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Category Archives for "Fitness and Health"

Jun 02

Did You Know That Your Brain Takes Breaks?

By Dr. Jack Singer | Fitness and Health

The human brain takes a rest of its own when you go to sleep, according to new research.

A study paired EEG (electroencephalogram) readings with data collected by electrodes measuring electrical activity inside the brain while patients slept.

The results showed that neurons within the brain sometimes take short breaks during sleep, and that these rest periods allow us to remain asleep even though the brain registers noise or some other disturbance.

In other words, neurons rest so people can rest, too!

May 26

Yawning – Why Do We Do It and Why Is It Contagious?

By Dr. Jack Singer | Fitness and Health , General

Yawning is one of the most natural things in the world and something that we do even before we are born, but why do we yawn and why is it so contagious?

Theories abound in the medical world as to why humans and some animals yawn. While some scientists believe that it was a method used by our ancestors to warn off enemies by baring our teeth, others see it as nothing more than an involuntary reflex to demonstrate boredom.

Researchers in the US, however, suggest that its purpose is to help keep us awake, hence the reason for it happening when we are tired. Scientists believe that by drawing more oxygen into the body and expelling more carbon dioxide, the brain is cooled down, allowing it to function more efficiently and helping us to stay awake.

Why do we yawn when we see others yawning? Scientists’ theory on contagious yawning is that it is not merely an act of copying others, but that it developed as a means for groups of our ancestors to remain alert and detect danger.

Although it certainly is an unconscious action, the alertness theory does seem to hold water. Watch athletes before they run a race and you will notice that more than one of them yawns, and it has also been observed that paratroopers yawn before jumping, and presumably not out of boredom!

Jan 02

Leave the Scale Behind and Embrace a Healthier Happier Lifestyle

By Dr. Jack Singer | Fitness and Health

2014 is all about making your life better and you can do that by getting stronger and healthier. There’s nothing like surrounding yourself with like-minded people to get you fired up on your fitness journey.

Talk to local personal trainers, nutritionists or your doctor to receive inside tips on how to improve your quality of life one step at a time. The more involved you are in your own process, the more likely you are to succeed at being the best possible version of you.

Jan 14

Being a ‘Good Sport’ Can Be Critical to Maintaining Lifelong Physical Activity

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Fitness and Health , General

Being a 'Good Sport' Can Be Critical to Maintaining Lifelong Physical ActivityScienceDaily (Nov. 25, 2010) reports fascinating research by professor Mark Eys, of Wilfrid Launier University in Canada. Eys isstudying group cohesion — which, in sporting terms, is essentially that sense of camaraderie that often develops between teammates — and how it affects the willingness of teenagers to take part in physical activity long-term.

It’s an important connection to study, he says, since it’s much more common for people to work out in groups than on their own.”People playing sports, for instance, are usually part of a group. If they’re playing golf, they’re in a group. They’re often going for runs in a group,” says Eys.”If we understand how those groups work, and take advantage of those situations, we can facilitate physical activity.” 

For the past two years, Eys and his team of graduate students have been observing teens aged 13-17 in the Sudbury area, tracking them as they take part in high school sports, rec leagues, and non-structured group activities like running and jogging.

Once a year, says Eys, they fill out questionnaires that measure how they feel about the level of cohesion in their groups. The teens taking part in highly-structured sports, particularly at the high school level, are asked specifically about their teams’ focus — how it strikes a balance between self-improvement and winning. 

While they’re still analyzing the first two years of data, Eys points out that, so far, they’ve found “a really strong relationship between that motivational climate and perceptions of cohesion.”That relationship seems to echo the findings of researchers who’ve posed the same questions to adults, says Eys. 

“If you look at the research on adults, the link between group perceptions and cohesion is pretty clear,” he says. “If people are in groups that they enjoy, they’re more likely to stick to their exercise regimens.” 

For Eys, his research isn’t purely academic — it’s also personal. A decade ago, Eys played basketball at the University of Waterloo, and in his fourth year made it to nationals. While the team didn’t win, they managed to strike a near-perfect balance, he says, between competitiveness and camaraderie. 

“We still, to this day — and this is ten years after the fact — get together as a group. It was obviously a very cohesive bunch. I don’t think we were necessarily the most talented group in the league, but some of these group processes can overcome that.”

Eys also has two daughters, aged six and four, who are “taking their first steps into organized activities.” Researching what it is that makes a good group activity, he says, will translate into an increased likelihood that physically active kids become physically active adults. 

The goal of his research is to “have something to be able to take to coaches, to be able to take to organizations” that would outline all those factors that go into a cohesive group environment. Making kids play better, may help them play longer.

