Army H.e.a.l.t.h. Arsenal
February, 2016

The Charity Miles app donates money on your behalf to charities every time you get active. This is especially motivating for those who could use a little extra motivation to get moving.

The Charity Miles App donates money when you walk, run, or cycle. All you have to do is choose which charity you want to donate to and the app does the rest. Bikers earn up to 10 cents per mile and walkers and runners earn up to 25 cents per mile.

The Charity Miles app is available for free in the app store for iPhone and Android.

Sleep Corner

Which is more important: Sleep or Exercise?

We’ve all been there before. The alarm goes off and you have to make a groggy last minute decision to either go to the gym or grab a few extra winks. If you’re trying to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle, you may be wondering, which is more important: sleep or exercise?

A good diet, sleep, and physical activity are pillars to a healthy lifestyle. Sleep is important for both mental and physical functioning. When we sleep, our body produces hormones such as leptin and ghrelin. Leptin helps us to feel full and ghrelin helps us to feel hungry. When we don’t get enough sleep, our body produces more ghrelin and less leptin.

On the other hand, exercise is important for both mental and physical functioning as well. Not getting enough exercise can leave us feeling groggy, lethargic, and just plain crappy. Additionally, people who exercise are less likely to be overweight, or have weight related diseases such as type two diabetes and heart disease.

So what gives? The key is to plan and balance your life so that you don’t have to choose between one or the other. Plan to go to bed an hour earlier. Lay out your clothes, pre-set the coffee, and have a quick snack ready to go. It may also help to recruit some company. Having a workout buddy will help you to be accountable and less likely to skip when the alarm goes off in the morning.

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Exercise with a partner or alone? Pros and Cons

Whether you are an avid gym goer looking to switch things up or someone who is newer to the gym, trying to maximize the benefits of working out is usually the main goal. You may have wondered if you would get more out of your workout if you worked out in a group setting or if you worked out alone. Although there is no right or wrong answer, the research tends to show more benefits to those who workout in a group setting. Not as to say working out alone is bad. Finding a balance between the two is key.

Having a partner or a group that is expecting you to show up makes it a whole lot harder to skip. One study found that 95% of those who started a weight-loss program with friends completed the program, compared to a 76% completion rate for those who tackled the program alone. The group setting was also 42% more likely to maintain their weight loss, as compared to the group who exercised alone.

Boredom Fighter
Besides actually making it to the gym, boredom is another huge deterrent for most people when it comes to maintaining a consistent exercise routine. Those who workout in groups experience more social interaction, which enhances their experience. Part of the success of programs like Cross Fit and Yoga depend largely on the social component and the ability to switch up the routines for each class so that participants don’t get bored as easily.

The downside to the social aspect of exercise is if the class isn’t structured enough, it may be tempting to talk rather than work out. Those who are not intrinsically motivated may be better suited to stick to well structured classes.

You Workout Harder
According to a study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, working out with a partner increases the intensity of aerobic exercise when compared to working out alone. When we workout with a partner, we are more likely to increase our pace or intensity to match that of our partner. This is why it is a good idea to workout with someone who is close to or slightly above your level of fitness.

Personal Preference
The best workout plan for you is the one that you will actually do! Whether you prefer to workout alone or with someone or in a group setting, stick to what you love. Some people may want to hit the gym after work to decompress from the day...alone. Others may think of the gym as a social gathering and look forward to it, especially if they live alone or don't have a job to go to every day. Everyone is different. The key is knowing what's best for you and sticking to it.

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I’ve heard that you continue to burn more calories after your workout is over. Is that true?

A. Although you may burn more calories while walking on the treadmill for 45 minutes than doing a high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout for 25 minutes, this is only part of the equation. The other part lies in what happens after you have stopped working out.

After your workout, a process known as EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption), or informally referred to as the ‘afterburn’ effect, begins in your body. This process helps to replace the oxygen that your body lost during exercise. The more INTENSE the exercise, the greater this ‘oxygen debt’ - note that we are talking about INTENSITY not DURATION. The key to increase post workout calorie burn is based on how hard you workout, not how long you workout.

If you’re looking for a place to start, check out the scientific 7 minute workout.

Finally, it is important to remember not to compensate for the additional calorie burn by eating more. If you are trying to burn more calories because you want to lose weight, eating a little extra will essentially cancel out your hard work.

Mindful Moment

Exercise is a great time to practice mindfulness. While exercising, practice being in the moment by focusing on the movements of the exercise, the energy from your body and muscles, and the steadiness of your breath.

Bottom Line

Being physically active is an important component to a healthy lifestyle. Integrating an exercise routine into your schedule may have you worried about choosing between sleep or exercise, or working out alone versus with a partner. The good news is that with a little planning, you can find a way to fit exercise into your daily routine. Whether working out alone or in a group, the most important part is that you're taking the next step to a healthier you.

If you are already an avid exerciser, you may want to take it to the next level. Those who engage in high intensity interval training (HIIT), experience an additional calorie burn even after they stop working out. Another benefit to this style of training is that it is performed in as little as 30 minutes a day. Sound too good to be true? The caveat is that HIIT must be performed at an all out intensity, something that some people may find difficult or may need to work up to.

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Featured Recipe: Spicy California Shrimp Stacks

In the mood for sushi, but don’t want to spend the money or the calories? These spicy California shrimp stacks are a much more affordable and healthier alternative. Using brown rice instead of white rice increases the amount of fiber, which will help to cause a slow and steady rise in blood sugar. You also have the freedom to modify the ingredients to meet your taste or specific needs. As an added bonus, you can make these in half the time that it would take to make a sushi roll or go out and buy one.

  • 1 1/3 cups cooked short-grain brown rice (from 1/2 cup uncooked)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 8 ounces cooked shrimp, peeled and tails removed
  • 1 cup diced cucumber (about 1 small)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup mashed avocado (about 1 medium)
  • 4 teaspoons Furikake (such as Eden Shake or use sesame seeds)
  • 4 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce

  • Cook rice according to package. When rice is done, add vinegar and stir. Evenly spread rice on a sheet pan to cool. Cut shrimp into 1-inch cubes. In a small bowl, combine cucumber and chives. In another small bowl, combine mayonnaise and sriracha sauce.

    Using a 1 cup dry measuring cup, layer 1/4 cup cucumber, then 2 tablespoons of avocado, then 1/4 of the shrimp, and 1/3 cup rice. Carefully turn the cup upside down to turn the stack out onto a plate, lightly tapping the bottom of the cup if necessary. Sprinkle with Furikake and drizzle with 1 teaspoon soy sauce and sriracha mayonnaise. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

    Nutrition Information:
    Servings: 4      Calories: 225      Carbs: 23g      Fiber: 4g      Sugar: 2g                Fat: 11g          Protein: 10g         Sodium: 662mg     

    Featured Exercise: Balance and Strength

    Featured Recipe from Skinny Taste.