Is Your Job Putting You At Risk Of Diabetes

Getting type 2 diabetes is not as easy as catching a cold, thank God!

But if you neglect your health, you can gradually destroy your body and put you at risk of this metabolic disorder. Factors like family history, excess body weight and poor eating habits are contributors to high sugar levels and insulin resistance. Stress may seem an unlikely culprit as well, but recent studies suggests otherwise.

Stress on the job (or any kind of stress) can drive workers to take up poor lifestyle habits. These people are more likely to eat poorly, sleep late, and exercise less. Such behavior can drive a person to develop chronic diseases like diabetes.

Researchers have looked into the potential link of work stress and type 2 diabetes. According to a study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, 5000 participants within the range of 29 to 66 years old were gathered for evaluation.

Credit: http://www.medicaldaily.com

The contributors were asked to disclose their health status such as weight, smoking, and physical activity. Afterwards, each participant was assessed on his level of work stress using a detailed questionnaire. A follow-up about their health status was made after an average of 13 years.

This research found that the adults who were reported to have the highest stress levels had a 63% risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The category of people most affected by these results were men that lived on their own and had very high levels of stress.

Another culprit that plays an integral role in developing this disease is the hormone called cortisol – the substance that helps regulate blood sugar levels in your body. Stress levels also drive cortisol to spike up and affect the regulation of your blood sugar.

Past research about high levels of cortisol found links to other health problems like coronary diseases and the same connection has been found with recent studies on diabetes.

What Can You Do About It?

Work-related stress is a reality and this could be inevitable. If you feel like you have so much on your plate at work, below are some stress-relieving strategies you can try to stay healthy.

Organize

Organization is a key for achieving your goals in a timely manner. You can stay organized by keeping track of your projects and deadlines with an organizer or a mobile phone app.

If you are dealing with large projects, break them up into smaller tasks. Start your day with a to-do list and end it by crossing out what was accomplished within that day.

Never Procrastinate

A to-do list is a great starter for the day, but you won’t accomplish anything if you do not assign a timeline for each task. One method in avoiding procrastination is by tracking the hours allocated per task. Seeing that there is still time to finish a project can help you get to work and not waste time.

Avoid Taking Too Much Load

To avoid stress, know your limits. Do not overcommit to certain projects that you know you will not finish on time. If no one else can help you out on the task given to you, make sure to let your superiors know the timeline that they can expect for the finished work.

Limit Interruptions

If you are getting interrupted all the time by colleagues or other external distractions, try to address these issues before you start your duties. Ask your office mates to give you some block of time so as not to get disturbed. If there are other factors that are out of your hands, talk to your superiors about it.

Make Time

This means if there is no work left, leave the office on time. If you work at home, avoid answering business phone calls or checking work-related emails outside working hours. Make time for resting, to be with your family and do the hobbies you love.

Making a living from an office job can usually chain you to your computer and desk the entire day. To help reverse the negative effects of physical inactivity, try alternate strategies to keep you off of your seat.

Avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time. If you can work on a standing desk, go ahead and do it. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk briskly whenever you can. And if it is feasible, propose a walking conference.

To stay healthy, you still need to get at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise and 2 hours and 30 minutes for moderate workouts each week. Try to get off from work on time and allot a daily exercise routine to stay fit to avoid diabetes.

This blog post was sponsored by Katrina Rice.

5 Practical Ideas to Improve Health and Fitness by Michael Wood, CSCS

“Mens sana in corpore sano” (Latin)  – a healthy mind in a healthy body.

There were almost 82 million Americans who were completely inactive in 2015. We know that exercise on a regular basis can be a very difficult task since most people do not even like to exercise. More than 30% of the population will not workout at all this year and only 5% will exercise at a level that is considered vigorous. Compounding the problem, the average American sits more than 9 hours a day; sitting is now considered the new smoking. We have become a society where inactivity is fast becoming the new norm. If this resonates at all with you then you may want to try to incorporate the following practical tips into your lifestyle.

