Even Minimal Physical Activity Can Thwart Disease

You’ve likely heard the importance of being active and exercising to promote overall physical health. The state of the body is directly connected to a few things, one of which being how active the body is. A recent study, conducted on over 60,000 adult participants showed that even minimal physical activities make a huge difference for the body. Physical activity thwarts the likelihood of issues like cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Physical Activity Study

The primary reason for the study was to see if less frequent instances of activity could still make a difference. In the cases of many individuals, sometimes adhering to a strict and habitual schedule can be difficult for those who lead a busy life. Sometimes incorporating workouts can be time consuming and simply not feasible depending on the person. It was discovered that despite former claims of almost excessive exercise, that physical activity only once or twice a week also makes a huge difference in a person’s health. “Just one or two occasions of physical activity per week is associated with a lower risk of death,” senior author, Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, explained.

The study does also go on to say that exceeding the minimum recommendation can also be helpful to both the cardiovascular system as well as the nervous system. The World Health Organization recommends adults get at least 150 minutes per week of some type of moderately difficult physical activity. The other option, in lieu of that recommendation, is at least 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity. The best option really depends on the type of time you can allot for your own physical fitness, but making it a bit of a priority is definitely the way to go. If you don’t have your health, you have very little.

Weekend Warriors

There is a term for those who get only one to two days of physical activity. “Weekend warriors” are what they are dubbed because this is where the predominance of their free time is. During the week they typically don’t have enough time to devote to getting exercise. Those with incredibly busy lifestyles sometimes struggle to get in the amount of physical activity they think they need. This leaves time on the weekends where they can maybe take an aerobics class, go for a bike ride or try a new hiking trail they’ve been hearing about.

Various studies are still trying to figure out what the overall best weekly dose of physical exercise coupled with frequency is. This can be specific depending on the person, their health status, previous health issues, genetics and so on. Real overt vigorous exercise can’t be tolerated well by certain people. This is why the more gentle types of physical activity are generally better for various reasons. They are less likely to result in injury and more likely to be easily incorporated into life at a semi-consistent rate. When a person doesn’t feel personally pressured to work out every single day, on the days where they do, they’ll feel better, give their all and generally perform better in the long run. It’s good to ease yourself into a physical activity, especially if you have a pre-existing health condition or are older. Make sure to consult your doctor.

Don’t feel like you must push your body to the edge in order to improve your health and ward off disease.

Tips For Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

2013 is here and it’s that time of year again to make and attempt to succeed at New Year’s resolutions. Most people break their New Year’s resolutions within the first three to five days of January and in many cases the problems lie in the unrealistic goals that most people set for themselves.

While millions of people attempt their resolutions, what is often missing is an awareness of the unconscious mind’s resistance to change and the ability to cope with uncomfortable feelings of trying to achieve something new. Unconscious reasons that people sabotage their New Year’s resolutions include problematic behaviors that are often solutions to other problems, says San Francisco psychotherapist Michael Halyard. For example, problematic behaviors may play a role in meeting unfulfilled emotional needs or numbing painful feelings. When a person stops the behavior, those emotional needs may become conscious and painful feelings may emerge.

“Take the popular New Year’s resolution of losing weight – overeating may play a role in satisfying a person’s unmet emotional needs,” Halyard says. “For example, if a person’s relationship lacks affection or physical intimacy, eating may serve as a substitute for physical contact. Eating can also numb uncomfortable feelings like resentments, grief, and anger. People suffering from depression may try to relieve their symptoms with food. Thus, eating can function as an unconscious defense mechanism to avoid painful and uncomfortable feelings.”

Begin And Keep Your Resolutions      

  •  If you are beginning a diet, look at the ways you might be eating to avoid uncomfortable feelings.
  • Keep a journal to get in touch with those feelings and get emotional support from friends, family, partners, or a therapist. Use self-soothing behaviors like going to the park, a museum or a movie, or doing things at home like taking a hot bath, getting a massage, listening to music, drinking herbal tea, meditating or joining a 12-step group to provide support and tools to make major changes.
  • Anticipate the stress associated with beginning a new behavior. Adding time to implement a new healthy behavior may cause stress because it could reduce leisure time. It’s important to acknowledge this and figure out ways to mitigate it.
  • Clarify the reason why you want to change to provide stronger and lasting motivation.
  • Set realistic, specific, rewarding, time-limited and measurable goals, and break them down into smaller parts and write down a detailed step-by-step action plan.
  • Record your progress so you are accountable.

