Over time, society has come to recognize an individual as being healthy or unhealthy based on his or her outward appearance of body weight. A person who appears to have a normal weight is obviously healthier than an obese individual, right? Well, not so fast. Often times, people who have what is considered normal weight can still have weight-related health issues. This has become known as the term, “normal weight obesity” and there are a few factors that can help determine if a person has NWO.
First, it is important to understand BMI. BMI stands for body mass index, which is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by their height in squared meters. Below, the diagram displays the different categories that BMI represents.
Being that it is a quick and easy way to determine a general weight status, it has been widely used the past few decades. However, there are a few flaws associated with this method. It does not take into account the added muscle composition that an athlete may have, nor does it take into consideration central adiposity (body fat around the waist). It is simply a ratio of weight to height. Another tool, measuring body fat percentage, is much more useful in determining a person’s level of risk for developing weight-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and dyslipidemia. That being said, doctors need to include body fat testing as part of health assessments and patient check-ups.
What exactly is normal weight obesity? It may sound confusing, but it is simply a person who has what is considered a “normal” BMI, but they have a high percentage of body fat making up their total body composition. A shocking 30 million Americans are said to have NWO (Today’sDietician). Body composition is made up of lean mass (muscle, organs, bone), fat mass, and water. Individuals with NWO usually appear to be in good shape and have no idea how high their body fat percentage is. A study published in the European Heart Journal, March of 2010, found that a group of subjects with the highest body fat percentage (greater than 23.1% in men and greater than 33.3% in women) had four times the amount of metabolic syndrome compared to the group of subjects with low body fat. The higher percentage group also had a higher prevalence of dyslipidemia, hypertension in men, and cardiovascular disease in women. Overall, the BMI number should not be the only deciding factor when it comes to weight status and more focus on body composition needs to be priority.
How can NWO be improved? The important factor to remember is that NWO individuals do not necessarily need to lower the number on the scale, they need to change what is making up the ratios of their total weight in pounds. The main step towards improving body composition is to implement more strength training into an exercise program. This will help to increase the lean muscle mass in the body as well as improve bone mineral density. Another way to lower body fat percentage is to eat a healthy diet with proper portion sizes in order to lessen the chance of storing extra calories not used for energy as fat. Lastly, re-check body composition no less than three to four weeks at a time as it takes at least that much time to lose one to two percent of body fat.
Check out the chart below. Do you know what your current BF% is?
The science involving the human body is constantly evolving. Despite the fact that BMI has been used for several decades to help determine weight status does not mean that it should remain the only standard forever. The more awareness normal weight obesity receives, the more people will be able to take a closer look at their health in order to improve body composition and long term quality of life. The scale weight is not the be-all, end-all.
Author: Alex Barrett
From the Roots Fitness President, Exercise Specialist, Certified Exercise Physiologist, Personal Trainer
That’s approximately what you get in your adult life. According to a report from the World Health Organization, the average life expectancy in the United States is 79 years old. Perhaps a little less. A little more if you’re lucky.
If we use worldwide life expectancy statistics, assume that your adult life starts at 18 years old, and round up slightly, we arrive at the number 25,000 – the number of times you get to open your eyes, face the day, and make decisions. What will you do with each one? Here are eight things you should never do in the morning if you want to start each one joyfully, meaningfully, and healthily.
1. Thinking negatively
Negative thinking has an immediate, destructive impact on your life, no matter the time of day. The moment you have a negative thought, it poorly impacts your self-esteem, hinders you from achieving your goals, makes you feel worse, and adds negative value to your life in some way.
Conversely, the science of positive thinking suggests that adding positive value to your life leads to increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, and improved life satisfaction.
Morning Action Tip: Check out what people call “gratitude lists” to turn your negatives into positives!
2. Leaving angry
Sometimes, we just wake up angry. Or maybe something happens upon waking between your walk from bedroom to the bathroom or the kitchen that sends you into a tailspin. According to a University of Virginia study, some negative moods can signal inadequate progress at a task and increase effort and attention in various contexts. Other studies suggest anger not only affects your ability to reach your goals, but can also affect your decision making abilities, sleep, skin health, and overall wellbeing.
Morning Action Tip: The next time you find yourself starting the day off angrily, try breathing deeply and repeating a positive thought mantra before moving into your next task.
3. Jumping straight into (other peoples') work
Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. If you start going through your smart phone or inbox first thing in the morning, you immediately wake up and start distracting yourself with everyone else's needs. According to the 2013 IDC Research Report ad other research, 80% of smartphone users check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up. This leads to reactive instead of proactive behaviors, granting you a round-trip ticket on a directionless train that thwarts any chance you had of going full steam ahead on your important projects of the morning.
Morning Action Tip: Work on something important for 30-45 minutes, and only then open your social media and email. If you can stand it, wait even longer.
4. Checking your bank account
Americans are paying with their health quite literally. Stress is America surveys suggest that nearly three quarters (72 percent) of adults report feeling stressed about money at least some of the time. Stressors have a major influence upon mood, our sense of well-being, behavior, and health.
Morning Action Tip: We’re not saying don’t check your finances. Just like when it comes to not checking your social media straight out of the sleep gate, work on something else important before checking your accounts. Your health will thank you.
