Archive for the ‘exercise’ Category


Thanks to DRS and JD

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How many of you spend a good portion of your day sitting in a chair or sitting at your desk? In this video from the brilliant Dr. Christiane Northrup, she shares why getting up and moving is so important:http://bit.ly/1EzVUVq.

Each day, I make it a point to move my body and treat it with respect by exercising–I swim and do a function run daily and truly feel the benefits of this practice! In this video, Dr. Northrup explains that the effects on the body that we associate with aging actually begin in your 20’s, when you start sitting at a desk. Here’s the great news–you can begin to reverse these effects with simple exercises that require absolutely no special equipment. And you can start right now. In the video, she shares simple exercises that work on your balance–and in just days, you’ll begin to notice how it improves.

I highly encourage you all to try them, and to begin to incorporate them into your daily routine. Once you’ve watched the video and tried the exercises, I would love to hear your thoughts. What are some of your favorite exercises and ways to move during the day?


Thanks to LST and MJV

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Your brain is a complex network of nerves and chemical signals that depends on important macro- and micronutrients to function properly. Lack of specific nutrients, such as amino acids and selenium, affects brain chemistry, impacting mood, memory and cognitive function. On the other hand, eating more of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins, coupled with moving more, will literally feed your brain and positively support a healthy mood balance.

Foods That Support Mood

Tryptophan and tyrosine. The neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine are associated with sleep, mood regulation, pleasure and motivation. The amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine are precursors to these “feel-good” hormones. You can find tryptophan in SaviSeeds(sacha inchi seeds), sesame seeds and spirulina; tyrosine in seaweed, almonds and avocados.

B vitamins. All B vitamins, but especially B6, B12 and folate, are critical for optimal brain function. Not only do they help convert the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin, but deficiencies in B vitamins have been associated with depression. Whole grains, leafy greens and most fruits are sources of B vitamins. Plant-based vitamin B12 can be found in spirulina, nutritional yeasts or supplements.

Selenium. If you are deficient in selenium, you’re likely irritable, anxious or depressed. That’s because selenium is a powerful antioxidant that plays a role in hormone synthesis, particularly of the thyroid. Selenium is found in mushrooms, sunflower seeds, brown rice, Brazil nuts and walnuts.

Omega-3s. Did you know your brain is 60 percent fat? That’s because fat is needed for proper cellular communication between neurotransmitters. Omega-3s are essential unsaturated fats that are particularly helpful for brain health. Plant-based sources of omega-3s include SaviSeeds, flaxseeds, chia and hemp seeds.

Nutrient Timing and Mood

Besides just avoiding being hangry ( so hungry you’re angry), when and what you eat can also affect your mood. Have you noticed that when you eat a food that is high in sugar, you have a spike in energy, and then too soon, a crash? That sugar crash will leave you low on energy and very cranky. As often as possible, reach for meals and snacks that are full of satisfying low-glycemic foods to balance out blood sugar. Look for whole grains, plant-based proteins and fats to avoid the sugar crash. Eating low-glycemic foods closer to bed time will also give you a deeper sleep than choosing a high-glycemic snack.

Exercise and Mood

The mood-boosting benefits of exercise have long been known to endurance athletes. But anyone who moves can get a taste of the “runner’s high.” Your body rewards exercise by releasing endorphins — the feel-good hormone. Exercise has also shown to be very effective at improving symptoms of mental health disorders such as anxiety and clinical depression. Studies support that there is a significant increase in positive mood and creative thought after exercise. It’s important to find an activity you love to do, and do it regularly to support a healthy mood.

For more mood-boosting tips and recipes, check out my free online wellness platform, Thrive Forward.

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There's An Easy, Scientifically Proven Way To Delay The Negative Effects Of Aging

If you’re worried about your body slowing down and losing your balance, reflexes, memory, and metabolism as you get older, rejoice.

There’s something you can do to prevent or at least hold off this seemingly inevitable human decline, according to a new study.

It’s all about exercise.

On many measures, active older adults can perform just as well as people decades younger.

We already know that exercising improves health, sleep, mood, and more. But in this latest study, published in The Journal of Physiology, researchers wanted to see how exercise affected aging in a group of highly active older adults. They looked at 84 men and 41 women aged between 55 and 79.

Researchers chose highly active healthy participants with similar lifestyles to try and control for lifestyle factors that may affect how people age (it’s harder to control for genetic differences, though the researchers note that exercise helps prevent genetic damage in the first place).

Then they took a look at the physical profiles of their group — all were serious recreational cyclists, though not competitive athletes. They chose cyclists because bicycling is balance-intensive, and it requires and builds physical strength without putting too much stress on joints.

