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051217 Breakfast Power by Glenn Cardwell, part 2

051217 Breakfast Power by Glenn Cardwell, part 2

Breakfast
Not long ago I was asked to review the science on the benefits of breakfast for a cereal company. Although it is a common truism that “breakfast is good for you” I wanted to know if it remains good advice. So I plunged into 30+ research papers to see what was agreed about the first meal of the day. Here is what I learned.

A large Australian study from last year showed that breakfast was critical for school performance, boosting both literacy and numeracy skills, independent of the socio-economic group. This backed up a review of the previous 50 years of studies in school children. There is no doubt that breakfast is necessary to help you to learn new stuff. Usually not difficult with primary school kids because they wake up hungry. It is the upper high school kids we need to convince.

Breakfast habits changing
Twenty years ago just about every young kid ate breakfast, with only some older teenagers giving it a miss, rising to 15% of 19-24 year olds being breakfast skippers. Now we have nearly 1 in 4 of upper high school students missing breakfast, in Australia at least.

Two decades ago, over three quarters of adults ate breakfast. Now barely 6 out of 10 adults regularly eat breakfast, women being better than the menfolk. Why the decline? The most common excuse is “not enough time”, in other words not enough time to pour out cereal into a bowl, add milk and consume (Gee, that’s gotta take 6 whole minutes) or plonk two slices of bread into the toaster, shave/brush hair/pack lunch while you wait, then add peanut butter. Let’s see, that’s 7.5 minutes.

But then my concept of time and food differs to most people, a fact I accept and have resigned myself to, especially since the day I saw a line of cars outside the drive-thru section of a famous takeaway at 8 am on a school day.

What if you don’t fancy breakfast?
Don’t know how you can do it, frankly. Me? I can’t do without breakfast. No breakfast and I can’t do up shirt buttons, I squeeze Heel Balm onto my toothbrush and drive into oncoming traffic. I have a court order to eat breakfast by 7.30 am or face serving jail time.

You, of course, may be able to get away with it. Can I suggest that you at least have a banana, a yogurt or one of those breakfast drinks as you leave the house? With some glucose racing through your arteries you will make better decisions. Then, when you do feel hungry, eat smart, like choose a sandwich, fruit or a smoothie and not scarf some eye-level, salty, extruded snack from the vending machine. Just the term “extruded snack” should put you off.

What does it all mean?
It means what it has always meaned. Clever people eat breakfast and breakfast eating makes you clever. The evidence is pretty over-whelming.

There are plenty of choices to kick-start the day – breakfast cereals or muesli with milk, topped with nuts or a banana (my choice), wholegrain toast with peanut butter, poached eggs and mushrooms on toast, yogurt and canned fruit and you can think of more. If you buy your breakfast look beyond the cappuccino and croissant because you are worth a lot more than that. A lot more.

Selected references:

  • O’Dea JA, Mugridge AC. Nutritional quality of breakfast and physical activity independently predict the literacy and numeracy scores of children after adjusting for socioeconomic status. Health Education Research 2012; 27 (6): 975-985
    • Hoyland A, Dye L, Lawton CL. A systematic review of the effect of breakfast on the cognitive performance of children and adolescents. Nutrition Research Reviews 2009; 22: 220-243
    • Astbury NM, Taylor MA, Macdonald IA. Breakfast consumption affects appetite, energy intake, and the metabolic and endocrine responses to foods consumed later in the day in male habitual breakfast eaters. The Journal of Nutrition 2011; 141: 1381-1389
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241017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky? 2/3

241017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky? 2/3 

The problem

Nearly every newspaper or magazine on the stands has an article about the obesity problem in today’s modern society. In case you are not aware of the dangers of being overweight here are just a few of the conditions that can have a major impact on your quality of life and on your lifespan. Obesity increases your chance of developing heart disease, hypertension, type two diabetes, cancer, arthritis, asthma, and sleep disorders.

