Posts tagged with "physical activity"

The Couch Potato Gene

Regular physical activity is a crucial part of living a healthy lifestyle. However, a majority of American adults spend their waking hours sitting, which leads to a variety of health issues such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Now, a researcher from the University of Missouri has identified a specific gene related to physical inactivity in rats that could potentially play a role in sedentary behavior in humans as well.

“Previous research has shown us that genes play some role in physical inactivity,” said Frank Booth, a professor in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. “As inactivity leads to chronic disease, we wanted to identify which genes were involved and discovered one in particular, the Protein Kinase Inhibitor Alpha gene, that played a significant role.”

In 2009, Booth took 80 male rats and bred them with 80 female rats. He then placed the rats in voluntary running wheels, similar to those sold in pet stores, and tracked which rats ran the most and least. Over the past decade, Booth selectively bred the highly active rats with each other as well as the “lazy” rats with each other to determine if there is a difference in their genetic makeup. Booth found that the Protein Kinase Inhibitor Alpha gene was significantly less present in the “lazy” rats.

“What makes gene therapy difficult is that most chronic diseases are not caused by just one gene,” Booth said. “For example, there are more than 150 gene variations involved in type 2 diabetes. However, this study is paving the way for future research to identify other genes that might be involved in physical inactivity in humans as well.”

According to government data, costs associated with physical inactivity total $138 billion and account for more than 11% of total health care expenditures. In addition to the financial benefits of a more physically active society, Booth says a better understanding of genetic makeup could help public health officials see physical inactivity as a crucial priority to address.

“Physical inactivity contributes to more than 40 chronic diseases,” Booth said. “Rather than focusing on ways to treat chronic diseases after they have already developed, understanding the contributing factors to physical inactivity could help prevent those chronic diseases from occurring in the first place.”

OXYGEN: A SECRET WEAPON FOR FITNESS? 

Expert Offers Insight into the “Oxygen-Enhanced Exercise” Trend & Shares Breathing Tips to Improve Health & Enhance Your Workout

Have you seen anyone at your gym wearing unusual face masks as they workout? If not, you are sure to encounter this soon and when you do, there is no need for alarm. It’s called oxygen-enhanced exercise, and it’s a holistic approach to fitness that has recently skyrocketed in popularity. Once available and common only with Olympians and pro athletes (like Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, and Mario Lemieux,) this training method has hit the mainstream and now at-home-exercisers and workout warriors across the country are using it as an all-natural way to gain an athletic advantage.

Oxygen-enhanced exercise is a scientifically proven phenomenon that’s said to benefit the body by reducing the physical stress of exercise, accelerating recovery, helping you sleep, giving you more energy, and improving your metabolism.

According to breathing expert Michael Grant White, oxygen is crucial for peak athletic performance.

“Playing sports, weight-lifting, circuit training, or any other intense physical activity, of course, burns calories and builds muscle, but many people don’t consider the wear and tear it has on their body. Lack of oxygen ages the body at a much greater rate…”

…says White, who has studied breathing over the past 24 years and has seen a rapid rise in interest for oxygen-enhanced exercise. As anti-doping initiatives spread across the country, and athletic drug testing becomes more prevalent, many athletes are turning to oxygen-enhanced exercise as a way to amplify their workouts without the use of drugs, chemicals, surgery, or invasive techniques.

We all know oxygen and exercise go hand-in-hand, but in case you missed this high school biology lesson, here’s a quick recap of the science: During exercise, your muscles have to contract and work harder, which increases their demand for oxygen. The amount needed is much more than you are taking in. Your body first burns the existing oxygen in the red blood cells and when this runs out, the body turns to fermentation for its energy needs. Instead of using oxygen, the muscles convert glucose into lactic acid and this is when fatigue sets in. Oxygen-enhanced exercise leverages the body’s already-existing system for oxygenating the blood before this happens.

