Tuesday, December 20, 2011

14 Worst Health Trends of 2011

Get More Sleep

I liked this article on Livestrong.com... The 14 Worst Health Trends of 2011

A few highlights from the list...

  • Lack of Sleep
    • Pretty sure we are all guilty of this, but think about it this way...
      • Sleep and stress play a huge role in hormonal balance. 
      • Hormonal balance plays a huge role in fat loss, muscle gain, memory, health, hunger, etc.
      • Long story short, get more sleep!
      • Want to improve sleep quality? Try three things.
        • Use ear plugs. 
        • Use an eye mask or t-shirt to block out all ambient light. Sleeping in total darkness will change your life. 
        • Write down your todo list or your thoughts you don't want to forget on a piece of paper or a note book.  How often have you sat awake at night thinking about what you have to do the next day?
  • The "Best" Diets
    • Be wary of the next big diet.
    • If it seems to good to be true, it probably is. 
    • Just like gaining weight, losing weight/fat requires work, accountability, focus, and both long term and short term goals. 
    • Plan for focused periods of loss/gain, followed by a break where you incorporate more balance in your diet and focus on maintaining your new weight (instead of rebounding and blowing all your hard work!). 
  • The Anti-Coffee Push
    • Coffee certainly has its benefits, but far too often we use it as a crutch because we are exhausted from not getting enough sleep, or crashing from a carb bender at lunch. 
    • Use coffee in moderation, adjust your consumption based on your tolerance, and focus on getting a majority of your energy from quality sleep and good food choices first.
  • Functional Training (Fads)
    • I'll admit I gave it the benefit of the doubt at first, but it didn't take me long to realize what was a gimmick and what had the biggest impact on my clients' day to day lives.
    • Here are three functional movements that will improve your day to day almost immediately.
      • Deadlift
        • It will improve your posture, build full body strength and when performed correctly will not only teach you how to use your glutes and hamstrings properly, but save your lower back from a lifetime of agony.
      • Row
        • Pull things toward your body with an upright posture. And do it often! Use a dumbbell, kettlebell, barbell, machine, pull up, band, etc. Most of us spend the overwhelming majority of our day in a hunched over position, rowing will aid in pulling back the shoulders and strengthening your postural muscles which in the end will drastically improve the way you look and feel.  Perform rowing movements several times a week, and ease up on the pushing/pressing movements.
      • Stretch your hip-flexors
        • For most of us who sit all day, our hip-flexors are in a contracted position for very long periods of time due. During that time they tighten up, tugging on their attachment points on the lower back.  Do your hips and back a favor and stretch those hip-flexors out.  
        • While we are on this topic, spin class is great for burning calories, however think about the position you're sitting in all day long.  Now think about the position your body is in when you're sitting on a bike. Are you fixing the postural issues you created from sitting or are you promoting them? 

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