Walk Your Way to a Healthy Mood

WalkHealthyMoodSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

 

 

Increasingly, walking is considered an essential form of exercise to reduce chronic disease risk, manage weight and support optimal health. Whether one walks for recreation, transportation or increased fitness, walking can be adjusted to suit individual needs, preferences, abilities and schedules. Walking is a simple, natural and inexpensive form of exercise. It requires no special skills nor equipment other than a pair of supportive footwear. The benefits of physical activity depend on intensity, duration and frequency. As such, the American Heart Association guidelines recommend that able-bodied adults participate in moderate intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, for a minimum of 30 minutes daily five days per week. Similar to other forms of moderate intensity exercise like swimming, cycling or dancing, walking not only improves a realm of cardiac risk factors, including vascular stiffness, obesity, inflammation and blood pressure; it also helps protect against dementia and depression.

In addition to all the physical benefits of a daily walk, there are very real and immediate psychological effects as well. Research suggests that many underestimate the extent to which going for a walk positively benefits mood. Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is evidence to suggest that exercise as a behavioral intervention has shown great promise in alleviating symptoms of depression. Research has also shown that those who are depressed are less physically fit, which in turn contributes to other physical health problems associated with sedentary behavior. An overwhelming majority of studies have confirmed the efficacy of exercise on improving mood and reducing symptoms of depression. Research also suggests that the benefits of exercise participation have long lasting effects. However, consistent moderate intensity exercise has proven to be most beneficial.

Studies have shown that regular walkers who self-assessed their overall health reported that they had improved their diets, felt more energetic and highly rated their overall mood, happiness and self-esteem. Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety and negative mood and enhancing cognitive function and self-worth. A study by psychologists at Iowa State University found that even when the benefits typically associated with exercise research, such as fresh air, nature, social contact and the expectation of improved heath were disregarded, walking in and of itself proved to be a powerful mood lifter. The researchers argued that positive emotions are closely linked with movement, as humans evolved to move to find sustenance and other rewards.

It appears that though many prefer to sit rather than move, we are happier when we are busy and active. Those who avoid exercise because they are not sure where to start should know that just getting out for a walk can make a meaningful difference in mental and physical health. When you’re feeling disengaged or sluggish, a brisk 10 minute walk can be energizing, uplifting and refreshing. It’s well established that aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health. As a highly metabolic organ, the brain requires good blood flow to deliver necessary oxygen and nutrients. During exercise, blood vessels dilate allowing blood flow throughout the body to dramatically increase. Improved blood flow and reduced blood pressure are both associated with improved cognitive function. The effects of exercise are also linked to improved executive functions such as planning, thinking and judgment.

While high intensity exercise releases feel good brain chemicals, there is value in lower intensity exercise sustained long term. Regular physical activity prompts the release of proteins known as neurotrophic or growth factors, which cause nerve cells to grow and form new connections. Nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, the region that regulates mood, helps to alleviate depression over time. Evidence-based health benefits of regular exercise include improved sleep, better endurance, stress relief, increased energy and stamina, weight reduction, and improved cardiovascular fitness, as well as mood enhancement and increased mental alertness.

References:
Walking: Your steps to health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/walking-your-steps-to-health
Walking may be one of the simplest ways to boost your mood. https://www.businessinsider.com/walking-improves-mood-2016-10
Exercise for Mental Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/
Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/
Walking Can Lift Your Mood Even When You Don’t Expect It to. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/minding-the-body/201608/walking-can-lift-your-mood-even-when-you-dont-expect-it
Regular Walking Can Help Ease Depression. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/regular-walking-can-help-ease-depression/
Exercise is an all-natural treatment to fight depression. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/exercise-is-an-all-natural-treatment-to-fight-depression

 

Sarcopenia

SarcopeniaJacquie Eubanks RN BSNSarcopenia, an under-recognized involuntary age-related loss of muscle mass, strength and function, largely contributes to frailty, functional impairment and a decreased capacity for independent living in older adults. Sarcopenia can increase the risk of falls and fractures, and impact the ability to perform everyday activities, such as walking, rising from a chair, lifting objects or climbing stairs. Development of sarcopenia is multi-factorial, occurring over a long period of time, yet the biology of sarcopenia remains elusive. While aging and physical inactivity are key factors in sarcopenia development, other contributing factors include age-related changes in the neuromuscular system, decreased hormone levels, neurological decline, decreased protein synthesis, chronic illness, inflammation and poor nutrition.

