Exercises & Blogs

Jump! Benefits Of Using The Mini Trampoline

Jump! Benefits Of Using The Mini TrampolineHi!  As some of you may know, one thing I continually mention on my site is the importance of having fun while exercising.

 

I stress this because if you’re having fun you’ll be more inclined to repeat the activity.  It also makes the time go faster so what you’re doing doesn’t feel like a grind.

One of the best ways to have fun and get some exercise at the same time is using a trampoline.  So today I thought I’d go over benefits of using the min trampoline and exercises you can do on it.  Actually, the information I’ll be sharing can be used on a large trampoline as well.

First, I’d like to go over some awesome health benefits of the trampoline and then discuss some exercise movements.  You may also hear the term rebounding when people talk about the trampoline.  It’s basically the same thing as jumping on a trampoline.

Benefits

Jump! Benefits Of Using The Mini Trampoline1. Cardiovascular – Research has shown that 30 minutes on a trampoline can burn the same amount of calories as 30 minutes of jogging.

2. Lymphatic System – Your lymphatic system helps cleanse toxins from your body.

However, your lymph system relies on body movement for it to move.  Rebounding has been found to increase lymph movement by as much as 15 times.

3. Immune System – Since your lymph system carries a lot of white blood cells, your immune system becomes stronger.

4. Cellulite – Your thyroid gland gets stimulated helping your body get rid of stored fat like cellulite.

5. Skeletal System – The G force involved can help strengthen bone density and prevent osteoporosis.

6. Flexibility – Joints, tendons, and ligaments also get stronger which helps improve your flexibility.  There’s also less impact on your feet and ankles than running.

7. Cellular Energy – Since an increase in oxygen is circulated throughout your body, your cells become more energized.

8. Balance – By doing certain moves on a trampoline you can work on improving your balance.

9. Cancer – Some studies have suggested that rebounding may reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Below are some common exercises you can do on a trampoline.

Exercises

Jump! Benefits Of Using The Mini Trampoline1. Run In Place – Run in place with either a jog or sprint to get your heart and lungs going even faster.

2. One Legged Jump – Alternate jumping on one leg to work on balance.

3. Jumping Jacks – Simply do jumping jacks while on the trampoline.

4. Torso Twist – While jumping up alternate turning your torso to the left and right.

5. Knee Squat – Most of this is actually done off the trampoline.  Place the instep of one foot on the edge of the trampoline.  Extend the opposite leg out as far as you can from the trampoline with your foot on the ground.

Lower yourself downward as far as you can or until the knee of the leg touching the trampoline touches the ground.  Then repeat the process with the other leg.

6. Elevated Push-up – Place the top of both feet on the edge of the trampoline.  Place your hands on the ground and do push-ups.

Please see the video below for more exercises you can do on the trampoline.

Summary – Using a trampoline can be loads of fun and a good way to break up the monotony of traditional exercise.  Also, if you have kids it’s a great way to have some exercise fun for the whole family.  You can get most mini trampolines for a fairly low cost and they don’t take up a lot of space.

The company Defy Gravity did a terrific article on rebounding you can see here.  One last thing I’d like to mention is safety.  Please make sure you don’t jump too high while using the trampoline to keep good body control. If you have a large trampoline, you may want to consider putting a safety net around it.

If you’d like to share your experiences with a trampoline please let us know in the comments.  Or, if you have a general comment or question just let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for reading and happy jumping!

Jon
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Group Training Workout Ideas – Have Fun With It!

Group Training Workout IdeasHello!  Have you ever decided to get started in a fitness program, but weren’t sure how to take the first step?

Well, joining a group fitness class can be an excellent way to put your toe in the water before taking the plunge.  By joining a fitness class it can be easier to get yourself in the mindset to exercise.

 

You can have fun working out in a light, social environment with music and make new friends at the same time.  This way you can motivate and encourage each other to reach goals.

Inexpensive – Another advantage of group training compared to individual training is the cost.   Personal trainers are great if you can afford one, however for many people it’s not in their budget.   With group training you can still get in great shape depending on the frequency and duration of the classes.

Once you’ve participated in a fitness class for awhile and want to take your fitness to the next level, you can hire a trainer at that time.  This way you’ll already be accustomed to working out and the trainer can help you focus on specific weaknesses.

Variety – There are many different exercise classes available for you to choose from these days.  Some of the more common ones are below.

  1. Aerobics
  2. Step Aerobics
  3. Zumba
  4. Pilates
  5. Yoga, Hot Yoga
  6. Kickboxing
  7. Boot Camps

Group Training Workout IdeasThere’s no one training class that’s better than another. What’s important is that you choose an activity you enjoy so you’ll be less likely to quit.

Safe Environment – Another benefit of group training is it’s led by fitness professionals.  They can guide you in the right direction making sure the environment is safe.  You don’t have to try and guess or figure out which ways to move properly.  Trainers can also cover aspects of training some people might overlook such as warming up, cooling down, etc.

Buddy System – Most fitness classes will break people down into groups based on their fitness level.  However, if they don’t separate groups based on fitness levels, try to team up with someone who’s at about the same fitness level as yourself.  Even if they do separate groups, still try to find a friend to exercise next to.  This will allow you and your friend to motivate and hold each other accountable to succeed.

Summary – There are many advantages to group training and it’s a great way to get started into an exercise routine.  The ACE (American Council on Exercise) did a great article on group training you can see here.  The key things to remember are to choose a class you like, work out with a buddy, and have fun with it!

One last thing I want to say is be committed to your class.  It’s kind of like the old saying, you’ll only get as much out of it as you put into it.  If you have any fun experiences with group training you’d like to share with us please leave a comment.

Or, if you have a general comment or question please let me know in the comments section and I will get back to you.  Thanks for reading and best of luck in your journey to be fit!

Jon

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What Are Benefits of Red Wine? Cheers!

What Are Benefits Of Red Wine? Cheers!Hello!  What are benefits of red wine?  A very intriguing question many people have, so let’s explore it a little bit, shall we?  Actually, red wine can have many benefits if consumed in moderation.

Now, you may be wondering how do you quantify moderation?  Many studies have suggested that men shouldn’t drink more than 250 ml (approximately 1 large glass) and women 175 ml (approximately 1 medium glass) of red wine per day to reap the benefits.

The amount is slightly lower for women because they have a lower body water content.  This causes their bodies to absorb alcohol more rapidly. The information I’ll be sharing today is from many years of research conducted by the following organizations:

Harvard Medical School, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Journal of Women’s Health, Loyola University Medical Center, Washington University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Kaiser Permanente, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Harvard Men’s Health Watch, Researchers in Spain.

Benefits

Below are some of the benefits associated with moderate consumption of red wine.  Also, any time I use the word wine in this blog, I’m specifically referring to red wine.

1. Cancer – Consumption of red wine may lower the risk of lung cancer. This is because of antioxidant components found in wine.  It may also reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women.

2. Heart Disease – Moderate wine drinkers have been found to have higher blood levels of omega 3 fatty acids.  These acids help prevent against coronary heart disease.

What Are Benefits Of Red Wine? Cheers!3. Stroke – Red wine may protect the brain from stroke and damage to nerve cells.

4. Vision – Researchers have found that the compound resveratrol found in red wine helps protect your vision.

5. Dementia – Resveratrol has also been found to promote a good blood supply to the brain resulting in a lower risk of dementia.

6. Mortality – Moderate consumption of wine has been linked to anti-aging and a longer lifespan.  It’s almost like finding a red fountain of youth to some degree lol.

7. Depression – Studies have shown that men and women who drank 2-7 glasses of wine per week had a lower risk of suffering depression.

Importance of Moderation

What Are Benefits Of Red Wine? Cheers!Although moderate wine consumption can have several health benefits, drinking too much wine can definitely have adverse consequences.

Below are some of the negative effects of consuming wine to excess.

  • Hepatitis
  • Liver malfunction
  • Stroke
  • Heart Disease or Heart Attack
  • Depression
  • Chronic Diseases

Summary – The next time you want to enjoy a nice glass of vino, you can take pleasure in knowing that you’re helping your body when done in moderation.  I can’t stress enough the importance of moderation and not overdoing it.  It’s kind of like the old saying “too much of anything can be bad for you.”

Also, if you like red grapes you can get some of the same health benefits I’ve mentioned before.  This is because the compound resveratrol is found in grapes.  If you have any comments or questions please let me know in the comments box and I’ll gladly get back to you.  Thank you for your time and Cheers!

Jon

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Bowflex Blaze Review

    • Product: Bowflex Blaze Home Gym
    • Company: Bowflex, sold from and shipped by Amazon
    • My Personal Rating: 9.7 out of 10

Hello!  Today I wanted to give you some information and a critique about the Bowflex Blaze Home Gym.  For those that have a hectic schedule most of the time, home gyms can be a good option.  They also work well for those who prefer working out in the privacy of their own home as opposed to going to a gym.

Pros

Cost Effective

You can do over 60 different exercises for an awesome total body workout with the Bowflex Blaze.  If you were to go out and buy all the equipment necessary for those 60 plus exercises, it would add up to a lot of money, not to mention all the space it would take up.

Hence, the Blaze can save quite a bit of money and space.  It’s extremely affordable when compared to other home gyms with similar equipment and size.

Assembly & Versatility

The assembly is pretty easy or you can have it professionally assembled for a fee with Amazon.   Once assembled, it can be partially folded to easily fit in a corner of your home to save space.

The exercises that can be done with the Blaze are also very versatile. Therefore, whether you’re in an advanced stage of fitness or a novice, it has plenty of exercises suitable for all.

It comes with pressure resistance rods instead of weights making the resistance easier on your joints.  The rods go up to 210 lbs, but you can get the rods upgraded to 310 or 410 lbs for added resistance.  By using rods instead of weights, it becomes a safe option and you don’t have to worry about dropping weights on your foot.

Some of the nicer components of the Blaze include its lat bar for shoulders, leg pulley for legs and glutes (buttocks), and it has a feature for rowing.  For more information on the benefits of rowing, please see my blog here.

Exercise Guide

It also comes with a placard that shows different exercises you can do for your major muscle groups.  This is great for those just starting a workout program because it guides them in the right direction.  The Blaze received a 4.5 rating out of 5 on Amazon as well.

Cons

One downside some people have noted is it doesn’t come with any free weights.  Some home gym users like to have free weights they can add manually to the system.  So if your preference is working out with free weights, this machine may not be a good fit.

Also, some users have reported that some of the positions are slightly uncomfortable for taller people.  The range given for taller people was 6’4 inches and taller.  For more information on the Bowflex Blaze Home Gym please see the video below.

Summary – If you’re looking for a simple home gym that offers a thorough total body workout, I highly recommend the Bowflex Blaze.  It covers all areas of your body and the placard helps make it easy to use. Considering all the advantages it offers, I feel it’s a tremendous value for the cost.

Please click here for more information on the Blaze or to order yours today!  If you have any comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thank you for your time and have a terrific day!

Jon

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Don’t Let Traffic Beat You – Exercises To Do In A Car

Don't Let Traffic Beat You - Exercises To Do In A CarHello everyone!  If you’re like most people, getting stuck in traffic can be a pretty frustrating experience sometimes.

When traffic comes to a complete standstill, a lot of folks look for something to occupy their time.

This could be in the form of watching a YouTube video on their phone, eating a snack, etc.

Well, today I wanted to share with you some exercises to do in a car.  This way, the next time you’re stuck in traffic you can do something positive for your health.  By the way, I could never figure out why they always call it rush hour because 90% of the time you’re not moving lol.

Also, the exercises I’ll be discussing should only be done with the car completely still and not in motion.  If your car has automatic transmission it should be in park.  Or, if it has standard transmission in should be in neutral with the parking brake engaged.

If you have to move your car, you should focus on driving 100% and not do any exercises until you’re at a complete stop.  Please keep safety in mind at all times.  Without further ado, let’s move on to the exercises.

Neck – There are a few things you can do to work your neck muscles.  You can roll your head clockwise and counter-clockwise slowly.  You can also slowly turn your head to the right, when you can’t turn it anymore hold it there for 3 seconds.  Then repeat the same process to the left side.

Another thing you can do is move your neck sideways slowly until your ear is touching your shoulder.  Hold that position for 3 seconds doing it to both sides.  The last thing you can do is look upward at the ceiling and downward at your seat, holding both positions for 3 seconds.

Don't Let Traffic Beat You - Exercises To Do In A CarShoulders – Simply roll your shoulders forward slowly several times and then do the same thing rolling them backwards.

Arms – For this one, you can only do it if no one is in the passenger seat.  Take your right arm and straighten it all the way out to the side.

Then rotate your arm so that your palm alternates between facing upward and downward.

Another move you can do with your arm straight is with your palm up, flex your elbow and bring your hand up until it touches your shoulder.

Trunk – With your forearms parallel to the ground, just twist your trunk from side to side.  If your seat is able to recline back far enough, you can do some crunchies as well.

Glutes – Clench your butt cheeks together as tight as you can and hold that position for 5 seconds.  This helps strengthen your glutes (buttocks) and a little bit of your lower abs.

Calves – With your foot flat on the floor, raise your heel off the floor and hold that pose for 3 seconds.  Then repeat with the other foot.

Quads – While sitting straight up, raise your leg off the floor and try to bring your knee up to, or as close to your chest as possible.  Do the same move for both legs.

Bonus Move  – Once you’ve reached your destination and if you’re really feeling motivated, you can try this one outside the car.  Place both hands on the ground and the toes of both feet on the bumper (front or rear) of the car.

Then do push-ups from this position.  They’re basically decline push-ups, but you’re using the bumper to support your weight instead of a chair.

Don't Let Traffic Beat You - Exercises To Do In A CarSummary – The next time you get held up in traffic, don’t let it beat you.

Seize the opportunity and do something positive for your body, especially if you missed the gym or working out that day.

Also, if you’re a passenger in a car you can do theses exercises at just about anytime and not only when it’s stopped.  If you have any other ideas for exercises you can do in a car that you’d like to share, please let us know.

Or, if you have any comments or questions don’t hesitate to let me know and I’ll gladly get back to you.  Thanks so much for reading and be safe on those roads!

Jon

Exercise To Strengthen Eye Muscles

Exercise To Strengthen Eye MusclesHello!  Today I wanted to discuss one of the muscle groups that probably gets used more on a daily basis than any other muscle area in your body.

The muscles I’m referring to are your ocular or eye muscles.  Now, I know you may be thinking that eye muscles are kind of a stretch when it comes to fitness.

However, I believe it’s important to take care of your eyes just as much as any other muscles in your body.  There are over 600 muscles in the human body including eye muscles which shouldn’t be overlooked.

When taking care of your health, I feel it’s important to look at it from a holistic standpoint which encompasses everything.  Thus, the purpose of my blog today is to go over exercise to strengthen eye muscles and ways to take care of them.

Exercises

Below are some simple exercises you can do about 2-3 times a week to help strengthen your ocular and orbital muscles.

Rolling Eyes – To start out look upward, and then slowly roll your eyes in a clockwise direction all the way around 3 times.  Then repeat the process going counter-clockwise.

45 Degree Look – Look upward at a 45 degree angle to the right and hold that look for 2-3 seconds.  Then look downward in the opposite direction and hold that look for 2-3 seconds as well.  Repeat the process with the left side.

Pen Exercise – Take a pen and hold it at arm’s length away from your face and look at it for 5 seconds.  Then slowly bring it toward your face until it’s 1-2 inches from your face.  Look and focus on the pen the whole time you’re moving it toward you and do it 3 times.  Then hold a hand over one eye and repeat the process using one eye at a time.

Hands Over Eyes – Wash your hands with warm water so the skin of your hands is warm.  Then sit back and place both hands over your eyes for 2-3 minutes.  This helps to relax your muscles.

Mini Nap – Another good way to relax your eye muscles is to simply take a mini nap.  Just sit back and close your eyes for 3-5 minutes.

Minimizing Eye Strain

There are a couple things you can do to help put less strain on your eyes as well.

Exercise To Strengthen Eye MusclesSunglasses – The sun’s ultraviolet rays can do damage to your eyes if you’re not careful.

Anytime you’re going to be exposed to the sun for a considerable amount of time always wear sunglasses.

Sleep – Getting 8 hours of sleep each night gives the cell membranes of your eyes proper time to rest and recover from the previous day’s activities.

Nutrition

Eating a nutritious diet is essential to having good eyesight and healthy eye muscles.

Vitamins & Minerals – Vitamins A, C, and E should be included in your diet, along with minerals Copper, Zinc, and Sulfur to have good optical health.  For more information on vitamins please see my blog “How Do Vitamins Improve Health” here.

Antioxidants – Research has shown that eating dark green leafy and yellow vegetables has antioxidants that can help prevent against macular degeneration.  Over time, macular degeneration can lead to blindness. Blueberries and grapes also have antioxidants that have been found to help vision.

DHA – DHA is a fatty acid that helps improve the health of the cells in your eyes.  This acid can be found in salmon, sardines, and cod.

Safety

Exercise To Strengthen Eye MusclesThere may be certain situations in which you find yourself in that eye protection should be used.  For example, if you’re doing yard work and using a weed eater you should always wear goggles.

Also, if you operate any type of heavy machinery such as a chain saw you should wear goggles as well.  It’s kind of like what they used to say in school, Safety First!

Summary – As I mentioned earlier, your eyes have muscles and should be taken care of just like the other hundreds of muscles in your body.  These are some simple steps you can take to help improve the overall strength and health of your eyes.  One last thing I’d like to say is you should have an eye exam once a year.

It’s important to have your eyes checked so your optometrist can help keep you on the right track.  If you have any comments or questions please let me know as I look forward to hearing from you.  Thanks for your time and take care of those eyes!

Jon

How Do I Get Physically Fit? Bringing It Back To Basics

How Do I Get Physically Fit? Bringing It Back To BasicsHello!  Have you ever wondered what happened to good old fashioned diet and exercise to get in shape?

I know I have, it seems like with all the fancy gidgets, gadgets, and programs that are out there many people have lost their focus on the basics of getting fit.

So today I’m going to go over some of the basic points to keep in mind when trying to improve your health and fitness.  When you break it all down, it’s really not a complicated process.

Frequency – You should aim to do a minimum of 150 minutes per week of exercise encompassing the 9 components of fitness.  However, 150 minutes will pretty much keep you at a status quo.  If you really want to take your fitness to the next level you should do more than that.

For more information on the 9 components you can visit my blog “How to Get Fit With a Recipe for Success” here.

Nutrition – You should eat a healthy balanced diet covering the 3 macronutrients carbohydrates, fats, and protein.  If you’re trying to maintain your weight and health you should eat about 60% carbs, 25% fats, and 15% protein.

It’s ok to treat yourself to unhealthy or sugary foods once in a while, however moderation is the key and it shouldn’t be the majority of your diet.

If you’re trying to lose weight, bulk up, or otherwise change your physique you’ll need to adjust those percentages.  If that’s the case, you should see a Nutritionist or Dietician to make sure you’re within healthy ranges for your goals.

Gadgets – There’s nothing wrong with using fitness devices and technology tools to help you stay on track with your fitness.  As a matter of fact, sometimes they can be great in taking the guess work out of being active enough.  However, you shouldn’t be so dependent on one device that you neglect certain areas of fitness.

For example, if you use a pedometer and at the end of the week you say “I’ve hit my 30,000 steps so I don’t need to do anything else,” you’re doing a disservice to your health if you haven’t engaged in any other exercise.

Now, if you’ve covered the other areas of fitness and the pedometer was just used to help with cardio for the week, that’s great!  Remember to use technology with good discretion and you’ll be fine.

Commercial Workout Programs – There are a lot of good workout programs out there to choose from to help you get fit.  Just be aware though, that many of them don’t cover all aspects of fitness.  A good many only focus on cardiorespiratory training to help people lose weight.

Others are designed to help people bulk up and increase muscular strength.  These can be good tools to help you improve certain areas, but you may need to do additional exercises outside the program to cover all the bases.

Mindset – Deciding to become physically fit requires a serious commitment.  Many people decide to be more active and eat healthier just long enough to drop some weight.  Once they lose 5 or 10 lbs and can get into smaller clothing, they go right back to how they were living previously and gain the weight back.

Being fit requires a commitment to a lifestyle change.  This change needs to involve eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis.  It’s really that simple and isn’t rocket science.

Once you see positive changes with your health, it’s important to commit to keeping the momentum going.  That way your fitness becomes an all time change and not a sometimes change.

How Do I Get Physically Fit? Bringing It Back To BasicsBenefits of a Healthy Lifestyle – Once you’ve made the commitment to a healthy lifestyle, research has shown you can expect to experience the benefits below.

These are based on 150 minutes of exercise per week and a healthy diet.

1. Heart – You have a lower risk of heart disease and heart attacks.

2. Diabetes – Insulin and blood sugar levels are easier to control.

3. Endurance – Your endurance level increases and you get less fatigued doing normal activities and exercising.

4. Blood Pressure – You can lower your blood pressure and help keep it under control.

5. Cancer – You can reduce your risk of getting certain cancers.

6. Strength – You can increase your overall muscular strength.

7. Energy – Sleep habits can be improved resulting in more energy.

8. Metabolism – Your metabolism is more efficient making it easier to control your weight.

9. Stress – Exercise is great for relieving stress because your brain releases endorphins.  These are chemicals that put you in a better mood.

10. Life Expectancy – Your mortality rate is decreased and your life expectancy can be extended.

Summary – I’ve tried to illustrate the importance of living healthy and how it’s not a complicated concept.  When it comes right down to it, the old addage of diet and exercise still rings true.  If you have a healthy diet and sufficient exercise in your life, you increase your chances of living a long and enjoyable life.

The bottom line is you have to stay committed.  Whether you’re just now trying to make a lifestyle change or you’ve been doing it for years, you still have to stay committed.  The last thing I’d like to mention is patience. Getting in good shape isn’t an overnight process so you have to be patient.

However, If you stick to the points I’ve talked about you should see the beginning of results over a relatively short period of time.  So what are your experiences with making changes to your health and fitness?  If you’d like to share them please let us know in the comments.

Or, if you have any comments or questions just let me know and I’ll gladly get back to you.  Thanks for reading and don’t be afraid to make that change!

Jon

Row Row Row Your Boat – Why Is Rowing Good Exercise?

Row Row Row Your Boat - Why Is Rowing Good Exercise?Hello!  Today I’m going to discuss an activity that some consider fairly relaxing, but it’s still good exercise.  Now, you may be wondering, how can exercise be relaxing?

Rowing is a great exercise, but can also feel serene, especially if you’re doing it on water as opposed to in a gym.  It also has awesome physical benefits your body can enjoy.  Below are some of the overall benefits you can get from rowing.

1. Cardiorespiratory – 30 minutes of rowing strengthens your heart, lungs, and circulatory system considerably.  You can also burn more calories than a lot of other cardio exercises.

2. Strength – Rowing is a total body workout that activates many major muscle groups.  Among those are your biceps, triceps, back, shoulders, core, chest, lats, glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

3. Low Impact – Since rowing is a low impact exercise it means there’s much less risk of injury than many other exercises.

Row Row Row Your Boat - Why Is Rowing Good Exercise?4. Stress – Rowing is great for relieving stress because it’s a fairly calm and fluid like movement.  If done outdoors on water it can be very relaxing because of the peaceful environment.

5. Joints – Because many muscles work in conjunction with each other, it means more joints are involved.  This helps strengthen your joints and improve your flexibility.

6. Simplicity – Rowing is one of the easiest exercises there is to learn because of the simple movements involved.

7. Enjoyment – Outside rowing can be a lot of fun.  You get a chance to get some fresh air and enjoy the peace and quiet of the surroundings.  Also, you can do it with a friend or 2 and have even more fun rowing together.

Summary – Rowing is almost like a hidden gem when it comes to fitness.  It really is amazing how many muscles you can work from such a simple movement.  You can also have a lot of fun doing it in the process.

Row Row Row Your Boat - Why Is Rowing Good Exercise?Rowing outdoors can usually give you mildly better results.  This is because sometimes you have to row in a slightly different direction to steer the boat.

This results in more muscles being involved than rowing straight.  Also, competition rowing can magnify some of the benefits I mentioned earlier because it’s done at a higher intensity.

However, rowing indoors is still great activity for many parts of your body and you should take advantage of it if you can.  If you have any experiences with rowing you’d like to share please let us know.  If you have any comments or questions, let me know and I will get back to you.   Thank you for your time and have a terrific day!

Jon

Importance Of Breathing While Exercising – Is It Really That Important?

Importance of Breathing While Exercising - Is it Really That ImportantGreetings!  Breathing may seem like one of the simplest things you can do.  However, to do it correctly while working out can be slightly more complex.

Today I want to go over the importance of breathing while exercising and how it can affect your workout.

When many people get ready to exercise, breathing usually isn’t at the forefront of their mind.  Normally, making it through the workout is a higher priority.  Depending on the type of exercise you’re doing, there are different ways to breathe for different exercises.

Before I get into detail on those, I want to give you a little background on your lungs and what actually happens during the breathing process. Hopefully, this will help you understand why different methods of breathing are used based on the exercise.

Importance of Breathing While Exercising - Is it Really That ImportantLungs – On average, your lungs take in about 1/2 liter of oxygen each time you take in a normal breath.

However, the amount of air can actually increase to around 3 liters or more depending on the exercise you’re doing.

 

When you inhale, air travels through your nose, mouth, larynx, bronchi, and down into tiny sacs in your lungs called alveoli.

In the alveoli is where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place.  When you move a lot or exercise, the carbon dioxide and hydrogen levels in your blood increase.  As a result of this, your ph level drops causing you to breathe faster.

Over time, exercise can increase your cardiorespiratory efficiency, but the size of your lungs stays the same.  Next, I’m going to break down different exercise activities and how you should breathe with each one.

Cardio – Research has shown that having poor breathing technique can reduce your overall performance and speed during cardiorespiratory exercises.  While running, one method you can use is the 2 to 2 rule.  It’s very simple and all you do is take 2 steps while inhaling and 2 steps while exhaling.

This is a general guideline and can be adjusted based on what works for you.  If 2 1/2 or 3 steps work better for you, then by all means go with what’s easier.

This helps you get into a rhythm and keep a good flow of oxygen going. For other cardio exercises such as jumping jacks and jumping rope, you shouldn’t pant or breathe shallow.  Deeper and slower breaths generally lead to better cardiorespiratory performance and stamina.

Importance of Breathing While Exercising - Is it Really That ImportantResistance Training – When lifting weights, it’s best to exhale during exertion (lifting), and inhale during the eccentric or relaxation phase.

You should never hold your breath during either the lifting or relaxation movements.

Stretching – While static (stationary) stretching to warm up before or cool down after exercise, you should aim to inhale and exhale the same amount of air slowly and deeply.  This helps calm your nervous system, lower blood pressure, and relax your muscles.

Nose vs Mouth – Breathing through your nose helps warm, moisten, and filter the air so the oxygen is usually cleaner when it hits your lungs. Therefore, it’s normally better to breathe through your nose.

However, if you’re doing an intense workout and your demand for oxygen is pretty high, you may need to breathe through your mouth a little to take in more air.

Diaphragm – Using your diaphragm as opposed to your chest while breathing during exercise is also important.  Your diaphragm is a muscle below your lungs, and when you inhale it moves downward.  When it does this, it enables your lungs to expand.

Many people don’t use their diaphragm because of poor posture and other reasons.  This causes them to use their chest more and breathe more shallow.  One thing you can do to gauge if you’re using your diaphragm properly is the diaphragm test.

To do this, you place your hands on the lower part of your ribs so you can feel them rise and fall when you breathe.  Most of your breathing should be felt here and not in your chest.  You should use your diaphragm more for both normal breathing and exercise breathing.

Summary – Breathing isn’t a subject that gets talked about a lot when it comes to fitness.  However, it’s importance is paramount and it can have an effect on how much you maximize your workout.  Breathing properly will allow you to have good muscular efficiency and better performance.