If you’re not ready to sport an oxygen mask, you can still enhance your workout through mindful breathing. According to research, proper breathing should be one of your main focuses during exercise. It’s easy to underestimate just how much it impacts our overall health and fitness. Oxygen helps the body maintain pH balance, it increases neuronal energy metabolism in the brain, detoxifies the blood, and strengthens the immune system by killing harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Oxygen also plays a huge role in the recovery process because it helps restore pre-exercise ATP levels and helps your liver break down lactic acid into simple carbohydrates.

“Not all breathing is created equal, there are breathing techniques you can do to enhance your workout…”

…says White who has trained athletes to use proper breathing techniques and seen first-hand how better breathing can help strengthen endurance, lower lactic acid production, and improve stamina for cardio-centric activities (like running, swimming, biking, etc.) In addition, simple breathing techniques can help athletes (at any level of fitness) recover more quickly from high-intensity activities.

In short: better breathing = better health.

Michael Grant White is on a mission to awaken the breathing consciousness of the world. He has insight into the oxygen-enhanced exercise trend and can share breathing tips people can use at home to improve their health and their workout.


IN AN INTERVIEW / ARTICLE:

  • Breathing Tricks to Improve Your Health & Enhance Your Workout
  • Unlikely Ways Your Breathing Impacts Your Life
  • Fascinating Link Between Breathing & The Brain
  • Insight into the “Oxygen-Enhanced Exercise” Trend: An All-Natural Approach to Improve Health & Enhance Workouts

ABOUT MICHAEL GRANT WHITE:

Michael Grant White is a holistic health expert, author, and international speaker who has dedicated his career to helping people improve their health through better breathing. As an Optimal Breathing Coach and the founder of My Oxygen Machine and Breathing.com, White is on a mission to make the world healthier one breath at a time.

For More Information Visit:

 https://breathing.com

Can Stress Help Your Workout?

By Eddie O’Connor, Ph.D., CMPC

You don’t need this article to tell you the benefits of exercise on your stress levels (but I will reinforce them anyway). Physical activity increases endorphin production in the body. Those feel-good pain-relieving hormones. And it’s good for your brain. Physical activity increases blood flow, which increases our cognitive capacity and speed. So, we think better. Focusing on exercise means we are not focusing on our stress, so there is a fantastic mental break from stress too, plus the positive meditative effect of focusing on the exercise, in the moment, as we do it. Your self-confidence likely gets a boost with the earned results of a better, healthier body.

But while exercise helps stress, can stress help you exercise? Your experience is probably going to tell you “no.” Ever been too tired to go to the gym and skip it? Ever prioritize more work or responsibility over your workout? Or be so fatigued that you’d rather zone out in front of the TV or phone, maybe eat a snack to feel better instead? Of course, you have. In fact, it is more likely that stress actually hurts your workout. Besides the decreased motivation to go, there is the real fatigue you feel even if you attend, decreasing the quality of your workout—especially if you are not recovering well with adequate sleep. There isn’t one major organ or process in the body that isn’t enhanced by sleep, or impaired without enough of it. (Get at least 8 hours to help both regulate your stress and improve your workouts.) Stress can cause muscle tension, increasing risk of injury and slowing tissue repair—which leads to longer recovery times. Stress makes it harder to lose weight and can increase food cravings. Those extra pounds don’t help us move well.

But despite these facts, I can think there is one way that stress can help get you moving.

It’s this: Notice how bad feeling stressed out feels. Rather than repeatedly numbing out, or working harder and longer in futile attempts to escape it (do you ever really catch up on everything?), notice how you feel. It’s terrible. It’s unhealthy. It turns us into not-so-nice people, crabby and irritable with others. Our performance in everything declines. And our coping strategies of snacking, sleeping less, and sedentary “resting” just make it worse.

And then realize that you have a choice. There is something you can do. It won’t feel good at first. You will be tired and sore and you might sweat a lot. But if you don’t want to be stressed, working out (or any physical activity) WILL help you. This isn’t my opinion. Its science.

