Health MATTERS: Exercise vs. Diet – which one matters most?

diet1If you had to choose between Diet or Exercise when it comes to slimming down which would it be?

Does one matter more than the other? I know, it’s not really a fair question but some people want to lose weight but really don’t want to 1) Exercise or 2) Diet.

 Of course you can always do one without the other but any thinking person knows that doing both will be more effective.  I was reading an article about this with two experts weighing out the differences.diet2

 HIT THE GYM:

Expert: Michele Olson, PhD, professor of physical education and exercise science at Auburn University at Montgomery, Alabama.

“Yes, you can lose weight with diet alone, but exercise is an important component.  Without it, only a portion of your weight loss is from fat – you’re also stripping away muscle and bone density.  Since working out stimulates growth of those metabolic tissues, losing weight through exercise means you’re burning mostly fat.  The number on the scale might not sound so impressive, but because muscle takes up less space than fat does, you look smaller and your clothes fit better.  Data shows that to lose weight with exercise and keep it off, you don’t need to run  marathons.  You just need to build up to five workouts a week, 50 minutes each, at a moderate intensity, like brisk walking or zumba.  Resistance training helps too.  Don’t just do isolated weight-lifting exercises like bicep curls – you’ll get leaner faster by using your body weight against gravity, as with movements like squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks.  And, of course, beyond burning fat, people shouldn’t forget that exercise can have other impressive health perks, like improving the quality of your sleep, lowering your cholesterol, and reducing your stress level.”

 EAT SMART

Expert: Shawn M. Talbott, PhD, nutritional biochemist and former director of the University of Utah Nutrition Clinic.

“As a rule of thumb, weight loss is generally 75 percent diet and 25 percent exercise.  An analysis of more than 700 weight loss studies found that people see the biggest short-term results when they eat smart.  On average, people who dieted without exercising for 15 weeks lost 23 pounds; the exercisers lost only six over about 21 weeks.  It’s much easier to cut calories than to burn them off.  For example, if you eat a fast-food steak quesadilla, which can pack 500-plus calories, you need to run more than four miles to ‘undo’ it!”

“So, what should you eat?  It’s true that low-carb diets tend to be the most popular because they offer the fastest results, but they can be difficult to sustain.  I recommend striving for a  more balanced plan that focuses on fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and whole grain carbs.  And never cut calories too low (this causes your metabolism to slow, and you can start losing muscle mass).  For a healthy daily calorie count, allow 10 calories per pound of body weight – so a 150-pound woman should shoot for a 1,500 calorie target.  That way, you should be able to lose weight no matter how much you exercise.”diet3

 THE LAST WORD: While diet and exercise are both important for long-term weight loss, remember this: “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet,” says Talbott.

Source: as told to Sarah Z. Wexler for “O” Magazine

 

 

 

 

B well – B relaxed

The health benefits of massage therapy

image - thinkstock
image – thinkstock

Sure, it can help you relax. But massage therapy can do much more than that. Here are six healthy reasons to book an appointment.

1) IT COUNTERACTS ALL THAT SITTING YOU DO:

“Most individuals are dealing with some kind of postural stress,” says Aaron Tanason, registered massage therapist, kinesiologist and owner at Paleolife Massage Therapy in Toronto. “More often than not [that stress] tends to manifest in the shoulders and neck.” Desk workers, beware. More advanced forms of postural stress “show up as pain or weakness in the low back and gluteals caused by prolonged periods of sitting.”

Luckily, massage can counteract the imbalance caused from sitting, which means you can keep your desk job – as long as you schedule a regular massage.

2) IT EASES MUSCLE PAIN:

Got sore muscles? Massage therapy can help. “Massage increases and improves circulation, in much the same way rubbing your elbow when you knock it on a table helps to relieve the pain,” says Tanason.  A 2011 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that massage therapy is as effective as other methods of treatment for chronic back pain.

3) IT SOOTHES ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION:

“Human touch, in a context that is safe, friendly and professional, can be incredibly therapeutic and relaxing,” says Tanason.  Women diagnosed with breast cancer who received massage therapy three times a week reported being less depressed and less angry, according to a 2005 study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience.

And, a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that patients who were depressed and anxious were much more relaxed and happy, and had reduced stress levels after massage.

4) IT IMPROVES SLEEP:

Not only can massage encourage a restful sleep—it also helps those who can’t otherwise comfortably rest.  “Massage promotes relaxation and sleep in those undergoing chemo or radiation therapy,” says Lisa Marie de Miranda, registered massage therapist and kinesiologist at Paleolife Massage Therapy.

Also, if you’re a new parent, you’ll be happy to know it can help infants sleep more, cry less and be less stressed, according to research from the University of Warwick.

5) IT BOOSTS IMMUNITY:

A 2010 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that massage boosts patients’ white blood cell count (which plays a large role in defending the body from disease).  It also “improves immune function for individuals with HIV,” says de Miranda.

6) IT RELIEVES HEADACHES:

Next time a headache hits, try booking a last-minute massage. “Massage decreases frequency and severity of tension headaches,” says de Miranda.

Research from Granada University in Spain found that a single session of massage therapy has an immediate effect on perceived pain in patients with chronic tension headaches.

By Katharine Watts for besthealthmag.ca.

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