Tag Archives: health

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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Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings!

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Oh wait, I did.

Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

I hope this edible Christmas tree will give you healthy ideas about your eating this holiday season and in the coming year.

While you are thinking about it, don’t forget that you need to exercise, too. You won’t be exercising just to burn calories. Exercise benefits your brain and body in many ways. Check out the exercise tags at the right to read further on this.

I hope you will enjoy all the benefits of good food and exercise! Eat less; move more; live longer. Healthy eating is healthy aging and we all want that. Okay, we seniors are more aware of it than you younger folk, but keep at it and you will come realize and appreciate it too.

Best wishes for this holiday season!

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Tony

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Some Facts About Weight Loss That Work

I would rather focus on eating healthy and exercising regularly than losing weight. However, since we are in the holiday season and eating temptations abound, I thought I would share these observations:

“…. There are facts about obesity of which we may be reasonably certain — facts that are useful today,” says researcher Krista Casazza, PhD, RD, from the department of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in a prepared statement, WebMD reported.

Here they are:

1. “Your genes are not your destiny. Moderate environmental changes can promote as much weight loss as even the best weight-loss drugs.”

I love this one. So often people use ‘bad genes’ as an excuse for their weight problems, ignoring completely their own bad eating habits.

2.”Even without weight loss, physical activity improves health.”

Another winner. I have reiterated this statement in at least 25 different posts on this blog. Eat less; move more; live longer.

UNCLE-SAM-EXERCISE
3. “Physical activity or exercise in the right amounts does help people lose weight.”

Amen. Listen to Uncle Sam.

4. “Continuation of conditions that promote weight loss helps people keep the weight off. Think of obesity as a chronic condition.”

Likewise, I think of good eating and exercise habits as chronic, too.

5. “For overweight children, involving the family and home environment in weight-loss efforts is ideal.”

6. “Providing actual meals or meal replacements works better for weight loss than does general advice about food choices.”

Both 5 and 6 sound like first rate advice.

7. “Weight-loss drugs can help some people lose weight.”

I am not going to argue with the experts here, but I doubt that the weight stays off if the person doesn’t change his/her eating and exercise habits. I repeat my recommendation to pay attention to what you eat and exercise regularly. That will melt the pounds away. You won’t need drugs.

8. “Bariatric surgery can help achieve long-term weight loss in some people.”

The study was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health. Our tax dollars at work.

Last, but not least, let me mention the Page that I have written – How to lose weight (and keep it off).

Tony

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Filed under American diet, calorie counting, childhood obesity, Exercise, exercise benefits, obesity, Weight, weight control

THE NUMBER ON THE SCALE JUST WON’T GO DOWN!

What I like most about this post is that it focuses you on your health and not just pounds. I know that when I struggled with my weight – for years – it was because all I looked at was the pounds. As soon as I lost five or ten I went back to my old ways. No wonder I never succeeded over the long term. You need to make a commitment to your health not just dropping a couple of pounds.

Tony

All About Healthy Choices

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Does this sound familiar?

“I’ve tried dieting, exercising, appetite suppressants and the number on the scale won’t go down!” “I’ve done everything POSSIBLE, so I guess I’ll have to live with this reality.”

HERE’S THE REAL REALITY!

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Most people did what they were WILLING TO DO under the terms they were WILLING TO DO IT. Without clearly understanding the mechanism of weight gain, they attempted to alter its outcome by throwing various “weight loss” ideas at the problem. This method  worked in the past, therefore, would surely work again. Unfortunately, as we age, it frequently doesn’t!

When patients came to me with specific health concerns, I didn’t simply reach into my bag of “experience” and “pull out” things that worked with other patients. I went through a thorough health history, examination and diagnostic testing (which might have included blood work, MRI’s, ultrasounds, CT scans, evoked potential…

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Riding a bike may help to cut diabetes risks – Study

Must confess I love reading news that meets my bias. In this case, there are more benefits to riding a bicycle besides the wonderful sensation of flying across the pavement and giving the old cardio system a workout.

