Posted by: agore11 | January 24, 2011

Skiing slash Snowboarding and the Winter Blahs

To be honest going to the gym is not my favorite. In my opinion the best way to exercise is to do it in a way where you don’t know you are doing it, aka a way that is not boring and doesn’t feel like work.

The best way to do this is playing sports. Swimming, soccer, tennis, even hiking, (ok so not necessarily sports) but doing things with other people where you can push each other and hopefully get distracted and not notice how much you have exerted yourself.

Winter is a particularly difficult time for working out because of something I very scientifically like to call the winter blahs. If like me, you live somewhere like the Pacific Northwest, it can be hard to find an oppurtunity to get out-of-doors that doesn’t involve freezing your butt off. It can also be difficult to muster up going to the gym when you have been going day  in and day out and that is your only option.

My advice, hit the slopes. If you can afford a day or two (I know skiing can be painfully expensive) the change of pace will leave you invigorated and help you get through the rest of the season of indoor training.

According to the Mayo Clinic downhill skiing can burn around 400 calories an hour. According to Fitness and Health Today skiing works every muscle group in your body, and provides a great cardio workout.

So before the repetition of the gym and the winter blahs get you down, look for some good deals, usually at smaller ski results and get out and give it a try.

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Posted by: agore11 | January 24, 2011

Effective Exercising

Something alarming came to my attention today as I was trolling the internet searching for helpful fitness information. exercises that don’t work. How can that be, I asked myself, all exercise should work. Yet it seems that some very popular ones are not up to par.  In fact, according to WebMd fitness there are some issues that keep people from reaching weight loss and fitness goals.

One that particularly struck me, since I am definitely guilty, was the importance of good posture on cardio machines. Hunching and griping the handles throws off your alignment and puts stress on your upper body. Keeping straight up and keeping as natural gait as possible puts as little stress on the body as possible and keeps it working what it should be working.

Another common mistake, pulling down weights behind your head, especially in lat exercises and military press. Doing this puts too much pressure on your neck and joints. As does the upright row, adding unnecessary tension to important joints and nerve areas.

Make sure you know what you are doing when you go to the gym. If you have questions ask someone. Avoiding injury will help you stay fit and exercising longer.

Posted by: agore11 | January 24, 2011

Mind Fitness

The choices that we make now effect our long-term health. This is true not only for things like high cholesterol, but for other, less obvious areas of the body such as the mind. According to Harvard Health half of people over the age of 85 will be effected by Alzheimer’s. However, taking care of your heart can keep the specter at bay.

It’s easy to see these “old age problems” as far in the future and as annoying as it can be, it is important to start taking care of these issues now. Overall health leads to a better overall life.

Eating less saturated fat and making sure to get antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables keep the problems with your heart that move to your brain partially at bay. Harvard Health also cites important research that talks about the importance of connecting

Blueberries are rich in antioxidants


with others and engaging your brain. Surprisingly, social interaction improves not only mental health but heart health as well. Engaging your brain can include doing puzzles, reading, or learning something new.

Keep your brain active and engaged and keep your body healthy. You will see the benefits not just now but when you are 85 too.

 

try this puzzle to keep your brain active

 

Posted by: agore11 | January 23, 2011

Gettin’ On the Juice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When working out all the time gets time-consuming and healthy eating gets boring it can be easy to try to reach for a quick fix. One dieting alternative that the impatient regularly turn to is liquid dieting. Diets that consist of mostly or all liquid, usually some kind of expensive shake or juice carefully packaged to make the user believe that they will magically shed pounds and “detox.”

There are many different liquid diets on the market, they range from the obviously unhealthy like lemon juice with cayenne pepper instead of food to “superfood” shakes that promise vegetables. Though many will do nothing for you they will probably help you lose weight purely through starvation.

This is not a good way to lose weight. If for no other reason that when you began to eat solid food again (which you will) you will gain it back. When you reduce the number of calories that you eat (liquid shakes usually only cover 400-800 calories a day) your metabolism dramatically slows. Once you return to your regular eating habits you will bounce back to pre-liquid diet size.

For more information check out this article Liquid Diets

Posted by: agore11 | January 20, 2011

Weight Training

One thing that I wanted everyone to take a look at was the top 20 fitness trends of 2011 that WebMd published to their fitness website. They got their information from the American College of Sports Medicine and though I don’t want it to be the focus of todays blog pos,t I thought there was some interesting information. For example, trained personal trainers are becoming more popular and Pilates, once the top of the annual list, no longer makes the list at all. So here it is WebMd fitness trends of 2011.

Ok the real focus of today’s post is the importance of weight training. Though I always had a vague idea that weight training was important, it was only recently that I came to realize how beneficial and actually, instrumental, to over all health it can be.

According to the Mayo clinic, “With a regular strength training program, you can reduce your body fat, increase your lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently.”  Though weight training is often associated with “bulking up” the development of lean muscle is actually essential in weight loss.

It is actually easier to lose weight from weight training than it is from all out cardio. When you work your muscles with weight training your muscles stay working long after you have finished your workout. This speeds up your metabolism and keeps your body burning calories long after the workout is over.

Other benefits include: Developing strong bones, boosting stamina, managing chronic conditions, such as back pain, depression, and arthritis, and even sharpening your focus.  

Weight machines and free weights are the most classic examples of what you can use for weight training. Other options can include using your own body weight with things like push ups, pull ups, crunches and squats. Yoga is another good way to use your body for weight lifting. Be careful when starting weight training dont lift more than you can handle. Weights should only be hard to lift on the last few repetitions, so 9 and 10 out of ten.

Posted by: agore11 | January 18, 2011

A Very Basic Look at the Importance of Excercise

Being motivated to exercise is one of the most common issues that people who want to exercise face. Any amount of exercise is better than none, however, how much exercise is needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle? How much is needed to lose weight? How often do I have to get my lazy butt up from the couch and get moving? The truth is it can be different for everyone and following official exercise guidelines is more important than you think.

According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans published by the CDC, two and a half hours of moderate intensity aerobic activity a week, as well as muscle strengthening activities two or more times a week that work all muscle groups,  is the amount of exercise needed to improve your over all health. Aerobic exercise means you need to get your heart rate up and break at least a little bit of a sweat. Keep in mind that these are the MINIMUM requirements for physical activity and more is usually recommended.  Brisk walks and water aerobics count towards moderate exercise, as would pushing a lawn mower or playing doubles tennis.

2 hours and thirty minutes of vigorous aerobic activity along with the muscle strengthening would also fulfill minimum exercise requirements and would include activities such as swimming laps, running or jogging or playing basketball.

Since these are the basic requirements they are designed to promote BASIC health, more might be needed to help with weight loss.

Posted by: agore11 | January 13, 2011

Buzz Like a Bee

“We say ditch the workout, join the party,” Zumba co-founder Alberto Perlman said.

Developed by aerobics instructors in Cali, Columbia Zumba (which is Spanish slang for buzz like a bee, or move fast) is aerobics meets salsa, meets meringue meets a lot of fun. Once its Colombian founders moved to Florida they started to sell DVDs of the routines that they had invented in infomercials. Since then the following has grown and it is estimated that over 4 million people regularly participate in Zumba classes worldwide, according to WebMd Fitness.

According to a press release on the US Fed News Service one Zumba workout uses the entire body and can burn 800-1000 calories. Its low impact makes zumba a great workout for those willing to let go of their inhibitions and give their all. It tones and tightens as well as providing a the benefits of a good cardio workout such as calorie burn and increased stamina.

However many Zumba enthusiast sight the emotional high they get from Zumba as the main reason they enjoy the dance aerobic class so much. For many Zumba is more like a night out dancing with friends than time spent at the gym.

Posted by: agore11 | January 12, 2011

Whats Up With Shape Ups??

Note: If You are Offended by Women’s Rear Ends then do not watch this video!

Though toning shoes have been around since the 70s (Earth Shoes were designed to make users feel as though they were walking in sand). Recent products such as Sketchers Shape Ups and Reebok EasyTone are giving toning shoes new media spotlight. According to the University of Cincinnati Health Line the shoes work by throwing the body slightly off-balance with a thick heel which forces the ankle, leg and butt muscles to tense up and do more work.

“Better legs and a better butt with every step. Built specifically for walking and everyday activities, the EasyTone Reeinspire is designed to work your key leg and butt muscles with every step.” Is the promise made on Reebok.com but do the shoes actually work?

According to University of Cincinnati Health Line probably not very much. They may improve muscle strength slightly but they wont do much to help burn calories or improve weight loss.

So though these shoes might be a small step above walking in normal shoes they wont do much for your overall fitness, and probably aren’t worth the 100 dollar price tag.

Posted by: agore11 | January 7, 2011

Getting a Good Workout…Without Living at the Gym

In the brave new year that is 2011 many have high hopes for improving their overall health and many have aspirations to eat less and workout more. However, 2011 has a secret, wait for it… you will be just as busy this year as you were the year before, possibly even busier. So where will all this extra gym time come from? Not to mention increased motivation and desire.

The purpose of this blog is to sift through the piles of information that the internet, magazine and numerous other sources carry about fitness and health and pick out only the accredited, useful gems. Things that people without  a lot of time could actually do. This first entry is brought to you by Harvard Women’s Health Watch and focuses on simple around the house exercises that help to increase strength and improve flexibility, all you need is a towel to lay on, sturdy chair and a little bit of floor space. (Images are also from the Harvard Women’s Health Watch)

Warming Up Warming Up is important for any exercise and should (for this workout) last 5 to 10 minutes start by stretching your arms over your head as seen in the image to the left; then walk or jog in place while swinging your arms. According to HWHW this will “pump nutrient rich, oxygenated blood to your muscles as it speeds up your heart-rate and breathing,” key to the start of any good workout.

Wall Push Up this one is easy to a push up against a wall, positioning your body as seen in the image below. DoWall Push Up about 10 per set and and do three sets resting for 30 seconds between each one. Make sure to keep a straight line from head to heal

Triceps Dip lower yourself from the edge of the chair tell your arms are at a 90 degree angle, then straighten your arms to bring yourself back up. Again 3 sets of 10.

Chair Stand this is kind of a reverse squat. Sit in a chair with your arms across your chest and one foot slightly ahead of the other, then stand straight up while tightening hour abs and butt. Sit up and down 10 times then switch so the other foot is staggered in front.

Plank make sure to keep abdominal muscles tight and keep a straight line from head to toe. Hold for 60 seconds, repeat three times.

Bridge with Chair position yourself at a 90 degree angle then slowly push up. Make sure to tighten your butt and abs as you push up. 3 sets of 10

Standing Side Leg Lift keeping your leg straight and your hips aligned tighten your abdominal muscles while bringing your leg straight out to the side. 3 sets of 10 per side. As with many of these stretches keeping tight controlled muscles is what builds up strength.

Curl the key to this curl is to keep your abdominal muscles tight each time you lift your head and shoulders of off the floor. Do 3 sets of 10 alternating which leg is bent.

Heel Raise push up onto the balls of your feet while keeping abs and butt tight. Make sure to keep legs firm and straight. 3 sets of 10. 

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