There have been many things that I have learned and continue to learn during my three decades in the fitness industry and I can honestly tell you, in addition to some nutritional advice, these five particular items should be on your radar. It would be prudent for you to make sure these five components (5M’s) find their way and get ingrained into your lifestyle.

  • Measurement

Athletes at the collegiate and professional level continue to improve because they work with the best strength and conditioning coaches and nutritionist. They have a well thought out plan and get tested periodically. This is the one component that offers the most bang for the buck yet most individuals find reason to neglect it. Find the time to take some type of measurement(s) and periodically test yourself in order to (1) hold yourself more accountable, (2) determine if your exercise plan is actually working and (3) to help keep you motivated. This applies to not just exercise and your workouts but also on the nutritional side of things. Are you eating, for example, too much added sugar? Checking your body weight is OK but go beyond just checking your weight. What percentage of muscle and body fat make up that overall weight of yours? What is your waist measurement? Can you run a mile? Can you run up a flight of stairs without feeling winded? These types of measurements offer more value than jumping on a bathroom scale.

Credit: http://www.azquotes.com

A few (measurement) ideas for you:

  • Determine your Waist-to-hip ratio
  • Monitor your % body fat and/or lean muscle mass
  • Record your daily grams of added sugar (<35 grams/day/men and <25 grams/day/women). Use the MyFitnessPal app.
  • Determine your best 500 or 2000 meter row time
  • Vertical jump measurement
  • Plank challenge (can you hold position for 2:00 or 3:00?)
  • Are you getting 8,500-10,000 steps/day

Finally, remember another great quote from Peter Drucker, “what’s measured improves.”

Suggested Reading

Koning L et al., Waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio as predictors of cardiovascular events: meta-regression analysis of prospective studies. European Heart Journal (2008). 28, 850–856 doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehm026

  • Mindfulness

Once your measurements are taken and documented you’ll then have a baseline and you’re ready to begin. A good first step, is to work towards becoming more mindful, this will help you not only with exercise and diet but in all aspects of your life. The net result will be a significant improvement in the “quality” of your exercise and the way  you fuel your body. As we become more in tune with mindfulness, we become more aware of the relationship between a stimulus and response. You can think of mindfulness as a tool that can help you develop that gap between the stimulus and the response to that stimulus.

Mindfulness is “the ability to stay focused, while being aware of your thoughts and surroundings and being able to recognize and move past distractions as they arise.” Harvard Business Review

Researchers looked at subjects who had the opportunity to choose from 22 general activities, such as walking, eating, shopping, and watching television. Their study showed that respondents, on average, reported their minds were wandering 47% of time, and no less than 30% of the time during every activity except making love. Becoming more mindful in regard to exercise and diet is extremely important. Learn to become truly present when you’re involved in these activities otherwise your mind and body are not taking in 100% of the benefit.

One way to help you get moving down this road of mindfulness is with daily meditation. A typical session involving meditation could range from two minutes up to sixty minutes. I have used the popular Headspace app to help me get started which is excellent and I highly recommend you start with this free, simple to use, app. More than 4 million people have used the app to date. According to a Tim Ferris, podcast, author of the 4-Hour Work Week, more than 80% of the world-class performers who he interviews use some form of daily meditation and he’s a big proponent of the free Headspace Take 10 program.

There is a great deal of research that demonstrates mediation creates positive changes in our brains. Harvard University neuroscientist Sara Lazar told the Washington Post, “long-term meditators have an increased amount of grey matter in the insula and sensory regions, the auditory and sensory cortex.”

In a 2014 study in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Australian researchers looked at the relationship between various personality traits and exercise and other health-related habits. The researchers found that people who thought they had control over their lives were more likely to exercise and adopt other healthy steps than those who felt that luck or fate largely dictated their lives. Daily meditation offers that sense of control.