The study will continue for at least one more year and is expected to expand to include kids in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, says Eys.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

I am also available for phone consultations with athletes around the U.S. and in-person visits with athletes in Southern California. Call today toll free at 1-800-497-9880 for a free 20 minute telephone consultation with Dr. Jack Singer.

Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis

Jan 07

Take Care of Your Heart Health in 2011

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Fitness and Health , General

Take Care of Your Heart Health in 2011 by Dr. Jack SingerWith rising health care costs this is very definitely the best time to begin to get serious about your health and your families health. Because heart disease can strike anyone without warning, the American Heart Association offers a variety of free programs to help you get started on those New Years resolutions that concern your health. So instead of making a New Years resolution this year, consider making  a New Life resolution. 

The American Heart Assocation is offering an online program called My Life Check and Life’s Simple 7 that offer simple steps toward improving heart health and quality of life.  The My Life Check Assessment allows participants to access plans that will help them get with each of Life’s Simple 7:

  1. Get active
  2. Control cholesterol
  3. Eat better
  4. Manage blood pressure
  5. Lose weight
  6. Reduce blood pressure
  7. Stop smoking

After taking the free assessment, participants can track eating habits, smoking cessation, blood pressure, exercise and weight loss to get motivated and keep moving.

Check with your local health community to see what programs are available to you and make that New Life resolution to be healthy and happy in 2011.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

I am also available for phone consultations with athletes around the U.S. and in-person visits with athletes in Southern California. Call today toll free at 1-800-497-9880 for a free 20 minute telephone consultation with Dr. Jack Singer.

Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis

Oct 18

Teenage Sports Team Participation

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Children and Family , Fitness and Health , Stress

by Dr. Jack Singer

Sports Team Participation Among Young Teens Has Important Hidden Benefits

Sports Team Participation Among Young Teens Has Important Hidden Benefits by Dr. Jack SingerMost parents want their children to participate in sports because they participated and enjoyed the exercise, commaraderie and healthy competition. But now, a new study shows a major advantage for young teens, that goes well beyond the benefits we all believed about sports participation.

A recent study reported in Science Daily and conducted by Dr. Keith Zullig and Rebecca White from West Virginia University shows that middle-school teenagers who are physically active and play on sports teams are more satisfied with their life and feel healthier.

These findings are critical because many studies coming out lately point to the extreme stress levels and depression that teens of all ages in the U.S. experience these days. The cause is listed as a result of extreme stress on families from economic realities these days and the rippling effect on the children.

The authors explored the relationship between physical activity (including sports participation), life satisfaction and self-rated health concurrently, for the first time, among 245 middle school students in grades 7 and 8.

Interestingly, for boys, participation in vigorous activity had no effect on either life satisfaction or self-rated health; however, In girls, those who had taken part in vigorous activity in the last week were significantly more satisfied with their life compared to girls who had not, but participation in vigorous activity had no effect on their self-rated health.

Playing on a sports team was linked to higher life satisfaction in both boys and girls. In addition, boys were five times more likely, and girls 30 times more likely, to describe their health as fair/poor when they were not playing on a sports team.

The authors concluded: “Our study demonstrates the benefits of youth sports participation on self-rated health and life satisfaction among young youth at a critical juncture in adolescent development. Our findings suggest that sports team participation may enhance school connectedness, social support and bonding among friends and teammates.”

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

I am also available for phone consultations with athletes around the U.S. and in-person visits with athletes in Southern California. Call today toll free at 1-800-497-9880 for a free 20 minute telephone consultation with Dr. Jack Singer.

Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis

Oct 01

Ten Tips for a Healthy Life

By Dr. Jack Singer | Fitness and Health , General

by Dr. Jack Singer

Ten Tips for a Healthy Life by Dr. Jack SingerDo you desire a healthy life, but feel like the road to that lifestyle is an impossible one? The truth is that a life of vitality and energy is within your reach. If you’re willing to take a few simple steps toward your dreams, they can become reality. And this can happen quicker than you might think!

