Obesity is a public health crisis. Here are some of the contributors:
Why are so many people obese? You have been told many things contribute to obesity. Here are a few thoughts about recent research:
1) Recent science thinks that only some people benefit from dieting.
2) Diet alone is only helpful in the short term, and is usually not sustainable for long term.
3) Not enough activity on a daily basis, at least not the right kind of activity.
4) Endless cycles of dieting can lead to more weight gain over time.
5) Eating is a behavior, and over eating may be linked to control issues.
6) Weight problems may be linked to a hormone called Leptin.
What do the experts suggest?
It's not all about will power. Some poeple's bodies don't respond to the hormone called Leptin (www.healthline.com/nutrition/leptin-101.) Leptin is a hormone produced by your fat cells. It helps your body balance your energy. Basically, it inhibits hunger. Leptin signals to the brain when the body needs food. People with normal eating habits have physiological cues to stop eating and they are less likely to over- eat and store less fat. In short, this means that some people that are obese may have a malfunction in the part of the brain that is responsible for normal eating habits says, Shelly E Taylor, Health Psychologist.
The malfunction in the brain doesn't receive the right signals.This is a complex issue, and more studies are needed to come up with a treatment plan for obese people. this may be the future treatment for some. Remember though...the research is still young. Having said that, it appears that most of us will simply benefit from a change in lifestyle patterns.
Other factors include:
Not enough sleep believe it or not? If you are tired you are less likely to exercise. The stress hormone cortisol is higher and your clarity and judgement become impaired making you less likely to stick to a healthy eating style. Check out www.webmd.com
Speaking of exercise, its best to have higher intensity exercise to burn maximum calories. This is one reason Cross-fit is so popular. Some science suggests that if we burn more calories than we take in, then the body will burn more fat. This is an older theory, but it makes sense. Some nutrition experts I have heard speak have emphasized this concept.
What you can Do
Set goals to change your habits, and be gentle with yourself if you fail. It takes time to develop new eating and exercise habits: It's a life style. Try finding an activity you like instead of forcing yourself through reps at the gym. Of course, new science is pointing the way to eating higher protein and less carbohydrates. Muscles need protein. Will power isn't enough to sustain long-term changes in lifestyle.
Visit Dishing up Nutrition at weight&wellness.com. You will get expert advise on eating healthy.
If you have success stories please let me know so I can share them.
Set goals to change habits, it's not easy to change life-long bad habits.
Exercise is a health enhancing behavior that can lead to optimal wellness, but it must be regular. Lack of it, increases your chances of chronic health problems, accidents and even disability. It's that time of year to get active again. See what the research says.
Commitment to exercise requires an attitude, and behavioral change. Only then will it replace poor lifestyle habits. You may have good intentions, and then you relapse due to other factors in your life. According to psychologist Shelly E Taylor, "changing a health habit isn't easy, and may occur in stages." Planning an exercise program and keeping a journal will help your motivation to continue. Group participation adds a social element to your chosen activity. Some people need more social support than others.
Exercise is the easy part, the habit is not. Sticking to a routine must become a new habit. Try replacing a bad habit with exercise. Some people have done it with smoking.
The list of benefits of aerobic exercise are endless. If you participate in aerobic exercise you will increase your cardiovascular fitness and overall endurance. The best activities for aerobic exercise are jogging, biking, running and swimming. I may add that long periods of playing racquet sports improve aerobic fitness and strength too.
Apparently benefits have even been found even for preschoolers. Increasing the efficiency of the heart muscle makes any activity easier and less subject to fatigue. You will likely see improvements in your body weight, and increase in your muscle tone including joint tissue and flexibility.
Let's not forget the mental and emotional benefits. Experts have been turning to exercise for prescription for mood, anxiety and depression states. One study assigned depressed women to either an exercise condition, a relaxation training session, or a no treatment session. The exercise group improved their depression more than any other group. Other studies found that the over all capability to cope with stress increased with regular exercise (Taylor, Shelly, E).
A good exercise program may even prevent chronic health conditions, and even cancer too. You can prevent those metabolic disorders that plague middle age.
A Canadian Woman's Story
I recently read a story about a woman age 50 who took up running for the first time. In the 70's it was thought that after age 60 you couldn't benefit from exercise. Of course none of that is true. Experts were forced to do more research in this area. The great news is that up to age 80 and beyond are benefiting from exercise. Scientists have said that long term exercise benefits can even avoid age related illnesses altogether...in many cases.
Margaret Webb, writer and author of the book Older Faster Stronger, put herself through some of the rigors of the research. She says, "You just have to train smarter." She has become a world-class marathon runner since then. She is a 50 year old runner, who now has reached her former fitness close to that of her twenties! That doesn't mean we all have to train like that, but it just goes to show you.
You can get healthier through exercise whether you participate in a group or go solo. The moral of the story is that aging can be easier with regular exercise. It works best if you can find a sport you like and stick to it. Plan a program and reward yourself. You don't have to be an elite athlete to benefit from long term exercise habits.
Most people give little thought to how things we consider as "daily hassles," can contribute to stress and even make us sick. Hassles can range from irritants to highly stressful events. Find out why stress may be effecting your health.
Take the quiz.
Yes, the things that are referred to as daily hassles can wear down your immune system and make you sick. Things like being stuck in traffic for hours every day, loud neighbors, or poor working conditions may be as bad for you as a major life stressor says Shelly E. Taylor, author of Health Psychology, and also research by Ruffin& Kanmer. However you must remember that research isn't perfect and it doesn't take individual needs into consideration. It's definitely worth paying attention to though.
