benefits of exercise
This is probably the number one exercise myth that despite it’s lack of evidence never seems to be truly debunked.
You still even see on the cardio gym equipment to this day heart rate graphs of the optimal zone to burn fat, implying that if you stick in this low zone you’ll lose more weight.
I am hoping that the evidence I am about to show you will debunk this myth once and for all. Continue reading
At a recent iNform Corporate function, I had the privilege of presenting to the cream of Adelaide’s small and medium-sized business directors, and here’s what I noticed:
They all dressed REALLY nicely!
The reason I noted this, above anything else is, I was there to talk about the benefits of exercising before AND during work to enhance productivity. I was duly informed this is not practical for well-dressed, nice smelling people who wished to remain that way through the course of their workday.
So I want to throw a spin on the perception that meaningful exercise must ALWAYS make you stinky!
In my recent football article, here’s what I eluded to:
Is your workday structured around your physiology, or is your physiology dictated to by your workday?
On a very complex level, asleep or awake, our bodies operate in cycles. It is physiologically impossible to be firing on all cylinders for the entire day, and so the busy structure of our external world can deplete our reserve of internal endurance.
You can’t force productivity.
It was recently presented to me that the greatest barrier to productive workdays were M&M’s! It took me a while to work out that this wasn’t a reference to tasty little treats, but rather the concept of Management and Meetings.
I once worked under a manager who, I’m sure, had a KPI to interrupt work as often as he could! He would constantly pop by for a chat, to see what I was up to, and to add new tasks to my hectic schedule. He called meetings for everything, and scheduled these – without fail – in the most inconvenient times for me. Continue reading
Before I became a parent, the journey of cooking a meal included any or all of the following:
- a nice beverage
- experimentation with flavours
- frolicking in the herb garden
- good company
- my choice of music
After I became a parent, the process of making a meal now includes:
- a selection of steamed vegetables
- some form of boiled or grilled meat
- a tired, hungry little person who communicates her lack of appreciation for my cooking by decorating the walls and floors with it
- Justine Clarke’s album ‘I Like To Sing’, generally for the fifth time on any given day
The end goal is the same – to ensure that everyone is fed – but the path to getting there is very different! Suffice to say that my levels of ‘motivation’ for the latter are somewhat lower than they were for the former.
How does this relate to exercise?
Running is not for everyone!
I was recently on a running track alongside a busy highway when I received a spray of abuse from a passenger in a car. It’s not the first time it has happened – actually it’s surprisingly common. Obviously it didn’t hurt me, and I suppose it comes out of the joy within an action that bears no consequence. Whatever. I don’t really get it…but it leaves me thinking every time. In a twisted way it motivates me. I start to think about how I would respond if the abuser actually had the gaul to do it NOT from a car driving 80kph in the opposite direction to me!
So, with tongue slightly in cheek – and without wanting to be labelled an internet tough guy – I leave my response to destiny in the hands of cyberspace.
Here’s why you’re better off undertaking some physical activity than riding shotgun in a passenger vehicle:
Damn it’s cold outside! This was my thought as my knuckles were becoming numb on a frosty Adelaide Hills’ morning on my regular run!
We are all no doubt struggling through some of these colder months, so I thought this was the perfect time to talk about how our body’s natural warming system could possibly be a way to keep ourselves from putting on weight.
Scientists our now discovering that a type of fat storage tissue called Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT) is more important than we first thought.
In fact only 50g of BAT can account for up to 20% of someone’s daily energy expenditure!
So what is this BAT and how do we get more of it?
Yeah yeah, I hear the droning! Of course we need to be fit…
Actually, I’d like to take this opportunity to put fitness into context.
The current ‘buzz’ around training is Boot Camps or similar fitness programs – an all or nothing approach to training – where every session is designed to be harder than the last. The mere thought of it is exhausting to me and as such – from my experience – poses a challenge to maintaining motivation!
The physiological basis of programming for fitness is to improve physical performance through the progressive increase in intensity. Mental performance and productivity, however, needs to be approached a little differently.
A recent post by a colleague, Scott Wood, highlighted that if you want to lose weight you need to do more than just walk.
Walking uses four times as much energy as sitting on a couch, however, when we factor a 30 minute walk into our whole day the increase in energy expenditure is no more than what we would get from not eating a banana.
