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Michelle Graves: Hello and welcome to the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life. My name is Michelle Graves and I'm sitting in for Kyle Case who is out of town today. Joining me in the studio is Derek Campbell, our CFO.

Derek Campbell: Hi Michelle.

Michelle Graves: Hi Derek. How are you?

Derek Campbell: Wonderful. How are you?

Michelle Graves: Great. We had a holiday yesterday. Did you have a good one?

Derek Campbell: A fantastic holiday.

Michelle Graves: Yeah. We celebrated our nation's birthday. It was pretty fun. So, back we are though at work. I actually have some big news to share this morning. Are you ready for some big news?

Derek Campbell: I'm ready for some news. I don't know. It's pretty early for big news but let a rip.

Michelle Graves: I know. This is kind of big news. This is not scare tactic big news but I found that this was interesting so let's just go right in and talk about it. The idea that losing weight is all about calories and will power is one of the worst.

Derek Campbell: Wait a minute, this is big news?

Michelle Graves: This is big news.

Derek Campbell: Oh boy, we're in trouble.

Michelle Graves: The truth is Derek sugar and highly processed junk foods can be addictive just like drugs. So, I found some research that I thought was pretty interesting by Chris Gunning, a nutrition researcher and he has this to say about some of that disturbing similarities between sugar, junk food and abusive drugs. Are you ready?

Derek Campbell: Wow, yeah.

Michelle Graves: Yeah. It's big news, right?

Derek Campbell: Right after all the parades and the candy and the celebrations of freedom.

Michelle Graves: All the sugared up … Yes, we did a lot of sugaring yesterday I'm afraid.

Derek Campbell: Yes we did.

Michelle Graves: So, studies have shown that sugar and junk foods flood the reward system of the brain with dopamine stimulating the same areas of abusive drugs like cocaine. Cravings are a common symptom when it comes to both junk foods and addictive drugs and has very little to do with actual hunger. So, it's interesting how it tricks your brain into thinking you're hungry but it's really cravings are different than that.

Derek Campbell: So, you really can be addicted to sugar.

Michelle Graves: Super addicted. Listen to this. Scientists have used functional MRI scanners to show that the same brain regions are activated in response to cues and cravings for both junk food and drugs. When the brain's reward system is repeatedly overstimulated, it responds by reducing its numbers of receptors and this leads to tolerance. Tolerance is one of the hallmarks of addiction. So, we get use to it, right? Then, we do what is known in the drug addictive world as we try to chase the high. So, binge eating is a common symptom of food addiction. It is caused by tolerance making the brain need a larger dose than before to reach the same effect. So-

Derek Campbell: I wonder how that correlates with the eating avalanche, when you start eating and you can't stop it and you just keep peacing? You go grab some chips and then some pickles and then some candy. You just can't stop eating.

Michelle Graves: Right. Your tolerance level is just gone, gone, gone, gone. So, in studies with rats, they found that there's something called crossed … I can't say this word, sensationalism. It's when sugar … the rats … boy, I'm really not saying this well. The rats can switch between sugar, amphetamine and cocaine. They do it just as equally in these studies. So, drugs that are used to fight addictions such as smoking, alcoholism and heroin addiction , they're starting to find are also effective in weight loss, because food affects the brain similarly to the way of that of drugs.

Michelle Graves: So, it's common knowledge that junk food is harmful but many people are unable to control their consumption. I just find this really fascinating because we talk a lot about just willpower and then we talk about the emotional effects of eating, but what we really don’t know is that the brain is really taking over and it's primarily this sugar and preservatives that are in our diets. So, it's really something to think about especially I mean we know that drug addiction, the social ramifications are more severe than that of food addiction but what's happening in the brain is the same, I think it's something that we need to consider and take a little more seriously. So-

Derek Campbell: Yeah, that's very interesting.

Michelle Graves: … that's our little knowledge for the day kind of just struck me as interesting because makes me kind of maybe be a little bit more interested in controlling that a little better trying to-

Derek Campbell: Yeah, most definitely got to be some control on that, but there's also as I think about that there's a little difference. It's a little easier to quit sugar probably than drugs. I think anytime you start a diet, you can drop the sugar and you can live without it. You may go through some withdrawals but it doesn't feel like you're going to go scratch the chalkboard off the wall to get to it.

Michelle Graves: Yeah, if you are at that-

Derek Campbell: So, a little bit of difference. Maybe the depth-

Michelle Graves: … then there's help. Maybe there's some help that-

Derek Campbell: … as strong.

