Constantly find yourself downing bags of chips or sleeves of cookies? Despite what you may think, feeling like you’re always hungry is not because you have a lack of willpower. In fact, if these binges are happening on busy days when you’ve “forgotten” to eat lunch, it’s likely a sign you need to change up your diet. “While skipping meals might seem like an easy way to eat less, it will most likely actually cause you to eat more later on,” Sarah-Jane Bedwell, RD, LDN, told us.
Never forget to drink water
“Not drinking enough water can have a negative impact on the metabolism as well as your appetite,” says Alexandra Miller, RDN, LDN. Research has shown that people often respond to their thirst inappropriately by eating instead of drinking since the same part of our brain controls both responses. When you’re hydrated, it also helps to make your stomach feel full, which can fend off the feeling of hunger.
Never cut out entire groups of foods
You shouldn’t punish an entire food group as a dietary villain. A diet that forbids entire food groups is not only unsustainable, but it can also be dangerous. (Unless, of course, there’s a medical reason—such as lactose intolerance or Celiac disease—to scratch something from your diet). For example: While eating too many refined flour foods can pack on the pounds by spiking your blood sugar and never fully satisfying your hunger pangs, that doesn’t mean that all carbs have the same effect. In fact, whole grains are rich in energizing B vitamins and digestion-slowing fiber. Plus, since carbs are an essential source of energy, completely slashing this food group from your diet can cause exhaustion, irritability, and lethargy.
Never fall for health halos
Whether it’s slapping a product with a “sugar-free” label or pointing out the food’s myriad of vitamins and minerals, marketing claims can get in the way of weight loss if you’re not actually reading the ingredients and nutritional information. You see, when dieters perceive a food to be nutritious—thanks to buzzwords like “organic” or “gluten-free”—they tend to misjudge how many calories are actually in them. As a result, dieters tend to feel entitled to indulge, which can lead to eating 131 percent more calories than you otherwise would, according to a Cornell University study.
Never eat while watching T.V.
The big game is on and it’s dinner time? Well, that’s why we have DVR! Press pause. Experts find that when your mind is distracted by other things while eating, such as watching TV or listening to loud music, it can block certain satiety cues from alerting your brain that you’ve eaten your fill. As a result, you consume more calories than your body needs, which will likely be stored as fat.
Never go it alone
You’ve decided to change your life—good for you! Now spread the news! When you share your mission with your close friends and family, it will help you to build a support system and you’ll have people who can keep you accountable to your goals. It’s easy to mindlessly scoop another spoonful of ice cream into a bowl, but you might think twice if you have to justify this extra portion to your family as you eat dessert together at the dinner table. Want to take it a step further? Find yourself a diet buddy! Dieters who have a weight-loss partner lose significantly more belly fat compared to those who try to slim down alone, according to a study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.
In a rush? Don’t start shoveling food in your face. If there’s one resolution to make this year, it should be to extend your lunch break to at least 20 minutes. Why the time minimum? Experts have found it takes around that amount of time for your stomach to tell your brain that you’re full. It’s one of the reasons why fast food is so bad for your waistline; you quickly eat the calorie-laden fare before your body can tell you you’ve had enough!
Never forget to exercise
According to recent research published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, weight loss programs that formally include an exercise routine are significantly more effective for weight loss and improved health than diets without recommended sweat sessions.
Never go too hard too fast
It’s great to switch things up into a new exercise routine, but don’t hit the ground running—both literally and figuratively. If your body isn’t used to working out on the reg, you could injure yourself if you up your reps or mileage too quickly, which can hamper your weight-loss progress. Take your time to build up your base before you start racking up 10-mile runs every day.
Never rely on exercise either
“Moving more” isn’t going to be the only thing that helps you slim down. For starters, a 2012 review published in the journal Obesity Reviews found that people tend to overestimate how many calories they burn when they workout. As a result, people will not only overcompensate for their workout by eating more calories than they burned, but they may also think they can now indulge in junk food as a “reward” for exercise. As an example, a 155-pound person biking for one hour burns on average 520 calories. That can all be undone by under two slices of Domino’s Hand Tossed Cheese pizza.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects your body’s ability to produce dopamine, a chemical found in your brain that helps you initiate and control your movements. This causes symptoms like uncontrollable shaking in your limbs (known as a tremor), slow movement, a rigid, stiff feeling in your body, unsteady gait and posture, as well as symptoms unrelated to movements like loss of smell, constipation, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, cognitive challenges, and blood pressure issues. Parkinson’s most frequently develops in people over age 50, but can also appear in younger individuals, too.