You also won’t get fatigued as fast during workouts enabling you to accomplish more.  If you have any comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for your time and don’t hold your breath!

Jon

The How To’s of Staying Healthy While Traveling

The How To's Of Staying Healthy While TravelingHello everyone!  How many times have you worked hard to get in great shape or lose a few pounds, only to see all your work go down the drain after going on a trip?

Well, you may be surprised to know there are a lot of ways to avoid falling into that trap.

Hence, the purpose of my blog today is to share with you ways to stay or get into good shape when traveling.  Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, the tips shown today can be used for any occasion.

Now, before I get into things you can do once you reach your destination, I’d like to talk about preparing for your trip.  Below are some things to get you started on a healthy plan before you leave your house.

Preparation

1. Healthy Snacks – Instead of packing your carry on bag with a bunch of candy bars and chips, pack some fruits and vegetables that can keep at room temperature.  Some of these could include apples, bananas, pears, carrot sticks or celery in a zip lock bag.  You can also put oatmeal packs or healthy soup packs in there for when you get to the hotel.

2. Pack A Gym – There are many small and lightweight exercise devices you can easily pack in your luggage.  An ab wheel, jump rope, small weights (2.5-5 lb), resistance bands, and workout videos are examples. This way if the hotel you’re in doesn’t have a fitness center, you’re not just limited to body weight exercises.

Even if it does have a fitness center, you can still bring these items so you have a variety of exercises to choose from.  For more information on fitness products you can travel with please see my Reviews page here.

Next are some ideas you can do at the airport during your travel.

At the Airport

1. Meals – It may be hard because many airports have a ton of fast food restaurants, but if possible try to opt for healthy choices.  These would include salads or sandwiches with healthier meats and toppings.  Turkey or grilled chicken with vegetable toppings are good examples.

2. Walk – Conveyor belts located in the middle of terminals to help folks get from point A to point B are now popular.  However, if you have the time, try to avoid these and walk the distance instead.  Also, if time permits go ahead and walk around the terminal a little bit to get in some exercise.

3. Stairs – If you’re only going on a short trip and just have a carry on bag, use the stairs rather than an elevator when possible.  If you’re trip is longer and you have more bags, this may not be feasible.

Below are ways to stay active when you arrive at the hotel.

Hotel

1. Fitness Center – If your hotel has a fitness center, take advantage of it.  Some hotels have nice modern equipment for you to use nowadays.

2. Pool – Swimming is one of the best exercises you can do.  It combines a little cardio, core, and resistance training all into one workout.  Many hotels have either an indoor or outdoor pool you can use to your benefit.

3. Stairs – Using the stairs in place of elevators is almost always a good choice.  Now, sometimes people say “but my room’s on the 35th floor and that’s too many climb.”  However, there is a solution.

You can take the elevator to the 30th floor and walk the other 5.  It never hurts to be creative when it comes to looking for ways to exercise.

The How To's Of Staying Healthy While Traveling4. Exercise – There are many exercises you can do in your room that don’t require a lot of space.

The ab wheel and jump rope I mentioned earlier can be used without a lot of space.

Also, a lot of workout videos these days don’t call for a large amount of space to do many of their moves.  You can even do some exercises with a chair that you can see in my blog here.

Next are some things you can do in the environment around your hotel to stay active.

Environment

1. Walking – Walk a few blocks out from your hotel.  It’s a great way to find a restaurant within walking distance for some of your meals.  You can also get some fresh air and exercise at the same time.  It’s also a good way to socialize with some of the locals and find out more about the city.

2. Park – See if there’s a park nearby where you’re staying.  If so, some of these have jogging routes if you like to jog.  Going to a park can give you more space for some exercises that you may not be able to do in your room as well.

3. Beach – If there’s a beach close to where you’re staying, you can take advantage of the opportunity in ways besides relaxing in a lounge chair lol.  Jogging along the beach or swimming are excellent ways to burn calories.

I’ve listed below some ways to eat healthy while on your trip.

Nutrition

1. Grocery Store – Try to find a grocery store in the area and buy some healthy foods.  If your room has a refrigerator, microwave, or both these can definitely help.  If not, you can still buy fruits and veggies that don’t require refrigeration.

2. Hydration – Make sure you keep yourself hydrated with plenty of water during your trip.  Even if you’re not in a hot weather climate, it’s important to keep your hydration level up.

3. Meals – Aim for eating healthy meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables for the most part.  However, I know it’s hard to do all the time because many cities have beautiful restaurants with delicious food.  It’s ok to treat yourself to a less healthy meal once in a while.  The key is moderation and not overdoing it.

The How To's Of Staying Healthy While Traveling4. Alcohol – Keep your alcohol consumption to a moderate level as well because it slows down your metabolism.

For many folks, they have a tendency to overeat while on a trip so too much alcohol can compound the problem.

There’s nothing wrong with having a good time and partying, but like I said before moderation is important.

Summary –  Going on a trip doesn’t mean you have to get out of shape and start from scratch on your exercise program when you return home.  If you make wise decisions concerning your health before and during your trip, you can come home in the same or even better shape than when you left.

One last thing I’d like to mention is commitment.  Although your schedule may be erratic, especially if it’s a business trip, you should commit to putting in at least 150 minutes of exercise per week.  Otherwise, these tips won’t have much of an impact and it’ll be hard to see results.

The ACE (American Council on Exercise) did a great article on exercise and traveling you can see here.  So what have been your experiences with traveling and exercising?

Please feel free to share them with us in the comments.  Or, if you have any comments or questions please let me know and I’ll gladly get back to you.  Thanks for your time and have a safe trip!

Jon

How To Exercise With A Chair

Hello!  Today I wanted to share with you some ways on how to exercise with a chair.  Exercising with a chair is a great way to improve your core strength.  Having a strong core is essential, because it’s your body’s center of gravity and all action originates from your core.

The exercises I’ll be explaining are simple to do and can be done just about anywhere.  Whether you’re at home, at an office, or in a hotel room, all you need is a stable chair preferably without arms.

It’s also better to use one without wheels.  However, if it does have wheels make sure they’re in a locked position.  Below are a few exercises that can be done with a chair.

Chair Dip

The first one is a basic chair dip.  To do this you start out by placing your hands on the edges of the chair with a firm grasp.  Your knees are bent with your feet flat on the floor.  Then you lower your butt downward as far as you can go without touching the ground.

Once you reach that point, bring your butt back up to the same position you started in.  Repeat the movement doing as many reps as you can.  This exercise not only strengthens your core, but it also improves your tricep strength.

How To Exercise With A Chair
Chair Dips Action Movement
How To Exercise With A Chair
Chair Dips Starting Position

 

Extended Legs Chair Dip

For this exercise you do it the same way as a regular chair dip, except your legs are straight and extended out.  Since this move is a little more challenging than the basic chair dip, you may not be able to go down as far.

You may have to focus on chair dips first for awhile and then build up to this one depending on your strength.  This also works your core and tricep muscles.

Extended Legs Chair Dips Position Action Movement
Extended Legs Chair Dips Position Action Movement
How To Exercise With A Chair
Extended Legs Chair Dips Starting Position
Elevated Crunchies

You’ll need to make sure the floor is clean before doing this one.  To start out, you place your calves and feet on the seat of the chair while lying down.  You place your right hand on your left shoulder and vice versa. Then you sit up until your looking directly forward.

Then you lower your trunk back to the floor until you’re in the same position you started from.  Repeat the exercise and do as many reps as possible.  Doing this helps improve the strength of your abdominal, hip flexor, and lower back muscles.

How To Exercise With A Chair
Elevated Crunchies Starting Position
How To Exercise With A Chair
Elevated Crunchies Action Movement
Sitting Leg Raises

To do these, you simply sit on the chair with your hands grasping the sides of the seat.  You bring your right leg up and across your trunk so your knee is pointing toward the left.  Then bring your leg back down to a sitting position.  After that, bring the same leg straight back up so it’s lined up with the center of your body.

Then bring it back down again into a normal sitting position.  Bring the same leg back up once more and angle it so your knee is facing outward toward the right side of your body.  Then bring the leg back down until you’re sitting again.  Repeat the same process in all 3 directions as many times as you can.

How To Exercise With A Chair
Sitting Leg Raises Center
How To Exercise With A Chair
Sitting Leg Raises Left

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Exercise With A Chair
Sitting Leg Raises Right

Then do the same 3 movements with the opposite leg.  These movements will help your inner thigh and groin muscles.  These are just a few exercises you can do with a chair and there are many more.

Please see the video below by Sparkpeople.com for more chair exercises to strengthen your core.

 

 

 

Summary – The thing I love about chair exercises is how convenient they are to do almost anywhere like I mentioned before.  They also don’t take up a lot of space.  So the next time you’re watching tv and want to get in a little exercise go ahead and make use of your chair.

A lot of people didn’t know it had so many uses besides sitting.  If you want to see some other exercises to improve your core please see my Core Exercise page here.  If you have any comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for your time and have a fantastic day!

Jon

Why Seafood is Important

Why Seafood is ImportantHello everyone!  Most of us know that eating a balanced diet of carbs, protein, and fat is essential to good health.

A lot of seafood provides quality amounts of protein and fat so you can get 2 good nutrients at the same time.

That’s one of the main reasons why seafood is important, however it has other benefits as well.  Below are some of the key advantages as to why we should eat seafood.

Benefits

1. Nutrients – Seafood is an excellent source of protein, which your body uses to repair and grow muscle tissue.  Most seafood is also a good source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids which are healthy fats.

2. Brain – EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are acids found in a majority of seafood.  These acids help promote healthy brain function and memory.

3. Lipids – Eating seafood helps reduce the less healthy fat (lipids) levels in your bloodstream.

4. Vision – Sharper visual acuity and better eyesight has been found to be related to seafood consumption.

5. Blood Pressure – Studies have shown that seafood in your diet can have positive effects on lowering blood pressure.

6. Skin – Seafood on a regular basis can help improve the health and texture of your skin.

Consumption

Why Seafood is ImportantAdults should eat 8 or more ounces of a variety of seafood per week.  Pregnant women should avoid shark, swordfish, tilefish, and mackerel due to mercury.

Everyone else shouldn’t eat excess amounts of those fish either.

For individuals with a weakened immune system, they shouldn’t consume any raw or partially cooked seafood.  These suggestions are from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Dietary Guidelines.

Below are some safety tips to follow and remember when preparing or eating seafood.

Safety

1. Refrigeration – Seafood should be kept refrigerated below 40 degrees before preparation.

2. Washing – Wash your hands and any kitchen utensils thoroughly before and after prepping any seafood.

3. Temperature – When cooking seafood it should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees for 15 seconds or more.

4. Source – Buy seafood from vendors known to have high quality and service.

5. Mercury – Most common seafoods in the United States have minimal risk of mercury.  People should focus more on reducing bacteria that gets on seafood from poor storage and handling techniques.  There’s a greater risk of bacteria from family and friends catching fish in polluted waters than from mercury as well.

Summary – As I mentioned before, seafood is a great way to get 2 healthy macronutrients in your meal at the same time.  It’s kind of like getting more bang for your buck.  Also, the benefits seafood provides far outweigh any minor risk of mercury.

Just keep in mind the safety aspect I talked about earlier and you should be fine.  The Seafood Nutrition Partnership has valuable information on seafood and consumption you can see here.  So what experiences or preferences do you have when it comes to seafood?

Personally, I love shrimp and the many ways it can be prepared and eaten. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.  If you have any questions I’ll gladly get back to you.  Thanks for your time and have an awesome day!

Jon

Pokemon Go For Exercise

Pokemon Go For ExerciseHello!  By now almost all of us have heard about the Pokemon Go craze.  Reports have shown over 100 million people have downloaded the app since it was released.

 

Now, I’m probably one of a very few people who thought wow, what a great way for so many people to get some exercise when I saw the numbers.

I don’t know much about Pokemon, but I’ve seen many people walking around with their heads down looking at their phones.  Many of them also cover some long distances.  So if you play Pokemon Go, today I’d like to share with you some tips on getting more out of it than walking.  I’ll also be going over some of the benefits you can get from playing it.

Exercise With Pokemon

Cardio – Since Pokemon Go requires you to go from one point to another, getting some cardio isn’t a problem.  If you want to make it even more intense, you could even do a slight jog when navigating your points.

Legs – Your lower body can definitely get a workout and strengthened from playing the game.  Some people have reported soreness in their legs while playing.  If you know you’re going to be walking a long distance, it’s a good idea to do some leg stretches before starting.

Also, since the game sometimes requires you to go over different terrains it can be beneficial.  Walking uphill is great for your glutes (buttocks) and hamstrings.

Pokemon Go For ExerciseExercise at Stops – Each time you catch a Pocket Monster character, or have to change directions stop and do an exercise.

Push-ups, burpees, crunchies, or jumping jacks are a few examples, but you can do any exercise you like.

If you’re with some friends you can do a little group exercise and have fun.

Mental Health – Exercise has been shown to help relieve stress so Pokemon Go is no different.  Going out and getting some fresh air is good for your cardiorespiratory system.  Also, meeting and socializing with other people can help relieve stress.  Everyone can actually have a lot of fun in the process.

Play Pokemon Go With Your Kids

If you’re an adult who isn’t really into Pokemon but your kids are, go ahead and play the game with them.  That way you and your kids can get some excellent exercise while having fun at the same time.

Safety

Stay aware of your surroundings while playing, especially if you’re in an urban area.  Don’t forget to look up from your phone from time to time, making sure you don’t put yourself in an unsafe situation.  Also, wear proper fitting and comfortable shoes.

Since a lot of walking is involved you don’t want to get blisters or have problems with your feet.  For more information on fitness footwear you can see my Reviews page here.

Summary – Now that we’re living in a world of technology, there’s nothing wrong with using it for positive and healthy effects.  Any tech game that gets you moving and involves physical activity can be used as exercise.

Whether it’s WII, Pokemon Go, or any other similar game it’s ok to have fun with it and get a workout in at the same time.  If you have any comments or questions please let me know and I’ll gladly get back to you. Thanks for reading and Pokemon Go!

Jon

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Eccentric Resistance Training Exercises

Eccentric Resistance Training ExercisesHello everyone!  Did you know there’s a simple way to get more out of your workout that many people never think about.

It’s called doing negatives or eccentric training.  A lot of people only know about the advantages of concentric training which is when your muscles contract.

When your muscles contract the muscle fibers shorten.  However, when you release the tension in your muscles the muscle fibers lengthen.  By slowing down the lengthening process, you can increase your muscle strength over time.

Most people don’t do this though, and instead lengthen their muscles quickly or let gravity do it.  The process of lengthening your muscles slowly is basically eccentric training.  It’s sometimes called doing negatives or negative training.

Now, you shouldn’t do negatives with every workout because you can get fatigued fairly quickly.  Most likely your muscles will be more sore than usual and you’ll need a longer recovery time.  I wouldn’t suggest doing more than 6-8 eccentric movements more than twice a week.

If you do it more than that just be aware your recovery time will probably be longer after working out.  The great thing about eccentric training is you can do it with many exercise movements.  Below are some common exercises you can do negatives with and how to do each one.

Exercises

1. Push-ups – When going down, lower yourself slowly while counting to 4, you should be on 4 in the down position, then push yourself back up.

2. Crunchies – Lower your back slowly down to the ground counting to 4, you should be on 4 when your back touches the ground, then raise your trunk back up.

Eccentric Resistance Training Exercises3. Dumbbell Curl – Bring the weight down slowly with a 4 count, then raise the dumbbell back up.

4. Weighted Squat – This can be down 2 ways.  Whether you use a barbell across your back or dumbbells in your hands it works the same.

As you lower yourself down to the squat position do it slowly while counting to 4. Once you’re in a squat position, raise yourself back up.

5. Overhead Press – To do this, you curl the dumbbells up first.  Then you lift the weights over your head, while turning your palms outward at the same time.  When the weights are over your head, bring them down to shoulder level slowly with a 4 count.  Then resume lifting them over your head.

These are just a few exercises you can do eccentric training with.  Just about any exercise that involves your muscles lengthening can have negative reps done with it.  Below are some of the benefits of eccentric training.

Benefits

1. Strength – Your overall muscular strength is increased within the fibers and tissues.

2. Joints – Your ligaments and tendons become stronger during the muscle lengthening process.

Eccentric Resistance Training Exercises3. Flexibility – Since your joints become stronger this leads to improved flexibility.

4. Balance and Coordination – Having stronger muscles and joints also helps with better balance and coordination.

5. Power – By having better muscular strength you’ll be able to have more power in explosive movements.

6. Injury Recovery – Recovering from injuries can be shortened by having better overall strength and stronger muscle fibers.

Summary – As I mentioned before, eccentric training shouldn’t be done all the time.  You should do it within your workout program occasionally to stimulate muscle strength.  It’s very easy to incorporate because you can do negatives with many exercises.

So the next time you’re doing an exercise with fairly easy movements, go ahead and do a few negative reps.  I’m sure you’ll be able to feel the results later, in a positive way.  The ACSM (American Council of Sports Medicine) did a great article on eccentric training you can see here.

If you have any comments or questions please let me know in the comments section and I’ll get back to you.  Thanks for your time and don’t forget about the negatives!

Jon

Physical Activities and Seniors

Physical Activities and SeniorsHello everyone!  The baby boomer generation of the United States is a huge population that’s fast moving into retirement age.

As they reach age 50 and over it’s even more important that they stay active to preserve their health.  So today I wanted to talk about the subject of physical activities and seniors.

There are numerous ways seniors can improve their fitness.  Whether they’re looking to improve their golf swing, or be able to lift boxes in and out of the car trunk, I’ll be sharing activities to cover those areas and more.  One thing they should keep in mind when starting any exercise program is to start out slowly.

Especially if they haven’t engaged in regular exercise in a while.  Trying to do too much too soon could cause injury.  They should also make sure they do a proper warm up of at least 5 minutes before exercising.  Cooling down for 5 minutes or more after a workout should be done as well.

The ACE (American Council on Exercise) did a good article on fitness and seniors you can see here.  Next, I’d like to get into some of the benefits of exercising after 50.

1. Lifespan – Exercise has been shown to extend the lifespan and reduce risk of early mortality.

2. Weight Control – Being active on a consistent basis helps everyone keep their weight under control.

3. Heart Disease – Seniors who engage in moderate exercise about 3-4 times a week can lower their risk of heart disease.

4. Stroke – Exercise also lessens their chance of having a stroke.

5. Type 2 Diabetes – Regular physical activity can help everyone keep blood sugar levels under control.

6. Cancer – Studies have shown that exercise may reduce the risk of getting some forms of cancer.

7. Fractures – Seniors can strengthen their skeletal system and bones with exercise, thereby lowering their risk of breaking bones.

8. Digestion – Research shows that exercise helps the digestive and gastrointestinal systems work more efficiently.

9. Sleep – Those that are more physically active than others are generally able to sleep better, regardless of your age.

10. Depression and Anxiety – Exercise has been found to help alleviate symptoms related to depression and anxiety.

11. Cognitive Function – Regular physical activity can help improve cognitive functions such as memory, concentration, and improve mood.

12. Medications – Many seniors who exercise routinely have been able to reduce or stop taking some of their medications.

Frequency

Seniors along with everyone else, should exercise a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise.

Group Training

Physical Activities and SeniorsMany health clubs now have group training classes designed specifically for seniors.

Group training can be a good way for them to meet other people with similar goals as themselves.

If they don’t have a club that does that type of training near them, they can also work out with a friend or 2 to make it more fun.

Strength Training

Seniors should focus on some of the major muscle groups when doing strength training.  This would include some of the core musculature such as chest, back, shoulders, hips, and abs.  They should also exercise their legs as well.

Strength training helps strengthen their ligaments, bones, and tendons in addition to just muscles.  This helps prevent against osteoporosis and arthritis.  It also helps flexibility since joint strength is improved. Resistance (Strength) training can also be done in a pool using the water as resistance.

They should strength train at least twice a week.  Light weights should be used and increased slowly over time as tolerable.  Body weight exercises are also good such as push-ups or butt lifts.

Balance

Seniors should do some type of balance exercises twice a week as part of their workout program.  To see some balance exercises they can do you can visit my exercise page on balance here.

Flexibility

Basic stretching exercises or even yoga should be part of their fitness regimen.  Having good flexibility will enable them to perform exercises and daily activities more efficiently.

Cardio

30 minutes 4-5 times a week should be the target seniors aim for on how much cardiorespiratory and cardiovascular training to do.

Enjoyment

I cant’t stress enough how important it is for everyone to do tings they enjoy when it comes to exercise.  The more you enjoy doing something, the more likely you’ll be to stick with it.  As long as you’re moving and your heart rate gets elevated for about 10-15 minutes or more, it can be considered exercise.

Having said that, it opens up the door to a lot of activities you can do outside of traditional exercise.  So you can use your imagination and be creative to do things that are fun.

Exercises For Seniors (Or Anyone)

1. Brisk Walking, Light Jogging

2. Gardening

3. Golf

4. Tennis

5. Bicycling – Stationary or mobile, for those with mobility limitations a pedaling device can be a good option.  For more information on a pedal tool they can use, you can visit my Reviews page here.

6. Core Exercises

7. Water Aerobics

8. Yoga

9. Light Weight Lifting

10. Dancing – Tango, Waltz, Ballroom, Square Dancing, any type of dancing.

Safety Precautions

1. Physical – Get a complete physical exam by your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

2. Clothes – Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

3. Temperature – Don’t exercise in extreme temperatures.

4. Hydration – Drink plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated.

5. Heart Rate Monitor – Heart rate monitors usually aren’t accurate if you’re on a heart medication.

6. Pain/Illness – Stop exercising and seek medical attention immediately if you experience chest pain, dizziness, light headedness, nausea, shortness of breath, sharp or severe pain anywhere in your body.

Summary – As a person moves into retirement age exercise is just as important, if not more so, than when they were younger.  Exercising can actually make them feel young again.  So if you’re a senior staying physically active is one of the best things you can do to help yourself live longer.

It can also be a lot of fun, because there are so may things you can do physically that are enjoyable.  If you’re not a senior, a lot of the tips I shared can be used by anyone to improve their fitness.  After all, exercise is something we all need to do, regardless of our age.

If you have any comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for your time and let’s do something active!

Jon

Why Are Minerals Important For Us?

Hello!  Minerals are kind of like the long lost child of people’s diets.

Why Are Minerals Important For UsMany people focus so much on carbs, protein, fats, and vitamins in their diet that they don’t really think about minerals.  So today I wanted to talk about why are minerals important for us?

There are tons of reasons why they’re important, but before I get into that I want to give you some general information on minerals.  Unlike other nutrients, minerals are ions that don’t change their form during digestion.

Minerals play many roles in your body, ranging from being catalysts for enzymes to a more structural function.  They’re classified into 2 categories, major minerals and trace minerals.  Your body requires more than 100 mg of each major mineral per day, but requires less than 100 mg per day of trace minerals.

Foods from both plants and animals can be sources of minerals.  Usually animal food will contain more minerals than plant food.  I’ll be going over some of the more common major minerals first.

Major Minerals
Sodium

Many people don’t realize that sodium, commonly known as an ingredient in table salt, is an essential mineral.  We always hear about how we shouldn’t eat too much salt which is true, however some sodium in your diet is required for certain body functions.

Function – Sodium is critical in the regulation of body fluids.  It acts with potassium and chloride to maintain body water distribution and blood pressure.  Nerve activity and muscle function require sodium, it’s also needed to control your body’s acidity level and absorption of nutrients.

Dietary Recommendation – The recommended daily dose of sodium is is 1500 mg and you should try to stay below 2400 mg.  To give you an idea how little that is, one teaspoon of table salt is about 2300 mg.  Hence, you really don’t need to add much salt to your food to stay within the daily limit.

Sources – Most sodium in the American diet comes from processed foods. Pickles, ham, and spaghetti sauce are foods rich in sodium.

Potassium

Potassium is one of the key minerals that’s responsible for the structure of our cells.

Function – The flow of potassium in and out of your cells is important for muscle contractions, transmission of nerve signals, and regulation of blood pressure.

Dietary Recommendation – The recommended daily dose of potassium is between 3500-4700 mg.

Sources – Dates, raisins, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, and lentils are good sources of potassium.

Chloride

Chloride is a negatively charged ion that’s most commonly known as the other ingredient in table salt besides sodium.

Function – Chloride helps maintain your body’s fluid balance.  It also combines with hydrogen to form hydrochloric acid in your stomach for digestion.  Your white blood cells also use chloride to help fight bacteria and infections.

Dietary Recommendation – The daily suggested dose of chloride is between 3400-3600 mg.

Sources – Although chloride is found in some fruits and vegetables, most of our chloride intake comes from salt.

Calcium – Your body contains more calcium than any other mineral, it’s about 2% of your body weight.  It’s not only important for healthy bones and teeth, but it also has other significant uses.

Function – Calcium helps prevent hypertension, reduces your risk of cancer, helps with weight control, and lowers your risk of kidney stones. Bones and teeth contain about 99% of your body’s calcium.

This makes them hard and strong so they don’t easily break.  The other 1% helps with muscle contraction, nerve impulses, blood clotting, and cellular metabolism.

Dietary Recommendation – For adults ages 19-50 and men up to age 70, the recommended daily dose of calcium is 1000 mg.  For women 51 and older and adults over 70 the suggested daily dose is 1200 mg.

Why Are Minerals Important For UsSources – Dairy products are the best source of calcium.  Low fat and non fat milk are great sources because of the lower fat content.

Non fat yogurt is another good choice.  Collard greens, sardines, and spinach are also fairly high in calcium.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is an important component of ATP which is the energy source of all cells.  It also plays a part in the structure of DNA.

Function – Phosphorus helps in the biochemical reactions within cells and also helps in the health of bones.

Dietary Recommendation – The daily suggested dose of phosphorus is 700 mg for adults and 1250 mg for adolescents to support growth.

Sources – Cheese, beef, liver, lentils, and turkey are good sources of phosphorus.

Magnesium

Magnesium is the 4th most abundant mineral in your body.  About 60% is found in bones and the rest in soft tissue.

Function – Magnesium is involved in enzyme reactions with DNA and protein synthesis in your body.  It’s also used for muscle contractions and blood clotting.

Dietary Recommendation – The daily recommended intake of magnesium is 400 mg for men and 310 mg for women.

Sources – Spinach, soybeans, all bran cereal, and brown rice are all foods with a good amount of magnesium.

Trace Minerals
Iron

Iron is the 4th most abundant mineral in the earth, however iron deficiency is the most common mineral deficiency in the world.  It’s fairly high in both industrial and developing countries.  The NASM (National Association of Sports Medicine) wrote a great article on the importance of iron you can read here.

Function – Iron plays a key role in the body’s use of energy and metabolism.  It also helps with brain development and enhancing your immune system.

Dietary Recommendation – The recommended daily dose of iron is 8 mg for men and post menopausal women. For women of childbearing age it’s 18 mg per day.

Why Are Minerals Important For Us?Sources – Beef is probably the best source of iron, other sources include clams, liver, poultry, fish, pork, and legumes.Zinc

Some people think of Zinc only in relation to zinc oxide which is a common sunscreen, or zinc lozenges for colds and sore throat.  However, zinc has many other purposes besides those.

Function – Cell growth and health is one of the main functions of zinc.   It’s also used for protein and fat metabolism, fertility and reproduction, maturation of sexual organs, hormone activity, night vision, and strengthening your immune system.

Dietary Recommendation – The recommended daily consumption of zinc is 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women.  Women should increase their dose to 11 mg during pregnancy.

Sources – Red meat, oysters, clams, and poultry are good sources of zinc.

Selenium

Two amino acid derivatives, selenomethionine and selenocysteine contain most of your body’s selenium.

Function – Selenium is involved in the metabolism of iodine and enhancing your immune system.

Dietary Recommendation – The suggested daily intake of selenium is 55 micrograms for men and women.

