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Healthy Living

Exercise Can Help Prevent Dementia

By | Healthy Living

By Holly Klamer

There is no known cure or prevention yet for Alzheimer’s disease and other cases of dementia. As it happens, it’s quite difficult to know these aspects when the sources and causes have remained unknown. But, based on research, there are ways that one can lower the risks of developing dementia as time passes by.

Introduction to Dementia

Dementia, by definition as per Alzheimer’s Association, is basically an overall term for diseases or conditions that involve the apparent decline of one’s brain functions. These may include language, memory, skills, and other things that may affect the ability to perform day-to-day activities. With this at hand, Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common causes of dementia.

About 60 to 80 percent of cases of dementia are related to memory loss, as suggested by the same organization. But, even so, there are still other causes that can be accounted for dementia.

According to the World Health Organization, about 50 million individuals of today’s population are living with dementia. It is also projected for the number to increase by three times in the next few decades. This is why awareness and comprehension of the condition are largely emphasized in recent times, both inside and outside dementia care homes for seniors. In other words, dementia is a “public health priority.”

Cure and Prevention

While science and technology have been improving and advancing as time passes by, there is no known cure yet for dementia. As per NHS, it is “unlikely” that there will be a single cure for the condition. This is because the causes are either unknown or too many to regard.

Whatever the case, though, experts continue to seek for answers toward finding the cure. There are several studies today that are actually making huge improvements, as attested by the same platform. But, among all of the studies, it has been found that there are practical ways to lower and decrease the risks of having dementia.

These ways normally involve lifestyle habits, health care, and holistic care for self-improvement. And above all of the aspects, exercise became the most significant practice to decrease the risk of dementia.

Exercise Helps Prevent Dementia

It is worth noting that there is a huge difference between ‘exercising that prevents dementia’ and ‘exercising that helps to stay physically fit’. Although many are looking forward to learning more about the former, case studies and research today are more inclined toward the latter.

Apparently, several studies have concluded that exercises and physical activities can help prevent dementia.

Exercising Affects Brain Metabolism

In a study conducted at Goethe University Frankfurt, researchers concluded that exercising affects brain metabolism. It is found that regular physical activities “prevented” the increase of choline.

As established, choline is a metabolite that normally shows an increase in concentration, especially when the patient has Alzheimer’s disease. This is because the rise in the concentration of choline is a result of an increase in the loss of nerve cells.

The study has proven that exercising daily “led” to a more stable choline concentration. As a result, cells are protected, which only goes to show that exercising impacts brain metabolism.

Exercising Increases Blood and Oxygen Flow

Dementia Care Central recently released a series of notes on how to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related conditions. The most apparent point on the list is physical activity and exercise.

Based on the platform’s assertions, having a healthy brain makes it much harder for Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia to happen. The reason being is that regular exercise increases the flow of blood and oxygen throughout the brain and the body.

As a result, abnormal brain changes and cognitive impairment are less likely to happen, the same way the physical body can protect itself from diseases through exercise. This is why many assisted living facilities always include physical activities and exercises in their daily schedules.

Exercising Prevents Brain Aging

As people age, the risks of having dementia increases. While it is not deemed normal for dementia to happen to seniors, the trend shows that dementia is more rampant to older individuals.

The most probable reason behind this is due to the fact that, as you age, the brain also ages. This means that impairment and decline are much more apparent.

But, in the study titled Physical Exercise As A Preventive or Disease-Modifying Treatment of Dementia and Brain Aging, it has been concluded that regular exercise can naturally slow down brain aging. It is also contended that people who have dementia, but regularly exercise, had significantly reduced the rate of mortality.

Best Exercises to Help Prevent Dementia

There are several exercises and physical activities that one can do to help prevent dementia. But, among all, here are the best ones:

  •         Restorative Yoga
  •         Walking
  •         Functional Training
  •         Aquatic Exercise
  •         Gardening
  •         Tai Chui

It is also noted by many experts that doing these activities two to three times per week can already offer significant results.

Final Thoughts

All in all, dementia, along with all the other diseases that fall under the umbrella condition, is truly challenging and even daunting. Thankfully, experts of today are eager to solve the never-ending problem of this condition. As a result, preventive measures and possible beneficial practices to decrease the risk are now being discovered.

About Holly Klamer

This post was written by Holly Klamer. She loves to write on issues related to memory care facilities  for seniors, assisted and senior living  and retirement, and is a frequent contributor on many blogs and online publications.