Opting for two wheels rather than four could lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, new research suggests.

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The study found that people who bike to work or regularly cycle for fun were less likely to get the illness.

That was true even for those who started biking late in life, Danish researchers said. Continue reading

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What is the Value of Hugging?

What is the value of hugging? Oh yes, it feels nice and likely makes the other person feel nice, too, but are there real tangible benefits to hugging? Or, is that all there is.

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Turns out that there are real measurable benefits from hugging. Scientists have isolated a hormone, a healthy neuropeptide – oxytocin – that is released into the blood stream when you hold a friend close. As a result your blood pressure goes down as well as stress and anxiety.

The skin is the largest organ of the body and as such is loaded with nerve sensors of light touch, heavy touch, p ressure, heat, cold, pain, etc. Just the act of being touched increases production of a specific hormone within the brain, Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) which activates greater nervous system and nerve net development. That is just from touch. Hugging is the next level up.

Research from the University of Vienna points out that you need to be selective about who you are hugging. A polite squeeze to someone socially that you aren’t close to can have the opposite effect.

Partners in functional relationships have been found to have increased oxytocin levels. The hormone promotes bonding, social behavior and closeness between family members and couples.

Dr. Kathleen C. Light, a professor at the University of North Carolina Department of Psychiatry, studies oxytocin in married couples and those permanently living together. She has found an increase in the hormone over time in close couples.

The National Institute of Health’s News in Health publication reported that “Oxytocin makes us feel good when we’re close to family and other loved ones, including pets. It does this by acting through what scientists call the dopamine reward system. Dopamine is a brain chemical that plays a crucial part in how we perceive pleasure….

“Oxytocin does more than make us feel good. It lowers the levels of stress hormones in the body, reducing blood pressure, improving mood, increasing tolerance for pain and perhaps even speeding how fast wounds heal. It also seems to play an important role in our relationships. It’s been linked, for example, to how much we trust others.”

hugs

Barbara Frederickson points out in her book Positivity “Although any single hug, or moment of positivity, is unlikely to change your life, the slow and steady accumulation of hugs – or positivity – makes a huge difference. So, find a way to increase your daily dose of genuine, heart-to-heart, hang-on-tight hugs. You will not only give and receive good feelings, but over time, you’ll give and receive good health.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Tony

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Why You Should Laugh More – Infographic

Who said “laughter is the best medicine” first? The best I could find was that it comes from the Bible – Proverbs 17:22 – “A joyful heart is good medicine …” Also, Henry Ward Beecher said, “Mirth is God’s best medicine.”

In any event, it’s good for you as it says below.

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Lord  knows, he’s right.

Maybe I will do more of the Fitness Funnies now that I know this.

Tony

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How the Average Person Gains Weight

Regular readers have read here more times than I can mention that 60 percent of us are overweight and of those half are outright obese. We really are a nation of bad eaters and under-exercisers.

Here’s how that comes about, generally speaking:
The average American will add about a pound of weight each year starting from age 25. So, from 25 to 65 years old, the average person adds 35 pounds. However, there is more to the story than just that. UNLESS the average person is physically active, he is losing about a further half pound of bone and muscle mass each year, too. So, our body fat increases 1.5  pounds each year from 25 to 60 years old.

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How My Apple Watch Keeps Me Healthy

I have owned my Apple watch just under a month now. For the record, I am a big fan of Apple. I bought my first Apple II+ back in 1979 and upgraded to a Fat Mac in 1984. I bought the stock when it became available and I have continued to update my home Apple computer (both on my desktop and laptop) ever since.

This is the band that I have. It is called Milanese and is totally adjustable to fit my skinny wrist.

This is the band that I have. It is called Milanese and is totally adjustable to fit my skinny wrist.

Because I am 75 years old, there is a certain ‘old man resistance’ to new stuff in me these days. Nonetheless, I have taken to my Apple Watch like a duck to water. Despite my enjoyment, I can not say that I have mastered all its intricacies yet by any means. Like a good relationship, it keeps unfolding in the most delightful ways.

