Archive | February, 2018

What Has Changed in Health & Fitness Over the Last 30 Years?

There have been many changes in fitness over the past 30 years. It’s human nature to reminisce about times past. That’s great but lets not forget that things change as well. This is certainly true in the area of health and fitness. “If you do what you have always done, you will get the results you have always gotten” is true, but what if the situation changes? Then what used to work is no longer a viable and effect way to get the results that we want. In this article I will outline seven items that have changed over the past 30 or so years that affect the way we view health, fitness, exercise and what is considered “best”. Let’s look at some of these changes in Fitness.

1. Activity level

This change in fitness is pretty obvious. We just don’t move around as much as we used to 30 years ago.

Currently, the average sedentary person living in an urban setting takes 900-3000 steps a day. Uh… that’s a puny number! In the journal of sports medicine existing literature was pulled together to set a general guideline of what a good number of steps per day would be

The author Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke translated different physical activity into steps-per-day equivalents. A rate of fewer than 5,000 is classified as sedentary, 5,000 to 7,499 is low active, 7,500 to 9,999 is somewhat active 10,000 or more is active and 12,500 or more is very active. So what does 900 make us? Close to dead! But its not hard to imagine. Get up from, take elevator to car park, drive car, take elevator to office, sit down, order fast food, reverse the process to go home and go back to bed. Just to note, 1km is about 1300 steps.

Its gotten to the point where we have to purposely inconvenience ourselves to get our activity level up. Here are some suggestions (that actually show us how pathetic our average activity levels have become).

Park at the far end of the car park and walk to your building Instead of dropping the kids off in front of the school, park a couple of streets before it and walk them the rest of the way… 10,000 is actually considered a LOW estimate for children.

Go round the shopping centre or supermarket in a random. With today’s super malls, this is a big thing!

Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator (well if you work on the 50th floor, maybe climb halfway to start)

Give the dog an extra 5 minutes on his walk (we need it even more than him)

Stop emailing colleagues in the same office, instead go over and talk to them (shockingly effective considering how much email we send each day!… great for team building as well)

Go for a walk during your lunch break, walk to get your lunch or to find somewhere to eat your lunch

Get up and do something, run up and down the stairs for example during TV ads (no excuses here!)

Walk to the corner shop instead of driving or popping in on your way home

Walk to friends houses instead of driving

Take public transport and walk from the train station

Dr. David Bassett studied an Amish community to see what things were like in the past. These guys have no cars, no electricity and do hard manual labor to put food on the table. Its like time travel to the past. They eat 3 large meals a day with lots of meat, vegetables and natural starches like potatoes.

The 98 Amish adults Bassett surveyed wore pedometers for a week. The men averaged 18,000 steps a day. The women took an average of 14,000 steps.

The men spent about 10 hours a week doing heavy work like plowing, shoeing horses, tossing hay bales, and digging. The women spent about 3.5 hours a week at heavy chores. Men spent 55 hours a week in moderate activity; women reported 45 hours a week of moderate chores like gardening and doing laundry. Wow that’s a lot of manual labor. Get a pedometer (its only like 20 bucks) and see how you fare.

2. Fat Percentages and Obesity

Activity level leads us right on to this point about obesity. The scary obesity rate is one of the most obvious changes in fitness.

The obesity rate among the participants in the study of the Amish population was 4 percent, as determined by body mass index, or BMI. The current obesity rate among the urban populations is 30% or more. OK the obesity percentages are a scary thing because obesity is already in the “VERY high risk of a lot of bad ways to die” category. There is still the overweight category (obviously fat but not hitting the medically obese range) to consider. These people are at a high risk already!

The total percentages of overweight + obese are really wild… hitting close to 70% in some cities. Compare this to the average in the 1980s. 10-15% obesity in most cities. It rose to the mid 20% in 1995 and its now at an all time high.

3. Diet

OK linked to point no.2 is of course diet. This is another obvious change in fitness. Its very simple actually. We now eat more refined foods (white bread, sugar, rice, flour, noodles). In the body these give pretty much the same response – FAT storage. The only time we should eat these items is immediately after hard training. As we can tell from point no.1, not much of any training is going on. But lots of eating is!

We also eat less fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. We eat more snacks like chips and cookies (which are also refined despite what advertisers claim).

These changes in fitness are made more troubling because even natural foods today are not as good for us as they used to be. Current farming methods make vitamin and mineral content in fruits and vegetables drop about 10-40% depending on the mineral. Corn fed meats don’t give us as good an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio as we used to get from grass fed and free range animals. (that means not so many healthy fatty acids for us)

And of course, we are also simply consuming more calories. The Amish people in the study in point no.1 ate about 3600 calories/day for men and 2100 calories/day for women. Many sedentary people consume this much and more! How? Well a fully “featured” gourmet coffee from coffee bean or Starbucks can add up to 500 calories in an instant of caffeine folly.

