Healthy Byte: Toss the All or Nothing Mentality

Image result for light exercise

Originally Posted HERE

(Reuters Health) – People who get even a small amount of exercise may be less likely to die prematurely than their more sedentary counterparts, a research review suggests.

Researchers examined data from 10 previously published studies that used accelerometers that track movement to measure the exact amount of active and sedentary time spent by more than 36,000 older adults. After an average follow-up period of 6.7 years, a total of 2,149 people died, or about 6% of the participants.

Compared to people who got virtually no exercise, people who got the most physical activity were 73% less likely to die during the study, regardless of how intensely they worked out. With even a little exercise, people were 52% less like to die.

When researchers looked only at people who did light workouts, they again found that even a little bit of low-intensity exercise was associated with a 40% lower risk of death during the study compared with doing nothing at all. People who got the most light-intensity exercise were 62% less likely to die.

“The finding that higher levels of light-intensity physical activity reduce the risk of death is novel and suggests that all physical activity counts,” said Ulf Ekelund, lead author of the study and a researcher at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo.

“This is of particular importance for elderly and those who may not be able to participate in physical activity at moderate and higher intensities,” Ekelund said by email. “The simple take-home message is to sit less, move more, and move more often.”

Physical inactivity has long been linked to an increased risk of premature death and a wide variety of chronic health problems, but much of this evidence has been based on surveys that might not provide an accurate picture of how much exercise people really get, the review team writes in The BMJ.

In the current analysis, participants were 63 years old, on average. All of them wore accelerometers for at least 10 hours a day for four or more days to track how much they moved, the intensity of their activity levels and how much time they were sedentary and not moving at all.

People who were sedentary for 10 hours a day were 48% more likely to die during the study than people who moved more. Twelve hours a day of sedentary time was associated with an almost tripled risk of death during the study.

When researchers excluded people who died within the first two years of follow-up – who might have been sicker than others, explaining their inactivity – the results didn’t change.

One limitation of the study is that it looked at men and women combined, making it impossible to determine if there are any sex-based differences in the connection between activity levels and longevity. Participants were also middle-aged and older, so it’s unclear if results would be similar for younger adults.

“By reducing sedentary time people increase activity, therefore, it is likely that both are not independent factors and that they represent two sides of the same coin,” said Jochen Klenk, author of an editorial accompanying the study and a researcher the Institute of Epidemiology and Medical Biometry at Ulm University in Germany.

“Based in the results of the paper, is seems that any level of intensity is beneficial,” Klenk said by email.

Healthy Byte: Sweat or Not Sweat

Image result for exercise sweat

Originally Posted HERE

You curled, squatted, and burpee-d your way through a full-body workout. But after an hour of nonstop fitness your sweat levels are…low. What gives? Did you totally phone it in during your exercise sesh? Because it doesn’t count unless you really break a sweat, right?

*Insert buzzer noise here* Wrong! But you’re not the only one concerned—celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson (who has trained the likes of J.LoKhloe Kardashian, and Kate Beckinsale) says he gets this question all the time.

His response to clients? “Um, did I just imagine all those cardio intervals where you were huffing and puffing?”

“Give yourself credit for everything you do.”

“Sure, [sweat is] an indicator, but it’s not the only indicator,” Peterson told Women’s Health at a workout event with MitoQ. For starters, what’s the temperature in the room? Because, yeah, if you’re working out in a 85 degree studio, you’ll likely sweat more than an air-conditioned gym. Also, are you hydrating enough? Because the less water you drink, the less you’ll likely sweat. “You know how hard you’re working,” says Peterson, so don’t let that be the standard of a successful workout.

It also really depends on your goals. Were you working your entire body? How does your whole body feel after your workout? Did you focus on arms? How do your arms feel? Tired? Worked? Good.

So even if you’re not sweating buckets, you still did the work. “Ultimately, give yourself credit for everything you do,” says Peterson, “and stop beating yourself up for everything you didn’t do.”

Healthy Byte: Stave Off Colon Cancer with Exercise

 

Image result for exercise colon cancer

Originally Posted HERE

Think back to what you were doing as a teen. Were you on the pounding the trails on the cross-country team? Maybe sprinting back and forth on the soccer field?

How active you were then—and how you’ve maintained it now—is important when gauging your risk of colorectal cancer, a recent study suggests. Physical activity during adolescence can lower risk of the disease, and if you continue moderate, daily physical exercise well into adulthood, the results are particularly dramatic.

Published in the British Journal of Cancer, the research looked at data from the Nurses’ Health Study II, one of the largest investigations into major chronic disease risk. Researchers analyzed data on 28,250 women aged 25 to 42, examining the long-term effects of physical activity, nutrition, and hormones, among other health factors.