The why

Recent research has found that stress actually changes your nervous and hormonal systems around so they encourage fat accumulation around the waist. This type of fat is dangerous and can lead to an increase in your chances of developing hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.

The October issue of Obesity Research featured a report by Swedish scientists, which found changes occurred in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal connections.  This intricate system regulates the part of the brain that controls metabolism through the adrenal gland. They also found that men with accumulations of fat in the stomach had nervous system changes that help to keep the bodily functions in balance. These researchers believe that these brain and neuroendocrine changes happen due to a life of chronic stress.

The how

One method of determining where you store your body fat is to use the waist to hip ratio formula. Take a measuring tape from your sewing room or sewing kit and measure the circumference of your hips at the widest part of your buttocks. Write this number down and then measure at the smallest circumference of your waist, just above your navel. As you measure your waist, don’t suck your stomach in, as this will give a false reading. Letting it all hang out is the best stance here.

Divide the hip number into the waist number to determine the ratio. If the number is one or above you are at an increased risk of one or more of the diseases previously listed.

The formula is Waist ÷Hip and anything less than one is good news.

More next week.

050917 More benefits of exercise

050917 More benefits of exercise

Exercise has been cited as being beneficial for avoiding, lessening, and mitigating a vast array of diseases in the past. Now, new research is confirming even more of these exercise related benefits for those who choose to follow this path to better health.

According to a recent report from Duke University, working out directly affects your heart. You may reduce your risk of developing heart disease up to 25% by doing 750 minutes of high intense minutes each week. By doing 300 minutes of intense exercise you lower your risk of heart disease by 20% and exercising 150 minutes per week lowers the risk by 14%.

Despite scientific research and the medical expert’s advising exercise to manage the pain of arthritis, up to 90% of those with arthritis fail to meet even the standards of 150 minutes of exercise per week. Of this 90%, nearly half get no exercise at all. They are inactive.

Boost your memory with movement.

Aerobic exercise pushes the rate of circulation up and this helps to increase the flow of oxygen rich blood into your brain. A study of almost 300 older people found that of those who walked at least 72 blocks, about 4 miles and 880.0 yards, each week had more gray matter in their brain than those who did not walk or exercise each week. Those who were walking each day cut their risk in half of developing memory problems.

Achieve a calmer state of mind with exercise

Regular aerobic exercise tends to reduce an individual’s level of stress hormones, and decreases the amount of fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure when under duress. Some of the recommended ways of aerobically exercising are walking, running, swimming, biking, or any other activity that keeps your heart rate up and within the target range for up to 20-30 minutes a day.

Equally effective is resistance circuit training. This method involves doing a series of exercises without stopping for 3-6 times around a circuit-thus the name circuit training. It is most effective with the large muscle groups such as legs, chest, and back. As an example, when doing an intense lower body circuit, the series could look like this: do each exercise for 1 minute. Do this 3-6 times, if you are able.

  • Skip rope
    • Squats
    • Skip rope
    • Calve raises
    • Skip rope
    • Dead lifts
    • Skip rope

Obviously, before beginning any of these exercise suggestions consult with your doctor.

080417 Spare tire risks associated with carrying fat around your stomach. (2/2)

080417 Spare tire risks associated with carrying fat around your stomach. (2/2)

Continued from 030417

The study by doctors in Seattle also noted that insulin resistant people with excess abdominal fat also appeared to show higher concentrations of a substance known as apolipoprotein B (apoB) and lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, a “good” form of cholesterol. Previous studies have suggested that high levels of apoB may encourage the development of arteriosclerosis.

Study author Dr. Steven E. Kahn of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, Washington, states that he and his colleagues suspect that a potbelly likely precedes insulin resistance. Once both conditions have set in, he noted, people’s bodies are more likely to be primed to develop arteriosclerosis.”We think that the deposition of fat in the inside of the abdomen is the critical determinant of insulin resistance in the general population,” Kahn said. “We think that the fat begets the insulin resistance, which helps produce” risk factors for arteriosclerosis, he added.