So, the question is, are you willing to choose some discomfort in service of decreasing your stress and getting healthier? Stress can motivate your workout if you realize that working out is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress, and then engage exercise with your whole heart and mind to beat it.

About Eddie O’Connor

Dr. Eddie O’Connor is a Clinical and Sport Psychologist at Mary Free Bed Sports Rehabilitation in Grand Rapids, MI. He is a Fellow and Certified Mental Performance Consultant through the Association forApplied Sport Psychology—the largest organization for sport psychology consultants and professionals.  

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Rise in Obesity-Related Cancers

A new analysis, published in the Lancet Public Health, raises the alarm that the rates of obesity-related cancers are rising in younger and younger adults. In the new study, six of twelve types of obesity-related cancers have significantly increased between 1995-2014 and the risk of these cancers is increasing in each successive younger age group. These cancers include colorectal, pancreatic, gallbladder, kidney cancer and multiple myeloma (a type of blood cancer). These cancer types are particularly concerning because they are very serious and account for over 150,000 deaths in the U.S. every year.

“These numbers are worrying but not surprising; the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recently sounded the alarm that having overweight and obesity cause at least 12 types of cancer. However, the younger and younger age bracket in which we see rates increasing is even more troubling and demands a response. We cannot just watch these rates go up and ignore the factors that we know are contributing to these increases,” says Dr. Nigel Brockton, Vice President of Research at AICR.

Disturbingly, over 70% of Americans have overweight or obesity according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And AICR maintains that cancer risk increases across each higher category of Body Mass Index (BMI) as an indicator of body fatness (Healthy = 18.5-24.9, Overweight = 25-29.9, and Obesity = 30 and above).

A mere five BMI points (kg/m2) separate the three basic (healthy, overweight, obese) BMI categories. It is important to emphasize that cancer risk is not limited to the extreme category of obesity only, the risk increases for those with overweight too. For example, compared to those having healthy BMI range overweight category face an increased liver cancer risk of 30% and those having obesity of 60%.

The recent AICR Energy Balance and Body Fatness Report presented strong evidence for factors that can reduce risk of having weight gain, overweight and obesity, including walking, aerobic physical activity, food containing fiber and a “Mediterranean-type” diets rich in fruits and vegetables that reduce the risk of weight gain, overweight and obesity. Conversely, sugar-sweetened drinks, fast foods and a “Western type” diet rich in meats and energy-dense proteins are strongly linked to increased weight gain, overweight and obesity.

The Report also points to the evidence that greater screen time is a cause of weight gain, overweight and obesity in children. This is particularly relevant in light of the Lancet study that discussed the onset of cancer at an early age, since children with overweight and obesity are likely to turn into young adults in a similar status. There is enormous opportunity to prevent future cancer cases, if changes can be made to stop and reverse the current trend of increasing overweight and obesity. In addition to helping individuals learn about healthy lifestyle choices, community and national policies play a crucial role in creating living spaces more conducive to physical activity and healthier food choices.

AICR is urging Congress and federal agencies to improve funding for cancer prevention research, ensure that federal nutrition and physical activity guidelines reflect the latest research regarding cancer risk, improve nutrition labeling and improve access to lifestyle interventions.

Fitness Advice for New Year’s Resolutions

At the beginning of every year, gyms across the country are buzzing with new members who have made resolutions to lose weight, get back in shape or live a more active lifestyle. However, as the weeks go by, it can be challenging for some to stick to those resolutions. Steve Ball, professor at the University of Missouri and one of the nation’s leading experts on fitness and exercise, says that for resolutions to stick, people need to focus not only on outcome goals, but also goals related to the process of being physically active. You can read more about Dr. Ball’s advice here.

