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Sunshine, outdoors, weight loss, lose weight Researchers have some simple advice for people trying to lose weight: set your alarm clock and head outdoors to get some early sunshine.

It might seem a little dubious, but a study published in the journal PLoS ONE found that exposing your body to light at the beginning of the day can lower your body mass index. Researchers from Northwestern University said 20 to 30 minutes of morning light was enough to affect a person’s BMI.

“The earlier this light exposure occurred during the day, the lower individuals’ body mass index,” said Kathryn Reid, one of the study’s author and research associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “The later the hour of moderately bright light exposure, the higher a person’s BMI.”

Just as people try to get more sleep to help them lose weight, manipulating light may be another way to drop a few pounds. Of course, eating healthy foods and exercising regularly are two of the most effective ways to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

“Light is a modifiable factor with the potential to be used in weight management programs,” Reid said.

The study included 54 people whose average was 30. They used food logs to keep track of their caloric intake while wearing wrist monitors that measured their light exposure and sleep parameters. The influence of morning light exposure on body weight was independent of an individual’s physical activity level, caloric intake, sleep timing, age or season, a news release states.

“Light is the most potent agent to synchronize your internal body clock that regulates circadian rhythms, which in turn also regulate energy balance,” said study senior author Dr. Phyllis C. Zee. “The message is that you should get more bright light between 8 a.m. and noon.”

Source: Northwestern University news release

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Bon Secours Weight loss institute, medically supervised weight loss program, nutrition and exercise based weight loss, success stories, weight maintenance, post-bariatric surgery weight loss, individual weight loss plans, personal training, personal trainersPatients who want to have the best results after having joint replacement surgery should try to shed any excess pounds they carry.

Although most patients who are overweight sincerely want to lose weight after joint replacement, research shows that an equal number of patients actually gain weight after hip or knee replacement. But those who were able to lose weight, fared the best, according to researchers from Hospital for Special Surgery. Not only did they see improvement in their joint function two years after surgery but also in their level of activity.

What’s uncertain is why some of the nearly 7,000 patients they followed tended to gain weight.

“Our findings represent the first report to present evidence that weight loss is associated with improved clinical outcomes, while weight gain is associated with inferior outcomes, although these results are really not surprising,” said Dr. Geoffrey Westrich, senior investigator and director of research, Adult Reconstruction and Joint Replacement at Hospital for Special Surgery.

The study looked at more than 3,000 knee replacement surgeries and nearly 3,900 hip replacement cases. The findings showed:

  • Seventy-four percent of total knee replacement patients and 84 percent of total hip replacement patients did not demonstrate a change in BMI following surgery.
  • Patients who underwent knee replacement were more likely to lose weight after surgery than those undergoing hip replacement.
  • Patients who were obese prior to joint replacement were more likely to lose weight than those who were of normal weight or overweight, but not obese.
  • Overweight or obese females undergoing joint replacement were more likely to lose weight than their male or normal weight counterparts.
  • Patients with higher preoperative activity scores were more likely to maintain their weight than to gain or lose weight.

Researchers considered a number of other factors to see if they were associated with a change in weight, according to a news release from HSS. These factors included patient scores on preoperative surveys to assess pain, stiffness, and physical function; whether the patient was discharged to home or a rehabilitation facility; whether or not the patient smoked; and co-existing health problems such as diabetes, hypertension and depression. None of these factors had an effect on weight gain or loss after joint replacement.

Those who were able to lose weight after knee replacement surgery felt much better compared to those who stayed the same weight or gained. For knee and hip and replacement patients, gaining weight lead to more pain, less function and lower activity levels.

“Based on our findings, as physicians, we should convey to our patients the importance of maintaining good health and an appropriate weight, and we should help them in any way we can to achieve this goal,” Westrich said.

Source: Hospital for Special Surgery news release

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youth fitness, healthy, muscleLower risk of diabetes and heart disease. Lower body mass index. Smaller waist circumference.

That’s what greater muscle strength can do for teenage boys and girls.

Not only do stronger teens have a greater level of cardiorespiratory fitness, but they also have a lower percent of body fat, according to a new study published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Researchers analyzed health data for more than 1,400 boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 12. They looked at their percent body fat, fasting glucose, blood pressure, plasma triglycerides levels and HDL cholesterol. What they found is that boys and girls with greater strength-to-body mass ratios had significantly lower risk for heart disease and diabetes.

