Category Archives: Exercise

Empty calories: What you need to know – MNT

I think calorie-counting is a very valuable tool when you are first getting started on weight control and living a healthy life. But, there are calories and there are calories. You need to know the food value of the calories you are consuming. You don’t want to eat a lot of empty calories.

Put simply, empty calories are calories that come from foods or drinks that have little or no nutritional value.

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There are many common sources of empty calories. People may choose to limit or eliminate these foods and drinks from their diets to stay healthy and within their ideal weight range.

Helping children limit empty calories can set them up for a healthy life in the future. It can also help stabilize their energy and decrease mood swings.

Avoiding or limiting empty calories is a simple step toward a healthier diet and lifestyle.

What are calories?

Calories are units of energy. Scientifically, a gram calorie (cal) is the amount of energy needed to raise 1 gram (g) of water by 1° C.

From a scientific perspective, what is typically called a “calorie” is actually a kilogram calorie (kCal). This is a unit of energy made up of thousands of “small calories” equal to the large calorie often used to measure the energy in food.

Calories are an essential part of the diet. The body needs to burn calories to do the simplest tasks, such as breathing or blinking. When physical exercise is thrown into the mix, even more calories are required to stay healthy and alert.

The amount of calories a person needs every day can vary widely. Most recommendations are based on a diet of 2,000 calories per day. However, this number may be higher or lower depending on the individual and their habits.

A registered dietitian can help determine a person’s ideal caloric intake based on activity level, age, sex, metabolism, and height.

What are empty calories?

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Filed under calorie counting, calorie restriction, calories, Exercise, exercise benefits, ideal weight, junk food calories, overweight, stealth calories, Weight, weight control

10 Metabolism secrets to help shed pounds – Infographic

The aim of this blog is not to simply lose weight. It is to live a healthy, happy and long life and to have all our mental faculties functional till the end. I am including this infographic because it has a lot of good information on those very things – as well as losing weight.

Eat less; move move; live longer.

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Tony

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Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, ideal weight, overweight, stress, Weight, weight control, weight loss

7 steps for brain health from childhood to old age – AHA

The American Heart Association (AHA) has a superb rundown on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, literally from cradle to grave. I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to see these concepts broadcast by the mainstream health outlets like the AHA. The following is directly from them. At the end I have listed some of my posts which flesh out these steps. Remember, eat less; move more; live longer.

A healthy lifestyle benefits your brain as much as the rest of your body — and may lessen the risk of cognitive decline (a loss of the ability to think well) as you age, according to a new advisory from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

 

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Both the heart and brain need adequate blood flow, but in many people, blood vessels slowly become narrowed or blocked over the course of their life, a disease process known as atherosclerosis, the cause of many heart attacks and strokes. Many risk factors for atherosclerosis can be modified by following a healthy diet, getting enough physical activity, avoiding tobacco products and other strategies.

“Research summarized in the advisory convincingly demonstrates that the same risk factors that cause atherosclerosis, are also major contributors to late-life cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. By following seven simple steps — Life’s Simple 7 — not only can we prevent heart attack and stroke, we may also be able to prevent cognitive impairment,” said vascular neurologist Philip Gorelick, M.D., M.P.H., the chair of the advisory’s writing group and executive medical director of Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Filed under aging brain, brain, brain function, brain health, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, smoking, Smoking dangers

Tips for better aging – NIA

Below is a neat little infographic from the National Institute on Aging.

I thought it was nice to see how our life span has increased since the turn of the century.  On the other hand, check out the fact that nearly two out of three of us over 65 have multiple chronic conditions. There are some very simple – and easy – suggestions that can help seniors to live longer. But, you don’t have to wait till you are in your 60’s or even late 50’s to work on your health. As I have said dozens of times here, eat less; move more; live longer.

Start today no matter how young you are. Tomorrow is closer than you think.

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Tony

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Filed under aging, Exercise, exercise benefits, National Institutes of Health, successful aging

Fitness fun …

I am expanding the scope of these ‘funnies’ somewhat today as I found some awesome GIFs that I thought you would enjoy. Also, I confess, I love the animal ones. What is it with cats and dogs and yoga?

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Some amazing boarding …

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Tony

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Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, fitness, fitness funnies, yoga

Keeping your weight in check as you age

I am aging along with everybody else on this earth. That has important aspects and implications. Me at 30 is not the same as me at 50 nor me at plus 70. It helps to know what to expect.

Most of our lives we hear that thinner is better. That is true, but for older folks activity becomes a more important factor. We have to be able to continue to do all our activities. As WebMD says, “It’s less about what you weigh and more about how much of your weight is muscle instead of fat. Your doctor can tell you if your weight is on track, in light of your age and overall health.”

