Wii Fit vs childhood obesity
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.
Shorter may be better!
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!
Breaking the Fast Food Cycle
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.
Organic Tomatoes Save Lives
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.
Excess Weight in Pregnant Women Can Have Negative Health Implications for Offspring in Adulthood
Thinking about getting pregnant or are you pregnant now? How you treat your body before and during pregnancy can leave its mark on your future offspring. Children are much more likely to have health issues not limited to obesity as they age and mature all the way into adulthood based on the mother's eating habits and exercise routine. Taking care of your body now and during a pregnancy may be the one most important thing you can do to ensure the quality of your child's life. Please read further for more info:
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.
All those high volume, lowerintensity workouts can lead to the same response in muscle growth as low volume, high intensity workouts can... check out this article from science daily. There may even be added benefits to doing more repititions....
Water vs. Sport Drinks
Some of the most important nutritional components of optimal athletic performance as well as recreational activity are water and micronutrients. Water and micronutrients help the body optimize the energy found in carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Many people have heard at some point in their life that water makes up some large percentage of their total body weight. The truth is, water is the body’s most abundant nutrient and vital to all of the body’s functions and processes. As many of us know, one of the body’s most important functions is to keep us cool. Slight dehydration of even one percent can demonstrate itself as a decrease in performance. The human body must have the right combination of water and nutrients at all times to perform at an optimal level.
Everyone wants to know exactly how much water is enough…. should we drink 8 glasses of water or our body weight divided in half, in ounces? The truth is, there is no single standard for everyone. It depends on a variety of factors, such as bodyweight, activity level, climate, etc. The simplest and most effective way to know if you are getting enough water is to measure the color of your urine. It should be a pale yellow color, resembling fresh squeezed lemon juice. It should have no odor either. If your urine is darker in color or it has a strong odor, you are dehydrated. There is one exception to this, when vitamin and other supplement levels are high, they can turn the urine a bright yellow or brownish yellow in addition to causing a strong odor. You will need to cut back on vitamin intake to access your urine properly.
It is recommended for many athletes to do weigh-ins before and after workouts, to see how much water an athlete is losing in any given session. Remember that even a 1% decrease in body water levels will decrease performance. In a 125 pound athlete this would be equal to about 2.5 pound water weight loss. Quick body-weight loss is due primarily to water loss. Thus, checking body-weight levels before and after training and competitions is an accurate way to check body water loss. The recreational exerciser as well as the weight-loss participant can use the same methods to more accurately measure their success.
Remember that thirst is not a good indicator of proper hydration. By the time you begin to feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. You may be able to drink enough water to satisfy your thirst, more often than not, you body will still be dehydrated. This is why it is important to drink water continuously throughout the day. In addition to drinking water throughout the day, here are some guidelines to follow for water and other fluid intake before, during, and after exercise.
Before one begins exercise they should consider consuming 2 cups (16-20 ounces) of water about 2 hours beforehand. Additionally they should consume another 2 cups of water or other cool fluid about 15-20 minutes before they start. Drinking water or other cool fluids at these specified times can avoid or delay dehydration during physical activity, help maintain muscular strength, endurance, and coordination as well as decrease the probability of muscle cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Recently it has been shown that the consumption of water 60 minutes prior to exercise helps the body work more efficiently improving heat regulation and exercise performance.
Now that the body has properly been prepped for exercise, what should one drink during exercise to keep the body moving at an optimal speed? It is believed that in order to replace all of the fluids lost through sweat; one should consume 6-12 ounces of fluids every 15-20 minutes during exercise. This will result in drinking between 2 ½-6 cups of fluid for each hour of exercise. When exercising for an hour or less, water is an appropriate fluid replacement. When exercising for longer than an hour, a combination of a sport drink containing a 6-8% carbohydrate concentration as well as water is recommended. The combination is recommended because as the duration of exercise increases our bodies begin to lose important vitamins and minerals through sweat. Additionally our energy stores become depleted and the carbohydrates provide important instant energy to the body. Sport drinks also contain electrolytes that help aid in the absorption of water into the system. Those who exercise in high temperatures or humid conditions should consider consuming a sport drink after 30-45 minutes of exercise due to the increased stress placed on the body while exercising in such conditions.
One should be careful when choosing a sport drink. It is important that it contains 6-8% carbohydrate concentration because, levels higher than that can cause fluid absorption into the body to slow down tremendously. The goal is to replenish all the lost fluids, minerals, and vitamins. You should also be away of the sodium content in a sport drink, because sodium is one of the first minerals to be depleted through sweating and exercise. One should look for a sport drink with 0.5-0.7 grams of sodium per liter of fluid.
There is one exception to the above mentioned guidelines, intermittent exercise, such as soccer, basketball, football, volleyball, etc can include brief, intense bursts of exercise that last for anywhere between less than one hour to more than three hours. While water is traditionally recommended for short duration, intermittent exercise, research supports athletic performance improvements when a carbohydrate/electrolyte beverage is consumed in combination with water.
After exercise, if one weighed themselves before and after they should consume 3 cups (24 ounces) of water for each pound of weight lost during exercise. Ideally one would strive to achieve pre-workout or competition weight. If no weighing was done, then one should aim to consume a minimum of 3-4 cups of water (24-32 ounces). Water will continue to be lost through urination during the post-exercise recovery period.
# 1 Trainer in the San Francisco Bay Area, sharing health, fitness, and lifestyle information.