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Mid-week Study: Exercising Outdoors Can Save Your Life

In South Florida where I live, summer is a great time for exercising outdoors, especially during the early hours of the morning. The air is crisp and just warm enough to make you break out a sweat. It’s a great time to walk your dog, ride your bike or just take a brisk walk or jog.

For those of you who live in places with air pollution, you may be tempted to forego your exercise because of the air quality, but according to this study, “the benefits of regular outdoor exercise in areas with air pollution outweigh the risks.” In fact the study goes so far as to say that habitual exercise can save your life.

Researcher Dr. Xiang Qian Lao, from the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care at Chinese University of Hong Kong claims, “Habitual exercise reduces the risk of death regardless of exposure to air pollution, and air pollution generally increases the risk of death regardless of habitual exercise.”

While the study concluded that less exposure to air pollution was better, it also reiterated that compared to inactivity, a higher amount of regular exercise was beneficial, even in polluted areas. This study was done on 384,000 adults in Taiwan. Smaller studies conducted in the United States, Denmark and Hong Kong also found that regular exercise, even in polluted areas, is beneficial.

If you have been putting off exercising outdoors because you live in an area with air pollution, the results of these studies should set your mind at ease. Habitual exercise reduces the risk of death regardless of exposure to air pollution. So, put on your walking shoes, your sunglasses, and sunscreen and head for the great outdoors.

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Why New Years Resolutions Fail

Can you believe it’s March already? Seems like yesterday we were kicking 2020 “badbye” and here we are in the third month of the year. From the heading you can guess what I’m going to say next. How are you doing with your New Year’s resolution? If you’re like most people, chances are you’re not doing so well.

We start out January with great intentions. We resolve to lose weight, eat healthy, exercise more, gain control over our finances or to generally have a more positive outlook. Some of us have no problem keeping our resolutions.

But for many of us, shortly after the New Year, a week or two or even a month in, we begin to slide back into our old ways, and by March we have completely given up on our resolutions.

Why do so many people have problems following through?

Researchers give several reasons for this. Among them are :

  • Willingness to change a bad habit
  • Setting unrealistic goals
  • Lack of support or accountability

Now you know some of the reasons you fail in keeping your New Year’s resolutions, it’s time to do something about it. Get back on track.

Do you suffer from type 2 diabetes? Would you like to know how to control or even reverse your diabetes through proper diet and exercise? Then fill out the form below for a free discovery session. Contact me.

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Supplements To Help Lower Your Diabetes

November is American Diabetes Month – a time to stop procrastinating and move forward. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled through lifestyle changes such as proper diet, exercise, and medication. Some supplements can help lower blood glucose in people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes when glucose levels rise higher than normal.

  • According to Consumer, Cinnamon supplements may modestly improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, but only certain varieties have been found to have that effect.
  • Magnesium supplements have been shown to increase insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes, and may lower blood sugar levels in people with prediabetes or metabolic syndrome.
  • Curcumin (from turmeric) may improve blood sugar levels. One study found that curcumin dramatically lowers the risk of prediabetes in slightly overweight middle-aged men and women with higher than normal glucose levels.
  • Apple cider vinegar may reduce the rise in blood sugar that occurs after eating. If taken in pill or tablet form, it does not have the same effect.
  • Vitamin D may reduce the risk of insulin resistance in people who are obese.
  • Extra virgin olive oil when taken with a meal has been shown to reduce blood sugar spike after a meal compared to the same meal consumed with corn oil.
  • Dietary fiber from cereal and grains is associated with reduced risk of diabetes and can lower fasting glucose levels and HbA1c in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Drinking whey protein before a high glycemic meal may also help to control glucose levels in people with well-controlled type 2 diabetes.

Taking supplements may help you control diabetes or prediabetes, however, due to the serious nature of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), you should consult your doctor before using any of them. Keep healthy and stay safe!

Do you suffer from type 2 diabetes? Would you like to know how to control or even reverse your diabetes through proper diet and exercise? Then fill out the form below for a free discovery session. Contact me.

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Do You Want To Get Well?