While skipping the banana would be the easier option, I believe there is much more to walking than just the calories burnt. Continue reading
Among all the bad news on the radio as I drove to work this morning, I heard that the Heart Foundation has released data from a new study stating that now 25% of Australian kids are overweight or obese, and that they are tipped to be the first generation EVER to live less than their parents.
This is depressing on so many counts – the emotional/psychological load on these kids because of the behaviours we, as adults, allow them to assimilate; their decreased quality of life; and the financial burden on society… just this point alone has so many ramifications. just ask yourself, who is going to look after their parents in their later years??
Now, I know that we keep talking about changed eating habits, increased screen (tv, computers, etc) time, and decreased movement at school. but lets face it: are these things really to blame? or are we, as the example setting parents/adults allowing and driving our kids towards these behaviours?? I authored an article (A decrease in the association between the physical activity patterns of Australian parents and their children; 1985-1997) published in 2005 in the Journal of Science Medicine and Sport, which showed that not only are kids playing less sport now, but also the strength of our influence over their behaviour seems to be decreasing. I guess all you have to do is look at the empty parks around our neighbourhoods that once upon a time had fathers kicking the footy with their sons…
I think there’s also another force at play here, and that is sport, or at least sports-based Phys. Ed. I think that this model rewards the genetically gifted kids (those that can play sports well, and hence also enjoy it), and not kids who are less coordinated/skilled, who may still be trying hard. We all know what happens to these kids, don’t we? they struggle to pick up the intricacies of the game, are the last picked to be part of teams, and eventually develop lack of self-confidence, which leads to avoidance behaviours. What happened to ‘play’? what happened to the notion that schools should be trying (supposedly) to equip our children to succeed in life as adults? is being able to catch and throw a ball with a Lacrosse stick going to make them more influential and valuable citizens, and fulfilled human beings?? how about instilling in them healthy behaviours; to understand that it is ‘movement’ that will save their lives?
There are programs in the States (of A) that now equip children with Heart Rate monitors and reward (and grade) children based on their relative intensity of work, rather than on their skills. this way all children can work within their skill limits and still achieve great outcomes in health. An interesting concept I think.
So, adults, get out and PLAY with your kids! show them that you enjoy moving and being active; that its not a chore, but a reward! We have amazing bodies, which thrive with movement!
This year I decided that I want to exercise more, but not because I want to lose weight! I hear many resolutions at the beginning of a new year to shed unwanted kilos. These are made with the notion that effort will be required, with resolve for active pursuit. There’s a good chance that you know someone who began the year with this goal, and their plan of attack may well have included exercise. I’m not writing with any advice on maintaining this resolution into the new year, but instead am wanting to put a new spin on why a sustained exercise regime may be important to you over the coming year.
I’m interested in enhancing my ability to absorb and retain information. This doesn’t come through as a common resolution, particularly in relation to an exercise program. As in the title of this post, accumulation of wisdom is often assumed to be resultant from being around for a while! Yet even though we have embarked on a new year with fresh expectations to change our world, reality is that most of us return to surroundings of familiar stimuli, generally in the form of routine. On the whole, routine is a positive aspect to lifestyle – it affords us proficiency and efficiency in what we do. However, too much routine also has the potential to rob us of learning capacity through understimulation of the brain’s learning centre. This may be the product of carrying out days and weeks fulfilling familiar tasks that do not challenge the mind with enough stimulus to form growth of new brain cells.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein found in the brain with the role of building the circuitry of cells by which the brain functions. It is responsible for ensuring adequate storage space for any new information that is to be taken on board. In the absence of BDNF, new information is rejected from the brain in the same way that items are rejected from an overflowing storage locker. It simply won’t fit! Deficiency of BDNF causes cellular breakdown within the brain, which brings about a scattering of messages and a reduced ability to focus.
Clinical evidence is now showing us that exercise not only increases the presence of BDNF in the brain, but that there is a close correlation with the accumulation of exercise. Higher exercise levels (frequency and duration) are associated with higher levels of BDNF in the Hippocampus – the long term storage area of the brain where memories are filed – effectively creating more storage space in the brain via the addition of new storage units. So the essence of learning is much the same as the resolution to lose weight – effort is required to make yourself smarter! Don’t leave it to chance through the ticking away of another year in the hope that time on earth will bring about wisdom. Exercising is a proactive approach to build and fill brain cells with new information that will ensure you end the year wiser than you began.