Counting Sheep Doesn’t Actually Work, and Other Misconceptions About Sleep

A trick I’ve used to fall asleep is to pick a category, bands, birds, animals, sea creatures, flowers which is fairly broad and try to go through the alphabet thinking of an example from each one. I find that the reason that this works is that frequently worry and anxiety can keep us awake so giving the brain something to do is helpful.

The reason to avoid waking a sleep walker is that they have no idea where they are. They are in a different world.

When You Need More Energy, Do Something Active, Not Passive

We’d all like to know how to get more energy when life throws curve balls at us.

These ideas from psychology research can help you keep going and overcome a terminal case of I-don’t-feel-like-it.

Let’s get started…

Source: How To Get More Energy: 8 New Secrets Backed By Research

For me, I have to respect when I’m tired more.  Otherwise, I get so run down that a nap turns into a coma for hours.  I’ve tried walking, but I don’t find it engages me like a bike ride does.

How Much Does Genetics Really Affect Your Fitness?

If you’re not seeing results in the gym, there are a lot of things you can tweak: your diet, your exercise schedule, and the types of workouts you do, to name a few. But genetics is also a big factor. We’ve all had that thought on bad days: Maybe I’m just not cut out to succeed at this.

Source: How Much Does Genetics Really Affect Your Fitness?

Height is considered ~80% heritable, but malnourishment and/or disease can stunt your growth.  If you’re really serious about addressing your height, limb-lengthening operations (cosmetic surgery) are a reality.  But tot only are they ridiculously expensive, but they also involve having your legs broken!  To lengthen limbs, the bones are broken to be spread so the body fills the gap by healing.   Anti-inflammatory painkillers can’t be prescribed because they might inhibit bone growth.   At a rate something like a millimeter a day, the apparatus is tweaked daily.  Some have achieved 6 inches, but most seem to be 2-3 inches.  Surgery would require someone like me to be off blood thinners, so far less likely that anyone will want to do the surgery for you.

All that said, for me part of the process has been about accepting what I can not change.

You Need to Burn 7,000 Calories to Lose a Pound, Not 3,500

You’ve probably heard the number-one “rule” of weight loss: It takes a 3,500-calorie deficit between calories consumed and calories burned to produce a one-pound drop in body weight. This old chestnut is more than 50 years old. Problem is, it’s wrong.

Source: The Biggest Weight-Loss Myth Revealed

Is the reverse is true? Would it take more than 3,500 extra calories to equal a pound gained?

You Might Never Love Exercise (But Do it Anyway)

There seems to be a cultural consensus that you have to love fitness. People will tell you that if you don’t like exercising, it’s just because you haven’t found what you like, or you’re not doing it frequently enough to engage a positive feedback loop. As a fitness writer and coach who has been training consistently for over a decade, I can confidently say that I don’t like exercising, and that’s okay.

Source: You Might Never Love Exercise (But Do it Anyway)

I dislike [activity], but I love having done [activity].

For a while, that was me and running.  Running still isn’t my “go to” thing to do, but I don’t have the distaste for it that I used to.  Motivation hasn’t been an issue for me – I can get into a rut very easily, so as long as I make an effort.

The benefits of exercise are real.  It’s worth the effort to make the change.

Why Counting Calories Burned by Exercise Can Sabotage Your Weight Loss

I’m a huge fan of tracking calories in order to lose weight. This process is quite powerful…with one exception. Here’s an eerie case where merely thinking about calories may nullify your progress.

Source: Why Counting Calories Burned by Exercise Can Sabotage Your Weight Loss

Very interesting read – the article goes into various studies to present why exercise does not mean weight loss.

[maniacal laugh]

Study: How Family May Be Making Their Kids Fat

When it comes to obesity, people often blame overeating and a lack of exercise. But your family also plays a big role in whether you’ll become overweight, according to a new study published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

Source: How Your Family May Be Making You Fat

The findings weren’t surprising to me.  For adults, it provides some insight into how we came to be what we are.  But these are circumstances beyond our ability as children to be able to do anything about.  There’s no value in blaming our parents.

The article is however a reminder of our ability to influence the young and impressionable.  You might not be a parent, but you can still be a role model.

The Diet That’s Better For Your Heart Than Exercise

In recent years, science has proven that the Mediterranean diet is key to longevity time and time again — and we now have even more conclusive proof.

Adults who follow the Mediterranean diet closely can slash their risk of heart disease by a whopping 47 percent. What’s equally, or more, impressive (depending on your love/hate relationship with working out) is that this eating plan has an even greater protective effect on the heart than regular exercise.

Both findings were gleaned from an eleven-year study of the Mediterranean diet, presented Wednesday at the American College of Cardiology’s 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego.

…As an interesting side note, women tended to be better at following the diet than men, even though it seems to work equally well for everyone.

Source: The Diet That’s Better For Your Heart Than Exercise

I’m loosing count at how many studies support the Mediterranean diet.  And we know that diet is more important than exercise for weight loss

This is What Happens When You Stop Exercising

Ever wonder what would happen if you stopped working out? A new study on identical twins published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise explores exactly that, and the results are dramatic.

Source: This is What Happens When You Stop Exercising

The sample size is small, but then how many identical twins can you get to do this?

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