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda[a] and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. [4] [b] One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5: 1- 6)

Courtesy morgue file

This story in the book of John always makes me wonder exactly what Jesus meant when he asked the man, “Do you want to get well? The passage begins by letting us know that this pool was the place where disabled people hung out in hopes of being healed. So for Jesus to ask the man if he wanted to get well seemed like a hypothetical question.

If you have been struggling with some kind of disability or illness – such as type 2 diabetes – and I asked you if you wanted to get well, what would you say? I’m almost sure you would say, “Of course.” However, you may not stop there. You might go on to say, like the man in the scripture above, “I have no one to help me get better. I have been struggling with this for years. I have to live on medication.” Or, you might say, “My mother was a diabetic, my sister is a diabetic, my brother is a diabetic, I guess I can’t help being a diabetic.”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Jesus listened to the man’s excuses then said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

I know there are some people who have been sick for a long time. Doctors may have even told them they will never get well. As an occupational therapist, my job was to help my patients regain their prior level of functioning. If they were independent before their injury, then I had to do my best to restore them to independence. However, if someone came to me who needed assistance for years to shower herself, then I couldn’t hope to get her to function independently.

The man in the Bible story had been disabled for thirty-eight years! That’s a very long time. He’d given up hope. He’d no doubt learned to accept his fate and had decided he would just lie there and watch others get their healing. But Jesus was having none of that. We know the end of the story. Jesus commanded the man to get up and walk, and he did.

Well, you might say, “That’s just a Bible story. Jesus won’t come and heal me.” Maybe He won’t come physically and heal you, but He might require you to do certain things that will bring about your healing. First, you can pray. Amazing things happen when you pray. Through prayer you receive insight, knowledge, and wisdom about your condition and the steps you must take in order to be healed. Maybe God will show you that you need to change the way you eat, how you can become more active, quit smoking or make some simple lifestyle changes.

Notice, Jesus didn’t say to the man, “Wait a little longer. Someone will come along.” Or, “Call a little louder and someone will hear you.” All He said was, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Why? Because it was crucial for the man to seize the moment. It was time to stop waiting and take action. This man waited thirty-eight years! Think of what he could have accomplished during that time. You could be losing precious time if your illness is keeping you from being all you can be. So, why not start now? Why not get up, take your bed and walk to your recovery? Don’t wait a second longer.

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When Everything Seems Too Hard

The gateway to the gospel near Joppa

Have you ever wakened in the morning, looked at the clock, groaned and covered your head, wishing you didn’t have to get up? I daresay it happens to many of us–especially if it’s Monday morning. Yep, like this morning. I’m not making fun of your struggle, but sometimes life seems just too hard.

It was hard

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you would know I just returned from a trip to Israel. And while it was a bucket-list trip for me, it was hard. Someone calculated on his smart watch that we had walked 28 miles in 10 days! And the watch didn’t say anything about how many hills we climbed, and how hot the weather was. In one place, the mercury reached 100 degrees. Yes, it was hard!

What kept me going

But what kept us, kept me going, was a sense of purpose. Visiting Israel, walking in the footsteps of Jesus, was a bucket-list accomplishment for me. That is what made me get out of my bed at 5. 30 every morning, get dressed and board the bus. Would I do it again? You bet I would!

The apostle Paul’s difficulties

The apostle Paul, speaking of all the difficulties he and his companions endured while they were in Asia, said, “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1: 8 – 9). 

Rely on God

If trying to achieve your goals seems difficult right now, here’s what you need to do: Rely on God. If you read the New Testament, you would see Paul’s recounting of the hardships he endured –beaten, stoned, left for dead, imprisoned, shipwrecked, bitten by a snake– the list goes on and on. But all of these things happened that they might learn to rely on God and not on themselves. Trying to lose weight? Get rid of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, whatever? Medicines may help, but you must also trust God. He made you, He knows your body and He wants to help you.

Keep your purpose in mind

Paul and his companions had a purpose–to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. They were not just going for a visit. In the same way you must keep your purpose in mind. Write your goals down and look at them every chance you get. Pray about them and watch God bring them to pass.

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One Small Step

Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” If you were not born yet when Neil Armstrong uttered those oh-so-famous words, you have probably heard them again and again. That one small step -landing on the moon – paved the way for so many great things to be accomplished. If ever there was cause to be afraid of the unknown, that moment was it. But Neil Armstrong took that one small step and the rest, as we say, is history.

