by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
Your target weight looks and feels great. The health benefits are many and growing. Here are additional motivators, just recently discovered, to hit your ideal weight and stay there …
As if you needed more motivation to be at a healthy weight, researchers have gone and done it again. Along with the oldies, there are some new goodies:
Boost Your Brain Power
Exercise improves the mind as well as the body. Challenge both with a fitness form that synergizes these two aspects of your being. Programs that incorporate yoga, T’ai Chi, Pilates, and other movements that require deep concentration and mental solitude are ideal. Learning a new routine or method, such as sashaying across the floor in ballroom dancing or busting a Zumba move, require focus on the moment. This is therapeutically meditative in its rhythmic approach.
Tired of searching for missing keys, or surfacing the name of a recent acquaintance? New research indicates shedding excess weight can improve memory function. Stop getting a workout by hunting for misplaced essentials. Save your energy for a real sweat session at the Center.
Reduce Arthritis Pain
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 46 million adults in the United States have arthritis. By 2030, the number suffering from arthritis is expected to hit 67 million. Studies prove that weight loss decreases pain associated with arthritis and improves overall function.
Obesity is a major risk factor for arthritis of weight-bearing joints, such as the knees and hips. Those with arthritis exacerbate their condition if they are overweight, which can intensify symptoms and increase progression. Beyond joint pain, a recent study of individuals who lost an average of 90 pounds after bariatric surgery found foot pain dropped by 83 percent.
Stop Type 2 Diabetes
Losing excess weight can diminish the impact of Type 2 diabetes, a disease that is often triggered by obesity. Recent studies have proven the strong connection between weight loss and controlled symptoms of Type 2 diabetes. In as little as seven days, some study participants (in a severely calorie-restricted diet) were able to obtain normal blood sugar levels and insulin secretion activity. Dropping the pounds can help reverse your condition and avoid related health complications.
Two nationwide surveys completed by the CDC indicated 52 percent of people ages 45 to 64 who have diabetes also have arthritis. Almost 28 percent of those ages 18 to 44 with diabetes also have arthritis. Weight issues possibly link the two, which means exercise can multitask in helping both!
Stifle the Sneeze
Being overweight is shown to significantly exacerbate allergies and asthma. According to Michael Wald, MD, an integrated medicine specialist in Mount Kisco, NewYork, excessive body weight strains the adrenal glands, which manage asthma and allergy conditions. With excess weight, the respiratory system also needs to work harder. The strain can increase asthmatic symptoms, especially on lungs that already struggle with this condition.
Get a Glow
The same poor diet that contributes to weight gain and obesity can also affect complexion. Diets high in carbohydrates, sugar, and unhealthy fats (greasy foods) can cause skin pallor, tags, and breakouts. Puffiness results from retaining water, which can be attributed to a high-sodium diet. Dark under-eye circles can signal iron or protein deficiencies, or even diabetes.
A healthy workout can clear pores of impurities while helping you lose excess pounds. You’ll radiate from the inside out.
For more on this, see “Exercise Gives Your Face a Lift” (May 4, 2011) at www.fitnessandwellnessnews.com/fitness/exercise-gives-your-face-a-lift.
Sleep apnea can be a life-threatening condition that disturbs sleep on a regular basis. A recent study performed on those suffering from sleep apnea and diabetes proved weight loss decreased sleep apnea symptoms. The weight-loss group’s sleep apnea symptoms were cut in half, which meant more energy and less risk of suffocation during sleep. (That thought alone exudes energy!)
A frequent exerciser knows the benefits fitness can have on that time of month. A consistent workout helps eliminate fatigue, irritability, bloating, and cramps associated with menstruation. When carrying excess weight, fat tissue contributes to hormonal imbalances, exacerbating PMS symptoms. Losing some of this tissue overload can have favorable results on the menstrual cycle.
Hormones, in general, are affected by the body’s fat content. When your weight is off, your entire being could be out of balance– physically and mentally. Trends are in progress to prescribe exercise to treat this imbalance, so much is the effectiveness of exercise on depression.
Many overweight individuals suffer from depression. A vicious cycle, this depression prevents them from taking the necessary action to improve their physical well-being and experience weight loss success. Although medication and talk therapy are often helpful treatments, a consistent exercise program, with the goal of losing excess weight, can have a multitude of benefits, including improved self-image.
Prepare to Lose Weight
If your bathing suit didn’t quite provide the catalyst for dropping pounds this summer, let a better night’s rest or an allergy-free fall be your motivation. However, before you can gain these weight-loss perks, you must remain steadfast on the fitness track. Avoid detours that take you through Candy Land and TV Land. When a diet conundrum appears, be prepared.
It will come in the form of an unexpected late meeting with your boss, a mid-afternoon yawn-a-thon, or insatiable hunger. Know your personal eating weakness, and plan for it. If stress triggers it, pack a salad or hearty snacks to take care of yourself during an overloaded day. You’ll have more energy to deal with issues as they arise.
Many diets have joined candy bar wrappers in the trash bin as a result of that post-lunch slump. Don’t be fooled. Gooey pastries, nacho chips, and sodas–all the stuff of afternoon binges– only encourage your need for a siesta. Plan a midday brisk walk around the building or a large glass of ice water. Enjoy a piece of citrus fruit. And, if you have to succumb, make it a piece of dark chocolate. A little piece goes a long way, and with a heart healthy boost.
When vigorous exercise or raging hormones have you trying to appease a voracious appetite, take advantage. Eat all day long, if you must. Small meals–of nutritious foods– throughout the day have health advantages, including help at weight loss. Choose foods that are filling, such as whole grains, beans, and high-fiber snacks. High protein content usually provides long-term satisfaction.
Reap the Rewards
The Center’s nurse can help determine your ideal weight. Share this information with a Group Fitness instructor or personal trainer to create an exercise program that is safe and effective at helping you achieve a healthy weight.
Losing weight has challenges. Maintaining the loss takes continuous effort at a healthy lifestyle. If the countless health benefits of shedding excess pounds didn’t already get you into those skinny jeans, maybe an added bonus like improved memory will jog you into action.
“8 Surprising Health Reasons to Lose Weight,” by Wyatt Myers at www.everydayhealth.com.
“Dealing with Weight Loss Pitfalls,” by Paige Waehner at www.about.com.
“Two for One: A Do-It-Yourself Strategy for Handling Both Arthritis and Diabetes,” HealthMonitor, Paula Dranov, winter 2010.
Surprised woman on scale (introductory photo): www.flickr.com/photos/45688888@N08/5867919323/