Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Produce Big Payoffs
The path to a better, longer life may be shorter than you think
By now, everyone knows the drill: Quit smoking, eat better, exercise, and you'll get healthier.
Now, two new studies uncover the wisdom in that tried-and-true advice. And they find that success may come quicker than most people realize.
In one study, Christian Roberts and colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that lifestyle changes helped reverse serious heart disease risk factors in less than one month among 31 obese men they studied. That study was published online Jan. 10 in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
A second report -- this time by Stephanie Chiuve and colleagues at Harvard University -- found that men who followed five healthy habits had an 87 percent lower risk of getting heart disease than men who ignore these behaviors. The health habits included eating a prudent diet, exercising regularly, controlling weight, not smoking and drinking in moderation.
That study, which tracked more than 51,000 men for over 16 years, was published in the July 3 online edition of the journal Circulation
While both studies were done in men, the findings are expected to apply to women, said Chiuve. She noted that a separate study of women, published about five years ago, found that healthy behavior quickly reduced their risk of heart disease.
Following all five healthy habits is best, she says, but even if you change one or two habits, that's good, Chiuve said. The most important one to change: smoking.
"Not smoking was associated with the lowest risk for heart disease," Chiuve said. Next up was maintaining a healthy body weight -- that means sticking to a body mass index (BMI) below 25. For reference, a person 5 feet 5 inches tall who weighs 145 pounds has a BMI of 24, for instance. Statistical overweight begins at a BMI over 25.
"The other three [factors] -- exercise, eating a healthy diet, drinking in moderation were all equal," Chiuve said, in terms of reducing heart disease risks.
Some changes can reduce risks particularly quickly, she said. "Within two weeks, eating a healthy diet can reduce blood pressure."
Roberts' group found relatively speedy results from healthy changes, too. In his study, he followed men who had recently entered a residential program for improving their health. They ate a high-fiber, low-fat diet, taking in more than 40 grams a day and less than 15 percent of total calories from fat. They also walked for about 60 minutes a day.
After just three weeks of this behavior, about half the men reversed their tendency to type 2 diabetes or a cluster of other heart risk factors -- such as elevated blood pressure, insulin levels or high cholesterol -- that together are called the metabolic syndrome.
"We measured 15 or 20 different things," he said. "The lipids [such as cholesterol] tend to change very quickly," he said.
"Body weight [reduction] has a much longer course," he said. While many people focus on body weight reduction, thinking it's the prime factor driving health-related changes, that's not always so, Roberts said.
"Some people think the body weight [change] causes the cholesterol to drop. It's not the body weight per se, but many other mechanisms. The cholesterol can drop independent of body weight," he said.
Simply adding more fiber to the diet and taking out saturated fat, he said, could be beneficial for your lipid profile, as can regular exercise.
"An editorial written in concert with this paper suggests the concept that you have to change for several months is erroneous," he said.
What is needed, he said, is to consider the changes a new life plan, not a temporary fix.
Stephanie Chiuve, Sc.D., research fellow, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; Christian Roberts, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor, physiological science, University of California, Los Angeles; July 3, 2006, online edition, Circulation; Jan. 10, 2006, online edition, Journal of Applied
Article written by:
Originally published on Healthday.com
Copyright © 2007 ScoutNews LLC. All rights reserved.
PUMP UP YOUR GUNS
Arm Building Tips from NFL Strength Coach Ray Oliver
Developing those big guns that every guy wants requires hard work in the gym, proper nutrition and recovery. Gold's Gym Fitness Institute Member and NFL Strength and Conditioning Coach, Ray "Rock" Oliver, reveals his expert advice on developing muscular arms.
With much experience working in athletic training, Oliver's number one piece of advice is to work the arms with "full range of motion" exercises in order to maintain balance and symmetry to the arm. He also reminds individuals to allow the muscles to rest for 48 hours in between routines. Below, "Rock" recommends a series of arm exercises to build size and strength to the arms.
Tips from the Trainer: Jumpstart Your Workout Routine with Protien-Enriched Tuna Patties
Gold's Gym Killeen, TX Fitness Manager, Heidi Giles shares her secret tuna patty recipe to help fitness enthusiasts power through their workouts.
Looking for a new and easy way to take in more protein? Gold's Gym Killeen, TX Fitness Manager, Heidi Giles shares her secret tuna patty recipe to help fitness enthusiasts power through their workouts.
Recipe for Protein in 3 Simple Steps:
Nutritional information for each patty using PAM:
Need more carbohydrates? Add more oats.
Need more fat? Add an egg yolk or two.
Need more protein? Eat two!
FITNESS DOESN'T END WHEN YOU LEAVE THE GYM
Ten Simple Lifestyle Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of Your Summer Fitness Routine
The reason so many people accept failure in their fitness endeavors is that life, quite simply, gets in the way. All the cardio in the world and the best workout program ever designed cannot undo your daily lifestyle. Andy Coggan, Gold's Gym personal trainer, has developed eight lifestyle tips that will allow you to get the most out of your fitness routine-after leaving the gym:
Eat Right - Diet is 75% of the battle. This means adhering to healthy foods, frequency of meals, timing of nutrients, and portion control, as well as abstaining from or limiting your intake of alcohol, sugar and saturated fats.
Get Enough Sleep - Exercise causes damage to muscle fibers which can only be healed optimally with proper recovery. Getting eight hours of sleep every night will assure you that you are getting the rest your body needs.
Don't Stop Moving - Get involved in a local adult sports league, play with your kids, walk the dog, and take the stairs when you can. Plan your vacations and outings to involve being active and outdoors. Every calorie burned adds up, and each little activity can make a big impact when combined with others.
Limit TV and Internet Time - Time spent in front of the TV or computer is time spent sitting or lying down. Try to limit this time to an hour each night, you'll be amazed at how much more you accomplish and how much better you feel.
Plan Your Meals - Make a plan ahead of time to determine what you will be eating, and then stick to it. Go to the grocery store and buy only what you need for planned meals.
Drink Water- Water is necessary for the proper function of all cells in your body and replaces other high calorie drink options from your diet. Strive for a minimum of 64 ounces per day, and more on days that you exercise.
Avoid Social Pitfalls- There is always a celebration to be had and all seem to be valid excuses to "cheat." You hit your monthly sales goal at work, today is a co-workers birthday, your team has a big game this weekend, and so on and so on. Celebrate when it's appropriate, but don't forget your fitness goals and save your "cheating" for when it's really appropriate.
Get Your Friends and Family Involved- Having a good support system for your healthy lifestyle can mean the difference between a goal met and a goal forgotten. Tell those closest to you what you want to accomplish and they will be much more likely to check in on your progress and assist you along the way.
Reduce Stress - Keeping your stress levels in check can have a profound effect on your health and wellbeing. The stress hormone cortisol has been linked to increased body fat around the waist as well as high blood pressure and blood sugar imbalances. Find ways to relax and eliminate stress on a day to day basis.
Reward Yourself - Allow yourself a day to eat the food you've been resisting all week long, to sleep in, or to take a break from working out altogether. It is these reward days that can keep a person self disciplined and motivated to stick with the program they're on, knowing that they have something to look forward to. But be careful not to overdo it on the reward days.
Tips from the Trainer: 5 Steps to Better Your Legs on the Upright Bike
Lisa McClendon, Gold's Gym Personal Trainer in Kileen TX, offers simple suggestions to get the most out of your upright biking workout.
The following tips were developed by Gold's Gym Personal Trainer Lisa McClendon to help correct a few common mistakes made while riding the upright bike.
Boomers Must Take Extra Steps To Prevent Sports And Exercise-related Injuries
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommendations to help prevent injuries while exercising.
While exercise and playing sports can be lots of fun, aging puts some limits on the intensity and duration of that activity. Growing older also makes us more prone to injuries ourselves during physical activity. "Baby boomers" tend to be at risk, since they may just be discovering their bodies are not as young as they used to be. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends that "boomers" take special cautions to help prevent injuries as they exercise to keep their bodies in top condition.
According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, in 2005:
"When you are 50, your body is more prone to injury than it was when you were 20," says Emmett McEleney, MD, orthopaedic surgeon and AAOS Leadership Fellows Program member. "Joints, tissues and muscles may not be as flexible as they used to be. So as you get older, you need to take extra steps to protect yourself from injuries when you exercise."
The Academy offers the following strategies to help baby boomers prevent exercise-related injuries:
Originally published by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Seven Best and Seven Worst Foods for Health and Longevity
Dr. Joel Fuhrman on eating for your health in the long term.
Because food has the power to heal, my patients often ask me for my top list of healthy food - the anti-oxidant foods, heart healthy foods, and nutritious foods that are central to the Eat To Live program. These high nutrient foods, consumed regularly, will contribute to your health and longevity. What you eat -- now and when you were growing up -- dramatically affects the state of your health. The effect is cumulative, influencing everything from the amount of energy you have (or lack), to your emotional state, medical condition, and ultimately longevity.