The top New Year’s resolutions are typically directed toward losing weight, renewing good health and reducing stress. Health Food Emporium owner Gail Bowman says, “Everyone is interested in doing better for the new year. But the biggest gift you can give yourself is better health.” Bowman has five top resolutions that can help people to get better health for themselves and their families this year.

Five Top Resolutions For 2013

1)      Work on losing weight.

2)      Eat better quality, more nutritious foods and look for low-sugar and low-carb foods made entirely of foods that you can recognize.

3)      Avoid toxins in your foods and in your environment.

4)      Do some sort of exercise every day – moving in a way that gets your heart rate up and gets you out of your usual rut for at least one hour every day.

5)      Reduce your stress. Eat healthy meals and feed your body so you can fight off the effects of stress and consider taking herbal supplements that help your body to respond in a healthy way. Find a job that is less stressful or that gives you more feelings of achievement and set out to reduce your debt load.

By choosing to improve your lifestyle, diet and financial position, you can make 2013 your best year ever! Start by making and keeping resolutions that will improve your life by improving your health.

Learn more about Michael Halyard

Learn more about Gail Bowman

 

Can Light Exposure Cause Weight Gain? Some Say…Maybe?

The road to weight loss is a long, winding, and often rocky road for most people. You follow all the right plans, dieting and exercising, but still unable to lose weight and in some cases even gaining. Until recently there weren’t many other factors to consider other than caloric intake, exercise, and metabolism. A recent study performed at The Ohio State University, and published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences seeks to suggest a factor that you might never expect: night time light exposure.

 

A lab test involving mice that were exposed to dim light at night over roughly 60 days gained 50% more body mass than ones who were subjected to a normal cycle of light and dark. They were fed the same amount of food, and shared the same levels of activity, and yet the group with the night time lighting appeared to get fatter. The lighting seemed to have the most effect in that even though they didn’t eat any more food than the other group; they were eating at times when they normally wouldn’t. In fact, as a control they were scheduled a precise feeding time instead of having food to eat whenever they were hungry. When this was the case, they did not gain more weight.

 

Now, the idea of lighting having an effect on weight gain may very well sound preposterous at first. However, after looking closer at the science of metabolism it makes a little more sense. The researchers believe that these dim levels of light have an effect on melatonin, a hormone that has important function in metabolism. They also believe that being exposed to light at night can disrupt genes that control when animals are active and when they eat.

 

Things that contribute to light exposure at night like TV and computer use have long been theorized to play a part in weight gain and obesity; however they are now being scrutinized from a different perspective. Before, the lack of physical activity that resulted from prolonged hours of TV watching and computer use at night was viewed as the main risk for obesity. With this new research it may be possible that the light exposure and opportunity for eating at the wrong times to properly metabolize the food could be as much or more to blame.

 

This data can’t be misconstrued as “just turn off the lights and you’ll lose weight”, but it can help some of the people who do everything else they’re supposed to and still struggle.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Volume I: Breast Cancer Prevention

Stay lean
One of the most important ways to lower breast cancer risk is to avoid gaining weight. If you’re already overweight, trimming down before age 45 will lower the chance of developing breast cancer post menopause. Exercise can help to lower the levels of hormones which are related to breast cancer. Studies involving more than 100,000 women showed that those who exercised regularly were at less risk for breast cancer.

 

Moderation
Even though the correlation between diet and breast cancer prevention has been inconclusive, there has been a lot of hard evidence relating it to alcohol consumption. There has been much information about the positive benefits of moderate alcohol intake and heart disease- which kills far more women than breast cancer. However, if you are have other risk factors for breast cancer or a family history of it you may want to avoid it altogether.

