Lifestyle, Uncategorized

No Time to Exercise? Really!

walinginthewoods

No Time to Exercise?

Cant fit in the 30 minutes of exercise five times weekly needed to lower your risk of heart disease?

Squeeze in two brisk 10 minute walks weekly instead, and you will lower your odds of heart problems,

stroke and blood clots by more than 20%, which is the same as if you have worked out longer.

Short bouts of activity that get your heart pumping are enough to strengthen your heart muscle and arteries research shows.

Boost your benefits with the foods you eat.

Eating a Mediterranean type diet of fish, olives,

fresh produce, whole grains, beans and nuts cuts your

risk of heart disease by another 47%.

Not eating and skipping meals is the worse situation for a health heart.

For more information contact:

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr J Jaranson  MD FAAOS

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

A Walk in The Woods

walkinthewoods

Do You Think There is No Time to Exercise?

 

You can’t fit in the 30 minutes of exercise five times weekly needed to lower your risk of heart disease?

Squeeze in two brisk 10-minute walks weekly instead, and you will lower your odds of heart problems,

stroke and blood clots by more than 20%, which is the same as if you have worked out longer.

 

Short bouts of activity that get your heart pumping are enough to strengthen your heart muscle and arteries research shows.

Boost your benefits with the foods you eat. Eating a Mediterranean type diet of fish, olives,

fresh produce, whole grains, beans and nuts cuts your risk of heart disease by another 47%.

 

Not eating, waiting too long to eat and skipping meals is the worse situation for a healthy heart, along with raising you blood sugar levels, and your blood pressure.

 

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archive

Dr A Sullivan

312-972-9355 (WELL)

 

Healthwellnessassocites@gmail.com

 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

1 in 6 Women take this Nightmare Pill

pill

1 in 6 Women Take This Nightmare Pill While Many Studies Suggest It’s Useless

 

Use of Antidepressants Continue to Rise

 

Major depression is one of the most common disorders in the U.S.,1 with 16 million adults reporting at least one major depressive episode in the past year.2,3 When you look at all forms of depression, that number goes even higher. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 24 million Americans experience some form of depression,4 which can interfere with personal and work relationships, reduce work or academic performance and affect physical health.

 

Depression reduces your ability to care for yourself properly and make adequate decisions about your health, including nutrition and sleep. Imbalances in nutrition, weight fluctuations and poor sleep habits may lead to compromised immune function.5

 

If ignored, depression can become chronic and can lead to self-harming behaviors such as drug or alcohol abuse6 and even be terminal if the person commits suicide. Up to 70 percent of people who commit suicide are clinically depressed,7 and 90 percent of people who struggle with suicidal thoughts experience a combination of depression and substance abuse.8

 

Antidepressant Use Continues to Rise

According to the latest statistics,9,10,11,12 use of antidepressants in the U.S. rose by 65 percent between 1999 and 2014. As of 2014:

 

  • Nearly 1 in 8 Americans (13 percent) over the age of 12 reported being on antidepressant medication

 

  • 1 in 6 women (16.5 percent) reported antidepressant use compared to 1 in 11 men (9 percent)

 

  • About one-quarter of those who had taken an antidepressant in the past month reported being on them for 10 years or more

 

  • Caucasians were more than three times more likely to use antidepressants than Blacks, Hispanics or Asians (16.5 percent compared to 5.6 percent, 5 percent and 3.3 percent respectively)

 

In Scotland, researchers also warn that antidepressant use among children under the age of 12 has risen dramatically.13 Between 2009 and 2016, use in this age group quadrupled. Use among children under 18 doubled in the same time frame.

 

Research Reveals Antidepressants Are Rarely the Right Answer

Unfortunately, the most widely used remedy for depression is also among the least effective. In addition to a long list of potential side effects14,15 (which include worsening depression and suicide), 40 percent of people with major depressive disorder treated with antidepressants do not achieve full remission.16

 

Perhaps more importantly, studies17,18,19 have repeatedly shown antidepressants work no better than placebo for mild to moderate depression, so you’re taking grave risks for a very small chance of benefit. As noted in a 2014 paper on antidepressants and the placebo effect:20

 

“Antidepressants are supposed to work by fixing a chemical imbalance, specifically, a lack of serotonin in the brain … But analyses of the published data and the unpublished data that were hidden by drug companies reveals that most (if not all) of the benefits are due to the placebo effect …

 

Analyzing the data we had found, we were not surprised to find a substantial placebo effect on depression. What surprised us was how small the drug effect was. Seventy-five percent of the improvement in the drug group also occurred when people were give dummy pills with no active ingredient in them.