With everything we have going on in our daily lives like raising children, marriage issues, social media, political upheaval, and all the demands at work, we need to find more time to focus on ourselves. The goal should be to work on eliminating all the distractions and “noise” that surrounds us. Becoming more mindful will enable us to have better control in all aspects of our lives especially with what we’re focusing on here, improving your lifestyle especially with regard to diet and exercise.

You can take this assessment to see where you currently rate when it comes to mindfulness. Try taking the assessment before and then after completing ten sessions using the Headspace app.

  • Mobility

Mobility, or joint mobility, in general, is one of the most misunderstood terms. The first thing you need to understand about mobility is that it does not start this week and then end in a day or two. If you want to improve mobility then it needs to be part of your every day life and one of the components of each workout you do. You will receive the most benefit when regular mobility work becomes part of your lifestyle.

Let’s first look at a good definition of mobility. According to physical therapist Joe Vega, M.S.P.T., CSCS,. “a person with great mobility is able to perform functional movement patterns with no restrictions in the range of motion of those movements.”

A more in-depth look at what happens when you perform specific mobility exercises is given here by fitness expert, Steven Maxwell. “Joint mobility exercise stimulates and circulates the synovial fluid in the bursa, which ‘washes’ the joint. The joints have no direct blood supply and are nourished by this synovial fluid, which simultaneously removes waste products. Joint salts, or calcium deposits, are dissolved and dispersed with the same gentle, high-repetition movement patterns. Properly learned, joint mobility can restore complete freedom of motion to the ankles, knees, hips, spine, shoulders, neck and hands.”

Remember, you should take a proactive approach when it comes to mobility, not a reactive one. In other words, don’t wait for problems to arise before you address them.

There are many specific exercises that can be done to improve joint mobility for areas like the ankle, hip, back and shoulder. Here is one such example that targets the back, specifically, the mid back (thoracic spine). What I particularly like about this mobility exercise is how it isolates the mid back while stabilizing the low back (lumbar spine). For mobility exercise ideas please visit Michael Wood Fitness on Instagram.

Prior to performing these movements try “rolling out” the area. A great tool to help you get started is a foam roller (see below) which can be used for self-myofascial release. It has been shown to help increase joint range of motion and with delayed-onset muscle soreness, commonly known as DOMS. For more information check out MWOD.

Suggested Reading

Supple Leopard, Dr. Kelly Starrett, Victory Belt Publishing, 2013.

Foam rolling and self-myofascial release, Strength & Conditioning Research.

Mobility Training May Be the Most Important Factor in Musculoskeletal Health, Steve Maxwell.

Training Principles for Fascial Connective Tissue, Schleip R., Muller DG., J. Bodywork & Movement Therapies, 2012.

  • Movement

Hippocrates once said, “walking is a man’s best medicine.” To find out if his 2,400 year-old remark was actually valid, two scientists from University College London performed a meta-analysis of research published between 1970 and 2007 in peer-reviewed journals. After studying more than 4,000 research papers, they identified 18 studies that met their high standards for quality. The studies evaluated 459,833 test-subjects who were absent of cardiovascular disease at the start of the investigation. The subjects were followed for an average of 11.3 years, during which cardiovascular events (i.e. heart attacks and deaths) were recorded. Their meta-analysis makes a strong case for the benefits of good old walking. The group of studies showed that walking reduced the risk of cardiovascular events by 31 percent, and decreased the risk of dying during the time of the study by 32 percent.

More movement of any kind is obviously a good thing. One tool you can use to monitor your exercise and especially walking is a pedometer. It can be valuable because it (1) can hold you more accountable, (2) it can help to build up to a desired step total for a daily/weekly/monthly total and (3) it can be a useful motivational tool along the way. Research out of Stanford University has shown that individuals who use a pedometer take an additional 2,000 steps each day, compared to nonusers, and their overall physical activity level increases by 27%. Another study showed participants who increased their steps to average more than 9,500 a day for 32 weeks lost 5 pounds, 1.9% body fat and 1.9 centimeters from their hips. They also increased their HDL cholesterol by 3 mg/dl and lowered their BMI by nearly 2 points. The participants in the study increased their steps by an average of 4,000 steps a day from the start of the study.

