Did you know that about 20 million Americans suffer from depression? This doesn't take into account all of the people who suffer from another anxiety disorder. It is believed that about 40% of the population of the United States suffers from depression, an anxiety disorder, or a combination of the both. This means that you very likely know someone who's life is impacted by these conditions.
What if you could help them reduce their symptoms of depression just by getting #hellafit with them? What if there was research that demonstrated a link between strength training and the reduction of depressive symptoms? Would you drag them with you to the gym?
Dr. Brett Gordon, MS, from the University of Limerick, Ireland recently published data from a study that included 1,877 participants from 33 clinical trials that points to just that. While the studies did not determine precisely how the strength training might affect depression, Dr. Gordon offered a couple suggestions:
"Cognitive and psychological mechanisms [could] include the expectancy is improved mental health following exercise, social interaction and social support, and improved cognitive control."
In short, invite your friend who has been in a funk lately to get their pump on with you. The benefits could be limitless for both of you. Not sure where to start? Check out Yelp for reviews of local gyms in your area or Meetup for free fitness gatherings.
Ready to start a new training program or join in some awesome group fitness classes and live in Oakand or the East Bay? Check us out at Truve!
We all know that it takes two healthy individuals to make a healthy baby. However sometimes, no matter how healthy we are, it can still be difficult to get pregnant. Recent studies show fertility can be affected by other common factors that might not have thought about. If you are planning to get pregnant or already trying, try making these 5 easy changes to help increase your body's fertility.
1. Reduce Stress
If you are experiencing difficulties conceiving, a trip to the acupuncturist, massage therapist, or a yoga class could be beneficial; a recent study published in the journal Human Reproduction found that high stress levels have been linked with an increased risk of infertility. Researchers found that women with high levels of alpha-amylase (a hormone associated with your sympathetic nervous system) had a 29% lower chance of pregnancy and were 2x more at risk for infertility than women with low alpha-amylase levels. While we can't usually take off from work, forget the other kids, or our partners to slow down and relax a little, we can spend a few minutes to meditate, stretch, go for a walk in nature, or give ourselves a mini massage regardless of where we are. All of these things can help reduce stress levels and improve fertility.
2. Cut out Junk Food
When you are not eating the right combinations of nutrients (Folate, monounsaturated fats, zinc, vitamin D, and B6), you could be paralyzing your body’s ability to regulate your reproductive hormones like progesterone, insulin, and testosterone. A nutrition plan high in leafy greens, lean proteins, and healthy fats is very important to help boost your fertility potential. In addition to a healthy diet being important, the time of day you eat is also very important. Clinical Science recently published that eating a nutritious breakfast daily, that is calorically dense helps improve fertility.
3.Eliminate Artificial Light at Night
When is the last time you went to sleep without checking your phone, reading on your Kindle, or sending that last email only minutes before hitting the pillow? Most people are aware that the light emitted from our electronics can mess up our sleep cycles, throwing our Circadian rhythm off. According to research published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, artificial nighttime light exposure can harm both your ability to conceive and fetal development if you’re already pregnant. Exposure after dark to light exposure can limit melatonin production, a hormone that aids sleep, that’s also produced in the reproductive tract and helps block eggs from damaging free radicals, particularly during ovulation. When not enough melatonin is produced, a disruption may occur in a developing fetus’ internal clock, resulting in long-term problems, researchers suggest. Make sure face alarm clocks away from your face or cover them with a pillow, and power down electronics at least an hour before bed.
Despite significant advances in the treatment of cardiovascular
(heart) disease, it is still the leading cause of death in the United States.
Did you know that Diabetes, especially Type 2 Diabetes is a major risk factor
for cardiovascular disease? Death from heart disease is 2-4 times more likely in
adults with diabetes than their counterparts without diabetes.
There are several known factors that can increase your risk of
developing and potentially dying from heart disease. Some of those include being
male, obesity(especially weight in the abdomen), using any form of tobacco, and
having higher total and bad LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and high blood
pressure. These are all considered “classic” risk factors and are commonly
monitored by healthcare professionals. There are other biological markers that
can be watched to get a larger picture of what is really going on in your body
with your heart and blood vessels. One must remember that these additional
markers and tests are not as thoroughly researched as the above mentioned
markers, but they may provide additional information that may prove useful in
certain situations. This is particularly true when “classic” markers give mixed signals.
What exactly is a biological marker? Biomarkers are considered an
“indicator of normal body processes, disease-related processes, or response to a
therapeutic intervention.” Diabetes Self-management May/June 2013. The
relationship of any such measurement to health or disease is established through
scientific studies involving both healthy and sick individuals. This implies that
as we continue to do research any one of the following biomarkers may gain or
wane in its importance. Experts are still trying to determine if early detection
and treatment of cardiovascular disease based on cardiovascular biomarkers is
useful in delaying or preventing the onset of cardiovascular disease.
One of the most commonly used cardiovascular biomarkers is High
Sensitivity C-reactive protein. This marker is an indicator of inflammation and
may indicate the presence of atherosclerosis, a fatty buildup of the arteries.
Out of all of the currently used biomarkers, High Sensitivity C-reactive protein
has the greatest connection between elevated levels of the protein and heart
disease and future cardiac events (Heart attacks and strokes). It is commonly
found that people with diabetes have elevated levels of this protein.
B-type Natriuretic Peptide. This biomarker is most frequently used to help detect and determine the severity of congestive heart failure. B-type natriuretic peptides are released into the blood in order to help the heart which enlarges as a response to not being able to adequately pump blood through the body. Enlargement of the heart is common with heart failure. A tendency towards elevated levels of this peptide would correspond with the risk of heart failure. Some studies have suggested that decreases in this biomarker can be beneficial.
Adiponectin is hormone that aids in controlling blood glucose levels and the breakdown of fats in the body. Though various studies have been done scientists are still not exactly sure why reduced levels of Adiponectin are associated with various “classic” risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and atherosclerosis.
It is good to remember that there are very few cardiovascular biomarkers that are being used at the present time and not all of these will be used by every healthcare professional. However, since these tests may yield greater information as to your cardiovascular risk before other “classic” risk factors are present, especially if you have diabetes, it doesn’t hurt to ask your health care provider to do some or all of these tests.
If you fall into a high risk group for cardiovascular disease,
try some of the following tips to help prevent cardiovascular
Ask questions. Education is a very powerful tool to have on your side. Especially if
you have a family history of cardiovascular disease or you have
Understand Biomarkers. By understanding which biomarker tests may be most beneficial to your particular situation, you will know exactly what to ask your doctor for.
Gather Information. Check out www.labtestsonline.org
Know the “classic” risk factors and how they affect you.
Develop habits for heart healthy eating, including portion control for weight and blood glucose control.
Participate in regular physical activity. Please contact your health care provider before beginning an exercise program.
Minimize risky behaviors. Quit smoking, chewing, or any other form of tobacco
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!
Finding the positive and looking at the brighter side of things can have an incredibly positive effect on pain management.
As we age we become increasingly more likely to fracture, break or strain something in our bodies from normal every day activities. Proper nutrition and exercise can help prevent such events. Women who reach early menopause are at an even higher risk for these injuries. Beginning a strength training program or improving upon the one you have immediately, will significantly help balance hormones and strength bones, muscles, and connective tissue, no matter where you are starting from. Check out this article from the New York Times.
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