Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Running makes you... less hungry?

Normally, people think of exercisers as those who work hard, train hard, and eat like there won't be food tomorrow. Take for example, the Michael Phelps breakfast of champions:
The Michael Phelps Breakfast
So that's what gold medal swimmers eat









The NY Times Health Blog referenced a recent study from some University of Wyoming professors that demonstrates the opposite. Apparently, running would cause both men and women to reduce the calorie intake of their next meal by almost 100 more than someone who had just exercised by walking, and way more than someone who was totally sedentary. You can read the full study here. The study looked at some of the hormone and peptide production resulting after the two types of workouts. The result of running left the volunteers consuming fewer overall calories and making their calorie consumption much better regulated.
The article quotes Prof. Catia Martins as saying:
Exercise “improves the body’s ability to judge the amount of calories consumed and to adjust for that afterward”
 Now this doesn't mean that walking doesn't achieve the same goal, but it does shed light on how the body helps to regulate calorie consumption. This leaves us with an interesting theory of hunger dynamics: a body at rest tends to eat more than if that same body was up and moving. One way to help cure a case of the munchies is to get up and get moving.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Getting Out Of Bed In The Morning

Sometimes I hear people complaining about their inability to hop right out of bed in the morning, or at least get up when the alarm goes off. I have heard (and experienced) of varied challenges ranging from difficulty sitting up, tight lower or upper back muscles, disorientation when arising, and a few others.
Not feeling it today...

The problem with this is that it makes it even morechallenging to get your day started when it's not starting off correctly.

Let's try to examine the most obvious issues:
  • How old is your mattress and is it sinking or sagging?
  • What is your sleep position?
  • Where is the pain?
If your mattress is 10 years old, then it's probably a good time to go shopping. When the mattress starts to sag, you will start dragging at opposing muscles and perhaps even alter your sleep position. The sagging is the worst thing that can happen. If your not ready to buy a new bed, just try rolling a towel or yoga mat and slide it either under your lower back (if you sleep on your back) or under your hips (if you sleep on your front). This can alleviate some of the tug on muscles and tendons if there is a sag in the mattress.

By the way- your sleep position may also be a problem. The best positions are on your back or sleeping on your left side (with proper head support). The best thing for back health is a neutral spine position at night with excellent blood flow (left side also makes it easier to maintain good blood flow). This way you won't see a drop in systolic blood pressure overnight and get that dizzy feeling when you wake up.
Sleep well!

Now let's assume, all else being equal and good, that you still suffer a little from the getting out of bed blues. Back is still tight, body feels stiff, and you just can barely reach over to get the alarm. Let's also assume that you got at least 7 hours of sleep (but I am not overreaching here!). I  have some good bed stretched to help get you going.

Here are my top three bed stretches:

1. Psoas Stretch- hang one leg off of the bed and bring the other towards your chest.
2. Lower Back Stretch- Bring both knees up towards your chest
3. Bridge Stretch- bend legs at right angles, push with your heels, and lift your hips off of the bed while leaving your shoulders at rest