Sources – Lobster, tuna, salmon, turkey, and cheese are great sources of selenium.

Iodine

Iodine deficiency is still a nutritional problem in some parts of the world. It’s complete eradication is still a goal of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Function – Iodine is a critical element of the 2 thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).  These hormones control the regulation of body temperature, basal metabolic rate, reproduction, and growth.

Dietary Recommendation – The recommended daily amount of iodine for men and women is 150 micrograms.  Consistently low levels of iodine can result in the condition of goiter, which is major swelling of the neck tissue.

Sources – Iodized salt, milk, white bread, flour, and beef liver are all rich sources of iodine.

Copper

Although many people think about copper in the form of pennies, it does serve some important purposes in your body.

Function – Copper plays a role in the health of nerve tissue, boosting your immune system, and cardiovascular function.

Dietary Recommendation – The daily dose suggested for copper is 900 micrograms for men and women.

Sources – Shellfish, nuts, legumes, peanut butter, and chocolate are excellent sources of copper.

Manganese

Manganese gets it name from a Greek term for magic.  Even though its functions aren’t magical, they are needed by your body.

Function – Manganese serves as an antioxidant to prevent tissue damage in your body.  It’s also used to form urea in the urine and helps to form cartilage in bone and skin.

Dietary Recommendation – The recommended daily amount of manganese is 2.3 mg for men and 1.8 mg for women.

Sources – Pineapples, bran cereal, whole wheat spaghetti, brown rice, and spinach are all high in manganese.

Summary – The major and trace minerals I’ve mentioned are just some of the more common minerals.  There are many other minerals that people consume, usually in lower, but could be larger amounts.  Minerals play just as an important role in your diet as any other nutrient.

Many times they don’t get talked about as much, because they’re not as glamorous as the carbs, protein, and fats that people usually prefer to discuss.  The key to having a quality diet is balance with all the nutrients. This way you’re less likely to neglect a specific nutrient that you need.

If you have any comments or questions please feel free to let me know and I’ll get back to you.  Thanks for reading and don’t forget your minerals!

Jon

Shin Splints and Prevention

Shin Splints and PreventionHello everyone!  Now that summer time is here and people are running more, shin splints can sneak up on people as an overuse injury.

People who run every day or more than 4-5 times a week are usually more susceptible than folks who run less often.

Also, some athletes that are very active may suffer from shin splints.

Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) is inflammation of the tissue covering the tibia (shin bone).  It can be very painful for a lot of people.  So today I’m going to go over the subject of shin splints and prevention.

Doing a few small things before you run can help in reducing or avoiding pain after you start.  Below are some prevention measures you can do before running to lessen your chances of getting shin splints.

Prevention

1. Shoes – Make sure your shoes have good tread, arch support, and foot/ankle support.  If they’re lacking in any of these areas you should replace them.  Having proper fitting shoes is also important.  They should fit snug without looseness or tightness in the toe or heel area.

2. Stretching – This is probably the biggest thing you can do to help avoid shin splints.  One stretch that’s easy to do is the sitting shin stretch.  To do this, you sit on the floor with both legs extended in front of you.

Then you point both feet and all toes downward toward the floor.  Hold that position for 30 seconds or more.  You should feel a stretch in your shins while doing it.

Another one is called the runner’s stretch.  For a demonstration of this stretch please see the video below by Dr. John Rusin with Water and Sports Physical Therapy.

3. Stabilization – Wrapping your shins up in bandages or training tape can help stabilize them while you run.  Sleeves and compression socks can also be worn to offer more stabilization.

4. Surfaces – Running on concrete or pavement makes you more prone to shin splints.  If possible, try to run on softer surfaces such as grass, dirt, sand, or rubberized tracks.

5. Stride – Don’t overstride, this can cause you to land on your heel first which creates more impact in your leg.  Try to have a natural stride landing more on the balls of your feet.

Below are some ways you can try and alleviate pain or discomfort if you get shin splints.

Treatment

1. Rest – Sounds simple enough, but for some runners and exercise enthusiasts it’s not easy to do.  However, not running for awhile is the only way your body can start the healing process.  Continuing to run could possibly lead to stress fractures.  So listen to your body and make sure you get proper rest.

2. Ice – Ice your shins while resting.  This will help reduce swelling and aid in the healing process.

3. Alternate Exercises – While recovering from shin splints do exercises less impactful to your legs.  Riding a stationary bike or swimming are a couple examples of ways to stay active.

4. Distance – Once you’ve recovered from shin splints and are ready to run again start out gradually.  Shorten the distance from what you did before the shin splints, over time you can slowly add more distance until you’re back at your normal level.

This way your leg muscles, ligaments, and tendons can get stronger as you build yourself up.  Also, avoid running uphill because this puts more strain on your lower body muscles and joints.

Summary – Running or jogging is great exercise, but just like any other exercise you can overdo it.  You know your body better than anyone else, so take heed to any warning signs it gives you.  Like I mentioned before, not taking care of shin splints and trying to run through them could cause stress fractures or even worse.

Also, if the pain or discomfort doesn’t go away after resting awhile, you should seek professional medical help.  The National Council on Strength & Fitness (NCSF) did a nice article on shin splints and stress fractures you can see here.

If you’ve had any experiences with shin splints you’d like to share please let us know in the comments.  Or, if you have any comments or questions feel free to let me know as well.  Thanks for reading and have a fantastic day!

Jon

 

Yowza Elliptical Review

Yowza Elliptical ReviewNaples Elite Cardio-Core EVO Elliptical
  • Product: Naples Elite Cardio-Core EVO Elliptical 
  • Company: Yowza Fitness
  • Price: $2699
  • Waranties: Lifetime Frame and Braking System, 7 Years Parts and Electronics, 2 Years In-Home Labor
  • Delivery: Free Delivery and Professional Assembly
  • My Personal Rating: 9.9 out of 10

Hello!  Elliptical training can be one of the best ways to get cardio training and a total body workout in at the same time.  Many ellipticals are less impactful on your joints, and when your workout is finished you can still walk away feeling like you exerted yourself.

Today I wanted to discuss one of my personal favorite ellipticals in the fitness industry, the Naples Elite by Yowza Fitness.  If you’re looking for an elliptical that combines top of the line technology with fitness, this one fits that bill.

Cardio, Core, Upper Body, Lower Body

With the way this machine is designed, it emphasizes core movements more than any other elliptical I know.  This is because it’s made with a core training handlebar that rotates clockwise and counter clockwise while you’re using it.

You can also adjust the resistance of the handlebar so your upper body works harder than your lower body.  Conversely, you can adjust it the opposite way so your lower body works harder than your core and arms.

Being able to make these types of adjustments is called Target Shaping, and not a lot of ellipticals have this capability.  Since your core and upper body are involved extensively, it allows you to burn more calories than other trainers.

Flexibility

Since there’s very little impact to your ligaments and tendons, this helps increase the overall flexibility of your joints.  It has pivoting pedals to maximize the ergonomic alignment of your feet and ankles.

Programs

The Naples Elite has 16 levels of resistance and 5 custom programs.  This gives you a wide array of options to choose from, whether you’re a beginner or in an advanced stage of fitness.

It also has 9 user profiles that can be retained by its memory.  This way just about everyone in the family can use it and won’t have to re-enter all their information each time they get on it.  Please see the video below for more details on the trainer.

Amenities

The elliptical comes with a 3 way adjustable fan to keep you cool and transportation wheels.  The wheels come in handy in case you want to move it from one room to another.  It has a push button, power driven seat that raises and lowers allowing you to get on and off the machine easily.

Electronics

The Naples Elite has a blue tooth scale that remembers your body weight and enables you to customize a workout based on your weight.  Also, as your body weight changes, the machine will adjust your workout with its cloud system so you don’t have to do it manually.

The blue tooth has a built in sound system as well with high fidelity speakers.  This way you can listen to your favorite songs in a crystal clear tone.  You can also surf the web while using the trainer allowing you to multi-task if needed.

Another nice feature is it has a USB port for tablet and phone charging. Fitsound and MyLiveLight programs are also available with the machine.

Summary

The Naples Elite is a state of the art elliptical trainer that can help you accomplish many of your fitness goals.  If you’re looking to improve your cardio, core, burn a ton of calories, and enhance your total body strength this machine is a great choice.

It’s designed in a revolutionary way that doesn’t leave hardly any aspect of your fitness uncovered.  It is a little pricey compared to other ellipticals, however when you consider the quality and value you get in return, I highly recommend it.

It’s also nice to know that the machine is backed by Yowza Fitness, a very respected brand in the fitness industry.  They really do care about their customers’ fitness just like I do.  In fact, they offer a 30 day money back guarantee on all products, not including shipping, delivery, and assembly charges.  They also have financing available if you qualify.

Please click here for more information on the trainer or to order yours today!  If you have any comments or questions about the machine please let me know and I’ll get back to you.  Thanks for your time and have an awesome day!

Jon

What Are Benefits of Bike Riding?

What Are Benefits of Bike Riding?Hi!  To be and stay healthy you need to be physically active. That’s a very important part of the equation along with a nutritious diet.

Now that it’s summer time, I wanted to share some information on the positive effects bike riding has on your health.

Bringing it back to the title of this blog, I’m basically going to answer the question “What are benefits of bike riding?”  Actually, there are very many and you may be surprised at some of them.  So without further ado, below I’ll be going over them.

Health Benefits

1. Cardiovascular – Pedaling a bike does wonders for your heart, lungs, and circulation.  It helps your heart muscle and lungs get stronger. Circulation throughout your entire body, not just your lower body, is improved.

2. Weight Loss – Studies have shown that riding a bike at a moderate pace can burn roughly 300 calories per hour.  For someone who’s goal is to lose weight this can be a great option.

3. Balance and Coordination – Since balance and coordination are needed to stay upright on your bike, these 2 aspects of fitness are enhanced along with many others.

4. Joints – Bike riding is a low impact activity so your ligaments and tendons undergo less stress than a lot of other exercises.  Your joints are strengthened making them more durable for future activity.

5. Flexibility – Because your joints are made stronger, your overall flexibility is improved as well.

6. Muscular Strength – Pedaling involves many muscles working together so it’s more than just your legs that get stronger.  It’s also great for your glutes (buttocks).  While steering, kinetic chain movements are involved so your upper body also gets a workout.

7. Metabolism – Biking improves your metabolism, this makes it easier for your body to burn calories during normal activities.

Research conducted by scientists has shown that the following benefits may apply to people who bicycle at a moderate pace on a regular basis.

8. Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Cognitive Functioning – Cycling helps reduce the symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety.  This is because while bike riding endorphin chemicals are released in your brain.

These chemicals improve your mood and help you feel happy.  Also, your cognitive functioning is more acute because of increased neural activity in your brain.

9. Stroke, Blood Pressure, Heart Disease – Bicycling can reduce your risk of stroke and help lower your blood pressure.  Since your heart muscle becomes stronger this decreases your chances of heart disease.

10. Diabetes – Bike riding at a moderate pace 2 hours a week or more can reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

11. Lungs – Most bike riders ride on the edge of streets, and as a result breathe in less pollution than car drivers.  Hence, your lungs can become stronger over time.

12. Cancer – Consistent cycling may reduce your overall risk of having cancer.

What Are Benefits of Bike Riding?13. Sleep – Riding a bike in daylight can improve the circadian rhythm in your body leading to deeper and higher quality sleep.

14. Lifespan – Cycling can have anti-aging effects which promote a longer life expectancy.

15. Gastrointestinal Function – Physical activity decreases the time it takes food to move through your digestive tract.  Since biking increases your heart rate and breathing, this in turn stimulates your intestinal muscles which improve your gastrointestinal system.

16. Immune System – Your immune system becomes stronger with bicycling making you less prone to illness and disease.

The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) did an outstanding article on the effects of bike riding you can see here.

Why Bike Ride?

1. Simple – Most of us learned to ride a bike at a young age and still know how to do it.  Therefore, it’s not something many of us need to to be taught.  Bicycling is definitely one of the easiest activities you can partake in to improve your health.

2. Intensity – With bike riding you’re in full control of how fast or slow you go.  You know your body, so if you need to pick up your pace or slow down to catch your breath it’s easy to do so.

What Are Benefits of Bike Riding?3. Enjoyment – Cycling can be one of the most enjoyable and relaxing exercises you can find.

 

If you’re able to ride outside city limits in a countryside somewhere it can be very peaceful.  It’s also something the whole family or your friends can do with you so everyone can have fun.

4. Errands – Once in a while you may be able to use a bike instead of your car to run errands.  If you have a basket on your bike you can get small items from a store.  Or if you need to go to a place like the bank or library, you can bike there instead as well.

5. Environment – Riding a bike instead of driving a car is better for the environment.  Bicycles don’t spit out any harmful toxins into the air like many cars do.

6. Traffic – Research has shown that biking in some UK cities can get you to your destination faster.  In some UK cities during rush hour traffic moves about 7 mph, whereas bicycling can allow you to move about 12 mph.

7. Economical – Every time you use your bike instead of your car you save on gas.  With gas prices not being as cheap as they used to be, this can save you a good bit of money over time.

Stationary Bike

If you don’t have a mobile bicycle, you can still reap many advantages from using an exercise bike.  So don’t let the fact that you don’t have a bike stop you from engaging in a great cardiovascular and strength workout.

Safety

Please make sure you wear a helmet at all times while cycling. Inadvertently hitting a pothole or rock could result in serious injury, so definitely take precautions to protect yourself.  Also, if you ride at night make sure you have reflective devices for your bike and wear reflective clothing.

Summary – If you’re looking for a way to break up the monotony of traditional exercise, cycling is an excellent option.  It’s almost a total body workout that can help you get in awesome shape.  Also, one of the best parts about it is, it’s really a lot of fun!

If you haven’t ridden in a while or don’t have a bike, it’s a good investment that can give your body nice rewards.  You can feel like a kid for a little while and relieve stress at the same time.

So what kind of experiences have you had with a bike?  Feel free to share them with us in the comments.  Or, if you have any questions or comments please let me know and I’ll gladly get back to you.  Thanks for your time and let’s go biking!

Jon

 

Get Off the Couch! How to Take the First Step in an Exercise Program

Get Off the Couch! How to Take the First Step in an Exercise ProgramHello!  Many times I hear people say I would start on an exercise program, but I don’t know how to get started.

 

Or they might say I don’t have time or I’m too busy.  Well, today I’m going to answer the question “How do I start a fitness program?”  It’s really not that difficult to get started.

The hard part for most people is sticking to a program once they get started.  I’ll also be covering ways to help you stay on a program after you’ve started.

Another thing I’d like to emphasize is this, please make sure you get checked out and cleared by a physician before beginning any type of exercise program. This is of the utmost importance, especially if you haven’t worked out in a while.  One of the biggest obstacles people need to get over before starting a workout program is their mindset.

Mindset to Start an Exercise Program

1. Simplicity – Your fitness program doesn’t need to have a bunch of fancy charts or worksheets to be effective.  You also don’t need to hire a personal trainer to get in good shape.  You can start out with simple, uncomplicated exercises and progress from there.

2. Goals – To make sure you’re progressing and moving forward with your fitness you need to set clear, concise, and realistic goals.  These can be something as simple as doing 10 push-ups this week and setting a goal to do 12 next week.

3. Learn From Past Behavior – If you tried a workout program in the past but it didn’t work out for you don’t get down on yourself.  Try and look back and identify why it didn’t work.  This way you can focus more on correcting those shortcomings going forward.

4. Self-Discipline – This is something you have to look inside yourself for. I served 20 years in the US Army so I learned this trait very well.   However, it doesn’t matter what your background is, we can all employ self-discipline if we want something.

It basically comes down to how bad do you want it, how hard are you willing to work for it, and how much are you willing to sacrifice for it.

Excuses

Not falling into traps of excuses is definitely something you want to avoid in getting fit.  Below are some of the more common excuses people use that prevent them from reaching their goals.

1. Not Enough Time – I think this is probably the biggest excuse I hear from people as to why they don’t work out.  My answer is pretty simple. We all get the same 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week.

If you look hard enough, Most people can squeeze 30 minutes out of a day somewhere to exercise.  Whether it’s in the morning or evening, many people can find the time somewhere.

2. Too Fat – No matter what size you are, it’s never too late to start working out.  The only way to remedy the situation and be less fat is to burn more calories than you consume.  And it’s really difficult to do that without exercising.

3. Too Old – You’re never too old to exercise.  You may not be able to exercise like you did when you were younger, but everyone should exercise at least a little bit.  In fact, the more you exercise, the better chances you have of extending your lifespan.

4. Too Tired – A lot of times this is because someone isn’t getting enough sleep.  You should make sure you’re getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night, preferably 8.  By working out, you can also sleep better which should make you less tired during the day.

5. Not Athletic Enough – You don’t have to be athletic to work out.  Many exercises have simple movement techniques that just about anyone can learn.  By learning these basic movement patterns you can burn calories and get in shape.

Exercise Intensity – Moderate

Some people wonder how hard should I go when I’m first starting to exercise?  You should aim to keep your heart rate at 50% – 75% of your Max Heart Rate (MHR).  The number you come up with is known as your Target Heart Rate (THR).

For example, if you’re 40 years old then your MHR would be 220-40 (age) which is 180.  Then 50%-75% of 180 would be 90-135 beats per minute for your THR. This is the range your pulse should be at while exercising.

Another way you can gauge if your exercise is moderate enough is the Talk test.  While working out it should be a little difficult to carry on a conversation with someone, but not impossible.  If you can talk easily you should pick up your pace or intensity.  Conversely, if you can’t talk at all, you should slow down a bit.

Frequency

150 minutes of moderate intensity per week is a good starting point if you’re just beginning an exercise regimen.  You should start out there for at least 2 weeks.  Then gradually increase the frequency after that if you want to challenge yourself more.  However, 150 minutes per week is enough to get in pretty decent shape.

Developing Good Workout Habits

Below are some ways you can develop good workout habits to help you reach your goals.

1. Enjoyable – Choose some activities you like to do as part of your exercise program.  If you like to do something you’ll be more inclined to stick with it and keep yourself active.

Get Off the Couch! How to Take the First Step in an Exercise Program2. Build Up Slowly – One problem a lot of people have is they try to move too fast when starting a workout program.

What I mean by that is, they try to regain back everything they’ve lost over several months or years in one workout.

When this happens they get disappointed and frustrated and end up quitting before they really get started.

I tell people to look at it like this.  You didn’t get overweight or out of shape overnight, so you definitely can’t get back in shape overnight either. You have to take it one workout at a time and be patient.

3. Plan Around Obstacles – If you know you like to work out at a specific time of day, but you have an obligation you need to attend to at that time, plan to work out at a different time that day.

For example, if you like to work out in the evenings, but know you have a PTA meeting that evening, plan to work out that morning.  That way you don’t miss a workout that day.

4. Scheduling – Having an organized workout schedule is very important to your success.  Pick a time that works well for you and if possible try to exercise around the same time each day.  Some people prefer mornings while others prefer evenings.

It really doesn’t matter which time you choose.  However, being consistent with the same time helps your body adapt to changes a little easier.

5. Journaling – When you do exercises write down your results each time you finish.  This way you have minor goals to shoot for and exceed the next time you do that exercise.  It also helps your self-esteem and self-confidence by seeing on paper what you accomplished.

6. Accountability – If you can work out with a friend and be accountable to each other for showing up and working hard that’s great!  Even if you can’t find a friend to work out with you can still have someone check in with you to ask if you did your workout.

Doing this helps you stay accountable to yourself and miss less workouts. There’s also online fitness communities you can join and find a partner there to be accountable with.  You and your online buddy can share success stories and help motivate each other.

Get Off the Couch! How to Take the First Step in an Exercise Program7. Social Engagement – Some people prefer being in a social environment to work out such as a gym, exercise class, etc.

That’s fine and you should choose the environment that makes you most comfortable.

 

For people who prefer that route there are many different types of classes they can take that involve physical activity.  Dance classes, tennis, fencing, rock climbing, etc are a few options.

8. Family and Friends – Let your family and friends know you’re starting a workout program.  Ask them to be supportive and encouraging as you embark on your journey to be fit.  Having strong social support makes it much easier to be successful.

There are also many fun activities you can do with family and friends that help you burn calories.  Some of these include Badminton, Volleyball, Bowling, Ultimate Frisbee, Horse Shoes, Interactive video games such as WII, etc.  Just about anything that gets you up and moving can be considered exercise.

Safety

Below are some safety tips to follow to lower your risk of injury when first starting a fitness program.

1. Warm-Up – Warming up before any workout is definitely important to help prevent injury.  You should warm up for at least 5 minutes before any physical activity.  This gets blood flowing to your muscles and tissues to reduce your chances of strains, sprains, or pulls.

2. Cool-Down – Just as important as warming up is cooling down.   Cooling down after exercising helps bring your heart rate down gradually. This helps prevent against heart problems and blood pooling in your extremities.

3. Hydration – Staying hydrated before, during, and after working out is extremely important.  This will help lower your risk of cramping and becoming dehydrated.

4. Pain – If you notice any pain while exercising, whether it’s sharp or dull, you should stop immediately.  Rest for a little while and if it subsides you can try to start again very slowly.  If you feel it a second time you should stop exercising altogether and seek medical attention.

There is a difference between pain and discomfort or soreness.  Pain is usually brought on while doing a movement.  Where as discomfort or soreness is normally milder and like an ache you feel after working out.

Listen to your body and don’t overdo it, because working out through pain will many times lead to an injury.

Summary – Getting started in a workout program is more mental than anything else.  It all basically comes down to how bad do you want to be in better shape than you are now.  You really have to want to change and take that first step, because no one else can take it for you.

Once you’ve crossed that hurdle, you can go as far as you want, like the old saying goes, “the sky’s the limit.”  There’s no shortage of exercises or activities to do to get in shape.  It all depends on what your preferences are.  Now, I didn’t list out specific exercises to do in this blog because everyone’s goals are different.

I have exercises covering the 9 components of fitness on my site so you can use some of those if you like to get started.  If you’d like more information on those key areas of fitness you can visit my blog here.  So when are you going to get off the couch and get started with your workout?

If you have any experiences with your own workout program you’d like to share feel free to let us know in the comments.  Or, if you have any comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you. Thanks for reading and let’s get started!

Jon

Cardio and Bodybuilders

Cardio and BodybuildersHello!  Working in the fitness industry, a lot of times I hear people debating whether bodybuilders or people mainly concerned about building muscle need cardio.

So today I thought I’d share some information on cardio and bodybuilders to help answer that question.

First I’d like to say that cardio exercise is good for everyone, regardless of your fitness goals.  Some people are concerned about cardio training breaking down muscle tissue to use for energy.  However, your body only does this as a last resort, after all other energy sources have been depleted.

Your body will use glucose, carbs, and fats before it resorts to breaking down muscle tissue for energy.  This being said, most people don’t do enough cardio to have to worry about that happening.  If someone is trying to preserve muscle tissue, they can normally do between 120-150 minutes of cardio per week and still maintain their muscle mass.

Now, if someone’s goal is to lose weight, they should do about 150-250 minutes of cardio per week to help them burn fat.  Once they hit their target weight, they can ease up on the cardio a little bit and focus more on building muscle.  Below are some of the major benefits and why everyone should do at least a little cardio.

1. Heart and Lungs –  Cardiorespiratory training strengthens your heart muscle.  This allows you to increase your endurance and go farther into workouts before getting fatigued.  It also strengthens your lungs so your body can take in more oxygen which also helps your endurance.

2. Resting Metabolism Rate – Having a strong cardio system keeps your resting metabolism functioning at a good pace.  This helps you burn calories at a decent rate while resting.

Cardio and Bodybuilders3. Active Metabolism Rate – Your active metabolism is improved by doing cardio as well.  This is your metabolism that burns calories throughout the day.

It’s done via daily activities such as walking, moving your arms and legs, etc.

4. Caloric Burn – For those trying to lose weight or tone up 30 minutes or more of moderate to intense cardio can do wonders.  Even bodybuilders that may have just a little bit of fat they’re trying to get rid of can benefit from it.

Below are different types of cardio workouts that can be done to improve your fitness.

1. Steady State/Continous – Getting your heart rate elevated for at least 10 minutes or more from an activity.

2. Intervals – Short term high intensity activity with short rest periods in between activities.

3. Circuits – Short duration high intensity activities mixed with low intensity strength training.

Common Modes of Cardio

1. Running – Running or jogging is probably the most common.  Some people choose other methods because of the impact on their joints.

2. Treadmills – Good tool to use if you want to time your session.  Many times you can adjust it so you’re on an incline to make it more challenging.

3. Ellipticals – Great devices to get your arms, shoulders, and legs involved in the action.

4. Stair Climber – Make sure you have strong knees before using, it can be moderately stressful on your lower body joints.

5. Rowing – Excellent exercise to get your back, legs, and shoulders involved with your cardio session.

6. Bicycling – Whether it’s a stationary bike or outdoor bike it’s less stressful on your joints, therefore it’s a good option for people with joint problems.

Cardio and Bodybuilders

 

 

 

 

 

Summary – Cardiorespiratory and cardiovascular training is a key component of fitness and shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone, regardless of your goals.Some people may need to do it more than others, but in the end it’s good for everyone’s general health and fitness.

Also, when doing cardio it doesn’t have to be limited to the exercises I listed.  Any activity that meets the criteria of the 3 types I explained can be considered cardio.  That can give you a lot of fun options to choose from, because enjoyment is important.

The more you like to do a certain exercise, the more likely you’ll want to do it again and it won’t feel like a grind.  If you have any comments or questions please let me know and I’ll get back to you.  Thanks for your time and have an awesome day!

Jon

Is Roller Skating Good Cardio?

Is Roller Skating Good Cardio?Hello!  Did you ever like to roller skate as a kid?  Remember how excited you were when you got your first pair of skates?

Do you remember how much fun it was, even though you may have fallen down a few times?

Well, the good news is you can still recapture that same fun and excitement as an adult.

And you know what, the best part is it’s great exercise!  Now, sometimes people wonder is roller skating good cardio because it’s not as intense as other cardio workouts.  The answer is yes, it’s not only good cardio, but it has excellent other benefits as well.

Today I’m going to discuss what those advantages are in addition to other information about skating.  I’ve outlined some of the major benefits of roller skating below.

1. Stress – Roller skating releases chemicals in your brain called endorphins.  These endorphins put you in a good mood and make you feel happy.  It’s also good for depression and helps prevent it.

2. Stamina and Endurance – Skating increases your muscular and cardiorespiratory stamina and endurance.  This means your muscles, heart, and lungs can work for longer periods of time before you feel fatigued.

3. Joints – Since roller skating is done in a fairly fluid movement within your kinetic chain, there’s much less impact on your bones, ligaments, and tendons compared to other cardio exercises.  Research has shown that skating can be up to 50% less impactful on your joints than the same amount of time spent running or jogging.

4. Strength – Many major muscles get a great workout with skating.  The ones involved the most are your glutes (buttocks) and calves.  However, your abs, obliques, hip flexors, hip extensors, back, and shoulders are involved providing an almost total body workout.  Your achilles tendon and ankle ligaments also get strengthened.

5. Cardio – Your heart and lungs become stronger and moderate skating has been shown to increase your heart rate up to 140-160 beats per minute.  Also, on average you can burn about 300-600 calories in an hour of skating depending on your speed.

6. Diabetes – Being overweight, having a sedentary and inactive lifestyle, and a poor diet can contribute to type 2 diabetes.  Roller skating lowers blood glucose levels and improves your cholesterol levels.  This being said, skating can help control or prevent diabetes.

Is Roller Skating Good Cardio?

7. Balance – Having good balance is important because it helps your body move more efficiently and expend less energy doing normal activities.

 

Skating requires you to use your core musculature to lean forward, backwards, and stay upright.  By doing this it helps you improve your overall balance.

8. Coordination – Skating requires you to make coordinated movements as you turn different directions and move in general.  Hence, your coordination will become sharper.

