Category Archives for Health & Fitness

6 Secret Weapons for Rockin’ Your Summer Body with Confidence

By Kristi K. Hoffman, M.S.

Last time we checked, no one was flawless. But that’s not always easy to remember when you’re going to the season’s first pool party or heading to the beach for summer vacation.

Feeling panicked, insecure, and ultra-intimidated about bathing suit weather? No more! Beach vacations and pool parties are about to get fun again.

Ninety percent of teen girls surveyed by Total Package Global, an Ohio-based professional and personal development corporation, have felt insecure about their bodies, often when wearing a bathing suit. In fact, according to Dove Self-Esteem Project research, “Six out of ten girls are so concerned with the way they look that they are holding back from participating in important life activities.” And we can’t have that! So here are six secret weapons for rockin’ your beach body this summer:

1. Don’t pre-determine that you will have a bad time at the beach or that you will look “awful” in your beachwear. Lose self-judgments from the get-go and instead, tell yourself that you will have fun and not be self-conscious. Get your head and your thoughts in the right game — one of positive self-thoughts, not negative ones — and #jbu (just be you!).

2. Erase the negative thoughts you think others are thinking about your body. They’re not.

3. Develop a sassy attitude. Walk with your chin up and shoulders back, wear beachwear you feel confident in, pop up a sassy pony tail, and smile… a lot.

4. Halt the envy. No more “I wish I had her body.” Negative self-talk is your enemy — don’t give those anti-thoughts about your body any energy. Ever think that others are envying you at the same time you are envying them? Put the envy and comparisons to bed…permanently.

5. Focus on your assets. You have many — you may, however, have pushed them aside to obsess about your body image. Get real with your outside beauty. You rock, now list the ways.

6. As you are walking down the beach this summer, repeat this confidence mantra to yourself and you will have graduated from Bathing Suitin’ 101: “I am gorgeous and I know it.”

Remember, pools and beaches are for summer fun, no more insecurities and self-consciousness. It’s time, #rightnow to rock summer #bathingsuitin’ with attitude and confidence.

2 Things To Do Instead Of Working Out

By Elsie Goycoolea

“Do what you love and you will not work a single day in your life.”

I agree. However, it isn’t that easy to stumble upon a job that you will gladly enjoy spending 40 hours of your week doing.

Most of the time, work is a necessity and a means to an end. Some jobs are only temporary until we are ready enough to take the jump across the pond or are surprised by the opportunity of our dreams.

Until those dreams come, work is work – for most of us. So why would we want to add more work (in the form of a workout) to our schedules?

Working out should be a time where stress and tension can be released. An hour where the mind and body are engaged and bad thoughts are replaced by tingling sensations and feelings of power. The endorphins at the end of a workout are cherished by many of us and keep us addicted for life.

However, the truth is that working out has now become a daily commitment to spend 1 or 2 hours each day following a specific routine of home workouts or gym exercises with little or no variation. In theory it sounds like work, right?

At our “real” job we usually work on projects, cover incidents, meet up with clients, send some emails, have meetings, etc. In theory it sounds like a workout, right?

It is not surprising that nowadays, “real” work and working out are not that different. These are two places that we will most likely visit each day, know the people that visit them and engage in similar tasks on a constant basis.

Working out has become the new job. When a work shift is more engaging, appealing, and amusing that workout time, then it is time to ditch our workouts and do this instead:

1. Play Sports

Sports are hobbies that we choose to do during our free time as they genuinely respond to our individual interests. Besides from professional athletes, sports are never work. In fact, we “play” sports.

During our childhood, we freely responded to our interests by engaging in the sports that we truly enjoyed. Whether that was track, basketball or even rollerblading, they hold pleasant feelings in our memory because they were de-stressors from studies and work.

2. Move Mindfully and Naturally

Sitting at work, sitting on a plane and even standing for 6 hours leave us sluggish and occasionally sore. In order to keep moving, we must keep moving. Our bodies have a physiological need to move. If we need it and our body asks for it then it shouldn’t be work.

Our bodies tell us how to move, they can speak if we listen. It is as easy as responding by what feels right. Perhaps it is a solo dance session what feels right. The weights or the treadmill will be there tomorrow.

There is no need to work out. We don’t have to say it or do it. We have enough work going on to sign up for another commitment. Instead, let’s play more and move more.

In theory, that sounds like fun, right?

What Is It Wednesday: Lighten Up!

By Rosie Battista

What Is It Wednesday is the day we reveal a product and its ingredient list and you guess what this “food” is. Then I’ll share with you an option for making a healthy version of this product.

Do you know what you’re eating?

Guess what “food product” has these 12 ingredients ?

Citric Acid
Potassium Citrate
Sodium Citrate
Aspartame
Magnesium Oxide
Maltodextrin
Contains less than 2% of natural flavor
Acesulfame potassium
Soy Lecithin
Artificial Color
Yellow 5
BHA

THE BIG REVEAL. This is what you would be drinking if you bought this product and you may want to “lighten up” your sipping on this.

Wednesday 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural? Hmmmm. WHAT?

WHAT YOU COULD DRINK INSTEAD:

1. Fresh water with fresh lemon, lime, and orange slices (soaked overnite) – So pretty!
2. Water with 2 cup frozen mixed tropical fruit – frozen fruit acts like ice!
3. Water with sliced cucumbers – detoxifyingly delish!

**If you want sweet, add 1 tbsp raw honey or stevia to taste

**If you want sizzling, use sparkling water

Just because it’s in a box, on a shelf, in a grocery store, does NOT make it fit to eat.

 

5 Foods Needed To Balance Your Hormones

By Dr. Katie Corazzo

Did you know that your diet can impact your hormones?! And I am not just talking about hormones like estrogen and testosterone, this includes thyroid and adrenal hormones too. The thyroid produces T3 and T4 to help regulate your metabolism. The adrenals are responsible for dealing with stress (cortisol) and blood pressure (aldosterone), but they also produce progesterone, DHEA, testosterone, and estrogen. A poor diet, stress, lack of sleep and a sedentary lifestyle can cause your endocrine system to be off balance.

Why do I feel…?

Tired and unmotivated?  Easily overwhelmed? Sleepy after lunch? Very sensitive to cold or hot? Dizzy when going from sitting to standing? Stressed? (doesn’t everyone?!) Insomnia or un-refreshing sleep? Like you can’t kick your carb cravingsExcess hair falling out?

Do you ever notice…

Weight gain around your abdomen? Heavy or painful menses? PMS? Irregular cycle? Hot flashes?

If you answered “yes” to 3 or more of the items listed, your hormones could use a nutritional boost!

Here is the list of foods that help support your ovaries, adrenals, and thyroid.

