What if just thinking about lifting weights, taking a bath or stretching could give you the same effects as going to the gym? Too good to be true?? Maybe! But some recent studies have concluded that mental imagery can actually make your muscles stronger. Not from the muscle actually growing larger but from the fact that more muscle fiber is recruited after imagining yourself exercising, making you stronger without actually doing the exercise!
Another studyfound raising your body temperature by one degree by taking a warm bath (and also as you do in exercise) can help lower blood sugar levels and burn calories as efficiently as a 30 minute walk! Dinner in the bathtub anyone?
Lastly, it was found that lightly stretching after meals assisted or on your own, could lower blood sugar levels by up to 23% (similar to regular exercise). Stretching seems to replicate the tension on the muscle, like exercise and allows the body to move sugar from the blood stream into the cells.
We definitely do not recommend doing these activities in lieu of your daily exercise, but what if we added these ideas to our daily routines? Could we burn more calories and balance blood sugar levels more effectively?? Could adding these habits to someone’s life that is unable to exercise or injured help improve their health? Might be something to try!
Kara Fitzgerald, ND, received her doctor of naturopathic medicine degree from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. She completed the first Counsel on Naturopathic Medicine-accredited post-doctorate position in nutritional biochemistry and laboratory science at Metametrix Clinical Laboratory under the direction of Richard Lord, PhD. Her residency was completed at Progressive Medical Center, a large, integrative medical practice in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dr. Fitzgerald is the lead author and editor of Case Studies in Integrative and Functional Medicine and is a contributing author to Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine and the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM)’s Textbook for Functional Medicine. With the Helfgott Research Institute, Dr. Fitzgerald is actively engaged in clinical research on the DNA methylome using a diet and lifestyle intervention developed in her practice. The first publication from the study focuses on reversal of biological aging and was published 04-12-2021 in the journal Aging. She has published a consumer book titled Younger You as well as a companion cookbook, Better Broths and Healing Tonics and has an application-based Younger You Program, based on the study.
Dr. Fitzgerald is on the faculty at IFM, is an IFM Certified Practitioner and lectures globally on functional medicine. She runs a Functional Nutrition Residency program, and maintains a podcast series, New Frontiers in Functional Medicine and an active blog on her website, www.drkarafitzgerald.com. Her clinical practice is in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
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