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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

So called “sports” drink advertising campaigns taut the benefits of drinking energy drinks for improved performance, concentration, and mood. However, like most marketing campaigns, as the old adage goes, if it seems to good to be true (energy in a bottle! Lose 30 pounds in 1 week!) it likely is too good to be true.

In his recent article, “The Downside of Energy Drinks – Negative Performance and Psychological Effects” published in ACSM’s Active Voice newsletter, Conrad Woolsey, Ph.D., CHES states that Energy drinks may actually cause long term energy depletion. Dr. Woolsey has published a number of studies regarding energy drink use and it’s effect on the nervous system and health in general. His findings are that that Energy Drinks can inhibit peak performance and that regular Energy Drink use will result in drinkers feeling tired, anxious, and depressed more of the time rather than energized and calm.

Caffeine Overdose?

According to Dr. Woolsey, of the over 500 brands of energy drinks now available, several contain 3-4 times the amount of caffeine (300+ mg/8 oz.) as standard energy drinks (80 mg/8 oz.) such as Red Bull.

Drinks like Spike and Redline also contain other herbal stimulants such as evodamine and yohimbine which are more powerful and dangerous than caffeine.

Energy Drinks: A New Addiction?

According to Dr. Woolsey, energy drinks work, much like drugs of addiction, “ by causing a large release and/or prolonged action of pleasure-reward neurotransmitters (dopamine/serotonin) and stress hormones (nor-adrenaline/adrenaline), which in turn provides a short term high followed by a low.”

In his research Dr. Woolsey found that “using energy drinks can raise pleasure-reward thresholds and damage neurotransmitter receptor sites. This results in more drug craving and/or thrill-seeking to satisfy homeostatic brain deficiencies and increases the chances of developing anxiety and depressive disorders.”

Prior research has shown that significant brain modeling occurs in adolescents all the way up to age 20. Young people under age 25 are also at risk for developing addictive personality traits and behaviors due to incomplete development of the memory (hippocampus), stress, and pleasure-reward systems of the brain with regular use of energy drinks.

In a randomly assigned double-blind placebo controlled study where Dr. Woolsey and his collagues tested energy drinks on a dynamic performance skill, they found performance improvements only when they examined a one-dimensional variables such as reaction time. But reaction time alone is not the only variable needed to coordinate multi-dimensional skills. In the study, performers perceived they were doing better, but actually made significantly more errors, due to being hyper-focused and/or over-aroused. Technical skills require precise timing and coordination and according to Dr. Wollesey’s studies, Energy Drinks can and often do reduce performance. As a sport psychology consultant, Dr. Woolsey regularly works with elite athletes whose performances suffer from using energy drinks, particularly in high-pressure situations.

Energy the Natural, Non-Addictive Way

The best way to feel energized and alert is to get a good nights sleep of about 7-8 hours. There is no substitute for a good night’s sleep, for you or for your children. Pouring caffeine into a sleep deprived person does not make up for the lack of sleep.

Another natural way to perk yourself up include avoiding dehydration by simply drinking enough water to stay hydrated. (Hint: If you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated.)

Finally, to keep energy levels constant, maintain steady blood sugar levels (without spikes or lows) by eating small meals at regular intervals (versus starving yourself and then binging on sugar or energy drinks to get you going). Sounds suspiciously like that whole “eat right, exercise, get plenty of rest and fluids” advice we’ve all heard before. Try it yourself and see how you feel.

And save the cost of expensive energy drinks, along with the cost of possible medical bills for anxiety, depression and addiction!

Buy Bottled Sleep By Sue Shekut

Am I really selling bottles of sleep? Of course not. If I could bottle sleep and sell it, I’d be a billionaire. But really, no one can bottle sleep. And if they could, would you have to buy a separate bottle for REM sleep and good dreams? (I’ll have a bottle of 8 hours of Sleep with a side order of good dreams?)

To read the complete article by Dr. Woolsey in Active Voice, click here.

Who is Conrad Woolsey and Why Should We Listen to Him?