COPD and Fitness

By | Healthy Living

By Becky Zucco, RCEP

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is a slowly progressive respiratory disorder that causes the airways of the lungs to be inflamed and become “obstructed” or blocked.

COPD is estimated to affect 2.6 million Canadians. Primarily caused by cigarette smoke, COPD ‘lung attacks’ are the number one cause of hospital admissions in Canada, costing the Canadian healthcare system 1.5 billion annually. (Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists, 2019)

Common symptoms include:

  • Activity related shortness of breath, which is the main symptom
  • Persistent cough
  • Phlegm production
  • Frequent colds and respiratory tract infections

COPD is a preventable and treatable disease. However, less than 1% of Canadians with COPD have access to formal Pulmonary Rehabilitation programs due to barriers faced by patients or within the healthcare system.

WE CAN HELP!

As exercise professionals we need to be more aware of COPD and know how we can help. Individuals with mild to moderate COPD adapt to their breathlessness by becoming less active, however it is vital they maintain an active lifestyle to prevent their health declining, and reduce clinic visits.

Training a client with COPD

The goals are to motivate self-efficacy in a continued active lifestyle, improve quality of life, and reduce risk of an exacerbation (lung attack) or injury through falling due to muscle dysfunction or instability.

  • Be aware of increased breathlessness on exertion
  • Clients with COPD need supervision, their oxygen saturation may be lower than a healthy client
  • Functional movements and exercises are the most important to enable clients to continue carrying out everyday tasks unassisted
  • The Pursed Lip breathing technique should always be used during exercise (see below)
  • Exhaling is always done on exertion

As always, you MUST use your judgement to decide if an exercise is right for an individual. Realize a person’s balance, stability, strength, endurance, disease severity, comorbidities, environment, and equipment will all have to be taken into consideration when designing a program.

Note: always ensure your client has medical clearance for exercise.

Do not underestimate how important your motivation and advice on lifestyle and behaviour change is to a successful program and improving the lives of those living with COPD.

To learn more about working with those with COPD visit www.expandcourses.com

About Becky Zucco

Becky Zucco is a clinical exercise physiologist specializing in COPD and cancer, with over 25 years in her field. She has written and developed education courses on chronic disease prevention and created Project Move for primary schools. She understands the powerful effect of movement on the body and mind, and how human behaviour can be influenced to achieve significant improvement in health.

Live Your Passion in 2020 – Here’s How

By | Healthy Living

When you hear the word “passion” what comes over you?

When I hear the word passion I don t have so much a thought as I do an emotional reaction; it’s what gets me up in the morning and drives me to do what I do.  Passion is much more than just a feeling.  It is an energy that gives you the power to act as a result of focusing on what excites you and gives you a reason to keep learning, and working towards your goals. To live your passion you must find a way to live in alignment with what achieves your purpose.   Purpose is the ability to lead with your unique strengths, to serve the world in a way that makes you have been alive matter and your life making a difference in the world. All leaders will say that everyone needs a guiding direction.  If this direction is the result of a true passion that can translate into worthwhile action seeking to bring about change for the better, then you are living your purpose.  Whatever way (passion or purpose) leads you in your life, leaders need to gain awareness, build belief and exercise creativity in order to continually fuel their passion and strengthen their purpose.  Here’s how—Step 1: Gaining Awareness.

Gaining Awareness: Is knowing and understanding what is working both for and against you in each area of your life—body (health and fitness), mind and emotions (beliefs), relationships, family, social (friends, fun), spirituality (religion, meditation), money/finances and business/career.  This starts with a self-inventory of your life and while this may sound like a daunting task to undertake I would recommend that you keep it simple.   Choose two to three areas in the seven areas (above) that you wish to focus on and that will make the biggest positive impact in your life this year.  To gain ‘2020 vision’ (clarity of vision), look at what is directly in front of you—the good, the bad and the ugly. Then ask yourself what you need to do to manage or even change what is not working and how to leverage what is working so that you have more space and energy for more of the good in your life.  Think of this the same way you would purging your pantry to remove all of the unhealthy foods so to make space for healthy foods you choose to replace the bad with.  A simple way to get this exercise started is with a contrast list.  You will need one piece of paper that you can physically work with.  To start draw a vertical line down the center of the page.  On the left side write down all the things that you no longer like, want or need in your life.  Complete this side of the page first.  Move to the right side of the page and for each item on the left, write down a ‘contrasting’ need or want to replace it with. Work down the list filling the page with everything that you want, like or need to focus on for 2020.  Complete this contrasting exercise focusing on the two to three areas you have chosen to focus on for this year.  You may wish to complete one page for each area or combine all areas on one page.  Once you have completed this exercise cut the page in half (along the vertical line your drew on the page) and toss the left side away ‘letting it go’ from your mind. Take the right side of the page and move to step 2: Building Belief.

