2015 September 3 by Dr. Randy
Here are my five tips to maintain your good health and stay young.
Keep moving. Avoid sitting. If you must sit for your job or school, take frequent breaks to walk and stretch. Climb stairs instead of using an elevator. Schedule exercise at the gym and go for walks or runs on other days. Remember, your metabolism slows down by ten percent every decade after you reach 40 and you need to step up your activity to compensate. Regular exercise will improve your mood and prevent gradual weight gain.
Unless you are a serious athlete, avoid eating starches. Cut down on baked products and grains that slow metabolism and contribute to weight problems. Your diet should be primarily fruits, vegetables, and protein sources from dairy, eggs, meats, nuts, and beans. Eat whole foods and avoid processed food in packages. And try to eat as clean as you can, avoiding produce treated with pesticides and meats from animals fed hormones and antibiotics.
Get out into nature. Exposure to trees and the outdoors improves bodily functions, lowers blood pressure, and improves your mood. Go for a walk in the evening. Go for hikes in the forest on the weekend. Breathe the fresh air. Studies have shown that even putting a picture of the ocean, the mountains, or a forest at your work station has a positive effect on your health.
Maintain a spiritual practice. Meditate or practice relaxation techniques with deep abdominal breathing. Go to a yoga class. Your spiritual life will help to balance the inevitable stress that accompanies your busy daily schedule. Take a break and focus on your breath. It will help to slow things down and maintain a positive outlook.
Your daily supplement program should be tailored to your individual needs, but most everyone will benefit from taking vitamin D, probiotics, and omega 3 fats from fish oil. Anyone over 50 should also consider taking antioxidants that prevent inflammation and the changes that accompany aging. Supplements like resveratrol, astaxanthin, n-acetyl cysteine, and L-carnitine are all powerhouse anti-aging antioxidants.
2013 April 13 by Dr. Randy
Children with asthma commonly develop wheezing or cough after exertion. Exercise-induced asthma is a significant problem for many children and may hamper their physical fitness. Some children will avoid exertion because it brings on symptoms, further reducing their stamina, endurance, and fitness.
A review of 29 studies showed that a physical training program improves exercise-induced asthma symptoms. A wide range of exercise training programs in these studies included swimming, running, aerobics, strength and interval exercises, and cycling.
Improvement occurred especially in the Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF), which measures the speed of expiration. PEF measures the degree of resistance to air flow or constriction is present in the airways. PEF is measured with a simple handheld device.
The number of asthma attacks and days of wheezing also improved in children who participated in physical training programs.
This review of studies showed that successful physical training programs that improved asthma symptoms were characterized by 4 components.
1. Intensity of training is more important than the type of exercise. Children should have an individualized training program with an intensity at their personal breathing threshold.
2. Asthma symptoms during the training should be well controlled with medication.
3. A minimum amount of training is 120 minutes/week, divided into at least 2 sessions per week.
4. A training program should consist of at least 3 months duration.
Wanrooij V, Willeboordse M, Dompeling E, Van de Kan K. Exercise training in children with asthma: a systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine. Online First, published on April 4, 2013 as 10.1136/bjsports-2012-091347
2013 April 12 by Dr. Randy
A simple and very effective way to improve attention functions in children is to make sure they are getting daily exercise. Keep your kids moving and involved in physical activity programs.
Exercise increases the production of several neurotransmitters which are known to improve memory and attention, and decrease impulsivity. These include dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Exercise, especially sprinting, also increases Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), a protein in the brain that improves the communication between nerves. For a detailed explanation about how exercise improves brain function, read Dr. John J Ratey’s book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.
Short bursts of exercise will increase these neurotransmitter levels in the hours following exercise, for example during the school day. This can result in more effective learning. But a prolonged exercise program will also raise these neurotransmitter levels over the long-term, providing a persistent benefit to attention functions.
Wigal SB, et al. Exercise: Applications to Childhood ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders 2013 17: 279.
2011 February 23 by Dr. Randy
What factor is most important to ensure adequate bone density in teenage girls? When 80 young women were followed from age 12 to 22, the only factor that influenced bone density was exercise. Calcium intake and oral contraceptive use had no effect on bone strength. There may be other factors such as vitamin D levels from sun exposure and dietary sources, but the data pertaining to exercise was so dramatic that the study results are very convincing. What does this say to the dairy industry’s claims that milk creates strong bones? How should this study impact our thinking about the minimum daily intake of calcium for children? It should reassure those parents who limit dairy intake because of an allergy or sensitivity to milk, and it should make us less militant about the daily dose of calcium. It should also encourage parents to require an exercise program during early childhood and the teenage years.