Posts Tagged ‘disease’
When Pushing to the Point of Failure is Just Too Much…
it’s all in your head
For those of you who feel that pushing yourself to the point of muscle failure is just too much sometimes, there’s another study out that explains that too. In this study, researchers found that the old adage, “it’s all in your head” is true in that, typically, it’s your mind that limits you from pushing to failure, not your body. It’s taken more than a century for scientists to figure this out, and to explain how your brain works in conjunction with your body to ensure that you stop exercising before physical harm develops—a key to overall improvement in your exercise routine.
The study, which is aptly titled: “Fatigue is a Brain-Derived Emotion that Regulates the Exercise Behavior to Ensure the Protection of Whole Body Homeostasis,” explains that the fatigue you may experience when exercising vigorously is a mental or emotional regulator mechanism designed to protect your body from excessive harm. It may sound strange, but the explanation they offer is actually quite sensible. The authors write:
“An influential book written by A. Mosso in the late nineteenth century proposed that fatigue that “at first sight might appear an imperfection of our body, is on the contrary one of its most marvelous perfections. The fatigue increasing more rapidly than the amount of work done saves us from the injury which lesser sensibility would involve for the organism” so that “muscular fatigue also is at bottom an exhaustion of the nervous system.”
It has taken more than a century to confirm Mosso’s idea that both the brain and the muscles alter their function during exercise and that fatigue is predominantly an emotion, part of a complex regulation, the goal of which is to protect the body from harm…the CNS [central nervous system] regulates exercise specifically to insure that each exercise bout terminates whilst homeostasis is retained in all bodily systems.”
Furthermore, the idea that your athletic performance is based purely on your body’s physiological and metabolic responses appears to be false, according to this research, because “subconscious and conscious mental decisions made by winners and losers, in both training and competition, are the ultimate determinants of both fatigue and athletic performance.”
…as the article suggests, our perceived physical limitations are often “all in your head”. So the question is, is it necessary to push past the point of mental toughness?…that depends.
What is your exercise goal?…to lose some weight so that you look better in those jeans? Simply to improve overall health? Improve your fitness so you can run a marathon?
It may not be apparent, but exercising for maximal health or training for maximal fitness are two distinctly different objectives…let me explain. While of course training for a marathon or any other specific activity that requires a high level of ‘fitness’ is much better for your health than being a cigarette smoking couch potato, it is often NOT best for maximal health…training at intensity levels required for a high level of fitness is often very hard on your musculoskeletal, adrenal and cardiovascular systems.
So for you exercise zealots, if you’re like me and simply enjoy training for certain levels of ‘fitness’, as long as you are not pushing through physical pain, injuries or chronic fatigue, go for it…I understand what it can do for your mind and that goes a long way. However, if you are pounding away the miles and pushing through that knee and hip pain, or making sure you get to the gym come hell or high water, all in the name of improved ‘health’, you may want to reconsider your approach.
Most of us would answer a resounding, “YES”! However I would beg to differ…
On first impressions, a walk through your local grocery store seems to back up this claim …cheap, processed foods in every aisle and only small sections of fresh foods that are comparatively expensive.
However, while our food system is great at delivering sheer calories to the masses, it falls well short when it comes to supplying the specific nutrients everyone needs. In fact, research shows that it doesn’t even produce enough fruits and vegetables to supply every American with the recommended minimum daily number of servings of these essentials. Put another way, there aren’t enough whole foods to go around.
According to a study published in the journal Health Affairs, for the average American to change their eating habits to meet the governments recommendation for potassium alone would cost an extra $380. Getting enough Vitamin A and D costs another $255. Conversely, for every 1% increase in calories consumed from saturated fat, food costs drop $0.28 per meal. And for every 1% increase in calories gotten from sugar, you’ll save $0.07 per meal. No wonder so many people are eating junk, getting fat, and falling ill. All of this information seems to support the argument that eating healthy is too expensive for the short term budget…or not?
There are ways to eat healthy without resorting to a life of crime!
• Cook at home! The average American eats out 4-5 times per week. Even making the best choices at most restaurants is not nearly as healthy as a well planned meal at home, and will be much cheaper.
• Get a freezer…being able stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables while they are in season is a lot cheaper. The savings will pay for the freezer in no time.
• Shop in season…don’t eat apples in the summer or strawberries in the winter
• Focus on “super foods”…here are a few:
o Tumeric and other herbs and spices
o Wild salmon
o Raw nuts
o Pastured, organic eggs
• Grow your own…it’s as cheap and as healthy as it gets!
• Plan your menu, make a grocery list and don’t shop when you are hungry!
• Make soup from leftovers…you can do this with virtually anything!
Also, keep in mind the long term costs of eating unhealthy…health care costs the typical household $12,000-$15,000 per year! This is an estimate of the median cost of health care for households in this country, including all insurance premiums, employer contributions, co-payments, Medicare and Medicaid taxes and everything else. 80% of all health care is reactive…meaning it can be avoided by making better choices.
So, is eating healthy really that expensive???
Despite the fact that the average American lives into his or her late 70s, the United States ranks only 50th on the CIA’s life expectancy list. This is largely due to advancements in medical technology…this sounds good on the surface and in some ways, it is. However, these advancements haved evolved largely to deal with our nations growing disease epidemic…take more drugs to make us feel better…take even more drugs to compensate for the side effects of the other drugs, etc., etc..
What is attributed to the prolonged life expectancy of the top 10 countries?…physical activity and nutrition!