John Kelly's blog


Can endorphins really alleviate pain?

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From the movie Legally Blonde: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't.”

From this article, Endorphins: Natural Pain and Stress Fighters:

“In addition to decreased feelings of pain, secretion of endorphins leads to feelings of euphoria, modulation of appetite, release of sex hormones, and enhancement of the immune response. With high endorphin levels, we feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress.”


Lactic acid soreness – “one of the classic mistakes in the history of science"

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A quote from this NYT article, Lactic Acid Is Not Muscles' Foe, It's Fuel:

“’The notion that lactic acid was bad took hold more than a century ago’ … It stuck because it seemed to make so much sense.

‘It's one of the classic mistakes in the history of science.’ ”

The article goes on to say that the idea that lactic acid causes muscle soreness never made sense, because lactic acid is gone from your muscles within an hour of exercise,  The soreness stays.


The effect of six seconds of exercise on the elderly

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I once asked a 65-year-old friend of mine when was the last time he had gone all out. He replied, “John it's been decades”.

Our bodies respond to the stresses placed on them by making a positive adaptation to handle that stress. Our skin becomes tan, our hands become calloused, our muscles become stronger, and our body increases its capacity to burn sugar longer.

If we do not place demands on our body our body downgrades its ability to handle demanding work. Muscle is metabolically expensive to maintain. If we do not need it we lose it, and our bodies become weaker. As a consequence we burn fewer calories, we lose flexibility, our cardiovascular system becomes compromised, we are more prone to injury, our immune system becomes weaker, and our bones decalcify.

How much demanding work is enough to cause a positive change?  That depends on how far out of shape you are. From this article, Six seconds 'can transform health', comes this quote:

"A group of pensioners came into the lab twice a week for six weeks and went hell for leather on an exercise bike for six seconds.


Does two hours of sitting really cancel out 20 minutes of exercise?

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A recent article -  Two hours of sitting cancels out 20 minutes of exercise, study finds 

I am calling BS on the study based on the math in the title.   In college my longest practice was an hour and twenty minutes, sometimes an hour and a half.  My coach was of the opinion that that was how long a basketball game was and to go longer would only result in pacing. 

There was little down time; we ran like the wind.  We were almost tireless.  I was in the best shape of my life.  I also had long hours sitting in the classroom, library, and in front of the TV – much more sitting than the four hours it would take to cancel out the gains derived from exercise. 


165 new Austin-area residents a day

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This blog is primarily concerned with health, fitness, personal training, and human performance. Not unrelated to health is the environment where you live and the opportunities presented.  A quote from this article Austin, surrounding counties, among fastest-growing in U.S. in 2014, Census data confirms:

 “The Austin area grew from 1,883,051 residents in 2013 to 1,943,299 residents in 2014, adding 60,248 residents for a growth rate of 3.2 percent. That equates to an average of 165 new Austin-area residents a day, including babies born here.”


Going from five insulin shots a day down to one

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From this article, Even Short Bursts Of Exercise Can Reverse Heart Problems In People With Type 2 Diabetes, come these quotes:

“In a new study published in Diabetologia, researchers examined the effect of brief, high-intensity workouts on type 2 diabetes patients who had already experienced heart abnormalities due to the disease. They found that these short bursts of exercise had a positive impact on the patients, improving their heart structure and offering some of the best protection for diabetes control.”

"The researchers measured cardiac structure and function with MRIs, and they found that these high-intensity, intermittent workouts greatly improved heart structure and function."


Chronic pain: Exercise can bring relief - part 2

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A year and half ago I could not reach up and adjust my rear view mirror without shooting pain. I had trouble reaching out to close the car door. Often just laying in bed was painful. Now I do those things without a care in the world.  Exercise changed things dramatically.   

To avoid chronic pain such as arthritis those afflicted will avoid movements that cause them pain. Eventually that leads to a loss of strength, a decreased range of motion, and more pain – a vicious cycle.   Proper exercise will eliminate the pain, increase strength and range of motion, and create a positive cycle.

The right exercise will have the following components:


Chronic pain: Exercise can bring relief

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Exercise can be a great way to ease chronic pain. There are risks associated with inactivity and benefits associated with movement.

When you're in pain, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind, but regular exercise can be a versatile weapon in the fight against chronic pain.

When you're inactive, your muscles — including your heart — lose strength and work less efficiently. Your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes increases. Inactivity can increase fatigue, stress and anxiety as well.

"Years ago, people who were in pain were told to rest," says Edward Laskowski, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist and co-director of the Sports Medicine Center at Mayo Clinic,
Rochester, Minn. "But now we know the exact opposite is true. When you rest, you become deconditioned — which may actually contribute to chronic pain."

As tough as it may be to start an exercise program, your body will thank you. Exercise can:


Strength Training To Prevent Falls

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When my father was getting up in age he had a couple of nasty falls, once breaking a rib and once banging his head pretty badly.  My father became forgetful.  An MRI revealed that there was damage to his brain.  The doctors speculated that it was most likely a result of a fall.

As people age they lose strength and with that gait speed and that results in a loss of balance.  With the loss of strength they lose the ability to recover from a stumble.  Falls inevitably occur, and those that do fall who are frail are more likely to suffer injuries as result of that fall.

Falling is the 14th leading cause of death among the elderly.

Each year, more than one-third of Americans over 65 sustain falls, total cost of fall injuries for people 65 and older was $20.2 billion in 1994, and that is expected to reach $32.4 billion by 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Hurricane Katrina, it has been ten years

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Hurricane Katrina - the upheaval of the event, the challenges it
presented, and all the emotions it evoked have faded with time. Every couple of years I mark the passing of the event with a blog post  and each time with less detail.

After the Katrina flood waters receded I made the decision to keep New Orleans Personal Training (picture) going, and to live and open a second business outside of hurricane alley.  I chose Austin. In the summer of 2006 Austin Personal Training opened.

Much has happened that makes Katrina a less significant part of my life. When I came to Austin I did not know a soul.  I love New Orleans and visit often. Austin has proven to be a great place to live.  I have dear friends in both places, but after ten years Austin is my home.

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