Open Forum in The Villages, Florida

Revealing the Anti-Aging Benefits of Strength Training: A Chat with William Shang, MD

December 22, 2023 Mike Roth & William Shang, MD Season 5 Episode 1
Open Forum in The Villages, Florida
Revealing the Anti-Aging Benefits of Strength Training: A Chat with William Shang, MD
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Ever wondered about the secret to a youthful body and mind? We welcome Dr. William Shang on our podcast, an ardent believer in the power of strength training. He takes us on a riveting journey of his personal transformation and how he uncovered the critical role strength training plays in fending off age-related diseases such as sarcopenia. Drawing parallels to the legend of the fountain of youth and the mighty Calusa Indians, Dr. Shang sheds light on how strength training can drastically enhance your health and overall well-being. 

We're dispelling myths and misconceptions in the second part of our conversation. Strength training isn't solely for bodybuilders - it's a game-changer for senior health, too. It's time to shatter stereotypes and embrace the power of strength training to boost metabolism and overall health. Dr. Shang shares practical tips and warns against getting seduced by extreme programs intended for the younger population. Wrapping up, we delve into the wisdom of Dr. Craig Curtis on preserving brain health. His advice? A Mediterranean diet could be the key. Stay with us as we explore strength training, healthy eating, and the quest for a healthier, longer life.

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Open Forum in The Villages, Florida is Produced & Directed by Mike Roth
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Emily:

Welcome to the Open Forum in the Villages Florida podcast. In this show we talk to leaders in the community, leaders of clubs and interesting folks who live here in the villages to give perspectives of what is happening here in The Villages Florida. We hope to add a new episode most Fridays at 9am. Our host, mike Roth, has been a Villages resident since 2017. He is the leader of three lifestyle clubs and created a fourth. Mike joined 20 clubs in the first year he was here in the villages. Mike is a strong leader. Before coming to the villages, mike was a successful business leader and had a successful podcast in Cincinnati called Cincinnati Business Talk. That shows 300 episodes are still available and has over 90,000 lessons. Mike is an instructor at the Villages Enrichment Academy teaching podcasting 101 for beginners. This podcast is a listener-supported podcast. You can become a supporter for as little as $3 per month or you can choose to pay more. To become a supporter, go to open forum in the Villages Florida dot com and click on support in the black box. There will be shoutouts for supporters in episodes. As a supporter, you will get a direct email link to Mike. In our new season 5, we are making significant improvements and changes on an ongoing basis. First is our new and better logo upgrades and recording equipment to allow easy access for remote guests. Second is a continuing increase in the use of AI in the creation of each episode. Please include a transcript of each show. Please understand that there may be errors inserted by the AI that may not be caught before the transcript is published. However, this is a dramatic step forward. In fact, all the show's announcers are now all AI voices, including me. Emily Open Forum in the Villages Floor that has been publishing new episodes on YouTube for the last several months. If you have a book that you would like to turn into an audiobook, let us know via email to mike at rothvoice dot com. Hope you enjoy today's show.

Mike Roth:

This is Mike Roth on Open Forum in the Villages. Welcome to season number five. I'm here today with Dr William Shang. In your own words, Dr Shang, could you give our listenersa little bit of a background of how you got here and what you did in your business career before you came to the villages?

Dr.William Shang:

Well, I don't quite would like to characterize as a business. I'm a physician by training, of course. I started my career through the Air Force, through a scholarship, and then, after being a primary care physician for the Air Force for a number of years, I transitioned to pathology, did that at George Washington University and went on to do what most pathologists do, which is a combination of county autopsies director for laboratories. So whenever you get a blood test drawn sent to a lab, we oversee the quality control of those, make sure the machines are working correctly, but most of our work is looking to our microscope and making diagnoses on tissue. So you get a biopsy. We tell the surgeon it's.

Mike Roth:

XYZ. Okay, were you one of the guys who would count the blood cells, the white cells, versus the red cells? We set up the machines to do that. Oh, machines do that today.

Dr.William Shang:

Yeah. So I ended up tapering my career and before I came to the villages I spent a long time with Cornell University. I'm still consulting with them, but more or less now a villager Good, Good my brother went to Cornell.

Mike Roth:

Actually, I have two brothers who went to Cornell, but that's another whole story altogether. As a physician, Dr Shang, what made you think of getting involved with strength training?

Dr.William Shang:

That's a very interesting question. In my 50s I woke up one morning and I noticed that I had a gout attack, which is really bizarre Gout, Gout. I was actually never overweight.

Mike Roth:

You're not overweight today.