The thing is, most people forget their stressors, but they can effect your health, if they continue over time, especially if you are prone to anxiety and depression, or have physical pain. Daily hassles can manifest themselves as tension headaches, or irritability.
Things that aren't in our control have more negative impact on your health. Check the questionnaire below to assess your stressors. This questionnaire was developed by a prominent psychologist named Lazarus.
What You can do to buffer your Stress
Stress may be moderated by making sure you engage in a positive experience each day...other than sleep. Science has proven that yoga and mediation improves psychological stress, and can boost the immune system.
I find running or any kind of cardio vascular really helpful. This kind of training can help prevent cardio vascular disease. It's worth mentioning that stress is a major contributor to cardio vascular disease.
Any kind of stress may effect your health at some time if not treated or eliminated. Some activities are known to help buffer some of the effects of daily hassles. It's good to keep in mind that we are all individuals, so what is stressful for one person may not be stressful for another. Take care of your emotional health!
If you've gone to a gym recently, you may have noticed that many older people are weight training now. You didn't see that 10 years ago. The number one reason is health. Find out what you should know.
I was a personal trainer many years ago, and I am happy to report that many of the same principles still apply. The difference is, now we are muddled up with the new trends that might be doing us more harm than good. So...ladies and gentlemen let's begin.
Some common myths
Benefits of weight training
Increase in strength, good for all areas of your life, and lessens your chance of injury.
Helps prevent chronic disease just as other types of exercise.
Prevents obesity, especially in the aging adult. Having muscles mass increases fat burning potential;You can actually eat more without putting on extra fat.
You should notice an increase in overall energy.
Experts think weight training may improve bone density.
Gaining power, strength and agility can go a long way to reduce age related changes, says studies from Harvard. Check out www.health.harvard.edu.
What types of exercise should you include?
Pick ones that use multiple muscle groups, rather than specific isolation exercises. This means, instead of working just one group of muscles, focus on exercises that include more than one muscle group. Things like squats, bench press, dead lifts and leg presses...even push-ups and chin ups (if you can do them). Start slow. Using free weights, instead of machines yields better results.
** To get the best results, you must gradually increase the weight. If you use the same weight each time, you will not progress. This is why we see people who go to the gym and always look the same. Strength and muscle tone come from a principle called "progressive overload." Most competitive athletes also use this principle. Of course, we have to start at a low weight. You should be able to do at least 10 reps, if not start lower. Doing more than 10 reps will likely just exhaust the muscles.
Eating properly is a must for muscles to grow. Nutrition Weight and Wellness considers healthy eating as eating a balance of real foods, no processed food. Check out their podcasts at www.weightandwellness.com.
People of all ages have been weight training for years with great results. You can help prevent bone loss. You only have to go 2-3 times per week to achieve benefits. You can choose alternative days for either cardio or rest. Most importantly, enjoy your workouts.
Guest post by Debbie L Belair
Do you neglect your workouts in the summer? Find out how you can exercise safely in hot weather.
What is heat illness?
Heat illness can strike anybody who isn't hydrated enough. Often it occurs over a stretch of a few days. It's what happens to your body when it isn't able to maintain it's normal core temperature, and the body ceases to function. In extreme temperatures you can get ill in several hours. Children, and older adults are more prone to it.
Runners World magazine recommends that after 40 mins of exercise you may need more than just water, and that's in normal temperatures.
There are three levels to heat illness.
1. You might have muscle cramps, and you feel exhausted.
2. Stage two is called heat exhaustion. I have had this, but I had no muscle cramps or any other warning signs. The signs are headache, nausea, vomiting, chills or diarrhea. Get to shade immediately if you develop any of these symptoms.
3. Heat stroke is the third stage. This stage can result in unconsciousness and even death. If your symptoms worsen and your skin becomes hot and dry seek emergency first aid.
If you can't get to the hospital right away, have the individual move to the shade and apply cold water if available.
It's important to know that hydration needs are individual. One way to check your hydration levels is checking the color of your urine. It should be clear if you are adequately hydrated. Remember that high humidity elevates your risk. Runner's world magazine recommends that if you do longer term exercise, supplement with a sports drink. Dr. Hamid Sadrl recommends that you mix 50 per cent water with 50 percent sports drink. Orange juice works too, just add a little salt. It's recommended that you avoid surgery drinks. I like Ultima, it has a nice taste and comes in different flavors, and has no sugar. Other ones are Vega, Nun, and now I hear Gatorade now has a non sugar version.
So, you see, you can exercise safely in the heat. You will have to cut down the duration, and intensity. Remember it takes a few weeks for your body to adjust to the heat in the early parts of the summer. This is the most dangerous time for heat illness to sneak up on you.
If the weather is above 30 degrees, it's best to find some place air conditioned to exercise. Yes, that means that dreaded treadmill or exercise bike. You may opt for early mornings, but I don't recommend running or biking at night. My idea, is to exercise near a lake or stream, so you can cool off after.
With a little planning, and the right clothing you can still get your favorite activity in safely.
Guest post by Debbie L. Belair
John is the owner/ Operator of Visions Healing. John is a wellness consultant and energy medicine specialist. The site will have guest bloggers that post on Wellness subjects.
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