1. Broccoli and its cruciferous cousins!

Your liver is the powerhouse behind all hormones, working behind the scenes to allow your hormones to express themselves when needed. Your liver also has to power through junk like sugar, processed foods, toxins, alcohol, excess fat, and even medications. Our liver needs all the help it can get and cruciferous veggies, also known as Brassica, are just the answer.

Broccoli and its other green friends contain sulphur compounds that support the detoxification pathways and fat metabolism. Glucosinolates which are metabolized to form indole-3-carbinol or I3C and DIM in theses green veggies may help also prevent cancers like breast, cervical, colon, and prostate. But, not only are your liver and endocrine systems supported by these veggies, your bones benefit from the calcium and they lower homocysteine levels to protect your heart. Wow! So, which veggies do you need to include in your diet? Swiss chard, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, watercress, radish, rapini, arugula, spinach, turnip, kale, and bok choy.

Tip: Cook them to destroy goitrogenic effects that can slow down an already sluggish thyroid. See this veggie recipe and this one too.

2. Seaweed!

I am not talking about the seaweed from your favorite lake. This is seaweed from the ocean that you might find wrapped around your favorite sushi roll, seaweed salad at a Japanese restaurant or in one of my favorite snacks – roasted seaweed.

Thyroid hormones production requires iodine and seaweed is very high in iodine. A deficiency can cause thyroid problems, goiter, and stunted growth in children.

Tip: Iodized salt and fish also contain iodine. Do not take an iodine supplement without checking with your doctor first.

3. Brazil Nuts!

Brazil nuts are loaded with selenium. 6-8 brazil nuts (1 oz) provide 10x the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults. Wow! But, why is selenium so important?

Remember our friend iodine from #2? Selenium helps attach iodine to the thyroid hormones. The thyroid has the highest concentration of Selenium in all the organs in the body. Selenium also protects the thyroid and aids in thyroid hormone metabolism. Anti-body (anti-TPO) levels in those with Hashimoto’s disease have been improved with Selenium supplementation as well.

Tip: You can also find our friend and antioxidant, Vitamin E in brazil nuts. 4 nuts per day is plenty.

4. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruit!

Stress on your body triggers the adrenals to produce more cortisol. This is caused by emotional (work, relationships, worry, anxiety, etc) or physical stress (illness, injury, exercise), lack of sleep, caffeine, and alcohol.

When there is excess or chronic stress, cortisol and sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone, progesterone) become imbalanced. Adrenal hormone imbalances can also contribute to weight gain, osteoporosis, weakness, weakened immune function, and irregular menses.

So, why citrus fruits? The adrenal glands and brain have more vitamin C than any other tissue in the body. During stress more vitamin C is used or lost. See the correlation between stress – lower vitamin C – greater susceptibility to infections? Citrus fruits, especially oranges are known for their high concentration of vitamin C.

Tip: eat the whole fruit including the skin (not the peel, but the fibers around the pulp) to gain the most nutrients and fiber from your fruit.

Protein!

5. More protein and less sugar!

The adrenal glands help with blood sugar regulation. When your body is stressed it makes more glucose (sugar) to give your body the energy it needs to cope with the stress. Because you already have enough glucose, you do not need to consume more, but need protein for energy. In fact, consuming too much sugar during times of stress puts even more stress on your adrenals, not to mention the rest of your body. Think about it…excess stress –> poor dietary habits and more sugar –> weight gain –> more stress. Stop the cycle by cutting out the sugar and increasing your protein intake.

Tip: Protein includes animal protein, but also beans, lentils, veggies like spinach, nuts, and seeds.

[Video] Fitness Hacking Can Save You Time!

The word “Hacking” has been used a lot lately!

When someone says that word to you, what do you think of?Hacking your way through a Brazilian Rainforest?

  • What you used to do your hair when having one of THOSE kinds of days?
  • Someone getting into a software program illegally and running amok?
  • A wild fit of coughing?

All of these are, in my opinion, valid uses of the word, but it has taken on a new meaning over the last 30 years or so, especially when paired with the word “life.”

Wikipedia defines life hacking as a productivity trick, shortcut, skill or novelty method to increase productivity and efficiency.  It solves an every day problem in a clever way.

That is why my husband LOVES the lifehacker.com website so much! They present really good information that you can use to make life easier.

And it grows from there – health hacking, fitness hacking, brain hacking – and it is all good stuff in this age of overwhelm and general busyness!

Tim Ferriss, the author of “The 4-Hour Body,” has spent a great deal of his life researching the facts that we have been taught and doing experiments – mostly on himself – on how to do things TOTALLY differently and get unheard of results, really fast.

Check out this short video clip (you can find a longer one on YouTube too, if this makes you want to watch more).

So to recap:

  • The most common approach is rarely the most efficient.
  • Use the minimum effective dose – What is the least amount you can do to get the maximum result in the least amount of time?
  • As detailed in the video, do 1 set to failure for each major muscle group taking 90-120 seconds, slow reps 5 seconds in each direction, 1 time per week per muscle group

I’m going to try that!

If you are interested in this approach, and his other novel suggestions, you may just want to read his book!

Would You Want To Know 3-4 Hours Ahead Of Time If You Were About To Have A Heart Attack?

Technology is advancing at a rapid pace, as you know. It is virtually impossible to keep up with it!

But there are some particularly interesting new technologies in the health and fitness category that you may find extremely interesting.

MeMD.me has created an info graphic to show you what these new technologies are and what they do.

Just as an example of what is included here, there is one called the IronIC Systems Heart Attack Detecting Implant, developed by scientists in Switzerland.  This is the smallest medical implant with multiple sensors created so far at 14 millimeters long.  It can measure a molecule in the blood called troponin, which is something that is release 3-4 hours before a heart attack.

This device can actually measure up to 5 different substances in the blood, and is undergoing extensive testing at the moment, but it could be available in 4 years or so.

Now that is incredibly cool!

And furthermore, people have a 50% increased odds of survival from a heart attack if they get treatment within the first hour.

Think a 3-4 hour warning might help you or a loved one get there on time?

Oh, and did I mention this device is about the size of an ant?

Wow.

Other technologies include devices that will monitor your vitals signs like heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature – some can even check your hydration level (I need that one!).

Check out the other tech on this REALLY interesting infographic from MeMD.me – this is tech you will want to know about!.

8 New Technologies Revolutionizing Health and Fitness

Image is a ribbon representation of the human cardiac troponin core complex.

Multitasking: A Modern Delusion

Are you an awesome multi-tasker?

Women have a reputation at being much better at it than men. And it seems to be the only option as we try to get everything done that needs to be attended to, if we still want to have a little time left at the end of the day to sleep.

But there has been a bunch of research lately that shows that it is usually counter-productive and harmful to our health.

For one thing, what we consider to be working on many things at once actually is a switch from one thing to another to another and back…  All of that switching isn’t automatic and a lot of the effort we expend goes into those transitions.

