Exercise – No Pain No Brain

Now that I started writing this, I know why I never seemed to get around to it. At 40 years old, I’m sitting here in the worst physical shape of my life... ugh. I haven’t worked out on a regular basis for over 4 years and with 3 young boys and a business, excuses are never in short supply.   When I was a powerlifter, my motivation was my desire to make the World team. I’d pick a contest date, make an 8-12 week plan and then train. I didn’t make a decision to go or not go to the gym each day, after I picked a contest, I never gave myself the option again.   A link to this article will be posted on our Facebook page and I’d love to see some comments about how you stay motivated to exercise... OR if you’re like me right now, then what’s the problem?   "Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness." - Edward Smith-Stanley (1752-1834) — English statesman, three times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom  
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Sleep Fitness

The goal of this article is to challenge the way you think about your sleep.  We all know that we feel like crap if we don’t get enough, and we feel better after a good nights sleep.  Other than that, sleep is very mysterious.  Science has been looking at sleep from every angle and asking every question, including why we need to sleep at all.  The first big clue to the importance of sleep is found just by observing how fiercely our bodies demand it.  When we’re low on water, we get thirsty, and when we’re very low on water, we get very thirsty.  The same is true when we get hungry or when we get tired.  We can all condition ourselves to get by on less, but the big question is whether or not our bodies learn to function optimally on less too.  
Let sleeping dogs lie
photo by andrewr
Better understanding the benefits of sleep and how it works will help us determine how we think about our...

Are You a Fat Head?

Yes, you’re a fat head... and that’s a great thing, because 60% of our brains are made of fat.  We can all agree that Omega-3’s are amazing, but since we’re focusing on the brain in this series, then we'll just talk about DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid).  DHA accounts for about 30% of the structural fats in your gray matter and 97% of the total omega-3’s in the brain.   Studies on DHA have exploded and it’s been found to be good for us from 9 months before the cradle, and all the way to the grave.  I’m not joking, DHA is critical for the developing brain of a fetus through infancy. There have have been very positive studies done on children, young adults, middle aged, and the elderly... did I leave anyone out?  It’s also been shown that people suffering from conditions like Alzheimer's, ADHD, and Depression generally have very low levels of DHA.   It’s important to note the studies that looked at Alzheimers have mixed results, but a study that tested age related cognitive decline was very positive... suggesting maybe we should pay attention to this sooner than...

Can Playing a Free Computer Game Actually Make You Smarter?

I’ve seen a lot of advertisements lately, both on the net and TV, for brain training products like Lumosity.  Nintendo DS also has a very popular game called Brain Age.  All told, brain training is a billion dollar a year industry, but does it work?   In 2009, BBC Labs UK designed an experiment to answer that question.  Led by Dr. Adrian Owen, a British neuroscientist, they created a number of games that were representative of those on the commercial market and tested them on over 13,000 participants.  Each participant was placed into 1 of 3 groups; the reasoning game group (games involve planning, problem-solving and analysis), the non-reasoning game group (games involve short-term memory, attention to detail, maths and interpreting visual information), and the control group (asked to just use the internet to find the answers to simple questions, like when did Henry the VIII die).  Each group was asked to play for 10 minutes 3 days each week for 6 weeks.   After 6 weeks, what did they find?  They found that the participants got better at the games but they didn’t get any smarter.  Using 4...

Ibuprofen May be Providing Dangerous Pain Relief

Millions of people across the world rely on Ibuprofen and similar pain relieving medications everyday. These drugs are used to deal with a sore back, an aching knee, or even after a rough night on the town. Ibuprofen falls under the family of non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) that work by blocking the hormones known as prostaglandins. Blocking the prostaglandins makes the NSAID effective at treating inflammation but it also has the  potentially adverse effect of removing a protective barrier in the stomach lining. This lining requires the presence of prostaglandins to be effective and without it the person becomes susceptible to gastrointestinal problems, gastric bleeding, and ulcers. Recent news reports claim that these complications are responsible for the deaths of 2,500 people annually in the United Kingdom alone. Other complications from Ibuprofen use include increasing the stress to the kidneys and may causing fluid retention.  Fluid retention has negative consequences for people with high blood pressure and those at risk for cardiovascular incidents/stroke. Yet another source of complication can arise from the blocking of prostaglandins for females who are pregnant or are trying to become...

