Category Archives: Uncategorized

Coincidence? I don’t think so!

You may have seen this news story  about a couple who met at the gym. (If you haven’t check out this inspiring story.)   Couples meet at gyms all the time.   However these newlyweds met against the odds.  She is 98 and he is 94!  Is it a coincidence that they met at the gym?  Or is there a connection between the fact that they both exercise regularly and have the energy to start a new relationship in their nineties?

“People always ask what it is that keeps us young,” Mr. Mann said. “Of course, one part of it is medical science, but the bigger part is that we live worry-free lives; we do not let anything we cannot control bother us in the least.”

“Age doesn’t mean a damn thing to me or to Gert,” he said. “We don’t see it as a barrier. We still do what we want to do in life.”

Exercise has been shown to slow the aging process in everything from our muscles and brain and even our DNA!

For example, telomeres are the “end-caps” on chromosomes.  They shorten as we age as well as with certain health concerns such as elevated body weight, smoking and type II diabetes.   Studies have shown that they do not shorten as fast in people who exercise.  This discovery explains one way exercise slows the aging process in ways we can’t see by looking in the mirror.

These regular exercisers, slowed their aging process and thus are getting more out of life!  The bride was a two term mayor of their town at 71 years old.  The groom received his bachelors degree in history at 94!

Are they superhuman?

Are they just lucky?

Nope! They are fit!

 

Keep Moving, Be well,

Janet

 

Please share these posts with anyone you know interested in losing weight with or without weight loss surgery.  Click here to learn more about the UMass Memorial Weight Center

These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.

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by | August 15, 2017 · 8:19 pm

It’s summer! Stop trying, start playing!

Dive-in-WaterThe drive to work is easier this time of year; no school buses or crossing guards, less cars on the road and, with the exception of the seasonal road construction, it is pretty smooth and enjoyable.   I was thinking this morning how it makes up for the months of traffic headaches with ice, huge snow piles, and more vehicles in the winter months.

Life is dynamic.    The challenging times come and go. The enjoyable times come and go.  Its all normal.  It can seem like the challenges come more often and stay longer than the easy and enjoyable times though?  We are not just imagining things when life seems more challenging than enjoyable.  Our brain has a “negativity bias”. It is set up to look for what is wrong, could go wrong, or did go wrong, in order to keep us safe.  Rick Hanson puts it this way “negative thoughts are like Velcro, and positive ones are like Teflon”.

This effects how we approach exercise.  We try really hard to exercise away what is wrong with our bodies.  We try tricks to fix our low motivation.   We try to fit it into our already full schedules.  We try to push our body to be stronger, faster, better.    With all this trying to fix what is wrong we forget that movement itself has been a resource for celebrating life for all of time.  rwanda-1229760.jpg

Its summer! Time for taking it easy, resting, having fun, enjoying life a bit!   How about we stop trying with exercise and just enjoy moving?  Put on music and dance.  Play with kids.  Walk to discover a new place.

Three years ago I wrote this blog on the health benefits of play. Could it be that all this “trying” is leading us to miss out on the true benefits of moving – to enjoy life a bit more?  What would happen if we stopped trying and start playing?  Simply enjoy moving in any way, for however long, and as often as your body allows you to.  No rules, just move in a playful way.

It might be worth a try.  What we have been doing to “try” to move more has not been working. In the past 18 years the amount of people who get the recommended amounts of exercise has increased from 16% to 20%!  4% in 18 years!  No business would survive with that growth rate!  Could part of the problem be that exercise has become more about guilt, dread, pain, and fatigue rather than  relaxation, recreation, and rejuvenation?

Lets see what happens between now and Labor day if we simply think of exercise as a way to play and enjoy life more!

Enjoy Moving, Be Well!

Janet

Please share these posts with anyone you know interested in losing weight with or without weight loss surgery.  Click here to learn more about the UMass Memorial Weight Center

These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.

 

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by | July 5, 2017 · 6:34 pm

Resilience!

resilience

Some members of my family just returned from Haiti.  When I saw this picture I was just amazed.  It is impressive enough how people walk for miles and miles balancing heavy objects on their head. This woman is doing it with one leg!!!

Years ago I taught aerobics for people with disabilities.  I will never forget the woman  with a birth defect where the only limb she was born with was a left arm. I can still picture her in her wheelchair doing aerobics like nobody’s business!

Here at the Weight Center there are countless stories of resilience.  The images in the header above are just a few.  These are snapshots of success but in between I know were many days of challenges to overcome in order to get there.  cropped-keep_moving_banner_09-301.jpg

We all have our challenges.  Some days are much harder than others.  This is not meant to be an article to make you feel guilty when you skip exercise.  Just the opposite.  It is a reminder that resiliency only comes from our challenges.

When your life is limited by your body, it is a challenge.  It is those challenges, combined with a sense of purpose, that create resiliency. And resiliency is what it takes to keep moving forward.  We don’t move forward in one straight line.  We will have days the challenges win.  Resiliency does not come over night.  It is a gradual strength that only comes from being committed to doing the best you can at meeting your challenges day by day by day.

Keep Moving, Be Well

Janet

Please share these posts with anyone you know interested in losing weight with or without weight loss surgery.  Click here to learn more about the UMass Memorial Weight Center

These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.

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by | May 30, 2017 · 8:37 pm

Celebrating Well

walking-in-snowIf you are celebrating this month in some way – how do you celebrate well?  Meaning, how do you celebrate and still stay well – healthy, happy, balanced, active, nourished, rested, energized, calm?

The answers will vary with each person reading this.  I don’t have the answers, but you do.  What are you doing to maintain both your mental and physical well-being this season?  Take a moment to brainstorm all you or doing that works to some degree or another.  Make one section just on all the ways you move that makes you feel better.

