Germs are everywhere. Bottomline. They can be passed from person to person, surface to person, on handles, knobs, countertops, light switches…. ALL over. Each day, we are surrounded by germs everywhere that we go. Some places are more ridden with germs than others, so be ware, be clean, and always wash your hands. Here is a list of 10 germ prone environments to take precaution when encountering:
- Workplace – The desks, phones, keyboards, any workspace shared with other accumulates germs.
- Restaurants- There are many workers, many surfaces, and lots of food handling. Who’s to say that all workers are in fact washing their hands often and after the restroom?? These places do undergo inspections, and this information is publicly available if curious which locations to avoid.
- Public restrooms – Sitting on the toilet seat, touching any handle, and the choice for hand washing, leaves the bathroom quite germ filled.
- Swimming pools – Chlorine doesn’t always kill all the germs. It is important not to let pool water in your mouth and to rinse off before and after entering. The same germs that cause diarrhea are those most passed in these waters.
- Airplanes – Germs fester in these closed quarters where the air is shared. The bathroom and any surfaces in the cabin carry germs. The trays and arm-handles also have germs. Disinfect any areas you will be touching.
- Day care centers – Diapers are everywhere, and they contain fecal matter. Germs can be passed among the shared toys. Children also like to put these toys in their mouths.
- Schools – Kids might not put items in their mouths anymore, but it’s hard to know if everyone is washing their hands. Sickness can easily spread especially with shared desks and in the cafeteria.
- Movie theatres – Colds and the flu can easily pass in these closed quarters people are sharing for a couple hours. The germs from previous movie watchers are also on each seat.
- Your own home – All the kitchen surfaces, handling of meats, bathroom trips, sponges, handles, and light switches constantly used by everyone leads to germ sharing. Hand washing at home needs to be upheld as well.
- Hospitals – Sick people, medical devices shared, increased exposure to more germs, and compromised immune systems are an everyday occurrence. Although these places are well kept, that doesn’t mean its patrons aren’t sharing their germs.
Hand washing prevails and helps prevent sharing more and more germs. A healthy community washes their hands and knows that sharing isn’t caring when it comes to germs and YOU spreading them.
There are four main types of blood: A, B, AB, and O. Blood type is determined by antigens found on red blood cells. Each letter refers to a type of antigen. A blood type is also called a blood group. Which type a person has is determined by the genes they get from their parents. Every person’s blood is unique because they have their own set of antigens and antibodies. Most people have 4-6 liters of blood in their body. The cells that float in this liquid are called plasma. In 1901 the Austrian scientist Karl Landsteiner discovered that there are in fact different blood types. Before that, doctors thought that all blood was the same.
Red blood cells deliver oxygen to different tissues in the body and remove carbon dioxide. White blood cells destroy bad invaders and fight infection. Platelets help the blood to clot.
Blood type is based upon two different antigens: A and B.
Group A has the A antigen and B antibody.
Group B has the B antigen and A antibody.
Group AB has A and B antigens but no A or B antibodies.
Group O doesn’t have A or B antigens but has A and B antibodies.
Rh factor determines if a person’s blood is positive or negative. Positive means you have Rh and negative means you do not. Rh is another type of antigen. Therefore, a person can have A positive or A negative, B positive or B negative, AB positive or AB negative, or O positive or O negative blood.
Blood type is important because is two different blood types mix, they can clump and this can be fatal. This can cause a toxic reaction. During a blood transfusion, the donor and recipient must have the same blood types. Blood types don’t always have to be an exact match to be safe. In fact, type O has been referred to as the universal blood type because it used to be thought that it could be donated to anyone. That is not always one hundred percent true. However, type O is considered the safest to donate in times of emergency or when there is limited supply.
Recently there have been claims that people can eat to their blood type to achieve better weight loss results. There is not enough scientific evidence to this claim yet.
Blood is part of all of us and knowing our type is important in case we ever are in a crisis or can help someone out who is in one. When we can safely share and help one another in times of need, but blood is not meant to be freely shared. If you don’t know your blood type, ask you doctor and find out. You never know when this information can come in handy.
Time dictates so many aspects of our lives. When beginning this Blog idea, I thought to myself how much time controls my day from the seconds, minutes, and hours. And of course in relation to this piece of writing, it is the measure of our age. The aging process is unique to each of us. But ultimately, it does impact our life decisions, and that includes our exercise choices. So let’s take a look at the relationship between aging and exercise.
