Spring is in the air, summer is just around the corner. It’s that time of year where if you’ve stumbled since New Year’s you’re really going to kick it into high gear now to get in shape for the warmer months ahead. There are all sorts of diets and weight loss programs available, some easy, some more difficult, some with odd and unusual recommendations.
For most people the missing ingredient is accountability and support along the way. Let’s start there, let’s discuss why it’s so difficult for us to get in shape or attain a number of different goals without having an expert or coach to guide you. Our personality, or should I say personalities, is such that we acquire continual affirmation or instant gratification to avoid making illogical and irrational decisions.
Let me explain, ironically this analogy which is so perfect for the discussion of fitness was written in a business book called the E-Myth by Michael Gerber. When it comes to fitness all of us have two distinct personalities. The fat person and the skinny person, it’s this time of year when the skinny person receives the inspiration needed to push to make an appearance. What this means is most people for one reason or another will simply decide they’ve had enough of their current physical state and set forth to make a change. Overnight their whole life changes, they start to exercise and adjust their nutrition. All junk food is gone, out with the trash, they have a renewed look on life and are determined this is the time to go from coach potato to Olympic athlete.
The first few days go well, the food tastes great it’s fun to avoid the pitfalls, you drop a few pounds and you realize you have forgotten how wonderful the fresh smell of the morning is while out for your run at sunrise. Into your second week you begin to get tired, getting up extra early to exercise is taking its toll but you can do it because your committed and after all the scale has been dropping steadily and people are starting to notice. A couple of days later you step on the scale again, it doesn’t drop, that’s odd but you push on, but over the next few days it continues to stay the same.
The bed in the morning is so inviting, the scale hasn’t dropped so you decide you may as well just sleep in today and take a break. Tomorrow comes you struggle through your exercise, it wasn’t fun but you did it and for that you deserve a reward, today you will go out for lunch and enjoy the dessert you’ve been dreaming about the last few nights. You see the trend as our instant gratification wears thin the fat person personality reappears as the wind leaves the sails of the skinny person. This happens time and time again and over the years we continue to gain weight.
If you want this time to be different you need to take a different approach. If you are going to tackle the challenge on your own begin by educating yourself about the different methods for accomplishing your goal, make a decision about what will be best for you before you start. It’s important to develop your plan fully before beginning as it’s our own work ethic and need for instant gratification that will lead us to irrational decisions when things don’t feel like they are happening fast enough. Good goals for weight loss are:
- 1-2 lbs per week lost or as much as 3 lbs a week if you are trying to lose more than 60 lbs total.
- A loss of 5-6 total inches per month when measuring 5-8 different locations. (ie. Waist, hips, thighs, arms, chest/bust, shoulder circumference.)
- A loss of 1 inch on the waist measured at the navel per month
The role of a coach or trainer will be to help you set your goals, monitor your progress and provide the info and support to avoid the pitfalls we all inevitably face. In my next column I will explain the basics of setting caloric intake and adjusting your nutrition. We have to be careful as what’s marketed to us as convenient results through low calorie diets can cause more harm than good in the long term.
If you’re reading this I bet it’s not the first fitness or weight loss program you’ve looked at. If you’re reading this you’ve probably been frustrated in the past by weight gain that you haven’t been able to lose. If you’re reading this you may even be anticipating the additional, dreaded, holiday weight gain.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Red Deer’s #1 choice for personal training and weight loss has a very impressive track record for achieving the results you want.
“I am eating more and exercising less than I was before and getting better results!”-Lisa Danielson
“In the first 3 weeks I lost 12 pounds and started to notice more definition in my core. I’ve even had to tighten the belt up a couple notches. I was super happy about that because that was more than I had managed to ever do on my own.”-RJ Willms
“Yes, since I started at One to 1, which was about 2 years ago, I can’t find a reason to quit. The trainers are awesome and the gym is set up nicely, which makes it very comfortable and relaxing. It’s nice to feel healthy again, everyone should feel this way. “ –Trevor Ransom
“I have lost 28 pounds and 3 inches off my waist. I have also gained strength, mobility and flexibility across my whole body! My seventeen year old son is now a member and attends three times a week. He has only attended for a month, but he is beginning to see similar results to mine. He has also been persuaded to make positive changes in his life; his trainer seems to be a better influence over my son than I have been, regarding his health.” –Craig Dore
We were recently named a finalist for Red Deer’s small business of the year. Even though we didn’t win the award we figured this recognition, after only 2 ½ years of operation, is still cause for celebration! That’s why until November 15, 2009 when you book your no-hassle, no-charge, no-obligation consultation if you choose to start any of our programs your first month is absolutely FREE! Not only that you may have heard we’re the only facility around to guarantee our commitment to your success with a Full Money Back Guarantee.