Building Belief: Belief is an acceptance that a statement is true.  It is also defined as trust, faith or confidence in someone or something.  In order to seize the year and advance to the next level in your life, you must believe— not in what you want, but why you deserve what it is that you seeking —those things that you wrote down on the right side of your page in the contrasting exercise in step 1 above.  It is critical that you focus intently on the things you want, envisioning with ’2020 vision’ how this success will look, be and feel when you achieve it.  In order for your belief to be high, your passion must be higher and the only way to have massive amounts of passion is through seeking out experiences.  Think back to your last successful experience or that moment you achieved something that you were striving for.  What was it? How did it make you feel?  What was your energy like?  On a level of 1 to 10, what was your belief level?  If you are able to recall this moment of success easily then I’m confident that your belief was high (8 to 9 out of 10).  Reflect back on the journey that got you to that success.  What did it take for you to achieve this?  What did you have to change, overcome and focus intently on to get you there?    I am quite certain that within this reflection you admitted it required you to find ways around obstacles by seeing them as opportunities instead of roadblocks and approaching them from all angles for better problem-solving.  This leads us to step 3: Exercise Creativity.

Exercising Creativity:  Creativity makes life infinitely more interesting and fulfilling.  Often we think of creativity as making something, when in fact, its far more about living life in a way that celebrates originality and uniqueness.  It’s also about finding new and different ways around obstacles by seeing them as opportunities, not roadblocks and approaching them with optimism and excitement.  Engaging in the creative process is also a great confidence builder because we discover that failure is part of the process.  By seeing that failure is survival-able, we become better able to release fear and try new things without worrying so much about the outcome.  Creativity is a skill that needs development with practice.  Go back to step 1 above and review the list of things that you wrote down that you would like, want and achieve more of in 2020.  Further, expand on this list with your new skill of creativity understanding that as you develop this skill you will expand your mind and feel your passion soar.

LIVE Your Passion 2020 is canfitpro’s theme for this year and I invite you to adopt this theme as your own personal vision and take the necessary steps to gain awareness, build belief and exercise creativity, so as to ensure you achieve your goals and soar in your success.  All the best!

Self-Talk: Coach Yourself to Better Exercise Habits

By | Healthy Living

By Leah Staff

Check in to see if your internal conversations frame exercise as a chore, or even a punishment.

About Leah Staff

Leah Staff is a communications consultant, wellness expert, and 25 year veteran of the wellness industry whose corporate programs have achieved national award-winning success. As an educator, presenter and coach, Leah helps people talk with people.

Website: www.staffcommunications.ca
Twitter@StaffLeah
LinkedIn: www.linkedin/leahstaff

Workout Shoe or Running Shoe?

By | Healthy Living

By Nick Rizzo

1. Running shoes are not “workout shoes”.

These categories of shoes are drastically different, and for good reason.

Where a workout shoe or crosstrainer can be used for weightlifting, plyometrics, sprints, sports, and everything in-between, a running shoe is designed to help you do the exact same motion of moving forward.

Mixing this up can leave you open to potential injuries.

So take note of these differences when comparing a running versus workout shoe:

  • Workout shoes can provide mild cushioning, but have a greater focus on support, durability, and movement control for lateral movements. Whereas running shoes typically have a lot of cushioning and support.
  • Running shoes typically are lighter because running requires less overall material and the material used is lighter in comparison to the workout shoes that use heavier and more durable options.
  • In a workout shoe, you want to feel connected to the ground in order to best support proprioception and neuromuscular functioning. Running shoes aim to remove your foot from impacting the ground as much as possible by layers and layers of cushioning.
  • A typical shoe for workouts will have a wider base in order to support the various types of movements while running shoes are slim and narrower.

2. Cheaper workout shoes are better.

Save your money. Expensive workout shoes aren’t worth it.

That’s what one study found after analyzing 323,776 reviews of 336 workout shoes from 20 brands.

The general trend is that the more expensive a shoe is, the worse it’s rated. But even at the extremes, the 10 most expensive workout shoes cost 183.05% more than the 10 most affordable ones.

Despite costing so much more, the expensive shoes were actually rated 2.3% worse than the cheaper ones.