 

Forget supplements
Soy foods are very common in eastern countries like China and Japan, and those countries also have some of the lowest breast cancer rates in the entire world. Soy foods like tofu have been shown to slightly lower risk for breast cancer, but soy supplements can have the exact opposite reaction. There are agents present in these supplements that can act like estrogen in the body, and cause cell changes that increase risk for cancer.

 

Fruits and Veggies
There hasn’t been much solid evidence linking diet to cancer risk, but there are facts that support the fact that maintaining a healthy weight (which can be achieved by eating a diet that is lower in calories) can. Studies from UC San Diego reveal that women who eat at least 5 servings of vegetables or fruits daily have cut their risk of breast cancer related death by half.

 

Natural Answers For Allergies

There are over 40 million Americans that suffer from seasonal allergies, and what’s worse is that most of the medications that help alleviate these symptoms have harmful side effects. Fortunately, there are some answers hiding in nature that are much safer than drugs, and have little to no side effects.

Quercetin
Quercetin is a plant pigment that can inhibit cells that produce histamine. It’s naturally occurring, and can be found in various foods like citrus fruits and onions. Don’t plan on getting enough of it through your diet though, the amounts found in foods can be minimal. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, take up to 600mg of a quercetin supplement either preventatively or once your symptoms start. It has minimal side effects like headache or upset stomach in some cases.

Stinging nettle
Stinging nettle is a flowering plant that reduces histamine production when ingested. The average dose is between 500mg to 1000mg depending on the severity of the symptoms. Consult your doctor or allergist first, as some people can be allergic to stinging nettle. Rare cases can cause upset stomachs.

Fish oil
The same omega 3 fatty acids that can reduce inflammation that leads to heart disease also helps with allergies. When buying fish oil, be sure to read the label carefully. Make sure you’re getting mercury free fish oil that is either purified or pharmaceutical grade. This will ensure that what you’re buying is potent enough to have positive effects and has had any and all potential toxins removed. Typical dose is 2000mg a day.

 

The 5 Must-See Pit Stops on the Road to Weight Loss

The 5 Must-See Pit Stops on the Road to Weight Loss

Diet trends come and go as frequently as the sun rises and sets. Each one has such amazing benefits in the early stages, but quickly seems to fizzle and fade all the while producing negative byproducts. Different diets work for different people, but no matter which one works for you there are a few simple facts that are beneficial across the board.

 

Eat Slower

Untamed lightning is pretty fast, but did you know that it takes 20 minutes or more for the electrical signals that signify fullness to travel from your stomach to your brain? When you eat faster, you eat more. You’re likely to overshoot your calorie goals by leaps and bounds if you don’t take your time. There are plenty of other negative effects from eating too quickly ranging from simple indigestion to far more serious long term issues in your digestive system. If you eat slower, you chew slower and you’re likely to eat less.

Crash Diets

Crash and fasting diets can provide quick results, but the effects don’t often last. When you lower your calorie intake to the degree that most of these call for, you significantly lower your rate of metabolism. It works for a while, and makes perfect sense: if you have fewer calories to burn, you’ll burn them more slowly. However, once you’re satisfied with your rapid weight loss and end the diet your body retains that rate of metabolism. Therein lies the problem. You return to eating as you did before, but your body’s metabolism stays at the same slow rate and the pounds will likely pile back on.

Skipping Meals

It may make sense at first thought that skipping a meal here and there will provide the same result as eating less. This is another case of “great in theory, poor in execution”. Skipping meals (especially breakfast) can lead to results similar to the crash diet. If you skip a meal early in the day you’ll be likely to snack more frequently and lose track of those calories you’ve been keeping watch over. Frequent, smaller meals or snacks are a great way to maintain your metabolism and curb hunger.

Frequent Weigh-Ins

“Patience is a virtue” has never been truer than when it comes to trying to lose weight. Weighing yourself every day while dieting is something akin to watching paint dry, or watching interest being gained on an investment minute by minute. No matter how successful you may end up being, constantly checking in will never show you the results you’re looking for. Space out your weigh-ins according to what your goal is and you’re sure to be happier with the numbers you’ll see.

Set Realistic Goals

When starting a diet it’s of vital importance to have a realistic goal in mind. Whether it’s a long term or weekly goal, put it within reach. Give yourself a challenge, but one you can defeat. With this mindset you’ll be more likely to celebrate your success and continue doing what works best. If you set out telling yourself that you’re going to lose 25 lbs in your first week, it will have more chance of also being your last.

