How Can We Reduce Stress Level? Part 2

Have regular physical exercise

Having regular physical exercise does not only improve your physical stamina; it also relieves you from stress. The exact mechanism as to how it relieves you is still unexplainable at  the moment, but the point is,  by engaging in physical exercise, you momentarily forget your worries and problems that soon you feel great, relaxed,   and relieved! In fact, it is possible that as you do your regular physical exercise, you are at the same time  solving and figuring out your problem; it has been the experience of some people that as they end their exercise, they have solution(s) to their problem!

Select work  near your home

It has been found out and established in a research that if your place of work is so far away from your place of residence, you will have more stress than if you live nearby. The stress comes mainly from driving faster so that you can catch up your reporting time and negotiating heavy traffic as you travel. Living near your place of work has many advantages: (1) you save time, energy and money, and (2) you are less stressed.

Organize your file and place of work

One situation that could irritate and stress you is when you cannot find a thing, or two, which you need very badly at the moment! It could be a missing document; it could be a missing raffle ticket which won you a prize; it could be a billing statement! To avoid all of these, organize your file! You should know exactly where you placed your things! By having an organized file, you will spend no time at all in retrieving what you need, and you will not be stressed!

Organizing your file is one thing; organizing your place of work is another. If your table, computer, cabinets, chairs, and sofa in your working room are not well placed, it could, consciously or unconsciously, distract you. Unknowingly, the poor set-up in your room has been stressing you, and it could be manifested in the form of: (1) headache, (2) poor concentration in your  work, (3) irritable mood, (4) less tolerance to provocations, and (5) sleepiness. If you experience one or two of the aforestated symptoms of stress, try to re-arrange the furnitures in your working room; improve the ambiance in terms of lighting and spaciousness. Appropriately lighted room perks up your psyche; avoid cluttering;   remove a lot of display items that could crowd! When your working room is relatively spacious, you feel unrestrained, and your thinking process feels free to absorb and exude new ideas!

 

Face your problem squarely and solve it

There is one facial parlor for men and women whose company name is “Let’s Face It!” The name was so striking because for a reader it could mean: (1) figuratively,  solve your problem squarely, (2) literally, have treatment of your facial problems like warts, acne and blemishes! In this discussion, however, it is the first meaning that needs some degree of dissection.

Every day, personal problems arise, and they may need to be solved immediately, depending on what problem it is. However, the point is once a problem arises, it has to examined closely and solve it once and for all! If the formulation of a solution is delayed, the said problem may get worse , and exact more stress upon you. Solve  while it is still easier to do!

Be alone from time to time

Being alone in some occasions is not bad at all. In fact, it is needed  by your psyche to return its vigor and productivity! It is a time when you say to yourself: “This is where I am at the moment; where do I want to go next?” It is  a personal re-assessment of some sort of what you have achieved so far in  your life and what you plan to do in the days, months and years to come! You may have not realized what you have achieved so far in your life! This is the time you can do it—when you are alone! You will eventually realize that your life has been time well spent! It was not wasted! It was put to good use! Productive and useful for those around you! You will feel great, and you will be de-stressed!

 

 

How Can We Have Adequate Rest and Sleep? Part 2

Use comfortable bed and beddings

When a person is about to fall asleep,  his heart and respiratory rates, including his body temperature,  go down; they are prelude to having sleep. Thus, when you are sleeping in an air-conditioned room, for as long as it is not too cool,  you easily fall asleep because your body temperature goes down. Another bodily factor that could promote sleep is the relaxation of your muscles. When your muscles are so relaxed while lying down, you would fall asleep in due time! Hence, your bed and beddings play a very important role because if they are the right fit for sleeping, they will help you attain a restful sleep by relaxing your muscles. For one, the bed must be firm—not hard and sagging! If hard and sagging, you will not only have shallow and unsatisfying sleep; you will have muscular pain, such as back pain, upon waking up in the morning.

Avoid taking long naps at daytime

Based on interviews of some old folks, they attributed their long life to taking a nap when they feel sleepy at daytime! There has been no well-controlled and well-documented research study to support this claim; however, it sounds logical that it may contribute to longevity. A nap is defined roughly as a short and shallow sleep! It would only take from 15 to 30 minutes. If this short sleep at daytime, meant to give the mind and the body short respite from work,  is prolonged, it may alter the sleeping cycle, and the person concerned could not easily fall asleep at night. One way of preventing a nap to becoming  a full blown sleep is to do it in a sofa, or couch, in the receiving room, and not in your bedroom! Once you lie down in your bedroom, it is meant—consciously or unconsciously—to  have a serious and deep sleep! Thus, if you only want a nap, do it in  a less private and a little bit disturbing place.

