Exercise Alone Won’t Make You Thin!

0908 muffinTIME magazine article “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin” reports interesting statistics showing that most people who exercise end up eating more, and eating worse. Not only these people don’t lose any weight, they often end up gaining weight.

After we exercise, we often crave sugary calories like those in muffins or ‘sports’ drinks. A bottle of Gatorade contains 130 calories. So if you drink one of those after a 20-minute run it neutralizes the calories burned. A blueberry muffin contains about 360 calories, and the illustration below shows what it takes to burn that many calories: over an hour of cycling, over half hour of jogging, and hour and a half of vacuuming are a few.

However, the article also lists many benefits of exercising including enhanced health and prevention of disease. And then goes on to suggest that exercise doesn’t have to be ‘sweaty, exhausting, hunger-producing bursts of activities’. Continue reading

20 Healthy Habits

0906 exerciseWe all know that everything makes a difference when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. If you find it difficult to make major changes to your diet and exercise routine, start with small changes. See how many of the following you can commit to:

  1. Add a fruit or two to your breakfast. Or make fresh juice with 2-3 of your favorite fruits.
  2. Have a small portion of uncooked vegetables (salad) with your lunch.
  3. Replace unhealthy snacks like cookies and crisps with your favorite dried fruit.
  4. Try fruit yogurt instead of ice cream.
  5. Replace regular coffee with decaf, or better still, herbal teas.
  6. Use olive oil if you must have deep fried stuff.
  7. Have fresh lime instead of carbonated drinks.
  8. Stop eating three hours before your bedtime.
  9. Replace white sugar with brown sugar.
  10. Replace white bread with brown bread.
  11. Replace white rice with brown rice.
  12. Replace regular milk with skimmed milk.
  13. If you must have cheese, have cottage cheese or feta cheese.
  14. Do at least 10 minutes of simple exercise, like stretching or jumping, before breakfast.
  15. Take the stairs instead of elevators.
  16. Park your car a little farther so you have to walk to it.
  17. Take a 10-minute walk during your lunch time – slowly increase to 20 minutes.
  18. Take a 20-minute walk a couple of hours after dinner – with your spouse, kids or dog.
  19. Do some form of intense exercise at least once a week – swimming, cycling, hiking, other sports.
  20. Eat 5-6 small meals instead of 3 big meals a day.

Please share your own health and exercise tips too.

A Better Runner

0906 runnerThe single most important piece of advice I’ve ever gotten on running came from my high school sports/fitness instructor. By running I don’t mean sprints, I’m referring to slightly longer distance runs – anything that takes you over half an hour. This is what he told me:

“Run the first part with your legs, the middle with your mind, and the final with your heart”.

So next time you go on a challenging run, split it into three parts. For the first part just use your legs, focus on the physical movement, the muscles, the blood flow, your feet hitting the floor. For the second part shift the hard work to the mind; affirmations, positive thoughts, visualizing the outcome, self talk. For the final part, run from the bottom of your heart. Pure, unadulterated passion and belief. Completely detaching yourself from the physical movement and complete ignorance of any pain or tiredness you may be feeling, with the awareness that the pain is only temporary and that there is not a force in the world that’s going to stand in your way of completing the run.

Before you know it you’ll be running distances you never thought you were ever capable of. The three part method. Works like a charm.

5 Most Popular Posts

Following are links to the five most popular/favorite posts on this blog so far – considering the number of views, forwards and comments:

  1. How to improve the quality of life, one day at a time: Have a great day!
  2. The top three excuses for not exercising, and how to handle these: What’s your excuse?
  3. Lesson in patience, persistence and positive attitude from a uni student: Must read if you are in sales!
  4. A book recommendation with an excerpt: Make Today Count!
  5. Too much to do and too little time? Then this one’s for you: Do less, get more done!

I’ll look forward to your comments.

Health – Hard Talk, by Trevor Lunn

Trevor Lunn has been one of my best friends, mentors and inspiration for almost two decades. At 60+ he is healthier and fitter than most people half his age. He recently left his long-term publishing career to pursue his dream of getting a degree in Health Sciences. Now he is a full-time university student in Melbourne, majoring in exercise science, psychology and nutrition. He has agreed to share his knowledge and wisdom about health and fitness through this blog. Here’s the first one:

Welcome to Health – Hard Talk. Here will not be found “handy hints and tips” or the latest headlines about “health research” reported in the media, or the supposed quick fixes or mystical herbal or alternative remedies. Here there are no easy, comforting words intended to lull you into the belief that there is little that you can do to improve your own health status; that it’s all in your genes or your circumstances make it unavoidable.

What you will find is ideas and recommendations drawn from high quality scientific literature. They will not be my ideas. They will come mainly from epidemiological studies conducted by the World Health Organization and governments and from scientific research published in peer-reviewed, reputable journals. For now references will not be provided though they can always be requested.

This journey is intended to help you understand where you are with your health compared to the population, what risks you expose yourself to and, hopefully, how you can address these risks and move towards a healthier life. Join me and see where the journey takes you.

Here’s a starting and perhaps startling thought. The leading modifiable risk factor for all-cause mortality world-wide is cigarette smoking. The second is physical inactivity. Putting that into simple language, cigarette smoking kills more people than any other risky behavior and physical inactivity kills more than any of the rest.

If you are in the majority, you do not exercise enough. What’s enough? We’ll get into the detail of that later, but the quick answer is 30 minutes of moderately vigorous activity at least five days a week. Why don’t you do it? Here’s a useful exercise to try. It’s called a Decisional Balance by psychologists. Draw a simple table with two columns side by side. Head one “pros” and the other “cons” Now write down under the “pros” heading all the positive outcomes you think would result from exercising and in the “cons” column all the possible negative outcomes.

Post your answers and we’ll start our journey.

Excuses for Not Exercising

Some excerpts from an article in this month’s The Oprah Magazine:

“I am already too busy – I can’t deal with one more thing I’m supposed to do.” Too many women put their jobs, obligations, and the people they care for before themselves. Most women wouldn’t say out loud, ‘I am not as important and I don’t deserve the time’, but that’s exactly what their actions say. Try justifying regular trips to the gym by reminding yourself that unless your needs are met, you’ll have trouble meeting the needs of those counting on you.

“How can I exercise when I am always tired?” First you have to realize that there are two types of energy – physical and mental – and they feed off each other. Chances are, you’re mentally tired from sitting at your job all day, and you need to get your blood circulating to rev your engine again. Tell yourself, I will do just ten minutes. And call it quits if you are still slogging after ten full minutes.

“I’ll start out gung ho, but I know I’ll get bored and quit.” Predicting failure is a classic way of protecting yourself. Rule out success, and you don’t have to try. If you are put off by the thought of setting up an effective program, consider spending a bit extra on a personal trainer to get you through the challenging first few weeks.