What Causes Parkinson’s Disease? | Who Gets Parkinson’s Disease? | Why Do People Get Parkinson’s Disease? | Is Parkinson’s Disease Hereditary? | Celebrities With Parkinson’s Disease | Long-Term Outlook of Parkinson’s Disease | Parkinson’s Disease Statistics
You might feel stiff, like it’s hard to move your muscles, and maybe you have uncontrollable shaking in one or more of your limbs or fingers. You might also feel fatigued and have difficulty feeling motivated to get up. Everyday tasks like brushing your teeth, putting on your clothes, cooking and driving a car might be a struggle due to the stiffness and slowness of your muscles. Perhaps family members have noticed you don’t swing one of your arms when you walk.
Feeling unsteady when you walk and feeling like you can’t move as quickly as you want could be everyday occurrences along with other challenges like constipation, chronic pain, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, a weak sense of smell, having a soft voice and a bent-over posture. Taking certain medications helps wake your muscles up and gets you moving with more ease and less sluggishness. Without that help, though (and, sometimes despite taking medications), moving the way you used to is challenging, as you constantly feel a sense of slowness, stiffness and/or shaking (you might experience some or all of these symptoms). If this describes your experience, you may be living with Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease occurs when there isn’t enough dopamine produced in the part of the brain called the substantia nigra, which helps you initiate muscle movement. The substantia nigra part of your midbrain normally produces dopamine, a chemical called a neurotransmitter that signals other brain cells to start movement. But in Parkinson’s disease, the brain cells (aka neurons) that produce dopamine degenerate and die, meaning less and less dopamine is produced. Without dopamine in the substantia nigra, you have a harder time initiating and controlling your movements.
Another key feature of Parkinson’s disease is when a protein found in the brain called alpha-synuclein (abbreviated a-synuclein) clumps together with other proteins to form Lewy bodies. Lewy bodies are toxic, and can form in many areas of the brain, including the substantia nigra and cerebral cortex (the “thinking” part of the brain). Lewy bodies disrupt the functioning of these areas of the brain — neurons can’t work properly and send the signals they are supposed to. The neurons eventually die, making it impossible for them to carry out their intended functions.25
As a result, Parkinson’s disease is characterized by three hallmark movement, or motor, symptoms:Tremor, or uncontrolled shaking of typically a hand, leg, foot, head, chin, lips, jaw or tongue while the limb is at rest Bradykinesia, or slowness of movement Rigidity, or stiffness in the body
Other common motor symptoms include an unsteady gait, balance problems, soft voice, small handwriting, stooped posture, “freezing” of feet and lower limbs while walking, and taking very small steps.
Parkinson’s disease also causes symptoms unrelated to movement. Dopamine-producing neurons are found in parts of the brain besides the substantia nigra such as areas that control your mood and sense of motivation to do things. Lewy bodies can also be found in parts of the brain that affect things like your sense of smell, thinking, constipation, sleep, and depression, which causes symptoms in these areas, too.
Non-motor symptoms can be just as challenging to live with as motor symptoms, sometimes more. These symptoms often show up months or even years before the motor symptoms, suggesting perhaps the disease can begin in parts of the brain outside the dopamine-producing neurons of the substantia nigra, cause non-motor symptoms and gradually progress to include the motor symptoms as well.28
Some of the non-motor symptoms you experience can include:Loss of smell Constipation Sexual dysfunction Anxiety Depression Apathy, or the lack of desire to move or do things Sleep problems Cognitive problems Fatigue Sweating Autonomic dysfunction, or trouble with automatic body functions like blood pressure fluctuations, dizziness or feeling faint
Parkinson’s disease is degenerative, which means over time, symptoms get worse. There is no cure. However, it is not considered a terminal illness. There are a number of treatments that can help you manage your symptoms, including:Medication Exercise Physical, occupational and speech therapy Surgery
An estimated 6.1 million people worldwide had Parkinson’s disease in 2016, up from 2.5 million people in 1990. Between 2005 to 2030, the number of people with Parkinson’s disease is expected to double.9 This is because people, in general, are living longer, and Parkinson’s becomes more common as you get older.
Age of Onset
Age is the biggest risk factor for Parkinson’s disease. It affects about 1% of the population over age 60, and 5% over age 85.26 Your risk of developing Parkinson’s increases with each decade. However, anywhere from 5-20% (research is inconsistent) of cases are considered early-onset, which is defined as presenting with symptoms before age 50.36
We don’t know for sure why Parkinson’s becomes more common with age but research suggests some people experience a decline over time in the processes required for the functioning of the substantia nigra. As some people age, they become less able to produce dopamine, neurons become less effective and toxic Lewy bodies develop that cause neurons to die. When all these factors combine, some people experience the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.26
Parkinson’s is more common in men than women, with a ratio of about 1.5 men to every 1 woman. The ratio appears to increase with age.17 Why more men are diagnosed with Parkinson’s than women is not completely clear. There may be a relationship between dopamine and estrogen, the female sex hormone. Some research suggests estrogen might help protect against the loss of dopamine, which could explain why women are less likely to have Parkinson’s and also why Parkinson’s symptoms are sometimes worse for women after menopause, when estrogen levels decrease.32 There is also evidence that women with Parkinson’s are less likely than men to seek out a specialist for care, which means they may be underrepresented in research and not receive the same quality of care.35
Another theory is male-dominated industries are associated with environmental factors that may increase Parkinson’s risk — for example, being exposed to pesticides and heavy metals (such as manganese exposure from welding, iron, steel and mining2). It also could be that women are simply not diagnosed with Parkinson’s as readily as men are. Women may experience more non-motor symptoms, which can be harder to diagnose as Parkinson’s than motor symptoms because they still aren’t as recognized.10
Related: These stories shares women’s perspectives on living with Parkinson’s.
