Comment

The Negative Side Effects of Fitness Trackers

Author: Dr. Peter Rawlek

Published: May 27, 2019

track.jpg

They’re so prevalent at this point that you’ve probably heard someone talking about their recent smartwatch or fitness tracker purchase, and it’s hard not to get excited when hearing about all the features they exhibit:

-Steps Taken             -Calories Burned     -Distance Traveled  -Floors Climbed

-Fertility Monitoring           -Blood Sugar Levels            -Active Minutes       -Sleep Time

-Sport-specific Activity       -Sleep Quality           -Heart Rate   -Routes Traveled

-GPS Location          -Sun Exposure

           

Negative Effects of Fitness Trackers

            Sure, there are benefits to these devices, but what’s rarely talked about are the unintended and significant negative side effects.  There are reasons why 30% of trackers are in the drawer in the first month and over 80% are set aside 9 months after purchase.

“Tracking” is only a record of something once it’s done,

it does NOTHING in supporting your struggle to get there!

Data Obsession

charts-data-desk-669615.jpg

            For national team athletes, heart-rate monitors, sleep trackers, and monitoring how the body responded to workouts are metrics for an obsession to achieve peak performance. Trainers lean on biometric data to redefine training session work loads on a given day. Physicians in the ER and hospitals, cardiac monitors, vital signs, and biometrics define health from illness. Which lead us to this passionate push of data tracking frenzy: weights, step counts, heart rates, blood sugar, etc.

Why the obsession?

            For previous competitive athletes, like myself, these metrics are appreciated. But for most individuals, the interest wanes quickly. The biometric data is only of “vanity” interest and isn’t necessary to tell you how you feel.

An unhealthy relationship with metric tracking?        

            There is now, for many, an over-focus on ‘what my watch says about my workout’. This development can even lead to missed workouts, as many personal trainers have reported, if a client shows up to a training session and forgets their fitness tracker, it’s not uncommon for them to opt to skip the session entirely and ask to reschedule [1].

            Then there’s the frustration with numbers. Performance and the numbers you put up vary due to sleep, stress, hunger, the previous days’ exercise levels, and even your focus on a given day. If you find yourself getting frustrated with your metrics, remember… You worked out… correct? You did it. That’s the most-important thing.

 

Quantity over Quality

            In the pursuit to push for higher numbers showing up on your tracker, there’s another issue that’s becoming more evident in the scientific literature, more injuries. This is especially evident in those coming off the couch, or out of retirement, and pushing to meet certain metric benchmarks.

            A 2014 paper by Menachem Brodie in the Journal of Applied Physiology showcased how quality of the exercise is immensely more important than the quantity of work done when exercising. [3]

 

The MOST effective and cheapest tracker on the market

            Essentially, what do you really need to know?  

Fitness Trackers.png

1.       Breathing Heavy. As your muscles require more oxygen, your heart pushes more blood to them.  As your muscles work harder, they produce more carbon dioxide.  The increased carbon dioxide is carried by the increased movement of blood to your lungs which triggers the demand for heavier breathing. So, using your breathing is an excellent way to monitor if you’re working at the right intensity. You don’t need a tracker to tell you that. 

2.      Time exercising. The time you were active while breathing heavy is all that you need to know, besides that you were breathing heavy. That’s it.

Amount of time + heavy breathing = good intensity to affect health. 

3.      How do you feel? You’ve just finished a workout. You feel you worked hard. The tracker on your wrist says your heart rate was much lower than last two workouts. Are you wrong? Did you not work as hard as you feel you did? There are many factors that determine the heart-rate response to effort. Effort’s most sensitive marker is “how hard do you feel you worked?”  

We just saved you $200… 

The most effective and cheapest fitness tracker on the market is YOU!!

(And you don’t have to give away your data to the data tracking bank, to be sold to an interested insurance company or similar agency)

                        The people who are going to find the most use from biometric trackers are competitive athletes, those training to become said athletes, and agencies like insurance companies or other entities.

 

            Biometric data for many is fun to have around, somewhat a vanity interest, a form of micro-analyzing activity for high-performers.

For the rest of us, to purchase a tracker that commonly ends up in the drawer is  a questionable investment. It‘s even more questionable in that it’s providing data to data banks, who package the personal information to be sold to the highest bidder              (and you likely paid over 200$ for the tracker to sell my data)…

            If used incorrectly, these trackers can limit how an individual progress, and can even stop that progression entirely.

            If you find your fitness tracker’s helping you keep focus on your journey to your fitness goals, that’s great! But if you find yourself getting caught up in the elusive metric-chasing game that so many others do, it may be time to kick that thing and get back to enjoying a good ‘old-fashioned’ workout. If you haven’t bought into the craze, then really consider not investing in something that will end up being nothing more than an expensive paperweight. The alternative: Measure your breathing, measure the length of time you worked out, take measure of how you really feel. Inexpensive but the best way to stay tuned to your body.

 

 

References:

1.       Kate Bayless. The dark side of fitness trackers. Live Strong https://www.livestrong.com/article/13716661-fitness-trackers-and-mental-health/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=051019_fri_curated&c_crid=cta4. Published February, 2019. Accessed May 20, 2019.

 

2.      Sarah Silbert. What can fitness trackers track? Life Wire. https://www.lifewire.com/what-wearables-can-track-4121040. Published December, 2018. Accessed May 20, 2019.

 

3. Newswise. Quality, not quantity, counts most in exercise and diet. Newswise. https://www.newswise.com/articles/quality-not-quantity-counts-most-in-diet-and-exercise-skidmore-college-study-finds. Published May, 2014. Accessed May 20, 2019

Comment

Comment

Introspection and Self-Awareness [What is it?]

“I have never failed! I learn from when I have failed… that is a win!!

            Self-help? In 2019 it’s a huge industry. Help to manage stress. Help to be more productive. Help to manage weight. Help to manage time. Self-help to… Not millions, but billions of dollars spent annually to get self-help advice.

            I sampled 8 sites to get an idea of how some provide self-help to us buyers. They clearly don’t tell you that many of the answers to success are free. They don’t tell you to be successful you need to practice one thing, that is, to be introspective.

 

            As a previous Canadian national team athlete, and then as a physician, both share one common theme to being successful, the practice of introspection. Introspection… what is it?

            Introspection is a key ingredient in the path to becoming successful when one is challenged. Like Wayne Gretzky and Christine Sinclair, all great athletes lean on introspection on their path to success. It’s the practice of taking pause, and considering what went right, what went wrong, and what could have gone better. It’s taking that evaluation of one’s self and applying that understanding to continue to be successful, or how to modify a few things or even just visualizing ways to make yourself more successful.

 

            Seems complicated? Not really, let me explain how to be introspective.  

The key steps:

Introspection.png

That’s how I practice introspection and self-awareness.

 

            This warrants one comment about people beating themselves up over not accomplishing what they intended or falling off the exercise wagon temporarily.  