3. Know the differences between brands.The 20 brands from the same study were compared against each other as well, comparing the average price and ratings of each brand of workout shoe.

Brands like NoBull, Skechers, Jordan, Inov-8, and Puma are in the top five highest rated brands, making them all great options based upon your specific needs.

But, if you are looking to keep the cost low and the ratings high you have to consider Skechers, Puma, Ryka, Reebok, and Avia.

4. High quality shoes at a great price.

With a clear idea of where the brands stand, here are a few great affordable suggestions for your next pair of workout shoes:

  • Reebok Flexagon Energy
    Average Price: $55 (Some sizes and colors priced as low as $25!)
    Rating: 87/100
  • Skechers Haniger – Casspi
    Average Price: $50
    Rating: 89/100
  • Avia Avi -Verge
    Average Price: $35
    Rating 88/100

About Nick Rizzo

Nick Rizzo is the Training & Fitness Content Director at RunRepeat.com. He uses his education in the sciences, experience as a researcher, and 10+ years in the fitness industry to craft comprehensive content to educate, motivate, and support readers with information backed by science.

Hormones, Calories, and Weight Gain

By | Healthy Living

By Igor Klibanov

Many women going through menopause wonder, “Why am I gaining body fat if I’m eating the same, and exercising?” They conclude, “It must be my hormones.” And, they are (largely) correct. But how do hormones really affect body fat? Do they slow down metabolism? Do they stimulate appetite? Is there another mechanism? And, likewise, how does food influence hormones?

Yes, hormones affect calories, but the opposite is true as well – calories affect hormones. In this article, we’ll explore the intricate relationship between hormones and calories.

We’ll answer questions like:

  • What are the four ways in which calories are burned?
  • How does estrogen affect calories?
  • How does thyroid affect calories?
  • How do calories affect hormones?

What this article will not cover is how to balance hormones. I’ve written an entire book on that, called STOP EXERCISING! The Way You Are Doing it Now. If you would like to download a free PDF version of the book, you can do so here.

How Are Calories Burned?

When we talk about having a “slow metabolism” or a “fast metabolism”, what does that really mean? Often, we use it as an excuse as to why we have a few extra pounds (it’s easier to blame our metabolism – something seemingly outside of our control, rather than something like what we eat, which is within our control). Too bad this excuse isn’t valid at all, since overweight people have faster metabolisms than normal weight people (after all, a person who weighs 200 pounds burns more calories than a person who weighs 150 pounds).

But, when we (the laypeople) say “metabolism”, we’re referring to how many calories we burn per day. Though to be technically accurate, that’s only one of four sources of caloric expenditure.

There are four ways that calories are burned, and all combined they’re called the “Total Daily Energy Expenditure” (TDEE for short). They are:

  • Basal metabolic rate (BMR): How many calories you burn just to stay alive. This contributes around 40-50% of your total daily calories. So, if it takes you 2000 calories per day to maintain your weight, you spend about 800-1000 calories on BMR.
  • Exercise. This one’s obvious. Depending on how much exercise you do, that will determine how many calories you burn.
  • Thermic effect of food (TEF): Whenever you eat food, you don’t absorb 100% of the calories. Some of those calories are used to help with digestion and assimilation of food. TEF is estimated to be about 10% of daily calories. So, if you need 2000 calories to stay the same weight, TEF will be around 200 calories.
  • Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT): These are movements and activities that aren’t formal exercise, but they burn calories. Things like gardening, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, fidgeting, etc. NEAT is a real “wild card” when it comes to metabolism and a lot of people believe that NEAT makes the difference between those who are naturally lean and those struggling with their weight. NEAT can range from as little as 100 calories to over 1000 calories per day (things like treadmill desks can really boost your NEAT without making you tired, since the intensity is so low, but spread out over eight or more working hours).

How Does Estrogen Affect Calories?

We know from the previous section that we can burn calories through BMR, TEF, NEAT, and exercise. So, which of those four does estrogen affect, and by how much?

That’s what this study wanted to find out. Here’s what the researchers did:

They recruited 45 women, and divided them into two groups:

  • Group 1 received a placebo (they were told they were receiving estrogen, but in reality the cream they received had nothing in it).
  • Group 2 received estrogen therapy

Both groups received the treatment for five months and here’s what happened afterwards:

  • BMR:
    • In group 1, it dropped by an average of 54 calories per day.
    • In group 2, it went up about six calories per day.
  • The amount of calories burned through exercise:
    • In group 1, decreased by about 8%.
    • In group 2, it decreased by about 5.5%.
  • TEF increased by a similar amount in both groups (about 10-12%)
  • NEAT:
    • In group 1, increased by about 19 calories per day
    • In group 2, increased by about 41 calories per day.

