Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

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Exercise and Vitamin E Help Lower Alzheimer’s Disease Risk

February 14, 2011

(Article first published as Walking and Diet Dramatically Cut Risk of Alzheimer`s Disease on Technorati.)

Alzheimer's Disease is Preventable with Proper Diet and Exercise

Alzheimer's Disease is Preventable with Proper Diet and Exercise

Medical researchers continue to demonstrate that the development and progression of one of the most feared conditions of our generation is not an inevitable occurrence. Alzheimer`s disease affects 1 in 10 people by age 65 and nearly half of those aged 85 or older.

The disease develops undetected over the course of decades due to a diet deficient in nutrients and antioxidants and lack of regular physical activity. You can ensure your risk of developing this devastating form of dementia is negated by taking appropriate dietary and lifestyle actions today.

Walking Protects the Brain from Cognitive Decline

Walking is Shown to Increase Brain Volume

Walking is Shown to Increase Brain Volume

Brain volume is directly related to our ability to learn and form new memories. One of the hallmark signs of Alzheimer`s disease is a loss of brain cells due to death of the critical neuronal structures. This effect can be measured using an MRI and is an indicator of cognitive decline and disease progression. The results of a study conducted by the Radiological Society of North America demonstrated that walking the equivalent of five miles per week significantly lowered the decline in brain volume commonly seen in aging adults.

The findings showed that greater amounts of physical activity were associated with greater brain volume. Individuals with demonstrated cognitive decline were able to maintain brain volume and slow cognitive decline. Healthy subjects needed to walk an average of six miles each week to maintain brain volume and significantly lower risk of developing dementia. The study author concluded that “walking can improve your brain’s resistance to the disease and reduce memory loss over time.”

Poor Blood Sugar Regulation and Insulin Resistance Degrade Brain Health

The effects of blood sugar and insulin resistance are now implicated in the development of Alzheimer`s disease. The results of a Japanese study published in the journal Neurology showed that insulin resistance was particularly damaging to the brain structure and was involved in the formation of amyloid protein plaques. High blood sugar causes dysfunctional particles known as AGE`s (advanced glycation end products) that degrade the normally flexible structure of brain cells. Eliminating sugar and processed carbohydrates that cause AGE formation can improve cognitive function.

Low Vitamin E Levels Trigger Onset of Alzheimer`s Disease

Vitamin E Protects Delicate Brain Neurons

Vitamin E Protects Delicate Neurons in the Aging Brain

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can be deficient in diet despite our best efforts. The results of research published in the Journal of Alzheimer`s Disease found that damage by free radicals is a primary cause of cognitive decline. Vitamin E has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier to provide protection against oxidative damage and prevent inflammatory damage. The study demonstrated that when vitamin E levels are depleted, free radical damage accelerates and Alzheimer`s disease sets in. Nuts, seeds and leafy greens provide an excellent food source for vitamin E.

Alzheimer`s disease presents after decades of an inactive lifestyle and diet deplete in essential nutrients and antioxidants that our brain requires to maintain optimal function. Those wishing to avoid this devastating affliction will stay physically active, ensure a natural diet that provides healthy antioxidants and avoid processed foods that lead to metabolic dysfunction. You can spare your memory and extend your healthy lifespan with simple lifestyle modifications.

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Six Tips to Drive New Year Weight Loss

December 22, 2010

(Article first published as Six Tips to Jump Start Your New Year Weight Loss Resolution on Technorati.)

Six Tips to Help with Weight Loss in the New Year

Six Tips to Help with Weight Loss in the New Year

As another year draws to a close, many people begin to think about making New Year Resolutions. As the number of overweight and obese individuals continues to skyrocket in epidemic proportions, many resolutions will evolve around the pursuit of an elusive weight loss goal. Reducing calories and exercising more are well known strategies to pursue. In addition, nutrition experts at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have compiled the top research-based weight loss tips designed to help you jump start your new journey to a slimmer waistline.

Tip 1: Keep Moving Each Day

Plan 30 - 60 Minutes of Physical Activity Each Day

Plan 30 - 60 Minutes of Physical Activity Each Day

Research confirms that physical activity is essential to human health and is also an important catalyst in your weight loss efforts. Exercise doesn’t have to be in the form of a grueling 5 mile run or lifting heavy free weights. The key to using exercise to fuel your weight loss efforts is that you need to do something to stay moving each day.