They found that those who reported at least an hour of physical activity per day from age 12 to 22 had reduced risk of adenoma—polyps considered a precursor of colorectal cancer—by 7 percent, compared to those with lower activity amounts. Physical activity that started in adulthood reduced risk by 9 percent.

But for those who started being active as teens and continued that hour-plus-daily activity streak? They had the biggest benefit of all: They reduced their adenoma risk by 24 percent.

The takeaway here is that there’s a cumulative effect of physical activity as you age, according to study co-author Leandro Rezende, D.Sc., Ph.D.(c), of the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil. Starting physical activity at any age is advantageous for numerous reasons, including better colorectal health, he told Runner’s World, and the longer you maintain that activity, the better off you’ll be.

“Physical activity reduces the risk of colon cancer by several biological mechanisms,” he said. “Weight management and control are likely the most important, because it impacts insulin resistance and inflammation that are involved in the promotion and progression of cancer.”

Although this study didn’t look at whether activity intensity or frequency made a bigger difference, Rezende said previous studies have shown that moderate-to-vigorous activity is associated with lower bowel cancer risks, as well as lower risk for breast and endometrium cancers.

Plus, recent studies suggest you don’t need to get your exercise in big exercise blocks, or even in 10-minute-plus increments, as previously believed. Even small bursts of activity can add up.

“The more activity you get, especially if you do it every day, and at higher levels, the more of an impact on cancer prevention you’re likely to see,” said Rezende.

 

Healthy Byte: Post Workout Refueling

Image result for post workout snack

Originally Posted HERE

High intensity interval training – otherwise known as HIIT – is a firm favourite among gym-goers. It’s efficient, it forces you to work hard, and it targets the whole body in each calorie-blasting session.

To get the most out of your HIIT classes, you want to make sure you’re doing it right – and that includes your food intake before and after the session, too. But it can be hard to know what’s best; is it better to eat immediately before a high intensity workout? Or should you do it on an empty stomach in a bid to burn more fat?

Cosmopolitan asked Alexandra Cook – aka The Sports Dietitian, who’s working in partnership with nutritional supplement brand Lift – what her advice is when it comes to fuelling and re-fuelling for a HIIT workout.

“If you want to have a good session, being well fuelled is important,” Alexandra says. “Ensure you eat regular meals balanced with carbs and protein throughout the day, and well-timed snacks before and after training.”

The Sports Dietitian’s rule of thumb is to eat “a balanced meal 3 hours before exercise, and then a high energy snack an hour before to make sure you are powered and good to go.” If you’re not the meal-prepping type, a high energy snack in your gym bag will suffice.

For professional athletes who are training intensively, and often more than once a day, it’s important that they eat within 30 minutes of finishing training. For us mere mortals, the dietitian reassures us that the rules are more lax.

“Ensure you have a carbohydrate and protein based snack or balanced meal within 1-2 hours of finishing training, and then continue to ensure you have adequate carbs and protein throughout the rest of your day to meet individual training needs,” suggests the dietitian.

Alexandra’s recommendation for a quick, on-the-go refuel is a smoothie “mixing 1 banana, 30g of oats, 1 tbsp nut butter and 350-500mls of milk.”

Eating swiftly after your HIIT session is advisable because “the muscles are thought to be primed to accept nutrients immediately after exercise,” explains the expert. “This
will make sure you have a good balance of carbs and protein to start the recovery process.”

And what better way to help repair the damage of 50+ burpees than with a tasty snack?

Healthy Byte: The Side Effects of Exercise

Image result for exercise

Originally Posted HERE

If ever there was a time to up your fitness game, the arrival of the new year and the new decade is it. But after the allure of the new gym membership wears off, our sedentary habits, more often than not, consume our promise of daily workouts. It doesn’t have to be this way, says health psychologist and author, Kelly McGonigal, PhD.

In her new book, The Joy of Movement: How Exercise Helps Us Find Happiness, Hope, Connection, and Courage, the Stanford University lecturer offer new motivation to get moving that has less to do with how we look, or feeling duty-bound to exercise, and everything to do with how movement makes us feel. She shares with readers the often profound, yet lesser-known benefits of exercise that make it a worthy, life-long activity whether you’re young, old, fit or disabled.

Among its many life-altering rewards: the generation of hope, happiness, a sense of purpose, greater life satisfaction and rewarding connections with others.

“These benefits are seen throughout the lifespan,” she writes. “They apply to every socioeconomic strata and appear to be culturally universal.”

And they aren’t activity-specific and they don’t require you to be a super-athlete. Whether you run, swim, dance, bike, weight-lift, do yoga or team sports — it doesn’t matter, McGonigal says — moderate physical activity does far more than make us physically stronger and healthier.

Here are five of the ways movement can help you enjoy life.