Conrad Wolsey, PhD, CHES

Conrad Woolsey, PhD, CHES, is an Assistant Professor of Health and Human Performance at Oklahoma State University and a sport psychology consultant. His research areas include brain chemistry, addiction, positive health behavior change, health psychology and performance in athletes. He has authored publications and several research presentations related to this commentary1 including one at ACSM’s Annual Meeting and World Congress on Exercise is Medicine™, held in Baltimore in June 2010. For further information, contact the author by e-mail via his institutional website.

Studies by Dr. Woolsey on Energy Drinks

Woolsey, C. (in press, due for publication in October, 2010). Energy drink cocktails: A dangerous combination for athletes and beyond. Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education, 54(3), December 2010

Woolsey, C., Waigandt, A., & Beck, N. (2010). Athlete energy drink use: Reported risk taking and consequences from the combined use of alcohol and energy drinks. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 22(1), 65-71. Doi:10.1080/10413200903403224

Woolsey, C. (2010, March 18). Energy drinks: The new gateway drug. AAHPERD National Convention and Exposition in Indianapolis, Indiana. AAHE RCB Oral Session – New Challenges in Drug Use/Abuse Prevention and Intervention.

Woolsey, C., Martens, M.P., Beck, N.C. (2009). Understanding athlete brain chemistry and addiction. American College of Sports Medicine, ACSM Central States Regional Conference, Columbia, MO. November 6, 2009. Oral Presentation – 45 min.

Woolsey, C. & Kensinger, W.S. (2009, November 6). Exercise & energy drink use: Juiced jolts or risky sips? ACSM’s Central States Regional Conference, Columbia, MO. Oral Presentation – 45 min.

Woolsey, C. (2010, March 5). The effects of energy drinks and alcohol on brain development and psychological health. Achieving Wellness Through Community. Sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Norman, OK. Speaker- 60 minutes.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Gentle exercise from EverydayHealth.com

The American Heart Association’s Start! initiative calls on all Americans and their employers to create a culture of physical activity and health to live longer, heart-healthy lives through walking. It offers resources for employers to implement a walking program in the workplace and track employees’ progress in the program. One of Start’s key components, National Start! Walking Day aims to get Americans up and moving for 30 minutes on April 8, 2009. National Start! Walking Day will take place during National Workplace Wellness Week.

Why walk?

There are countless physical activities out there, but walking has the lowest dropout rate of them all! It’s the simplest positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health. Research has shown that the benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day can help you:
  • Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
  • Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Improve blood lipid profile
  • Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity
  • Enhance mental well being
  • Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
  • Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes

There really are so many benefits for such a simple activity!

How To Begin a Walking Program

The AHA offers these steps to begin a walking regimen:
Step 1: Remember that your safety is the most important thing! If you’re a male over 40 or a female over 50, you may want to work with your doctor to set up your exercise program.
Step 2: Get familiar with the American Heart Association’s recommendations for physical activity:

  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activities, 5 days a week
  • Remember that physical activity can be accumulated throughout the day. Three 10-minute sessions is the same as one 30-minute session!
  • If you’re looking to lose weigh or maintain your current weight, aim for 60-90 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day

Step 3: Always measure the intensity of your exercise to know if you’re pushing yourself too hard or not hard enough. An easy way to do this is by taking the talk test:

  • You should be able to sing while working out at a light intensity level
  • If you’re exercising at a moderate intensity level, you should be able to carry on a conversation comfortably
  • If you become too winded or out of breath to carry on a conversation, the activity can be considered vigorous

You can also download this chart from the American College of Sports Medicine and Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which lists physical activities by their level of intensity. Happy trails!

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Does fitness have to be an all or nothing proposition? Experts say no.

Gentle exercise from EverydayHealth.com

Simply walking can have cardiovascular benefits. And you can walk a lot longer in your life than you may be able to run or kick box. Some take walking to the woods or hills and call it hiking. Others take walking to the streets for an “urban hike.” As a child, I walked everywhere my feet could take me–and my mother allowed! I could explore, see much more of my world, stop and smell the roses. As an adult I enjoy hiking in nature and walking around the city of Chicago. I see things I often miss when I am driving or biking. A good long walk clears my head, literally pumping fresh oxygen (via my blood) to my brain.