 

The serotonin theory is as close as any theory in the history of science to having been proved wrong. Instead of curing depression, popular antidepressants may induce a biological vulnerability making people more likely to become depressed in the future.”

 

Placebo Effect Accounts for 82 Percent of Drug Response

The author of that 2014 study, Irving Kirsch, is a psychotherapist who has performed a number of analyses on antidepressants. In 2002, his team filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), asking for the trial data provided by drug companies as part of the drug approval process.

 

The FDA requires drug companies to provide data on all clinical trials they’ve sponsored, including unpublished trials. As it turned out, nearly half of all clinical trials on antidepressants remained unpublished. When both published and unpublished trials were included, 57 percent showed the drug had no clinical benefit over placebo. What’s more, the placebo response actually accounted for 82 PERCENT of the beneficial response to antidepressants!

 

These results were reproduced in a 2008 study21 using another, even larger set of FDA trial data. According to Kirsch, “Once again, 82 percent of the drug response was duplicated by placebo.” A major benefit of evaluating FDA trial data was that all of the trials used the same primary measure of depression, which made the drug-to-placebo effects very easy to identify and compare.

 

The primary measure of depression used in these studies was the Hamilton depression scale, a 17-item scale with a possible score of 0 to 53 points. The higher your score, the more severe your depression. Importantly, the mean difference between antidepressants and placebo was less than two points (1.8) on this scale, which is considered clinically insignificant.

 

To illustrate just how insignificant of a difference this is, you can score a 6-point difference simply by changing sleep patterns without any reported change in other depressive symptoms.

 

EMFs — A Not Well-Known Cause of Anxiety and Depression

About one year ago Dr. Martin Pall published a review22 in the Journal of Neuroanatomy showing how microwave radiation from cell phones, Wi-Fi routers and computers and tablets not in airplane mode is clearly associated with many neuropsychiatric disorders. I recently did an interview with him that will air on September 3. In the meantime, you can view my interview on EMFs that I discussed on my recent trip to visit with Dave Asprey, founder and CEO of Bulletproof.23

 

These microwave EMFs increase intracellular calcium through voltage gated calcium channels (VGCCs) and the tissue with the highest density of VGCCs is the brain. Once these VGCCs are stimulated they also cause the release of neurotransmitters and neuroendocrine hormones leading to not only anxiety and depression, but neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and brain cancer.

 

So, if you struggle with anxiety or depression, be sure to limit your exposure to wireless technology. Simple measures include turning your Wi-Fi off at night, not carrying your cellphone on your body and not keeping portable phones, cellphones and other electric devices in your bedroom.

 

Studies have also confirmed the therapeutic effects of spending time in nature.  Ecotherapy has been shown to lower stress, improve mood and significantly reduce symptoms of depression.24 Outdoor activities could be just about anything, from walking a nature trail to gardening, or simply taking your exercise outdoors.

 

Breath work such as the Buteyko breathing technique also has enormous psychological benefits and can quickly reduce anxiety by increasing the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in your body. These three techniques are a perfect complement to each other, and cost nothing. Simply turn off your electronics, head outside and practice proper breathing.

 

America Struggles With Notable Decline in Mental Health 

While prescriptions for psychiatric drugs keep increasing (when you include other drugs beside antidepressants, such as anti-anxiety drugs, nearly 17 percent of American adults are medicated25,26), several parameters show mental health in the U.S. is declining.

 

Suicide rates are at a 30-year high, mental disorders are now the second most common cause of disability, having risen sharply since 1980,27 and prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths have become a public health emergency. While opioid pain killers are among the most lethal, psychiatric drugs also take their toll. In 2013, anti-anxiety benzodiazepine drugs accounted for nearly one-third of prescription overdose deaths.28

 

All of these statistics suggest that far from being helpful, antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs are making the situation worse. Sure, these drugs may be helpful for a small minority of people with very severe mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, but clearly, the vast majority of people using these drugs do not suffer from severe psychiatric illness.

 

Most are struggling with sadness, grief, anxiety, “the blues” and depression, which are in many ways part of your body’s communication system, revealing nutritional or sunlight deficiencies and/or spiritual disconnect, for example. The underlying reasons for these kinds of troubles are manifold, but you can be sure that, whatever the cause, an antidepressant will not correct it.