1) Activate pleasure

During exercise, McGonigal explains, our brains release neurotransmitters — in particular dopamine and endocannabinoids — that can generate a natural high similar to that of cannabis, or marijuana.

“Many of the effects of cannabis are consistent with descriptions of exercise-induced highs, including the sudden disappearance of worries or stress, a reduction in pain, the slowing of time and a heightening of the senses,” she writes.

And while exercise activates the same channels of the brain’s reward system that addictive drugs do, she explains that it does so “in a way that has the complete opposite effect on your capacity to enjoy life.”

Exactly how it all works, isn’t fully understood.

“But the basic idea is that your brain will have a more robust response to everyday pleasures,” she says, “whether it’s your child smiling at you, or the taste of food or your enjoyment of looking at something beautiful — and that’s the exact opposite effect of addiction.”

2) Become a “more social version of yourself”

In a chapter on the collective joy of exercise, McGonigal explains how endorphins — another type of neurotransmitters released during sustained physical activity — help bond us to others. It’s a connection, she writes, that “can be experienced anytime and anywhere people gather to move in unison,” be it during the flow of yoga class, during the synchronicity of team rowing, while running with friends or while practicing tai chi with others.

Of course, humans can build bonds through sedentary activities as well, McGonigal says.

“But there’s something about getting your heart rate up a little bit and using your muscles that creates that brain state that makes you more willing to trust others — that enhances the pleasure you get from interacting with others that often makes you this more social version of yourself,” she says.

3) Heal depression

In a section on “green exercise,” McGonigal discusses the positive shifts in mood and outlook reported by those who exercise in nature.

“It actually alters what’s happening in your brain in a way that looks really similar to meditation,” she says. “People report feeling connected to all of life… and they feel more hopeful about life itself.”

Indeed, an Austrian study McGonigal cites found that among people who had previously attempted suicide, the addition of mountain hiking to their standard medical treatment reduced suicidal thinking and hopelessness. Similarly, a South Korean study showed that when forest walks were added to the treatment of middle-aged adults with depression, they moved into remission at a rate three times faster than those who did indoor therapy only.

4) Reveal hidden strength

Even for those who don’t struggle with mental or physical illness, adopting a regular exercise routine can provide powerful transformation. McGonigal shares stories of several women who overcame limiting beliefs through exercise to reveal a new, more powerful self.

“If there is a voice in your head saying, ‘You’re too old, too awkward, too big, too broken, too weak,’ physical sensations from movement can provide a compelling counterargument,” McGonigal writes. “Even deeply held belief about ourselves can be challenged by direct, physical experiences, as new sensations overtake old memories and stories.”

5) A boost for the brain

McGonigal offers insights drawn from research into ultra-endurance athletes and how they survive mentally and physically grueling events designed to last six or more hours.

When researchers at the Berlin-based Center for Space Medicine and Extreme Environments measured the blood of ultra-endurance athletes, they found high levels a family of proteins called myokines, known to help the body burn fat as fuel, to act as natural antidepressants and to provide a possible shield against cognitive decline.

But as she reports, you don’t need to be a super-athlete to experience the benefits of myokines. McGonigal cites a 2018 study that identified 35 of these proteins released by the quadriceps muscles during just one hour of bike riding.

Emerging research, she says, suggests that when exercised, your muscles become “basically a pharmacy for your physical and mental health.”

“If you are willing to move,” she writes, “your muscles will give you hope. Your brain will orchestrate pleasure. And your entire physiology will adjust to help you find the energy, purpose and courage you need to keep going.”

Healthy Byte: Getting Back at it After a Gym Hiatus

ORIGINALLY POSTED HERE

Getting back into a workout routine when you’ve taken time off is intimidating, so I’ve outlined a guide to help you ease in without losing motivation or risking injury. Just remember: It’s all about baby steps!

Keep in mind, your level of progression is largely based upon your total time off, the reason for the break (surgery, work, children), and your level of fitness prior to it. (You’ll totally relate to The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Taking a Workout Hiatus.) I advise returning to a workout program in a progressive manner. If you start off by placing too large of a demand on your body, you run the risk of injury and a quick regression backward. Being so sore the next day that you are hobbling down the stairs does not indicate a quality workout.

1. Start with Flexibility Workouts

Your first progressive step forward should be to integrate a couple days of flexibility workouts in order to increase blood flow and circulation while assisting in range of motion and joint mobility. Flexibility is one of the most overlooked protocols of fitness routines, and establishing these protocols early on will allow your body to properly readjust to the new demands that will be placed on it. If you have access to health club or fitness professional, I recommend signing up for a flexibility or beginner yoga class. (Or do it without leaving the house: try this beginner yoga flow video to increase flexibility.) Select 10 to 15 stretches, performing each flexibility movement for up to 1 minute.

