Fitness & Beyond #3

Welcome to the Kakana newsletter, where we talk about fitness, health, accessibility, and anything else that we find interesting.

Get a Lift in Your Mental Health

A great deal of attention has been paid to the role of aerobic exercise, less is known about the role of strength training in mental health outcomes. The benefits of strength training and the link to the brain are undeniable. A fitness journey usually has one focused on the body, but the mind is also the recipient of that training. There are key mental health benefits of strength training, and lifting weights is good for both the body and the mind.

Easing Depression Symptoms: Scientists only recently have begun to investigate whether and how weight training might also affect mental health. A 2018 review of studies, for instance, concluded that adults who lift weights are less likely to develop depression than those who never lift.

Reducing Anxiety: According to a timely new study of anxiety and resistance training. The study, which involved young adults indicates that regular weight training substantially reduces anxiety.

Increased Confidence: Weight training raises self-esteem. One component of good psychological health is having healthy self-esteem: a feeling of self-worth and value. A large meta-analysis of 113 studies did find that strength training did lead to a small increase in self-esteem.

Improved Brain Function: Studies suggest that, in older adults, resistance training can improve and delay the decline in memory, attention, and decision making.

Mental Wellbeing: Once you have finished your session and looked back on your performance, you reflect on your accomplishments and areas for improvement. You also get a deep sense of satisfaction when you reach goals, especially those that before seemed like a near-impossible task to overcome. For the average person, it is quite hard to find activities in life that can put you in a similar state of presence, without the inherent risk involved.

Food Can Be a Powerful Medicine

Food is powerful medicine. Unlike traditional allopathic medicine, which fights disease and treats symptoms, nutrition has the ability to address the underlying cause of what’s going on in the body and boost overall health through the intake of correct nutrients.  The body is a complex system that has the ability to heal itself if given the right foods.

Today’s modern diet…Unfortunately, today’s modern diet consists primarily of processed and refined foods, which are stripped of nutrients, low in fiber, and are contaminated with potentially health-threatening chemicals such as pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, artificial colorings, flavoring, and sweeteners.  Therefore it’s essential to focus on eating whole foods, meaning foods that are as close to their original form as possible.  Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (peas & beans) are nutrient-dense, help strengthen our immune system, increase our ability to handle stress and pain, and provide us with more energy to carry out our daily activities.  

In addition to eating whole foods to gain these health benefits, it’s important to ensure that you’re getting a rich variety of them in your diet.  On average, most people only rotate 12-15 foods in their entire diet.  We are creatures of habit, we know what we like and are drawn to the same foods over and over again.  Have more fun with your meals, try new foods! This will help ensure that you are giving your body the variety of nutrients it needs to function at its best.

Icons and Role Models are Coming

Representation matters. It matters in sport, fashion, entertainment, and life. Disability advocate and writer Hannah Diviney tweeted after Dylan Alcott’s first-round match at the Australian Open: “If you had told Younger Hannah that one day she’d spend a Sunday night with her family watching people who looked like her play tennis on mainstream TV, she’d never have believed you.”

Athletes like Dylan Alcott, Chuck Aoki, Mallory Weggeman have blazed a path for a younger generation to witness brilliance. The standard is no longer to participate. You can dominate, be confident in your ability to be great, and have a beacon as a young child to reach for.

Whether you are talking about Peter Dinklage from Game of Thrones or Dylan Alcott, one does not have to imagine what it would be like to attain your wildest dreams. And because they have broken through, it means there will be 5,10,15 people even better than them in the coming years and that is exciting.

Something Fun or Interesting

More human twins are being born now than ever before. Do you get the feeling that there are more twins around these days than there used to be? No? Well, you should, because according to a new study in the journal Human Reproduction, the “twinning rate” has increased by one-third since the ’80s—up from 9 to 12 twins per 1,000 deliveries. Currently, that adds up to about 1.6 million twins born each year across the world—meaning one out of every 42 babies is a twin.

Stat of the Month
The average American generates nearly 4.5 pounds of trash each day. It’s usually a pretty mindless task to take out the trash—but maybe we should start thinking about it a little bit more. According to stats from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), each American generates about 4.48 pounds of trash every single day, totaling 1,642.5 pounds per year.

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