Tag Archives: Physical exercise

Lesson from wearing a heart rate monitor for 24 hours

I decided to see how many calories I would burn in 24 hours by wearing my Polar heart rate monitor the entire day. I thought I had a pretty good idea just how many calories I would burn in 24 hours based on other tests, but I wanted to test two things. First, how accurate are these heart rate monitors, and second, if it proves accurate, how close was I to being correct. Based on my body fat testing (done by bioelectrical impedance) my basal metabolic rate is about 2100 calories per 24 hours. Basal metabolic rate is defined as the rate at which the body uses energy while at rest to keep vital functions going, such as breathing and keeping warm. With that knowledge in mind, I assumed day-to-day I probably burn about 2500 calories (after all, I’m not at rest ALL day). That would be on a non-workout day. However, I wanted to do this test on a day I exercised. So with all that information I calculated I would burn about 3,000 calories in 24 hours on a workout day. Here is what I learned:

My total burn was 3,238 calories in 24 hours. Not too bad. I was a little low on my assumption, but I also assumed my workout would burn 500-600 calories. It ended up burning 800 calories. That makes my estimate just about spot on.

24 hours. 3,238 calories.

24 hours. 3,238 calories.

Sitting is bad:

While seated and doing desk work (like I am at the moment), my heart rate touches the high 40’s but is mostly in the low 50’s range. While standing and doing miscellaneous work stuff, my heart rate is in the mid 60’s to low 70’s. This makes a huge difference and is congruent with research that shows people with sedentary jobs have higher rates of cardiovascular disease and higher mortality rates. The lesson? Get up and move.

I don’t eat enough:

In the back of my mind, I knew this. There are plenty of days where I get busy and cannot have a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. I need to be better about that, especially on the days I exercise. In the 24 hours I also kept track of my calories with a calorie-counting app. According to it, I consumed just over 2,500 calories. Clearly a deficit, but not necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on what you’re going for. For me, I know I do better when I at least approximate my caloric expenditure.

Heart healthy:

My average heart rate over 24 hours was just 64 beats per minute. This number is quite good. I was happy to see it. My maximum heart rate was 179 during my workout.

Burn, burn, burn:

I burn through just over 100 (somewhere between 100-110) calories an hour while awake and just under 100 calories an hour while sleeping (about 80/hour). This total excludes my exercise for the day. That is about what I expected it to be.

My heart monitor seems to be pretty accurate:

Based on the body fat testing and basal metabolic rate calculation, my heart rate monitor did a pretty good job accurately predicting calorie burn in accordance with the bioelectrical testing I did the week before.

I think the moral of the story is if you want to have the wiggle room in your diet to eat more food, you need to get up and move. I challenge anyone to try and eat 3,200 healthy calories today. It’s much harder than you think. The more you move, the more muscle you build which only adds to your ability to burn energy.

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3 Steps to Avoid The Weight Loss Plateau

We’ve all heard about it, right?  Many people have experienced it and the frustrations that go with it.  When you’re trying to lose weight there’s nothing more aggravating than not actually losing weight.  The scenario can go one of two ways:

  1. The first is probably the most common scenario that most of you are thinking about.  A person begins a diet and exercise program and begins to lose weight.  As they progress the weight loss slows and eventually stops even though they aren’t at their goal weight.  I see it routinely in my practice.
  2. The second scenario is still common but people often do not think of it as a weight loss plateau.  In this situation a person begins a diet and exercise program but does not lose any weight at all.  While this may not be your traditional plateau of weight loss, it is still a plateau of sorts.

There are many reasons a person my actually stop losing weight, but if you follow the steps below it will help you avoid this pesky problem and keep you on your path to a leaner, healthier body.

Eat More!

Yes, eat more.  Many times people begin to experience a plateau because they’ve gone months without actually eating enough.  At first, this caloric deficit causes the body to burn extra energy (fat) resulting in weight loss.  Over time, however, the body’s metabolism slows down to meet the amount of energy one is consuming.  We must remember that the human body is designed as a survival machine.  If it believes it is not getting enough food, it will slow down the metabolism to meet the energy supply coming in.  When this happens, weight loss stops.