            Here you have two choices and only two choices: Choose to beat yourself up, or choose to identify what went wrong. Consider things that could have been done or actions taken to correct the unwanted result.

 

            As a national and international athlete, I lost more tournaments than I won. Very few who have gotten to the top have won more times than they lost. We learn more from our losses than from our victories. A loss is the best result to produce change and to improve. I welcomed losing. New habits will have bumps, but these are necessary to change. It’s the choice between either loathing and remaining defeated and of “grabbing an opportunity to learn.” Being introspective means charting an even better course.

 

            By the way, last week I only worked out one time. Yes, you could say I failed… but what I learned is that when doing night shifts in the ER, and working full out on GoGet.Fit when awake, that I need to plan to do 15 – 20 minute bouts of activity…

            Well that is step 1, step 2, and step 3… now for step 4: “imagine” my success in doing it, next time when I awaken from an ER shift, instead of plopping down in a lazy chair and mindlessly watching tv for 30 minutes, I can get a workout.

I do not fail! I learn from my failures… and that is a win!!

 

Author: Dr. Peter Rawlek

Published: May 19, 2019

Comment

Comment

Delayed Gratification [Why Practice it and How Can it Benefit You]

“Rule your mind, or it will rule you.” -Horace

            What if I could show you a method that would greatly improve your chances of success, no matter what the task you were undertaking was?     How about if that method was incredibly straightforward, could be applied to multiple aspects of your life, and didn’t cost a dime?

 

            Sounds too good to be true? It’s actually very simple, and has been practiced by many successful people throughout human history. I’m talking about Delayed Gratification of course. But what is it exactly? Delayed gratification is defined as: resisting the temptation of immediate reward, in favor of a long-term greater goal.

 

            This practice is one of the many links in the chain to becoming a stronger, healthier, more successful person.

blur-chains-chrome-220237.jpg

Here’s an example:

            Say if I were to sit you down in a room for 15 minutes, put $50 on the table in front of you, and then proceed to tell you that if you want, you can take the $50 now… but if you wait until the 15 minutes are up, I’ll give you a second $50 for nothing more than waiting the stated period of time… What would you do?

 

            Well, if you’re reasonable, you can see the benefit in waiting to collect your money. This is a simplified example of ‘Delayed Gratification’… Foregoing immediate reward, or pleasure, in favour of a long-term greater reward.

 

The Marshmallow Experiment

            The above-stated was actually the setting of a prominent study, performed by Stanford professor Walter Mischel using 4 and 5-year-old children in the 1960s.

 

            One major difference: instead of using a $50 note, he used a single marshmallow. Another key difference, is that the experiment proceeded to follow the lives of these children over the course of the following 40 years… [2]

            What did they find? The children who were willing to delay gratification and wait for the time to run out ended up having higher SAT scores, lower levels of substance abuse, decreased likelihood of obesity, improved stress response, better social skills, and a range of other long-term benefits [2].

 

Benefits of Delaying Gratification

            There are many benefits that go along with implementing it in our own lives. The main areas where it has the greatest effect are your financial success, long-term health outcomes, fitness, career success, and relationship health. [1] Fortunately, the benefits of practicing it in one area can bleed over and benefit how you experience, and perform in other facets of your life as well.

 

            Do you look forward to having the mental fortitude to continue pursuing your goals when the going gets tough? Do you want it to be a habit, so when you reach a difficult period of your life, you don’t even have to think about seeking immediate relief and satisfaction, you’re focused to keep pursuing your goals?

 

            This is what practicing delayed gratification is all about… Building up the strength of will to invest in your future.

 

            Those who learn to manage their need to be instantaneously satisfied generally experience more fulfilling careers and relationships, better health, and exhibit more control over their finances and their ability to achieve their financial goals. On top of this, it also helps lead to achieving your long-term goals more quickly than if you were to give in to your every whim along the way [1].

            Many great philosophers have been advocates of delayed gratification throughout history, starting as far back as Aristotle.

 

            He noticed the cultural norms of ancient Greece led individuals to seek out Band-Aid solutions and temporary comforts. Many were unhappy, and according to Aristotle, they were confusing pleasure for happiness, as they weren’t investing in their futures, only seeking out that next quick-fix to their problems [1].

 

Sounds familiar in relation to today’s society doesn’t it?

 

How to Begin Practicing Delayed Gratification

            One of the foremost examples of one’s ability to implement delayed gratification is their ability to save money now towards a long-term purchase or financial security goal. So, of course, this is a great place to start!

 

            Making the actual decision to save is the hard part, but if you have trouble with the process these are a few steps that can help you:

1.       Set your goal

2.      Budget your money: dedicate what you need to your necessities (like food and rent), a set amount to your savings, and a final portion to fun things like movies and entertainment.

3.      Don’t drift away from your budget

4.      Enjoy the benefits of achieving your goal!

             This can work just as well if applied to anything… Fitness and health?

1.       Set your goal

2.      Budget your time: dedicate what you need to your necessities (work, sleep, and meals), a set amount to exercise, and a final portion to fun things like movies and entertainment.

3.      Don’t drift away from your budget

4.      Enjoy the benefits of achieving your goal!

            Eventually you won’t even need to budget things out as your self-efficacy increases. It doesn’t need to be this complicated. Practicing delayed gratification can be as simple as:

 

Don’t eat the burger now… Eat the chicken and salad when you get home

OR

Don’t watch TV now… Get your exercise in and relax later

OR

Don’t have a cigarette now… Keep up your effort towards quitting

 

            In the long run you’ll be able to consciously practice delayed gratification without stressing over the deprivation you may go through to reach your goal. The bleed-over effect that comes from practicing it in one aspect of your life will also help you be more effective in almost every other area.

 

            Do you already practice delayed gratification? Are you on the journey towards achieving your long-term goals? Let us know what you’re working on, and what you’ve achieved through this core life practice, and always remember to take it one step at a time!

  

 

Author: Kyle Rawlek

Published: May 13, 2019

 

References:

1.       Ilene Strauss Cohen PhD. The benefits of delaying gratification. Psychology today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/your-emotional-meter/201712/the-benefits-delaying-gratification. Published December, 2017. Accessed May 9, 2019.

 

2.      James Clear. 40 years of Stanford research found that people with this one quality are more likely to succeed. James clear. https://jamesclear.com/delayed-gratification. Published 2018. Accessed May 9, 2019.

 

3.      Fiscal Fitness PHX. 10 quotes about delayed gratification. Fiscal Fitness. https://fiscalfitnessphx.com/10-quotes-about-delayed-gratification/. Published November, 2015. Accessed May 10, 2019.

 

4.      Brendan Baker. 5 strategies for delayed gratification and why you should do it. Start of Happiness. https://www.startofhappiness.com/power-delayed-gratification/. Published November, 2012. Accessed May 9, 2019.

 

5.      Shane Trotter. How delayed gratification shapes your health. Breaking muscle. https://www.breakingmuscle.com/fitness/how-delayed-gratification-shapes-your-health. Published Unknown. Accessed May 9, 2019.