Even if you’ve tried unsuccessfully in the past to lose weight and get in great shape, be at ease and know that One-to-1 Fitness can help you. The difference is our program is comprehensive:
- We coach you through effectively incorporating individualized fitness to your lifestyle.
- We coach you through effectively modifying nutritional habits with the latest nutritional concepts.
- We provide all the ongoing accountability and support that guarantees success.
There is zero risk, if you are ready for change this will change your life. You can not only look and feel great for your Christmas party there will be no need for a New Year’s Resolution. As others are making goals you will already be achieving yours! Take advantage of our celebration and the only time we have ever offered a discount such as this. Space is limited so do book your FREE no-hassle consultation right away to see how you can leave frustration behind and finally embrace success! Trust me you won’t be disappointed!
To book your FREE consultation either complete the form at the top of the right column or call 403-341-4041.
Would you feel better with balanced blood sugar and lower cholesterol?
How would you like to shrink your waist and lose more than 20lbs?
So what are you waiting for? Space is limited based on trainer availability, don’t wait too long to book your FREE consultation. Complete the form located at the top of the right column or call 403-341-4041.
In this column I’d like to discuss one of the great misconceptions that continues to plague people in their fitness efforts. Over my fifteen years of weight training I competed in a number of bodybuilding events, all the way to the Canadian Nationals. Now you may not want to be a bodybuilder, in fact I suspect bodybuilding is almost the furthest thing from the minds of most people reading this column. But what we may likely agree on is that most of us are looking for ways to achieve that harder more athletic look or what many people like to call a “toned” body.
There are two ways to tone the body. You must either shed some bodyfat—if you’ve been reading my series of columns you likely have a few ideas on how to do that—or you must create larger stronger muscles.
If your nutrition is working well it’s time to set forth on building the muscles; and don’t worry you won’t become Arnold Schwarzenegger over night. Let’s try to find a common ground and create a better understanding of how the body works and what it means to achieve that idea of muscle tone that many people have. Let’s first look at our muscles in a very simple way. Essentially for any movement we perform, whether it’s talking or walking, we use our muscles.
If we can complete that movement repeatedly with little to no real effort there is no need for that muscle to change in any way. The best gym example of this is the traditional light weights and high repetitions. However if we increase the stress on that muscle such as progressive increases in resistance, now our body will be forced to adapt. It may respond by increasing the size and strength of the muscle or figuring out how it can supply more oxygen to the muscle for a greater capacity to work. It’s this adaptation that is so important if we are to achieve a toned body.
Remember that next time you are in the gym; try to increase the resistance just a little over what you completed last week. Don’t be afraid to try different ranges of repetitions to make progress in different ways. But most important of all make sure that the next workout will always provide a greater challenge over the last, this will ensure continued progress.
Out of all the exercises known to me and through all the years dealing with people there is one exercise that still reigns king over all. I’m reluctant to even mention it as you may stop reading immediately but without a doubt the single most important exercise anyone can learn is the Squat. I only need but mention squats to strike fear into the minds of my clients on a daily basis but the value of squats towers far over many other exercises combined.
Most people don’t like squats because they are hard and I’m sorry to say there really is no magic secret to make them easier. Perhaps if you understand them better you will however be able to perform the more comfortable and effectively. The squat unlike any other exercise I know has the ability to recruit more than 233 different muscles in our body. It’s the primary lower body developer and provides excellent core and functional strength by recruiting many stabilizing muscles throughout the torso. When you consider variations such as front squats, over head squats and squat presses the squat can easily become a full body workout.
