So I can't promise that if you are in financial difficulty, exercise is going to work better than more money to release you from that stress. However, a new study published by the lancet has shown that exercise is fantastic at reducing the feeling of negative emotional states.
The study asked ~1.2 million people how often in the month they felt a negative emotional state. The average of the whole 1.2million people showed that most of us have about 3.5 days a month where we feel like we suffer negative emotional burdens.
For those of us with a diagnosed emotional or depressive state, the burden experienced was ~11 days!
The good news is that popular sports, cycling and a good gym reduced that burden the most, by reducing it by ~20-25% in healthy populations and ~15-20% in diagnosed populations. This averages out at around 3.5 days less for those with a diagnosed negative mood state and those in the normal ranges of emotional burden would lose around 1.4 days of feeling the burden a month - what a relief!
Although team sports, cycling and the gym came top 3 for reducing negative burden, the frequency and duration of the exercise also had an effect on how successful it removed the burden for that person.
The best length of time to exercise for was ~45 minutes - ~60 minutes for the gym and cycling, and a little bit longer for popular team sports at around 90 minutes (who would have thought it? 90minutes of football anyone??).
The best frequency to relieve the burden of negative mental health was 3 or 5 days per week. 4 sessions saw a rebound effect probably caused by the fact that session lengths were not tapered for the extra session from 3, and so mild overtraining occurred!). I would recommend that 3 sessions need to be around an hour to maximise effect (like we do down at the lab for our clients on the Lifestyle Transformation program) or 30-45 minutes 5x a week, although that can be a bit hard for people with a busy schedule!
Cycling frequency had the best dosage at 5 sessions a week and popular sports were also 3 times a week.
So there you have it! Exercising can drastically reduce the amount of time you feel under the burden of a negative mental state! I have even given you the three best ways to do it!
Also, if you don’t like the gym normally, then why not come and see us and the Faultless Fitness family to see if we can help!
When we look to achieve weight loss, more often than not we will calorie count. But are the ratio of macronutrients as, or possibly even more, important?
Macronutrients are the three basic components of nutrition. Carbohydrate (CHOs), Protein and Fat, containing 4kcal, 4kcal and 9kcal per 1 gram of each. Water can be considered a fourth macronutrient, so then micronutrients include vitamins and minerals.
Weight loss at its simplest requires our bodies to be in an energy deficit for a prolonged period of time. To be in an energy deficit we have to look at our energy intake and energy output. Energy intake consists of the food and drink we consume, most notably the macronutrients. Energy output is made up of our resting energy expenditure, physical activity and the thermic effect of food.
If we consider there is 3,500kcal in 1lb of fat, we would want to tip the energy intake/output scale to a deficit of around 500kcal per day to lose a pound per week. Now here is the part where calorie counting becomes difficult, as how can we accurately calculate the balance of calories? Apps like myfitnesspal help us greatly in finding the total calorie values in packet foods, but what about home-cooked meals, are we going to weigh out every single ingredient to find an exact calorie value? Probably not.
On the other side of the scale can we estimate accurately the number of calories we burn from physical activity? Research has shown fitbits have a tendency to overestimate energy expenditure (Montes, 2017), so again probably not. Perhaps it doesn't matter if we are a little under or over here and there... Well, if an 80kg man was looking to maintain his weight by balancing calories over the next 10 years, he would gain 20lbs over these 10 years with an overestimation of just 20kcal per day. 20 kcal is the equivalent of one bite of a banana!
Why can utilising macros (particularly protein) help more?
If we look at a strategic weight loss plan with a 40%/30%/30% (CHOs, fats and protein) ratio, the main challenge here will be obtaining a protein content of 30% and limiting carbs to 40%, as the typical individual will consume 50-65% CHOs and less than 20% protein!
Out of the 3 macronutrients protein has the greatest satiety, with an increased elevation in satiety hormones after high protein meals and a greater perceived fullness. Protein also has the greatest thermic effect of the macronutrients, around 20-30% of proteins useable energy is expended for metabolism/storage, while CHOs only use 5-10% (Aaragon,2017). Therefore, higher protein consumption can help to preserve resting energy expenditure with weight loss. Higher protein will also maintain, and in some instances increase, lean mass in hypocaloric conditions (again helping maintain resting energy expenditure). By maintaining resting energy expenditure we can limit the plateau that often occurs with weight loss.
Some believe you should disregard total calories completely and purely look at the macronutrients, for instance if you were following a 40%/30%/30% (CHOs, fats, protein) plan hitting this would to some extent curtail your calorie intake.
In conclusion both are important, and yes I think we should definitely have an idea of the total kcal of the substances we consume, but we should also place larger emphasis on the macronutrient ratios, particularly protein, with a percentage of 30-35 of the total macronutrients most likely being optimal for weight loss!
