Bryan Marcel: Do You Need To Eat Less And Exercise More?

September 12th, 2022 by dayat No comments »

Exercise has many benefits. Weight loss is not one of them.

In order to lose weight a person should reduce their calories and increase the amount of exercise that they do. After all,Guest Posting the reason that we Americans are fat is because we eat too much and exercise too little. Right? Wrong. In previous posts I have discussed the myth of calories and calorie reduction. Today I want to address the myth that exercise is required to lose weight. Before you start to send me e-mail, please allow me to state my position. I am a firm believer in being active. This includes regular exercise. There are numerous benefits to exercise. Better over-all health, reduced body fat, better mood, better cognitive skills, better sleep, better self image, increased confidence and damn it makes you look good naked. But as far as exercise being required for weight loss, it isn’t.

The idea that exercise is required to lose weight is actually fairly new. Back in the 1960′s doctors advised against exercise for weight loss. Today it is considered essential. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) now recommends 150 minutes of exercise a week for adults and an hour a day for children. That’s a complete course reversal in fifty years. Where has exercise gotten us? Let’s look at the numbers. First, let’s look at obesity rates. Since 1980 the obesity rates for adults have doubled and the obesity rates for children have tripled. Next, let’s look at the number of people who exercise. In 1991, 20 million people belonged to 14,000 health clubs. In 2006, 42 million people belonged to 28,000 health clubs. The number of people under the age of 18 that joined health clubs doubled from 1987-2002. So to make sense of this, the number of people who joined health clubs doubled, the number of health clubs also doubled, but so did the adult obesity rate. The number of children who joined health clubs doubled, but their obesity rate tripled. Something must be missing, because the numbers just don’t make sense.

People tell me all the time that when they used to exercise they lost weight and when they stopped they gained it back. They credit the exercise for their weight loss. That is understandable. Exercising is hard. You would like to think that since you did all of that hard work that your reward was the weight loss. I always ask if they found that when they were exercising that they paid more attention to what they were eating and drinking. The answer is always, yes. I try to gently (I must admit, and my editor reminds me, that I’m not too good at being gentle) suggest that maybe it was the awareness of their diet that led to the weight loss and not the exercise.

But, most people insist that it was the exercise. They tell me how it helped them lose weight and increased the rate of their metabolism. It’s feels good to believe that, but unfortunately it just isn’t completely true.

In 2007 the American Heart Association and American College of Sports Medicine published joint guidelines for physical activity and health. They suggest that 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week is required to “promote and maintain health”, but they never say that more will have any benefit beyond “maintaining health”. They continue, “Few reliable data are available on the relative contributions to this obesity epidemic by energy intake and energy expenditure”. So there isn’t any data suggesting that exercising more and eating fewer calories will promote weight loss. “While more information is gathered on the varied (my emphasis) causes of obesity, it seems vitally important for public health efforts to address both energy expenditure and energy intake”. “It is reasonable to assume that persons with relatively high daily energy expenditures would be less likely to gain weight over time, compared with those who have low energy expenditures. So far, data to support this hypothesis are not particularly compelling”. Wow! They are going to stick with and continue to promote the status quo of “eat less and exercise more” even though there is still no scientific evidence to back it up. What a disservice to the American public.

So what would happen if you took four groups of women and gave each group a daily exercise requirement such as what the CDC recommends? How much weight would they lose in 24 weeks? Well, that’s what Timothy Church wanted to know when he and his colleges ran this study . They took four groups of women and assigned three of them a daily exercise regimen. The groups were assigned a set amount of time to exercise and were instructed to make no dietary changes. One group was not to exercise at all. The other three were to exercise 72, 136 and 194 minutes per week respectively. In each group some lost weight. Some gained weight. And some stayed the same. As a group, the non-exercisers lost 2 pounds in 6 months. Out of the three exercise groups the most weight lost came from the group doing 136 minutes a week of exercise. They lost on average 4.6 pounds. That’s 54 hours (136 minutes x 24 weeks) of exercise to lose 2.6 pounds more than the group that did nothing. But more exercise has to be better, right? The group that exercised 194 minutes a week, 77 hours in six months, lost only 3.3 pounds. Only 1.3 pounds more than the group that did nothing at all. Not much of a weight loss reward for all of that work. In a 16 month University of Nebraskastudywomen aged 17-35 who exercised had no significant weight loss. The authors’ state, “Although it is common to expect weight loss in response to exercise, our group, and others, showed no significant decrease for weight in women”.