The keys to an effective squat are depth and stance. Too often I see people squatting too shallow with too much weight and in a stance that is notorious for producing comments like, “I don’t squat low because it hurts my knees.” First thing, the depth, you should be looking to squat deep enough that the bone of the upper thigh, your femur, is parallel to the floor. Not the leg but the actual bone.
This is best accomplished as follows: Considering a rear barbell squat begin by setting up under the bar so that it is positioned comfortably below the protruding vertebrae on the back of your neck. Grip the bar with your hands as close to your shoulders as is comfortable, this will usually be about 20-30 cm from the shoulder. This is important in order to allow the muscles of the upper back to support and balance the weight correctly. For some this will also present the first problem, the flexibility required to grip the bar correctly may require some stretching of the pecs, biceps and shoulders.
The next step will be your foot position, as you step away from the rack set your feet about 20-30 cm wider than shoulder width. It is very important to have a nice wide base of support so you will not feel unbalanced as you descend into the bottom position of the squat. A narrow stance pushes your knees out of the toes and places the knee joint in a vulnerable position. As you descend into the squat it should begin with the hips, a feeling like you are sticking the butt and chest out a little as the hips bend and then the knees.
Descending down concentrate on where your body weight is distributed. You should feel it firmly flat over the foot or slightly towards the heels. At the bottom of the exercise look for the femur to be parallel to the floor and an extra tip would be to have someone watch you to see if the pelvis tucks under as you hit the bottom of the exercise. If so you may want to reduce your depth slightly to minimize this shift of the pelvis.
If you’ve setup as above and still find the depth awkward it’s not uncommon to see a few flexibility issues get in the way. If you feel your weight moving forward and your heels are light or lifting try adding a 1-2 cm rise under your heels and make a point to stretch your calves over the next few weeks. For a photographed and further written exercise explanation please visit my website or email me if you have other questions.
To cheat or not to cheat that is the question, an age old debate amongst trainers and clients alike. Far and wide this is a truly confusing issue for anyone who is trying to make physical changes through nutrition and exercise. The right answer, at least in my humble opinion, is both may be right depending on the situation. For many years I preached the value of cheat meals to the body and the mind, as it sits now I discourage them altogether. If I seem a little contradictory let me try to make sense of this issue by explaining the value of either situation with the conclusion justifying my current beliefs.
The Cheat Meal Approach
The logic of a cheat meal is sound. In simplified terms it is a surefire way to dislodge the body from its typical adaptive course. What this means is that with every measure of lifestyle consistency giving you control over your body in terms of composition and performance you will also be met by strong adaptation. Ultimately this sends me back to a headline of a magazine article in Muscle & Fitness years ago. Everything works, and nothing works for long. I have found this to be a profound truth in anything relating to fitness and nutrition. Our body will adapt to every situation and progress will slow down or cease.
Many principles and ideas have sprung from this statement, things like “shocking the body” for instance. Some of these ideas are too dramatic and radical, in my opinion, but the fact that change is needed and needed somewhat frequently is quite accurate. Nutritionally speaking this is the premise behind a cheat meal. If you are restricting calories for weight loss the final adaptation is a more efficient metabolism, not necessarily meaning faster or better, but none the less one that uses less calories.
If a cheat meal is timed correctly it provides an influx of calories, an increase, and instability that now sends our body on a new adaptive path. This new path is to find a way to spend more calories just in time for you to begin restricting and voila one step back two steps forward. Sounds like an ideal plan but with a couple of problems, timing and psychology meets physiology. Timing is a problem because there is no real way that I know of to practically test when your body is adjusting the metabolic rate to less calories so we have to theorize and guess or use some arbitrary schedule.
The second problem is the bigger of the two. Usually a cheat meal involves eating many deviant foods, the justified deserved psychological reward for your continued commitment. The problem is that this is generally a carbohydrate based feeding frenzy, let’s face it carbohydrate tastes great. Physiologically this sends our blood sugar on a rollercoaster of highs and lows. This metabolic confusion creates a number of unusual feelings from emotional instability to increased appetite and cravings making it difficult to return to our commitment of a calorie restricted program.
