Saturday, June 13, 2009
I'm finding it harder and harder to get in the exercise like I used to as the demands of my active 3 year old granddaughter (who I "nanny") increase. I know all younger mothers can relate to this and I all too well remember how hard it was to put in time for myself in those days - and here I am again in a similar situation. And with the arrival of my new grandson (another darling to eventually "nanny") in the Fall, well, I've had to rethink my exercise regime and plan ahead.
And that's why I was so encouraged when I read this SP Family Health & WellnessTip:
"Shorter Workouts Help Build Consistency
Most experts recommend that you exercise up to 90 minutes most days of the week, emphasizing that you gradually work your way up to that duration. However, a recent study conducted at Boston Sports Clubs found that participants who exercised for 20-30 minutes did so more consistently than those involved in 45-60 minute workout sessions. This study shows that you're more likely to stick to a shorter duration workout than a longer one.
Action Sparked: If you and your family members are having trouble staying consistent with exercise, try a shorter workout session. Tell yourself that you'll exercise for 10 or 15 minutes, and follow through with it. Of course 10 minutes of exercise is better than totally skipping a workout. But, once you've hit that small goal (whether it's 5, 10, or 20 minutes), ask yourself if you could keep going. You may find that planning on a short workout is enough to get everyone to the gym (or park, trail, etc.), and once you're there, you can do a lot more than you thought."
Great news, but what about health benefits? If I workout for shorter periods of time will I still get the same benefits in helping lower my blood pressure?? So I did some research and found this great WebMD article at www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/featu
res/how-much-exercise-do-you-really-need "How Much Exercise Do You Really Need?"
Apparently "there's building evidence that short but frequent bouts of exercise can yield plenty of health benefits.
* A study published by the American Journal of Sports Medicine in 2006 showed that short walks after dinner were more effective than long exercise sessions in reducing the amount of fat and triglyceride levels in the bloodstream after a hearty meal. (Great!!!)
* Research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health showed that short bouts of exercise helped lower blood pressure as well as shave inches off the hips and waistline. (BINGO - that's what I was looking for!)
* In a study published in Preventive Medicine in 2006, researchers found that multiple workout sessions as short as 6 minutes apiece could help sedentary adults reach fitness goals similar to those achieved by working out for 30 minutes at a time. (Now that's attainable for just about everyone, isn't it!!)
* In a finding published in the journal Psychopharmacology, doctors found that short bursts of exercise could help reduce the craving for cigarettes and help people quit smoking." (I should share this with all my smoker friends!)
"There is no question that short amounts of exercise can help you get fit, help you stay fit, and help you maintain your health," says personal fitness coach Susie Shina, author of Sixty Second Circuits. "You can stay fit in increments as short as 4 and 5 minutes at a time."
"The best part about that is that everyone can find 5 minutes a few times a day, says Shina, owner of a mobile personal training center called Fitness 180.
"Some of these exercises can fit into a 5-minute time period at work, at your desk, waiting on line in the grocery store, even driving in your car," says Shina. "It's not an overwhelming task, and the benefits can be enormous."
I must admit the idea of getting in 10 min. bouts of exercise here and there whenever I can throughout the day seems less daunting to my present circumstances and now that I know I'll still get the same health benefits of longer periods on my blood pressure - well - it sounds like a good workable plan for me!!!
And I found a good SP article on how to help me do just that at www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness
_articles.asp?id=202 "Small Bits of Exercise Add Up"
So I now have no excuses not to "Keep Moving", I just have to "Eat Less" to stay on plan LOL!!!
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Good news!! It looks like the old adage "Laughter is the best medicine" may indeed have some truth to it according to the results of a two studies recently reported in SP's Health News.
Apparently, the two studies "found that laughter not only can reduce stress, which can damage the heart, it can lead to improved blood flow, which can help ward off high blood pressure."
The first group was comprised of healthy adults who were "asked to watch either a comedy or documentary film. They were then checked for activity of the carotid arteries -- the main arteries in the neck that bring blood to the brain and face -- during the films.
