Healthy Lifestyle Makes a Positive Impact on Metabolic Health

The majority of Americans were classified as unhealthy prior to the pandemic hitting. With many of us self quarantining at home since then, that number, sadly, has probably only increased.

Many people actually think “healthy” refers to how much they weigh or what someones outward appearance looks like. Good overall health, however, starts internally. This is where the term metabolic health comes in. Some also refer to this as metabolic fitness. In any event, metabolic health is the absence of metabolic disease. The numbers in this country are not good. About 88 percent of Americans are considered to have metabolic disease. The good news, though, metabolic health can improve through healthy eating and regular exercise, especially a short walk after meals.

“Flying blind, 45 million Americans go on a diet each year. Using their best judgment, 59% of people say conflicting nutrition information makes them question their choices. Worse, only 12% of all Americans are actually metabolically healthy.”

Anthony Vennare – Co-Founder, Fitt Insider

Research on Metabolic Health

In a 2019 study published in the journal Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, a group of researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reviewed data from 8,721 adults as reported in the 2009 to 2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). They found that just 1 in 8 adults living in United States had optimal metabolic health.

A second study published in 2016 in the journal Circulation, applied seven lifestyle and risk factors criteria from the American Heart Association to national data published between 2011 to 2012. The results found virtually 0% of U.S. adults met all the ideal levels. These levels included: not smoking, having a healthy diet, physical activity, normal weight and total cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose level.

Finally, it has been determined through research that 23 percent of adults have metabolic syndrome. This condition occurs when a person fails to meet at least three of the ideal measurements with things like blood pressure and glucose levels (seen below).

What Constitutes Metabolic Health?

Using most recent guidelines, metabolic health was defined as having optimal levels of the following six criteria.

  • Waist Circumference (WC <40/34 inches for men/women respectively).
  • Glucose (fasting glucose <100 mg/dl).
  • Hemoglobin (A1c <5.7%).
  • Blood Pressure (systolic <120 and diastolic <80 mmHg).
  • Triglycerides (<150 mg/dl).
  • High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (≥40/50 mg/dl for men/women), and not taking any related medication.

Likewise, the International Diabetes Federation, states metabolic unhealthy individuals were defined as those who presented at least one of the following criteria:

  • Systolic/Diastolic Blood Pressure ≥130/85 mm Hg or use of antihypertensive drug.
  • Triglycerides level ≥150 mg/dl.
  • HDL-Cholesterol Level < 40 mg/dl in men or < 50 mg/dl in women or use of lipid-lowering drugs.
  • Glucose level ≥100 mg/dl or use of antidiabetic drug.

Intermittent Fasting and Metabolic Health

A possible tool to help improve metabolic health is intermittent fasting (IF). There has been a great deal of research over the years on the effects of IF on the body, including metabolic health. A review published in the revered New Journal of Medicine by Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D., and Mark P. Mattson, Ph.D., looked at the powerful effects of IF including glucose regulation that could help your metabolic health cause.

Intermittent fasting elicits evolutionarily conserved, adaptive cellular responses that are integrated between and within organs in a manner that improves glucose regulation, increases stress resistance, and suppresses inflammation. During fasting, cells activate pathways that enhance intrinsic defenses against oxidative and metabolic stress and those that remove or repair damaged molecules.”

Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D., and Mark P. Mattson, Ph.D

Therefore, continue to focus on regular exercise each week. Specifically, strength training and various forms of high intensity interval exercise. Mix this into your cardio at least 1-2 times a week. In addition, have your blood profile checked yearly or better yet, every six months to keep a handle on your metabolic health.

Get Strong and Stay Strong with Jefit

Millions of members have had great success using the Jefit app, equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Stay strong with Jefit.

Taking Care Of Your Body Greatly Affects Your Mind

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What part of your body weighing about 3-pounds has more than 86 billion nerve cells? That’s right, the brain! One part of your brain, the cerebrum, makes up about 85 percent of those 3-pounds. We have a good idea why it’s so important to take care of the one body and mind that we are given. In respect to our mind, what are we doing to take care of that?

Let’s take a look at why taking care of your body and mind are so important especially in respect to the mind-body connection.

While there are so many amazing reasons to look after your body, the most prominent one is due to the effect it has on the mind. The human brain is an incredibly complicated tool, and looking after it is no easy task. Let’s look at a few fun, interesting facts about what we have upstairs.

Incredible Facts About the Body and Mind

The most advanced computer on earth is still nowhere near as remarkable as the human brain, here are a few fun facts that will help you see just how incredible it really is:

  • The human brain will triple its size in the first year of life.
  • Hard to believe but information in the brain travels at a speed of 268 mph (between neurons).
  • Your brain’s storage capacity is considered virtually unlimited
  • Research suggests the human brain consists of about 86 billion neurons. Each neuron forms connections to other neurons, which could add up to 1 quadrillion (1,000 trillion) connections. Over time, these neurons can combine, increasing storage capacity.
  • A small piece of brain tissue, the size of a grain of sand, contains 100,000 neurons and 1 billion synapses.
  • Research has shown the human brain can generate about 23 watts of power (enough to power a lightbulb).
  • Finally, it’s a myth that we only use 10 percent of our brain. You actually use all of it (source: Northwestern Medicine).

And that is only a few facts about the brain. From these seven facts, though you can probably see how important the body and mind connection really is.

How Exercise Helps the Brain

When we exercise, the benefits to the brain are incredible, and the long term effects are just as positive. The science behind your body and mind connection is quite fascinating. When we perform aerobic exercise or any exercise that has cardiovascular benefits, the brain will always benefit. Aerobic exercise increases your respiration and heart rate therefore the flow of blood to the brain increases. At the time your heart rate increases further, this is generally accompanied by heavy breathing. The increase in breathing will then lead to the pumping of more oxygen to the brain, and this will lead to something called neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is simply the production of neurons in certain cognitive regions of the brain. Neurogenesis has also been shown to increase brain volume, and it’s widely believed that this can be highly beneficial against early signs of Alzheimer’s.

What’s the Best Exercise to Improve Both Your Body and Mind?

Well, if you are trying to take care of your body and mind, you should be aiming for a well-rounded and complete exercise program. The routine should include more than just strength training; adding in aerobic exercise, mobility, flexibility and balance. Another huge factor when it comes to brain health is to be mindful of your diet. Eating processed food and junk food has been shown to have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health. By using a combination of both healthy food and a good, sustainable exercise program, you’ll be on your way to a healthier body and mind in no time at all.

Workout with Jefit

Looking to get back to the gym after taking a long break? Want to connect with like-minded people to keep you motivated? Download the Jefit app to track your workouts and join our members-only Facebook group. You can record your training, set a schedule, and talk to fellow Jefit members. Stay strong for a health body and mind.

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