Practice retiring at night  at regular time 

Practice the habit of going to bed at night at the same time. If you have selected 10:00 o’clock in the evening as your bedtime, then go to bed at that time—every day! If you do that, your sleeping cycle will be spontaneously programmed such that at, or around, 10:00 o’clock in the evening, you will feel sleepy, and you will easily get to sleep! If you, every now and then, change  your sleeping time, your sleeping cycle will be confused, in chaos, and in disarray such that  you will have a hard time getting sleep when you finally go to bed!

 

 

Develop effective time management

One factor that could disturb  sleep is the mere thought that there are still a lot  of things to do in a day. Remember that you only have 24 hours a day; therefore, you need to prioritize your daily activities. There are activities that could wait for another day or two! Therefore, don’t squeeze them in   a day which is already loaded! In a day which is already bursting at the seam! In a day which is  already filled to the brim! As much as possible, schedule certain number of activities in a day wherein there is  still breathing space! If your target for the day is highly achievable, you feel relaxed,  and you could do your job so well! If you see that you have done your targets for the day, you  feel  successful, and you will have restful sleep!

Be sure to switch off alarm clock(s) and communication gadgets  if not needed

Before you sleep, ensure that your alarms clock(s) and telephone(s) are shifted to silent mode. Most of the time, these gadgets will prematurely terminate your sleep if they are not closed or silenced. If you do not need the help of these gadgets during the whole stretch of your sleep, turn them off, or shift to silent mode before you sleep.

Ensure that the walking way in your bedroom is free of obstructions

Free the walking way of your bedroom of obstructions, such as chair, electric fan, baskets,  and boxes! If there are unnecessary obstructions in your bedroom, one of your companions in the room might accidentally hit any one of them while you are asleep! The sudden noise will, by and large,  prematurely terminate your sleep.

Rheumatic diseases and exercise

Rheumatic diseases include over 100 disorders that typically affect the joints, tendons, ligaments, bones, and muscles. Some rheumatic diseases can also affect internal organs, like systemic lupus erythematosus or scleroderma. The most common representative of this group of diseases is rheumatoid arthritis.  Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints.  It usually affects 3 or more joints, symmetrically, and the most common localizations are  small joints of the hands and feet. The wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees and ankles are also affected while the hips are rarely affected early in the disease.  It is estimated that about 1.5 million people (or about 0.6 percent of the U.S. adult population) have rheumatoid arthritis. The disease is twice as often in women, and the age at disease onset is mainly between 30 and 50 years.  The real cause of this disease is still unknown.   The most common symptoms of RA are pain and stiffness of the joints that are significantly worse in the morning and may improve with gentle activity. The patients feel tired and, the joints are usually warm and tender with some joint swelling.  Usually there is a reduction in the range of motion, muscle strength, and aerobic capacity. After a while deformities may develop as well. Exercise is very important, both aerobic and strengthening exercise. Inactivity, which is very common in people with RA may decrease pain tolerance, weak muscles, may cause bigger stiffness of the joints and poor balance. For many older people with arthritis, joint and muscle changes due to aging can make matters worse. Therapeutic exercises are often a necessary first step for individuals who have been inactive, have restricted joint motion or muscle strength, are experiencing joint paint or are recovering from surgery such as a joint replacement. Activities, such as walking, aquatics, cycling aerobic class and swimming are good; others may be done in a controlled and safe manner. However, patients with RA should avoid jogging and heavy weight lifting. Competitive activities which require higher intensities and a lot of training are not recommended for individuals with inflammatory arthritis or with joint problems.  Stretching exercises are the simplest and easiest. They consist of stretching and holding different joint and muscle groups for 10 to 30 seconds each. Stretching improves flexibility, and daily stretching is the basis for exercise programs. The goal for the intensity level of the aerobic exercise should be moderate to hard (i.e., 60–85% of maximum heart rate), and exercise should be performed 3 times weekly for a duration of 30–60 minutes. Progressive adjustment of the intensity is recommended. Before any exercise consult your physician and start off slowly with a few, low-intensity exercises to ensure a safe and successful exercise program. The goal for the load level of strengthening exercises should be moderate to hard (i.e., 50–80% of a maximal voluntary contraction), and exercise be performed 2 to 3 times a week. Exercises may be static or dynamic and performed against body weight or with various types of equipment, including resistance training equipment, pulley apparatus, dumbbells, or elastic bands. Progressive adjustment of the load is recommended and exercises may be performed in a supervised clinical environment.