Kahn’s is not the first study to identify health hazards of potbellies. Although body fat tends to relocate to the abdomen with age, past research has shown that excess belly fat, compared to fat elsewhere on the body, can increase the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as up the chances of stroke in middle age.

In the current study, Kahn and his colleagues measured body fat distribution and screened for insulin resistance in 196 people. The authors also determined how much choesterol, fat, and apoB was present in each participant’s blood.

The average age of study participants was 53. They were all seemingly healthy, with no history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Reporting in the January issue of Diabetes, Kahn and his colleagues discovered that people with bigger potbellies who were more resistant to insulin also had lower levels of HDL cholesterol and higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol–the “bad” form of cholesterol.

Risk factors for arteriosclerosis appeared to be linked more strongly to tummy size than to whether a person had insulin resistance, Kahn and his team note.

The current study findings suggest that even people who are not obese can be at risk of arteriosclerosis, the authors note. Seemingly slim people can carry excess tummy fat and be resistant to insulin, they write, and can therefore be at risk for the blood vessel disease.

In an interview, Kahn noted that abdominal fat could play an essential role in people’s risk of future disease. Specifically, he said having a pot belly “is a critical component of metabolic syndrome,” a condition marked by insulin resistance and high blood pressure, and which often precedes diabetes and cardiovascular disease. SOURCE: Diabetes 2003;52:172-179.

030417 Spare tire risks associated with carrying fat around your stomach.(1/2)

030417 Spare tire risks associated with carrying fat around your stomach.(1/2)

By Danny M. O’Dell, MA. CSCS*D

According to recent research, those who have a large potbelly appear to have a higher risk of arteriosclerosis. This is the medical term for the fatty buildup on the lining of arteries that researchers now believe increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. SOURCE: Diabetes 2003;52:172-179

People who carried this “spare tire” of fat around their waists are more likely to have increased fat and cholesterol in their blood.

The study by doctors in Seattle also noted that insulin resistant people with excess abdominal fat also appeared to show higher concentrations of a substance known as apolipoprotein B (apoB) and lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, a “good” form of cholesterol. Previous studies have suggested that high levels of apoB may encourage the development of arteriosclerosis.

Study author Dr. Steven E. Kahn of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, Washington, states that he and his colleagues suspect that a potbelly likely precedes insulin resistance. Once both conditions have set in, he noted, people’s bodies are more likely to be primed to develop arteriosclerosis.”We think that the deposition of fat in the inside of the abdomen is the critical determinant of insulin resistance in the general population,” Kahn said. “We think that the fat begets the insulin resistance, which helps produce” risk factors for arteriosclerosis, he added.

Kahn’s is not the first study to identify health hazards of potbellies. Although body fat tends to relocate to the abdomen with age, past research has shown that excess belly fat, compared to fat elsewhere on the body, can increase the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as up the chances of stroke in middle age.

In the current study, Kahn and his colleagues measured body fat distribution and screened for insulin resistance in 196 people. The authors also determined how much choesterol, fat, and apoB was present in each participant’s blood.

The average age of study participants was 53. They were all seemingly healthy, with no history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Reporting in the January issue of Diabetes, Kahn and his colleagues discovered that people with bigger potbellies who were more resistant to insulin also had lower levels of HDL cholesterol and higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol–the “bad” form of cholesterol.

310816 Eggs are OK now

Eggs are OK now[1]

Eggs are OK now, just as they were 40 years ago.

A new study out of the University of Finland confirms what our Mothers and Fathers told us back then (for those of us who were around back then). This study reports that eating an egg a day doesn’t increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, even in those genetically predisposed to a higher than normal effect of dietary cholesterol on their serum cholesterol levels.

