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Humans evolved to make vitamin D (also known as the “sunshine vitamin”) provided that there is an adequate amount of UV light from sun exposure. But I don’t believe many of us are running around naked in equatorial Africa. So, it may not surprise you that many of us may be deficient, if we live, for example, in Northern climates like Canada where we are covered up over the winter months.

But does this one vitamin really matter that much? Yes, if you want to live longer.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient, which means your body can store extra amounts of the vitamin. It is one of the micronutrients that is important for human survival. It comes in two major forms: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). The two forms have identical metabolism and function, so the term “vitamin D” is used to represent both vitamins D2 and D3 unless specified.

Vitamin D is associated with a wide range of benefits and is best known for its role in bone health by helping our body absorb and use calcium and phosphorous. If that isn’t enough for you, recent research suggests vitamin D may also have benefits in immunity, assisting muscular function, reducing heart disease risk factors, and preventing diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and some types of cancers (particularly colorectal cancer). However, more research is still needed to fully understand the role of vitamin D in these conditions (Dietitians of Canada, 2013; Today’s Dietitian, 2014).

How do we get vitamin D?

Sunlight (UVB) is the most efficient source of vitamin D for people. If you (an adult) wear a bathing suit and get enough sun exposure to cause a slight pinkness to your skin, you would get the same amount of vitamin D as someone who ingests 20,000 IU of vitamin D (Today’s Dietitian, 2014). The angle of the sun, however, influences how much vitamin D can be produced from sun exposure. This is why vitamin D production is difficult for those living in Northern climates. Regardless of duration of exposure, the angle of the sun is too low during the winter months to produce any vitamin D in the skin.

Also, many health organizations warn against excess sun exposure because of the risk of skin cancer. As a result, many people are covering up and using high SPF sunscreen while outside, which reduces the amount of vitamin D produced by the skin. For example, an SPF 30 sunscreen reduces the body’s ability to synthesize vitamin D by at least 95% (Today’s Dietitian, 2014).

Given that many people can’t generate enough vitamin D from sun exposure, dietary sources should be considered. Dietary sources include both vitamin D3 from animal sources and vitamin D2 from plant sources. Interestingly, you may have heard that mushrooms make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight radiation; however, most mushrooms found in our grocery stores don’t have any because they’re grown in the dark.

How much vitamin D should I take?

Health Canada advises that adults over the age of 50 should take a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU each day. Supplements should, ideally, be taken with the largest meal of the day as this may enhance absorption.

Bottom Line

While we wait for future research to clarify vitamin D’s role in the human body and the necessary intake to achieve optimal levels, we should aim for the recommended daily amount as the minimum intake that ensures maintenance of bone health and to stay below the upper limit. If you are looking for personalized recommendations, seek out a health professional or Registered Dietitian so they can consider lifestyle, environmental factors, malabsorption issues, medication use, genes, and other health conditions that can increase or decrease skin synthesis, metabolism, and usability.

Above all, enjoy the sunshine vitamin, my friends!


Article written by Courtney Chisholm, Registered Dietitian at World Health Calgary Place.

The post Vitamin D – The Sunshine Vitamin appeared first on World Health Calgary.

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Our digestive system is home to hundreds of different bacteria (known as probiotics) that keep our intestinal linings healthy, break down food, and regulate our immune system. From birth, our gut is populated with about 1000 known species of bacteria and that number continues to grow as more are being discovered.

Pre- and probiotics seem to be everywhere in the marketplace and in advertising. There is increasing research showing that pre and probiotics can modify our gut microbiome and influence health and disease; however, it is also increasingly clear that the right strain has to be used for the right purpose, or there is no gain in either achieving or maintaining health.

How good is your gut health?

More than likely you or someone you know suffers from occasional “plumbing problems” ranging from gas and bloating to nausea, stomach cramps, constipation or diarrhea.