It would take LESS time to work on one thing until it is done, then work on the next thing till it is done, etc.

And let’s talk about quality of work….  There is a really good chance that with your brain madly trying to keep up with the task at hand in a given moment, your error rate is going to go way up.  You just can’t catch as much when your attention is so chopped up.

And studies show that this only gets worse as we get older…

When our attention is jumping around – answering texts when out with friends, or answering emails while you are eating – doesn’t do anything good for our relationships OR our waistlines, either!

Signals coming from our friends, partners, and our own bodies can be missed, causing hurt feelings and overeating.

Amanda MacMillan shares more reasons to stop multitasking in a recent Huffington Post article.

I have found that the benefits of multitasking are not real, and I proved it to myself with my pedometer. You see, there is an exception to almost every rule and walking is one of the things you CAN do while doing something else!

When I started getting up from my computer and walking while I was in conference calls  (which I do a LOT in my job), I not only continued to get all my work done – I remembered what the calls were about and was able to contribute more in the discussions.

Not answering emails on those calls, and not researching problems while “listening,” actually helped me to do my job BETTER!

Easily Lose Weight and Improve Health with 5:2

My new favorite thing is The Fast Diet.

I came across the book back in March, and the title caught my attention as I have dabbled with fasting from time to time.

Written by Dr. Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer, from the UK, it presents a way of eating they call “Intermittent Fasting.”

Turns out it is not actually FASTING in the traditional sense of the word, hence the Intermittent part of it.

What you do is reduce the amount of calories you consume 2 days a week to 25% of what you would normally eat. You may hear this plan referred to as the 5:2 – five days of regular eating and two days of intermittent fasting.

That works out to 500 calories for women, 600 for men (which figures – they ALWAYS get to eat more!). On the other days you can eat what you want, although the recommendation is to not overeat on those other days.

Most women will lose about a pound a week on this plan.

There are even more exciting aspects to this way of eating than just losing weight though.

Here are a few of the benefits you may realize when following this plan:

  • Enhance brain function (think less brain fog)
  • Reduced risk of stroke
  • Improvement in Blood Pressure
  • Increased sensitivity to insulin
  • Reduction of inflammatory markers – this can mean reduction in chronic pain, arthritis, etc.
  • Reduction of cholesterol levels

Once you try it a few days, it is a pretty easy plan to follow. And the day after a fast day, everything tastes better than it did before – you really don’t find yourself wanting to pig out just because you can!

The book has been on the best seller list for many weeks – I encourage you to check it out, if you have not already done so.

Find out more on their website at http://thefastdiet.co.uk/

Nothing Routine About CrossFit Workouts

Most of us would love to improve our fitness level, although sometimes it is easier to THINK about being fit than it is to actually do something about it!

Of course there are tales out there that say if you think about working out and really focus on what you would be doing, it can actually help you improve your fitness quicker. I think they still assume some level of workout in those studies though…

But I digress.

In a recent episode of NCIS: Los Angeles they showed Kelsey and Sam discussing their latest crossfit workouts and it caught my attention – I wasn’t sure exactly what CrossFit was, although I see the word being used all over.

So when I found an article from The Rx Review called “The Benefits of CrossFit for Bone Health” I thought I would read it, to find out more about CrossFit.

As it turned out, it just referred to CrossFit as a “high intensity workout.”  Maybe he used it in the title to capture interest and I guess that worked!

I did get reminded, however, about how important resistance training is for building and maintaining bone mass, as well as lean muscle. Plyometrics are good for that too.

I have resolved to add more resistance training back into my routines!

And while it doesn’t have to be something high-intensity like CrossFit, does it intrigue you just a little bit to find out more about it?

I had to check out their website.

I found out that there are 2 paths to practicing CrossFit – working out on your own or going to a gym that offers this specific training, complete with certified trainers. The trainer option is probably the best way to go if you are lucky enough to be in a place where it is offered.

The workouts are different every day – constantly doing different moves.  They do have guidelines for those whose only option is to work out on their own, including FAQs that give you substitutions if the workout calls for something you don’t have equipment for, or do not know how to do.

There are also loads of videos that demonstrate the various moves.

Check it out at: http://www.crossfit.com/cf-info/start-how.html

This is the same principle used in P90X, where you change your routines constantly to make more progress. CrossFit seems to take this to an even higher level.

As Greg Glassman (Founder of CrossFit) says:

[box type=”shadow” align=”alignleft” ]Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.[/box]

Image of deadlift movement created by Luis Javier Rodriguez / Yupi666, and used under the GNU Free Documentation License

12 Tips For Better Sleep

I have a lot more respect for sleeping than I used to have when I was younger.  Sleep just took up too much time when there were so many other, more fun things to do!

But now, there are days when I can hardly wait to go to bed! Still, regardless of how tired I get, sometimes sleep just doesn’t come easily. It’s hard to get your mind to stop when you have been thinking about so many things during your busy day.

Unfortunately, recent research in Norway adds more support to how unhealthy it is for us to get too little sleep. Insomnia can up to triple your risk of having heart failure! That is a statistic that should motivate many of us to find ways of getting better sleep.

Here are some ways to help do that, you may be familiar with some of them, but perhaps you will find a new trick!

1. Keep regular sleep times – don’t go to bed later on the weekend than during the week, for example.

2. Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet.

3. A light Yoga stretch before bed can help your muscles relax.  I love Stress Relief Yoga, by Suzanne Deason

4. Back away from the technology right before bedtime – yep, that means your iPad too!

5. Listening to soothing music or even white noise can help, especially if you are hyper-sensitive to sounds.

6. Spend the time before bedtime doing something relaxing like a hot bath (that is my personal favorite!).

7. Remember that alcohol will cause disruptions to your sleep so better to not drink close to bedtime.

8. Regular workouts (but not too close to bedtime) can help reduce the stress chemicals that can keep you feeling ramped up and unable to sleep.

9. Calcium can help relax your nerves, so a warm glass of milk can help. For an extra boost, add a tablespoon of Blackstrap molasses, which is high in nerve-soothing B vitamins.

10. Progressive relaxation can help, which is focusing your attention on the different parts of your body, one at a time (usually starting with your feet and working up, then your hands and up, followed by your trunk and head). You notice that part, make it tense and see how that feels, then relax it.

11. Visualization can help you stop the thoughts in your head. It can be helpful to have a “restful scene” that you can focus on – and bring in all of your sense. I used to imagine I was on an island in a hammock next to the warm, turquoise water, with a slight breeze blowing… mmmmmm!

12. Don’t forget about sex!! Great sex is a tension reducer, and a nice cuddle afterwards can make you feel warm and secure.

What is your favorite way to get some shut-eye?

5 Steps To Keep Your Eating Habits Off Of YouTube

By Rosie Battista

You may want to dance like nobody’s watching but Eat like you may end up on YouTube.

