Fairly new blogger here..but VERY enthusiastic lifelong fitness girl & writer!

Because Ii saidiwould

Welcome to my blog officially!

Thanks for reading, ‘liking’, and sharing comments. I am learning about bogging but have been writing for years. Simply put, I am out to change the world! I am still figuring out how to do that but I will. Life is too darn short not to, and I wake up every morning feeling compelled to do just that.

My thing is fitness & health. I really don’t remember this not being my thing. I grew up studying it and I still do, constantly. I LOVE learning and feel that I can learn from anyone at any age.

Feel free to check out my facebook pages as they have a lot of content – MKSuperSessions & Mary K. Ludlow – and please follow me on twitter: @MKSuperSessions; Instagram: MKSupersessions; check out my background and accomplishments on LinkedIn: Mary K. Ludlow, so that you know you are reading from a reliable source…very important! Again, welcome! Have a fantastic day! I started mine with a surf and a run—woohoo!

Everyone says sitting is the new smoking. How dangerous is it really?

Posted on July 15, 2014 by Stone Hearth News
Study after study has highlighted the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle that includes extended periods of sitting, and the catchphrase “sitting is the new smoking” has gained traction in the media and in popular consciousness.

Writer Jenny Hall asked the University of Toronto’s Greg Wells how bad sitting really is. Wells is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at U of T and an associate scientist in physiology and experimental medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children. His research is focused on developing new ways of treating disease using exercise and nutrition.

We’ve been hearing a lot in the media lately about the health threats of sitting too much. Is sitting actually that bad? Is it really “the new smoking” as we keep hearing?

The physical inactivity epidemic is causing all sorts of health problems. It is associated with almost every chronic disease on the planet, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The World Health Organization has stated that physical inactivity is one of the leading health concerns for the planet, and that it is closely associated with increased rates of non-communicable diseases. Non-communicable diseases are the leading cause of death on every continent except Africa. If it’s not the world’s number one health concern, it’s pretty close.

Is there any research on how much sitting is too much?

We know a couple things for sure. First, humans need to be vigorously active for at least an hour a day. A very small percentage of our society achieves that. Vigorous activity is something above and beyond just walking. Your heart rate needs to be elevated, and you need to be engaged in something that’s physically demanding for you. An hour of fast walking is an example of vigorous activity.

The other thing we know is that the more physical activity we can incorporate throughout the day, the better. This is because sitting is an independent risk factor. The more you sit, the worse your health is going to be. So in addition to getting the one hour of vigorous physical activity, the more you can intersperse physical activities like walking or moving or getting up to move around throughout the day, the healthier you are going to be.

When you say sitting is an independent risk factor, does that mean that even if you get the hour of vigorous activity a day, you’re still at risk?

Yes. Consider an office worker who’s going to the gym religiously for an hour a day. That’s great. They’ll be way better off than if they never did it at all. The message isn’t don’t do that one hour of exercise – it’s incredibly beneficial. We know that vigorous exercise decreases your risk of breast and colon cancer by up to 50 per cent. But sitting all day is still a problem in and of itself that needs to be addressed.

Are there any guidelines for the other kind of activity you talked about – the kind we should try to be interspersing throughout the day?

The best idea is to try to add short bouts of activity throughout the day. I use the 20/20 rule. For every 20 minutes of sitting, stand up and stretch for 20 seconds. Beyond that, within every two-hour block, try to find 15 minutes to do some activity, be it walking or stairs. Even just standing for a while is better than sitting down.

I tell people to stand up in meetings. If everyone else is sitting, find a spot to stand up in the back. If you’re doing a phone call, get up and do it with headphones while you’re standing.

Fifteen minutes of activity every two hours is a tall order if you’re in an office environment.

It is—until you begin to consider the significant damage that sitting causes. The other thing we have learned that’s emerging is the powerful benefit of physical activity for cognitive performance. We now know that physical activity and exercise activate the areas of the brain associated with memory, learning, problem solving and concentration. So an office worker might think they don’t have time to stretch and move, but I would say to them, you can’t afford not to. Not only is your health going to improve, but your performance is going to dramatically improve as well.

So there’s case to be made the physical activity is good for your brain, too?

Absolutely. I watched a documentary on Bob Marley recently. He has a reputation of being this pot smoking guy, but he was a relentless perfectionist. He didn’t let the Wailers play live until they’d practiced for two years. Before they went into recording sessions, he would make everyone play soccer on the beach. They would never go into play unless they had been exercising beforehand. Or, if you read Steve Jobs’s biography, he never did meetings sitting down. His big creative meetings were always done walking.

I think there’s a real sound physiology to these stories, and good rationale for incorporating physical activity into your day. You’re changing the way your brain works. You’re actually flooding the area of the brain that you’re using with oxygen and nutrients. It’s like flipping a switch. The fact that we try to do creative mental work sitting down goes against the way the body and brain are meant to work.

What actually happens in your body when you sit for extended periods of time?

The main thing is decreased blood flow. When you move, you push fluid through all of the tissues in the body. That is one of the main ways the body fights off illness, by pushing fluids through what is called the lymphatic system. You actually have two full circulatory systems in your body—most people don’t know that. You have your blood system that everyone’s aware of, but you also have the lymphatic system. Fluids moving through the lymphatic system are how the body catches viruses and bacteria and other invaders and filters them out and kills them. So the primary way to stay healthy is to get up and move. Beyond decreased circulation, you also get decreased flexibility and decreased nutrients supplied to muscles and the brain.

