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The Importance of Exercise in Health Care

News from the American College of Sports Medicine:

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), awaited amid much speculation for its impact on the act’s ongoing implementation, changes nothing about one fundamental truth, according to medical experts and scientists. Leaders of the American College of Sports Medicine point to physical activity and exercise as a powerful prescription for what’s ailing the U.S. citizenry, health system and economy. There is widespread and bipartisan support in Congress for effective steps in preventing disease rather than trying to pay for treating people after they get sick, including major promotion of physical activity and healthy lifestyles.

“Americans’ lack of exercise will cause seven million early deaths in this decade, according the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services,” said Janet Walberg Rankin, Ph.D.,  ACSM president and an associate dean at Virginia Tech. “With chronic diseases—including heart disease, stroke and diabetes—responsible for seven out of 10 deaths, and with physical activity and exercise shown to help prevent and treat more than 40 chronic conditions, healthy lifestyles must be a part of the health care equation.”

“It’s good medicine, it’s sound science, and it’s an economic necessity,” said Robert Sallis, M.D., FACSM, a physician with Kaiser Permanente and past president of ACSM who chairs the Exercise is Medicine global health initiative. “Chronic diseases account for 75 percent of the nation’s health care spending. Increased physical activity can play a powerful role in treating these problems and, even better, in preventing them from occurring in the first place. If the benefits of exercise could be captured in pill form, it would be the most widely prescribed drug in the world.”

Walberg Rankin and Sallis recommend that, given the ability of physical activity and exercise to help people of any age or health status gain and maintain better health, these considerations should be central to any discussion on health policy. “Governments worldwide, from the community level to national legislatures, are wising up to what businesses are already finding out,” said Sallis. “Keeping people healthy has a profound impact on the bottom line. Lack of physical activity has an estimated cost of $223 billion to $381 billion per year, which is now going to treat preventable diseases.” Exercise can cost next to nothing, with enjoyable activities such as walking available to almost anyone.

“Beyond the avoidable cost in health care dollars, we need to look at the loss of worker productivity and the impact of non-communicable diseases on families and on individual quality of life,” said Walberg Rankin. “Research shows that physically active people have fewer hospital stays and physician visits. Our nation—and every community, workplace and organization—must act on the growing evidence base supporting Exercise is Medicine and collectively shift focus from overspending to treat preventable diseases to keeping people healthy. That’s a proven prescription for individual health and America’s bottom line.”

The little things count

Any effort toward your better health is beneficial. check out this article from the NY Times.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/02/the-little-things-add-up-in-fitness/?smid=pl-share

 

Gimmicks

I’ve been trolling along some training and fitness websites and I’m finding quite a few are selling some sort of supplement. Be it shakes or pills, all claim to be the key to your weight loss or overall health. Personally, I do use a protein powder in my breakfast smoothie and take vitamin D in the winter, but I do not believe you can achieve healthy weight lose by omitting a healthy meal and replacing it with a mere shake or drink of one sort or another.  You need to eat healthy, complete meals NOT just a shake. Shakes, smoothies and drinks should be look at as a supplement NOT a replacement, as I see some products are advertised as. Meal replacement regiments and diets are out dated and not effective in the long run. You may lose weight initially but without learning how to make healthy and sustainable food choices, by practicing, you will gain the weight back.

By preparing your own meals you are learning good habits and practices for life. Relying on a crutch will ultimately fail. Can you imagine you are going to drink a chalky shake (or maybe its delicious) for lunch everyday of the rest of your life? or are you going to count “points” forever? Probably not. Keep your intentions in the real world and always factor in the years ahead, not just the period of time you will be on your “diet”. As a matter of fact, avoid the “diet” all together and make your food choices your lifestyle.

Green Smoothies!

I know it’s tough to get all your veggies in! Especially the “dark leafy greens” like kale and spinach. Here’s a great way to get your greens in and them some. I’ve had some nasty green smooties in my day. I had one not too long ago that actually made me gag. It was seriously the worst thing I ever tasted. I was pissed I payed money for it. Never again! I shall make my own from now on! So all that to say to those of you who say “ick”, there are some terrible things out there! Give this a try before you turn your nose at it.

To your blender add:

2 handfuls of any leafy green (spinach, kale, chard)

1/2 avocado cut into chunks

1/2 cup pineapple chunks

1 whole banana (frozen is great but room temp if fine too)

1 TB honey

1/2 greek yogurt

water as needed.

opional: flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds

Blend.

NOTE: If you have a cyclonic blender your smoothie making life is easier.Try: two handfuls of greens, one whole apple with skin cored and cut into chunks, one banana, 1/2 avocado, one peeled orange or 1/2 cup pineapple, 1 tsp of chia, hemp or flax seeds water as needed. Blend and enjoy

Butternut Squash Soup

this is freaking delish. seriously. Squash is cheap this time of year so take advantage!

3 TB Olive Oil

about 3 lbs of butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 large onion

1 TB Sea salt

1 tsp pepper

4 Cups low sodium Vegetable broth (or chicken, whatever you like)

1/4 cup honey

1 pinch nutmeg

Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat olive oil and add squash. Cook until lightly browned. Add onions and continue to cook until squash is deep brown. Add sea salt, pepper, broth and honey. Stir and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add nutmeg and combine. Using a hand blender (you can put it into a standing blender but BE CAREFUL! Hot liquids tend to erupt over the top of the blender) blend until smooth.

Enjoy!

Trim your holiday treats

All those extra calories from Thanksgiving to New years can add up. Here are some ways to trim a few off and still enjoy all the goodies that make this time of year so special.

Flour

All purpose white flour has about 50 more calories per cup than the whole wheat variety. Cut those calories in half by substituting half the all purpose with whole wheat. If you don’t like the taste of whole wheat try “white whole wheat” flour. This variety is becoming more common. It can easily be found in Trader Joe’s and is offered by some of the smaller mills like Bob’s Red Mill. Here’s the difference between the two:

Regular whole wheat flour is milled from hard red spring wheat which results in a flavorful, tan colored, high-fiber flour. It creates heavy, denser, nuttier flavored baked goods.

White whole wheat flour is milled from white whole wheat, which makes it lighter in color and less bitter in flavor. Yet it’s got the same nutritional value of regular whole wheat flour.  It creates lighter, sweeter baked goods.

I bet you are wondering if you can replace all the all-purpose with whole wheat, the answer is no. The difference in gluten content affects taste and texture. You’ll get gummy cakes and muffins. ick. Go with replacing half at the most.

This is best for pancakes, muffins, quick breads and cookies.

Oil:

Try replacing half of the oil with applesauce.  This is best for quick breads and muffins. I do this often with great results.

Sugar:

Simply try cutting sugar in half. I do it all the time and have never missed it. As a matter of fact I think it tastes better. This is especially true of breads and muffins that you have replaced half the oil with applesauce. Because of the sweetness of the applesauce you almost have to reduce the sugar.

Another thing you can try are vegan recipes. Look over some vegan blogs and websites and see what you can learn. Often animal products are replaced by much healthier alternative and with great results.

Happy Holidays!