If you’re parked in front of the telly for hours at a stretch and it’s becoming a habit, you better watch out! Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
A new Australian study has found that couch potatoes have a shorter lifespan.
According to the findings, every hour of watching television in a day adds a 10 percent risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, an 11 percent risk of dying from all causes of death and a 9 percent risk of dying from cancer.
Pretty scary, huh? Whoever thought that a single episode of Lift Kara De or Lost could be taking years off your life?
The Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study was published January 12 in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers studied 8,800 men and women above the age of 25 as part of the proceedings. Participants were required to keep a record of the number of hours they watched TV each week and were accordingly divided into three groups: those who watched television for less than two hours daily, those who watched it for between two to four hours and those who watched it for more than four hours.
In addition to the above, participants were also subjected to oral glucose tolerance tests to determine their blood sugar levels and had their cholesterol levels recorded at the commencement of the study. Those with a history of cardiovascular disease were not part of it.
Six years later, this study established that of the 8,800 participants, 87 had died of cardiovascular disease and 125 of cancer. What’s surprising is that these deaths were not necessarily restricted to overweight and obese participants — they also occured among those whose weight was appropriate and who exercised regularly.
In fact, the clinching factor was the number of hours the participants spent watching TV. Those who watched for more than four hours a day were at a whopping 80 percent greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease and 46 percent higher risk of all causes of death.
In other words, lazing around for long hours can prove fatal. And the risk remained the same even when the study accounted for smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, an unhealthy diet and leisure-time exercise among participants.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Dr David Dunstan, lead author of the study and head of the Physical Activity Laboratory at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Victoria, Australia [ Images ] was quoted as saying, “What we showed was that irrespective of a person’s exercise level, sitting for four or more hours watching television was linked to a significant increase in risk of death, compared to watching lower amounts of TV. The message here is that in addition to promoting regular exercise, we also need to promote avoiding long periods of sitting, such as spending long hours in front of the computer screen.”
“When we’re in that sitting posture, we’re not using our muscles, and we know from extensive evidence that muscle contractions are important for the body’s regulatory processes, such as the ability to break down glucose and use it as energy.”
You’re having lunch with a friend, and the topic of exercise comes up. “I’m reading a book right now,” she tells you, “and it says the best way to lose weight is …” But as she describes a particular workout method, you remember reading a recent fitness article that said nearly the opposite. You know the trainer at the gym recommends a completely different method. And the doctor on television suggests still another.
Information on health and exercise is available more than ever these days, and even the experts don’t always seem to agree. Still, in spite of the many conflicting opinions, you probably know more than you think. Put your fitness knowledge to the test, and see if you can determine which of the following four statements are fact and which are fiction.
Losing fat isn’t rocket science, but it is indeed science.
Fact or Fiction: There Is a Way to Make Every Exercise More Effective
FACT. Some exercises are better than others at targeting a specific concern, but you can make any exercise generally more effective just by manipulating one or two variables. Resistance exercises, for example, typically consist of two main phases: the lifting and the lowering. With this in mind, you can increase the value of these exercises by adjusting the speed of contraction.
Craig Ballantyne, trainer and the creator of the Turbulence Training system, agrees. “You can make the lowering phase slower, and this is perfect for beginners getting used to a new exercise.” He cautions, though, that this technique “may cause more muscle soreness, so watch out for that.”
Another variable to consider is the stance in which you perform an exercise. A simple change in position can often increase the number of muscles involved, thereby enhancing effectiveness. The next time you work out, if you normally sit to perform a particular exercise, stand instead. This should present a greater challenge to your core muscles than your usual method.
Sometimes It’s Hard to Tell Fact From Fiction
With so many opposing opinions on fitness out there, it’s hard to tell what’s right and what’s wrong — especially when multiple respected authorities offer different insight on the same subject. The best thing to do is follow a source whose insight makes sense to you and whose advice you can fit into your life. Perhaps more important is to realize that 90 percent of what fitness professionals say is in agreement. Focus on that 90 percent instead of the 10 percent of controversial stuff, and you’ll make amazing progress.
Fact or Fiction: There Is a “Best” Way to Lose Weight
FACT. While nearly any type of sensible training and nutrition plan will help you shed unwanted pounds, if you really want to torch fat, change your game plan. After all, there’s a very real difference between the simplistic approach of eat less and do more and the more discerning approach of a scientifically proven fat-loss training method. Losing fat isn’t rocket science, but it is indeed science.
To find a method that scholars have shown to be exceptional, you’ll need to look at the research. A number of studies, for example, have indicated that metabolic resistance training may be one of the most effective training techniques for fat loss.
This training style, known as MRT, consists of fast-paced weight-training circuits that are arranged in a noncompeting order. Noncompeting exercise order means your muscles are worked in an alternating sequence; so an upper-body exercise will be followed by a lower-body exercise.
