10 Reasons Why You Should Do More Strength Training and Cardio

300px-Diagram_of_the_human_heart_(cropped)_svgI have been looking back on some of my recent strength training sessions as well as the interval training I have been doing on the cardio side. We have a tendency, with exercise, to judge if it’s working by what the bathroom scale currently reads. But that should not be the case; weight loss does not always depict the full story. With each bout of exercise, we are improving various physiological and psychological aspects of our body that are not visible to the naked eye. For example:

Strength Training:

  • Building muscle mass can increase metabolism by 15% – so if you’re looking to rev up that slow metabolism and become or stay functional as you age – you need to be strength training at least a few times each week.
  • Prevents Sarcopenia – which is the loss of muscle mass as you age – you can lose up to 10% or more of your muscle per decade after age 50.
  • Plays a role in disease prevention – like type 2 diabetes for example.
  • Improves the way your body moves resulting in better balance and less falls as you age (you can reduce your risk for falling by 40%).
  • Preserves the loss of muscle during weight loss (Donnelly et al., 2003)
  • Will offset bone loss as you age – women can expect to lose 1% of their bone mass after age 35 (and this increases following menopause) – see Strong Women, Strong Bones

Cardiovascular Exercise:

  • Aerobic exercise will improve your mood by decreasing stress and anxiety levels – read The Inner Runner by Jason Karp, Phd and Exercise for Mood and Anxiety by Michael Otto, Phd and Jasper Smits, PhD
  • Regular cardio exercise like jogging, hiking, jump roping etc will “load” your bones in your lower extremity and make them stronger.
  • Makes your heart stronger, lowers your resting heart rate and enables your body to deliver oxygen more efficiently to your working muscles.
  • The American College of Sports Medicine states that higher levels of cardiovascular fitness are associated with approximately a 50% reduction in disease risk.

Reference:

Donnelly, J.E., Jakicic, J.M., Pronk, N., Smith, B.K., Kirk, E.P., Jacobsen, D.J., Washburn, R. “Is Resistance Training Effective for Weight Management?” Evidence-Based Preventive Medicine. 2003; 1(1): 21-29.

Future Wearables Will Focus On Specialized Health Assistance

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With the continual development in technologies, more powerful high-tech gadgets are replacing devices that were once deemed ‘revolutionary’. Smartphones and tablets that changed consumer’s lifestyles are now being replaced by more portable technologies in the form of wearable devices.

Smartwatches and smart headsets have been around on the market for quite a while now. Samsung and Sony have revolutionized the game by releasing their own version of standalone smartwatches that can run on thier own SIM cards and perform similar functions to smartphones.

However, wearables don’t just look exhibited modern aesthetics and allow people to relax by playing games or reading content. The next wave of technologies will be focusing on assisting people with specialized health needs. Read on below to find out how the next batch of wearable devices will provide in-depth health assistance to humans.

Smart contact lens for Diabetics

Known for its high-tech solutions, Google isn’t only working on building a standalone VR headset for consumers, it’s also in the developmental stages of producing a health solution that can aid the growing number of patients with diabetes worldwide. In partnership with pharmaceutical giant Novartis, the search giant is now in the process of creating the first smart contact lens that can non-invasively monitor blood sugar levels of patients through their tears. Aside from assisting diabetics, the smart contact lens is also designed to correct user’s vision.

Google has not given any details yet on the release of the smart lens, as they want to make this technology ‘flawless’ by the time they release it to the public. Co-founder Larry Page said they are trying to avoid releasing it too early so they ensure all bases are covered with the innovation.

Wearable for calf pain

It promises a “100% Drug Free” pain relief for chronic calf pain. The Quell is a revolutionary device that aids people with constant body pain by sending signals to the brain to stimulate and relax nerve endings, particularly in the calf area, which is prone to aches due to walking, jogging, and standing for long periods. The company claimed, “67% of Quell users reported a reduction in their use of pain medication.”

By reducing muscle pain, the device also promises to improve user’s sleeping patterns as well as muscular pain.

Smart band for Epilepsy

While some fitness wearables can only track basic health parameters, other smartwatches such as the Apple Watch are more advanced as it can mimic some of its paired handsets functionalities. So far, the iPhone 6s is the best smartphone to pair with the Apple Watch as O2 said it comes pre-built with the iOS 9 and all the latest functionalities users need to accurately monitor their health. But, new waves of smartwatches are now able to carry out the same functionalities. So, what’s next for the smart band?

