PFTL News May 2018

WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR FITNESS (that you may not have considered) (from Eat this, Not That, as referenced in ACSM newsletter)

Aside from exercise, stretching, keeping a journal and the usual fitness improvement suggestions, here are a few interesting ones, which you probably haven’t thought about.

Order Your Coffee Black – Drinking java (with no cream or sugar) has been linked to lowering your risk of depression, providing migraine relief, curbing cravings, improving skin elasticity, and relieving migraines. And the glorious benefits don’t just end there: According to a study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, participants who sipped caffeinated coffee had a 16 percent higher metabolic rate on average than those who drank decaf.

Look Up Restaurant Menus – Before RSVPing to that birthday dinner and texting “yes” in all caps in response to a brunch invite, make sure to spend a few minutes reviewing the restaurant’s menu. If you take the time to decide what you’ll order before you sit down to a meal, you’ll maximize your chances of making a more informed decision and order healthily.

TIP – Another pro tip: Volunteer to order first! If you wait for the waiter to take everyone else’s orders first, you’re more likely to rethink your healthy decision.

Clean your Kitchen – When was the last time you cleaned out your salt and pepper shakers? These shocking findings may convince you that it’s spring cleaning time: University of Virginia researchers tested the surfaces of salt and pepper shakers belonging to 30 participants who had cold-like symptoms and found that all had traces of the cold virus. Other gross things in your kitchen are likely also contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. Another reason to keep your eating space organized? A study published in the journal Environment and Behavior discovered that people eat 40 percent more food when they’re in a messy kitchen.

Snap a Selfie – Sure, stepping on a scale may help you stay accountable for your weight-loss plan, but snapping a selfie may be a more effective method. According to researchers at the University of Alicante in Colombia, taking full-body pictures and documenting waist circumference helped over 71 percent of dieters reach their goal weight. And a smaller waist circumference correlates to a reduced risk of metabolic diseases. Next time you’re at the gym, don’t be shy to snap a selfie—it may help you crush those summer body goals after all.

Vacuum – You’ll burn calories, reduce allergies, and transform the most-dreaded household chore into your new favorite pastime. How? Just by plugging in your Dyson. Researchers at the UCLA Department of Medicine found that dust mites that occupy your home’s hidden spaces can trigger allergies and cause you to pop antihistamines, which, if used frequently, can increase your appetite and carbohydrate cravings.

Boil Some Eggs – Taking less than 10 minutes to boil some eggs for the week ahead will help pack your diet with lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients that work to promote eye health. And forking the orbs for breakfast may even help you keep your tummy tight.  A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that participants who ate eggs for breakfast experienced a 65 percent greater weight loss and a 34 percent greater reduction in waist circumference than those who bit into a bagel bright and early.

Follow the 20/20/20 Rule – If you spend the day staring at blue-light-emitting screens (hello, iMac and iPhone) like the majority of Americans, you likely suffer from watery, bloodshot eyes by end of day. Combat your iDevices’ peeving side effects by investing in computer glasses (we especially like Pixel‘s) and try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break from your screen and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away. It’ll help you reduce eye strain and fatigue, according to the Canadian Association of Optometrists.

KETOGENIC DIET (from ACE Health Tips 4/19/18)

The ketogenic diet is a hot topic in nutrition today. Keto recipes are everywhere, and everyone knows someone who has at least tried the keto diet. But what exactly are “exogenous ketones,” where are they found, and how do they impact health and performance?

What are Ketones?  – Ketones (also referred to as ketone bodies) are metabolites of fat oxidation and are produced in the liver. The foremost circulating ketones in the blood are acetoacetate (AcAc) and 3-beta-hydroxybutyrate (3HB). Their primary function is providing brain fuel because the brain can only utilize glucose and ketone bodies for energy. Additionally, ketones can function as hormone signalers and be oxidized in muscles during exercise.

Nutritional Ketosis – Nutritional ketosis (i.e., increased ketone levels in the body) can be achieved in multiple ways, including fasting, following a carbohydrate-restricted diet (<50 grams/day), prolonged exercise without carbohydrate intake, or by consuming exogenous ketones. Exogenous means consuming a product (produced outside of the body), whereas endogenous describes breaking down stored fuels in the body (typically carbohydrate, fat and protein).

The terms ketosis and ketogenic have slightly different meanings. Ketosis describes elevated blood ketone levels from either endogenous or exogenous ketones (i.e., produced from the liver or taken as a supplement). Ketogenic describes a state of elevated ketone bodies from following a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet (such as the ketogenic diet).

Proponents believe that the potential benefits of exogenous ketones stem from an improvement in overall substrate metabolism. Exogenous ketones may preserve endogenous fuel; that is, limit (or possibly suppress) the breakdown of carbohydrate for energy during exercise. Unlike the conventional model of fat utilization during exercise, ketones are oxidized at high intensities. Additionally, ketones do not impact insulin as carbohydrate and amino acids do; thus, they may be a preferential supplement for individuals with insulin resistance.

The possible disadvantages of exogenous ketones are their palatability and tolerance. Supplemental ketone esters are very bitter and cause significant gastric upset in some subjects.

Ketone salts and esters likely have no effect on body composition, because they still provide calories. They may be mis-marketed as fat-burning supplements (which is technically correct as ketones are derived from fat), but exogenous ketones will likely not produce the same body composition-improving results as an energy-restricted or ketogenic diet.

