Catching some Z’s: Why Sleep is Important

iStock_000000479476XSmallI don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed a lot of my nights seem to be getting shorter and shorter as time goes by. It seems like as soon as I fall asleep, it’s time to get back up and start a brand new day.

Most days, I’m excited to get up! But some days, it doesn’t feel like I’ve gotten enough rest. Sometimes I hit that snooze button to catch just a few more minutes of sleep before headed out.

Sound familiar? If you’re like nearly half of the US population, it might. A study by Gallup recently discovered that around 40% of all Americans aren’t getting a healthy amount of sleep. This means there’s a lot of drowsy people out there.

Sleep is VERY important when it comes to your health. Without it, we run out of energy, and our brains just can’t keep up with the world around us. Check out a few reasons why you need your beauty sleep:

Sleeping recharges your Brain – Have you ever had one of those days were you just can’t seem to focus? Or maybe you are presented with a problem, and you just can’t fathom how to even begin finding a solution. Sleep deprevation directly affects cognitive processing and decision making, meaning your brain is going to have to work extra hard just to keep up the more sleep you lose.

Sleep Helps your Emotions – Just like brainpower, your emotional well being is directly affected by the amount of sleep you get. You may notice that the more tired you are, the less patient and more irritable you become. Getting a good nights sleep allows your brain to reset and prepare for the coming day.

Sleeping fights Heart Disease – Your sleep is directly involved with repairs constantly being made to your heart and blood vessels. This means that the more time you have counting sheep, the more time your body has to make repairs. The less sleep you get, the higher risk you are to heart disease.

Sleep helps the Immune System – Your immune system responds to foreign dangers that your body encounters on a daily basis, keeping you free from the common cold and other ailments. When your sleep pattern changes, your immune system will start to react differently, making you more susceptible to these ailments.

Sleepiness makes you Hungry – Your sleep pattern helps maintain the hormones found in your body, which includes the hormones that tell your brain whether you’re hungry or full. The more sleep you get, the better blanced these hormones are, which means you’re going to be less hungry the more you sleep.

Do yourself a favor tonight: Go to bed an hour earlier than usual! Your body will thank you for it, and you will feel much better rested when morning comes!

Fitness – Do it for your Health

Bored, overweight man sits on the sofaTo some, fitness might be seen a hobby, or something to pass the time. It might be something a family member does, or even something you’re planning on doing in the future.

Have you ever noticed that the future always seems to be a week away? It’s always something that will get done eventually, when you have more time. When it’s more convenient. But we always seem to find time to catch up on that show we’re watching.

If you know me, you know I don’t like to sugar coat things. To me, the truth is always more important than lies meant to make us feel better, no matter how hard it is to hear.

So let me put it bluntly. Personal fitness is not something you can afford to delay for the future. Personal fitness is the first step of combatting an early death.

I do not say this lightly. The world we live in today is extremely tough for our body. We eat processed foods full of sugar and unnecessary carbohydrates. We lounge on our day off, and pour ourselves an extra drink after working in the yard.

If you’re not getting yourself to the gym, you’re putting yourself in danger many issues surrounding a stagnant lifestyle. Dangers that are much more inconvenient than a trip to the gym, I might add. Most of those who choose not to exercise are at a high risk without even knowing it.  Here are just a few of the big name issues you’re going to be facing:

Prone to Type II Diabetes – The more sugar in your diet, the more insulin your body has to produce. The more insulin your pancreas produces, the harder it works, which can lead to a shut-down and lead to Type II Diabetes. Sugar is found in many processed foods, in places you might least expect. Check out this trailer for Fed Up, a movie which documents how prevalent sugar is in our food.

Higher Risk of Heart Disease – Build-up of body fat means a build-up of plaque in your arteries, which means your heart is going to be working on overtime to get blood to your extremities. This means you’re going to have a higher risk of heart attacks, higher blood pressure, and discomfort with minor exertion.

Higher Risk of Stroke – Your heart isn’t the only victim of plaque in the arteries. Blood clots can form, which means your going to be at a much higher risk of stroke.

Sleep Apnea – When your body becomes overweight, you will begin to struggle for breath as you sleep. To breath properly as you sleep, doctors will sometimes prescribe a mask to wear at night which assists in breathing.