The American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association recommend that adults under 65 get at least 30 minutes of moderately intense cardiovascular exercise 5 days a week to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease. And it does not have to be a consecutive 30 minutes of exercise. Three 10 minute walks will do the trick. Or, you can do vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week for the same result. (In either case, twice a week, you should add in eight to 10 strength-training exercises of eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise.)

Moderate-intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation. (To lose weight or maintain weight loss, you likely need to add 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity.)

According to , at About.com, a study in the Nov. 14, 2005 issue of the “Archives of Internal Medicine” confirms that walking builds aerobic fitness at both moderate and high intensity.

Walk Longer or Walk Faster

Improvements in aerobic fitness were seen in the study group for those who walked with high intensity, either with low frequency or high frequency. But similar benefits for aerobic fitness were also seen for those walking at moderate intensity and high frequency.

“The findings demonstrate that significant improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness can be achieved and maintained over 24 months via exercise counseling with a prescription for walking 30 minutes per day, either at a moderate intensity five to seven days per week, or at a hard intensity three to four days per week,” Glen E. Duncan, Ph.D., R.C.E.P.S.M., of the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues concluded.
Reference: (Arch Intern Med. 2005; 165: 2362-2369.)

Walking Intensity vs. Frequency

  • Moderate Intensity Walking: Walking at 45-55% of maximum heart rate, an intensity at which you may be breathing a little harder than usual but able to keep up a full conversation.
  • High Intensity Walking: Walking at 65-75% of maximum heart rate. You are able to speak only in short sentences.
  • Low Frequency Walking: 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes a session.
  • High Frequency Walking: 5-7 times a week for 30 minutes a session.

Walking Prescription for Aerobic Fitness

The prescription for aerobic fitness gives you these choices:

  • High Intensity, Low Frequency: 30 minutes per day 3-4 days per week at 65-75% maximum heart rate.
  • Moderate Intensity, High Frequency: 30 minutes per day 5-7 days per week at 45-55% maximum heart rate.
  • High Intensity, High Frequency: 30 minutes per day 5-7 days per week at 65-75% maximum heart rate

Read entire article at About.com here.

How Do I Find My Target Heart Rate?

It’s easy! Use these simple online calculators.

Target Heart Rate Calculator from MayoClinic here.

Target Heart Rate Calculator based on your fitness level from About.com here.

Target Heart Rate Calculator for different intensity levels from Fitwatch.com here.

Or follow the instructions below from WikiHow.com to calculate your target heart rate the old fashioned pen and pencil way!

What’s this Karvonen Method of Calculating Target Heart Rate?

  1. Find your resting heart rate as soon as you wake up. You can do this by counting your pulse for one minute while still in bed. You may average your heart rate over three mornings to obtain your average resting heart rate (RHR). Add the three readings together, and divide that number by three to get the RHR. For example,(76 + 80 + 78) / 3= 78.
  2. Find your maximum heart rate and heart rate reserve.
    • Subtract your age from 220. This is your maximum heart rate (HRmax). For example, the HRmax for a 24-year-old would be220 – 24 = 196.
    • Subtract your RHR from your HRmax. This is your heart rate reserve (HRmaxRESERVE). For example,HRmaxRESERVE = 196 – 78 = 118
  3. Calculate the lower limit of your THR. Figure 60% of the HRmaxRESERVE (multiply by 0.6) and add your RHR to the answer. For example,(118 * 0.6) + 78 = 149.
  4. Calculate the upper limit of your THR. Figure 80% of the HRmaxRESERVE (multiply by 0.8) and add your RHR to the answer. For example,(118 * 0.8) + 78 = 172.
  5. Combine the values obtained in steps 3 and 4 and divide by the number 2. For example,(149 + 172) / 2 = 161 (You can get the same result by simply multiplying HRmaxRESERVE by 0.7 and adding to it RHR).

