Branding a person to be as fast as a computer is not a common citation and these individuals stand out of the common lot. Very rarely we come across individuals who can remember names of 100 different countries, their capitals and even their location in the map. With the evolving of smartphone technology there are not many of us who even remember phone numbers of our parents! Calculators for mathematical calculations, apps to remind us of our chores and social media to help us wish dear ones on their special days have left us stranded in terms of memory and thinking. Though the human mind is said to be faster than a computer and we have examples of the mathematical wizard Ms. Shakuntala Devi to prove this how many of our kids or younger adults are aspiring for such a stature in life?
Misplaced Thinking Caps
Forgotten how to think by yourself? Let go of all the available extra forces outside, believe in yourself, sit in solitude and think. You are sure to discover a new you. Exercise has been recommended for a healthy body but isn’t overall wellness the total output of a healthy body and a healthy mind? C’mon, start exercising for turning into a new leaf who is now equipped with the ability to think. While exercise helping in cognitive improvement has been a topic of interest in older adults (to prevent early attack of diseases such as Alzheimer’s) we are not focusing much on its impact on the younger generation. Stave off cognitive decline in old age with many other techniques shared at www.firsteatright.com. Regular aerobic exercises such as walking, cycling or climbing stairs have been proven to improve cognitive skills of not only older people but also in those as young as 20 years or so, according to a latest research.
We have a term to collectively call the specific set of thinking skills that improve with exercise and that’s executive function. Executive function helps an individual regulate his/her own behavior, be more attentive and fulfill goals. The research showed that regular exercising not only improved executive functioning but also increased thickness in an area of the outer layer of the brain. The study involved 132 participants aged between 20 and 67 years who did not suffer from dementia, did not smoke but also did not exercise as a result of which they suffered from reduced fitness levels. Each of the participants were put into one of the two groups-aerobic exercises or stretching and toning four times a week.
Each of the participants were given a wearable fitness device that monitored their heart rate. Coaches were assigned to monitor weekly progress, the participants’ cognitive and memory skills were evaluated at the start of the study, three months after the study and at the end of six months too. Aerobic exercises included anything between stationary cycling, treadmill walking or exercising on an elliptical machine. Those in the stretching and toning group performed exercises that promoted flexibility and core strength. It was seen that those who performed aerobic exercises improved their scores on executive function tests by 0.50 points whereas those involved in stretching and toning improved only by 0.25 points. Around 40 years, the thinking skills were almost 0.228 standard deviation units higher in those who performed aerobic exercises compared to those who stretched. At the age of 60, it was 0.596 standard deviation units higher. Every 0.5 difference in standard deviation was equivalent to 20 years of age-related difference in performance. Those people who exercises showed as if they were 10 years younger at the age of 40 and 20 years younger at the age of 60.
Exercise shows benefits on adults belonging to any age group. Prepare your mind for reminding your body to exercise. Only when there is a coordination between the mind and the body do we get to see the actual action happening.
Just like how sugar and salt are commonly found in our kitchen for cooking purpose diabetes and blood pressure are commonly present in many individuals’ body these days. Diabetes is growing into a public health epidemic. Besides the affected individual taking ample care of his/her health needs and leading a disciplined lifestyle by eating a well-balanced diet there are some things that are ought to be followed by health specialists and other people around to make the individual feel secure and at ease.
Exercise is Good but Not at the Cost of Health: Time and again we have heard physicians recommend patients with elevated sugar levels to never miss out on regular physical activities such as walking or yoga as these help in controlling glucose levels. Often we have also heard diabetics comment that they could see a rise in sugar levels even when they miss out on a couple of days of activity. But before doing any of these it is essential that the patient gets a green signal from the doctor to engage in physical activities (especially when it involves more than walking or moderate-intensity activities) as this protects the patient from suffering dire consequences.
Resistance training is recommended for many people as it increases muscle’s sensitivity to insulin thereby allowing them to consume more glucose. Besides cardio training resistance training exercises show potential benefits in lowering blood-sugar levels. Reputed diabetes associations and organizations recommend that diabetes patients perform at least two days of resistance training exercises along with other exercises to activate all major muscle groups. Also, instead of working out at a stretch it is much more effective on glucose levels when the individual does short bouts of exercise at regular time intervals. A study even showed that three 10-minute walk sessions lowered blood glucose levels significantly more than one 30-minute exercise session and this effect was seen more during dinner when maximum carbohydrates was consumed and also individuals are mostly sedentary.
Keep a Constant Watch on Blood Glucose Levels: Exercise can cause rapid changes in blood glucose levels which brings in the need to monitor blood glucose levels before, during and after exercise to avoid future complications. A fall in sugar level below 100 mg/dL or rise above 300 mg/dL or 250 mg/dL is an immediate indication to stop exercising. Patients must also monitor their blood sugar levels in a few hours following exercising to avoid post-exercise hypoglycemia as the body would be increasingly susceptible to insulin.
