Over the last several decades, an epidemic of so-called lifestyle diseases has developed in the United States. This is due to a more sedentary lifestyle and an increase in portion sizes. We’re just less active than we used to be. As such, we’re seeing rises in many diseases that were already among the most prevalent in our society: cardiovascular disease, obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Let’s focus on diabetes - 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, or 9.3% of the population, and one in every four who are living with the disease don’t even know they have it.
There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which means there is no way to prevent it from happening. In most cases type 1 diabetes develops at a young age. Type 1 means eventually your body does not produce any insulin. For type 2 diabetes, meaning the body cannot use insulin properly; most cases are preventable, although some are hereditary. High blood pressure, obesity and poor nutrition are also considered major risk factors. Studies suggest that without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15-30% of people with pre diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.
Research has shown that a healthy balance of diet and exercise can help to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in adults. Losing between 5% and 7% of your body weight by a healthy combination of exercise and a diet consisting of less saturated fat and a lower caloric intake can be a huge help. The exercise can help to control your blood glucose and blood pressure. It also can help prevent heart problems that can lead to heart disease, one of the major health complications resulting from diabetes.
For everyone, we recommended that you participate in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes for 5 or more days a week, but this is even more important if you’re at risk of developing diabetes. Perform activities around the house or hit the gym, but make it a commitment to fit this level of activity in every week. Consult your healthcare provider and/or personal trainer to help you come up with a workout plan that works best for you.
In addition to finding an activity that works for you, you also have to remember to make sure your diet lines up with your goals. One important thing for you to do is cut the amount of fat in your diet. There are a lot of ways you can do this. You should try your best to cut back on foods that are high in trans-fat and saturated fat (fried foods, certain salad dressings, and products made from whole milk).
It’s also important to cut back on foods that are high in sugar and salt (soda, canned soups, and processed foods). Talk to our registered dietitian, Kristen Gil or our nutrition coach, Zack Feeney, so that they can help you come up with a diet that works best for you.
Fitness Artist is a proud supporter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Please consider a contribution to ending juvenile diabetes.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to fitness and nutrition. Unfortunately, a lot of exercise programs are just that – giving a “broad strokes” approach without taking the individual’s specific needs into account. This is a trend I also noticed in workplace wellness programs. It’s not enough to just get people away from their desks and moving. The trainer and client should have specific goals in mind. Does the client want to increase productivity? Reduce workplace injuries? Cut down on sick time? All of the above?
The corporate world needs a more in-depth and personalized approach. Enter Work Force Strong.
Work Force Strong (WFS) is a corporate wellness program designed to increase employee productivity, prevent workplace injuries, and introduce healthy alternatives to companies and government agencies. The program is individually tailored to give your company a competitive edge, while also giving employees the opportunity to meet fitness and mobility goals.
We place great emphasis on injury prevention as we feel other wellness programs downplay this aspect or leave it out altogether. Meanwhile, New York has emerged as one of the states with the highest average total workers’ compensation claim costs. The more employers I work with, the more I learn that most of them believe workplace injuries only occur in dangerous environments.
The truth is injuries can happen anywhere. That’s why a proactive approach is so important. The health and well-being of a company depends heavily on the health and well-being of its employees. WFS sets out to identify threats before they occur and offer the corrective measures.
Prior to initial training sessions, our team will first evaluate each participant through a Functional Movement Screen. This will help us identify functional limitations and asymmetries that may lead to injury or chronic pain in the long term. Once this is determined for each participant, our trainers will provide a personalized exercise program aimed to restore mechanically sound movement patterns. All of this is delivered in one-hour training sessions either on-site or at a Fitness Artist location. Goals will be reassessed at the mid-point of the program. We will also bring in a registered dietitian for nutritional coaching. She will present information and tips on basic nutrition, healthy food options, and create custom meal plans (upon request).
We’re focused on changing your employees’ lives for the better. We know you want to see benefits. The success of a company depends greatly on the health and well-being of its people. That’s exactly why we’re dedicated to customizing what we offer based on your employees’ particular needs.
Travis Gil is the founder of corporate wellness company Work Force Strong as well as founder and CEO of Fitness Artist, which has locations in Clifton Park, Loudonville and Saratoga Springs.