- Stuart Ferguson
Montes J., Young C.J., Tandy, R., & Navalta J (2017). Fitbit Flex: Energy Expenditure and Step Count Evaluation. Journal of Exercise Physiology, Volume 20 (5).
Aragon A., Schoenfeld B., Wildman R., Kleiner., & Taylor L (2017). International society of sports nutrition position stand: diets and body composition. Journal of the international society of sports nutrition, Volume 14 (16).
One of the hardest things we have to deal with in our industry is the rise of the social media influencer. For a long time now I have been saying that these influencers can literally only be relied upon to get it wrong. I have taken torrents of abuse from people online regarding this stance and largely have been drowned out. My stance has always been that if you haven’t studied the subject of health, nutrition or medicine, at a degree or masters level you shouldn’t be preaching about it online.
It can take me up to a year to undo the damage that social media does to people's relationship with food. I have had clients come to me suffering the effects of dangerously low protein intake, for fear of looking bulky or because some influencer told them vegan was easy and best, and having had their muscle waste so badly their joints and muscles have started to degrade making life painful and physical activity intolerable.
I have also had people trying to exercise whilst being on no carbohydrates to replace the glycogen they have lost, and are suffering with exhaustion.
I have seen people remove dairy from their diet because that's what a social media influencer told them to do and then they had a horrendous vitamin D deficiency.
It always comes down to money and it is clear that whenever the bad advice is handed out there is a motive behind it, whether it is multi level marketing products or dangerous weight loss products. The result of this influencer gaining a few extra pounds can be catastrophic for their reader - don’t even get me started on the social media gurus of the exercise world!
As an exercise physiologist and now as a student Physician Associate, the one thing we are told to do is stay in our lane. Keep in scope and perform literature reviews and scientific research in order to gain an understanding of the implications of our actions before we make suggestions. This however seems to have been missed out of the Social Media Influencer curriculum school.
Despite being an unpopular opinion, finally some new research has come out that suggests that I have been hitting the nail on the head for the last few years.
Research by the University of Glasgow suggests that 8 out of 9 social media influencers talking about nutrition gives incorrect and bad advice about nutrition! The one social media influencer that did get it right was a registered nutritionist trained to degree level.
You might be surprised to hear that one of the 8 that got it wrong was also a doctor. This should be expected though because, despite what a lot of people think, doctors don’t usually get trained in nutrition as part of their training and this is the reason they partner up with nutritionists and dieticians who deliver nutrition advice as a job and have degrees in it!
My advice to anyone looking for help with nutrition is to always consult the person who has invested time and money into their knowledge first, not into marketing.
Massage has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of illness and injury by health care practitioners, including musculoskeletal injuries, cancer, stress, relaxation and pregnancy. The history of sports massage started back in 1924, at the Olympic Games in Paris when runner Paavo Nurmi brought a massage therapist along with him! He went on to win 5 gold medals and claimed that his training regime included this specialised type of treatment.
What does it involve?
A variety of techniques can be used within a massage, depending on the therapist level of experience. Common techniques include: effleurage (sliding/gliding movements), petrissage (tissue kneading/scooping), tapotement (rapid striking), trigger point release, vibrations (shaking the tissue), and much more! Sessions typically last between 30-60 minutes.
Is it painful?
Compared to other relaxation massages, yes, a sports massage can be more uncomfortable. This is because it is working deeper into the tissue layers and releasing any adhesions such as trigger points. Side effects usually last around 24-72 hours, which can include stiffness, and slight bruising, but after this period, or even immediately after treatment, you will start to see the benefits...
So what are the benefits?
Sports massage helps prepare an athlete for competition, to enhance athletic performance, and used as a treatment approach to help recover after exercise. There are many other effects of massage and the reasons why we utilise it as a treatment, and here are a few of them:
Sports massage is also a brilliant tool to help a variety of injuries, all over the body! I have used these techniques to treat a range of issues such as:
And many more injuries!
However, research has shown that a multimodal approach achieves better outcomes, versus those who only receive one treatment modality. For instance, combining education about posture/body mechanics, performing rehabilitation exercises and receiving treatment such as massage, produces better and faster results.
So, if you are suffering with some aches and pains, and looking to book in for a sports massage, please do not hesitate to drop me an email at email@example.com, or contact us by clicking here.
Brummitt, J. (2008). The role of massage in sports performance and rehabilitation: current evidence and future direction. North American journal of sports physical therapy: NAJSPT, 3(1), 7.
Pulling Back the Curtain: A Look at Sports Massage Therapy. Steve Jurch, MA, ATC, LMT
Weerapong, P., Hume, P. A., & Kolt, G. S. (2005). The mechanisms of massage and effects on performance, muscle recovery and injury prevention. Sports medicine, 35(3), 235-256.