Exercising is a great way to instill the information in clients that there are other efficient ways to combat diabetes apart from medications. To help them realize exercise’s effectiveness, the patient can maintain a blood sugar log noting down pre- and post-exercise glucose measurements. Exercise also improves the patient’s mood and energy levels which exists as yet another motivating factor to track glucose changes and take up exercising.
Don’t call a Diabetic a Diabetic: Though people realize and accept that they have diabetes none like it when someone brands the person or calls him/her a ‘diabetic’. When we brand people in such a way it seems like we are indirectly telling them that they are not capable of change and would remain like that forever. But when we call someone as a person with ‘type 2 diabetes’ it sounds casual something equivalent to calling a person ‘with fever’. These terminologies might sound casual but it does greatly affect the one with the disease motivating or demotivating him/her to take action or manage the disease with lifestyle changes.
When we understand the small nuances of tackling diabetes patients we are creating greater opportunities for their speedy recovery and also paving the way for a healthier lifestyle. With such encouragement and positivity there is every chance that these individuals can manage or reverse diabetes. If you suffer or you know someone suffering from diabetes it is better to visit a reputed nutritionist/dietitian at www.firsteatright.com who can help you with a practical, daily diet plan and exercise schedule for treating diabetes.
The cells, tissues and organs are what make our body but it’s our likes, dislikes, opinion, persona, character and attitude that makes us the human beings we are presently. We all come with a predefined set of characteristics and tastes that we finetune to accommodate other people’s interests and wishes. In this process of finetuning it is very much important that we don’t lose our identity as our tastes are what makes us X, Y or Z rather than belonging to a cluster in general. Such tastes and preferences are what attracts certain people to certain others while choosing friends, business partners and life partners. The food we like, the wine we choose, our political views, the idea of a romantic relationship, our perspective on life and the care and love we show towards other people strongly represent our identity-all these are what makes other people choose us over someone else, believe in us and fight for us through thick and thin of life.
Our tastes evolve with us. If you think deeply, there was a time when you were crazy about collecting the prized toy in the Kinder joy chocolate but now you have outgrown it; the burning desire to collect all superman figurines was the top priority in your 10th year; your love for Lays and Kurkure was never-ending; Mommy loved to dress her son as a girl child during his second or third year of life; you could identify every car model in your primary years at school; every kid wanted to become a teacher or a doctor when he/she grows up and so on. Some of them have obviously changed while your love for some others remains unmoved and has only grown more passionate with time! Most important of all, when we realize the magnitude of such changes we await with surprise for the changes that the future holds for us. Life is full of surprises and we wouldn’t want to throw in any more surprises by bringing in drastic changes to our preferences and choices. It is better to realize that though we might stick with our ideas we cannot decide for our preferences for a lifetime as novelty is a concept that’s sure to change our tastes and preferences irrespective of whether or not we like them. Don’t you feel good wearing the latest dress that’s in fashion? We definitely would like to purchase the latest model smartphone, upgrade our phones to the latest app updates and also wish to purchase those things that have the latest technologies and features. At the same time, we are also comfortable with familiarity which in turn becomes a habit. For instance, we choose to sit at the same table when we revisit a restaurant, prefer to take the same route despite other short cuts available and prefer to bring up our children in the same way like our parents nurtured us. Drinking beer or alcohol for the first time can bring in different feelings and questions simultaneously to the mind-Is this crazy stuff is what people are behind after all? Music too has the same effect-listening to a song for the first time might not invoke pleasure to our senses but when we play it repeatedly it might even become our all-time favorite!
Unity in Diversity
It stands on one side that our tastes differ but how willing are you to accept the fact that someone has exactly the same taste as yours? In reality, while a 100% mirror image is impossible there are multiple chances that you see someone wearing the same dress as yours, having answered a question in a similar manner or loves the same musician, actor or even sportsperson. Doesn’t it again depend on the person who is having these same views as yours? Individuals don’t feel bad to copy or even follow tastes and preferences of those people in the higher status. When those of the upper class do something, it is only right to follow and if these people reject some preference again, its only right to unfollow it.
People’s choices also depend on who exactly they are. Some love individuality and keep choosing things that they really love, some are simply followers and love walking in the footsteps of other people-when others around them do it, they follow suit and some are in between-they have their own choices and also like to sometimes pursue those things that other people do. If you wish to be unique there is always the stress of not getting into the group! Are you one of those people who wishes to stand apart from the rest of the crowd? Do you ask for unique styling choices and rare makeovers that others don’t choose? Do you wish to ride a bike over a Scooter despite being a woman? When we dig deeper, we find that most of our actions are governed by hidden biological forces that prove that we have little or no control over our personal tastes.