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Don’t cop out. “My metabolism is slowing” is a fact from our 20’s onward. It’s not a reason to stop working on your weight and health. If you stop being active, your body will shift to more fat and less muscle. Fat doesn’t burn calories, so an inactive person will gain weight. Eat less, move more is the mantra of this blog and should be of every person.

Being active works muscles and allows you to consume more calories. Sedentary oldsters are the ones with weight and health problems. You can have some cake and eat it, too, just choose a reasonable amount.

WebMd makes a good point about aging and eating, “Those corners you cut when you were younger (huge portions, happy hours, little to no exercise) You can’t get away with that any more. But age does not have to equal weight gain.”

Check out my previous post on strength training. Even if your muscles have slacked off with you, you can revive them and revitalize yourself. Muscle loss isn’t permanent. Health clubs have free weights, weight machines and there are numerous exercises you can do just using your own body weight including yoga that will build muscle.

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle due to aging. This results from lack of activity, hormonal changes and poor nutrition. Eat less and move more. Sarcopenia does not have to be a permanent condition.

The bottom line is that your health doesn’t have to shrink and your waistline doesn’t have to bulge as you age. But, you do have to take an active part in the process. As you age, your margin of error does shrink. So, pay close attention to what and how much you eat. Get out there and get some exercise. Walking is a very good way to start. It works your muscles and clears your mind as well as burning the odd calorie.

Check out my Page – How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off for more guidelines.

No one likes folks who don’t practice what they preach. About 10 years ago my weight got out of control and I ballooned over 220 pounds. I took off 50 pounds in a year, but that only got me down to the mid-170’s. You can read How I lost 50 pounds in 52 weeks.

I am now 77 years old and wear the same size pants I wore in high school. I ride my bike around 6000 miles a year here in Chicago. My resting heart rate is below 50 beats per minute. I have weighed in the low 150s for six years. If I can reach this level of health, there is no reason you can’t, too. Just decide to do it.

Tony

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Filed under aging, aging myths, Exercise, exercise benefits, Weight, weight control, weight loss

Sounds of nature help us to relax – Study

I am a great believer in enjoying the outdoors. I ride my bike outdoors instead of opting for the exercise bike at the health club. Ditto, walking. I walk a lot outside rather than on the treadmill. So, I was very happy to run across this study from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS).

The gentle burbling of a brook, or the sound of the wind in the trees can physically change our mind and bodily systems, helping us to relax. New research explains how, for the first time.

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Researchers at BSMS found that playing ‘natural sounds’ affected the bodily systems that control the flight-or-fright and rest-digest autonomic nervous systems, with associated effects in the resting activity of the brain. While naturalistic sounds and ‘green’ environments have frequently been linked with promoting relaxation and well being, until now there has been no scientific consensus as to how these effects come about. The study has been published in Scientific Reports. Continue reading

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Happy National Dog Day!

First of all, I want to salute my little canine companion, Gabi. She is 11-1/2 years young and has brightened my life ever since I adopted her. For details on how that unlikely event occurred, check out my post Anatomy of an act of kindness.

Meanwhile, “National Dog Day is celebrated August 26th annually and was founded in 2004 by Pet & Family Lifestyle Expert and Animal Advocate, Colleen Paige, also the founder of National Puppy Day, National Mutt Day and National Cat Day and many more philanthropic days to bring attention to the plight of animals and encourage adoption. The date of August 26th is significant, as it’s the date that Colleen’s family adopted her first dog “Sheltie” when Colleen was 10 years old.

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Here is my canine companion, Gabi, whom I adopted 11 years ago. She clocks about 4,000 miles a year in her basket on my bike.

“National Dog Day celebrates all dogs, mixed breed and pure. Our mission is to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year and acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort. Dogs put their lives on the line every day… for personal protection, for law enforcement, for the disabled, for our freedom and safety by detecting bombs and drugs and pulling victims of tragedy from wreckage, now they’re detecting cancer and seizures…things even humans cannot do. NDD was adopted into New York State Legislation in 2013. Read more about it here.

Tony

 

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Filed under benefits of owning a dog, dog ownership, dogs, Exercise, National Dog Day, regular bike riding

Is it safe to take ibuprofen for the aches and pains of exercise? – Harvard

I exercise regularly and I also suffer from severe arthritis of the hands, so the subjects of exercise and painkillers touch me where I live. Following is a very informative write up of painkillers in general and NSAIDs in particular by Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

“Not long ago, I took ibuprofen after a dental procedure and was amazed at how well it worked. Millions of people have had similar experiences with ibuprofen and related medications (called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs) when used for a number of conditions, including arthritis, back pain, and headache. That’s why NSAIDs are among the most commonly prescribed drugs worldwide.”

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Coincidentally, I stumbled across NSAIDs by accident. You can read about it in my post – What about a bubble on my elbow?

