HOW DID YOU SPEND YOUR LAST 24 HOURS? (From ACE Fit Life June 3, 2015)
What do you do during a typical 24-hour weekday? Take a few moments and divide up those 24 hours and reflect on how you typically spend that time. How many hours did you spend sleeping? How many hours did you spend sitting down (don’t forget the times you sit in the car, while you eat, etc.)? How many hours did you spend moving?
Once you have completed your 24-hour self-reflection activity, think more specifically about your movement time. What type of movement did you do? What was the intensity and intentionality of that movement?
Over the past few decades, Americans have heard over and over that a minimum of 30 minutes of daily exercise is essential to good health. However, the latest research suggests that how much time we spend sitting could be just as important as how much time we spend exercising. In fact, a new term has been coined to describe those who exercise, but spend the majority of their days being sedentary: active couch potatoes.
An active couch potato refers to someone who is inactive for the majority of the day, but regularly makes sure to get in 30 minutes of exercise on most days. An active couch potato is not necessarily lazy, but spend most of his or her time sitting during leisure time, work (and commuting to and from work) and while eating meals. In other words, they’re almost completely physically inactive throughout the day, with the exception of that 30 or minutes of daily exercise. Although 30 minutes of exercise is absolutely beneficial and healthful, the rest of the day is causing tremendous health hazards. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified physical inactivity as an independent risk factor for chronic disease development, and it is now the fourth leading cause of death worldwide.
So, exactly how do we differentiate between exercise and being physically active? And is the distinction important? Here are some definitions that should help clear things up:
Physical activity is movement that is carried out by the skeletal muscles that requires energy. In other words, any movement one does is actually physical activity.
Exercise, however, is planned, structured, repetitive and intentional movement intended to improve or maintain physical fitness. Exercise is a subcategory of physical activity.
Research provides significant evidence that ALL physical activity positively contributes to overall health and well-being. As you evaluate your 24-hour activity reflection, consider making a detailed plan that includes both elements: 1. Daily increased physical activity; 2. Structured, planned, intentional exercise to improve physical fitness. Omitting one or the other can have serious and detrimental consequences for your health, fitness and overall well-being. Add BOTH elements to your life to reap the life-changing benefits of physical activity and exercise.
UNEXPECTED STRESSORS THAT ARE WRECKING YOUR HEALTH (excerpted from Greatist.com)
The big causes of stress in life are easy to ID—major life transitions, illnesses and injuries, money issues, a too-busy schedule—the list goes on and on. But they’re not the only things affecting your wellbeing. Even mild stressors have been shown to pose long-term impediments to our health, plus they lower tolerance for more severe stressors like pain.
The following are common, but sneaky, stressors that you may not know are messing with your health: Late Bedtimes; Lying; Over-doing Caffeine, Alcohol, and/or Exercise, Opening your Inbox, Commuting, Eating Processed Foods and Dieting. In this newsletter, two of these will be discussed.. Subsequent newsletters will discuss some of the other stressors.
LATE BEDTIMES – Crawling into bed after midnight may bump your stress levels. The later students put off going to sleep in one study, the more likely they were to suffer from negative thoughts, ruminative worries, and overall low moods than those who achieved lights out on the earlier side. And regardless of how many hours they sleep, adults and teens who identify as night owls report feeling more tension, pessimism, and depressive symptoms than their early-bird peers. Since anxiety and a brain that won’t shut off interfere with relaxation and sleep, researchers still aren’t certain whether later bedtimes are the primary cause of these negative emotions or whether they simply reflect a more stressed out, unhappy personality structure.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the best bet is to start winding down a full two hours before you plan on falling asleep (ideally at a time that allows for at least eight hours of ZZZs.) So turn off the Netflix, shut down the smartphone, and stem Facebook stalking ASAP after dinner, and feel free to hop in a warm bath or shower to facilitate the relaxation response.
And lest you find yourself stressing about not being able to fall asleep once you actually get around to it? Try and, well, take the pressure off. Falling asleep is a spontaneous thing. You can’t force yourself to do it. The minute you start telling yourself, “Oh no; it’s 2 a.m. and I can’t sleep!” you’re done for. Being willing to not sleep is actually what relaxes your body. It’s the willingness to lay in a dark room with your eyes closed and allow yourself to just be there that’ll do the trick.”
LYING – From little white fibs to massive deceptions, lying can interfere with our mental and physical health and may even contribute to gastric distress. But holistic psychotherapist and relationship expert Victoria Lorient-Faibish, M.Ed., doesn’t counsel wholesale confession as an antidote to the stress caused by dishonesty. “Many people with a history of lying struggle with fantasies of confession,” she says. “But they often fail to realize that coming clean might make things worse.” Rather than blurting out everything to everyone all at once, Lorient-Faibish recommends first coming clean to a therapist who can help you assess who else to tell your deep-seeded truths to—and how.