The No Cheat Meal Approach
The no cheat meal approach means keeping rigid nutritional consistency and then making subtle changes to promote continued progress. After reading the above it may seem like a contradiction, after all we know the body will adapt to our restricted environment and progress will slow down or stop. However the problem I’ve seen and experienced using a cheat meal approach is that the failure or drop-out rate post cheat meal is much too high.
The gylcemic turmoil we create generally takes as many as 5-7 days to subside which in our busy stress ridden environment is often too much for people to overcome. The neat thing about using no cheat meals is once we have maintained a fairly steady state of blood sugar with no major peaks and valleys for 14 days many aspects of our physical feeling begin to change. Most people no longer experience the “brain-fog” or lull in energy mid-morning or mid-afternoon, sleep improves, cravings completely vanish and our productivity increases.
There is no desire for major deviation from our menu and our body becomes like a finely tuned economy car that just goes and goes. But ultimately our weight loss progress will stop and it’s at this point it gets tricky. Even in this environment you will still need to avoid letting your metabolism adapt fully. The way we generally accomplish this as trainers is to make frequent subtle adjustments of foods. Some examples would be swapping faster digesting foods for slower ones, ones that require more energy expenditure during digestion.
Another option might be to increase or decrease total calories for a few days but these adjustments are usually limited to about 100 calories or roughly 3-5% of our total caloric intake. The idea is to force small and frequent adaptations without generating a significant blood sugar variation and the psychological and physiological challenges that occur as a result. It’s hard for most to accept but I have witnessed and experienced personally that beyond the 14 day mark this is the easier of two ideas to commit to when striving toward a long term goal. Ultimately it is because of the increased compliance that I have based my current beliefs.
At the end of the discussion the debate for these two ideas will wage on I’m certain but if you have been trying either approach to this point with varied success it may be time to consider the other. If your not sure where to begin that’s where I would urge you to consider a coach they’re certain to aid you in avoiding the pitfalls of frustration. Good luck.
|New Year’s Resolution|
“I have been on the program 2 weeks and have already noticed a difference in my clothes, energy and eating habits – I am also very impressed with all your staff – everyone is very friendly and helpful.”
– Lynn Bateman
One-to-1 Fitness and Big 105 want to help you put your resolution for weight loss, better health, and improved fitness on cruise control. How many years have you tried to get in shape only to have given up before the end of January?
Not this year!
Wouldn’t it be great if you had a team of professionals to show you the right way to finally lose that weight once and for all? Make this year the year you say, “I am in the best shape of my life!” It’s simple all you need to do is complete the form below and tell us your New Year’s Resolution.
Red Deer’s #1 choice for personal training and weight loss, One-to-1 Fitness and Big 105 have the key to your weight loss success story!
“I’ve noticed so many positive changes already and it’s only been a month. I can’t wait to see what 3 or 6 months has to offer. Thank you One to 1!” – Tracy Carter
Starting January 4, 2010 we’ll select 1 winner every day who will receive 1 month of our incredibly popular FIT Camp program.
On January 26, 2010 one lucky winner, selected from all the entries, will receive the red carpet treatment with One-to-1 Fitness. 6 months of One-on-one personal training with Red Deer’s largest and most experienced training team, full nutritional coaching, and access to our Far Infrared health cabin.
*Offer valid for new clients only.
January 4 Winner – Kaitlyn MacKinnon
January 5 Winner – Lane Chesko
January 6 Winner – Lisa Leblanc
January 7 Winner – Rianna Guidolin
January 8 Winner – Leonard MacQuarrie
January 9 Winner – Paula Auger
January 10 Winner – Kerri Albert
January 11 Winner – Pam Swales
January 12 Winner – Nicole Buset
January 13 Winner – Ingrid Soanes
January 14 Winner – Angela McMann
January 15 Winner – Tracy Ferguson
January 16 Winner – Roanne Lyseng
January 17 Winner – Allison Klavano
January 18 Winner –
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January 26 Winner – 6 months of personal training services! (Join us on location at Business After Hours from 5:00-7:00 PM – Final draw to be made at conclusion)
“I feel strangely energized after my workout even after feeling tired at the start and during the workout. I have gained strength and muscle tone. I appreciate that my program is designed to fit my capabilities as a 78 year old woman with issues stemming from my scoliosis, other surgeries as well as counteracting the onset of osteoporosis. I like the clean facility, friendly staff, and the community spirit! (i.e. the fundraiser held recently for the food bank.)” –Colleen Graham
Burning calories with the least amount of effort possible, today I will give you my opinion of the magic bullet to getting in shape. I hear marketing pitch after marketing pitch about how to lose weight and get healthy and exercise isn’t necessary, always usually encouraged but not necessary. If you think you’re going to achieve a healthy life style and a long life without exercise you have been gravely misinformed. Our bodies are designed to work, without workload they deteriorate or atrophy.