This may not surprise you, but diet and lifestyle play a key role in keeping our intestines running smoothly. These are common culprits that can wreak havoc on our GI tracts increasing the number of bad bacteria and decreasing the good bacteria:

  • not eating enough fruit, vegetables, and/or dietary fibre in general;
  • too many processed carbohydrates
  • food intolerances (such as a gluten or dairy intolerance);
  • taking antibiotics; and/or
  • a stressful lifestyle (including life events, relationships, work, finances, travel, even intense regular exercise).

Did the last point surprise you a little? Yes, exercise is good for you, but high-performance, intense exercise can lead to common GI complaints. Why? Exercise shunts blood to the muscles, away from the GI tract, and raises our core temperature. Less blood to internal organs and an increased internal temperature can disrupt the intestinal lining, setting off the inflammatory response. The same can occur with acute and chronic stress.

Do prebiotics have health benefits? 

Yes. Prebiotics are the non-digestible carbohydrates that act as “food” for probiotics which help to keep a healthy balance of bacteria in the digestive system. Eating prebiotic-containing foods often contain fibre and other nutrients.

What are the health benefits of probiotics?

Research shows that probiotics may help:

Some research shows that probiotics may help with lactose intolerance, but more comprehensive studies are needed. Keep in mind that the positive effects of probiotics depend on the type and quantity eaten and will vary from person to person.

What foods have prebiotics?

Not all non-digestible carbohydrates are prebiotics. Prebiotics include:

Inulin

  • found naturally in:
    • asparagus, bananas, garlic, leeks, onion, tomatoes, barley, rye, whole grains, and chicory root

Galacto-oligosaccharides

  • found naturally in:
    • fermented dairy products like yogurt, buttermilk and kefir
What foods have probiotics?

Probiotics are mostly found in foods like:

  • Yogurt
  • Cheese (e.g. Gouda)
  • Milk
  • Fermented soy (e.g. miso, tempeh)
  • Other fermented foods and beverages (e.g. sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough bread, Kombucha)
Which probiotics should I eat?

The types of probiotics that have been shown to be effective are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Look at the ingredient list on food packages for these probiotics.

How much prebiotics do I need to see a benefit? 

The recommended amount is unknown. Likely, it depends on a number of things like the strain of bacteria, the health condition you are trying to improve and the types of other bacteria in the colon. Also, it is suggested that prebiotic supplements or prebiotic-rich foods need to be taken regularly to see any benefits.

If prebiotics are sold as supplements, they are regulated like other vitamins, mineral and nutritional supplements under the Natural Health Product Regulations (NHP Regulations). NHPs require a Natural Product Number (NPN), a Drug Information Number (DIN) or a Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) in Canada. Check to see your supplement has a NPN, DIN or a DIN-HM number.

Although remember, being regulated does not guarantee that prebiotics are effective. It only means that the product contains what is listed on the label and that they are safe to take.

How much probiotics do I need to see a benefit?

It is not yet clear how much probiotics will give you health benefits.  However, it is suggested that regular, long-term use is needed to keep healthy bacteria in your digestive system. The positive effects of probiotics vary from person to person.

Probiotic supplements are not necessary to be healthy. If you are thinking of taking a probiotic supplement, talk to your doctor or dietitian.

Are probiotics safe?

Eating foods with probiotics is thought to be safe for most people including pregnant women. If you have a condition or disease or would like to give probiotics to an infant, speak to your doctor or dietitian first.

Probiotic bacteria are often grown using milk protein. Individuals with a milk allergy should avoid foods with probiotics since they may contain milk protein.

Are probiotics regulated in Canada?

Foods with added probiotics are not regulated in Canada. That means that there are no rules for how much probiotics there should be in a food or how to label probiotics on food packaging.

Probiotic supplements are regulated under the Natural Health Products Regulations in Canada. This means that probiotic supplements must meet certain standards to be sold in Canada.

Bottom Line

Evidence supports including pre- and probiotics into your daily routine for maintaining a healthy digestive system. So, next time you sit down to a meal, don’t forget to feed your ecosystem!


Article written by Courtney Chisholm, Registered Dietitian at World Health Calgary Place

The post A Gut Feeling – Prebiotics and Probiotics appeared first on World Health Calgary.

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Variety is the spice of life, and you should add some of that spice to your workouts. Get acquainted with some of the “weird” equipment there is in the gym and learn how to correctly use it to target certain body parts.

Battling Ropes

Battling Ropes have had a resurgence mainly due to a pioneer of strongman training, John Brookfield. They are low-impact and can work the entire body very effectively. Core strength is very important to keep you in proper form and avoid injuries using the ropes. You can throw in battle rope exercises as part of an interval training series, or do an entire workout with just the ropes. Common exercises are waves, slams, circles, snakes, claps, hip tosses, and figure eights.

Go-to move: Alternate Wave Squats

Try it: Alternate arms lifting and lowering to make waves with the ropes as you squat down and up.

What it works: Core, shoulders, glutes, and thighs.

Sleds

Sleds are one of the most effective and versatile conditioning tools ever invented. Sled work consists of pushing or pulling a weighted sled for distance, reps, or time. Using a sled for conditioning will greatly improve speed, acceleration, and anaerobic capacity, which are all important for sports performance. Working the anaerobic energy system will delay the onset of lactic acid and will also improve your body’s ability to clear it. This has a great carry over to both weight training and long-distance running. Sled work is an example of H.I.I.T (high intensity interval training), which has been shown to be very effective for burning fat. Another great thing about sled work is that anyone can do it. It’s as simple as loading the sled with weight, getting low, and pushing/pulling the sled across the room. Ten or twenty minutes pushing the sled on a cardio day or following strength training is all that it takes.

Go-to move: Pushes/Pulls

Try it: Find a sled at your fitness facility and some open room to push and pull it back and forth. Begin with a light load, grab onto the handles, get low, and push/pull the sled across the room. It’s as simple as that!

What it works: Cardiovascular system, hamstrings, glutes, quads, and calves.

For more Weird Gym Equipment, read the first instalment

The post Fitness Focus: Weird Gym Equipment appeared first on World Health Calgary.

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Being a member at a fitness centre, you spend a lot of your time keeping your body in shape. The good news is, these actions are also working out your mind. Along with physical exercise and nutrition, it is important to do mental exercises. The following tips offer suggestions to keep your mind healthy and fit.

Use Your Brain  

Boost your mental capacity by putting your brain to work. Avoid using a calculator for simple math, solve problems by thinking through them, solve brainteasers and logic problems, or complete puzzles.

Read More

Reading promotes education, self-improvement and relaxation. A great fiction novel will also leave your brain pondering the plot and developing characters. Studies have also shown that staying mentally stimulated can slow the progressions of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, since keeping your brain engaged prevents it from losing power.

Switch Hands

If you’re already not ambidextrous, this task will be more difficult than you may think. Try to use your less-dominant hand to write or eat, it will really stimulate your brain.

Do Yoga

Many people take yoga classes to balance their mind and calm their nervous system. It has been found to reduce stress, improve coordination and help with digestion. The practice of yoga is also centred around your breath, which oxygenates the blood to promote optimal brain health.

Eat Fish

Known as one of the ultimate brain foods, fish got that reputation for being rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It contains large amounts of the essential fat DHA, which makes up 40% of the fatty acids in your brain. Wild salmon is your best option due to its lower levels of mercury. Supplement options are available for those who do not eat fish. Josh Stryde, a nutrition coach at World Health, recommends a teaspoon of flax each morning (crushed before you eat them), a teaspoon of chia seeds at some point later in the day, and trying to keep your stress levels low.

Avoid Sugar

Some things are better left out of your body to and refined, white sugar is on that list. There is no doubt that sugar is addictive and it creates strong fluctuations in blood-sugar levels, which results in a whole host of health problems. The first step is eliminating sugar from your personal environment. Don’t bring it in the house, try not to visit convenience stores, and most importantly stop using it as a reward for yourself and kids. The more you surround yourself with it the more you will have to fight your willpower and avoid it. This can be a difficult task, but it is worth all the effort.

The post Keep Your Mind Healthy And Fit appeared first on World Health Calgary.

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If your number one goal is to lose weight, don’t be afraid to strength train.

Many gym-goers believe that lifting weights is only to increase size in the form of bulging muscles and cardio is the way to burn fat. According to Penn State University, lifting weights is the secret to fat loss.

Researchers put overweight people on a reduced-calorie nutrition plan and divided them into three groups. One group did not exercise, another did only aerobic exercise, and the last group performed cardio and weight training three days a week. Each group lost nearly the same amount of weight – approximately 20 lbs. – but the group that strength-trained had 40% greater fat loss, while the other two groups lost several pounds of muscle.

You’ll burn calories with each lift and after the fact. Strength training also increases the number of calories you burn while you’re at rest because your body is trying to aid in muscle recovery.

A director of fitness research in Quincy, Massachusetts says the calories burned in rest can be up to 25% of those shed in your strength training session. For every three pounds of muscle, you build you’ll burn an extra 120 calories a day on average because muscle takes more energy to sustain.

If you don’t know where to start, schedule a Personal Fitness Consultation at the gym. It is a great introduction to strength training that will take the guesswork and fear out of working out.

Once you become comfortable with the program, it is important to keep your strength training routine varied to create inefficiency. You don’t want your body to become too used to any one exercise because it will require less energy to perform. This can cause a plateau.

A personal trainer can create a periodized program for you. Alternatively, you can increase your weight lifted, or ease back on the weight and increase repetitions. Do sets for time instead of predetermined reps, or do exercises in a different order. Your body will have to adapt and this will improve your efforts for results.

Remember: your results may have little to do with what the scale says. By itself, body weight is a poor measurement of fitness, if you gain muscle and lose fat you’ll be fitter, but it’s possible for the scale to say you’re heavier.

When you strength train to lose weight your shape will change dramatically. Use body measurements, progress photos, and how your clothes are fitting to indicate your fitness and results.

Speak with a personal trainer at any World Health fitness centre to receive a free inBody Composition Analysis at any time. This will tell you your weight, but also your lean body mass and body fat percentage. 

The post Strength Train to Lose Weight appeared first on World Health Calgary.

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When you surround yourself with happy and energetic people, it rubs off. Fitness professionals are upbeat and excited to come to work, not only because they love fitness but also because they genuinely enjoy working with others. We’re in a people industry.

Every year World Health hires a number of members who want to start fitness careers, but where does one get started? As the fitness industry is not government regulated, there are a staggering number of certification options. Some are great, while others are not. From university classrooms to online in your spare time, we’ve put together a list of a few ways you can jump into the industry.

Personal Training 

There are a number of ways to become certified as a Personal Trainer, and each path has a unique set of pros and cons.

World Health has partnered with the Universities, Colleges and practical programs to provide students with hands-on experience in our clubs. There is no doubt that a university degree will provide you with the most theoretical knowledge with respect to exercise prescription and program design. A degree program will also allow you to delve into exercise psychology and sociology. This may be a route to go if you are graduating high school or looking to submerse yourself in education for the next four years.

The Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology Certified Personal Training certification program is among the best in Canada. Mount Royal University, the Northen Alberta Institute of Technology(NAIT) and Grand Prairie Community College offer this two-year diploma. This also requires the dedication to a full-time class schedule, but for a shorter commitment. NAIT also offers an online program, which would be ideal for current fitness professionals looking to upgrade their knowledge base or mature students who are changing careers and cannot attend full-time school.

For the mature student who would like to attend school part-time while maintaining their full-time day job, Elevated Learning Academy in Calgary has a four-month diploma program available. Classes run evening and weekends and students are able to obtain American Council of Exercise (ACE) and canfitpro certifications as part of their program.

The Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association (AFLCA) and canfitpro are both great entry-level certification programs available in Alberta. These courses typically run on weeknights and weekends and are great for the mature student. They are shorter in length but also a good starting point as both organizations stress life-long learning and continued development. Many trainers who start their careers with these certifications also continue upgrading their knowledge base with online programs.

If you are looking for an online certification, we recommend PTA Global or the Active Aging program offered through Grand Prairie Regional College. These programs will give you a good theoretical foundation but ensure that you are actively applying your knowledge through an in-club internship.

Fitness Consultant  

Did you know that only 15% of our population actually exercises? At World Health our mission is to enrich people’s lives by inspiring a healthy and active lifestyle and Fitness Consultants play a vital role in this by getting new members started at the club.

Special certification is not required for this membership sales position; however, we provide a detailed fitness training program at the time of hire, along with access to online and in-club certification programs. If you are a passionate, honest, people-person who is excited about getting others healthy, this may be the role for you.

Group Fitness Instructor 

The party doesn’t start and stop with Zumba when it comes to group fitness. Every day our instructors sweat, lift, move and shake with 30-60 enthusiastic members. If you describe yourself as the centre of attention, always in the spotlight, and love to lead a crowd, look into getting group fitness certified through canfitpro or AFLCA. After you have obtained certification, World Health allows you to specialize your training with our signature series workshops.

Working in our industry is rewarding on many levels. You see and hear about the difference you make in people’s lives daily, you are constantly learning and, most importantly, it is fun.

To discuss how you can get started in the fitness industry at World Health, email careers@worldhealth.ca.

The post Calgary Fitness Careers: How to Get Started appeared first on World Health Calgary.

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Most of us have experienced an injury at some point in our life and have had to take a step back from our training, sport or even just had to adapt our everyday living to accommodate. If you’ve never experienced an injury, keep that spotless track record going by adopting these healthy habits now so you don’t have to slow down. Whether you are starting a new exercise program, or are already a fitness buff, here are 7 easy ways to prevent injury during exercise.

Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

The whole point of setting goals is to achieve them, so be S.M.A.R.T. about your fitness goals. That is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Result-oriented, and Time-bound. Writing goals down and being accountable by involving a workout buddy also helps.

Get The Green Light

If you have existing injuries, health problems, or have never been active, get the green light from your doctor before starting to exercise. Talk about the type of activity and intensity level that is right for you and safe.

Warm Up

Don’t just rush into your workout. Make sure to warm up your body with gentle activity, like using a stationary bike. Cycle for 6-10 minutes on a hill program. If a bike is uncomfortable, use an elliptical machine or treadmill.

Easy Does It

Be mindful that you have to ease back in to exercise, gradually increasing your intensity and weights. Add new exercises one at a time so that you can monitor your body’s response.

Keep It Fresh

Constantly working out your arms will never give your muscles any time to recover. Change it up throughout the week to let parts of your body rest and recuperate. Keep a balances fitness program by incorporating exercises that work on muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility.

Cool Down

Allocate time at the end of your workout to cool down. You’ll reduce recovery time, wind down mentally, and increase flexibility. It is better to stretch after exercise. Since the muscle is warm you reduce the risk of strain. It is also ideal to spend some time lengthening muscles after contracting them.

Listen to Your Body

A mild level of discomfort can be normal if you are new to exercising or increasing the intensity of your workout, but ongoing and sharp pain is not. Stop what you are doing. If you are in the gym, speak with a personal trainer. If it persists, seek medical attention.

The post 7 Ways to Prevent Injury During Exercise appeared first on World Health Calgary.

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If I am being 100% honest, I often don’t crave vegetables (for the most part). Most people are probably in the same boat. Although don’t get me wrong, when I don’t eat ‘healthy’ one day – it happens to the best of us – my body knows that it has not been treated well and all I want is vegetables.

A common piece of advice I give to my clients is to try and make half their plate vegetables. It’s the easiest way to boost nutrient-density that your body needs and loves. Vegetables are bursting with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibre and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. And bonus, they go with practically any eating plan. But how do you make this reality and a regular habit? Great question…I’ll get to that very shortly.

Getting more vegetables in at each meal for health is not a new revelation that has hit the newsstands across the globe. People are well aware of how important it is, and if I had a nickel for the number of people that tell me this, I would be rich. But it is a lot harder to put it into practice.

Here are a few tips to adding more vegetables into your life:

Make cauliflower rice

In a food processor or blender, pulse cauliflower to rice-size pieces and serve raw, roasted on a baking sheet or stir-fry with other seasonal veggies.

Get your spiralizer out and make zucchini “noodles”

Using a spiralizer or vegetable peeler, peel zucchini to make noodle-like chunks and eat as a salad or in place of pasta noodles.

Try spaghetti squash

Cook the spaghetti squash and stuff it with you fav chili recipe or scrape with a fork and use the strings in place of pasta noodles.

Use chard leaves as a wrap

Use the leaves from swiss chard or collard greens as a sandwich wrap. Blanch or microwave for 10 seconds to make the leaf more stretchable.

Use romaine lettuce as scoops/boats

Have a great tuna salad, chicken salad, or Thai peanut chicken recipe? Scoop it up with some romaine lettuce.

50:50 Mushroom:Meat

Chop mushrooms to match the texture of ground meat in a burger or a taco. For a more savory flavor keep the ratio 50:50 and for a lighter food try 80:20 mushrooms to meat.

Use purees

Add purees to any dish! Squash, cauliflower or carrot purees are perfect for burgers, stews, or pasta sauces.

Make veggie burgers

I don’t have much to say about these, they are pretty self-explanatory! The store-bought varieties don’t have many veggies.

Pack in those leafy greens in morning smoothies

Mighty kale! Popeye spinach!

Snack on kale chips

Not exactly the same thing as a kale salad, but close.

Make your own root vegetable baked “fries/chips”

Parsnips or Beets roasted with garlic and rosemary are probably my favourite root vegetables to bake

Embrace soup weather

Whether homemade or store-bought, double the vegetables in any soup recipe.

Bottom Line: Be sensible and start where you are at. If you’re eating zero vegetables a day, try to get to one consistently. If you’re eating two servings, shoot for three. Or try out some of the tips I mentioned for getting more veggies in your life.


Article written by Courtney Chisholm, Registered Dietitian at World Health Calgary Place

The post How to Get More Vegetables into Your Life appeared first on World Health Calgary.

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Feeling stressed can be perfectly normal. You may even notice that sometimes being stressed-out motivates you to focus on your work, yet at other times, you feel incredibly overwhelmed and can’t concentrate on anything. While stress affects everyone in different ways, there are two major types of stress: stress that’s beneficial and motivating — good stress or eustress — and stress that causes anxiety and even health problems — bad stress.

Understanding how your body responds to stress can be key to managing stressful situations and the impact it has on your health. This article will explore the effects of stress in more detail, highlighting the crucial link between stress and diet, and how healthy nutrition can be key to dealing with stress.

What happens when we feel stressed? 

In any stressful situation, our nervous system and adrenal glands send signals to the rest of the body to prepare it for a physical response. The symptoms we experience when we get stressed (e.g. increased heart rate and heavy breathing) are described as physiological responses to ensure our survival. This innate ‘fight or flight’ reaction may have been necessary millions of years ago when survival meant facing immediate and real threats, but in the modern world where threats are minimal, it can have a negative impact on our health.

At times of perceived danger, the physiological changes that occur completely overwhelm the body and all normal functions. Specific hormones are triggered to increase heart rate and blood pressure, delivering more oxygen and glucose to important muscles. This prioritizes physical functions over less urgent functions such as digestion, meaning our body has the power to face an enemy or flee. Further, our immune system is activated, breathing is accelerated and the heart moves into overdrive to support the body.

In our modern world, real threats to our survival, for the most part, is no longer present. Yet day-to-day stresses such as relationship issues, traffic jams, and demanding children can trigger the body’s fight or flight reaction. The more exposure we have to these stressors, the more intense and frequent our physiological reactions become until we find ourselves feeling constantly on edge. For those who do not cope and adapt their lifestyles, and ‘burn off’ the effects of our stress response (by keeping fit and eating healthily), stress builds up and can become a health problem.