The study contradicts a widely held belief that only high body mass index, low cardiorespiratory fitness and excessive sedentary behaviors are the primary drivers of cardiometabolic problems, a news release from the AAP states.

“These findings bolster the importance of early strength acquisition and healthy body composition in childhood,” the authors wrote.

Previous studies have found that low muscular strength in teen boys can be a risk factor for suicide and cardiovascular diseases in young adulthood.

“…this study bolsters support for strategies – including strength training or strengthening exercises – to maintain healthy BMIs and body compositions among children and adolescents, and that it supports the use of resistance exercise to supplement traditional weight loss interventions among children and teens,” the release states.

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics news release; Pediatrics

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saltFor those who are trying to decrease the amount of sodium in their diet, try taking a class on how to use spices and herbs in your cooking.

Many people are able to cut back on sodium on their own, but taking a class that focuses on reducing sodium in everyday meals may help you be more successful, according to research presented at a session for the American Heart Association.

In a small study of 55 volunteers, researchers discovered that people have more success in bringing down their sodium intake when they learn problem-solving strategies, how to use herbs and spices and how to monitor their diet. They also learned how to choose foods at the store, order in a restaurant and make low-sodium intake a permanent lifestyle choice as part of the study.

“Salt is abundant in the food supply and the average sodium level for Americans is very high — much higher than what is recommended for healthy living,” said Cheryl A. M. Anderson, Ph.D., M.P.H., lead author of the study and associate professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California San Diego. “We studied the use of a behavioral intervention where people learn how to use spices and herbs and less salt in their daily lives.”

“Given the challenges of lowering salt in the American diet, we need a public health approach aimed at making it possible for consumers to adhere to an eating pattern with less salt. This intervention using education and tasty alternatives to sodium could be one solution.”

Source: American Heart Association news release

+ Whether you’re an athlete or new to exercise and weight loss, learn how a Registered Dietitian can estimate what your body needs to perform at its best through the Nutritional Analysis program offered at Bon Secours In Motion.

+ Read more about losing weight and ways to lower the amount of sodium you ingest daily.

popcorn, Bon Secours In Motion, nutritional analysis, healthy, weight loss, snack,If you’re feeling a little lazy when to comes to eating healthy foods to help you lose weight, laziness may work in your favor.

Researchers have figured out that people are more likely to snack on foods that are closest to them – whether they’re nutritious or not.

They discovered this when they put apple slices in a bowl within reaching distance from a group of hungry volunteers. Another bowl, with buttery popcorn, was placed about six feet away – requiring people to get up and walk over to the bowl if they wanted some.

Although people often ate both snacks, they ate more of the snacks that were closest to them.

When popcorn was near, more popcorn was consumed, according to the study published in the journal Appetite. But when apple slices were near, more apples were consumed.

“Although participants rated the popcorn more liked than apples, the food that was placed closer to the participant was consumed most in the two experimental groups, regardless of preference,” the authors wrote.

So how can people apply this at home as part of their weight loss efforts?

The trick is to keep healthy snacks within arm’s reach. When you walk through your kitchen, make it easy to reach for a banana – not a bag of potato chips.

Source: Appetite

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healthy foodsWhen you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy diet, it’s essential to track your calories.

But how many of us keep count of how much protein we’re eating, and where that protein comes from?

A new study that looks at animal protein and cancer may change the way many Americans order their burgers.

Eating a diet rich in animal proteins during middle age can make you four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low-protein diet, according to a study published in Cell Metabolism.

Researchers say it’s a mortality risk comparable to smoking.

“The majority of Americans are eating about twice as much proteins as they should, and it seems that the best change would be to lower the daily intake of all proteins but especially animal-derived proteins,” said study author Valter Longo, in a news release from the University of Southern California. “But don’t get extreme in cutting out protein;  you can go from protected to malnourished very quickly.”

The research comes as many people look to high protein diets to help them lose weight and build muscle.

“Not only is excessive protein consumption linked to a dramatic rise in cancer mortality, but middle-aged people who eat lots of proteins from animal sources – including meat, milk and cheese – are also more susceptible to early death in general,” the news release states.

In the study, those who ate a lot of protein were more likely to die of any causes within the study period than those who consumed little protein. They were also several times more likely to die of diabetes, the release states.

The study also showed that our body’s need for protein changes as we age. People over the age of 65 who ate a moderate- to high-protein diet were less susceptible to disease.