Comment

Comment

Sleep Deprivation

Sometimes the things we take for granted can have a much greater impact than we first think! I’ve personally struggled with my sleep for many years, waking up multiple times a night due to my obstructive sleep apnea. But after getting treatment for it, I’ve realized what an incredible health factor sleep is. Every system in the body, large and small, relies on sleep to function at its peak level.

            Unfortunately for us, as we age, our sleep quality tends to deteriorate, so it’s important to improve it and take it seriously as early as possible.

Implications of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep Deprivation.png

            100 years ago, 3% of the population was considered sleep deprived. Today that number has spiked as high as 66% of individuals suffering from sleep deprivation[1]. What are the implications?

            These only touch on a few of the negative impact on your body associated with a lack of sleep. There doesn’t appear to be a single major organ, or function, in the body that isn’t detrimentally affected.

            Emotional regulation, or the ability to control emotional responses, is strongly affected by  sleep. Psychological well-being, again is impacted by sleep. Ever meet a person who’s poorly navigating a social interaction, or getting upset over nothing at all? Ask them how they have been sleeping? Sufficient sleep allows us to handle difficult situations, with more grace and understanding.

            Cardiovascular Wisdom: Sleep deprivation affects blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, and breathing rate. It’s no wonder that a single night of poor sleep can negatively affect athletic performance by as much as 30%[1]! But where is all this sleep-loss stemming from?

What’s Causing It?

Sleep Deprivation Causes.png

            We’ve become nonchalant towards sleep. Night falls… on go the lights. Pub outings late in the night, or even going to the 24-hour gym. Do you see a pattern? Light, light, and more light to overcome night.

What is the common line of thinking with many jobs,  sleep less, work more. Between the financial, medical, and tech industries, there are a great many in our society that function on sleep deprivation. Sleep has a close relationship with productivity, and as sleep increases so does the quality of work, even profits have been shown to climb in companies that promote sleep health [1].

With modern technological advances come good and bad developments… artificial light, smartphones, televisions late at night.

            Everyone experiences different reasons and pressures as to why they should forego sleep. It’s inarguable, your immediate emotional state and well-being is directly related to sleep, your long-term cardiovascular health and longevity again are impacted by sleep. So what to do?

What Can We Do?

SLeep Tips.png

1.       Start taking your sleep seriously!

2.      Make a sleep schedule that’s consistent, and stick to it!

3.      Charge your phone in another room. Make your bedroom a no phone sleep zone!

4.      The hour prior to sleep should be slow and quiet, and should be spent away from screens that emit blue-wavelength light.

5.      Develop routines. Even if you’re a shift worker, set something you can stick to (One routine for shift work and one for no shift work). Your body loves routines.

6.      Limit caffeine intake to the earlier half of the day.

7.      Limit alcohol and THC intake near bed.

            Have a good sleep tonight, and let us know if there’s anything special that helps your sleep that we’ve overlooked!

 

References:

1.       Walker M. Why we sleep: unlocking the power of sleep and dreams. New York, NY: Scribner; 2017: 1-7.

By Kyle Rawlek

Comment

Comment

2-Million Minutes!

2-Million Minutes.png

As of mid April 2019, GoGet.Fit recorded over 2-million supported minutes of activity through dedicated professionals and by indidivudals like yourself. Congratulations!!

            In the first months of 2019 over half-million minutes of exercise were logged and supported.  Minutes that would have been unsupported historically, and many wouldn’t have happened. Today, they are STILL HAPPENING. Thank YOU for allowing us to support you and your efforts to create a more active community.

 

            There are many benchmarks we are on track to surpass this year.  There is a movement afoot. Linear growth until the end of 2018, and as of 2019 exponential growth as a result of adoption and implementation in Australia, Western Canada, and soon to be entering into Boston, and the US!

Onwards and Upwards!

            Where are we going from here?  In the next months we are establishing our Australian, Eastern Canadian, and our American footprints. On the Canada front, watch for the news of new partnerships we are presently cultivating.

            By the end of 2019 we hope to reach 4-million supported minutes with your help and the help of your professionals!

How Can You Help?

1.       By putting in the active minutes that you’re already so successful at doing. We’re here to support you, but you’re also a key component in supporting us towards our next goal. All you need to do is continue scheduling, following through, and being active.

 2.      You have friends who could benefit from an introduction to a tool designed to provide support on their terms -- where they want to and how they want to build their fitness routines. We are here. Tell them. We will take it from there.

3.      Tell your doctor and healthcare professionals, let them know that we are here. Introduce them to the GoGet.Fit contact site and we can build on that. Your warm introduction goes a long way.

            That’s all it takes! What do you say? Help us top 4-million minutes of remote support, where we support people on their own terms.

            You are part of a winning team. We promise to be here to provide support. Join the movement and we’ll help you get to your active goals! Moving forward as a team.

 

Thank you,

From all of us at

Comment

Comment

Healthy Habits Start Here: A Pilot Study

When you’re part of a program you like to know that it’s having a positive impact. At least, that’s how I feel personally. When I first joined the GoGet.Fit team I thought mostly about the opportunities of the job, and less thought was put towards the impact this program could have. As time went on, I realized that we’re helping people to build their self-efficacy toward being active, thereby improving the likelihood of their being successful in their pursuit to become, and remain active as part of their life.

 

            I realized the impact of the GoGet.Fit platform from the outcomes of a recent pilot. Our platform was piloted at Red Deer Regional Hospital, unit 22, to establish its effect on patients when they headed home. Patients admitted to the unit were introduced  to the GoGet.Fit mobile app, enrolled and started practicing daily - just scheduling and placing their exercise shoes on their feet.  The act of scheduling and then putting the shoes on their feet, that was the bare minimum. They could then take their shoes for a walk (while on their feet)  if so inclined.

 

The goal was to create an opportunity to overcome one of the greatest barriers to success when individual’s start a new habit: that is, the challenge with “scheduling”. A low “scheduling self-efficacy for exercise” (simply defined as, “I will do it later in the week…” but  it is not specifically scheduled as to the exact time,  or if something else comes up it is skipped) is one of the major contributors to feeling defeated in spite of the best intentions and then quitting. Even though the intent and desire to start is there, but it’s the lack of scheduling that’s the greatest hurdle to getting started.

 

            Before we get to the results, let’s go over the facts.

1.       Generally, after a life-threatening experience such as a heart attack (or another health-issue related to modifiable lifestyle factors) or a new diagnosis of a disease, the experience is normalized in the individual’s mind after only a short period of time. This means that they will return to their life as it was before said experience, with for example, the memory of their hospital visit being simply that, a memory. The time to get them invested in building new habits is ASAP.

2.      Despite the best information, provided with the best intentions by hospital staff, without encouragement, remote support and improved scheduling self-efficacy, less than 10% of patients will see success at changing to a healthier long-term lifestyle, thereby avoiding future instances related to modifiable lifestyle disease impacts.

