him from them, was owned by them.

Raw Food: A Complete Guide for Every Meal of the Day
A Good Book
I can understand why children think that whatever appears on TV is the gospel, but I just don't get why many adults feel the same way too.  I will admit that when I was a kid I truly believed that Cheerios would make me stronger, and Frosted Flakes would make me a better basketball player.  But, I grew up; I thought we all had.  I guess not.  Anyway, let's look at just how bad kid's cereals are.

The best kid's cereals are 1/3 sugar; the worst are over 50% sugar.  You see, they have a sneaky way of not having sugar as their first ingredient; they divide it up and call it by different names.  For example, a cereal may have sugar, corn syrup, corn starch solids, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup and molasses.  These are ALL sugar and if the company were forced to group these sorts of things together, then most cereals would have sugar as their number one ingredient.  You can find  a great breakdown of cereal nutrition (or lack thereof) here.

According to the nice folks at Yale, here are the Worst Kid's Cereals on the Planet:

  1. Reese's Puffs
  2. Corn Pops
  3. Lucky Charms
  4. Cinnamon Toast Crunch
  5. Cap'n Crunch
  6. Trix
  7. Froot Loops
  8. Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles
  9. Cocoa Puffs
  10. Cookie Crisp

The nutritional value of all 10 is terrible and you should never buy a single one of them again.  Childhood is the most important growth time in a person's life, and breakfast is the most important meal of the day; please don't let one of these 10 go into your child's mouth again while they are trying to grow up.  Folks on a budget might say cereal is a cheap way to feed their kids, and I'd agree.  Of course, picking up some dead leaves from your yard and sprinkling on some sugar would also be cheap (and probably more healthy!)

Eat This Not That! for Kids!: Be the Leanest, Fittest Family on the Block!
Great Book!
The companies behind this top 10 hall of shame spend billions advertising to your kids on TV and also Online.  Now ask yourself this; 'If their product was nutritious, wouldn't they be advertising it to the parent instead?'  More experts are starting to think that it might be this huge amount of sugar kids get each morning that leads to things like ADHD; and don't even get me started about the obesity epidemic.

It's probably a rule that anytime a food is marketed directly to kids it is unhealthy.  Yeah, I think that's a rule.  Unless your kids do the grocery shopping, then we know who's responsible for bringing this crap into your house, now don't we?  Stop it.  There are quick, healthy ways to start your kids day that don't involve opening a cardboard box.

How about a Berry Smoothie?  Remember eggs?  Eggs and turkey sausage are easy make a great breakfast that will really have their brains working all day long.  Food is the most important thing you put inside your kids body; an adult should decide what goes inside the 6 year-old, not the 6 year-old!  Yale actually found that kids will happily eat breakfasts much lower in sugar if they are provided with options.

Dr. Josh Axe, a DC from Nashville, has a pretty good video exposing kid's cereals here.  There are many different alternatives that are just as inexpensive as kid's cereal, and almost as easy to prepare; you just gotta look for them.  Every day we, as parents, are setting examples for our kids and helping them make good choices; let's make sure we're doing the best we can...

Is Vitamin D Shooting Me in the Foot?

Just the other day Nurse Wendy offhandedly commented that she'd noticed we were doing fewer "freezes" lately.  A "freeze" is when we use a cryogen (very cold substance) to destroy a skin lesion, usually a precancerous one, or a very shallow skin cancer.  As I thought about this, I had to agree.  No scientific study done or anything, but I was definitely aware of the trend of not having to get out the Freeze-Can nearly as often.  Why could this be?

We've been doing cryotherapy here in our little town since 2002, and it seems well known in the community that we offer this service.  We have done thousands of freezes over the years, with excellent results, so just where were all the pre-cancers?  Then a possible answer dawned on me...

Vitamin D-3 2000 IU - 240 Softgels
2000 IU
About two years ago I kept reading on that blasted internet about how everyone was vitamin D deficient.  I vaguely remembered how Vitamin D was not really a vitamin at all but actually a pro-hormone, so my interest was piqued.  I kept reading and thinking about all the implications.  Intrigued, i started to check a Vitamin-D-25 level in a few folks I thought most likely to be deficient.  Bam!  Lab result after result came back revealing deficient levels in the patients I checked. Worried at this point, I begin to check even more Vitamin-D-25 levels, and to read about the best way to replace Vitamin-D.

Soon thereafter, my trusty, usually mild-mannered, Medical Scientist (that's the latest term for lab tech) came to me with a puzzled look on her face and respectfully said, "What the hell is up with all these low Vitamin-D levels, and how did you know to check'em anyway?"  She also works in the lab of one of the larger hospitals in the area, and she hadn't seen any other doctors ordering Vitamin-D levels.  "It's my job to know", I said wisely as I walked away, not ready to reveal the shallowness of my pool of knowledge on this subject just yet.  I tried at lunch that day to think back to medical school...