If you’re an accountant, engineer, or scientist, you probably love all these numbers. If you’re not, you’re probably just glazing over and wondering what the implications of these results are. Here it is:

  • Women with higher estrogen levels during menopause burn more calories at rest, they burn more during exercise compared to women of equal age, but with lower estrogen levels, and they are slightly more active during the day.

All in all, it adds up to less fat and more muscle.

So, you must be wondering how you can raise your estrogen levels so that you too can have less fat and more muscle. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as getting started on hormone replacement therapy.

You have to ask yourself why estrogen levels are low to begin with. For any one issue, there are multiple potential causes. Here are some potential reasons why estrogen may be low:

  • Testosterone is low (estrogen is made from testosterone so, if you have low testosterone, that may be causing low estrogen levels)
  • Cortisol (the stress hormone) is high
  • The liver isn’t processing estrogen effectively
  • The gastrointestinal system isn’t working properly
  • …and others

So, it’s a fairly lengthy process to figure out what’s going on and the most appropriate course of action is to see a medical professional for hormonal testing and interpretation.

Besides the involuntary aspects (metabolism, thermic effect, and NEAT) of having higher estrogen levels, one study found that women with higher estrogen levels naturally want to exercise more and harder.

And another study found that women with higher estrogen levels get more pleasure and satisfaction from their food, so they don’t feel the need to eat as much.

In summary, how do low estrogen levels cause fat gain? Through a quadruple whammy of:

  1. Burning fewer calories at rest.
  2. Doing less involuntary physical movement.
  3. Doing less exercise, and less intensely.
  4. Eating more because food isn’t as satisfying as it was when estrogen levels were higher.

How Does Thyroid Affect Calories?

Often, in women going through menopause, it’s not just one hormone that’s “out of whack” – it’s a whole bunch of them: estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, and thyroid.

We covered estrogen in the previous section. In this one, we’ll cover thyroid (the reason we don’t cover progesterone and cortisol in this article is because very little evidence exists on how they impact TDEE).

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits in the middle of your throat and it’s the “gas pedal” for your metabolism.

As much as two thirds of BMR is used just to keep you warm. In other words, it’s used to maintain your body temperature at healthy 36.5-36.8 degrees Celsius. So, if your temperature is lower, you’re burning fewer calories. And one of the most common symptoms of a slow thyroid is low body temperature. People with a slow thyroid often complain that their hands and feet are cold all the time, even when other people around them are comfortable. Or they’ll often sleep with socks on.

For every degree Celsius that your temperature is under that 36.5-36.8 range, you’re burning 10-13% fewer calories, according to this study. In one client, I measured her temperature at 34.2. Therefore she was burning about 25% fewer calories than she thought she was.

One study decided to look at how many calories are burned by people with hypothyroidism. People without hypothyroidism had a BMR of 1591 calories/day while people with hypothyroidism had a BMR of 1316 calories per day – a difference of 275 calories. With that kind of deficit, that’s equal to gaining a pound of fat every 13 or so days. However, when thyroid hormone was given to people who had a slow thyroid, their metabolism increased to 1623 calories/day.

Of course, just like there are multiple reasons for low estrogen, there are also multiple reasons for a slow thyroid:

  • High cortisol
  • High estrogen
  • The immune system is attacking the thyroid gland
  • The body is resistant to thyroid hormone
  • High levels of mercury
  • …and others

How Do Calories Affect Hormones?

We’ve covered how hormones affect calories, now let’s switch gears and talk about how calories affect hormones.

First of all, not all calories were created equal. Calories are divided into three different categories and each one has a different hormonal effect:

  • Carbohydrates (found in sources like bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, beans, lentils, peas, etc.)
  • Fats (found in sources like butter, olive oil, nuts, avocados, fatty fish like salmon, etc.)
  • Protein (found primarily in sources like meat, fish, and seafood. You can read my article on the best protein sources).
Carbohydrates and Hormones

The most obvious effect of carbs is on insulin. When you eat carbs, blood sugar rises. When blood sugar rises, insulin also rises in order to bring blood sugar down. Usually, blood sugar overshoots the baseline, goes a bit too low, and so cortisol is released, to bring it back up to baseline. So, there’s this teeter-totter between insulin and cortisol. Insulin lowers blood sugar, and cortisol raises it.