For the person that begins a diet program but simply cannot lose a single pound, eating more might be essential.  If someone is having trouble losing any weight, it may be because they have been under eating for many years and their metabolism has slowed to a crawl. Trying to lose weight by cutting calories will only compound the problem.  Focus on eating healthy proteins, fruits and vegetables and DO NOT SKIP MEALS.  Eat every three hours and your calories will go up and weight loss will resume/begin.

Change Up Your Exercise

Our bodies get used to things.  Thank goodness they do or even simple tasks like walking might prove very difficult!  But this also means that our bodies get used to our exercise routines and become very efficient at them.  The benefit you received initially from your workout program is no longer as high.  It’s the classic story of diminishing returns.  As you continue to do the same exercise routine, your body finds a way to use less and less energy to do it. This means you get less and less benefit.

An ideal exercise program includes resistance training (i.e. weights) and cardiovascular work.  There are ways to incorporate both very easily, but it must be changed on a monthly basis.  The change is essential for continuing to make progress.

Be Consistent

Didn’t I just tell you to change? Yes, I did.  But you must also be consistent with several things.  Your diet must be consistent.  You must consistently change your workout program and you must remember that weight loss is most permanent when it is done over a long period of time.  If you’re overweight, you did not get there in 6 weeks.  Similarly, you’re likely not going to reach your goals in 6 weeks.

Consistency in the early stages of a diet are perhaps even more vital.  There is little room for error early in a diet plan.  This does not mean you have to be perfect. No one is perfect.  You should try and be as consistent as possible, however.  In the first phase of a new lifestyle your metabolism is resistant to change.  It likes the old way of doing things.  It may take weeks (or months!) for it to adapt to the new demands you are placing on it.  Frequent indiscretions in diet or lack of exercise will prolong the process of shifting your metabolism.  And guess what you’re going to do as soon as your metabolism adapts?  Change your exercise program!!

The process is actually very simple, but because there’s a lot of misinformation out there regarding diet and exercise many people tend to get confused, frustrated and eventually give up. If you can remember the above steps and keep them in your head at all times, weight loss should be a relatively easy process.

 

 

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Activity or Exercise? Do you know the difference?

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Exercise is the key to staying healthy.  Studies show that exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle because it reduces heart disease, cancer, depression, stroke and dementia to name just a few.  However, I find that most people do not know what exercise really is.  All too often they confuse it with activity.  Exercise and activity are cousins, but they are not the same thing.

In all of my new patient appointments I ask each person about their exercise habits.  Some people truly exercise, but the vast majority get no regular exercise. Still others think they exercise when in fact they are just active.  What’s the difference?

First, let me say that being active is without a doubt better than being a couch potato. However, it does not substitute for regular exercise.

So what exactly do I mean? Doesn’t being active mean I exercise? Not necessarily.

Here are the two scenarios I hear in my office the most.

The first is the busy mother of a small child.  Routinely they tell me, “I don’t need to exercise, I chase my small child around all day and pick him up and put him down.  That’s plenty of exercise.” Unfortunately that’s incorrect.  This person is active, but does not exercise and cannot possibly gain the benefits of exercise by looking after a small child.  Unless this mother is repeatedly picking up and putting down their child and squatting down over and over in a short period of time to do so and their heart rate is significantly elevated while doing so, they are not exercising.

Now, I understand that caring for a small child is tiring, but so is sitting at the library and doing research. Activities that make us tired do not always qualify as exercise.

The second scenario I hear most often in response to my question of exercise habits is actually one of two things; people will say, “I walk a few times per week,” or “I like to garden on the weekend.” Both of these again, are activities.  Very few people walk fast enough or the distances required for walking to be considered exercise.  I have one patient in particular who actually does walk far and fast enough for it to be exercise, but that’s a rarity.  Gardening will never be considered exercise.  Again, it may be tiring but two things disqualify it as exercise.  First, it does not increase the heart rate enough and second it is not done with enough regularity to be exercise.

