The No. 1 Way to Keep Metabolism Soaring Post-Workout

You know that your metabolism gets a big boost during exercise. That’s why you burn more calories by running than by sitting. But there are ways to trick your metabolism into running strong all day long, even hours after you exercise.

Metabolism consists of hormones and enzymes converting food into fuel; this fuel provides the energy the body needs to do daily tasks like thinking, all the way through to more active tasks like biking or yoga. When your metabolism is working at its peak—such as when you’re running at your race pace on a treadmill—you are creating and using energy more efficiently. As your body plows through those calories, you’ll lose weight faster and streamline your journey to a fitter physique.

So how do you keep your metabolism cranking after you’ve untied your shoes, showered, and settled in at your desk? It’s all about those first moments after your workout, says Paul Arciero, Ed.D., a professor of exercise and nutrition at Skidmore College and director of the school’s Human Nutrition and Metabolism Lab.

“The best trick to keep your metabolism high after you work out is eating 20 to 30 grams of protein, preferably whey,” he says.

Protein takes more energy for your body to digest and absorb than other types of food; you may burn 25 percent of the protein calories you consume just by eating. After eating protein your body will stay in overdrive, which means you’ll process more calories more quickly in the minutes and hours to come. Also, protein helps your body build more muscle, and the more lean body mass you have, the higher your metabolism burns. Whey protein is one of the most easily absorbed types of protein, which is why Arciero is such an advocate of the stuff.

Of course, what you do during your workout can also affect how well your body burns calories later in the day. Arciero suggests sprint workouts to really maximize your post-workout metabolic boost. Intervals—such as alternating one minute all-out and one minute of recovery—send your metabolism soaring as you exercise and keep it running strong for hours after too. Follow an interval fitness session with a protein-rich snack, such as a whey protein smoothie, for the ultimate metabolism jumpstart.

Source: shape.com ~ By: Liz Simmons ~ Image: pixabay.com

Diet quality improves fitness among the fittest

In two recent peer-reviewed papers published by Nutrients and Growth Hormone and IGF-1 Research, Skidmore College exercise scientist Paul Arciero and colleagues report proven benefits of consuming moderate amounts of protein regularly throughout the day (protein-pacing) combined with a multi-dimensional exercise regimen that includes resistance exercise, interval sprint exercise, stretching and endurance exercise.

Based on Arciero’s studies, when followed for 12 weeks or more, individuals show improved fitness, decreased total and abdominal fat, increased lean body mass, and optimal metabolic and heart health.

To make the diet and exercise regimen easy for the public to remember, Arciero has coined the acronym, “PRISE.” The “P” stands for protein-pacing, the “R” stands for “resistance,” the “I” stands for “interval,” the “S” stands for stretching, and the “E” stands for endurance.

“Whether your goal is to improve fitness or heart health, the quality of your diet and a multi-dimensional exercise training regimen (PRISE) can make all the difference,” said Skidmore College exercise scientist Paul Arciero. “It’s not about simply eating less calories and doing more exercise. It’s about eating the right foods at the right time and incorporating a combination of exercises that most effectively promotes health and fitness.”

A member of the advisory board of the American Heart Association and a fellow of both the American College of Sports Medicine and the Obesity Society, Arciero is very familiar with the diet and exercise recommendations issued by these and other governing health organizations.

Arciero and his team enlisted 30 women and 20 men between the ages of 30 and 65 who could clearly be described as ‘physically fit’. They entered the study reporting they exercised a minimum of four days per week for at least 45 minutes per session, including both resistance and aerobic training for at least the past three years. Combined, these men and women had an average body mass index of 25 and average body fat percentage of 26.

Dividing his subjects randomly into two groups, Arciero conducted a 12-week trial in which all subjects consumed the same amount of calories and performed the identical exercise routine he has previously demonstrated to improve health (PRISE), but diet quality differed. One group consumed commonly recommended protein and fitness/sport nutrition products and the second group consumed a slightly increased protein intake and antioxidant-rich supplements.

When the trial ended, Arciero and his team found that although both groups improved on nearly every measure, those who had followed the protein-pacing and antioxidant-rich diet showed the greatest improvements in fitness, including upper body muscular endurance and power, core strength, and blood vessel health (reduced artery stiffness) among female participants; and upper and lower body muscular strength and power, aerobic power, and lower back flexibility among male participants.

These findings support three earlier studies by Arciero’s team that showed the PRISE protocol of protein- pacing with either whole food sources or whey protein supplementation, were equally effective at improving physical fitness, as well as decreasing total, abdominal and visceral fat, increasing the proportion of lean muscle mass and significantly reducing blood glucose, insulin and cholesterol levels.

Overall, these five studies support a rethinking of current assumptions about diet and exercise, which Arciero believes place too much focus on the quantity of calories eaten and amount of exercise people do, rather than the quality of the food eaten and the exercise.

For Arciero, PRISE is the culmination of research he has conducted and published over the last 30 years in an attempt to identify the most effective lifestyle strategies to improve health and physical performance.

“My original intention of becoming a nutrition and exercise science researcher was to provide people the tools to live a life of optimal health,” said Arciero.

Source: sciencedaily.com ~ Image: pixabay.com

Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity

Want to feel better, have more energy and even add years to your life? Just exercise.

The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability.

Need more convincing to get moving? Check out these seven ways exercise can lead to a happier, healthier you.

1. Exercise controls weight

Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn.

Regular trips to the gym are great, but don’t worry if you can’t find a large chunk of time to exercise every day. To reap the benefits of exercise, just get more active throughout your day — take the stairs instead of the elevator or rev up your household chores. Consistency is key.

2. Exercise combats health conditions and diseases

Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Regular exercise helps prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, a number of types of cancer, arthritis and falls.

3. Exercise improves mood

Need an emotional lift? Or need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A gym session or brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.

You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.

4. Exercise boosts energy

Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance.

Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.

5. Exercise promotes better sleep

Struggling to snooze? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to hit the hay.

6. Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life

Do you feel too tired or too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Regular physical activity can improve energy levels and physical appearance, which may boost your sex life.

But there’s even more to it than that. Regular physical activity may enhance arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise.

7. Exercise can be fun … and social!

Exercise and physical activity can be enjoyable. It gives you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting.

So, take a dance class, hit the hiking trails or join a soccer team. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and just do it. Bored? Try something new, or do something with friends.

The bottom line on exercise

Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, boost your health and have fun. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise.

Try to engage in a combination of vigorous and moderate aerobic exercises, such as running, walking or swimming. Squeeze in strength training at least twice per week by lifting free weights, using weight machines or doing body weight exercises.

Space out your activities throughout the week. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to ramp up your exercise efforts.

Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you haven’t exercised for a long time, have chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis, or you have any concerns.

Source: mayoclinic.org ~ Image: pixabay.com

5 of the best exercises you can ever do

If you’re not an athlete or serious exerciser — and you just want to work out for your health or to fit in your clothes better — the gym scene can be intimidating. Just having to walk by treadmills, stationary bikes, and weight machines can be enough to make you head straight back home to the couch.

Yet some of the best physical activities for your body don’t require the gym or ask you to get fit enough to run a marathon. These “workouts” can do wonders for your health. They’ll help keep your weight under control, improve your balance and range of motion, strengthen your bones, protect your joints, prevent bladder control problems, and even ward off memory loss.

No matter your age or fitness level, these activities can help you get in shape and lower your risk for disease:

1. Swimming

You might call swimming the perfect workout. The buoyancy of the water supports your body and takes the strain off painful joints so you can move them more fluidly. “Swimming is good for individuals with arthritis because it’s less weight-bearing,” explains Dr. I-Min Lee, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Research has found that swimming can also improve your mental state and put you in a better mood. Water aerobics is another option. These classes help you burn calories and tone up.

2. Tai chi

This Chinese martial art that combines movement and relaxation is good for both body and mind. In fact, it’s been called “meditation in motion.” Tai chi is made up of a series of graceful movements, one transitioning smoothly into the next. Because the classes are offered at various levels, tai chi is accessible — and valuable — for people of all ages and fitness levels. “It’s particularly good for older people because balance is an important component of fitness, and balance is something we lose as we get older,” Dr. Lee says.

Take a class to help you get started and learn the proper form. You can find tai chi programs at your local YMCA, health club, community center, or senior center.

3. Strength training

If you believe that strength training is a macho, brawny activity, think again. Lifting light weights won’t bulk up your muscles, but it will keep them strong. “If you don’t use muscles, they will lose their strength over time,” Dr. Lee says.

Muscle also helps burn calories. “The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, so it’s easier to maintain your weight,” says Dr. Lee. Similar to other exercise, strength training may also help preserve brain function in later years.

Before starting a weight training program, be sure to learn the proper form. Start light, with just one or two pounds. You should be able to lift the weights 10 times with ease. After a couple of weeks, increase that by a pound or two. If you can easily lift the weights through the entire range of motion more than 12 times, move up to slightly heavier weight.

4. Walking

Walking is simple, yet powerful. It can help you stay trim, improve cholesterol levels, strengthen bones, keep blood pressure in check, lift your mood, and lower your risk for a number of diseases (diabetes and heart disease, for example). A number of studies have shown that walking and other physical activities can even improve memory and resist age-related memory loss.

All you need is a well-fitting and supportive pair of shoes. Start with walking for about 10 to15 minutes at a time. Over time, you can start to walk farther and faster, until you’re walking for 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week.

5. Kegel exercises

These exercises won’t help you look better, but they do something just as important — strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder. Strong pelvic floor muscles can go a long way toward preventing incontinence. While many women are familiar with Kegels, these exercises can benefit men too.

To do a Kegel exercise correctly, squeeze the muscles you would use to prevent yourself from passing urine or gas. Hold the contraction for two or three seconds, then release. Make sure to completely relax your pelvic floor muscles after the contraction. Repeat 10 times. Try to do four to five sets a day.

Many of the things we do for fun (and work) count as exercise. Raking the yard counts as physical activity. So does ballroom dancing and playing with your kids or grandkids. As long as you’re doing some form of aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, and you include two days of strength training a week, you can consider yourself an “active” person.