For more information and support, you can visit the Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network (RASN) at https://www.rheumatoidarthritis.org.

References:

1.Exercise for Rheumatic Disease, https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Programs-and-Services/Rheumatology/Treatments/Exercise-for-Rheumatic-Disease.aspx

2.What Are Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases, http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/arthritis/arthritis_rheumatic_ff.asp

3. https://www.rheumatology.org/Practice/Clinical/Patients/Diseases_And_Conditions/Exercise_and_Arthritis/

4. Evidence for the benefit of aerobic and strengthening exercise in rheumatoid arthritis, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/art.11051/full

5. Home Exercise in rheumatoid arthritis functional class II : goal setting versus pain attention, http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/8035384/reload=0;jsessionid=EOlt6hhGVnEG8kYJ6ujb.58

6. Kumar and Clark, Rheumatoid arthritis, The Clinical Medicine, 6th edition, p.555-564

7. Rheumatoid Arthritis and Exercise, http://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/guide/exercise-and-rheumatoid-arthritis

8. Exercise and Arthritis, http://www.rheumatology.org/Practice/Clinical/Patients/Diseases_And_Conditions/Exercise_and_Arthritis/

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Can We Have Adequate Rest and Sleep? Part 1

Avoid taking caffeinated substances before going to bed

Caffeinated substances, such as coffee, tea and soft drinks, may prevent you from having good and deep sleep. If the concentration of caffeine in your drink  is high enough, it may even prevent you from getting any sleep at all  throughout the night. If you cannot afford to miss these drinks, then take them in the morning, not in the evening—much more before going to bed!

Avoid taking megavitamin/mineral capsules or tablets before retiring at night  

Megavitamins, such as vitamin B complexes and other multiple vitamins, could prevent you from getting solid sleep,  if you take them before retiring at night. Some vitamins are stimulants of the central nervous system so you will be awakened! The only mineral capsule that is prescribed to be taken at night, or before sleeping,  is calcium tablet, because its absorption is better while the person is asleep.

Soundproof your bedroom

The disturbing sound produced by passing vehicles, conversing neighbors and family members, chirping birds and barking dogs could greatly disturb your sleep, if not prematurely awaken you from your deep sleep! This experience will really exasperate and frustrate you, and it will deprive you of your priceless sleep! If you could  not get the right quality and quantity of sleep, your whole day will be wasted  because your work productivity will be drastically reduced. Hence, soundproof your bedroom by using thick window panes, which you could close while sleeping! Of course, by closing all your windows, you need to have an air-conditioned room! If, after doing all you can, the unwelcome sound still enters your room, you need to consult specialists who are trained to remedy the situation.

Use thick curtains to avoid entry of light into your bedroom

Unknowingly, as you sleep, the morning sunlight enters your room, especially if your windows are facing east! If the sunlight hits your face while sleeping, it will surely awaken you! Hence, install thick curtains which you can use to cover the windows before you sleep at night and until you wake up the following day! To make it easier for you to open and close the curtains, you can have the curtains suspended on sliding gadget! Again, consult technicians who are adept in doing this thing! One of the secrets of having good and deep sleep is for one to be unaware of the time! If the sunlight enters your room and you see it, it will give you signal that the time is reached for you to wake up, and it will suddenly prompt you to wake up! The nicest thing that could happen in sleep is that it should be your biological clock  which will wake you up spontaneously—and not external factors, such as light, sound, and  heat! If you let your biological clock wakes you up, you feel good and contented with your sleep! Some call it solid sleep!

Maintain optimal temperature in your bedroom

You need to maintain an optimal temperature in your bedroom while you are asleep! Too cold or too hot, this will disturb your sleep! Hence, your bedroom must be equipped with air-conditioning and air-heating systems! Remember that as you go to sleep, your heart, respiratory, and metabolic rates will go down! In addition, your body temperature goes down as well! The slowing down of your systems, plus the lowering of your body temperature, will promote sleep! Hence, if your room temperature is optimal to promoting the right temperature of your body for sleeping, you will surely have good sleep! Generally, the optimal room temperature for sleeping at night is around 20oC; however, you can always change it depending on your need! Always remember: too cold or too hot a temperature will deter you from having good sleep!

