Five Ways Your Brain Helps Keep You Alive and Well

by Sherry Steinman

This article is inspired by an article I recently read in USA Today, as well as by a few conversations I have had with healthcare professionals over the years.

Number One:  Sleep

One of the most overlooked lifelines to good health is sleep.  When the brain is in sleep mode, the brain’s cleaning tools are activated.  Sleep is required to clear toxins from the brain.  Did you know that if you tried to live without any sleep at all, the toxins would build up and kill you after about 200 hours?  In the case of limited sleep, the toxins kill you more slowly, over time.  Every night counts, so make it a healthy habit — at least seven hours per night for most adults.

Number Two: Walk More, Run Less

Our brains were wired to conserve energy. Why?  Back in homo sapiens’ early days, food was hard to find, and a lot of energy was expended to do so.  Now that we don’t have to work very hard to find our food – and physically perform nearly no physical effort to do so – we need other ways to remain active and fit.  Consistent, low-impact aerobic exercise like vigorous walking is your best bet to keep your brain, heart, and joints healthy.  High impact activity will, over time, take its toll on the body and brain, sometimes eclipsing the benefits.

Number Three: Just Say No to ‘Dieting’

Food lab researchers have discovered many ways to make us crave a food item.  Chemical flavorings and colors play a part in food’s appeal to consumers. Processed foods (most anything in jars, boxes or cans) should be a distant second choice to fresh foods.  And, foods that have not been loaded with chemicals and sauces are healthier choices.  Be sure you wash all produce under cool running water, and pat dry.  That goes for melons, too.  You don’t want to drag pesticides or dirt inside and through the fruit with your knife.  The best advice is to forget about ‘dieting’ – just choose healthy foods, and use common sense about how much you consume.

Number Four:  Stress Response

Our bodies treat stressful situations by focusing all of our attention and resources on the stressor – maybe it was a wooly mammoth long ago, and now, maybe it’s a crabby boss!  Modern human beings see many things as stressful, and therefore our brains respond the same way as if we are facing growling lions.  Various internal chemicals then flood the blood stream and will make us develop ulcers, heart disease, and high blood pressure.  Do everything you can to remove stress from your life!  That includes something as simple as deep breathing.

Number Five:  The Role of Happiness

If you don’t feel happy, many physicians and psychiatrists have recommended at least smiling whenever you can.  Yes!  It seems that the effort made (by your face) in this direction is picked up in the brain – physiologically and psychologically, and sends happy vibes your way.  Of course, if you feel down and unhappy all the time, seek professional help.  The Licking County area has many resources to help you in that way.

So, there we have it! Sleep, walking, healthful eating, stress reduction and management, and a happy attitude are five ways that your brain can help to keep you alive and well.

Did you know that if you tried to live without any sleep at all, the toxins would build up and kill you after about 200 hours?

Almost Effortless: How to Sneak Exercise Into Each Day

by Sherry Steinman

No need to wait until you have a solid 30 minutes to exercise – you can work a surprisingly substantial amount of healthful activity into your daily routine.  

Starting in the morning when you‘re brushing your teeth, take a look at your posture and straighten it up a bit.  Keep brushing! Then, just lift one leg straight back and hold the stretch, which tightens and strengthens your lower back and gluteal muscles.  Hold it for 5-10 seconds on each leg, and do that a few times as you brush. You should be brushing for a good two minutes. Brushing or styling hair? Same thing.

Once you’ve arrived at work, while you’re sitting, you can build strength and muscle tone by contracting your abdominal muscles for a few seconds, and then releasing.  This isometric exercise is imperceptible to onlookers, and feels pretty good. It also seems to automatically make you sit up straighter. While you’re doing so, your diaphragm is opened more fully, and you can breathe deeply in between the isometric holds.  Breathing deeply keeps that oxygenated blood flowing throughout your body and up into your brain area, so you can answer those tough questions from library patrons with renewed ease.

Walks and Breaks

At lunchtime, even if you only have a half hour as most of us do, step outside for a short walk. Eat your meal, and then allow five or ten minutes at the end to walk around the block.  Walk briskly for maximum results, but even a leisurely stroll – maybe without electronic media for a change? – is good for the brain and body.