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University assessed the efficacy of metabolic resistance training and published the results in the September 1999 issue of “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.” Their study proved that combining a weight-loss dietary regimen with MRT yields greater results than either the combination of a weight-loss dietary regimen and aerobic exercise or a weight-loss dietary regimen alone. While all three test groups experienced similar reductions in body weight, those who combined diet and MRT lost nearly 20 percent more fat than those who combined diet and aerobic exercise and nearly 30 percent more than those who only dieted.
Another advantage to MRT sessions is that it allows you to move quickly from exercise to exercise, burning more fat in less time. And yet the effectiveness of MRT lies not only in the more efficient workouts, but also in what happens afterward. In a study published in the March 2002 issue of “European Journal of Applied Physiology,” researchers from Ohio State University showed that MRT keeps the body’s metabolic rate elevated for up to 38 hours. In other words, you’ll continue to burn fat long after your MRT workout has finished. This is known as the “afterburn” effect and is a result of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.
Fact or Fiction: Lifting Weights Will Make You Bulky
FICTION. Body-weight training expert Adam Steer explains this myth. “Lifting weights won’t make you bulky; it’ll make you shapely. There’s nothing more attractive than the curves of a well-developed derriere or the form of well-sculpted shoulders in a sleeveless top. And what gives shape to these beautiful body parts? Muscle.”
Indeed, lifting weights tones muscles and develops definition, and there’s nothing inherently “bulky” about that. But for those who still fear that weights will lead to hulking brawn, Steer said, “Don’t worry about getting bulky. It’s hard work to pack on a lot of mass. And it has to be done very deliberately. But adding some shape through lifting weights is achievable and desirable.” And this is true for everyone.
It’s also worth noting that weight training offers valuable health benefits for both men and women. In addition to simultaneously burning fat and building strength, resistance training is one of the most effective ways to strengthen bones and help prevent osteoporosis.
Fact or Fiction: There Is a “Best” Time to Work Out
FICTION. While training in the morning may have the very slight advantage of raising your metabolic rate earlier in the day, other considerations are more important in the long run.
Joel Marion, fitness coach, author and creator of the Cheat Your Way Thin weight-loss program, offers his perspective. “When is the best time of day to work out? In an ideal world, for several factors, it’s probably in the morning, as the research suggests. But in the real world, the answer is the time of day in which you personally are able to work out with the utmost intensity, put forth the greatest amount of effort and train with impeccable levels of focus. For many, many people, that is simply not the morning.”
So the meaning of “best time” when referring to workouts is highly subjective. For the exerciser, the definition might simply be the time most agreeable for a successful workout, which may not necessarily be what the research suggests is optimal. The answer, of course, is to train at the time that works best for you, the time when you’re most capable, energetic and productive.
Prior to 9/11, I had been searching for the “truth”, meaning the proper way to worship God. I grew up in
a Catholic home, served as an alter-boy, attended Catholic school, and studied a good portion of the Bible in my youth. I always believed in God no matter what stage of my life I was in; be it my Catholic school boy years, my brief dabble at Christianity, my quest for knowledge of Buddhism, Hinduism, and other “isms”, or my research of Darwinism and the Theory of Evolution.
Throughout my days prior to 9/11, I felt like I experienced enough of all faiths and ideologies and came to a conclusion that there was a God or a Supreme-Being, but the question that I always asked myself was how do I come closer to Him, how do I worship Him, and how to do I make sense of all the faiths that exist in the world. This was my state-of-mind prior to 9/11. Up to this point I never heard about Islam. It amazes me, when I reflect on my youth, that I did have Muslim friends growing up like Hasan, Mahmood, or Tamir, but I never knew they were Muslim or what Islam was.
It wasn’t until 1999 when I first started to learn about Islam and Muslims during my college years at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey. I met a Muslim by the name of Ahmer Siddique who is one of my greatest friends to this day. In the hallway right before we were supposed to take a Chemistry exam I panicked because I felt unprepared and wondered, “how I will get out of this one?” I suddenly overheard Ahmer talking about how he knew what was on the test, so I asked him to help me even though he never met me. Not only did he have the answers to the test that day, but he also had the answers to life, as well.
I befriended Ahmer and we became very close that semester. We’d hang out with other common friends and discuss current events, political issues, social issues, and of course religious issues. Being that I had a Catholic background, I challenged him with questions on the trinity, the belief of Jesus as God and the son of God, the belief in Mary, signs of the Day of Judgment, along with other controversial topics. They were questions common to me from asking priests and ministers years before only to realize they didn’t have a clear answer, rather their answers increased my confusion and decreased my desire to affiliate myself to any religion.