Just look at any of NASA astronaut. A short trip into space will give you an example of what years of inactivity on earth is like. Without gravity the muscular strength required to complete movements is exponentially reduced. As a result muscle tissue that is now not in use and thus not needed begins to rapidly shrink away. The old saying, “use it or lose it” really does ring true. For every pound of muscle you lose equals about 50 less calories burned per day. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn while walking, driving, sleeping, working or reading this article. Exercise needs to be a part of your life even if that nifty diet/weight loss plan says it isn’t required.
So you have to workout regularly which does require time but that prospect is not as dismal as it may sound to some. The key with any work is to always work smarter not harder. Here are the real magic bullets of fitness:
- Eat, and eat some more! The vast majority of people fit in the weight loss category. I spend all day telling people to eat more and eat more often. Digestion is your best and most enjoyable fat and calorie burner. I am sure all of you will agree the best “diet” would be the one where you were eating all the time. Eating, digesting and absorbing your food requires the use of energy. When our body uses energy it produces heat just like the engine in your car as it uses the fuel.
- Eat spicy food and drink tea. Foods containing hot spices such as chili powder have been documented to raise metabolic rate for as long as three hours after the meal. Green tea in particular has also shown to have very positive effects on metabolic rate, the natural mild source of caffeine increases heart rate burning more fuel like a faster revving engine.
- Move more. If you haven’t heard it yet you will sometime soon. There is a whole diet and exercise revolution around the activity of “fidgeting”. It’s a fancy as it says, any activity is good activity. Tapping your foot, tap your fingers, move around in your chair, don’t stand still. All the things you were told not to do as a child can all help you burn those few extra calories to get in the best shape with the least work.
- Interval cardio or extended duration resistance training. This is one of our primary exercise philosophies at One to 1 Fitness. Though it is not easy it is time efficient and effective. We use shorter workouts with greater intensity. Interval cardio consists of different increments that range in difficulty. Some will be close to a maximum effort others will be comfortable for recovery. This method of training can be more than twice as effective as slow steady traditional exercise. Extended duration resistance training consists of using a number of exercises back to back without scheduled rest. The exercise tempo may vary depending on the movement, ability and goals. When performed correctly these training methods can keep the metabolism elevated from one workout to the next even with days in between.
- Use an infrared sauna. The benefits of this type of heat therapy are being documented regularly. Different than a traditional sauna an infrared sauna uses a light wave that heats our body internally rather than relying on heating the air around us. Because of this many people find it a much more comfortable heat. The infrared sauna induces a natural fever like condition within our body sooner and more effectively than a traditional sauna. This fever like condition stimulates our immune system and our metabolic rate. You burn many additional calories from your increased body temperature as a result of sweating and even more from your increased metabolic rate from the natural fever like condition. Other benefits also include effective detoxification for caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and many heavy metals. Heat therapy also eases stress making it a very comfortable, healthy and effective way to enhance your weight loss in the pursuit of a healthier and fitter lifestyle.
In my opinion these are the “magic bullets” of getting into shape, always work smarter never harder. If you have questions about any of these ideas please check us out online at www.oneto1fitness.com.
I don’t know about you but I have never enjoyed stretching. I feel completely comfortable underneath a heavily loaded bar to perform a squat or a bench press, but ask me to stretch for twenty minutes and you just might see me reaching for the phone book to book my next dental appointment. No offence to my dentist.