During the afternoon, whether at work or at home, be sure you take a break.  Even five minutes is good, according to Daniel Pink, the author of “When – The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.”  While not a fitness book by any means, it offers sound advice on listening to your body – when it needs a break – and when it needs some exercise or diversion.

Once the day has turned to dinnertime there are lots of options for getting a bit of exercise, or at least stretching in the process.  Maybe put a few lightweight bowls or utensils up in a cupboard that takes some reaching to get into. No heavy stuff to fall on your head!  Just a nice arm reach that pulls a stretch along your side will do. Same thing for putting something below that needs a little bending and reaching to get at.  

Luckily, most jobs at the library offer good movement opportunities, especially shelving and cart pushing.  Take advantage of those opportunities to mindfully breathe more fully, and stretch a bit more than may be needed.  At the end of the day you will have put in at least 15-20 minutes of isometric or other exercise. Congratulations!  It was almost effortless.

Notes from Class

By Sherry Steinman

NOTE:  If you have a personal fitness-related story to share, please send your thoughts to me at ssteinman@lickingcountylibrary.info and I will contact you for permission to use. Thank you!

Emily did not think she was getting anywhere with her exercise routine.  She was doing some exercises at home that she had seen on a DVD she got from the Library, had been walking more, and had attended a few classes at the YMCA — but right now she seemed to be getting nowhere.  She weighed herself every day, and there had been only a two-pound loss in four weeks.  This didn’t seem like much progress to Emily.

Since she wore a uniform to work at the hospital, she did not have to worry about clothes not fitting when she gained weight, as the elastic waistband and the loose, unstructured fit of the garments were very forgiving.  She was ready to give up the exercises and felt like a failure when one day she decided to put on a pair of jeans she hadn’t worn in several months.  They were LOOSE!  Very loose.  And, in fact, they had been tight before.  She had made progress after all!

Slow & Steady

Going back to Emily’s two-pound loss in a month, this is definitely good progress.  In fact, between a half-pound and two pounds a week is quite good — and of course you can do the math on what that would add up to in six months.  A major transformation will be noticeable!

Even if very little weight may be lost in the process of improving your fitness level, exercising regularly will re-distribute your weight and tighten muscles, thus changing and trimming your shape. Taking measurements around your thighs, waist, hips etc. is a good idea if you want to record some change.  So is keeping that magic pair of jeans or dress that you want to look great in, or fit back into.  Who cares what you weigh or what size you are … no one else knows these things, right?

Labels

Well, that is to say unless you wear Levis jeans that advertise your waist circumference and leg inseam on an exterior leather label — I never have figured out why they do that! Thankfully, other clothing manufacturers have not followed that example.

This summer, enjoy some favorite activities that keep your body moving on a regular basis – why, even shelving books is pretty good exercise when you reach and bend as you go up and down the aisles

Sweat Sensibly and Keep Yourself Out of the Shop

May 2018

By Sherry Steinman

Keeping plenty of coolant in your car radiator makes good sense during warm weather.  Without enough of it, your car will come to a grinding, unpleasant-smelling and expensive halt. It’s the equivalent of heat exhaustion for the human body.  To avoid an expensive trip to the body shop, here are a few tips to help you sweat sensibly – or to be more delicate – ‘remain properly hydrated’ in the coming summer months.

Replace the Water You Lose

When you are active during hot weather, your body may not be able to replace water as quickly as it is lost from your system.  And, it’s called a system for good reason – everything works together! To prevent dehydration, remember to drink water before, during, and after your workout.  A ‘workout in this case, can be any kind of physical activity outdoors in warm weather.

It is better to sip occasionally rather than to consume a lot of water at once.  This way your body can act as a reservoir, and you won’t have a lot of fluid sloshing around in your stomach, either.

Unfit Fashion

Never wear rubberized clothing when exercising!  Happily, most of the advertising for this kind of clothing has gone by the wayside, but you can still find it, touted as a way to sweat off weight. This kind of fabric keeps perspiration from evaporating properly, and can cause body temperature to reach dangerously high levels.

Similarly unfit fashions for doing any kind of outdoor activity are clothes that are too tight overall, or have elastic so tight that it digs into your skin.  Definitely a no-no! Not only will the clothing make you look less in-shape than you are, but the tight elastic drastically reduces blood circulation.  Getting back to the car analogy, it can choke off your air intake. Choose your fitness clothing for comfort and utility.  If it looks good, too, that’s a bonus.