5. Rushing through your routine
Flying through your morning routine gives your brain no time to decompress or prepare for the day. One of the best ways to avoid unproductive mornings is to prepare the night before. Don’t wait to pick choose your outfit, make your lunch, and see if your car needs gas. Establish a “pre-game” routine to avoid the extra stress of an unprepared morning.
Morning Action Tip: Make the next day’s to do list the night before, and take a morning “brain dump.” For five minutes, list all projects, to-dos, reminders and priorities on a piece of paper. Then, highlight the top three things on the list to deal with today, things that matter most to you.
6. Skipping Breakfast
This is sometimes the result of rushing through your morning routine. Studies have shown that less than 40 percent of Americans eat breakfast every day. You’ve probably heard this “don’t do” morning activity before, but do you know why skipping breakfast consistently makes “don’t do” lists? Harvard Doctor Leah Cahill explains, “As we sleep all night we are fasting, and so if we regularly do not ‘break fast’ in the morning, it puts a strain on our bodies that over time can lead to insulin resistance, hypercholesterolemia and blood pressure problems, which can then lead to heart disease.” The breakfast you eat can be both quick and healthy. Check out these 12 infographics to help you eat healthier.
Morning Action Tip: Trailing on Point 5’s coattails, try preparing your breakfast the night before. Avoid rushing in the morning, and break your fast.
Too much of a good thing can indeed be harmful. "Drockling," according to Mary A. Carskadon, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, “is the old, official term for dipping in and out of sleep in the early morning." You continually mess up your body’s internal clock each time you hit the snooze button. While it's true a good night's sleep is essential for health, drockling and oversleeping have been linked to a host of medical problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and increased risk of death. Hitting the snooze alarm
Morning Action Tip: Sorry, but you aren’t going to like this one. Set your alarm for the time you have to get up and then actually get up when it goes off, every day at the same time. Consistency over time will make the task of waking up less daunting.
8. Expecting perfection
Remind yourself – anytime, anywhere, but especially at the outset of each day – that you were born to be real, not perfect. Manage your energy, allot your time, prepare to the best of your abilities... and after that, just be real.
Author: Julia Anthony
B.S. Exercise Specialist, CSCS, NASM CPT
In exercise, work, and life in general, the statement “No Pain, No Gain” is oft quoted to motivate, encourage, and focus the recipient. It is intended to drive the “do-er” to push harder, work longer, run faster, jump higher, etc. But how far is too far? Is there a limit to how far we should push our bodies when confronted with physical and mental exhaustion? This question is particularly relevant when considering physical fitness and the limits that injuries can impose on our bodies. After all, by nature physical fitness can be a demanding and enervating activity on the body. Combine these activities with physical or mental exhaustion, poor form, and distraction and injury is almost inevitable. This, then, begs the question – when recovering from an injury, should you continue exercising? If so, how much activity is allowed? This question is often faced by avid fitness enthusiasts, as the one source of relief from mental stresses and worries can also be the source of their physical pain.
Exercise and physical activity is essential to a healthy body. It is important in treating both physical ailments, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as mental diseases, such as depression (Arao, Oida, Maruyama, et al). However, as with everything in life, there is a balance and a limit that must be respected. When the first signs of injury, such as inflammation, pain, and swelling are experienced, heavy exercise should be avoided. The common acronym, RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation – is most likely going to cited by your doctor as the first steps to injury recovery (Hall).
An article published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports describes three phases of the initial sports injury: the acute inflammatory phase, the proliferative phase, and the maturation and remodeling phase (Kannus, Parkkari, Järvinen, Järvinen, Järvinen). The article asserts that with this description of tissue injury the best recovery management involves the RICE method for the first 7 days. This method gives the tissue the best environment in which to heal (Kannus, et al).
Many health practitioners would agree the most important thing in injury recovery is giving your body the time and rest that it needs to heal (Amann). But at the same time, completely stopping all physical activity can be detrimental as well. “Too often the tendency is to stop exercising completely once an injury occurs. Many people are unaware that fitness training and injury recovery go hand-in-hand” (Amann). Some studies suggest that “early, controlled mobilization instead of prolonged immobilization” is the key to acute injury treatment (Kannus, et al).
In the same article published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, the authors asserted that very little total rest is needed before a gradual reintroduction of activity. In fact, their research into small mammals found that mobilization of the injured tissue is recommended after 3-5 days of immobilization and that muscular atrophy can begin with immobilization longer than 1 week. While the authors noted that healing times are likely to be slightly longer in humans, they did assert that experimental clinical trials in humans supported the same results. Their conclusion was that “a carefully conducted early controls mobilization is better than immobilization – not only in the primary treatment of acute soft-tissue injuries but also in post-operative care” (Kannus, et al.)
Based on these articles and studies, it appears that the general consensus among injury recovery specialists is that a short period of inactivity and rest followed by a progressive program of mobilization and reintroduction to activity is the ideal formula for injury recovery. While the initial rest is critical to prevent re-injury, gradual activity is just as important to long-term recovery and the prevention of related issues. This is important for all individuals, but especially for the avid fitness enthusiast. Not only does the research suggest that activity is beneficial, it also indicates that inactivity can cause damage long-term. Thus, while the question “Should I continue exercising” may require more information regarding the extent of the injury, overall the answer to this question can generally be answered positively.
Author: Brooke Lyons
Health and Safety Specialist