The first thing you might ask after getting the diagnosis is why did I get Parkinson’s disease? Scientists don’t know for sure what causes some people to develop Parkinson’s while others don’t. If you ask your doctor why you have Parkinson’s, they will likely not be able to give you a definitive answer. But scientists have pinpointed a couple of factors that may increase your risk of Parkinson’s: genetics and environmental factors.
Is Parkinson’s Disease Hereditary?
Historically, Parkinson’s was not thought of as a hereditary or genetic condition. Newer research, however, indicates Parkinson’s disease can run in families, though it is rare. These cases are called familial Parkinson’s disease and account for about 15% of all Parkinson’s cases.23 Scientists have identified several genes that can cause or increase your risk of Parkinson’s. It’s possible for mutations or changes in these genes to be passed down among family members. In very rare cases, they can appear at random, causing Parkinson’s disease in someone who did not inherit the gene from a family member and has no family history of the condition.
Several genes increase your risk of developing Parkinson’s. Experts believe a gene called LRRK2 is linked to Parkinson’s because studies have found several types of mutations in LRRK2 that people with Parkinson’s disease have in common. It may explain at least 5% of familial Parkinson’s disease cases and 1-2% of “sporadic,” or non-familial, Parkinson’s cases.27 The LRRK2 gene makes a protein called LRRK2 (also called dardarin), found in the brain, which is believed to be involved in several functions, including regulating other proteins’ abilities to interact with each other, transmit signals and build the framework of other cells. We don’t know exactly why LRRK2 mutations lead to Parkinson’s symptoms specifically, but we know that mutations to LRRK2 result in the protein being hyperactive, which disrupts how effectively it can work and can cause brain cells to die.27
One particular type of LRRK2 mutation, called G2019S, appears to be particularly concentrated in certain ethnic groups. It accounts for:13.3% of sporadic and 29.7% of familial Parkinson’s disease among Ashkenazi Jews 40.8% of sporadic and 37% of familial Parkinson’s disease among North African Arabs12
A gene called GBA is also associated with Parkinson’s — an estimated 10% of people with Parkinson’s have a GBA mutation.13 The GBA gene makes an enzyme — a type of protein that helps brain chemicals communicate more efficiently — that breaks down toxic substances in neurons, digests bacteria and breaks down worn-out cells. Scientists don’t know the exact connection to Parkinson’s, but in theory, if there is a mutation on GBA, toxic substances in neurons may not be able to break down, which could kill dopamine-producing neurons.8
Another gene, called PRKN, is associated with developing early-onset Parkinson’s in particular. The PRKN gene is responsible for the production of the parkin protein, which is believed to help get rid of damaged cell parts, like mitochondria — the part of the cell that produces energy.22 PRKN gene changes may allow a buildup of toxic proteins and damaged mitochondria, which causes the death of dopamine-producing cells.31
Also, damaged mitochondria in dopamine-producing cells could prevent them from working properly since they can’t produce energy.21 Some studies have found that PRKN mutations are found in 40-50% of early-onset familial Parkinson’s cases and 1-20% of sporadic Parkinson’s cases.20 Hispanic individuals are more likely than non-Hispanic individuals to carry this gene.1
Mutations in the SNCA gene are also believed to increase your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease since SNCA produces a-synuclein, the protein that builds up in people with Parkinson’s.20 A-synuclein clumps are also called Lewy bodies, and the presence of Lewy bodies in the brain is a hallmark sign of Parkinson’s disease. Lewy bodies in the brain can disrupt the functioning of neurons, leading to Parkinson’s symptoms.