It is important to note, however, that some properly-fitting, stretchy support hose can be worn very comfortably even in warm weather. Due to open weave airflow, the fabric allows heavy thighs to glide together better, and the extra support can add spring to the step for some elderly individuals.

Sweating Isn’t Healthy Weight Loss

Sauna, steam, and mineral baths are forms of ‘perspiration therapy’ often advertised as means of achieving fitness.  While these may have a relaxing affect, and can produce temporary weight loss (water weight), they have no true fitness value.

If you are a man over age 40 who wrestled while in high school, you know this well!  You suffered under the sweat mats and did the usual spitting and urinating to remove enough fluids to ‘make weight.’  Generally, you walked around looking like a scarecrow during wrestling season because you had to be as light as possible to wrestle in your weight class.  Fortunately, high school sports has come to its senses – somewhat — following tragic events when dehydration methods have cost young people their lives.  Serious stuff.

Sweating Sensibly

To review — drink enough water during warm weather activity … wear appropriate clothing, not too tight, and made of material that allows your skin to breathe … and, don’t follow ‘perspiration therapy’ as a means of achieving fitness.  Now you’re ready to sweat sensibly during warm weather!

OK — Are you ready for one more car analogy?  If you don’t breathe properly — a deep breath from the lower abdomen, exhaling completely before the next breath — you may be choking off your body’s air intake system!  You may not realize how shallow your breathing has become until you start paying attention to how you breathe.  It’s like having your car fan working at 50% capacity and trying to cool that hot engine.  Why not take a breather right now?

Trade-Offs  –  Help to Keep You on Track

By Sherry Steinman

Trade-offs are sometimes called substitutes or equalizers. In the realm of health and fitness, they are useful options to get you closer to your goals, and to maintain your good health in the process.  And, trade-offs can help you keep things interesting and yet focused on the long-term.   They’re also good for your mental health, as having options is better than feeling limited.

Plateaus and Hilltops

Lets’ think about some trade-offs that might work for you.  If you are trying to maintain your weight and are a routine exerciser, you might one day rashly decide to eat a delicious chocolate chip pancake for breakfast. Then, you begin to agonize that you’ve blown the whole day now with this choice and might as well not even go for your usual after dinner walk.

It’s trade-off time! You can equalize the consumption of that pancake with a longer after-dinner walk.  Or, maybe take two short walks. Whatever you do, make up for it that day, and you’ll remain pretty much on track. Do not allow yourself to slide down the chocolate chip-strewn trail of despair! It is OK to enjoy a treat once in a while.

Here’s another scenario … you are at a plateau in your fitness level – a flat place where nothing is happening one way or another.  It is so boring you are prepared to quit being careful and just let yourself go back to your old less-fit ways.

Did I say, “Let yourself go?”  Well, you know what that means!  Do you really want to do that?

Probably not.  Think about all the time and dedication it took you to get to that plateau.  Remember – before you were on the ground below the plateau, and, the hilltop where you want to be is still ahead.

What to do? Switch your activity schedule around for a week.  Add something to the mix, or move the after-dinner walk to earlier in the day. And, sample a treat or two that week if you wish but do it early in the day, no late night junk food.  It just lays in your stomach.  Then, it tends to pull up a comfy lounge chair and move in permanently, as fat.

After the week’s trial, go back to your routine that got you to that plateau, but add five minutes to your usual activity schedule. Soon you’ll be heading toward that hilltop goal.

Free Samples and Examples

Here’s another thought – the next time you grocery shop on a day when the ‘sample servers’ are there, be brave and do a little sampling.  It’s one way to find out if turkey-based hotdogs are something you could enjoy, or if you really might like mangoes!  You may find a trade-0ff on sample days that will get you over a snack attack without joining that lounge chair group in your stomach.  Through sampling, I Iearned that Wheat Thin Air Crisps did not do the trick for me.  They really just tasted like air.

But, hey, did I say all trade-offs would be successful? Find what works for you and then use it.

One more thing! Recognize boredom, and don’t let it be an excuse to quite your healthy habits.  Boredom and routine are related but not synonymous.  Boredom is when you no longer enjoy your activity or routine to the degree that you will stop doing it.