People who watched the comedy displayed improved "arterial compliance" -- the amount of blood that moves through the arteries at a given time. Decreased arterial compliance is often linked with high blood pressure and heart disease, according to an American College of Sports Medicine news release.
"Arterial compliance was improved for a full 24 hours after subjects watched a funny movie," said lead researcher Jun Sugawara. "Laughing is likely not the complete solution to a healthy heart, but it appears to contribute to positive effects."
The second study focused on vascular function and the dilation of blood vessels. When a second group of adults watched either a comedy or a serious documentary, there was more dilation of blood vessels during the comedy. Constricted blood vessels can be a cause of high blood pressure, the news release said.
"Not only did comedies improve vascular dilation, but watching a documentary about a depressing subject was actually harmful to the blood vessels," said Takashi Tarumi, lead researcher on the second study. "These documentaries constricted blood vessels by about 18 percent."
And interestingly, "In both studies, the beneficial effects of laughter lasted for 24 hours, the researchers said."
(To see the article, go to
Action Plan: Watch a comedy film - attend a comedy show - tell a good joke and laugh, laugh, laugh!!!
What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul. ~ Yiddish Proverb
A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book. ~ Irish Proverb
Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects. ~ Arnold Glasow
A good, real, unrestrained, hearty laugh is a sort of glorified internal massage, performed rapidly and automatically. It manipulates and revitalizes corners and unexplored crannies of the system that are unresponsive to most other exercise methods. ~ Author unknown, from an editorial in New York Tribune, quoted in Quotations for Special Occasions by Maud van Buren
Friday, May 29, 2009
"Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy." ~ Leo Buscaglia
I'm a worry-wort! I worry about everything!! I've had to work hard over the years to suppress my worrying and learn to "accept what I can't change", but it's a constant struggle so I really appreciate reading reminders about the cost of worrying and today's Healthy Reflection has done just that.
"The destructive power of worry
Legend has it that 90% of what we worry about never comes to pass. Whether that is statistically precise or not, there's probably some truth to it in your life. How much of our lives do we miss because we're agonizing over what might happen down the road? How often do we fail to act--even if it's the right thing to do--because we fear any number of possible consequences? Fretting over the future doesn't solve any impending problems. It only paralyzes your actions of the present. It stresses you out, makes you mentally and physically tired, and saps all the fun out of what could have been another great day. Next time you start to worry about what might happen, think of this: You can prepare, but you cannot predict. So do what you can and forget what you cannot."
Dr. Shad Helmstetter tells us that it's not natural to worry - that it's not an instinct or a trait - that it's a habit that's learned.
"Worry is different from "being concerned." It is natural to be concerned about things that threaten you or someone or something important to you. Concern is your mind's way of getting you to take notice and, if necessary take action.
But healthy concern often turns into unhealthy worry - a form of fear and doubt that all too often exaggerates a problem, makes you dwell on it and replay it over and over in your mind without creating a solution.
The truth is, we can't solve some of the things that bother us, while we can solve others. The solution for worry, as we have often been told, is to do something about those things we can change, and learn to accept those things which we cannot."
I find that focusing on positive self-talk messages helps me deal with my learned negative thinking - sometimes I verbally say them to myself and sometimes I repeatedly write them down. Ones I use to help combat worrying are:
"My mind focuses its attention only on those things that I can do something about. If I cannot affect it or direct it - I accept it."
"My mind is constantly in tune with the positive - it is bright, cheerful, enthusiastic - and full of good, positive thoughts and ideas."
"I am able to relax easily and comfortably in my body and in my mind. I am calm, confident, and self-assured."
and my favourite,
"I control the thoughts I choose. No thought, at any time, can dwell in my mind without my approval or permission."
Yup, I'm working on it!!!
"Rule number one is, don't sweat the small stuff. Rule number two is, it's all small stuff." ~ Robert Eliot
Thursday, May 28, 2009
"Courage is the power to let go of the familiar." ~ Raymond Lindquist
Losing weight is fearsome for a lot of us even though we may not recognize it.