Realizing the Genetic Makeup of Your Body
We feel that we decide upon our choices but science feels that our behavior and choices are decided by our genetic makeup, factors in the environment that affect our genes and by genes that reside in our body due to the action of microbes within us (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/08/why-we-like-what-we-like-a-scientists-surprising-findings/). While it does sound bizarre thinking that our choice of ice cream flavor or favorite color is already inbuilt in our body there is scientific evidence backing it! People generally don’t like vegetables and hate those such as bitter gourd, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Researchers have found that almost 25% people hate broccoli not because they choose to hate it but because they are supertasters. Each of us have variations in genes that develop taste bud receptors and one of the genes, TAS2R38, brings bitter chemicals such as thioureas abundantly present in vegetables such as broccoli to the forefront. A supertaster’s taste bud receptor registers broccoli as a bitter vegetable and such a person avoids eating it even during the hardest of circumstances.
We find ourselves attracted to people who are strong mature, bold and confident. If you penetrate deep into your thoughts, these are all signs of fitness and health and traits that all of us would love to pass on to our next generation. Scientists in fact say that each of our traits and behaviors have a genetic background. This does not confine us to the whims and fancies of our genes but we can indeed modify our attitude and behavior with constant revisits. Also, the advent of gene editing brings upon us a plethora of possibilities which includes revisiting our genetic instructions too. There are thousands of opinions and traits sketched in our genes but it’s the environment and our experiences that decide which are the traits that see the limelight. Our parents, the environment and our school define our likes, dislikes and traits. Certain personalities are inbuilt within us but some others are nurtured by such factors. It ultimately depends on us to identify worthy traits, nurture them and mold ourselves into good humans who live with a definite set of ideologies, characteristics and choices.
Why You Like What You Like: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-you-like-what-you-like-73470150/?all
The Secret of Taste: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jun/22/secret-of-taste-why-we-like-what-we-like
One exercise that has remained unchallenged since the evolution of mankind is none other than walking. Suitable for people across age groups, befitting the needs of individuals suffering from ailments and the safest activity for pregnant women, walking benefits every man and woman living in this Earth. Pregnancy brings about a cascade of changes in a woman’s body impacting her mood, appetite and energy, and walking is the foolproof way to improve circulation, build stamina and help the pregnant woman stay fit as the baby grows bigger and bigger inside.
Break the Shell
Been living a sedentary lifestyle or too busy to exercise until now? Throw away your lame excuses and start following a disciplined exercise schedule until you are advised against it. Before starting any program, discuss with your physician and get his/her approval while understanding the maximum duration and intensity of exercise your body can withstand. Any time in your life when you start exercising, start slowly, proceed gradually and change your activity levels depending on your body’s reaction. Walking is the best activity for both mommy and baby.
Leg Resistance: Weight gain is inevitable during pregnancy and it might be considered as essential too (until it is a healthy weight gain). As weight gain happens, muscles strengthen automatically to carry the extra weight without the aid of lifting weights. While other parts of the body benefit from natural strengthening, strength of leg muscles depend purely on the amount of physical activity done.
Flexibility: None is ignorant of the fact that joints and muscles pain are prominently present among older people as they age. This is due to decreased activity and movement. Our muscles and joints remain flexible only when they are constantly used and subjected to some kind of movement. Walking helps every pregnant woman maintain overall body flexibility and your leg movements help to keep your hips flexible too. Hips play a pivotal role during childbirth and strong hips that are flexible make it easier for the pregnant mom during labor.
Permissible Weight Gain: Physicians recommend different weight gain ranges for pregnant women depending on their current body weight. To check your eligible weight gain limits, you have to simply log on to www.firsteatright.com. The different permissible ranges and the type of foods and snacks that help you stay within your desired ranges are also shared. In general, it is normal for a woman to gain anywhere between 8-12 kilograms but there are a few of them whose weight gain surpasses all upper limits. Walking helps to regulate your metabolism and burn calories efficiently. Even if you are not walking briskly, it helps to burn calories, but metabolism regulation is absent. If possible, a pregnant lady can try to walk as briskly as possible, choose a slightly hilly path or do squats (20 times) every 5-10 minutes in between her walking session to unlock complete benefits. Remember to do all these only after permission from your physician and only when you feel comfortable doing them.
Hormone secretion: A pregnant woman experiences different emotions simultaneously-she is surrounded by feelings of joy, happiness, excitation, worry and fear throughout her term. Exercise results in endorphin (hormone) secretion which helps to minimize stress and keep the pregnant woman focused with a positive attitude. Walking has been proved to particularly increase endorphin production. The breezy air, the warm sunshine and the surrounding greenery is sure to take off any stress within you and keep you at peace.
Habit for a lifetime: Practicing walking as an exercise regularly prior to childbirth makes the woman continue it after childbirth too. Any habit, god or bad, can be extremely difficult to miss upon and the good ones such as exercise help you reap benefits. Stick to your walking routine by adjusting your timings according to your baby’s needs. Exercising regularly helps to get back in shape and stay relaxed after your little one is born despite back-to-back commitments.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.