3.      Without these changes they can expect to end up in the same hospital beds sooner than necessary.

Scheduling Self-Efficacy (1).png

            When scheduling self-efficacy is high, a person will make their appointments that they deem important. A lack of scheduling self-efficacy for exercise is often at the root of why individuals fail to develop desired lifestyle changes. They are committed to the importance of the new behaviour, but neglect to commit to a time to execute it. The result after a series of missed workouts is commonly the quitting, with comments like, “I tried, but…”

 

            The Red Deer pilot was a success. After a short period of in hospital time, starting the scheduling habit in hospital, 44% of our users remained active after discharge.  And they are successfully continuing down the road of a more active lifestyle.

 

            Even though this is a 400% improvement over reported outcomes from the literature in this pilot, we know we can do better.  We know that scheduling self-efficacy for exercise is the cornerstone of success. It can’t be over-emphasized how important scheduling the upcoming week’s activities before they happen is. All indications are that through the use of the GoGet.Fit platform we have a tool that builds healthier lifestyles.

 

           

 

Healthy Habits Start Here Pilot

Physician Lead: Dr. Peter Rawlek

To implement a program where "non-high-risk" patients, while still in hospital, get their exercise shoes on, using a web and/or mobile application (a habit engagement platform) to initiate and establish the three key habits of scheduling the activity, doing the activity and logging it, thereby supporting patients daily to take action and put on their “exercise shoes”. This being the foundation laid down from which they will likely be successful in their pursuit to get active upon their return home.

Comment

1 Comment

Fasted vs Fed-State Exercise

To be or not to be… with exercising the question is whether to be fasted or not to be fasted – in this is the Answer.

            To understand why the body loses weight (or why not) when exercising, you need to know a few key concepts that revolve around exercising in a fasted or fed state.

Fasted states versus Fed states, what’s the difference?

             “Fasted” states are defined here as not ingesting (drinking or eating) any calories within the previous 6 hours. It’s a state of lowered blood-insulin levels. Low-insulin levels drive the body to access fat stores as its primary fuel source for any activities it takes part in. 

            “Fed” states, in contrast, are defined as having ingested calories that stimulate increased insulin levels in the blood. In opposite to a fasted state, the body uses the immediate calories available in the blood (the sugars that stimulated insulin release) shutting off use of fat stores for its fuel. 

            Conclusion: If you want to use and lose fat in your body, then exercise in a fasted state! 

It’s not about Calories in versus Calories out: 

            For most, the drives to exercise are tied to its impact on weight and are commonly based on the misconception it’s about calories in versus calories out.  This is exactly why most are frustrated, “I exercise and exercise and I am just not losing weight… Why?” 

The unrecognized benefits of being active

            To be clear, the major benefit of frequent activity is the impact on your total health, both physical and psychological. Your heart health (decreased heart attacks, and severity of any attack, improved heart health, supporting independence),  your brain health (decreased risk of strokes, improved brain function), and numerous other body areas (improved ability/strength of will to live life healthiest to the last heart beat, increased independence, psychologically healthier state, etc)  are the big winners independent of any impact on your weight. If your success is primarily tied to a change of weight, then you’re missing the real unrecognized benefits of these major life changes. The body weight decrease is a far second to living with a healthier heart, brain, and metabolism.  

“Insulin” blood levels are at the center of exercise & weight change!           

            From the 10,000-foot perspective, high blood insulin levels shut off your body’s ability to use fat during activity. In contrast, low blood insulin levels turn on your body to primarily use fat stores during activity (and at rest).  Simply, that is how you burn fat. Low insulin levels. 

Burning Fat or Sugar, it depends on your Insulin blood level

            You have only two fuel sources to use for activity: Sugar (if it is available) or Fat  (which for most of us is more than readily available – especially with me the last few years). 

            Which fuel source you use when being active is determined by if you choose to trigger insulin to be released in the body.

·         High blood insulin levels, shut off fat use and focus on using sugar from the blood, but not fat! (the high insulin is usually a result of your recent intake of sugar that immediately increases insulin)

·         Low blood insulin levels turn on and drive the muscle cells to burn fat.  

            So it’s simple—when exercising to burn fat you need to be active in a low insulin state. Hold it… how do you do this?? 

How to achieve to exercise in a low insulin level so you can burn fat? 

            Easy! It’s what you put in your mouth in the hours before you exercise that triggers your body to release insulin or to not, which puts you in a high insulin state or a low insulin state.. that is, a “fed state” (high insulin), or “fasted state” (low insulin). 

A few points: 

How is sugar intake handled in the body?

·         It’s either stored or it’s used immediately if the body is active and requires energy.

·         Sugar introduced through your mouth is stored if it’s not immediately needed for an activity. That is, increasing your fat stores.

·         When stored, it’s stored as glycogen in the liver and/or as fat in adipose (fat) cells/tissue. This is a necessary prehistoric adaptation for two different situations:

1.       Fight or Flight Emergencies: where the body needs high, immediate energy sources (sugar) for high-intensity activities, where readily-accessible sugar is needed to sustain immediate high-energy actions, the body immediately accesses the glycogen stores where sugar is available.

2.      Periods Without Food: having to travel very long distances searching for our next meal is when fat stores are used as the primary energy source because the body needs to save the glycogen that is the only energy source that can be used for very fast fight-or-flight activities in emergencies. 

Ingesting carbohydrates and proteins triggers insulin release

Refined foods dramatically increase insulin blood levels!! 

In essence, there are only two sources of fuel for your body:

1.       External sources - what food you eat.

2.      Internal sources, from body sources -glycogen in the liver or fat from body fat (adipose tissue) 

For simplicity’s sake you can only use one of these two fuel sources at a time.

·         Your blood insulin levels determine which fuel source the body will choose to use.

·         But your blood insulin level is determined by two factors: what you had ingested (that is “what” you put in your mouth- an immediate trigger), and the length of time since you last ingested foods that trigger insulin release.   

Can you control your insulin blood levels? 

For the most part, you bet you can.  

Blood insulin level = Type of food ingested x When you eat  

            It’s all about the messages you send to your body through your mouth.

You do this through what you eat (type of food) AND when you last ate. With respect to what you eat, if you eat refined foods, or sugars your insulin levels jump dramatically higher (not good) than with intake of proteins. With respect to when you last ate, if you ate recently your insulin levels will be higher than if you have fasted and last ate 6 hours ago. Plain and simple!  

So insulin is the switch that determines if you will burn fat or burn sugar. If you want to burn fat during an activity you need to be in a low insulin (fasted) state. 

            Even more important, sustained weight loss is not about calories in versus calories out. Sustained weight change is about reducing Insulin blood levels.  

            So, if you are working on your weight, one of the worst things you can do before you exercise is have sugar gels or drinks or even eat within a few hours before you exercise (if you have a normal metabolism). All these increase your blood insulin levels and block your body’s ability to use your body fat stores. Fasted exercise is better for sustained weight loss. 

