Nov 122010
 
Brraaaaiiiiinnnnsssss.....

Homer Simpson (c) Fox Media

Well, maybe not entirely, but some recent research does bring up an interesting point: if we think what we’re doing is good exercise, does it actually become good exercise?

It’s certainly true that our attitude towards exercise itself informs our enthusiasm and performance – if you dread getting on the treadmill, it’s going to feel like it sucks, or if you’re fired up about a game of ultimate frisbee, you’re primed to go all-out. But what these researchers did was more subtle – they simply told people that what they already do on the job was considered to be a healthy level of exercise. There wasn’t any additional work or exercise being done, just that mental seed being planted.

It worked.

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Nov 062010
 

On Friday, November 5th, 2010, Weight Watchers made a pretty major announcement.

They are changing the POINTS system.They haven’t given out any details yet, but if the video below is any indicator this isn’t like the changes we’ve seen in the past where they have given you options other than POINTS to track your food intake (options such as Core or Filling foods). No, from the sound of it they are going to fundamentally change the way POINTS are calculated.

This scares the crap out of me.

January 21st, 2011, will mark my 10 year anniversary on Weight Watchers. While I have not yet hit my ultimate goal weight, I have managed to lose and keep off approximately 170 pounds. I know the POINTS system like the back of my hand, and I can tell you the POINTS values of many foods without having to look them up. Now? All of that may change. I’m going to have to re-learn the program all over again.

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Jul 022010
 

image courtesy of D.L. via flickr

It’s Friday, and what’s even better is that it is a holiday weekend (at least here in the states)! Whoo Hoo! If your place of business is anything like mine things are probably pretty dead right about now and you’re all sitting around watching the clock in eager anticipation of three days of non-work related bliss. You may also be staring in the face of a whole bunch of eating challenges in the form of grilled meats, chips, and tasty adult beverages.

In order to help you pass the time and perhaps provide you with a little motivation for the upcoming weekend I’ve compiled a list of news items from the last few weeks that you might be interested to know about. This will actually be the first in an ongoing series of Friday afternoon news summary posts, so I hope you enjoy it!

So let’s see what’s going on in the world of health and fitness!

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Jun 162010
 
I'm not sure I trust this thing...

Okay, who's the wise guy? (Image courtesy of RBerteig on Flickr)

It’s no surprise that the amount of time that experts say you should exercise has some variability to it. The same goes for the intensity of your workouts. Heck, Mike and I don’t always agree, we’re not even experts! So what should you do if you’ve found yourself in a portion of your fitness world where you haven’t explored the map yet? Well, for one thing, you could take a page out of the Galaxy Quest handbook: “Never give up. Never surrender!” Let’s assume that’s a given. Now, how long should you keep up the fight, and how hard?

Health experts say that, at a minimum, folks should at least try to reach the recommended exercise allotment. For kids and teenagers, that’s an hour a day. For adults, on any given week, we should try and get two and a half hours of moderate intensity activity (walking or dancing or some other active hobby) or about half that much (75 minutes) of vigorous activity (jogging, weightlifting, or playing a sport). It’s a very reachable goal – going for a brisk half hour walk or bike ride, Monday through Friday? Doing a couple of dance or yoga classes, or maybe learning a martial art? Piece of cake!

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Jun 012010
 
Jamie Hyneman, meet Jamie Hyneman

Would the real slim Jamie please stand up? (Image courtesy of Krossbow on Flickr)

So, when he’s not helping Adam blow things up, it seems that Mythbusters’ Jamie Hyneman is something of a Renaissance man. He has one theory in particular that we here at SG Orbital HQ hope is borne out: exercising makes you smarter.

In Jamie’s own words: This came from my own personal experience; I work out on a treadmill when I do my design work. For me, it’s like hitting a switch. It’s almost like, when I’m not on my treadmill, I’m stupid…. The greatest mental activity during our evolution would had to have been through heavy physical activity. [The current state of the art in brain-observing technology] points to us being much smarter the more physically active you are.

It’s certainly not uncommon for folks who engage in regular exercise to report that it does good things for their mood or focus, or even provides a built-in part of their day where they can think about what they’re working on while the body is on auto-pilot. It’s not necessarily the same neuro-chemical scenario that leads to “runner’s high,” but increased blood flow, coupled with elevated oxygen levels, certainly looks like it would provide an environment conducive to some mental overclocking.

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