Stretching is a very important aspect of our overall training. Adequate flexibility will have a dramatic impact on athletic performance. For the non-athlete the value of flexibility can we be quickly understood when we discuss a pain free lifestyle. If you’re like me you may well understand the value of stretching but that still doesn’t make those dragging minutes go by as you try to commit to a regular stretch program.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation may be the answer. PNF for short may offer you the opportunity to make incredible progress in terms of flexibility and range of motion as compared to the conventional static stretching we are all familiar with. Let me explain PNF. There are different variations to a PNF stretch but one of the more common methods in simplified terms is known as contract-relax. First you will need an anatomy lesson.
The end of each muscle blends to join a cartilaginous tissue known as the tendon which then attaches the muscle to the bone. At the end of each muscle fiber where it joins the tendon is a pressure sensitive organ known as the Golgi tendon organ. As a muscle lengthens to a stretch position pressure increase at the Golgi tendon organ, it responds by contracting. This contraction of the Golgi tendon organ is related to the pain we feel while stretching. After 15-30 seconds of a held stretch, pain subsides slightly and our range of motion increases as the Golgi tendon organ begins to relax. It’s the delay while the nervous system sends and receives the signals, which travel along muscle proprioceptors, to allow the action and relaxation of the Golgi tendon organ that creates the requirement for holding static stretches for extended periods.
Now in a PNF stretch we’ll help ease the Golgi tendon organ into a quicker state of relaxation by using the contraction of the muscle. When the muscle is contracted it sends a different signal through the proprioceptors that lessens the pressure sensitivity of the Golgi tendon organ allowing for greater lengthening of the muscle. Let’s put it to the test.
Seated on the floor extend one leg forward and bend the other leg at the knee so you are seated comfortably to reach toward your extended foot to stretch the hamstring muscle. Perform this stretch 2-3 times on each side for about 30 seconds, making note of the improvement in your flexibility each time. Now to utilize a PNF stretch for the hamstring we’ll need the assistance of a partner. Lie flat on the floor and raise one leg straight into the air as far as you can toward your shoulder. Hold you hips square and both firmly on the floor. Once you begin to feel the stretch have your partner support your foot under the heel and push against there hand with about 60% of your strength for about 6 seconds. Relax slowly and try to extend the leg further back to your shoulder. Perform this 3 times for each side and compare your gain in range of motion to the static stretch previously completed.
PNF stretching can be used for almost any muscle and can provide almost immediate results for improving flexibility. The only draw back is now stretching is shorter but it’s a team sport. Be sure to find someone with experience to teach you how to apply a PNF stretching correctly.
The holiday season is looming, Christmas parties are scheduled. If you have been committed to your exercise and nutrition program and making good progress, the prospect of your upcoming social calendar might have you lying awake at night with worry of what the scale might read around New Year’s. This is the season that everyone struggles to get through. Some try to stick to their plan to become frustrated with family and friends bugging them about, “always being on some diet.” Others simply give in and choose to worry about, “getting back into shape in the new year.”
Here are some tips to get you through the holiday season:
- Pick your parties: Try to choose what you will attend and plan for it. If you know in advance that you are attending a function you can prepare your food accordingly for that day, complete exercise programs early or adjust your schedule so that it falls on an off day. If you know there will be a meal you might try to find out what the menu will be and adjust your nutrition for the remainder of the day or pre-plan what you will eat at the party.
- Minimize Alcohol Consumption: I wrote a whole column last year on the effects of alcohol and why you should minimize or avoid it. Most notably in men how minimal amounts of alcohol will lower testosterone production for a number of days after consumption. For men and women a like alcohol, whether in a base of pop, juice, or water, is a nervous toxin and greatly reduces the metabolic process involved in burning stored body fat.
- Sweets in Moderation: Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without all the fantastic baking or my mom’s Nanaimo bars. However remember that refined sugar is the evil nemesis of anyone trying to maintain good health or a lean body. Refined sugar quickly elevates blood sugar leading to glucose storage at a rapid rate leaving anything left over to be easily converted to triglycerides and stored as body fat. Keep the volumes of sweets down by consuming them at the end of a meal this will control the amount you eat as well as shunt the blood sugar stimulating effects of refined sugar.