We had one course in nutrition in medical school.  It was a small course, very small.  It was taught by a diabetic biochemist from New Zealand who only seemed to want to talk about diabetes and pasta.  The paste-thing sticks with me because he said it like, "paaasta".  I couldn't remember a thing about Vitamin D from the class and after some digging I turned up the tiny little textbook-let that accompanied the class.  There was two pages concerning Vitamin-D (I was right about the pro-hormone thing!) But, that was it.  It said nothing about why all the adults in my small Southern town would be Vitamin-D deficient, or what that could lead to (except rickets...)  It recommended Vitamin-D-2 as a replacement and that was about it.

The Vitamin D Solution
A Great Book
So, about two years ago I started checking Vitamin-D levels in many of my older patients, and replacing the deficiencies with Vitamin-D-2 initially, and then later with Vitamin-D-3.  We've easily checked levels on over a thousand patients.  In the beginning they were all low, and I mean ALL!

We would consider it a huge deal if all of a sudden 1 out of every 5 patients was abnormal in one certain lab, but 9 out of 10?  Out of 100 folks over 65 years of age, 95 would be low, with levels anywhere from 6 to 20.  The other five would have a level in the low thirties, just in the normal range.  The current normal range of the reference lab I use is from 32-100 ng/mL.

Since starting to have folks take a daily Vitamin-D-3 supplement (usually 2000 IU/day) I now see many more normal readings on Vitamin-D levels.  Sometimes I have a patient who is worried they may be taking too much.  It's a rational concern from  their perspective, but it is of no concern to me as the prescriber.  You see, since starting to prescribe what most would consider a large daily dose of Vitamin-D-3 I have seen exactly ZERO patients have a level above 100 ng/mL.  That's right, not a single person has tested above the upper limit cut-off level since I began looking.  I have a few patients who take 5000 IU daily and their levels are normal as well.  Honestly, the highest Vitamin-D-25 level I have ever seen was in the 60's, no where near the upper cut-off.  I'd be interested to hear from any Doc who has seen a Vitamin-D-25 level above 100...

So, you ask, do I really think the Vitamin-D-3 supplements are decreasing the incidence of skin cancers and pre-cancers?  Well, I was strongly considering the possibility, trying to think of any other reason why we would be seeing this decrease in skin pre-cancer, when Ms. Truvie made her appointment.

Ms. Truvie is one of my most beloved patients.  She is 93 years old and must have had the fairest skin in all the land, and must have gotten one thousand sun-burns in her life.  For you see, Ms. Truvie was covered with actinic keratosis (pre-cancerous skin lesions).  She has been my patient for about seven years now and I've lost count of the number of times I've sat and talked with her about the good old days as I froze off one lesion after the other.  Her's was one of the first Vitamin-D-25 levels I ever checked, and she clocked in at 6.2; one of the lowest I've ever seen.

The Vitamin D Cure
Another Great Book
So, two years ago I started her on 50,000 IU of Vitamin-D2/week for about a year, and for the last year she has taken 2000 IU/day of Vitamin-D3.  I see Ms. Truvie about every 3 months due to her age; to check bloodwork, freeze the worst patch of lesions, and get her refills.  For a while I saw the trend of her actinic keratosis being generally smaller, and fewer in number.

But today I have to admit that her skin is 95% better.  There was really nothing that needed freezing, a first for her (which she commented on because she is still very sharp).  I stopped Nurse Wendy in the hall and said, "Did you see her face today?"  Without even asking who I was talking about she returned a nod and a knowing, "Yep, this Vitamin-D kick of yours is gonna cost you a lot of freeze-money, huh?"

Of course she knows that I'm very happy to find another way to supplement my income besides freezing the flesh of my very nice neighbors.  I'm just happy to have been able to jump on the problem early and be making a difference.  I've had hundreds of patients comment of improved skin, decreased bone pain, fewer falls, and I have noticed substantially fewer broken hips in our elderly population since starting our Vitamin-D program.

Ms. Truvie's levels now run in the high 50's most times, and she thinks that her legs hurt her less since she has been taking the Vitamin-D as well.  Now of course neither Ms. Truvie nor I have studied this scientifically, but common sense is what it is and neither of us can think of another reason for her actinic keratosis to just dry up; not just a few of them, mind you, but almost all of them.  So, although Vitamin-D of any kind is not FDA-Approved, I for one will be recommending it to all of my adult patients, and taking it myself every morning.

P90X: Is It Really For You?

Well, I just saw another shoulder injury yesterday that was related to the P90X system.  My poor patient was a mid-50's businessman whose previous workouts consisted of lifting the Triple-Cheeseburger with Extra Bacon at the local McWendyKings...  The P90X Systemhttp://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=medinplawor-20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=B000TG8D6Ihttp://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=medinplawor-20&l=bil&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=B000TG8D6I appealed to his sense of going after what you want, he was ready to make some changes in his life, so he bought it and commenced.