There is some evidence that certain external factors could increase your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. One of these factors is exposure to pesticides. One study found people exposed to pesticides rotenone and paraquat were 2.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s.33
Rotenone is a chemical used mostly by organic farmers to kill insects (it’s considered organic because it is found naturally in some plants), and it is also used in some household insecticide products; for example, products with the brand name Bonide. It’s also used by fishermen to kill non-native fish species.29 Paraquat is used as a commercial herbicide, to kill weeds and grass. It can only be used by people who have a license to do so.3
Genetics may influence the impact pesticide exposure has on your Parkinson’s risk.11 For example, if you have a gene that does not produce the enzyme supposed to protect against the toxic effects of the pesticide paraquat, your body will be more sensitive to paraquat exposure, leading to a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease.11 Pesticides may also explain why Parkinson’s is more common among men since pesticides are used more often in male-dominated farming industries.10
Another potential environmental factor is smoking. Studies show smokers have a lower incidence of Parkinson’s than non-smokers, possibly because nicotine protects dopamine neurons.19 Unfortunately, this may not be a useful protective factor, since smoking can lead to serious health problems like cancer and heart disease. Caffeine may also have a protective effect against Parkinson’s disease.14
When you’re living with Parkinson’s, it can be comforting to know of other people who are going through the same diagnosis you are. Celebrities who have Parkinson’s are also often active in advocacy work, which may offer great opportunities for you and your loved ones to get involved. In addition, celebrities tend to increase awareness of Parkinson’s disease, helping the general public, who may know very little about it, learn what the condition is. A few notable people with Parkinson’s disease are:
Michael J. Fox
Actor Michael J. Fox, best known for his appearances in “Back to the Future,” “Family Ties,” “Spin City” and “The Good Wife,” was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 at age 29. He publicly announced his diagnosis in 1998, and soon after founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to funding Parkinson’s research.16
Alan Alda is an actor best known for his appearances in “M*A*S*H,” “The West Wing” and in movies like “The Aviator” and “Bridge of Spies.” In 2018 at age 82, Alda revealed he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three-and-a-half years earlier, after he noticed he had begun to act out dreams, a common indicator of Parkinson’s disease.18
Boxer Muhammed Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1984 at age 42. He became an advocate for Parkinson’s research and even founded an annual Celebrity Fight Night to raise money, along with the Muhammed Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix, Arizona.15 He died in 2016 at age 74 of sepsis, which is not typically linked with Parkinson’s but could have been exacerbated by his physical condition.34
Rev. Jesse Jackson
Civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson announced he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2016 at age 76. At the time of his diagnosis, he said he and his family had begun noticing “changes” three years earlier, and said he intended to make lifestyle changes and dedicate himself to physical therapy.30 His father also had Parkinson’s disease.
Neil Diamond, best known for songs like “Sweet Caroline” and “America,” revealed his Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2018 at age 76. He stopped touring but says he hopes to continue performing. When he announced his diagnosis, he said he is feeling good, staying active and taking his medications. He said he is feeling “very positive” about it and wants to keep the music coming.6
Related: Discover more celebrities who live with Parkinson’s.
The long-term outlook of Parkinson’s has improved since James Parkinson’s essay was published. From a medication standpoint, there are several drugs you can try, including one considered the gold standard since the 1960s. These drugs can improve your motor symptoms. Deep brain stimulation surgery is also an effective treatment option for motor symptoms.
Doctors are also becoming more aware of Parkinson’s non-motor symptoms and can work with you to find appropriate medications and treatments to manage these symptoms. Other types of treatments, most importantly exercise, can also help lessen your motor symptoms.
Parkinson’s disease is progressive, so symptoms get worse over time. However, the rate of progression varies significantly among people with Parkinson’s, so it’s difficult for any guide such as this one to predict how quickly you will progress and whether you will need mobility devices or caregivers. But the rate of progression for a single person tends to remain stable and predictable throughout your life, so your own doctor may be able to give you some insight.
Still, Parkinson’s is not considered a terminal illness. Rather, there are a few symptoms that can lead to life-threatening complications like pneumonia, loss of balance that can lead to serious falls, and Parkinson’s dementia. Rather than try to predict how quickly you will progress and worry about the future, it’s more productive to focus on managing your symptoms and lifestyle as well as you can right now.
Fast food is packed with sodium, and you can easily consume most of your daily allowance in one meal. At McDonald’s, a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese and medium fries contains 1,630 milligrams of sodium while a Quiznos 8″ Chicken Mesquite sub has 2,230 milligrams. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams a day, moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 milligrams, so you can see how these meals are not helping you there.
See, the body copes with this influx of salt by holding on to water to maintain the proper sodium balance in the body. That’s when you experience bloating. Stop eating fast food and just watch the bloat subside, allowing your jeans to fit better.
You lower your risk of heart disease.
Eating fast food more than twice a week makes you 1.5 times more likely to develop heart disease than people who infrequently or never eat it, a study published in the journal Circulation found. The high fat and sodium content of fast food is to blame. In fact, if Americans reduced their sodium intake, there would be 120,000 fewer cases of heart disease, 66,000 fewer strokes, and 99,000 fewer heart attacks each year, according to the British Medical Journal. And to keep your ticker in tip-top shape, be sure to avoid any of these 50 Foods That Can Cause Heart Disease.