It sounds like stagnation.

It’s absolutely stagnation. Think about a fresh flowing stream versus water that sits. Sitting water becomes stagnant with low oxygen, and viruses and bacteria grow in it. There’s a similar effect inside the human body.

There do seem to be some parallels to smoking here if you think about sitting as a public health problem. A huge public health push—and some high profile lawsuits—in the latter part of the twentieth century changed cultural ideas about smoking. Does something similar need to happen with sitting?

We need intervention and education at every single level. We need to get physical education back in schools and to make sure that communities are built with sidewalks and parks. We need to make sure that cities get built so that people can ride their bikes. We now know enough that people should know better. I think it’s possible that employers could be held accountable in the future for not providing the opportunity for employees to be as healthy as they could be, given what we now know.

We need a tremendous push on education about the benefits of physical activity and the risks of inactivity.

Posted Tuesday, July 15, 2014
– See more at: http://www.stonehearthnewsletters.com/everyone-says-sitting-new-smoking-dangerous-really/sitting/#sthash.5YXmS2hZ.dpuf

How To Make Your Corporate Wellness Program Work

How to Make Your Corporate Wellness Program Work

By Jeff Hyman

There aren’t many companies that couldn’t use an extra million dollars. If you run a 1,000-person company, that’s how much you could be saving by instituting a corporate wellness program for your employees.

Studies show that two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese. A study by Duke University researchers reported that overweight employees are 13 times more likely to miss work, and that they are 50% less productive than their peers. Factor in the increased costs of healthcare for these employees, and the extra cost per overweight employee totals $1,500 per year. For a 1,000-person company with average obesity rates, that’s $1 million in extra expenses that could help profits instead.

This scenario sounds to me like an excellent reason to institute a corporate weight loss program. But many firms are still dragging their feet, costing themselves a lot of money and putting their own employees at higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and more than 60 other illnesses.

Just like a regular exercise program, simply getting started with a corporate weight loss program is often the hardest part. But if you don’t, you’re falling behind wellness leaders such as Google, Salesforce.com, Zappos.com and hundreds of other national corporations that have recognized the value of weight loss programs for their employees and their bottom lines.

So like a fitness instructor at the gym, I’m going to offer you some tips for getting your company on track:

Getting buy-in at the top: Nothing motivates employees more than seeing the boss lead by example. One of our corporate clients, Chemprene Inc. of Beacon, N.Y., is hoping this strategy pays off. Katie Sens, director of human resources who oversees more than 100 employees, recently told Employee Benefits News that she and her co-workers were inspired by their boss who lost 75 pounds. Sens then partnered with Retrofit. “Our boss is aboard, I’m in it, as are several other managers and their sponsors, hoping to lead by example,” she told the magazine. At companies where senior leadership shows a genuine commitment to wellness, employees often follow suit. In contrast, at companies where top executives only pay lip service to it, they send mixed signals to their staff and undermine the effectiveness of their programs.

Understanding challenges: There are many factors that impact company-wide health patterns. Are your workers mostly in front of computers all day, or do they have the opportunity to move around? Does your workforce skew younger or older? Are you in a cold-weather climate that limits access to outdoor activities? Does your cafeteria food – yes, the company cafeteria – feature high-fat, high-carb foods like pizza and cheeseburgers instead of salads and stir-fries? Encouraging people to take walk-around breaks, installing a company gym and overhauling the cafeteria menu aren’t expensive, but they are very effective at reversing obesity.

Being consistent in your commitment: Just like a New Year’s resolution, you can’t be so eager to make a quick decision to change your ways that you forget about next week. Once you implement a wellness initiative, stay on it. Communicate about the program on a regular basis. Put up posters. Send out emails or hold conference calls for far-flung workers.

Using both the carrot and the stick: A lot has already been said about using financial incentives to achieve wellness goals, and for good reason – employees respond to them. Under the Affordable Care Act, your company can contribute more to some employees’ health benefits than others, and this includes making distinctions between those who achieve fitness goals and those who don’t. So that’s a powerful incentive right there. You can also offer cash rewards such as gift cards for those who participate and reach their targets. Whether you penalize employees or reward them, using their pocketbooks to encourage a healthier lifestyle is a win-win proposition.

At Retrofit, we’ve found that another way to make weight loss programs work is to provide real-life support. Many corporate wellness programs rely solely on software packages and apps, or simple points-based systems to track progress. That’s a tough sell, and it’s ultimately a lonely endeavor. Much of wellness revolves around weight loss, and if you’re like most people, you know how challenging it can be to lose even a few pounds. Weight management involves complex human psychology as well as conscious and consistent food choices. Quite simply, it’s hard to do alone.

The approach we’ve developed combines great technology such as fitness bands and software with ongoing tele-support from coaches, psychologists and dieticians. We’ve found that when people form a relationship and make a commitment to another person, they’re much more likely to reach their wellness goals. Using this approach, the average Retrofit client has lost 9% of his or her body weight – a phenomenal achievement that we salute and applaud.

Corporate weight loss programs definitely work and they’ve been proven to help the bottom line. As healthcare costs continue to rise, and with the ACA’s Employer Mandate about to go into effect, it’s high time for companies to prioritize employee wellness – for the good of both the company and it’s most important asset: its people.