The Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a hormone that plays a huge role in the normal development of children and adolescents as the name implies. However, it also plays a role in adults.
HGH deficiency in adults typically leads to
Higher levels of body fat,
Lower lean body mass, and
Decreased bone mass (osteopenia).
HGH only lasts a few minutes in the bloodstream. It goes to the liver for metabolism, where it is converted into a number of other growth factors, the most important of which is Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF1).
Scientists first harvested HGH from cadavers in the 1950s, but only synthesized it in labs in the early 1980s. Soon afterwards, it became a popular performance-enhancing drug. Normal levels of HGH peak in puberty (as you might expect) and gradually decrease thereafter.
Growth hormone is typically secreted during sleep and is one of the so-called counter-regulatory hormones. HGH along with cortisol and adrenalin tell the body to increase the availability of glucose – so it counters the effect of insulin.
Adrenal fatigue can RUIN a weight loss plan. It can assault your energy and cause sleepless nights. Do you avoid and run from stress? Listen to discover and easy test you can do at home to determine if you suffer from adrenal fatigue.
Watch for part two where I’ll address ways to heal a weak adrenal through proper diet and exercise.
I’m the ying and the yang of exercise and sleep. I went from being pretty much a couch potato to a 13 time Ironman triathlon finisher. I also never valued sleep and rarely got enough to now enjoying 8 hours of good sleep a day. Exercise and sleep are closely related too. Like ying and yang, exercise is movement and sleep is non-movement. Let’s explore each and their relationship to others.
The 7-Keys to Health and Freedom™
The seven keys that have helped me find peace, joy and happiness.
Key #4; Exercising & Sleeping Right (The Art of Movement & Restoration)
Key #5; DNA Health (Healthy Aging & Telomere Support)
Key #6; Cleansing (Aiding the body’s immune system with Super Juice and Ionix Minerals)
Key #7; Mailbox Money (Profits are better than wages to live your dreams)
Most people don’t know the answer to this question, “What is the number one reason exercise or movement is important?” It is to aid in the removable of toxic waste from the body.
Your lymphatic system’s (see the diagram) purpose is to remove waste from your body. This system has no way to move waste through it except by bodily movement. The system moves waste up to the heart were it can then be pumped through the blood and eventually through the body’s filter organs, the liver and kidneys, effectively cleansing the waste from the blood and removing it from your body. People that don’t move, i.e. couch potatoes, have high levels of waste in their bodies. This is why after the first exercise session of someone who hasn’t exercised in a long time he or she will declare how good he or she feels. It is mostly because they’ve removed a lot of stored up toxic waste from the body.
The second reason to exercise regularly is to provide the brain with increased oxygen. The brain has all the feel good elements and when those are stimulated with added oxygen makes a person have more mental clarity and naturally they feel better.
There are two types of exercise, aerobic and anaerobic. According to Dr. Phillip Maffetone in his book, The High Performance Heart, an “aerobic workout, for the most part, utilize fat (fatty acids) as a source of energy, while anaerobic efforts are fueled by sugar (glucose). Consequently, the most practical meaning of each term is this: aerobic is the chemical state when the body is burning fat, and anaerobic is the state when it burns sugar.”
He goes on to say,
“It is important to know that when you are burning sugar, you are not burning fat. Frequently, your body is storing fat.”
In order to exercise right you need a balance between aerobic and anaerobic exercise. You can know the difference by simply knowing your heart rate’s pulse taken with a heart rate monitor during exercise.
Many people think the terms “cardio” and “aerobic” mean the same. That is not true. I’ve seen people in a cardio class gasping for air, a sure sign they were at an anaerobic pace, i.e., without oxygen. The trouble with constantly exercising at that intensity is they risk injury, being tired most of the time, not sleeping well and training the body to not burn fat but instead to look for sugar.
The 180-Heart Rate Formula (by Dr. Phillip Maffetone)
To find your maximum aerobic heart rate: 1. Subtract your age from 180 (180 – age).
2. Modify this number by selecting one of the following categories:
a. If you have or are recovering from a major illness (heart disease, any operation, any hospital stay) or on any regular medication, subtract 10.
b. If you have not exercised before, you have exercised but have been injured or are regressing in your training/exercise, or you often get colds or flu or have allergies, subtract 5.
c. If you have been exercising for up to two years with no real problems and have not had colds or flu more than once or twice a year, subtract 0.
d. If you have been exercising for more than two years without any problems, making progress in competition without injury, add 5.
For example, if you are 30 years old and fit into category (b) 180 – 30 = 150, and 150 – 5 = 145. This is your maximum aerobic heart rate. For efficient health/base building, you should exercise/train at or below this level throughout your health/base period. A health/base period usually lasts about twelve weeks. During a health/base period you do none or just very little anaerobic exercise. Also, anaerobic is also any weight and/or strength training.