References:

1. J Nutr Metab. 2016; 2016: 1984198.

Published online 2016 Sep 21. doi: 10.1155/2016/1984198

PMCID: PMC5050386

PMID: 27738523

Exercising in the Fasted State Reduced 24-Hour Energy Intake in Active Male Adults

Jessica L. Bachman, 1 , * Ronald W. Deitrick, 1 and Angela R. Hillman 2

 

2.  Feeding Influences Adipose Tissue Responses to Exercise in Overweight Men

Yung-Chih Chen, Rebecca L Travers, Jean-Philippe WalhinJavier T GonzalezFrancoise KoumanovJames A BettsDylan Thompson

1 Comment

Comment

5 Steps to Kicking Added and Refined Sugars

SugarFruitVeg.png

            Why should you care about cutting refined sugar from your diet? On top of being associated with diabetes, obesity, arthritis, cancer, osteoporosis (body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both and they become brittle), Alzheimer’s, depression, and cardiovascular disease… foods containing refined sugar also tend to be void of essential nutrients. But as one of the most-addictive legal substances in our society, sugar can be a pain to kick. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to accomplish this more easily.

***Fruits and vegetables containing natural sugar along with fiber aren’t bad for you, and actually tend to be very nutritionally dense. *** 

Step 1: Read Nutritional Content Labels

            Knowing what’s in the food you’re eating is probably the most important step towards cutting added sugars from your diet. The important parts are: the serving size, which is listed at the top (just under “Nutrition Facts” you can see this serving size is 1 tablespoon), and the sugars content (just under the “Carbohydrate” heading  {in the middle of this label} you can see the sugars per serving are 1 gram). With this information we can see that for each tablespoon of this food (peanut butter), there is a gram of sugar that you’re consuming. This is actually a very low-sugar content peanut butter, and it’s a good idea to keep the fiber content either equal to or greater than the sugar content (Here it is 1g fibre for 1g sugar).

***Note: not all foods are created equally. The sugar content will vary, even between foods that are similar.***

            Another important piece of the labelling to pay attention to is the ingredients list. Brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice, malt syrup, or organic cane sugar all sound better, but they’re just clever variants of the refined sugar that we’re trying to avoid.

Here, the ingredients are meant to be listed in order of highest concentration. High-fructose corn syrup (an unhealthy added sweetener) and sugar are both in the top 5, so this would be a good food to avoid. In fact, it’s a good idea to avoid ingredients with the suffix “-ose” like glucose, maltose, dextrose, galactose, sucrose, and fructose, as that’s the suffix used to describe sugars in chemistry.

Step 2: Beware Artificial Sweeteners and “Zero-Sugar” Claims

cokezero.jpg

            Notice the fourth ingredient… Aspartame... When learning about how to avoid sugar, many people turn towards “zero-sugar” substitutes. Many of these contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame. This chemical makes it much more difficult to get rid of your sweet-food cravings. Constantly placating your sweetness addiction, but without the essential nutrients it wants (micronutrients and calories) your body will try to get you to consume more of the nutrient-poor foods, in the hopes of getting the real thing it craves, but isn’t present. These artificial sweeteners may also increase your cravings for sugar and refined carbs, as well as depleting your body’s chromium stores. These are a few of the reasons that artificial sweeteners are highly correlated to weight-gain. Don’t be fooled by zero-sugar substitutes being better. They fool your body, in a way that is detrimental to your health goals.

Step 3: Figure Out What Foods You Have Trouble With

            Each of us most-likely has one main food that is the majority of our sugar problem. Just from reading this you’ve probably had at least one come to mind. Maybe it’s a fruit juice or pop that you have with your lunch each day, or ice cream after making it through another long session at work. For me, the treat that I had to kick was beer. Yes, alcoholic beverages are high in simple sugars as well (part of the fermentation process), and even having a couple beers at the end of each day adds up quickly. Try to envision these treats as something tying you to your sugar addiction. Getting rid of these chains is a good idea. Take a look at the foods (and drinks) you consume over the course of the day. Make small tweaks and improvements. Give your self a thumbs up in the mirror that you started and are in the race to becoming healthier. Take the stairway to health one step at a time. 

Step 4: Removing Excess Sugar from Your Home

            An important exercise for this weekend (45 minutes): Go through your fridge, your pantry, and any snack storage places to identify and place on your kitchen table everything that contains added sugar (examine the labels to determine this). Donate these if they’re non-perishable, or give to someone who will eat them. Yes, that means your cereals, snack bars, and fruit juices will be sitting on the table.

            Surprised? A single glass of fruit juice contains the sugar of multiple fruits, with almost all of the important fibre removed. The combination of concentrated sugar with no fibre is bad, it results in a rush of sugar from the stomach (No fibre to control the movement of sugar) to the blood stream, and this results in an insulin surge—do this enough times in a day, over an extended period, and you will develop diabetes!

A glass of fruit juice actually contains as much sugar as a can of soda pop!

Fruit Vs Juice.png

            If you remove the temptations from your house, you won’t give in to them in moments when you’re feeling weak. After a hard day, it can be difficult to say “no” to your cravings. Another good thing to check, as they can be discreetly sugar-filled, are all of your condiments and sauces. Ketchup in particular, can be as high as 20% sugar! Save yourself from temptation and clear out the sweets and sauces.

Step 5: Just Start… One Teaspoon at a Time

            It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent your whole life addicted to sugar, or if you feel that you’ve been pretty good, you can always do a little more for your health. It’s important to take this on in small steps. It’s completely okay if it’s not a “cold-turkey” change for you. Just make minor changes here and there. Do a monthly check-up on what you store in the house, read the labels and recognize the choices you make. Checking on yourself every once in a while improves the choices we make, as we recognize what not to bring home. It’s a journey, not a destination. If you’re having difficulty kicking sugar, or have any questions, feel free to contact me at kyle@goget.fit

References:

1.       Erin Mosbaugh. Cut refined sugar: here’s how to get started. Live Strong. https://www.livestrong.com/article/13716250-cut-refined-sugar-heres-how-to-get-started/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=040319_m_wed_editorial&c_crid=cta1 Published December 2018. Accessed April 1, 2019.

2.       Lacey Baier. How to quit sugar: the 7 steps I took to finally quit sugar and how you can too. A sweet pea chef. https://www.asweetpeachef.com/how-to-quit-sugar/ Published March 2017. Accessed April 1, 2019.

3.      Lugavere M, Grewal P. Genius foods: become smarter, happier, and more productive while protecting your brain for life. New York: Harper Collins; 2018. Accessed April 1, 2019.

Comment

Comment

How To Know If A Gym Is Right For You

When you think about the important health decisions you’re going to make in the future, things such as what to eat, where to get your food, and how much to sleep may come to mind. But we rarely think about our choice in where to exercise. Which is surprising, as this decision can have an enormous effect on just how successful you’ll be in sticking to your active-lifestyle commitments. There are many different places to exercise other than the gym. But if you want to give gym exercise a try, let’s go through the steps to ensure that the one you choose is right for you.