Have you ever pulled up to a traffic light – wiping Big Mac sauce from your cheek – only to see a snot-nosed kid in the backseat of a Honda laughing at you while you lick the fallen pickle from your cleavage?

Now imagine that precious little angel in the backseat pointing his favorite new toy at you – the iPhone.  And picture that by the next traffic light your pickle-tainted cleavage has already gone viral? Now, that’s something to chew on, huh?

Suddenly, you feel invaded – embarrassed – humiliated …UGH!

Are your feelings a result of the prankster in the Honda, or is the shame a symptom of something larger?

Overeating, under-eating, and eating poorly are all forms of violence against your body and your soul. Eating on the run or without self-awareness is a poor habit at best – but this abusive behavior is also a cause of weight control issues as well as with low self-esteem.

How differently would you behave if you always ate as if that naughty child had his finger on the Record button – waiting to broadcast your every move?

Dainty come to mind?

When you dine daintily with self-love as the goal, toxic behaviors just don’t fit anymore. Dainty dining isn’t eating on the run or shoveling food into your mouth while scanning for the next bite from an open refrigerator door.

Healthy eating involves love, care, a table and chair. It means setting your place with a plate and a fork, and it means keeping a napkin in your lap. Eating becomes dainty dining which is almost spiritual when you clean up your act.

I hear you, though. Today’s fast-paced, fast food environment doesn’t promote Dainty Dining, and you sure don’t have the time to put a 3-course, healthy meal on your table 3 times a day.

But don’t you deserve a healthy and spiritual body – in spite of your hectic, fast food schedule? And wouldn’t extra time in your day to do so be a welcome addition?

Here’s the secret … When you weigh less and feel great, it’s amazing how much more energy you have to get things done – quicker. See the trick? It’s a balance that can add an extra 5 to 10 minutes to every day while keeping your bad behaviors off from the World Wide Web.

Now can I tell you how? Only 5 simple steps will help you increase time in your day, decrease your weight, and boost your self-confidence.

5 Dainty Dining Tips For A Healthy, Spiritual You

  1. Set your place. Sit down at a table rather than a desk or a steering wheel. And use a plate and silverware. (I even like to put a fresh flower from the Farmers Market in a glass in front of me)
  2. Say Thanks. Before eating every meal, pause in gratitude. Say grace. Offer a few words of appreciation for the food that nourishes your body and your body for its healthy vitality and resilience.
  3. Take small bites. Set your fork down in between mouthfuls.
  4. Chew slowly. A good rule of thumb is to count to 20 and to make each bite last at least the length of your count.
  5. Focus on your meal. Shut off your phone, computer, and the TV. Give your food the attention it deserves for making you feel so gorgeous and savor each bite.

Once you’ve embraced Dainty Dining, you can even invite that naughty little boy and his mother over for lunch – with confidence. They will witness your self- love and capture the proof that you are providing extreme self-care to the thing that matters most—your precious body.

That’s something only Miss Manners would post to YouTube, huh?

Image by Jef Poskanzer of Berkeley, CA, used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

It’s A Dog’s Life – Too

People aren’t the only ones that can get overweight by eating too much and not having enough exercise!

It happens to dogs too…

And we can take the lead from one dog that was in that situation and overcame it with diet and exercise – enter Obie, a morbedly obese Dachshund).

Obie went to live with an older couple, who loved him a lot, and found his brown eyes irresistable! As a result, Obie reached a max weight of 77 pounds (the average Dachshund weighs about 32) from all the extra treats he was given.

He was rescued by the Oregon Dachshund Rescue and went to live with a veterinary tech.  She got Obie on a high protein diet, that was low in fat and high in fiber.

Walks outside were added and he worked his way up to a dog treadmill once he was able.

In 8 months, he lost 40 pounds – more than half his weight!

He did need a tummy tuck to get rid of the extra skin that he developed due to his weight.

But Obie is a great success story of how a good diet and regular exercise can help any person (or doggie) become healthy again.

Read the whole story about Obie on CalorieLab.com

Image by Igor Bredikhin, used under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Five Great Workouts That Burn 10 Or More Calories Per Minute!

Leave it to SHAPE (one of my very favorite magazines for years!) to come up with some great workouts that will turn up the heat to help you to burn at least 10 calories per minute!

That’s right – in just 10 short minutes you can burn 100 calories or even more! Now that is making best use of your limited time.

Sometimes it is hard to find enough time to feel like it is worthwhile to work out, but with these routines you can find 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there – and you will find your metabolism fired up and your fitness level soaring!

Jessica Smith presents 5 different options to help you squeeze in your cardio fix.

I have to admit I am not a big fan of the first option, although I have known for years it is one of the best ways to burn calories quickly – the jump rope. It is such an effective workout, I’ve always wished I liked it better. I just keep stumbling over the rope… But it is a wonderful option!

Kettlebells would be my choice of all the workouts here – and as luck would have it, that workout burns more calories than any other PLUS you get the added benefit of strength training at the same time.  I’m going to try that one for SURE!

Sprints, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and a routine that is somewhat like crossfit make up the other 3 workouts.

Each one comes complete with a description of all the exercises involved as well as a downloadable PDF of each set of exercises.

Check out Jessica’s entire workout (click here) – you may want to try each one of them to see which one you like the best – or mix them up for variety.

Remember with the kettlebell workout that it might be best to leave a day between workouts for recovery.

The Desire To Exercise Could Be in Your Genes

Some scientists believe that genetics may be a big driver of why some people want to exercise and some do not.

Gretchen Reynolds of the New York Times reported news of a study conducted at the University of Missouri in Columbia that set out to discover that very thing.

What made the scientists decide that this research was worthwhile? Observation of activity within family members – especially twins – seemed to point that there could be a genetic predisposition to exercise or not.

Since it is more difficult to control the -er- breeding choices among people, or to get enough generations quickly (at least in most places), they turned to rats to get more data.

While the physical state of the rats made some difference, i.e. those that were overweight or sick did not tend to want to work out since it was harder to move.

But they were able to isolate a group of genes that were different between exercising rats and those that preferred to skip it.  Those genes seemed to be associated with the Motivation to exercise.

They think that a test could be developed eventually that could let someone know if they are inclined to exercise through heredity or not.

But don’t let that determine whether you will hit the gym or not – predisposition doesn’t mean that it is cast in concrete! Feel the laziness and do it anyway!

The Benefits of Stress Management through Exercise

By Ryan Rivera

Those who find themselves too busy with work often lack exercise. What they don’t know is that exercise is one of the best ways to relieve work stress. Constantly dealing with the pressures and demands of professional life can cause anxiety and a lot of health problems when not paid attention to. Exercising can help workers maintain a healthy lifestyle. At the same time, it will also allow them to ease the tension they get from life in the office.