The Activity App is the one of the keys keeping me healthy. I will write some aspects, but, to really learn about it, click the link to go through the guided tour. The link has info on 20 aspects of the Apple Watch. For this post, please scroll down to the Activity one (with the three concentric circles) and Click on  “Watch the Guided Tour.” Apple created the tour and demonstrates actual usage of the App beautifully.

To begin using the app, the Watch screen prompted me to fill in a brief form with sex, age, weight and height. Now my watch knows me.

Next I had to indicate my personal activity level. This is what I estimate my activity calorie expenditure for the day to be. The watch then suggested a goal for me which you can accept or adjust it to a level I prefer.

I can track my activity through the day by tapping the icon or actually put an icon on my Watch face and track it from there.

There are three rings on the Activity app. The Movement one, in red, shows active calories toward my daily goal. BTW, these are calories which I burn as I move throughout the day. It does not include resting calories from lack of movement, like just sitting. The Centers for Disease Control reports that 78 percent of us are not meeting our basic activity requirements.

The Exercise ring, in green, shows how many minutes of exercise I have done toward a goal of 30 minutes per day. This tracks movement, not just health club stuff. Playing with your kids or dancing counts on the Activity app.

Finally, the Stand ring, in blue, shows how many times out of twelve hours that I have stood for at least a minute. If you aren’t aware of the dangers of prolonged sitting, please check out my Page – Do you know the Dangers of too much sitting? I have to confess that I am blown away by the fact that the Watch reminds me when I have been sitting too long. Many people are not even aware that prolonged sitting is bad.

The Stand reminder, by the way, is shown on the Watch screen and is accompanied by a little nudge on my wrist called a haptic. The Watch has sensors and other mechanisms on the part that touches your skin. That is where the haptic originates. It feels like someone gently poking your wrist.

In sum, the Activity App alone gives me the feeling that I am being watched over by a gentle and friendly robot that cares about me. Okay, I have a vivid imagination. Nonetheless, I have enjoyed being reminded to stand and also viewing my activity through the day as well as at day’s end. I have a better consciousness of my daily activity progress as a result. Every Monday, the Watch notifies me of the previous week’s results and I have the option of tweaking my daily move goal for the coming week.

I called this post How My Apple Watch Keeps Me Healthy, but of course, I am the one keeping me healthy by my commitment to good health. I think if you are a person less committed than I am, the Watch will be even more effective for you because it continually reminds you about your need to move. I would love to hear from readers who are also experiencing owning the Watch.

The next time I will continue this by going into the Workout App which gives me wonderful coverage and assistance on my bike riding. Of course, it also covers walking, running, indoor and out, elliptical, rower and more. So it is excellent for specific exercises compared with the Activity App which is more general movement.

Stay tuned.

Tony

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7 Amazing Facts About Bananas – Infographic

This isn’t the first time I have posted an infographic about bananas. I love them. I have one every morning in my smoothie. Below are some of the reasons why.

Here are some more banana posts:
More Good Reasons to eat Bananas – Infographic
6 Super Facts About Bananas – Infographic

1-1Tony

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The Science of Vitamins & the Body – Infographic

I am a great believer in the idea that one picture is worth a thousand words. When it comes to infographics, I think that power is multiplied. I hope you can find some enlightenment in the following infographic. Vitamins are crucial to our good health. The more you know about them, the better.

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Tony

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OMG, You’re Texting Your Way to Back Pain

Standing tall doesn’t just make you look better, it optimizes your health, too. Other studies have found good posture elevates testosterone and serotonin in the body, and also reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Good posture has even been linked to personality traits such as tolerance for risk-taking.

Cooking with Kathy Man

Humans were designed to stand upright. And yet in this modern world, too many of us spend our days with our heads slumped over for a simple reason: we’re staring at the tiny screen of a smartphone.

People spend an average of 2 to 4 hours each day with their neck bent at this unnatural angle while shooting off emails or texts. That’s 700 to 1,400 hours a year. The success of social media is has led to an epidemic of bad smartphone posture.

