Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from LoneStart

It’s Christmas Eve, and here’s wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for a prosperous, happy and HEALTHY New Year!

A final tip before Christmas dinner: Enjoy your dinner, but eat mindfully. Chew slowly and stop eating before you feel as stuffed as your turkey. While you don’t have to resist a wonderful meal, pace yourself. The British Medical Journal points out that the faster you eat, the more you eat before you feel full, and therefore more calories are consumed.

So enjoy friends and family, conversation and celebration, but enjoy your meal in moderation.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More Holiday—and Everyday Tips: Rev-up Your Metabolism

It won’t be long and we’ll be through the holidays and into the New Year. What do you do to make up for the parties and over-indulgences and start the New Year with a renewed sense of commitment to health and wellness?

The LoneStart Wellness Initiative is an obvious choice (and since this is our LoneStart Blog, we get to talk about what we offer). So, along with making better nutritional choices and finding ways to become more physically active, do you need to speed up your metabolism, and how?

After age 40 we generally burn 2 to 5 percent fewer calories with each decade, which can equal about one pound of weight gain every year even if everything else you do or eat stays the same. Google “metabolism” and you’ll get about 45 million Web pages with advice on “kick-start, ignite or boost” your body’s fat burning capacity. But, here are a few strategies that actually work:

  • 5 or 6 glasses of ice water a day help you burn about 10 extra calories a day—or about 1 pound a year.
  • For every pound you lose, your resting metabolism drops by about 2 to 10 calories a day. So lose 10 pounds and you have to eat 20 to 100 fewer calories a day to maintain your new weight.
  • Eating more protein revs up your metabolism. At the same time, cut the empty carbs such as sugar. When you eat sugar you throw your metabolic switch into fat storage mode.
  • Lifting weights will boost your metabolism more than a cardio workout will.
  • Try to avoid stress—hard to do during the holidays. But, stress can actually cause weight gain, particularly around the tummy. Physical and emotional stress activates the release of cortisol, a steroid that slows metabolism.
  • And, walk, swim, jog, run, play with the kids or dog. The calorie-burning, metabolism-boosting effects last long after the physical activity ends.

Still, for sustainable health and long-term wellness, it all comes back to being physically active and making better dietary choices.

Any ideas to share?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

To Your Health Tips

A couple of "tips" ago we talked about how right Mom was when she said, “Stand up straight.” Turns out she was also right when she said, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Now, a new study backs her up. A natural antioxidant called quercetin, found in red apples as well as broccoli and green tea, may actually boost the immune system of individuals under stress.

In a study conducted by David Nieman, PhD, professor at Appalachian State University, results showed that only 5 percent of cyclists who took 1,000 milligrams of quercetin every day for five weeks reported upper respiratory illness during a two-week period following extreme exercise, whereas 45 percent of the cyclists who took a placebo reported illness following extreme exercise. So, during the holiday season (and year-round), along with finding time for some physical activity, snack on a big, red apple.

Keep in mind too, that whenever circulation is increased, you increase your white blood cells, so there are more cells to check for foreign germs and more to knock them out—a good thing to keep in mind during cold and flu season.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

More Tips: Fit in Fitness

Well, Halloween and Thanksgiving are behind us—leaving the celebrations of Christmas and the New Year to look forward to. So in keeping with starting the New Year off on the right foot (so to speak) now’s a good time to remember to “fit in fitness” at each opportunity. If you’re having guests for the holidays, make your household chores count. Mop, scrub, clean the bathtub—and do it all at a brisk pace. You’ll get finished faster, and you’ll get a workout. The same goes for outdoor work—mow the lawn with a push mower, rake, sweep, and even plant a tree (maybe a living Christmas tree). Digging works your arms and legs while raking and sweeping motions strengthen your arms and back.

Just so you know it counts, in just one hour you can:

  • Mow the yard and burn 324 calories
  • Garden: 300 calories
  • Vacuum: 169 calories
  • Dust: 160 calories

Even the busiest of us can find time for fitness—the key is to make it convenient. Do what works for you, and make daily physical activity a habit (and resolution) you can keep.

Do you have tips to share? We’d love to hear what works for others.