Lace them UP

Back in my younger days (a long time ago!) I would tell my training partners that “if you can’t go out and run for an hour, it is not worth lacing up the shoes!” How wrong can one be! There are a lot of benefits in the first 5-10 minutes of exercise that you may not be even aware of.

During the first 5-10 minutes, the warm-up if you will, the body prepares itself for the anticipated upcoming exercise;

  • Vascular dilation, arteries opening up to accommodate the increase in blood flow.
  • Secretion of enzymes that increase glucose absorption in expectation of more energy needed.

Why is this important? Vascular dilation means more room for the blood in the arteries; more room with the same blood volume, so BLOOD PRESSURE is lowered. There is increase in glucose absorption, means lower BLOOD Sugar levels.

Here is the best part: this all happens in the first 5-10 minutes and lasts long after the exercise bout is complete. So, even if you don’t do the recommend 30 minutes, you still are getting benefits.

Bottom line, it is worth lacing them up even for just 10 minutes!

Boundaries Part I - A Different Perspective

I recently held a coaching session with a client about her continued effort to set boundaries with her colleagues at work. She is a competent, energetic, and personable woman; ready to take on any task that furthers the important work that she does everyday. Folks that she directly works with, as well, as the many folks she has mentored, the national committees that she chairs, and formal and informal relationships that she has nurtured...these all compete for her time and energy. She wants to, and often does, say ‘yes’ to it all, including time for her husband, family and friends, pets, exercise, etc. Through our sessions together, we’ve talked a lot about how time can feel infinite and how energy is not. How, at the end of the day, what is most important tends to get the least amount of time and for sure, the last remaining remnants of her energy.

We acknowledged how often we hear the word ‘boundaries’...setting boundaries, distinction between emotional, physical, and social boundaries, boundaries at work, etc. However, there was a shift in the conversation when we started talking about boundaries being made up of what we feel is most important. Boundaries made up of what we will say ‘yes’ to; the people, places, activities that feed our souls and contribute to our big over-the-top ideals. This felt different than the negative connotations that seem to surround the discussion of boundaries which is, things you’ll say ‘no’ to; activities you won’t participate in; people you won’t engage with; or eliminating certain time sucking tasks.

So, what if we started thinking about boundaries differently; more pro than con? To be honest, I don’t have this entirely worked out in my head yet. I know that it ‘feels’ different to think about boundaries in this way. It feels more positive, forward moving, energetic. It feels like ‘yes’ and possibilities. I’m a visual thinker and learner so I want to spend time thinking about what comes to mind for me when I think about my boundaries being made up of what I want to do and who I want to spend my time with. I’m also very pragmatic and am feeling compelled to include those things that we have to do; those people and activities that may not be ‘feeding our souls’ but that move us towards our most important values.

Be on the lookout for “Boundaries Part II” and in the meantime, what comes up for you when you think about setting boundaries based on who you want to spend time with; activities you love to do; places that draw you in; relationships that you want to nurture? And, is there an image that comes to mind?

Have You Tried Horseshoes?

horseAre you looking for a new activity to do? Something different from the run of the mill backyard games, or just looking to have some casual fun with some friends? If any of those are the case, then look no further! Horseshoes may be the outdoor activity that you need. A game great to play with friends, or people you’ve never met before, horseshoes provides the opportunity to have fun with your friends and meet new people.

Horseshoes is a game that almost anyone can play! It is a lawn game played between two people two teams using four horseshoes and two stakes set in a lawn or sandbox area. Horseshoes is a point system. Ringers are three points. A ringer is when the horseshoe completely encircles around the stake. Additional points are awarded for horseshoes that are not a ringer but are six inches or closer from the stake.

This game has delighted players since the beginning of the twentieth century. It has since grown to the point where it has crossed country borders in an annual World Championship. But whether you are in a professional league or just hanging out in the background with two stake and a cold drink, you may find a new passion throwing horseshoes.

Red Meat, Processed Meats, Nitrates and Cancer

It’s grilling season! Among the favorites to grill are heavily processed, red meats such as hotdogs, smoked ham and bacon wrapped burgers. Red and processed meats have routinely been criticized for causing cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Since there are many aspects of red meats and processed meats that may be to blame for these conditions, let’s put our focus on, nitrates and nitrites.

Nitrates and nitrites are the preservatives often found in cured meats; they’re added to enhance color, provide flavor and prevent deadly bacterial growth (clostridium botulinum)!

