This month, we have learned it’s all about behavior modification – making small changes to daily routines that, hopefully, evolve into healthy lifestyles. As a follow-up, let’s look to a previous post that focuses on adherence to behaviors associated with successful weight loss maintenance. Unbeknownst to many, there are several phases of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight: active weight loss, transition to maintenance of new (lesser) weight, and maintaining the weight loss. The active weight loss phase is often where people put in the most effort, take ”dieting” and exercise to the extremes, and feel pretty good when they lose significant amounts of weight. But experts
Are you sitting down? If so, I hope that in a few minutes, you’ll be motivated to hop to your feet! You are probably aware of the harms of a sedentary lifestyle – the increased risk for obesity, chronic illness, and a shortened life span – but knowing the tragic facts and figures unfortunately doesn’t solve the problem that so many of us face.1,2 Over 80% of working Americans are in sedentary jobs, and on average these workers are at work 47 hours per week.3 If we’re supposed to be moving more, we’re probably not going to find time…we’re going
March is National Nutrition Month. This campaign raises awareness of the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits, which brings to mind an earlier post that encourages healthy behaviors. Year after year national guidelines urge Americans to do physical activity and eat a healthy plant-based diet. And year after year Americans become more sedentary and choose more highly-processed foods high in fat and calories. So what’s the disconnect? Are our healthy messages too complex? Do Americans not see the benefits of a healthy lifestyle? Or, perhaps, are Americans trying to change, but just not using
Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is defined as the body’s maximal ability to transport and utilize oxygen at the tissue level. Results from the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study (CCLS)1 and other large studies, have consistently shown that individuals with low CRF have higher all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and cancer mortality (death) rates than those with moderate CRF, and that the risk continues to decrease when we look at those with high CRF (Figure 1). In the CCLS, low CRF is defined as a treadmill stress test performance in the bottom 20% compared to others of the same age group and gender. This is
Happy National Pistachio Day! Pistachios are on my list of favorite nuts, along with almonds, cashews, pecans, and most others. Let’s check out a previous post that highlights the nutritional benefits of nuts. I often get asked the question “what is the best nut for you to eat?” And the answer is…there is no “one” best nut. There are many varieties that carry different benefits. For instance, if you are looking for a good source of vitamin E, then almonds are a good choice. If you are looking for a high level of antioxidants or a source of ALA (alpha-linolenic
If you pay attention to what the media or public says or writes, you would think that dietary high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is the worst villain since Attila the Hun. Although HFCS has been branded by many as a major culprit in the U.S. obesity epidemic, does science really support this view? Let’s take an objective look. HFCS is a liquid sweetener that is used in many foods and beverages, and is often used as an alternative to sucrose (table sugar). The use of HFCS in foods and beverages began in the late 1960s and its use has increased substantially
Happy Valentine’s Day weekend! As you consider the heart-shaped candies, red roses, and sweet treats for your loved ones, think about doing something for your heart health, too! Each year since 1963, the President of the United States has proclaimed February as American Heart Month. As the proclamation states, “It is the number one killer of American women and men, and it is a leading cause of serious illness and disability. Across our Nation, we have lost devoted mothers and fathers, loved siblings, and cherished friends to this devastating epidemic.”1 More than 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day.
Although foam rollers are very popular among athletes, they have been shown to provide health benefits that everyone can gain. Foam rolling is used as a form of self-myofascial release (SMR), which is a basic technique used to release tightness in the muscles, tendons, fascia, and/or soft tissues, as well as improve the range of motion of a joint. But recent findings suggest that the benefits of SMR may reach beyond the muscles and joints and to the cardiovascular system. Normal healthy arteries are capable of dilating (relaxing) or contracting, depending on whether the goal is to increase or decrease
Would I fit stereotypes well enough if I write a health blog about health resolutions in January? Probably, and this is precisely the reason that I am not writing a health blog about resolutions in January! I’m writing about what often comes after the resolution: the relapse. Whether you are famous for phasing out your goals or known for never giving up, it’s time to talk about how to deal with defeat in a productive way. When it comes to health goals in particular, failure can be pretty hard to swallow. The reality is that life often comes with setbacks.
As we eagerly prepare our gym bags and raw veggies in support of our 2015 resolutions to exercise and watch what we eat (you are still at them right?!), I flash back to a previous discussion on training expectations that will come in handy as we move forward with our goals. When setting expectations for your results with exercise training it is important to consider the “window of adaptation.” Whenever you begin something new, you have a very large window of adaptation meaning there is a great potential to see significant (and often large) increases in performance. As you become