You improve your memory and ability to learn.
It’s not just years of relying on the fried food of these restaurants that will affect your body, either. Mice who ate a diet of junk food displayed memory loss and a lack of cognitive ability after just one week, according to a study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. Sorry to break it to you, but those effects extend to humans, too.
Researchers from Oregon Health and Science University compared people’s blood levels of trans fats to their brain volume via MRI. They found that trans fats actually shrink your gray matter, replacing good fats in its membranes and affecting its ability to function. Yep, fast food can fry your brain. That’s not all either. Check out these 17 Side Effects of Eating Fast Food for more shocking truths.
Your mood improves.
Think a Whopper with cheese is comfort food? Think again. Eating fast food is associated with a higher rate of depression, and the risk gets higher the more fast food that’s eaten, a study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition found. The reason may lie in a separate study published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity: Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who ate a diet high in foods that trigger inflammation—such as soft drinks, refined carbs, red meat, and margarine—had a 41% higher risk of depression over 12 years compared to women who ate a diet rich in inflammation busters like healthy fats, vegetables, coffee, and wine. So, alright, that black coffee from McCafe gets a pass.
You reduce your risk of diabetes.
Eating a diet high in saturated and/or trans fats—hello, fast food!—can lead to insulin resistance, a condition in which the body releases more and more sugar into the blood. Over time, this can lead to weight gain and a vastly increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. In fact, regularly eating fast food doubles your chance of developing insulin resistance, according to a study published in The Lancet.
You get stronger bones.
Those deliciously salty fries can have unappetizing long-term effects: Excessive salt consumption is associated with high blood pressure, strokes, and reduced kidney function, according to researchers at the University of Stony Brook. And, as if negatively impacting your heart, brain and kidneys weren’t bad enough, some studies suggest sodium also affects your bones by competing in your body with calcium.
So what exactly does this mean? Well, the more sodium you take in, the more calcium your body loses via your urine. That can lead to bone demineralization and a decline in bone mass, which increases the risk of osteoporosis and breakage. Essentially, skipping out on the fast-food leaves you with stronger bones!
You have more energy.
Fast food is high in sugar, and it lurks in menu items that don’t sound remotely sweet. Wendy’s Apple Peca Chicken Salad has 23 grams of sugar—and a salad is supposed to be a good choice to make! When you consume a high amount of refined sugar and simple carbs, the pancreas secretes insulin to keep your blood sugar low. Because fast food doesn’t contain enough complex carbs to give you lasting energy, your blood sugar levels crash soon after you finish eating, leaving you tired, and craving another quick hit of energy from more junky sugar and carbs. When you stop eating fast food, you’ll feel better, as you won’t be groggy and dealing with those crashes.
Health data is showing that about 25% of people who go to the hospital with severe COVID-19 infections have diabetes. One reason is that high blood sugar weakens the immune system and makes it less able to fight off infections. Your risk of severe coronavirus infection is even higher if you also have another condition, like heart or lung disease.
If you do get COVID-19, the infection could also put you at greater risk for diabetes complications like diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, which happens when high levels of acids called ketones build up in your blood.
Some people who catch the new coronavirus have a dangerous body-wide response to it, called sepsis. To treat sepsis, doctors need to manage your body’s fluid and electrolyte levels. DKA causes you to lose electrolytes, which can make sepsis harder to control.
How to avoid COVID-19
The best way to avoid getting sick is to stay home as much as you can. If you have to go out, keep at least 6 feet away from other people. And every time you come back from the supermarket, pharmacy or another public place, wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
Also wash your hands before you give yourself a finger stick or insulin shot. Clean each site first with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.
To protect you, everyone in your house should wash their hands often, especially before they cook for the family. Don’t share any utensils or other personal items. And if anyone in your house is sick, they should stay in their own room, as far as possible from you.
If you get sick
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are a dry cough, fever or shortness of breath. If you develop any symptoms that are concerning, call your doctor about getting tested.
If you find that you have contracted COVID-19, the first level of care is to stay home and check your blood sugar more often than usual and check your ketones, too. COVID-19 can reduce your appetite and cause you to eat less, which could affect your levels. You also need more fluids than usual when you’re sick, so keep water close by and drink it often.
You should also know that many over-the-counter medicines that relieve virus symptoms like fever or cough can affect your blood sugar levels one way or the other. So before you take anything, check with your doctor.
And be aware that if you start experiencing severe shortness of breath, high levels of ketones or DKA symptoms like severe weakness, body aches, vomiting or belly pain, you need to see your doctor or get to an emergency room right away.
Whether the idea of daily sweat sessions brings you joy or makes you cringe, moving your body every single day offers some pretty legit potential perks.