The goal with trying to add in more daily movement is consistency. If you have a crazy week at work and can’t get to the gym as much during the week then be sure you check it off during the weekend. The key is to do something. Research by Krogh-Madsen and colleagues showed the dramatic changes that can take place after just two weeks of decreasing your activity. The subjects were young, lean, healthy men who decreased their daily steps from 10,000 steps a day to 1,300 steps a day. They experienced an increase in body weight, 7% decline in VO2 max, a 2.8% loss of lean muscle in their legs, and a 17% drop in insulin sensitivity after just two weeks of decreasing their activity by 8,700 steps a day.

A few thoughts to keep in mind when it comes to movement. More movement, like walking, and other forms of exercise (like strength training), translates into an elevated metabolism. There are many external as well as internal forces that can have an effect on your metabolism and exercise is the most variable. Sedentary individuals may add only 10-30% to their total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) while very active individuals can increase that number above 50-75%. TDEE is the total amount of calories the human body burns (or expends) in one day. When you’re more active throughout the day you get the added bonus of what scientist refer to as NEAT or non-exercise activity thermogenesis. NEAT is the energy expenditure of all physical activities other than exercise. NEAT can vary by up to 2000 kcal per day between people of similar size in part because of the substantial variation in the amount of activity that they perform. Obesity is associated with low NEAT; obese individuals “appear to exhibit an innate tendency to be seated for 2.5 hours per day more than sedentary lean counterparts.” When you exercise at higher intensity levels you increase your body’s ability to burn calories post exercise, known as exercise post oxygen consumption (EPOC). EPOC is one of the by-products of high-intensity interval training.

TDEE = BMR + TEF + NEAT + EPOC + Exercise

Finally, according to research published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, subjects who were least active during this particular study were five times more likely to die than the most active people and three times more likely than those in the middle range in terms of daily activity. The data was taken from approximately 3,000 people aged 50 to 79 that were part of the University of Pennsylvania Population Study. When in doubt, always remember the old saying “use it or lose it.”

Suggested Reading

Movement: Functional Movement Systems, Gray Cook, Lotus, 2011.

The One-Minute Exercise, Martin Gibala, PhD, Avery, 2017.

The Inner Runner, Jason Karp, PhD, Skyhorse Publishing, 2016.

How to Think About Exercise, Damon Young, The School of Life, 2015.

Better Movement, Todd Hargrove, Amazon Digital, 2014.

Born to Walk, James Earle, Lotus Publishing, 2014.

  • Muscle

The ability to maintain muscle mass as you age is considered by many as the closest thing to the fountain of youth. There is still hope for you even if you’ve been inconsistent or unable to exercise at all. That hope comes in the form of regular strength training. Research has shown that approximately three decades of age-related strength loss and two decades of age-related muscle mass loss can be recovered or reversed within the first couple of months of starting a strength training program. Research from a 2016 meta-analysis published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise reviewed 49 studies of men ages 50 to 83 who did regular strength training and found that subjects averaged a 2.4-pound increase in lean muscle mass.

There are a few additional items you need to focus on consistently beyond your strength training. When it comes to maintaining or building muscle, sleep and recovery are critical and good nutrition is a must. When I say nutrition I’m talking about eating a surplus of good calories especially in the form of high quality protein. If your body is not continually in an anabolic state you will not be building new muscle any time soon. The goal is to eat a “clean” diet that consistently includes the three major macronutrients. Eating a plant-based, high fiber diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruits and healthy fats is always a good thing. Avoid the processed foods, watch the extra calories from soda and other sport drinks, and limit alcohol. Put yourself on an added sugar budget, see #nosugar40 for more information.

