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Posted by Jacque Wilson on CNN.com/health on April 23rd, 2013
You walk into a fast food restaurant and examine the menu. You could get a salad with grilled chicken and dressing on the side. Or you could get a double cheeseburger.
Seeing the calories listed next to each item isn't likely to affect your decision, according to a new study being presented at the Experimental Biology 2013 meeting this week. But seeing the amount of time it would take you to work those calories off at the gym just might.
Researchers at Texas Christian University asked 300 men and women aged 18 to 30 years to purchase food from one of three fast food menus. All of the menus contained the same options, including burgers, chicken tenders, salad, French fries and desserts.
One group's menu had no labels of any kind. The second group's menu was labeled with the total calories in each item. The third group's menu was labeled with the number of minutes of brisk walking it would take someone to burn off the calories in the meal.
People who ordered off the activity-labeled menu ordered 139 fewer calories and consumed 97 fewer calories on average than those who ordered off the menu without labels.
There was no significant difference in the number of calories ordered or consumed between the group that ordered off the calorie-labeled menu and the group that saw no labels. There was also no significant difference between the group that ordered off the activity-labeled menu and the group that ordered off the calorie-labeled menu.
If consumers are aware of the number of minutes they'd have to exercise to work off the calories they are eating, they are more likely to order lower-calorie options. Although the difference in the study results was small, "a 100-calorie reduction on a daily basis could lead to some weight loss over the long term," senior researcher Meena Shah said in an e-mail. Shah mentored the study, conducted by graduate student Ashlei James.
Shah stresses that the results of this study need to be verified by other studies with a more diverse group of participants before policy recommendations can be made about restaurant menu labeling.
Do your research before ordering. "Readers should become aware of the amount of exercise it would take to burn the food calories consumed and make appropriate food choices," Shah said. "It would not be feasible for most people to exercise for one to two hours a day in order to burn the calories from a very high-calorie food item."
How Exercise And Other Activities Beat Back Dementia
Posted by Patti Neighmond on npr.org on April 15th
The numbers are pretty grim: More than half of all 85-year-olds suffer some form of dementia.
But here's the good news: Brain researchers say there are ways to boost brain power and stave off problems in memory and thinking.
In other words, brain decline is not necessarily an inevitable part of aging. "It's simply not pre-destined for all human beings," Bryan James tells Shots. He's an epidemiologist at the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center in Chicago. "Lots of people live into their 90s and even 100s with no symptoms of dementia."
So what can you do to increase the odds? Neuroscientist Art Kramer, who directs the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois, has a number of suggestions. First and foremost, Kramer says, is to exercise. Research shows it's the best thing you can do for your brain.
Kramer did a study in which he scanned the brains of 120 older adults, half of whom started a program of moderate aerobic exercise — just 45 minutes, three days a week, mostly walking. After a year, the MRI scans showed that for the aerobic group, the volume of their brains actually increased
What's more, individuals in the control group lost about 1.5 percent of their brain volume, adding up to a 3.5 percent difference between individuals who took part in aerobic exercise and those who did not. Further tests showed that increased brain volume translated into better memory.
The findings support earlier animal research in which rodents that were exercised had a number of favorable physiological changes, Kramer says. They had more new neurons, stronger connections between neurons, and increased blood supply to a number of regions in the brain.
Rachel Whitmer, a researcher at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, agrees that it's important to exercise your body to ensure the health of your brain. It's not just getting adequate exercise, Whitmer says, it's also "maintaining good blood pressure, levels of cholesterol and a healthy weight," and remembering that "what's good for the heart is good for the brain."
What about mental exercises? Kramer says the evidence isn't nearly as conclusive, but keeping your brain active can't hurt.
The brain loves novelty, so if you do crossword puzzles, try shifting to a different type of puzzle — Sudoku, for example, he says. Or learn a new language. Play a new instrument.
And go out with friends. James recently published a study looking at the social lives of about 1,100 adults over 80. He asked them about going to restaurants and sporting events, playing bingo, doing volunteer work and other activities.
Individuals were followed for up to 12 years. Those with busy social lives were half as likely to develop dementia, compared with those with minimal social activities.
In another study, James looked at a different measure of activity — something he calls "life space." He added up how often people got out of their bedroom, went out of their house, traveled out of their neighborhood or out of town. "The people who never left their home — even though they didn't seem to have any cognitive problems when we started following them — were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease" over five years, James says.
And finally, there's the popular notion of brain food. There's some evidence suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, and antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, found in vegetables, may help nourish the brain.
Putting it all together, Kramer jokingly suggests that the best advice might be to join a book group that walks and drinks red wine while talking about the book. Red wine contains antioxidants, Kramer notes. You'd be discussing a stimulating topic with good friends while exercising your body. "How can you beat it?" he says. "It's got all four!"
How'd you like to get paid to lose weight? Financial incentives can help improve your odds of dropping pounds, according to a new study.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic followed 100 Mayo employees over the course of a year as they took educational classes on how to eat healthy and lose weight.
The employees were broken up into several groups - some of which got financial incentives to shed the pounds and others that just got the classes.
"We found that people who receive financial incentives tended to stick with the healthy behaviors we all wish we would do more often," said lead study author Dr. Stephen Driver, an internal medicine resident at Mayo Clinic.
"At 52 weeks, those in the financial arm of the study had lost an average of about 9 pounds," he said, "as compared to those who didn't receive financial incentives, who lost about 2 pounds."