Choosing which kind of exercise will suit your needs should be easy. Pick one that you will enjoy doing and not have a hard time keeping up with. Also, you should be able to include it in your schedule regularly. This will allow you to maintain it and also help turn it into a habit. Exercising a few times a week will leave you feeling more relaxed and refreshed to face life and work. It will also give you a better attitude because it will boost your energy and relieve you of stress.

If you need any more reasons why you should exercise to help deal with stress, here are some of the benefits of stress management through exercise:

It lifts your mood.

Exercising pumps endorphins into your system. This is the body’s feel-good neurotransmitter. The more you exercise, the more endorphins are released into your body. You will experience a post-exercise glow and feel so much lighter and relaxed, even when you are tired. The high you feel after exercising can give you the lift you need after a long day at work or the cheery feeling you should have right before you start working.

It releases tension.

Once you start exercising, you channel all of your energy into the activity. This allows you to release the negative vibes in your body and turn it into something beneficial and healthy. Whatever frustrations that have built up in your body are expelled, and in return, you get positive results. By focusing on the workout, you get a boost of energy and clarity. This gives you the strength you need to accomplish what you need to do at work.

It improves blood flow.

Exercising improves your body’s blood circulation. It will bring more blood, sugars, and oxygen to your brain. This will help you think clearer and sharper at work. This way, you will get more ideas and yield better results. Also, you will feel less sluggish and lazy at the workplace when your blood is circulating properly. You will become more efficient and productive too.

It helps release your body’s waste products faster.

Because of the improved blood circulation in your body, you are able to move your chemical wastes in a speedier manner. Since your neurons function better and you are able to think more sharply, the toxic chemicals in your brain and body don’t get enough time to build up in your system. You get rid of it faster.

It lessens your chances of getting sick.

Exercise helps keep your immune system strong; thus, it lessens the chances of you getting sick. It lowers blood pressure and blood sugar and regulates cholesterol levels. It also cuts the risks of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.

Exercising is a great option to relieve stress because not only will you feel good afterwards, you take better care of your body this way as well. Getting your blood pumping and having a surge of adrenaline in your body will do you wonders physically and mentally. It will also help you to be your best at work.

[author]I’ve grown quite familiar with stress and anxiety. For 7 years, I’ve lived with and suffered from the whole package: social anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia, headaches, severe anxiety, neck pains, chronic tension, rapid heartbeat, and diarrhea.

With the help of anxiety elimination techniques, I was able to conquer my emotional problems and now live a happier, fuller life. My victory over my anxiety problems inspired me and made me determined to help other people with similar condition and show them that their disorder can be treated. CalmClinic.com was created for anxiety sufferers to show them that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

My website – www.CalmClinic.com – has a lot of articles to read and numerous tips for visitors to try out.[/author]

Want to Look and Feel 7 Years Younger in Less Than 2 Months?

On the first day of the year the year, 2013, Good Housekeeping released a new book called “7 Years Younger: The Revolutionary 7-Week Anti-Aging Plan.”

The book is designed to lead you gradually through changes in many areas to help you to feel and look better than you have in awhile.

This program starts off with a trendy “jumpstart” plan for 7 days to get you started on your path to rejuvenation.

This is followed by a 7-week regimen that will re-tune your hair and skin care routines (or help you establish them!), diet, and mental/physical/emotional fitness in a way that will get you looking and feeling younger without resorting to anything drastic like injections or surgery.

Good Housekeeping didn’t just throw together a bunch of old wives tails, tweets, and urban legends – they used the latest scientific information about aging. They gathered women from age 34 to 53 to become part of their panel of testers and all of them reported feeling better than they had in quite a long time.

Each woman’s experience was slightly different, but we all start out in different places with different needs.  There was significant weight loss, inches lost, more youthful appearance regained among the testers.

Now, keep in mind that in order for this book to actually work its magic in turning back your Biological Clock, you have to actually IMPLEMENT their suggestions – reading them does not produce transformation…

It will force you to make some lifestyle changes, and you have to be in a place where you are willing to do this.

And it isn’t free! There will be recommended products to buy, etc., but if you want to look and feel better this could just be the best book you have ever purchased!

7 Years Younger: The Revolutionary 7-Week Anti-Aging Plan
7 Years Younger: The Revolutionary 7-Week Anti-Aging Plan

The What Is Connected To The Kneebone?

Did you know that almost 1/3 of those over the age of 50 have a torn meniscus, which is a cartilage disc that helps to cushion the knee. And there are, of course, other types of knee injuries as well – that is a lot of “bad” knees!

Most of us assume that we need to have surgery in order to fix our knees, but recent research is saying that at least for the torn meniscus injuries, those who decided to try physical therapy were just as likely to improve as those that opt for surgery.

I’m pretty excited about this – my knee hasn’t been feeling so well lately.

There are 2 different menisci – lateral (on the outside portion of the knee) and medial (on the inside portion). These two parts of cartilage help to keep the knees structural integrity intact as the knee is compressed by normal activity like walking, or twisting, as we make sudden movements in a different direction or in various sports.

Over time this cartilage often just gets worn down, and is more prone to injury.

There are two different types of surgery that are commonly used for this type of injury – removing all or part of it, or repairing it. There are about 500,000 torn meniscus surgeries done every year in the United States alone.

In the study that was reviewed on Fox News, they compared people that had this surgery to those who opted for physical therapy.

The physical therapy was 9 actual sessions with the therapist along with exercises to do at home.

The results were very similar after 6 months. That tells me that the physical therapy option is one that should probably be explored by more people!

[box type=”success” align=”alignleft” ]Not only is it less invasive, but the cost is much less – $1,000-2,000 for a course of physical therapy compared to $5,000 for the average surgery bill.[/box]

Part of the key to the success of the physical therapy was doing the exercises at home.

I can think of lots of things to do with 3 or 4 thousand dollars, can’t you?

For some, it is possible that surgery might still be necessary, but for most it is a good place to start.

Running On A Treadmill Doesn’t Have To Be Boring

I think running might be one of the best ways ever to lose weight and get in great shape.

But when you live in the Colorado mountains, there is a lot of time during the year that it is too cold or too snowy to go out and run!

OK, I will admit, I do see women with more fortitude than I out there running when it is 10 degrees. I admire them, I truly do – however, that is just not for me.

I put a lot of time in on my trusty treadmill in the house during those winter months. Some people really get bored quickly with running on a treadmill, and I do have to admit it can be monotonous…

[box type=”success” align=”alignleft” ]The way I get around that is by using a really GREAT playlist – music is the best motivator for me, if I can find a really good beat it takes my mind off of everything else. [/box] Not hearing myself breathing is a plus as well!

