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lifestyle exercise... it's the only true answer

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lifestyle exercise... it's the only true answer...


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Harnessing Tai Chi's Quiet Strength for Health 4/23/07

Self Growth.com - a fabulous resource!
Exercise Specifically for Seniors
By Jay C Shrewsbury
My grandmother used to do these! I remember it well!

lifestyle exercise... it's the only true answer...

Exercise and Depression

Want to learn more about exercise and depression? Many studies indicate that people who exercise regularly benefit with a positive boost in mood and lower rates of depression.

What are the psychological benefits of exercise with depression?

Improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.

Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as "euphoric." That feeling, known as a "runner's high," can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.

Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind some pain medicines. However, unlike with morphine, the activation of these receptors by the body's endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence.

lifestyle exercise... it's the only true answer...

Regular exercise has been proven to help:

  • Reduce stress

  • Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression

  • Boost self-esteem

  • Improve sleep

Exercise also has these added health benefits:

  • It strengthens your heart.

  • It increases energy levels.

  • It lowers blood pressure.

  • It improves muscle tone and strength.

  • It strengthens and builds bones.

  • It helps reduce body fat.

  • It makes you look fit and healthy.

Is exercise a treatment for clinical depression?

Research has shown that exercise is an effective but often underused treatment for mild to moderate depression.

Do particular types of exercise help depression?

It appears that any form of exercise can help depression. Some examples of moderate exercise include:

  • Biking

  • Dancing

  • Gardening

  • Golf (walking instead of using the cart)

  • Housework, especially sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming

  • Jogging at a moderate pace

  • Low-impact aerobics

  • Playing tennis

  • Swimming

  • Walking

  • Yard work, especially mowing or raking

  • Yoga

Because strong social support is important for those with depression, joining a group exercise class may be beneficial. Or you can exercise with a close friend or your partner. In doing so, you will benefit from the physical activity and emotional comfort, knowing that others are supportive of you.

Do I need to check with my doctor before starting an exercise program?

For most people, it is OK to start an exercise program without checking with a health care provider. However, if you have not exercised in a while, are over age 50, or have a medical condition such as diabetes or heart disease, contact your health care provider before starting an exercise program.

lifestyle exercise... it's the only true answer...

How can I start an exercise program for depression?

Before you begin an exercise program for depression, here are some questions you should consider:

  • What physical activities do I enjoy?

  • Do I prefer group or individual activities?

  • What programs best fit my schedule?

  • Do I have physical conditions that limit my choice of exercise?

  • What goals do I have in mind? (For example: weight loss, strengthening muscles, improving flexibility, or mood enhancement)

How often should I exercise to ease depression?

Try to exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week. Studies indicate that exercising four or five times a week is best. Take it easy if you are just beginning. Start exercising for 20 minutes. Then you can build up to 30 minutes.

How do I get started exercising to help depression?

When you first start your exercise program, you should plan a routine that is easy to follow and maintain. When you start feeling comfortable with your routine, then you can start varying your exercise times and activities.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Choose an activity you enjoy. Exercising should be fun.

  • Put your exercise routine into your schedule. If you need reminding, put it on your calendar.

  • Variety is the spice of life. Make sure you vary your exercises so that you don't get bored. Check your local gymnasium or community center for an assortment of exercise programs.

  • Don't let exercise programs break the bank. Unless you are going to be using them regularly, avoid buying health club memberships or expensive equipment.

  • Stick with it. If you exercise regularly, it will soon become part of your lifestyle and will help reduce your depression.

What should I do if I feel pain during exercise?

Never ignore pain. You may cause stress and damage to your joints and muscles if you continue exercising through pain.

If you still feel pain a couple hours after exercising, you have probably overexerted yourself and need to decrease your activity level. If your pain persists or is severe, or if you suspect you have injured yourself, contact your doctor.

If you are unable to regularly participate in exercise or athletics, you can also try other tools to help boost your mood. Studies of meditation and massage therapy have demonstrated that these techniques can stimulate endorphin secretion, increase relaxation, and aid in boosting mood.

source site: click here to visit WebMd

Tip of the Week

Getting into jogging? Here's how to avoid common new-runner injuries and what to do if you get hurt. click here to visit this Newsweek bonus!

Mental exhaustion makes workouts harder: study

Published February 25, 2009

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Being mentally exhausted can impair a person's exercise performance, a finding that may help explain why it is sometimes so hard to work out, British researchers said on Tuesday.

They said people who did a mentally tiresome task just before exercising reached exhaustion much more quickly than when they had been mentally rested.

Mental fatigue did not affect the performance of the heart or muscles, but it did affect their "perceived effort," Samuele Marcora, Walter Staiano and Victoria Manning of Bangor University in Wales wrote in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

"Our study provides experimental evidence that mental fatigue limits exercise tolerance in humans through higher perception of effort," the team wrote.

For the study, the researchers had 16 people take a demanding, 90-minute test that required close attention, memory, and left participants feeling tired and listless. Next, they rode a stationary bicycle to exhaustion, while the researchers tracked their heart rate and other vital signs.

On a different day, the same group simply watched a 90-minute documentary film before riding the bike.

The researchers found participants stopped exercising 15 percent earlier on average when they were mentally exhausted, even though there was little difference in their cardio respiratory or muscle function.

"It provides strong evidence that brain function can limit short-term endurance performance," the team wrote.

The researchers said the next step is to look at the brain to find out exactly why people with mental fatigue perceive exercise to be more difficult.

source site: click here

Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health E-Zine
May 3, 2009

Keep On Moving!

The next time you are stuck sitting in one place for a very long time, get up and move.   Sitting for extended periods markedly increases your chances of suffering a heart attack or diabetes, and dying prematurely, whether or not you exercise regularly (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,   May 2009). This comes from the Canada Fitness Survey that evaluated men and women for "sitting time" in 1981 and followed them for more than 12 years.

We have to explain why sitting increases risk for heart attacks and diabetes, even if you exercise.  More than 80% of diabetics die of heart disease and diabetes can be caused by repeated high rises in blood sugar and fat after meals.   When blood sugar rises too high, sugar sticks to the surface of cell membranes. Once there, sugar can never detach and is eventually converted by a series of chemical reactions to sorbitol which destroys the cell to cause blindness, deafness, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, impotence and all the horrible side effects of diabetes.

The most efficient way to prevent these high rises in blood sugar is to contract your muscles. Contracting muscles draw sugar so rapidly from the bloodstream that they can prevent this high rise in blood sugar. This effect lasts during active exercise, is maximal for up to a half hour after you stop exercising and then gradually tapers off in about 17 hours.

Now we know that you should keep moving for most of your waking hours.  Exercise every day, and when you are not exercising, continue to use your muscles.  If your job or hobbies require you to sit, get in the habit of walking around several times an hour.  Avoid being overweight, and reduce your intake of foods that cause a high rise in blood sugar when you are not exercising. The foods that cause the highest rises in blood sugar are sugars in liquid form and foods made from flour.

He says the problem is sorbitol sticking to cells.  I guess this is a form of AGE?  Could sorbitol be derived from PUFAs?

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