 

Women also need to be mindful of the fact that use of antidepressants during pregnancy can significantly increase your chances of having a child with autism. One study found antidepressant use during the second or third trimester was associated with an 87 percent increased risk of autism.29 The use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors was associated with double the risk of autism in the child, while the use of two or more antidepressants increased the risk more than fourfold.

 

Which Treatments Actually Work?

If you’re at all interested in following science-based recommendations, you’d place antidepressants at the very bottom of your list of treatment candidates. Far more effective treatments for depression include:

 

  • Exercise — A number of studies have shown exercise outperforms drug treatment. Exercise helps create new GABA-producing neurons that help induce a natural state of calm, and boosts serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which helps buffer the effects of stress.

 

Studies have shown there is a strong correlation between improved mood and aerobic capacity, but even gentle forms of exercise can be effective. Yoga, for example, has received particular attention in a number of studies. A study published this spring found 90-minute yoga sessions three times a week reduced symptoms of major depression by at least 50 percent.30

 

  • Nutritional intervention — Keeping inflammation in check is an important part of any effective treatment plan. If you’re gluten sensitive, you will need to remove all gluten from your diet. A food sensitivity test can help ascertain this. Reducing lectins may also be a good idea. As a general guideline, eating a whole food diet as described in my optimal nutrition plan can go a long way toward lowering your inflammation level. Certain nutritional deficiencies are also notorious contributors to depression, especially:

 

◦ Omega-3 fats. I recommend getting an omega-3 index test to make sure you’re getting enough. Ideally, you want your omega-3 index to be 8 percent or higher.

 

◦ B vitamins (including B1, B2, B3, B6, B8 and B12). Low dietary folate can raise your risk by as much as 300 percent.31,32 One of the most recent studies33,34 showing the importance of vitamin deficiencies in depression involved suicidal teens. Most turned out to be deficient in cerebral folate and all of them showed improvement after treatment with folinic acid.

 

  • Vitamin D — Studies have shown vitamin D deficiency can predispose you to depression and that depression can respond favorably to optimizing your vitamin D stores, ideally by getting sensible sun exposure.35,36 In one such study,37 people with a vitamin D level below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) had an 85 percent increased risk of depression compared to those with a level greater than 30 ng/mL.

 

A double-blind randomized trial38 published in 2008 concluded that supplementing with high doses of vitamin D “seems to ameliorate [depression] symptoms indicating a possible causal relationship. “Recent research39 also claims that low vitamin D levels appear to be associated with suicide attempts. For optimal health, make sure your vitamin D level is between 40 and 60 ng/mL year-round. Ideally, get a vitamin D test at least twice a year to monitor your level.

 

  • Probiotics — Keeping your gut microbiome healthy also has a significant effect on your moods, emotions and brain. You can read more in my previous article, “Mental Health May Depend on the Health of Your Gut Flora.”

 

  • Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) — EFT is a form of psychological acupressure that has been shown to be quite effective for depression and anxiety.40,41,42,43 For serious or complex issues, seek out a qualified health care professional that is trained in EFT44 to guide you through the process. That said, for most of you with depression symptoms, this is a technique you can learn to do effectively on your own.

 

One of my new favorites.  My mom passed away unexpectedly in July and I am very grateful she did not have cancer or struggles with any abuses from the conventional health system that many of our readers do. However, losing my mother was a major challenge in grief management for me.

 

I realize grief is not depression but the book “Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender”45 by Dr. David Hawkins, was one of the best books I have read this year and helped teach me the useful tool of how to free yourself of painful emotions. I have read many of Hawkins’ previous books but this was his last one as he also recently passed.

 

Other Helpful Treatment Strategies

Here are several other strategies that can help improve your mental health:46

 

Clean up your sleep hygiene

 

Make sure you’re getting enough high-quality sleep, as sleep is essential for optimal mood and mental health. A fitness tracker that tracks your sleep can be a useful tool. The inability to fall asleep and stay asleep can be due to elevated cortisol levels, so if you have trouble sleeping, you may want to get your saliva cortisol level tested with an Adrenal Stress Index test.

 

If you’re already taking hormones, you can try applying a small dab of progesterone cream on your neck or face when you awaken during the night and can’t call back to sleep. Another alternative is to take adaptogens, herbal products that help lower cortisol and adjust your body to stress. There are also other excellent herbs and amino acids that help you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Meditation can also help.