Here is a list of potential impacts if stress continues to build up and is not effectively managed or treated:

(Source)

Close up on stress and digestion 

As seen in the diagram, the effects of stress on our eating habits and digestion can be significant, leading to appetite fluctuations and digestive problems. Why does this happen? The activated fight or flight response in the central nervous system immediately shuts down digestion. This shut down restricts blood flow, slows the contractions of the digestive muscles and decreases secretions needed for digestion. The body is now able to prioritize more important physical functions, such as heart and breathing rate in order to prepare the body for fight or flight.

Also, after a stressful period, the human body may go into ‘recovery mode’ where appetite is increased and our food cravings take over. Metabolic rate will drop to conserve energy, which means the body is more likely to store fat – particularly around the abdomen. Feeling stressed also leads to an increase in levels of cortisol, which is the hormone that contributes to weight gain.

Chronic stress can also suppress appetite, which over time can lead to weight-loss (and it’s not always the weight you want to lose – meaning muscle mass). This may also be linked to nervous movements such as pacing, ticks and leg shaking. While some people completely shut down when they are feeling stressed, others unintentionally move more.

Bottom Line

In the modern world we can become stressed for many reasons other than impending danger and yet our bodies react the same.  We have innate instincts. Our bodies prepare in an instinctive way and give less priority to other, less urgent, functions. Being aware of how your body works and deals with stress can help you to manage stress and stressful situations. Through little changes in nutrition, you can help your body recover from stressful periods more rapidly and minimise negative effects such as weight gain.


Article written by Courtney Chisholm, Registered Dietitian at World Health Calgary Place

The post How Is Stress Impacting My Health? appeared first on World Health Calgary.

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You have a busy lifestyle. Between your family, friends and work it can be challenging to find time for the gym. Why would you need to get a gym membership in Calgary? Those that do find time for fitness learn quickly the benefits associated with regular physical activity. It is easy to say, “I’ll go to the gym tomorrow”; however, for many that never comes. The good news is you do not need to spend countless hours in the gym to experience health benefits.

Based on the most recent scientific evidence, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology developed the new Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines to help Canadians understand the link between physical activity and compelling health benefits. These guidelines explain the amount and types of physical activity that we need to experience significant, positive changes to our health.

Youth Fitness Guidelines

Youth 12-17 years should accumulate a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily.

Being active for 60 minutes a day will help teens:

  • Improve their health
  • Do better in school
  • Improve their fitness
  • Grow stronger
  • Have fun playing with friends
  • Feel happier
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Improve their self-confidence
  • Learn new skills 
Adult Fitness Guidelines

Adults* 18-64 years should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more. It is beneficial to add strength-training activity using your major muscle groups at least two days per week.

Being active for 150 minutes per week can help reduce the risk of:

  • Premature death
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Overweight and obesity

It can lead to improved:

  • Fitness
  • Strength
  • Mental Health (morale and self-esteem)

*For inactive adults, participating in any amount of physical activity can reward some health benefits. Be sure to begin with smaller amounts of activity and gradually increase duration, frequency and intensity as a stepping-stone to meeting the guidelines. Asking for guidance from a personal trainer can help you feel comfortable in the gym and confident in your fitness plan.

Sweat It Out

Another added bonus of a workout is sweat because it can aid in weight loss, lower stress and boost mood.

It regulates your body temperature, but regular sweat sessions can have long-term health benefits. You breathe faster, your heart works more, your circulation improves and your metabolism accelerates, and those actions improve your cardiovascular health. It helps with losing weight, too. While the immediate weight you lose is water weight that is quickly replaced when you replenish your fluids, activities that make you sweat burn calories.

Dripping sweat can also put you in a cheerful mood. Whenever you feel stressed about external factors try hitting the gym to clear your mind. Put your headphones on, crank up the beat and spin, run, lift and/or row the stress away. Exercise associated with sweat releases endorphins that interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce the perception of pain. This rush of endorphins reduces stress, ward off anxiety and lessens feelings of depression.

Sweating is a great goal to incorporate as part of your healthy lifestyle. It means your body is burning up calories and pushing out toxins. A good sweaty workout is the best answer to everything stress related.

The post Why Get a Gym Membership? appeared first on World Health Calgary.

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