Ha, I got your attention and yes of course we are! Research linking optimal brain function to exercise continues to mount. More importantly, exercise that is aerobic in nature like running, biking, hiking, aerobics classes, and swimming shows greater improvement in stimulating brain activity than stretching, toning and weight lifting. According to Henrietta van Praag, PHD, a lead investigator at the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute of Aging, activities such as strength training don’t activate the brain in the same way and may be more restricted to the muscle itself. However, don’t underscore the importance of strength training, Pilates or yoga. Strong muscles and flexibility are critical requirements for independence and mobility as we age.
Aerobic activity has been shown to improve cognitive function in the areas of learning, memory and multitasking. While this research is still in its early stages, the results have been consistent throughout the life span, regardless of age. Furthermore, the type of activity does matter! Positive growth in cognitive function occurs only when the blood gets pumping. Children who have higher fitness levels score higher on standardized achievement tests, particularly math and reading. Older adults show a 39% reduction in developing cognitive impairment such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Some research even suggests that women have a greater cognitive response to exercise then men, who am I to dispute science?
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Earth Day, it’s not some hippie, tree hugging event. There’s nothing radical about wanting clean air and water or a desire to protect the environment.
Take a look inside your grocery cart or kitchen this Thursday and see what you can do to become more eco friendly.
1. Buy local. Consider that the average meal travels 1500 miles to make it from field-to-plate, that’s a lot of carbon you can eliminate by buying locally. Look for the “Grown in Michigan” sign in your grocery store, join a coop http://www.coopdirectory.org/directory.htm, or buy from the local produce stands and farmer’s markets over the next several months.
2. Plant a vegetable and herb farm in your yard or join a community garden. Tomatoes, peas, beans, onions, sweet corn, and green leafy vegetables have a pretty good success rate in Michigan. This is a great project for kids. Get starter seed packets at the grocery store, a good patch of soil from outside and reuse a cardboard egg carton as your starter pots.
4. Last but not least, run, walk or cycle wherever possible.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
In the Diabetic Runner, part 1 we reviewed the importance of maintaining a diary that measures blood glucose response based on food, fluid, activity and medication. It was identified that many diabetics feel most comfortable when their blood glucose ranges from 120 mg/dL – 180 mg/dL. Part 2 of our diabetic runner discussion reviews how much carbohydrate an individual needs to consume while exercising to maintain an optimal blood sugar level. During activity, the diabetic athlete should consume 15 – 30 grams of carbohydrate for every 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise or approximately 0.5 grams of carbohydrate/pound/hour of body weight for more intensive exercise. If moderate exercise is planned to last for more than 90 minutes, or strenuous exercise lasting 60 minutes, the athlete may need to consume extra carbohydrates (~75-100 grams/hour). See your physician for rules on adjusting medication.
Some athletes experience “Big Game” induced hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) that may be related to anxiety. Mental relaxation techniques and race experience may reduce this stress response. Athletes should always carry fast acting carbohydrates such as a premeasured amount of sports drink, glucose gels or tabs, SweetTarts, Sprees or Smarties and ketone test strips.
These tips are not meant to be a substitution or replacement for diabetic management prescribed by your health care practitioner. Diabetic athletes with questions are encouraged to follow up with their physician and a Registered Dietitian knowledgeable in sports and diabetes nutrition. Source: Nancy Clark, MS RD, CSSD Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Jackie Berning, PHD, RD, CSSD, Michael McDermott, PhD, RD, CSSD and Roberta Anding, RD, CDE, CSSD Advanced Strategies for Counseling Athletes with Type 1 Diabetes, SCAN’s Pulse Spring 2010.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Correctly matching fuel intake to your run before, during, and after exercise is a challenge that becomes even more important for the diabetic athlete.
Fuel efficiency and performance is optimized when blood glucose concentrations range between 70 mg/dL to 180 mg/dL. Levels which are higher or lower may result in fatigue, poor concentration, nausea and poor performance. Due to the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), many athletes prefer a blood glucose concentration of 120 mg/dL to 180 mg/dL.
Maintaining a diary of food and fluid intake, activity type and length, medication and blood sugar response is an important step towards optimizing your athletic performance while reducing side effects related to diabetes. Before exercise, diabetics should monitor their blood glucose at 90, 60 and 30 minutes to determine the trend in comparison to their pre activity food and fluid intake. If blood glucose is < 65mg/dL to 100 mg/dL the runner should consume 15 grams of carbohydrate. If blood glucose is more than 250 mg/dL , the athlete should check for the presence of ketones, not exercise if ketones are present, and may need to administer insulin. During exercise, they should measure blood glucose every 30 minutes as well until they are able to achieve a good, consistent response. After exercise, measuring blood glucose at 2 and 4 hours is recommended, especially if individuals have a history of post exercise hypoglycemia. Note, low blood sugar can persist for up to 24 hours after exercise so continued monitoring is essential. Bring your diary to your next medical appointment.
These tips are not meant to be a substitution or replacement for the diabetic management prescribed by your health care practitioner. Diabetic athletes with questions are encouraged to follow up with their physician and a Registered Dietitian knowledgeable in sports and diabetes nutrition. Source: Nancy Clark, MS RD, CSSD Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Jackie Berning, PHD, RD, CSSD, Michael McDermott, PhD, RD, CSSD and Roberta Anding, RD, CDE, CSSD Advanced Strategies for Counseling Athletes with Type 1 Diabetes, SCAN’s Pulse Spring 2010.