Weekend warriors are winning with health outcomes

There are many paths to the same destination and, a new study has found, this is true for exercise too.Anything is better than nothing and if you can only exercise on the weekend, then you still stand yourself in good stead according to the research by the University of Sydney which analysed the data of 63,000 adults.

New research suggests that ‘weekend warriors,’ people who pack their workouts into one or two sessions a week, lower their risk of dying over roughly the next decade nearly as much as people who exercise more often.

Compared with those are physically inactive, ‘weekend warriors’ or those who only exercise once or twice a week have a significantly lower risk of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease, even if they did not meet the physical activity guidelines.The researchers also found little difference in health outcomes between the weekend warriors and those who exercise regularly throughout the week.Find your fit... even if it's only on the weekend.

For instance, the risk of premature death of any cause was 30 per cent lower in weekend warriors and 35 per cent lower in the regularly active. The risk of death by cardiovascular disease was reduced by the same amount (41 per cent) in weekend warriors and the regularly active while the risk of early death by cancer was 18 per cent and 21 per cent lower respectively.

The study’s lead author, Emmanuel Stamatakis, of the Charles Perkins Centre, suspects that the type of activity that the majority (94 per cent) of the weekend warriors participated in – various sports – explains the results.

“The weekend warriors did so well because of increased vigorous physical activity,” Stamatakis said. “That’s a possible explanation.”

The World Health Organisation recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, or at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity activity. Surpassing these guidelines leads to additional health benefits.

While researchers do not yet know exactly how much of a difference the breakdown of frequency and intensity of the exercise makes, this new study shows that how we do it is secondary to just doing it, says Stamatakis.

He does note however that they were looking at specific outcomes (premature death) and that the frequency of exercise is still important to other outcomes, like diabetes. Diabetics are advised to exercise at least three days a week and avoid more than two consecutive days without exercising.

“The key message from our study is a little is better than nothing,” says Stamatakis od the research published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. “It highlights that a little physical activity can go a long way.”

Statamakis points out that for people who go from being physically inactive to even 10 to 20 minutes of brisk walking a week “the benefits are phenomenal” and include improved mood, musculo-skeletal function and a reduced risk of chronic disease.

This is significant given about 60 per cent of Australian adults do not meet the exercise guidelines and physical inactivity (low levels of physical activity) is the fourth leading cause of death due to non-communicable disease worldwide.

The more we move the better, but the important message is that however we get there, starting and finding something we enjoy enough to stick with long-term is the key to turning these grave statistics around, Stamatakis says.

“The study is very encouraging that there are many different ways to get the benefits from physical activity.”

[Original Article]

If You Are What You Eat, You Won’t Believe the Marilyn Monroe Diet

Marilyn Monroe diet

At the height of her career, Marilyn Monroe was undoubtedly considered one of the most beautiful women in the world. The curvaceous, full figured actress certainly represented the antithesis of the scary thin, androgynous models of today.

The drastic change in society’s view of female beauty over the past 50 years has coincided with an equally drastic change in diet.

Artificially made “health” foods, powders, bars, drinks, mixes and supplements take center stage instead of the basic, traditional and highly nourishing fare such as what Ms. Monroe preferred.

The September 1952 edition of Pageant magazine highlighted the Marilyn Monroe diet, which was comprised of extremely simple fare, written in her own words.

For breakfast, Ms. Monroe whipped two raw eggs into a glass of warm milk to drink.  Eggs and milk were her favored morning fare even while traveling and staying in hotels.

marilyn monroe

Dinners were equally nutrient dense. Instead of opting for the best restaurant food which she undoubtedly could easily afford, Marilyn would stop at a market near her hotel and select steak, liver, or lamb chops for dinner. She would even broil them herself right in her hotel room with an electric oven!

Ms. Monroe also especially enjoyed raw carrots and usually ate several along with the meat she had chosen for the evening meal.

For treats, ice cream sundaes were the favorite on the way home from her evening drama classes. No mention of any bread, cakes, cookies or pies.

A diet focused on nutrient rich animal foods with a notable absence of grain based and starchy foods was likely a key reason she only required light exercise to maintain her enviable figure. While this doesn’t work for every woman, it does for many, even a curvy one like Ms. Monroe.  She spent only 10 minutes each morning working out with small weights. Light jogging, yoga and horseback riding were other active pursuits she enjoyed.  No special trainers, heavy lifting or sweaty workouts of the day were a part of her life.

Does the Marilyn Monroe Diet Offer Any Wisdom for Today’s Generation?

There has been renewed interest in recent months in the Marilyn Monroe diet with the marking of the 50th anniversary of her death last August.