Why?  First, because we can be so busy we don’t take time to appreciate what we are doing, only what we are not doing this season.  Second, because now you have a list of all the ways you can stay well this season.  When you start feeling out of balance, pull out the list and do one of those things to regain a sense of well-being.

That list of movements that work is a key part. When we are stressed, the body is preparing for movement.  Movement is an essential antidote to the stress response.  Sitting at the dinner table, at our desk, laying in bed, or in front of the TV stressed is only draining energy and health.  Something is definitely better than nothing here.  A quick 5-10 minute walk, stretch, dance,  a few weight lifting exercises… all great for lowering stress and regaining a sense of well-being this season.

Happy Healthy Holiday’s to all of you!  Enjoy!!!

Keep moving, be well,

Janet

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by | December 21, 2016 · 4:48 pm

21 Days to Change a Habit by Sherry Pagoto, PhD

Check out the latest article by  UMass Medical School’s Sherry Pagoto, PhD entitled:

21 Days to Change a Habit? Why it is not that simple.

Does it really only take 21 days to create a habit? This hopeful concept has sold a lot of books. But if it were true, we’d all be slim, avid exercisers, nonsmokers, and achieving huge work successes by next month. Instead, we muddle through on a much rockier road to behavior change…. Click here to read more of my latest post on US News and World Report.

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by | October 26, 2016 · 2:38 pm

Surgery Support Group

Reminder:

The surgery support group open to all UMass Weight Center surgical track patients is this Thursday 10/20/16 from 6pm to 7pm.  It is held in the Hiatt Auditorium in the UMass Medical School building.

This group is for patients before or after weight loss surgery and is held on the third thursday of each month from 6pm to 7pm.  Next dates:

November 17th, 2016

December 15th, 2016

No need to register for this group.

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by | October 18, 2016 · 5:46 pm

Exercise is Medicine

This New York Times article was sent to me by a patient – Thank you!

Below are my comments on certain parts of the article, and one very important clarification.

Of all the things we as physicians can recommend for health, few provide as much benefit as physical activity.

Absolutely!  Exercise is medicine! In the article he gives a link to study that looks at all of the most powerful research on exercise as medicine.  So the results are not just from one study but looking at the trend in a group of well-designed studies.  In other words – it is good, reliable information.  What did they find?

  • Improving stamina and strength is possible for those with a wide variety of different health concerns.
  • Exercise training is safe for those with disease when patients are guided by exercise professionals.
  • Exercise training improves the prognosis in many diseases.
  • In some diseases such as arthritis, pain symptoms are reduced.

For people (mostly middle-aged men) who had a heart attack, exercise therapy reduced all causes of mortality by 27 percent and cardiac mortality by 31 percent.

That means if you have heart disease and you exercise regularly you are 27% less likely to die from ANY cause and 31% less likely to die from a heart incident!  I don’t know how that compares to the benefits of the top cardiac medication – but wow!  That is like adding another powerful heart medication, with GREAT side effects.

ATTENTION all people with diabetes and concerned about complications of the disease.  Attention all of you worried about getting diabetes.  And a special shout out to those of you  trying to lower your A1c in order to qualify for weight loss surgery:

People with diabetes who exercise have lower HbA1c values, which is the marker of blood sugar control, low enough to probably reduce the risk of complications from the disease.

Does shortness of breath limit what you do in life.  Our body is a “use it or lose it” system and this is one of the best demonstrations of that:

Twenty randomized controlled trials have showed that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can walk farther and function better if they exercise.

I could go on with the benefits but I wont because the article gives great information about how powerful exercise is as medicine.

Many people will be surprised at how little you need to do to achieve these results.

This point cannot be overstated.  In popular media the tendency is toward a “prove-yourself, exceed” mentality with exercise.  It cannot be more clear -if  your goal is health – more is not better.  After a certain point too much exercise strains the body instead of heals it!  How do you know how much?  If exercise gives you energy and you are feeling stronger, you found the right amount.  Exercise is no longer medicine when we overdo it -exercise then becomes a sport or a hobby.  This is a very important difference.   Accumulating 30 minutes of movement bouts a day can do it.  That means that even if you cannot do 30 minutes all together, split it up into shorter bouts throughout the day- it is WAY better than nothing.

Here is the important clarification:

Moderate intensity is probably much less than you think. Walking briskly, at 3 to 4 miles per hour or so, qualifies. So does bicycling slower than 10 miles an hour. Anything that gets your heart rate somewhere between 110 and 140 beats per minute is enough. Even vacuuming, mowing the lawn or walking your dog might qualify.

This is where exercise recommendations can get very confusion and sap motivation.  

When finding the right level for exercise, it is much more accurate and reliable to listen to your body than how fast you are going.  This gets mixed up in the media so often. 

Moderate intensity means your breathing is comfortable to a comfortable challenge level.  If it feels uncomfortable, it is too intense and time to slow down.  As long as the challenge is comfortable for your breathing you are generally working in the right range for improving stamina with cardiovascular exercise.*  

Breathing measures what is actually happening in the whole cardiovascular system.  Heart rate only measures one piece of that system.  The numbers he gives above are too general to be worthwhile, so please do not follow that advice. Your body does not know how fast you are going, so don’t worry about it unless you are training for a competition.  If health and wellbeing are your goal, listen to your body!

Keep Moving, Be Well

Janet

Please share these posts with anyone you know interested in losing weight with or without weight loss surgery. Click here to learn more about the UMass Memorial Weight Center

*These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.

1 Comment

by | July 8, 2016 · 5:34 pm
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