Set 30 to 60 minutes aside each day for some type of aerobic or resistance activity. The best part is that your time can be broken down into convenient 10 or 15 minute segments and you’ll still receive the same health and weight loss benefits.

Tip 2: Keep a Detailed Food and Exercise Journal

This may be one of the most important tips that many people on a weight loss mission fail to undertake. Keep a detailed record of each bite of food and drink, including the time and amount consumed. Don’t cheat. Record every food item including between meals snacks and sneaking a bite of your favorite chocolate bar. Write down your physical activity also, including type of exercise and the duration of each segment during the day. Many people are amazed to find out the number of calories eaten outside of normal meal time.

Tip 3: Set Realistic Goals

Often in our zest to reach an imaginary weight goal, we set an unrealistic target and timeframe. When it becomes clear that the goal can’t be met, our best intentions are forgotten and any lost weight returns with a few extra pounds to discourage us from trying again. Permanent weight loss must be accomplished slowly, with a plan to drop no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week. This allows our body time to adjust naturally and make the necessary metabolic changes to maintain our lower weight.

Tip 4: Set Specific Goals

Set Specific and Realistic Goals to Fuel Your Success

Set Specific and Realistic Goals to Fuel Your Success

Make a plan to achieve your weight loss goal. Chart your day to include 3 well balanced meals and develop a calorie controlled menu that will allow you to hit your target. Schedule physical activity at a specific time as you would a business appointment. Avoid generalizations about diet and exercise, and be specific with regard to intent and end result.

Tip 5: Allow Yourself Room for an Occasional Slip

Everybody is human and inevitably you will make a small slip in your dietary plan. Fortunately your body is very forgiving and does not assess caloric intake for a single meal or even an entire day. Allow yourself an occasional treat when you really need it to keep yourself moving forward toward your weight loss goal.

Tip 6: Take Up Yoga

There’s more to yoga than just burning calories through physical activity. Researchers from the Hutchinson Cancer Center have “found that regular yoga practice is associated with the prevention of middle-age spread in normal-weight people and the promotion of weight loss in those who are overweight.” Yoga practice leads to mindful eating and healthy weight loss.

The New Year is approaching quickly and health conscious people will be thinking about losing weight gained during the past year. The best way to drop excess pounds is make a structured plan and set appropriate goals that will help you reach your weight target and improve your health and quality of life.

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Exercise Prevents Age-Related Weight Gain

December 16, 2010

(Article first published as Physical Activity Limits Age-Related Weight Gain, Diet and Exercise Key to Weight Loss on Technorati.)

Physical Activity Shown to prevent Mid-Life Weight Gain

Physical Activity Shown to Prevent Mid-Life Weight Gain

Physical activity level is an important part of a successful weight loss regimen. Physical activity duration has been shown to be predictive of weight gain over the years, and can influence critical health biomarkers that predict risk of disease. Research indicates that while regular exercise is important to weight loss and maintenance goals, it cannot be used as a sole means to avoid age-related weight gain.

Study Finds Physical Activity is Part of the Weight Gain Solution

Exercise is Important, But Calories Must be Lowered to Avoid Weight Gain

Exercise is Important, But Calories Must be Lowered to Avoid Weight Gain

People naturally tend to gain weight as they age due to lowered metabolic rate without a corresponding reduction in calories. The results of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association show that women who attain a high level of physical activity when young are significantly more likely to avoid excess weight gain during mid and later life.

The study followed more than 3,500 women over a period of 20 years. Participants were evaluated for weight, BMI, waist circumference and dietary habits at the beginning of the trial and at six intervals thereafter. Women with the highest levels of physical activity that exercised for at least 150 minutes each week gained 20 pounds over the 20 year period, while those with the lowest levels gained more than 33 pounds.

Television Watching Linked to Excess Weight

Couch Potato Syndrome and TV Watching Directly Lead to Weight Gain

Couch Potato Syndrome and TV Watching Directly Lead to Weight Gain

Spending too much time in front of your television is not good for your health or your waistline. In addition to weight gain, television watching has been shown to increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease. The lack of physical activity means calories are burned at a low base rate and we usually pack on extra calories with processed snack foods.

Information revealed in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise journal confirms that television watching causes metabolic changes in the body that cause cardiovascular disease. Further, the amount of time spent watching TV is directly related to weight gain. Time in front of the TV is time you aren’t physically active and burning calories.

Get Moving and Eat Less!

