June 21 2018
The clinical co-director at the Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness offers advice on how runners can protect against ticks.
*Post originally appeared on Fit Mix Mom
Do you know what happens to your heart and blood vessels after you pig out on junk? Warning: It’s scary!
A couple hours after ingestion of food high in saturated fat, triglyceride levels increase, blood flow is restricted, and the blood vessel linings become inflamed. You’re actually at much higher risk of a heart attack during this period. And that’s after a single meal. Imagine what doing this consistently over time can do!
Still, if you’re like me, you want to fully enjoy the delicious eats of the holiday season without over-worrying about the underlying negative effects.
Fortunately, there is something you can do about it (besides saying no to all of your favorite things). Previous studies have shown that moderate exercise before consuming high-fat foods can reduce negative effects on the body. Now more recent research from a study done at the University of Exeter shows that JUST 8 MINUTES of high-intensity exercise is even more effective than 25 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise. Researchers found that a short but intense workout before consuming a high-fat milkshake not only prevented impairment, but actually improved blood vessel function.
The research indicates your workouts need to be HIGH-INTENSITY for the best effect. HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is the obvious perfect option. This means intervals of near-maximum (90 percent) effort alternating with recovery periods. It should be TOUGH (but thankfully short). It doesn’t have to be 8 minutes exactly (that’s more of a minimum)—I would recommend a total time of 10 to 20 minutes, adding in a warm up and cool down to prevent injury. Do your workout anywhere from 1 to 6 hours before your indulgent meal.
Be careful though—if you’re not used to this type of exercise, you’re going to want to be careful pushing yourself to such intensity. But you will still get some benefit from more moderate exercise, so just get moving before you dig in! Something is better than nothing.
I don’t know about you, but I intend on indulging without obsessing over every calorie or how many miles I need to run to burn it off. But I WILL be doing my heart a favor and keeping active, too!
About the Author: Trainer LJ is a writer, fitness trainer, smoothie maker, wife, and mom of 3 boys. She writes about fitness, food, and family at Fit Mix Mom. Her favorite hobbies include going running, getting stuck in yoga poses, and hiding to eat all the chocolate.