That doesn’t work for everyone though. If you use a treadmill at a gym, some of them have a fancy TV built right into the treadmill and that can work for many. If you use one at home, you can try putting it in a place where you can see a tv.

Mine is located by a big window because I like to look outside. But I also have a rack that i can put my iPad on, so I can watch lots of things from there – that may work for you too.

Other than listening to music or watching tv, what other things can you do to make running on a treadmill more interesting? Heather Montgomery has a few suggestions on her website, www.runningwithsass.com.

Treadmills are great for doing controlled intervals since you always know exactly what your speed is. I like doing my own on the fly depending on how I feel. Some days I am pretty feisty, and I’ll push it – other days, not so much so I may go slower but on a higher incline.

Research shows you get a better workout with intervals anyway, so you may as well take advantage of its ability to do that!

She has some other suggestions too – check them out here.  I agree with all of them except distracting yourself with planning meals, trips to the store, etc. I have to write that stuff down, so it doesn’t work for me there.

I’ve never tried the running videos that you can buy specifically for treadmills – I guess they are supposed to give you the feeling of running outdoors with scenery etc.  That may work too!

Do you use treadmills, and if so do you have any tricks to share?

8 Stretches to Increase Flexibility and Lengthen Muscles

If you work at a desk, you are one of millions of people that find themselves with neck and shoulder tightness which gets worse as the day goes on.

Especially if you don’t stop frequently to get up and move around.

Left unattended this results in shortening of muscles and reduction of flexibility in your upper body.

You need to take a bit of time through your day to be sure to take your muscles through a complete range of motion to restore flexibility and lengthen those muscles.

First, try to get up often – every 20 minutes or so – and move around a bit. Even just a few seconds will help to keep your more alert and encourage better posture.

In addition, there are some stretches you can do to relieve the tightness and if you will do them every 2 hours, you will be amazed at how much better you feel.

Hold each position for 10-15 seconds, then rest a few seconds.  Do each for 5-10 repetitions. You may notice that each subsequent stretch will allow you to go a little deeper. Remember that you should feel the stretch, but it shouldn’t hurt – if it hurts you have gone too far, and you should back off a bit.

 

1. Wall Shoulder Stretch. This is one of my favorites, given to me by a physical therapist when I was recovering from a whiplash injury. My neck and shoulders were VERY tight, and this one helped quite a lot.  Find a place where there is a corner with walls that come up higher than your head when standing.

Raise your arms out to the side at shoulder level. Bend your elbows so that your forearms are pointing toward the ceiling, at a 90 degree angle. Step forward so that one foot is pointing toward the corner, only a few inches from the wall, and your other foot is a step away.  Your arms should be resting on the wall as you lean forward, with your nose toward the corner. Lean in far enough to get a good stretch without overstretching.

Try slowly moving your chin toward your chest to get a stretch in the back of your neck. (Changing the position of your arms on the wall – up or down – can stretch a different part of your chest).

2. Chest Stretch. Sit in a chair with your hands on your hips. Try to pull your shoulder blades together while you feel a stretch in your chest.

A variation on this is standing up with your arms stretched out at just below shoulder level, palms upward. Squeeze your shoulder blades together while your arms move backward. Don’t hunch your shoulders, think of keeping them pressed down while your arms move back.

3. Shoulder stretch. Bring arm across body with elbow slightly bent. While depressing shoulder down, bring arm back by pushing with other arm at the elbow. Alternate arms right and left.

4. Neck rotations. Gently rotate head as far as you can comfortably in one direction and hold it. Repeat in the other direction

Neck Stretching Pain Relief Exercise5. Neck side stretch. Slightly tuck your chin, then gently move your ear toward your shoulder. To intensify this stretch hold your opposite arm slightly away from your body with shoulder depressed and slowly rotate your palm until your thumb is pointing behind you. This will give you a stretch in your shoulders too.

6. Overhead reach while standing. Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Raise arms above your head. Take a deep breath, breathing through your nose. While holding your breath, reach your arms toward the ceiling as high as you can, then release breath while slowly allowing arms to come back to your side

7. Neck Stretch. Sit in a chair with arms at your sides, looking straight ahead. Without moving your chin up or down, retract your head inward with your chin remaining in the same plane.

8. Strengthen Neck and upper back. While standing, clasp hands behind your head. Bring your elbows back while squeezing your shoulder bigstock-Woman-Stretching-In-Sunlight-684603blades together.

Oh – one more thing to remember – you can do these stretches even when you aren’t working!  Try them on the weekends too, you will end up with even more range of motion!

Healthy Emotional Heart Leads to Healthy Physical Heart

A recent study that was published in the journal Circulation indicates that the American Heart Association has been correct in emphasizing that the risk for cardiovascular disease begins when we are children.

The authors of the study were from Darmouth College, Brown University, Rand Corporation and Harvard School of Public Health. They looked at how positive factors in a child’s life might positively influence their cardiovascular health.

What factors in the life of a child might help reduce cardiovascular risk when they grow up?

In this study they looked at three:

1. Ability to Stay Focused
2. Cognitive Ability, i.e. mental processes of perception, memory, judgment and/or reasoning
3. Positive home environment

How many participated in the study?

415 adults, with an average age in their early forties. The participants were first assessed when they were 7 years old, between 1959 and 1966.

What were the results?

Each of the three factors above produced a positive result (lowering risk of cardiovascular disease) and even more exciting, the benefits were cumulative. While having one of these factors was helpful, each attribute made it even better. For those having all three they were more than 4 times as likely to have positive cardiovascular health in adulthood.

Have there been other studies showing positive impacts on cardiovascular health?

Yes, there have been many. There is a wider body of research that focuses on negative factors and how they impact health, such as violence, neglect, long-term stress and fear, and chronic anger. These emotions can lead to illnesses like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and systemic inflammation.

More recently there are researchers that were more interested in the other half – the positive side.

Laura Kubzansky was among the author’s of this study published in Circulation, and this isn’t the only effort she has been involved with that focuses on the benefits of positive emotions. Read more about her work here.

“…Negative emotions are only one-half of the equation,” says Laura Kubzansky, HSPH associate professor of society, human development, and health. “It looks like there is a benefit of positive mental health that goes beyond the fact that you’re not depressed. What that is is still a mystery. But when we understand the set of processes involved, we will have much more insight into how health works.”

One of her previous studies found that emotional vitality (enthusiasm, hopefulness, engagement, emotional balance in the face of stress) seemed to reduce risk of heart disease.

What is the bottom line?

You can’t go back and change anything about your own childhood, but if you have children or grandchildren – or you interact regularly with children – keep in mind that showing them love, helping them find things to be interested in, and providing ways to exercise their mind can help them find more than happiness – it can lead to a healthier heart in adulthood.

Image from Bigstockphoto.com

Don’t Let Your Computer Ruin Your Health!