Location

            If you live in a small town your choices might be limited, but it’s still a good idea to have a look around. I currently live in a town with a population of 5000 people and we have 3 gyms that are as different from each other as can be.

            You’re hopefully going to be spending a few days a week at your gym, so it’s important that it’s not a large commute (you want to set as few barriers to getting your workout in as possible). A good idea is to find a gym that’s on the way to something that you do regularly. For example, if it’s near your work, you can go before or after, and make it a part of your routine.

Type of Gym

            There are several different gym types. You’ll probably want to choose one that fits best with your lifestyle, goals, personality, and experience.

Crossfit:

            Even crossfit gyms have some variation depending mostly on the coaching staff (each class is coached). The training at crossfit gyms generally consists of high-intensity interval training in large groups split between olympic lifting, combination exercises, and cardio equipment. It’s a hard style of training that can lead to injury if done poorly or coached improperly, but if done right can be very rewarding.

Membership Gym:

            These are gyms that range from community centers to Club 16 Fitness and Gold’s Gym. They usually have a lot of amenities, such as pools, basketball courts, saunas, and weight rooms. Often, they offer classes that can be either extra, or included with your membership. I like these gyms because I enjoy going to the pool after and using all of the extras that come with membership. It’s a good idea to make sure that the training staff is attentive before signing up for a membership though, especially if you’re new to resistance training.

 

24-Hour Gym:

            These are generally card-lock facilities that can be accessed at any time of day or night, but only with a membership. They’re often unmonitored, and therefore are a better idea to use only after some experience has been gained. The great thing about these gyms is that they’re perfect if you have a job with irregular hours or want a workout when no one else is around (at night). They vary from facility to facility on what extras they offer, so it’s best to meet with the owners or staff before signing up for a membership.

Training Gyms:

            Gyms where large group, small group, or one-on-one training are offered. Generally taking up a smaller area than other gyms, they don’t often carry much cardio equipment. The positive side to these gyms is that you have to be coached when you’re training there, so form tends to develop properly and injury is generally avoided.

Contracts

            With a gym, as with many things, when you sign up for a membership it generally comes along with a contract (it’s usually cheaper for you if done this way).

Gym Contracts.png

            Most of the time these aren’t major concerns when signing up with a gym, but it’s a good idea to be cautious just in case.

Inspecting a Gym

            Before you sign up there will usually be a period of time when you can meet with a gym representative, inspect the facility, and use the gym on a trial or drop-in basis. This gives you a great opportunity to explore everything the gym has to offer. Depending on the type of gym, you’ll expect to see different things as noted above. This is also a good period of time to voice any questions you may have. Do they offer childcare? (Some community centers and large chain gyms will) What hours do they open? Do they close for holidays? What classes and programs do they offer? Are they included with membership or extra?

            It’s also important to do a walk-through of the facility. Check the shape that the change room or showers are in. Are any broken? Are the lockers in good condition? How clean is it? It’s these behind-the-scene things that could indicate whether or not the gym puts money into repairs and maintenance.

            How about the gym itself? Are the machines and equipment in good shape? Is it clean? Is there a gym attendant present? Is that gym attendant paying attention and helping clients? Or are they lost in a magazine? How does it feel in the gym? Are the other patrons enjoying themselves? Feel free to ask some of the other gym users what they like and dislike about the facility.

Conclusion

            I love exercising in the gym, it gives me a place to go that I associate with exercise. So, I have a singular focus when I go there. It gives me the added benefit of not spending the money on weights of my own (they tend to be expensive) and I can catch up with friends of mine who are of a similar mind. The gym lifestyle may not be for everyone, but if it is for you, I hope the above will help you to find a facility that you enjoy, and that helps you to maintain an active lifestyle in the future.

References

1.      A.C. Hilton. How to find the right gym for you. Huffington Post. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/find-the-right-gym_n_6438524 Published January 2015. Accessed March 28, 2019.

 

2.     Staci Ardison. Strength training 101: finding the right gym. Nerd Fitness. https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/strength-training-101-finding-the-right-gym/

Published Unknown. Accessed March 28, 2019.

 

3.     Jimmy McCurry. The 5 different types of gyms and how to decide which one is right for you. Progressive Performance. https://www.progressiveperformance.com/news/2017/6/6/the-5-different-types-of-gyms-and-how-to-decide-which-one-is-right-for-you

Published June 2017. Accessed March 29, 2019.

 

4.    Emily Blatchford. Things to look out for when signing a gym contract. Huffington Post. https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/06/13/things-to-look-out-for-when-signing-a-gym-contract_a_21392663/ Published June 2016. Accessed March 29, 2019.

Comment

Comment

Resistance Training: How to Choose a Program

***Always consult your healthcare professional prior to modifying your current training program***

Previously we’ve covered why resistance training is a great addition to any healthy activity program, and went over some of the things you need to know prior to starting your own resistance training program. I think it’s important to know the ‘why’ behind an activity, and how it can benefit you, before making a decision. If you’re interested in getting started, today we’ll go over how you can decide what the best type of resistance training is for you, and the safest ways to start out.

Learn the Movements

            The most important component of each different type of resistance training is doing the movements properly. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s actually important to always have in your mind; proper form is the key to safe and effective resistance training.

Form What is it.png

            When you’re new to resistance training, just hopping in and ‘getting after it‘ like you’ve been doing it your whole life can be a recipe for trouble. It’s important to learn the basic movements first and commit them to memory prior to increasing the difficulty of your program. If you’ve never done an exercise before, always start with just your body weight (as in no weight added to the exercise). Mirrors are a great way to be able to check your form, if you don’t have a training partner, and alter the way your body is moving, as you can’t always tell just by the way it feels. Also, it’s a great idea to work with an exercise professional to learn the movements properly (usually the fastest learning curve). This ensures that you avoid developing bad habits, which can cause injury, and that you’ll later have to unlearn; which is really what makes learning processes take longer than they need to.

            If you’re having trouble with a certain movement, or a component of that movement, don’t get frustrated. The thing that I love about resistance training is that I always have something to focus on, or to improve on. It’s a challenge that I enjoy overcoming every time I go back to my exercise routine.

Decide on a Routine

            Is your routine going to include exercise machines? Free weights? Just your body weight? There are pros and cons to each. It’s up to you to decide which one you’d prefer.

Bodyweight

BW Pro Con.png

            I like bodyweight training, especially when I’m doing a new exercise, because there’s less risk of injury. It’s also a lot easier to learn how to do new exercises because when my muscles aren’t straining as hard I can modify the movement until I’m comfortable with it. One other benefit I enjoy is not having to go to a gym, so I can avoid driving in to town, so bodyweight exercises are something I use regularly in my exercise routine.

Exercise Machines

            I like to use the exercise machines when I’m new to an activity, but would like more of a resistance than just using my own body weight. They’re great for one-dimensional motion, but be aware of developing overconfidence when you move on to free weights, as the machines don’t develop your smaller stabilizer muscles.