Keep the extra holiday pounds off with some quick, calorie-burning exercises. Fitness Artist owner Travis Gil and Kayla Radliff demonstrate a high-intensity workout on WNYT. See more fitness and nutrition tips on our blog
As we’ve previously discussed, our Northeast winters tend to drain our motivation for regular exercise. Cold temperatures and a lack of sun are partly to blame, but if we become more sedentary this time of year, we also place ourselves at risk for Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a type of depression that’s common during the winter months, affecting an estimated 16 million Americans. The good news is that there are documented ways, which work to keep symptoms at bay.
The reality is that exercising can be just as effective in treating SAD as medication is for other mood disorders. Moderate exercise—such as walking or jogging—releases endorphins and serotonin, boosting your overall mood. So although it may be cold, it’s still important to get outside and get as much sun and fresh air as possible. Make it a priority to get your runs in each morning if possible (as it’s dark by the time many of us leave work) and keep the feeling with you throughout the day.
On those days when you can’t get outside, find other ways to get your heart rate up and your neurotransmitters firing. Sitting on the couch, watching Netflix isn’t going to do a lot to boost your mood, and it’s definitely not going to burn any calories. Instead, break up your T.V. time with short, quick exercises. Fitness Artist Kayla Radliff and I recently demonstrated some of these high-intensity workouts on WNYT.
Along with exercise, diet can help you manage the symptoms of SAD. One study showed that people with SAD selectively eat more carbohydrates, particularly sweets but also starch-rich foods. This not only adds extra calories to the diet, but can worsen symptoms for those already feeling the effects of SAD. Serotonin is derived from the amino acid tryptophan so do your best to incorporate foods rich in this chemical throughout the winter months. Lots of lean meats, fish, fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, nuts and seeds should do the trick.
Keep in mind that SAD shares many symptoms with major depressive disorder (MDD), and diet and exercise are just two suggested treatment options. In more severe cases, medication may be needed, so please consult a physician if needed. If you know someone prone to SAD, encourage them to prioritize exercise and balanced eating. By working together, we can make it through the “winter blues.”
And that includes us. Fitness Artist is always here to help clients reach their fitness and nutrition goals, and will even be expanding its nutrition offerings this January. Stay tuned!
Staying Motivated Through the Cold
It’s common this time of year to suffer from a lack of motivation. School and sports are back in session, work is picking up…we just tend to be busier at this time of year. So, when we do find ourselves with some free time, exercise might not always be the first thing that comes to mind.
Being in shape is as much a mental state of well-being as it is physical. Working out gets our endorphins flowing and lifts our mood. As many of us know, the mental hurdle of taking that first action can often times be the hardest to overcome. We know we should be exercising and we know it will make us feel better, but where do we find the motivation to start?
We can be each other’s greatest source of motivation. You can accept an excuse from yourself that a friend never would. You can easily take a shortcut when no one is watching. Working out with a friend can ensure that you have each other’s backs and hold each other accountable. Working with a personal trainer is even better as they will know exactly what you need to do to achieve your goals and where you should be focusing your attention and effort.
When there’s a foot of snow outside of your door, it can seem easy to come up with an excuse to skip your workout. Instead, try to think of creative ways you can still exercise at home. For example, you can burn around 233 calories for every half hour that you spend shoveling your sidewalk or driveway. You can also try digging up some old workout videos or finding some online. This way, the whole family can get involved too.
With the holiday season just around the corner, it might seem hard to turn away from your favorite holiday treats. A good way to get around this is coming up with different strategies so that you don’t overindulge. A registered dietitian can assist you in crafting the perfect game plan for keeping your diet on track through the holidays. Remember, you don’t have to deprive yourself, just eat smart and stick to a strategy. One may include smaller portions with healthier sides and cutting down on the alcohol, for example.
With your busier schedule, it might seem hard to find time to fit in your workouts. If you plan ahead and come up with a set schedule, getting in your workouts for the week will seem like just another thing to cross off your to-do list. You can try joining a gym that’s on your way home from work or coordinating with a friend who lives nearby to meet up afterwards.