Prone to Gallstones – Your body is working at full capacity just to keep you functioning while you’re overweight. This means some parts of your body, like your gall bladder, are going to be working on overtime. Gallstones are made of cholesterol, and can cause some severe stomach and back pain.

There’s no way to pretend these issues don’t take their toll on your body. But it’s never hopeless. Even if you already have some of these issues, it is never too late to start making progress. At Boomer Fitness, we’re dedicated to making sure you have the knowledge and foresight to turn your life around and start making the healthy choices.

Give me a call when you’re ready to make the change, and we’ll set you up with a tour of the gym!

Superbowl Snack Aftermath, Part 1

iStock_000015504165XSmallWell, the game is over. The Patriots won a solid victory, and more importantly, the Packers are now undefeated for the 2015 season!

If you know me, you probably know I wasn’t such a fan of the Superbowl this year. But I know many of you were watching yesterday, and I’m sure there was plenty of buffalo wings, barbecue sauce, and beer to be had.

There’s nothing wrong with celebrating once in a while, especially at such a big occasion as the Superbowl. But after an event like this where we tend to go overboard on junk food, it’s a good idea to reflect on what we put in our body.

So what exactly did we eat this last Sunday? I want to take a brief look at some common Superbowl Foods that may have graced your coffee table this weekend, and give you an idea of what you were really eating this weekend.

Buffalo Wings – You don’t have to convince me! Buffalo wings are a delicious part of any Superbowl party, especially when you get just the right kind of sauce. But before you start preheating the oven, be sure to check the nutrition facts! Many store bought buffalo wings are extremely high in sodium and cholesterol, both of which aren’t too great for the heart Another thing to remember is in many cases, a serving size is as little as 3 wings (100 grams). How many wings did you have this weekend?

Potato Chips – No party, especially a Superbowl party, is complete without a big bowl of potato chips, right? While potato chips have become a staple of party food, they are also very high in fat and calories, leading to a higher risk of weight gain and obesity. Even one ounce (around 15 – 20 chips) of plain, unsalted chips have about 10 grams of fat and more than 150 calories.

Fried Foods – More generalized than the first two, but many parties serve deep fried foods to guests, and it’s likely many of you had something that made its way into a deep fryer. This can be anything from fried chicken, onion rings, jalapeno poppers… you get the picture. When frying foods, a lot of oil can get absorbed, which can contribute to weight gain, higher cholesterol, higher blood pressure… all leading to a higher chance of type 2 diabetes.

Beer – We all have our personal taste when it comes to flavors, but it’s a fair argument that a lot of beer is consumed during the Superbowl. It doesn’t help that the Superbowl has plenty of ads catering to beer consumers across the nation. While it’s true that occasional beer and wine consumption can be considered beneficial, excessive drinking can lead to heart disease, liver disease, and even pancreatitis. Don’t worry though, the occasional beer won’t lead you down the road to ruin. Just don’t go overboard.

High angle view of snacks and beer on a table for a football gameSo that’s enough doom and gloom. Hindsight is always 20/20. It’s easy to say “I should have” or “I shouldn’t have” when it comes to dietary choices, and many don’t look beyond mistakes they have made in the past.

That’s not what I’m about.  Instead of dwelling on prior mistakes, I know that it’s important to acknowledge how we’ve lived in the past, made the decision to change, and then move forward from here. It’s about making the conscious choice to do something differently.

This Thursday, I plan on taking a look at some flavorful alternatives, helping us ween ourselves off unhealthy foods and making wholesome choices. Most importantly, however, I want to explore how to make healthy choices without sacrificing taste and flavor. Make sure you check in to see how to escape the Postgame Superbowl Blues, and start eating right!

Top 10 Health Problems and Prevention

The US is in the midst of a health crisis! It is unavoidable that we all get sick at some time or another, but when it happens it’s always costly. It causes you to miss work and sometimes that can mean you forfeit income. And Medical bills add up and can create further strain on your household income! It definitely costs employers as well to not have you at work.

The good news is that many of the prevalent illnesses and diseases that affect US citizens are ones that can be avoided! How, you ask? By taking the correct preventative measures!

What Top 10 ailments that affect the US population?