Dr. Ball also has comments on new federal guidelines for physical activity, which suggest that adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week, and any amount of time spent doing physical activity now counts toward the goal of active minutes. Prior guidelines had called for at least 10 minutes of activity for it to count.

There are video and audio resources available for broadcast-quality download here. The video features Donna Fox, who has recently made changes to lead a more active lifestyle and considers herself a “gym rat” now after never setting foot in a gym while growing up in the Caribbean.

As January winds down and the thrill of New Year’s resolutions wears off, Dr. Ball’s expertise in fitness and physical activity can be used as encouragement to stay on track with New Year’s fitness resolutions.

3 Transformation Tips From Gold’s Gym Fitness Influencer

1 Set Micro Goals: Break your large goals into smaller steps. If you’d ultimately like to lose 100 pounds, start 10. If you’d like to cut out sugar, cut it out at a few meals first. If you’d like to make it in the gym 5/6 days a week over the next year, focus on making it 5/6 a week for the next month. Not only do micro-goals make your larger goals more manageable, they also give you a psychological confidence boost by achieving them.

2 Don’t Over Complicate Things: There’s keto, cardio timing, CrossFit, paleo, HIIT, classes, Powerlifting, gluten free, bodybuilding, macro counting… there are a million different buzz words in the fitness industry. Keep it simple when you’re starting out.

3 Focus on the FOUR Pillars:  There are four pillars – nutrition, physical activity, sleep, and stress. Focus on eating a nutrient rich diet that puts you in a caloric deficit (and drinking about a gallon of water), moving more than you normally would through exercise or activity, getting better, longer sleeps, and making efforts to reduce your stress. As you move closer to your goals and get a handle on those four basic tenants, you can start to focus on other variables. Nail the basics.  THEN upgrade

LIIFT4 Effective Strength Training Routine

Top 5 reasons why you need to strength train 2-4 times per week. By Beachbody Super Trainer and Creator of LIIFT4, Joel Freeman.

1. Effective Fat Loss: Weight training increases your body’s caloric burn during and after every session due to increased post exercise oxygen consumption. A cardio workout alone does not have this same effect. Strength training will also offset the negative outcomes that caloric restriction induces by telling your body to preserve and build muscle, preventing or reducing metabolic decline.

2. Muscle mass IS your metabolism—the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest. After the age of 30, physically inactive people can lose 3-8% of their muscle mass each decade and can even increase after the age of 60! This results in a reduced metabolism, which makes it much easier to gain weight and result in limited physical ability to participate in daily activities like carrying grocery bags, cleaning the house, climbing a stair case, etc. Lifting weights is the most effective way to help our bodies preserve and build muscle as we age.

3. Carves Sexy Curves: Lifting maintains and builds new muscle that will help create an aesthetically pleasing hourglass shape: round shoulders, tight waist, and defined legs, perky rear, etc. While most men understand these benefits, women tend to fear becoming “bulky” if they lift weights. Women simply do not have enough natural testosterone to accomplish this. With proper diet, the result will always be sexy, tight curves.

4. Stress Relief & Improved Sleep:  Just 5 minutes of exercise can trigger anti-anxiety responses in the body. Those who regularly strength train tend to manage stress better and experience fewer adverse reactions to stressful situations as those who do not. Since stress is a common cause of sleep issues, reducing stress can also improve your ability to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper and wake less often.

5. Boosts Confidence: If you’re not happy with yourself first, how can you be happy for anyone else? Self-confidence can lead to an overall healthier lifestyle and looking and feeling better is a great start to improve upon yourself, your relationships and work performance.

How to maximize your results in your sessions when you are strength training 2-4 times per week.

1. Weight training with enough intensity and selecting the right weights are essential to maximize the results. Lift 5 more pounds if your last set wasn’t challenging enough. It should be challenging! Progressive overload will keep your muscles engaged and advancing past plateaus. You are challenging your muscles, so they can grow and get stronger all while burning the maximum number of calories every workout.