Melbourne’s Deakin University, Professor Boyd Swinburn, worked with Pennington Biomedical Research Centre to determine the cause of the U.S. obesity epidemic since 1970. He says that, “The weight gain in American populations seems to be virtually all explained by eating more calories. It appears that reductions in physical activity played a minimal role”. He also emphasizes that “physical activity should be promoted because of its many other benefits, but that expectations regarding what can be achieved with exercise need to be lowered”. I completely agree with him on that. Where I disagree is when he says that in order “to return to the average weights of 1970′s, we would need to reverse the increased food intake of about 350 calories a day for children, about one can of soft drink and a small portion of French fries”. No! It’s not the 350 calories that we need to reduce. It’s the 58 grams of useless simple carbohydrates that the French fries and soda provide. Ironically, if everyone did reduce the can of soda and the French fries and lost weight, credit would be given to the calorie reduction.

Many people also claim that exercising increases the rate of their metabolism. In the January 27, 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in a twelve week study of adolescent teens, doctors found that moderate aerobic exercise had no effect on the teen’s metabolism. Many older men and women claim that the reason that they are overweight is due to a slower metabolism, that they just can’t burn fat as well as when they were younger. In a 2007 Journal of Applied Physiology study the researchers concluded that “contrary (my emphasis) to our hypothesis, 24 hour fat oxidation was greater in older males (60-75 years old) compared with younger males (20-30 years old)”. There went that excuse.

“We suggest that factors other than age-related changes…contribute to the (weight) gain”. Diet perhaps?

I think it is a disservice to encourage people to eat less and exercise more. The result will be the same overweight America. We will continue to get fatter. The only way to reverse this process is to break our dependence on cheap, low quality, fast, convenient, and highly processed foods. The obesity trend started to skyrocket in the 1970′s. Is it really logical to think that as a species we have survived for millions of years, but in the last 40 we started eating too much and exercising too little? In the last forty years we have moved away from healthy whole foods and shifted to a diet of processed carbohydrate junk laden with chemicals and additives. When I was a student pilot learning to fly an airplane my instructor told me that if I moved a switch on the airplane and something suddenly went wrong, then I had to move the switch back to its original position. Very sound advice that actually saved my life on one occasion. It’s time to move the food switch back to its original position.

As far as exercise is concerned, I encourage everyone to be active. Find what you like to do, whether that is a sport, walking, running, or working out. Just do what you enjoy and stick with it. I also encourage people to get exercise regularly. In the studies above, the participants didn’t lose weight. What they did lose was body fat and waist circumference. A pound of fat weighs exactly the same as a pound of muscle. The difference is that the fat takes up a lot more space. Exercise will make you stronger and leaner. It will make your clothes fit better. It will make you feel better. It will make you look better naked. What it won’t do is make you lose weight. As Professor Swinburn said, we need to lower our expectations. If your expectations are realistic, you will be very satisfied with the results. Me? I love the results that exercise provides. Now that I’m done writing this, I’m going downstairs to work out.

Exercise Your Way to Health with Ayurveda

August 12th, 2022 by dayat No comments »

.. healers … exercise on a daily basis for good health and … The … approach to exercise focuses not only on the physical benefits exercise imparts, but also on its posi

Ayurvedic healers recommend exercise on a daily basis for good health and longevity. The ayurvedic approach to exercise focuses not only on the physical benefits exercise imparts,Guest Posting but also on its positive influence on mind, heart, senses and spirit when customized to suit individual needs for balance.
The ayurvedic approach to exercise aims at the following physical benefits:

· Enhanced circulation · Enhanced energy, strength and vitality · Enhanced flexibility and coordination · Good posture · Increased ability to breathe deeper, infusing more prana into the system · A feeling of lightness in the body · Toned muscles and body · Increased efficiency of the digestive system and a balanced appetite and metabolism · Increased efficiency in eliminating toxins from the body

The ayurvedic approach to exercise also aims at the following benefits for mind, heart and spirit:

· Enhanced mental alertness and agility · Enhanced mental strength · Enhanced focus and ability to concentrate · Sense of emotional equilibrium · Enhanced self-esteem and respect for one’s body · Self-awareness · Enhanced ability to manage stress · Freedom of spirit

General Ayurvedic Exercise Guidelines

Exercise done to the point of discomfort tends to be counterproductive. When you work out to the point where you are sore, exhausted and straining to breathe normally, your body is generating free radicals, which have been implicated in disease and premature aging. Excessive free radical build-up in the body tends to lower natural immunity. Also, when you work your body so hard that you have to take a day off to rest it after every three days of exercise, you are increasing wear and tear. Over-exercising can interfere with your metabolism as well, slowing it down.