Optimize your gut health

 

A number of studies have confirmed gastrointestinal inflammation can play a critical role in the development of depression.47 Optimizing your gut microbiome will also help regulate a number of neurotransmitters and mood-related hormones, including GABA and corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety and depression-related behavior.48

 

To nourish your gut microbiome, be sure to eat plenty of fresh vegetables and traditionally fermented foods. Healthy choices include fermented vegetables, lassi, kefir and natto. If you do not eat fermented foods on a regular basis, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement is recommended.

 

Also remember to severely limit sugars, especially fructose, as well as grains, to rebalance your gut flora. As a standard recommendation, I suggest limiting your daily fructose consumption from all sources to 25 grams per day or less.

Visualization

 

Visualization and guided imagery have been used for decades by elite athletes prior to an event, successful business people and cancer patients — all to achieve better results through convincing your mind you have already achieved successful results.49,50 Similar success has been found in people with depression.51

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

 

CBT has been used successfully to treat depression.52,53 This therapy assumes mood is related to the pattern of thought. CBT attempts to change mood and reverse depression by directing your thought patterns.

Make sure your cholesterol levels aren’t too low for optimal mental health

 

You may also want to check your cholesterol to make sure it’s not too low. Low cholesterol is linked to dramatically increased rates of suicide, as well as aggression toward others.54 This increased expression of violence toward self and others may be due to the fact that low membrane cholesterol decreases the number of serotonin receptors in the brain, which are approximately 30 percent cholesterol by weight.

 

Lower serum cholesterol concentrations therefore may contribute to decreasing brain serotonin, which not only contributes to suicidal-associated depression, but prevents the suppression of aggressive behavior and violence toward self and others.

Helpful supplements

 

A number of herbs and supplements can be used in lieu of drugs to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. These include:

 

  • St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum). This medicinal plant has a long historical use for depression, and is thought to work similarly to antidepressants, raising brain chemicals associated with mood such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline.55

 

  • S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe). SAMe is an amino acid derivative that occurs naturally in all cells. It plays a role in many biological reactions by transferring its methyl group to DNA, proteins, phospholipids and biogenic amines. Several scientific studies indicate that SAMe may be useful in the treatment of depression.

 

  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). 5-HTP is another natural alternative to traditional antidepressants. When your body sets about manufacturing serotonin, it first makes 5-HTP. Taking 5-HTP as a supplement may raise serotonin levels. Evidence suggests 5-HTP outperforms a placebo when it comes to alleviating depression,56 which is more than can be said about antidepressants.

 

  • XingPiJieYu. This Chinese herb, available from doctors of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), has been found to reduce the effects of “chronic and unpredictable stress,” thereby lowering your risk of depression.57

Guidelines for Safe Drug Withdrawal

If you’re currently on an antidepressant and want to get off it, ideally, you’ll want to have the cooperation of your prescribing physician. It would also be wise to do some homework on how to best proceed. Dr. Joseph Glenmullen from Harvard has written a helpful book on how to withdraw called “The Antidepressant Solution: A Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Antidepressant Withdrawal, Dependence, and Addiction.”

 

You can also turn to an organization with a referral list of doctors who practice more biologically or naturally, such as the American College for Advancement in Medicine at http://www.ACAM.org. A holistic psychiatrist will have a number of treatment options in their tool box that conventional doctors do not, and will typically be familiar with nutritional supplementation.

 

Once you have the cooperation of your prescribing physician, start lowering the dosage of the medication you’re taking. There are protocols for gradually reducing the dose that your doctor should be well aware of. At the same time, it may be wise to add in a multivitamin and/or other nutritional supplements or herbs. Again, your best bet would be to work with a holistic psychiatrist who is well-versed in the use of nutritional support.

 

If you have a friend or family member who struggles with depression, perhaps one of the most helpful things you can do is to help guide them toward healthier eating and lifestyle habits, as making changes can be particularly difficult when you’re feeling blue — or worse, suicidal. Encourage them to unplug and meet you outside for walks. We should not underestimate the power of human connection, and the power of connection with nature. Both, I believe, are essential for mental health and emotional stability.

 

If you are feeling desperate or have any thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a toll-free number: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or call 911, or simply go to your nearest hospital emergency department. You cannot make long-term plans for lifestyle changes when you are in the middle of a crisis.