Summary:  During exercise, exogenous ketones may essentially function as a fourth fuel source. Based on limited research, they do not necessarily provide an advantage over other exogenous fuels (carbohydrate, fat or protein). If you can afford and tolerate them, exogenous ketones likely do not decrease performance (as the only side effects thus far are high cost and gastrointestinal upset) and may preserve endogenous fuels.

 

PFTL NEWS April 2018

MOMENTUM OR NO-MENTUM  (from ACE Healthy Living 3/28/18)

It’s easier to continue doing what you’ve been doing most consistently. If you have been successful with health behaviors, it easier to keep eating healthfully and integrating enjoyable physical activity and exercise into your life. You’ve got momentum. Likewise, if you have been in a pattern of moving less, skipping workouts, and eating poorly, it is also easier to keep doing that. You’ve got no-mentum—an increased likelihood of continuing to not follow health behaviors.

Blame it on inertia—expressed as resistance to change—which means a body at rest tends to stay that way while a moving body tends to keep moving. It’s Newton’s first law of motion, and it’s just as applicable to a ball rolling downhill as it is to your life.

Further, the law says the body will continue in its present state until it is acted on by an outside force. An outside force is like an external motivator, and could be anything from bad results from a blood test, a spouse or partner who wants you to lose weight, or someone making fun of you for being out of shape. These external factors might get you started, but they almost never keep you going over the long-term. To do that, you need to use your internal force. It’s your inner motivation and strength.

Gather Your Inner Forces  –   Answer these questions to help identify the internal forces that keep you motivated:

Identity: What kind of person are you? What do you stand for?  Your sense of who you are as a person and what you stand for gives you a connection to what is truly important to you. For what matters most, you often find it easy to do what you need to do. When you care enough, the effort becomes almost effortless. Whatever your best qualities are, consider using them in the area of health behaviors. When health is something you “should” do—a chore, task or obligation—you will be more likely to struggle. When you make health a part of your identity, you will more easily follow through on it.

Strength: What is something you excel at doing?  You’re awesome at something. Perhaps even multiple things. All of the qualities that make you a terrific parent, manager, business owner, hard worker, community leader, etc., can also be used to ensure success with health. It is not unusual to meet people who own successful businesses, work in very demanding fields and successfully manage family needs, and yet are crippled when it comes to following through on a health plan.

You already have a lot of skills and abilities to organize complex and challenging tasks and achieve them—just use those same skills to improve your health instead of compartmentalizing them to the areas in which you are successful.

Meaning: What do you most care about in life?  Why bother? Why do any of it? Why work hard at anything? What and/or who truly motivates you in this life? Whatever you care most about in life, you will enjoy it more and do it more effectively if you do it in a healthy body. Whoever matters most to you in life—your friends, partner, spouse, pets—whatever time you spend with them will be richer and more enjoyable when you live in a healthy body.

Health has an almost magical ability to elevate almost all other experiences you have and to expand your view of the world. As the saying goes, “A healthy person has many goals; an unhealthy person has one.”

Enjoyment: What is something you have done (or would like to try) that puts a smile on your face while you are exerting yourself physically?  Stop engaging in forms of exercise, physical activity or classes that you do not enjoy. Just stop. Forcing yourself to do things you don’t enjoy because you think you should never works. Haven’t we been trying this for long enough to know this? No one naturally hates physical activity (or vegetables). We learn it. There are no fish born that hate swimming in water.

Find healthy foods you enjoy and don’t eat the ones you don’t enjoy. Try different forms of physical activity until you find some you enjoy. Consider getting back into a sport or activity you used to love but stopped when you got married/had kids/got busy at work (i.e., lost yourself in other things and people) or try an activity that you have always wanted to.

The hardest part of health is getting started. If that’s where you are, let’s make this the last time you ever start again and turn “no-mentum” into momentum.

MUSCLE LOSS IN OLD AGE LINKED TO FEWER NERVE SIGNALS (from BBC News-Health March 2018)

Researchers say they may have worked out why there is a natural loss of muscle in the legs as people age – and that it is due to a loss of nerves. In tests on 168 men, they found that nerves controlling the legs decreased by around 30% by the age of 75. This made muscles waste away, but in older fitter athletes there was a better chance of them being ‘rescued’ by nerves re-connecting. The scientists published their research in the Journal of Physiology.

As people get older, their leg muscles become smaller and weaker, leading to problems with everyday movements such as walking up stairs or getting out of a chair. It is something that affects everyone eventually, but why it happens is not fully understood.

Prof Jamie McPhee, from Manchester Metropolitan University, said young adults usually had 60-70,000 nerves controlling movement in the legs from the lumbar spine. But his research showed this changed significantly in old age.

“There was a dramatic loss of nerves controlling the muscles – a 30-60% loss – which means they waste away,” he said. “The muscles need to receive a proper signal from the nervous system to tell them to contract, so we can move around.”

The research team from Manchester Metropolitan University worked with researchers from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, and the University of Manchester. They looked at muscle tissue in detail using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and they recorded the electrical activity passing through the muscle to estimate the numbers and the size of surviving nerves.

The good news is that healthy muscles have a form of protection: surviving nerves can send out new branches to rescue muscles and stop them wasting away. This is more likely to happen in fit people with large, healthy muscles, Prof McPhee said.

Although it is not known why connections between muscles and nerves break down with age, finding out more about muscle loss could help scientists find ways of reversing the condition in the future.

Happy Spring!  Soon you can get outdoors again, and enjoy all the things that nice weather allows.