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Cold spell

Posted December 25, 2013 in Altoona, Advice Column, Pleasant Hill

While a nice cup of hot chocolate while sitting around the fireplace is cozy, it does nothing for your waistline. Hibernating is also not going to help you burn calories. Complaining or comparing also does not burn calories.

When the University of Colorado researchers did a study of a small group of women and six men in both the summer and winter, they discovered that their production of ATLPL, a chemical that promotes fat storage, almost doubled during the winter and dropped during the summer. You don’t have to live in fat pants for the winter. Research proves that exercise increases the muscle enzyme that promotes the burning of fat. People who are normally active and vigorously exercise are usually protected against weight gain.

It is no surprise that we bulk up our clothing during the winter months. Baggy clothing has a subconscious effect on lounging around. Avoid baggy clothing; wear layers instead. You can even wear bright colors during the winter to help break the lounge-around lazy spell. Bright colors help jolt your senses.

Another idea to help you through the short days of winter is to munch on healthy carbs in the afternoon before the sun goes down. There is something about the cool, dark evenings that triggers your body to want to snack. According to Dr. Wurtman, diminishing sunlight makes serotonin in the brain less active. Too little of this mood-lifting chemical leaves you feeling hungry and tired. Try snacking on protein, dairy products and veggies for breakfast and lunch. Have a low-fat carb snack like popcorn, soy crackers or cereal in the afternoon. For dinner try whole-grain pasta, roasted potatoes, black bean soup or vegetable stew with barley. Avoid eating protein, because it prevents serotonin form being made. Another good strategy is to spend 20 – 30 minutes per day by a bright light or window to amp up your serotonin.

Do not settle on the sofa when you come home. Once you are there, it is tough to get up. Instead immediately change your work clothes to workout clothes. Go to the gym. After you get a good workout in and drink lots of water, you’ll find that you’ll eat less and tend to look for better foods.

When you hit the club, don’t rush. Start by completing a nice 20-minute warmup. Then get into your workout. Give yourself time to unwind. There are 168 hours in a week. You can afford to spend seven of those at the gym. Don’t go it alone. Bring your family or meet a friend. If you don’t have either, a qualified trainer is fabulous. The best way to warm up this winter is to move. See you soon.

For more information about new programs, including personal training, small group training, sports training and Promise Academy for 6th-12th grade students, log on to www.TheOrangePlanet.com.

Written by David Charleston, owner/founder The Orange Planet Athletic Club, 5650 Metro Business Drive, Pleasant Hill, david@theorangeplanet.com.

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