2. Eat enough protein. Protein is the building block of muscle, and if you’re not getting enough your body can’t repair and build the muscle you’re asking it to after a strength training session. Try eating 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound you weigh every day.  Select high quality proteins like lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, nuts & seeds, and even tofu. If you have a difficult time consuming enough protein from foods, add a protein shake as a snack or right after your weight training session.

3. Try to get 8 hours of sleep.  Sleep is one of the times your body produces the most growth hormone, therefore the more sleep you get the faster your muscles will recover and build from weight training exercises.

4. Be consistent! Building muscle takes time. Keep lifting and challenging your muscles and your results will show.

How Online Coaching Helps Busy People Get Fit

How Online Coaching Helps Busy People Get Fit

People are busier today than ever before, and for many people that tends to keep them from getting the exercise that they need. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, less than 5% of the adults in the country engage in physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day. What’s more, they report that 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and strength-training activities each week. One of the most common reasons people cite for not getting enough exercise is that they don’t have the time, but online coaching is changing all that.

“I’ve been offering online coaching since 2009, and I’ve seen how it’s helped so many people find the time to get fit,” explains Coach Sarah Walls, personal trainer and owner of SAPT Strength & Performance Training, Inc., who is also the strength and conditioning coach for the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. “There are a lot of benefits to opting for online coaching for those who may be too busy for in-person meetings or who have geographic constraints.”

Online coaching puts the power of having a trainer right in the comfort of your own home. By logging online with a computer or tablet, the coaching session is right there at the person’s fingertips. They still get the same powerful information they would in person, but the delivery format works better for many people. Online coaching gives people a tool that they can use when it’s convenient for them, which will help them stay on track, hold themselves accountable, and work toward reaching individual fitness goals.

Many people spend their day commuting back and forth to work and spending long hours in the office. The last thing they can imagine doing is trying to squeeze in an additional drive to go work out somewhere. Online coaching has become a popular option for those who are busy, but also for those who are looking to have their workout fit their own list of what they want out of a workout routine. Some of the ways that online coaching is helping busy people get fit include:

  • Saving time. In the time that many people will take to drive back and forth to go work out, they could complete an in-home or in-office workout. Using your own body weight, there are many exercises that can be done right in the living room in order to get fit.
  • Motivation. Online coaching provides people with the motivation when and where they may need it. Working with a personal trainer is a great way be get motivated, as well as get the expert advice that people need to achieve their fitness goals.
  • Privacy. There are many people who would like to work out with a personal fitness coach, but don’t want to do it in front of others. They may be embarrassed or feel they don’t measure up. Online coaching provides them with a whole new level of privacy.
  • Flexibility. Online coaching allows people to work out at the hour that is convenient for them, as well as in the geographic location that works for them. Whether they are on vacation, in the office, or at home, they can fit in a coaching session when it works for them.

“Those who try online coaching tend to love it,” added Coach Walls. “They get the same great information, but it fits their life better, so they are more able to stick with it. Getting fit is easier when you have the tools that can help you get there, and that’s exactly what online coaching aims to do.”

Sarah Walls has over 15 years experience in coaching and personal training. Owner of SAPT Strength & Performance Training, Inc, founded in 2007, she offers coaching to develop athletes, adult programs, team training, online coaching, and more. She is also the strength and conditioning coach for the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, and has over eight years of experience working as an NCAA D1 strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer. To learn more, visit the site: www.saptstrength.com.

SAPT Strength & Performance Training, Inc.

Located in Fairfax, Virginia, SAPT Strength & Performance Training, Inc. is a high performance training club that specializes in helping to develop athletes of all ages. They offer athletic training programs for youth, college students, and amateurs. The company was founded in 2007 by Sarah Walls, a professional strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer with NCAA D1 experience, who is the strength and conditioning coach for the WNBA Washington Mystics team. To learn more, visit the site: www.saptstrength.com.