Michelle Graves: Yeah, I absolutely agree and it's a big topic now, sugar and what it does to our bodies. I think everyone's trying to be better. The hard thing is that sugars are in everything, all the foods that we eat. So, even when you're sensitive to I'm not going to have this piece of candy or this ice cream cone, are you thinking about what's in your yogurt and other things? So, we really need to clean our diets and try to be more conscious so that we don’t get addicted. Now maybe there are a couple of things to be addicted to that are positive. We have with us today, joining us in the studio Ryan Otterson and he is an exercise physiologist with the Live Well Center here in St. George, Utah. He has some interesting things that we're going to talk about. Ryan, what do you think about that and is it okay to be addicted to exercise? And, hello.

Ryan Otterson: Yeah, hello guys. Yeah, being addicted to exercise is a great thing I think, a lot better than being addicted to sugar.

Michelle Graves: I would think that those dopamine levels kind of work the same in exercise.

Derek Campbell: A little more healthy.

Ryan Otterson: Definitely.

Michelle Graves: Anything maybe out of moderation can be considered troublesome but we're going to really talk about … I think in exercise most people don't have to worry about really the addictive nature. They have to worry about maybe trying a little harder to be a little better every day, right?

Ryan Otterson: Yeah. Maybe it would be good if people could get addicted to exercise, right?

Michelle Graves: Maybe. So, Ryan, tell us about your background and what got you interested. I should say that you are or you should tell us. You're a strength and conditioning specialist and a weight lifting coach, is that right?

Ryan Otterson: Yeah. So, I work for the LiVe Well Center as an exercise physiologist, but before I got that job I got certified with the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the NACA, and I got my certified strength and conditioning specialist certification. Currently, I'm coaching a weightlifting team at a cross fit gym in town. Yeah, it's just my passion to improve and get stronger and help other athletes do the same.

Michelle Graves: That's great. You probably work with my daughter. I know a lot of the high school kids around here and probably all over the world really are interested in increasing speed and agility at this time in their careers because it really makes a difference on the playing field. We'll talk a little bit about that, but we also want to talk about our active life clients and why resistance training and muscular strength training is so important especially as we age.

Ryan Otterson: Yeah. At the LiVe Well Center we of course get a lot of older clients over 50. One of the common things that we see as they come in and we do fitness assessments on them is that they lack strength. I'm sure you've heard stories of older people falling and getting hurt, breaking a hip or something like that, I would say that strength training, resistance training as is the only way to maintain your muscle strength as you get older. As you get older, that's probably the first thing to go and it affects so many other things like balance and resistance to injury.

Derek Campbell: Why do you think the muscle structure is just not there? What are they doing or what have they done up to that point that you don't see in the younger population?

Ryan Otterson: I would say just they get more sedentary. You take your strength for granted when you're younger. It's there and you're pretty active. You're doing all these different things and then as you get older, you slow down even sometimes without noticing. By the time you retire, I mean what is it that you're really doing besides maybe going on vacations or other things that you really like to do that aren’t so strenuous. You tend to avoid those strenuous things. Eventually the muscles just don’t get used as much as they used to.

Derek Campbell: Unless you're forcing it with an exercise program, right?

Ryan Otterson: Exactly.

Derek Campbell: Yeah.

Michelle Graves: Well, it's interesting because I consider myself an active person but I'm kind of a cardio, I lean towards cardio. I have noticed as I get older and I'm right at that active age that those things I have to work harder at. I also notice I was just on a trip with a bunch of teenagers and I mean they play nonstop from morning until middle of the night. They're never stopping. It really did make me realize because you don’t really think of yourself as being sedentary as you get older but it's naturally how I say I exercise, I do it. I take a shower, I change my clothes and then I sit at a desk and just by nature we do a lot less. So, when we need it the most in our lives, how can we be stronger and not lose what is just naturally given to us as active youth?

Ryan Otterson: Well, kind of the topic which is just doing resistance training. Most people don't know how to do that themselves. A lot of people grab or buy a gym pass and they head into the gym maybe for a week, if they're really good a month and then they stop going. That's just going to the gym. Once you're there, do you know what you're doing? I would say most people don't. There's a bunch machines out there. It can be intimidating to go to the gym as soon as you get older, because who's there? Just a bunch of young people with half their clothes on trying to show off for each other. So, it can be intimidating to go out there especially if you don't feel very confident in your body or you don’t feel that you have a lot of skill with resistance training. So-

Michelle Graves: Or if you don’t even know what to do. So, let's step really quick back. Why don’t you just define resistance training and then maybe give us a few pointers of what we could be doing.

Ryan Otterson: Yeah. The way most people understand it resistance training would just be lifting weights, but technically it could be anything that challenges your muscles to use its strength through full range of motion. So, even body weight can be an effective resistance training modality. So, if you have never done a squat with just your body weight, that's a good place to start. I know a lot of people to come into the LiVe Well Center, they can't do that, not properly. It gets hard for them to even stand up out of a chair at some point. So, for those clients we just start with the basics. Can you stand up out of the chair quickly 10 times and then rest and then do it again? That's resistance training right there.