2. Add Easy Cardio

Next, depending on your schedule and time commitment, try incorporating light cardiorespiratory workouts after a couple stretching or yoga sessions. If weather permits, a brisk 20-minute outdoor walk will help invigorate your mind and get your body moving again. (Other options: try this low-impact HIIT workout for beginners or walking workout for gentle indoor cardio.) The treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike are great indoor alternatives. If you had a well-established fitness base prior to a month-long break, your first week may include light jogging as opposed to walking.

3. Start Strength Training

After the first week of flexibility and light cardio, start to incorporate strength workouts into your routine. (Try this gentle strength training workout for getting back into the gym.) Your time away from fitness probably involved a lot of sitting, which causes weakness in your posterior chain. These muscles are important for basic everyday movement, as well as keeping your spine erect when at your desk. That is why is at this point one must look to incorporate exercises that improve posture, develop core strength, and activate muscles throughout your gluteus and hamstring regions.

Exercises like squats, lunges, bridges, TRX hamstring curls, stability ball mobility, and core work will help to activate these areas. TRX workouts and bodyweight workouts are ideal for working these muscles and create a safe transition back into your fitness regimen because you can work within your own fitness level.

Healthy Byte: Better for Weight Loss – Cardio or Strength Training?

Originally Posted HERE

Image result for lose weight

When it comes to losing weight, should you head to the treadmill or make gains in the weight room? In the long-standing debate, cardio enthusiasts say you’ll burn fat by torching calories when you increase that heart rate. Weight lifters, however, believe excess fat is best shed by increasing muscle mass because it causes you to burn more calories throughout the day.

So which is best?

Both arguments are true, according to Dr. Andy Galpin, PhD, CSCS, NSCA-CPT and Associate Professor at California State University, Fullerton.

You burn more calories when you’re heart rate is elevated, explains Galpin. You also burn more calories every second of the day when you have more muscle. However, the difference won’t be significant for most people, says Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D, C.S.C.S..

Ultimately, there isn’t just one “right” exercise,

“Fat loss for most people is simply a product of work,” he says. “The best exercise you ever do for fat loss is the one that you’re most consistent with.”

It makes sense that you’re less likely to lace up for that jog if you detest running. “Adherence and effort will determine a huge percentage of the fat loss pie,” says Galpin.

Galpin admits the answer isn’t satisfying, but claims most people won’t notice a huge difference in fat loss by choosing one type of modality.

There’s no need to spend hours on your deadlift if you’d rather run, but Galpin believes changing your routine has benefits that go beyond weight. It’s natural to get bored of the same spin class. Trying something new, like kickboxing or weight lifting, will feel less monotonous and improve your adherence, he asserts.

You also open yourself up to injuries by continually stressing the same muscles–especially if you have bad form.

“Over time it will catch you,” says Galpin.

Plus, losing weight shouldn’t be the only reason you work out.

Aerobic activities have long been praised for making your heart stronger, lowering blood pressure, and yes, burning calories. But studies show that regular cardiovascular activity may help lower stress, improve sleeping habits, and reduces joint stiffness, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Strength training is also beneficial because it increases bone density, lean muscle mass, and metabolism, Mayo Clinic reported.

That said, working out won’t change the number on the scale if you’re living on pizza and fries. Earlier this year, researchers found that people who began an exercise plan ate about 90 more calories each day. This isn’t much, but it was enough to stall weight loss, according to the paper published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Exercise doesn’t burn as many calories as you’d think. For example, an 180-pound man who jogs a 10-minute mile for 30 minutes burns about 400 calories, according to ACE Fitness. To put this into perspective, a supreme slice from Pizza Hut contains 330 calories. That run likely wont negate extra calories from indulgent meals.

Unless you’re Rich Froning, chances are you won’t exercise away a day filled with pizza, french fries and donuts. Low calorie (but highly nutritious) foods that contain protein and fiber are important in a well-balanced diet.

“Fiber-rich foods provide a certain level of satiety and fullness,” Bethany Doerfler, MS, RDN, Clinical Dietitian at Northwestern University, previously told Men’s Health.

And you don’t have need to exercise to notice a difference in your waist size, says Schoenfeld.

“One of my suggestions is to just get off your butt,” he says. “Try to be as active as possible.”

Your body burns calories 24-hours a day–not just when you’re in the gym. Calories burned from taking a walk at lunch, standing throughout the day, and even cleaning the house all add up, he explains.

When it comes to planning your fitness routine, Schoenfeld says you should focus on more than just the numbers on the scale.

Think about your goals: Do you want to build muscle? Or would you prefer to work on endurance training?

If you simply want to feel and look better overall, include both cardio and strength training.

“Ideally both are beneficial,” says Schoenfeld.