Biking to lose weight

By Team Active's Alex Miller

Biking to lose weight is a long-term commitment like many other exercise routines. Biking doesn’t really benefit you by burning calories fast over a short workout (which it can depending on how you ride), but instead by raising your basal metabolic rate, or BMR. This is the factor that decides how many calories your body burns at all times, doing anything from lounging around on the sofa to sprinting uphill, full tilt. Biking, and many other forms of exercise, benefit you by raising your BMR for long after you’ve finished your workout, and gradually raising its minimum level over a long period of time by building leaner, more efficient muscle tissue. In fact, just 45 minutes of biking in the early to mid-morning (such as a commute to work) is likely to keep you at an elevated BMR all day, which will slowly trim fat over weeks and months, but also help you to keep it off as your metabolism changes.

To change your metabolism in this way by biking, especially over weeks, months, or even years, it’s important to ride in such a way that you can get your workout without putting too much strain on any part of your body. Biking is touted as a non-impact activity, meaning your joints don’t bear the weight of your body, the bike does. This is a huge benefit, since it means you can schedule biking exercise whenever possible, without having to worry about also scheduling down time or switching between different activities to give your body time to recuperate. That’s not to say that biking won’t make you sore or tired and your muscles won’t ache in new and interesting ways for the first few weeks, they most certainly will, but at the very least there shouldn’t be any obvious long-term health problems a few decades down the line.

Long Term (This post and all posts below it were written by HelpNet staff)

The magnitude of each moment is miraculous, indeed. It is not so much what plays out for us that can be designed to a great degree (which can be grand and glorious), but I'm speaking of how it plays out; its long term impact.

Thirty years ago (and more), I taught Junior Highers part-time in addition to what I was already doing. Wow and Whoa! I found out fast that JH's show you nothing, tell you nothing, they don't miss a thing, and they don't forget anything. There wasn't a day that I didn't humorously say on my way to the car (in Groucho Marks fashion) as a means to resolve and release to keep on keeping on, "Yep... that made a lot of difference!" Then, I would sit in my car and start working through what I did know as compared to what I didn't know, because I wasn't seeing it, hearing it, or feeling it. Yet, deep down inside, I knew I was having an influence.

Just in case you didn't just catch it right there, right there is the key to sanity and success: You need to operate from what you know rather than how you feel. Emotions are fickle at face value. The truth is trustworthy.

So, I kept at it with everything I had, and lo and behold... 29ish years later, I started hearing from the JH's via email. They found me on the internet; didn't see that one coming! Most of the emails had the same format: started with 'hope you remember me', followed by an extensive update on their life, and then, closed with a final statement of their assessment of me and what I did for them.

The first young man who contacted me ended his email with the following assessment: "Outside of the Principle, who was my Dad, you were the most influential teacher to get me to where I am today." Whoa! Not a clue. I knew that I was having an influence, but no clue to the degree of impact and influence that I was having in that young man's life.

I got this last one from a young lady in that class. She ended her email with this personal statement: "You were the only man growing up that I didn’t fear." Can you get a sense and a feel of her historical experience way back there in her environment?! I knew nothing about it. So glad I stayed the course.

Principle Five: Things you do are larger than you can really see... and more long lasting!

People will come into our lives and for the most part, we will not know much of all that is going on in their life. We need to understand that they are there right on time and for a real purpose, and make sure that we fulfill our role in their lives regardless of what we see, hear, and feel. We know that we are having a long-term impact in their lives... either positively or negatively. And in all of that, don't ever forget the Ripple Effect; your work keeps on going in them and in others as they touch others with how you touched them.

Believe the truth and don't become weary in well-doing; it will come to fruition. Stay on course!

Your body is a car

You may not be an Olympic athlete but having a well-balanced diet will help improve your overall health and fitness levels. Think of your body as an engine that runs on synthetic oil. Of course the engine can take regular oil (processed foods) but it does not perform the same. It becomes slower and burns gas faster. It’s the same with our bodies. If you aren’t properly fueling your body, you can’t train hard and you always feel tired.

