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Every Month: a Review of Major Teaching Points

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A Power Program for Student Review

Course Coverage 2016

  • Jan Muscles
  • Feb Meals
  • Mar Metabolism
  • April Nutrition
  • May Metabolic Syndromes
  • June Diabetes
  • July Diabetic Complications
  • Aug Longevity
  • Sept Atheroma
  • Oct Carcinoma
  • Nov Aging
  • Dec Mind & Memory
Begin Countdown

Muscle energy needs are supplied initially by sugar stored in muscle cells, and later from circulating fatty acids of fat stores responding to continuing  muscle demands. Done regularly, muscle signals change the enzyme systems in fat storage tissues into a rapid release state. So muscles will create Fit Fat.

Regular use conditions muscle sets into coordinated, skilled and sustained performances, changes that happen at the eye-level of coaching. Muscle fibers contract. They shorten and bulk up, pulling bone attachments around joints. They move a limb or body part, at first employing stored muscle energy, but soon going aerobic by shifting to the fuel of fatty acids from fat stores.

Reaching for a keyboard or a cookie is more complicated than most we think, mechanically, neurologically or metabolically. Motor nerves are firing continuously while being steadily modified throughout the arm’s action to produce a smooth outreach motion and return. It relies on stored muscle energy, fast neurone shortcuts and multiple sensory feed back checkpoints. And it happens reflexly, without conscious control, once the order’s given.

Actively used muscles become energy distribution centers, even at rest.They continue directing the day’s calories along utilization pathways (rather than storage pathways). Such routes burn calories rather than store and fatten, activities that need oxygen which generates carbon dioxide, water and waste…. so a circulation is necessary (heart, arteries, veins and lungs).

All this muscular effort evolved on a spinning globe that divided half of each 24-hour day into a light half and dark half. When light arrived each day, we hunted and gathered, found food and ate it, or fought to survive threats and enemies. Light is a time for muscle use. During the dark half of each day we hunkered down, rested, slept and recovered. This legacy is in the genes of our muscles to help allocate energy distribution (or storage) in the body.

Called circadian rhythms, they persist to this day, still working best during the daylight hours from a master clock within our brains. It works in sync with daylight to coordinate clocks in every cell and optimize metabolic reactions in every body tissue. Actively used muscle is a metabolic agent.

The chemistry of life that connects cells to one another is gene-based and programmed to last 100 years. That is the human lifespan. Life expectancy is the age we reach when to die of a community disease…not from old age. Human life today is shortened by heart attacks, stokes or cancer for a life expectancy of around 80 years. A disordered metabolism underlies this life expectancy and the diseases responsible. It involves the cell, its genes, its metabolism, its signals and its clocks.

Muscle has become a metabolic/endocrine gland when used regularly and which takes place best in daylight (from a hunter/gatherer legacy). We must begin to regard daylight as nature’s gift for shunting consumed nutrients into health-promoting and tissue-supporting pathways, with an overnight period of rest and sleep for tissue recovery and repair.

The body benefits of exercise are old news, but the brain benefits are being redefined through the modern technology of brain scans. Thinking is sharpened in New Brain’s cerebral cortex by a wash of catecholamines: hormones of fight/flight let loose by working muscle. Feelings too, are improved deep in Old Brain by the working muscle release of a transmitter, called dopamine that lifts the mood and instills confidence. We’re talking a another survival legacy from hunter/gatherer roots.

So exercised muscle becomes an endocrine unit directing the distribution of nutrient energy, a normalizer of metabolism a creator of activated Fit Fat.

Ten healthy men were evaluated after 3 months of aerobic exercise (an hour a day, 5 days a week), and researchers found a change in the genes of their fat cells. They had been activated into a quick and easy release of fatty acids and an easy uptake of glucose (with a lower blood cholesterol despite their poor diets). Get moving is one science message for longevity.