We have all heard the importance of exercising more and eating less for the benefit of our health and waistline. Research studies repeatedly confirm the importance of staying active. Exercise causes important metabolic changes in our body that determine how we burn and store fat. Physical activity naturally releases sugar from the blood into our cells and muscles to be burned as fuel and prevents insulin resistance and the road to diabetes.

While exercise is part of the answer to prevent age-related weight gain, reducing calories is also essential. Women with the highest activity levels still put on an average of one pound per year by mid-life. As those women reach their senior years, they could be carrying an extra 50 to 75 pounds, placing them at greatly increased risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and dementia.

The answer to the age-related weight problem is a healthy balance between regular physical activity and lower caloric intake. Plan 150 minutes of exercise each week, turn off the TV and limit calories from processed foods, sugary drinks and refined breads, pasta, rice and desserts. With a little discipline you can win the age-related weight loss battle and lower your risk of disease.

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Physical Activity Key to Disease Prevention, Weight Loss Efforts

December 9, 2010

(Article first published as Regular Exercise is Key to Life Extension, Weight Loss Goals on Technorati.)

Regular Exercise Lowers Risk From 20 Diseases

Regular Exercise Lowers Risk From 20 Diseases

Did you know that regular exercise is the most important lifestyle habit that has been shown to dramatically lower the risk from more than 20 different physical and mental health conditions? It’s likely you do know that exercise is important for health and weight loss goals, yet few people come close to exercising 150 minutes per week, as recommended by health researchers and medical experts.

Exercise plays an essential role in fat metabolism that can safely help with weight loss for many people, and it can be pivotal in preventing many conditions including cancer, heart disease, dementia, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, obesity and high blood pressure. Exercise has been shown to slow down the rate of aging, and provides the closest example of a real life fountain of youth we may ever experience.

Study Finds that Exercise Extends Cell Life

Exercise Shown to Affect Genes That Promote Longevity

Exercise Shown to Affect Genes That Promote Longevity

Researchers are beginning to understand that the process of getting older that we call aging is not a normal process. The rate which cells age is much more a function of diet and lifestyle factors, rather than a straight line chronological event. The results of a study published in The International Journal of Clinical Practice demonstrate that accelerated aging is a function of modifiable lifestyle choices including diet, physical activity level, smoking and obesity.

Each of these factors affects our genes and in turn determine metabolic rate and provide protection against many of the modern lifestyle killer diseases. The study focused on exercise and provided evidence how 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day can lower the risk of 25 diseases including heart disease, stroke and cancer in men.

Exercise Improves Insulin Response

Regular exercise has been shown to help normalize insulin response, paving the path toward improved blood sugar control, lower risk from metabolic disease and natural weight loss. Insulin is a powerful hormone that is essential to life, but can wreak havoc throughout your body when excess amounts are allowed to circulate in the blood, or when insulin becomes ineffective in ushering sugar from the blood to the cells and muscles for energy.

Plan Exercise as Part of Your Daily Schedule

Plan Daily Physical Activity to Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals

Plan Daily Physical Activity to Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals

The most common excuse people use to avoid exercise is they simply don’t have the time. Plan exercise like you would any other important daily event. Carve out a minimum of 30 minutes each day for moderate physical activity. You don’t need to exercise intensely to reap the health benefits, but it is important to increase your heart rate by at least 25%.

This can be done with aerobic exercises such as walking or jogging or with resistance training techniques including free weights or power band equipment. For maximum results, include both type of exercises to cross-train all major muscle groups.

We are in control of many of the lifestyle habits that affect our risk of disease and longevity. Genetic predisposition plays a small role in our health. Diet and physical activity exert a significant influence over our genes and how we are protected against chronic illness. Plan regular exercise into your healthy lifestyle to fuel weight loss and dramatically lower your risk of an early demise.

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Exercise Boosts Health, Slows Aging

November 18, 2010

(Article first published as Exercise Shown to Lower Disease Risk, Slow Body Aging on Technorati.)

Exercise Shown to Lower Risk of Two Dozen Diseases

Exercise Shown to Lower Risk of Two Dozen Diseases

Did you ever think that exercise wasn’t good for your body and health? Most people feel rejuvenated after a good workout and it just makes sense that you’re lowering your risk of illness. While too much exercise (think marathon runners) has detrimental side effects, moderate doses of aerobic and resistance training is shown to lower the risk of developing more than two dozen diseases and can actually slow down the aging process.