Sarcopenia, which may begin as early as age 40, is a gradual and continuous process with muscle mass loss averaging one to two percent yearly past the age of 50 years. Assuming that muscle loss rates are similar among adults, those with greater muscle mass will have a higher reserve capacity for muscle loss before physical frailty compromises function. With aging, changes in body composition generally result in one pound of fat and fibrous tissue gained and one half pound of muscle lost annually between the ages of 30 and 50. Data demonstrates that this shift in body composition occurs even when overall body weight remains relatively stable.

The gain of body fat along with the loss of muscle mass is seen not only in sedentary people but in active older adults as well. However, fitness and functional reserves remain greater in those who exercise regularly as compared to those who are inactive. Loss of reserve capacity results in an increased sense of effort for any given form of exercise, which may discourage older individuals from physical activity. However, exercise at every age is beneficial and will help decrease body fat, improve oxygen consumption and increase muscle strength. With continued lack of physical activity, cardiovascular function decreases, and maximal oxygen intake diminishes as sarcopenia advances.

While inactivity, unbalanced diet, inflammation and chronic stress all contribute to sarcopenia, the condition can be slowed and some of the strength that has already been lost can be restored. Appropriate level resistance training using free weights, resistance bands or machines, along with adequate nutrients can help to safely and effectively strengthen muscles, as well as enhance bone density. Protein, in particular, acts synergistically with strength training to increase muscle mass and improve muscle protein balance. Protein foods, such as dairy, soybeans, peanuts, meats and eggs, are naturally rich in leucine, one of the amino acids most essential for muscle health and proper metabolism. Leucine stimulates protein synthesis in muscle tissue, contributes to the growth and repair of muscle and bone tissue, and inhibits the breakdown of muscle proteins after trauma or severe stress.

In addition to proper nutrition and adequate exercise, taking certain supplements may help to decrease development risk, delay or improve the condition. A recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE involving two groups of men aged 70 and older, found that the combination of a 12-week progressive resistance and high intensity interval training program, along with certain nutrients, whey protein, creatine, vitamin D, calcium and fish oil, resulted in improvements in deteriorating muscle health and overall strength, as compared with the participants taking placebos. The research supported by the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative within the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging concluded that twice weekly training enhanced by supplementation greatly improved the physical strength and health profile of the participating senior citizens.

For those who don’t exercise, today is a good day to start, as it’s much easier to prevent or slow the progression of muscle loss than it is to reverse it.  While aerobic exercise is great for cardiovascular fitness and weight maintenance, it is only mildly effective for preserving lean body mass. To increase lean muscle mass, resistance training is preferred. In addition to building muscle, strength training can promote mobility and improve health-related fitness. A sarcopenia-prevention regimen of dietary modifications, nutritional supplements and some form of resistance training can improve lean muscle mass, and optimize muscle strength, functionality and overall wellbeing, even at an advanced age. While millions of people become weak and frail as they age, the good news is that you don’t have to be one of them.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality supplements in support of muscle and overall health:

Free Form Amino CapsFree Form Amino Acids by Douglas Laboratories®: This product supplies a nutritionally balanced blend of essential, conditionally essential and important non-essential amino acids in support of protein metabolism, as well as hormone and neurotransmitter synthesis. Free of gluten, dairy, soy, yeast, sugar, preservatives and artificial ingredients.

PureLean® WheyPureLean® Whey by Pure Encapsulations: Each serving of PureLean® Whey supplies 21 grams of highly purified, cold-processed undenatured whey protein sourced from grass-fed cows. Whey protein supports overall wellness with high quality protein nutrition, provides support for  healthy muscle function and recovery, and promotes healthy weight management. Natural vanilla bean flavor. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

Whey Cool Natural...Whey Cool™ Natural Chocolate Flavor by Designs for Health®: This full-range, biologically active, non-denatured whey protein concentrate provides high quality protein and a full complement of amino acids, as well as lactoferrin and immunoglobulins. Sourced from grass fed cows. Free of hormones, antibiotics, gluten, wheat, preservatives and artificial ingredients. Non-GMO formulation.