Heart Disease

Heart Disease is by far, the most ruthless disease that affects Americans. It impacts 631,636 individuals per year and doesn’t discriminate between men and women. This disease is the leading killer of all American between the age of 35 and 65. Heart Disease costs the nation well over $290 Billion dollars each year! It is quite staggering to learn the Heart Disease kills more people than all the types of cancer combined!

Prevention

The risk of Heart Disease can be drastically reduced by:

Quitting smoking,
Cutting out alcohol and
Maintaining a healthy weight
Regular Exercise
Balanced diet.

Cancer

Cancer is the second greatest killer amongst Americans with it affecting 559,888 people per year. This includes all forms of cancer. Lung cancer is the leading form of this disease that affects both men and women. Women are also significantly affected by breast cancer

Prevention

Studies have shown that you are less susceptible to cancer if you follow a healthy diet, are regularly physically active and do not smoke. You can further reduce the odds by:

Using sunscreen
Attend regular cancer screenings

Stroke

Stroke (also known as Cerebrovascular Disease) impacts 137,119 Americans yearly. It is caused by problems with arteries that supply blood within or to the brain. It primarily affects those who have diabetes, smoke or have heart disease.

Prevention

Simply by altering your lifestyle, you can experience amazing results, with regards to reducing your risk of stroke and many other illnesses at the same time!

Give up smoking,
Exercise regularly
Maintain healthy food habits
Lose any excessive weight

Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases

Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases affect 124,583 people, within the population, each year. This disease damages the airways and lungs, making it difficult to breathe. The two main diseases that result from this are Bronchitis and Emphysema.

Bronchitis – Caused by the obstruction and narrowing of the airways usually caused by mucus.

Emphysema – Refers to the damage inflicted upon the air sacs within the lungs. This makes it increasingly difficult for the lungs to acquire required levels of oxygen.

Prevention

Cigarette smoking is the main culprit for Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases. The chance of falling victim to lung cancer also increases if you suffer from these diseases. It is shocking to learn that smokers are 12 times more likely to suffer from Respiratory Diseases than someone who does not smoke!

It is easy to see that the best way to avoid this type of disease is to:

Stay away from cigarettes
Avoid inhaling second hand smoke

Accidental Injuries

The main cause of this type of injury is caused by motor vehicle accidents. It equally affects men and women with 121,599 harmed a year!

Prevention

Vehicle accidents can be greatly reduced by doing the following:

Do not consume alcohol or drugs before or during the operation of any vehicle
Wear a seatbelt
Drive carefully and always be on alert

Diabetes

An estimated 72,449 Americans fall victim to diabetes every year! It is a condition where normal blood glucose levels cannot be maintained. This problem affects both men and women and can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, limb amputation and blindness.

Prevention

It is helpful to realize that this disease is greatly influences by our lifestyle. By making changes it can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. Even small changes can have a positive effect in reducing your risk!

Healthy eating
Active Lifestyle
Lose excess weight.

Alzheimer’s disease

This is a progressive disease that impairs the high brain functions such as thinking, personality and memory. Alzheimer’s disease strikes 72,432 Americans. The cause of this disease is mostly unknown but a link has been found between head injuries as well as heart disease.

Prevention

Reduce the risks of Heart Disease

Influenza and Pneumonia

To most healthy people, a case of influenza is something that is easily recovered from. However, for around 56,326 Americans the complications such as Pneumonia can arise.

Prevention

Good hygiene
Healthy Diet and Exercise
Vaccinations

Kidney Diseases

Kidney Diseases including Nephritis, Nephritic Syndrome, and Nephrosis, refer to the disorder where the kidneys are damaged and leak large quantities of protein. It inflicts 45,344 Americans and has been found that Kidney Disease can occur as a result of Diabetes or High Blood Pressure.

Prevention

Have your blood sugar checked regularly
Balanced diet
Physical activity

Septicemia

This condition is also known as blood poisoning. It is caused by the presence of bacteria within the blood that often accompanies sever infections throughout the body. 34,234 people suffer from Septicemia every year.

Prevention

Good hygiene practices
Seek treatment for any infection as soon as possible
Visit your doctor if you have come in close contact with someone with Septicemia

Start implementing healthy changes to your lifestyle today, and you will reduce your risks of so many of the diseases and health problems discussed today. Replace old habits with new healthy ones…and the new behavior will become second nature in about 30 days!