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28
Mar . 2017

Get fit and lose weight, trucker style

  • by Julie Ferguson
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  • with 0 Comment
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  • in Fitness

get fit lose weight trucker style

Looking to get fit and lose weight? You need to break out of that sedentary pattern. That may sound easier said than done, but short, intense four-minute workouts a few times a day are working well for truckers, could they work for you?

Few people have jobs that require more sitting than long-haul truckers, who can spend up to 11 hours a day behind the wheel. And research shows that too much sitting can lead to health problems. According to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 7 in 10 long-haul truck drivers are obese, more than twice the rate of the average U.S. adult workers. Long-haul truck drivers are twice as likely as other workers to report they have diabetes.

But some people are trying to change that. One former Olympic swimming hopeful-turned-truck driver is making it his mission to help truckers learn that short, intense 4-minute workouts a few times a day can have a highly beneficial effect on a driver’s health.

Siphiwe Baleka was always healthy. That is, until he took a job as a trucker and noticed that the combination of sitting all day and living on convenience foods was beginning to take a toll on his health. He incorporated a more disciplined diet and short bursts of exercise into his day. Then he had an idea:

“Then he approached company management with an idea. The trucks, the trailers and their cargo are all carefully monitored while on the road. Why not do the same thing for the drivers, using devices like heart rate and body composition monitors?”

Today, Baleka remotely coaches about 3,000 truckers around the country, teaching them to incorporate the health changes he made – a better diet and short bursts of high-intensity workouts. He emphasizes the intensity because if it is only going to be 4 minutes, he says you have to make them count. He encourages drivers to work these routines in a few times a day.

One of the key lessons we can learn from this is that small, incremental changes can make a huge difference. Committing to a an intensive gym routine might be too ambitious for someone who is not exercising already, but just about anyone can incorporate 4-minute workouts a few times a day, no matter how sedentary our jobs may be. Studies show small changes can boost wellness. Small changes in routines, habits and discipline help lay a firm foundation for larger changes. Change can be hard – starting with small steps can make it easier.

Below find a sample 4-minute routine that Baleka does. Now the intensity may look too difficult at first, but Baleka simply encourages that you push yourself to achieve the best intensity that you can, and repeat it several times a day.

03
Mar . 2017

Does meal timing matter to your health?

  • by Julie Ferguson
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  • with 0 Comment
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  • in Nutrition and Diet, Research, Uncategorized

meal timing

New nutrition research on meal timing shows that it may not be just what you eat, but when you eat. A study by the American Heart Association looks at whether the timing and  frequency of when people eat has an impact on risk factors for heart attack, stroke and other cardiac diseases.

The study on Meal Timing and Frequency: Implications for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention appeared in a recent edition of Circulation Magazine. It is just one study of this topic and the study authors calls for more research in this area, but it raises some interesting issues that are worth considering about diet.

The study notes that over the last 40 years, our eating patterns have become more erratic. Skipping meals and snacking have become more prevalent. The authors note that time constraints can limit meal planning and preparation, which in turn can lead to an reliance on convenience food items, such as fast food, and an over reliance on “energy dense but nutrient poor” food choices.

The study examines whether these types of irregular eating styles can have effects on cardiometabolic health markers, such as obesity, lipid profile, insulin resistance, and blood pressure. It examines specific eating patterns: skipping breakfast, intermittent fasting, meal frequency (number of daily eating occasions), and timing of eating occasions. The study also suggests definitions for meals, snacks, and eating occasions for use in research.

The data in this study “suggest that irregular eating patterns appear less favorable for achieving a healthy cardiometabolic profile. Intentional eating with mindful attention to the timing and frequency of eating occasions could lead to healthier lifestyle and cardiometabolic risk factor management.”

Some of the findings echo longstanding nutritional advice about starting the day with a heavier meal and ending the day with a lighter meal; avoiding heavy food consumption at night; and spreading calories over more evenly spaced intervals throughout the day. We agree about the idea of intentional, mindful eating – see our post Mindless eating: How we are tricked into eating too much.

No quick diet fixes, but a nutrition coach can help

When it comes to nutrition research, there is a lot of conflicting information and some research is sponsored by food lobbyists, so not always objective. While research is key to understanding the relationship of food to health, studies often translate to clickbait headlines that can be misleading. It’s important to remember that there are no quick fixes for weight loss or health. Developing ongoing healthy eating patterns and choices may be less satisfying than the “lose 10 pounds in 10 days” or “eat breakfast to ensure a healthy heart” headlines, but is the surer path to longterm health.

ESI’s TotalCare Wellness program Members can work with a certified nutrition coach.  Coaches help Members assess current health status, establish goals for each individual’s unique situation, and develop a workable plan to reach that goal. Nutrition coaches focus on incremental, achievable goals based on each individual’s health status, goals and lifestyle.

These prior posts might also be of interest:

22
Feb . 2017

Most valuable employee perks

  • by Julie Ferguson
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  • with 0 Comment
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  • in Inspiration, Promotions

  What are the most valuable employee perks for 2017? Good question - it's important for employers to stay competitive with benefits trends to retain current employees and attract new hires. According to a recent Glassdoor....Read More

06
Feb . 2017

Smoking Cessation Programs in the Workplace

  • by Julie Ferguson
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  • with 0 Comment
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  • in Smoking

If you could help 15% of your workers who are at most risk of serious health issues, wouldn't you do it? Good news, you can: Offer smoking cessation programs in the workplace to help your....Read More

20
Jan . 2017

Corporate Fitness Programs for Businesses of All Sizes

  • by Julie Ferguson
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  • with 0 Comment
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  • in Fitness, health risk appraisals, Nutrition and Diet, stress

No matter how large or small your organization is, you can help your team develop healthy habits that will lead to better attitudes, increased efficiencies, and happier employees. That starts with building a culture of....Read More

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