Adjusting For Success

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Adjusting For Success

It’s getting close to that time of year again when all the new years intentions we developed are at the greatest risk of failing. According to the U.S. News and World report the failure rate for news years resolutions is said to be about 80% with most losing their resolve about mid February. It’s just about then that we get tired of eating salad, getting up early to go to the gym, put off meditating until later, going to bed early starts to get later and later as well as any of the other dozens of commitments that start to get harder to do.

We all start out with good intentions and truly believe this is the year we will do what it takes to achieve our desired goals. So as we get closer to critical mass I want to offer some suggestions to hopefully avoid the pit falls and keep you on track to achieve your goals.

Now that you have been at it a few weeks evaluate whether your goal was realistically achievable. If not readjust to a more achievable goal and then build on that. For example if you promised yourself that you would work out five days a week and you find you are actually getting there two to three times a week reset you expectations and try for three times a week with possibly adding stretching and yoga at home on the off days. This will keep you in the game and is actually more realistic for your life. Even if it is two to three days a week it is more than you were doing before and in time it will likely be more of a habit that you can build on.

Secondly consider taking smaller steps. For example it’s unlikely that you can go from 2500 calories a day to a 1000 and expect to sustain it for long. Start by cutting out deserts, or sugar or carbohydrates and adding more fruits and vegetables. Another option is to consider adding intermittent fasting to your regime if you don’t have blood sugar issues.

Being prepared for the changes you are making is another important factor in your success. This includes things such as getting to the store and having good food choices on hand that you actually enjoy eating. When we are hungry and we want to grab something quick or we come home tired and there isn’t anything appealing the likelihood we will make poor choices is greatly increased. Additionally if you have committed to working out make sure you pack your bag the night before and are ready to go. Gathering your things at the last minute before you walk out the door when you are already feeling rushed works against yourself.

Getting support from your friends or family also helps to enhance your success rate. If you are not the shopper in your household ask that whoever does this to be mindful of your needs getting delicious fruits, veggies and health snacks and avoid bringing sugary snacks or chips into the house. These are tough temptations when we are hungry and don’t want to take the time to prepare something.

Most importantly acknowledge the successes you have had. What you have done took thought, courage and energy. Make the choice each day to rededicate your self to what you are trying to achieve. If you fail that day don’t beat yourself up. Pick you again and start a new. It is important to remember that change is a process. We start out with an idea of what things should look like but it is much more fluid than absolute. Don’t hesitate to modify as things progress. Modifying is not failure. In fact it is much more likely to lead to your success.

With Gratitude,
Pat

Exercises, Aging and Your Brain

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Exercises, Aging and Your Brain

It was long believed that the brain you got was the one that you had to live with. Once you reached adulthood and full brain development had occurred it was assumed there would be no further neuron development. If you unfortunately lost some aspect of your brain due to aging, stroke, disease etc. it was believed you were left with a limited capacity that at best would hopefully lead to no further deterioration. What we now know is the brain is capable of having neuroplasticity, meaning that it is has the ability to generate new neurons. Gratefully it turns out aerobic exercise is one way this can be achieved! This occurs because aerobic exercise increases the production of a protein called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which increases the size and connectivity in the hippocampus. This occurs when stem cells, which are essentially a blank slate, are developed in to new nascent neurons, which in turn create new brain cells.

There are many ways to increase neuroplasticity but one thing we now know is that exercise has a significant impact on the development of new neurons particularly in the part of the brain called the hippocampus and the neo-cortex. This is important because these are the regions of the brain that degenerate as aging occurs. Further research has revealed that the most effective way to achieve this is to add some form of cognitive challenge during exercising. This includes things such as having to process spatial awareness, making choices and processing stimulus input while exercising. Adding this cognitive component has the greatest impact on neuron development. So what this means in real time is that getting on the bike at the gym and turning on the TV where your only cognitive input is staring idly at the TV is not nearly as beneficial as riding a bike outside, dealing with spatial awareness, traffic, pedestrians and while still needing to be cognizant of the direction you are travelling. The increase utilization of cognitive function while doing any aerobic exercise is the most efficient and effective way to increase BDNF.