A recent study in the journal Nutrients suggests a daily intake of 1 to 1.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is needed for older adults who do resistance training. For example, a 175-pound man would need about 79 to 103 grams a day. If possible, divide your protein equally among your daily meals to maximize muscle protein synthesis.

There is a strong association between strength training and muscle mass but as you continue to age the key is working smarter. You can do that by making sure you include these primary lifts or movements as part of your strength program: squat, dead lift, pulling and pushing movements, and some type of loaded carry.

In a recent comprehensive research review, Donnelly and colleagues note that the majority of peer-reviewed resistance training studies (lasting 8–52 weeks) show increases of 2.2–4.5 pounds of muscle mass. These researchers suggest that an increase of 4.5 pounds of muscle mass would probably increase resting metabolic rate by about 50 kcal per day. Although this small change is not nearly as much as some advertisers may suggest, it does help close the gap between energy intake and energy expenditure.

There you have it – my five practical tips that will help take your health and fitness to the next level. The choice is now yours.

Suggested Reading

Biochemical Adaptations in Muscle. J. Biol. Chemistry 424(9): 2278-2282, 1967.

Dynamic exercise performance in Masters athletes: insight into the effects of primary human aging on physiological functional capacity. J Applied Physiol 95: 2152-2162, 2003.

Core Performance, Mark Verstegen, Rodale Books, 2005

Athletic Body in Balance, Gray Cook, Human Kinetics, 2003

Functional Training for Sport, M. Boyle, Human Kinetics, 2003

Never Let Go, Dan John, On Target, 2011

References

Schneider PL, Bassett DR, Thompson DL, Pronl NP, and Bielak KM (2006). Effects of a 10,000 Steps per Day Goal in Overweight Adults. Am J Health Promotion 21(2): 85-89.

Donnelly, J.E., et al. Is resistance training effective for weight management? Evidence-Based Preventive Medicine, 1(1): 21–29, 2003.

Krogh-Madsen R, Thyfault JP, Broholm C, Mortensen OH, Olsen RH, Mounier R, Plomgaard P, van Hall G, Booth FW, and Pedersen, BK (2010). A 2-wk reduction of ambulatory activity attenuates peripheral insulin sensitivity. J. Applied Physiology, 108(5):1034-1040.

Wu BH, Lin J, (2006). Effects of exercise intensity on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption and substrate use after resistance exercise. J Exerc Sci Fit, 4(2).

Abboud GJ, Greer BK, Campbell SC, Panton LB, (2012). Effects of Load-Volume on EPOC after Acute Bouts of Resistance Training in Resistance Trained Males. October.

Levine JA, et al. (2006). Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 26: 729-736.

Ivey, FM et al., (2000). The Effects of Age, Gender and Myostatin Genotype on the Hypertrophic Response to Heavy Resistance Strength Training. J. Gerontol: Med Sci 55A: M641-M848.

Ezra I. Fishman, Jeremy A. Steeves, Vadim Zipunnikov, Annemarie Koster, David Berrigan, Tamara A. Harris, Rachel Murphy. Association between Objectively Measured Physical Activity and Mortality in NHANES. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2016; 1 DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000885

What’s More Important: Diet or How Much You Exercise?

You have probably wondered at some point in your life, is diet more important than exercise or does exercise trump diet. I think the question that you first need to ask yourself is: “What is your main outcome or goal?” If your answer is strictly weight loss, both diet and exercise are important but the focus placed on diet is slightly higher. If you’re looking to just maintain a healthy lifestyle then you need to consistently monitor and focus on both. Remember, you can’t manage something if you don’t measure it. Finally, if you’re someone who has lost a significant amount of weight and your goal is to maintain that weight loss for the rest of your life then both diet and exercise are your best friends.

One of the best research-based organizations that looks at these types of questions and more is the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR). The NWCR is the brain-child of Rena Wing, PhD, from Brown University Medical School and James Hill, PhD, from the University of Colorado. The NWCR “provides information about the strategies used by successful weight loss maintainers to achieve and maintain long-term weight loss.” The NWCR is currently tracking over 10,000 individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight and, most importantly, have kept it off for long periods of time.