What is not as well known is the effect of carbs on your thyroid. According to multiple studies (here’s one of them), it appears that low carbohydrate diets slow down the thyroid. However, once normal carb intake is resumed, so is thyroid function.

Fats and Hormones

Dietary fats influence a hormone called “leptin.” Leptin is the hormone that tells you that you’re full. It’s the “satiety hormone.”

What is not as well known about fats is that they can actually increase testosterone levels in both men and women. People who are on low fat diets have lower levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. That is because all three are made of cholesterol. If cholesterol is too low, typically so are all three hormones. However, if all three hormones are within normal range, it doesn’t seem likely that additional dietary fat will increase them.

As I’ve written about previously in my article on PCOS, women with this condition seem to actually do better on a higher fat diet (where it makes up about 30% of daily calories), compared to lower fat diets.

Protein and Hormones

Like carbohydrates, protein can also raise insulin levels, but not nearly to the same extent.

Sufficient protein intake (1.2-2.0 g/kg/day) keeps testosterone levels where they need to be, but low protein intake can actually decrease testosterone levels.

So, why am I gaining body fat if I’m eating the same and exercising?

So, by now, it should be making sense why you might be gaining body fat, even when no other changes were made.

Imagine this scenario: it takes you 2000 calories per day to maintain your weight. So, you eat 2000 calories per day and through a combination of exercise, metabolism, TEF and NEAT, you burn 2000 calories per day. Your body fat is stable.

Then comes peri-menopause, and both your thyroid and estrogen decrease. You’re still eating 2000 calories per day, but your BMR is now 100 calories per day slower and you don’t move around as much involuntarily, so you burn another 100 calories per day less. Now you’re burning 200 calories per day less than you were just a few years earlier, before your hormones started to change.

You’re taking in 2000 (that hasn’t changed). You’re still exercising and eating the same amount (that hasn’t changed either), but you’re not burning as much. It doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that if you take in more than you expend, you’ll gain body fat.

And that’s often the complaint with our menopausal clients.

This is the challenge. Although, we don’t talk about the “what to do”, I do cover that in my book, STOP EXERCISING! The Way You Are Doing it Now. If you want to download a free digital copy, you can do so here.

About Igor Klibanov

Igor Klibanov is the author of five books on fitness and nutrition, as well as the CEO of one of Toronto’s premier personal training companies, Fitness Solutions Plus. He was selected as one of the top five personal trainers in Toronto by the Metro News newspaper, and has performed approximately 400 speaking engagements, many of which have been to some of Canada’s largest corporations (including RBC, IBM, Intact Insurance, and others).

Additionally, he has multiple programs for personal trainers to enhance their skills and is a regular speaker at various personal training conferences, including canfitpro.

Meet our Members: Jennifer Bonnici Elias

By | Healthy Living

I have always taken fitness classes, starting back in my 20’s, and I was always a person who needed a class to hold me accountable. I was not a gym person, so after I had my first daughter and I gained just over 50 lbs, I knew I had to get back into classes. I started at my local community center and I was on the journey to losing my baby weight and achieving overall healthier habits. I was pregnant fairly quickly again with baby #2 and again gained just over 50 lbs. As early as two to three months post-pregnancy, I was back taking classes. It was not until my youngest was about to start JK when I thought about what else I could do with my time alongside my part-time job, taking care of my two girls, and being a mom with a travelling husband. I struggled with putting me first and had to really think about it, and then it hit me to try to become FIS certified.  I am one to second guess myself and say it won’t happen, or I will fail, but I pushed myself and along with the encouragement from my husband, I took the leap to try something new.

I enrolled and attended the program and studied hard for the exam while the kids were at school. I could not believe how long it had been since I had been in a school type setting.  I studied hard and got the highest mark in my class – 94%! I passed the practical portion of the exam and now needed to apply my new-found skills.  I applied and was hired on with the City of Oshawa and City of Clarington. In January 2020, it will be two years since I started my journey as an FIS.

I now teach five classes a week ranging from cardio to abs to glutes, and two 50 and better classes. I could not be prouder of myself for putting me first. Often, as many moms do, I put others needs and wants first and mine last.  With my husband being away as little as two weeks a month, often three and even four weeks a month, it was tough.  I worked hard and through the support of my parents watching my children when I needed them, I am a very proud to be where I am today.