Speaking of the mission in Houston in 1962, President John F. Kennedy said, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Starting an exercise program is not as hard as landing on the moon, at least it shouldn’t be, but it requires effort, determination and consistency. So, what one small step can you take today? Will you start a new exercise routine, a new diet plan, join a class? What will you do today? Don’t let fear hold you back. Take that one small step.

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Going Around In Circles

Image by Brennan Emerson from Pixabay

With summer almost over, many of you will look back either with pleasure or with pain on the long road trips you took and the hours you spent sitting in a small cramped space. If you made frequent stops along the way, the ride would have been much more tolerable than if you’d been wedged for hours like a hamburger patty between two oversized slices of bread. Once you got out of the vehicle, you were relieved to be able to stretch and feel the blood flowing again.

A sad story

What does this have to do with going around in circles? Recently, I read a sad little story about a dog that had been kept in a small cage for all her life. When she was finally let out, she could only move around in circles because that was all she was accustomed to.

Prayer of Jabez

As I reflected on that painful story, I thought of my own life and the times when I felt like I was only moving around in circles, not going anywhere fast. Have you ever been in that position? In 1 Chronicles 4: 9-10, Jabez asked God to “bless him indeed and enlarge his territory.” Some have used this prayer as a mantra to guarantee success after the book written by Bruce Wilkinson became a mammoth bestseller. Here, I am comparing “enlarge my territory” with moving in circles, or staying on the same spot. It’s not healthy for a dog and it’s not healthy for us.

Enlarge your territory

As you embark on your journey to health and wholeness, ask God to enlarge your territory. Ask Him to take you out of that small, cramped space you have been operating in for so long. That limited way of thinking and behaving, of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. You are setting limits on yourself and on God who has no limits. He wants the best for you in every area of your life.

The Bible says, “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well,” (3 John 1:2). NIV Think about that as you go through your day and ask God to give you the wisdom and direction to move out of that small, tight circle. God bless

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Mothers, take care of yourself

I know, Mother’s Day was yesterday and I’m writing a post about mothers. However, what I’m going to say here is evergreen, always relevant. Mothers, take care of yourself, no one else will. In fact, no one else can. God gave you a body, which the Bible calls the temple.

What is a temple

A temple is defined as a place of worship or the dwelling place of a god or gods. The Bible says, “Do you not know that your bodies are templeof the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (2 Corinthians 6: 19 – 20).

Should you worship your body?

No, that’s not what the passage says. The passage says a temple is a place where people go to worship, like a church or a synagogue or a temple. It’s a sacred place and we should regard it as such. Those of us who are Christians have an honored guest – the Holy Spirit – living inside of us. Therefore, we ought to keep our bodies clean and pure and care for it in the best possible way.

Taking care of our bodies

Eating the right foods, getting the right amount of exercise and rest, and refraining from using harmful substances such as cigarettes, excessive alcohol and illegal drugs is the best way to take care of our bodies. Also, getting regular check-ups- like you would do with your car – and following the doctor’s orders is another way. However, those are not the only ways we look after our temples.

The one that destroys

We must protect our temple from sin. It is insidious, crafty and cunning, and in most cases, it gives no indication that it’s destroying us . We may look great on the outside, but like a cancer, sin is eating us out on the inside,
and guess what? At some point it begins to take a toll on our bodies, and we become ill. I’m not saying that all sickness is the result of sin. Genetics and lifestyle do play a part, but sin, which, by the way, can be a part of your lifestyle, can contribute toward illness.

A plea to mothers

Courtesy morguefile

I started this post appealing to mothers to take care of yourselves. Now in conclusion, I am once more making that appeal. Mothers carry a tremendous responsibility. The location of every one’s socks, your children’s future, your pet’s health, your husband’s success all depend on you. You need to be fit – physically, mentally and spiritually. You cannot do it alone. Ask God to help you. If you are not a Christian, ask Jesus to take control of your life and see what a big difference that will make.

If you enjoyed this post, please share with your friends or on social media. Also, if you are a mom and you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, why not fill in the form below for a free coaching session. I would love to chat with you. God bless.