However, the answers I received from this 18 year old young man were answers I never heard before. The explanations to the topics at hand were ones I never considered nor were they ever presented to me in that fashion. For the first time things made sense and were not only easy to mentally accept, but also spiritually. I recalled a night at the age of 15 or 16 years old, looking up at the sky, my face and shirt wet from tears that ran from my eyes, pleading to God to guide me. After meeting Ahmer and learning about Islam, I felt that cry was answered.
During the spring of 2000 my relationship with Ahmer was put on hold as I focused on pledging to a Latino fraternity. Later that summer, I became a tutor-counselor for a high school program on campus. It was during this program where I met two bright, young ladies who were different from the rest. Instead of being loud, obnoxious, and fashionable according to society’s standards, they were quiet, mature, and extremely modest in their dress and character. This was the first time I ever came across girls wearing hijab. I felt drawn to them, curious to learn why they did what they did. The funny thing was I don’t recall ever learning about Muslim women in my discussions with Ahmer so I never knew what they looked like or how they dressed. When I think about it now, as I write this, it astonishes me how Allah put people in my life to expose me to Islam bit by bit. I learned a great deal from them, such as the concept of hijab, the concept of modesty and Islam, the history of the Qu’ran and how it has never been changed since it was revealed, as well as how to become a Muslim by saying the declaration of faith or Shahadah.
I appreciated everything they taught me even though I was technically the teacher’s assistant and they were my students. However, when it came to learning about Islam, I was their humble student. My admiration for Islam grew more and more, but I didn’t think about accepting Islam yet.
Fall of 2000 and spring of 2001 came and went. I continued to learn about Islam from conversations with Ahmer, however, I was caught up in the college lifestyle, and didn’t desire to leave my old ways behind in exchange for a devoted life to Allah. I was busy partying, dancing, listening to hip-hop and rap, and hanging out with my fraternity brothers.
One big milestone that I do remember, however, was asking Ahmer for a copy of the Qur’an before the summer break. That summer as I worked in New York City, I would take it everywhere I went — on the subway and on the bus. I’d read as much as I could whenever and wherever I could. I remember sitting next to one of the engineers on the bus and pulling out the copy of the Qur’an. He asked me, “Are you Muslim?” I kindly responded, “No, but I am learning.” He told me he was Muslim and he could answer any questions I might have. Sometimes I wish I could run into that brother now and tell him, “I am Muslim now”. I’m sure he would be so happy. I stuck to this routine for the entire summer, reading the Qur’an on the way to and from work in New York City.
After a while I felt overwhelmed with the information. I became more and more scared with every verse that I read. I understood what Islam desired from me, but I was not ready mentally or spiritually to jump into it wholeheartedly. I decided, shortly after that, to stop reading the Qur’an and just focus on other aspects of my life.
Soon after, I found myself on campus again starting my 3rd year of college in the fall of 2001. To me it was the same old thing; freshman mixers, social events, parties, orientations, hanging out, and road trips for the first week or two of school.
On September 11th, 2001, I woke up and got ready to go to my lab at 8am or so. I walked over to the chemistry lab only to find out that class was canceled. I remember being elated because I now had the opportunity to go hang out or get some extra sleep. I walked back to my dorm room through campus and I remember glancing at the New York City skyline. My campus was just across the river and the skyline view was a popular feature Stevens offered their students. It was always a beautiful sight and this day wasn’t any different. The sun was out, the sky was clear, and the temperature was awesome, and of course the view to the city was impressive even to someone who’s seen it all his life.
I walked into my room and immediately got a call from a friend who told me to turn on the news. She sounded freaked out as I turned on the television only to see that the buildings I just finished glancing at were on fire. I immediately ran upstairs to Ahmer’s room to inform him of the news. He had been sleeping so I rudely awakened him with this devastating information.
We turned on the television and watched the news while he got ready so we could go outside and see what was happening. As the news broke stating that a plane crashed into the towers, Ahmer kept saying, “I hope it’s not Muslims.” I didn’t understand why Muslims would have anything to do with this.
We went outside to a chaotic, frightened, nervous, and concerned student body. Everyone was outside looking out from Castle Point towards downtown Manhattan. We stayed there for hours, getting updates on the radio or from people. I kept thinking to myself, I hope people are getting out, I hope that help is on the way. I was also scared about the possibility of another plane striking the huge skyscraper we were standing next to that served as the administrative building.
After a few hours of tears, cries, concern, and fear, the towers collapsed. It wasn’t until then that reality really hit me. It became clear, at that point, that whoever was in that building was not making it out. There was no way people could survive that. I remember looking at my watch, watching the seconds pass by as if in slow motion. I also remember my conscience talking to me, reminding me how much I have learned about Islam, what my purpose in life should be, how I should be leading my life, and the reality of life and death. I thought to myself all those times that I read in the Qur’an the promise for those who do deeds of righteousness, the rewards with their Lord for worshiping Him alone and living a life according to His guidelines and standards, as well as the promise for those who disobey Him and His commands. I thought during those seconds about Heaven and Hell, the punishments of the grave, and how I arrogantly kept pushing off the idea of accepting my role as a creation of Allah in order to party, chill, have fun, dance, drink, and “live life.”