Make sure to fill your diet with a variety of whole foods and be sure to get enough protein, healthy fats, and vitamins. Eat clean and train dirty!

Foods That Might Help Lower Blood Pressure

Foods That Might Help Lower Blood Pressure

The topic of high blood pressure seems to be surrounding me a lot lately from dealing with my dad’s uncontrolled blood pressure, who has already experienced a stroke, a discussion with a patient this week wondering if there are foods to help lower blood pressure and preventing my own blood pressure troubles as my age is increasing (as I watch my age number increase so does the blood pressure number!).   Uncontrolled high blood pressure can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. It is important to get control of it sooner than later. We know a healthy lifestyle, such as eating healthy foods; regular exercise and stress management all play a role in preventing and controlling high blood pressure.

A lower sodium diet is helpful, especially limiting to avoiding processed foods and restaurant foods and if you do choose a processed food use 140mg of sodium per serving or less as a guide for low sodium choices.   Foods rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium, soy protein and omega-3 fatty acid could also improve blood pressure numbers. Here are some recommended foods rich in the nutrients mentioned:

Calcium: Almonds, greens, milk, calcium-fortified plant milk, fat-free yogurt,

Potassium: Swiss chard, yellowfin tuna, acorn squash, sweet potatoes, edamame, cooked spinach, bananas, fat-free yogurt, OJ, dried apricots, baked potatoes with skin, beans, cantaloupes, low-sodium V8 juice

Magnesium: Brown rice, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, Brazil nuts, cashews, dark chocolate, spinach, Swiss chard, lentils, whole grain bread

Soy protein: Edamame, soy milk, tofu, unsalted soy nuts, calcium-fortifed tofu

Omega-3s: Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, halibut, mackerel), walnuts, soybeans, flaxseeds, chia seeds

Eating healthy and regular exercise is key, but so is controlling stress. Find time to meditate, just 10 minutes daily and quiet the mind, practice yoga, listen to soothing music etc.

Let's Eat Together!

There is a buzz-phrase that has been circling the internet; “What you eat in private, you wear in public.” This rings especially true for many of those who have tried diet after diet only to remain stagnant. Or they lose the weight only to gain it back because the underlying causes and lifestyle choices have not been addressed.

Everyone needs to eat. Some of us eat too much, and some of us not enough. What matters most is what we eat. It’s easy to grab those quick meals, but generally speaking the nutritional value of fast food is not what our bodies need to run efficiently. There needs to be an even exchange of calorie intake to calories burned (or more or less depending on your body image goals), and an emphasis on key nutrients. You may feel full, but your body is confused and starving. We all need to eat, so let’s be mindful of what we put in the fuel tank.

When we eat in a social setting, everything can shift. It allows us to take the time to slow down and enjoy ourselves. A good bit of wisdom from writer Michael Pollan is to, “spend as much time enjoying the meal as it took to prepare it.” Rushing a meal can lead to stress, poor digestion, and overeating. In a busy would, it can be difficult to get everyone to the dinner table at the same time for a conversation as simple as talking about each other’s day. Conversations are what allow us to connect to people and create a sense of community. What better time to do that than while having a meal? We all have to eat right? Good things should be shared.

Eating with others can also motivate us to make better choices about what we eat ourselves and when we eat it. A sit-down meal is a great way to create a connection between healthy foods and good times. Be the role model for your friends and family and create dishes that nourish the body and soul. Developing a regular mealtime schedule with others helps to create a routine in our day and can control snacking. It helps prevent spontaneous emotional eating, keeps our blood sugar balanced, aids in digestion, and curbs overeating - not only for the need to leave some for others, but because someone else is watching and holding us accountable. Scheduled meals will also help your loved ones for the same reasons. Make their and your health a priority. Make it a challenge to eat with others as often as you can. Set aside the time, it’s worth it.