One More Benefit of Moving More

All this month, we are are knocking down barriers to movement so you can be more active more of the time!

Anatomical Arm Muscle on a Man

Some people seem to just have more energy. It’s like they have more pep in their step and don’t drag and sag their way through the afternoon. There are a million factors that can contribute to this, and one of them is muscle tone.

Increased muscle tone can lead to a higher metabolic rate, which can increase your daily energy levels. The great thing about this fact is that it doesn’t matter whether you are young or old. The effect is the same across age.

As people age, they can feel more run down and tired. Increasing muscle tone is a wonderful way to counteract this tendency.

More Good News

You don’t have to be a muscle-bound body builder to get this effect. In fact, you don’t even have to lift weight at all. You can increase your muscle tone by walking more during your day, remembering to take the stairs, swimming, or doing any fun activity on a consistent basis.

If you enjoy resistance training or calisthenics like pushups, squats, sit ups etc., by all means do them as well because they’ll definitely help increase muscle tone and your energy levels along with it.

Breaking Down Barriers To Starting

All this month, we are are knocking down barriers to movement so you can be more active more of the time! 

If Not Now When, appearing behind torn brown paper.

Here is a huge barrier to movement. Just getting started! If you have been sedentary for a while it can seem very difficult to start moving again. And the longer you are sedentary, the harder that becomes!

So, no matter how long you have been inactive, here are some simple ideas help you bust through that barrier and get started again.

Get With A Group.

Look for community runs/walks in your area. These are often for a good cause, and you will be surrounded by people just like you who are just starting to move again. Also, there are entire sections of these races that are just for walkers! You’ll meet others during this event, and feel great afterwards as well.

Get a group of friends and form a team. The accountability that this brings can be just what you need to get going again. Just remember to focus on fun and train together whenever you can. On days that you cannot train together, keep in touch with your teammates and send fun pics back and forth.

Get Crazy.

Try something new, out of the box, and interesting. It doesn’t have to be hard or difficult, just interesting. If you do not know how to swim, sign up for lessons. If you’ve always wanted to learn the tango, sign up for a dance class. Ever take horseback riding lessons? What about beginner rock climbing? Awesome new experiences can shake you from your routine, and get you moving again.

Get Out.

Being outdoors is a meditation, and there are great data showing the positive impact it has on your physical AND emotional heart. Do a little web searching for a hike in your area and commit to completing it. Choose a date, and then train yourself to get in good hiking shape. Enjoy.

 

Once you get going, it is easier to sustain the momentum you build up. But often times breaking from from the lethargy can keep your from moving more. Focus on any of these three ways to get started. Pick one or more and start moving. Now is the time!

Breaking Barriers To Movement By Adoring The Boring

All this month, we are are knocking down barriers to movement so you can be more active more of the time! 

Happy young mother pushing children sitting in laundry basket. Mother and children playing at home.

Many of us would like to have more time to participate in physical activities that we enjoy. But as we all know, it’s not always practical in the course of a crazy busy life to fit in movement into the class 5 rapids of our lives.

One strategy to break through this barrier is to make movement work with our daily chores. These are not the wanna-dos but the boring gotta-dos, and they can fill up the space in our lives with drudgery. To make movement work in this case, weld the gotta-dos into the wanna-dos. Here’s how that goes.

Think about those commitments as a vehicle for more movement. cleaning the house and doing yard work are great examples of chores that you can turn into meaningful activity.

When we were raising kids, we would have them look about on Sunday and estimate the time it would take us to all run through the house can clean it from stem to stern. The goal was to get the closest number, but also to see how quickly we could do it. We queued up some rocking upbeat music that we started at the moment we said GO.

“Pick your time. Get ready. On your mark … get set … GO!!” Then, running up the stairs, skipping to the beat like a whirlwind we cleaned until the entire house was done and we were ALL out of breath!

This is just one example, and you can think of others for your specific situation, but the idea is to take boring chores and make them more upbeat. Below are tips that can help turn these chores into a win for more movement!

