HOW DID YOU SPEND YOUR LAST 24 HOURS? (From ACE Fit Life June 3, 2015)
What do you do during a typical 24-hour weekday? Take a few moments and divide up those 24 hours and reflect on how you typically spend that time. How many hours did you spend sleeping? How many hours did you spend sitting down (don’t forget the times you sit in the car, while you eat, etc.)? How many hours did you spend moving?
Once you have completed your 24-hour self-reflection activity, think more specifically about your movement time. What type of movement did you do? What was the intensity and intentionality of that movement?
Over the past few decades, Americans have heard over and over that a minimum of 30 minutes of daily exercise is essential to good health. However, the latest research suggests that how much time we spend sitting could be just as important as how much time we spend exercising. In fact, a new term has been coined to describe those who exercise, but spend the majority of their days being sedentary: active couch potatoes.
An active couch potato refers to someone who is inactive for the majority of the day, but regularly makes sure to get in 30 minutes of exercise on most days. An active couch potato is not necessarily lazy, but spend most of his or her time sitting during leisure time, work (and commuting to and from work) and while eating meals. In other words, they’re almost completely physically inactive throughout the day, with the exception of that 30 or minutes of daily exercise. Although 30 minutes of exercise is absolutely beneficial and healthful, the rest of the day is causing tremendous health hazards. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified physical inactivity as an independent risk factor for chronic disease development, and it is now the fourth leading cause of death worldwide.
So, exactly how do we differentiate between exercise and being physically active? And is the distinction important? Here are some definitions that should help clear things up:
Physical activity is movement that is carried out by the skeletal muscles that requires energy. In other words, any movement one does is actually physical activity.
Exercise, however, is planned, structured, repetitive and intentional movement intended to improve or maintain physical fitness. Exercise is a subcategory of physical activity.
Research provides significant evidence that ALL physical activity positively contributes to overall health and well-being. As you evaluate your 24-hour activity reflection, consider making a detailed plan that includes both elements: 1. Daily increased physical activity; 2. Structured, planned, intentional exercise to improve physical fitness. Omitting one or the other can have serious and detrimental consequences for your health, fitness and overall well-being. Add BOTH elements to your life to reap the life-changing benefits of physical activity and exercise.
UNEXPECTED STRESSORS THAT ARE WRECKING YOUR HEALTH (excerpted from Greatist.com)
The big causes of stress in life are easy to ID—major life transitions, illnesses and injuries, money issues, a too-busy schedule—the list goes on and on. But they’re not the only things affecting your wellbeing. Even mild stressors have been shown to pose long-term impediments to our health, plus they lower tolerance for more severe stressors like pain.
The following are common, but sneaky, stressors that you may not know are messing with your health: Late Bedtimes; Lying; Over-doing Caffeine, Alcohol, and/or Exercise, Opening your Inbox, Commuting, Eating Processed Foods and Dieting. In this newsletter, two of these will be discussed.. Subsequent newsletters will discuss some of the other stressors.
LATE BEDTIMES – Crawling into bed after midnight may bump your stress levels. The later students put off going to sleep in one study, the more likely they were to suffer from negative thoughts, ruminative worries, and overall low moods than those who achieved lights out on the earlier side. And regardless of how many hours they sleep, adults and teens who identify as night owls report feeling more tension, pessimism, and depressive symptoms than their early-bird peers. Since anxiety and a brain that won’t shut off interfere with relaxation and sleep, researchers still aren’t certain whether later bedtimes are the primary cause of these negative emotions or whether they simply reflect a more stressed out, unhappy personality structure.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the best bet is to start winding down a full two hours before you plan on falling asleep (ideally at a time that allows for at least eight hours of ZZZs.) So turn off the Netflix, shut down the smartphone, and stem Facebook stalking ASAP after dinner, and feel free to hop in a warm bath or shower to facilitate the relaxation response.
And lest you find yourself stressing about not being able to fall asleep once you actually get around to it? Try and, well, take the pressure off. Falling asleep is a spontaneous thing. You can’t force yourself to do it. The minute you start telling yourself, “Oh no; it’s 2 a.m. and I can’t sleep!” you’re done for. Being willing to not sleep is actually what relaxes your body. It’s the willingness to lay in a dark room with your eyes closed and allow yourself to just be there that’ll do the trick.”
LYING – From little white fibs to massive deceptions, lying can interfere with our mental and physical health and may even contribute to gastric distress. But holistic psychotherapist and relationship expert Victoria Lorient-Faibish, M.Ed., doesn’t counsel wholesale confession as an antidote to the stress caused by dishonesty. “Many people with a history of lying struggle with fantasies of confession,” she says. “But they often fail to realize that coming clean might make things worse.” Rather than blurting out everything to everyone all at once, Lorient-Faibish recommends first coming clean to a therapist who can help you assess who else to tell your deep-seeded truths to—and how.
FREE 30-MINUTE FITNESS ASSESSMENTS – FEBRUARY 2 – 21
During the first three weeks of February, we will be conducting free modified Fitness Assessments for new clients and/or former clients. This is a great opportunity for you to refer friends and for former clients to reacquaint themselves with PFTL. The assessment will analyze posture, gait, flexibility and balance. This will be a mini-version of the 2-hour comprehensive assessment we do for all new clients.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN “ACTIVE COUCH POTATO” INGESTS ADDED SUGAR? (ACSM – Sports Medicine Bulletin January 2015)
A diet high in added sugar has already been established to be correlated with increased weight and metabolic disturbances. However, what happens when a person is ingesting moderate amounts of added sugar, either in the form of sucrose or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) while also being physically inactive? Moreover, in this context, what constitutes being physically active?