There are houses, however, which are situated in hilly and very silent places! In this situation, you can exercise your creativity in maintaining the right temperature for your room! Without the use of the air-conditioning or air-heating system, you can control the room temperature by closing some, or opening some, of the windows, and let the outside air enter your room!

Taking Proper, Balance and Adequate Diet

Take only the number of calories that you need each day

As explained in other articles published by Powertec, every person needs to compute for his/her total daily caloric requirement (TDCR) before engaging . Based on this, s/he will compute how much calories should come from carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Correspondingly, s/he will only take the right quantity and quality of food(s) that will provide the needed calories. To avoid weight gain or weight loss, the individual concerned must faithfully and religiously follow his TDCR.

Eat variety of foods

The main purpose of taking variety of foods is to ensure that an individual is sourcing his energy from the three food groups—namely,  carbohydrates, fats and proteins—and that s/he is taking the different vitamins, minerals and micronutrients, very much needed by the bodily processes to maintain health.

Ensure that you are sourcing your energy from the three food groups

As stated in the preceding, an individual needs to source his/her energy from carbohydrates, proteins and fats. If your diet is largely composed of  carbohydrates, you will very likely gain weight. If your diet is mainly composed of fats, you might end up having fatty liver, or cardiovascular problems, such as hypertension and heart diseases. If your diet is loaded with proteins most of the time, your kidneys will suffer. To avoid the aforementioned medical problems, follow the right distribution of  each food group as  explained in the other articles published by Powertec.

Take necessary vitamins and minerals

To carry out the basic functions of life, such as movement, breathing, thinking and digesting food, there are chemical processes that need to take place in the different systems of the human body. As in all  other chemical reactions, the so-called antioxidants and cofactors should be present so that these chemical reactions will proceed  and will produce the vital substance(s) needed by the different organ-systems. These antioxidants and cofactors are the vitamins and minerals that we need to take daily. Without adequate vitamins and minerals, some systems could not function properly, and this will be shown in the form of a particular disease, or disorder.

 

Ensure that you are not missing your meals as scheduled

Of all the meals,   breakfast is the most important because as the word implies it is the first meal that every person takes after some sort of fasting. If you take your dinner at eight o’clock in the evening and your breakfast at eight o’clock in the morning of the following day, that is a fasting for 12 hours! Hence, upon waking up, your blood glucose level is at its lowest, and therefore you need to replenish it, by taking your breakfast. If you  miss your breakfast, hit the road,  and you go to work, you might  end up suffering  from hypoglycemia (significant reduction in blood sugar level) that you will experience dizziness and cold sweating!

Take foods rich in fibers

Taking foods rich in fibers is very important because they provide bulk for the stool. With sufficient fibers in the stool, constipation is prevented. There are two kinds of fibers: (1) the water soluble, and (2) the water-insoluble fibers. Specific examples are in Table 1.0:

Water-Soluble Fibers

Water-Insoluble Fibers

Fruits (pectin)

Apples

Peaches

Plums and prunes

Bananas

Grains

Oats

Barley

Legumes

Dried peas

Beans

Lentils

All vegetables

Fruits

Whole grains

Brown rice

Wild rice

Wheat bran

Nuts

Seeds

Table 1.0. Concrete sources  of water-soluble and water-insoluble fibers (Roth, 2007).

The other benefits that can be derived from taking in foods rich in fibers are the following: (1) prevention of cancer in the large intestines, and (2) reduction in the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines.

Take fluids as much as necessary

Taking in adequate water and other fluids plays  vital roles in promoting health. With increased fluid intake, the frequency of urination increases, and this will lead to: (1) prevention of urinary tract infections, (2) prevention in the formation of kidney stones, (3) effective elimination of toxic  and waste substances from the body, such as the blood urea nitrogen and creatinine, and (4) maintenance of effective blood pressure.

References:  

Roth, Ruth A. Nutrition and Diet Therapy. Singapore, Thomson Learning Asia, 2007.