They looked at the group’s cardiovascular systems, lung health, neuromuscular structure, metabolism, hormone levels, mental functions, bone strength, and general health. The question was if or how the group’s age would show in these measures.

The results were surprising.

“If you gave this dataset to a clinician and asked him to predict the age” of any one of these individuals based on these test results, Dr. Stephen Harridge, senior author of the study, told the New York Times, “it would be impossible.”

Age did have an impact on a couple of measures. The oldest members of the group had less muscle mass and less endurance than the younger ones. Even there, though, they were much closer to younger people than to people their own age.

But as for those other measures, including tests of balance, cognitive agility, reflex, and metabolism, Harridge told the Times that it seems “being physically active makes your body function on the inside more like a young person’s.”

They also noted that the group scored better on measures of mental health, including anxiety and depression, possibly due to the benefits of exercise.

It’s worth noting that the group studied is a small sample size, and researchers want to confirm these results with more and different groups of people. Also, these participants were all cyclists who had stayed active and healthy for many years, which could influence results as well — and perhaps there’s something particularly effective about cycling. More research is needed on all those questions.

But these results are still promising, and the researchers say that they’ll follow up with this group in five and 10 years to see how things have changed.

Still, they think this provides important evidence that staying active is crucial to healthy aging.

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(Reuters Health) – Getting more exercise throughout life is tied to a reduced risk of abusing alcohol that requires treatment, according to a new study from Denmark.

In a group of adults followed for 20 years, those who reported being more active in their free time were less likely to need hospitalization or treatment for an alcohol use disorder, but the direction and explanation for the relationship is unclear.

“Although we and for that matter others have not proven a causal relationship between physical activity and risk of developing alcohol use disorders, it is likely that there is a causal link,” said Dr. Ulrik Becker of the National Institute of Public Health at the University of Southern Denmark in Copenhagen, coauthor of the new report.

“We know from other studies that physical activity reduces the risk of other psychiatric problems . . . as well as studies that seem to show that physical activity increases the benefit of treatment in alcohol use disorder patients,” Becker told Reuters Health by email.

Researchers used data from a series of four surveys mailed to more than 18,000 adults in Copenhagen between 1976 and 2003, including questions about their leisure time physical activity, medications, alcohol use and smoking.

The researchers divided respondents into three groups based on leisure-time activity level: high levels of activity (more than four hours per week), low levels (two to four hours per week), and sedentary. About half of the respondents reported high levels of activity throughout the study. In 1976, 20 percent reported being sedentary, which decreased to 10 percent in 2001.

The researchers linked these questionnaire responses to national patient registries of all people given outpatient treatment or admitted to a hospital for an alcohol use disorder in Denmark through 2011.

By the end of the study, 736 people, or four percent of the original group, had been diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder. People who reported low or high levels of leisure time activity had similar risks for an alcohol use disorder, but people in the sedentary group had a higher risk, the authors write in Alcohol and Alcoholism.

Men and women who reported at least low levels of physical activity were 30 to 40 percent less likely to be diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder than those in the sedentary group.

Activity at work was not associated with alcohol use disorders, the authors write.

“These results strengthen the general recommendation of increased physical activity and add to the long list of beneficial effects of physical activity,” Becker said.

Likely more than half of what determines alcohol use disorders is genetic, but environmental factors, like physical activity, are also important, he said.

“It’s an interesting observational study and demonstrates there’s some correlation,” said Michael T. French, who was not part of the new study but directs the Health Economics Research Group at the University of Miami.

French studied a large group of U.S. adults in 2009 and found that heavier drinkers tended to exercise more, which does not align with the new results.

“Like the study of ours, the most you can say is that there seems to be an association,” French told Reuters Health by phone. Their findings may have differed because French’s study included a range of alcohol use, whereas Becker’s study was limited to the most extreme drinkers who ended up hospitalized, he said.

“They are hypothesizing that less physical activity or a sedentary lifestyle is going to affect your risk of an alcohol use disorder,” French said. “It’s equally possible that acquiring a disorder is going to lead to a sedentary lifestyle.”

“They decided they’re going to look at physical activity as predictors, but we thought it was more plausible to look in the other direction,” he said.

French stressed that at this point, trying to explain why activity influences alcohol disorders, or vice versa, is only conjecture.

“It’s an interesting topic, worth exploring, but I would be cautious when interpreting the results,” he said.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/1FvDo1v Alcohol and Alcoholism, online December 27, 2014.

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Don’t let the title fool you. This ab workout is not the ultimate solution to ripped abs. It take serious effort in training as well as smart nutrition and a strong will to achieve the highly sought after “6 pack.”

However, many of us are busy, so any chance we have to knock out a training session in a hurry and go on with our day is a chance we want to take. This 10-minute routine will give your abs a solid workout and allow you to move on to other things.

