For many of us, our days consist of running to work, taking care of our families, and if we are lucky, spending time with friends. In our busy lives, our constant running around may falsely lead us to believe that we are doing enough to stay in shape.
Savers are well aware of the importance of regular exercise for strengthening bones, as well the many health benefits that go along with being fit. While maintaining a healthy weight is important, it is not always an accurate indicator of how in shape you are.
Today we are examining six unexpected signs that you may not be in as excellent of shape as you had previously believed. If you find that a few items in this list describe you, read on for some bone-saving tips to help you get back into shape!
1. Difficulty Sleeping
Your sleep habits are an excellent sign of your fitness level. If you are having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at night, it may indicate that you are not exercising enough during the day. There is plenty of research available illustrating that exercise improves sleep.1
Sleep is critical for building healthy bones and a healthy body. Lack of sleep has many ramifications on our emotional and physical health. Sleep loss, defined as less than 7 hours of sleep per night, has a proven link to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, depression, and alcohol use.2 In fact, a recent study found that chronic sleep disturbance significantly reduced blood levels of an important bone formation marker, serum type 1 pro collagen also known as C1NP or P1NP.3
Sleep is critical to your bone health. If you begin an exercise regime and still are experiencing sleep difficulty, you may want to try adding these foods to your diet that are proven to enhance sleep. Just remember the timing of your exercise does matter! While morning workouts can enhance the sleep experience, evening workouts may disrupt your sleep cycle.
2. Feeling Blue
Feeling sad or depressed is an entirely appropriate reaction to a challenging time in your life. However, if you are feeling down on a regular basis without any identifiable cause, lack of exercise may be a contributing factor.
Regular exercise releases feel-good chemicals in the brain called endorphins. Endorphins are structurally similar to the drug morphine and can bring about feelings of euphoria and happiness. At the same time, exercise decreases the bone-injuring hormone, cortisol.
While many studies have shown the efficacy of exercise in reducing the symptoms of depression, not all agree on the specifics. One study examined the relationship between depression and exercise and suggested that the focus should be on the frequency of exercise, rather than duration or intensity.4
Science has proven that depression and stress are linked to low bone density.5 While there are many natural ways to help boost our brain’s feel-good chemicals, exercise is the precursor to feeling great.
3. Lack Of Energy In The Bedroom
Your sex life (or lack thereof) may be an indication of your fitness level as well. Sex is a fulfilling part of life, and if you are feeling too exhausted at the end of the day or find yourself searching for excuses to put sex off, you might want to turn up the exercise.
A plethora of evidence exists illustrating the link between exercise and a satisfying sex life. In addition to increasing genital blood flow, exercise increases the levels of testosterone in males and females.6 Higher testosterone levels contribute to increased muscle and bone density, heightened sexual arousal, and increased sexual urges.
A 2010 study from the University of Texas examined the link between sexual arousal and exercise. The study measured women’s physical reactions to erotic films following exercise on the treadmill. Researchers found that women who exercised on a treadmill had an increased genital response to watching erotic films.7
Exercise also helps boost self-confidence8, which in turn stimulates sexual drive.
4. Reliance On Caffeine
When your body is tired, and out of shape, it searches for a source of energy. For many of us, that source of energy is found in our morning (or afternoon) cup of joe. While there is nothing wrong with the occasional cup of coffee, heavy reliance on it might suggest that you are chemically addicted to caffeine.
The aroma and taste of coffee is extremely pleasing to many. There are many benefits to coffee, including bone-healthy polyphenols. Regardless, excess consumption can be unhealthy. Savers know that coffee is acidifying, which accelerates bone loss. If you rely on large amounts of caffeine to get through your day, you’ll be glad to know that there are ways to enjoy java and tea while still protecting your bones, by simply balancing their acidifying effect with alkalizing foods.
If you decide to give up caffeine, there are delicious bone-healthy snacks that can provide you with as much energy as coffee! Also, there are several bone healthy teas that can also serve as an energizing alternative.
5. A Set Of Stairs Does You In
Even the fittest athletes will feel their heart rate go up a bit when climbing a set of stairs. However, if you find that you are extremely winded after walking up a set of stairs, you may be more out of shape than you realize.
From a very basic perspective, breathing heavily is a signal that your body needs more oxygen. Oxygen fuels your body, and when it needs more, it signals your lungs to inhale and exhale more frequently in an effort to gain more oxygen. Studies have shown that increased physical activity slows the decline of lung function.9
When you are tired and quickly winded, it is often a sign that your mitochondria are not as plentiful as they should be.10 Lack of exercise and age causes a decrease in these important structures that provide you with energy.
The good news is that increasing your activity can increase the production of these wonderful, life-giving organelles.
6. Sugar Cravings That Just Won’t Quit
Many of us have experienced a food binge. After eating a sugar-laden treat to the point of feeling full, we suddenly realize a mere hour later that we are hungry again. The body has not received the nutrition that it needs, and as such, is signaling to eat again to find those nutrients.