 

Health Wellness Associates

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Dr. J Mercola

Dr. P Carrothers

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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Heart Healthy Lifestyle Tied To Lower Drug Costs

heartdisease

Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Tied to Lower Drug Costs

People with heart disease spend a lot less on medications when they take steps to lower their risk of complications by doing things like getting enough exercise, avoiding cigarettes and keeping their blood pressure in check, a U.S. study suggests.

For the study, researchers focused on adults diagnosed with the most common type of heart disease, known as atherosclerosis, which happens when fats, cholesterol and other substances build up on artery walls.

 

When these patients did as much as they could to avoid so-called modifiable risk factors for heart disease – inactivity, obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and diabetes – their total average annual pharmaceutical expenditures were $1,400, the study found.

But patients who did little to modify these risk factors had total average annual pharmaceutical expenditures of $4,516, researchers report in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

 

“Individuals who are unwilling to modify their lifestyles so as to have a favorable risk factor profile would most likely resort to medications to control the risk factors,” said lead study author Dr. Joseph Salami of the Center for Health Care Advancement and Outcomes at Baptist Health South Florida in Coral Gables.

 

“A person getting little or no exercise has a higher risk of obesity,” Salami said by email. “Someone obese is more likely to have diabetes, high blood cholesterol and hypertension.”

 

For the study, researchers examined 2012 and 2013 data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a national snapshot of spending based on surveys of almost 76,000 American patients, families, doctors and employers. The total pharmaceutical costs, reported in 2013 dollars, include patients’ out-of-pocket fees like co-payments and co-insurance as well as the portion of the tab covered by insurance or other sources, Salami said.

Among the survey participants, 4,248 adults aged 40 or older had atherosclerosis, representing about 21.9 million people in the U.S. population. They were 68 years old on average, and 45 percent were women.

 

Overall, average annual drug costs for each participant were $3,432. About a third of this was for cardiovascular disease drugs and another 14 percent was spent on diabetes medicines.

 

The remaining expenditures – more than half of the total – were for non-cardiovascular disease and non-diabetes drugs and were significantly associated with the modifiable risk factors, the study team notes.

Nationwide, this adds up to annual drug spending of $71.6 billion for patients with atherosclerosis, researchers estimated.

 

One limitation of the study is that it might overestimate expenditures because it’s possible some people prescribed medications for heart disease might be taking them for other reasons, the authors note. Researchers also lacked data on the type of insurance patients’ had or for individual characteristics of patients, doctors or pharmacists that might influence drug costs.

 

Costs should be considered in the context of how well treatments work, and the study doesn’t address this, noted Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston who wasn’t involved in the study.

 

“In some cases, the benefit that patients get from these non-pharmacologic therapies may be much more substantial than the benefit that drug therapy can offer,” Kesselheim said by email. “In other cases, the drug might be more helpful.”

The study also isn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove that people will spend less on drugs when they make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of heart disease, said Julie Schmittdiel of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research in Oakland.

 

“It does suggest there is promise that addressing modifiable health behaviors will reduce costs,” Schmittdiel, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

 

Knowing this might help motivate some patients to make changes, said Stacie Dusetzina, a pharmacy researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who wasn’t involved in the study.

 

“I think many of us realize how hard these risk factors are to modify,” Dusetzina said by email. “But having incentives that include feeling better and saving money may help with motivation.”

 

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Dr A Sullivan

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Which Sport Lowers Your Risk of Premature Death

stretching2

Which Sport Lowers Your Risk of Premature Death

 

 

Consider Racket Sports and Swimming to Help You Live Longer

 

There’s no shortage of evidence showing that being active can extend your life. Less widely known, however, is whether certain types of activities may work in your favor more so than others.

Surprisingly, research on the health benefits of specific types of activities is scarce, so researchers from Europe and Australia examined the associations between six different sports/exercises and risk of death from heart disease and all causes. Three of them rose squarely to the top.

 

3 Top Physical Activities to Lower Your Risk of Death

 

Researchers analyzed data from more than 80,000 people, and it turned out racket sports, swimming and aerobics topped the list of best physical activities for lowering the risk of premature death.1

Those who played racket sports, such as tennis, badminton or squash, had a 47 percent lower risk of dying during the nine-year study period than non-exercisers. Swimmers, meanwhile, had a 28 percent lower risk of death while aerobics’ participants enjoyed a 27 percent lower risk of dying.

A significant reduction in cardiovascular death was also found for the three activities. Those who played racket sports were 56 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease during the study, followed by 41 percent less likely for swimmers and 36 percent less likely among aerobics enthusiasts.

No statistically significant reductions, however — for cardiovascular or all-cause mortality — were observed for the other three activities included in the study (cycling, running and football, i.e., soccer in the U.S.).

 

Are Full-Body Workouts Best?

 

Racket sports, aerobics and swimming require the use of your full body — arms and legs — which makes your heart work harder. This could be one reason why these full-body workouts lower the risk of death more than other activities.

In addition, they often require intense bursts of activity, which could be responsible for their life-enhancing edge. As noted by the University of Rochester Medical Center:2

“Racquet sports alternate bursts of high-intensity exercise while you score points, with brief rest periods while you pick up the ball and serve. This stop-and-start activity is similar to interval training.

Playing racquet sports, or any active sport, [three] hours a week can cut your risk of developing heart disease and lower your blood pressure, according to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

One key to getting a good aerobic workout in tennis or racquetball is to keep your rest periods brief. Your heart will continue to work at an aerobic level, but without the sustained stress.”

On the other hand, cycling was only associated with a small decline in mortality risk, but this could be because many of the participants used cycling recreationally to get to and from work (as opposed to doing it vigorously as a workout).

The researchers speculated that running may not have made the top list because the runners in the study were younger, on average, and a longer follow-up period may have been needed to gauge its full benefits.

However, research is increasingly showing that short bursts of intense activity (such as you might engage in when playing a vigorous game of tennis) may be better than long, slow cardio like running.

Among the study participants, more than 44 percent met the minimum exercise recommendations (150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity a week for adults ages 18 to 65).

Popularity-wise, swimming topped the list as the favorite form of exercise, followed by cycling, aerobics, running/jogging, racket sports and football (soccer) or rugby.

It’s important to note that engaging in any type of activity was better than none at all; active participants reduced their risk of death by 28 percent, regardless of which activity they engaged in.

 

Swimming Versus Racket Sports and Aerobics

 

Ultimately, you should choose your physical activities based on what you enjoy, and keep your routine varied to get the best results. You might try swimming one day, a game of tennis another and do a high-intensity interval aerobics workout the next.

All of these exercises offer benefits for cardiovascular fitness, strength and fat burning, but swimming offers one clear benefit over the others for people who have trouble exercising on land: It’s not a weight-bearing workout.

If you are overweight or obese, struggle with joint pain or osteoarthritis or are elderly and unable to engage in higher impact activities, exercising in water will allow your body to move in a wider range of motion, often without pain, and with less of a risk of injury or falls.

Vertical water workouts, such as deep water running, water aerobics, water yoga and more, are becoming increasingly popular because you experience much greater resistance (and hence greater fitness gains) than when swimming horizontally.

It’s quite possible to get a high-intensity, vigorous workout done in the water, and this may be an ideal form of exercise for those with chronic pain or mobility issues.

 

There’s a ‘Goldilocks Zone’ When It Comes to Exercising

 

If you want to reap the most benefits from exercising (i.e., lower your risk of premature death as much as possible), you might assume that the more you exercise, the better.

In reality, a large analysis involving data from 661,000 adults revealed that people who exercised 10 times the recommended level (150 minutes of moderate exercise per week) did not gain any additional benefits in terms of mortality risk reduction.3

Those who met the exercise guidelines lowered their risk of death during the 14-year study period by 31 percent while those who engaged in moderate exercise for 450 minutes per week (just over an hour a day) lowered their risk of premature death by 39 percent compared to non-exercisers.

Even those who exercised at all (yet didn’t meet the requirement) lowered their risk of premature death by 20 percent. Those who did not exercise at all had the highest risk of premature death, which again sends home the message that any exercise is better than no exercise.

Exercise intensity also plays an important role, however, and data from a separate study found that engaging in even occasional vigorous exercise led to additional reductions in risk of premature death.4 In fact, when you include brief bursts of high-intensity activity in your workouts, you can slash your workout time considerably.

 

Brief, Intense Activity Promotes Longevity Via Mitochondrial Biogenesis

 

Pushing your body to the extreme for a very brief duration, such as cycling on a stationary bike or elliptical machine for 30 seconds as fast as you can, then resting for a recovery period before repeating the cycle again, taps into a new level of exercise advantages that cannot be gained from moderate- or low-intensity workouts alone.

