Archive for exercise
Summer is here and the other day I was thinking of hitting the 4th of July clothing sales to get myself some new shorts. My legs aren’t great after years of standing all day, but it is hot here in the south. Around July, I often reach the point of not caring what my legs look like as long as I don’t look in a full length mirror!
Plus there’s that menopausal weight gain and body weight shift issue, and some shorts aren’t as comfortable as they were last year.
Growing older and seeing our bodies and figures change is tough for menopausal women. We usually figure out how to maintain our health and weight through our 30′s and 40′s, but then it all changes without us seeming to change anything!
Or have we changed a lot and just not been aware of it?
A recent study hitting the news reveals some shocking statistics: up to 51% of us women have no leisure time activity or exercise built into our lives! This is up from 14% in 1994; and felt to be the primary cause for obesity.
So it is not that we are actually eating more calories, although admittedly the calories we are eating may be of lesser quality. Our weight problem has more to do with moving much less than in past years. This can happen slowly and without us being aware of it. We get busier at work and at home, and we feel we can skip the exercise today. Today then becomes tomorrow, the next day and onward; until exercise is no longer a habit.
This slide into inactivity can happen quickly, and can easily be blamed on any number of reasons. There is really only one reason though, and it is not making movement and exercise a firm part of our routine. It is not that we are lazy, we just haven’t placed it high on the priority list and that list can be long.
Now that you have decided you do not want to be part of the 51% of women who don’t exercise, it is time to start making some changes.
Starting with your activity level is a good place to begin. I want you to take these next steps.
Decide what you would like to try for exercise and schedule a time. Sign up for an exercise class either with or without a friend. Get out of the house first thing in the morning for whatever amount of time you can, and do something such as walking. Set an alarm on your watch or phone every 60-90 minutes and walk around the house or office; even run up a flight of stairs.
I absolutely know you will feel better with more movement built into your day. You may have to pick specific activities if you have an orthopedic problem, and I can make suggestions for you to discuss with your medical provider.
As for me, I admitted to myself that my shorts are fine and I will like them more if they are a little looser. I don’t need new ones. So I will be doing my floor exercises more faithfully at night while I watch the evening news.
The holy grail of weight loss research is finding a pill that enables people to lose weight with theoretically less action than what people are willing to take. We have all heard the mantra that increased activity and reduced food consumption is the way to lose weight. Anyone who has ever needed to lose weight understands this equation. The difficult part has always been developing and sticking to a plan that works.
Many medications developed for weight loss have been effective, but usually at a tradeoff that presents serious problems for some other system in our body. Remember Phen-Fen? That was highly effective in causing weight loss, but was found to cause serious heart and lung problems. So it looks like for now, we are back to the equation of eat less move more for weight loss.
Researchers have known for years about the different hormones associated with eating and food metabolism. What has been an eye opener is how these hormones interact and effect our appetite and sense of fullness. Most studies have been performed on men, but there has been a recent study performed on a small group of women noting the affect of exercise on appetite and hunger.
Appetite and hunger are complicated and involve signals from many parts of your body, as well as our emotions. There is one hormone that stimulates hunger, called ghrelin. What ghrelin does in response to exercise has been inconsistently documented in studies, however a this recent study suggests it is variable for women, depending on what exercise you engage in. This study found that this appetite hormone spiked during running exercise in the test subjects, but not in the walking test subjects. Additionally, the hormones associated with feeling full also were raised following the running exercise group but not the walking exercise group.
The combined result surprisingly showed that appetite and food intake was reduced following exercise for the runners, but not for the walkers. The walkers were noted to eat more following their exercise, more calories than what they burned for their activity.
What does this mean for us?
- To lose weight, you must pair your exercising with a diet that is restricted in calories to some degree.
- The more vigorously you exercise may also positively impact your appetite and resulting calorie intake.
- There may be some difficulty with weight loss using walking alone as your exercise.
- Interval training may be more effective, with short bursts of intense exercise added at intervals with your walking.
- As of yet, there are no pills or short cuts to the process of weight loss.
Find a schedule or program that works for you, that you enjoy; and stick to it. There are many ways you can enjoy exercise.
- Zumba and dancing and dance aerobics are fun ways to move and may appeal to you who do not like gyms. Many classes are offered through gyms as well as churches and facilities not requiring a membership.
- Walking or jogging/running with a club or friend(s) may appeal to the social side of you. Some local athletic stores sponsor walking and running clubs that are loosely structured but can help get you moving.