Again, I want to stress that being active is a great start and is far superior to sitting on the couch and watching television.  But it’s just that – a start.

Exercise is something that drives heart rate, builds muscle and changes body composition. It should be done with regularity – at least 3 times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes.

I would ask you to consider this question; If you are a person who falls into one of the above scenarios and believe your lifestyle creates an environment in which you do not need to exercise because you are active consider this.

Are you happy with the results?

Are you tired and/or overweight despite chasing your small child around all day or gardening on the weekend?

If you answered no to the first question and yes to the second you should consider changing your point of view on what you consider exercise.

Remember, activity is a good thing. However, it is not exercise and cannot be used as a substitute.  I would encourage you to make time to exercise even if you are busy and active.  It will only help you in the end.

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10 Way to Live Longer and Healthier

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Exercise –

Exercising is a key to staying healthy and research shows that people who exercise age more slowly. This is perhaps due to the fact that exercise has been associated with preventing telomere shortening.  Telomeres are strands of DNA at the ends of each chromosome that shorten as we age.

Don’t Smoke –

Smoking causes the skin to wrinkle and wreaks havoc on our brains, heart and lungs.  The inflammation caused by smoking is thought to speed the aging process.

Eat a Healthy Diet –

You are what you eat.  A healthy diet provides antioxidants that gobble up free radicals that speed the aging process.  It also helps maintain a healthy weight which is important in preventing a host of diseases.

Stop Snoring –

Sleep apnea, a condition is which people stop breathing during sleep because tissues in your throat collapse blocking the airway, can cause high blood pressure, memory problems, weight gain, and depression.

Take Resveratrol –

Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant found most prevalently in the skins of grapes. It provides the health benefits associated with red wine. Just like exercise, it slows telomere shortening. It is available in supplement form.

Manage Your Stress –

Excessive stress leads to the production of hormones in the body that are detrimental to long term health. High stress levels delays healing, increases fat deposition and suppresses the immune system.

Keep Your Insulin Levels In Check –

Insulin is a hormone in the body that is secreted in response to carbohydrate consumption.  An excessive level, due to excessive carbohydrate and sugar intake, is associated with increased cellular aging.  Keep grains and sugar to a low level in your diet.

Get Out in the Sun –

Being in the sun not only improves mood, but it produces vitamin D.  Vitamin D affects up to 10% of your genes and allows them to function optimally.  Vitamin D has also been shown to reduce the rate of many types of cancer.

Get Your Fats –

Eating a diet high in healthy fats, like omega-3, is essential for heart and brain health.  Good sources include fish and nuts.  To get optimal benefit, however, most people will likely have to supplement with fish oil.

Control Your Blood Pressure –

High blood pressure increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and a host of other diseases.  Controlling it will allow you to live longer.  It is best to control it by losing weight and exercising.

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Avoiding the Common Cold and Flu

It’s that time of year again.  Cold and flu season is upon us.  Fortunately there are things that can be done to avoid getting the cold and flu outside of getting that nasty flu shot.

It all starts with diet

Perhaps the best things you can do is eat a healthy diet.  A diet filled with high quality protein, healthy fats and brightly colored vegetables and fruits is a great way to keep your immune system functioning at its best.  Remember, your immune system depends on what you put into your body for fuel.  Junk in = junk out!

Control stress

In times of stress the body goes into fight or flight mode.  This means it is trying to survive and survive right now. When you are under stress your body views the immune system as unimportant.  Because your body is trying to survive in the short term it begins to shift energy away from long term systems like the immune system.  Your body is not concerned with that cold you might get two weeks from now if it doesn’t think it will survive today or tomorrow.  Do your best to manage your stress so that your immune system can stay as potent as possible.

