Exercise Make it a habit

To make a lifestyle change takes time. Research tells us to make something a habit  it can take as little as one month – or twenty-eight days, to as long as sixty-six days. When it comes to exercise I firmly believe it often takes as long as six months. There are too many barriers that can divert the progress and then you are starting over again.

Wouldn’t that be nice!

Life throws constant curve balls at us and often the first thing to go is our physical activity or exercise.

It’s motivational to think of  this picture as your habit, but reality for many is it isn’t. Life throws all kinds of curveball at us. If you have stumbled on your road to a physically active lifestyle, getting started again and sticking with it gets back sometimes faster, sometimes slower but at least you are back to working to make it a habit or back to maintenance again. When we look at the stages of change model you see it takes doing the action for greater than six months to get to where it is maintenance. I would consider maintenance to be a habit. If you have ever embarked on changing a sedentary lifestyle to a physically active lifestyle you probably hit many stumbling blocks. A stumbling block could be access, weather, family support, time constraints, injuries, illness…etc.

Start today to build that habit.

Can you stay physically active for six continuous month?

The power of breath

░ Pause For A Few Seconds: Breathe ░

Turn off everything else, just for a couple of minutes if you can. An ideal time is after exercise, spend those few moments  to center your self. It takes practice and isn’t all that easy. Your mind quickly is thinking through the next task or issue.

Don’t listen to the brain, listen to the breath.

Cool facts about blood vessels

Are you raising a family? If so you want them to grow strong and healthy. When you consider their growth, think of their blood vessels.   I know that seems kind of out of the ordinary, but if we can work to keep not only ourselves healthy and consider those who we share our lives with.  Their health is important! Encourage your family to adopt healthy lifestyles  and prevent disease.

Fact: Every pound of fat gained causes your body to make 7 new miles of blood vessels.

Knowing this, it’s easy to see why obesity and heart disease often go together. Most of the new blood vessels are tiny capillaries, but also include small veins and arteries. This means if you are “only” 10 pounds overweight your heart has to pump blood through an extra 70 miles of blood vessels.

 The good news is that this also works in reverse. If you lose a pound of fat, your body will break down and reabsorb the no longer needed blood vessels. This is encouraging to dieters, as one pound does not seem like a lot to lose, but even that little bit of difference will result in a large benefit for your heart!

But nature and nurture rarely operate independently and this week it was published a large study that further contributes to our understanding of how the complex interplay between genes and lifestyle affect the risk of obesity. Over 12,000 American women and men participated in the study which is published in reputable Circulation. In these researchers identified the 32 so-called “obesity genes”, ie genetic variants that are known to predispose to obesity, and the calculated using these overall genetic risk profile for each participant. This was relatively normal genes that most of us carry to a greater or lesser extent, not rare mutations observed in some cases of morbid obesity. Participants were followed up for two years and as expected the weight proportional to how they were genetically predisposed.

When researchers went deeper in the material and examined the effects of physical activity and inactive time on obesity risk was discovered however, the interaction between genes and the activity level was significant. Silent Sitting, measured as the number of hours participants reported watching TV every day compounded effect of genetic predisposition to obesity significantly. The influence of genes alone were 50% higher for those who put four or more hours watching TV daily. The good news, however, was that a relatively moderate level of physical activity significantly reduced the effect of obesity genes.

The researchers estimated that the difference in weight gain between those who were lucky with maximum genes (no genetic predisposition to obesity) and those who were unfortunate maximum (had all known genetic dispositions) was halved for each hour daily walk, or every half hour of jogging. On the other hand, the difference of 25% for every two hours participants spent on the couch.

Thus, it is particularly important, how unfair it may seem, to reduce sedentary activities and increase physical activity for those that are inherited predisposition to obesity. Just how physical activity overcomes the effect of obesity genes is not known in detail, but there are indications that regular physical activity triggers changes in gene expression so that health becomes more active while suppressing those that are related to weight gain. It is also worth noting that the importance of sedentary TV time and physical activity were independent of each other, that was both influential factors.

Thus, we can not change our genes, but it appears that we can greatly influence the impact they have on us. Therefore, the best advice is still, whatever genetic basis, following the authorities’ recommendations for diet and physical activity and reduce time spent watching television.

Written by Bjarne Nes, Fellow CERG.

How balanced is your life?

 No one expects you to be perfect other than yourself. As often heard we are our own worse critic. However when you reflect on your family think about the wellness wheel. If you were to assess your family how much do you give to each of these domains. For many their wheel isn’t round as they devote more time and energy to certain areas such as work, then tend to neglect things like the physical and emotional health. How balanced is your wheel?

Does your family devote time to physical exercise? Do you address the emotional components? A great time to do this is at a family meal. Discuss the struggles, the challenges incurred during the day.

 “Wellness is first and foremost a choice to assume responsibility for the quality of your life. It begins with a conscious decision to shape a healthy lifestyle. Wellness is a mindset, a predisposition to adopt a series of key principles in varied life areas that lead to high levels of well-being and life satisfaction.

A consequence of this focus is that a wellness mindset will protect you against temptations to blame someone else, make excuses, shirk accountability, or collapse in the face of adversity.