While many would find the very simple Marilyn Monroe diet unbearably boring and uninspired, the basic premise she followed was sound albeit controversial and perhaps even quirky for her day.

  • No processed foods with the exception of an occasional ice cream treat.
  • Minimal inclusion of starchy, grain based or sugary foods like bread, pasta, bagels, cereal, crackers, cookies or other refined carbs.
  • Frequent consumption of liver, the number one nutrient dense food on the planet and nature’s multivitamin.
  • Balanced exercise without undue focus on constant or excessive working out to maintain one’s figure and muscle tone or to overcome poor dietary choices. As Paula Jager CSCS, Fitness Editor for this blog is fond of saying, “You can’t outwork a bad diet!”  Clearly, Marilyn Monroe’s focus on simple, self prepared, whole, nutrient dense foods afforded her the luxury of not having to find this out the hard way.

Could women both young and old derive some helpful pointers in their own diet and lifestyle regimens through knowledge of the Marilyn Monroe diet?  I, for one, believe they could!  What about you?

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

How to Eat Like Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe’s Diet and Exercise Routine

How to Squeeze Workouts Into Your Business Trip

[Original Article]

Whether you love traveling for work (When else do you get a free hotel room all to yourself?) or hate it, one thing’s for certain: Traveling wreaks havoc on your schedule.

This is especially true when it comes to your fitness routine — when you’re trying to stay on top of emails between those all-day meetings and client dinners, it can be hard to find the time to work out.

The good news is, with a few key supplies and a bit of planning, you can easily bring your workout with you. Here’s your three-step plan for staying healthy on the road.

Pack the Right Tools

First things first: If you’re going to have any chance of exercising while you are traveling, you’ll need to have the right tools with you. Here’s what I always make sure to bring:

  • Attire: Start by packing your exercise outfit. That’s right — you only need one. Choose lightweight workout clothes that will dry fast. That way, you can hand wash them in the sink, and they’ll be dry by morning. Also, pack your running shoes (though sometimes, when I am trying to squeeze everything into a carry-on for a short trip, I just skip the running shoes and plan to do a yoga or Pilates workout barefoot).
  • Yoga Mat: Pack a thin yoga mat that weighs no more than two pounds and folds into a small square. It takes up hardly any room in your suitcase, and I guarantee it will be more sanitary than a hotel room floor.
  • Resistance Band: You obviously don’t want to pack weights, but a resistance band will allow you to do an endless number of strength exercises. A band with handles in a resistance that will challenge you will give you the most variety.

Make a Plan

Plotting out when you’ll actually fit in your workout (and what you’ll do) ahead of time is the key to making sure it happens. So, when you’re on the plane, take a few minutes to review your schedule and find time for your workout each day. Maybe you could hit the gym on a long lunch break between meetings, or, if you have a couple of days that are back-to-back, make time in the morning to go for a run before things get started. I encourage you to add it as an appointment in your calendar.

As far as what to do, there are more options than you might think while you are on the road. Check and see if your hotel has a fitness center or pool. (If not, you can always run the stairs; pretty much every hotel in America has a staircase.) If you’re a member of a large national chain gym, there might even be a location close to where you are staying. Or, if you’re a runner, try a scenic run and see some sights while you exercise.

If you don’t have access to a gym or are crunched for time, you can still get a great workout in your hotel room. There are lots of online video-based programs that you can do with just the internet. My site, Tailored Fitness, helps you build a workout that is tailored to your goals, schedule, and preferences, just like you’d build an iTunes playlist. Some of my other favorites are StreamFit, The Daily HIIT and My Yoga Online.

Be Active

If you feel like your daily workouts aren’t quite enough to counteract all that sitting you’re doing, try to incorporate extra activity in other ways.

For example, walk as much as you can. Rather than sitting and waiting for your plane to board, walk back and forth through the airport. On breaks or after your workday, explore the area surrounding your hotel on foot. And unless you are lugging your suitcase, try to take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator whenever possible.

A great way to track your activity and keep yourself motivated is to wear a pedometer or other activity tracking device, like Fitbit or Nike Fuel Band. Set a goal to reach 10,000 steps each day.

That’s it — a three-step plan to help you stay fit on the road. Just like any exercise routine, it will take some planning ahead and discipline, but keep the benefits in mind. Staying active will help you combat jet lag and feel better throughout your trip. Plus, when you arrive home, you won’t have missed a beat in your fitness routine.

Want to plan your workouts on the road? Try a free 30-day trial of Tailored Fitness. Sign up now or try a free workout (by clicking the link you agree to our Terms of Use).

Image: Psoup216/Flickr

This article originally published at The Muse here