  • Put on music while you clean inside and dance to the beat as you bustle around the house.
  • If you are doing yard work, estimate how long you think it will take you to finish, and then try to beat that time!
  • When you have to carry something up and down the stairs, take them two stairs at a time.

If you think about chores as a vehicle for movement, you’ll go up and over that barrier, get fit, and the boring chores won’t be so boring any more!

Breaking Down 4 Barriers To Movement

All this month, we are are knocking down barriers to movement so you can be more active more of the time! 

Stopping the domino effect concept for business solution, strategy and successful interventionWhen someone says that you should just “make activity happen”, it sounds very easy on its face. But there are some serious barriers between people and a routine of daily movement — personal, professional, physical, mental, etc. Breaking through those barriers is the key. Throughout this month we are providing ways to bust through those walls, to make movement a part of your daily routine.

We know how important physical activity is for us.  Research continues to demonstrate the benefits of regular physical activity to help lower the risk of diabetes, improve heart health, and emotional health as well. In fact, physical inactivity is thought to be one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States.

 

Breaking Down Barriers

Exercise drudgery is a barrier for sure. So to start breaking through, find the activity that brings you enjoyment. When you choose an activity you love, you are more likely to engage more often and less likely to sustain an injury. Activities that you enjoy are also better for your mental health. List those, and when you read them over again the one that makes you smile is the one you should start with.

Living crazy lives at a zillion miles per hour can be a definite barrier. Write your activity down in your schedule, like an appointment with yourself. This elevates the importance of movement by putting in right beside other errands and tasks that make it to your schedule. The other benefit is that this can help prevent it from being overlooked in the middle of our busy lives.

Weather can be a huge barrier. If the weather does not permit you to participate in your activity outside, have a backup activity that can be done in the comfort of your own home. There are many calisthenic exercises that build strength, flexibility, and can be done inside. The easiest thing in the world is to do sit ups and push ups (I call these S&Ps). You can fit them in at any time, and they don’t take long to complete.  

SSDD (same “stuff”, different day) gets in your way. Think about the above advice to do sit ups and push ups, and how boring this might seem. There’s nothing sexy about it, there’s no fancy tech involved, and you’re just doing the same thing over and over.  The way through this barrier is to measure improvements that you can see happen over time. How much easier do your sets seem over time? Your muscles will be sore, but you know this will go away over a week or so as your muscle tone improves. After two weeks, how do you feel, how much more energy do you have? Tracking these variables will focus you on the things that change, not the things that stay the same.

 

There is no denying that barriers exist to keep us from being as active as we need to be. But practical tips can help us help ourselves over these hurdles to regain our fitness and get the benefits we know are waiting for us once we do engage.

Resolution Solutions: The Importance of Support

Visibility Creates Accountability. Talking about your goals to your friends, family and coworkers can be a key element to your success. The more you put them out there, the more people know what you are setting out to do, and the more support you create around you!

You will soon get that friend asking you how it is going. You’ll get the co-worker who lets you know that they have wanted to do the same thing and would absolutely love to do it with you!

Better yet, ask friends and family members to set a goal and share it with each other. Then to make it even more interesting, decide on a reward you all can share – like a movie, concert, or spa trip together. This will keep you all focused on the prize!

If you set it up so that all of you must meet your goal to attain the reward, your support for each other will only increase.

 

 

Healthy Holiday Spirits

At the end of the year, feasts with family and friends commonly encourage consumption of food and of drink. How do you make sure this annual occurrence doesn’t turn bad for you? You simply have to manage quantity AND quality.

Drinking Quantity

Wine makes the point. For example, is red wine good for you or bad for you.

* One to two glasses per day is said to be good for your heart.

* One to two bottles per day will turn your liver into a brick.

The bottom line is that wine is NOT good for you, and wine is NOT bad for you … until you make it that way. Over-consumption changes this drink from one that is healthy, to one that is not.

The same is true for all spirits, and the holiday season is the perfect time to make the point: controlled consumption keeps the holiday happy, but also healthy!

 

Drinking Quality

There are differences in taste between different beers, wines, and spirits, but that’s not what I’m talking about. In this sense, quality doesn’t apply to the flavor of the drink but to the nutritional aspects. And once you have the quantity issue worked out (see above), improving the quality of the drinks is the next piece of the puzzle.