Tips for Checking Your Heart Rate

  • When you take your reading for your resting heart rate, make sure to do so the morning after a day where you are rested, as trying to do this after a day of a hard workout can affect your results.
  • You should ensure during your workout that your heart rate falls within your target heart rate zone to maximize cardiovascular fitness.
  • A rule-of-thumb is that if you’re able to sing, you’re not working out hard enough. Conversely, if you’re not able to talk, you’re working out too hard.
  • One of the most common ways to take a pulse is to lightly touch the artery on the thumb-side of the wrist, using your index and middle fingers. This is called a radial pulse check.
  • You may also place two fingers below the jawline, along the trachea (windpipe) to feel for a pulse, again using your index and middle fingers. This is called a carotid pulse check.
  • When taking your pulse for ten seconds during a workout, stop exercising. Do not allow yourself to rest before taking your pulse, and immediately resume exercise after the ten seconds. Multiply by 6 and you’ll have your heart rate.
  • If you are serious about working out and becoming more cardiovascularly fit, you may want to consider purchasing a heart monitor for accurate readings during your workout sessions.
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By Jacqueline Stenson, MSNBC contributor

Many exercisers wonder whether vigorous physical activity, such as running or jogging, can be too tough on the body, especially the joints.

Physical activity guidelines released by the federal government last year recommend a minimum of two hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate physical activity or at least one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity, plus at least two days of strength training a week. The guidelines also state that greater health benefits can be achieved when adults like yourself increase their physical activity to five hours a week of moderate activity or 2.5 hours of vigorous activity, or more.

exercise_routine

Light weight training from PsychologyToday.com

Dr. W. Ben Kibler, a spokesperson for the American College of Sports Medicine and medical director of the Lexington Clinic Sports Medicine Center, says that you can overdo it with exercise and sustain overtraining injuries, particularly if you don’t follow good technique or listen to your body’s warning signals to taper off. But there’s no reason to think that healthy people doing recommended amounts of physical activity and progressing at a sensible rate are going to eventually wear out their bodies. On the contrary, there is abundant evidence that exercise can go a long way to keep us healthy and strong as we age — and prevent early death.

There is a fairly common concern among exercisers that high-impact exercise such as running will eventually destroy the knees. But as Dr. Ron Noy, a New York City sports medicine specialist and spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, points out, running helps the joints stay lubricated and healthy, and keeps the bones and heart strong.“If you have a healthy knee, running is not going to damage the knee,” he says. “It’s not going to wear down your knee, and there are benefits to the joint from running.”

KneeReplacement

The Knee Joint. Image from globalsurgicalsolutions.com

”It’s a different story, though, if you have an arthritic or injured knee, which gives the body “less protective power” against high-impact activity, Noy says. Problems also can arise in obese people who are sedentary and then jump into a rigorous exercise program, which can overload a deconditioned body, he says, possibly leading to knee injuries, stress fractures or other problems.

So it would not be a good idea, for instance, for a 250-pound couch potato to start out running 12 miles a day, Noy says. “You have to acclimate your body to accept that load,” he says, with a “slow, progressive program.”

Even normal weight people with no health issues can become injured if they push too far, too fast in a range of activities. How much is too much varies from individual to individual, so as your program progresses, listen to your body, says Noy. If you’re getting signals such as pain, swelling or extreme fatigue, scale back.

An experienced coach or personal trainer can help recreational athletes develop a safe program that incorporates proper technique and equipment.

And it’s always a good idea to get a checkup before starting a training program, Noy says. It’s especially important to identify any potential heart problems or risk factors such as a family history of early cardiac death that might lead to sudden death during exercise. Be sure to discuss with your doctor any chest pain, shortness of breath or prior difficulty exercising in hot temperatures.

Kibler points out that people who die during endurance exercise often have underlying health problems or they push themselves too hard in the heat.“There’s usually some identifiable reason outside of exercise,” he says. “But exercise is the trigger.”

Link to original MSNBC article here.