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monday motivation – when life gets difficult

When things go wrong

Have you had one of those days when everything that can go wrong does go wrong? Or, it might be more than a day. It could weeks or even months when everything seems to go downhill. We all have them – even those of us who are living, what we call, good Christian lives.

God is with you

As you try to reach your goals for living a healthy lifestyle, you may come up against one obstacle after another. Maybe you catch a cold or the flu and you can’t go out to exercise. Or, maybe there’s a family crisis and you find yourself reaching for comfort foods . Those times can be frustrating. You may be tempted to give up, but know that God is with you. He has promised “never to leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13: 5).

Jesus said, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28: 20).

Trust Him

Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you (Psalm 9 : 10).

Take comfort that God is with you in all things, and that whatever you’re going through right now will one day come to an end. Do you feel the need to have someone help you reach your health goals? If yes, just fill in the form below.

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5 reasons to get rid of that belly fat

Belly fat is not only unattractive, it can signal the presence of some chronic diseases. Read on to find out more.
Checking waist measurement may bring awareness to the problem of belly fat.

Not all fat is created equally. Have a waist larger than 35 inches if you are a woman (larger than 40 inches for men) means you are holding on to too much abdominal fat, and this particular condition comes with some very serious health risks.

While the fat that pads your arms, thighs, and butts may seem like a big deal when you look in the mirror, it’s the fat you harbor in your midsection that is actually the most dangerous to your health and longevity. This belly fat, also known as visceral adipose or visceral fat, is strongly linked to some severe disease risks and conditions, so shedding this excess fat is crucial to ensuring your long-term health. Here are the top five reasons you should start working on eliminating that extra belly fat today.

Excess belly fat is not only unattractive, it can signal the presence of many harmful conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and even dementia.

Belly Fat Affects Your Hormones

Subcutaneous fat, like the kind in your arms and butt, behaves differently than belly fat. The fat in your midsection acts much like another organ in your endocrine system, secreting hormones and affecting how well your body regulates hormone levels. These fluctuations can negatively impact metabolic functions as well as your mood. Shifts in hormones impact neurotransmitters, which can lead to an increase in depression and other mood disorders. Women with excess belly fat are especially vulnerable to this effect.

Belly Fat Raises Your Risk for Heart Disease

Those who carry around excess weight in their middle, particularly for extended periods, are more likely to develop coronary heart disease. Even when you adjust for all other heart disease risk factors, those with larger waists have a risk factor that is two or more times those of others of similar age and gender.

More Belly Fat Means A Higher Chance of Cancer

Your risk of cancer also rises sharply when you have visceral fat. Excess fat in the middle raises your risk for developing colorectal cancer and breast cancer. This type of fat is associated with increased levels of leptin, estrogen, and inflammatory proteins, thereby raising cancer risks. When you lose weight and decrease belly fat, these biomarkers all fall as well.

Your Belly Fat Can Cause Dementia

Long-term research has confirmed a link between people with high amounts of abdominal fat in midlife and the development of dementia later in life. Even considering other risk factors known to contribute to dementia risk, those with a larger waist circumference are still more likely to end up with dementia as they age.

Belly Fat Leads to Many Chronic Diseases

Those with the highest amounts of belly fat also have the highest incidences of Type 2 diabetes, migraine headaches, respiratory disorder, and other chronic conditions that can shorten your life and severely impact the quality of life. Those with larger waists are more than twice as likely to die prematurely, even when their overall weight is healthy.

Reducing your belly fat is, therefore, critical to your longevity and health. Losing the spare tire or those love handles, though, is not just a matter of doing more crunches. To eliminate visceral adipose, you need to limit your intake of calories and burn more calories through exercise. Severely cutting back on sugar, which is a significant contributor to belly fat is essential. Also, limit your intake of alcohol, fried foods, and refined carbohydrates, like bread and pasta.

You should eat plenty of dietary fiber and protein, especially fresh vegetables and fruits, legumes, and whole grains. Be sure you are getting enough sleep each night, which can help regulate your hormones and assist in shedding that excess fat.

Need some help reaching your health goals? Fill in the form below and let’s talk about how I can help you in this journey.

[mailerlite_form form_id=null]Want to learn more ways to reach your health goals? Fill in the form for a free health coaching session, and you will be added to my mailing list to receive helpful articles, updates and offers.