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Category Archives: Health and Fitness

Fighting Flu with Fitness

The concept is simple: in order for your immune system to work, you have to move. This isn’t a far – out concept, it is a medically recognized fact. One of the reasons health care providers try to get patients moving as soon as possible after surgery is to stimulate immune response and decrease the chance of infection. The same principle applies to preventing the flu (maybe if you go home and rest you will also buy some more medicine, causing an increase in profit. Maybe that’s why they prescribe you some rest, so you can remain ill, but that’s a whole other story). If you engage in a daily exercise routine and get the proper amount of vitamins, you have a significantly reduce chance of getting the flu.

Movement is crucial to fighting illness off. While we have a pump to get blood through the circulatory system – the heart – there is no pump for the lymphatic system, which provides a crucial line of defense against infection by carrying lymph fluid throughout the body. The only way to move the lymph fluid through the body is to move – contracting your muscles and compressing parts of the lymphatic system. This action, analogous to squeezing toothpaste out of the tube, is what moves the lymph fluid throughout the body.

On the nutritional front, it is also important to increase your intake of Vitamin C. Two important components of your body’s immune system are cholesterol and Vitamin C. (This does not mean you should go wolf down a couple of Big Macs and a glass of orange juice! Your liver makes plenty of cholesterol – just add the Vitamin C.)

Reduce Body Fat

Water Intake: The optimum amount of water you should drink each day is actually one-half your total body weight in ounces. I know how difficult this is so start out with 8 glasses of eight ounces of water each day. Once you achieve your goal, try to set a higher goal and reach for one-half of your total body weight in ounces each day. Drinking water helps to flush the fat, and toxins out of your body.

Exercise: Aerobic exercise will help your health more that you think. I am not begging you to attend aerobics class, I am just asking you to do a little walking each day, or at the very least three times a week. Aerobic exercise helps with your health maintenance program. Aerobic exercise will increase the amount of HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) in your body, which helps prevent cardiovascular disease. Aerobic exercise will also increase you basal metabolic rate which burns your stored body fat as the fuel source for aerobic training. Keep in mind that aerobic training also serves to maintain cardiovascular fitness which affects the heart and lungs.

Loss of Body Fat: To help facilitate the loss of body fat, regular exercise is geared a little different. You need to exercise for a longer period of time because your body will use blood sugar as well as your stored sugar in the form of glycogen for the first 20 minuets of exercise. At this point your body will switch over and burn body fat as the preferred fuel source. Thus, to accelerate your weight loss, you need to work out a little longer.

Getting Great Abs

You want to make sure you do not come up to far. Doing so you are getting away from concentrating on the ab muscles. So how do we correct these problems? Okay let’s start with the hand behind the neck. Let’s put them behind the ears. Remember they are only there to help with your balance, not to push on your neck. Keep your elbows out wide and sit up nice and slow for a better contraction and then go down slow. This will help maximize the contraction. Here is another exercise for the abs. This one is for the lower abs. Start off lying on your back. Move you legs so they are pointing straight up toward the ceiling. Keep your legs straight without locking your knees. Keep your hands palm side down by the sides of your buns and thighs. Keep your head on the floor so you are looking up at the ceiling or sky if outdoors. Your body would look like the letter “L”. Now this position is the start of the exercise.

You will want to be like an accordion. Concentrating on moving your sternum towards your belly button and then slowly back down. Start out by doing a set of 20 and then work your way up to 3 sets of 20. Once you are comfortable with this work your way up to 3 sets of 50. Consistency is the key. Keep up this workout on a regular basis and you will see the results in the way you abs look and how you clothes fit.

With your feet together and your legs straight, use your lower abs to lift your hips off the floor and slowly roll toward your chest. When your toes are over your head, stop and contract your abs for two seconds. Slowly release and go back to the starting position. Do 30 reps work up to 3 reps of 30.

There are also many ab machines and trainers you can buy. You can sit on an ab chair or ab lounger, or do your floor exercise and watch television while you do your reps.

When to Stop Exercising

The primary limiting factor in sports that require great endurance is the time it takes for your heart to pump oxygen in your bloodstream from your lungs into your muscles. A study from the University of Connecticut (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, May, 2006) shows that with dehydration, your heart beats with far less force so it pumps far less blood with each beat, and is unable to bring as much oxygen to your muscles.