- Many gyms have classes that can appeal to you such as spinning, pilates, as well as different movement regimens.
- For those of you that want to start off in the privacy of home, exercise CD’s or home equipment can be a good and often affordable option.
Keep in mind the more vigorous your exercise, the more you will engage natural hormones to help you with healthy food metabolism and appetite control. Adding healthy food choices in your kitchen and getting rid of unhealthy choices can then help you replenish with less calories. This is a key to weight loss, and unlike pills, can be continued for a lifetime!
We all know exercise is good for us. The majority of us do not exercise despite knowing this. Even though it will add years of better health to your life, we don’t do it or don’t do it regularly or we over do one area like cardio to our detriment and ignore muscle strengthening activity that make our bones and our muscles stronger. What can you do? How can you make this more automatic.
How about life style exercise? What is that?
Parking across the lot from the front of the store or the entrance to work and walking a little further.
Walking up one and down two flights of steps when we run an errand. Going up more than one floor, walk up to the next floor to catch the elevator.
Put on some music and dance, not hard, no wild moves, just dance gently and for 3 or 4 songs each day. Doesn’t even have to be all at once. 1-2 in the morning and 1-2 in the evening.
Take a walk on your lunch break, just 10 minutes.
The effect of exercise is cumulative meaning we don’t have to do it for an hour straight but 5 minutes here and there 12 times in a day add up to an hour.
Loosing weight is 80-90% diet. Looking better naked though is more like 50/50 diet and exercise. Face it, we want to look better naked and if we get healthy that is a beneficial side effect but most of us would trade 2 years at the end of our life, unless it is that 2 year period, for better looks now. I am not saying that is the right thing to do, it isn’t, but it is human nature to take the quick easy way and pay the consequences later. If our nature wasn’t like that, would we have such a huge national debt or so many of us be so deeply in credit card debt? You know this is true, even at the life stage of menopause. We value youth in our culture. Why would Joan Rivers (and many other women) do what she has done if that were not true. Well, how about being young in your muscle, bones and internal organs? OK, lets look at my new video and then I will direct you to some links that will help you.
Where can you find out more about Kettlebells and exercises to do with them? Here on Squioo - I have a lens there called Female Menopause Solutions!
Dumbell exercises you can do on the ball or off.
Tell me what is working for you? How are you controlling your weight and what are you doing for fitness?
If you are in my email membership group, you will receive a special video link with I discuss how you can get and keep the will power to do what you need to stay on track with a healthy lifestyle. Look for that in your email soon.
Over the past many weeks, you may have had the chance to view my videos on YouTube regarding the 35 Symptoms of Menopause.
The 35 Symptoms of Menopause is is a list put forth by Project AWARE, to enlighten women regarding all the symptoms and changes that can be experienced during menopause. I am working my way through all these symptoms and making short videos about the various symptoms. In researching and thinking about these symptoms, and what my readers can do to minimize or rid themselves of these symptoms; it has become abundantly clear that the clearest and surest way to help yourself, is healthy living.
Over and over, I come back to exercise, stress reduction, adequate sleep and good nutrition as non-pharmacological ways to avoid many of these symptoms. These symptoms include, to name a few: hot flashes, sleep disturbance, heart palpitations, various gastrointestinal complaints, various mental complaints, fatigue, muscle and joint problems, skin changes, as well as changes in taste, urination.
Balance is everything, and this is what menopause is all about-a change in the balance.
This is why it is crucial to pay attention to what is happening to your body and mind, and make changes before it gets too far out of control. Serious health conditions can start during this exact time of life. It is within your power to change the course of this downward spiral if that is what is happening. It takes a little knowledge, a little time, some support and COMMITMENT to make these changes happen.
Here are a few of my tips to you:
- cut down or out on sugar-that means table sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup
- read labels of what you buy so you are aware of sugar content
- eat 3 meals a day of food that has fiber, and protein with no animal fats, limit starches
- drink 8- 8oz glasses of water, plain or flavored with a wedge of lemon or lime
- limit alcohol, and for weight loss-stop the alcohol
- If you are trying to lose weight, and you are successful using the above strategies-You will need to continue with this eating plan in some form in order to maintain your new weight.
- aim for 30 minutes of movement 5 days a week
- get up 30 minutes earlier in the day to exercise (walk, exercise tape or exercise on demand on TV)
- try a class at a facility that does not require you join-many gyms will take drop ins for classes
- walk during your lunch hour, get a walking buddy to help motivate you
- take the stairs in buildings instead of elevators, park at furthest end of parking lot
- offer to mow the lawn instead of whoever usually does it
- start a relaxing routine 1 hour before bedtime
- turn off computer, stop your chores or work 1 hour before bedtime
- keep bedroom cool, put a fan near your bed if necessary
- limit food, especially sugar (including alcohol) for 2-4 hrs before bed depending on your sensitivity
- keep lights and household noise low for 1 hour before bed
- allow the sleepiness you begin to feel to take effect, don’t fight by “doing one more thing”
- at least once weekly, do something just for yourself ie. massage, movie, out with friends, what ever YOU enjoy
- practice deep breathing throughout the day-deep breath in for a count of 3-4, out for a count of 3-4. Do this several times in a row, once hourly.
- take some time to stretch and think
- prioritize your tasks in order of importance, then see #5
- set a time for when you will stop your work/chores, then stop. Regardless of whether everything is done.
These are just my suggestions, it is what I try to do for myself and it is how I advise many of my patients. Many of you have other strategies equally as effective, write in and share with us what works for you. Most importantly, take care of yourself, make some time for yourself, and strive for that balance.
I am hooked! This weekend, I tried a new exercise-Zumba. It was so much fun, and I have to tell you I do not have much natural rhythm and I am not a dancer.
I have exercised most of my life and I usually choose from the same array of choices; and although I focus on benefits and how good I feel afterwards, it can get boring. In my younger years I ran, now I walk and do strength training as well as yoga. At times, I have belonged to health clubs and enjoyed using the elliptical trainer, treadmill and weight machines. I am thrilled to have another FUN exercise I can enjoy.
No, I am not trying to brag on my fitness routine. I am speaking to the importance of ENJOYING what you are doing for exercise. If you do not enjoy your exercise, you will most likely not continue with it. We all have heard the benefits of exercise in terms of helping with weight control, lowering of blood pressure and glucose(sugar); and these are important benefits. Having said that, there are so many other benefits to be gained with exercising.
CONTROL! We all need to feel in control of our lives and exercise is another piece of this. By exercising, you are controlling your moods, weight, health, mobility, and mental function. You are in the driver’s seat! What woman transitioning through menopause does not want to feel in control! That is the difficulty with menopause, our bodies feel that they are not under our control any more.
I can give you a long list of the medical benefits of exercise, but I cannot describe for you the emotional lift that movement for me, and me alone, gives me. This is something I am doing for me, and yes my husband/children/friends/coworkers all benefit from my more positive mood. In the end though, I exercise for myself so that I can live my coming years continuing to be in control. None of us wants to age and be left behind by our family members and friends. We want to be productive, we want to continue to count in this world. Exercise can help get you there and keep you there.
So, get out there and figure out what works for you! Share with us your experiences and strategies that work for you in keeping active and in control. If you are having trouble with getting started, write in and ask questions. Enlist our help, or the help of someone knowledgeable that you trust. Most of all, move towards conquering your problems and road blocks towards health and vitality!
Hey, one more thing. You should sign up for our free membership. In there for only $5 you will find a course called The Menopause Guide to an Active Healthy Life. You don’t want to miss out on this bargain opportunity. Join our program for free and then purchase the Menopause Guide!
As the New Year and its’ requisite resolutions have come, you may have decided to begin or change your exercise routine. You may be wondering how you are going to implement the changes you want to make. In this economy you may not be able to afford a gym membership or a trainer. So what can you do?
It need not cost a lot of money to set yourself up at home with equipment that can aid you in your fitness resolutions.
Here are some way you can obtain and use equipment in an affordable way.
- Shoes: These are the first and possibly most expensive investment you need to make when beginning an exercise program. There are many good brands and a wide price range. The important thing to understand is that proper fitting shoes will help prevent injuries. Your shoes need not be expensive, but they must give adequate support to your arch. Additionally, they should not rub either at the widest part of your foot or at the heels and toes. You should try on several different pairs in the store and walk and jump around a little to evaluate how they feel. Don’t be embarrassed to do this, I often see people doing this in stores. Many discount shoe stores will stock last years or seasons model of athletic shoe at a significantly lower price.
- Pedometer: This small device hooks onto you waist and counts the steps you take when you are walking or running. They can be helpful to guide you on distance, and close you are getting to the 10,000 steps a day that is recommended for heart health.They are very unobtrusive, can motivate you to increase walking or running, and can cost from 10-30$ depending on sophistication.(look for one that does not need to be perpendicular but can also be carried in a pocket or backpack and still count your steps)
- Jump Rope: Remember using this as a child? Jumping rope is an excellent cardiovascular exercise which works many muscle groups in legs and buttocks. 10 minutes of intense jump roping can burn up to 100 calories. It is utilized by many professional athletes to augment fitness routines and costs 10$ or less. Be careful if you have problems with your knees, ankles or feet.