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Exercise and Mental Health

By Dr Shock at DrShockMD website
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Healthy people exercising

A recent review about the relationship between exercise and mental health in the elderly discussed the results of clinical research and biological explanations for the effects of exercise on mental health. Exercise is studied in the elderly in depression, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Shock has discussed the topic of exercise and depression before on his blog. The conclusion was that exercise is more effective than no treatment and that for mild to moderate depression it is efficacious and for severe depression it should be added to other treatments in the treatment program. In this more recent review on exercise and mental health the focus is on the elderly. Data on elderly patients are scarcer. Nevertheless investigations have shown that aerobic exercise at an intensity consistent with public health recommendations can be regarded as an effective treatment of mild and moderate depression. There is some evidence for a possible dose-response effect of exercise on depression. Treatment not prevention? Indeed, this topic has not yet been extensively studied in the elderly yet.

What does that mean: aerobic exercise at an intensity consistent with public health recommendations?

Basic recommendations from the The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA).

  • Do moderately intense aerobic exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week
  • Or Do vigorously intense aerobic exercise 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week
  • And Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, 10-15 repetitions of each exercise twice to three times per week
  • And If you are at risk of falling, perform balance exercises
  • And Have a physical activity plan.

What is a physical activity plan?
In short consult your GP before starting to exercise.

Older adults or adults with chronic conditions should develop an activity plan with a health professional to manage risks and take therapeutic needs into account. This will maximize the benefits of physical activity and ensure your safety.

Physical Exercise and Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Epidemiological studies have associated exercise with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Exercise as treatment for dementia showed efficacy for mood status, psychosocial functioning, physical health and caregiver distress
  • Daily 30 minutes of exercise diminishes the number of hospitalization needed, decreased depressive symptoms, increased quality of life in patients with Alzheimer’s disease
  • In comparison with a sedentary group, the group with a year of exercise intervention improved in quality of life

Physical Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease
Also in Parkinson’s Disease epidemiological studies have shown that exercise can protect against the disease. The disease is associated with tremor, rigidity, and hypokinesia which can result in falls and tiredness.The main advantage of exercise in PD is improvement of functional capabilities due to strength and balance training. This improves motor skills, improves their quality of life and reduces the number of falls.

Although somewhat limited, evidence suggests that exercise training is beneficial to patients with PD, especially in functional capacity and ADLs improvement

The protective effect of exercise can be explained by effects on the brain as can be read in the Neuroscience of Exercise on Dr. Shock’s blog.

Sources:
Deslandes, A., Moraes, H., Ferreira, C., Veiga, H., Silveira, H., Mouta, R., Pompeu, F., Coutinho, E., & Laks, J. (2009). Exercise and Mental Health: Many Reasons to Move Neuropsychobiology, 59 (4), 191-198 DOI: 10.1159/000223730

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By Sue Shekut, Licensed Massage Therapist, ACSM Personal Trainer, Certified Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

By now, most of us have heard about the new recommended guidelines for adults under 65 to get at least 30 minutes a day of moderately intense cardio, five days a week. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) Guidelines here

However, many people have a hard time finding time to exercise after work with long commutes, family obligations and just maintaining the household. At work, people face deadlines, scores of emails, phone calls and piles of paperwork to address. One way for employers and employees to help keep health care costs down, reduce risks of illness, and help improve overall health and well being is to encourage employees to step up their steps!

According to Health Enhancement Systems’ report, Walking: The Health and Economic Impact, there’s no wellness investment that pays a higher dividend than a robust walking program. Here are just a few of the health-related findings specifically associated with walking:

• Protects against heart attack and stroke.
• Helps prevent weight gain.
• Reduces risk of diabetes.
• Lowers overall mortality.
• Decreases heart disease risk.
• Maintains a healthy BMI.
• Enhances fitness with little time or effort.

According to a Loughbrough University study, women who took three 10-minute brisk walks, 5 days a week, had nearly the same increases in fitness levels as women who walked continuously for 30 minutes. In fact, those who walked in briefer sessions lost more weight and inches around the waist than the 30-minute walkers! More here from Health Enhancement Systems

Why Walk?
• Walking is the only exercise where participation rates don’t decrease as
individuals reach middle age and older. One national survey found that
compared with any other group, men 65 and older had the highest percent
of regular walkers — 39.4%.14
• It’s the most popular physical activity in America. More than 56 million people
walk for fitness at least 100 days a year.15
• Walking is inexpensive and easy. All a person needs is a pair of comfortable,
supportive shoes.16
• It comes naturally and can be done in connection with other daily activities —
for example: walking to work, circling the mall or grocery aisles, walking
the dog, or pacing while on the phone.
• Walking is a low impact, safe form of exercise — even for those who are
obese or have arthritis.