The average adult head weighs 10 to 12 pounds when it’s in the upright or neutral position. However, because of that pesky thing called physics — gravitational pull — the cranium becomes heavier the more you bend your neck. Several times heavier, according to research from Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, which will be published in…

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The 11 healthiest foods in the world

coconut

Our Better Health

Grown without chemicals and loaded with nutrition, these 11 foods will keep you (and the planet) healthy for life.

By Rodale News Thu, Mar 08 2012

WHOLE FOODS: Full of nutrition and easy on the planet. 

J.I. Rodale, the man who founded Rodale Publishing, launched the organic farming movement in America. A strong believer in the power of food to heal, he knew long before organic went mainstream that producing the healthiest food meant growing it in the healthiest soil — soil enriched naturally with organic matter, not synthetic, petroleum-based fertilizers that can rob it of vital nutrients and minerals. In a 1947 issue of Rodale’s first magazine, Organic Gardening, J.I. Rodale outlined “The Rodale Diet,” a simple recommendation of easily accessible healthy foods, grown without the use of toxic chemicals that, if followed 20 to 30 percent of the time would “give disease a smart punch in the solar…

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5 steps to improve your brain health

Staying in shape physically is only half of the equation, and as people live longer and longer with the progression of medical technology, it’s time mankind took a serious look at how to improve brain health. It’s important to learn how to treat your brain properly, especially since it is the key to making sure the rest of the body is in working order.

Check out my previous post on the 12 Mental Benefits of Exercise.

Don’t miss my Page Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits), as well as What Are the Best Foods for My Brain?

Tony

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Overcoming Resistance to Change: The Secret to Lasting Health

Walking is one of the best habits  you can have.

Walking is one of the best habits you can have. It burns calories and benefits the health of your brain as well.

According to neuroscientist Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief, 95% of your life is dictated by the subconscious mind. This is the part of your brain that runs a large portion of your life on autopilot enabling you to do many tasks without thinking about them, everything from tying your shoes to driving a car.

When you do something often enough, it becomes a habit. Habits are activities you do effortlessly with minimal thought on your part. You can appreciate the power of a habit when you try to stop a bad one. It’s tough!

Our Better Health

27th August 2014      By Deane Alban  Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

What do you want to do when you retire? The most common answers to this question are to spend time with friends and family, travel, volunteer, exercise (finally!), learn new things, live abroad, and write a book. [1] But you won’t be able to do these things later if you don’t take care of your body and your brain now.

If you’re like most people, you’ve tried to change, but you find it really, really hard (as in “impossible”). You’ve made the resolutions and set the goals. When you’ve failed, you’ve tried even harder, but making change stick has still eluded you.

Let’s take a look at why the usual ways of making lifestyle changes often fail. Then I’ll give you some super-easy but counter-intuitive tips to create new, healthy habits.

Change the Usual Way Is…

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New Study Shows Drinking Alcohol, Even Light-to-Moderate Amounts, Provides No Heart Health Benefit

“These new results are critically important to our understanding of how alcohol affects heart disease. Contrary to what earlier reports have shown, it now appears that any exposure to alcohol has a negative impact upon heart health,” says co-lead author Michael Holmes, MD, PhD, research assistant professor in the department of Transplant Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Cooking with Kathy Man

Reducing the amount of alcoholic beverages consumed, even for light-to-moderate drinkers, may improve cardiovascular health, including a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, lower body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure, according to a new multi-center study published in The BMJ and co-led by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The latest findings call into question previous studies which suggest that consuming light-to-moderate amounts of alcohol (0.6-0.8 fluid ounces/day) may have a protective effect on cardiovascular health.

The new research reviewed evidence from more than 50 studies that linked drinking habits and cardiovascular health for over 260,000 people. Researchers found that individuals who carry a specific gene which typically leads to lower alcohol consumption over time have, on average, superior cardiovascular health records. Specifically, the results show that individuals who consume 17 percent less alcohol per week have on average a 10 percent reduced risk of…

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