- Resistance Bands: These often come in sets and can help to strengthen muscles by pushing against a set resistance. The sets often come with exercise guides, these exercises can be done easily in your home and cost 10-20$.
- Hand Weights: Hand weights come in different weights, they range in cost from 10-20$ for a pair. You can start with a low weight and gradually build up. The weights can be held while doing different strength exercises such as squats or lunges, to increase the work of your muscles and burn more calories.It is best not to walk holding weights as this has been shown to cause strains in the shoulders, elbows and wrists if not held correctly or improper posture used.
- Medicine Ball: A medicine ball is a ball that is weighted, different weights can be purchased. It is smaller than a basket ball. It can be held during different strength training moves to strength upper body and you core muscles(abdomen and back).You can squeeze and hold the ball between your knees as you do squats or when you are using hand weights for your upper body workout.
- Stability ball: This is a large ball which is purchased according to your height. It is inflated with air, and you sit on it while doing different exercises. Because it is wobbly, your core muscles work harder to maintain your balance. It is very good for strengthening different muscle groups. It has a variety of workout uses and most come with a workout set of instructions. It can usually be purchased for under20-25$.
In addition to the above tools for exercising, are fitness videos that can be rented from
your local library or video rental store, purchased new or used from book stores or online
retailers. You can rent several from Netflix before you decide on purchasing one. All of this
can be done in the privacy of your home.
If your budget is larger, I recommend you go to your local sports equipment retailer that sells exercise equipment and try out their equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines or stationary bicycles. Many gyms will give you a 1 week free trial and you can use this to evaluate what type of exercise machine is most compatible and enjoyable for you. Talk to your friends and co-workers who may use this type of exercise equipment and get their opinion on brands and types of equipment. If you choose to purchase a large piece of equipment, it
is a good idea to read about the different levels of quality and what you get for more money. A good quality treadmill will cost at least 600-700$ and more. Elliptical machines, stair steppers and bicycles are slightly less.
If you crave variety and would like to use many different types of equipment while exercising, or you are easily bored with exercise; a gym membership may well be worth the money to you. Many gyms have done away with joining fees, and offer memberships for 30-40$ a month if you agree to a year or more contract. This really is worth the money as long as you can commit to using this membership at least 3 times weekly. Anything less is a waste of money.
Personal trainers are well worth the money if you can afford them. A certified personal trainer will work out with you, push you to push yourself and help you with form in order to prevent injuries. All of this will help you to achieve better results with your fitness goals. Many gyms have personal trainers that contract with them to use the space. Many personal trainers will come to your home. It is important to see that they are certified and it helps to get references, work of mouth through friends and co-workers is another way to find a reputable personal trainer.
Stay tuned for future exercise suggestions, how to get started, or how to tweak your routine in order to get better results!
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In reviewing past posts and even in talking to friends and family members, I hear myself speaking a repeated refrain. I often notice the eyes of my audience glaze over!
Diet and exercise, diet and exercise, diet and exercise.
While I firmly believe that healthy diet and exercise can significantly impact most of what is wrong with our health, I do realize not everyone wants to follow this advice because they don’t see themselves as “that type”.
Many people really enjoy food in a way that is not obsessive or necessarily unhealthy. Take for instance a friend that can throw together a delicious crab cake or tasty quesadilla at the drop of a hat for friends and hungry teenagers. Many cooks in the South (where I reside) are very proud of their cooking skills and may feel that they cannot blend the two goals of serving great food and being healthy. Many of us are mothers that have had to cook for a variety of family tastes that have changed as children have grown. Food is good and coming together for a fun meal is, well, fun. The cook who pulls it together is entitled to feel proud.
So how can this person follow my advice?
One simple word. MODERATION!
Enjoy food, but make healthy choices MOST of the time. Splurge once in a while but NOT every day, not every meal.
You do not have to follow a diet and exercise plan perfectly, but you do need to follow a plan most of the time. Do it on days that are not special to you, routine days that do not include socializing. You don’t have to be perfect but you cannot indulge every day, at every meal, and expect to loose weight and reverse dangerous health trends.
You pick your time and pick your “poison”.