Each participant received $20 for every pound they lost, but they also had to pay $20 for every pound they gained. Driver says the move wasn't just punitive; it was both an added incentive to lose weight and a way to fund the program.
"About 86% of large employers are already offering some kind of financial incentives to help employees reach their health goals," Driver said. "But one problem employers run into with financial incentives is that they can be expensive. Part of our model was to allow the so-called 'losers' to fund the 'winners,' and I think that can help things to be more sustainable."
This study is not the first to show the link between financial incentives and improved weight loss, but with one year of follow up, it is the longest.
Driver did point out one limitation of this particularly study design:
"Because it was research, everybody knew which group they were in," he said. "There may have been a higher proportion of dropouts in the non-incentive group."
Why? Because they knew there was no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, which may prove the point of the study even more.
"I think the message is financial incentives can be an important part of the puzzle, and an important tool to help keep you motivated.
Honor National Diabetes Month by Dedicating Yourself to a Healthy and Fit LifestyleDiabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Almost 26 million Americans, both adults and children, battle this chronic, serious disease, which is a leading cause of kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, non-traumatic lower limb amputations and blindness.1According to the...
Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month by Incorporating Healthy Habits into Your Daily RoutineExperts throughout the fitness community have long encouraged everyone to exercise more in order to live a healthy and fit lifestyle. Recently, the medical community has further supported the importance of encouraging adults to be more physically active, especially for individuals who...
Exercise Regularly to Live a Happy, Healthier and Longer Life You have heard hundreds of times that exercise is important to living a healthy lifestyle. But, how important is it to living a happy and fulfilled lifestyle? Exercise is extremely important to establishing a happy lifestyle as it fills your mind and body happiness tanks by contributing to make you feel...
Take In More Protein
One of the best ways to add quality muscle tissue and get rid of the flab is to consume more protein! This strategy helps to fire up your metabolism due to the fact that the more muscle tissue you carry, the more active your metabolism will be. Be sure to mix in some strength training and you’ll be on the fast track to success.
Don’t Starve Yourself!
One of the common misconceptions of weight loss is that you can’t eat! The trick is to have low caloric meals no more than three hours apart. This ensures that your metabolism is constantly fired up and working. Once your body adjusts to this method you will be hungry every few hours and shouldn’t have to force yourself to eat.
You’re working out hard and can’t seem to get rid of the stubborn last few pounds. Maybe your eating patterns are the true problem. A detailed food log could be your solution. By measuring portions, limiting sugar, and tracking your daily intake you may find what’s holding you back. Not sure what to cut out or where to begin, consult the Fitness Together professionals for advice.
Do you have an interest in working out but are not sure where to begin? Deciding to workout is a great first step, but after that, it can be complex and confusing. Many people dive right into the gym without a plan, and without any idea of what they want to accomplish by going (other than vague goals of health and weight loss). Not to worry, if this is you! It's never too late to formulate and stick to a plan - and you'll be glad you did once you start seeing more results.
Stay on target - but be flexible.
Putting speed over form - Don't confuse speed with intensity. Intensity is important, the harder you work, the quicker results will come. Speed, on the other hand, can get you injured. Speed for speed's sake almost always compromises form. When you break form, not only are you not working the muscles properly and optimally, you're also possibly putting yourself in a position where a muscle, ligament or tendon can be improperly stressed...and damaged. Nothing will stop your results in their tracks like an injury will, so please, please be careful and use correct form. This is one of the many places where it is so valuable to get expert guidance, feedback and coaching. Just looking at a picture in a magazine or book, or watching the exercise performed by someone else on a video, can be deceiving.
Reading a magazine while doing cardio - Reading takes your concentration away from the task at hand, which is an intense, heart-pumping workout. And all sorts of bad things can happen when you're not focused on what you're doing while running along at 6mph on the treadmill, or even when you're on a stationary bike. I've seen it all, and some of the spills I've witnessed weren't pretty! If the person could get back up, he'd get up with an embarrassed look on his face, that's for sure. But it's not about embarrassment, it's about safety and getting results. I'm not trying to be a scrooge, I just want you to know that getting results, particularly if you want them fast, requires focused effort. Instead, put on your IPod with some motivating music...and rock it out!
Ignoring weight training - Guys obviously understand the benefits of weight training, but ladies...not so much. And I get it. You don't want "bulky" muscles. But the truth is, that just won't happen. Remember, muscle is more compact than fat. And women don't have the muscle building testosterone men have. So, when a woman trains with weights, your body literally shrinks. It doesn't expand, and certainly won't get "bulky." Instead, you'll enhance your feminine curves by toning them up, and tightening them down! Tight, toned and terrific is what you get from weight training...done right.
OK, so now you understand a few of the common mistakes that sabotage results. I hope you're put them to practice in your workouts. And if you need help, you know how to reach us!
A new study out of George Washington University Medical Center discovered that obese people actually believe MORE in the importance of exercise than healthy weight people.
You may ask, "where are things breaking down?"
The answer, as the study points out, is that most people are self-conscious about the clothes they wear, and how they look as they sweat, and if they are using the equipment right.
Does it strike you as odd that a business established to help people get in shape actually scares off many who need it most?
If this describes you, check out what it means to work with a fitness professional in a PRIVATE training suite. It can make all the difference in your success. We offer a complementary session to all who are interested. Just call 517-347-9020 for a free assessment and consultation