  • It’s very simple. Cut the sugar.
  • A standard egg nog is like twelve thousand calories.
  • If you have mixers, don’t used colas or other sugar sweetened drinks.
  • Drinks served at restaurants sound wonderful on their menu descriptions, but are very commonly over-sweetened.

This is important because sugar consumption is not only high in calories, but it also can affect your insulin balance in a way that makes you more tired and hungry in the long term — moving less, and eating more!

So this November, if you have drinks with alcohol at all, limit the volume. A good solution is to have a glass of water between each drink. Also, if you make a commitment to remove the sugars from your drinks you’ll be just as likely to reduce your caloric load as you will to reduce your food cravings!

The New Freshman 15 Is The “Fitbit 15”. A Cautionary Tale.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

They say that “No good deed goes unpunished.” In this case, it’s definitely the case. You get the schmancy wearable device complete with flashy lights, beeps, reminders, apps, it tells you your calories, steps, heart rate and billions of other things you didn’t even know that you needed to know!

So you invested in the tech. With all this data right on your wrist, you’d think that it will help you control weight. Unfortunately, the opposite turns out to be true. For individuals in weight management studies, those who have wearable devices often gain weight compared to those who do NOT have those devices.

What the, what? How can that be? First of all, you’d naturally think the device would assist in weight control. Second, why would it work against your efforts?

The Data Behind All That Data

It turns out that the information you receive on those devices may actually be responsible for the weight control failures. How?

Studies measured the accuracy of wearable device data  and found that “wearable devices had a rather high measurement accuracy with respect to heart rate, number of steps, distance, and sleep duration … whereas poor measurement accuracy was observed for energy consumption (calories)….”

Here’s a systematic review of many studies, that agreed that there was a “higher validity of

 steps, few studies on distance and physical activity, and lower validity for energy expenditure and sleep.”

 

Vanity Sizing, But For Calories

If you finish your daily walk and look down at your watch to find that you burned 2000 calories already this morning, you feel great! You LOVE this device! And you can totally justify a bacon triple cheeseburger! By systematically over-estimating the calories consumed, people over-compensate by over-eating over and over.

Hence the problem.

 

Ditch The Device?

Does this mean you should get rid your wearable? No, just be aware when you wear a wearable. The estimates you get from the device are just that … estimates.

What to do now? Do not use your estimated calorie burn to justify that Venti Caramel Macchiato. That said, if you want to use this information in some way, just be conservative and cut the number in half. Better yet, don’t modify your dietary intake based on perceived calorie offsets at all. Continue eating clean, and doing that in control. At that point, your schmancy device data becomes a wonderful little FYI, but not much more.

 

What’s the Matter With Your Gray Matter? More Than Just Brain Strain.

It’s 50 shades of gray for the matter of your gray matter. As you age, little by little you start dropping threads. Then you have to retrace your steps, physically and mentally to force yourself to remember the things you forgot. This is as inevitable as it is normal.

But as in any normal distribution bell curve, there is a range of age-related dysfunction: some people seem to start forgetful, others develop it over time, and others seem to just keep going like an EverReady Bunny.

What makes the difference between those who lose it early, and those who lose it late? Probably 32 factors, only a few of which are even known at this point. Oh great, right? That said, there are things we can do to tilt the needle away from this steep senility Slip-n-Slide. Most people would think I’m going to say brain exercises, crosswords, Sudoku, and other forms of brain strain.

And those are fine, but something else you can do is far simpler. Here’s some data:

 

exercise breaks promote attention and improve your ability to learn (STUDY),

they can improve memory and executive function (STUDY),

and “exercise training may be a promising approach to improve [blood flow in the brain], as increases may contribute to the beneficial effects on cognitive functioning observed following increased physical activity levels (STUDY).

Bottom line? Bend the curve in your favor! Hold back the decline as long as you can! And to do that, remember to active every day in every way. Otherwise, you’ll slip faster down that slope. And no one climbs back up a Slip-n-Slide.