Red Yeast Rice Extract and Cholesterol

Some patients cannot take traditional statin medications to lower their cholesterol. This is because many people suffer from statin induced muscle pains. For these patients, new research from two Philidelphia area cardiologists reveals that over the counter dietary supplements may be and alternative. These supplements are readily available at health food stores and pharmacies. The study was the first double-blind placebo- controlled trial to test the use of red yeast rice in patients who have a history of statin induced muscle pain and weakness. Half of the patients were given a 600 mg capsule of red yeast rice twice a day for six months and the other half of the participants were given the placebo. The patients who were given the red yeast rice capsules also participated in meetings every week for the first three months to learn about heart healthy nutrition, exercise and stress management. The study found that people receiving the red yeast rice had a more significant drop in LDL, low density lipoprotein, cholesterol than those who received the placebo. The total cholesterol of those taking the red yeast rice also improved more than...

A Refresher in Good Old Hand Washing

You know that coughing and sneezing spreads germs and contagious diseases and you also know that proper hand washing is essential to stopping the spread of these germs. Many people mistakenly believe that quickly flicking their hands under the water and drying them on their pants is proper hand washing. This is just not so. Most people miss under their finger nails and in the cracks between fingers.  The viruses that cause cold and flu can also live on surfaces such as doorknobs. They can be spread from hand to hand in this way. Proper hand washing can stop the spread of MRSA, cold, flu and other infectious diseases. It also prevents antibiotic resistance. People who work in medical settings need to wash their hands properly, but it does not stop there. This is something everyone needs to be doing even at home. There are times when washing your hands is a necessity. These times are after you blow your nose, after food preparation and when they are visibly dirty. Hands should be washed more frequently when there is someone in the home that is ill. Proper technique is...

Project New Hope

So my Mom (Dar) shows up at my office to bring me information about something she talked a bit about a few days ago.  It's a program called "Project New Hope" and they help Veterans and their families with a variety of things after wartime service. I have to admit, when she first brought this up, I didn't get it.  I guess I was picturing a steely-eyed Navy Seal getting lectured by his new pencil neck civilian boss.  I thought, he might not like it, but he'll adapt to the new environment in no time... he doesn't need a group like "Project New Hope" to help him make that change.  Yep, that's how thick I can be.projectnewhope_ma2 Ma quickly let me know that every Veteran has his/her own set of circumstances.  She told me that 25% of all homeless are combat Veterans and the suicide rates for Veterans aged 20-24 are 4 times higher than civilians.  She told me to imagine being an 18 year old kid working at McDonalds who gets activated with his local guard unit and...

Candida – Carbs, Corn and Candex… What the Heck is Candex?

Candida can cause brain fog, fatigue, a whole host of other illnesses and of course yeast infections.  A full 75% of women will develop a yeast infection (Candida albicans) in their lifetime and many women will battle this over and over again.  Now either these single celled yeasts got clever and unionized or something else is going on. Normally Candida albicans lives harmlessly in perfect harmony with the rest of our intestinal flora, but like most things, we are our own worst enemy.  We set the stage by creating the right environment for Candida to flourish.  Overuse of antibiotics kill off good bacteria and make room for more yeast.  Yeast feeds on sugar and we help to the tune of 135 pounds per year... that's over 5 times as much as we consumed 20 years ago.  Other factors like stress, poor digestion, alcohol and oral contraceptives all play a role in creating this yeast friendly environment.

So what can we do?

We can all start by limiting our sugar intake.  Add more fresh greens to your...

Widespread Deficiencies in Vitamin D Bring Cloudy Days

Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin. It is produced in our skin when we are in sunlight and, in fact, we actually get very little of this vitamin from the food we eat. As a result, you might think that it is one of the last vitamins we should be worrying about when it comes to deficiencies of nutritional substances; however, a recent report shows that worldwide more and more people are suffering from low levels of this vitamin. The consequences of deficiencies are significant. This particular vitamin works together with calcium and is important, not only for keeping our organs in peak condition, but also for the normal development and strength of bones. Low levels of the vitamin in adults can increase the risk of osteoporosis and hip fractures. In children, it can lead to rickets which is where the bones become soft and can fracture or even become deformed.

Deficiencies On The Increase Around The Globe

This recent research was undertaken by the expert working group of the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) and was published in Osteoporosis International. In the study, the group researched the incidence...

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