Free Weights

            Free weights are my favourite component of my resistance training program. They’re incredibly versatile, challenging, and engaging. But they do come with the added risk of injury, and they can be a bit daunting when you’re first starting out. I think that despite this, they’re a great goal to work towards, and can make the resistance training program a lot more interesting and fun.

Conclusion

            Resistance training can be a diverse and fulfilling addition to your exercise program. It’s important though, that you take into account the various pros and cons to each different type of training that you consider, and find what’s the best fit for you. As you progress, you can start mixing and matching. I love supplementing my free-weight program with bodyweight exercises, and vice-versa, but it’s important to know what I’m doing in each area before I jump between the two. Hopefully with time and careful practice you’ll find as much reward and enjoyment in the world of resistance training as I have!

 

***Always consult your healthcare professional prior to modifying your current training program***

 

 

References:

1.       Staci Ardison. Strength Training: Where Do I Start? Nerd Fitness. https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/strength-training-101-where-do-i-start/ Published Unknown. Accessed March 19, 2018.

 

2.      Dick Talens. What “Good Weight-Lifting Form” Really Means, and When it Matters. Vitals. https://vitals.lifehacker.com/all-about-lifting-form-what-to-worry-about-and-what-n-1692058974 Published March 2015. Accessed March 19, 2019.

 

3.      Ultimate Performance. Bodyweight Training For Building Muscle: Pros and Cons. Ultimate Performance. https://upfitness.com/en/article_posts/bodybuilding/training/bodyweight-training-building-muscle-pros-cons Published Unknown. Accessed March 19, 2019.

 

4.      Simply Gym. Pros and Cons: Free Weights Vs. Machines. Simply Gym. https://simplygym.co.uk/pros-cons-free-weights-vs-machines/

Published October, 2015. Accessed March 19, 2019.

Comment

Comment

Resistance Training: Why You Should Be Doing It and What You Need To Know

The thought of starting a new exercise program that involves weights, resistance bands, calisthenics or exercise machines can be daunting at first. I know that I was a bit nervous the first time I walked into a gym. It can be intimidating. But after seeing the benefits that come from this practice, and looking back on the whole process to find the easiest (and least-intimidating) way to get started, I thought it would be a useful piece of information to share.

image3.jpg

Why Resistance Training?

            There are many great reasons to include resistance training in your life. Among the plethora of physical and mental health benefits are:

-An increase in both muscle strength and tone, which leads to greater protection from joint injuries.

-Flexibility and balance come from participating properly in a resistance program.

-Achieving greater independence as we age, and maintained mobility.

-An improved muscle-to-fat ratio, and lean muscle increases the calories burned through maintenance.

-Added protection from cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases.

- It boosts your mood by releasing endorphins (the “feel good” chemicals in your body).

-Stamina increases with muscular strength, as tasks get easier.

-Improved protection from chronic conditions such as: diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, depression, and obesity.

-As your resistance training progresses it will help to improve posture, decrease injury risk, and increase bone density and strength. This helps to decrease the risk of osteoporosis.

-Improved sleep, self-confidence, and enhanced self-efficacy are three other benefits from this type of training.

-Everything from carrying your groceries, to getting the car out of the snow gets easier.

images.jpg

What Do We Need To Know?

            To begin with, there are several terms that are used when it comes to resistance training:

-Program: Your overall fitness program that might include your aerobic, flexibility, and resistance training.

-Weight: The resistance used to exercise with. For example, 5 lb dumbbells would be a weight, but it could also refer to body weight when doing body-weight exercises.

-Exercise: The movement that is used to train a certain part of the body. For example, calf raises would train your calf muscles.

-Repetitions or Reps: The number of times an exercise is repeated without rest.

-Rest: A break that is taken between sets that is necessary when exercising properly, and will vary depending on the intensity of the exercise.

-Sets: A group of reps that is separated by either a rest period or a different exercise.

-Form: A specific way of performing an exercise that decreases the risk of injury and ensures the proper muscles are targeted.

-Recovery: Muscles need time to repair. A good recovery period is 48 hours, this gives the muscles enough time to be ready to work again. If your muscles are sore, they still need more time to recover.

            ***It’s important to connect with your exercise professional or healthcare provider to make sure that starting a new resistance training program is something that’s right for you at the time***

images (1).jpg

What Does a Proper Resistance Training Program Include?

            Well, first of all, it starts off small. You don’t jump into resistance training like you might going for a run. It takes little steps to build your way up without causing an injury. A good place to start is 1 to 2 days per week of a full body program (this means it hits each major muscle group: back, shoulders, legs, and chest).

For example, if you were doing a bodyweight program it might look like this:

            -Proper Warmup

            -20 Bodyweight Squats

            -10 Push-ups

            -20 Walking Lunges

            -10 Dumbbell Rows

            -30 Jumping Jacks

            Repeat 2-3 times and then cool down!

If this sounds easy to you, give it a couple of tries before you move on. Remember, your initial program is something that you can build on and upgrade. You don’t want to start ahead of your current ability.

Warmup:      

A quality resistance program also includes a good warmup and cool down. For your warmup, around 10 minutes on a stationary bike, elliptical machine, or even just walking around and getting mobile (depending on your fitness level). After that it’s good to do some dynamic (mobile) stretching, to get your joints ready.

Cool Down:  

After the workout is finished, I like to do about 5-10 minutes of light exercise and do about 10 minutes of stretching, making sure I stretch each muscle I’ve worked, to make sure I’m not too tight the next day. If you can get into a steam room or sauna for a few minutes it can help with muscle soreness as well.

            It’s a good idea to find a training partner that’s at your level and has a similar schedule to you. This way, you can use each other for motivation and accountability.

            The great thing about resistance training, is that it doesn’t have to take forever to get a great workout. 30-45 minutes, 2 times per week is more than enough when you’re starting out. If you have any questions, you can always contact me here by email at kyle@goget.fit I enjoy resistance training, whether it’s talking about it or taking part in it, and I hope you do as well!

***Ensure you work with a certified exercise professional when starting out. This will limit injuries from poor form. As always, consult a healthcare professional prior to making any changes in your exercise routine***

Comment

Comment

Investing In More Than Just Your Immediate Future

Many of us look toward the future, and we wonder about financial well-being, educational learning, or towards having secure housing. But, how often do we think about our future health? If we don’t take our future health into consideration, we may not be lucky enough to enjoy the other things we look forward to. Quality of life as we move forward relies heavily on how we take care of ourselves.

What’s The Big Deal?

            Do you ever think or worry about your future health? Are there health-related issues that leave you concerned or worried? Unsurprisingly, you can greatly influence your later-life health outcomes with small actions you take now. For example, investing in the lowering of stressors in your life now, can lead to lessened long-term weight-gain [1], decreased cellular aging [3], and lowered rates of depression [2]. (For the how to lower stressors, we’ll look deeper into that when we get to the stress section.) But this is just in regards to a single contributing factor. What could our lives look like if we took into account the vast assortment of long-term health contributors that there are?

