Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Work-It-Out With Gummy Bears

gummy-bearYou probably grab a quick snack before you hit the gym for a jolt of energy, but what you nibble on afterwards is just as important. A snack with a little protein is a common go-to, but new research has some food for thought: Gummy bears may actually be your best bet.

According to new information published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, foods with high glycemic carbs are the ideal foods to eat after a workout to help you replenish glycogen (the storage form of glucose that helps fuel your body during exercise). And you guessed it: Gummy bears are filled with these fast-digesting carbs — as are oatmeal, potatoes, and white bread.

Of course, this isn’t an invitation to eat an entire bag of gummy bears. There are approximately 140 calories in a package of Haribo gummy bears (17 bears total). You may just want to snack on a few to help your body’s recovery, and not so many that you cancel out your workout’s calorie burn entirely.

~Good House Keeping Magazine

OMG! Fitness Is A Lifesaver

fitnessWe are all aware of the obvious results of exercising. Regular workouts reduce weight, build muscle, and increase endurance. There are some excellent benefits that you may not be aware of. These hidden side effects may be the motivation you need to get started on a scheduled exercise routine. Regular Exercise can:

Build immunity

Doctors have noted that the immune system is strengthened when the body is active. This boosts the cells that fight bacteria. Exercising also strengthens muscles tissue, the heart and the lungs. Healthy organs help support the immune system, reducing the chances of picking up colds and flu bugs. Even more beneficial, it helps to prevent heart conditions, diabetes, and cancer.

Reduce Premenstrual Symptoms

Exercising can help reduces abdominal bloating and fluid retention caused by menstruation. Excess body fat is thought to be associated with PMS. Reducing fat around the mid-section can help elevate symptoms. Physical activity, especially while enjoying the sunlight, can greatly relive irritability.

Improve your thought processes

Regular physical activity has been shown to lessen the severity of memory loss. Research indicates that staying active promotes the brain’s executive function improving planning and reasoning skills and problem solving.

Reduce stress and calm anxiety

Ever wonder why you feel a bit euphoric after a brisk walk, short hike, or good workout? Studies show that it appears that exercise releases GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain, responsible for quieting brain activity.

Promote better sleep

Stress can cause insomnia. It can be difficult to quite your mind in order to get to sleep. Sometimes after getting to sleep successfully, a restless mind is easily startled into to wakefulness. Since exercise reduces stress, the indirect result can lead to better sleep.

Increase self esteem

When you exercise your body releases endorphins. These endorphins trigger a positive feeling, and help you feel better about yourself. Seeing visible changes as a result of being activate can be encouraging and uplifting, motivating you to continue your active routine.

Improve your sex life

Feeling sexy makes all the difference. Looking and feeling your best helps you to be comfortable and relaxed about your body. If you are pleased with your appearance you will be more attractive to your partner. Exercise also improves the function of the circulatory system, which in turn reduces the risk of erectile dysfunction.


Courtesy: Health Plus Prime

BedTime Workout Routine

Get your mind out of the gutter! While sex does burn calories, you can perform a legitimate workout in your bed. I’ve designed this one to focus on symmetry and balance while tightening and toning those places that you might otherwise want to keep covered up. Best of all, you can literally do it in your pajamas.

Don’t dismiss this as some gimmick: This workout is backed by science and based on the idea of proprioception. If you haven’t been following my blog, this is basically the feedback loop between the body and the brain. When you perform a workout on an unstable surface, which in this case will be your bed, you train your brain to fire more rapidly in order for it to adjustment your body’s position. The body reacts by re-stabilizing, which results in greater muscle recruitment, balance, and symmetry in your hips (great for post-baby bodies or preparing your body for labor) and working stability muscles, especially in and around ball-and-socket joints such as the shoulders and hips.

And, to top it all off, you are going to burn more calories working out on an unstable surface versus performing these same movements on the floor of your bedroom.

Perform the following moves back-to-back without rest for 30 seconds each, doing as many reps as possible. Repeat the entire sequence for a total of two to four circuits.

1. Inchworms: Begin in a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your legs fully extended. In one movement, reach your right hand back toward your navel while driving your left knee to your right hand, connecting just under your belly button. Return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite hand and knee. Continue alternating until time is up. 

2. Caterpillars: For this advanced version of the inchworm, begin in a push-up position. In one movement, reach your right hand back toward your navel while driving your left foot to your hand. The two will connect just under your belly button. Retract and repeat, alternating sides. 