NWCR members have lost an average of 72.6 pounds and maintained the loss for more than 5 years. “To maintain their weight loss, members report engaging in high levels of physical activity (≈1 h/day/walking), eating a low-calorie, low-fat diet, eating breakfast regularly, self-monitoring weight, and maintaining a consistent eating pattern across weekdays and weekends.”

What should help clear up this debate is the fact that only 1 percent of the huge NWCR database (>10,000 subjects) have been successful at keeping their weight off with exercise alone. About 10 percent of the subjects have been successful with weight-loss maintenance by focusing on diet alone. More than 89 percent of the subjects have been successful because of BOTH diet and exercise modifications.

Your best bet is to spend quality time at the gym a few times a week and remember to challenge yourself when you’re moving through your paces. Stay active throughout the week and especially during the weekends. Focus on eating clean, healthy foods, avoiding highly processed foods while watching the added sugar in everything you eat. Finally, know that diet and exercise are your best choices to help get you there and once you’ve reached your goals, will help keep you there!

References

Wing RR, Hill JO. Successful weight loss maintenance. Annu Rev Nutr 2001;21:323–41.

Wing RR, Phelan S. Long-term weight loss maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr 2005; 82(1): 222S-225S.

How Diet and Exercise Helps You Fight Disease

There are days where you may wonder – does all the time I spend on exercising and attention I give to my diet even matter? Will I receive health benefits even though the bathroom scale, at times, may not change and my expectations are rarely met?

There is plenty of evidence that shows diet and exercise does in fact have a positive association with various health outcomes. They can help fight off or retard many diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

healthy-living
Photo Credit: http://johnfawkes.com/

New research out of UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior has demonstrated that both diet (a Mediterranean diet) and physical fitness can determine whether or not you’ll be a victim of the disease. The study has shown that:

“healthy diet, regular physical activity, and a normal body mass index–also known as a BMI, or weight-to-height ratio–can actually reduce the incidence of protein build-ups correlated with onset of Alzheimer’s disease.”

There are around 5.2 million people in the United States that currently suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and an estimated $200 billion is spent on trying to cure this condition annually. The research from UCLA and other research groups proves, rather unsurprisingly, that “prevention and a healthy lifestyle are actually far more effective than reactive action to disease.”

As you get ready to enter another new year, take stock in the fact that the time and attention spent on your exercise and diet will, in the long run, will pay back strong dividends.

8 Tips for Maintaining Weight Loss Based on a 20-Year National Study

To learn more about the science of weight loss, researchers founded the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) as a long-term study project back in 1994. There are currently more than ten thousand people who have joined in the project. Researchers compiled self-report data from subjects who have successfully maintained weight loss and the finding were published in The Journal for Nurse Practitioners.

The results from of the data showed that 90 percent of NWCR participants were still maintaining at least 10 percent weight loss 10 years after losing weight. These people had various ways to achieve that, but they also used eight common strategies, including:

  1. They eat a low-fat, low-calorie diet primarily prepared at home. On average, they consumed 1,306 calories per day, with only 24.3 percent of calories from fat.
  2. They eat breakfast. Studies have shown that regular breakfast is associated with low BMI.
  3. They have diet rules for weekdays, weekends, and holidays. Their food intake is very consistent from day-to-day.
  4. They exercise about 1-hour a day. About 75 percent of people expended at least 1000 calories/week in physical activity. Walking is the most common exercise used.
  5. They regularly drink low-calorie or no-calorie beverages, especially water. Only 10 percent of people drink sugar-sweetened beverages.
  6. They weigh themselves on a regular basis. Regular self-weighing may serve as an early alarm for weight regain.
  7. They spend limited time on watching TV. Most of them watch TV fewer than 10 hours a week.
  8. They sleep 7 or more hours a night. Studies have shown that people who sleep less than 7 hours are more likely to be obese.
HOW IMPORTANT IS BREAKFAST
Image Credit: http://backtoedenwithliz.com

We know from research and our personal experiences that there are no “one size fits all” strategies for successful weight loss maintenance but these eight behavioral tips can be used as tools to develop a customized approach to maintain a healthy weight.