Although previous research has shown that a diet high in fructose can cause deleterious metabolic effects to the body, these studies tend to use an excessive amount of added sugar, which often results in weight gain. Moreover, high fructose corn syrup is now being replaced with sucrose (table sugar) in many foods, giving the indication that they are “natural” and hence, healthier; although from a metabolic standpoint, HFCS and sucrose are essentially the same. This change in labeling has resulted in an even larger influx of added sugar in our diet.
Recent studies have investigated the effects of a diet high in a more moderate amount of added fructose (~17 percent calories from added fructose). It was found that, in as little as two weeks, a healthy young adult’s metabolic profile begins to be negatively altered. The observed consequences included increased postprandial triglyceride, very-low density lipoproteins levels and low grade inflammation when subjects were physically inactive. These results were found without subsequent changes in weight.
So now the question is this: What if a person who is ingesting only a moderate amount of added fructose, while maintaining their weight, is also physically inactive? According to the most recent ACSM recommendation for healthy adults, 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise is recommended, five days per week. The problem is that a person can go to the gym for 30-45 minutes, five days per week and still only be getting ~4000-5000 steps per day because they may be sitting at a desk at work or school all day then on the couch at night. This creates the “active couch potato” conundrum. The person thinks they are being active because they do their structured recommended exercise for 45 minutes per day. But, the fact is that they are inactive the remaining 23 hours per day! If you compound that circumstance with having just one bowl of sugary cereal for breakfast and a “natural” sweetened ice tea for lunch or dinner, you now have a person whose metabolic profile is being unfavorably altered, even though they were trying to be healthy.
Even if someone is diligently going to the gym daily and maintaining a proper weight, they are still doing their body harm if they are not being active throughout the day and don’t eat a diet composed of low sugar, unprocessed, whole foods. The fitness industry has done such an immense job at promoting regular, daily exercise, we need to now take it one step further and begin to educate people on the harms of being physically inactive the remaining 23 hours per day. Additionally, there needs to be more focus on educating people on the metabolic disadvantages of a diet including even a moderate amount of added sugar, regardless of whether it is from sucrose or high fructose corn syrup.
BEAT INFLAMMATION (Wellness News Jan. 2015)
Body inflammation gets a lot of bad press, but these stories refer to chronic or excessive inflammation that causes health problems. There is also a good type of inflammation that occurs when a strong immune system responds therapeutically to an illness or injury. Beneficial inflammation is a survival tool the healthy immune system uses to differentiate a harmless substance from a harmful one called an antigen. Inflammation occurring appropriately in the body is a sign that an individual’s immunity is hard at work as a healer.
Unfortunately, if the immune system becomes impaired, it is liable to attack the body’s own cells or tissues and create a harmful type of inflammation that becomes chronic, causing untimely aging and illness. When inflammation invades the body as an immune system overreaction, it may initiate a detrimental response to a new allergen, formerly innocuous. Worse, it can result in autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus and diabetes. Autoimmune diseases have both acquired (obtained after birth) and hereditary component, often overlapping, and something we are learning we have more control over. Stress, exercise, and our diet DIRECTLY interact with our own DNA and can turn on and off good and bad genes.
Healthy weight and diet can keep the autoimmune DNA disposition of diabetes at bay.
Additionally, chronic inflammation within our microvascular system contributes to serious health conditions like heart disease, solid cancer (breast, colon, prostate), and dementia; also impacted by our stress, exercise, and diet DIRECTLY on the DNA responsible for the inner lining of our arteries: endothelial glycocalyx.
Here are some principal triggers of chronic inflammation. Learn them and make lifestyle changes to protect yourself from an inflammatory rampage.
Stress – Chronic stress keeps the body on “fight-or-flight” alert and is an inflammatory factor that can throw the immune system out of whack.
Environmental Toxins – Twenty-first century environment is filled with toxins, such as mercury, pesticides, and industrial chemicals. If you expect government agencies to protect your family from dangerous toxins, think again. It’s up to individuals to learn about common toxins and how to avoid them as much as possible. Check www.ewa.org for helpful guides to safer consumption and use.
Inferior Diet – Eating too much sugar, refined grains, processed foods, trans fats and other fats that oxidize when heated, including hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils and margarine, can produce chronic inflammation. . While the Internet and numerous books tout a variety of “anti-inflammatory diet” plans, it’s wise to consult your primary care doctor before embarking on a special diet. If you eat a whole foods, high-fiber, heavily plant-based diet rich in phytonutrients (plant chemicals that are naturally anti-inflammatory) and consume healthy monounsaturated fats with omega-3 fatty acids and not chemically hydrogenated (good fat examples: olive oil, flaxseed oil, nuts, and avocados), you will go a long way toward improving your diet and keeping chronic inflammation at bay.
Exercise Deficiency – By now, most people are aware that a lack of regular exercise plays a role in many health problems.
Persistent Infections And Allergies – People who have chronic infections, caused by bacteria, yeast, viruses, or parasites, are likely to have body inflammation. . Uncontrolled food or environmental allergens also spark inflammation. A thorough physical checkup or allergy testing can lead to the correct diagnosis and treatment.
Do what you can to avoid chronic inflammation. It’s hazardous to your health.