One of the things that has been the biggest impact to our health in recent years is the amount of time we spend sitting in front of a computer.

No one really agrees on the amount of time that most Americans are in that position, but it can go up to several hours per day of just “play” time – this doesn’t even count all the time that people spend there for work.

There is a whole host of problems that result from this, including getting in the habit of having some really bad posture resulting in shoulders rounding forward and neck jutting forward.

Think about what that does do your muscles for a minute. Deliberately move your head forward away from your neck and hold it there a minute. How is it that gravity doesn’t suck it down to rest on your chest?

The muscles in the back of your neck must contract to hold it there, and if you do that for several hours a day….

It is not surprising that you can end up with a case of “computer neck.”  Long term, this can lead to loss of the natural curvature in your neck – which is difficult to recover from.

One suggestion to aleviate this problem is to be sure your monitor is at the right height. In most cases, the monitor is too low which forces people to lean forward to see it. When sitting upright with your neck in a neutral position the middle of your monitor should be a straight line to your nose.

You should also get up frequently and walk around – it will take pressure off your neck. Research shows that sitting for long periods of time is bad for your health in other ways than just neck pain, including a higher risk of dying sooner from any and all causes (yep, that’s what they say), and a variety of health disorders including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease..

Exercises and manual therapies can help too. Here is a great video with some exercises that you can do at home to help relieve stiff neck muscles.

Image by Aidan Jones on Flickr

Obsessing Over OCD

One of my friends is constantly telling me that she is OCD (meaning she has Obsessive-compulsive disorder). From the number of times she mentions it, and the wide variety of contexts, I am starting to think maybe she is right!

So what exactly is this disorder? According to PubMed It is an anxiety driven condition where people have repeated loops of thoughts, ideas, behaviors or feelings that they don’t want to have that drive them to do something.

I just checked out the list of symptoms and now I am afraid I might have it too! It seems to be more common that what people used to think, and it usually is noticed around puberty or early adulthood.  Today there are about 3.3 million adults and 1 million children that are impacted.

There are many types of obsessions and compulsions. Examples include:

Excessive checking, like insuring the lights are off or the door is locked

Excessive counting

Excessive fear of germs – the classic example of OCD is someone who washes his/her hands over and over to ward off infection

Excessive cleaning (whew, I don’t have THAT one)

Extreme hoarding – often of things with no obvious value

Fear of making a mistake

Fear of behaving in a socially unacceptable way

Need for order and symmetry

Usually someone with this condition recognizes that the behavior is not reasonable, although just because they exhibit some of the above conditions it doesn’t mean they have OCD.

OCD is often associated with someone with above-average intelligence that pays high attention to detail, avoids risk, plans carefully.  And while many of us joke about it, like I did above, it is actually quite a distressful condition for those who suffer from it.

Here are some facts about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder that you may not know, as reported by Liz Neporent for ABC News:

1. Scientists suspect that genetics could be involved since it can run in families – they are looking to see which genes may influence this condition.

2. There may be a link between OCD and strep throat in children, where sometimes the part of the brain controlling movement and behavior is impacted.

3. While many people affected by this disorder never seek help, there are many therapies that can help – exposure and response prevention, clinical behavioral therapy, and SSRIs (selective Serotonin reuptake inhibitors).

There are several environmental factors that can bring it on too, or exacerbate the condition – change in living conditions, abuse, work or school problems – generally conditions that provoke stress and anxiety.  The best thing to know is that it CAN be treated and if you or someone you love is affected, seek help – the sooner the better.

The Number of People Over 100 is Increasing, Can You Be One of Them?

Do you want to live past 100?

Most of us would say YES, as long as your quality of live is good (and some would say yes, regardless of the quality!).

People are certainly living longer these days, with effective vaccines and other ways of reducing the mortality rate.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that life expectancy has increase almost 3 decades over the last 100 years.

Here is a list of possible actions you could take to increase your life expectancy further:

1. Scientifically speaking, Live Science presents some research in an article giving some longevity tips.  Some sound like they only apply to rats, but here are a few you could probably count on:  Reduce the total calories in your diet to lower metabolic rate, which can result in fewer free radicals and therefore less age-related disease

2. Be a hardworking and conscientious person, like one of the children in The Longevity Project – avoid risks and have a stable long-term relationship.

3. Speaking of relationships – get married. This helps men the most, but married women still live longer than their single counterparts.

4. According to Reuters, Be a white woman – I realize that you don’t have any control over that, but of those living past 100 in the the U.S., 80% are women and most of them are white and living in the cities of the Northeast and Midwest.

5. Use the Seventh Day Adventists as an example – they tend to be the longest-living group in the United States. Speculation says it is due to practicing vegetarianism, exercising, abstaining from alcohol, and stress management via religion and family time.

6. Oh – you could also try walking the Mall everyday like Mekey Yetashwork does in Denver!

See what U.S. World and News Report has to say in this Video on Living Past 100:

Image by bobsfever on Flickr

 

Can You Get More Stressed Just THINKING About It?

Everyone is stressed out these days, right?

Almost every women’s magazine you pick up has some sort of tip on how to reduce or eliminate stress so it is a hot topic.

So here’s the bad news, reported recently in HEALTH – recent studies have shown that just THINKING you are stressed can increase your risk of coronary heart disease!

I always wonder about the validity of these sorts of studies. The jist of the 6 studies involved was this: the people that participated were asked to report if they had intense or often feelings of stress. They were then followed for 14 years to see their connection to coronary heart disease.

Those reporting the most stress had 27% more risk of developing this condition.

The reasoning was that when someone feels like they need to take action, like when faced with a “stressful situation,” their blood pressure increases to boost energy – this causes more work for your heart.

This physiological response is called the “fight-or-flight” response, and it is hardwired into our systems to save us from the saber-toothed tiger, or other more modern threat that requires us to take physical action.

Most situations today do not result from actual physical danger, but from feeling overloaded with tasks and responsibilities. We don’t need to RUN anywhere, but we do need to have clarity of focus and some organization to get through the tasks at hand.

People who get ramped up from the demand of their everyday life aren’t always aware of how they are feeling, though, and their body will still be taking a hit.  People who feel that way for a long time often think that is how everyone feels!  So I am not convinced that thinking you are stressed makes you more stressed, although if you don’t do anything about it maybe it just add to the total.

What if the awareness that you feel “stressed” regularly could be a wakeup call that you need to take some action to improve your health?

Here are just a few easy suggestions that can help steer you in a more healthy direction. Practice one of these techniques when you realize you are feeling stressed, and you will be amazed at how much better you will feel!

1.  Deep Breathing – there are a number of techniques for this, and all of them are helpful.  Inhale and exhale from your belly – inhale slowly and exhale with pursed lips. Try for 10 second cycles – 4 second inhale, 6 second exhale.  Repeat 12 times – and if you LIKE it, repeat till done!