There are many different kinds of sugar, all of which are carbohydrates. When you consume sugar, your body either uses it as energy or converts it to glycogen, which is stored in your liver or muscles for later use.
Once you eat sugar, your pancreas works to release the hormone, insulin. Insulin gets to work by allowing the cells to utilize the glucose in your blood. As a result of insulin’s hard work, your blood sugar levels stabilize. This process is what occurs when you feel a rush of energy after consuming sugar, which is immediately followed by a drop in energy, or a sugar crash. If this cycle continues to occur, your cells can become resistant to the effects of insulin. Your pancreas then must work harder to release more insulin, as your body continues to become more exhausted.
The consumption of refined sugar has several negative health implications. One such problem with sugar is that it depletes your bones of essential nutrients, such as calcium11, magnesium12, and copper13.
Exercise can have an impact on the food that you crave. Increasing evidence suggests that physical activity decreases cravings. In fact, a recent study shows that even a brisk walk helps to reduce the urge to eat sugar-filled food.14
What To Do About It?
If after reading this article you are feeling a bit defeated, don’t fret! We all have experienced exercise slumps in our lives. If committed, it does not take long to turn things around.
Motivation can be hard to come by, and we want to help you with that! As our gift to you, we include this report:
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Get Motivated will provide with you with tips that will help you get motivated and stay motivated. We all know that a body in motion stays in motion but the first steps are always the hardest. Our free gift will help you take those first few steps. Before you know it, you will be on your way!
“But I Don’t Have The Time To Spend Hours At The Gym Each Week!”
Not to worry, not many people have hours to spare each week! You don’t need hours. “But I don’t have the money for costly equipment or a gym membership,” you say. Again, not many people have excess money to burn on expensive gym memberships or equipment.
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In as little as four weeks, you will alleviate some of these unwelcomed signs that you are not in the shape that you would like to be. In four short weeks, you will strengthen your health, your bones, your energy, and your life!
Till next time,
1 Loprinzi,P.D., Cardinal, B.J. “Association between objectively-measured activity and sleep.” Mental Health and Physical Activity. 2011 Dec; 4(2): 65-69. Web: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1755296611000317
2 Colton, H.R., Altevogt, B.M. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Institute of Medicine Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research. 2006. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK19960/
3 Christina Swanson, et. al. “Lower Bone Formation after 3 Weeks of Sleep Restriction with Circadian Disruption: A Mechanism for Sleep-Related Bone Loss.” Endo 2017. Web: https://plan.core-apps.com/tristar_endo17/abstract/9f6300891abea35983bbd25dffe1bc58
4 Lynette L Craft, Frank Pema. “The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed.” Primary Care Companion Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2004 6(3): 104-111. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/
5 Osella, Giangiacomo, et al. “Cortisol secretion, bone health, and bone loss: a cross-sectional and prospective study in normal nonosteoporotic women in the early postmenopausal period.” European Journal of Endocrinology. 2012. Vo. 166, pages 855-860. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22312036
6 Layne, J.E., Nelson, M.E. “Effects of progressive resistance training on bone density: a review.” Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise. 1999. 31(1): 25-30. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9927006
7 Hamilton, L.D., Fogle, E.A., Meston, C.M. “The roles of testosterone and alpha-amylase in exercise-induced sexual arousal in women.” Journal Sexual Medicine. 2010. 7(11):3803. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18221285
8 RF Baumeister, et al. “Does High Self-Esteem Cause Better Performance, Interpersonal Success, Happiness, or Healthier Lifestyles?” American Psycholgoical Society. 2003 4(1). 1-44. Web: https://people.uncw.edu/kozloffm/selfesteembaumeister.pdf
9 J Garcia-Aymerich, et. al. “Regular Physical Activity Modifies Smoking-related Lung Function Decline and Reduces Risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.” American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2007. 175(5). Web: https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1164/rccm.200607-896OC#.Vpgp91MrJTY
10 Filler, K, et. al. “Association of mitochondrial dysfunction and fatigue: A review of the literature.” BBA Clinical. 2014 (!). 12-23. Web: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221464741400004X
11 Lawoyin, S., et al. “Bone mineral content in patients with calcium urolithiasis.” Metabolism 28:1250-1254.1979.
12 Swaminathan, R. “Magnesium Metabolism and its Disorders.” The Clinical Biochemist Reviews. 2003 May; 24(2): 47-66. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1855626/
13 Wapnir, RA and Devas, G. “Copper deficiency: interaction with high-fructose and high-fat diets in rats.” The American Society for Clinical Nutrition, Inc. January 1995. Vol. 61 no. 1; 105-110. Web. https://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/61/1/105.abstract
14 Ledochowski, L., et al. “Acute effects of brisk walking on sugary snack cravings in overweight people, affect and responses to a manipulated stress situation and to a sugary snack cue: a crossover study.” PLoS One. 2015. 10(3). Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25760042.