Reference

Raphaelidis L. (2016). Maintaining Weight Loss: Lessons from the National Weight Control Registry. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 12: 286-287. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nurpra.2016.01.009

Resource

The National Weight Control Registry, Providence (RI).

 

Enough with the Statement that Exercise Does not Help with Weight Loss

A few times a year we see some news publication or media outlet come out with a bold statement that aerobic exercise in one form or another is useless when it comes to weight loss. First off, even if you never lost weight with regular exercise, the (many) positive outcomes associated with regular exercise, still far out way not exercising at all and yes, even if weight loss never occurs.

EDITH
Photo credit: http://www.bodyrock.tv

A recent issue of TIME (July, 2016) looked at the “new” reasons to exercise which I like because it takes the focus off weight loss. In the article, author, Alexandra Sifferlin, shows the research and hits on the following point:

  • Exercise improves memory.
  • Exercise increases energy – a study out of the University of Georgia, saw “a 166% increase in self-reported energy in men who exercised on bikes for 20 minutes.”
  • Exercise may keep depression at bay.
  • Exercise can curb food cravings.
  • Exercise can reduce the risk of serious cancers – data from the National Cancer Institute showed individuals who are more active than their sedentary counterparts had a “20% lower risk of certain serious cancers.”
  • Exercise has mind-body benefits.

Let’s face it, many of us know that we can run a few miles a day for weeks and even months at a time and sometimes by the end, lose minimal or no weight at all. We may think all the hard work and time commitment was a big waste of our time.  If you start thinking out of the box and focus on the additional benefits of exercise rather than a primary outcome all the time (i.e. weight loss) you’ll be better off in the long run.

Professor Herman Pontzer of City University of New York (CUNY), stated: “Exercise is really important for your health. That’s the first thing I mention to anyone asking about the implications of … exercise. There is tons of evidence that exercise is important for keeping our bodies and minds healthy, and this work does nothing to change that message. What our work adds is that we also need to focus on diet, particularly when it comes to managing our weight and preventing or reversing unhealthy weight gain.”

Dr. Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England has stated: “Being physically active is good for your physical and mental health and also helps to maintain a healthy weight. However, the evidence shows the most effective way of losing weight is to reduce calorie intake through a healthy balanced diet.”

Oh and by the way researcher Rena Wing, PhD, from Brown University and her colleagues at the National Weight Control Registry have followed a large group of subjects (>10,000) who have lost a significant amount of weight, and more importantly, have kept it off for many years. Registry members have lost an average of 66 pounds and have kept it off for 5.5 years. One of their secrets is exercising (walking) for an hour a day!

References

Exercise alone won’t cause weight loss, study shows, The Guardian, January 2016.

The new reasons to exercise, Alexandra Sifferlin, Time Magazine, July, 2016.

Is All Your Technology Helping You Stay Active?

We are so preoccupied at times with all our technology. Constantly on our phones even during sporting events or with a group of friends at dinner. We spend hours sitting, hunched-over in front of our computers or looking at our tablets for the majority of the day.

Granted there are some great health and fitness apps, digital gyms and other forms of technology that help individuals stay active. There are also products, like your Fitbit or the Apple watch you’re contemplating on purchasing, that could potentially help to increase activity levels as well.

The take away here is to start using a small portion of each day to “digital detox” and use that time rather than sitting and “turning off” your body, focus instead of  engaging your mind, body, spirit with a new activity without all the technology.