9. Fun – One of the ingredients of fitness is fun.  You rarely see people roller skating that are in a bad mood.  In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite.  Most people I’ve seen are smiling, laughing, and having a fun time.

Even if they fall down, they usually laugh at themselves and get right back up.  It’s also fun for all ages and is a good way to bring generations together so a good time can be had by all.

Summary – The health advantages of roller skating are really awesome!   If you’ve been thinking of an activity to do this summer that’s good for you, I would highly suggest skating.

For more detailed information on cardio, strength, and balance which are areas skating improves, please see my blog on the 9 components of fitness here.  There’s also different variations of skating you can do.

Besides traditional roller skating, you can also do inline skating or speed skating if you want to challenge yourself even more.  Please make sure you use protective equipment when you skate as well.  At a minimum you should wear a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads.

We want to make sure you stay safe while having fun this summer.  So when’s the next time you’re going roller skating?  If you have any experiences in skating you’d like to share please feel free to do so.

Or, if you have any comments or questions please let me know and I’ll get back to you.  Thanks for reading and have fun skating!

Jon

 

How Do I Start an Online Fitness Business?

Hello!  Have you ever wanted to start your own online business?  Many people, including myself have wondered about that exact thing.  I’ve recently started my own online fitness business.  So today I’m going to share some information related to the question “How do I start an online fitness business?”

Actually, I’ll be explaining how you can start your own online business with any subject, it doesn’t just have to be fitness.  I’m using fitness as an example because that’s what my particular niche is.  I’ve been doing it for 5 months now and love it!

Before you start an online business though, you need to make sure it’s something your passionate about.  By doing that, it makes it a lot more fun and exciting for you and will hold your interest more.

I’ve been passionate about fitness for several years now, love talking about it, and helping people with it.

There are many companies out there to help you get started with online marketing.  However, you need to be careful because many companies are scams.

The company I highly suggest to use to start an online business is Wealthy Affiliate.  I’ve been working with them for the past 5 months and it’s been awesome!

The company has been helping people start online businesses since 2005.  That’s like an eternity in the internet marketing world.  Below are some of the reasons Wealthy Affiliate is a great place to start.

1. Step by Step Training Course – Even if you have no computer or online marketing experience like myself, you can still be successful because of the training.  The training teaches you step by step with easy to follow videos, lessons, and interactive classrooms.

They cover everything from beginning to end on how to be successful online.  They also have weekly training video seminars so you can continually learn more to build your business.

2. All Tools Needed – You’re provided with all the tools necessary to set up a successful online business.  For example, you’ll have access to a great keyword tool so you’ll know which words and phrases yield optimal results.  This will enable you to get better rankings in Google to gain more business.

3. Build and Maintain Your Own Website – You’ll be using the WordPress program which will allow you to build and maintain your site.  They help you build a website which can literally be done in a few minutes.  Your website will be hosted by Wealthy Affiliate, and using mine as an example it has good speed.

4. Never Have To Feel Like You’re Stuck – One of the terrific things about the Wealthy Affiliate experience is it’s a large community of thousands of people.  They all have a common goal of having a successful online business and are willing to help each other reach those goals.

If you ask a question in one of the interactive classrooms, usually you’ll get an answer at least within 24 hours.  Typically, it’s more like 3-4 hours and many times even faster.  Or worst case scenario, if no one has an answer, you can contact the owners Kyle or Carson directly.

They’re more than happy to help you.  Having access to ask owners for help is almost unheard of in a lot of other businesses.

5. Price – You can actually join Wealthy Affiliate for free!  Now, you may wonder how much can I really do with a free membership?  Well, to be honest with you, it’s quite a bit.  You can start the training, build up to 2 websites, and interact with other members to get a feel for how the system works.

If you decide it’s something you like, later on you can become a Premium member.  This will give you access to more tools to build out your business even more.  The Premium membership is only $49 per month which is extremely reasonable, especially when you consider all the training and tools you get to be successful.

One of the best parts is there are no upsells.  It’s just Free membership or Premium membership, that’s it!  They don’t try to push any upgrades on you.  To me, that alone is worth the price of admission.

I hate joining something, only to find out later I have to buy more stuff to get all the advantages of the program.  Below is a breakdown of everything you get with the Free and Premium memberships.

5. No Obligation – The great thing about this opportunity is you can start for free with no obligation.  You can start the training, dip your toe in the water, and if you like what you see and want to learn more you can do so.

Also, if you decide it’s not for you, no one is going to harass you to join. No one is going to call or email you begging you to sign up.  The decision is totally up to you.  If you decide you really like it and want to be a Premium member you can get a discount for the first month.

If you become a Premium member within the first 7 days of creating an account, it’s only $19 dollars for the first month which is an excellent value!

Summary – Now, you have to be committed to the training and program to be successful.  It’s definitely not a get rich overnight scheme.  However, if you’re not afraid of hard work and want to follow a proven system, Wealthy Affiliate can genuinely help you build a strong online business.

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of legitimate online business opportunities out there, but this is definitely the real deal.  I’ve been doing it with this website using fitness as a niche.  Like I mentioned before, your niche doesn’t have to be fitness.

Wealthy Affiliate can show you how to build a business with any niche, which is a wonderful thing they do.  Please click here for more information or to get started with a Free membership!

If you have any comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for reading and have a fantastic day!

Jon


 

Why is a Good Posture So Important?

Why is a Good Posture So Important?Hello!  How many times as a kid did your parents say to you sit up straight!

As a kid you probably didn’t understand why they were telling you that, however in fact there was a very good reason.

As you got older you may have started wondering why is a good posture so important?

There’s actually many reasons and I’ll get into them in a little bit.  Having good posture is essential to being totally fit.  It’s just as important in the equation of fitness as diet and exercise.  It’s often overlooked though, because many people tend to just focus on exercises when they think about fitness.

Posture is defined as the position of your body while standing, sitting, or lying.  It’s important to work on your posture because correct posture puts less stress on your body.  When your body is in good alignment, your muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments can work together more efficiently.

Also, your organs, digestive, respiratory, nervous, and musculoskeletal systems can function better.  More than 80% of back and neck problems are a result of long term poor posture.  However, one good thing is that for most people bad posture can be corrected and improved upon at any age.  Below are some reasons people struggle to have good posture.

Why Poor Posture

Society – Sedentary lifestyles at home and work while sitting in bad positions.  At home, over long periods of time our posture becomes molded to the shape of our furniture.  Many times these aren’t good positions for our body’s alignment.

Injuries – Sometimes injuries from falls, accidents, or sporting activities don’t heal correctly in line with our skeleton.  Also, overcompensating movements from these injuries can lead to poor posture.  If you have any injury that affects your posture you should get checked by a physician as well.

Driving – Many people like to recline back a little while driving.  Doing this can get your spine out of alignment over time.

Mattress – If you have an older mattress that sags a lot, this can cause your whole body to be in a poor position while you sleep.

Overweight – Having extra body weight results in your core being pulled forward.  This in turn creates a strain on your back and hip joints.

Shoes – Wearing improper footwear can cause your shoulders, back, and hips to get slightly out of line.  Also, high heels tilt your pelvis and trunk forward putting your back in poor alignment.  So, if you wear high heels every day you may want to wear them less often.

Slouching – Casually slouching while sitting is easy to do, however doing that can definitely put a strain on your back.

Effects of Long Term Poor Posture

Nervous system – Since the spine is the base of your posture, nerve signals may not transfer properly, this can lead to pinched nerves and pain.

Lungs – Poor posture can put your back in bad positions, this prevents your lungs from filling with optimal amounts of oxygen.

Low Back Pain – Common result of bad posture because your spine is constantly aligned incorrectly, this creates extra stress on your back muscles.

Shoulders and Neck – Your shoulders can become rounded if your head and neck are downward a lot looking at computers or other devices.  This can lead to chronic shoulder and neck pain.

Limited Range of Motion – Muscles, ligaments, and tendons can be permanently shortened or stretched.  This prevents you from having full mobility with your extremities and major muscles in your body.

Below are some easy ways you can make your posture better in common positions.

Improving Posture

Standing – Your head should be up, chin forward, shoulders back, chest out.  If you’re in a job where you have to stand all day, take breaks once in awhile to get off your feet.

Sitting – Knees and legs bent to 90 degrees, back straight, shoulders back, ears in line with shoulders.  Also, you shouldn’t sit on a wallet.Why is a Good Posture So Important?

Sleeping – If sleeping on your side, knees should be bent and head supported by a pillow.

If sleeping on your back, don’t use big pillows under your head, use smaller ones instead.

Using a Computer – The screen should be 15 degrees below eye level.  This helps keep your head and neck in a neutral position.

Lifting – Get close to the object and squat down next to it.  Firmly grasp the object and slowly lift it by straightening your legs as you stand up.

There are some exercises you can do to help improve your posture and strengthen your back.  For exercises on strengthening your back please visit my blog Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles here.  Also, doing yoga and stretching exercises are good to help your posture as well, it helps loosen tight muscles in your back and joints.

There is a way to test your posture to see how much you need to improve it.  It’s a very simple test you can easily do at home.  To do it, you stand with the back of your head touching the wall and your feet 6 inches from the wall.

With your butt touching the wall, check the distance with your hand between your lower back and the wall, and your neck and the wall.  If you can get within an inch of your lower back, and 2 inches of your neck, you are considered to have good posture.  If not, you should try to improve and work on it.

Summary – When you look at your overall fitness as a puzzle, posture is an important piece of that puzzle.  Without it, you’re putting undue stress on areas such as your back, neck, and other major muscles and joints. Posture is easy to overlook, because many of us don’t think about it a lot.

We get very comfortable in our natural movements and positions. However, just because a certain position is comfortable doesn’t mean it’s good for your body.  Actually, once you start practicing good posture, you should find that those positions can be comfortable as well.

The ACE (American Council on Exercise) did a great article on posture and how it affects breathing that you can see here.  So, the next time you get ready to settle in and watch your tv, just take a few seconds and make sure you’re being kind to your body’s alignment.

If you have any comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for reading and watch your back!

Jon


 

How Do Vitamins Improve Health?

How Do Vitamins Improve Health?Hello!  Just hearing the word vitamins probably makes you think about health.

When you were a kid growing up you may remember people always telling you how important it is to take your vitamins.

Vitamins are definitely important to good health and you can get many vitamins from eating a healthy diet.

However, many people aren’t aware of this and end up spending a lot of money on vitamin supplements.  This leads into the title of my blog of how do vitamins improve health?  Vitamins are different from the 3 major macronutrients which are proteins, carbs, and fats.

One difference is the amount.  For proteins, carbs, and fats the amounts needed are measured in grams.  With vitamins, the daily amounts needed are much smaller and measured in micrograms.  Also, vitamins aren’t a source of energy and don’t have any caloric value.

2 Types of Vitamins

There are 2 different types of vitamins, fat-soluble and water-soluble. Vitamins, A,D,E, and K are fat-soluble.  Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, Folate, B6, B12, and Vitamin C are water-soluble. The difference in solubility affects the way your body absorbs, transports, and stores the vitamins.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Vitamin A – Vitamin A is most popular for its role in vision.  It’s also important for proper growth, reproduction, and your immune system.  It helps maintain healthy bones, skin, and mucous membranes as well.

Sources – Most dietary Vitamin A comes from animal foods.  About 1/3 of Vitamin A intake comes from fruits and vegetables.  Some foods rich in Vitamin A are sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, cantaloupe, mangoes, and tomatoes.

Vitamin D –  Vitamin D is sometimes called the sunshine vitamin because if you get enough sunlight, your body can sometimes get all it needs from the sun.  It is necessary for bone health and helps reduce the risk of cancer.  In older adults it helps prevent osteoporosis.  It helps with cell growth also.

Sources – Most foods don’t naturally contain Vitamin D so the major sources come from fortified foods.  Examples of these fortified foods include milk, cereal, margarine, grains, and breads.

Vitamin E – Vitamin E is an antioxidant, meaning it helps prevent free radicals in your body from invading cells.  Its functions are enhanced by Vitamin C and selenium.

Sources – Vitamin E is found in many different foods of both plant and animal origin.  Good sources of Vitamin E include almonds, spinach, tomato sauce, and broccoli.

Vitamin K – Without Vitamin K to promote blood clotting, a single cut would eventually lead to death.  Therefore, it’s very important in the coagulation of blood.

Sources – Vitamin K mostly comes from plant foods.  Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, turnip greens, broccoli, and brussels sprouts are rich sources of Vitamin K.

Water-Soluble Vitamins

Thiamine – Thiamine is used in the process of glucose metabolism.  It also regulates the movement of chemicals involved in transmitting messages in the nervous system.

Sources – Pork has a lot of Thiamine along with legumes.  Nuts, seeds, some types of fish and seafood are also good sources.

Riboflavin – Riboflavin participates in reactions that remove ammonia during the breakdown of certain amino acids.  It also has antioxidant properties to help strengthen your immune system.

Sources – Sources of Riboflavin include beef, liver, whole grain cereal, yogurt, mushrooms, and cottage cheese.

Niacin – If you need energy during vigorous activity, Niacin helps convert pyruvate to lactate to help provide that energy.  It also helps promote the breakdown of fatty acids.

How Do Vitamins Improve Health?

Sources – Most Niacin comes from beef, poultry, fish, and whole grain breads.

Little Niacin is lost during cooking because it remains very stable when heated.

Pantothenic Acid – Pantothenic Acid is involved in many metabolic processes.  These include energy generating processes and fat breakdown processes.

Sources – Foods rich in Pantothenic Acid include chicken, beef, potatoes, oats, and tomato products.  Pantothenic Acid is damaged easily so freezing and cooking can reduce its strength.

Biotin – Biotin is used for amino acid metabolism, breakdown of fatty acids, and DNA synthesis.

Sources – God sources of Biotin are cauliflower, liver, peanuts, cheese, and egg yolks.  Heat breaks down Biotin so cooking will reduce its potency.

Vitamin B6 – Vitamin B6 supports and aids in the metabolism of protein, blood cell synthesis, and carbohydrate metabolism.

Sources – Main sources of Vitamin B6 include fortified cereals, fish, poultry, potatoes, and other starchy vegetables.  Vitamin B6 is very weak under heated conditions.  As much as 50% of a food’s Vitamin B6 content can be lost from cooking.

Folate – Folate is necessary for DNA synthesis, amino acid metabolism, and growth of red blood cells.

Sources – Fortified breakfast cereals provide a good amount of Folate. Dark green leafy vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, and orange juice are also good sources.  Folate is extremely vulnerable to heat and foods can lose up to 90% of their Folate from cooking.

Vitamin B12 – Vitamin B12 is crucial for the metabolism of Folate.  It also helps break down fatty acids and aids myelin in coating nerve fibers.

Sources – Beef, liver, and salmon are excellent sources of Vitamin B12. Tuna, cottage cheese, and milk also provide a good amount of Vitamin B12.

Vitamin C  – Vitamin C plays a major role in forming collagen, a protein that reinforces connective tissues in your body.  It’s also an antioxidant and minimizes free radical damage in your cells.

Because of this, it helps enhance your immune system.  Consuming Vitamin C rich foods can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers, and cataracts.

Sources – Citrus fruits, potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, strawberries, kiwi, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables are great sources of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is vulnerable to heat, so fresh fruits and vegetables are the best options.

Summary – As you can see, vitamins have many important functions and are just as important to your health as any other major nutrients.  If you eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables you can get most of the vitamins you need.

By doing this, you can avoid having to buy a lot of vitamin supplements.   It really comes down to having a healthy diet inclusive of all the major food groups.  The company Organic Facts wrote a very informational article on the benefits of vitamins you can see here.  How do you get your dose of vitamins?

If you have any comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you. Thanks for reading and don’t forget your vitamins!

Jon


 

Why Jumping Rope is Good For You

Hello!  Hope everyone’s having a good day.  Today I’d like to discuss why jumping rope is good for you.  Jumping rope is one of the most overlooked exercises in fitness.  Yet, it’s very easy to learn and effective in many ways.

Why Jumping Rope is Good For You

You can get a great cardiorespiratory and strength conditioning workout at the same time.

Jumping rope can be used in between exercises during a workout, or it can also be used as a workout by itself if you do it long enough.

Preparation

Let me start off by saying if you have knee or ankle problems, please see a physician to get cleared before jumping rope.  Wearing comfortable shoes with good foot and ankle support and strong cushioning for the balls of your feet is very important.  For more on comfortable fitness shoes and attire please see my Reviews page here.

To check for proper size of the rope stand in the middle of it.  The handles should come up to your armpits.  If the rope is too long you can cut or tie it to the proper length.  Conversely, if it’s too short you should use a different rope.  Also, it’s good to use one with foam handles, this way if your hands sweat you can still have a good grip.

It’s best to start with a regular rope first.  As time goes on you can progress up to a weighted rope when you’re ready.  Your body position before starting should be with your elbows close to your body, your back straight, and your head up.

Technique

When you’re jumping, the rope shouldn’t come more than one inch off the floor.  If you’re just starting out, it’s best to land with both feet on the ground at the same time.  Once you feel proficient at it, you can change things up a bit and alternate landing with one foot on the ground to challenge yourself.

Later on if you want to do an even more advanced move, you can shuffle laterally to the side while jumping.  You can also start to jump a little higher off the ground when you feel you have it down pretty good.

Make sure you land on your toes while jumping and not your heels.  This decelerates the force of the impact when landing and lessens the stress on your knee and ankle joints.  You want to land softly and not like Frankenstein.  You can also play music to help you get in a good rhythm. However, you may want to stay away from anything with too slow of a tempo.

Duration

When you’re first jumping rope 15 seconds at a time is a good starting point.  You can do sets of 15 seconds and then take a break for a minute or two before jumping again.  As you get more practice you can increase the sets to 30 seconds at a time, 45 seconds, and so on.

Eventually, you want to try and do it long enough to hit your Target Heart Rate.  Your Target Heart Rate starting out should be 60% of your Max Heart Rate which is 220 minus your age.  For example, if you’re 40 years old, you would take 220 minus 40 which is 180.  Then 60% of 180 would put your Target Hear rate at 108.

That’s how fast your heart should be beating while jumping.  One bit of information to give you as a goal is this.  10 minutes of jumping rope is equal to about 30 minutes of jogging at an 8 minute mile pace.

Benefits

1. Cardiorespiratory System – Your heart and lungs are very much involved with the movements making them both stronger.

2. Coordination and Balance – It’s great for hand and feet coordination.  If you progress up to doing it with one foot it’s challenging for your balance.

3. Strength – Your upper body muscles such as your shoulders and forearms are involved.  This way it’s more of a total body workout and doesn’t just strengthen your legs.

4. Joints – Your feet and ankle joints become stronger.  Remember to land on your toes and not your heels like I mentioned earlier.

5. Bone Density – Studies have shown that jumping rope helps improve bone marrow and strengthen bone density.  This helps in preventing osteoporosis.

6. Brain Function – Since your nervous system is involved with coordination more neurons are activated.  This helps lead to better overall cognitive functioning.

7. Fun – Jumping rope can be a fun way to break up the monotony of regular exercise.  It’s also a good way to get your kids active if you have them.  A lot of kids like jumping rope so they can do it with you and maybe even show you some tips.  It’s a great way for them to do something healthy and get away from the tablets and cell phones for a while.

Why Jumping Rope is Good For You

8. Caloric Burn – Jumping rope burns more calories than many other traditional cardio exercises.

9. Inexpensive – Jump ropes are pretty inexpensive and you can get them at most department stores.

They’re also very mobile and easy to travel with since they don’t take up a lot of space.

Summary – Jumping rope is excellent exercise for your cardio system, balance, and strength.  You may not be very good at it in the beginning, but stick with it and you should improve over time.  Many coordination and balance exercises take time to get proficient at, so don’t feel bad if it takes a while to get the hang of it.

The more you do it, the more you’ll notice that you can go for longer periods of time.  This is because your cardiorespiratory system and endurance gets stronger.  So don’t give up and you’ll definitely reap the benefits of it later.

For more information on jumping rope and how it can help your fitness, you can visit jumpropeinstitute.com for great insight.  What are your experiences with jumping rope? Feel free to share them in the comments section.  Or, if you have any general comments or questions please let me know and I’ll be glad to get back to you.  Thanks for reading and happy jumping!

Jon


 

Benefits of Exercise for PTSD

Hello!  This subject touches my heart because I’m an Army vet of 20 years. Although I didn’t see any combat, I feel for fellow vets coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  I also empathize with anyone dealing with PTSD, because it’s not just people who served in combat that can suffer from it.

Benefits of Exercise for PTSD

Actually, anyone who’s trying to recover from any mental or physical traumatic experience can have it.

This could include things such as physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.  It could also be something like a natural disaster or serious accident.

Studies have shown exercise can effectively treat symptoms of PTSD.  So today I’d like to discuss the benefits of exercise for PTSD.

People suffering from PTSD can experience anxiety, insomnia, flashbacks of the event, depression, high blood pressure, paranoia, fear, hallucinations, and respiratory problems.  They may suffer from other problems, but these are many times the most common.

Anyone that has PTSD should seek a doctor for treatment, and use exercise as a tool to enhance their health.  Also, they should check with their doctor before exercising to rule out any exercises that might make their symptoms worse.  Research has shown that 150 minutes of exercise per week can help relieve many symptoms of PTSD.

How Exercise Helps PTSD

1. Endorphins – Endorphins are chemicals in the brain, that when released make you feel better and put you in a good mood.  Exercise helps release these chemicals to relieve stress.

2. Adrenaline – People suffering from PTSD can be hyper-sensitive to their surroundings causing adrenaline to be released.  Exercise causes the body to use the adrenaline in a positive way and metabolize extra adrenaline.

3. Mind – The physical activity clears their mind by keeping them focused on the movements at hand.

4. Control – Working out helps them feel more in control of their situation.  This relieves a little anxiety and other symptoms.

5. Blood Pressure – Exercise lowers blood pressure that can be associated with PTSD.

6. Weight – Some PTSD sufferers become sedentary so physical activity is a way to control their weight.

7. Memory – Exercise improves overall brain function which can lead to a better memory.  Many PTSD patients can suffer memory loss as a result of suppressing traumatic events.

8. Sleep – Working out helps people sleep better so it can be beneficial in relieving insomnia.

9. Depression – Exercise has been found to alleviate symptoms related to depression.

Benefits of Exercise for PTSD

Forms of Exercise

Studies have shown running and treadmills seem to work really well in treating PTSD.  The person can control their speed doing these activities and they’re great for releasing endorphins.  Many people with PTSD suffer from disassociation with emotions.

Therefore, yoga combined with meditation also seems to be effective.  The yoga helps relieve tight muscles as well which helps with managing stress.  Sometimes group training is a good option because the person can exercise with others.

This way people are able to encourage and motivate them.  Also, working out outdoors helps some with respiratory problems.  For others, it’s a more relaxed environment which is also beneficial.

Summary – Combining exercise with proper medication, healthy nutrition, and therapy someone suffering from PTSD should feel better over time.  David Murtagh, a Senior Occupational Therapist with the Invictus Games Foundation wrote a great article on how exercise can help PTSD.  If you’d like to see the article please click here.

If you have any comments you’d like to share or any questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for your time and have a great day!

Jon


 

Can Sleep Affect Your Body?

Hello!  Today I’d like to discuss an area of fitness that doesn’t get talked about a lot.  The subject is sleep, and I want to try and help answer the question can sleep affect your body?  The simple answer is yes, and I’ll go into more details as I go through the blog.

Can Sleep Affect Your Body?

Sleep is an important body function and just as essential as eating, drinking, and breathing to stay healthy.

Ideally, you should aim to get between 7-8 hours of quality, comfortable sleep each night, preferably 8.  If you’re unable to get that much sleep for any reason, then a nap during the day can also help.

Studies have shown you could suffer from the effects below if you get less than 6 hours of sleep over a long period of time.

1. Immune System – Your immune system becomes weaker putting you at higher risk of illness or disease.  Some of these include chronic colds, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.  This is because during sleep your body releases proteins that help cells repair themselves, your body actually does the majority of its healing while you sleep.

2. Mood – You’re likely to become more irritable and short-tempered.  People may find you unpleasant to be around.

3. Vertigo – Your balance and coordination can become impaired making you more prone to falls and accidents.

4. Cognitive Function – It becomes harder to focus and learn new things. Your sense of judgement and decision making becomes clouded.  If you drink alcohol all of these conditions become magnified even more.  This is because your body doesn’t break down the alcohol as efficiently as it normally would.

5. Memory -Your short term and long term memory becomes worse because your nerve cells aren’t able to repair themselves effectively as usual.

6. Mental Illness – You could suffer from hallucinations, delusions, depression, bipolar disorder, paranoia, or suicidal thoughts.

Can Sleep Affect Your Body?

7. Micro Sleep –  This is when you sleep for a few seconds or a few minutes without realizing, it’s basically like blacking out.

It’s been known to lead to car accidents and other serious mishaps.

8. Weight Gain – The hormone cortisol gets released in your body which causes an increase in body fat.  Also, the hormone ghrelin gets released causing your appetite to be stimulated.

Conversely, the hormone leptin which suppresses your appetite gets released less.  If that weren’t bad enough, your metabolism in general slows down as well.

9. Headaches – You’ll be more prone to chronic headaches including migraines

10. Mortality – Your overall lifespan becomes shortened with chronic sleep deprivation.  This is related to all the health problems you can expect to incur.

Summary – Your body needs sleep to recover from its daily activities and exercise.  If you’re looking for a reason to work out, and there are many to choose from, you can think about this – exercise helps you fall asleep quicker and stay in a deep sleep longer.

Also, adequate sleep will help you perform exercises and daily functions better.  If you have insomnia or any other sleep problems, I strongly suggest seeing a doctor to have it addressed.

The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) published a great article on sleep loss and fitness you can see here.  If you have any comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you. Thanks for reading and sweet dreams!

Jon


 

Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles

Hello!  If you’ve ever woken up in the morning and said “oooooooh, my aching back” you’re definitely not alone.  About 31 million adult Americans have had either acute or chronic back pain at some time in their life.  So today I thought I’d share some simple exercises to strengthen back muscles.

By having a strong back you can reduce your chances of getting back pain. Before I get into the exercises though, I want to give you some background on how back pain affects the population.  Research has led to the following findings in the United States regarding back problems, I don’t have data for any other countries.

  1. It’s become the leading cause for disability claims
  2. 2nd largest reason for doctor visits behind upper respiratory infections
  3. Experts predict with the current trend that 80% of the adult population will experience some type of back pain in their lifetime
  4. Approximately 50 billion dollars is spent annually in health care costs related to back pain, the ACE (American Council on Exercise) published a very informative article on back pain you can see here.
Prevention

There are some things you can do to lessen your chances of being a victim of back pain.

1. Sedentary – People who lead sedentary lifestyles and don’t exercise 150 minutes a week or more are more prone to suffer back pain.

2. Posture – Whenever your mother told you to sit up straight as a child there was a reason behind it.  By having poor posture you put a strain on your back muscles that’s unnecessary.  This can also make you more susceptible to back pain or injuries.

3. Obesity – Another way to reduce your risk of back pain or injury is to maintain a proper weight.  Those who are obese or overweight have more stress placed upon their back.

4. Poor Movement – Not using proper movement techniques can also lead to back injuries.  Squatting down and lifting with your legs instead of your back is one example of minimizing your chances of back injuries or pain.

Next, I’d like to share a few simple back exercises that can help strengthen your back and make it more flexible.  They’re designed to help muscles in your lumbar area which is the lower part of your back.  I thought I’d focus on the lower back region since the majority of people’s back pain is in that spot.

A note of caution though, if you currently have, or have had a history of back problems, please check with your physician before doing these exercises.

Kneeling Back Stretch

To do this exercise you start out by getting on your knees and placing both hands on your hips.  Then you lean back as far as you can.  Once you’re at that point, hold that position for 10 seconds.  Then bring your trunk forward until you’re in the same position you started.  Do the movement using a 10 second hold 3 times.

Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles
Kneeling Back Stretch Action Movement
Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles
Kneeling Back Stretch Starting Position
Butt Lift

For this one you start out laying on your back with your knees flexed, feet flat on the floor, and palms of your hands facing downward on the floor next to your legs.  Then you raise your butt off the floor while pushing down with your hands.

You raise your butt up as far as you can and hold that position for 10 seconds.  After 10 seconds lower your butt back down to the floor, and then repeat the move 3 times.

Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles
Butt Lift Action Movement
Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles
Butt Lift Starting Position
Superman

To do this movement you start out laying on your stomach with your arms stretched out straight in front of you.  Your hands should be perpendicular to the floor with fingers and thumb close together.

Then you raise both arms and both legs off the floor at the same time. Hold that position for 10 seconds before lowering your arms and legs, then repeat the movement 3 times.

Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles
Superman Stretch
Modified Superman

For this exercise you get in the same starting position you did as the Superman.  Then you raise one arm off the floor and the opposite leg off the floor at the same time.  Hold that position for 10 seconds, and then repeat the process using the opposite arm and opposite leg.  Do it a total of 3 times for each arm and leg.

Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles
Modified Superman Stretch
Standing Sideways Stretch

To do this exercise you start out standing with your arms straight out to your sides and palms facing up.  Then you turn your trunk to one side until the opposite arm is lined up to your front.

Another words, if you turn your trunk to your right, then you should stop when your left arm is directly in front of you facing forward.  Once you’ve reached that position hold it for 10 seconds.

After 10 seconds, move your trunk back to the same position you started. Do it for a total of 3 times to each side with a 10 second hold each time. I’ve posted a couple photos to help show the movement.

Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles
Standing Sideways Stretch Action Movement
Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles
Standing Sideways Stretch Starting Position

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary – Back pain continues to grow in the United States with more and more cases being reported each year.  To avoid becoming a statistic, it’s important that you not only take care of your back, but also be wise with your daily movements.

Back exercises are one way to make your back stronger and help prevent injuries and pain.  If you have any experiences regarding back pain or how you prevent it that you’d like to share, please let us know in the comments section.

Or, if you have a general comment or question please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for reading everyone and watch your back!

Jon


 

What About Dancing to Lose Weight?

Hello!  After reading the title you may say it sounds good, but I can’t dance.  Well, you don’t have to be a good dancer to get exercise.  As long as you can stand upright and move your legs while standing you can dance and burn calories.  It may feel a little silly or goofy, but if you do it enough over time it’ll get better.

What About Dancing to Lose Weight?

The good thing is, whether you’re a great dancer or not, as long as you’re moving it’s beneficial to you.

Trust me, your heart, lungs, and muscles don’t care if you move with a lot of grace, they’re just happy you’re moving.  So hopefully I’ve helped you feel a little more at ease and less self-conscious.  Relax, smile, and have fun with it!

Sometimes people ask me, what about dancing to lose weight?  My reply is very simple, yes it’s an awesome and fun way to lose weight and enhance your fitness.  Dancing has actually become a very popular form of exercise around the world over the last several years.

It’s also England’s fastest growing art form, and over 4 million people attend community dance groups there each year.  One thing I’d like to point out before you sign up for a dance class or dance for leisure is comfortable attire.  Make sure you have loose clothing that isn’t restrictive and comfortable shoes.  You may have to wear special shoes for some classes.

Also, avoid jewelry as much as possible because it may scratch you or your partner.  There is one note of caution I’d like to mention.  Make sure you get a check up by a physician before taking a dance class or dancing in general.

This is especially true if you haven’t been physically active on a regular basis.  Next, I’d like to share some excellent benefits you can get from dancing just 30 minutes or more 3 or more times a week.

Benefits of Dancing

1. Motor Skills, Perception, Balance, Coordination – Dancing increases neural activity in your brain which helps improve all 4 of these areas.

2. Skeleton and Bones – Research has shown dancing can strengthen your skeleton, bones, and help prevent osteoporosis.

3. Endorphins – Endorphins are chemicals in your brain that make you feel good and improve your mood.  Dancing can cause these chemicals to be released putting you in a better mood and relieving stress.

4. Cardio – Dancing can make your heart and lungs stronger and also improve your circulation.  By having a healthier heart you can reduce your risk of heart disease.

5. Caloric Burn – Depending on the type of dance you’re doing and its intensity, on average you can burn about 200 calories per 30 minutes.

What About Dancing to Lose Weight?

6. Strengthen Muscles – Many of your core muscles such as your back, chest, abs, and glutes (buttocks) can get stronger.

Your legs can easily get stronger, and even your arms can get a workout with some dances involving a partner.

7. Flexibility – With some dances your arms and legs will be moving through a full range of motion.  This in turn will strengthen your joints and help you be more flexible.

8. Memory – Since your nervous system is involved with movement in dancing, it basically exercises your brain which improves memory and focus.

9. Dementia – Studies have shown that dancing may lower your risk of dementia because of increased neural activity while moving.

10. Enjoyment – Joining a dance class or dancing at social functions can help expand your social life.  It’s a great way to make new friends while having fun.  Or just dancing at home with family and friends can be a lot of fun as well.

The ACE (American Council on Exercise) did a really nice article on dancing and exercise you can see here if you like.

Below is a list of some popular dances you can do that are awesome exercise.  Actually, any type of dancing can be good exercise as long as there’s movement involved.  These are just some examples and if there are other dances you like to do that’s great!  What’s important is that you do a type of dance you like so it can be more fun.

Dances

1. Jazz – Jazz dancing can exercise your entire body by providing many unique twists and moves.  It also has a relaxing tone to help put you in a pleasant mood.

2. Bollywood –  This type of dancing combines classic Indian dance moves involving your hands and feet with modern styles such as hip hop.

3. Tap – Tap dancing uses shoes with small metal plates to make the dancing part of the musical sound.  It originally started in Africa and has evolved in the United States.

4. Zumba – Zumba has become a very popular dance exercise over the last few years.  The word Zumba means to move fast and have fun.  It can be a great way to get a cardiovascular workout in.

5. Ballroom – With Ballroom dancing both partners need to know the steps so they can dance smoothly together.  Some examples of this kind of dance are the Waltz and Tango.

What About Dancing to Lose Weight?

6. Salsa – The word Salsa is Spanish for sauce (usually hot) and it equates to dancing that is energetic and passionate.

7. Ballet – Ballet is a type of dance that’s graceful and smooth. It originated in France and has become popular in the United States.

8. Line – For those that like Country music, line dancing can be a good option.  The beat usually isn’t hard to follow and it’s not too difficult to learn.

9. Hip Hop – If you’re looking to burn a lot of calories hip hop may be the way to go.  Many times it has an upbeat tempo that requires you to move fairly fast.

10. Pole – Yes, Pole dancing can be a form of exercise.  For women looking to improve their upper body strength, a pole dancing class can be a good choice.  It also can be a way to add a lot of fun to your relationship if you have a significant other.

Summary – Dancing can be one of the funnest ways to burn calories, strengthen your body, and enhance your cardiorespiratory system.  Even if you’re shy about dancing in public, you can still have a blast with it at home.  You can dance with a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, other family member, friends, or just by yourself.

Since summer time is right around the corner you can have a barbecue and invite some friends over.  You can turn some music on and dance in a warm, sunny environment.  You and your friends can have fun checking out everyone’s dance style or even have a dance contest.

The bottom line is it doesn’t matter what type of dance you do, as long as you’re moving and having fun.  If you have any experiences with dancing you’d like to share with us please leave a comment.  Or if you have any general comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for reading and have fun dancing the night away!

Jon


 

Why Water is Important to Health

Hello everyone!  Since summer is just around the corner I thought I’d write about why water is important to health.  It’s actually important in any season and not just summer.  However, many of us spend more time outdoors in summer time so it’s wise to keep yourself hydrated.

Why Water is Important to Health

How Much Water Should I Drink?

If you’re doing normal activities and aren’t exercising or working outside in the heat, a good rule of thumb is to consume half your body weight in ounces.  Another words, if you weigh 180 lbs you should drink 90 ounces of water a day.

However, like I mentioned above that number can vary depending on the amount of physical activity you’re doing.  If you’re activity level is higher than normal that day, or if you’re in a warm climate you should drink a little more.  Now, the 90 ounces doesn’t have to all come from straight water.

Any food or beverage also counts toward that 90 ounces.  Below are some foods that have a fairly high water content and I placed the percent of water next to each food.

  • Watermelon – 92%
  • Spinach – 92%
  • Broccoli – 89%
  • Avocado – 81%
  • Potatoes – 75%
  • Roasted Chicken – 64%
Importance of Getting Enough Water

The makeup of your body is about 60% water, so that number alone lets you know you need to consume a good amount of fluids.  It’s also important to stay hydrated because you can only survive about 3-4 days without water.

Benefits of Staying Hydrated

Core Temperature – Consuming proper water levels helps your body regulate its core temperature, regardless of whether it’s cold or hot outside.

Cells – Water transports nutrients to all your cells throughout your body.

Waste Removal – Staying hydrated puts less strain on your kidneys and liver by helping to flush out toxins.  Water also dissolves fat and prevents constipation.

PH Level – Adequate water intake helps your body keep its ph level balanced.

Fatigue – Drinking enough water will help your body fend off fatigue during physical activity and exercise.

Cancer – Research has found that greater water intake is related to a lower incidence of bladder cancer.  Studies suggest that more frequent urination helps prevent carcinogens (cancer causing agents) from building up in your bladder.

Mood – Being dehydrated can have negative effects on your mood. Therefore, proper hydration can help improve your overall mood.

Headaches – Studies have shown that drinking plenty of water can help prevent headaches, even migraines.

Hangovers – Seltzer water and fruit are better than sugary mixers in cocktails.  This helps prevent dehydration which can lead to a hangover. Also drinking a glass of water with each drink during the night can help prevent dehydration as well.

Alertness – Dehydration causes shrinkage of brain tissue, negatively affects attention span, and can impair motor skills.  Because of this, drinking enough water will help you stay alert.

Joints – Cartilage is 85% water and is found in most joints.  Water helps keep the cartilage lubricated so the joints can function better.

Heart – Research has shown that drinking plenty of water has been connected to a lower risk of heart disease.

Skin – Having enough water in your system has also been linked to having better skin as it helps prevent dryness.

Immune System – Staying properly hydrated can also improve your immune system so you’ll have a less chance of becoming ill.

Why Water is Important to Health

Maintaining Water Balance

The water level in your body is constantly changing.  Sometimes you’re consuming water and other times your body is eliminating water.

Ways You Lose Water

  • Sweating
  • Urination and Excretion
  • Respirations through lungs

Ways You Gain Water

  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Oxidation of protein, carbs, and fat

Monitoring your fluid levels is very important to prevent your body from dehydration.  One way to do this is by checking the color of your urine. Basically, the lighter the color the better.  If it’s a dark yellow or orange you should drink more water.  Another way to check your hydration level is related to exercise.

You weigh yourself before you exercise, and then again after you exercise. You should then replace the amount of water lost back into your body.  For example, if you weigh 180 before you worked out and 177 afterwards, you should drink 48 ounces (3lbs) of water to replace the lost fluid.

However, you don’t have to drink 48 ounces all at once.  We don’t want you to get sick, it can be spread out over a few hours.  The American College of Sports Medicine wrote an awesome article on hydration and fitness that you can see here if you like.

Water For Weight Loss

Water can help you lose weight if that’s one of your goals.  It helps reduce overall calorie consumption if it replaces high calorie beverages such as soda.  Also, drinking a glass of water before meals helps give you a feeling of satiety or fullness.  This way you’ll be inclined to eat less than you normally would.

Why Water is Important to Health

Hyponatremia

Hyponatremia is also known as water intoxication.  It happens when you consume more fluids than your kidneys and body can excrete.  Women and children are more susceptible to this condition because they have lower sweat rates.  So the key is balance and to consume adequate amounts of water without overdoing it.

Summary – Drinking enough water to keep your body healthy is crucial to overall fitness.  This is especially true in warm climates, but don’t forget you need to stay hydrated in all climates, even cold weather.

If you’re going on a walk, hike, or know you’re going to be expending more energy than usual, put some H2O in your backpack, exercise pouch, or any other way you can take it with you.  Have fun this summer but don’t let yourself dry up!

If you have any ways of staying hydrated that work for you that you’d like to share, please let us know in the comments section.  Or, if you have any general comments or questions you’d like to ask, please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for reading and have a safe, fun-filled summer!

Jon


 

How Can I Exercise With My Dog?

Hello everyone!  Sometimes when I’m talking to people one question that comes up is how can I exercise with my dog?  So I did a little research, talked to some pet owners, and came up with some ideas to help answer that question.

How Can I Exercise With My Dog?

Now if you don’t own a dog, some of the methods I’m sharing can also be done solo without a pet.  Below are some exercises you and your dog can do together.

1. Walking – Take your dog for a brisk walk around your neighborhood or in a park.  This is probably the easiest way to get activity from all the exercises I’ll be sharing.  It’s a simple way to work you and your dog’s cardiorespiratory system.

2. Running – A slightly more intense way to improve you and your pet’s cardio system.  It doesn’t have to be a sprint either to be effective.  Even a little jog can do wonders for both of you.

3. Dancing –  I know this may sound strange, but all you need to do is play some music and dance.  Your pet will likely try to run around and in between your legs.  This again helps improve cardio for you and your pet.

4. Swimming – Now this of course depends on if you and your dog can swim.  If both of you can’t swim please don’t attempt this exercise!  However, if both of you are able to swim you can swim at the same time.

How Can I Exercise With My Dog?

This will help strengthen your upper body, core, and cardio at the same time.  It also helps the strength and cardio of your four legged friend.

 

5. Fetch – Playing fetch with a frisbee or ball can be a lot of fun for both of you.  After you throw the object out for Rover to retrieve, do some exercises like push-ups or jumping jacks while you’re waiting for him to bring it back.  This way the two of you get some exercise instead of just your dog.

6. Hiking – Go on a hike through a nature trail.  This way you can see some of nature’s scenery.  It also helps break up the monotony for your dog.  He doesn’t have to see the same buildings in the neighborhood or the same benches in the park.

7. Roller Skating –  Going roller skating with your pet can be a blast.  It’s great cardio for your dog and helps improve your balance, lower body strength, and cardio at the same time.

8. Bicycling – Depending on the size of your bike, you may have to get a slightly longer leash for this.  You can definitely add on intensity from walking for both of you by bicycling.  By having a hand on the leash it challenges your balance and helps strengthen your lower body.

9. Soccer – If you have a soccer ball or any ball that’s similar you can easily do this.  All you have to do is kick the ball toward your pet slowly. Once it gets near them, they’ll usually try and dribble it with their paws or nose.

They may even try and push it with their paws or nose back toward you.   If not, you may have to try and take it away from them and kick it toward them again.

10. Canine Charity Walk – You can check with your local Chamber of Commerce to see if any organizations are having a Canine Charity Walk in the future.  These are events designed for dog owners to get together with other dog owners.  They usually do a 5k or 1ok walk or similar distance with their dogs.

A lot of times it’s done to raise awareness and contributions for a specific charity or cause.  This way you can have fun socializing with other pet owners, get exercise, and help a charitable cause at the same time.  It’s really a win-win situation for a lot of people.

How Can I Exercise With My Dog?

Summary – Working out with your pet can be enjoyable for both you and your furry friend.

Instead of going to a gym or doing traditional exercises, it’s a nice way to change up the pace once in a while.

Variety is very important to help you stay motivated to exercise. It’s also a great way for both of you to burn calories.

Now, if you don’t have a dog you can go to a local animal shelter and volunteer to walk a dog.  Many places will welcome your offer of help.  You may not have enough time to do some exercises if it’s not your dog, but just walking or running with them can be very beneficial for both of you.

Also, please make sure you and your pet stay hydrated with plenty of water while exercising.  Even if it’s not hot outside you both can still get dehydrated.

If you have any experiences exercising with your dog you’d like to share please let us know.  Or if you have any comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.

So how about it, what kind of exercises do you plan to do with your pet? Thanks for your time and have an excellent day!

Jon


 

What About Advantages of Swimming?

Hello!  Are you ready to take the plunge and try something new to shake up your fitness routine?  Ask yourself this, what about advantages of swimming?  Swimming has so many health benefits it easily ranks toward the top of my list of exercises.

What About Advantages of Swimming?

There are also many other exercises you can do in the water related to swimming.  Any type of exercise or physical activity done in the water can be considered aquatics training which is a lot of fun.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be like Aqua Man to do aquatics training. The exercises I’m sharing today are fairly simple to do.  The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) did a very informative article on swim training you can see here.

One thing I like about water exercises is just about anyone can do them. Men, women, pregnant women, elderly, overweight, teenagers, or even people rehabbing from certain injuries can do them.  Since the buoyancy of water reduces your weight by about 90%, this means there’s less impact to your joints, bones, and muscles.

This makes it easier for almost anyone to participate and it greatly reduces muscle soreness.  Next I’d like to spell out some of the advantages of water activities.

1. Joints and Flexibility – Because buoyancy reduces your body weight like I mentioned above, people with joint problems are better able to perform exercises through a full range of motion.  Many times they wouldn’t be able to do these same exercises on land.  This is because gravity causes more impact and pain.

2. Cardiovascular – Water causes your blood vessels to dilate which helps increase circulation throughout your body.  This also enables your heart and lungs to work more efficiently.

3. Strength – Water works good for a strength training workout because the water itself provides resistance instead of weights.  It actually works very well to strengthen your joints and muscles.

4. Balance – Working out in water helps to improve your balance and coordination.  This is because you have increased awareness with your nervous system being involved to help with balance.

5. Injury Rehab – Hydrostatic pressure from the water applied to your body helps reduce swelling.  This in turn reduces pain and increases your range of motion with movements.

6. Flexibility – Since the effects of gravity are reduced, you have a better range of motion with your joints.  This leads to improved flexibility.

7. Endorphins – Aquatic exercises help release endorphins in your brain. These are chemicals that can act as natural pain killers and help put you in a better mood to relieve stress.

8. Fun – Water exercises can be a lot of fun, especially if you do them with someone.  Games such as water polo or pool volleyball can be a blast!

What About Advantages of Swimming?

Next I’d like to share some exercises you can do in the water to reap the excellent benefits I explained above.

1. Swimming – If you’re in a pool you can swim a few laps.  Or if you’re in a body of water like an ocean swim about 20 yards out and back in a few times.  If you don’t know how to swim please don’t attempt this exercise!  Wait until you’ve been properly trained or taught how to do it.

2. Walking – Walking in a pool or other source of water is great to build your lower body strength.  In addition to walking forward, you can walk backwards or sideways to make it a little more challenging.  It also helps improve your cardiovascular system.

3. Running – If you want to increase the intensity from walking, running can amplify the same benefits of walking.  It’s best to do it like a slow jog so you won’t slip as easy.  You can do forwards, backwards, or shuffle sideways as well.

4. Squats – Do squats the same way you do on land.  Squat down to the height of a chair and then raise yourself back up again.  This helps your glutes (buttocks), hamstrings, and calves.

5. Leg Swings – Raise one foot off the ground and move the same leg as far back as you can.  Then bring your leg as far forward as you can using your hip as a hinge.  Swing your leg backwards and forward 10-15 times. You can also swing your leg out to the side laterally and bring it back in.

Place your hands on your hips during these movements to help maintain your balance.  This exercise helps strengthen your glutes, abductors, and adductors which are part of your groin.

6. Leg Kicks – Kick forward, backwards, and sideways like your doing karate kicks.  These also help build up your lower body muscles.

7. Calf Raises – For this all you have to do is stand on your tip toes and hold that position for a couple seconds before lowering back down.  You basically just stand and raise your heels off the ground while keeping your toes on the ground.

8. Bicycle – To do this you’ll need to be close to a wall in the pool.  You place your arms and elbows outside the pool on the ledge.  Then bring your lower body up and move your legs forward in a circular motion like pedaling a bike.  This helps your lower body strength and cardio at the same time.

9. Arm Swings – Take your arm and move it backwards as far as you can. Then bring it forward as far as you can.  Continue doing this back and forth 10-15 times.  You can also move your arm sideways away from your body and then bring it back toward your body.  This helps improve your shoulder strength.

10. Arm Circles – Hold your arms out to the side and move them in a circular motion forward and then backwards.  This also builds up your shoulder muscles.

11. Dog Paddle – Dog paddle a lap or two around a pool or about 20 yards out and back if you’re in a body of water somewhere.  To do this, you move both hands and arms forward in a circular motion at the same time to keep your body afloat.  This is great for your forearms and shoulders.

12. Tread Water –  Move both arms in a crossing motion in front of you with one arm above the other.  Alternate placing each arm above the other while doing it.  It’s similar to the same motion a baseball umpire makes when signaling a runner safe.  Do this for a minute or more.  It will help your chest and shoulder strength improve.

Summary – Now that summer time is approaching, swimming and aquatics training can be a great alternative to traditional exercises.  You can add them to your fitness regimen to break up the monotony and have fun cooling off in the sun.

Considering all the combined benefits you get from water activities, I highly recommend doing them if you get a chance.  If you have any experiences involving water exercises you’ve done that are fun and you’d like to share, please let us know in the comments.

Or if you have any general comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for your time and stay cool this summer!

Jon


 

KettleWorx Rapid Evolution Review

  • Product: KettleWorx Power Pro 8 Week Rapid Evolution Kettlebell Weight sold on Amazon
  • Company: KettleWorx
  • My Personal Rating: 9.6 out of 10

Hello!  Kettlebells have been on an upward trajectory in the fitness industry over the last few years.  The funny thing is kettlebells themselves actually originated in Russia over 200 years ago.  So it’s not like they’re totally new to the world in general.

3 Dimensional

I’d like to give you some information on the KettleWorx Power Pro 8 Week Rapid Evolution Kettlebell Weight kit.  It’s a training program that allows your body to move in 3 dimensions providing you with a total body workout.

Cardio, Core, Resistance

The system focuses on cardio, core, and resistance which are 3 of the main components of fitness.  The cardio portion is high energy and helps you burn a lot of fat and calories.  The core part of the program helps you strengthen your abs in addition to all your other core muscles.

You’ll also be able to get some great resistance training in and tone many parts of your physique.  For more information on the health benefits of kettlebell training please see my blog here.

Nutrition

The kit has a Power of Eating in 3’s program to guide you in eating healthy to complement your workouts.  I can’t stress enough how important eating a nutritious diet is to maximizing your results.

Kettlebells

The program comes with 2 kettlebells which are definitely sufficient to get you started in a kettlebell program.  You can choose from 3 pairs of kettlebells.  The options are 5 lbs and 10 lbs, 10 lbs and 15 lbs, or 15 lbs and 20 lbs.  Once you’re on the Amazon page you can select which set you want from the drop down box.  The image above represents the 10 and 15 lb set.

If you’re just starting out in a fitness or kettlebell program I would suggest using the 5 lb and 10 lb set.  The kettlebells are durable and made with a high-grade alloy with a vinyl coating.  The quality of the kettlebells is actually pretty good compared to others.

DVDs

The program has a set of dvds that start with an introduction.  It also shows you core, cardio, and resistance workouts that cover basic moves with the kettlebells.  Once you’ve been doing the program a while, it has some advanced dvds if you want to challenge yourself more.  The kit provides a calendar as well which is great to help you stay on track with your progression.

Summary

If you’re looking to get started in a fitness program this is an awesome tool to get you jump started in the right direction.  Even if you’re already in good shape and just want to maintain your fitness level, these are quality workouts to add variety to your routine.

It is a little costly, however when you look at the package as a whole I think it’s a great value for the price.  Please click here for more information on the kit or to order yours today!  If you have any comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for reading and best of luck in your fitness journey!

Jon


 

Health Benefits of Kettlebell Training

Hello!  There seems to be a lot of talk today about whether kettlebells are good, and if there are any health benefits of kettlebell training.  Quite simply the answer is yes they are good, and there’s substantial research to support that answer.

First, I’d like to give you a little history on kettlebells.  Research has shown they actually originated in ancient Greece.  Around the 1700’s they were introduced in Russia and have basically been around ever since.

Health Benefits of Kettlebell Training

 

 

 

 

 

There are some fads that develop in the fitness industry that don’t last because they don’t hold value for the user.  However, I can tell you that kettlebells don’t fall into that category.

One, because people around the world have been using them for over 200 years, and two because they deliver excellent value as exercise.  Next, I’d like to go over some of the reasons why you should work out with kettlebells.

1. Anyone Can Do It – Kettlebells are very simple to use and you can do many different movements with them.  You don’t have to be an elite athlete to get a good workout from them either.

2. Not a Fad – Like I mentioned above, kettlebells are definitely not a fad and have been around over 2 centuries.  My feeling is they’ll probably be around another 200 years because of the benefits people get from them.

3. Combines 5 Components of Fitness – Kettlebells can actually cover 5 major components of fitness depending on how you use them.  These components are as follows:

Strength – Most kettlebell movements help improve strength in your shoulders, chest, back, abs, forearms, biceps, triceps, and glutes (butocks).

Cardiorespiratory – Your heart and lungs are involved while doing kettlebell swings and other kettlebell moves.

Power – A lot of kettlebell movements are explosive in nature so they help increase your power.

Core – Kettlebell exercises involve some type of core movement most of the time such as your shoulders, abs, glutes, etc so these areas become stronger.

Balance – Kettlebell swings, as well as other kettlebell moves require the weight to be balanced while in motion.  By focusing on balancing the weight, it also helps improve your balance because your center of gravity is being challenged.  It also helps sharpen your coordination.

4. Fat Loss – Your metabolism is increased during the process of doing kettlebell swings.  This helps speed up your caloric burn.

5. Bang For Your Buck – Since kettlebell workouts can burn a lot of calories in a short period of time, they’re great for people with a busy schedule.  Just a 30 minute kettlebell session can many times metabolize more calories than a traditional cardio workout.

6. Secondary Muscles – Kettlebells cause more stabilizing and secondary muscles to become engaged.  This will increase your overall total body strength compared to other workouts.

Health Benefits of Kettlebell Training

7. Kinetic Chain – Kettlebell training helps strengthen muscles involved in kinetic chain movements.  A kinetic chain is when a muscle movement causes another muscle to move via a joint.

I like to use the analogy of a clock.  If you look inside a clock you’ll see tumblers that spin, these same tumblers cause other tumblers to spin because they’re connected to each other via a cog in a wheel.

The second set of tumblers cause a third set of tumblers to spin because of another cog and so on.

It’s the same concept in your body.  However, instead of a cog connecting the muscles it’s joints.  By having a stronger kinetic chain you can have more fluid and smooth movements of your body.

8. Inexpensive – If you’re looking for a cheap way to work out kettlebells are a great option.  Many times they cost less than traditional dumbbells or barbells.

9. Mobile – Kettlebells are very mobile and don’t take up a lot of space. They can easily be packed in a suitcase or travel bag if you travel.  You can also put them in a backpack and take them to a park or wherever you like to work out.  They can also be stored in a corner of a room with no problem and don’t require a rack to support them.

10. Safety – Kettlebells are safe to use when used properly.  If you’ve never used them before I would suggest watching a video that shows you proper techniques and lifting movements.

I wrote a review on the KettleWorx Power Pro 8 Week Rapid Evolution Kettlebell Weight kit you can see here.  The kit comes with videos that show you proper techniques and workouts. Or you can check with a personal trainer and they should be able to show you as well.

11. Daily Activities – Daily activities such as lifting things and general movements of your trunk become easier with kettlebell training. This is because your core becomes stronger over time.

12. Nervous System – Since balance and coordination are needed with kettlebell movements this means your nervous system is involved.  During movements your brain recruits more muscle fibers to accomplish the action.  This in turn leads to more muscle density and size for the muscles being used.  The increased brain and neural activity also helps keep your nervous system sharp.

13. Posture – Your back muscles become strengthened with kettlebell training.  This helps you have better posture because you’ll naturally use the muscles required for sitting straight.  Most of the time you’ll end up doing this and won’t even realize it while it’s happening.

14. Fun – Kettlebell workouts can be a lot of fun and break up the monotony of traditional workouts.  You can do a vast array of exercises just by changing your grip a little on the weights.

One of the keys to staying fit is variety and kettlebells can give you a nice change of pace.  Since they look different and feel different than traditional weights, they’re more unique and a lot of us like using things that are different.

Summary – There are many benefits of kettlebells and anyone can take advantage of them.  Like I mentioned earlier, you don’t have to be an athlete to use them.  The ACE (American Council on Exercise) did a great article on the use of kettlebells that you can see here.

Considering you can get a little bit of 5 areas of fitness rolled into one workout, I feel kettlebell training is definitely worth your effort.  If you have any experiences with kettlebells you’d like to share, please let us know in the comments section.

Also, if you have any comments in general or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Go ahead and give kettlebells a try, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  Thank you for your time and have terrific day!

Jon


 

How Does Meditation Affect Your Health?

Why Meditate

Hello!  As a personal trainer once in a while I get asked how does meditation affect your health?  Before I answer that, I’d like to give you my approach to how meditation connects to fitness.  I take a holistic view when looking at overall fitness and health.

What I mean by that is, I look at fitness as encompassing not just physical activity, but also your mind and soul.  I believe all 3 need to be working synergistically for you to be 100% healthy.  Since the mind is about 33% of the equation, I feel it is of the utmost importance for it to be as healthy as possible.

One way to help get your mind in optimum condition is with meditation. For more great information on meditation you can view an article by ACE (American Council on Exercise) here.

Preparing to Meditate

1. Wear Comfortable Attire – You should make sure you wear comfortable clothing.  This will help you relax and focus easier.

2. Go Somewhere Where it is Quiet – Choose a room somewhere in your home or wherever you are that is quiet.  It’s very hard to concentrate if there’s a lot of noise around you.

3. Position – You can be basically be in any position that’s comfortable for you.  Most people like to sit or lie down.

4. Temperature – Make sure the air isn’t too hot or too cold.  The temperature should be about room temperature so you’re comfortable and can concentrate easier.

How Does Meditation Affect Your Health

 

How to Meditate

Many people think it takes a lot of time to meditate, but that’s not true.   Quite often just 5 or 10 minutes is enough to make you feel better.  There are basically 2 ways to meditate.  The “no mind” method is where you don’t focus on anything and try to totally clear your mind.  The other is called “mindful meditation” where you focus on a single thought and nothing else.

For both techniques you will need to focus on your breathing.  This will cause you to become aware of how your lungs work and how air enters your body.

By focusing on the rhythm of your breathing and how it feels, you’ll begin to see the process of how you can control your thinking.  Your eyes can actually be open or closed, but for beginners it’s usually easier to focus with your eyes closed.

To begin meditating take long, slow, deep breaths evenly.  Breathe through your nose and then slowly exhale through your mouth.  Let your body get into an easy rhythm of breathing in and out.  If you’re using the no mind technique, after taking a couple breaths try to clear your mind. Then repeat the breathing process with a clear mind.

If you’re using the mindful meditation method, after inhaling and exhaling a couple slow, deep breaths try to focus on one thought.  This should be a thought that is positive, calming, and soothing.  For example, it could be something like ocean waves rolling in, a waterfall, a light breeze blowing, etc.

Once you’ve started focusing on that thought repeat the breathing process again.  Just meditating a few minutes a day 3-4 times a week can help your overall concentration level.

Can Meditation Help You Exercise?

Meditation can definitely help your workouts because it’s a way to reign in your thoughts and focus on your breathing.  This can be beneficial regardless of the type of exercise you’re doing.  Whether you’re jogging, lifting weights, etc you have to concentrate to perform well.

Also, sometimes we have issues in our personal or professional lives that hinder us from having a good workout.  If you had a fight with your spouse, a bad day at work, etc sometimes it prevents you from getting the most out of your workout.

By meditating a few minutes before you start exercising, a lot of times you can clear your head and get a better workout in.  This is because you can dial in on what your body’s about to do and move more effectively through the movements.

How Does Meditation Affect Your Health

 

Health Benefits of Meditation

1. Reduces Stress – Meditation decreases activity in the right side of the brain which helps with a better stress response.

2. Lowers Blood Pressure – Meditation requires less oxygen so the heart can beat slower.  This helps with lowering blood pressure.

3. Fat Loss – By meditating, your body can lower the stress hormone cortisol which helps reduce body fat.

4. Better Skin – By having less cortisol in your system it leads to better skin.  This is because cortisol can cause collagen loss which can give you wrinkles.

5. Immune System – Meditation can help your body produce antibodies which leads to a stronger immune system.  As a result, you’ll usually have less colds, flu, and other illnesses.

6. Better Bone Density – Cortisol production can weaken bones and lead to osteoporosis which is reduced bone thickness and density.

7. Regulates Blood Sugar – Research has shown that meditation can help balance glucose and insulin levels in the blood.

8. Increased Fertility – Meditation can help women have increased fertility.

9. Better Memory – Excess cortisol release can damage the brain and impair memory and learning.

10. Emotions – Meditation has shown to increase alpha and theta brain waves which help you attain a state of relaxation.

11. Joints – Consistent meditation can help with reduced inflammation in your joints.

12. Improved Productivity – Meditation can lead to improved daily productivity because you’re able to concentrate better.  You’re less likely to become distracted with things that derail you from your current task.

Summary – I just want to reiterate how I think fitness should be viewed from a holistic perspective.  As I mentioned earlier I believe meditation is a huge part of your overall health.  Not only is it a great benefit to your mind, but the positive physical effects are tremendous as well!

I try to meditate every day even if it’s only for a few minutes.  I can say from my own experience it’s definitely helped me focus better on life.  If you have any experiences with meditation you’d like to share with us, by all means feel free to let us know.

Also, if you have any comments or questions please let me know and I’ll be glad to get back to you.  Thank you for your time and have a fantastic day!

Jon


 

How To Exercise In the Office

Hello!  How many times have you had one of those days where your schedule gets thrown completely out of whack and you miss working out that day?  I think it’s happened to all of us from time to time.  Well, today I’m going to discuss how to exercise in the office so you can still get some physical activity in for the day.

I’m also going to go over some things you can do close to or around your desk to help.  The great thing about these activities is they don’t require a lot of space.  Just because you have a hectic schedule or some unexpected meetings doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze in a little exercise.

After all, some exercise is better than no exercise at the end of the day. Also, most of the moves I’m going to explain can be done in any type of attire.  However, if you’re wearing a 3 piece suit you may want to take your jacket off to make things just a little easier.  So without further ado, let’s get started!

Squats – This is a very simple movement that can easily be done just about anywhere.  To start you stand up with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips.  You squat down until your butt is even to the height of a chair seat.  As you’re moving down remove your hands from your hips and place your arms in front of you.

Your arms should be parallel to the ground and palms facing down.  Once you’ve squatted down to the correct level, raise yourself back up to the same position you started.  This will help improve your glutes (buttocks) and hamstrings.  Do 12-15 repetitions if you’re able to.  One side note here, if you have knee problems please don’t do this exercise.

Push-ups – Push-ups are a great, easy, and effective way to improve your chest, shoulder, and tricep muscles.  The proper way to do a push-up is with your hands on the floor in front of you and your body in a generally straight line.  Your feet shouldn’t be any farther than 12 inches apart.

Lower your body with your head and eyes forward until your upper arms are parallel to the ground.  Then raise your body back up until your back is straight again.  Do 12-15 push-ups with good form if you’re able to.

If you want to make it more challenging, you can move your hands wider apart and do wide arm push-ups.  Or you can move your hands close together until your thumbs are touching and do close hand push-ups.

How To Exercise In the Office

 

 

 

 

 

Bend and Reach – To do this you start out standing with your hands on your hips and feet a few inches more than shoulder width apart.  You bend down and place both hands in front of one foot on the floor like you’re picking something up.  Then you raise your torso and hands up so you’re standing straight again.

Then you raise your hands and arms up diagonally to the opposite side of the foot you leaned toward.  For example, if you bent over in front of your left foot, then you raise yourself up diagonally with your hands and arms going up in the air to your right side.  It’s kind of like you’re reaching to put something on a shelf.

Do this 12-15 times to each side if you can.  This movement can help strengthen your core.  Also, if you have bad knees please don’t do this exercise.

Jog In Place – The name of this exercise is pretty self-explanatory.  You simply jog in place near your work station or wherever you have a little space.  Do this for 1-2 minutes or as long as you can go.  This will help your cardiorespiratory system, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

Calf Raises – Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips.  Raise the heels of both feet off the ground simultaneously and hold that position for 2-3 seconds.  It’s basically like your standing on your tip toes.  Or for those who have kids they might say tippy toes lol.  Do this 12-15 times or as many as you can.

Chair Tricep Extensions – For this one you’ll need access to a chair without wheels and that’s stationary.  Place both hands on the edge of the chair with your legs straight and extended in front of you.  Make sure your back is about 1-2 inches in front of the chair and no farther.

Then lower your body down toward the floor until your butt is about 3-4 inches off the floor.  If you can do this 12-15 times that’s great, if not do as many reps as you can.

Glute Bridge With Leg Raise – You may want to make sure the floor is fairly clean before doing this.  You lay on your back on the floor with your feet flat on the floor and knees flexed.  Your palms should be face down on the floor also.  You raise your butt off the floor at least 6-8 inches.

While holding that position raise one leg in the air and hold that position 2-3 seconds.  Then bring the leg back down so both feet are on the floor again.  At that point you lower your butt back to the floor.

This will help strengthen your hips and other core muscles.  Do this 12-15 times for each leg or as many as you can do.  A note of caution, if you have back problems please don’t do this exercise.

Jumping Rope – Keep a jump rope at your desk or in your car.  It can come in very handy on busy days.  You can jump rope easily near your desk or in the parking lot.  If you can find time to do it just a minute or two in between meetings or on the go, it’s great cardio and helps your balance and coordination.

How To Exercise In the Office

 

 

 

 

 

 

In and Out – This is another exercise you’ll want to make sure the floor is fairly clean before doing.  You sit on the floor with your knees flexed and palms facing down on the floor.  Then you raise your feet a couple inches of the floor and extend both legs forward keeping them fairly straight.

After you’ve extended them, bring your legs and knees back toward your chest until your knees are a few inches from your chest.  Extend your legs back out to repeat the repetition.  This is good for your core, hamstrings, and quadriceps.  Do it 12-15 times if you’re able to.

Single Arm Front and Lateral Shoulder Raises – You stand up with your feet shoulder width apart.  Use a small item with some weight such as a paper weight, large book, etc.  Start by holding the item at your side.   Then raise your hand and arm forward until your arm is parallel to the ground.

Then lower your arm back to the starting position.  You then raise your arm sideways until it’s parallel to the ground again.  This movement is good for your shoulder muscles and rotator cuff.

Stationary Lunge – Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips.  Place one foot forward like your taking a large step. As you move that foot and leg forward, keep your other foot stationary on the ground.  At the same time lower your back knee until it’s 1-2 inches off the ground.

Then raise yourself back up until you’re in the same position you started. If you can, do 12-15 lunges to each side.  These are great for your glutes and hamstrings.  Also, if you have bad knees please don’t do this exercise.

How To Exercise In the Office

 

 

 

 

 

Stairs – When possible, take the stairs when going from one floor to another whether it’s up or down.  I always suggest that if it’s 3 floors or less in either direction you should take the stairs.  If it’s more than 3 floors and you still want to take the stairs that’s even better!  Using the stairs is good for your glutes, hamstrings, and cardiorespiratory system.

Summary –  The next time you have a crazy, hectic day that’s running long and you plan to work out that day don’t abandon all hope.  It’s not the fitness apocalypse that day and you can still squeeze in some physical activity.  All you need is a minute or two here and there and you can still work in some awesome exercises.

I hope this information has been helpful.  If you have some exercises you do at the workplace you’d like to share please let us know.  Also, if you have any comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

Jon

photo credit: Skip via photopin (license)

photo credit: Morning Yoga via photopin (license)


 

Mental Benefits of Exercise – It Does More Than Relieve Stress

Hello!  Many times we hear about how exercise is good to relieve stress. This is definitely true, however there are several other mental benefits to exercise I’d like to share.  Have you ever wondered does exercise affect your brain? It actually affects many parts of your brain.  I’d like to break down some key ways working out affects those areas and can make you feel better.

Stress Relief – Since this seems to be the most popular mental health benefit everyone talks about I’ll start here.  Many times when you’re under stress your muscles will tense which can lead to aches and pain. Sometimes it can also cause severe headaches.

Physical activity helps to relax muscles and relieve tension.  By moving your muscles through a full range of motion, it helps relieve tension in your muscle fibers caused by stress.  Also, as a result of your body feeling better it will cause your mind to feel better as well.

Exercise also enhances your immune system which helps fight off stress. The National Academy of Sports Medicine wrote a great article on dealing with stress that you can see here.

Endorphins – Exercise releases endorphins from your brain which are chemicals that make you feel happy.  It doesn’t take a lot for these chemicals to get released either.  Just getting your heart rate elevated for 10 minutes or more can help get them flowing.

Mental Benefits of Exercise - It Does More Than Relieve Stress

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strengthens the Brain and Prevents Degeneration –  Working out boosts the growth of new neurons which help prevent problems associated with brain degeneration.  It also helps you concentrate more and feel mentally sharper when performing tasks.

Memory – Physical activity on a regular basis improves your memory and ability to learn new things.  This is because exercise increases the production of brain cells required for memory and learning.

Depression – Research has shown that working out can help treat moderate depression as effectively as some medications without side effects.  It helps because exercise promotes neural growth and activity in the brain that triggers emotions of calm and feeling well.  Physical activity also helps break the cycle of negative thoughts that may be occurring.

Exercising Outdoors – Working out outdoors can help boost your self-esteem and self-confidence.  You can choose an outdoor activity you like to do such as walking, jogging, hiking, etc.  The Vitamin D from the sun interacts with the brain to make you feel better.  Just make sure you use sunscreen to avoid sunburn!

Mental Benefits of Exercise - It Does More Than Relieve Stress

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anxiety – Research has shown that exercise can bring several hours of relief to those suffering from anxiety.  Evidence has also shown that people who exercise have lower rates of anxiety than people who are sedentary.

Addiction – The brain releases the chemical dopamine as a response to perceived pleasure such as exercise, sex, drugs, alcohol, etc.  However, some people become addicted to the dopamine released by the brain.  This in turn causes them to become heavily dependent on the substance causing that release.

Exercise can distract someone with an addiction from the substance at least temporarily.  Also, since exercise causes the brain to release endorphins which I mentioned earlier, they can get high from the exercise instead of their vice.

Creativity – A good workout can enhance creativity in your brain for up to 2 hours after exercising.  So the next time you’re working on a project or need to think outside the box go ahead and work out.  You might be surprised at the ideas you’re able to come up with.

Productivity – Exercising a few days a week will give you more energy. This will enable you to accomplish more tasks at home, work, or wherever you are.

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) – Working out on a regular basis helps reduce symptoms of ADHD and improve motivation, concentration, and your mood.  Exercise elevates your brain’s dopamine and serotonin levels which help you focus better.  Hence, exercise can sometimes help as much as medications.

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) – Evidence has shown that by focusing on how your body feels during exercise such as sensations in your joints and muscles, this can help alleviate symptoms of PTSD.

Doing this helps your brain and nervous system release itself from an immobilizing stress response.  Exercises that involve movement of both arms and legs usually work best.

Insomnia – Physical activity has a positive affect on your circadian rhythm and can help regulate your sleep pattern.  Working out at approximately the same time each day works best.  This gets your body into a more regular schedule so you can sleep better.  It doesn’t matter what time of day you work out as long as it’s consistently around the same time.

Summary – Exercise is just as vital to your mental health as it is to your physical health.  The great thing about a good workout is being able to nourish your body, mind, and soul at the same time.  I mentioned soul because I feel your soul is part of your mind.

So the next time you’re trying to decide whether to work out or not, just remember the positive effects it has on 3 phases of your being and not just your body.  What experiences do you have to share where where exercise made you feel better?  Please let us know in the comments.

Also, if you have any other comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for reading and have a fantastic day!

Jon


 

How To Keep Motivated To Work Out

Hello!  Have you ever been at a point in your life where you worked out hard for months to get in great shape?  What happened after you got to that point, did you slack off on your workout routine so much that you got out of shape and had to start all over again?  Or did you like the results so much, you made a commitment to yourself that there’s no way I’m going back to the way I was?

Hopefully, you decided to keep your routine going because it’s much easier to maintain your fitness than try to recapture it.  I’m going to share with you some ways to keep yourself motivated so you don’t lose that edge to work out.  If you’re not in the shape you want just yet that’s fine.  You may be able to use this information in the future after you get to that point.

Tips to Keep Yourself Motivated to Exercise

1 – Make Working Out a Habit – If you make exercising a regular habit you’ll be more inclined to do it.  You’ll be less likely to fall into the conundrum of saying to yourself “should I or shouldn’t I”.  You should try to get to a point where it becomes a habit so routine that it’s similar to brushing your teeth or taking a shower.

I know when I first started working out on a regular basis, if I missed a day for any reason I felt out of sync.  I wanted to go harder the next time I worked out to make up for it.

2 – Create Higher Goals – Challenge yourself each time you work out to reach a goal slightly higher than your last workout.  This could be anything such as pushing yourself to do one more push-up, walk a 1/4 mile longer, etc.  This way you can continually motivate yourself to excel.

3 – Look at an Older Picture of Yourself – If you have a picture of yourself before you started working out, look at it periodically to remind yourself of the changes that have happened to you.  This can help motivate you to never want to go back to how you looked in the past.

How to Keep Motivated to Work Out

 

 

 

 

 

 

4Old Clothing – If you have some old clothes you can look at them as another reminder of how far you’ve come in your fitness.  You can even try them on once in a while so you can swim in them to get a laugh.

5Family and Friend Support – Ask family members, a significant other, or friends to give you moral support.  If they care about you, they shouldn’t have a problem encouraging you to keep up the good work to stay in shape.  Who knows, after seeing the results you achieved they may want to join you and start an exercise program for themselves.

6Reflect On What You Can Do Now – Think about things you can do now that you couldn’t do before working out.  For example, maybe before you started exercising you couldn’t walk up 3 flights of stairs without getting winded.  Perhaps now you can walk up 10 flights without any problems. Think about how hard it would be if you had to start all over and could only walk 3 flights again.

7Do Yoga – Doing yoga can help improve your mental strength and self-discipline.  This can increase your ability to stay committed to your fitness program.

8Join a Fitness Club – Some people prefer working out in a fitness center instead of at home.  If this is your preference, you can join your local fitness club and make some new friends to work out with.  This way you can support each other as you continue in your fitness program.

9Think About the Future – Research has shown that people who exercise 150 minutes a week or more have a better chance of living longer than people who are sedentary.  With this being said, you should make plans to do things in the future.  I say this because your life expectancy will probably be longer than if you stop working out.

How to Keep Motivated to Work Out

 

 

 

 

 

10Variety – Variety is the spice of exercise!  Make sure you keep variety in your exercise program to fend off boredom.  You could try some fun activities like a nature hike, swimming, bicycling, or any type of physical activity that’s fun to you.

Also, if you have kids you can get them involved and play games with them such as tag, basketball, or anything that makes you move.  This way you both can have fun and the kids get some exercise as well.

11Maintain a Healthy Diet – Once you’re at a point where you’re satisfied with your fitness, don’t digress because of a poor diet.  Don’t reward yourself so much and so often with high-fat, sugary foods that you get away from a proper diet.

Treating yourself to sweets is ok once in a while, but it should be done in moderation.  Remember, eating a healthy diet is just as important to staying fit as exercise.

Summary – Hopefully, this information has been helpful in letting you know ways to fight complacency so the fit body you’ve worked hard for doesn’t disappear.  Once you’re in the shape you want to be or close to it, it’s much less difficult to maintain your shape than to try and regain it. It’s kind of like the saying “move it or lose it”.

In this case, it means you have to keep moving to avoid losing your physical condition.  If you’d like to share any experiences about being in shape and then falling out of shape, or what you did to get back in shape, please let us know.

If you have any comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for your time and have an awesome day!  Take care,

Jon

 

Machine Weights Vs Free Weights

Hello!  There seems to be a lot of debate over whether free weights or machine weights are better for you.  The truth is both can have benefits depending on the situation and what you’re trying to accomplish. However, personally for most situations I prefer to use free weights and I’ll explain why as I go through the blog.

Before I break down more details of machine weights vs free weights I want to spell out the difference between the two.  Free weights are anything that’s not affixed to the ground and can be moved in any direction.  This could include things like dumbbells, balls, sandbags, etc. Machine weights are stationary, affixed on one axis, and can only move in one plane.

I want to stress the importance of strength training in general.  It is one of the 9 key components of fitness and should be included in any workout regimen.

Strength training has great health benefits such as toning body composition, increasing lean muscle, reducing blood pressure, and strengthening bone density.  First, I’d like to go over some information regarding free weights and how they can be beneficial.

Free Weights

Nervous System– When using free weights your nervous system is involved and your brain sends signals to recruit more muscle fibers.  Your brain does this because your body is trying to stabilize and balance the weights as you move them.  This in turn leads to more muscle mass over time compared to machines.

Synergistic Muscles – Lifting free weights activates more secondary and supplementary muscle groups.  These are muscles that connect to the primary muscle doing the movement.  Also, more activity with joints is required so your ligaments and tendons get stronger.  With machine weights your joints get less engagement with the movement.

Independent Movement of Extremities – With free weights it’s easier to move one arm or leg at a time.  This allows you to identify if you have one extremity that’s stronger than the other.  If that’s the case, you can focus on the weaker extremity more to balance out your overall strength.

3 Dimensional Movement – When using free weights you can move in 3 dimensions of vertically, horizontally, and backwards.  It’s also easier to move your body or extremities through a full range of motion which engages your kinetic chain more.  With machines you’re limited to moving in one plane of motion at a time.

Form – Having correct form is crucial to avoid injuries when lifting free weights because of the reduced stabilization.  You really don’t have to worry about form as much with machine weights, because usually there’s only one way you can move the weight.

Psychological Factor – When you start progressing to higher weight with free weights you have to use a larger size weight to provide a heavier load. For example, you may have to use a larger dumbbell than you did before.

Sometimes by seeing yourself lift a larger size weight it can make you feel good about yourself and spark a little more motivation.  When using machines it doesn’t quite have the same effect moving a pin or turning a dial to go up in weight.

Inexpensive – Free weights normally cost less than machine weights and they’re easier to use at home.  Let’s face it, most people don’t have the budget or space to put a big weight machine in their home.  Also, many times with free weights they’re small enough to travel with.  This way you can still workout if you go on a trip.

Machine Weights Vs Free Weights

Machine Weights

Bodybuilding – With machine weights it’s easier to isolate major muscle groups.  Therefore, it can be a good option for bodybuilders trying to focus on one muscle area at a time.

Injury Rehab – Resistance machines are good for injury rehabilitation because of the solid stabilization they provide.  It makes it easier to concentrate on one particular muscle that you’re trying to rehab.  Many times machines can be good for elderly people as well because of the increased stabilization.

Machine Weights Vs Free Weights

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spotter – With machine weights you don’t need a spotter to exercise. However, with free weights you really only need a spotter if you’re lifting weight that’s heavier than you can control.  If you’re lifting fairly small dumbbells you usually won’t need a spotter.

Availability – Many times if you go to a gym, especially during peak hours, the majority of machines are being used.  People tend to flock to the machines more than free weights, so a lot of times there’ll be many free weights available for you to use without waiting.

Summary – Overall, I believe free weights have more advantages and can give you better results than machines.  I definitely suggest using them, unless you fall into one of the categories I mentioned above where machines have a specific purpose.

If you have any comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Or, if you’d like to share any of your own experiences regarding weights feel free to let us know.  Thank you for your time and have a great day!

Jon


 

You Have To Walk Before You Can Run

Hello everyone!  Many times I hear people say I don’t do cardio because I can’t run.  If I try to run I get tired after 1/4 mile or 1/2 mile and have to stop so what’s the point?  When I hear these things I think how sad it is that people totally neglect their cardiorespiratory training just because they can’t run far.

There are actually many other ways to get cardio exercise without running.  One of the most easiest ways to do it is by simply walking. Walking has a ton of benefits and just about anybody can do it.  Most of us have been doing it since we were less than a year old so I’d say we’re pretty good at it :).  I’d like to go over some points related to walking and its benefits below.

Preparation

1– Winter time – If you’re walking in the winter time make sure you wear enough layers to stay warm.  Your layers of clothing should be loose to allow your body some ventilation.

2– Summer Time – If it’s summer time wear sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

3– Hydration – Bring along a bottle of water regardless of whether it’s cold or hot outside.  You can become dehydrated in the winter time just as easily as the summer time.

4– Shoes – Shoes are very important so make sure they fit properly.  Your shoes should have good arch support and a slightly elevated heel.

5– Inclement Weather – If it’s inclement weather such as rain or snow make sure you have a contingency plan to walk indoors.  A few laps around your local mall or a treadmill at home if you have one are good options.

Reasons to Walk

1– Cardiovascular System – Brisk walking can make your heart and circulatory system stronger.  It also helps lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels.  The National Council on Strength & Fitness did an excellent blog on how walking helps prevent diseases.  If you’d like to read the article you can see it here.

2– Joints – Walking is less of an impact to your joints and ligaments.  It also strengthens the muscles and bones in your legs, helps improve balance, and also coordination.

3– Stress – Walking releases endorphins in your brain which help reduce stress and make you feel better.

4– Simplicity – As I mentioned earlier walking is one of the simplest activities you can do to exercise.  It’s great for new people just starting a walking or workout routine and it’s pretty hard to find any exercise that’s easier.

5– Inexpensive –  All you really need for walking is a good pair of shoes, comfortable clothing, and a bottle of water.  You don’t have to worry about any expensive equipment.

6– Investment – Walking is an easy investment you can make in yourself.  It will also pay huge dividends to your health down the road.

You Have To Walk Before You Can Run

Targets

1– Duration – Ideally, you want to work yourself up to at least 30 minutes of brisk walking 5 times a week.  If you’re just starting a walking or fitness schedule and you can only go 5 or 10 minutes in the beginning that’s fine. You know your body and you don’t want to overdo it.

Once you get strong enough, you can increase the minutes per outing and do it less often. However, your goal should still be to do it 150 minutes per week.

2– Warm-up – Once you’re able to do at least 30 minutes at a time, the first 5-10 minutes of your walk should be a little slower.  This time can be used for a warm-up before you begin the brisk walking.  Conversely, when you get toward the end of your walk you can use the last 5 minutes as a cool-down and walk slightly slower.

3– Target Heart Rate – Once you’ve built yourself up to where you can do 20 minutes or more of brisk walking, you should try to hit 60%-70% of your Max Heart Rate for at least 15 minutes.  This gives you your Target Heart Rate.

To determine your Max Heart Rate you subtract your age from 220. For example, if your 40 years old, 60%-70% of your Max Heart Rate 180 would fall between 108-126 beats per minute which would be your Target Heart Rate.

4– Speed –  You should aim to walk at a speed of about 3-4 mph.  One way to gauge if you’re hitting that is with a song test.  If you’re able to sing a song without too much difficulty then you should pick up your pace.

Enhance the Experience

1– Music – Many times listening to music can help you increase your speed and rhythm by motivating you with your favorite songs.  It can also help reduce boredom if you’re by yourself.  However, one note of caution-if you’re in an urban area please remove headphones so you can be more aware of all your surroundings and prevent injury.