This study is a direct contradiction from what we have been told for the last several decades. In fact, over the past few years, several studies have reclassified eggs back into the good to eat category.

Researchers found no association, in the participants of the Finnish study, among those with the APOE4 phenotype. This particular hereditary phenotype affects cholesterol metabolism and is present in about one third of the Finnish population who are also carriers.

[1] American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online February 2016

160416 Men and women truly are different in their respective display of heart attack symptoms.

160416 Men and women truly are different in their respective display of heart attack symptoms.

It doesn’t take much of an expert to notice the differences between a man and a woman. However, there are subtle differences that can mean the difference between life and death when it comes to a heart attack. The Cleveland clinic has listed a number of symptoms that men and women tend to experience during a heart attack.

In non-alphabetical order, we begin with the signs of a heart attack in women. These symptoms are “less dramatic and are frequently mistaken for less serious medical conditions. Not only are these symptoms subtle they will vary widely, especially in women, diabetics, and older people.

Women with the following symptoms should seek immediate medical attention, these are quoted verbatim from the Cleveland Clinic Heart Advisor information sheet.

  1. Upper back or shoulder pain
  2. Jaw pain or pain that radiates to the jaw
  3. Pain that radiates to the arm
  4. Pressure or pain in the center of the chest
  5. Nausea or queasiness and indigestion
  6. Shortness of breath or feeling “winded”
  7. Unusual fatigue for several days
  8. Lightheadedness

Men tend to experience the following during a heart attack:

  1. Chest pressure growing in frequency and intensity or one to three days (unstable angina). This is often described as a squeezing sensation
  2. Pain in the left arm, shoulder, neck or jaw that may or may not stem from pain in the center of the chest. It also may occur in the right arm
  3. Pain in the abdomen that may be mistaken for indigestion
  4. Sweating, restlessness and anxiety
  5. Dizziness, faintness and heavy pounding in the chest
  6. Shortness of breath
  7. Disorientation (more common in the elderly)
  8. Nausea or queasiness (more common in women)

The final piece of important information the Cleveland Clinic heart advisor makes it very plain is when they say quote if you think you’re having a heart attack – for any reason – don’t wait. Call 911 or have someone take you to the nearest emergency room.

211013 Four more reasons to keep your sodium intake low

Four more reasons to keep your sodium intake low

Researchers are finding that excessive sodium intake not only causes problems with your blood pressure but also harms the bone, cardiovascular system, kidneys, and your stomach.

The effect that high sodium has on your bones is this; it increases the amount of calcium eliminated through the urine. This process leaches calcium from the bone and contributes to bone loss, which increases the risk of suffering a bone fracture over time.

A simple reduction of salt intake has a positive influence on calcium balance. Reducing this calcium loss may help moderate some of the bone loss related to age.

A high level of sodium can make the blood vessels of your body less flexible. This loss of flexibility may cause or even worsen atherosclerosis. This may happen independently from sodium’s effect on the individual’s blood pressure.

A recent study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, described how a single, 1500 mg, high sodium meal caused a negative effect on the blood vessels ability to dilate in healthy people within thirty minutes of eating. Even more importantly, a high sodium load can be the trigger to heart failure in those with an already impaired heart function.

Medical professionals know that high blood pressure is a major cause of kidney damage. However, those outside of the medical field are generally unaware that sodium directly weakens the kidneys ability to process fluids. Moreover, an increased amount of leached calcium in the urine caused by high sodium can be a contributing factor to an increased risk of kidney stones.

If all that is not enough to cause you to use less salt, consider what the Institute of Medicine (IOM) had to say about high sodium intake and stomach problems.

In the report, mentioned earlier, they found a link between higher sodium intake and an increased risk of gastric cancer. This link, between salty foods and the stomach lining, implied that is more likely that the bacterium H.pylori (1) (a direct cause of ulcers and stomach cancer) can affect the stomach tissues. Not only is this a possibility but it also increases the likelihood that the stomachs environment may be altering the structure of H.pylori. This alteration may increase its ability to survive and therefore do more damage to the stomach lining.

