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S.A.S.S! Yourself ℠ - Fitness
Most of us, myself included, can’t seem to avoid being inactive for a significant part of the day. When the work we do involves being chair-bound, like responding to emails, writing reports, and attending meetings, it’s difficult to avoid sitting on our bums, often for far longer than we’d like. And this “sitting disease” as scientists call it, is bad for our health. Up to 70 percent of us spend six or more hours a day sitting, and our sedentary ways are linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, as well as breast and colon cancers. But, there’s a solution - one that requires just minutes a day, and can significantly enhance your health. Researchers in New Zealand assessed a group of 70 normal weight adults, and found that taking a break from sitting every 30 minutes, and performing a brief minute and 40 second…
Can’t seem to squeeze workouts in during the week? According to a recent study from Queen’s University in Canada, active but “infrequent exercisers” who mainly worked out on weekends were just as healthy as those who exercise daily. Researchers studied over 2,000 adults between the ages of 18 to 64 from across Canada, to determine if exercise frequency impacted the risk of being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors that raise the chances of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. To be diagnosed, you must have at least three of these five conditions:   A large waistline  - over 35 inches for women, and over 40 inches for men High blood pressure – a level of 135/85 or higher A high level of triglycerides – 150 or above Low "good" HDL cholesterol - less than 40 for men, or less than 50…
Can’t find time to get to the gym? Slip into your comfy shoes and take a 15 minute stroll after each meal. According to a new study from George Washington University, this habit can help normalize blood sugar levels for up to three hours after eating, and slash the risk of developing type 2 diabetes better than a sustained 45-minute walk. In the study, scientists recruited healthy adults age 60 and older who were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes due to inactivity and high fasting blood sugar levels. Researchers found that three short post-meal walks, at an easy-to-moderate pace, were as effective as one 45 minute walk at regulating blood sugar over a 24 hour period. What's more, the post-meal walks were found to be more effective in normalizing blood sugar after meals - the "riskiest" time, when blood sugar spikes the most. To reap the benefits yourself,…
Sometimes clients ask me, “If I only have time for one type of exercise, what should I do?” Truth be told, all three components of fitness – aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility training - are essential for different reasons, but getting your heart rate up is likely the most effective for weight and fat loss. At least that’s the conclusion of newly released research, funded by the National Institutes of Health.In the study, over 230 previously inactive overweight or obese men and women between the ages of 18 and 70 were randomly assigned to one of three eight-month fitness regimes. The first exercised aerobically at about 70-85% of their maximum heart rate for 45 minutes three days a week. The second performed resistance training three days a week, which included three sets of 8-12 repetitions on eight machines, to target major muscle groups. The third performed both workout routines.Scientists…
As we age we gain wisdom, but each passing birthday also brings a progressive loss of muscle strength, muscle mass, and aerobic capacity. We’ve known for some time that strength training can help preserve, or even rebuild, muscle mass and strength, but now a new study shows that aerobic activities, like walking, swimming or biking, can also help. Canadian scientists recruited over 70 men and women who were either inactive or highly active from three different age groups: 20-39; 40-64; and 65-86. Researchers put each group through a series of tests, and found that compared to the sedentary adults, those who regularly engaged in aerobic exercise performed better on evaluations of grip and muscle strength. The take home message is: just get moving. While this study doesn’t mean strength training isn’t necessary, it does support the old “move it or lose it” principle, and demonstrates that regularly getting your heart…
I have two cats, and I envy their ability to s-t-r-e-t-c-h oh so luxuriously. A good stretch feels wonderful. But it’s also good for your health. Stretching, and other forms of flexibility training, offer numerous wellness benefits, including: Reducing the overall feeling of stiffness in your body Improving the range of motion of your joints, which allows you to perform everyday activities more easily, such as getting in and out of bed, lifting packages, or bending to tie your shoes Opening up your circulation Improving your posture Stress relief, especially because stretching relaxes tight, tense muscles Improving your balance and coordination Reducing your risk of injuries Helping you stay active as you age Stretching essentially involves carefully and gently elongating your muscles in order to make them more pliable. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, stretching or flexibility activities should be performed at least two or three days…
Once you’ve comfortably settled into a cardio program, when it feels like a normal part of your lifestyle, I highly recommend adding a strength training component to your fitness routine.In a nutshell, strength training involves using a muscle, or more than one muscle, to resist or overcome a force of some kind. To create resistance, you can use a number of things, including: free weights (dumbbells or barbells); resistance bands or balls, or your own body weight (push ups, crunches, etc.).The benefits of strength training are numerous. This important piece of the fitness puzzle: Reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes Helps control your blood sugar levels Prevents or manages arthritis Helps control weight by preserving calorie-burning muscle Keeps your bones strong and healthy Reduces low back pain Cuts your chances of falling by improving your strength, balance and coordination Reduces stress Improves sleep better quality Helps you stay…
I am a huge fan of walking. For numerous reasons, I believe it’s a perfect form of exercise (check out this post about the top 10 reasons to fall in love with walking). When I’m out there, moving my feet and swinging my arms, walking doesn’t feel like a chore. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Walking feels natural and, well, for lack of a better word, it just feels right!Walking is also a no hassle form of exercise, because the only “equipment” it requires is a good pair of shoes. If you’re in the market for a new pair, the number of choices can be overwhelming. To streamline your options, consider this simple checklist:Find the most comfortable fit for the length and width of your feet that accommodates your foot’s arch type.Once you find a pair that feels comfy, make sure they give you enough cushioning and allow your…
In all my years as a health professional, one thing I’ve learned for certain is that nobody can change until they’re ready. Knowing what to do, and even wanting to do it, aren’t the same as feeling ready.If you’ve been meaning to start a fitness routine, but you just can’t seem to follow through, take a few minutes to sort through your thoughts about readiness. On a sheet of paper, list the pros and cons of adding just a 15 minute walk to your daily routine. What will you get from walking, and what will you give up? As you look over your responses, rank them in importance. For example, under pros, you may have listed weight loss, better sleep, and stress relief. But under cons, you might have included the desire to spend the little free time you have doing something else. Of everything you listed, how would you…
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