We’ve talked extensively about the benefits of an active lifestyle, and we don’t mean simply going to the gym for 30-60 minutes out of the day. While structured exercise should definitely be a part of your regular routine, studies show that eliminating prolonged periods of inactivity throughout the day is more important to long-term health.
There’s a variety of ways to increase your daily activity. Standing desks. Taking the stairs. Short walks throughout the day. Joining a sports team.
And, of course, biking to work. May is National Bike Month, and this week is National Bike to Work Week. Not only does ditching the car decrease your carbon footprint, spending the extra hour or so a day putting your muscles to good use can do a lot for your long-term health!
Stephanie Averkamp over at FitnessforWeightLoss.com put together this nifty infographic on the health benefits of biking to work. Here’s a brief overview followed by the actual infographic.
Junk food is a slow killer. It’s making you diabetic, raising your blood pressure, and threatens to shut down your heart before the age of 50. No one really argues with how important diet is to long-term health. You are what you eat.
The question is, then: What is junk food?
Think about five foods you consider junk. Was chocolate one of your choices?
Should it be?
More and more we are learning that it’s less the what of the food we eat, but the how in the way it’s prepared. A hamburger from McDonald’s is bad, but what about a homemade grass-fed burger with gluten-free bread, and organic cheese? French fries are the worst, right? How about some sweet potato strips baked to a crunchy crisp in the oven?
Maybe it’s time to have another look at chocolate. While a Snickers bar a day won’t keep the doctor away, could this ‘guilty pleasure’ food be misunderstood?
In 1984 the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute set out to do a noble thing: fight heart disease, obesity, and all the complications that come with it. They launched a massive campaign to promote low-fat diets. Saturated fat consumption certainly went down, but obesity and diabetes levels went up.
This raised the question: is it really fat consumption that makes us fat? Researchers from Stanford University attempted to answer just that. The study was simple: one group ate all the fat and protein they wanted, but were restricted to 20-50 grams of carbohydrates per day while the other group was put on a calorie-restricted low-fat diet where carbs made up 55-60 percent of all calories. Both groups lost weight, but the low-carb group saw nearly twice the benefits in weight loss, triglyceride levels, and blood pressure.
“Exercise is great for sleep. For the millions of people who want better sleep, exercise may help.” - David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation (NSF)
Have you ever told someone how you ‘slept like a baby’ after a tough workout, or a long day of physical exertion? Well, it turns out you don’t have to climb Mount Kilamonjaro to get a good night’s rest. The results of the National Sleep Foundation’s 2013 Sleep in America® poll show just how beneficial exercise can be to a good night’s sleep:
Exercisers say they sleep better - Among people who sleep roughly the same amount each night, exercisers reported better sleep than non-exercisers. “If you are inactive, adding a 10 minute walk every day could improve your likelihood of a good night’s sleep,” says Max Hirshkowitz, PhD, poll task force chair.
Vigorous exercisers report the best sleep - Vigorous exercisers are almost twice as likely as non-exercisers to report “I had a good night’s sleep.” More than two-thirds of vigorous exercisers say they rarely have sleep problems such as waking up too early and difficulty falling asleep, while one-half of non-exercisers experienced these problems.
Non-exercisers are the sleepiest and have the highest risk for sleep apnea - Participants were evaluated on how ‘sleepy’ they were using a standard excessive sleepiness clinical screening measure. The poll found that non-exercisers had a high sleepiness level about twice as often as exercisers. Here’s an interesting finding: non-exercisers reported having trouble staying awake while driving nearly three times the rate of those who exercise. Non exercisers were more than two times as likely to have symptoms of sleep apnea (a serious medical condition in which a person stops breathing during sleep) than vigorous exercisers.
Less time sitting is associated with better sleep and health - How much data have we seen lately showing how much sitting is ruining our lives? This study also found that people who sit for less than eight hours a day are twice as more likely to say they have “very good” sleep quality than those who sit for eight hours or more. The same comparison is seen in overall health: non-sitters were twice as likely to report having ‘excellent health’.
Exercise at any time of day appears to be good for sleep - But when is the best time to exercise? As far away from bedtime as possible, right? Not exactly. According to the study, those who report exercising close to bedtime and earlier in the day do not demonstrate a difference in self-reported sleep quality. For most people, exercise at any time seems to be better for sleep than no exercise at all.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about gluten, wheat, and the potential benefits of nixing them from your diet. We even featured our own article around the good and bad of grain consumption. But is it just another fad diet? Will it fade into the darkness like so many before it? Or is there actually something to it?
When you hear the word testosterone, you probably think of masculinity, working out in the gym, and how efficiently someone can put on muscle and lose fat. Turns out, that’s only half the story.
As science dives deeper and deeper into these biomarkers, we’re finding that nothing is as cut and dry as we might have once thought. The body is a huge, complex, integrated system.
WebMD recently did an informative article on the correlations between low testosterone levels in men and a number of metabolic disorders, from diabetes and obesity to high blood pressure and heart disease.