That’s 2 hours of walking for an average sized lady.

Just remember, calorie quality counts as well. 2000 calories of vegetables, meat and healthy fats is infinitely better than 2000 calories from french fries. Its close to impossible to get fat on the first, and nearly impossible not to get fat with the second.

I like this car analogy. If you had a 2million dollar dream car, would you put low grade or high grade petrol into it? High grade of course! Then why do some people put low grade filth into their bodies which are so much more important than the car we drive?

4. Games children play

The average child who grows up in an urban environment is a motor-skill weakling. As a hobby, I coach youth basketball. In our talent scouting, I have kids do a very simple drill of dribbling in and out and around cones. There are so many kids who can’t do it and some who I think might fall down if asked to RUN around the cones without the ball! This is in contrast to the past where kids ran around, chased each other, played physical games and sports of all kinds, where the playground was the center of fun for young kids. This lack of activity not only causes a change in fitness for the child in his/her youth, but has a profound long term effect as well.

Of course this change in fitness is a result of a combination of possible factors.

Parents who only consider academic success to be worth striving for, who only give a child recognition and praise when they do well in academic subjects.

An education system who also values book knowledge above other things and takes away physical education classes to put more academic lessons in.

Poorly taught PE lessons that don’t help a child develop motor skills in the key early years Busy double-income families where fathers are not free to play with their children (or don’t care enough to… money isn’t everything dads)

The maddening computer game addiction situation where virtual life is more important than real life. I believe this is the reason for all the empty basketball courts in my neighbourhood. It used to be that teams lined up to play there. Now only people my age (late 20s to 30s) play. No young kids are there any more.

But actually, so what? The issue is that if kids stink at sport and physical activity, the well known psychological factor of “competence” comes is. Simply put, in general, we do what we are good at. If our next generation is poor at sport and physical activity, they are even less likely to do any of it! Which combined with items 1 to 3, make for a deadly health crisis for many countries. Obesity costs the UK 7.4 billion in national health care per year! If we don’t help our kids, that’s only going to grow to be a bigger and bigger burden for everybody.

5. Social Support

This is a more subtle change in fitness. People are communal animals. We stick with things because there is a supportive community behind us. Even drug and alcoholism rehab centers recognise this. We all need social support. But social links are getting weaker. And no, Friendster and MySpace links don’t make up for it.

In a more connected but less close world (I know so many people who are only comfortable behind a computer screen and not in front of a real person) there is less social support than in the past (extended families, communal living, strong friendships within a neighbourhood etc) and its hard to stick with something which requires dedication and sacrifice like an exercise program. I’m not a sociologist but I do believe there is a reason that exercise classes do better in terms of membership than individualized training. Most of them certainly are not as effective as great individual coaching. But the social factor does come in when sustaining a lifestyle change is involved.

6. Free Time

This subtle change in fitness is pretty clear. We just have less time that we “own”. Bosses, social, family and other commitments make free time a very precious commodity and it adds difficulty to the fact that time is our only non renewable resource. When we choose to exercise or spend time cooking to keep a healthy lifestyle, we are competing with movies, games, TV and other things for free time. We know that exercise is good for us, but it not only has to be good for us, it has to be BETTER in our minds than the latest episode of desperate housewives, or the latest computer game. That’s the issue. We need to prioritize long term health over temporary fun.

7. Training methods

OK here is where we are doing well. 30 years ago the aerobics craze took the western world by storm. Its not a very good training method both in terms of results, and in terms of results per unit of time. Add that to the fact that we have such minimal time to train, we can’t afford to train in a sub-optimal way. We know a lot more now. Fortunately for us, there are good methods that smart coaches use to improve training efficiency and get RESULTS even with less training time. Some of these include smartly designed resistance training programs, interval training and good assessment techniques to determine individual needs. If you have a coach like that in your corner, you can turn back the clock and avoid becoming one of the ever growing statistic of people who’s health is headed in the wrong direction. Stay fit and strong and good luck!

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The Fitness Boom

While the worlds of sports and fitness are intertwined, it was not until the 1970s that popular culture was ready to accept fitness as eagerly as it had accepted sports. Fitness had not yet taken on its importance for improving health, and popular opinion likened fitness to work and manual labor. In the 1940s and 1950s, few participated in fitness willingly. Among those who did were Jack LaLanne, Victor Tanny, Joseph Gold, Joseph Weider, and Les and Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton. These fitness pioneers, among others, drew people to the beach in Santa Monica, California-the original Muscle Beach. Visitors came to watch their feats of strength and acrobatic displays. More and more viewers became participants, and these people, originally on the fringe, became a part of the cultural mainstream. Jack LaLanne, Vic Tanny, and Joe Gold all started gym chains with bodybuilding as their main focus. Due toPage 602 the influence of Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton, women were introduced to the muscularity and strength that came with bodybuilding. No longer reserved for just for “strongmen,” bodybuilding brought about a change in the mindsets of all those who visited Muscle Beach.