Naturally, activity level changes when we get older. As one of my long time clients put it, “Man, I don’t just roll out of bed anymore ready to go”. This isn’t to say that one is less motivated, rather, the energy expenditure levels are different. This is mainly due to the fact that, “A major fraction of total daily energy arises from resting metabolism, and it is thus important to note that resting metabolism decreases with aging, by about 10% from early adulthood to the age of retirement, and a further 10% subsequently” (http://www.sportsci.org/encyc/agingex/agingex.html). Adding to this, “One reason is the loss metabolically active muscle mass and parallel increase in metabolically inert depot fat. In later old age, there may also be some overall reduction in cellular metabolism” (http://www.sportsci.org/encyc/agingex/agingex.html). When muscle mass decreases, this can cause body fat to increase. Keeping the excess pounds off can get harder. As such, “Your body fat can increase by up to 30 percent, which leads to a loss of lean muscle tissue and can affect your sense of balance. This can make it difficult for you to perform exercise activities you once enjoyed” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/418037-how-does-age-affect-exercise/). We need to continue a strength training program in order to not let our bodies replace muscle with fat at the rate it would like to. Not to use a scare tactic but here you go: “Strength peaks around 25 year of age, plateaus through 35 or 40 years of age, and then shows an accelerating decline, with 25% loss of peak force by age of 65 years” (http://www.sportsci.org/encyc/agingex/agingex.html).
Exercise becomes so extremely important as we grow older. We tell ourselves that we used to be able to eat whatever we wanted and still look fabulous, but now the odds aren’t necessarily the same anymore. We have to take care of our bodies, and we can help prevent certain diseases with exercise. For example, “Your bone mass begins to decline once you enter your thirties, putting you at risk for conditions such as osteoporosis. If you are concerned about developing this condition, perform more weight-bearing exercises, such as running and tennis. Regular cardio activity will also help you control high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as ward off type 2 diabetes and some kinds of cancer” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/418037-how-does-age-affect-exercise/).
As I always say, there is no “can’t”. That word is not allowed in my studio. There are modifications for so many exercises, and I will be by your side as we run, walk, or crawl to get it done. If we don’t use it, we lose is, right?? Not every day is a peak performance day, but we do we can. As long as we are active, we are being productive to our bodies. Running a marathon might not be in the future, but what about making to your training session twice a week and keeping that commitment to your body?? Goals should be realistic. Remember the glory days fondly, but know that you are keeping your mind and body in better condition and sticking around longer for your family and friends by maintaining an exercise program. Fitness is a way of life and the destination involves progress not perfection so just keep going one rep a time, one day at a time, and with every age of your life.
BLOG 371 CANDY CONSUMPTION
Oh that sweet tooth so many of us have. Dessert is a tradition, a celebration, a reward, and a comfort. Having a treat seems so perfect in that moment, but it can certainly come back to haunt us on the scale. But people are eating candy every day, not just on Halloween, at birthday parties, or special occasions. Candy is at every check-out stand, sold year-round, and now comes in extra-large servings at a reduced price. Hence, let me shock you with some candy information in this Blog…. enjoy. Let’s start with the fact that, “1 in 4 American adults will choose to have at least one piece of candy every day of the week” (http://brandongaille.com/42-awesome-candy-consumption-statistics/). And I do see this in the food journals, and yes, the fun sized, mini pieces do count. Just having a couple even a few days per week does add up because, “The average amount of calories in a fun-sized candy bar: 60-100” (http://brandongaille.com/42-awesome-candy-consumption-statistics/). There’s something about that 3 o’clock hour that a little sugar just hits the spot.
The candy industry continues to thrive and we continue to buy. We certainly keep them in business: “65% of the American candy brands have been around for more than five decades” (http://brandongaille.com/42-awesome-candy-consumption-statistics/). Here are some other statistics that might interest you (or disgust you): (http://brandongaille.com/42-awesome-candy-consumption-statistics/):
The United States candy market is expected to reach $35 billion by 2025.·
1.) 51% of overall candy consumers purchase seasonal or holiday candy.
2.) The average household will spend $44 just to purchase Halloween candy.
3.) Americans buy over 120 million pounds of candy for Easter.