Dr.William Shang:

What was distressing was I looked at my lab numbers because I run a lab. We can run labs on ourselves all the time. My glucose was higher than normal, my triglycerides were high and I began to investigate this. I asked my colleagues. I said what can we do about this? Most of us who are physicians, we think about prescription pad. They said well, you can take a med. I said I don't want to take any meds, so I started looking into this. What's really interesting about what I found, and what I'd like to share with you, is that most of the diseases that we see in people in the second half of their life whether it be high blood pressure, high glucose, high fat levels, high cholesterol those are all common to one disease. And it's something that we never talk about. What disease is that? It's sarcopenia. Oh, that's a big word.

Mike Roth:

That's a big word, isn't it? Yeah, what? Does that mean?

Dr.William Shang:

Well, it's sarco. We break it down. Sarco means muscle, penia means less, and so, as we get older, we lose muscle over time. And that actually begins around the age of 30. But it's something really strange. I actually didn't know this word, even though, as pathologists, what we do is we study how diseases evolve, and it never occurred to me that here is something that we can actually do something about without a medication.

Mike Roth:

Wow, Just going to the gym and working out would help.

Dr.William Shang:

You know we're in Florida here and you might have heard that, the fountain of youth.

Mike Roth:

Yes, yes, so there's a Ponce de la Leon.

Dr.William Shang:

That's right, ponce de la Leon. One of the Spanish conquistadors.

Mike Roth:

Yeah, I went to Leon Springs to see the source of the fountain of youth. It was a little trickle.

Dr.William Shang:

So, as legend goes, he landed around Tampa and he ran into the Calusa Indian and, as legend goes, he looked at the Calusa Indians and he said, wow, these guys are built. They might have white hair but they don't look old at all. There must be a fountain of youth around here.

Mike Roth:

Ah, okay.

Dr.William Shang:

And that's how the fountain of youth….

Mike Roth:

Legend.

Dr.William Shang:

Legend began Now if you go to that area. I don't know if you've ever been to Mount Archaeologic State Park. No, I've been to Tampa.

Mike Roth:

Where is Mount Archaeological State?

Dr.William Shang:

Park. It's right around Tampa and what you'll see, there are these huge mounds. They're 20, 30 feet high and they're all made up of clam and oyster shell. These Indians ate an incredibly high protein seafood diet and they were, what we like to say, not sarcopenic. They were buff. They had very impressive musculature compared to the Spaniards who landed.

Mike Roth:

Interesting Because in a way of life here in America you know, I may have worked out and did a little bit of football, basketball when I was in college. All of a sudden I found myself in a job where I was doing a lot of walking and very little manual labor, and as I got to own my own companies, I got to sit behind the desk more often than not and going to the gym was a time consumer that was hard to get to.

Dr.William Shang:

So what's very interesting to me, as someone who runs laboratories and, if you like to say, pedals test, is that the best test for metabolic health? It's not glucose, it's not a lipid panel, it's actually how you look. If you look at yourself in the mirror full length mirror after taking a shower and you say to yourself now, is that guy easy to kill, is he or is he prey? That is actually the best measure of your metabolic health. So this was quite an epiphany to me, as someone who works in this industry, that the best test for the three scourges that we have here heart attacks, strokes, dementia, falls and, oh yeah, they're all related to sarcopenia.

Mike Roth:

Yeah, we just had a member of our Mercedes club wool and dye broke his leg at three places and he was gone.

Dr.William Shang:

Yeah, unfortunately it happens too often, and especially when it's something that we can fix the base problem. It's not something that the pharmaceutical companies have figured out how to put into a pill, nor would they ever figure out how to do it.

Mike Roth:

Build muscle and cut fat in one pill.

Dr.William Shang:

That's right and I have all the good benefits. I know that many villages are concerned about dementia and terrible disease. It's something that if, for example I was going to mention this later, but now's a good time is that there were studies that were done about dementia prevention, and strain training, along with aerobic you know, the walking, if you like decreases the risk of dementia more than any other medication you can get.

Mike Roth:

More than any other medication. Well, medications aren't very effective against dementia.

Dr.William Shang:

I know it's rather strange, You'd think. What is the connection there between muscle and the brain? And in recent years we've actually learned there is a link that muscle produces substances that are like fertilizer for the brain.

Mike Roth:

Really, yeah. Fertilize it for the brain by going out to the gym and working out for a half hour an hour.

Dr.William Shang:

I think that now's a good time. We talk about what the recommendations are for exercise for people in the second half of their life. And it's pretty uniform and many doctors and nurses, when I give a talk and I ask them what is the recommendations for exercise, they all know that 150 minutes a week to 300 minutes of low to moderate intensity aerobic exercise. But oftentimes they forget there's a second component to that and the second component which most health care providers don't remember is two sessions a week of strain training, part and parcel of what's recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Mike Roth:

So strength training in this context means exactly.