Physical Exercise and Disability

Physical disabilities arise from diseases, injury, aging, and  genetic disorder. When a person has physical disability, his participation in any athletic competition is limited, if not impaired. As a result, the affected individual will gradually withdraw from the society, and he will voluntarily  confine himself  to his room, doing nothing and achieving nothing. Consequently, boredom, frustration,  depression, and loss of self-esteem follow. Thus,  the immediate consequences of any physical disability are psychological in nature; months and years later, however, other health problems will follow.

Without any physical activity, the affected individual will eventually gain weight; when the ideal body weight is surpassed, diseases—such  as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, heart diseases, and  osteoarthritis—will follow. Hence, physically and psychologically, the affected individual will suffer.

To protect the  disabled individual from physical and psychological deterioration, aside from having and starting a  good dietary program,  doing physical exercises should be encouraged. Foremost, s/he should be encouraged to have strength training execises because then muscles will become stronger, and the absorption of calcium in the bones will be improved. Thus, the muscles and the bones, which are generally responsible for bearing the weight of the person and executing basic movements, will become stronger.

In some physical disabilities, a set of muscles is either paralyzed or weakened; therefore, the strength of other sets of muscles, which are normally functioning,  should be improved so that they can effectively compensate for the weaker ones. With weak muscles and bones, the physically disabled person may further hurt himself/herself if s/he insists on doing some physical movements which s/he cannot afford to do. This should be prevented by preparing the other muscles to work for the weaker ones.

The elderly people with disabilities must be protected from fall because their bones are usually brittle and prone to have fractures. In  one review  study, the role of  progressive resistance training (PRT)—wherein  the muscles are exercised against  a resistance which is incrementally increased as the participant’s strength improves—in  improving the physical function and muscle strength of the elderly was determined. In this set-up,  PRT was conducted two to three times  a week at moderate to high intensity by using exercise machines, free weights, or elastic bands (Chiung-ju Liu and Latham).

The review revealed that elderly people who exercise their muscles against increasing force become stronger. Their performance of simple activities, such as walking, climbing steps, or standing up from a chair, improves. In addition, PRT improves the physical capability of the elderly people to do more complex  daily activities such as bathing or preparing meal. It also significantly reduced the pain arising from osteoarthritis (Chiung-ju Liu and Latham).

Stretching and flexibility exercises are also needed by the disabled individuals. When some movements could not be performed  because of some disabilities, the individual concerned needs to do stretching and flexibility exercises so that s/he could execute  movements which the body does not normally do, and it will help the individual to perform some basic movements needed to perform  some daily chores. The main goal of stretching and flexibility exercises is to  improve the range of motion of muscles and joints.

The disabled individual should also engage in aerobic exercises such as cycling, swimming, walking, rowing, running, hiking, or playing tennis to improve cardiovascular endurance.  It is not enough that only the  muscles and bones are put to good working condition; in addition, the heart, which pushes the blood to all parts of the body,  must also be prepared to work in a situation more strenuous than in the ordinary working day.

With periodic and adequate physical exercises,  the physically disabled person will have a number of psychological  gains which are:  (1) improvement in mood-state, (2) reduction of anxiety and depression, (3) increase in self-esteem, and (4) feelings of greater self-efficacy (Shephard, 1991).  In addition, s/he will have deep and restful sleep which is very much needed for the preservation of  emotional and physical health.

Aside from personal and psychological gains, the individual concerned will also have sociological benefits such as new experiences, new friendships and countering the adverse effects of stigmatization (Shephard, 1991).

 

References:

Websites

http://www.disabled-world.com/fitness/exercise/

http://www.faqs.org/sports-science/Ce-Do/Disabled-Individuals-and-Regular-Physical-Exercise.html

Exercise and Arthritis

General Description of Arthritis

There are three types of arthritis in the adult population: (1) gouty arthritis, (2) osteoarthritis, and (3) rheumatoid arthritis.  Regardless of the type, however,  its most common complication  is joint damage. In fact, if a person mentions that s/he has arthritis, to listeners and observers alike,  they could predict with high probability of success that the afflicted person  has problematic joint—that is, painful and could not be  extended or flexed. It is painful because there is inflammation; it is hard to flex or extend because, for years and years that arthritis has been attacking not only one but several joints, the range of motion of one or more joints  has/have been compromised and restricted.

