Daily Archives: November 29, 2010

Devotional for Men – Healthy Through and Through – Part 7 – Examine Your Wheels

Here’s the seventh of an eight-part devotional for men based upon my chapter on health in Coach Joe Gibbs best-selling book, Gameplan for Life , was featured by the Men of Integrity ministry of Christianity Today. I hope you enjoy the series. Here’s Part 7 of 8:

THE SERIES’ THEME: Healthy Through and Through. What does it mean to be a truly healthy man of God?

EXAMINE YOUR WHEELS

KEY BIBLE VERSE: No matter how much you want, laziness won’t help a bit, but hard work will reward you with more than enough. (Proverbs 13:4) Dig Deeper: Proverbs 20:4; James 1:2-4

One day, my wife, Barb, pointed out a nail in one of our car tires. All I could see was the head of the nail. No air was escaping, and we didn’t have time to get it fixed, so I said, “Honey, I think we can keep going.”

About 20 miles later, the tire blew. How I wished I’d heeded her warning and taken the time to repair the tire before it went flat.

Your four health wheels have many miles to travel. To become a highly healthy person, you’ll need to understand each wheel and take responsibility for your overall health.

I must warn you, though. It’s hard work. It takes time. Think about how complex your car is. It requires regular checkups and preventive maintenance. When it malfunctions, it often requires a professional’s care. Your body is hundreds of times more complex than any machine, and it requires even more special care.

Following God’s plan for being highly healthy may mean controlling your temper, eating better, exercising more, spending time in prayer, developing friendships, spending more time with your kids, or investing in your marriage. Becoming highly healthy requires a tough, honest assessment of your weaknesses, and then courage and a commitment to take action.

MY RESPONSE: I will write down two or three health-related areas I need to work on:

1)

2)

3)

THOUGHT TO APPLY: Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.—Brian Tracy (speaker, writer)

I’ve created an assessment tool you can use, for free, to measure your four wheels of health. You can access and download it from here.

You can also learn more about these principles in my book, 10 Essentials of Happy, Healthy People: Becoming and staying highly healthy. Autographed copies are available here.

10 E's

Here’s the entire series:

Adapted from Game Plan for Life (Tyndale, 2009) by permission. All rights reserved by the copyright holder and/or the publisher. May not be reproduced.

My chapter on physical health in Coach Joe Gibbs best-selling book, Gameplan for Life http://gameplanforlife.com/ , was featured by the Men of Integrity http://www.christianitytoday.com/moi/ ministry of Christianity Today. I hope you enjoy the series. Here’s Part 7 http://www.christianitytoday.com/moi/2010/006/november/12.12.html of 8:
THE SERIES’ THEME: Healthy Through and Through. What does it mean to be a truly healthy man of God?
EXAMINE YOUR WHEELS
KEY BIBLE VERSE: No matter how much you want, laziness won’t help a bit, but hard work will reward you with more than enough. (Proverbs 13:4 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2013:4&version=NIV ) Dig Deeper: Proverbs 20:4 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2020:4&version=NIV ; James 1:2-4 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James%201:2-4&version=NIV
One day, my wife, Barb, pointed out a nail in one of our car tires. All I could see was the head of the nail. No air was escaping, and we didn’t have time to get it fixed, so I said, “Honey, I think we can keep going.”
About 20 miles later, the tire blew. How I wished I’d heeded her warning and taken the time to repair the tire before it went flat.
Your four health wheels have many miles to travel. To become a highly healthy person, you’ll need to understand each wheel and take responsibility for your overall health.
I must warn you, though. It’s hard work. It takes time. Think about how complex your car is. It requires regular checkups and preventive maintenance. When it malfunctions, it often requires a professional’s care. Your body is hundreds of times more complex than any machine, and it requires even more special care.
Following God’s plan for being highly healthy may mean controlling your temper, eating better, exercising more, spending time in prayer, developing friendships, spending more time with your kids, or investing in your marriage. Becoming highly healthy requires a tough, honest assessment of your weaknesses, and then courage and a commitment to take action.
—Walt Larimore in Game Plan for Life http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1414329792/christianitytoday
MY RESPONSE: I will write down two or three health-related areas I need to work on:
1)
2)
3)
THOUGHT TO APPLY: Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.—Brian Tracy (speaker, writer)
Adapted from Game Plan for Life (Tyndale, 2009) by permission. All rights reserved by the copyright holder and/or the publisher. May not be repro

Fish oil supplements do not boost babies’ cognitive development or prevent postpartum depression

The New York Times reports, “Many women take fish oil supplements during pregnancy, encouraged by obstetricians, marketing campaigns, or the popular view that a key fish oil ingredient — docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA — is beneficial to a baby’s cognitive development.” However, a study published “in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that the DHA supplements taken by pregnant women show no clear cognitive benefit to their babies.” What’s more, researchers “found no evidence that DHA can reduce postpartum depression, except perhaps for women already at high risk for it.”

“In the new study, 2,399 women at the midpoint of their pregnancies were divided into two groups,” the Los Angeles Times reports. “One took a daily capsule of 800 mg of DHA derived from fish oil until giving birth; the other took an identical capsule filled with vegetable oil.”

Then, “six weeks and six months after each woman delivered her baby, researchers had her complete a psychological inventory to check for symptoms of depression.” Next, when the babies were about 18 months old, investigators subjected them to comprehensive batteries of tests to measure their cognitive ability.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the study authors found no evidence that the fish oil supplements prevented new mothers from postpartum depression or enhanced cognitive development in their babies. However, the study indicated that 800 mg of fish oil daily appeared to decrease the chances of developing postpartum depression by about four percent in women who already had a history of clinical depression. This was not considered a statistically significant difference, however.

According to a report in Bloomberg News, an editorial accompanying the study “said pregnant women shouldn’t give up eating low-mercury fish or taking recommended doses of fish oil, as the mineral does help prevent preterm labor and may have benefits not shown in the study.”

“The study did find that significantly fewer infants from the DHA group spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit, compared to infants in the control group — something that researchers attributed to fewer preterm births in the DHA group,” HealthDay reported. “DHA supplementation was associated with a ‘small to modest increase in the duration of gestation,’ they reported.”

WebMD reported that, despite the study’s conclusions, the authors “concede that further work is needed to determine the benefits of DHA for women with a history of depression or those at risk of delivering prematurely,” a concession echoed by the authors of the accompanying editorial.

New Moms’ Brains May Grow After Childbirth

The brains of new mothers actually get bigger within months of giving birth, according to new research. The researchers, most from the Yale University School of Medicine, said that the growth was likely fueled by changes in levels of certain hormones just after birth. They reported finding expansion in areas of the brain associated with behavior and motivation. Here are more details from HealthDay News:

The researchers also found that mothers who were most enthusiastic about their babies had more growth in key parts of the mid-brain — areas linked to maternal motivation, rewards and emotion processing — than did mothers who were more reserved about their infants.

The findings, from a small study reported in Behavioral Neuroscience, suggest that a new mother’s desire to look after her baby may be driven less by instinct and more by active brain building, according to two neuroscientists whose commentary on the study was also published in the journal.

Led by neuroscientist Pilyoung Kim, the study compared MRI images of 19 women taken two to three weeks and three to four months after they gave birth at Yale-New Haven Hospital, in Connecticut. The women averaged about 33 years old, all were breast-feeding, nearly half had other children and none had postpartum depression.

The brain scans revealed small but significant increases in gray matter volume in various parts of the brain, including areas associated with maternal motivation (hypothalamus), reward and emotion processing (substantia nigra and amygdala), sensory integration (parietal lobe) and reasoning and judgment (prefrontal cortex).

In adults, gray matter generally does not change size over a few months without significant learning, brain injury or illness, or a major shift in the environment, according to background information in a news release from the American Psychological Association.

Hormonal changes that occur immediately after birth, including increases in estrogen, oxytocin and prolactin, may make new mothers’ brains more susceptible to reshaping in response to their infant, according to the researchers.

Mothers who suffer postpartum depression may experience reductions, instead of growth, in these same brain areas, the researchers suggested. They added that further research into what occurs in the brains of at-risk mothers could lead to new treatments.

For More information: The Nemours Foundation has more about bonding with babies here.