Dr.William Shang:

It means if you talk about purpose, most people talk about aerobic exercise as cardio exercise, which is not exactly correct, but it's associated with raising your heart rate Raising your heart rate, whether you're lifting weights or pulling them up, or pushing them down or working against your own body weight. That's calisthenic. Now, the way I'd like to think about it is that we have two types of muscle fiber in our body. Now I see you Looking at the ceiling.

Mike Roth:

I think of one type of muscle.

Dr.William Shang:

Let me ask you this sure, when you have chicken with your wife, yes, do you prefer the dark meat or the light meat?

Mike Roth:

I like the breast, the chop, the white meat, the white meat. Okay so avoid the dark meat.

Dr.William Shang:

There's a very good reason why Breast meat is light and the, the leg and the thighs are dark. I find that to be a little bit fatty. Hmm, well, the muscle of the lower portions of the chicken they bear weight. Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. They have a different composition of muscle fibers. They actually have to support the weight of the bird, mm-hmm, so they have more strength fibers, whereas the breast that actually has more stamina fibers because, it you could, the bird has to keep her breathing without stopping Right right so stamina. Fibers are are those which are aerobic and we do aerobic style exercise, incorrectly called cardio. Mm-hmm and the type of training that we have to do for muscle fibers, which are strength, that's resistance training training with a resistance band.

Mike Roth:

Right, putting a resistance band around your knees or ankles and then working against that.

Dr.William Shang:

That would work. So, basically, we have two different types of muscle fibers and therefore we have two different types of exercise and which type of exercise Do you think we're not getting enough of huh? If you pull most Americans and the survey's been done how many Americans get both the aerobic with 150 to 300 minutes a week plus two strength trainings a week, it works out to about one in eight very small. Mm-hmm. And here in the villages, we have certainly had the time to do what's right for us, in other words, not just longevity but health span, so that we can enjoy our lives for as long as we live. Mm-hmm. And you were talking about falling.

Mike Roth:

This is a terrible disease here in the villages. I had a show on last week with a guy named Ed Yeska who is a sports trainer, I think, for the Detroit football team and he runs a class every week up at La Hacienda on Balance and how to prevent yourself from falling. He has a whole bunch of tests that you can take. Find out if your strength in your muscles and core to prevent you from falling is At the right level for your age group Mm-hmm.

Dr.William Shang:

That's, that's a great program. Strength is arguably as important or more important than balance, because most of us, no matter how old we are, we will lose our footing at some point. But it requires a certain amount of strength to recover on one leg and the ground or prevent from falling and hitting the ground. So that's strength, is what prevent us from breaking. And then the muscles of course they're tied into the bone, and so the strength of the muscles are proportional to the strength of the bone.

Mike Roth:

Mm-hmm. A lot of people here in the villages have bone loss. That's right. In fact, I've even heard of people taking injections once a month to over a course of a year to increase their bone density.

Dr.William Shang:

That's right. There's another example of where we, as physicians and healthcare providers, do a very good job of Writing a prescription for something that, if you do the right thing for exercise, your body will have the incentive of making it stronger. So, in other words, if you were to regularly stress the bone with something that is heavier than you're normally able to handle, then the bone will react in a way to become stronger, and For years we prescribed calcium and we found it didn't work by itself, unless you give the body an incentive to take the calcium and incorporate into the bone.

Mike Roth:

Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. So when I see hundreds of people, we've walking in the villages and they maybe get 30 minutes Five times a week, that's your 150 minutes. But you're saying they need strength training as well, absolutely, and you say that's twice a week. Twice a week, and how do they get the strength training?

Dr.William Shang:

Well, here in the villages we're very lucky all of the major rec centers. Mm-hmm. That's having an associated gym. Mm-hmm and I didn't check recently, but it's quite nominal cost. I think it's five dollars a visit.

Mike Roth:

Oh yeah, it's about eight, eight, eight, about I've heard about $80 a month. Maybe I'm okay about that. No.

Dr.William Shang:

I mean per visit, but oh, but certainly can be updated. But there are cheaper and more expensive. I've news. There's Planet Fitness in Leesburg, when I go to this Genesis, which is good if you're getting started, because everyone who gets started needs a trainer. Even trainers need Trainers, because you can't see yourself right.

Mike Roth:

So when you go to a place like Genesis, I'm gonna say generally, there's a choice of two, three, three avenues. One is to hire a trainer in Genesis to take you through some exercises. Number two is the Genesis free classes, which are included in their membership. And the third, third course would be just to do it yourself. You know, get on the machines and either roll or push or pull in particular muscle groups. Are there any particular muscle groups that are more recommended?