Once consumed, nitrates take various forms in the body. First, nitrates are reduced to nitrites, by the bacteria in our mouth. Nitrites may convert to nitric oxide (via the acid in our stomachs), then are absorbed by our small intestine and finally excreted by our kidneys via urine. Some research shows that nitrates that convert to nitric oxide may benefit cardiovascular health. For those of you “gym-goers”, nitric oxide may sound familiar because it’s used as a pre-workout supplement. That’s because it acts on our blood vessels as a vasodilator, which relaxes the blood vessels and makes them more efficient at pumping more blood (and therefore more oxygen) per beat. This has been shown to improve athletic performance, among other benefits. On the other hand, nitrites can take a different path and may form nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are the combination of nitrites and amines (the breakdown product of amino acids – the building blocks of protein). Nitrosamines were shown in some research to cause tumors in lab animals.

Well that’s confusing! On one hand nitrates may cause cancer, but on the other they may benefit cardiovascular health. Furthermore, did you know that more nitrates are found naturally in foods such as turnips, rhubarb, beets and celery, than those chemically added to processed meats (like potassium nitrate)? That’s because nitrates and nitrites are part of the earth’s nitrogen cycle; therefore anything that grows in the ground will contain some level of nitrates. Like so many other divisive nutrition topics, it’s important to consider the context.

Although some research shows nitrites can form cancer causing nitrosamines, this pathway is less likely when antioxidants (in the form of vegetables) are consumed. Since meats do not contain these antioxidants, there is a potential correlation with the meat preservatives, nitrates and nitrites, and an increased risk of stomach and colon cancer.

If it’s the nitrates that are the issue let’s just omit them, right? That’s what some companies are doing, I’m sure you’ve seen the new food claims that state “No nitrates/nitrites added except for those naturally occurring…”? The statement is regulated by the USDA (United States Dept. of Agriculture), but does it really mean anything, and is it better?

For example; a “naturally” cured turkey bacon ingredient list may look like this: [Turkey, Water, Vinegar, Sea Salt, Raw Sugar, Celery Powder]. Although this bacon is indeed preserved without the use of nitrates or nitrites, it is not nitrate- or nitrite-free since there are naturally occurring nitrates in celery. This packaging may lead the consumer to believe it is superior to conventional (chemically preserved) meat. However, the body sees natural nitrates and chemically derived nitrates the same. Unfortunately, labeling meats as uncured is misleading.

To add to the confusion, “processed” meat is multifaceted; cured and processed meat is often red meat of lesser quality and likely fattier cuts; often containing preservatives, sugar, breading and more sodium than likely achieved via home preparation. Additionally, the nutrition of a plant or animal is also dependent on how it is raised, prepared, seasoned and ultimately cooked.

So what is a nutrition conscious person to do? Choose a variety of proteins instead which include seafood, poultry, red meat and vegetable proteins. Limit your use of all processed meats including those that are smoked and cured and consider sodium content; choose products that contain less than 250 or 300 milligrams per serving. While you’re at it, vary your preparation methods as well; roast, slow cook, sauté and grill your meats - just because it’s tasty!

Blood Pressure Information

Blood pressure is a measurement of the force applied to the artery walls as the heart pumps blood through the body. The pressure is determined by the amount of blood pumped, the force at which it is pumped, and the size and flexibility of the arteries.

-The top number of a blood pressure reading is the systolic reading. It represents the maximum pressure exerted when the heart contracts. Anormal systolic reading is 120 or less.
-The bottom number of a blood pressure reading is called the diastolicreading. It represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at restin the contraction. A normal diastolic reading is 80 or less.

Blood pressure is continually changing depending on activity, temperature, diet, stress, sickness, and what medications you might use.

There are several things you can do if you have high blood pressure. Although high blood pressure cannot be cured, it can be controlled. The following are ways to reduce your blood pressure:

-Reduce the fat in your diet andsodium in your diet.

-Get regular physical exercise and lose weight if needed.

-Reduce the amount of alcohol you might consume on a daily basis.

-If you are a smoker and have high blood pressure,

quitting smoking will notonly help lower blood pressure but will 
help keep yourcardiovascular systemworking properly.

-If none of the above work for a certain individual, medications
can be used tomonitor high blood pressure

Log in and go to Blood Pressure for more information