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social workouts

Buddy Up: Social Workouts Can Keep You Active

Buddy Up: Social Workouts Can Keep You Active

It seems fitting that I follow up holiday eating with holiday fitness. For most of us, this is about balancing family and friends with exercise. If we start before the New Year begins, the extra effort will motivate us well into warm-weather vacation time.

What truly matters

We should never neglect the important people in our lives. They are a reflection of us and us of them. The ones who love us will also love what we do and vice versa — this includes exercise. Much frustration arises from trying to keep our fitness agenda completely separate from personal relationships. When we find something we love, we will make time to enjoy it. And, we should share our joy with others, such as with gift certificates to our favorite class. Or better yet, to your friend or loved one’s favorite class. It’s always fun to have a workout buddy, especially one you love.

Social and active complement each other

For my birthday, I got a group together for a yoga class at a friend’s studio. Some loved it, some did not, but we all appreciated a great laugh. We enjoyed some exercise and important bonding time. Working out doesn’t have to feel like actual work, and we shouldn’t wait for a special occasion to plan a group event.

Another friend got us together to compete in a dancing video game — one that requires actual dancing. Is there anything wrong with celebrating a random Sunday shaking my butt to Pitbull? How about gathering teams for physically inclined charity events? Although running is the most common, there are other programs involving lots of movement, such as Habitat for Humanity.

Parents will also benefit from scheduling household activities. What adults call exercise, children call playtime. We can all learn from children. Give them a chance to pick and lead an activity. Post a calendar and develop a prize system for activities accomplished. The true reward is their improved development and overall growth as a family.

Traveling? Pack your workout clothes, even if you haven’t made exercise plans. Do your best to stick to your regular schedule and try not to sleep in too much. The presence of the clothes and additional free time will either stimulate or guilt us into action — so will the holiday eating.

Searching for variety and blending it with quality time will enhance the holiday season. If this time of year builds stress then it’s an ideal way to let such negativity go. Shifting our busy minds to enjoyable thoughts and connecting with those in our inner circles is a great way to recharge our spirits.

Have a wonderful holiday and a beautiful New Year.


How Eating Beef, Fish, Alcohol And More Can Cause Gout

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why is my big toe red, hot and swollen?” This time of year brings on many podiatric issues. And, eating at holiday parties can bring on one of the most painful issues ― gout.

Gout has been around throughout history and even has been called the “Rich Man’s Disease” due to the high levels of proteins that used to be consumed only by “rich, older men.” Gout usually appears as a swollen, red and painful big toe joint immediately after eating certain foods high in purines or protein and/or drinking alcohol or high-fructose drinks. Some of the foods that may precipitate a gout attack include beef, fish, beans, spinach or any legume type food that is high in purines.

Even medication, such as diuretics, can cause gout. Middle-aged men and post-menopausal women are usually affected the most. The pain is severe. Even the rubbing of a bed sheet can cause pain to the toe. Gout can appear in any joint, but the big toe joint is usually where it strikes.

Uric Acid is the culprit causing gout. Its crystals form in the joint, which, in turn, causes the pain ― because the body is not excreting the uric acid correctly.

The prevalence of gout is increasing. It is estimated that more than six million Americans have gout. Studies show that one has about a 20 percent chance of gout if one of his  or her parents has gout.

Common therapies include allopurinol to lower one’s uric acid and a very strong non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) called Indocin. Cortisone injection to the joint can be beneficial for quicker relief to break up the uric acid crystals. However, other steps must be taken, and one of the most important steps is changing one’s diet and/or reducing alcohol consumption. Some new, ongoing studies show cherries might be a non-medicinal treatment to gout.

So if you take that extra shrimp this holiday, and your big toe joint starts to hurt, don’t forget about gout. If you are showing signs of gout, please see your physician for possible blood work and evaluation.

For more information about gout and/or Put Your Feet First, a podiatrist in the Scottsdale area, visit azfootpain.com.

holiday eating

Holiday Eating Or Holiday Sabotage?

Holiday eating or holiday sabotage? Is this a time to embrace indulgences or battle temptations? Depends on one’s outlook. If you read the last article on cheater’s diets then this is an especially wonderful season. Approach with caution or dive in blindfolded. So, what’s the plan?

Holiday Eating: comfort or enjoyment

Meals this time of year are a mix of celebration and de-stressing. Admittedly, we’re well aware that binge eating to deal with life only intensifies overall anxiety and conditions such as high blood pressure. Identifying what’s burdening our minds and planning how to manage the tension will help us enjoy food as a benefit, not a detriment. With a little extra effort towards time management, particularly with sleep and eating schedules, we can adore the holidays, not try to “survive” them. Common sense is always prevalent, but it may not be as common as we thought.

We are not livestock

“Grazing” became mainstream around the late ’90s. “Eat six or more small meals per day to increase metabolism and prevent weight gain.” As with most nutritional advice generated during this era, evidence was largely anecdotal with little or no long-term observations of a large participant group. Studies at the Salk Institute and in the British Journal of Nutrition show that there is no significant metabolic surge from higher frequency eating. There was no difference in total energy expenditure when the same quantity of daily calories was spread through increased meal times. We may actually gain weight. That’s a lot of time spent for meal breaks. More time is required to measure and balance the proper quantity and quality of nutrients over an extended eating schedule. The reality is opportunities for overeating are multiplied. How do we measure and stop when we’re 80 percent full?

Right time, right place

The studies above also suggested that when we eat is just as crucial as what we eat. Nutrient Timing has gained much traction in fitness performance discussions, but these methods are not restricted to athletes. A great place to start is working with our medical advisors to appreciate what’s happening in our bodies, particularly with hormones. Accepting our ever-changing physiques and lifestyles brings understanding to how foods affect us. We may have to give up some, but we may gain a lot more.

More is a broad category. Some more myths include calories in, calories out, and negative calories. The body has the ability to hoard fat storage regardless of caloric expenditure, and intensified activity is not correlated to bigger eating. Foods that require more energy to digest than they contain are theoretical. According to a study by Harvard University: “…conventional wisdom ― to eat everything in moderation, eat fewer calories and avoid fatty foods ― isn’t the best approach.” We may lose or prevent weight gain, however, the results are likely temporary, and overall health may decline.

Eat to live

We consume food; food does not consume us. Keep it simple. Periodically spend a little time to learn how to eat. Nutrition needs to enhance our life, not drive it. I love food, I enjoy eating clean, I endorse cheating — but there’s a difference between fan and fanatical.