Exercise

You will see this over and over again in my posts.  Exercise is good for everything!  Exercising stimulates immune function in our bodies by facilitating immune cells that go after viruses.  Plus, there are many other benefits to exercise.  Its importance cannot be over stated.  There is one caveat to this; do not over exercise.  This will shift your body into that fight or flight scenario discussed above and will have the opposite effect your are desiring.  Thirty to sixty minutes of exercise 3-4 times per week is adequate.

Supplements

Listed below are helpful immune boosting supplements that you can use to ward off the cold or flu this season.  You should always buy the highest quality supplements that you can.  All supplements are not created equal! The company that I like to use is a company called Metagenics. They have superior quality control and prove their formulations through research.  Their products are safe and effective.

Vitamin D

D3 1000 is vitamin D in a highly absorbable form.  Vitamin D is known to boost immune function and it has been shown that people who have the lowest levels of vitamin D in their blood are at the highest risk of illness.  I recommend 2,000-4,oooIU per day.  D3 1000 is 1,000IU per tablet.  You may order this supplement from Metagenics though my online store here. Simply register and begin shopping!

ImmuCore

ImmuCore is designed to enhance the  activities of macrophages, natural killer cells, and T cell subsets.  These cells are the cells in your immune system that will fight the fight!  It contains vitamin C, zinc, selenium and a proprietary blend of immune boosting herbs.  Click here to purchase.

Kaprex AI

Kaprex AI contains a small amount of vitamin D as well as zinc and selenium.  Its major ingredient is a complex derived from hops (yes, those hops) that has been shown to have hugely beneficial effects on the immune system and inflammation.  Click here to purchase.

How To Purchase

You may purchase these supplements many places online.  You do not have to buy them from me but you may.  If you would like to here is how to order them.

You may click one of the links in the above paragraphs at the end of each description or you may click the link to our online store under our blog roll on the right hand side of your screen.  Once you’re there register your name and begin shopping.  They will be shipped straight to you, usually arriving in 1-2 business days.

If you have any questions please let us know!

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10 Simple Ways to Live to 100

Fresh vegetables are important components of a...

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Exercise –

Exercising is a key to staying healthy and research shows that people who exercise age more slowly. This is perhaps because exercise has been associated with preventing telomere shortening.  Telomeres are strands of DNA at the ends of each chromosome that shorten as we age.

Don’t Smoke –

Smoking causes the skin to wrinkle and wreaks havoc on our brains, heart and lungs.  The inflammation caused by smoking is thought to speed the aging process.

Eat a Healthy Diet –

You are what you eat.  A healthy diet provides antioxidants that gobble up free radicals that speed the aging process.  It also helps support a healthy weight which is important in preventing a host of diseases.

Stop Snoring –

Sleep apnea, a condition is which people stop breathing during sleep because tissues in your throat collapse blocking the airway, can cause high blood pressure, memory problems, weight gain, and depression.

Take Resveratrol –

Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant found most prevalently in the skins of grapes. It provides the health benefits associated with red wine. Just like exercise, it slows telomere shortening. It is available in supplement form.

Manage Your Stress –

Excessive stress leads to the production of hormones in the body that are harmful to long term health. High stress levels delays healing, increases fat deposition and suppresses the immune system.

Keep Your Insulin Levels In Check –

Insulin is a hormone in the body that is secreted in response to carbohydrate consumption.  An excessive level, due to excessive carbohydrate and sugar intake, is associated with increased cellular aging.  Keep grains and sugar to a low level in your diet.

Get Out in the Sun –

Being in the sun not only improves mood, but it produces vitamin D.  Vitamin D affects up to 10% of your genes and allows them to work optimally.  Vitamin D has also been shown to reduce the rate of many types of cancer.

Get Your Fats –

Eating a diet high in healthy fats, like omega-3, is essential for heart and brain health.  Good sources include fish and nuts.  To get optimal benefit, however, most people will likely have to supplement with fish oil.

Control Your Blood Pressure –

High blood pressure increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and a host of other diseases.  Controlling it will allow you to live longer.  It is best to control it by losing weight and exercising.