While exercise has many effects on all parts of our body if you are approaching middle age you may want to seriously consider the way that you exercise to help prevent atrophy of the hippocampus and the neo-cortex. By simply adding a cognitive component to any aerobic exercise you are already doing you will increase the development of new neural cells. Any advantage that we can utilize to increase brain cell development will help diminish the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

There have been many studies done to assess how much exercise is necessary to receive the neurogenic benefits and cellular development. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that you should engage in aerobic exercise of moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes per week or 75 minutes a week for intense exercise or an equivalent combination of the two. More clinical trials are still being done to find the best way to target, physiological pathways to link the brain and the body to exploit our brain’s ability of exercised induces plasticity as we age but for now simply adding a cognitive component to your exercises will help tremendously.

A new year is upon us and is the case for many an opportunity to create new habits to increase our health and the joy we create in out life. As we begin this New Year consider not only exercising but also exercising in a way that helps protect the aging brain. I wish you and your family excellent health and many blessings as we begin this new decade.

With Gratitude,
Pat

CBD Products: Yeah or Nay?

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CBD Products: Yay or Nay?

CBD products are taking the country by storm. They have been promoted to aid in everything from anxiety and depression to acne and heart disease. Many wonder about its safety and others question its association with the cannabis plant. Understanding how CBD works can be confusing and for those who want an in depth discussion of its properties and effect on different CB receptors as well as its influence on the endocannabinoid system I will refer you to cbdschool.com. Simply explained the endocannabinoid system is designed to maintain a homeostatic balance in your body making sure all systems are in balance with each other. CBD has been shown to have a favorable effect on this system. This is one of the reasons it has such widespread applications.

CBD is derived from the resins of the cannabis flower and has been used as a medicine for literally thousands of years. While THC, the active ingredient found in marijuana is also derived from the cannabis flower it is important to distinguish that CBD products do not produce the characteristic “high” or euphoric feeling that THC does. This is due to the ingredients of each effecting different receptors in the brain.

As a general rule the majority of CBD products are safe and can effectively be used by adults and children for a variety of issues. There are however some precautions that should be considered when using these products. Despite the fact that CBD is mostly safe and therapeutic there may be some unwanted side effects when combined with other drugs you take regularly. These include heart medications, anti-anxiety medications such as BuSpar, any medication that warns against being taken with grapefruit and certain blood pressure medications. For more information and interactive descriptions or to check the possible interactions with specific medications you currently take go to cdbsafely.com.

Another significant safety concern is the limited regulation of the manufacturing of CBD products. It has become a booming industry and as of yet fairly unregulated. This has led to a number of less than scrupulous pop-up companies attempting to capitalize on the lack of regulations. If you decided to purchase CBD products it is essential that a reputable company has manufactured the products. I would suggest you use caution when tempted to buy it at your hairdressers or a gym or other places that are not certified retailers of the product. This is not to imply in any way that these institutions don’t have reputable products but it is important that you are certain of its source and the products credibility before purchasing.

The issue of course with the lack of regulation is that what is listed on the ingredients may be less or more potent than what is represented. Most people unwittingly assume it will be less than what is listed but in a recent study of multiple products including oils, edibles and creams 30% contained more than the listed ingredients. For most adults this generally doesn’t present too much of an issue but for children it could potentially cause significant problems. As with all medications weight is the critical component in dosing. With children who may weigh any where from 35 to 100 pounds the higher doses have the potential for complications. A 2017 study by Bonn-Miller found that 7 out of 10 products did not contain the amount of extract listed on the label therefore diligence in checking out the product you are considering is critical especially if you will be administering to children.

All things considered CBD oil has many very favorable effects with little to no side effects. Before deciding to try CBD it is important to check with your doctor for any negative side effects that my interfere or complicate the medications you are currently taking. Surveys of CBD users have reported favorable effects in reducing pain, anxiety, depression and a whole host of other disorders. Personally I have found it effective for knee pain. If you elect to try CBD oil exercise good judgment, check with your doc and be the wise soul you are.

With Gratitude,
Pat