Follow these strategies to begin experiencing the healthy life you deserve, starting today:

  1. Change your dietary habits. Small changes can make a big difference. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, for example. Choose whole-grain foods, and eat as much fiber as possible. Cut back on the sugar.
  2. Stop smoking. Certainly you already know the health risks of smoking. Quitting smoking offers you many wonderful consequences. You’ll experience smells that might have been absent from your life for years. You’ll breathe easier and have more energy. If you smoke, the most powerful thing you can do for yourself and your family is to quit.
  3. Reduce or eliminate alcohol. Drinking occasionally is okay. But binge drinking is harmful to your liver and other organs. Drink responsibly by limiting your intake of harmful alcoholic beverages.
  4. Drink plenty of water. Water detoxifies your body and provides cells with much-needed hydration. If you feel low in energy, you might be surprised at how effective a glass of water can be at perking you up. Low energy is often a sign of dehydration. Drink water when you wake up, before each meal, and as often as you can.
  5. Keep your body “regular.” Maintaining a regular bowel habit will produce lots of energy and make you feel healthy. Eat greens as often as possible to keep yourself regular. Fiber also helps your body to flush out toxins and fat. Eat as many whole grains, fruits, and vegetables as possible to add as much fiber as you can to your diet.
  6. Exercise. Incorporate physical movement into your lifestyle for added energy and confidence. Try going for a walk at least 30 minutes a day, cleaning your house, gardening, or playing outside with the kids. Exercise increases your heart rate and respiration rate, providing more oxygen to your cells.
  7. Keep your mind fresh and healthy. Read as often as possible. Play mind games, like crossword puzzles and logic problems. Challenge yourself to games and recreational activities that are outside of your comfort zone. A fit mind works in tandem with your fit body to help you create the lifestyle you crave.
  8. Stay up to date with your doctor visits. Most family doctors recommend that you see them at least once a year for a routine physical. Other checkups, like regular prostate or breast exams, may be recommended more often. So check with your family physician.
  9. Get plenty of rest. Everyone needs a different amount of rest. For most, a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of quality sleep is a must for optimum health.
  10. Hang around with like-minded people. If you want to be healthy, spend time with people who are healthy. Seek friendships with people that consider their health a priority in their lives. Spend less time with people that sit around all day and more time with active people. If you do, you’ll have a tendency to become healthy like those people.

A healthy life is within your reach. If you follow these simple strategies and remain patient, you’ll see, feel, and experience the amazing benefits of the healthy lifestyle you deserve.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

I am also available for phone consultations with athletes around the U.S. and in-person visits with athletes in Southern California. Call today toll free at 1-800-497-9880 for a free 20 minute telephone consultation with Dr. Jack Singer.

Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis

Sep 17

Dumb Jocks … Or Smart Athletes?

By Dr. Jack Singer | Applied Sports Psychology , Blog , Fitness and Health

By Jack Singer, Ph.D.

Fat school childrenWe all know the stereotype.  The great athlete didn’t spend much time honing his intellectual skills; instead, all of his efforts were spent on the athletic field and thus, he tends to be lacking in the brains department.  Like all stereotypes, this idea does not encompass all athletes, but still seems to be pervasive, especially among football players, where we all chuckle about the easy courses they take in college, etc.  For example, it seems like 90 % of football players are Sociology majors, often the easiest curriculum at the university.

However, some new research cited in Scientific American is stereotype breaking. 

Here are some of the findings:

  • Students who have the highest aerobic capacity and lowest body fat tend to perform well in school and on standardized tests.
  • Exercise  has been found to turbocharge  the formation of new connections between brain cells, causing greater intellectual capacity.

Did you know that Elementary school teachers constantly force “active” children to sit still and they are quick to recommend these youngsters be placed on drugs to control their restlessness?  The ADHD epidemic of diagnoses speaks to this point.

Budgetary constraints in schools these days frequently target P.E. classes, as if they are not as important as academic classes.  Teachers having to be accountable for the standardized test scores of their students push those teachers to emphasize academic curricula and de-emphasize physical education.

Now, with these new research findings, hopefully school administrators will realize the intellectual value of physical education and sports team participation for youngsters.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

I am also available for phone consultations with athletes around the U.S. and in-person visits with athletes in Southern California. Call today toll free at 1-800-497-9880 for a free 20 minute telephone consultation with Dr. Jack Singer.

Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis

Sep 14

Ten Tips to Get Healthy and Fit

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Fitness and Health

By Dr. Jack Singer

10 Tips To Get Healthy and Fit by Dr. Jack SingerDo you desire a healthy life, but feel like the road to that lifestyle is an impossible one? The truth is that a life of vitality and energy is within your reach. If you’re willing to take a few simple steps toward your dreams, they can become reality. And this can happen quicker than you might think!

Follow these strategies to begin experiencing the healthy life you deserve, starting today:

1. Change your dietary habits. Small changes can make a big difference. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, for example. Choose whole-grain foods, and eat as much fiber as possible. Cut back on the sugar.

2. Stop smoking. Certainly you already know the health risks of smoking. Quitting smoking offers you many wonderful consequences. You’ll experience smells that might have been absent from your life for years. You’ll breathe easier and have more energy. If you smoke, the most powerful thing you can do for yourself and your family is to quit.

