June 20, 2012 – Last week I started to expound some five fat burning factors which include gender, genetic, exercise/activity, nutrition and muscle maintenance. The first three factors were extensively explained. Today, we shall dwell on the last two which are nutrition and muscle maintenance.
If you look at your personal health history, I am sure you can point to a time in your life when the weight just started to “creep” up on you. Whether it was an emotional or stressful trigger that started the number on the scale to climb or the hectic pace of life which caused your health to take a back burner position. The good news is that the body has an amazing forgiving and restorative nature and giving the proper foods, nutrients and condition, it responds positively in a very short time.
For some years, investigation has been ongoing on the issue of METABOLISM, which can be altered through various lifestyle and dietary changes. If you have difficulty losing weight, it is thought that you are one of the unlucky ones that have a “slow” metabolism leading you to a future of continued weight gain and weight loss struggles. If you have a “fast” metabolism you may be among the lucky few who can eat anything and everything they wish and never gaining a kilogramme.
I strongly believe that metabolism can indeed be increased with a variety of natural steps.
1. Do not skip breakfast: Your most active hours of the day begin in the morning and last till afternoon. At such times, your metabolism is active and so your system is likely to digest food easily. Metabolism is at it’s highest in the morning; then it gradually declines as the day grows older.
2. Eat more protein: Dietary protein such as beans,egg white, lean meat, chicken and fish are very good. More fat is burned and more weight is lost when you eat more protein.
3. Avoid refined grains: Products made from refined grains such as some breads, pastas, cakes, and pastries cause most people to over secrete the hormone, insulin. Insulin has the opposite effect of glucose.
4. Maintain a low glycemic index: Carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains (bread and pastas) and beans are recommended. Do not be scared of eating bread . Research have shown very clearly that whole grains are beneficial for weight loss and the prevention of type 11 diabetes, colon cancer and constipation.
5. Go for green: Instead of your morning coffee, opt for some green tea. Green tea has many health benefits, from helping to fight diseases to aiding in weight loss. Study shows that the antioxidants in green tea helps increase fat burning. Research also shows that green tea may lower blood sugars by inhibiting enzymes that allow the absorption of starch, and it may reduce the absorption of fat from the intestines. Take one to two cups a day.
As active young adults, most of us have a relatively high percentage of muscle that helps us in our daily activities . As we move into our 40s, however, we may start to notice some loss of muscle and strength as part of the ageing process .
After about 75 years of age, this decline accelerates. The good news is that there are actions you can take to slow this decline. The goal is to start as soon as possible and to continue as long as possible to make some activity and diet changes as not doing so can negatively affect your quality of life over time.
Muscle loss and strength occurs in all fitness levels but happens faster and with greater losses in people who are inactive. Starting from age 25, muscle loss can be 0.5%-1 % per year if not changed to stay strong. These challenges may not be large enough to be noticed initially .
Over time, however, they become more significant since muscle is related to calorie burning.
The first noticeable change is often gradual weight gain or greater difficulty maintaining body weight on the same number of calories.
Another change may be slower muscle recovering from exercise.
Beside affecting muscle, the loss of muscle and strength can cause changes on bones, ligaments, tendons, joints and system that support these body parts and decrease neuromuscular response. These can lead to impaired function and an increased risk of injury. For older adults, these can lead to loss of ability to live independently, owing to physical disability . If not checked, the loss of muscle and strength can cause a downward spiral in activity and lead to reduced muscle function which subsequently leads to less activity and so on.
Reduced muscle from loss of strength and/or inactivity can contribute to lower bone density because there is less mechanical stress placed on bone as a stimulus to remain strong. Both muscle and bone are also negatively affected by hormonal changes that occur with ageing . Hormones that contribute to bone and muscle building are reduced while factors that promote muscle and bone breaking down are increase.
Challenging muscle on a regular basis can help to counter some of these.
How to stop muscle and strength loss
One of the most effective ways to challenge muscle and stay strong is engaging in resistance type activities regularly. These activities need to be appropriate for the age and ability of the individual so that they are beneficial without causing muscle weakness or injury. A qualified exercise professional can provide good guidance.
Many people think that walking, swimming or other cardiovascular activities are the only activities they need for health and fitness. These do in fact strengthen the heart and the lungs, increase circulation to the brain, provide some weight bearing benefit to bone (unless the person has a low body weight) and assist with balance.
Resistance or other strength building activities are the ones that increase or maintain muscle mass and reduce the extent of muscle loss. Studies have shown that in older adults, this type of exercise can improve strength by 50% after six weeks if done two to three times a week.
Resistance exercises entails the use of hand and ankle weight, resistance bands, exercise machines and/or other exercise that target muscle strength .
Diet is also important in countering muscle and strength loss.
Protein is a major structural component of muscle.
Adequate intake of high quality protein, eaten throughout the day.
Although strength building exercise and adequate dietary protein individually promote more muscle, doing both can have an additional effect. Timing may also be important. Consuming a good quantity of protein immediately after doing resistance exercise appears to promote muscle better than waiting two hours or more after exercise to consume the protein. (article by Sharon Jane)