1. You’ll be less sedentary.
Many adults spend 70 percent (!) of their time awake sitting, according to the Mayo Clinic—a fact that’s wreaking havoc on public health.
Committing to making some sort of exercise a daily part of your routine helps combat this—and ultimately makes it easier for you to make the habit stick, says Future trainer Josh Bonhotal, CSCS. “This removes an all-too-common tendency to rationalize not working out by convincing yourself that you’ll do it tomorrow instead,” he says. Whether it’s a walk outside or a strength training session, a daily commitment to movement means a less sedentary (and healthier) life.
2. You’ll be more likely to reach your fitness goals.
The true key to achieving whatever fitness goal you’ve got your sights on: consistency.
“Stringing together workouts on a daily basis can help you gradually ramp up their intensity and difficulty over time, leading to even greater results,” says Bonhotal.
3. You’ll enjoy a major daily mood boost.
Elle Woods knew what she was talking about. Moving your body daily not only supports your physical fitness, but your mental wellbeing, too. “Exercise helps to release endorphins, a.k.a. happy hormones, which can help reduce stress and anxiety,” says trainer and nutritionist Whitney English CPT, RD. In fact, researchers consistently identify exercise as a noteworthy treatment for depression.
For many people, exercise and healthy eating go hand-in-hand. “If you’ve just worked out, you’ve made a conscious investment in your health, and are more likely to pass up the potato chips for a healthier alternative,” Bonhotal says.
Daily exercise may also help you better practice moderation with after-dinner drinks and late-night snacks, according to English. (That second glass of wine may not appeal as much when you know you’ve got a 6 a.m. run planned the next morning!)
The Potential Downsides Of Working Out Every Day
While the benefits of exercising daily can be ~so~ real, there are two major potential drawbacks to keep in mind.
1. Inadequate recovery time can hurt your progress.
In case you think daily exercise means daily high-intensity exercise, know this: “Your gains don’t happen until you recover from a workout,” says Pilkington.
Strength training, for example, breaks down muscle tissue, adds English. If you want to see the results you’re working for, you need to give your muscles adequate time (ahem, days) to repair. Otherwise, you may physically overtrain your body and ultimately undermine the effectiveness of your workouts, she says. (Excess fatigue and unusual aches and pains signal you’re doing too much.)
2. Mental burnout is a very real thing.
Another serious downside of doing too much too often? A quick departure from motivation station.
If you don’t vary your daily workouts enough (nope, you definitely can’t do the same HIIT session every day), you can quickly experience psychological burnout and become unmotivated to stay active, Bonhotal says. And you can’t enjoy the benefits of daily exercise if you bail on the habit.
How To Balance Your Fitness Routine So You Can Work Out Every Day
To skip the burnout and get straight to the benefits of daily workouts, you’ve got to get strategic with your routine.
Since low-intensity exercise (like walking or yoga) doesn’t stress your system, you can pencil it in every single day, says English.
However, if your workout routine incorporates higher-intensity exercise, alternate between tougher days and easier days in order to give your body a break while still staying active, Pilkington explains.
For example, if you do HIIT on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, stick to lower-intensity workouts on Tuesday, Thursday, and the weekend.
This advanced HIIT workout from Kelsey Wells will fire up your weekly routine:
Varying your intensity is also key if strength training is part of your plan. In this case, alternate which muscle groups you focus on so that you don’t work the same parts of your body on back-to-back days, suggests Pilkington. If you do a lower-body workout today, for example, focus on upper body tomorrow.
To incorporate both strength training and cardio, either tack light cardio onto the end of your strength sessions, or use cardio days as buffers between strength training days, suggests Bonhotal.
Doing back-to-back cardio days? Mix up the intensity there, too. “If you want to run multiple days in a row, for example, you would be wise to mix up a longer duration run one day with a sprint workout or shorter intervals the next,” he explains.
Whichever approach appeals to you, your weekly routine should include workouts that match your goals but still allow enough rest and recovery to make daily training safe. Keep a “live to fight another day” mentality, Bonhotal says. This way, you leave enough gas in the tank to get after it tomorrow.
How To Tell If Your Daily Workouts Are Too Much
If working out every day is pushing your body too far, a few tell-tale signs will pop up to let you know it’s time to pump the breaks. If any of the following ring true, shift toward low-impact cardio workouts and other forms of light exercise like walks, yoga, and mobility training, Bonhotal says.
1. You’re crazy sore or in pain.
Muscle soreness can be a totally normal part of exercising, but if it lasts for more than a few days or makes it hard just to walk around during the day, it’s an indicator that you’re doing too much in the workout department, says Bonhotal.
Injuries (like muscle tweaks and pulls) also signal that you aren’t giving your body enough rest and recovery to handle daily exercise, English says.