Klean Isolate...Klean Isolate™ Natural Vanilla by Klean Athlete®: This NSF Certified for Sport® whey protein isolate supplies essential amino acids, as well as branched chain amino acids in support of daily dietary protein requirements and optimum health. Free of yeast, wheat, gluten, soy, corn, starch, artificial ingredients and preservatives. Non-GMO formulation.

Klean CreatineKlean Creatine™ by Klean Athlete®: This NSF Certified product supplies pure creatine in support of muscle strength, performance and recovery. Creatine may significantly benefit increased muscle mass and improved performance in high intensity and resistance training. Free of  wheat, gluten, milk/dairy, soy, artificial ingredients and preservatives. Non-GMO formulation.

Creatine PowderCreatine Powder by Pure Encapsulations®: Creatine provides safe nutritional support for optimal performance during weight training, sprinting or short-duration, high-intensity workouts. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

References:
Sarcopenia in older adults. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4066461/
What is Sarcopenia? https://www.iofbonehealth.org/what-sarcopenia
Physical activity guidelines for older adults. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/physical-activity-guidelines-older-adults/
How to Fight Sarcopenia (Muscle Loss Due to Aging). https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sarcopenia
Sarcopenia: The Mystery of Muscle Loss. https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/sarcopenia.html
Preventing Sarcopenia. https://www.iofbonehealth.org/preventing-sarcopenia
Review Article: Sarcopenia: Causes, Consequences, and Preventions. https://academic.oup.com/biomedgerontology/article/58/10/M911/534906
New supplement can repair, rejuvenate muscles in older adults. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170718142925.htm
Leucine. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/L-leucine#section=Top
Exercise, protein metabolism, and muscle growth. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11255140

Allergy Research Group® – Featured Brand

AllergyResearchGroupSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

 

 

Since 1979, Allergy Research Group® has formulated high quality cutting-edge hypoallergenic nutritional supplements. Their line of unique proprietary science-based products are formulated to support optimal wellness. With decades of experience behind them, their in-house research and development team works with certified manufacturers to develop technologies that maximize product delivery, absorption and efficacy. Products are manufactured under FDA regulated cGMP strict quality standards. These include third party testing of all raw materials and finished products, as well as shelf life expiration testing to ensure freshness, consistency and potency.

Allergy Research Group® utilizes pure raw materials, and whenever possible, the lowest allergy potential natural ingredients. Their clinically researched and branded ingredients are free of all common allergens, specifically wheat, corn, soy, gluten, yeast, dairy, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, and peanuts. Many very sensitive individuals who react to supplements in general are able to tolerate Allergy Research Group® hypoallergenic formulas. All ingredients, both active and inactive, are fully disclosed on every product label. Allergy Research Group’s formulas are available solely through healthcare practitioners.

To see more products from Allergy Research Group®, please visit professionalsupplementcenter.com

200 mg of Zen200 mg of Zen: This best selling product provides a blend of L-theanine and GABA, ingredients that promote calmness and relaxation without sedative effects. L-theanine, a plant based amino acid found in green tea, helps improve sleep quality, calms the central nervous system and helps counteract the effects of daily stress. GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, functions as a calming agent, supporting optimal brain function while relieving anxiousness. Hypoallergenic formulation.

 

Biotin 5000Biotin 5000: Water soluble vitamin B7 aids the metabolism of fats, sugars and amino acids. It is crucial for the utilization of glucose and fatty acids for energy production as well as the synthesis of protein from amino acids. Additionally, Biotin 5000 supports the health of skin, hair and nails. Gluten free, hypoallergenic formulation.

 

Buffered Vitamin C...Buffered Vitamin C: This top seller provides highly pure ascorbic acid buffered with calcium and magnesium carbonates. Each serving delivers 1000 mg of vitamin C as ascorbic acid. With cold and flu season on the horizon, it’s a good time to ramp up antioxidant defenses.

 

L-LysineL-Lysine: This hypoallergenic free form essential amino acid aids calcium absorption, bone remodeling, and the formation of collagen found in cartilage and connective tissue, as well as skin and hair. Highly pure, well tolerated hypoallergenic formulation.

 

DIM® Enhanced...DIM Enhanced Delivery System: This unique formulation provides pure diindolylmethane as BioResponse DIM®, a highly stable bioavailable indole found in broccoli, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables. BioResponse DIM® requires no conversion, is easily absorbed and may help to promote the regulation of healthy estrogen metabolism.