Initially, training at this heart rate induces emotional stress in many people. “I just can’t train that slow!” is a common comment. But after a short time, not only will you feel better, your pace will quicken at that same training heart rate. One significant benefit of applying the 180-Heart Rate Formula to your training is the chemical response by the body: production of free radicals is minimal compared to exercising at heart rates even a little higher. These chemicals can contribute to degenerative problems, inflammation, heart disease, and cancer, not to mention speeding the aging process. By using the 180-Heart Rate Formula, you can run more miles or work out longer without risking chemical stress.
Walking is a great exercise! It’s an appropriate movement form and doing it for 30 min, after you’ve broken a sweat, three days a week will allow you to actually feel better and lose weight.
Recovery is an important element of exercising right. It is actually during recovery that you obtain all your fitness gains. After a workout you may feel tired and perhaps sore. This is caused in part by inflammation because the muscle fibers you worked hard have mini-tears. During recover, when you’re body is at rest, is when these tears are repaired and more muscle is added. Sleep is a very important part of recovery (see sleep below).
Many people exercise hard (anaerobic) multiple days in a row and wonder why they are not getting the gains they expect. It is because the gains come during periods of rest. A good rule to follow is never stress the same muscle group with anaerobic exercise two days in a row. The best is to allow that group at least a complete day’s rest before working them again. Older people may need more than a day’s recovery between anaerobic exercises.
Nutrition plays a big part of active recovery. Foods that promote the reduction of inflammation are desirable. On the other hand, foods that promote inflammation, such as sugar and acidic type foods like diet soda drinks, are to be avoided.
Before starting any exercise program seek the advice and approval of a professional fitness instructor, licensed health care professional or your personal family physician.
Sleeping is highly underrated and most people simply do not get enough of it. Most people need at least 8 hours per night of uninterrupted sleep to provide the body the time it needs to rejuvenate and recover.
Circadian rhythms are based on the earth’s rotation and light. Our brains need melatonin to help us sleep deeply. It is through deep sleep that the body is in its maximum repair mode. Light stops the production of melatonin and thus stops our sleep pattern in its tracks.
Many people have habits of staying up late and watching TV to fall asleep. These two habits retard the process of sleeping. Also, people who work nights have this pattern completely reversed and many have developed sleep disorders because they get too little sunlight and are working when their body naturally wants to sleep. They sleep in the daytime when light is at its greatest and thus the production of melatonin and night and Vitamin D during the day is compromised.
You’ll notice melatonin secretion starts at 9pm. This would be a great time to hit the sack. Yet most people go to bed much later and miss several hours of the best melatonin producing sleep time.
As we age the body does not produce sufficient amounts of melatonin and it’s wise to supplement to aid in our body’s sleep.
According to renowned health and nutrition expert, Dr. Michael Colgan, suggests that the weight given to these keys to produce optimum health and athletic performance is as follows:
Eating right 90%
Exercising right 5%
Sleeping right 5%
Nutrition is a superior key to health and freedom. Proper nutrition enhances exercise and sleep.
Light bulbs have become a modest fixation for me. I hate anything that approaches fluorescence with a passion. I grew up in an incandescent world courtesy of one of the world’s greatest inventors Thomas Edison. And, frankly I would have preferred to finish under the somewhat golden light of a glowing filament. Thanks to a government that outlawed my favorite light source, I have become a hoarder of incandescent bulbs.
By now you are wondering what depression has to do with light bulbs and Tom Edison. The answer is that Edison made it economically practical to stay up long after dark. Our bodies are made to cycle up when the sun rises and cycle down when it sets. Edison made it possible for us to fight against our circadian rhythm. As I write this it is dark outside and if there weren’t twenty-three light bulbs over head and a big screen television in the corner, I would probably be asleep. And, that would be normal.
What isn’t normal is that I will stay up and watch the 11:00pm news and then set my alarm for 5:45am to knock me out of bed so that I can get to work. That is 6 hours and 15 minutes of sleep and it isn’t enough. It is also may be a prescription for depression.
In a couple of studies published in the journal Sleep, researchers looked at the relationship between the number of hours people sleep and their risk for depression. One study of 4,100 subjects between the ages of 11 to 17 found that sleeping less than 6 hours increased their risk of depression. Another study of twins with a family history of depression found that sleeping a normal amount of 7 to 9 hours cut the risk of depression from 53% to 27%.
As we seek to help people who come for counseling with complaints of depression and anxiety, one of the most important questions we need to ask is “how much are you sleeping?” I routinely tell counselees and patients that I may not be able to tell them what is wrong with them unless they change their life habits and get 8 hours of sleep a night for at least 2 weeks. If they cannot do this on their own I send them to see their doctor for a good medical work up and appropriate medical care.
Most of us do not sleep nearly enough. And, it generally is not because we could not if we allowed the time. We have become a people who routinely burn the candle at both ends. Maybe, we would all be in a better mood if we just turned the light off and went to bed earlier.