3. Unicorns: Begin in a push-up position. Simultaneously raise your right arm and left leg as high as possible. Be sure to keep both limbs fully extended. Retract and repeat with your left arm and right leg,  and continue alternating. 

4. Geisha-ups: Begin in a modified push-up position with both hands directly under your shoulders, knees on the bed. Lower your body to perform a push-up. As you raise your body up, push backward until your butt rests firmly on your heels and both arms are fully extended as if you are performing child’s pose. Retract and repeat. 

5. Bottle caps: Begin in a seated position, feet flat on the bed with arms fully extended behind you. Push both your hands and feet into the bed while elevating your hips and belly button to the ceiling so that you form a table with your body. In one movement, lift your right hand and left knee to meet over your navel. Return to the tabletop position and repeat with your opposite hand and knee. Continue alternating until time is up.

~ Thanks to Shape Magazine

Are You Running Into Wrinkles?

We’re (obviously) huge fans of exercise and the myriad benefits that accompany it, such as weight loss, better health and an improved immune system, and stronger bones. However, we’re not such huge fans of the loose, saggy skin that some people claim can result from different forms of long-term exercise, such as running. Since we’re not ready to hang up our running shoes quite yet, we want to look more into this phenomenon of the saggy “runner’s face” and find out if there’s anything that can be done to prevent it.

Many factors affect your skin’s  elasticity, including genetics and lifestyle habits, so it’s not just runners who suffer from sagging skin, but some medical experts say that it’s common in long-time runners, especially those who spend a lot of time outdoors.

Any high-impact exercise, like running, causes a jolt to the skin, which can tear up the collagen in the skin. It doesn’t happen over night, but it is one of the downsides to running.

Although it takes a long time for your skin to break down, there’s not a lot you can do to repair it once your facial muscles start to sag. Mini-face lifts and fat transfers can help to improve your skin texture a bit,  but there’s nothing that can restore the original elasticity.

Take heart, runners! While nothing can reverse the process once it starts, there are things you can do to prevent your facial skin muscles from sagging in the first place. If you’re trying to lose weight, maintain a slow, steady weight loss of about 1 to 2 lbs per week; this will give your skin time to adjust to the fat loss and minimize the amount of sagging you see. Remember to wear a broad spectrum suncreen when you’re outside. A healthy diet will also help—fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with carotenoids (think lycopene in tomatoes, alpha-carotene in carrots, and beta-carotene in spinach), that promote cell turnover and strengthen your skin cells.

Bottom line? If you love running, don’t give it up. As long as you lead a healthy and active lifestyle, the benefits to running outweigh the potential side effect of sagging skin. ~ Shape Magazine

Pickle Juice – The New #1 Sports Drink

Currently professional, college and high school football teams and college and  high school cross country track teams will soon be beginning their hot summer practices.  They will also begin their need to drink pickle juice as a way to help stave off  muscle cramps. Runners and bikers, especially those in the very warm southern  climates also know full well the benefits that pickle juice provides. Pickle  juice can definitely help to prevent muscle cramping.

Pickle juice contains salt, calcium chloride and vinegar. The basic ingredients  are similar to what you would find in isotonic drinks. Where pickle juice has  acetic acid, isotonic drinks contain citric acid, like the sports drink  featuring the name gator and power in it.

Sometimes you may sneak a sip of juice from the pickle jar. That’s OK. That  seemingly worthless liquid, which often gets tossed into the trash when the  pickles are gone, could be the key to athletic endurance and avoiding  debilitating leg cramps?

The use of pickle juice as a defense against muscle cramps first attracted  headlines when the Philadelphia Eagles credited pickle juice with their  cramp-free win over the Dallas Cowboys in the over-one-hundred-degrees Texas  heat. Rick Burkholder, the Eagles’ head trainer, called it his “secret weapon.”  Pickle companies (such as Mt. Olive Pickle, Vlasic Foods and Golden Pickle)  claim that pickle juice is similar to an isotonic beverage and can prevent  muscle cramps caused from strenuous exercise.

Golden Pickle has even created a sports drink, appropriately named “Pickle  Juice Sport.” Golden Pickle claims that Pickle Juice Sport has “approximately 30  times more electrolytes than Powerade and 15 times more than Gatorade.” It is  even endorsed by Dallas Cowboy Jason Witten.