Derek Campbell: Wow.

Michelle Graves: Excellent. So, give us like three to five exercises that you think would be most beneficial in resistance training.

Ryan Otterson: I would say with the population that we see, the first place that you notice the strength decreasing is the lower body. For some reason, either back pain, hip pain and knee pain, you just start avoiding bending your knees very far. You just try and do everything while standing. So, I would say one of the most important exercises you could do would be squats. Body weight, like I mentioned just a moment ago, standing up and down from a chair. That's a great exercise. You asked for five, right?

Michelle Graves: Or three, three to five.

Ryan Otterson: Three? Okay, the squat would be an essential one. There's something else we like to teach called the hip hinge which is basically a proper way to bend over. A lot of people will round their back and pick things up off the floor trying to use their back. I wish I could demonstrate here. This is a radio show though. The hip hinge exercise, if you don't know what it is, look it up.

Michelle Graves: Google it.

Ryan Otterson: Yeah, Google it. Then for the upper body, just push-ups maybe from the counter or from the wall if you have a hard time getting down to the floor. That's a good place to start.

Michelle Graves: Excellent. Well, if you're just joining us, you're listening to the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life on Fox News 1450. We are here with strength conditioning specialist Ryan Otterson and he is giving us some tips on resistance training and muscular strength. So, maybe give us some of the benefits of muscular strength and you mentioned a few especially as we age what some of the perks of just being strong. Is it mostly core strength? They talk a lot about core strength or mobility, flexibility, seems like all these patterns kind of tie in together.

Ryan Otterson: Right. I would say a properly designed resistance training protocol with those exercises I mention squats and hip hinges and push-ups or something like that, you will get core strengthening benefits. Yeah, the core is important but you can't do those movements without engaging the core in the first place. So, the movements themselves become a way to train the core which is of course useful for avoiding lower back injuries. Among the other benefits, it's often mentioned that we should have more mobility, more flexibility.

Ryan Otterson: A full range of motion, squat or push-up or lunge or something like that, that builds range of motion as well if done properly and you don't have to stretch. You just do the movement and you get more flexible, more limber. Among the other benefits especially as you get older, you will have better balance, more muscular power. So, if you trip or someone gets in your way and you have to move, you can use your leg strength, leg power to get out of the way and to catch yourself if you lose your balance. You won't get so tired walking around in the day. You can strengthen your bones so that if you did fall, you would be more resistant to injury. The benefit list goes on and on and on.

Michelle Graves: Yeah, I agree. I used to work as a hiking guide in this area. I always found it interesting that people that would look fit to me sometimes had really no agility to hike off paved trails. A lot of that I think comes from what you're talking about resistance training and strength or even like lift himself up onto a rock feature or something like that. I just think that it's interesting and definitely is something that we don't want to lose especially as we age, because that can be just a real detriment to our health. You hear about people breaking a hip all the time and then getting a secondary infection like pneumonia or something like that and that can become a major setback to somewhat looking healthy person.

Ryan Otterson: Oh yeah, definitely. We like to do our assessments with an assessment of a person's ability to do activities of daily living. It's a self-rated questionnaire where they let us know what things they can do on their own such as bathing themselves, going shopping, getting dressed, climbing upstairs, carrying groceries, those types of things. If you don't have the strength to do that, I mean you're in trouble. What are you going to do? Call the neighbor boy to come help you get the groceries out of your car. In an ideal world that would work, but we want to be able to take care of ourselves and strength is integral to that.

Michelle Graves: So, this assessment is kind of a baseline and then you would prescribe a exercise prescription based on where they are.

Ryan Otterson: Yes.

Michelle Graves: Well, that's great. So, we have a lot of athletes that I think are at the Huntsman World Senior Games that are kind of defying the odds. They're on the other end of that. They can definitely lift their groceries. They can still do great things, but I think to your point, as you age, you lose strength and flexibility. So, maybe they are somewhat at more risk because they're doing hard things. They're still performing at a really active level. So, what do you recommend for those type of athletes in their older years?

Ryan Otterson: As you get older and you're being an athlete, there we go, I mean like you mentioned they are at a higher level. They've been doing things whatever their sport is that has helped them to stay active, yeah to get their groceries out of the car, those types of things, but even then, I know you mentioned earlier you exercise. You like to go walking and things. We hear that a lot. Different sports, they work on different things. Say you're a swimmer or maybe a speed walker, those types of activities are mostly geared for endurance. Some sports don't actually challenge your muscles with the same that resistance training would. They don't challenge them through the full range of motion.

Ryan Otterson: So, as we get older, this happens to everybody. Range of motion decreases, flexibility decreases and strength decreases. So, there's no real substitute for resistance training unless your sport is resistance training like weightlifting or something like that. There's no replacement for that. So, even if you're an athlete and you're being really active in your sport there's still a need to resistance training in order to be at the top of your game.

Michelle Graves: Yeah, I don’t want to single a certain sport out but I will just to give it as an example. I really notice that in our softball athletes, they can hit it out of the park 80 some years old and they can still track and catch a ball really well but they cannot run the bases. So, what would you recommend for those caliber of athletes? Is it just a resistance training program that would really cover the bases and make them more … because you don’t want to see weaknesses in the sport, right? That's the thing that you're going to try and "Where are my weaknesses? How do I improve them?" You're going to want to rule out.

Ryan Otterson: Yeah, for any athlete, we would still do an assessment to see maybe what they lack. For someone like that, they still have the skill necessary to play softball, but like you said-

Michelle Graves: Those hamstrings aren’t working very well.

Ryan Otterson: Right. The hamstrings maybe not doing all that they should and you can notice it as they run. I can't promise that we would make them world-class sprinters but I would say that those basic movements, the squats, lunges, things like that can really help to keep their lower body mobile and then of course to build that strength up to where they can use that muscular power. They might only be running during those games and that's all the running they get at that age. If they're not resistance training and challenging their muscles through a full range of motion like I said, that ability just slowly goes away.

Michelle Graves: Well, I like that idea. I like that idea of like from couch potato to active older athlete. You can go and get an assessment, write a prescription and see where your weaknesses are and what you can build and improve. So and speaking of this, how long would a program like this take? Are you talking like 5 or 10 minutes a day would make a big difference or do you recommend 20 to 30? What's an average prescription look like?

Ryan Otterson: Well, we would work with whatever they are willing to give us, but I would say ideally we would like to see someone especially of a higher caliber function trained threee days a week, maybe 20 minutes minimum. Even that would kind of be hard to fit in all the things that they should be doing. If we want to hit all the muscle groups, all the different movement patterns that they should be hitting, 40 minutes would be a good time to get in their full routine, 40 minutes three days a week I think would be a great recommendation. Typically though, most of our clients give us two days a week. We work with that. That's good. Two days a week is still good.

Michelle Graves: Sure. Something is always better than nothing. Well, thank you Ryan. This time goes so quickly. Do you have one last motivator or point that you'd like to bring out? We are almost out of time.

Ryan Otterson: Well, come in to the LiVe Well Center. See if we can help you out. I promise that as you get stronger, you'll have a better quality of life and you'll see the difference.

Michelle Graves: Great. These kind of programs we just want to mention are available all over the world. Yours is through the hospital and we really recommend it. It's why we have you guys on our show often because you really truly are the experts. So, we really appreciate you for joining us today. We want to remind everyone to join us every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. to listen to the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life on Fox News 1450 or you can also listen to this broadcast or any of our previous shows at Derek-

Derek Campbell: Yes Michelle.

Michelle Graves: … we have this big new thing that you can also subscribe to our podcast of the show and then you will never miss an episode.

Derek Campbell: Don’t miss one. Just do it.

Michelle Graves: Just search for the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life on your iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify and then tune in, enjoy and send us a review and tell your friends about it. I mean you never want to miss an episode. It's a small investment of your time just like our exercise prescription that we talked about today. You can learn all about becoming more active.

Derek Campbell: Michelle, it's interesting as we talk about this topic today a lot of people go to the gym or they don't because of gymtimidation-

Michelle Graves: Oh I like that.

Derek Campbell: … it has been coined.

Michelle Graves: Yes.

Derek Campbell: They can exercise at home but sometimes it's easy to just fall into the path of least resistance and go sit on the couch rather than lift weights, but I found that you're going to suffer pain one way or the other. No matter what, you're going to have pain. You're going to suffer the pain of discipline or you're going to suffer the pain of the lack of discipline. If you had to exercise, the strength training, you'll be stronger and you'll have more ability to deal with the pains and to get through it rather than tweaking your back because you have no muscle. So, this is a fantastic topic. It's good to hear that we just need to keep moving and add the strength training into our daily routines.

Michelle Graves: Yeah, and we're really passionate about it. I mean that's why our show is called The Active Life. We really want to see not only ourselves but others especially loved ones be active and have the best life possible. That is also why we host the Huntsman World Senior Games. Derek, registration is now open. It's really going strong. If you'd like to register, go to and click on register. We would love to see. So, just to tie things up, we have a quick thought of the day and it's by Robert Frost in lieu of our holiday yesterday. He says simply, "Freedom lies in being bold." So, be bold everyone and until next time, stay active.