How to Find Time to Walk at Work
Employers cannot mandate that employees walk at work. And we don’t encourage employees to shirk their work responsibilities to complete their walking goals. But many smokers take “smoke breaks” at work, leaving the office for 10-15 minutes to smoke a cigarette outdoors. Why shouldn’t the nonsmokers take advantage of a similar break in the work flow for a far healthier result!

And the lunch “hour” is also a great time to get coworkers together and take a brisk walk outside the office or at a nearby mall. Although some do not take a full hour for lunch, and others may want to split the lunch break up into 30 minutes of walking and then time to eat lunch, there are many ways you can fit in a walk a few times during the workweek lunch time.

• A simple plan would be to set up 3 ten-minute walk breaks inside the office building if there is enough space, or weather permitting outside the office.

• Alternatively, staff can set up 20-30 minute walk breaks at lunch time.

• And for those lucky few that take a train or bus or subway to work, try getting off a few blocks or even a half mile earlier than normal and then walk to your destination from there. it’s an easy way to add a few steps to your day and explore your own neighborhood.

Benefits of Walking at Work
Employers have found that allowing employees to take minibreaks leads to increased productivity and job satisfaction. According to Health Enhancement Solutions, walking, like other physical activity, employee productivity increases with physical activity. Findings include:
• Better concentration 1
• Enhanced memory and learning 2
• Improved ability to make complex decisions 1
• Increased physical stamina. 3, 4

Walking promotes an overall sense of wellness by helping people to:
• Control appetite and increase the body’s metabolism 5
• Improve mood and well-being 2, 4
• Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety 2
• Relax, feel more energetic, and control stress 4, 6
• Sleep better. 7, 8

Programs to Encourage People to Walk at Work
• Employers can encourage or even provide low cost pedometers to help staff monitor the steps they take every day. Recomended Top Ten Pedometers. The Sportline 360 Fitness Pedometer is $22 pedometer that’s easier to use, lightweight and clips on a belt or waistline of trowsers Order here
• Employers or Employees can start a Walking Club at work.

Walking Club Tips
• Spread the word – use email, voicemail and posters to get people interested
• Make it fun and make it friendly. Start slowly so that none of your co-workers are too intimidated to continue.
• Set a Walking club schedule so that it become part of your regular daily routine. Even if some people cannot commit to every day, make sure at least 2 of you keep up the schedule to maintain momentum.
• Encourage your colleagues to take walking breaks instead of coffee breaks in order to get some fresh air– and avoid problems sleeping alter at night due to too much caffeine.
• Promote a noon-hour walking group.
• Create an indoor walking route in case of poor weather – go to a local mall if your workspace is not conducive to walking. Walk the stairwells if your office is a high rise or building with access to stairs.
• Track your walking groups progress on a graph or poster in a main foyer to inspire others to join.
• Hold a contest or challenge between departments.
• Host a heart healthy nutritious potluck before or after your walking groups noon-hour walk.
• Ask your colleagues when they would prefer to walk. Some people need a “pick me up” in the morning while others require one in the later afternoon.

Link to the Health Unit of Canada’s tips on organizing a walking group at work

Research Cited:

1 Loehr J, Schwartz T. The Power of Full Engagement; New York, NY, 2003.
2 US Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Fundamental to Preventing
Disease Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, June 2002.
3 Murphy MH, Nevill AM, Murtagh EM, Holder RL. The Effect of Walking on Fitness, Fatness and
Resting Blood Pressure: A Meta-Analysis of Randomised, Controlled Trials. Preventive Medicine
2007;44(5):377-385.
4 Fentem PH. Benefits of Exercise in Health and Disease. British Medical Journal
1994;308(6939):1291-1295.