We may not like how our overweight physical selves feel or look, but it's what we know and are used to. And even as we start losing weight, knowing full well we are healthier for it in so many ways, it's still unknown territory so to speak.
Some unrecognized fears may be
- fear of failure especially if previous attempts have not been successful either short term or long term
- as loss of excess weight will likely bring about more energy & better health, will more be expected of us?
- will others not only "view" us differently, but "treat" us differently as well?
- when reaching goal, will it just be "one more obligation" for us to meet in order to maintain it?
- as we lose weight and start looking better, will our personalities change?
Yes, for many of us our excess weight has been a psychological cover/comforter for what we know - a protector from those unknowns. We need "courage" to realize that if any of these fears become reality with successful weight loss that we can deal with them. Because the bottom line is that regardless of what fears we may have we have to stay focused on our health and fitness goals - it's what's best for us and what we need to do each and every day!!
Today's affirmation: "I release the familiar that I may better discover my inspiring future." ~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Apples are one of my favourite fruits - tasty & portable making them one of my best go-to snacks - but it's great to be reminded of just how nutritious they really are. The Diet Detective (at www.dietdetective.com/daily-diet-tip
-1.aspx ) ran a good piece on apples just yesterday.
""A" Is for Apple — and Antioxidants
When it comes to fruit, apples are among the best of the best. They offer great taste with fewer calories than many other fruits, they give you the biggest nutritional dose per gram, they have incredible antioxidant power, and they're portable — so you can eat them anytime, anywhere.
Apples are a good source of vitamin C, though they don't have many other vitamins. However, they make up for that with their strong disease-fighting ability, thanks to their high concentration of antioxidants. In this regard, they're comparable to blueberries, which are often touted as having the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits.
Among these disease blockers are flavonoids (found in the flesh as well as the skin of apples), which help keep blood vessels healthy, reduce inflammation throughout the body, prevent DNA damage that can lead to cancer, and slow cancer cell growth and reproduction. The fiber in apples inhibits cancer cell growth as well, and lowers "bad" cholesterol. Research from Cornell University has recently suggested that apples may even help guard against Alzheimer's disease.
With all its benefits, this low-cal fruit (a medium apple has 80 calories) really does make a great daily snack. Apples come in hundreds of varieties, too, so your taste buds will never get bored. Many are ideal for baking, making it easy for you to include apples in dozens of sweet or savory recipes. Try dusting one with cinnamon and Splenda and popping it in the oven.
Apples are available year-round, but they're in their prime during the fall. Choose apples with smooth, clean, shiny skin. Avoid apples with dull skin, bruises, and punctures. To keep them fresh, store them in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
So before you leave the house for the day, get in the habit of throwing an apple in your bag. And whenever you get a hankering for something crunchy, grab an apple instead of that bag of chips."
"Royal Gala" apples (a cross between a Golden Delicious & a Kidd's Orange Red) are my favourite - but I've read that the "Red Delicious" apple is the most nutritious.
"A study by federal scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada finds that of the most popular varieties of apple grown in Ontario, the Red Delicious is the most nutritious.
The researchers evaluated eight apple varieties popular in Canada: Red Delicious, McIntosh, Cortland, Northern Spy, Ida Red, Golden Delicious, Mutsu and Empire apples.
All are loaded with vitamin C and other nutrients. But the researchers found that the skin of the Red Delicious apple contained more than five times as many antioxidants as Empire apples, the variety at the bottom of the list.
"Redder apples are generally richer in antioxidants than pale coloured apples,'' says the study's lead researcher, Rong Tsao. "
(For more info re this study, go to:
And the skin is loaded with antioxidants as well so eat the peel as well - it adds more fibre too!
I can't say for sure that the old adage "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is true - but it sure can't hurt!!!
"Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits." ~ Henry David Thoreau, Wild Apples
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