2.  Mindfulness – focus on one thing at a time. Look around you, and pick out one item and notice as many details about it as you can. Move on to something else, but stay focused in the present – at what is right in front of you. The idea is that you cannot have all your focus on that object and think about what is stressing you at the same time.

3.  Listen to Music – They say that classical music can soothe and relax you, but if you don’t care for classical find some other kind of relaxing music. Close your eyes and just listen.

4.  Take a hike!  Or a walk, just getting up and moving around can burn off those stress hormones that have been released. Exercise has been shown to reduce the effects of stress.

Image by Bods on Flickr.

New Year’s Resolutions Usually Fail; These Five Won’t!

How long does it usually take you to break your New Year’s resolutions?  Most people don’t even last past the first week.  But with these resolutions, you will be breaking records all over the place!

Fruit Stall in Spain. Photo by Daderot, used under the GNU Free Documentation License

Fruit Stall in Spain. Photo by Daderot, used under the GNU Free Documentation License

1. Don’t eat less – sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But it isn’t that you need to eat less, just eat more fruits and vegetables – you don’t ever have to be hungry.

2. Eat like you are at a buffet – in other words eat the stuff at the beginning of the buffet first, like greens and whole-grain salads. Then move on to the meet, etc.  Oh – and you may want to put that on a smaller plate, it tricks your brain!

3. Don’t be afraid of second helping – if you know you can get more you won’t try to fill it up so full to begin with! And after you eat it all, chances are you won’t really want more anyway….

4. Drink Vodka – if you don’t want to eliminate alcohol completely, pick something that doesnt require sugary mixers – go for vodka and soda with a twist.

5. Eat Dessert – thou shalt not deprive thyself! eat a little bit of something just so that you don’t start getting huge cravings. A few bites of ice cream can make all the difference between you and that binge.

Read the entire story here:  Maisie Greenawalt: 5 Food Resolutions You Might Actually Keep

 

Why Women Need to Lift Weights

You and I know that as we get older, there are more and more reasons why women need to lift weights. We know that we “should” lift weights, but have you ever wondered if you could just get by with some walking or light cardio? Who wants to build bulky muscles?

Walking and other types of cardio are healthy activities, but perhaps not as important as resistance training – especially as we get older. For one thing, we tend to lose muscle mass as we age, if we do not take action to stop it.  This results in decreased metabolism and more likelihood of bone fracture.

Why Women Need to Lift Weights

Over the last decade, researchers have made extremely compelling arguments for the benefits of weight training for women and those over the age of forty. Still, the number of women who take this recommendation to heart is still quite low.

Most women who exercise are spending most of their gym time on cardiovascular exercise, and less time using resistance that challenges their bodies. Resistance training does not have to be hitting the weight room with an all-male crowd and intimidating machines.

You have options and you owe it to yourself to explore them. There are specific women only fitness centers now available. However, you still need to find the right one that will allow your body and mind to grow rather than doing the same old routine without progressive resistance.

You Will Lose Body Fat

Studies performed by Wayne Westcott, PhD, from the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, found that the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat.

As your lean muscle increases so does your resting metabolism, and you burn more calories all day long. Generally speaking, for each pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35 to 50 more calories each day. That can really add up.

You Decrease Your Risk of Osteoporosis

Research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density (and enhance bone modeling) by 13 percent in six months. This, coupled with an adequate amount of dietary calcium, can be a women’s best defense against osteoporosis.

You Will Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease

According to Dr. Barry A. Franklin, of William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, weight training can improve cardiovascular health in several ways, including lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lowering blood pressure.

When cardiovascular exercise is added, these benefits are maximized.

Find more benefits and the entire story at http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/franco7.htm

There are many other reasons why women need to lift weights – it helps your self-esteem by making you feel better about how you look, reduces stress hormones and therefore anxiety and depression, reduces your risk of injury and makes you more able to do things for yourself.  It is even easier to carry those grocery bags in from the car!

It is never too late to begin resistance training – start out slow, and if you are unsure what exercises to do or how to perform them, get a personal trainer for a few sessions to design a plan for you and make sure you know the proper form. You won’t be sorry you took this step toward better health!

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Seven Great Tips For A Woman’s Strength Training Program

Most women don’t consider the idea of incorporating strength training into their fitness routine, but it is a fantastic way to work on muscle mass and ensure that your bones stay strong. The advice in this article will focus on great ways for women to add strength training to their exercise regime.

An excellent way to introduce weight training into your normal workout is by coupling it with short bursts of high intensity cardio. Start by lifting dumbbells for 8 to 12 repetitions, and then quickly jump on an exercise bike or jump rope for five minutes. Follow with 8 to 12 more repetitions, and then an intense aerobic workout for 5 to 10 minutes more. Finish up with an additional 8 to 12 repetitions. Once you get used to this routine, you can increase the reps and cardio accordingly.

Don’t make the mistake of lifting weights every day. You could not only end up stressing your muscles, but you may find that you bore of it very quickly. Any more than this really isn’t necessary. Believe it not, 3 weight training sessions a week can drop your body fat percentage by 3 percent or more in 10 weeks, without dieting.

When you first begin your strength training routine, you should start with small weights. You will quickly find yourself building up the strength to lift heavier weights. If you find yourself straining, then you are using weights that are too heavy for you. Also, beware of weights or resistance training that wears you out after 10 repetitions. It is another indicator that you need to train with something that isn’t as heavy.

Warming up is essential before any fitness routine, and this is particularly important when using weights. Cold muscles are stiff, and by warming up, you will increase the blood flow, loosening your muscles which protect them from injury. Warming up can consist of stretching exercises, light cardio or slowly lifting small weights. Don’t forget to cool down at the end of your workout with a final bout of light cardio and stretching.

Don’t be afraid to use weights – you won’t bulk up! Women don’t have sufficient testosterone in their bodies to develop large muscles; instead they gain strength and tone. The appearance of the muscle change for two reasons: partly because of a slight increase in size, but mainly because the fat that is covering the well-developed muscle decreases.

Aim for a total body workout targeting arms, legs, abdominals and your back muscles. For each exercise, aim for at least 8 to 12 repetitions, using a suitable weight that won’t over-stretch you or wear you out. By exercising all the muscle groups, you will get a lean, well-proportioned body. If there is any particular area that you want to focus on, you can adjust your strength workout for it, but the main idea is to achieve an overall balance.

Always stay well hydrated when strength training. Drink 8 oz of water prior to your workout, and another 8 to 16 oz while exercising. Pay close attention to how much you are perspiring, and drink water to compensate for fluids lost from your body. At the end of the workout, drink a further 8 oz.

Weight training is an ideal way to tone your muscles and get a lean, healthy body. The tips in this article will give you all the help you need to achieve the body you have always dreamed of.