(1)H. pylori is a spiral-shaped bacterium found in the stomach, which (along with acid secretion) damages stomach and duodenal tissue, causing inflammation and peptic ulcers. Approximately 30 to 40 percent of the U.S. population is thought to have H. pylori, but fortunately, most people don’t develop ulcers. Even so, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, H. pylori is a leading cause of ulcers among those who develop them

091013 Early detection of disease – screenings for men

Early detection of disease – screenings for men

The earlier a disease is detected, the better off you may be. If you begin treatment soon after finding the problem the treatment is more effective in the early stages and the greater, the likelihood is that you will avoid any complications from the disease.

There are many opinions from various medical organizations recommending different health screenings at different frequencies in your life to consider. Your personal health history, as well as that of your close relatives, will have an influence on your decision to have these tests.

Don’t waste your money on useless tests; consult with your doctor to find out the ones that may benefit you the most. The following recommendations are generally those providing the greatest information for continued monitoring of your health.

Blood pressure readings measure the force of the blood against the walls of the arteries. The Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of high blood pressure advises getting this done at least every two years for anyone past the age of eighteen.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation counsels getting a bone mineral density test (BMT) at least one time for men over seventy years of age. A BMT is an Osteoporosis test that screens for brittle, weak bones leading causes of fractures in the elderly and those with osteoporosis.

Colon cancer screening tests for colon cancer or precancerous polyps. The American Cancer Society recommends the following schedule for these tests:

• At age fifty men should have tests for polyps and cancer with a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
• Colonoscopy every ten years
• Double contrast barium enema every five years or CT a colonography which is a virtual colonoscopy, every five years.
• Tests with the principle goal of finding cancer include:
o a yearly fecal occult blood test or a
o yearly fecal immunochemical test
• Diabetes screening tests. These check if you have high blood sugar. According to the American Diabetes Association these should be done every three years once you are past forty five years of age.
• The American Optometric Association advises regular eye exams along these lines:
o Ages 18-60 every two years
o Beyond age 61 every year
• Determining the fasting lipoprotein profile every five years, beginning at age twenty plus is the goal of the National Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel. This checks the cholesterol levels in your body, which is one measure of your hearts health.
• The American Cancer Society recommends prostate screening for possible signs of prostate cancer starting at age 50. However, before jumping into the tests discuss the benefits and potential false readings with your doctor. For certain, African American’s and men with a family history of prostate cancer should be getting tested on a regular basis at an earlier date in their lives.

None of these tests are painful and there is no excuse not to be getting them on a regular basis.

050713 Americans are severely obese, to the tune of 15.5 million citizens.

 Americans are severely obese, to the tune of 15.5 million citizens.

A survey of 3 million Americans, conducted by the RAND Corporation in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and subsequently published online in the International Journal Of Obesity found that more than 6.6% of adult Americans are now 100 or more pounds overweight! This is an increase of almost 4% (3.9%) from the year 2000.

The cost of healthcare is more than doubling with the epidemic of severe obesity in our nation. Obesity increases the frequency cancer, heart disease, type II diabetes and other chronic and mostly preventable diseases.

When will this stop?

The health benefits of water to your brain

If you want to do something to help your brain the most, drink water. Since the brain is 80% water, dehydration leads to increases in the stress hormones, which in turn interfere with cognitive abilities. When referring to liquids that hydrate the body, we are excluding coffee or alcohol.

According to Medical Dr. Daniel G. Amen and Tana Amen, RN., you should be drinking half your weight in water ounces every day. For example, a person who weighs 200 pounds should be drinking 100 ounces of hydrating liquids over the course of their waking day. Naturally, you should be drinking more water when the day is warm and humid or if you are working outside or exercising and losing water to perspiration.

Keep hydrated for peak mental and physical performance.

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