From the seeds planted at the Santa Monica came Venice Beach, the home to bodybuilding legends Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane, and many, many more. Venice Beach in the 1970s brought with it a fitness explosion across the globe. Not only did bodybuilding become mainstream, but the popular opinion of fitness changed dramatically. Americans in the 1970s would do anything to improve their health and fitness.

Sports and athletics grew in the 1970s as well. Women became increasingly more interest in participating in sports; however, very little funding was available for the development of woman’s athletics. A landmark law was passed in 1972. Part of a series of educational amendments, “Title IX,” legislated gender equity in athletics. Not only were women becoming more active and more physically fit, a law now existed that called for equal funding and equal opportunity for female athletes. On 21 September 1973, female tennis star Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in the first-ever winner-take-all “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match. The hoopla surrounding this event-and its outcome-provided even more incentive for women to become involved with sports and fitness. By 1977, a record 87.5 million U.S. adults over the age of eighteen claimed to be involved in some sort of athletic activity.

The fitness industry continued its growth into the 1980s. Gym owners tailored their facilities to attract customers and new gyms opened around the United States and around the world. A healthy lifestyle was becoming a part of popular culture. No longer was it unfashionable to be athletic, strong, or healthy. With the development of new technology, health and fitness were able to make their way into homes. Fitness tapes became available in the early 1980s and continue to encourage those to whom a gym or health facility may not be accessible. Innovators such as Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons were able to bring their exercise programs to a new population. Joe Weider became a significant force in bringing health, fitness, and bodybuilding as close as the mailbox through his magazines and pamphlets. Because of fitness pioneers such as Weider, Gold, Fonda, and Simmons, fitness continues to play a significant role in modern society. The importance of being in good health and physically fit has made and continues to have an impact.

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The Importance of Physical Fitness

In its most general meaning, physical fitness is a general state of good physical health. Obtaining and maintaining physical fitness is a result of physical activity, proper diet and nutrition and of course proper rest for physical recovery. In its simplest terms, physical fitness is to the human body what fine-tuning is to an engine. It enables people to perform up to their potential. Regardless of age, fitness can be described as a condition that helps individuals look, feel and do their best. Thus, physical fitness trainers, describe it as the ability to perform daily tasks vigorously and alertly, with left over energy to enjoy leisure-time activities and meet emergency demands. Specifically true for senior citizens, physical fitness is the ability to endure, bear up, withstand stress and carry on in circumstances where an unfit person could not continue.

In order for one to be considered physically fit, the heart, lungs, and muscles have to perform at a certain level for the individual to continue feeling capable of performing an activity. At the same time, since what humans do with their bodies directly affects the state of mind, fitness influences to some degree qualities such as mental alertness and emotional expression.

Physical fitness is often divided into the following categories in order for people to be able examine its components or parts. Particularly, physical fitness is judged by:

1. Cardiovascular endurance: This is the ability of the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues and to remove wastes over sustained periods of time.

2. Muscular strength & endurance: Strength deals with the ability of the muscle to exert force for a brief time period, while endurance is the ability of a muscle, or group of muscles, to sustain repeated contractions or to continue to apply force against an inert object.

3. Flexibility: This denotes the ability to move joints and use muscles through their full range of motion.

4. Body composition: Considered as one of the components of fitness, composition refers to the body in terms of lean mass (muscle, bone, vital tissue, and organs) and fat mass. Actually, the optimal ratio of fat to lean mass is an indication of fitness. Performing the right set of exercises can help people get rid off body fat and increase or maintain muscle mass.

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Healthy Facial Skin Care – How to Have a Beautiful and Healthy Face

Healthy skin is important to everyone. Your face is the most important part of your body, because its what every looks at first and great facial skin is the first step to creating a fresh, beautiful appearance. Your face requires the proper skin serums and a daily regimen to keep it fresh and beautiful. The most important thing to remember when choosing a facial skin care regime is to choose products that do not contain harmful chemicals. Chemicals, like botox or collagen, my have an immediate effect on the skin, however, in the longer term they will leave your skin facial muscles weak, and cause the skin to sag, or develop dark circles under the eyes. An organic chemical free skin care regimen, will use only natural ingredients to aid your skin in developing natural defensives it already has to promote skin health.