The study’s findings support recommendations from several leading health agencies to eat about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day in middle age. A person who weights about 130 pounds should eat between 45 to 50 grams of protein every day, with much of it coming from plants such as legumes, Longo said.

Sources: USC news release, Cell Metabolism

+ Learn how to take control of diabetes through our counseling program at Bon Secours In Motion. We offer group and individual diabetes counseling sessions.

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Bon Secours InMotion Nutrition Experts recommend eating for energy.The Mediterranean diet has long been recommended for lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease among older people. Now, researchers say it appears to help young, working adults, too.

Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health found that the diet – which includes eating lots of fish, nuts, vegetables and fruits – helped a large group of Midwestern firefighters lower their risk factors for heart disease. U.S. firefighters are known to have a high prevalence of obesity and heart disease risk factors, according to a news release from Harvard School of Public Health.

“Our study adds more evidence showing the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, even after adjusting for exercise and body weight,” said Stefanos Kales, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health at HSPH.

Researchers studied medical and lifestyle data for 780 male firefighters who live in the Midwest. Those who adhered the most to the Mediterranean-style diet showed a 35 percent lower risk in metabolic syndrome – a condition with risk factors that include a large waistline, high triglyceride level, low level of “good” cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. These firefighters also had a 43 percent lower risk of weight gain compared to those who didn’t stick to the Mediterranean-style diet.

Additionally, obese firefighters drank sugary drinks and ate fast food more often than others.

“The study shows that promoting Mediterranean-style diets could have significant health benefits for young, working populations,” the news release states.

+ Learn how to take control of diabetes through our counseling program at Bon Secours In Motion. We offer group and individual diabetes counseling sessions.


new year, new you, weight loss, fitness challenge, hampton roads, Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Virginia BeachVisit any gym and you’re likely to hear about High Interval Intensity Training.

It’s the latest trend in fitness, promising fast results for people on a mission to meet their weight loss goals.

But before you jump into your first HIIT class, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is reminding people to approach this program – and all exercise – with safety in mind.

“The key to safe exercise is moderation,” said AAOS spokeswoman Dr. Letha Griffin. “Individuals shouldn’t be deterred from pushing their bodies to the limit because that’s how you build strength and endurance. However, pushing too far, too fast, leaves the body prone to traumatic injuries, such as sprains and even fractures.”

Dr. Griffin, who practices in Atlanta, said she treats patients for a variety of lower body injuries that are associated with extreme-types of exercise training workouts such as common knee injuries and tears to the patella tendon.

Easing into an exercise program appears even more relevant these days as the number of exercise-related injuries is climbing nationwide. In 2012, more than 939,700 Americans received medical treatment for hurting themselves while exercising – approximately 100,000 more people than in 2011, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

To reduce your risk for exercise-related injuries, the AAOS offers the following safety tips:

  • Extreme workouts are not for beginners. Start with a program of moderate physical activity— perhaps 30 minutes a session. If 30 minutes is too much in the beginning, break it up into shorter intervals. For instance, walk for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes later in the day.
  • Follow a schedule. Both new and experienced exercisers benefit from following a schedule. Set a weekly exercise schedule that includes days off – rest days. For example, you might exercise every other day, with 3 days off each week.
  • Embark on a balanced fitness program. A program that incorporates cardiovascular exercise, strength training, flexibility and balance training is preferable for optimal health and fitness. A balanced exercise program also will keep you from getting bored and lessen your chance for injury.
  • Warm up first. Run in place for a few minutes, breathe slowly and deeply, or gently rehearse the motions of the exercise to follow. Warming up increases your heart and blood flow rates and loosens up other muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints.
  • Stretch. Begin stretches slowly and carefully until reaching a point of muscle tension. Hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds, and then slowly and carefully release it. Inhale before each stretch and exhale as you release. Do each stretch only once. Never stretch to the point of pain. Always maintain control.
  • Use proper equipment. First, look for running or athletic shoes that provide good construction, shock absorption and foot stability. Also, make sure that there is a thumbnail’s width between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe. As 60 percent of a shoe’s shock absorption is lost after 250 to 500 miles of use, people who run up to 10 miles per week should consider replacing their shoes every 9 to 12 months. Also, wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes that allow you to move freely and easily release body heat. When exercising in cold weather, dress in removable layers.
  • Take your time. During strength training, move through the full range of motion with each repetition. Breathe regularly to help lower your blood pressure and increase blood supply to the brain.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink enough water to prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Drink 1 pint of water 15 minutes before you start exercising and another pint after you cool down. Have a drink of water every 20 minutes or so while you exercise.
  • Cool down. Make cooling down the final phase of your exercise routine. It should take twice as long as the warm up. Slow your motions and lessen the intensity of your movements for at least 10 minutes before you stop completely. This phase of a safe exercise program should conclude when your skin is dry and you have cooled down.

Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons news release

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Salty SixIt may not be just extra calories and a lack of physical activity that are affecting children’s waistlines. Parents may want to start watching how much salt their children consume in a day.

Researchers say there’s a link between salt intake and childhood obesity, but more study is needed. New research shows that most adolescents eat much more salt than recommended. High sodium intake correlates with fatness and inflammation, regardless of how many calories they consume, a study found.

“The majority of studies in humans show the more food you eat, the more salt you consume, the fatter you are,” said Dr. Haidong Zhu, a molecular geneticist at the Medical College of Georgia and Institute of Public and Preventive Health at Georgia Regents University. “Our study adjusted for what these young people ate and drank and there was still a correlation between salt intake and obesity.”

The study included 766 healthy teens. Only 3 percent met the American Heart Association’s recommendation to consume less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium daily. The study was published in the journal, Pediatrics.

The adolescents self-reported how much sodium they consumed daily. Most of them ate just as much sodium as adults – and sometimes even more.

High sodium intake has been linked to higher weight, possibly because it causes water retention. While the new study does not prove that salt causes obesity, it contributes to mounting evidence that high sodium could have a direct role in obesity and inflammation, Zhu and her colleagues reported. But more clinical trials are needed.

“Obesity has a lot of contributing factors, including physical inactivity,” Zhu said. “We think that high sodium intake could be one of those factors.”

Zhu said parents should encourage their children to eat healthy meals. They should choose fresh fruits and vegetables over French fries and processed meats and snacks.

“We hope these findings will reinforce for parents and pediatricians alike that daily decisions about how much salt children consume can set the stage for fatness, chronic inflammation and a host of associated diseases like hypertension and diabetes,” said study co-author Dr. Gregory Harshfield, Director of the Georgia Prevention Center at the GRU institute.

The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Source: Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University

+ Help a child learn healthy habits with the Bon Secours In Motion Youth Fitness Program. At Bon Secours In Motion, we promote physical fitness and nutritional education in a safe and fun environment.

stretch_yoga_muscle_soreness_Bon_Secours_In_Motion_Sports_PerformanceRenowned for its ability to improve balance and decrease stress, yoga apparently benefits breast cancer survivors by reducing fatigue and inflammation, according to a new study.

In fact, researchers found that the more the women practiced yoga regularly, the better their results, a news release from Ohio State University states.

“This showed that modest yoga practice over a period of several months could have substantial benefits for breast cancer survivors,” said Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, lead author of the study and professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University.

“We also think the results could easily generalize to other groups of people who have issues with fatigue and inflammation.”

Researchers recruited 200 women for their study. All of them had completed breast cancer treatments before the start of the study. Only yoga novices were recruited, the news release states.

After doing yoga for three months, the results showed that on average, fatigue was 57 percent lower in women and their inflammation was cut by about 20 percent compared to breast cancer survivors not doing yoga.

Researchers said they focused on breast cancer survivors because the treatment affects their ability to exercise.

“The treatment is so debilitating and they are so tired, and the less you do physically, the less you’re able to do,” Kiecolt-Glaser said. “That’s one reason we think there are higher levels of inflammation in cancer survivors, meaning that an intervention that reduces inflammation could potentially be very beneficial.”

Chronic inflammation is linked to several health problems including:

Women in the study who practiced yoga also reported sleeping better.

“Yoga has many parts to it – meditation, breathing, stretching and strengthening,” Kiecolt-Glaser said. “We think the breathing and meditation components were really important in terms of some of the changes we were seeing.”

Six months into the study, the women who did yoga continued to see health benefits: fatigue was 57 percent lower and inflammation was up to 20 percent lower compared to women not practicing yoga.

Sleep may play an important role in the numbers.

“We think improved sleep could be part of the mechanism of what we were seeing. When women were sleeping better, inflammation could have been lowered by that,” Kiecolt-Glaser said. “Reducing fatigue enables women to engage in other activities over time. So yoga may have offered a variety of benefits in addition to the yoga exercises themselves.”

Source: Ohio State University news release

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