Exercise Helps Your Body Fight Disease

Researchers reviewed more than 40 studies over the past four years and found that regular physical activity was repeatedly associated with lowered risk of cancer, heart disease, dementia, stroke, diabetes, depression, obesity and high blood pressure. The review published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice demonstrated that next to not smoking, exercise is the most important lifestyle choice you can make to improve overall health. The report highlighted obesity, diet, smoking and physical activity as the most important factors that we can control to achieve optimal health.

Aim For 150 Minutes of Exercise Each Week

Walking is Cited as the Ideal Exercise

Walking is Cited as the Ideal Exercise

Most studies reviewed settled on 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. The most cited example is taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Also, mixing aerobic and resistance exercise on alternating days is suggested to work different body zones and receive the benefit of both exercise regimens. It’s important to continue exercise as you age as some research shows that the detrimental effects of aging can be slowed or even reversed with good physical fitness discipline.

Lowering Your Disease Risk Factors

The health benefits associated with exercise can be seen to affect many different conditions. It’s clear that we have evolved to be physically active as exercise impacts a wide range of diseases. Researchers have shown how regular exercise can lower disease risk and slow the aging process for specific conditions.

Exercise Shown to Lower Heart Disease by up to 41%

Exercise Shown to Lower Heart Disease by up to 41%

Coronary Heart Disease: Moderate exercise is associated with lowered risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. The Women’s Health Study demonstrated that exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease in women by 27 to 41% by improving cholesterol ratios and strengthening the heart muscle.

Overweight and Obesity: There is a natural correlation between physical activity and weight reduction. Aside from the additional calories burned through exercise, blood sugar and insulin resistance are also improved. This action lowers dangerous triglycerides and helps prevent metabolic syndrome that leads to diabetes and increased risk of heart attack.

Cancer: Walking or cycling for an hour each day has been shown to lower the risk of cancer by 16%. Some studies have shown a sharp reduction risk of colon cancer in both men and women, while men who avoid sitting at a desk all day are at much lower risk of developing prostate cancer.

Lack of physical activity causes a number of biochemical changes within our body that signal the onset of disease. Not only does regular exercise improve muscle tone, but it alters our metabolism toward health. Find a way to include 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week to dramatically lower your risk of disease and slow the damaging effects of aging on your body.

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Using Diet and Exercise to Motivate Weight Loss

October 7, 2010

(Article first published as Using Diet and Exercise to Control Body Fat on Technorati.)

Diet Controls Fat Placement on the Body

Diet Controls Fat Placement on the Body

The food we eat provides the building blocks required for cellular construction as well as all metabolic and chemical reactions which our body performs to function in good health. In the same fashion, our diet and level of physical activity directly influence our hormones that determine if fat is stored or burned as fuel. Medical researchers now understand that where fat is stored in the body can determine risk of disease and how we can alter our diet to promote natural weight loss.

Fat Placement is a Risk Factor

Fat Stored on the Thighs Promotes Health

Fat Stored on the Thighs Promotes Health

Until recently, medical science has viewed our white fat cells as nothing more than an inert storage facility for extra calories. Research has debunked that theory by demonstrating that our fat is a viable organ within our body which is metabolically active, secreting and reacting to chemical messengers which influence our health and weight loss abilities.

The results of a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that the risk of metabolic disorder is heightened when fat is stored in the abdomen and significantly lowered when fat grows on the thighs or lower parts of the body. Interestingly the study authors found that abdominal fat grows by increasing the size of existing fat cells whereas fat cells multiply in number on the thighs and lower body. Abdominal fat is more dangerous to your health because the cells are stretched beyond their normal capacity, leading to metabolic dysfunction.

Using Food Balance to Control Fat Placement

Fortunately we can control where fat is placed on the body in several ways. The food we eat has a significant impact on fat storage and metabolism as we can choose both the quantity of food eaten as well as the nutritional composition of our diet. A diet high in refined carbohydrates which quickly break down into glucose and raise blood sugar causes excessive triglycerides in the blood. These blood fats must be cleared quickly after each meal and are converted to fat for storage on the belly.

Include Protein and Fat with Each Meal

Include a Protein and Fat Source with Each Meal

Include a Protein and Fat Source with Each Meal

The first step to controlling how and where fat is stored is to cut back or eliminate carbohydrate foods which trigger a rapid rise in blood sugar. All processed carbohydrates and sugar laden foods will initiate the cycle which results in abdominal fat storage. Substitute protein and fats from healthy nuts, seeds and minimally cooked meats. These foods don’t convert to glucose quickly and are much less likely to spike blood sugar and convert to fat.

Exercise Helps to Burn Fat as Fuel

Exercise is essential to good health, as it provides a catalyst to burn excess calories so they aren’t available to be stored as fat. When you exercise regularly, the body is conditioned to burn calories for fuel so they don’t end up as a source of body fat. Some amount of fat is essential to our health, and exercise encourages the formation of brown fat which is dissimilar to white belly fat because it promotes fat metabolism through a process known as thermogenesis.

The type of foods we eat provide metabolic cues to instruct our body how and where to store body fat. Eliminating junk carbohydrates and replacing them with lean protein and monounsaturated fat sources will blunt blood sugar swings and encourage fat metabolism. Exercise is necessary to provide the catalyst for caloric utilization which encourages ideal health and natural weight loss success.

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Using Diet and Exercise to Assist Weight Loss

September 24, 2010

(Article first published as Controlling Diet and Exercise to Drive Weight Loss on Technorati.)

Dieters Have Trouble Making the Correct Food Decisions

Dieters Have Trouble Making the Correct Food Decisions

Many people begin a weight loss program with the best intentions. They reduce calories, exercise regularly and slowly begin to drop weight. After losing for a few weeks or months they hit a plateau which can have a psychologically devastating effect on their desire and ability to stay on track. Many people have difficulty making the proper food choices which will help them achieve their weight loss goal, and believe that because they exercise they can eat larger portions to compensate.

Altering Our Food Perception to Lose Weight

There are a variety of factors which influence the way we view food when trying to lose weight. Most people understand that burgers, fries and ice cream are all bad options individually, but when a healthy food item is added, dieters tend to believe that the total calorie count was somehow magically lowered. Adding a side of broccoli to a piece of fried steak makes it appear more acceptable even though the calories have increased.

Understanding ‘The Dieter’s Paradox’

Adding a Healthy Food Item Causes Calorie Perception Problems

Adding a Healthy Food Item Causes Calorie Perception Problems

Researchers call this misperception of mixing healthy and unhealthy foods ‘The Dieter’s Paradox’. The results of a study published in The Journal of Consumer Psychology explains the mindset behind combining foods which promote weight loss with calorie laden choices in participants trying to drop weight. People were shown a high calorie food and asked to estimate the calories. They were then shown the same food with a traditional diet food, such as steamed vegetables or a salad and asked to determine the calorie count.

When presented with the second option, they estimated 5 to 10% lower calories, even though there were clearly more total calories with the additional item. This type of research clearly shows there’s a disconnect occurring in our brain when making the correct choices for a healthy meal to promote weight loss. We see less food calories when even the smallest amount of healthy food is added to the meal.

Eating to Lose Weight

Track and Record Every Food Eaten Each Day

Track and Record Every Food Eaten Each Day

You can combat the natural tendency to underestimate food calories by planning your meals in advance, employ nutritional tracking software and maintaining a food diary. Weigh and measure every food item you prepare and keep track of daily calories and physical activity in your journal. You’ll quickly understand which foods contribute to your weight loss plateau. It’s important to understand that everybody will hit a plateau which can last a few days up to a month or more. This is normal, as your body adjusts to each new weight level. Be patient and your good efforts will be rewarded.

Regular Exercise Leads to Excess Calories Consumed

Everyone knows that regular exercise is vitally important to our health and assists in the weight loss process. The problem is we overestimate the number of calories actually burned through exercise and compensate by eating more food than we need. This is one of the most common mistakes people make when pursuing a weight loss lifestyle.

The best way to avoid eating too much when exercising is to fully understand how many calories you’re burning for each type of exercise. Walking is one of the most popular forms of physical activity, and you’ll burn around 125 calories in a moderately paced 30 minute period. While the exercise is great for your heart and muscles, you don’t need to take in any more calories to compensate. The best rule is to monitor your food diary, and avoid extra calories as a result of your physical activity.

When trying to lose weight, we’re faced with difficult decisions about proper food choices at every meal. Psychologically we perceive the addition of a healthy food item to our plate as a way to include fattening foods, as if they’ll calorically offset one another. We overestimate the number of calories burned through exercise and eat to make up the difference. The only way to avoid these mistakes and achieve your weight loss goal involves judicious tracking of all food eaten each day in a journal, being careful not to rely on exercise as an excuse to overeat.