The three modalities used to manage arthritis are: (1) dietary, (2) drug, and (3) physical exercises. In this article, we shall concentrate on the different physical exercise(s) prescribed to   alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, and there are three types:

Range-of-motion Exercises

Range-of-motion exercises are used to fully extend or flex a joint up to its maximum range of motion. In most patients with arthritis, they avoid flexing or extending their joint  because of the pain. However, if the affected joint is allowed to stay unmoved for a long time, it will stay as such with limited range of motion. To avoid the complication,  periodic and  gentle stretching is applied on the distal portion of the extremities so that movement could still take place in the joint, preventing its permanent stocking up.

Strengthening Exercises

These exercises are done to strengthen the muscles. In the presence of defective joint(s), very strong muscles are much of help, by providing stability. These supporting muscles will help you move with ease and with less pain. There are two kinds of strengthening exercises: (1) the isometric,  and (2) the isotonic. The isometric method is performed by solely tightening the muscles without joint motion.  This is used when motion in  the joints cannot be done. The isotonic method includes strengthening the muscles by moving the joints. This is used when the joints are still free from encumbrances of motion (Eustice, 2012).    In gyms where strength training is offered, such as in Powertec, this  should be availed of.

Endurance Exercises

The endurance exercises are meant to improve the cardiovascular fitness, particularly the heart. Thus,   you will be required  do a physical exercise wherein your heart rate is elevated to an optimal level, whose computation is  based on the person’s age and physical condition. For this type of exercise to be successful and beneficial, it needs to be done three times a week. Arthritic patients who engaged themselves in this physical exercise were found to be physically stronger and have improved mental attitude. It has to be emphasized, however, that not all arthritic patients could perform, and join in, endurance exercises because some have joint damage(s) and functional limitations  (Eustice, 2012).

Limitations of Physical Exercise Among Arthritic Patients

An arthritic patient needs to consult his doctor before starting any form of physical exercise.  The following are determinants of what amount and form of physical exercise one should have: (1) type of arthritis, (2) joints involved, (3) levels of inflammation, (4) stability of joints, (5) joint replacements, and (6) other physical limitations (Eustice, 2012).

Guidelines On  How To Get The Most Of The Physical Exercise 

  • Be consistent
  • Build up gradually
  • Exercise when symptoms are least distressing
  • Do not overdo
  • Listen to body signals
  • If the joint feels hot, avoid exercise
  • Set realistic goals
  • Smooth, steady rhythm
  • Alternate rest with activity (Eustice, 2012)

Damaging Diets

The starting points for implementing any program to maintain, reduce or increase weight are the computations of ideal  body weight  (IBW) and total daily caloric requirement (TDCR). As mentioned in previous articles, the computation of  IBW is dependent on the height of the person, while that of the  TDCR is  dependent on the following:  (1) degree of physical  activity, (2)  ideal body weight, (3)  age, and (4)  sex. Other parameters that need to be factored in as well are the presence of any illness,  like hypertension and diabetes mellitus, and the innate metabolic rate. Except for body weight wherein it is approximately 10% lower among women,  with ideal body weight and all the other factors being equal, such as age and degree of physical activity,  the TDCR  of a woman is lower by 25% compared to a man. Thus, when the TDCR of a man is 3,000 calories, then the woman’s will be 2,250.

Out of impulsive decision and action, however, some people tend to manage their weights without due consideration of their IBW and TDCR. Without due study and accurate nutritional advice, they start having the so-called damaging diets! What are these diets and how do they exact damaging health consequences?

Taking Too Much Foods Rich in Carbohydrates

If right now you have an ideal body weight, then all you have to do is take in the number of calories that you need each day,  and  have physical exercises for at least 30 minutes to one hour each day.  If after a month or two that you have been doing the aforestated regimen, you find out that your weight has increased, then there are two possibilities that you need to consider: (1) that you have  been taking more than necessary number of calories, and (2) that you have not been doing your physical exercises with the right frequency, right duration and/or right degree of intensity.

One mistake that some gym enthusiasts do is to unnecessarily increase their intake of carbohydrates because they thought that they would need it anyway  in their work outs! Yes, carbohydrates are needed; however, they should be taken  in  the right amount as dictated by your computed TDCR!  If you believe that you cannot afford to follow the right amount of carbohydrates—and that you want to increase it to some extent—then that would be allowable for as long as, correspondingly, you increase your physical exercise in terms of duration and/or intensity. If, for instance, you added 360 calories on top and over your computed TDCR, if you weigh 125-pound, you need to do additional bicycling with a speed of  16-19 miles per hour for 30 minutes in order to burn that extra calories (Berkoff, 2005)!      Thus, in maintaining your ideal body weight, you need to pay attention to the number of calories that you taken in and the number of calories that you burn. If you take in more calories than what you burn, you will gain weight!