I lost my baby weight and I am in maintenance mode I would say. I love the energy I get from teaching and the impact I get to make on others. I truly enjoy teaching and am thankful for the ongoing support and community canfitpro offers.  I wanted to write this piece to inspire others and to share my story and journey with health.

When is the Best Time of Day to Work Out?

By | Healthy Living

By Jamie Logie, PTS, NWS

You are aware of the benefits that come from being physically fit and active. You know strength training, cardiovascular exercise, stretching, and recovery can be life-changing. But what time of day should you exercise?

This article will look at why workout timing may have a big impact on your results and progress in the gym.

Should you work out earlier or later in the day?

If you have always been a morning person, this has probably been an easy decision and you exercise first thing. If the thought of getting up early in the morning repulses you, you may want to reconsider it when it comes to working out.

Not only can working out first thing give you a boost of energy for the day, but it also pays off with better sleep later that night. When you’re active first thing in the morning, your circadian rhythm is engaged. This is your biological clock that needs to follow the course of the day, but can be thrown off very easily. Staying up too late and neglecting your sleep throws it out of whack.

When you work out in the morning you set your biological clock into motion. This means it will start to wind down right around when you need it to. This is beneficial as it will help you to not only fall asleep faster, but stay asleep. It will allow for deeper sleep and with that comes improved recovery from training.

Research from Johns Hopkins University found that when you work out in the morning it improved slow-wave sleep. This is that deep restorative sleep you need to feel refreshed and rejuvenated. The other benefit of early morning workouts is that it raises your body temperature, which is a signal to your body that it’s time to wake up.

The rise in core temperature will allow you to become more alert and productive first thing in the morning. Morning workouts will also give you a brain boost and with it comes alertness and improved creativity. This will allow you to bust through plateaus at work and focus better on projects and requirements.

Is there a best time of day to work out?

The mornings look good for exercise as it helps set you up to take control of your day. Working out first thing may also be the ideal choice if you’re looking to feel better and more energized.

To find the ideal time to work out you need to look at what type of training you are doing. Regular cardio such as running, or even walking, will be quite manageable early in the day. If your training involves more intense activities such as strength training or HIIT, you may want to wait for a few hours after you wake up. This is not to say you won’t get results from high-intensity training early in the morning, you just might not be able to provide maximum exertion.

Training will depend on your schedule, but if it’s possible you could be better off waiting an hour or two after a light breakfast for more engaging workouts. Another option is to do some lower-intensity cardio earlier in the day and save the more intense training for lunch breaks or after work.

Your goals will determine the best time of day to work out

If you’re looking to lose body fat and want to boost your energy, early morning workouts would probably be best for you. You get the added bonus of your metabolism continuing to burn throughout the day after your workout. If your goals are more strength and muscle-based, then training in the earlier half of the day would be more ideal.

Hormone levels – specifically testosterone – peak from around 8 am to 11 am and then drop over the rest of the day. With testosterone at it’s highest, gains in strength and muscle are more likely. If you are only able to workout late in the day, you want to leave a gap of a few hours between training and sleep. High-intensity training late at night will lead to difficulty falling and staying asleep. Better pre-sleep exercise choices include walking, stretching, and yoga.

Final thoughts

If you’ve been wanting to get up and at ‘em first thing in the morning, this can be a great time to start doing early workouts. Many benefits come from training at this time, but it’s important to look at what you are looking to accomplish from your training. Your schedule will determine a lot of this, but for general fitness and cardiovascular exercise, earlier in the day is ideal.

The other advantage of working out early is it helps you in time management and structuring your day, making you more productive. Ultimately, it’s all about finding the time of day where you will be consistent with your workouts and consistency is what drives results. Consistency leads to better performance, improved oxygen consumption, and lower exhaustion rates. So find your ideal time and stick with it.

About Jamie Logie

Jamie Logie is a personal trainer and health and wellness coach (PTS, NWS). He’s worked in gyms in Canada, U.S, England, and Australia. He runs www.regainedwellness.com and is a contributing writer on health and fitness for The Huffington Post, Thrive Global, LifeHack, askmen.com, and has an Amazon #1 book called ‘Taking Back Your Health’.

 

Developing Your EQ: Body Language

By | Healthy Living

By Judith Humphrey

I once coached a young financial executive who was tall and attractive with a warm, engaging manner.  I assumed that he would come across with executive presence when he spoke to prospective investors. But, at our first coaching session I asked him to pretend he was talking to potential clients, and suddenly his body language became guarded and uninspiring.

Good body language doesn’t just happen because we are handsome or attractive. It requires an awareness of what our body is saying – and adjusting it when it sends the wrong messages. If you are a personal trainer who wants to build strong relationships with your clients—or prospective clients—you must make your body speak well for you and convey the right messages.

The following five guidelines will enable you to project body language that expresses emotional intelligence (EQ) and builds a strong relationship with your clients.

  1. Create a Shared Space

Good body language requires a good setting. At the beginning of your sessions, find a spot on the floor you can share only with your client. A heavy traffic area may not be the best setting because it conveys the impression that you don’t value the one-on-one relationship with your client. And it also creates distractions.

So move away from the crowd and say, “Here’s a good spot for us” or “Let’s set up shop here.” This positioning will create a better one-on-one experience.

In creating this collaborative space you’ll also want to keep the area free from objects. Even a water bottle or a cell phone can be intrusive and create a barrier between the two of you. So create a shared space that belongs to the two of you.

  1. Adopt a Strong Stance

Your stance says a lot about how focused you are on your client. If you want to show you are attentive to your client’s needs, stand tall, indicating that you are in the “ready” position and intent on helping the trainee. When your client is on the floor, you may kneel so that you are closer to her and not looking “down” on her.  But, avoid slouching at all costs, for it sends a message that you are disengaged and too tired to be of assistance.

As you stand or kneel, face your client directly– don’t position yourself at an angle to her. You want to show that you are completely centered on her and ready to engage and support her.

  1. Make Eye Contact

Our eyes are more powerful than all our other senses put together, so use them well.

Keep your eyes on your client. When you look intently at your client, you are saying, “I am focused on you” and “I care about everything you’re doing.” Hold eye contact when your trainee is doing specific exercises. Hold eye contact when you are praising your client or “high fiving” him. It will mean much more than praise without eye contact.

Finally, don’t let your eyes wander. A client can easily feel less important if you glance at others while you’re training. A wandering eye—even if it’s just to look at a fellow trainer—can undercut your relationship with your client by making them feel less important than the object of your gaze. So stay focused.

  1. Use Open Gestures

Emotionally intelligent body language includes gestures that are open and directed to your client.

Keep your arms loose at your sides when not gesturing and avoid crossing or folding your arms—a position that suggests detachment or distance from the person you’re working with.  Don’t even cross or fold your arms because you are cold. Crossed arms announce, “I’m not open to you.”

Your arm gestures should always be extended toward the client. And the best ones are full arm gestures, not gestures from the elbows or from wobbly wrists. Big gestures are powerful and convey a sense of energy and excitement about what you are saying or what you are observing.

  1. The Human Touch

Touch can be a powerful expression of your emotional intelligence, but it must be handled with great sensitivity and discretion.

Touch is therapeutic. According to physicist Leonard Mlodinow, “During a conversation, a light touch can impart a subliminal sense of caring and connection, leading to more successful social interaction and even better teamwork.”

As a personal trainer, you have tremendous power to demonstrate emotional intelligence by using your hands to gently touch your client. This can be done by touching a client’s back to adjust his position when he’s doing a plank, or by holding a client’s shoulders to explain how she can perfect her posture in an exercise. If touch is as important to our health and our humanity as research says it is, these gestures are far more sensitive and effective than simply shouting, “Ribs down,” or “Pin your shoulders back.”

But, as positive and important as touching is, it must be done with professionalism. For example, a trainer should ask the client first if it’s OK to touch, before doing so. Be sure to get this permission when you begin working with a client. She will appreciate your thoughtfulness, and by asking you will make her feel less vulnerable.

Your body language speaks for you in so many ways. Use these five guidelines for projecting “body intelligence” and you will build stronger, longer lasting client relationships and a more robust business.

About Judith Humphrey

Judith Humphrey is Co-Founder and CEO of EQUOS Corp, a firm that teaches EQ skills to fitness professionals, manual therapists, and health care practitioners. Before entering the world of fitness, Judith was Founder and CEO of The Humphrey Group, a company that works with corporate leaders around the world who wish to speak with clarity and confidence. Judith is a Fast Company columnist, and the author of three books on communication: Speaking as a Leader: How to Lead Every Time You Speak (2010), Taking the Stage: How Women Can Speak Up, Stand Out, and Succeed (2014), and Impromptu: Leading in the Moment (2018).

EQUOS will be offering a one-day workshop, “The Emotionally Intelligent Fitness Professional,” in Toronto on November 9th and December 7th. For further information, visit their website.

Follow EQUOS on Instagram and LinkedIn.