The 10-Minute Ab Workout

Perform these four exercises in consecutive order without rest. After you complete the fourth exercise, rest for one minute and then start over. After four rounds, it will be the longest 10 minutes of your day, but it will also be the most productive. All you need is a floor and 600 seconds. Simple enough, right?

  • Exercise 1 – Crunches for 20 reps. Make sure you squeeze your abs. Don’t just go back and forth without contracting your abs.
  • Exercise 2 – Lying Leg Raises for 20 reps. When you raise your legs, lift your hips up at the top of the movement and squeeze your abs.
  • Exercise 3 – Mountain Climbers for 20 steps per leg. Don’t simply move your legs back and forth. Focus on your midsection with each step.
  • Exercise 4 – Plank for 20 seconds. As tired as you may be at this point, suck in your stomach and forcefully breathe out. You’ll feel it in your core.
  • Rest – 1 minute.

Repeat the circuit three more times. You should finish all four rounds within 8 to 10 minutes. Whether you’re at home, work, the gym, or anywhere, if you have 10 minutes to burn, follow this program and your abs will burn too.

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(Reuters) – Those sun salutations and downward dogs could be as good for the heart as cycling or brisk walking, and easier to tolerate for older people and those with health challenges, according to a new review of existing research.

Based on 37 clinical trials, researchers found that doing yoga lowered blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate and other cardiovascular risk factors in increments comparable to those seen with aerobic exercise.

“Taken together, these improvements could facilitate and complement a regimen toward better cardiovascular health,” said Paula Chu, a doctoral candidate in health policy at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the study.

She and her co-authors caution in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, however, that larger studies are needed to understand how yoga improves health, how much of it is ideal and if there are differences in benefits from various types of yoga before the practice becomes a standard prescription for heart disease.

Nonetheless, yoga’s benefits have been long suspected, said Dr. Larry Phillips, a cardiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York.

“I think what we’ve seen is with yoga and the relaxation and behavior modification that goes along with it, there is a benefit to all patients, but especially those with heart disease,” said Phillips, who was not involved in the new analysis.

“Here we are able to see there are more measurable benefits than we’ve seen before,” he told Reuters Health.

Yoga originated in India more than 5,000 years ago, and has become a popular mind-body therapy in the West. Yoga’s breath control and body postures are believed to help nourish self-awareness, control stress and develop physical strength and balance.

The more traditional Hatha style of yoga is the most widely practiced in the U.S. But many specialized yoga “products,” such as hot yoga, power yoga and yoga retreats are part of a billion-dollar yoga industry.

One study estimates that 15 million Americans have practiced yoga at least once, according to Chu and her co-authors.

They focused on yoga’s effects on cardiovascular disease, as well as risk factors including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess abdominal fat and abnormal cholesterol levels that make up a profile – known as metabolic syndrome – that often leads to heart disease and diabetes.

The study team analyzed 37 randomized, controlled trials involving 2,768 people through December 2013. The trials either looked at yoga compared to no exercise or to aerobic exercises. Participants’ average age was 50 and they were followed for anywhere from 12 weeks to one year.

Those who did yoga had significant improvements in a range of risk factors. Systolic blood pressure (the top number) dropped by an average of 5.21 mm Hg, and diastolic pressure (the bottom number) dropped 4.9 mm HG. LDL “bad” cholesterol fell by an average 12.14 mg/dl and HDL “good” cholesterol rose by an average 3.20 mg/dl. Average heart rate was lower by a little over 5 beats per minute and weight loss averaged a bit over 5 pounds.

These changes were similar to the improvements seen among people who did aerobic exercise instead.

There were no changes, though, in fasting glucose levels or A1C, a measure of long-term blood sugar control in diabetics.

Chu and her colleagues note that one weakness of the results is that the analyzed trials included various types of yoga that were practiced for different amounts of time. These included Silver yoga (for seniors), Iyengar yoga (a form of Hatha that emphasizes correct postures), Viniyoga (which includes chanting) and Vinyasa (breath-synchronized movements.)

There were also a wide range of populations, from the young and healthy to older people with histories of heart disease, Chu told Reuters Health.

“We are not recommending anyone ditch their medicines or established medical or physical practices,” she said. “Individuals can talk to their doctors about whether yoga is a viable option for them.”

Yoga classes may be offered at health clubs, spas, senior centers and in other settings. Individual classes at stand-alone yoga centers tend to range from $15 to $30.

Phillips said he encourages his patients to develop a healthy lifestyle and exercise regimen, which could include yoga. He urges people to find a class that is appropriate for their comfort level and ability.

“I think the effects of relaxation do decrease stress levels and have a benefit to the heart,” said Phillips, adding that he had found doing yoga boosted his own mood and energy level.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/1GXfPdi European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, online December 15, 2014.

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