Dr.William Shang:

I'm glad you asked that For metabolic health. What we're talking about is trying to train the largest muscle of the body Legs, Legs, hips, back. So the most important muscle we're trying to train are those which have become not used to being active. So if you take, for example, somebody who is sedentary, who doesn't do much in the way of exercise, their muscles are not using the majority of glucose in the body.

Mike Roth:

And that may be a lot of us who are in our 60s, 70s or 80s.

Dr.William Shang:

Right, we're no longer Calusa Indians.

Mike Roth:

No, we're not Calusa Indians. Instead of walking, we get in a golf cart or get in our car and drive someplace. I make it a practice to park my car at the far end of the parking lot from wherever I'm going and try to pick up 3,000 extra steps a day.

Dr.William Shang:

Good for you. I think that the Fitbit has done a good job of motivating people. What I find interesting about medicine and strength training for example, if you go to an internist or family practice doctors and office and you're sitting in the waiting room and you look around, chances are three out of four people sitting there are there for high blood pressure, lipid medication statins, and we don't have a good way of decreasing our health care costs by prevention or by treatment with exercise. And this is what's really amazing this information that is not well known. There was a study that came out in one of the British Medical Journal that by wall sitting, sitting with your back against the wall for two minutes four times a day every other day. It reduces the blood pressure the same as taking one high blood pressure medication.

Mike Roth:

That's a pretty good trick. Just sit against the wall at a 90 degree angle with your legs pointed out for four minutes a day, for two minutes a day. Two minutes a day, two minutes at a time, two minutes at a time, four times.

Dr.William Shang:

So it's a total of eight minutes. Eight minutes With some rest in between, with the rest Right, and you can do that while watching television or doing something else around that.

Mike Roth:

But that's really really very simple.

Dr.William Shang:

Very simple. You don't need a gym for that and you don't need a blood pressure medication. Well, that's pretty much fantastic, yeah.

Mike Roth:

Are there any other tricks?

Dr.William Shang:

Lots of tricks.

Mike Roth:

Lots of tricks. So if the goal is really to get stronger, how do you set a goal? How strong to be? Should I be able to lift 25 pounds, 50 pounds, 100 pounds it's 100 pounds. To me sounds like it'll break my own bones.

Dr.William Shang:

I think that for many people who are thinking or contemplating strength training, they instantly think of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Mike Roth:

Lew Ferrigno the Hulk.

Dr.William Shang:

I did that when I first started and I realized the benefits of strength training and I picked up one of his books and I followed his program and within a very short period of time it hurt myself and I realized basically, the problem is that seniors don't have a culture of strength training and be maybe a genesis, I don't know, but there's a way to do it. That is not a young person's way and the goal is not to look like Arnold. Nor will many of us achieve that. The goal is to improve our metabolism at the primary level so that we don't need a statin, we don't need a metform, we don't need a Wachovie.

Mike Roth:

Yes, I mean, it seems like recently Oprah has given up on strength training in favor of using Wachovie. Well, I can't comment on any particular person's medical situation, but well, it seems I do have a one friend who's lost over 50 pounds on Wachovie. He swears by it. He looks much better, much leaner. But when you go into that doctor's office that you talked about and I look around lots of times I see people who are overweight or grossly overweight. And let's take a quick break here and listen to a Alzheimer's tip from Dr Craig Curtis. Dr Curtis, can you give our patients a tip on keeping their brain healthy?

Dr. Craig Curtis:

Absolutely my favorite tip is involves a change in eating patterns, but it's not a drastic change. It's simply increasing the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, other white meats and lowering the amounts of red meat, sweets and sugars and also carbohydrates. It's essentially following a Mediterranean type diet plan.

Warren:

With over 20 years of experience studying brain health, dr Curtis's goal is to educate the village's community on how to live a longer, healthier life. To learn more, visit his website, craigcurtismd dot com, or call 352-500-5252 to attend a free seminar.

Emily:

Remember our next episode will be released next Friday at 9 am. Should you want to become a major supporter of the show or have questions, please contact us at mike at rothvoice. com. This is a shout out for supporters Greg Panijan, Tweet Coleman, Dan Kapellan, ed Williams, Alvin Stenzel and major supporter Dr Craig Curtis at K2 in the villages. We will be hearing more from Dr Curtis with short Alzheimer's tips each week. If you know someone who should be on the show, contact us at mike at rothvoice. com. We thank everyone for listening to the show. The content of the show is copyrighted by Rothvoice 2023, all rights reserved.

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