For a simplified version of how each health contributor interacts with the others, look to the graphic below:

Health Pyramid (1).png

Long-Term Health Outcomes

            Imagine your life at 60 years old. You’ve just come out of your doctor’s office. They’ve given you a glowing review. “You’ve got the health of a person 10 years younger!” your doctor remarks. It may sound like a fairy tale, but it’s completely possible if you can adopt the few simple ideas described here!

            Let’s take a look at each level in the health pyramid to see what small things you can do to improve your long-term health outcomes. (Most are straightforward):

Sleep

            Longer sleep – Equals – Longer life (and a healthier mind throughout that life).  Sleep is the first subject to ensuring you’re living your healthiest possible life. Sleep quality and length is the most reliable predictor of longevity in humans [10]. After just one night’s sleep loss, there is a negative effect on metabolism that leads to increased fat storage in the body [8]. Prolonged sleep deprivation has an effect on everything, including increasing levels of hunger hormones in the body, decreasing physical strength, decreasing cardiorespiratory fitness, and a marked decrease in memory and neurological function [11]. It has such an enormous effect on our health, that we really can’t afford to be taking our sleep for granted any more.

Here are a few take-home healthy sleep practices (Take them to bed 😊)

Healthy Sleep Practices.png

Nutrition

            Only in recent history have humans had constant access to food. Our bodies have not adapted to the constant caloric intake and ease of access to food that we now experience. There are many benefits to your longevity that come from two ways of treating food wisely: Healthy feeding and fasting periods. This prevents overconsuming on snacky calories. The benefit of this is that it helps to prevent a constant influx of insulin that can lead to insulin resistance over time [1] (THAT’S THE FIRST STEP TO OBESITY, DIABETES, AND WORSENING HEALTH)

            A few quick points to consider:

1.       Eat More Fiber: increasing life expectancy can be found by increasing dietary fiber consumption.

2.      Eat Unprocessed Foods: maintaining a healthy microbiome by eating a diverse assortment of unprocessed foods.

3.      Fast For A Number Of Hours Daily: Attempt to keep your eating period to within a 10-12 hour window.

It is that simple! 1-2-3!!

            Finally, avoiding added sugars, lowering our regular consumption of alcoholic beverages, and having deliberate eating habits (2-3 meals a day… No Snacking!) can contribute to longevity as well [1]. As long as you practice conscious eating, restrict the amount of added sugars, and eat a diverse diet inside of a reasonable time window each day, your health and lifespan win.

Fitness

            Let’s take a look at our current lifestyles when it comes to exercise. Are we getting 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic movement per week? Are we including at least 1 strength-training session per week? We should be!

             The National Cancer Institute, in a study of 650,000 adults found that meeting this level of activity extended life-expectancy by an average of 4.5 years [5].  That’s not the entire benefit either. Exercise improves later-life physiologic and psychologic function [6], reducing neurodegenerative disease [9] and maintaining proper bodily function. The strength training ensures recovery from falls, maintenance of balance, and actually is a good indicator of longevity in humans. This is important to remaining independent, as well as being aware of your surroundings, with the ability to interact with them.

             One study identifies that if we go beyond the 150 minutes per week, we see that elite cardiovascular athletes have an 80-percent reduced mortality risk when compared to lower performers [7]. This study goes on to state that there doesn’t seem to be a limit to the benefit from aerobic fitness. Small steps from the 150 minutes a week is all it takes to reach this next healthy fitness level.

A summary of our get-active targets:

Longevity Physical Activity.png

Stress Management

            Yes, stress management is another major component of a healthy life. When you have chronic stress your body responds by releasing a larger than normal level or cortisol. While cortisol can be important in certain situations, inappropriately-high levels in the immediate short term can lead to things like: weight gain, irritability, severe fatigue, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, and headaches [13]. So, it stands to reason that we would want to avoid elevated cortisol in the long run as well.

            Long-term effects of stress exposure lead to all sorts of issues with almost every body system. Elevated risk of heart disease, obesity, anxiety, and depression are just a few of these [13]. Everyone has high cortisol levels from time to time, but we’d like to lessen it’s effects by keeping healthy stress-mitigation practices. 

Some of these stress-mitigation practices are:

Healthy Stress Mitigation.png

Cognition

            This one may sound like a surprise addition at the end, but cognitive decline is heavily associated with survival time in the elderly population [14]. So, it is clearly important that to live a long life, and to do so healthfully and independently, that we make our brain’s function an important part of our lives. How can we maintain our healthy brain function? We’ve included some of the recommended practices below:

Healthy Cognition Maintnance.png

Conclusion

            With all of the above taken into consideration, it really isn’t that hard to give yourself the best shot at making your elder years enjoyable and functional. If you’re planning for your later life from a financial perspective can you really afford to leave out your health when you invest in your future?                     

 

 

References:

1.       Fung J, Noakes T. The obesity code. Vancouver, Canada: Greystone Books; 2016

2.      Healthline. The effects of stress on your body. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body#1 Published June, 2017. Accessed March 7, 2019.

3.      Psychology today. Emotional distress can speed up cellular aging. Psychology today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201404/emotional-distress-can-speed-cellular-aging

Published April, 2014. Accessed March 7, 2019.

4.      Cleveland clinic. Men’s health: lifestyle tips for men over age 50. Cleveland clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/16422-mens-health-lifestyle-tips-for-men-over-age-50 Published January, 2017. Accessed March 7, 2019

5.      National cancer institute. NIH study finds leisure time physical activity extends life expectancy by as much as 4.5 years. National cancer institute. https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/press-releases/2012/PhysicalActivityLifeExpectancy Published November, 2012. Accessed March 8, 2019.

6.      Science daily. Better cardiorespiratory fitness leads to longer life. Science Daily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181019120711.htm Published October, 2018. Accessed March 8, 2019.

7.       Science daily. How sleep loss may contribute to adverse weight gain. Science daily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180823095946.htm Published August, 2018. Accessed March 8, 2019.

8.      Science daily. Keeping active in middle age may be tied to lower risk of dementia. Science daily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190225145650.htm Published February, 2019. Accessed March 8, 2019.

9.      Dement, W C, Vaughan, C. The promise of sleep: A pioneer in sleep medicine explores the vital connection between health, happiness, and a good night's sleep. New York, US: Dell Publishing Co.; 1999

10.   Walker, M. Why We Sleep. New York, US: Scribner; 2017

11.    Fontana, L. Partridge, L. Promoting health and longevity through diet.  Cell. 2015; 161(1): 106-118. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2015.02.020  

12.   Healthline. High cortisol symptoms: what do they mean? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/high-cortisol-symptoms Published August, 2018. Accessed March 8, 2019. 

13.   Deeg D J H et al. The association between change in cognitive function and longevity in dutch elderly. American journal of epidemiology. 1990; 132(5): 973-982. Doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a115740

Comment