So how does this work? Muscle cramps are caused by dehydration from  exercising in hot weather and not drinking enough fluids. How could pickle juice  help? When you sweat during exercise, you lose a lot of salt and minerals. These  minerals and salt are also known as electrolytes. This loss of electrolytes can  cause muscle cramping, especially in hot, humid weather. Cells in the body use  electrolytes in the cell fluid to maintain voltages across their cell membranes  and to carry electrical impulses to other cells. In the case of my bike ride, I  had to be able to use my muscles in both a pulling and contracting motion, or  muscle contractions. Pickle juice has a very high salt, or electrolyte content.  Therefore, drinking pickle juice before and during exercise could possibly  provide your body with enough salt, that your muscles will not cramp.

Confused? Don’t be. Anything liquid containing any or all of the four  commonly considered electrolytes, sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium will  work to help to prevent muscle cramping. Obviously, the more the better. Give it  a try on a daily basis and see for yourself. Don’t worry about how people look  at you when you tip that empty pickleless laden jar of liquid up to your  lips.

Research Study to Support this OMG Moment:

~Although there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence supporting the use of pickle juice as a method of preventing dehydration and muscle cramps, the is little scientific evidence supporting or refuting these ideas. Dale, et al. examined the effectiveness of pickle juice as a preventative measure for exercise-associated muscle cramps compared to Gatorade. This study compared the pickle juice from Vlasic Pickles to the carbohydrate sports beverage Gatorade. The two beverage samples were analyzed in a food-composition laboratory to determine the amount of salt, potassium, calcium and magnesium in each product. Pickle juice was found to have considerably more salt than the carbohydrate beverage. Dale et. al. concluded that pickle juice can be used as a remedy for muscle cramps. However, the study warns of the danger of ingesting large amounts of salt and suggests that athletes should dilute the pickle juice with a sufficient quantity of a hypotonic or isotonic solution. Two ounces is the suggested serving size of pickle juice.

~ Researchers suggest that the pickle juice acts on neural reflexes — a plausible suggestion, given that earlier experiments have found that vinegar can provoke reflexes and affect neurotransmitter levels. This fits with an alternate theory that cramps have nothing to do with dehydration or electrolyte loss, first proposed in the 1990s by Martin Schwellnus of the University of Cape Town:

“Schwellnus et al. proposed that [cramps] were due to neuromuscular fatigue. Neuromuscular fatigue is thought to create an imbalance between muscle spindle and Golgi tendon organ activity, resulting in increased alpha motor neuron excitability. Thus, if [cramps] are caused by an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory stimuli at the alpha motor neuron pool, pickle juice ingestion may cause an increase in inhibition from supraspinal sources, thereby resulting in cramp alleviation.”

Tired + Bored = Stronger Lungs?

If you get side stitches when you work out, your breathing muscles may not be as in shape as the rest of you body. Exercise can help to train the respiratory muscles over time, but you can also increase breath control without working up a sweat, says Thomas Vanhecke, MD, a cardiologist at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan.

“Although sighs are often regarded as a sign of boredom or tiredness, they also offer a significant benefit for respiratory mechanics,” says Vanhecke. A sigh is defined as a breath three times larger than a normal breath. You probably already sigh ten to twelve times an hour, but increasing this amount may help strengthen your breath. If you’d rather have an official routine, follow a guided meditation that emphasizes sigh-like deep breathing. Or, simply focus on taking long and controlled inhales and exhales. Start by breathing in for a count of four and out for a count of four, moving up to six then and eight  and so on.

Source: Dr.Vanhecke

Weigh in Smart – Man vs Machine

YOU SWEAT IT OUT REGULARLY at the gym, so what gives when the cardio machine shows that you’re burning a ton of calories, but the scale isn’t in agreement? If you’re not losing weight despite burning major calories on a cardio machine, the equipment you’re using may be at fault according to Dr. Olson, a professor of exercise science at Auburn University at Montgomery.

“Unfortunately, the calorie count mechanisms in treadmills and elliptical machines are often off by 20 to 30%. So, if the readout says that you’ve cranked out 260 calories worth of exercise, a more accurate estimate could be 200 calories burned.”

To even things, out I recommend doing 30% more than your target – so if your goal is to burn off 300 calories., aim to exercise off 390. Even if your machine’s calorie reading isn’t that far off, increasing your workout time or effort should be enough to bump up your weight-loss results.

Source: Michele Olson, PhD

%d bloggers like this: