Strap On Your Sneakers, It’s Sugar Season



#withDavida

Halloween kicks off the sugar season.

It starts with trick-or-treating. That candy lingers through November to Thanksgiving when we stuff ourselves and then indulge in rich desserts. The next day (sometimes sooner) the Christmas treats start dancing in front of us. You’d think the gym would be packed October through December. But alas, the numbers generally drop off as people have parties and other goodie-filled events to attend.

I have three kids who fill pillow sacks with Halloween candy and then leave it out for me to see late at night before I go to bed, my weakest time of the day. October health magazines print lists of how much you must exercise to burn off different types of candy. It figures my favorite, Peanut Butter Cups, have the highest calorie count and require 17 minutes of running to cancel out five of those yummy little mouthfuls of joy.

Like many, I suppose, I give into the immediate urge and plan to do an extra exercise class or work a little harder at the gym. If you do it once in a while you could get away with this method. But as a habit it’s very bad.

Strap On Your Sneakers, It’s Sugar Season 1


We all should know by now sugar causes cavities and contributes to weight gain and obesity.

Elevated blood sugar levels contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Consistently eating a lot of sugar also depletes your energy and makes you tired and perhaps unmotivated to move or work hard enough to burn the calories you consumed. Even if you can muster the energy to try and work off the treats it can be difficult to exercise hard enough to counter balance high amounts of sugar consumed from candy.

For some lucky but hard working people sugar is not all bad. Researchers have found that sugar can sometimes be good for intense exercisers. If you’re involved in long strenuous activity fructose or simple sugar, can give you a quick boost. Sugar and carbohydrates are converted to glycogen and stored in the liver. Long strenuous exercise can deplete the glycogen. Scientist have found drinking a sports drink sweetened with fructose can quickly replenish the liver and give muscles a quick surge of energy to continue a little longer. But this only helps people who are working out intensely for more than two hours and usually these people eat healthy outside of the workout. A sweet treat doesn’t have much effect on someone going for a 30-minute walk.

I recently engaged in a marathon of dancing when I volunteered to lead twelve 40-minute high-impact Zumba Fitness classes over two days at my kid’s school. By the fifth period both days I started to bonk. The music and a chocolate caramel exercise bar with 7 grams of sugar and 20 grams of carbohydrates helped me get through the last classes. I then went home and crashed in the bed for two hours. I think that week I qualified as one of those lucky people who benefited from sugar.

For regular people any exercise can still help regulate blood sugar by burning excess glucose.

A sedentary person eating sugar will develop a fatty liver and make the body less able to respond to insulin to control blood sugar levels. This is what leads to diabetes. If you exercise regularly, at lest 30 minutes most days, you can get away with a piece of candy here or there but you can’t exercise your way out of nightly raids of your kids candy bag.

Here’s what I recommend to counter the horrors of the Halloween candy. Throw it out.

  • Can’t do it? Put it out of sight and out of mind. This will help you to only dip into it occasionally.
  • When you do eat it. Have it before exercising so you can burn it off before it gets stored in fat cells.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Exercise hard. Break a sweat to be sure you tap into the temporary energy source.
  • Then counter the sugar with complex carbohydrates and protein. Stuff your muscles really need.
  • Finally, as always, find a way to get motivated and not slack on your exercise routine until January. It’s the best way to fight the horrors of Halloween and the sugar season.
  • Check with your medical professional before beginning any exercise program.

References:

1. Sugar and Exercise: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/04/how-sugar-affects-the-body-in-motion/?_r=0

2. Exercise and candy calories: http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/exercise-away-your-favorite-halloween-candy

Davida Wright Galvin

About Davida Wright Galvin

Davida is a fitness professional and former award winning health and science television reporter. As a mother and wife she juggles the daily challenges of raising three children, working and staying active. She likes to make fitness fun and helping people find joy in exercise so we can cure the obesity epidemic in our country. --------------------- UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, BACHELOR OF ARTS, Journalism; Certifications (Present and Past): AFAA Group Training, BodyPump, Zumba, Balletone, SCW Personal Training Certification, Turbo Kickboxing, YMCA Personal Training Certification, Vegas Stiletto Fitness, Reebok Core Board Training Certification, CPR/AED & Infant CPR; YMCA Fitness Instructor Certification -------------------- If you’re in the Denver area find her class or fitness events at www.withDavida.com. Have fun, feel fit #withDavida!
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