I cannot really remember the first time I set out to deliberately exercise, in order to get fit, but it must have been some time in high school, because that’s when I found myself preparing to go on my first hike.
Back then, the conventional wisdom about engaging in exercise was that you needed to put in some significant amount of time regularly for the exercise to be of any benefit; at least an hour, but if you could hit two hours, well and good. As far I still know, this is still the guiding principle for many people.
But I am not writing this piece to regale you with tales from the past, I write this because a couple of researchers are threatening my long held principles, suggesting that brief, intense durations of exercise can be better than those long hauls.
Less can be more, according to these fitness scientists who are keen to cut down exercise time to minutes, a whole new level of fitness minimalism.
Type 2 Diabetes is characterized by a disruption in glucose homeostasis in the body. While there are effective methods of addressing this issue, such as daily injections of insulin, these methods are not without their setbacks. It can be tedious, uncomfortable, and can easily be overdone resulting in low blood sugar. Many of you may be all too familiar with these unfortunate routines. Incorporating the appropriate nutrients into the diet can have profound effects on the management of diabetes, which may make each day substantially less taxing and one such nutrient is the amino acid, L-Arginine.
What’s the Big Deal?
It was recently revealed by researchers from the University of Copenhagen, that L-Arginine may act as a potent stimulant for the secretion of a chemical essential to glucose homeostasis, known as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). This chemical increases insulin sensitivity and past studies have revealed that surgical and medicinal efforts to increase the secretion of GLP-1 have been effective in regulating glucose levels in the body. It may be possible to achieve the same results without invasive surgeries or pharmaceuticals by supplementing L-Arginine in the diet.
Sustained physical activity with vigorous intensity can add years to your life and significantly improve the quality in the latter stages of aging, according to the latest results of a long term study into more than 12,000 elderly Western Australian men.
In the study, published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the University of Western Australia researchers found that 150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week added 2-3 years to the lives of the men who remained physically active through the duration of the 13 year study. Vigorous exercise was defined as any physical activity that caused them to huff and puff. Physical activity, survival, and functional status were assessed at the initial recruitment, a follow up period, and at the study exit.
The physically active men demonstrated less depression, more functional independence (e.g. drive, pay their own bills), and less memory loss as opposed to their sedentary counterparts. The study concluded that when safe and feasible, vigorous physical activity promoted healthy aging and longevity. Exercise prevents many of the health problems that come with age.
You may be familiar with food products that boast about being great sources of probiotics and with all the benefits probiotics can offer, it is some welcomed marketing in the world of nutrition. A recent discovery suggests that maintaining the levels of healthy bacteria in our digestive tracts may be more important than we could have ever imagined. Vanessa Ridaura, a grad student from Washington University, and her fellow researchers decided to investigate the link between the composition of gut bacteria and obesity. What Ms. Ridaura found was nothing short of astonishing.
How Gut Bacteria Influences Weight Gain
The gut bacteria from lean and obese mice were obtained and inserted in mice that had been born and raised in sterile conditions so no bacteria were present in their digestive tract prior to the treatment. These germ-free mice were then fed a diet of standard low fat chow and what resulted may have carved a new path in the understanding of obesity. The sterile mice which received gut bacteria from the obese rodents accumulated body fat much quicker than the mice which received gut bacteria from their lean counterparts.
With more than a third of American adults classified as obese, there is no question that there is an obesity epidemic in this country. Despite this, as a medical professional, I remain encouraged by the cultural changes and improved understanding I see occurring in regards to obesity. While I typically encourage obese individuals to implement a medically-supervised regimen for weight loss and health, I also alert them to some of the side effects associated with significant decreases in body mass and what they could do to alleviate their impact.
A common negative side effect of massive weight loss that I often see is the impact on skin. Rapid weight loss can result in stretch marks and loose skin since the sudden change in mass fails to give the skin enough time to compensate with regard to elasticity. For many patients, the result is loose skin that remains after the weight loss goal is reached.
Fortunately, there are means for reducing the impact of significant weight loss on skin elasticity:
I remember when kettlebell training first hit the mainstream. Almost overnight, gyms were rapidly filled with a whole array of kettlebells and we were left to assume that they must be good for us, but nobody was quite sure how to use them effectively or how to incorporate them into their routines.
I only really got into using kettlebells as part of my workout routine about a year ago. I train at an MMA gym and one of the instructors took the time to go through the basics with me. After a little experimentation, and some light reading, I now include one kettlebell session into my weekly training routine.
I love the benefits that a kettlebell session gives me. Kettlebell training is something a little different, which helps keep things interesting, while the direct benefits are great too; you get a strength workout, while also building your endurance levels and developing your core. In addition, if you incorporate the use of kettlebells into your regular circuit training routine, you can reap the benefits of a cardio workout.
We all have our own motivations for running. My mother used to ask me and fellow runners, ‘what are you running away from?’
It’s not something that I can explain to non-runners, but I can say that we all, those of us who run, would like to run better, faster, and reduce the risk of injury.
And that’s why I’m telling you, as a fellow runner, that you need a running app for your android or iPhone right now. A good motivator to expand your current running workout routine or to get started; check out these top apps for runners to see what you’re missing out on!
I’m always sceptical when it comes to power towers. The premise is great; one station where you can get an intense, upper body workout. The reality, however, in my experience, is that power towers are usually flimsy, poorly built and uncomfortable to use.
I purchased a power tower many years ago, convinced that the investment was a great way to save money in the long run. After all, as long as I went running and did my work on the power tower, I was getting a complete, full body workout.
It didn’t quite pan out like this.
I ended up giving the power tower away to a friend as it was so uncomfortable to use and, given that I weighed over 100kg at the time, the machine struggled to take my weight.
Over a decade has now passed since I ditched my power tower and, given that money is a little tight at the moment, and gym memberships are soaring at an astonishing rate, I’m beginning to entertain the idea of purchasing another power tower.
Older adults may tend to disagree, but teenagers today are under a great deal of pressure. College admission requirements continue to increase, along with the cost of tuition. State-mandated school tests are also on the rise, as are educational requirements. Teenagers engaged in school activities find themselves in very competitive situations, and often outside help in the form of lessons, extra practices and tutors is required to keep pace. There are also the social pressures of just trying to fit in. All of these stressors can leave teenagers feeling overwhelmed and result in high anxiety and nervousness.
Recent studies, however, indicate that at least part of teenage angst can be blamed on diets lacking in Omega-3.
The old adage—breakfast like a king, lunch like a common man and dinner like a pauper—wasn’t popular without a reason. We now have researches to prove it true. A hearty breakfast comes with a host of health benefits. The ones who are aspiring to lose weight should pay special attention, as a breakfast sufficiently rich in carbohydrates and fats has been especially favourably associated with weight loss. Other than weight loss, a good breakfast helps you balance your overall health, be more productive throughout the day, and stay in a happier mood than if you have a skimpy first meal of the day.
Why Breakfast is Important
It is commonly accepted that diet, rather than physical activity, has the major impact in a weight loss program. Losing weight is only worth it if done in the right way and without compromising on the other dimensions of our health. However, it seems that is not only WHAT we eat but WHEN we eat too that affects the metabolism of the body. A detailed research in the area has been done by a researcher at Tel Aviv University.