My poison is chocolate, cheese, good crackers and wine. I am 5’4″ and 129 lbs. While I realize I do not weigh much compared to other women my age; I am struggling to not gain too much more weight, but I do enjoy my “poisons”. So what do I do?
I count calories, I am careful not to enjoy my poisons daily ( or at least not in excess and not all of them on the same day) and I walk 5 days a week. I try for moderation.
Why do I bother?
I imagine myself at 70-80 years of age still walking and hiking, still traveling (hopefully over seas), and on a minimum of medications. I want to live independently and vibrantly; and health is the only way to do that.
That is my why. What is your why? Tell me in the comments section.
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Ramit Sethi is author of the blog I will Teach You to be Rich and author of the NYTimes best seller of the same name has something to say about how our attitude about money and food are much the same. We would rather spend an hour doing research about the best thing to do to get the weight off rather than actually take action on the problem. We would rather see a documentary with very thin science than read and apply principles that have been proven over and over. The Key: Do something that is right now! Don’t wait until you are an expert. Don’t wait until you know everything perfectly. DO SOMETHING NOW AND REPEAT IT REGULARLY! It does not have to be a lot, or really intense, or extreme, just a little regular exercise and a little less food each and every day. This video is not great. It does give you the visual message. You really ought to ask Anne in the comments section for examples and then take those examples and do something with them. Enjoy this 5 minute video.
This is the follow up to the poll/quiz I posted yesterday. This post answers 4 basic questions.
What is obesity?
The accumulation of excess fat constitutes over-weight and beyond a certain point is defined as obesity. You can define obesity by Body Mass Index or Body Fat Measurement but I think waist measurement is the best one. A woman’s waist above 35″ or a man’s above 40″ constitutes obesity if you are under 7 feet tall. More importantly obesity is a state of inflammation. Inflammation is the basic cause of all health problems. When the inflammation gets bad enough the body’s defense breaks down. Abdominal fat produces many chemicals that increase inflammation, elevate blood pressure, elevate lipids and raise blood sugar levels. Obesity then can be called a metabolic state in which inflammation is dominate. You don’t have to be obese to suffer from inflammation, but you are at greater risk when you are obese.
Which is more important diet or exercise?
Both are important but to reverse and prevent obesity, diet plays a role of 80% and exercise 20%. The national weight loss data base statistics show that those that lose weight and keep it off are regular exercisers. The number one exercise is walking. Resistance exercise like lifting weights is important also.
What is the weight gain hormone and how do I control it?
Weight gain is controlled by many metabolic processes but the number one hormone is insulin. Insulin is produced in the pancreas in response to one nutrient in the blood. That nutrient is glucose – SUGAR. Glucose is a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are sources of cheap energy. When you have too many of them in your blood, insulin and some other hormones cause the liver to create a fat called triglycerides (the fat inside your fat cells) and get the fat cells and liver to store it. When the carbohydrate is a difficult one for the liver to process, it gets stored within the liver and can result in a liver inflammation called NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). Until recently, this occurred in alcoholics, late in their life, and did not contribute to illness. Now we have 8 year old children with this problem and we don’t know what will happen in their liver after 30-40 years. Want to keep weight down? Keep insulin levels low in your blood. The glycemic load is a good way to look at how much sugar gets into your blood how fast from a serving of food. The lower the glycemic load, the lower the the amount of sugar in your blood and the lower your insulin.
Can you be fit and fat?
Short answer is yes. You can not be obese and fit. Fitness isn’t just measured by muscular or cardiovascular fitness. Fitness is a function of your physiology and your muscular strength and endurance. It is good to improve your strength and endurance but it is best to lose weight through a combination of diet (80% emphasis) and exercise (20%) emphasis.
What questions do you have? Ask them in the comments section. What is your story? Tell us about your successes and your struggles. I appreciate your participation in our blog and membership site.
What is obesity that everyone says is an “epidemic”? Obesity is not a contagious disease. It is a result of the nutrition consumed. I would say it is the result of eating processed nutrition instead of nutrition that comes from unprocessed food. Do you remember what processed food is? It is food the way nature created it.
What do you need to do to help others and yourself from becoming over-weight or obese? Take the poll below and then check back tomorrow to get the results. One thing, you will need to be a fee member to get the results. As a free member you gain access to all our material – posts, audio interviews and a free report on preventing weight gain without a diet. You need to do three things now:
1. sign up
2. take the poll, tomorrow I will explain each of these choices.
3. leave a comment
OK, go – do all 3, Thanks!