Such workouts, known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), lead to immediate changes in your DNA, including reprogramming your muscle for strength and stimulating your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which in turn triggers production of vital human growth hormone (HGH).

HIIT also triggers mitochondrial biogenesis, which is important for longevity. According to one review in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, exercise alters mitochondrial enzyme content and activity, which helps increase cellular energy production, and in so doing decreases your risk of chronic disease and slows down the aging process.5

 

Working Out Smarter

 

Research has clearly demonstrated that short bursts of intense activity are safer and more effective than conventional cardio — for your heart, general health, weight loss and overall fitness. The bonus is that exercising in this way allows you to exercise much more efficiently.

The American College of Sports Medicine, which recommends 20 minutes of more vigorous activity three days per week, even notes that HIIT workouts tend to burn 6 percent to 15 percent more calories compared to other workouts, thanks to the calories you burn after you exercise.

Even for HIIT, however, there are variations among workouts, and it’s important to find one that works right for you. If you’re very fit and want to take your workout to the next level, Tabata Training is one (very challenging) HIIT workout to try.

If you’re new to high-intensity interval training, however, don’t go directly to a full Tabata workout. Instead, try the Peak Fitness method of 30 seconds of maximum effort followed by 90 seconds of recuperation. When repeated eight times, and including a four-minute warm-up, this workout takes about 20 minutes.

 

Here are the core principles (I also incorporate Buteyko breathing into the workout, which means I do most of the workout by breathing only through my nose, which raises the challenge to another level). For another HIIT alternative, try Super Slow strength training.

 

Warm up for three minutes

Exercise as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds. You should be gasping for breath and feel like you couldn’t possibly go on another few seconds. It is better to use lower resistance and higher repetitions to increase your heart rate

Recover for 90 seconds, still moving, but at slower pace and decreased resistance

Repeat the high-intensity exercise and recovery seven more times. (When you’re first starting out, depending on your level of fitness, you may be able to do only two or three repetitions of the high-intensity intervals. As you get fitter, just keep adding repetitions until you’re doing eight during your 20-minute session)

Cool down for a few minutes afterward by cutting down your intensity by 50 to 80 percent

Variety Is the Spice of Life — and Exercise

 

Remember that HIIT is only one facet of a well-rounded exercise program. Incorporating other physical activities you enjoy, such as the highly beneficial choices revealed in the featured study, will only add to your fitness and longevity. Let your interests guide you and feel free to experiment with new activities, like a water aerobics class one week or a game of tennis the next.

By making simple tweaks, you can easily turn a fun game of tennis with a friend into a moderate-to-vigorous workout that enhances your longevity and strength. To get the most from your racket sports workout, consider these tips from the University of Rochester Medical Center:6

” … [Y]ou and your opponent should agree to play for the aerobic benefit, as well as for fun. Instead of firing aces past each other, plan on a volley-and-return match that keeps you both moving. Scatter your shots around the court to make the most of the distance you both run. Also limit your number of serves. Or play for total points instead of using traditional scoring.”

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Diets and Weight Loss

Stop Spinning: You are Just Spinning Your Wheels

spinning

Stop Spinning: You’re Just Spinning Your Wheels
Spinning classes can be fun, if you like sitting in one place and torturing yourself. But have you noticed how little people change their bodies in these classes? Sure, it’s good “cardio”, but cardiovascular conditioning can be gained with far less time and effort.
Spinning, and any form of endurance training (especially running) does very little to help the age reversal process. Many times, these long-duration exercise bouts accelerate the aging process by increasing free radicals. These free radicals are scavengers that prey on your body’s essential nutrients and tissues.
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Diets and Weight Loss, Lifestyle

No Time to Exercise

walking2

No Time to Exercise?

Cant fit in the 30 minutes of exercise five times weekly needed to lower your risk of heart disease?

Squeeze in two brisk 10 minute walks weekly instead, and you will lower your odds of heart problems,

stroke and blood clots by more than 20%, which is the same as if you have worked out longer.

Short bouts of activity that get your heart pumping are enough to strengthen your heart muscle and arteries research shows.

Boost your benefits with the foods you eat.

Eating a Mediterranean type diet of fish, olives,

fresh produce, whole grains, beans and nuts cuts your

risk of heart disease by another 47%.

Not eating and skipping meals is the worse situation for a health heart.

