Read More Dr. Hampton: Exercise for better health
The following post Dr. Hampton: Exercise for better health is republished from Diet Doctor by Anne Mullens
Photo: Spencer Bibbs
Dr. Tony Hampton is a family physician on the South Side of Chicago. He is writing a monthly column for Diet Doctor. This is his sixth column.
Is exercise a good way to lose weight? Unfortunately, no.
That may be disappointing to hear, but don’t stop reading. Exercise plays a key role in other ways to help you achieve better health. In my “Protect your N.E.S.T” approach to patient wellness, exercise is the important second letter. (To recap, N.E.S.T. stands for Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep/Stress, Thoughts/Trauma).
You’ve probably heard the saying, “You can’t outrun a bad diet.” And it’s true. If you want to shed excess pounds and get healthier, you’ve got to first change the way you eat. And it works. I’ve had patients who’ve lost 100 pounds by switching to a low-carb diet who never did any exercise at all.
Once they lost the excess weight, they found they naturally wanted to move more and add exercise into their lives
However, once they lost the excess weight and were feeling so much better, they found they naturally wanted to move more and add exercise into their lives.
Bodies thrive on movement
Exercise has many evidence-based benefits:
Mental health: Exercise promotes the creation of positive endorphins, releasing stress and improving mood, helping reduce anxiety and improve symptoms of depression.
Sleep: It improves sleep quality and resets circadian rhythms. (For more information on how to improve sleep, check out my previous column.)
Energy: It increases energy levels throughout the day and fights fatigue. The more you exercise, the more energy you will have.
Blood sugar: It helps muscles take up excess blood sugar, increasing insulin sensitivity and helping lower your blood glucose measurements over the day.
Mobility: It builds muscle strength, flexibility, and balance — helping you keep mobile and preventing falls as you age. Did you know that elderly women with low muscle mass have significantly higher mortality than women with more muscles? Frailty kills.
Metabolism: Physical activity helps increase your metabolic rate, especially if you build lean muscle. Plus it promotes the health and functioning of the mitochondria, the powerhouses of our cells.
Circulatory system: It keeps blood vessels elastic and strengthens the muscles of your heart and lungs; it helps reduce blood pressure and reduces the risk of strokes. It increases blood flow to the brain and helps reduce the risk of dementia.
Immune system: It can boost your immune system, providing anti-cancer benefits and helping you fight infections such as Covid.
Weight maintenance: Exercise can help burn fat and improve body composition.
No pain, no gain?
Many people think that exercise has to be hard and vigorous to lead to benefits. That’s the whole “no pain, no gain” mentality. But that’s wrong. Any movement is good, especially if you like it and it makes you want to do it regularly.
Many patients tell me they simply dread working out — as if it’s a punishment or a form of torture. They put it off. To me, that means they are going at it too hard or they’re not doing a form of movement that brings them joy and release.
Think of exercise as a form of play, just like the movement you did as a child.
Think of exercise as a form of play, just like the movement you did as a child. Exercise should be fun and enjoyable for you.
Did you know that less vigorous exercise actually burns more fat for fuel?
When you are working out very hard, where you can hardly catch your breath, your muscles use stored glycogen and blood glucose for their dominant fuel. But when you exercise at 50 to 60% of your maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max), you use fat as the dominant fuel.
You should be able to talk or sing as you work out. If you can’t, you may be going at it too hard.
You should be able to talk or sing as you work out. If you can’t, you may be going at it too hard.
High-intensity exercise has other health benefits, but that doesn’t mean it is the only way to exercise!
So don’t feel you have to kill yourself in the gym, like a contestant on The Biggest Loser. Any movement is good.
If you’ve not been exercising for months, or even years, getting started can feel like a mental block that is hard to get past. Here are a few ideas to get you on your way.
Try Diet Doctor’s Let’s Get Moving beginner exercise video led by Jonas Colting, a Swedish triathlete. It’s a great introduction to easy movements.
Find an accountability partner, like a family member or a friend. Booking a time to walk or work out with a friend not only helps ensure you do it, but also makes it more of a social outing.
Start with easy movements. Whatever you’re doing, slowly make it harder. Have a long-term horizon. You don’t wake up one day and run a marathon; you gradually build towards it. Do a little bit more each time.
A walk on flat ground is a great way to start. You can up the speed, the distance, or the hills as you improve. To start, even 10 minutes is good. That’s 10 minutes you would not have done.
Don’t become obsessive. Plan for recovery and downtime. Your body needs time to rest and repair.
And yes, walking is good enough. As you get stronger maybe add some light weights to your arms. I like to think of it as walking towards metabolic wellness. Any step you take is a step in the right direction.
Safe and inviting exercise
Where I live, in the South Side of Chicago, it can be hard to access gyms, parks, or streets that you feel safe running or walking on during all times of the day.
Resistance bands are also a cheap but effective way to strengthen muscles. No gym required.
If that’s the case, then turn on some music and dance in your kitchen. Or download an inexpensive exercise app or move to a video program. Resistance bands are also a cheap but effective way to strengthen muscles. No gym required.
While I like working out in a gym with weights, with my busy life (and with Covid), it is not always possible to get to a gym.
So I have a simple routine that I can do anywhere and it consists of just three exercises. I do as many push-ups as I can, then I do as many deep squats, and then as many pull-ups. (I have a pull-up bar set up in a doorway.) Then I repeat that three times. This trio of simple exercise hits all my major muscle groups.