“More than a dozen different NSAIDs are available, including naproxen (as in Naprosyn or Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren) and indomethacin (Indocin). Aspirin is also an NSAID, though it is usually taken in small doses for its blood thinning effects (to prevent heart attack or stroke) rather than for pain.

NSAIDs are fairly safe, but not risk free

“The safety profile of NSAIDs is generally quite good, especially when taken in small doses for short periods of time. That’s why several of them, including ibuprofen and naproxen, are available in low doses over the counter in this country and elsewhere. Continue reading

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Filed under arthritis, chronic pain, Exercise, hand arthritis, joint pain, muscular pain, NSAID, osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis pain, pain, Pain relief, Uncategorized

To what extent is dementia preventable?

Regular readers know that my family has a history of Alzheimer’s Disease and/or dementia. This is true on both my mother’s and father’s side. So, at 77, I am totally focused on anything that relates to these mental conditions. The following is from the Keck School of Medicine at USC by Erica Rheinschild.

Experts say that one-third of the world’s dementia cases could be prevented by managing lifestyle factors such as hearing loss, hypertension and depression.

 

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This remarkable fact was part of a report by the first Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention and Care that was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2017 and published in The Lancet. The report also highlighted the beneficial effects of nonpharmacologic interventions such as social contact and exercise for people with dementia. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, aging brain, Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's disease, Alzheimer's risk, cardio exercise, dementia, Exercise, exercise benefits, successful aging

Does walking satisfy cardiovascular exercise needs?

Regular readers know that I am a big fan of the simple exercise of walking. I have called it the Cinderella of the exercise world because it is so unappreciated. Check out my Page – Why you should walk more for further details on this superb form of movement.

No comes Megan Teychenne and Clint Miller writing in The Conversation about the nature and value of walking.

“Walking leads to a remarkable reduction in the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, arthritis, depression, anxiety and insomnia, and premature death from all causes.

Stanford professor Michel Serres hikes the Dish on a regular basis.

“The health benefits of walking stem from the changes that occur in our body systems as a result of exercising. For some of these health conditions, fitness has been shown to be a particularly important factor for prevention.

“The term fitness is quite often used to describe , but having a high level of fitness actually refers to all components of health-related physical fitness which includes muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, body composition, and of course aerobic (or heart) fitness. So is walking enough in terms of the we need?

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Can exercise in childhood ‘program’ your health as an adult? – MNT

Eat less; move more; live longer has long been the mantra of this blog. So, it is always heartening to run across information that supports those concepts. I love the idea that starting to exercise early not only benefits the body, but increases the likelihood of lifelong benefits.

Medical News Today reports that a new rodent study has investigated the effects of early life exercise on gene expression, inflammation, and metabolism in adulthood.According to the World Health Organization (WHO), childhood obesity is “an urgent and serious challenge” in many countries across the globe. Whereas in 1990 there were approximately 32 million obese children between 0 and 5 years old, this number jumped to 42 million by 2013.activity-collage.jpgNot only are children with obesity at a higher risk of developing numerous diseases, but the effects of obesity in childhood are far-reaching, and such a weight problem is very likely to persist into adulthood.

But could these effects be staved off with physical activity early in life? More specifically, could physical activity in childhood have long-lasting effects on metabolism and bone health later in adulthood?

A new study – published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology – suggests that exercising early in life can change how the body metabolizes calories and how it responds to a high fat intake much later in life.

The new study was carried out by Ph.D. student Dharani Sontam, Prof. Mark Vickers, Prof. Elwyn Firth, and Dr. Justin O’Sullivan, all of whom are from the Liggins Institute University of Auckland in New Zealand. Continue reading

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Can too much sitting erase exercise benefits?

I have written about the dangers of prolonged sitting previously. You can check out my Page – Do you know the dangers of too much sitting?  for further information on it.

White matter is brain tissue containing nerve fibers responsible for brain communication. As we age, nerve fiber activity declines and disrupts brain function. But a new study suggests that among older adults, the structural integrity of white matter is not only dependent on levels of physical activity, but also on the amount of remaining time spent sedentary, according to Medical News Today.

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Lead researcher Agnieszka Burzynska, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Illinois, and her team publish their findings in the journal PLOS ONE.

Past studies have associated physical activity among older adults with reduced cognitive decline. In 2012, research from the University of Scotland in the UK found that seniors who had high levels of physical activity had fewer problems with memory and thinking skills, while a 2013 study claimed exercise is beneficial for the cognitive functioning of dementia patients. Continue reading

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6 Exercises You’ll Want To Do Every Day

As an old retired guy, 17 years, but who’s counting, ‘finding the time’ isn’t something I do any more. For those of you with regular jobs, I apologize for my forgetfulness. I realize that sometimes, when you have a demanding job/career, it can be difficult to impossible to ‘find the time’ to exercise. So, I thought I would share this excellent post from the Professionals Health Connection blog on working in some working out.

