Did you know that stress combined with a sedentary jobs increases your risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders? Would you believe that brief moments of guided meditation and yoga at your desk can help reduce your stress?? As little as 15 minutes to be exact.
A recent small study including just 20 people who were taken through each of the following; a guided meditation, yoga, and allowed to continue working without interruption.
Each intervention lasted 15 minutes and there was a day between each of the interventions. Different stress markers were tested at the baseline, during the 15 minute interventions, and 15 minutes after. Different measures were recorded such as perceived stress, blood pressure, respiration rate, heart rate, and heart rate variability.
Analysis of the data showed both yoga and meditation reduced perceived stress (the mental aspect) plus the effect continued after the post-intervention period. The markers for physical stress tended to return to the baseline levels with the exception of respiratory rates following chair yoga.
While the study was relatively small, its results conclude that there is no harm in implementing a basic 15 minute chair routine at least once a day, especially if you are in a sedentary career. More studies need to be conducted but one can assume the data suggests that the level of productivity, improved employee health, job performance, job satisfaction, and absenteeism could be positively affected by the implementation of workplace yoga and meditaiton.
The following link will provide you with a variety of chair yoga poses you can try.
Did you buy into the notion that doing Wii fit programs or other active video games would help you or your family members get in shape? Millions of people out there believed the very same thing, but a recent study suggests different.
In March, 2012 the medical journal Pediatrics release the results of a study that suggests the increased movement associated with active games like the Wii fit and other games bears no significant difference in overall activity levels of users. The 13 week study included 78 kids, 51% of them were boy from varying ethinic backgrounds. The kids were divided into two groups, one that played active games and other played normal sedentary games that didn't require mvement of participants.
After reviewing the play logs of the children and the collected data from their accelerometers which measured their exertion, scientists and doctors were able to conclude that there was no significant difference between the two groups of children. The major difference noticed was, children who were in the active group and under observation played more vigorously than those who were not under observation. It was believed that once the children were no longer under observation, their activity levels fell below those of the children in the sedentary video games group.
In conclusion it is safe to say that active video games do not provide a public health benefit to you or your children. However, if you are going to play games, or let your children play, why not make it a game that forces them to get up and move around a little. When in doubt, the best option is and always will be, use of the imagination, running around, in the natural light and fresh air of the outdoors. Pack up the controllers, pick up a ball, or bike and enjoy!
Is training on a stability ball beneficial to your workout routine? No evidence to date proves for or against that but recent studies show that sedentary adults may benefit from using a stability ball at work and to do basic exercises. Read the following study for more information.
Only have 20 minutes of energy you can muster up? Is your lunch break the only time you can carve out of your day to exercise? You may be in luck as recent studies have been pointing to shorter more intense workouts and their HUGE benefits.
An 18 year study was recently finished in Copenhagen, Denmark that wanted to see the relationship between exercise intensity and/or duration and mortality. They pooled together 5,106 people, both men and women, ages 21-90 to take part in the heart study. Participants were asked to rate their daily activity as slow, average, or fast and whether their activity last less than 30 minutes, 30 minutes to one hour, or more than an hour. All of the participants used cycling as their means of exercise.
During the study, 708 men and 464 women died, with 108 of the men and 38 of the women dying from cardiovascular disease. From this information the researchers were able to deduct that those who particpated in shorter more intense exercise tended to live longer than those who participated in slower longer exercise bouts. In fact, "men with fast intensity cycling survived 5.3 years longer, and men with average intensity 2.9 years longer, than the lower-intensity, longer duration cyclists." "For women the figures were 3.9 and 2.2 years respectively."
After reading this, you are now inspired to create more intense workouts but don't know where to start or don't want to get hurt. Follow these guidelines to make sure that you don't injure yourself on your journey to increasing your life expectancy!
Be aware and familiar with your own body. Make sure you are able to communicate with your trainer, friends, or yourself when something feels too intense, or out of the ordinary. The goal isn't to go until you drop dead.
Make sure you know variations and modifications to the different exercises you want to do. Being educated and having the ability to modify an exercise ensures you don't get hurt and you can go at a pace appropriate for you and where you are in your greater scope of things. Additionally, make sure you are working with a trainer who can modify just about any exercise for you, to accommodate your needs and goals. If they can't do that for you, look for a new trainer.
Keep your workouts short. Remember the more intense you train, the shorter the workout should be. By pacing yourself and resting, you can set yourself up for injuries.
Educate yourself on the major muscles of the body and what they do. This will help you maintain balance. For example, pair a push up with a row, or in easy to understand terms, a chest exercise with a back exercise. By using opposing muscle groups you will allow your muscles to recover between sets allowing you to keep up the intensity.
So go out and sweat, and remember, you don't need an hour to get a good workout in, you just need the determination to work hard and to do something that is great for your body and life in so many ways!
Fast food Vs Home Cooked food, which is cheaper/more economical?
Many people will guess fast food with all of the $1 menu items out on the market these days. The truth is, home cooked meals are actually cheaper per serving than even $1 items. Since the US is incredibly money driven and we now know it isn't economical to eat fast food, what are some other reasons why people stop for fast food and how can we break the cycle?
When was the last time you stopped to plan a meal and cooked it. A meal with more to it than boil water, add noodles, drain, add sauce? People don't take the time to cook anymore. Family and individuals are incredibly out of practice. Cooking at home is something our mothers did in the 50's, now we all work a million hours a week and don't have time to cook.
The reality is, cooking doesn't have to be as scary or hard as it seems, two other reasons why people don't cook. All it takes is a little planning and education and you can be on your way to making amazing meals for you and your loved ones that are more affordable than the local drive thru.
First things first, get in the kitchen and experiment. Try new recipes, blend spices that you know you like, and give it a whirl. Practice makes perfect. Sure you will probably have a dud or two from time to time, (I just had one today) but you will undoubtedly come across quite a few more than you love or that become staples around your house.
If you are still feeling shy in the kitchen, hire some help. There are plenty of cooking classes, local chefs, cooking groups and resources to help you feel more comfortable in the kitchen. Look for classes that interest you, such as beef prep classes, or vegetarian asian dishes. Depending on where you live, there are classes every single week.
Organization will be helpful as well. Personally, I try to cook or prep a few dishes on Sundays. It is the only day when I don't train a single client. If I plan things out correctly, I can make two or three dishes in a 2-3 hour time frame that will last us for at least the first half of the week. Knowing that I have food in the fridge ready to be heated, makes it much easier for me to resist eating out or eating something I shouldn't when I get home at 9:30pm after 10 hours with clients. Being prepared and ready won't only help you save some money, it make save your life.
Whatever your reason for not cooking at home, make a resolution to cut back on eating out, not just fast food, but all eating out and take control of your life and your future through the food you put in your body. Remember food is your body's fuel, and if you fill the take with highly proccessed fatty foods, you can't expect optimum performance.
Below are some resources to help you break the slow food cycle.
Ok, so maybe they aren't proven to save lives completely by themselves, but studies have shown that they are SUPER HIGH in antioxidants! How often have you wondered if Organic really makes a difference? How often have you questioned if the nutritional benefits really outweighed the dent buying organic creates in your wallet. It is true that you can often get with not buying all your fruits and veggies organic, but recent science shows that you should buy your tomatoes organic, if for nothing else, to reap the cancer fighting benefits of the antioxidants in tomatoes. Follow the link below for more information on the study performed by the University of Barcelona.
# 1 Trainer in the San Francisco Bay Area, sharing health, fitness, and lifestyle information.