2. Your cycle is off.
Excess stress on the body can affect your menstrual cycle, so be wary of any changes to your period when exercising daily, English notes.
3. Your mood and energy are all over the place.
Overdoing it on exercise also impacts your mood and energy levels—so if you find yourself fatigued and irritable, your everyday workout routine may be to blame, according to Bonhotal.
4. Your appetite changes.
Another side-effect of going overboard with the daily sweats: an up-and-down appetite, Bonhotal says. In fact, both a diminished appetite and crazy cravings can signal that something is off.
Exercising every day sounds great, but how many days a week do you need to work out?
New findings may show “a link between deficiency and the worst coronavirus outcomes,” according to the Guardian.
Why the Vitamin May Be Key
“COVID-19 causes blood clotting and leads to the degradation of elastic fibers in the lungs,” explains the paper about the findings. “Vitamin K, which is ingested through food and absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, is key to the production of proteins that regulate clotting and can protect against lung disease.”
Since COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, this protection could be key in adding another level of protection. The research, headed up by Dr. Rob Janssen, was done in partnership with the Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, a heart and vascular research institute in Europe. Over the course of a month, they studied 134 patients and found many who had died or been admitted to the ICU lacked the vitamin
“My advice would be to take those vitamin K supplement,” Dr. Janssen told the Guardian. “Even if it does not help against severe Covid-19, it is good for your blood vessels, bones and probably also for the lungs. We are in a terrible, horrible situation in the world. We do have an intervention which does not have any side effects, even less than a placebo. There is one major exception: people on anti-clotting medication. It is completely safe in other people.”
How to Get More Vitamin K
“We have [vitamin] K1 and K2. K1 is in spinach, broccoli, green vegetables, blueberries, all types of fruit and vegetables,” Janssen continued. “K2 is better absorbed by the body. It is in Dutch cheese, I have to say, and French cheese as well.”
Due to Covid-19 stay-at-home orders, many people are spending more time at home, whether they’re working remotely or currently unemployed. Unfortunately, more time at home can lead to sedentary behaviors, such as sitting for long periods of time on the couch or your at-home office chair. Sitting can take a toll on the body, affecting everything from the neck to your legs.
“When we sit for long periods of time some very important elements of our core can become compromised,” says Sue Hitzmann, manual therapist and exercise physiologist and creator of the MELT Method and Melt Performance. Once you do finally stand up, the components of your core muscle group—your trunk—and key elements of your hip joints don’t move as smoothly, and your body compensates by putting stress on areas not designed to handle the demand.
This pain can begin with little things like tension or aches in your neck and low back, or you’ll find yourself constantly shifting in your chair to find (in vain) a comfy position. Eventually, the symptoms are more noticeable and frequent. Your hips feel tight and your back will feel stiff. Your joints will snap, crackle, and pop when you move. But the symptoms aren’t just felt on the inside, they’re seen on the outside too, like a swayback posture for starters. (Find out the easy ways you can improve your posture.)
“The easiest and most obvious thing you can do during the workday is to get up more often,” says Hitzmann. If necessary set a timer to remind yourself to get up for a few minutes every hour. Then try these MELT Moves created by Hitzmann; you can do them three times a week for best results.
This move will help prevent your hamstrings and low back muscles from over-compensating: Place your feet hip width apart, knees bent with your hips on the top of the roller; keep your arms flat on the floor just out from your sides for balance. Push into your feet and try to ease the weight of your hips off the roller. Take care not to arch your back. Instead, think about your knees reaching over your toes. Hold this pose for five to ten seconds then slowly return your hips to the top of the roller. Repeat this slow controlled lift four times. Then repeat the pattern four more times without a pause.
Bent knee press
Lie on your back with the roller under your pelvis so that the majority of your glutes are on the opposite side of the roller from your trunk, and the top of your hips are on your side of the roller—not on the top. Keep your left foot planted firmly on the ground and push your left knee over your toes as you bring your right knee toward your chest; tuck your pelvis downward. This will lengthen the front side of the thigh and spine. Inhale and put a little pressure into the pose; grasp your right knee and gently pull toward your chest as you exhale and repeat the lengthening part by tucking your pelvis. Repeat on the other side.
The hover and lunge
This move reverses the traditional lunge to activate the lower part of your glutes and limit the amount of compensation your quadriceps and upper glutes are doing. (Worried about your glutes? Check out the butt exercises you can do at home.)
Stand over the roller, right foot in front, left foot behind. Lower your left leg just below the knee onto the roller with your hips level. Push into your right foot and slowly hover your left shin over the roller—about two to three inches above. Hold this pose for five to ten seconds and slowly return your left shin to the roller and repeat the lift-and-pause four times. Next, repeat the movement four more times without the pause. Repeat on the other side.
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Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that affects around 4 million adults in the United States (1Trusted Source).