3. Reduce or eliminate alcohol. Drinking occasionally is okay. But binge drinking is harmful to your liver and other organs. Drink responsibly by limiting your intake of harmful alcoholic beverages.

4. Drink plenty of water. Water detoxifies your body and provides cells with much-needed hydration. If you feel low in energy, you might be surprised at how effective a glass of water can be at perking you up. Low energy is often a sign of dehydration. Drink water when you wake up, before each meal, and as often as you can.

5. Keep your body “regular.” Maintaining a regular bowel habit will produce lots of energy and make you feel healthy.

* Eat greens as often as possible to keep yourself regular.

* Fiber also helps your body to flush out toxins and fat. Eat as many whole grains, fruits, and vegetables as possible to add as much fiber as you can to your diet.

6. Exercise. Incorporate physical movement into your lifestyle for added energy and confidence.

* Try going for a walk at least 30 minutes a day, cleaning your house, gardening, or playing outside with the kids.

* Exercise increases your heart rate and respiration rate, providing more oxygen to your cells.

7. Keep your mind fresh and healthy. Read as often as possible. Play mind games, like crossword puzzles and logic problems. Challenge yourself to games and recreational activities that are outside of your comfort zone. A fit mind works in tandem with your fit body to help you create the lifestyle you crave.
 

8. Stay up to date with your doctor visits. Most family doctors recommend that you see them at least once a year for a routine physical. Other checkups, like regular prostate or breast exams, may be recommended more often. So check with your family physician.

9. Get plenty of rest. Everyone needs a different amount of rest. For most, a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of quality sleep is a must for optimum health.

10. Hang around with like-minded people. If you want to be healthy, spend time with people who are healthy. Seek friendships with people that consider their health a priority in their lives. Spend less time with people that sit around all day and more time with active people. If you do, you’ll have a tendency to become healthy like those people.

A healthy life is within your reach. If you follow these simple strategies and remain patient, you’ll see, feel, and experience the amazing benefits of the healthy lifestyle you deserve.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

I am also available for phone consultations with athletes around the U.S. and in-person visits with athletes in Southern California. Call today toll free at 1-800-497-9880 for a free 20 minute telephone consultation with Dr. Jack Singer.

Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis

Sep 03

Get Up and Dance For Your Health

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Fitness and Health

The Lebed Method, Focus on Healing Through Therapeutic Exercise and MovementDid you know that seasoned citizens who regularly put on their dancing shoes benefit from more than just having a rocking good time?

According to researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia, participation by older adults in dance-based therapy can improve both balance and walking speed which are both key factors in reducing the risk of falls and injury in the elderly. The researchers used a program called the Lebed Method which is based on a combination of low-impact dance steps which are choreographed to music.

In the latest of a series of studies, volunteers at an independent-living community participated in 18 dance sessions over a two-month period. The seniors had so much fun that they continued dancing after the study concluded.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

I am also available for phone consultations with athletes around the U.S. and in-person visits with athletes in Southern California. Call today toll free at 1-800-497-9880 for a free 20 minute telephone consultation with Dr. Jack Singer.

Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis

Jul 19

New Research on Exercise and Weight Re-Gain

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Fitness and Health

New Research on Exercise and Weight Re-Gain by Dr. Jack SingerLosing weight can improve health and reduce disease risk, but many people have difficulty keeping the weight off.

Now, researchers have found that exercising during weight re-gain can maintain improvements in metabolic health and disease risk. In the study, individuals who didn’t exercise during weight re-gain experienced significant deterioration in metabolic health, while those who exercised maintained improvements in almost all areas.

In the study, University of Missouri researchers found that individuals who didn’t exercise during weight re-gain experienced significant deterioration in metabolic health, while those who exercised maintained improvements in almost all areas. The MU study, led by Tom R. Thomas, professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology in the College of Human Environmental Sciences, is the first to examine the role of exercise in countering the negative effects of weight re-gain on the metabolic syndrome and on overall health status.

“Although many people are successful at losing weight through diet and exercise, the majority of them will relapse and regain the weight,” Thomas said. “The findings of this study indicate that re-gaining weight is very detrimental; however, exercise can counter those negative effects. The findings support the recommendation to continue exercising after weight loss, even if weight is regained.”

“It’s clear that the message to lose weight isn’t working because so many people regain weight; a new message is to keep exercising and maintain your weight to reduce disease risk and improve overall health,” Thomas said. “Don’t worry so much about losing weight, but focus on exercising and maintaining your current weight.”

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

I am also available for phone consultations with athletes around the U.S. and in-person visits with athletes in Southern California.

Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis