Monday, August 31, 2015

Back to School: How to make it a Great Year

Whether you are a student or the parent of a student, you likely have one thing on your mind as the new school year begins:  academic performance.  From kindergarteners to graduate level college students, concentration and learning are critical and directly related to how successful the year is and how bright the future looks career wise.

You may be wondering what academic performance has to do with a fitness blog. 

The answer?  Everything.  The research is conclusive:  physical exercise directly impacts how well a student does academically. 

Consistent, daily exercise results in significantly improved concentration, learning and test scores.
In his book, Spark, The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Harvard Psychiatrist Dr. John Ratey cites studies that document dramatic increases in the academic performance of students when they begin adding exercise to their daily schedule.

City Park Collegiate school in Saskatoon Saskatchewan is an inner city school in which many students have both behavioral and academic challenges.  But after bringing treadmills into the class room and letting the students use them, behavioral and academic problems improved. 

Students were able to sit still longer, concentrate better and scores began sky rocketing.  In just four months, the students in Allison Cameron’s class began improving academically.  Grade level increases were in the 27%-36% range, and math increases were similar.1 

And all it took was 20 minutes of exercise each morning.

What is it about exercise that causes such significant changes?  Scientists are still trying to understand it, but it appears as though exercise helps to lay down new pathways in the brain, which aids learning.  Neurogenesis also seems to be stimulated by exercise.  Neurogenesis is the process by which the brain grows new brain These new brain cells help build the new pathways along which learning can take place.2

City Park isn’t the only school that has seen improvements in student’s academic and behavioral performance. At Naperville Central High School west of Chicago, similar results are seen, with students dramatically improving in reading, math3 and science.

The take-away message?  If you are a student, a parent of a student or even a teacher, exercise should be a top priority.  To neglect it is to sabotage potential and open the door for behavioral problems. 
There are many ways to get a good workout in.

Resist the urge to neglect exercise in order to spend more time with the books.  Your study time will be much more productive if you feed your brain with exercise!


2 Ibid.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

An easy way to make a huge difference in the lives of the people around you...

"I'm never going to play for this guy."

That's what All-Pro offensive lineman and Green Bay Packer Jerry Kramer thought to himself about his coach Vince Lombardi.

Kramer had jumped offside in a practice scrimmage and Lombardi made him pay for it.  Lombardi, who had an in-your-face style of coaching (popular forty or fifty years ago,) got right up in Kramer's face and said...

"Mister, the concentration period of a college student is five minutes. High school is three minutes. Kindergarten is 30 seconds and you don't even have that. So where does that put you?"
It completely embarrassed and demoralized Kramer.

When practice was over Kramer sat in the locker room.  Hand on chin.  Elbow on knee.  Eyes glued to the floor.

Just then Lombardi walked into the locker room.  He slapped Kramer on the back of his neck, messed up his hair and said...

"Son, one day you're going to be the best guard in football."

Lombardi turned and walked away.

That comment totally changed Kramer's attitude.  He says Lombardi's words "allowed him to think about being a great football player."

From that day on he worked his tail off.  He gave the coach everything he had.

In 1969, the National Football League's Hall of Fame selectors voted Kramer the greatest guard in the NFL's first 50 years.

The morale to the story?

We all have the power to make a difference in someone's life...and it doesn't cost a penny.  All it takes is a few well-placed words of encouragement.  Their impact can't be understated and, in many cases, lasts a lifetime.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Do you know what you eat?

Food labels don't always have all of the ingredients listed that are in your products and you will be shocked to know which items are fooling you. Food adulteration is what happens when something is added or removed from a product without putting it on the label.  It is estimated that this is happening in about 10% of all products sold.

So what products does this happen with? Olive oil will be thinned out to up to 70% canola or soybean oil. Sometimes it contains no actual olive oil at all. Honey will be brought in from other countries containing pesticides and antibiotics. Some honey even has added corn syrup to reduce costs. Another tainted food is Parmesan cheese. They add cellulose, a wood fiber to keep products from sticking together. This should make up 2-3% of cheese but can be found in the cheeses we buy from 14-32%.

The FDA is passing new acts which will help them better inspect these food companies but until then, be cautious and smart about what you buy. Try to get local products when possible. Buy foods as unprocessed as possible- buying fresh versus ground herbs. Be wary of too good to be true offers, most likely they are. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Is this the best natural food suppressant?


If it wasn't for this signal that our body sends to our brain the world would be a thinner place.
Because when it comes to diets failing and pounds gained, it's hunger more often than not that's the culprit.

It has a way of melting all willpower that stands in its way.

Today I'm going to talk about what arguably is the most effective of all the natural hunger suppressants available today.

The key is the all-natural part because it means there are no side effects to worry about.
It's a cactus that is native to India called Caralluma fimbriata.

It's been used for centuries to ease the discomfort and hardship that comes with famine.  It's a food that, when ingested, reduces your hunger pangs.

There's another reason to turn to Caralluma fimbriata if you're looking to slim down a little...
Besides suppressing your hunger, it's also believed that it blocks the formation of fat, forcing your body to burn your fat reserves.

Eaten raw, its taste is unpleasant which is why you'll want to buy it in capsule form.

And while there are no real shortcuts when it comes to losing weight, Caralluma fimbriata just might be what you need to help you fight your hunger culprit.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Is this America's number one cause of obesity?

In his book Salt, Sugar Fat, Michael Moss talks about a study that started in 1986.  Its goal was to track the eating habits of Americans.

The study involved 120,877 people who were surveyed every four years.  None of the participants were overweight.  All of participants worked in the health field which presumably made them more nutritionally aware.

Here's what they found and reported in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2011.  Every four years, people tended to exercise less and watch more television.  Plus they gained an average of 3.35 lbs.

The top foods that contributed in the weight gain department were red meat, processed meats, sugar sweetened beverages and potatoes.

But one food outdid all the others in term of contributing to weight gain...

The potato chip!

It was responsible for an average 1.69 lb. weight gain per individual every four years. (Sweets and desserts contributed to about half a pound).

What did they attribute it to?

First off every ounce of potato chips has about 160 calories.  Plus they are loaded with fat, sugar and salt.

But an even bigger factor was, as the old marketing slogan "Betcha Can't Eat Just One" implies, it's nearly impossible to eat just one or two chips per sitting.