5 Cheng MH, Bushnell D, Cannon DT, Kern M. Appetite Regulation via Exercise Prior or
Subsequent to High-Fat Meal Consumption. Appetite 2009;52(1):193-198.
6 Puetz TW, Flowers SS, O’Connor PJ. A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effect of Aerobic
Exercise Training on Feelings of Energy and Fatigue in Sedentary Young Adults With Persistent
Fatigue. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 2008;77(3):167-174.
7 Galantino ML, Cannon N, Hoelker T, Iannaco J, Quinn L. Potential Benefits of Walking and Yoga
on Perceived Levels of Cognitive Decline and Persistent Fatigue in Women With Breast Cancer.
Rehabilitation Oncology 2007;25(3):3-16.
8 King AC, Pruitt LA, Woo S, Castro CM, Ahn DK, Vitiello MV, Woodward SH, Bliwise DL. Effects of Moderate-Intensity Exercise on Polysomnographic and Subjective Sleep Quality in Older Adults With Mild to Moderate Sleep Complaints. The Journals of Gerontology 2008;63A(9):997-1004.

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By Sue Shekut, Licensed Massage Therapist, ACSM Personal Trainer, Certified Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

Does exercise makes you fatter?  According to an article in Time Magazine ‘s August 9th,  2009 issue, “Why Exercise Won’t Make you Thin,” vigorous exercise can make you unable to lose weight. The article states that people only have so much willpower. Once they use that limited self control to work out, they don’t have any more mental strength to resist over eating. It also states that vigorous exercise makes you ravenous and you end up eating much more if you exercise than if you do not.

Well, that’s just silly.  Think about it. If vigorous exercise made you fat, Michael Phelps would be a Sumo wrestler.  It is true that high caloric expenditure requires high caloric intake.  An Olympic athlete that burns 12000 calories a day in training would need to eat at 12000 calories just to maintain his current weight. People that work out for hours at a time–competitive body builders, gymnasts, swimmers and marathon runners–do expend a lot of calories. And they do need to eat to replace the calories they burn in exercise. But ask a marathon runner if he or she is ravenously hungry after a run. Many of them will tell you they actually lose their appetite immediately following an intense workout. Body builders eat frequent meals throughout the day to keep protean available to give their muscles building blocks to grow larger and stronger.

It’s only been relatively recently that human beings lead such sedentary lifestyles. In the 1800’s and early 1900’s, most people had very physically active lives. Daily caloric intake was larger due to the extra caloric expenditure. In other words, if you spent your day tilling the fields, or washing clothes and dishes by hand, hand washing floors and making bread from scratch, you had a higher caloric needs than someone from 2009 that sits at work all day, drives home, microwaves a meal and sits in front of the television.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, a leading authority in sports medicine and exercise science:

• Physical activity is one of the most important behavioral factors in weight maintenance and improving long-term weight loss outcomes. In fact, participation in an exercise program has proven to be the very best predictor of maintaining weight that was lost.

• Effective weight loss and maintenance depend on a simple equation called energy balance: Calories expended through physical activity and normal lifestyle functions must exceed calories consumed.

• It is a myth that exercise can actually prevent weight loss by leading exercisers to overeat. Research and common sense disprove this notion. Look around the gym or the jogging trail. If this were the case, wouldn’t those who regularly exercise be the fattest?

• Physical activity needn’t involve expensive equipment, gym memberships or team athletics. Simple activities like walking, accumulated in 10-minute bouts, can have significant benefits.

John Jakicic, Ph.D., FACSM states that” “Again, it is clear in this regard that physical activity is one of the most important behavioral factors in enhancing weight loss maintenance and improving long-term weight loss outcomes.”

Jakicic’s research on obesity, published in 2008, showed that a long duration of physical activity (275 minutes above baseline levels) led to the largest observed weight loss after a 24-month intervention.

Sorry for the letdown, folks, but exercise does help you lose fat and maintain the weight loss. And  it can be fun!

Sources:

Time Magazine Article link

ASCM Article link

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