 

 

Drastically Reducing the Amount of Carbohydrates in the Diet

The other extreme is that, with the burning desire to immediately lose weight, some people drastically lower their intake of carbohydrates! This is popularly and commonly known as the crash diet! Again, this method is erroneous in so many ways: (1) it violates the principle that we need to source our energy from the three food groups—carbohydrates, fats, and proteins—with  their corresponding percentages, (2) in the absence of carbohydrates, the body will derive its energy from fats and proteins which are not readily available sources of energy; to use them, the body has to work harder which means more energy will be burned to process them (Berkoff, 2005), and (3) the initial loss in weight arising from the crash diet is due to  loss of water and lean muscle mass, followed by a plateau period wherein the weight does not decrease for some time. Alarmed with what is happening, and largely disillusioned, the person concerned will go on eating binge! Consequently, s/he returns to eating a lot, regaining his weight—if not more—then go on dieting again to lose weight! This will   lead to what is popularly known  as yo-yo effect (Roth, 2007).

Shun  Damaging Diets   

Maintaining the ideal body weight is a serious business! It cannot be achieved by quick-fix and short-cut methods! It requires dedication, sacrifice, determination, and hard work! If you want to succeed, do it the right way! Shun damaging diets!

References:

Berkoff, Nancy. Fundamentals of Food and Nutrition in the Culinary Arts. Singapore: Pearson Education South Asia Pte Ltd, 2005.

Roth, Ruth A. Nutrition and Diet Therapy. Singapore: Delmar Learning, 2007.

 

Recommended further readings at Powertec (previously issued articles):

  1. Method of computing the ideal body weight (IBW)
  2. Method of computing total daily caloric requirement (TDCR)
  3. Method of apportioning, in terms of percentages,  the energy sources

Living a Healthy Lifestyle

Taking  proper, balance and adequate diet

Taking in the right quality and quantity of foods is one of the keys in achieving healthy lifestyle. Here are some of the basic and practical rules:

  1. Eat variety of foods;
  2. Ensure that you are sourcing your energy from the three food groups: carbohydrates, fats and proteins; approximately, get 50% of your energy from carbohydrates, and get the other 50% from fats and proteins; however, if you are engaged in gym physical exercises, such as strength training, you can increase your apportionment for carbohydrates to 60-70%;
  3. Take necessary vitamins and minerals, either from pills or foods rich with them;
  4. Ensure that you are not missing your meals as scheduled, especially breakfast;
  5. Take foods rich in fibers, such as oat meal, vegetables, and fruits;
  6. Take adequate fluids as much as necessary, and as needed, for your daily activities.

Having adequate rest and sleep

The importance of having adequate rest and sleep should never be underestimated; below are some of the tips on how to achieve it:

  1. Go to bed and sleep regularly at night at the same time;
  2. Avoid having heavy meal(s) before going to bed. The rule of thumb is: heaviest meal during breakfast, lighter for lunch and the least for dinner;
  3. Avoid taking mega vitamins, coffee and caffeinated soft drinks before retiring at night; the only mineral pill that you can probably take before sleeping at night is calcium tablet. It has been determined  that absorption of calcium is greatest when it is taken before bedtime;
  4. Provide your room with curtains that will prevent disturbing extra light from the outside to penetrate it;
  5. Soundproof your room as much as possible;
  6. Have the necessary and convenient temperature in your room.

Engaging in regular physical exercises

Doing regular physical exercises, without doubt, do a lot of good for our body. Firstly, it will help us in reducing weight. Secondly, it helps us avoid getting heart attack(s)  because circulatory pipelines in the heart are improved by it. However,  in doing physical exercises or gym work out, observe the following so that you will not injure yourself in the process, and you will get optimal returns:

  1. Have a good night sleep prior to the gym session;
  2. Take your vital signs and take your medicines;
  3. Take full meal before the gym session, but not too heavy;
  4. Have adequate hydration;
  5. Do stretching exercises  prior to the gym session;
  6. Gradually increase the intensity of your gym exercises;
  7. Always remember the previous level(s) of your gym exercises and start your day’s work out from that level(s);
  8. Observe right form in doing the strength training or physical exercises;
  9. Stop from time to time for hydration;
  10. Gradually tone down the gym session;
  11. Do stretching exercises before you end up your session.