So what types of candy are we buying?? Here are the top sellers: (http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2015/05/19/america-favorite-chocolate-candies/)M&Ms come in at number one, coming in at $406.7 million. They’ve been around since 1941 and interestingly, “M& Ms, which were names after their inventors Forrest Mars and R. Bruce Murrie, were given to GIs serving in the World War II, and the chocolates even went on a space mission in 1982” (http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2015/05/19/america-favorite-chocolate-candies/). Reese’s comes in at number 2, generating $398.9 million. Fun fact: “The company claims if you were to line up the Reese’s sold annually, they would wrap around the earth several times” (http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2015/05/19/america-favorite-chocolate-candies/). Snickers come in at third, generating $386.2, and “More than 99 tons of peanuts go into making over 15 million Snickers bars each day, and each bar contains around 16 peanuts” (http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2015/05/19/america-favorite-chocolate-candies/). Good old Hershey’s is next and generates $249 million. Apparently Hershey has bought several of the other brands so these numbers don’t do the company overall justice. Finally, there is the crispy covered Kit Kat, generating $201.8 million.
Well, if I want to stay positive I would say that we are providing many people jobs in the candy industry. But don’t even get me on a roll with how much sugar children consume. That is for an entirely new Blog. Sugar affects our bodies and well-being and truly impacts our functioning. I like the recent quote I found by Benjamin Franklin, “Few have died of hunger. Many have died of eating”. You are all sweet enough so put that candy down. Don’t have it on display at your house or in the office. Reward your fitness journey successes in other forms. You didn’t earn candy just to turn around and have to burn it back off!!!!
BLOG 370 STRETCHING
Often times, stretching takes a back seat to our exercise routines. Yet, on our fitness journeys we need to take about 10 minutes per day to stretch. We mainly focus on the exercise portion of our journeys at the studio, but I want to emphasize the need to take a few moments at home to stretch. This can become a morning ritual to wake up the body for the day, an activity during T.V. time, or an evening de-stress and winding down routine. Not only will this help us with our recovery, but there are many benefits to stretching. The best part is that we can stretch anytime, anywhere.
So why is stretching a must?? To begin, “Stretching may help you improve your joint range of motion, which in turn may help improve your athletic performance and decrease your risk of injury” (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/stretching/art-20047931). Blood flow to the muscles is also increased, therefore, helping to reduce soreness. As we age, our muscles do tighten and our range of motion decreases. Stretching is a preventative measure for this and by doing so we can make many of our daily living activities much easier. Picking up the newspaper from the floor doesn’t have to be such a daunting task each morning, or reaching over our shoulder to tuck our shirt tag in doesn’t have to be so hard. Other benefits include: “Reduce muscle tension, increased range of movement in the joints, enhanced muscular coordination, increased circulation of the blood to various parts of the body, increased energy levels (resulting from increased circulation)” (http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/stretching_benefits.asp).
We naturally stretch all the time. When we have been sitting too long we might stretch our back out when we stand up or move our neck around after being at our desk too long. It does feel good to stretch. We live in the go, go, go mentality so taking the responsibility and time to stretch can be just another added task to our day that gets pushed aside.
It is important to practice good safety and techniques when stretching. Having knowledge of the different types of stretching is also beneficial. So let’s discuss the main forms of stretching. Static stretching is the most basic form and can be described as, “Static stretching means a stretch is held in a challenging but comfortable position for a period of time, usually somewhere between 10 to 30 seconds” (http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/types-of-stretches). I prefer dynamic stretching which might include activities like our hill walks, jogs, high knees, butt kickers, etc. Passive stretching involves my assistance, or one can use a strap or wall in which there is a source of resistance. This method does allow one to get past their “comfortable” range of motion. My personal favorite, which I have a love-hate relationship with is self-myofascial release (SMFR) stretching with the foam roller. Your muscles contract due to the pressure of the foam roller and tension is released. It hurts so good. There are other, more complicated forms that are used for athletes such as proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching or active isolated stretching.
Recently, I started a stretching routine myself because of my activity level and I want to be sure I’m at peak performance each day. I have started with 2 days per week just dedicating 15 minutes solely to stretching. I have developed greater body awareness and it feels good to relieve the tightness and soreness of my main target areas. Would I rather just go to bed?? Of course, but this practice has helped me to wind down and I feel a lot less tension especially in my quadriceps. As always, I want to practice what I preach so this is a new goal for myself too. Longevity is important, so 30 minutes each week stretching is well worth it to me. Take a moment to evaluate your stretching and let’s work together to make a new habit of this practice. As we know, this is a lifestyle process so to achieve optimal results we have to take care of our bodies and stretching is an important component of our fitness journeys.