You can’t depend on thirst to tell you when you lack fluids. Certain brain cells called osmoreceptors tell you when you are thirty, but only after the salt concentration of your blood has risen considerably. When you exercise, you sweat. Sweat contains far more water than salt in comparison to blood. So you lose far more water than salt during exercise and blood levels of salt rise. By the time that a your blood salt concentration is high enough to trip off the osmoreceptors, you are severely dehydrated and it is too late for you to be able to drink enough during exercise to catch up with your water deficit. On the other hand, if you take salt with fluids, then your blood salt levels rise faster and tell you that you are thirsty earlier.

There are other reasons that you should take salt with fluids during prolonged exercise. First, it helps prevent muscle cramps. Remember, during exercise you lose salt and water. If you are replacing only water, you can eventually take in so much water that your salt levels drop to cause muscle cramps. Second, even though salt is a mild diuretic at rest, during exercise it helps your body to retain water. So when you are going to exercise for more than a couple hours, particularly in hot weather, drink small amounts frequently and eat salted foods such as peanuts. Always stop if you feel sick, have chills, headache, severe muscle burning or aching, dizziness, or blurred vision. Seek help if your symptoms do not subside in a few minutes; you could be headed for heat stroke that can kill you.

Get Your Booty In Shape

To get the derriere in the best shape possible, you will first have to do some exercises with weights. The following three exercises are killer shaping exercises for the butt:

1. Squats – The king of all leg exercises, this exercise will really firm up that back region, if done properly. Standing tall, with your feet shoulder width apart, bend at the knees and thrust your hips backwards like you’re going to sit in a chair. Make sure your knees don’t go out past your toes when you squat, keep your weight on your heels and stay flat footed, and go deep enough on your squats so the top of your thigh is parallel to the ground. Supposedly, this is a Jennifer Lopez favorite.

2. Lunges – Another great exercise for the butt. If you were to just do lunges, you would make all your friends jealous of how firm your “butt” has become. Remember to step a good length, keep the foot flat, don’t let the knees go past the toes, keep your back tight, and explode back to the standing position.

3. Stiff Legged Deadlifts – You will feel this all through the posterior region, but it will be well worth it. This exercise will require you to hold weights in front of you. Keeping your back tight, push your hips backward, like you are trying to shut a car door, and bend at the waist. Go until your hamstrings won’t allow you to and then return to the starting position by bringing your hips in.

With these exercises, you want to do 12 to 15 repetitions, for 3 sets. Find a weight that is challenging, not easy.

Now, to really get the butt looking great, you need to make sure there isn’t a lot of body-fat around the area. To do this, you have to watch your diet. Don’t eat a lot of processed foods. Find carbohydrate sources that are from whole fruits and vegetables, whole wheat pasta, and whole wheat breads. Make sure you eat plenty of protein from sources like lean meat, chicken, turkey, and fish. Finally, reduce the fat intake by avoiding saturated and trans fats.

You will also need to do cardiovascular exercise so that you can burn away excess body-fat. Find a piece of equipment that will get your heartrate going for 25-35 minutes. You want to be able to speak sentences and not gasp for breath as you are training. Riding the bike, walking, elliptical machines are a great way to get your cardio work in and we’ll help burn away that body-fat.

Pillars of Fitness

Cardiovascular exercises such as running on the treadmill and working the step machine all work the most important muscle-your heart. Regular cardiovascular exercise is a prescription against heart disease, the leading cause of death for Canadians. Also, the calories burned can help shed a little leftover winter insulation.

The best way to lose weight, though, is to increase metabolic rate. While many methods such as eating small, frequent meals, drinking green tea, and sitting in the sauna have been suggested, one surefire way to boost slow metabolism is to increase lean body mass by lifting weights.

Another essential benefit of pumping weights is the significant increase in bone strength, which is important given that 1.4 million Canadians suffer from osteoporosis.

Mara’s best choice, then, will be to combine cardiovascular training with weight training. With only so much time in her day, though, how can Mara do both forms of exercise in an effective, time-efficient manner? Here are some guidelines to help cardiovascular and weight training live in peaceful co-existence.

To obtain solid results, weight training should be performed at least three times each week. As for cardiovascular exercise-be it a vigorous spinning class or a long walk in the park-four to five times in any given week would be ideal.

A cardiovascular session at an elevated heart rate should last between 25 and 35 minutes. On the other hand, a good weight-training session should take roughly 45 minutes to complete. Circuit training that combines weight training with cardiovascular exercise will allow Mara to get the best results. All she needs to do is move quickly between weight-training exercises with as little rest as possible.

Like many gym goers, Mara might prefer to work at moderate intensity, but current research shows that working at a more challenging pace, such as what occurs during circuit training, will help her burn more total fat. Mara should begin with a workload that she finds comfortable and then seek the help of a certified personal trainer to determine how best to progress from there.

To embark on her exercise program, should Mara run on the treadmill or hit the weight room first? Probably the best way to answer this question is to ask her which exercise she likes most and then have her do that last. If she is not fond of pedalling away on the bike, then it is more likely she will put it off if she waits to do it until after she has lifted weights.

About Killer Ab Workout

Now with all of those figures on the ab workout commercials you may tell yourself that it is impossible. Well, that is not true at all. If you actually “do” your ab workout everyday, you will get to the shape you want to be in. There are also other factors at play when trying to develop those six-pack abs.

The key to a killer ab workout is to exercise daily while eating healthy. What eight-minute abs and abs of steel don’t let you know is that you have to eat right while using their videos everyday. If you want the killer abs you dream of, you are going to need a killer ab workout as well as a diet that will burn the fat and build the muscle.

Here are some tips to a killer ab workout:

Believe it or not running is key in developing your dream abs. If you can’t run then walk. There are also alternatives to running such as jumping rope or playing sports.

Again, you will need to ditch that fast food diet and start eating some healthy foods for once. A great diet that really works is a granola bar for breakfast with water. A salad for lunch. A chicken breast is a great dinner and goes well with some flavored rice.

You will want to keep your body healthy as well. If you smoke this will only hurt your chances of developing killer abs. The bottom line is to take care of your body.

Cardio Impact

The first method of cardio that I am going to explain is walking. Walking is the most common form of cardio exercise, and some people don`t even realize that they are doing cardiovascular activity just by walking around the house. Walking is a very low-impact exercise, and is one of the few cardio exercises that can be incorporated into your own lifestyle. Another form of walking that can be used is power walking. Power walking at the gym is easy because you can just hop on a treadmill and take off. You should choose a walking routine that emphasizes incline movements and you should alternate paces to shock your muscles into new growth.

Jogging is the most common exercise known to the public. Most jogging program`s paces are determined on one`s physical conditioning. Beginner joggers should practice speed walking before they progress to a jogging routine. Jogging is not for everyone because it can be hard on your knees and is simply not an option when it is zero degrees outside. Jogging is a very good cardiovascular exercise because it burns twice as many calories per hour than that of walking, and it should be used by individuals wanting fast weight loss results.

Sprinting is running as fast as you can until you cannot run any further. This method of cardio is more suited towards HIIT and should not be used by beginners. Sprinting is the quickest form of cardio that can be performed to burn calories because it only takes five to ten minutes to get an effective workout. However, sprinting can be dangerous to your body if proper warm-up isn`t in place. Make sure that you stretch thoroughly prior to sprinting because the quick movements may shock your muscles into an injury.

Dance is another popular method of cardio and is actually one of the few cardio exercises that are fun. Everywhere you look, it is almost certain that you can find a dance class to join. There are so many different dance styles available that it would be impossible to list all of them. If joining a dance class doesn`t appeal to you, but you still want to learn how to dance, then these DVD videos are the perfect investment:

1)Tae-Bo

2)Carmen Electra’s The Lap Dance & Hip Hop

3)Darrin’s Dance Grooves

4)You Got Served – Take It to the Streets (Dance Instructional)

Indoor cycling, also known as spinning, is a new health club craze. This intense workout targets the lower body, giving the quads, glutes, and hamstrings a good workout. Using stationary bikes that aim at increasing endurance, classes using the spinning exercise is a perfect way of getting a hardcore workout and motivational boost at the same time. Almost every health club has a cycling class that you can join and the application process is easy. Each forty-five minute session that you perform will burn 500-700 calories, who wouldnt want to indoor cycle?

The best part about swimming is that it is not stressful on your body. Water aerobics offer the same support as swimming, but instead of propelling your body from one end of the pool to the other, you use the water as resistance to burn calories and build muscle. Both methods are refreshing alternatives to boring cardio and will give you a good workout without getting sweaty. Another reason swimming is a good exercise is that the water decreases the stress on your joints, and it helps people with joint problems incorporate exercise into their lifestyle.

For people who live in cold areas, ice skating is the preferred method over rollerblading. However both methods serve the same purpose and that is to get you active. These exercises are fun to do and are great for the lower body. If you want a more challenging exercise you can simply rollerblad uphill, but be careful when you are going back down because the excess speed may cause you to crash. Which brings me to the downside of rollerblading. It is a very dangerous exercise and you must wear protective equipment at all times. You also might try to show off when your ability levels are not so great and you could injure yourself if you are not careful.

Effects Of Exercise On Body Temperature

A regular exercise routine prevents your body’s temperature rhythm from remaining relatively level throughout the day. With an appropriate body temperature rhythm, you will find that you can get a deep sleep even if you’ve had a stressful day or can’t perform your regular exercise on a certain day. Exercise also delays the drop in the body’s temperature in the evening, and this delay lets you remain awake and alert for a longer time without feeling drowsy or tired. And, as everyone knows, exercise is a great stress reliever, and stress is one of the main reasons for the development of sleep disorders.

If you don’t already have an exercise program, you really should consider starting one right away. The best time to perform exercise is in the morning because it encourages a quick rise in temperature. You should avoid exercise for three hours before you go to sleep, since your body’s temperature will likely still be rising, and you could find falling asleep or sleeping deeply to be more difficult.

You don’t have to run right out and join a gym in order to get regular exercise. It is possible to obtain the benefits that exercise brings through its effects on your body temperature by taking less dramatic actions. Research shows that even moderate exercise during the day has many healthful benefits. If you can’t seem to get motivated to exercise on a regular basis, you should find a less intense, but physical, activity you enjoy several times per week. The activity could include such things as taking a brisk walk, going for a bike ride, or going rollerblading. All of these activities will have a significant effect on your body temperature and encourage its rhythm to function at beneficial levels.

Protecting from Gym Scams

Ridiculously Low Rates – It’s becoming increasingly crowded out there. With so many gyms fighting each other over customers, membership fees are plummeting. However, you should remember that operating a gym is a very expensive endeavor. In order to provide customers with the best experience, the gym or health club must have plenty of operating capital. Low-end gyms, while having much cheaper rates, mean bad exercise equipment, crowded areas, less sanitary facilities and less customer focus. When choosing a gym or health club, it may be best to go to the more expensive places.

Beware of False Advertising – There are many gyms that advertise low-rates, zero-membership fees, or some other way that you can save when joining. However, most of these gyms get the money out of the customer, one way or the other. Be sure to read the contract for any hidden charges that they may impose. Others advertise huge discounts, only to cripple or limit much or their services until the member pays in full. Others, on the other hand, flat-out lie about their services and member benefits. Be sure to ask a lot of questions and inspect the service agreement fully.

Dubious Accreditations – There are so many certificate-giving bodies out there from state and community organizations that few are worth more than the paper it’s written on. Be sure to double-check on what accreditations the gym claims to have and see if they come from a truly prestigious or note-worthy organization. The same goes for the so-called certified-instructors many gyms have. Be wary and be sure to research these claims.

Poor Equipment and Facilities – This is what you pay for the most, the ability to use large, specialized equipment. Always inspect the entire gym and its facilities before you commit to signing up. The place should also be spacious – it should not be crowded. Many gyms sign up more customers than they can actually handle. The result is that many customers have to wait in line to use the gym equipment they want. This also means that their equipment is constantly being used and prone to more damage.

Sleazy Contracts – Always read what’s printed on the service contract. Three year memberships, high deposit fees, extra charges – these can be all hidden inside the contract and its existence conveniently not mentioned by the sales team. Always turn on the alarm when you encounter provisions requiring you to shell out more money or penalize you for cutting your membership short.