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Obesity Costs U.S. $168 Billion

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Two-thirds of Americans are overweight.  This means that two out of three people in this country have at least one significant health risk factor.  Not only does that shorten one’s lifespan, but it costs a lot of money too.

New research out of Cornell University and Lehigh University suggests that the total medical costs associated with obesity now tops $168 billion.  This accounts for 17% of total medical costs in the U.S. every year.  The new research also states that being obese adds about $2,800 to a person’s yearly medical expenditures.

Of 33 countries with advanced economies, the U.S. is the fattest.  Roughly 200 million Americans are overweight or obese and the epidemic is getting worse.

So not only is obesity dangerous for your health, it takes money out of your pocket! The question remains – what do we do about it?

Diet

My solutions are simple but they go against some of the traditional thoughts on diet in particular.

First, people must be taught how to eat correctly.  No more low fat, low cholesterol stuff.  I have many patients who are surprised when they begin my diet program to see it includes things like eggs, steak, cheese and whole fat yogurt.  They are used to physicians telling them to avoid fat or you’ll get fat.  Physiologically it doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t play out that way when people eat a diet rich in healthy fats.

I always encourage people to eat a diet low in refined carbohydrates and high in healthy fats and proteins.  Some people are hesitant because they are afraid they’re cholesterol will go up or they will actually gain weight.  After I assure them this won’t happen and they try the diet, they are ecstatic with the results.  No only do people lose weight, but they’re blood work improves too!  They see improvements in cholesterol levels, inflammatory enzyme levels and in blood sugar regulation to name a few.

Learning how to eat correctly is hard for some people at first because of all the misinformation out there.  Here’s a good rule of thumb for you – if it’s packaged don’t eat it.  Now this rule doesn’t always apply.  Somethings that are packaged are ok.  For example, if you buy a package of roasted almonds you’re good to go.  But most things that are packaged are high in refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats and should be avoided.

Another good rule of thumb is to shop around the edges of the grocery store.  That’s where you’ll find the meats, veggies, fruits and nuts and seeds.  You’ll also likely find the breads…skip that part.

Meals should always have a good source of protein (chicken, fish, beef, etc.) and should always have a fruit or a vegetable.  Here’s what I’ve had for my meals so far today plus a good example for dinner:

Breakfast:
3 eggs, a yogurt and about 20 grapes.
Lunch:
Chicken breast, about 20 olives and a recovery drink (I had just gotten back from the gym and that will take me to my next point!)
Dinner:
I haven’t had dinner yet today but I’ll give you last night’s meal as a good example
Turkey and sausage meatloaf stuffed with cheese and sun dried tomatoes with stir fried Brussels spouts and onions.

Food is critically important.  No amount of exercise or supplements is going to make up for a poor diet.

Exercise

Are you seeing a theme yet?  On my blog you will see the words diet and exercise over and over.  It is because they are the most important things you can do to stay healthy.

You must exercise at least 3 times per week for about an hour.  This is critical.  People often ask me why they must exercise “so much.”  In my opinion, 3 hours a week is not a lot but I do understand that people are busy.  You are not too busy for this.  You can’t afford to be too busy for this.  I have also had people say to me that their parents never exercised and lived to be into their 80’s and 90’s.  This may be true but we must take into account that their activity level was most likely higher than our current activity level.  Fifty or sixty years ago our forms of entertainment were much different.  We didn’t watch as much TV, or play video games, or sit on our mowers to mow the lawn.

Your current fitness level will determine your program.  I suggest that if you are not used to exercising or want to get the best results possible, consider getting a good trainer to coach you through a program.  It is the best way to stay consistent with an exercise program because it makes you accountable to someone else for your exercise.

Your program should be a blend of muscle building exercises and cardiovascular fitness.  Without both you miss out on the unique health benefits that each provides.

This is the only way we are going to solve the obesity epidemic in this country.  There are no quick fixes and there certainly isn’t a pill that’s going to magically make us all healthy.  This is something we must all take responsibility for.  If we do that we can make a difference.

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