Dont Let Your Allergies Eat Away At You, Eat Them Away Instead!

 

Omega can be the Alpha to preventing seasonal allergies.

Studies have shown that people who regularly eat foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids suffer less frequently from allergies than those who don’t. Omega-3’s can act as an anti-inflammatory, and naturally help keep airways from constricting and causing breathing problems related to seasonal allergies. Cold water fish are high in omega-3 but it’s important to remember that unlike man, not all fish are created equal. The most commonly available fish are usually farm raised, which means that they miss out on things that would be in their normal diet like algae. Try specialty groceries where fresh fish is brought in frequently to get the most benefit. This may carry a higher price tag, so you can also try fish oil supplements to get a healthy dose of omega-3.

 

As the weather begins to heat up, encourage your menu to follow suit.

Spicy foods can help to unclog nasal passages by thinning the blood and increasing its flow. This brings more oxygen to areas that are affected like the lungs and sinuses, and helps thin mucus. Whether it’s spicy mustard on your hot dog, or some extra wasabi the next time you go for sushi, cranking up the heat can help clear your head. You just might want to make sure you have a box of tissues handy if you’re cooking at home, or maybe ask your server for some extra napkins.

 

Are you lactose intolerant? You might wish you were.

Dairy products like milk and yogurt may be high in calcium, but their high protein can cause inflammation and excess mucus production. Try limiting these types of foods, or stopping consumption altogether when your allergies are at their worst. You can get a much more effective result by starting to remove dairy based foods from your diet by as much as six weeks, but if your allergies are particularly troublesome it’s always better late than never. Remember, you can always supplement this lack of calcium from dairy with green vegetables, beans, and even almonds. Also – be wary of extra wheat, and sugar as they, too, can cause excess mucus to form.

 

Everybody else seems to be going green, so why not hop on?

Green tea has become a popular beverage trend over the last few years, but do you know why? Not only is green tea loaded with antioxidants which help keep the body and immune system from breaking down, but it also contains a natural antihistamine. There has even been some evidence that people who regularly drink green tea may have lower chances of heart disease and certain types of cancer. Even if green tea in particular isn’t up your alley, most hot teas will still have calming effects and help reduce stress. The more stressed you are, the more likely your immune system will be to falter, so drink up.

 

4 Diet Tips That The Pros Don’t Want You To Know

1.  Lose Weight Without Dieting.  Seriously.

Cutting down salt and excess sodium could help you shed pounds without even being on a diet.  When your intake of sodium is too high, your body retains more water. This can cause up to seven pounds of extra fluid to be kept in the body. Food servings should have somewhere between 200-400 milligrams of sodium to avoid overdoing it.  You can get rid of a bloated feeling and appearance just by limiting the salt. If you’re exercising, drink water instead of sports drinks as they can contain the same amount of sodium as a can of soda.

 

2. Get. More. Sleep.

More and more research points to a link between sleep deprivation and obesity. One of the simplest facts is that if you’re up later, you’re more likely to overeat. Another fact is that when your body is deprived of sleep it changes the levels of hormones that have to do with how full you feel, leptin and ghrelin.  If you get more rest you’re also more likely to have more energy, which will benefit you when implementing an exercise plan.

 

3. Crave Control

The next time you have a hankering for that favorite high calorie treat of yours, curb the craving with your mind. Think of a food that you absolutely hate, and then imagine eating them both together. Let your imagination run wild with it, but to really hammer it home, focus on the taste and texture and you’ll likely forget that you ever wanted that brownie.

 

4. Dine Out Without Gaining

You can eat out and keep from gaining weight by following a few simple rules. Try asking for the lunch portion, or choosing an appetizer instead of the larger dinner portions.  This will likely guarantee you more of a single serving portion. Ask for a to go box with your order and pack up half of your entree before you even start eating. Some places will even let you order half of the order to go when it’s served. Limit starches by skipping the bread before your meal, but if you can’t resist the temptation then try to steer clear of potatoes or rice that may come with your meal.