Though research is limited, scientific evidence shows that some diets reduce pain and symptoms related to fibromyalgia.
This article reviews which foods to eat and avoid to help manage fibromyalgia, along with 10 tasty recipes.
Fibromyalgia and diet
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that’s characterized by widespread muscle pain. Due to chronic pain, many people with fibromyalgia also have sleep disorders, chronic fatigue, and depression (1Trusted Source).
The cause of fibromyalgia isn’t yet known, and the condition cannot be cured. People with fibromyalgia must manage their symptoms through medical treatment and lifestyle changes (1Trusted Source).
One way to help symptoms is by following a certain diet.
Though little research has been done, some evidence points to certain dietary approaches that may help manage fibromyalgia symptoms. These include (2Trusted Source):
Low-calorie diets. Weight loss may help with fibromyalgia symptoms, so a low-calorie diet may be a good approach.
Vegetarian diets. These diets are rich in anti-inflammatory fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes. The strongest evidence is for raw vegetarian diets.
Low FODMAP diets. FODMAPS are types of carbs that some people can’t digest. Low FODMAP diets exclude most dairy products, grains, fruits, and vegetables. It’s a very restrictive, highly anti-inflammatory way of eating.
A diet high in anti-inflammatory foods may also help manage fibromyalgia symptoms, as chronic inflammation is one of the suspected causes of the disease (3Trusted Source).
Regardless, this disease and its symptoms are highly individualized. Different diets may work better or worse depending on the individual.
You may benefit from working with a registered dietitian if you’re following a more complex eating pattern, such as a raw vegetarian or low FODMAP diet, to manage your fibromyalgia symptoms.
Foods to include
Types of foods that are typically part of dietary approaches for fibromyalgia include (2Trusted Source):
Low calorie: low calorie, high protein, high fiber, or filling foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains
Vegetarian: fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds; some vegetarians may include eggs or dairy products while raw vegetarians eat only uncooked plant foods
Low FODMAP: only foods that are low in FODMAPs, including most meats, rice, some fruits and vegetables, and limited dairy products
You should also add a variety of anti-inflammatory foods that fit into your preferred eating pattern, as they may help alleviate symptoms. Examples of anti-inflammatory foods include (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source):
Herbs and spices: turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, rosemary, garlic, cloves
Note that some of these foods, such as honey and chickpeas, are higher in FODMAPs. As such, avoid them if you’re strictly following a low FODMAP diet.
Foods to avoid
On the other hand, foods that are typically avoided in the dietary approaches to fibromyalgia are (2Trusted Source):
Low calorie. Exclude empty calories like chips, cookies, cakes, ice cream, sugary drinks, added sugars, and added fats.
Vegetarian. All vegetarians exclude meat from their diet. However, raw vegetarians will also exclude cooked foods.
Low FODMAP. On the low FODMAP diet, you need to exclude all foods that are high in FODMAPs. This includes wheat, dairy products, beans, garlic, and onions.
Anti-inflammatory. To decrease inflammation you should also avoid pro-inflammatory foods, which include highly processed foods, refined carbs, fast food, and processed vegetable oils like soybean oil or corn oil (6Trusted Source).
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by muscle pain. Some dietary approaches may help manage its symptoms, including anti-inflammatory, low calorie, raw vegetarian, or low FODMAP diets.
The following recipes are appropriate for various dietary approaches to fibromyalgia, and they all contain anti-inflammatory ingredients like fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices.
1. Shakshuka for one (vegetarian, low FODMAP)
Shakshuka is a North African dish made by simmering eggs in tomato sauce. However, this take includes some healthy, anti-inflammatory additions like spinach and fresh parsley (4Trusted Source).
At only 286 calories per serving, it’s also an ideal meal for anyone following a low calorie diet to help manage their fibromyalgia.
It’s likewise appropriate for anyone following a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, which includes eggs and dairy products.
Simply swap the onions and garlic for garlic- and/or shallot-infused olive oil to make it FODMAP-free.
Smoothies are a perfect on-the-go meal solution, and this vegan smoothie is compatible with a raw vegetarian diet for fibromyalgia. Because it contains only 340 calories per serving, it’s also an appropriate meal for low calorie diets.
It contains blueberries, strawberries, and purple cauliflower, which are all rich sources of anthocyanins — antioxidant pigments that give these fruits and vegetables their bright colors (10Trusted Source).
Anthocyanins are also highly anti-inflammatory, with one study showing they improved sleep quality in people with fibromyalgia. However, more research is needed (10Trusted Source).
This salad can be eaten warm or cold, so it’s a great vegetarian and low FODMAP dinner or lunch option. It also contains only 280 calories per serving, making it a good choice for low calorie diets as well.
It’s rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants from pomegranate, including vitamin C (9Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).