Source: health.harvard.edu ~ Image: pixabay.com

Is a Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency Making You Tired?

YOU ALREADY KNOW A LACK of iron can drag you down.

But experts say numerous vitamin and mineral deficiencies can contribute to fatigue. If left unchecked, the same deficiencies that make it hard to keep your head up can lead to long-term health consequences – from brittle bones to impaired brain function.

“Fatigue can be like an early warning sign of potentially more severe problems down the road if you don’t recognize and treat the problem causing the fatigue,” says Dr. Anthony Komaroff, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a senior physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “You need to explore all possible explanations for your fatigue.” That goes for ongoing feelings of exhaustion to concerns about muscle fatigue being more pronounced or prolonged than might be expected from physical activity.

Some of the most common causes of fatigue – and easiest things to test for – involve deficiencies in three minerals and two vitamins, Komaroff says. After iron comes lack of magnesium, potassium, vitamin B12 and folic acid. “All of them can be corrected by giving supplements of the missing minerals or the missing vitamins,” he says, or through dietary changes.

“More serious problems than just the fatigue can develop from these vitamin and mineral deficiencies,” Komaroff says. “For example, vitamin B12 deficiency, if it goes on long enough, undiagnosed and untreated, can lead to permanent damage of the brain and the spinal cord that can affect people’s ability to move, walk and think clearly.”

Even the mundane can become imperiling – such as untreated anemia from iron deficiency. “Iron is needed to build hemoglobin, which is what is inside the red blood cell,” Komaroff explains. “It carries oxygen, which is a critical source of energy to every cell in the body.”

Anemia often occurs in women as a result of blood loss due to menstruation, though it can affect women of any age as well as men. In mild cases, it can escape detection. But as iron deficiency becomes more severe – and if left uncorrected – symptoms can escalate to include severe fatigue, headache, chest pain and increased heart rate. Besides iron, vitamin B12 or a folic acid deficiency can also lead to anemia.

One factor that may be largely to blame for vitamin deficiencies is a national obsession with restrictive diets, according to Jessica Crandall, a Denver-based registered dietitian nutritionist and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Most Americans are engaging in some kind of fad diet throughout their life, and when they do that, they are cutting out food groups, [which] can cause repercussions, such as nutrient deficiencies,” Crandall says.

A big sandwich might make you sluggish; but, she says, cutting out carbohydrates – the centerpiece of several popular diets – has left many feeling like they’re forever out to lunch.

“I’ve seen a serious rise in people cutting out carbohydrates from their diet, whether it be they’re following an Atkins or South Beach or Paleo-type of diet,” Crandall says. “When you cut carbohydrates out of your diet, you essentially are restricting a lot of the B vitamins as well as essential nutrients to provide your brain’s energy it needs to function.” Low-carb consumption, and resulting deficiencies – including in vitamin B12, which is already not absorbed well by women over age 50 – can cause brain fog or mental fatigue as well as physical exhaustion, she says.

“So we know we need to make sure we’re getting B12, whether that be from fortification, supplementation or our primary source, which would be our food groups,” Crandall says. She recommends eating a variety of foods and consulting a registered dietitian if considering food restrictions to lose weight. That’s in addition to reviewing lab tests with your physician to unearth any potential deficiencies.

Haphazard calorie cutting and meal timing, including skipping meals, can also contribute to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as well as fatigue, she says. “I always encourage my clients to eat within the first hour of waking up to better kind of fuel their metabolisms and get their brain and body functioning,” Crandall says.

Whether a vitamin or mineral deficiency is contributing to tiredness, experts say it’s always worth exploring the cause from a health and wellness standpoint. There’s no shortage of potential culprits for fatigue from lifestyle issues, such as lack of sleep and not exercising enough, to more insidious causes, including underlying heart disease.

Felicia Stoler, a registered dietitian nutritionist and exercise physiologist in private practice in Red Bank, New Jersey, recommends that those experiencing chronic fatigue see a doctor to rule out medical causes. The type of fatigue matters, too, in pinpointing if or how a vitamin or mineral deficiency may contribute. While iron, for example, might cause an overall feeling of tiredness, a lack of potassium and magnesium can contribute to muscle aches and cause a person to feel sore and weak, Stoler says.

She, too, typically starts with diet to address mineral and vitamin deficiencies that can trigger fatigue, from recommending more meat, fish, fruit – such as cantaloupe, bananas and apricots – plus potatoes, turnips and other veggies to deliver magnesium; to cashews and peanuts, whole-grain products, fish, poultry and eggs to offset a zinc deficiency, which can also cause fatigue.

“I add supplements as needed,” she says, most commonly for vitamin D deficiencies, which can also invite fatigue and hurt bone health in the long term, increasing the risk for osteoporosis.

Stoler says it’s important to heed vitamin and mineral deficiencies, including those that might contribute to fatigue, and to be mindful of the broader implications. “If you think about why we even started looking at adequate intake levels and dietary guideline levels,” she says, “it’s really preventing … illnesses or disease associated with deficiencies.”

Sources: health.usnews.com ~ By: Michael O. Schroeder ~ Image: pixabay.com