Sometimes I put my dinner in the oven — like an easy sheet pan meal that cooks for about 40 minutes. Then, while it’s cooking, I do my exercises.
Dr. Ted Naiman has a great beginner exercise video for Diet Doctor, where he shows how to use your own body, in a tiny square of a cruise-ship room, to build strength and flexibility. For example, if you are just starting out, do push-ups against a wall or then a table rim. Then, once you get stronger, you can get down on the floor and do standard push-ups.
Don’t forget to stretch and cool down after working out. If you’re running, for example, don’t just come to a dead stop; walk for the last little bit before you stop. Cooling down protects your heart and muscles.
What’s your favorite way to exercise? What’s your best tip? Share it in the comments.
Until next time, remember to protect your N.E.S.T.
/Dr. Tony Hampton
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Right Nutrition for Relieving Pain and Inflammation
Nutrition is eating a healthy and balanced diet. Understanding the term ‘nutrition’; makes it easier to make right food choices.
It is the study of nutrients in food and how the body accumulates or uses this nutrition in the body.
A nutritionist is a person who studies the use of food and nutrition and manages health and diseases.
Any person who has chronic diseases, or wants weight management can visit a nutritionist. However, it is important to state that dietician and nutrition are different. A dietician will work with people to change their nutrition according to the medical condition, whereas a nutritionist is the one who offers general nutritional advice.
Why do we need the right nutrition?
Improves your well being
It is found that individuals who maintain a healthy diet are less prone to physical and mental issues. Our diet should be full of essential fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
Deficiency in energy giving foods can lead to low energy and irritation, right nutrition gives us energy to work and sustain in life.
Boosts immune system
All junk food and unhealthy food can taste better but they harm our immunity system, but right food and healthy nutrition improves our immunity system which makes us strong.
Pain and Inflammation
Pain is an unpleasant sensation; it can go from feeling sharp stab or ache which is dull.
Inflammation is the process by which our body’s white blood cells protect us from infection from invaders like bacteria and viruses. It is a part of the body's defence mechanism and plays a role in the healing process.
Physical exercises, done regularly can lower the bad protein which causes inflammation. Experts advise to go for Physical Therapy, it is the treatment given by physiotherapists to help reduce or eliminate immobility or diseases in a person. Physical therapy programs include therapies which can combat pain and inflammation.
Right Nutrition for pain and inflammation are:
Rich in nutrients
Anti-inflammatory diet should include food which is rich in nutrients, provides a range of antioxidants and contains fats.
Food that manage inflammation
The variety of food that can manage inflammation are fruits such as berries, vegetables like spinach and broccoli, beans, oily fish like tuna, nuts and seeds, olives, and fibres.
Turmeric is known to have anti-inflammatory properties; it reduces inflammation related to various diseases like arthritis, diabetes, etc.
Foods rich in Vitamin-K
Vitamin-K is known to have anti inflammatory characteristics. Rich and leafy vegetables with vitamin-k and fruits like blackberries reduce inflammation.
To have right nutrition for pain and inflammation is important as it reduces the risk of diseases of heart, obesity, arthritis. Anti- inflammatory food has become popular in recent times, the foods rich in Omega-3 fats; protect our body from the damage caused by inflammation. To have a right nutrition is the precautionary step to protect our body from pain or inflammation, with regular exercises and correct diet we can combat the pain. Contact us for more information.
Get in Better Shape with Physical Therapy
Need of better shape
Better shape means something is in good condition, to be fit and healthy. It is very important to be fit according to your age; however the age is not a barrier anymore as we have inspirations all around us who are old but more fit and healthy than many other young people.
To be fit and healthy and be in good shape brings us many benefits in all ways, whether it be work, home or anywhere else.
Being in good shape and fit increases the stamina of the body and we become productive and do not feel dizzy or lazy during work.
Fitness is a major component in maintaining your image, which boosts your confidence and makes you secure.
Doing regular exercises and physical activities increases our life as our organs function smoothly.
Less prone to diseases or ailments
To be fit is a free medicine; it can prevent us from many ailments such as back pain, high cholesterol, and improve our immune system.
Getting in better shape has become easier and effective by Physical Therapy.
Physical therapy helps individuals of all ages to overcome their medical conditions, illnesses or injuries that are limiting their regular ability to move and function properly.
Physical therapy includes regular resistance training which will focus on all body parts and are less painful than other fitness streams like gymming.
Physical therapists are the muscular and skeletal experts and they are trained professionals. Some of the exercises can be done by self care or at home, if you have a busy schedule.
Physical therapy exercises to stay in better shape include:
These exercises are done to maintain flexibility of the body. These exercises are done for all joints of our body.
These exercises improve the heart rate, and cardiac muscle strength. It includes warm up and cool down phases, and can be done regularly or at intervals. It can also be included in circuit training programs.
These physiotherapy exercises strengthen the muscles, bones and joints. Strengthening exercises for leg strength include glute sets, hamstring sets, quad sets.
Various physical therapy exercises for relaxation are deep breathing, meditation, pranayama which gives us a better shape and relaxes our mind for sound sleep.
There are few exercises which maximize workouts; they include exercises like Squats, Push ups, Planks, Jumping Jacks, etc.
All those who struggle between work and family, but desire to stay fit and in good shape should include these basic physical therapy exercises to get in better shape. As to be fit and healthy is the wealth of a person and has many power pack benefits to give in the busy and hectic lifestyle we are in. Exercises should be planned carefully and with the help of professionals to avoid any mishappening and get a detailed and customized exercise plan for your body per your needs. Feel free to Contact us.