The next batch of fitness band will no longer focus on mimicking the features of smartphones, as a revolutionary wearable wants to set a standard in making the technology a “real” health assisting device. Empatica, a human data analytics firm in Italy, came up with a smart band that can assist patients with chronic epileptic attacks. A crowdfunded project, the Embrace band is similar to the standard smartwatch appearance, minus the touchscreen display. This life-saving device alerts the patient’s family members or the health professional overseeing them through an app or another paired wearable when an attack happens. It comes with a mobile app that helps the patient’s family track feedback, sleep patterns and their stress levels.

High-tech patch to relieve fever

TempTraq is a device that was aimed for working parents, and helps them monitor the wellbeing of their children by placing the patch on the patient and providing them real-time temperature readings on their mobile devices. More than just a digital thermometer, this offers plenty of benefits such as better sleep, 24-hour monitoring and an option to track multiple sick patients.

Akron Children’s Hospital, which is among the Best Children’s Hospital in the US, offered its support to this technology and are now leveraging the benefits of this wearable in monitoring young patients.

A high-tech solution to improving posture

Technology has become one of the main culprits for bad posture, such as the ‘Text Neck’ that commonly affects the younger generation due to their excessive usage of smartphone. The technology offers a solution for this problem through the invention of Upright. This high-tech device can improve a user’s posture by training them to eliminate positions that develop back problems.

The device needs to be worn on the user’s back for 15 minutes to an hour, targeting the spinal cord. It alerts people through a vibration when they slouch to keep their back straight. Based on their official page, it is an “effective training, which strengthens your core muscles and builds muscle memory.”

JBTechy has been following the latest trends in mTech, mLearning and mHealth. She is particularly fascinated with the development of health-focused technologies that can assist patients in developing countries and those in remote places that don’t get medical assistance. She is now dedicating most of her posts towards promoting mHealth so organizations and businesses can better build solutions to aid those people in developing countries. Watch out for her blog soon!

Small Changes are Key to Improving Health and Fitness

lens19443020_1335810382aThe cumulative effect of small changes are key to improving both your health and fitness level. Many people are looking for the home run or the secret “ingredient” when it comes to trying lose weight or improve their fitness level. Implementing a few of the recommended changes throughout your day, coupled with your daily workout, is a great start to help you change the way you look and feel over the course of the next few weeks.

Morning
-Drink more water first thing in the morning.
-Make sure your eating breakfast.
-Try squeezing in more activity like walking/hiking before work (start wearing a pedometer).

Afternoon
-Workout at lunch time if you’re able, and if not, take a walk.
-Add more protein to your lunch and avoid bread and fried foods.
-Stand more at work rather than sitting for 6-8 hrs (make a standing work station).

Evening
-Make dinner your smallest meal of the day.
-No eating within three hours of going to bed.
-Cut down on your screen and TV time.

Finally, throughout the Morning/Afternoon/Evening watch your added sugar and salt intake – this one simple tip will pay back big dividends in no time! If you’re a female, work on consuming <100 calories a day of added sugar (25 grams/day) and if you’re a male, work on taking in <150 calories a day (38 grams/day).

Twitter Health and Fitness

New Research Shows Correlation Between Yoga and Health

The Yoga in America Study showed a 29 percent increase in the number of Americans who practiced some form of yoga. That increase represented 20.4 million yoga practitioners in 2012 or 8.7 percent of adults in America; growing from 15.8 million four years earlier. Of that number, 82.2 percent were women; 17.8 percent were men and about 63 percent fell within the age range of 18-44.

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photo credit: http://karmasurfretreat.com

A recently published paper in the Indian Journal of Community Medicine (2014) looked at the positive association between yoga and physical and mental health. The author of the study concluded “that practice of yoga is beneficial for all the dimensions of health, i.e. physical, mental, social, and spiritual and at the same time promotes harmony with nature and helps in conserving environment.”

In a 2012 study published in the International Journal of Yoga, Penman and colleagues looked at the practice of yoga in Australia with more than 3,800 yoga practitioners. The researchers concluded:

“Yoga practice was seen to assist in the management of specific health issues and medical conditions. Regular yoga practice may also exert a healthy lifestyle effect including vegetarianism, non-smoking, reduced alcohol consumption, increased exercise and reduced stress with resulting cost benefits to the community.”

Finally, a review of eight studies demonstrated pulmonary function appears to improve with a minimum of 10 weeks of regular yoga practice. The more de-conditioned the person the better the improvement in pulmonary function, measured by maximum inspiratory and expiratory pressure.

References

Taneja DK (2014). Yoga and Health. Indian J. Community Medicine. 39(2): 68–72.

Penman S, Cohen M, Stevens P, and Jackson S (2012). Yoga in Australia: Results of a national survey. Int J Yoga. 5(2): 92–101.

Abel AN, Lloyd LK, Williams JS (2013).The effects of regular yoga practice on pulmonary function in healthy individuals: a literature review. J Alternative Compl Medicine. 19(3):185-90.