Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Relax and Your Body Will Thank You



I had the opportunity a couple of nights ago to have a chat with renowned personal trainer Pete Cerqua. I have been reading his book The 90-Second Fitness Solution and loving it! As I was speaking with him, there was one nugget of information that stood out to me the most and it wasn’t necessarily the fact he pointed out but the reason for it.

You will see greater results and benefit from a 30 minute walk once a week than an hour of running every day. Why? The psychological effect and the lack of STRESS that comes with the walking. When you go for a walk, you are calm, relaxed, you are outside taking in what is around you; it’s just plain pleasant. When you hit the pavement for a run you are on a mission and it has to be ‘x’ intense and it has multiple requirements (by us) and stressors that go with it (not to mention that running is stressful on the body and Pete actually has you make a ‘withdrawl’ from your ‘life balance’ sheet for it).

I also read some tips from Dr. Oz the other day and one of them talked about simplifying your daily routine and having the same ‘darn breakfast’ every day to make your life easier. Another point he made was that if you are NOT five minutes early to where ever you are supposed to be, you are late. Why are these points so imperative - the psychological factor and the stress that accompanies them takes a toll for better or worse. We all know how stress can affect us, but I don’t know if I have truly given stress the attention it deserves. We’ve heard about cortisol that actually helps our bodies retain fat when we are stressed. We also know that stress weakens the immune system (heavy stress actually depletes your body completely of white blood cells – and we need those to fight infections and disease!).  Stress leads to ulcers, migraines, inflammation, pre-mature aging! Yikes!

As I read and study, there is a constant conflict of information that is out there. Some people say High Fructose Corn Syrup is just like sugar and that there is no difference, while others say your body doesn’t know how to process it.  I wouldn’t doubt that for every study that Pete quoted, there was another study done elsewhere that had a different result. I’ve heard it recommended that our bodies need variety and we should have something different for breakfast every day! So what is right? I don’t have proof of this – this is opinion per Brittany – but I think what I’m about to say is pretty valid. What works for you, is what is best for you. BUT WAIT! Before you get all enthused, I have one caveat and that is you do have to make decisions based on good information, sound reason and logic and plain ole’ common sense and wisdom.  If you loved eating half a cake every night and felt just fine about it, you would still gain weight, if not balloon. When I spent two months in Europe and was eating out often, I didn’t gain any weight. I didn’t gorge when I ate, I exercised and I wasn’t worrying about food. The stress that comes with having to do something a certain way, it seems to me, is where the real problem lies. I tend to hang on to wait that I’m trying to get rid of when I fixate on eating and working out. I’m stressed!!

When I last met with Preston’s counselor, we talked seriously about picking and choosing battles and working on staying calm and asking myself,  ‘what is the main goal here?’ or “what is the point I am trying to get across?” The heart of the matter was me and my health and reducing stress. Getting all worked up over life, essentially, will put my health in a precarious position. I still discipline, and I still get frustrated, but I ask myself regularly – how much negative energy do I really want to put toward that?

One of the four main factors in Pete’s book is stress and I love the points and suggestions he makes. That is as a big of a factor on one’s health as what we put in our bodies and how we take care of them. Now go for a walk and enjoy the day!

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