Top Seven Foods for Good Health and Longevity
Other foods with high antioxidant and high anti-cancer potential include walnuts, sunflower seeds, pomegranates, beets, cabbage, peppers, and parsley. Make your diet strongly cancer-protective and longevity-favorable by including these highly beneficial, nutritious foods.
A good way to think about nutritious food: Produce is the most important health care your money can buy.
Food also has the potential to harm, and these are effective foods for those attempting to die younger. One of my daughters calls this list the Seven Foods of Death.
Worst Seven Foods for Health and Longevity
Salt has been consistently linked to stomach cancer and stroke, even in populations that eat diets low in saturated fat.
Add the carcinogenic potential from heated and overcooked oils (usually trans containing) delivered in doughnuts and fries with the powerful cancer inducing properties of carbohydrates cooked at high heat (acrylamide formation) and you have a great cancer potion.
Needless to say, I advise people to avoid the foods on my "worst list" entirely.
The best foods to eat are the healthy, nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables. By making these antioxidant foods the major portion of your diet, you can protect yourself against cancer and other serious diseases. As you extend your youthful vigor into later years, you have contributed to your longevity by Eating to Live with a healthy, nutritious diet.
Originally published on drfuhrman.com for DiseaseProof.com
Exercise: The best medicine
"Walk two miles and call me in the morning." That's what doctors could soon prescribe if the new leaders of two major medical groups have their way.
"Walk two miles and call me in the morning."
More than half of Americans fail to get the 30 minutes of physical activity recommended daily to provide health benefits, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Written by Sally Squires/The Lean Plate Club
Originally published in the Boston Herald
Fast Food Without the Fat
Nancy Clark, the director of nutrition services at SportsMedicine Associates, talks about how you can eat well even less than optimal circumstances.
It's no secret that fast-food places are not the bastion of healthy eating. But you can eat at a fast-food place and fare relatively well. Almost every fast-food establishment has at least one healthy (or healthier) choice. But first, let's look at the potential problems if you enter the arena of fast food mindlessly.
When you are in the "gulp-and-go" cycle, you may not give a second thought to what you put into your body. I find that even my health-conscious clients tend to fall into the all-or-none trap the moment they enter a fast-food restaurant. They rationalize, "Since I'm eating fast food, I might as well blow it." This mind-set combined with the ease of ordering combo meals and their inexpensive supersizing can quickly spell trouble. Even if you are not supersizing, some foods by themselves exceed a day's worth of fat and sodium if you eat the whole thing.
If you want to see how your favorite fast-food order stacks up nutritionally, check out appendix A, "Fast-Food Nutritional Charts." You'll find nutrition information on 22 fast-food companies, including pizza places, sandwich shops, and take-out places.
Now let's focus on the positive, that is, how to make the best out of a fast-food situation. Keep in mind that in a pinch, fast food can be better than going too long without eating, which can lead to overeating.
Here are some guidelines to help make the best of your fast-food order.
Excerpted with permission from Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, by Nancy Clark, Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
Women's midlife weight key to future diabetes risk
People carrying excess weight who aim to ward off diabetes should try to lose the pounds before they reach middle age, Australian researchers suggest.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People carrying excess weight who aim to ward off diabetes should try to lose the pounds before they reach middle age, Australian researchers suggest.
A woman's body mass index (BMI) in her late 40s was the strongest predictor of her risk of developing diabetes over the next eight years, Dr. Gita D. Mishra of the University of Queensland and her colleagues found.
On the other hand, there was no link between weight change in subsequent years and the likelihood of becoming diabetic.
While excess weight is understood to boost the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the effects of shorter-term weight gain or loss are not as clear, Mishra and her team note in the journal Diabetes Care. To investigate, the researchers followed 7,239 women for 8 years. Study participants were 45 to 50 years old when the study began, and they completed surveys on their health at the study's outset in 1996 and in 1998, 2001 and 2004.
Those with BMIs of 25 or greater, indicating they were overweight or obese, in 1996 were at the highest risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 2004, the researchers found. Very obese women with BMIs of 35 or above were 12 times more likely than their normal-weight peers to become diabetic.
Weight gain or loss during the course of the study had no influence on a woman's risk of developing diabetes, while physical activity only reduced risk for the most active women.
"Because women's risk of developing type 2 diabetes in midlife is more closely related to their initial BMI (when aged 45-50 years) than to subsequent short-term weight-change, public health initiatives should target the prevention of weight gain before and during early adulthood," the researchers conclude.
They note that only small changes in physical activity and calorie intake are needed to stop from becoming overweight or obese, and that it is particularly important to "inspire people" to make those changes while they are young adults.
Diabetes Care, June 2007 and reproduced by Reuters Health.