Tony

Professionals Health Connection

With your total workout taking less than 20 minutes a day (just 12.5 minutes if you follow the guidelines below exactly), you can’tsay no to these movements and even better, your body will love you for it!

Let’s face it, your body wants attention! It wantsto move! And with the amount of sitting in front of a computer most people do every day, ergonomic and even gaming chairs are being designed so you can sit for longer periods of time more comfortably. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean sitting longer is good for you.

Have too comfy a chair? 

Yes, you can click on an image to buy on Amazon…

High Back Office Chair High Back Office Chair

Ergonomic Kneeling Chair Ergonomic Kneeling Chair

Racing Style Leather Gaming Chair Racing Style Leather Gaming Chair

While playing games, reading books, (yes, even reading about exercises), along with the work you do all day on computers is enticing. But because of the health issues…

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Filed under cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise benefits, exercise duration

Improving your walking technique – Harvard

Regular readers know what a big fan I am of the simple exercise of walking. You can read my Page – Why you should walk more to read further on the subject.

Here is additional information from Harvard Medical School to help you get more benefit from your walk.

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People are often surprised to learn that there’s more to walking than simply putting one foot in front of the other. In fact, a little technique goes a long way to making your walks more enjoyable and more effective. Technique is especially important if you are hoping to become fitter and lose weight, because it will enable you to walk faster and longer. When you’re standing tall, your muscles will move through a greater range of motion for a more powerful stride. Improving your walking posture will help you to look and feel more confident, too — and you’ll look slimmer before losing a single pound. It will also help alleviate aches and pains and allow you to take deep breaths for more energy.

For any type of walking

The following rules will help you maintain good form.

Stand tall. Many people bring that hunched-over-the-computer posture to their walks. This position makes it harder for you to breathe and may contribute to backaches. Other people lean backward. Instead, extend your spine as if you were being lifted from the crown of your head. Place your thumbs on your lower ribs and your fingertips on your hips. As you stand up tall, notice how the distance in between increases. Try to maintain this elongation as you walk.

Eyes up. If you’re looking down at your feet, you’re putting unnecessary stress on your upper back and neck. Bring your gaze out about 10 to 20 feet in front of you. You’ll still be able to spy obstacles ahead and prevent upper-body tension.

Shoulders back, down, and relaxed. Roll your shoulders up, back, and then down. This is where your shoulders should be as you walk — not pulled up toward your ears. Think about keeping your shoulders away from your ears to reduce upper-body tension and allow for a freer arm swing.

Swing from your shoulders. Let your arms swing freely from your shoulders, not your elbows. Swing your arms forward and back, like a pendulum. Don’t bring them across your body or let them go higher than your chest.

Maintain a neutral pelvis. Keep your abs tight, but don’t tuck your tailbone under or stick your belly out and over arch your back.

Step lightly. You should be rolling from heel to toe as you stride, not landing flat-footed with a thud. And don’t reach your leg far out in front of you. That increases impact on your joints and actually slows you down. You want a smooth, quiet stride — no bouncing or plodding along — to reduce your risk of injury.

To learn more about how to get the most out of your walks, buy Walking for Health, the Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

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Do you think you are fit? – MNT

“It’s all a matter of perspective”

Who hasn’t heard that quote? But, the reason it still exists is that its applications are very widespread and persistent. Here’s how it applies to fitness and our feeling of being fit.

Exercising and staying fit is, of course, important for living a long and healthy life. However, almost 1 in 10 premature deaths worldwide are attributed to physical inactivity, according to Medical News Today.

In the United States, around 80 percent of adults do not meet the recommended levels of exercise, despite the efforts of media, school, and workplace programs.

Although the struggle to get people moving is ongoing, over recent years, another important factor has come to the fore: our perception of our own activity levels.

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Think yourself fit

Our perceived activity levels may not reflect our actual activity levels. In fact, study author Octavia Zahrt, Ph.D., says, “If you live in an area where most of your peers are really fit, you might perceive yourself as relatively inactive, even though your exercise may be sufficient.”

“Or, if you believe that only running or working out at the gym count as real exercise, you may overlook the exercise you are getting at work or at home cleaning and carrying kids around.”

A study conducted in 2007 by Dr. Alia Crum (also involved in the present research), of Stanford University in California, illustrates this surprising psychological interaction.

That study concentrated on 87 hotel room attendants working across seven hotels. Each of the participants routinely met exercise guidelines, purely through the work that they carried out each day at their respective hotel.

The researchers conducted a 20-minute intervention: in a nutshell, they informed an experimental group of workers that they were all were meeting their daily exercise needs through their physical jobs, explaining the benefits of such an active lifestyle. A control group of hotel workers were given information about recommended exercise levels but were not informed that they routinely met the required physical activity levels. Continue reading

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