,B4 SUNDAY^ MAY 4, 1997 T SPORTS MEDICINE HEALTH THE SAUNA JOURNAL Resistance training still OK at 70 DR. PAUL DONOHUE Dear Dr. Donohue: Two retired friends, both older than me — I'm 70 —urge me to lift weights. They say it is as important to my health as my daily jogging. I think 70 is a bit old to be playing Hercules. What's your opinion? One friend is a woman. If I follow their advice, should I use machines that I've seen in health clubs, or should I just buy some dumbbells and barbells? — M.O.H. Dear M.H.: Can we change the term "weightlifting" to "resistance training"? It covers more ground. You're never too old to take up resistance training. If you don't challenge your muscles, you'll lose 30 percent of your strength and 40 percent of muscle size between the ages of 20 and 70. Resistance training maintains muscle strength and size well into advanced years. Even if you start such training late in life, you can reverse the loss of strength and muscle size that has already occurred. Not only does it make muscles strong, it builds thicker and sturdier bones, reducing the chance of fractures that tend to accompany aging. Resistance training benefits women as well as men. Go for it. Join your friends. Barbells and dumbbells are called "free weights." Many free-weight exercises force you to stand unsupported. In one way, that's a big plus. Free weights call upon many of your body's muscles to keep you upright. They enhance your sense of balance and coordination. Gym machines have their own benefits. For instance, it's much easier to adjust weights with machines than it is with barbells or dumbbells. The choice is up to you. You can get stronger with either. Before you launch yourself into a resistance training program, however, get your doctor's go-ahead. And you would be wise to find yourself a knowledgeable instructor who can teach you proper lifting techniques. Dr. Donahue is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column when possible. Write: P.O. Box 5539, Riverton, NJ 08077-5539. CROSSWORD ANSWER These are the answers to today's Los Angeles Times crossword found on PageBIO. T LOVE POTIONS Aphrodisiacs truly more than myths Drugs for increasing sexual desire available 'with a prescription .By JEAN FAIN . -Liis Atigt'li's Times Syndicate j,-,~~ ' Perhaps since Adam and Eve got booted out of the Garden of Eden, aphrodisiacs have intrigued ' J us. Only recently, however, have .research and writings taken i'aphrodisiacs from the mystical to ) ( the medical realm, giving new credence to the notion that lotions •and potions can stimulate desire and enhance sexual experiences. Throughout history, cultures around the world have concocted "unique (to put it mildly) folk reme- .dies — from oysters and rhino 'horn to chocolate and sugar water with a dash of semen and fingernail parings — to improve sexual .performance or enjoyment. ' However, mainstream Western •medicine has by and large shunned the study of aphrodisiacs "as serious medicine. "Because sexuality has traditionally been viewed as a nonessential part of health and well being, funding of i research to promote healthy sexu- i.al functioning is less than that for Bother health issues," says Barbara fJartlik, M.D., a researcher in the '•Human Sexuality Program at New York University/Cornell Univer- 'sity Medical Center. "' But the study of aphrodisiacs, Js important, says Theresa Crenshaw, M.D., a San Diego specialist (in sexual medicine and human relationships. Sexual dysfunction is 'a side effect of many pharmaceuticals and it is one of the two most 'common reasons (weight gain is '•the other) people stop taking lifesaving medications. Crenshaw first became interested in researching aphrodisiacs i,two decades ago, when patients taking medications for unrelated • ailments complained of sexual .dysfunction. Some men taking an- ti-hypertensives complained of impotence, while both men and women taking anti-depressants ..reported inhibited desire and orgasm/ejaculation difficulties. i.ii Ail this negative response got Crenshaw thinking. "With so (•many substances that could de- 1 press sexual function in one way or another, there must be ways to ''influence the same mechanisms favorably. And," she says, "indeed ;that turned out to be so." JC Thanks to Crenshaw and other ^researchers, aphrodisiacs have 'medical viability — and are now 'available by prescription. }" The research also laid the i groundwork for Crenshaw and ! James P. Goldberg, a clinical re- j search psychopharmacologist in j San Diego, to write "Sexual Phar- j macology: Drugs That Affect Sexu- l al Function." This encyclopedia j lists a wide range of medications, | herbs, hormones and other sub- I stances that both enhance and de| press sexual performance. I Yohimbine, a bark extract, for example, has been shown to increase sexual desire and performance, especially in men with diabetic neurological impairments; Prozac and its cousins are now a standard treatment for early ejaculation, and the anti-depressant Wellbutrin has been found to enhance desire in men and women. 1 Several medications that act as aphrodisiacs were discovered inadvertently in the late '60s in the treatment of illnesses like Parkinson's disease. Drug studies across the country were finding that male patients on L-dopa, a common medication used to control the tremors Parkinson's patients experience, suddenly started showing more desire. Despite the lack of funding, research has continued and recent studies have shown male hormones testosterone and DHEA (dehydroepiandosterone) — increase desire in menopausal women. An injection combining blood pressure medications and muscle relaxants helps men with erectile dysfunction. Closing costs. Prime Special six-month introductory rate. Prime+1 A great rate thereafter. 1-800-600^385 For more information or to apply by plwne. It's that simple to get a NationsBank HOMEquity® Credit Line. You get convenient access to money for home improvements, college, a new car or almost anything else. Plus, you pay no closing costs and get an incredible rate for the first six months and a great rate for the remaining life of the line* And, in most cases, the interest is tax-deductible.** So just give us a call or stop by your nearest NationsBank location today. NationsBank www.nationsbarik.com/loans 800-nwtiJber hours are 24 fiours a day, 7 days a week. 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