2– Walk in a Group – Recruit a friend or two to join you in walking.  This way you can encourage each other and have fun at the same time.

3– Weights – You can carry small dumbbells to challenge yourself even more. However, I wouldn’t suggest doing this until you can walk 30 minutes or more briskly without any problems.  If you don’t have weights you can also use soup cans or other small objects with weight.

4– Community Events – Check with your local Chamber of Commerce to see if any organizations have events coming up that involve walks such as a 5 or 10k.  These can be a lot of fun and many times it’s easier to get motivated when you’re with a large group.

5– Pets – If you have a dog you can take it on walks with you.  This way you and your pet can get exercise at the same time.

Summary – If you’re just starting out in a workout program or simply want to improve your cardiorespiratory system, walking can be a great option.  The intensity and impact on your body is less severe than many other exercises.

After you’ve been walking awhile it’ll make it easier to progress up to running if you wish to do so.  It’s basically using the approach you have to walk before you can run.  The benefits of walking are tremendous and you can definitely be proud and feel good about yourself afterwards.

So when are you going on your next walk?  If you have any questions, comments, or would like to tell us about your experiences walking please let me know in the comments section.  Thanks for reading and have a wonderful, active day!

Jon


 

Why Are Fats Good For The Body

Hello!  Many times when people hear the word fat, they automatically think it’s a bad thing.  However, that’s not always the case because there are some healthy fats that can be good for you.  Fat does play a role in contributing to good health and is an essential nutrient.

Our bodies are good at making and storing fat, but it can’t make some types of fat so those have to come from your diet.  There are 3 types of fat which fall under a larger compound called lipids.  Triglycerides are the largest category of lipids.  Examples of these are fried foods, cream cheese, vegetable oil, and salad dressing.

Sterols are another lipid and the most notable one is probably cholesterol. Believe it or not, your body actually produces the majority of cholesterol that you have.  The cholesterol from your diet only makes up a small amount of your total cholesterol.

Examples of this would be egg yolks, milk, and food from animal origins. The last type of lipid is phospholipids and some examples would be soybeans, liver, and peanuts.

Why Are Fats Good For The Body

What Are Lipids?

Lipids are a range of organic molecules that dissolve easily in solvents such as alcohol or acetone, but are less soluble in water.  Triglycerides are actually fats and oils in foods.  The fats are usually solid at room temperature and the oils liquid at room temperature.

Roughly 2% of lipids are phospholipids and they’re soluble in fat and water.  Only a very small percentage of your lipids are sterols.  Sterols are major components of cell membranes and aid in the function of sex hormones and adrenal hormones.

 

Triglyceride Functions

Triglycerides are major lipids in both your diet and body.  Dietary and stored fat also supply about 60% of your body’s resting energy needs. High fat foods are higher in calories than high protein or high carb foods. One gram of fat contains 9 kilocalories, compared to only 4 kilocalories in a gram of carbohydrate or protein.

Your body stores excess dietary fat to hold you over during periods of caloric deficit.  However, the problem many people have is they have more stored energy than is expended which leads to weight gain.

Protection and Insulation – Fat tissue makes up about 15%-30% of a person’s body weight.  It serves an important function of protecting and shielding organs.

Also, a person can have too little body fat.  If you don’t have enough body fat, cool temperatures can be intolerable even at room temperature because of fat’s insulation effect.  Women can also stop menstruating and be infertile without enough body fat.

Sense of Taste – As an ingredient, fat contributes much to the flavor, odor, and texture of food.  Fat has a rich and satisfying feeling in your mouth.   It also makes baked goods tender and moist.

However, fat’s most appealing quality can also be a detriment to a healthy diet because of caloric amount and type of fat being used.  Moderation is definitely the key to consuming and using fat to cook with.

Phospholipid Functions

Phospholipids are emulsifiers and are used in foods to keep oil and water mixed.  They are also a major component of cell membranes which allow fatty and water soluble substances into the cell.  Phospholipids aren’t essential in your diet because your body can produce them.

Sterol Functions

Cholesterol is probably the best known sterol.  However, cholesterol is necessary and important in your body.  It’s really only a problem when excess amounts build up in your blood.  It’s also a major component in cell membranes, especially in nerve and brain cells.  Most cholesterol resides in your body tissue and not in your blood as well.

Healthy Fats vs Less Healthy Fats

There are definitely some fats that are better for you than others.  Fats are mixtures of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.  The foods higher in saturated fat are less healthy for you.  Examples of this would include deep fried foods, fat along the sides of cooked meat, and pizza.

The unsaturated fats are healthier for you and have fatty acids with better properties.  Examples of these would be grilled or baked fish, peanuts, and olives.

Why Are Fats Good For The Body

LDL Cholesterol

Having elevated levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) in your blood increases your risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.  That’s why LDL cholesterol has been nicknamed the “bad cholesterol”.  Keeping your saturated fat intake to a moderate amount, and eating a proper amount of unsaturated fat will help you reduce your LDL cholesterol level.

HDL Cholesterol

High-density lipoproteins usually protect against atherosclerosis, causing it to have the nickname “good cholesterol”.  Your liver and intestines produce HDL and it’s only about 20% cholesterol.  This is much less than LDL which is about 50% cholesterol.  Eating saturated fats in a moderate amount and proper levels of unsaturated fat will help improve your HDL cholesterol as well.

How Much Fat Should I Eat

The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) for fat is 20%-35% of calories for adults.  It should be balanced with 45% to 65% of calories from carbohydrates and 10% to 35% of calories from protein.  Research has shown  that the average fat intake in the United States is about 33% of calories.

However, this number can look a little misleading.  Although the number is within the recommended amount, about 25% of the population has a fat intake greater than 35%.  Snacks contribute a large amount to this percent.  The most popular snacks are cookies, candies, and potato chips which are normally high in fat.

Summary – Moderation, moderation, moderation is the key to a healthy diet.  If your diet is always high in fat, many problems can occur.  High-fat diets are usually high in calories and can cause weight gain and obesity.  It’s ok to treat yourself to foods high in fat once in a while.

However, you also need to have a good mix of the other major nutrients carbohydrates and proteins.  The last thing you should also do is not forget to exercise.  The old adage diet and exercise still rings true to this day, and you really need to have a balanced combination of both to live a healthy lifestyle.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine has a very informative article on fats that you can read here.  If you have any questions or comments please let me know as I look forward to hearing from you.  Thanks for reading and have an awesome day!

Jon


 

Exercise Fun

Hello!  I often hear people say the phrase “I don’t like to exercise because it’s boring.”  Well, today I’m going to show you ways to take the boring out of exercise with some fun activities you can do to break up the monotony.  Anything that gets your heart rate elevated for at least about 10 minutes or more can be considered exercise.  That statement alone should start giving you some ideas on how you can make it fun.

Most of the activities I’m about to show you will require at least 2 people or more.  If you’re in a relationship you can ask your significant other to join you in some of these so you can both enjoy them.  You can also have a friend or friends join you for some of the festivities.  Or if you have kids that are old enough they can help you out as well.  So let’s go ahead and get started with the list!

1.  Swimming – It’s getting that time of year where the weather is getting warmer.  If you live somewhere close to a beach, have a pool in your back yard, or can go to a public swimming pool, swimming is tremendous exercise.  You can also play games in the water such as Marco Polo to make it more interesting.  It’s great for your cardiorespiratory system and core muscles.

2.  Build a Snowman – To the opposite of swimming, when winter time rolls around and snow’s on the ground go outside and build a snowman.   If you have kids this is a great way to get them involved with a little exercise and have fun while doing it.

Exercise Fun

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Foot Race – Have a good old fashioned foot race like you did as a kid with a friend or family member.  You can have fun with this by placing a little wager on the result. Maybe the loser has to do dishes or if it’s a friend buy lunch or something similar.

You can be creative and come up with your own ideas for who wins and loses.  I would suggest making it depend on who wins 3 out of 5, 4 out of 7, etc, so that you race more than just once.

4.  Bowling – Go to your local bowling alley and bowl 2 or 3 games.  This is another activity where you can bring your kids and the whole family can have fun.  You can also do it with friends as well and have a good time.   It’s awesome for strengthening your upper body and core at the same time.

5.  Roller Skating – Make a trip to your nearest roller skating rink.  Again, if you have kids it’s a great way to have quality family time where everyone has fun.  It’s a good way to work on your balance and strengthen your hamstrings and calves.

6.  Dancing – Put on one of your favorite cds in the house and go ahead and dance.  Grab a friend or family member to dance with and have a ball. Or if you’re by yourself you can still do it and won’t have to worry about anyone critiquing your dance style.  If you have kids encourage them to join in and have a little dance party.  Dancing for 15 minutes or more definitely benefits your cardiorespiratory system.

7.  Badminton/Volleyball – You can get an inexpensive badminton & volleyball set from most department stores that sell sporting goods.  Go ahead and set it up in your yard and invite friends and family over for some fun.  You can play either badminton, volleyball, or both and still get a good workout in.  If you have a grill you can have someone barbecue while you’re playing and turn it into a party.  Both games are good for your hand to eye coordination and core.

Exercise Fun

 

 

 

 

 

8.  Bicycling – Go for a bike ride around your neighborhood.  This is also something you can do with family members or friends.  It’s outstanding for building lower body strength and also your heart and lungs.

9.  Touch Football – Call up some of your friends and have a friendly game of touch football.  You can joke around with each other and pretend you’re NFL players on some of the plays.  Or for some of you, you might want to pretend that on all the plays lol.

10.  Basketball – Get some of your buddies together and go to the nearest court.  For some it may be the local park, but if you have a basketball goal in your driveway it’s even better.  You can play one on one, three on three, depending on how many people you have.  Even if you’re by yourself shooting baskets for 30 minutes or more is good exercise.  Basketball can do wonders for your agility, quickness, and cardio system.

11.  Dodgeball – Have a friendly game of dodgeball with some of your friends.  You can get a soft, smaller size ball and have a lot of fun.  I would suggest a softer type ball to avoid injuries and prevent damage to the wall you’re using.  It’s great for improving your quickness.

12.  Mini Trampoline – You can buy a mini trampoline that doesn’t cost too much and set it up in your yard. Kids love them so you can have a ton of fun with family and friends.  It helps work on your lower body strength, especially calves, and also balance.

Exercise Fun

 

 

 

 

 

 

13.  Rock Climbing – I’m not talking about the type of rock climbing you do on an actual mountain.  Although, if you want to be gung ho, go ahead and go for it.  I’m referring to the artificial rock climbing walls they have in malls and amusement parks.  These are fantastic for your upper body, lower body, and core muscles.

14.  Frisbee – The frisbee has been around a very long time but is still loads of fun.  Throwing the frisbee around in your yard, at a park, at a beach, or anywhere is easy and excellent exercise.  It’s really good for your forearm and shoulder muscles.

15.  Playing Catch – This activity has been around since baseball was invented in the 1800’s.  It’s very simple and only requires 2 people to do. All you need is a baseball glove and baseball and you take turns throwing the ball to each other.  You can make it a little challenging by throwing it high in the air like a pop up.

You can also throw it a few feet to the person’s side so they’ll have to move a little to catch it.  It’s another thing that many kids love and adults can have fun with it too.  It’s great for hand to eye coordination and building shoulder strength.

16.  Walking – Take a brisk walk around your neighborhood swinging your arms a little.  It’s a nice way to get some fresh air in your lungs and exercise at the same time.  By walking around your neighborhood instead of driving, you may get a chance to talk to some neighbors you haven’t spoken to in a while.

17.  Playing Tag – This is mostly for the readers who have kids, as you might feel a little silly doing this with adults.  If you have kids go ahead and play a game of tag with them.  You may never catch them, but it’s a great way to have fun with them and exercise your heart and lungs.

Summary – These are just some ways you can get your body moving, heart rate elevated, and have fun at the same time.  There’s nothing wrong with lifting weights, running, and traditional exercise, but you need to have variety to spice things up in your fitness regimen.  Try and think outside the box with ways you can be active for your health.

Also, you don’t have to athletic to do these actions I listed.  Anyone can do them and it’s ok to laugh at yourself and laugh with others while doing them.  After all, laughter is great medicine and the purpose is to lighten the mood so everyone has fun.

What physical activities do you like to do in place of standard exercises? I’d love to hear your ideas and I’m sure other readers would as well.  If you have any questions or comments please let me know as I look forward to hearing from you.  Thanks for reading and until next time, have a fabulous day!

Jon

photo credit: Fran on trampoline. Fran en cama elástica. via photopin (license)


 

What Is The Best Music For Exercising?

Hello!  Sometimes I hear people ask is music good for exercising, and if so which music is best to listen to?  Before I give a blanket answer to address those questions, I’d like to give a little background on what research has shown regarding the subject.

Research

Over the last decade research on workout music has grown quite a bit. This has helped psychologists and psychiatrists develop theories about why music affects exercise so much for many people.  It’s also helped them gather ideas as to how music changes the body and mind during physical activity.

Music can distract people from pain or fatigue, elevate their mood, improve their endurance, and reduce their perceived effort.  Another words, if someone listens to music it’s likely they can jog farther, go longer on an elliptical, or do more reps with weights without realizing it.

Sometimes people get in such a zone while exercising with their music it almost feels like a PED (Performance Enhancing Drug) to them.  For some who exercise, music is essential to achieve peak performance.  Some people prefer audio books, podcasts, or soothing sounds, while others rely on harder beats and faster lyrics to keep them motivated.

The extent to which a person identifies with a song’s emotional state can also have an effect on how motivated they feel.  For some exercisers the rhythm of the melody may be more important than the lyrics.

What is the best music for exercising?

 

 

 

Factors of Workout Music

Some of the more important factors of workout music are tempo, speed, and rhythm response.  Most people will by instinct sync their movements with music such as nod their heads, tap their fingers, etc, and these movements are caused by those factors.

The type of music that initiates this movement varies from one person to another.  In a research study of college students, the most popular types of music were hip-hop, followed by rock and pop in that order.

BPM

Research has also shown that most people prefer rhythms at 120 bpm (beats per minute) when listening to music.  For example, when most people tap their fingers they settle into a rhythm of 120 bpm.  However, when running on a treadmill most folks prefer music around 160 bpm.

Synchronicity

Even though most people don’t move in exact time to their workout music, being synced up to it can help you use energy more efficiently. When you move in rhythm to a beat, your body may not have to make as many adjustments to coordinate its movements.

Brain Activity

Recent studies have uncovered how music encourages people to keep exercising.  Your body constantly monitors itself through a process called homeostasis.  It’s basically your body’s way of keeping things balanced. After a certain amount of exercise, physical fatigue begins to set in.

What is the best music for exercising?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your body will identify certain signals such as lactate build up in muscles, increased heart rate, elevated sweat production, etc, and decides it needs to slow down.  Music challenges these physical signs for your brain’s attention.  This in turn can change your perception of your workout and make it seem easier so you can go a little longer.  It helps relieve negative feelings like exercise is boring and hard.

However, when doing high intensity exercise music tends to lose its power to affect fatigue.  It’s usually more effective with low to moderate intensity exercise.  Your brain uses information it receives from one sense to help it understand another.  What people see and feel while listening to music can change what they hear.

Music and movement can work together within the brain as well.  That’s why if someone is siting still and listening to music many times they’ll feel an urge to move.  The auditory nerves connect with the motor neurons to make them want to move.

Summary 

Music can have a profound impact on your overall workout performance. There is no best music to listen to that fits everyone.  You should decide on music that you prefer and how well it motivates you to go the extra mile.  Once you do that I think you’ll find that music can definitely be an aid to improving your results.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine wrote a very informative article about music and exercise that you can see here.  What type of music do you like to listen to when working out?  Or maybe you prefer not to listen to music when exercising.  I’d love to hear your answers, and if you have a question or comment please leave them in the comments section.  Thanks for reading and have an awesome day!

Jon

photo credit: Runner on the pier via photopin (license)


 

FreeMotion i7.9 Incline Trainer Review

 

  • Product: FreeMotion i7.9 Incline Trainer, listed on Amazon, sold by and ships from Titan Fitness Equipment                                                    
  • Free Shipping
  • Warranty: Lifetime Base Frame, 3 Years Drive Motor, 3 Years Parts Including Belt and Deck, 3 Years Labor
  • My Personal rating 9.6 out of 10

Why Incline Training?

Hello! Today I’d like to give you some information and a review on the i7.9 Incline Trainer elliptical by FreeMotion.  So what is an elliptical machine, specifically the i7.9 Incline Trainer elliptical, and how does it affect incline training.

Before I get started I want to give you a little background on Incline Training.  Research has shown that walking just 2 mph at a 24% incline increases your heart rate more than running 6 mph with no incline.

It has many advantages to your cardiorespiratory system compared to traditional cardio or treadmill training.  Incline training is a great alternative to train your heart and lungs without excessive impact to your joints.

How the i7.9 Incline Trainer Helps Burn Fat

Walking 2 mph at a 21% incline burns about 6.8 kcals (kilocalories) per minute which is fat from your fat stores.  Calories that are burned while running with no incline are burned from energy stores.  Therefore, the fat you burn walking or running on an incline comes from your body’s fatty areas.

With the i7.9 you can adjust the incline anywhere from -3% up to 30%. The nice thing about it is, when you’re near the end of your workout you can decelerate to a level grade or a decline grade for your cool-down.

How Incline Training Affects Muscle Activation

If you walk at a 27% incline or higher, the major muscle groups in your lower body are activated significantly.  For example, at that percent your glutes are activated 100%, your calves 90%, and your hamstrings 73%.  If one of your goals is to tone your lower body and glutes, the i7.9 Incline Trainer is one of the best ways to accomplish that.

Variety of Movements Possible

Another great benefit of the i7.9 is the many different movements you can do with it.  In addition to walking and running you can also skip on it. This helps engage even more muscles in your legs.

Another movement you can do is called the Soldier March.  This is where you raise your arms and legs while you’re walking.  By doing this, it gets your arms involved with your workout which helps burn more calories. You can also walk backwards on the trainer if you’re up to really challenging yourself.  This will give your quadriceps some exercise as well. Next I’ll talk about some features of the trainer.

Features 

  • Motor – Direct rear velocity system, self-cooling, 5.0 HP
  • Weight Capacity – Accommodates up to 400 lbs walking, 350 lbs running
  • Tread Belt – 22″ x 60″ requires no lubrication
  • Heart Rate Monitor – Built-in handlebar sensors
  • Speed Range – From 0-12 mph by easily touching a Quick Touch button
  • Power Incline – Adjustable incline from 0%-30%
  • Power Decline – 0% to -3%
  • Programs – 34 built-in workout apps
  • Display Screen – 10″ HD full color touch screen with Android browser, accessibility to internet via wireless network, iFit display to track and record progress

Summary – The FreeMotion i7.9 Incline Trainer is an excellent way to improve and take your cardiorespiratory system to the next level.  At the same time you can burn body fat calories to tone your physique.  It’s a tool that will strengthen the major muscles in your lower body while getting yourself in optimal shape.

It does take up a good amount of space so you’ll need to keep that in mind as far as a location to place it.  It’s also a little louder than some traditional treadmills.

It may be expensive, but it’s definitely a great value for the cost.  I have seen this machine help many people get the results they wanted because they were serious about their fitness.  You have to be committed, use it consistently, not let it become a clothes rack and it can help you achieve awesome results as well!  I highly recommend this trainer and for more information about it or to order yours today click here.

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to offer a personal review please leave it in the comments section. Thank you for your time and best wishes to a healthy lifestyle!

Jon


 

Is Warming Up Important Before Exercising?

Hello everyone!  The short answer to that is yes, however there’s a lot of information I need to elaborate on behind the answer.  Warming up is basically preparing your body for physical activity.  There are 2 types of warm-ups, one is general and the other is specific.

General Warm-Up

A general warm-up are movements that aren’t specific to the exercises you’re getting ready to perform.  For example, walking around a track or doing jumping jacks before weight training would be considered a general warm-up.

Specific Warm-Up

A specific warm-up are movements that are more closely related to the activity you’re prepping for. Examples of this could be doing push ups or squats before weight or resistance training.

Is Warming Up Important Before Exercising?

 

 

 

Benefits Of A Warm-Up

There are many benefits to a warm-up and they’re listed below.

  1. Increases your cardiorespiratory system’s ability to perform
  2. increases blood flow to muscle tissue
  3. Increases your body’s oxygen level
  4. Increases muscle tissue temperature
  5. Increases rate of muscle contractions
  6. Increases metabolism
  7. Increases flexibility of muscle tissue
  8. Increases mental readiness for activity
  9. Helps prevent injuries

Length Of Warm-Up

A complete warm-up should include a general and specific warm-up.  The total warm-up time should range from a minimum of 5 minutes up to around 10 minutes.  However, it can go longer than 10 minutes, especially if an intense workout is to follow or you haven’t worked out in a long time.  It’s possible for someone first starting out in a workout program to spend half the time of a workout in the warm-up phase.

4 Methods Of Warming Up

There are 4 methods you should use to do a complete warm-up as shown below.

  1. Self-Myofascial Release (SMR) – This is performed using an SMR kit or SMR objects to gently massage muscle groups being used in the workout. For more information on an SMR kit please visit my Reviews page here.
  2. Static Stretching – Holding stretches of the workout muscles involved for 30 seconds or more.
  3. Dynamic Stretching – Warming up the workout muscles involved by moving them through a full range of motion.
  4. Cardiorespiratory Exercise – This could include using the treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical trainer, etc.

Cool-Down

A cool-down provides your body with a smooth transition from activity back to a state of rest.  It’s basically the opposite of a warm-up.  This part of a workout is often overlooked, however it’s just as important as the warm-up or workout itself.  The proper time for a cool-down should last 5-10 minutes.  Two ways to do the cool-down are through SMR and static stretching which I explained above.

Benefits Of A Cool-Down

  1. Blood removes waste by-products from the cells
  2. Reduces muscle soreness
  3. Prevents blood from pooling in the extremities
  4. Helps avoid dizziness and fainting

Is Warming Up Important Before Exercising?

 

 

 

 

Summary – Two extremely important parts of a workout are the warm-up and cool-down. Unfortunately, these areas are often forgotten about because people tend to get too focused on the workout itself.  By completing a thorough warm-up and cool-down you have a better chance of avoiding injury and performing movements better.

For more information on warming up ACE (American Council on Exercise) wrote a great article on it that you can see here.  If you have any questions or comments please feel free to let me know in the comments section. Thanks for your time and don’t forget to warm-up and cool-down! Take care everyone.

Jon


 

What Is The Purpose Of Myofascial Release?

Hello!  Today I’d like to talk to you about Self Myofascial Release also known as SMR.  It’s purpose is to release knots or tension within the muscle tissue.  It’s a self applied technique that’s usually done with a foam roller or other device specifically designed for SMR.

It’s kind of like giving your muscles a massage and it’s usually best to use an SMR kit when doing this.  By using a kit you’ll have the materials necessary to cover all the major muscle groups.  I like to use the kit provided by TriggerPoint and for more information on this type of kit please visit my Reviews page here.

This process can be used before warming up or also as a cool down after exercising.  It’s a great way to relieve tightness in your muscles.  I suggest doing it at least twice a week or possibly more depending on how often you work out.  I usually do it about 3-4 times a week myself.  I’m going to describe how to do SMR on some key muscles in your body.  For every part I go over you should do it for at least 30 seconds.  You can do it longer if it’s a real tight area for you.

Feet

For the feet you’ll need one of the small massage balls from the kit.  You stand up and place the center sole of your foot on top of the ball. Then you gently slide the sole of your foot forward and backwards.  You place gentle pressure downward on the ball with your foot while you do this. This helps release tightness in the sole and heel part of your foot. You can do this barefoot or with a sock on.

What Is The Purpose Of Myofascial Release?
SMR For the Feet

 

 

 

 

Calves

To do the lower part of your calf you’ll need a foam block from the kit and a small roller.  You start out sitting on the floor.  You place the roller on the block to start.  Then you place the lower third part of your calf on top of the roller.  You gently slide your lower leg forward and backwards over the roller.

As you move your leg forward the roller should only come up to the lower third of your calf.  As you move your leg backwards the roller should stop about 2-3 inches from the top of your ankle.  This helps relieve tension in your soleus muscle (below the calf) and lower calf.

What Is The Purpose Of Myofascial Release?
SMR Upper Calf
What Is The Purpose Of Myofascial Release?
SMR Lower Calf

 

 

 

 

 

To massage the upper calf you’ll need to use a large foam roller.  You place the roller under the middle of your calf to start.  You gently slide your leg forward until the roller is close to the popliteal joint (joint below the knee).  Then you slide your leg backwards until the roller stops at the bottom third of your calf.  This helps relieve tightness in your calf muscles.

Hamstrings

To roll out (massage) the hamstrings you’ll need the large foam roller and you’ll be sitting down again.  You place the roller under the center part of your hamstring.  You slide your leg forward until the roller stops at the lower edge of your buttocks.  Then you slide your leg backwards until the roller stops at the lower edge of the popliteal joint.  This helps loosen up your hamstring muscles.  If you run a lot this area may be a little tighter for you than other areas.

What Is The Purpose Of Myofascial Release?
SMR Hamstrings

 

 

 

 

Quadriceps

For this you’ll need the medium size roller and once again you’ll be sitting on the floor.  You place the roller on the middle of your thigh.  You place your hand on top of the roller and applying light pressure slide it forward gently until it reaches the top of your knee.  Then you slide it backwards until it stops at the lower edge of your hip.

There is also an alternate way to do the quadricep. You lay in a prone position with your forearms on the floor and elevate your body off the ground.  You then place the large roller under the center of your thigh.   You slide your body forward until the roller reaches the top of your knee. Then you slide your body backwards until the roller comes to the lower edge of your hip.

I prefer to use the first method because it’s easier access to the thigh and still very effective.  These movements help relieve tension in your quadriceps which is one of the larger muscle groups you have.

What Is The Purpose Of Myofascial Release?
SMR Quadriceps

 

 

 

 

Glutes

To roll out your gluteus muscles (buttocks) you’ll need the large foam roller.  This one’s very simple and all you do is sit on the roller to start. Then you move your buttocks forward and backwards slowly over the roller.  This will help reduce tightness in your glutes.

What Is The Purpose Of Myofascial Release?
SMR Glutes

 

 

 

 

Back

For the lower and middle back you’ll need the large foam roller again.  You start out laying on the floor.  Then you place the roller under your lower back.  You slide your whole body forward until the roller reaches your middle back.  Then you slide your body backwards until the roller is under your lower back again.  This helps alleviate tension in your lower and middle back.

What Is The Purpose Of Myofascial Release?
SMR Back

 

 

 

 

Chest

For this you need one of the small massage balls.  You take the ball in your hand and place it about 2 inches above and about 1 inch inside the nipple line.  Using your hand simply move the ball in a circular motion applying light pressure to about a 1-2 inch diameter radius. Whether it’s 1 or 2 inches will depend on the size of your chest.  This helps relieve tightness in your pectoralis or chest muscles.

What Is The Purpose Of Myofascial Release?
SMR Chest

 

 

 

 

Summary

SMR is a great supplement to relieve muscle tension in addition to stretching.  One thing I’d like to caution you about is please be gentle with your movements.  You may be going over some tender areas in your body and you want to avoid injury.

Also, SMR can be used to relieve tension in any area of your body and not just the ones mentioned above.  Just about anywhere you have a muscle you can do some type of SMR to alleviate tightness.  Being able to smooth knots and relieve tension in your muscles will help you achieve optimal performance and have better range of motion.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine’s research partners at the University of North Carolina wrote an article on SMR.  It was a great article and to read it click here.  If you have any questions or comments please leave them as I look forward to hearing from you.  Thanks for your time and have an awesome day!

Jon


 

Can You Lose Weight From Yoga?

Hello!  Many times I hear people say that they don’t like to do yoga because they don’t think it will help them lose weight.  I’d like to dispel that notion because it can help you lose weight in certain ways.  A lot of people think because you’re not constantly moving at a fast pace that you can’t burn enough calories.

However, the length-tension relationship of your muscle fibers can play a key role in caloric burn.  For example, if you’re in a yoga session for 60 minutes or more, the constant lengthening and contracting of your muscle fibers can expend a significant amount of calories.  This expenditure of calories can be similar to a workout utilizing one of the other major components of fitness.

Also, if you’re doing some challenging balance moves your nervous system will be involved more.  When this happens more muscle tissue and fibers are activated resulting in calories being burned.

Flexibility

Another benefit of yoga is it improves your flexibility.  By having increased flexibility you’ll be able to do more challenging movements in other workouts.  As a result of this, you’ll be able to increase your caloric output when doing those workouts.  Having better flexibility also puts you at less risk of injury.

Can You Lose Weight From Yoga?

Frequency

The best way to lose weight with yoga is to use it as a complement to a balanced workout program.  However, if for some reason you only want to do yoga, you’ll probably need to do at least four 60 minutes or more sessions a week to see any weight loss.  This should also be done in conjunction with a healthy diet.

Balanced Diet & Exercise Program

I can’t stress enough the importance of a balanced diet and exercise program, especially if your goal is to lose weight.  If that is your goal, you’ll need to have a negative caloric balance of 3500 calories over 7 days. A good rule of thumb is to reduce your calorie balance by 500 per day for 7 days.  This simply means that you need to expend 500 more calories than you consume for each day.

This is a good way to go about it because a weight loss of 1-2 pounds a week is safer and healthier than a sudden weight loss.  You’ll also be more inclined to keep the weight off by losing it gradually as opposed to quickly.

Stress Relief

Yoga is also great for relieving stress and releasing endorphins.  These are chemicals released by the brain that help you get in a good mood.  By feeling good about yourself after a yoga session, many times it’ll motivate you to want to do other workouts.  If nothing else, it may make you more excited about doing yoga again.

Can You Lose Weight From Yoga?

Types of Yoga

There are several different types of yoga to choose from.  Power yoga is where there’s usually more activity and movement than other types of yoga.  Another one is hot yoga, where the room temperature is normally turned up to around 95-105 degrees fahrenheit.  These sessions are also generally shorter in duration and water hydration is essential.

Traditional yoga usually has a beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.  These are just some examples and there are other types of yoga out there.  What’s important is that you pick a type that you like so there’s a better chance you’ll stick with it.

Summary

Yoga can be used as an awesome supplement to help you lose weight if that’s your goal.  If weight loss isn’t your goal, it’s still great to improve your flexibility and reduce risk of injury.  I do yoga at least once a week and sometimes twice a week.  I can definitely say I can feel the advantages from doing it.  How would you describe your flexibility? If it needs improving or you just want to maintain where you’re at, I think yoga is a great tool to use.

If you have any questions or comments please leave them as I look forward to hearing from you.  Thanks for taking time to read my post and have a wonderful day!

Jon


 

A Pound Is A Pound Is A Pound

Fat Vs Muscle Weight Ratio

Hello everyone!  Today I want to share some information regarding muscle vs fat.  Many people ask me if muscle weighs more than fat.  It actually depends on how much muscle compared to how much fat you’re referring to.

I say this because 1 pound of muscle is going to weigh the same as 1 pound of fat, hence they each weigh 1 pound.  However, muscle takes up less volume and space than fat.  Therefore, 1 pound of muscle is going to take up much less space in your body than the 1 pound of fat.

Fat Vs Muscle Weight Ratio

 

 

 

 

Body Composition

Body composition plays an important role in a person’s overall health.  It is the ratio of fat mass to fat free mass.  Most people incorrectly view body composition as how much fat a person has on their body.  Although it’s usually expressed as a percentage of body fat, the more important factor is the ratio.

For example, a person with 20% body fat would see a decline in the percentage of fat by adding muscle.  This occurs without changing the quantity of fat on the body because it’s expressed as a percentage. However, if someone loses muscle mass without changing body fat mass, they will show an increase in fat when expressed as a percentage.

Essential Levels of Body Fat

There are minimum essential levels of body fat required for important body functions.  For males the essential level is 3%-5% total body fat.  If levels drop below this, problems with body temperature regulation and metabolic functions can happen.  The essential body fat level for females is 11%-14%.  If levels fall below this percent, problems with the menstrual cycle, estrogen production, and osteoporosis can occur.

Storage of Fat

The majority of fat storage in your body is between your skin and muscle tissue.  This accounts for about 50%-70% of total fat stored and is called subcutaneous fat.  Fat stored below the muscle tissue is called visceral fat.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

One way to check your body fat is to use the Body Mass Index (BMI) formula.  It’s not the most accurate way to check body fat, but it will give you a general idea of where you’re at.  To determine your body fat with this method it’s fairly simple and you use the formula below.

BMI = (body weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) X 703

For males and females a healthy range is considered between 18.5 and 24.5 kg per meter squared.  The most accurate way to check body fat percent is hydrostatic weighing, also known as the water submersion test.  However, most people don’t have access to the equipment required for this type of test and it’s also usually expensive.

Fat Vs Muscle Weight Ratio

 

 

 

 

 

Summary– Body composition is directly related to risk for disease.  People who maintain high levels of body fat greatly increase their chance of heart attack, heart disease, and other significant health problems.  Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance to keep your body fat percent under control.

The best way to do this is through a healthy diet and exercise program that enables you to live a healthy lifestyle.  If you have any questions or comments please let me know as I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for reading and have a fantastic day!  Take care,

Jon


 

Don’t Forget About Protein

Hello everyone!  Nowadays there seems to be so much discussion and debate about carbohydrates that many people forget about other nutrients. One of them is protein and today I’m going to discuss the general functions of protein.

Why Is Protein So Important?

Protein is part of every cell and helps keep the body together structurally. It’s critical for good health and helps keep skin, hair, and nails healthy.  It also aids in providing antibodies to fight infection, maintaining water balance, transporting nutrients, and muscle repair.

Building Blocks of Protein

Amino acids are the basic building blocks of protein and proteins are amino acids linked together.  There are 20 different amino acids available in the body.  Nine of them are called essential amino acids because your body doesn’t produce them.  These must be obtained from your diet.  Your body can produce the remaining 11 and these are called nonessential amino acids.

Functions of Body Proteins

Your body contains thousands of different proteins and they function as either structural or motor proteins.  The purposes of both these types of proteins vary and include acting as enzymes, hormones, antibodies and maintaining fluid balance.  Structural proteins provide structure to all cells including hair, skin, and nails.  Motor proteins turn energy into work.  For example, if you ride a bike you’re using stored food energy to power muscles in your body.

Enzymes

Enzymes are proteins that initiate chemical reactions and aren’t destroyed in the process.  All cells contain thousands of enzymes and each has a unique purpose.

Don't Forget About Protein

Hormones

Many hormones are proteins that have regulatory functions within the body.  For example, insulin is a protein hormone that plays a key role in managing the amount of glucose in the blood.

Antibodies

Proteins play an important role in the immune system which is responsible for fighting infection.  Antibodies are blood proteins that attack and destroy bacteria and viruses.  If your diet doesn’t contain enough protein your body can’t produce the necessary antibodies it needs. This in turn will lead to your immune system being weakened.

Fluid Balance

Proteins in the blood help maintain proper fluid levels in your circulatory system.  When your heart beats it pushes fluid and nutrients from the capillaries into surrounding cells.  However, proteins such as albumin and globulin are too large to leave capillaries.  These proteins attract fluid into the capillaries and provide balance by keeping fluid in your blood stream.

Source of Energy

When completely metabolized in the body, protein provides 4 kilocalories of energy per gram.  Your body prefers to burn carbohydrates and fats for energy.  However, if necessary it can use protein for energy to make glucose.  If your diet doesn’t provide enough energy to sustain vital functions, your body will sacrifice protein for energy to survive.

Physical Stress

Physical stress can increase the body’s need for protein.  Infections, burns, and surgery all induce protein loss.  A severe infection can increase protein demand by up to 1/3.  Severe burns can increase protein requirements by 2-3 times or possibly more.  Intense weight training increases protein need much less than most people think.  The typical American diet supplies adequate protein for most people, even bodybuilders.

Complete Proteins

Animal foods usually provide complete protein.  Another words, they provide all the essential amino acids in about the right proportions.  Some examples would be red meats, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, and milk products. Most Americans on average get about 63% of their protein from animal foods.  Although, in other parts of the world animal protein plays a smaller role.

Incomplete And Complementary Proteins

Except for soy protein, the protein in plant foods is incomplete.  What I mean by that is, it lacks one or more essential amino acids.  It also doesn’t match your body’s amino acid needs as closely as animal foods.

Don't Forget About Protein

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though the protein in one plant food might lack some amino acids, the protein in another plant food might be what we call a complementary protein.  This means it completes the amino acid chain from the first protein.  Some examples of plant proteins are grains, grain products, legumes, lentils, dried beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, starchy vegetables, and nuts.

How Much Protein Should I Eat?

The average daily intake of protein for adults ages 19-30 ranges from about 70-110 grams.  For older adults it decreases to about 50-85 grams. The consumption of protein as a percentage of calories ranges from about 13% in children to about 16% in adults.  Based on average intake data, Americans are usually eating within the recommended range which is 10%-35% of calories from protein.

Whether you eat 10%, 35%, or somewhere in the middle is dependent on your dietary goals.  However, 10% is the minimum you should consume to maintain good health.  Unfortunately, I don’t have data on countries outside the United States.  You also don’t want to exceed the recommended range because excess protein can cause kidney and other health problems.

Summary

There is no major nutrient more important than another when it comes to your diet.  Whether it’s protein, carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals, or water they all have a purpose and fit together like a puzzle.  Thus, protein is an important piece of the puzzle and shouldn’t be overlooked.  If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them as I look forward to hearing from you.  Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

Don't Forget About Protein

Jon

 

 

 


 

How To Get Fit With FITTE

Hello everyone!  Today I want to share with you valuable information to be aware of when starting or during a fitness regimen.  FITTE is an acronym that stands for frequency, intensity, time, type, and enjoyment.

If you’re wondering how to get fit quick you can stop wondering because that concept isn’t realistic.  Fitness is a process that evolves over time with proper diet and exercise.  However, by keeping some of these factors in mind it can help you expedite that process.  I’ve broken down each factor into more detail below.

Frequency– Frequency refers to how often you exercise.  This could be twice a week, three times a week, etc.  You want to aim for a total of 150 minutes per week to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Intensity– Intensity is the level of demand an exercise places on the body. You should do a minimum of 60-90 minutes of cardiovascular training each week depending on your fitness goals.  During cardio training you can monitor the intensity level you’re at by checking your maximum heart rate also known as MHR.

If you’re in a deconditioned state or just starting an exercise program your pulse shouldn’t exceed 60%-70% of your MHR.  To determine your MHR you subtract your age from 220.  For example, if your age is 40 then your maximum heart rate would be 180.  Therefore, your pulse during exercise should be between 108-126 which is known as your Target Heart Rate.

If your heart rate during exercise is over 126 you should slow down until it gets in the proper zone.  Conversely, if it’s below 108 you should increase the intensity until it hits the correct zone as well.  Also, depending on your level of fitness you may have to increase your heart rate zone to 71%-80% of your MHR to challenge yourself.

How To Get Fit With FITTE

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, you shouldn’t aim for over 70% until you can successfully maintain a 60%-70% range of your MHR. You should be able to maintain this for at least 3 consecutive workouts without overwhelming duress.

Time– time refers to the length of time engaged in an exercise and is usually measured in minutes.  This could be a 30 minute session, 45 minute session, 60 minute session, etc.  It’s normally recommended to do a 30 minute session at least 5 times a week if you’re just starting out.

Type– Type is the type of exercise used.  This can be just about any activity or movement.  If it’s cardio related some examples could be walking, jogging, use of a treadmill, etc.  If it’s strength related it may be something like lifting weights, body resistance exercises, exercise bands, etc.  Again, this could be literally anything depending on which body parts are involved.

Enjoyment– Enjoyment is the amount of pleasure you get from an activity.  This is often overlooked by many fitness professionals, but yet is essential to success in fitness.  If you choose to engage in exercises or activities that suit your interests, you’ll be more inclined to stick with a fitness program.

How To Get Fit With FITTE

 

 

 

 

 

Also, the best part is that it makes healthy activities more fun!  These could range from anything such as walking in the park, swimming, bicycling, hiking, etc.  So choose some activities you like and have fun with them!

Summary– I wanted to spell out some factors to keep in mind as you decide or engage in an exercise program.  If you’d like some great information on workout tools to help you reach your goals please visit my Reviews page here .  For any questions or comments you may have please leave them and I will get back to you.  Thanks for reading and best of luck in your fitness journey!  Take care,

Jon


 

How To Make Time To Exercise

Hello everyone!  Many times I talk to people about their exercise habits. The biggest excuse I get for not working out is I don’t have the time.  So today I’m going to share with you how to make time to exercise.  I think the importance of exercise ranks up there with essential functions like eating, bathing, etc.

How To Make Time To Exercise

 

 

 

 

 

 

It reminds me of the story about the guy who’s driving and runs out of gas.  Another gentleman approached him and asked him why he ran out. The driver said he was so busy driving he forgot to refuel.  The point I’d like to make is you need to find time to exercise.  If you don’t your body will do the same thing as the guy’s car and start to shut down.

 

Finding time to work out really boils down to simple math.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a math major to understand what I’m about to explain.  It’s basically a simple process.

We all have the same 168 hours in a week.  If you sleep 8 hours a night like you should that’s 56 hours for the week.  If you work a full time job that normally equates to about 40 hours a week.  Therefore, if you subtract 96 hours for sleeping and working that leaves 72 hours remaining for the week.  I know some people may work 2 jobs so you could add in an average of another 20 hours.

How To Make Time To Exercise

 

 

 

 

 

 

It still leaves about 52-72 hours left over so far.  At this point you can take out time for errands around the house, social obligations, and miscellaneous things.  Even after subtracting all that, you should still be able to carve out 150 minutes (2 1/2 hours) to exercise for the week.  150 minutes of moderate to high intensity exercise is the minimum you should shoot for to have a healthy lifestyle.  Anything over that is awesome!

The time of day you work out doesn’t matter.  However, if you’re able to exercise close to the same times your body usually adapts to changes better.  All that’s really important is that you’re moving!

I hope this helps you realize a way to work exercise into your schedule.  I know we all have busy lives.  Although if you look hard enough, I think you can squeeze in at least a little time for working out.  So let’s stop making excuses and let’s get fit!  If you have any questions or comments please leave them as I’ll look forward to hearing from you.  Thanks for your time and have a great day!

Jon


 

Daily Activities To Burn Calories

Hello!  Today I want to share with you some daily activities to burn calories that many people are unaware of.  They’re very common actions you can do frequently to accomplish certain tasks.  These actions are designed to supplement the caloric burn you get from an exercise program, and not replace it altogether.  I’ve broken down the activities into a list below.

1)  Take Stairs When Possible– When you’re in a building and have to go up or down 3 floors or less use the stairs.  If you’re in a place such as a mall or sporting event, utilize stairs instead of elevators or escalators when possible.

Daily Activities To Burn Calories

 

 

 

 

2)  Don’t Park In The Closest Spot– When you go somewhere like a grocery store or department store, don’t always park in the spot closest to the building.  Park in a place that will require you to walk at least 20 meters or more to the entrance.

3)  Manually Unlock Your Car– When unlocking your car stick your key in the lock instead of using an electronic device to unlock it.  This will enable use of your wrist and forearm muscles.

4)  Wash Your Car By Hand– When it’s time to wash your car do it by hand instead of driving it through a car wash.  If it’s a nice day out you can play music and get family or friends to help.  Everyone can have a little fun with it.  Your car will probably come out cleaner because you’ll be putting more elbow grease into it!

Daily Activities To Burn Calories

 

 

 

 

 

5)  Use A Basket Instead Of A Cart At The Grocery Store– When possible use a basket instead of a cart when buying groceries if your list is small enough.  This will enhance upper body strength by carrying some weight as opposed to pushing the cart.  However, if you have many items in your cart you can get a little exercise from that as well.

6)  Take The Dog For A Longer Walk– Take the dog on a different route than usual that’s a little longer.  You might see some nice scenery and it’s good exercise for you and your pet. You can also take your dog to a dog park if one’s available in your neighborhood.  This will give both of you plenty of space to walk or run around.

7)  Do Dishes By Hand– Instead of loading all the dishes in the dish washer all the time do them by hand once in a while.  It’s good for your wrists, arms, shoulders and your dishes may come out cleaner with the extra attention.

8)  Exercise During Commercials– If you exercise during commercials while watching television you can get about 10-12 minutes of exercise in during a one hour show.  It doesn’t have to be anything intense.  Just marching or jogging in place can be very beneficial.

9)  Hand Carry Documents In The Work Place– If you have a memo or document that a co-worker needs hand carry it to them.  You can do this once in a while instead of always sending it via email.  It’ll probably be nice to get away from your desk and visit a friendly face.

10)  Walk To Lunch With A Co-Worker Or Friend– Have lunch with a co-worker or friend and walk to the location if possible.  It can be nice to get some fresh air and a little exercise in the process.  Just make sure you have a healthy lunch so you don’t defeat the purpose of walking there!

11)  Use A Different Floor For Bathroom Breaks– When taking bathroom breaks at work use the floor above or below you.  You may get a chance to say hello to some co-workers you don’t normally see.

12)  Change The Television Channel Manually– I know some high tech tvs can only have the channel changed by remote control.  However, if your tv has the buttons available to change channels manually go ahead and do it once in a while.  Getting out of your chair or off the couch will help improve your body’s circulation.

13)  Don’t Ask For Something If You Can Get It Yourself– While at home don’t ask someone else to bring you something if you’re able to get it yourself.  If you need an item from another room just get up and get it!  I know this may seem trivial, but if you do a lot of small things throughout the day to be active they add up to a lot.

Summary– Unfortunately, overweight and obesity rates have reached an all time high in the United States and many parts of the world.  By being conscious of your physical actions during the day, you can greatly complement your exercise program.  Also, be careful with technology so it’s not overused to the point of being detrimental to a healthy lifestyle.

In addition, you can be creative to come up with other ways to be active on a daily basis.  We don’t always have to take the lazy way out when doing activities.  A little extra movement never hurts anyone, right?

If you have any ideas you’d like to share on how to burn calories outside of traditional exercise please let me know. I’m sure other readers would also be interested as they might be able to incorporate them into their lifestyle. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for reading and wishing you a healthy life! Take care,

Jon

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Comfort In Fitness/ Is It Possible?

Comfort in Fitness

Hello everyone!  I’m sure you’re probably thinking the phrase comfort in fitness must be an oxymoron, since most people think of the two words as opposites.  However, what I’m referring to today is being comfortable in your fitness attire.  It’s important to have work out clothes that fit properly so yes comfort in fitness is possible.

Unrestrictive Movement

One area I’d like to point out is having unrestrictive movement when exercising.  You should make sure your shirt isn’t too tight, especially around your shoulders.  Full range of motion is crucial to being able to perform movements correctly.

You should be able to move both arms to their fullest extent in all directions easily. If you’re not able to do this you should definitely switch to a larger shirt.  However, it shouldn’t be so big that any loose clothing interferes with equipment or your pattern of movement.

Also, just like your shirt having comfortable pants or shorts is key to allowing proper exercise.  They should be loose enough to allow for full range of motion of both legs in all directions.

Again, just like with shirts they shouldn’t so loose they interfere with the use of any equipment or disrupt your movement pattern.  Spandex are designed to have a snug fit and that’s fine, but they should still be comfortable and enable ease of movement.

Comfortable Fitness Atttire

 

 

 

 

 

You can purchase fitness attire and it doesn’t have to be costly.  A couple key things to look for besides ease of movement is material and size.  For example, some people prefer 100% cotton, while others may prefer a mixture of cotton and nylon.  It all really depends on which material is comfortable to you and your skin.

Shoes

Of all the fitness attire I can’t stress enough the importance of proper footwear so I saved this for last.  You’re feet are your body’s support structure to most movements.  Without that support you won’t be able to perform exercises properly and you could possibly get injured.  You should ensure your shoes have a good sole (no holes) and a strong base of support at the heel.

I personally like to wear tennis shoes with the mini shock absorbers under the heel.  This is because I do a lot of power movements and need the extra absorption.  However, as long as you have good heel support you should be fine.  Your shoes should fit snug but not tight or loose. Also, you can purchase great work out shoes at a very reasonable price without spending a lot of money.

Summary

I want you to feel comfortable in your work out clothes with good fitting.  I know a lot of us don’t think much about what we wear for exercise, and just wear our favorite items.  Just make sure these items are a great fit.   This way you’ll have all the tools necessary to build your body into a house of fitness!

I personally like to wear a lot of Reebok’s clothes.  For more information on their attire please visit my Reviews page here.  If you have any questions or comments please let me know and have an awesome day!

Jon

photo credit: Big Sur Mud Run 2013 via photopin (license)


 

What Are Good Carbs To Eat? Yes Carbs Can Be Good!

What Are Good Carbs To Eat?

Hi everyone, as a personal trainer I often get asked questions about carbs.  Should I cut them out completely?  Are there any good carbs?  Should I go on a low carb diet?  Well, the purpose of my blog today is to answer those questions and more.

I’ll also be going over what are good carbs to eat as mentioned in the title and how they relate to fitness.  First I’d like to give you a little background on carbohydrates before I get into the questions.

What Are Carbohydrates?

Plants use carbon dioxide from the air, water from the ground, and the sun’s energy to produce carbs and oxygen through the process photosynthesis.  Carbs are compounds that contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

Carbohydrate intake should be the foundation of any healthy diet.  Carbs contains 4 kilocalories per gram compared to 9 kilocalories per gram for fat.  Therefore, a diet rich in carbs provides less calories and a greater volume of food than a diet high in fat.

2 Main Types of Carbohydrates

There are two types of carbs in food.  They are simple carbohydrates (sugars), and complex carbohydrates (starches and fiber).  Simple carbs occur naturally as simple sugars in fruits, milk, and other foods.  There are two main categories of sugars which are monosaccharides and disaccharides.  The most common monosaccharides are glucose, fructose, and galactose.

Glucose is the most abundant simple carb and gives a mildly sweet flavor to food.  Fructose, also called fruit sugar, tastes the sweetest of all sugars and is found in fruits and vegetables.  Galactose is found as part of lactose in milk.

The most common disaccharides are sucrose, lactose, and maltose.  Sucrose, also known as table sugar, provides sweetness to honey, maple syrup, fruits and vegetables.  Lactose, which is milk sugar, gives milk and other dairy products a sweet taste.  Maltose is malt sugar and isn’t found in foods, but is formed when starch breaks down.

Fruits

Complex Carbohydrates

The two classes of complex carbs are starch and fiber.  They are chains of more than two sugar molecules, hence the name complex carbohydrates.

Starch

Rich sources of starch include grains such as wheat, rice, corn, oats, and barley.  Also legumes such as peas, beans, and lentils are a good source of starch along with potatoes, yams, and cassava.  Starch gives a moist texture to food.

Fiber

All types of plant foods including, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and white grains contain fiber.  Fiber aids in lowering blood cholesterol and promoting healthy gastrointestinal functioning.

How To Choose Carbohydrates Wisely

You should be encouraged to increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk while keeping your caloric intake under control.  These foods are great sources of carbs and many other nutrients.

Choosing a variety of fruits and vegetables from all five vegetable sub groups (dark green vegetables, orange vegetables, legumes, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables) provides Vitamin A, C, folate, potassium, and fiber.

You should also moderate your sugar intake.  Most of us enjoy the taste of sweet foods and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Good news, right?  However, the key is eating sweet foods in moderation.  You can do this with a few simple tips.

Try to use less white and brown sugar, honey, and syrups when possible.  Limit your intake of soft drinks, high sugar breakfast cereals, candy, ice cream, and sweet desserts.  Use fresh or frozen fruits canned in natural juices.

Vegetables

How Carbs Relate to Fitness

Lastly, I’d like to tie all this information together with how it relates to fitness.  The first point I’d like to emphasize is you should never cut carbs completely out of your diet.  Carbs are designed to provide your body with energy and you need energy for daily activities and exercise.

Carbohydrates can have some great qualities and provide excellent nutrients, contrary to popular belief they are not the enemy if used for their intended purpose.  If you want to maintain your current weight your carb intake should be about 60% of your overall diet.

However, if you’re trying to lose weight I would scale your carb intake back to no more than 30% of your daily caloric intake.  This is because your body fat is stored energy and you want to use that as your primary source of energy to lose the weight.  If you consume too many carbs and they’re not metabolized as energy then those carbs will turn to fat.

I hope I’ve answered some questions you may have had about carbs.  If you do have any questions or comments please leave them and I will get back to you.  Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Jon

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photo credit: Summer Love via photopin (license)


 

How To Get Fit With A Recipe For Success

Hello everyone!  I’d like to share with you 9 major components to getting fit.  I like to call this the fitness recipe for success.  Just like a good chef knows the right ingredients to a great recipe for a delicious meal, you need to know the right ingredients for your recipe to fitness success.  As time goes on I’ll be covering exercises for the 9 areas below.

Ingredients to Fitness

 

1 Core The core covers a large area from your neck to the bottom of your buttocks.  It’s your body’s center of gravity and where all movement begins.  A strong core is necessary for maintaining muscle balance throughout your body.

2 Cardiovascular Training This is training that utilizes and puts a stress on the cardiovascular system.  Any form of activity such as the treadmill, tennis, and  running can be used as cardiovascular training.  It’s important to have a strong cardio system so you don’t fatigue easily during work outs.  The longer you can sustain exercises and activities the faster you can get in shape.

3 Strength Training – This is sometimes referred to as resistance training.  Strength is basically the muscle’s ability to overcome an external force.  It’s important to do strength training equally for all muscles in your body.

By having strength distribution evenly you’ll minimize chances of injury and be in better overall condition.  You also shouldn’t work the same muscle groups every day.  For some great information on tools to help you reach your cardio and strength goals please visit my Reviews page http://simplefitness123.com/reviews.

Strength Training

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 – Flexibility – Flexibility training can reduce occurrences of muscle imbalances, joint dysfunctions, and injuries from overuse.  Without good flexibility you won’t be able to achieve great fitness without injury. 

5 – Balance – Whether on a soccer field , riding a bike, or walking down stairs, maintaining balance is important to all functional movements.  Balance training should challenge your limits of stability.  It also fills a gap not addressed by many fitness programs and is key to getting in ideal shape.

6 – Speed – Speed is the ability to move your body in one intended direction as fast as possible.  It is determined by what we call stride rate and stride length.  Stride rate is the number of strides taken in a given amount of time and can be improved upon with training.  Stride length is the distance covered in one stride during running.

7 – Agility – Agility is the ability to start, stop, and change direction quickly while maintaining good posture.  This type of training can enhance core strength and balance.  It can also help prevent injury by improving your body control.

8 – Quickness – Quickness is the ability to react and change body position at a maximum rate.  It also involves being able to react to visual and auditory signals with minimal hesitation.  Many times speed, agility, and quickness are combined into the same exercises.

9 – Power – The final aspect in enhancing fitness is power training, sometimes referred to as reactive training.  You must have good core strength and balance to perform power exercises.  That’s why I saved this component for last.

These exercises are quick, powerful, and explosive movements that are a progression in fitness.  I can’t stress enough how they should only be done after your core and balance are in optimal shape.

In summary– these 9 ingredients I mentioned are a great foundation to building your fitness.  If you know you’re weak in one area over another, you can focus on that area.  However, you shouldn’t abandon any component of fitness totally because it will prevent you from attaining excellent fitness.

Hopefully this information answers some questions you may have on getting in awesome shape.  I’ll be posting more information over time. If you have any questions or comments please let me know as I look forward to hearing from you.  Best of luck to your fitness!

Take Care,

Jon

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