Reducing stress level

Stress is one of the root causes of illnesses. For one, hypertension is aggravated if the person afflicted with it is exposed to a number of stressors. The following are some of the suggested ways of reducing stress level:

  1. Practice effective time management;
  2. Engage in relaxing activities, such as sports, gym exercises, seeing good movies, reading books and magazines;
  3. Have a circle of good friends with whom you can interact and converse;
  4. Iron out problems with relationship(s) as soon as possible;
  5. Manage your finances well, not spending more than what you can afford or earn;
  6. Drive your vehicle slowly and carefully;  ensure that you do not harm others and others do not harm you with reckless driving;
  7. Set your ambitions in life at practical, realistic  and attainable level(s);
  8. Organize your files at home and in the office; with organized environment, your thoughts and your way of thinking will get organized, too;
  9. Be alone from time to time to give yourself chance to reflect.

Strength training as a way of building up or toning muscles

There  has been a prevailing notion nowadays, especially among women, that engaging in strength training will lead to the enlargement of their muscles, and, therefore, such physical activity shall be shunned! Such mental concept is unfounded, and it has to be corrected!

As mentioned in previous writing,  enlargement of muscles will not take place unless the tension applied to them periodically  is more than seventy five percent  (75%) of their maximum load to bear.  When  more than seventy five percent is applied to the muscles—and is done periodically—a number of structural changes  in the myofibrils, the smallest unit of every skeletal muscle fiber,  take place,  and the muscles will be enlarged. Otherwise, only the muscular tone will be improved.

Thus, the cut-off point is 75%! What will happen if the tension applied to the muscles is more than 75%?

As a  compensatory mechanism, if the muscles are periodically loaded with weights, greater than 75% of its maximum strength, the muscle size will be increased, known in medical parlance as hypertrophy. When muscular hypertrophy takes place, the diameters of the individual muscle fibers increase. However, if you  go deeper into the possible explanation, it is actually the  diameters of the myofibrils, the components of every skeletal muscle fiber, that enlarge, leading to the enlargement in the diameter of a particular muscle, such as deltoid, a muscle in the shoulder. In addition to the enlargement of every myofibril, the number of myofibrils will be increased. Thus, the enlargement of a muscle is due to increase in both the diameter and number of myofibrils! To avoid muscular enlargement, do not carry weights which could exact more than 75% of the maximum allowable tension that a particular muscle could bear.

What will happen if the tension applied to the muscles—periodically—is  less than 75%?

As explained in previous writing,   muscle tone depends on two receptors: (1) the muscle spindles, and (2) the Golgi tendon organs. Enmeshed between the myofibrils are the  muscle spindles, receptors   which could detect momentary lengths of muscle fibers and rate of change of these lengths. Another receptor which plays a significant role in maintaining muscle tone is the  Golgi tendon organs. They are situated in between the end of a  muscle and the tendon, and they detect the tension applied to the tendon fibers during muscular stretching.  Thus, from the foregoing discussion,  muscle spindles are sensitive to changes in lengths of the muscle fibers, while the Golgi tendon organs are sensitive to muscular tension. These are the receptors that monitor from moment to moment the degree of stretching  of muscles which are at rest. Such momentary stretching(s)  are not perceived by the person concerned; they are imperceptible stretchings; however, the muscle spindles and the Golgi tendon organs detect them, and they    give feedbacks to the brain and spinal cord which, in turn, will effect the corresponding and necessary contraction(s) in order to maintain the tone of the muscles while at rest.

It seems that by doing strength training regularly and periodically, and with tension less than 75%, the sensitivity of the muscle spindles and the Golgi tendon organs is more pronounced,  increased and improved that they could effectively detect changes in the muscular lengths and tensions. These immediate perceptions by the abovecited receptors will promptly trigger necessary muscular contractions needed to maintain the tone. Hence, muscular tone is improved, and flabby muscles become out of sight.

From the foregoing, it is clear that if the right tension is followed, strength training could either bulk up your muscles or improve your muscular tone! Thus, every gym enthusiast who would like to  engage in  strength training at Powertec gym must make it clear to the training and supervisory staff what s/he wants to achieve: is it for increasing the size of,   or merely toning up, the muscles? Correspondingly,  the gym staff will prescribe to  you the right equipment and weights to use.