Routine, on the other hand, can be quite enjoyable for the most part with a few trade-offs thrown in occasionally for variety.  Find a routine you like, have a few trade-offs at hand to combat boredom, and you’ll reach and maintain your fitness goals.

Do not allow yourself to slide down the chocolate chip-strewn trail of despair!

Don’t be Afraid! Here Come the Shorts

By Sherry Steinman

Shorts, with the accompanying legs sticking out of them, are coming soon.  In fact, they’ve been here briefly … at least for some hardy souls … and have gone away, only to return – shortly.  Yes, shorts, from the very short to the somewhat short, will be coming out of closets, drawers, and stores – and we must be ready for them!  In the interest of mental and physical wellness, let’s take a look at this approaching wardrobe inevitability.

Legs, Legs, Legs

Along with the warm weather that we enjoyed a few weeks ago, we saw a variety of legs.  The white legs looked rather timid – almost blinking and squinting in the sunlight.  These pigment-challenged legs were not quite ready for public viewing, but well, it was SO nice out!

We also saw a few pairs of tan legs.  Were they legs recently returned from a trip to Florida, or were they recently returned form 30 minutes at a local tanning salon?  Not sure, and not sure the salon is a good idea health-wise in any event.  They did, however, look a little more at home in the shorts.

In addition to the white and the tan, we saw many other leg varieties including the very hairy and the very muscular – and they were on the same woman.  Yet, she wore her shorts proudly.  You go, girl!

More Short Subjects

But wait! Let us not limit ourselves in this discussion of short subjects and the related health-wise choices to be made.  As spring approaches, ‘shorts’ also applies to short hair, short skirts, and short sleeves.  As for sleevelessness – it’s time to be VERY cautious.

Many people who are well into their senior years can wear short hair quite well.  Some can wear short skirts very nicely.  But, sleeveless tops and shirts, tanks and the like, are no friend to ‘relaxing’ triceps and biceps.  Beware — and probably, don’t wear.  Well, unless you’re gardening in your own yard (a great mental and physical health activity) and then anything goes.

Further on the subject of shorts, let’s consider short walks.  A short walk is better than no walk.  If you don’t have a lot of time to devote to exercising or working out, at least work in some short walks whenever possible.  One patron at the Emerson R. Miller Library recently told me that her husband says he’ll, “stay in the car” when she goes into Wal-Mart … but what she actually finds when she’s heading back to the car is that Bob is walking the far corners of the parking lot, using his 15 minutes of time wisely.

Just think!  You can wear your shorts and a short-sleeved shirt, and show off your new short hairstyle all while on a short walk! How’s that for a healthful outlook?

And whoops!  I’m short on time now.  More again soon.

Fear: Healthy Sometimes…Sometimes Not

By Sherry Steinman

“Desperate for answers, she read about her symptoms in a magazine article.”

Alice would not leave her house without the company of her husband, and would not step across the street to get mail from the mailbox as it was too far from the front door.  She became sweaty and faint every time she tried to do so.  This had been the case for more than a year now.  She did not know exactly when or how the feeling started.

Jack didn’t like being up too high.  He did not like the ‘skydeck’ lookouts on skyscrapers, and wasn’t crazy about airplane trips – although he could handle the flight if he did not look out the window a lot. He certainly did not seek out situations where he would be looking down from high atop anything.

Fear or Phobia?

Alice has a phobia, Jack has a manageable fear.  Phobias are not ordinary fears or minor worries.  Rather, they are generally incapacitating, irrational fears that interfere with and limit a person’s ability to function in everyday life. Phobias, or ‘anxiety disorders’ are mental health issues from which millions of people suffer.  Only about one-fourth of them get help from a professional health and wellness practitioner of some kind.

Alice went to great lengths to hide her phobia, feeling that other people wouldn’t understand, and maybe wouldn’t like her if they did.  She didn’t know what to do, and her regular physician could not find anything physically ‘wrong’ with her.

Desperate for answers, she one day read about a woman with exactly her symptoms in a magazine article.  At least now she had a name for it – agoraphobia – fear of open spaces.  And, now she knew there were other people out there who had the same feelings. Alice sought help, guided by the information in the magazine article.

Jack acknowledged his fear, and those around him were aware that he wanted to be more comfortable with heights.  They applauded him when he accepted a job on the 23rd floor of the office building downtown, and rode the glass elevator daily.  It wasn’t easy!  He bought a self-help book and enjoys his new job.

Family Chemistry

Interestingly, studies show that phobias tend to run in families, and that sufferers may have a sensitivity to their own body chemistry. This may result in an over-reaction to a given stimulus.  According to one expert, it may be described as a person feeling a very strong emotional reaction to a bodily sensation.

Treatments for phobias include those that teach the person different and more effective coping skills, and various relaxation techniques. Also helpful for some people is ‘exposure therapy,’ in which the person is gradually exposed to the frightening experience until it becomes non-threatening.  Medication may be used as well, either alone, or in combination with behavioral treatments.

A relatively new development in treating phobias is the use of virtual reality technology. It uses computer-generated images to simulate an anxiety-provoking situations.  For instance, virtually creating the sensation of being in a confined space (claustrophobia) may be useful in preparing a person for the real life experience.

For those who do conquer their fears and phobias, the relief is monumental!  Lives can change completely.  Alice, who sought help, now urges others to do so, as well.  She advises, “Why limit yourself when help is available?  There is no reason to suffer in silence.”

If you, or someone you know, suffers from fears that seem irrational or disruptive to day-to-day life, you may wish to contact:

Licking and Knox County Mental Health & Recovery: http://www.mhrlk.org/

Dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-544-1601 (24 hours a day/7 days a week).

Volumetrics – An Approach to Improving Your Eating Habits

By Sherry Steinman

In the late 1990’s, two physicians named Barbara Rolls and Robert Barnett proposed that people usually eat about the same weight of food per day – an amount that makes them feel full or satisfied – but they don’t necessarily eat the same number of calories with that volume.  Their stomachs are used to feeling full with that volume of food and not with much less.

Mick Jagger and You

So, Rolls and Barnett focused on this concept and reasoned that if you ‘plumped up’ your meals with lots of fruits and vegetables, water, fiber, or air (think healthy fruit smoothies and popcorn) you will have the volume element satisfied.  And, as Mick Jagger told us long ago, some people ‘can’t get no satisfaction’ until those needs are met.

That’s one of the reasons people try short-term ‘eat all you want of one food’ diets.  They feel satisfied with the volume of foods they’re consuming every day.  Their tummies feel full long enough to get them through until the next fill-up.  The concept of high-volume eating also makes certain high-protein diets appealing because people feel great satisfaction in eating ‘forbidden foods’ such as bacon, while still losing weight – lost for a while, anyway.

Unfortunately, as soon as you start eating carbohydrates and other foods again they combine with the bacon build-up of protein and you regain the lost weight plus more.  That’s why volumetrics is not a ‘diet.’  A diet is a short-term approach to eating for improved health and/or weight, whereas volumetrics is just a fancy name for a long-term approach to eating bulkier healthful foods that give your stomach that satisfied feeling.

Energy Density

Volumetrics promises satisfaction by lightening your favorite meals with foods that won’t raise your cholesterol and clog your arteries – namely fruits and vegetables.  Foods that have a low ‘energy density’ – a term coined by doctors Rolls and Barnett to mean fewer calories per gram – also include lean proteins such as beans, fish, chicken, and some dairy products.  Plus, filling up on carbohydrates cooked in water — such as rice or oatmeal — can fulfill the ‘full feeling’ (try saying that three times, quickly!) as the liquid fluffs them up for a bigger portion serving.

For example, for breakfast you could think about eating only half a bagel, not a whole bagel, and then fill up the ‘lost half’ of your meal by adding a sliced banana and a few orange sections. To try the volumetrics approach with your next lunch, use one less slice of meat and add extra lettuce, and maybe a slice of tomato or cucumber to add the extra volume to feel full.  If you’re like me, there’s nothing like a good BLT, so just go a little lighter on the number of bacon slices and heavier or the lettuce and tomato.

Keep in mind that this may not feel satisfying initially, but it will after a week or two.        Good luck with this different approach to improving your eating habits!

 

Banish Boredom

By Sherry Steinman

Many people overeat because they are bored.  Filling time with food is a common pastime, and it really can put on the pounds.  The next time YOU feel that way (it happens to all of us) don’t head for the refrigerator – head for the door.  Get out of the house.  Or, get away from your desk.  Don’t worry about making practical use of the time, just do something you’ll enjoy.

What could you do?  If you are home, you could: Go window shopping; take a short walk; visit a friend who might appreciate some company; get your car washed (preferably at a do-it-yourself place so you get some exercise.) What else?  OK, go to the Library!

Boring People

Now, about boredom.  I have always felt that only boring people are bored.  And it amazes me when young people, particularly teenagers, indicate with some pride that they are bored!  Is it possible that they already have done everything, been everywhere, learned everything, and seen everything – and now they are bored because nothing surprises them anymore? It’s probably that they just aren’t using their imaginations or looking beyond the obvious.

It is boring to do the same thing every day, with the same people, in the same way, at the same time, and with the same outcome.  Keeping that in mind, it is fairly easy to shake things up a bit.  For example, you can: Drive a different way to work; have something different to eat at lunch; invite someone different to join your group during break time, etc. These small changes are simple to do and will make a difference in how the day feels.

Keeping Fit, Not Bored

Back to eating.  Eating out of boredom is also contagious.  Are you living with someone who can consume a big bowl of buttered popcorn every night and not gain a pound – while you consume six kernels of the stuff and see it immediately on your thighs?  This is eating to be sociable.  It is very much like eating out of boredom because it creeps up on you.  Soon, there you are with butter and salt on your fingers and am empty bowl in your lap.

Acknowledge that this is not OK for you, and get out of ‘the eating area’. Providing a distraction as you head to the snacks is often all that’s needed to delay eating out of boredom.  Stash some healthier snacks for when you are truly hungry, and good luck!

# # #

Body Image and Self Esteem

by Sherry Steinman

There is nothing like the sense of well-being and confidence that follows a vigorous workout or fast-paced walk. By exercising regularly, we not only shed pounds and develop muscles, but our bodies become more fun to live in – more responsive, more flexible, stronger.

Psychological benefits are clear, as well. How one feels physically is a big part of one’s self esteem and self image.  It is generally said that, “When you think you look good, you feel good.”  It is also true that just because a person is in good shape doesn’t mean that he or she isn’t still obsessed with looking better.  It’s easy to be continually dissatisfied with appearance because it is one of the major ways we’re judged by others.

Self esteem and body image are linked, but from a wellness standpoint, one should not be exclusively dependent upon the other.

Obsession’s Toll

Women especially link body image to self esteem and are more likely to take up fad diets or short-term diets of all kinds as a remedy to their perceived weight problem. Putting it bluntly, fad diets are destructive because they don’t work. They stress your body for a short time, during which your body tries mightily to hold onto what you are trying to take away.  In the process, these diets almost always:

    • Eliminate some fat but also consume a measure of muscle;
    • Lower one’s metabolism;
    • Offer inadequate nutrients in imbalanced combinations;
    • Tax the entire body, making some dieters subject to dire consequences such as heart problems; and,
    • Ensure that the dieter gains fat more quickly once the diet is ended.

 

Paying the Toll

Becoming obsessed about your weight is also detrimental to your psychological health, because you:

  • Internalize the standards of what others think is attractive;
  • Emphasize how you look over how you feel;
  • Are kept in a vicious cycle of weight loss followed by unavoidable weight gain once you are off the diet;
  • Perpetuate negative emotions like disgust and frustration; and,
  • Can damage your self esteem.

The Long-Term Approach

So, how do we go about having a healthy outlook on our looks? Are you meant to go through life feeling that you’re a hopelessly overweight, underachieving blob?  Absolutely not!  Starting today, take an objective assessment of yourself from the inside out.  Then, do the same thing with that exterior view.  Now, build on the overall positives and don’t let yourself get sidetracked.

Are you musically talented and a thoughtful friend? Do you have great legs but a thick waist? Focus on the music and the legs, and start to work on the waist.  Are you beautiful but out of shape, getting winded taking a short flight of stairs?  Accentuate your positives, and work on the rest gradually.

Are you creative and computer-savvy, but soft in the upper body due to a desk job? Concentrate on your creativity and skills, and start using some hand-held weights or other strength-building exercises.  Are you balding but … what?  The list goes on.

In fact, your window on reality is a reflection of how you see yourself. Open it up.  There’s nothing like the sense of well-being and confidence that follows the long-term, healthy approach to fitness.

Putting it bluntly, fad diets are destructive because they don’t work.  They stress your body for a short time, during which your body tries mightily to hold onto what you are trying to take away.