Choosing a Cleanser

When choosing a cleanser, be sure to look for one that does not contain abrasive chemicals, like used it soap, because it will overly dry your skin and eventually cause wrinkles. You will want to look for a cleanser that contains Aloe Vera and some Green Tea to natural remove free radials and toxins.

Daily Moisturizer

Aloe Vera and Jojoba is essential for maintaining good health and skin. Jojoba is an amazing ant oxidizing agent, which is throughout our body in order to boost the immune system. Human skin also contains wax esters for which production steadily decreases with age, causing the skin wrinkles. The extract from Jojoba Nut contains alpha, delta, and gamma Tocopherol, which are all forms of vitamin E. Unlike “oil in water” skin formulas which evaporate when they reach the skin’s surface, Jojoba fluid penetrates the lipid layer forming a non-greasy layer with exceptional transepidermal water control. Jojoba prevents stretch marks thanks to the elastic effect on the skin. It should also be applied after exposing the skin to the sun, because Jojoba contains curative properties which will reduce inflammation and prevent flaking.

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Natural Skin Care Regime for Ethnic Differences in Skin Characteristics

The world is a big place and there are many different cultures, Europeans, Scandinavians, Asians, Africans, Hispanics and many, many more. Each of these cultures tends to have certain characteristics such as eye colour, hair colour, skin colour, etc,. Inherent with cultural backgrounds is a difference in skin types. For example, western cultures such as the central and northern Europeans have a tendency to fair complexions, hair and eye colour, while southern Europeans dent to have darker hair, brown eyes and darker, olive skin tones.

Africans and African Americans, have very dark or almost black skin, usually dark or black hair and brown eyes. Genetically, this skin type is less susceptible to the UV rays, although their skin can still get burned.

Asians on the other hand have a yellowish skin tone and can have brown or blue eyes but have mostly dark or black hair. Yes, genetics does have its opinion on how we look. The cultural differences are reflected in the skin and the genetic factors play an important role in how well our skin looks, how ‘tough’ it is and how vulnerable it is to certain skin problems.

For example, cultures that have a tendency to body hair, also have a tendency to oily skin and therefore have a potential problem with blocked secretory glands resulting in pimples and other skin problems. On the other hand, the Irish, who have a tendency to red hair and very fair skin, have less of a problem with oily skin, but they do tend to get burned easily and thus stand a greater risk to skin cancers. Similarly the Scandinavians and other central and northern Europeans and Americans.

Below are some generalised characteristics of various skin types from different cultural backgrounds:

Skin Characteristics of people with Anglo-Saxon origins

  • Fair, dry thin-skinned
  • Scars heal well
  • Signs of aging appear earlier
  • Burn easily in the sun
  • Bruising more obvious
  • Increased chance of skin cancer

Skin Characteristics of people with Southern Mediterranean origins

  • Oily, olive dark complexion
  • Signs of aging appear later
  • Cartilage tends to droop
  • Darker, thicker scars more common
  • Wrinkles appear later and in more localized areas
  • Skin cancer is rare

Skin Characteristics of people with Northern European origins / German and Scandinavian

  • Fair, blue-eyed, blonde
  • Thin skin
  • Scars heal well
  • Signs of aging appear early
  • Bruising more obvious
  • Greater chance of skin cancer

Skin Characteristics of people with African/African-American origins

  • Signs of aging appear very late
  • Very little fine wrinkling
  • Formation of keloids is possible
  • Pigmentation changes may occur
  • Thicker cartilage hard to change
  • Skin cancers are very rare

Skin Characteristics of people with Northern European/Irish and northern England

  • Ruddy freckled complexion
  • Red hair
  • Scars usually thin
  • Signs of aging appear later
  • Bruises easily
  • Pigmentation problems
  • Skin cancers are most common in this type

Skin Characteristics of people with Asian origins

  • Signs of aging appear late
  • Fine wrinkling does not usually occur
  • Pigmentation changes may occur
  • Skin cancers are very rare

Skin Characteristics of people with Southern European origins

  • Dark, oily brunette complexion
  • Signs of aging appear later
  • Fine wrinkling less common
  • Bruising lasts longer
  • Scars may be thicker and darker
  • Skin cancers are less common

Identifying the correct, natural skin care system for your skin’s characteristics is essential and may need to be adjusted depending on your specific genetic influences, as within each of these groups, there is a wide range in skin tones, which tend to overlap from group to group.

Each of the different categories of skin characteristics has various advantages and disadvantages specific to that group. However, the overall structures and functions of our skin are very similar and are therefore cared for in very similar ways. Knowing your skin’s particular strengths and weaknesses, you can tailor your skin care approach to your particular skin-characteristics.

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