Here is an infographic titled The Data Never Sleeps by DOMO that I thought was amazing. It breaks down the use of technology by the minute in a typical day. Take a moment and look at each individual category and add up the amount of time you spend doing each one during your typical day. These data points would be staggering if they were for a 24-hour period but I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the fact that it’s for only 60-seconds!

So, take a break from all the emailing, FB, Tweeting, Instagraming and ruining your posture looking at your phone and computer all day. Get up and get out, and bring your kids along whenever possible, for at least 30-minutes of exercise a day and think about how you’re going to start moving more each day…your mind, body and spirit will love you for it!

Data Every Minute
Credit: DOMO. Erik Fitzpatrick licensed CC BY 2.0

Suggested Reading                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Here’s What A Constantly Plugged-In Life Is Doing To Kids’ Bodies by Lori Leibovich, Huffington Post.

Make Exercise Part of Your Preventative Medicine Plan

u-s-preventive-medicine-inc-prevention-plan-logo
Source: http://uspm.com/why-the-preventive-plan

We often forget about what goes on “behind the scenes” as a direct result of the exercise we do over the course of a typical week. We may think if we are not losing weight that all our time spent on exercise is just a waste of time and why even bother. It might be time to take a look at exercise from a different perspective such as a preventative measure or simply your daily dose of preventive medicine.

Preventive medicine refers to measures taken to prevent diseases, (or injuries) rather than curing them or treating their symptoms (source: Wikipedia).

  • Look at exercise as a way to PREVENT WEIGHT GAIN.
  • Exercise keeps your metabolism “revving” as you age.
  • It not only keeps your muscles strong but strengthens your bones, ligaments and tendons as well.
  • Think of exercise as heart health.
  • If you’re stressed or depressed, think of exercise as way to “release the tension.”
  • Every time you exercise think of it as protection: keeping your immune system strong.
  • Each time you exercise your extending your life expectancy.
  • Regular exercise will keep the incidence of arthritis, CVD, diabetes and breast cancer down.
  • Movement will help with back pain.
  • Keeping yourself fit and healthy as you age will help in the big picture of rising health care cost.
  • Exercise helps with everything from balance to cognition (as you age).
  • Think of exercise as a memory booster.

We have our own reasons for why we continue to exercise: vanity, feel healthy, lose weight, prevent injuries, to stay functional as we age, or maybe for the social aspect. Whatever your reasons might be, remember, that there are many benefits that equate directly to the duration and intensity of what your doing each time you exercise. Make regular exercise the only pill you take.

Research Shows Exercise Can Erase the Effects of a Sugar Binge

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Source: http://huffingtonpost.com

With the average person eating about 150 pounds of sugar a year, the likelihood of going on a sugar binge once in a while is very likely, especially when you eat one too many dark chocolate bars. What if additional exercise, however, could erase the effects of that sugar binge from the dark chocolate you just ate?

Well, you may be happy to hear that new research published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggest that exercise may blunt the negative effects of sugar. Researchers had adult subjects consume an additional 75 grams of fructose a day that came from soda. Subjects were then asked to be highly active or very inactive for separate two week periods. During their active period they used a pedometer and walked 12,500 steps a day (about 6 miles) while during their inactive period they decreased  their step count to 4,500 steps a day. Blood samples following a meal showed the inactive participants with high fructose intakes had 88% higher triglyceride levels and signs of higher inflammation. When subjects were active these markers did not exist.

“When you consume extra fructose, your liver responds by releasing fats into your blood stream. When you’re active your body increases the production of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase and this enables your body to absorb those fats that are circulating in your bloodstream and then use them for energy” according to Amy Bidwell, PhD, co-author of the study and an assistant professor at SUNY Oswego.

It is still very important to keep yourself on a “budget” to help monitor your daily added sugar but now you know you have a little room to play with and not feel guilty if you go on that sugar binge, as long as you’re highly active that day.

Source: Can Exercise Erase a Sugar Binge? by Jessica Migala.

For additional reading on this topic see Gretchen Reynolds NY Times blog post on How Sugar Affects the Body in Motion.