I remember reflecting about those times where I told myself how Islam is such a beautiful religion, but if I am to accept it, it will be later on in life when I’m old. However, this time, as death stood across the river, I told myself, “Well what if that day never comes?”
The people in the towers thought September 11, 2001 was just another ordinary day. They probably thought they were going to have lunch, make it home for dinner, and reunite with their families, children, or significant other. However, Allah had a different plan for them. This day was their last day and they did not have a chance to argue or plea their case. If this was their situation, then what should I think mine will be? Why should I think that I will live a long life, how can I be so sure that I will grow old, how can I be so sure that I will accept Islam once I am “done” having fun. The answer was, I wasn’t sure.
These thoughts rushed through my mind in such a brief lapse of time. I was snapped out of this state of deep reflection by Ahmer who tapped me on my shoulder to tell me, “Man, I can’t take this, I need to go pray.” Without hesitation, without even thinking it twice I said, “I’m coming with you.”
I followed him to his room and I told him I want to be a Muslim. His eyes filled with joy as he heard this. He taught me how to say Shahadah, how to make wudhu (ablution) and I followed him in my first prayer. I became a Muslim on that day, September 11th, 2001. It was the day my entire life changed. I have not looked back since.
The challenges that awaited me from my decision, I confronted with confidence and courage. The backlashes due to the events of 9/11 were difficult, but I had faith that no matter what or who was responsible, Islam had nothing to do with it and Allah would not allow His religion to be degraded regardless how hard people tried.
From that day forth, I have lived my life as a Muslim, learning how to worship and be thankful for the countless blessings that I have been granted in my years of life. Since that time, I’ve been blessed with my younger brother and mother embracing Islam, a wonderful wife who devotes her life to worshiping and pleasing Allah, and with two beautiful sons who are born Muslims. This decade that has passed has been the pinnacle of my life and Allah knows best what awaits me.
While some people become saddened by the events that occurred on 9/11, I see it as the day that I realized my purpose in life and had the courage to accept it. I am saddened about the tragedies of that day, without a doubt, however, I believe that Allah is the best of Planners and the wisdom for this event occurring goes beyond the scope of our understanding. One thing is certain to me though; it opened the door for millions of people to learn about Islam and even opened the door for millions to embrace Islam as their way of life, including me. For that, I will always be grateful to Allah.
I don’t know what 20 or 30 years down the road has in store for us, but I am confident that I will continue to ask Allah to guide me and keep me on this blessed path. I am certain that I will strive to teach my children about Islam and the events that occurred so that they grow up knowing the history of how Islam went from 20,000 Americans accepting Islam a year to over 100,000 Americans accepting Islam. Allah knows best what awaits us all; all I ask is for Allah to keep my family and I firm upon His path.
Hernan Guadalupe lives in Maryland where he works in real estate development & is one of the head instructors of Aqabah Karate
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Drinking Alcohol Effects: –
- Puffy face with blood shot eyes
- Hoarse voice
- Rapid pulse
- Impaired judgment
- Disturbed sleep
Few vitamins acquired in process of burning alcohol in body, so vitamin deficiency can lead to a convulsions, neuritis disorders of the eyes and impaired memory. Excessive drinking often causes premature graying of hair due to vitamin deficiency. Chronic alcoholism results depletion of minerals in body, particularly Magnesium, which produces symptoms like tremor of hands, feet and tongue.
The most effective way to treat alcoholism is to build the body’s nutritional integrity so as to prevent the carving for stimulants like drinks. Take only juice at least 10 days in the beginning: During the juice usually no craving for alcohol. After that diet should consist of whole grain cereals, nuts seeds and sprouts, fresh fruit and veg.
- Early Morning: A glass of Luke warm water with half a freshly squeezed lime and teaspoon of honey.
- Breakfast: Fresh fruits and a cup of milk.
- Mid – Morning: A glass of fresh fruit Juice.
- Lunch: Steamed vegetables, whole chapattis and buttermilk.
- Mid Afternoon: A glass of carrot or sugarcane juice.
- Dinner: A good sized raw vegetables salad and sprouts.
- Note: Take frequently small meals rather than two or three large ones. In case of craving for alcohol, take one glass of fresh fruit juice.
- Avoid: Sugar, white rice, macaroni and white flour products, meals, strong condiments and smoking.
- Other pleasures: Proper rest, exercise and yoga.
By following these easy to adapt tips live an alcohol free life… make your drinking diary and write down daily goals, problems you have to overcome and good thoughts to cut down on your drinking habits