For more information contact:

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Diets and Weight Loss, Lifestyle

Weight Loss Blunders

weightlossblunders

So what makes one weight loss workout plan effective and another one fails? There could be a number of factors involved. But in many cases, the cause can be traced to one of these blunders. If you’ve been struggling to shed a few pounds and your exercise plan isn’t yielding any results, see if you are making one of these common workout mistakes.

5 Common Weight Loss Workout Mistakes

  1. Doing the same workout day after day. It’s not a bad thing to exercise every day, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing to do the same workout everyday to maintain heart health. But if you want to lose weight, repeating the same workout mode, intensity, or duration day after day won’t work. Why? Your body adjusts to the daily workload and you hit the dreaded weight loss plateau.

Fix this blunder: Develop a workout schedule that involves different activities, different intensity levels and different session lengths. For example, if you normally do 40 minutes of walking, keep that activity on your workout schedule two or three days per week. But as an added challenge, walk for 60-75 minutes one day during the week. On the remaining days, mix in a cycling workout and a day of walk/run intervals. If you are healthy enough for vigorous activity, add HIIT workouts, which have been shown to be effective at burning fat.

  1. Compensating by eating more. When you add exercise to your daily routine, you are likely to become more hungry than usual and want to eat more. Dealing with that hunger can be an uphill battle, because there is often a little voice inside your head that says, “I can eat whatever I want because I exercised today.”

That rationale makes sense. But if you are trying to lose weight with exercise, you need to achieve a specific calorie deficit at the end of the day. If you satisfy your post-exercise hunger with high calorie foods or even with too much healthy food, you’ll end up replacing all of the calories you burned. Then, your calorie deficit and your potential weight loss disappears.

Fix this blunder: Before you start or change your workout program, determine your total daily expenditure. You can calculate it yourself or get a metabolic test performed by a professional such as a personal trainer or registered dietitian. When you begin your exercise program make sure that you only increase your food intake so that you still maintain a calorie deficit at the end of the day. A deficit of 500 calories per day or 3500 calories per week should result in a one pound weight loss each week.

  1. Lopsided training. A good fitness schedule includes cardiovascular (aerobic) training, strength training and flexibility work (stretching). This balanced workout program ensures that your body stays healthy and fit. But each of these three components also has weight loss benefits. If you skimp on one or two of them, you’ll end up with a lopsided workout program and you won’t reap the full weight loss rewards of your exercise sessions.

Fix this blunder: Most weight loss workout programs include aerobic activity so it’s unlikely that you’ll have to add cardio. But you should also make sure that you do 2-3 days of strength training, as well. If time is an issue, do a circuit workout and complete short intervals of strength exercises between 5-10 minute bursts of cardio. Then, finish every workout with 10-15 minutes of stretching so that you maintain healthy joints and an injury-free body.

  1. Decreasing non-exercise physical activity. It’s great if you go to the gym every day and complete a killer workout – unless the payoff is that you spend the rest of the day on the couch. If you compensate for your workout by decreasing the amount of non-exercise physical activity that you do during the day, your total daily caloric expenditure may end up being the same as if you hadn’t gone to the gym at all.

Fix this blunder: Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) should account for a significant percentage of the calories that you burn each day. When your NEAT decreases, your metabolism slows, you don’t burn as many calories each day and you don’t lose weight.

If your workouts drain you to the point of exhaustion, it may be time to re-evaluate your program. Make sure that your high intensity workouts are relatively short and that you include some easy recovery days during the week to give your body a chance to recuperate and rebuild.

Also, keep in mind that it’s not always the workout that is causing the lack of NEAT. Sometimes the choice to lay on the couch or sit in a chair all day is made out of habit rather than genuine fatigue. Try to skip the afternoon nap and go for an energizing walk instead. Stuck at work? See if you can use a standing workstation or take short breaks to get out of your chair and move around.

  1. Using supplements/sports drinks. Do you refuel during or after your workout with sports drinks or bars? If so, you’re probably erasing the calorie deficit that you just earned. In some cases, athletes need sports drinks, but for most exercisers water is the best choice for hydration. And your post workout diet supplement is probably not helping either. There are hundreds of products on the market and, sadly, most of them do nothing but make empty promises and drain your wallet.

Regardless of your size, exercise should always be a part of your daily routine. You’ll experience countless health benefits if you participate in physical activity every day. But if you are engaging in a workout program specifically to lose weight you need to be especially careful to optimize your plan to meet that goal. Make just a few small adjustments, avoid these common mistakes, and you’re more likely to see the results on the scale.

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