- Increase Water Intake: By increasing your water intake you will also relieve some of the urge to stop for the extra goodies in the coffee room or on the dessert table. In addition more water helps to dilute and filter elements during digestion that will ease stomach discomfort and any strain on the kidneys that work a little overtime during times of great nutritional variation.
- Maintain Some Exercise: Many people think that once their other habits fall apart they may as well put their exercise program on the shelf too. Little do they know that our metabolic machine, once it’s moving, slows down more like a train then a car. If you continue to exercise, even if it’s less often for a while, your metabolism will continue to exude many of its fat burning effects during this time of less than favorable nutritional and exercise habits.
Keeping these tips in mind will allow you to coast into 2007 with plenty of energy and feeling great, and most importantly little to no weight gain. Also remember this is a time for family, friends and to be thankful for all that life is so it’s ok to indulge a little. I can hardly wait for my mom’s Nanaimo bars.
I was shocked to learn that heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death in Canada and responsible for half the deaths in most developed countries. In addition to being the highest mortality factor cardiovascular disease is also the largest burden on our health care system. The Canadian Institute of Health Research disclosed that cardiovascular disease related illness cost 18.5 billion dollars in 1998, 11.6% of the total cost of all illnesses in Canada that year. Alarming statistics like this that are continuing to rise should be motivation for us all to find ways to maintain better health. Of course this means I’m trying to motivate you further to continue to implement and refine your regular exercise program and to become more aware of your nutritional habits.
Many things have been linked to cardiovascular disease, some that you have the option to control such as: smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol, obesity, and inactivity. Other factors that may also contribute are: long periods of increased stress, birth control pills, and alcohol. Beyond our control is the hereditary disposition to these types of illness as well as our gender, sex hormones and age. On average men are at greater risk then women until age 65 then the average becomes closer.
In our society of long work hours, instant quick-n-easy solutions it’s not hard to let your habits deteriorate, even I’m guilty of this. Miss a few workouts because you’re working longer hours and by the end of the week the soft comfy couch and the thumb pressing repetition on the remote seems awfully inviting. The treadmill, the bicycle and the dog leash seem to become associated with stress and more work then what they truly are; a means to relax, de-stress, unwind and promote better health.
If you’re one of those people that hates exercise or works 50-60 or more hours a week then this is for you. If you’re one of those people that frequents a drive-thru more than once a week then this is also for you. Whether you realize it or not you are hurting yourself everyday. You might scoff at this because you are someone that “never gets sick.” Yet! Our failing health care system is a significant sign that people are ignoring their body’s signs until illness strikes, but it is within your power to change and win this battle.
Get started now. If you smoke, stop. Find any help you need whether it’s laser, hypnosis, support from family and friends do what it takes. Red Deer is now smoke free, I suspect Sylvan will soon be and look to see other cities and towns follow suit. If you stop you will be happier, healthier, and more productive, live longer and as a bonus you’ll remove the financial burden leading to less stress. If you were going to make one change to work toward better health this should be your choice if it applies.
Looking at the factors for cardiovascular disease I described above there is a lot of things we can do to greatly lower our risk. University of Berkley, the Foundation of wellness suggested that when sedentary people begin a regular exercise program a few days a week they can lower their risk of heart attack by 35-55%. Simple things like a walk with the dog or soon shoveling the side walk for 20-30 min is all it takes. To go a step further and add some light resistance training for 30-40 min can not only assist in the reduction of risk of cardiovascular disease but also improve posture, assist in weight loss, and even increase bone density helping to prevent osteoporosis, another serious age related condition.
Nutritionally its time to eliminate processed foods particularly those from the mighty drive-thru, the king of saturated fat. Solid nutritional habits will help lose unwanted body weight and lower blood pressure and cholesterol which in turn decrease our risk of cardiovascular disease further. Try to eat more natural foods particularly whole grains and a broad spectrum of fruits and vegetables. Having a variety of colour in our foods from fruits and vegetables provides rich sources of antioxidants and phytonutrients which are important components in our body’s immune system arsenal for disease prevention.
It’s the little changes that make the biggest difference if you start today I know you will attain a greater feeling of wellness in mere days or a few short weeks. The alternative isn’t worth letting your families fall prey to a statistic.