To get the benefits from exercise without the side effects, exercise only as long as you can breathe normally through the nose. When you begin to feel yourself pushing beyond your zone of comfort, slow down and walk until you can resume again without straining. Over time, as your body acclimatizes itself to your new way of working out, you will be able to exercise longer in comfort. Pay heed to your body and it will guide you towards your optimum exercise type and level.

The ayurvedic texts describe the concept of balaardh-using half your strength or capacity-when you exercise. For example, if you can run a 4-minute mile, you would do it in 8 minutes using the concept of balaardh. As you maintain the exercise program, your capacity will increase, so that the 50% 3 months down the line will be greater than the 50% you do today.

When done this way, you will be able to enjoy exercise and you will stay with it longer, and you won’t have the burnout or injuries that often come with working out till you drop. When exercise is done within your comfort zone, it is also nourishing to your heart and emotions and enhances your sense of overall well-being.

Exercise early in the morning. When you work out in the morning, exercise helps elevate energy levels for the day and promotes more restful sleep at night. If you exercise in the evening, you may have trouble settling down to sleep.

Do not exercise on a completely empty stomach or just after a full meal. Eat something light, such as a small portion of stewed fruit, about 15 minutes before you exercise. If you’ve eaten a full meal, wait at least three hours before you work out, to avoid diverting the body’s focus from digesting the meal and assimilating the nutrients.

Do not look on exercise only as the means to another goal such as attaining an ideal weight or being able to compete in an athletic event. Exercise because in itself it is a health-giving activity when done properly.

When exercising, focus on your breathing and the activity you are engaged in, instead of seeking diversion in the form of television or a magazine. Your positive attention on your work-out will add to the therapeutic benefits of the exercise program.

To enhance circulation and the elimination of toxins, ayurvedic healers recommend that exercise be preceded by abhyanga, the ayurvedic warm oil self-massage.

Customize Type of Exercise by Dosha

Ayurveda describes three psycho-physiological principles or doshas-Vata, Pitta and Kapha-that determine our constitution and personalities. Ayurvedic healers recommend that you choose the type of exercise you do, as well as its intensity and duration, based on your predominant dosha and your individual needs for balance.

If you have more Vata in your constitution, you gravitate towards quick bursts of high activity. You are quick to start an exercise program, but also likely to give it up just as quickly. Your mind is constantly in a whirl.

The ideal exercise options to balance Vata should incorporate slow movements, not be too tiring, and help settle the mind and body. Slow dancing, low impact aerobics, tai chi, leisurely swimming in warm water, badminton, walking and yoga are examples of Vata-balancing exercise activities.

If you are Pitta-predominant, you tend to be fiercely competitive and demanding of yourself. You like to not only compete but win. You look for individual activities that require strength, focus and speed. You tend to get frustrated when you fall short of your goals.

To keep the fire element in balance, exercise options should allow for enjoyment as well as competitiveness, and be cooling for mind and body. Water, ice or snow based activities such as swimming, downhill skiing, rowing, surfing and water-skiing are good choices. Walking or jogging in a cool shady area, tennis and yoga are also good Pitta-balancing options.

Kapha-predominant persons excel at activities requiring endurance and doggedness. They like team sports and do not get upset if the scoreboard is not in their favor. They might not always be motivated to exercise, preferring a more sedentary lifestyle.

Activities to balance Kapha should draw on the strength and endurance power of the Kapha individual but also seek to stimulate and generate intensity and liveliness. Distance walking or running, basketball, racquetball, football, aerobics, ice skating, cross country skiing and cycling are examples of Kapha-balancing exercise activities.

Note: This information is educational in nature and is not intended to replace standard medical care or advice.