He noticed immediate gains in strength and in muscle size (Rule #5).  He also noticed a little twinge in his right shoulder, which he promptly ignored and pushed through, violating Rule #4.  He stuck to the system as published and even did extra workouts because he was so pumped about his progress (Rule #2).  After a few weeks his right shoulder was getting worse; it was hurting during the workouts and aching badly at night, even waking him from sleep.  

P90X Extreme Home Fitness Workout Program - 13 DVDs, Nutrition Guide, Exercise Planner
Use it Wisely...
Infuriated at his stupid, girlie shoulder, he came to see me for a quick fix.  After three visits of the usual stair-step progression of treatment and investigation, he went for the dreaded MRI of his shoulder.  Luckily, he did not have a rotator cuff tear, but the tendons in his shoulder were severely inflamed.  Turns out, he had not been resting the shoulder as instructed while we were treating it; he was still "pushing through" the pain.  It was at this point, as I  was in the middle of giving him the verbal smack-down for being a knuckle-head, when these 5 rules just came out of my mouth.  That happens to me sometimes; I'm not sure where this stuff comes from, but I'm not complaining.

Now don't misunderstand me, I think the P90X System is a fine way to get back into shape.  It is a little on the aggressive side for my taste, especially for folks who have been sedentary for years, but other than that I think it is fine.  It has a very motivated tone which speaks to many professionals who used to be athletes, but who, for the last 20 years, have been scoring mental/business points instead.  This person's usual all-or-nothing attitude that has brought success in business, often leads to injury when getting back into shape.

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The Best Lifestyle
There are 5 rules you must follow if you want to stop being a soft, weak 40-something or 50-something without injury.  If you are a 20-something, you can scoff at these recommendations and proceed.  If you are a 30-something, you might want to pay a little more attention.  But, if you have a sprinkling of gray hair, that is supposed to be evidence of wisdom; (use it!) after 40, you must go slower initially or you will hurt yourself.  So, here are The Rules for getting back into shape after 40:

1. You can get back into great shape after 40, you just can't do it all today!  I even tell 80-somethings they can become athletes again, but it has to be very slowly; it's gonna take time.  Your body is bad out of shape and out of practice and just cannot get to where you want to be in the allotted 30 minute sit-com time-frame.  Patience and persistence are what's needed, not blind motivation.

2. You must give your body more time to recover than you did in your teens/twenties.  It just takes more time for your body to repair the damage of a workout than it used to.  You can get there, but it will take more time and patience than back then.  There is no secret supplement or stretch that allows you to break this rule.  This is not a thought, or a suggestion, this is a Rule.

Lesline Sansone - 40 Plus Workout Walk 2 Miles
A Good Start...
3. Your nutrition (or lack of it) matters much more now than in your teens/twenties.  I can remember exceptional high school athletes with beautiful bodies, who lived on Twinkies, Cheetos and Coke.  Somehow, their amazing teenage body was able to turn that crap into muscle.  Well, after 40, you can forget that.  If you don't feed your muscles, tendons and ligaments healthy stuff, you are guaranteed an injury.

4. You CANNOT ignore pain in a joint or tendon like you did in your teens; you have to listen to your body.  Pushing through pain is something every former athlete is familiar with.  It works a lot more often for teens and twenties than it does for forties/fifties.  A little muscle soreness is one thing, but you just cannot ignore pain in a joint or ligament after 40 or you will suffer.  That's not to say you should stop, it just means you have to listen to your body and know when to adjust, or ask for help.

5. Muscles respond much quicker to increases in exercise than tendons and ligaments, thus the danger of injury.  Imagine a raw piece of meat.  The muscle is red, right?  That means it has an excellent blood supply.  So, after a workout your muscles are engorged with blood bringing healing nutrients, so your muscles recover in a few days.  Think of the tendons, what color are they?  White; and that means they have a very poor blood supply.  Ligaments have such a poor blood supply that we theorize they get some of their nutrition from the fluid in the joint itself.  So after a hard workout - which stresses your tendons just as much as your muscles - your poor tendons and ligaments just sit there with their little white self, waiting as the healing nutrition merely trickles in.  Thus, your muscles respond, grow and heal much quicker when stressed than do your tendons and ligaments.  Ignoring this fact after 40, is a guaranteed injury.  After 40, you have to slow down the pace of your increases in both resistance and duration so that these white structures have time to recover as well.  

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Oh, and my 50-something businessman with the achey shoulder?  Well, he actually heard my Rules and took them to heart.  He took his medicine, he rested the shoulder much more (while continue to work the rest) and his thankful shoulder responded and was well about 6 weeks later.  He is now looking better than his somewhat jealous doctor...  Four to eight weeks is the usual amount of time you have to rest a ligament or tendon injury before starting to push them again.  You can see how that would cut into your progress; better to prevent the injury by following the 5 Rules.

I really want you to get back into great shape.  There are mirror-reasons for doing this, but more importantly there are the medical-reasons.  Just remember, after 40, the limiting step is not how quickly your muscles respond, but how quickly your tendons and ligaments can recover.   Now go get busy!