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Blog posts of '2012' 'August'

30 Minutes of Exercise a Day Can Help Keep the Pounds at Bay

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30 Minutes of Exercise a Day Can Help Keep the Pounds at BayWorking out is a commitment that few people enjoy, but if you’ve been trying to shed some extra pounds and dread spending long hours in the gym, you’ll be pleased to learn that a new study reveals that 30 minutes of exercise a day is all it takes to help shed that weight. In a new study published in the American Journal of Physiology, moderately overweight men who exercised for 30 minutes a day for three months lost an average of eight pounds compared to men who worked out for 60 minutes a day, who lost an average of six pounds.

Work Out Smarter, Not Longer

The study authors based their research on 60 moderately overweight men who were randomly assigned to either a high aerobics group, which was required to work out 60 minutes a day, or a moderate aerobics group, which worked out 30 minutes a day. Both groups were required to exercise hard enough to break a sweat by doing activities such as running or cycling. At the end of 13 weeks, both groups lost about nine pounds of body mass, but the 30-minute-a-day exercise group lost about two pounds more body weight. The researchers theorize that the men who worked out for half an hour found the amount of time to be reasonable, so they were actually more committed to accomplishing their workout goals in the shorter time period. Compared to their counterparts who worked out for an hour, the 30-minute exercise group also burned more calories. Post workouts, the 30-minute group probably had more energy left over, so they remained more active throughout the day, too. The 60-minute exercisers probably ate more after their workouts, so on average they gained back some of the calories that they burned.

Be Inspired to Get Healthy

Although a difference of two pounds of weight loss may not seem much at first glance, over a year the results can add up. The study also shows that you don’t need to spend countless hours in the gym as long as you’re fully committed to doing as much as you can within the time that you give yourself. Being healthy begins with being smart, so plan your workouts accordingly to get the most benefits.

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Added Pounds May Mean Added Joint Discomfort in Women

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Added Pounds May Mean Added Joint Discomfort in WomenIt goes without saying that being overweight isn’t healthy. When your body carries excess weight that isn’t ideal for your skeletal frame and musculature, it forces your heart and other organs to work extra hard. Besides heart health challenges, such as high blood pressure, being overweight can also affect blood sugar management and bone strength.

Overweight Women More Prone to Joint Discomfort

A new study funded by the Mayo Clinic that was published in Arthritis Care & Research states that women who are overweight have a 20% greater risk of developing joint health challenges. According to Dr. Eric Matteson, one of the study coauthors and chair of the rheumatology department at the Mayo Clinic, “fat cells produce inflammatory proteins and they’re active in inflammation.” Inflammation in joint tissue can lead to swelling, stiffness, and discomfort in joints and surrounding tissues. So aside from putting extra weight on joints and wearing them away faster, extra fat cells can cause inflammation, which can further aggravate your joints. The National Institutes of Health also states that women are two-to-three times more likely than men to develop joint health challenges, and four-to-five times more likely to have bone density challenges, which can also affect joints.

Take the Strain off Your Body

Maintaining a healthy weight isn’t just better for your joints, bones, and heart—it can also significantly lift your mood if you’re feeling self-conscious about your body. Exercise releases endorphins, which stimulate feelings of happiness in the brain. Long-term, regular exercise can also help lift moods, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep quality. Keeping your weight healthy isn’t something you should do to keep health challenges at bay; you should do it because being healthy makes you feel good!

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Snooze So You Don’t Lose Out on Health Benefits

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Snooze So You Don’t Lose Out on Health BenefitsFor some people, 24 hours isn’t enough to accomplish all the things they need to do in a day, so they often forego a good night’s sleep in order to work, work, work. The satisfaction of accomplishment, however, is fleeting compared to the actual harm they could be inflicting on their health. Sleep helps mind and body heal and rejuvenate, and when this important health aspect is ignored it invites the possibilities of all sorts of health challenges. If you’re one of these people, stop ignoring your body’s desire for rest. When you feel tired, that’s your body’s signal to you that it needs to wind down and recuperate for the day. A good night’s sleep can help you feel more refreshed—and you might be surprised at some of the other side benefits.

Sleep Supports the Mind

If you’re learning a new skill, such as a new language, sleep can actually strengthen the memories or practice skills that you’ve acquired. It’s a process called consolidation. If you’ve practiced a set of repetitive skills during the day, something about the sleep process helps reinforce these memories or learned skills so that you have an easier time recalling them the next day. The more you practice and the more rest you get in between, the greater your recall ability. Being well-rested can also spur your creativity if you’re struggling to find a solution to a problem. It can also sharpen your attention span and boost your mood if you’re stressed or anxious because your blood pressure lowers when you’re asleep.

Rest Benefits the Body

Besides having emotional and mental perks, sleep is also physically good for you. People who get less sleep tend to have higher levels of C-reactive protein, which is linked to inflammation. Inflammation can lead to cardiovascular, blood sugar, and joint health challenges. However, most experts agree the simple act of getting more sleep reduces your risks significantly. Researchers at the University of Chicago also found that well-rested dieters tended to lose more fat than their sleep-deprived counterparts, who shed muscle mass instead. Sleep deprivation also causes hunger to kick in, which can be even more detrimental if you’re trying to manage your weight.

Something to Sleep Over

The next time you’re thinking about pulling an all-nighter, take a moment to consider the pros and cons. Is depriving your body and mind of rest really worth the cost of your health? If you feel your body getting tired, don’t resist it—your body will thank you for it.

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