Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

OMG! Eat Your Way To Firmness

Food for skin blogDimples can be cute, but not when they’re on your butt and thighs! Since there’s no one signular solution to melt the extra fat away, we asked diet experts to share their top nutrition tips that work wonders to reduce the appearance of uneven texture. Get on the fast track to smoothness today, starting with these eight simple eating solutions.

1. Eat On Schedule.Sticking to a regular daily pattern trains your brain when to expect food and when not to, so you’re less likely to nosh between meals. Its those unplanned snacks that tend to trip you up because they’re often high-calorie or high-sugar foods.

2. Slow Down On White Flour. At least two studies have found that people who eat the most whole grains have less belly fat than those who eat fewer complex carbs. With the variety of whole-grain products on store shelves today, it’s easier than ever to snub the refined stuff. The higher fiber content in whole wheat bread and pasta keeps you feeling full longer, so you won’t have to contend with a rumbling belly.

3.  Be Fat Friendly.  It may sound counterintuitive, but trust us: To lose fat, you have to get over your fat phobia. Healthy fats, like nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil, can actually help with weight loss (and cellulite). They provide flavor, texture and a feeling of satisfaction, all things you need if you want to stick to a healthy eating plan. Just use them as condiments, not the main attraction. Spread a tablespoon of mashed avocado on to a sandwich for lunch or toss a teaspoon of sunflower seeds with veggies at dinner.

4. Why Not Go Vegetarian One Day A Week.  A recent study in the International Journal of Obesity found that people who ate the most meat were about 27 percent more likely to be obese and 33 percent more likely to have abdominal obesity (dangerous fat that accumulates around your organs in your midsection and increases your risk of heart disease) than people who ate the least amount of meat. They also consumed about 700 more calories per day, on average.

5. “Cheat” the Right Way. The concept of a cheat day is weight-loss staple, but its also the Achilles’ heel of many eating plans. A day of eating whatever you want can add up to thousands of extra calories. It can also make it harder to get back on track the next day, when your brain has a chocolate cake hangover. Instead of splurging for an entire da, limit yourself to just one cheat meal each week. Plan it, enjoy it, and as long as it happens just once a week you wont break the calorie bank.

~Courtesy  of Shape Magazine


Is maple water the next coconut water?

maple water

One of Mother Nature’s best-kept secrets has been exposed. Maple water, the all-natural, nutrient-packed elixir enjoyed for centuries by native peoples in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada, is landing on retail shelves across America. Made solely from raw sap—the very stuff that brings maple trees back to life after each long, cold winter—maple water is now being tapped, Tetra Pak’d and sold to natural-minded consumers and athletes looking for a hydration booster not fabricated in a lab.

If this sounds a lot like the darling hydration drink of the past few years—the venerable coconut water—it’s definitely similar. Both plant-based products provide refreshment with the added value of vitamins, minerals and minimal processing. However, maple water offers a few attributes that coconut water can’t match—less sugar, fewer calories, a subtler taste, and a less-milky mouthfeel. And although maple water has fewer electrolytes than its tropical counterpart, it still provides a solid option for everyday hydration. Perhaps maple water’s most salient selling point is its North American sourcing, whereas coconut water comes from so far away. Though maple water is trying its best to not position itself as the next coconut water, it clearly has potential to pilfer from coconut water’s market share.


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

Holiday Moods in Motion

winter sportsENERGY TAKES A HOLIDAY during winter. These dark, depressing days can leave you overweight, overstressed, or just over it. The solution? Short bouts of activity get the blood flowing, which instantly lifts your spirits. Exercise builds brain endorphins that help us feel happier and more positive about life.
So how do you pump up your pep when you’re feeling fat, frazzled, fried, or forlorn? We consulted four vitality specialists, whose favorite moves will boost your mood and resurrect your energy in just 10 to 15 minutes.
You’re Feeling: Fat Energy Transformer: Brisk Walking
If you found it hard to resist overeating during the holidays and even harder to squeeze in regular workouts, moderate cardiovascular exercise is a great way to get back in gear. Not only will you burn calories, but a brisk walk lets fresh oxygen and blood circulate through your body, making you feel more fit and confident nearly instantly.

Stride And Stretch To shake yourself out of your sluggish mood, try this 15-minute walking program.

1. Begin by walking for 3 minutes at a relaxed pace to gradually warm up your muscles. 2. Pause to stretch your quadriceps by standing on your left leg, your left arm reaching out for balance. Hold onto your right ankle with your right hand and gently pull the ankle toward the back of your thigh. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the left side. 3. Walk for another 2 minutes, going at a faster pace than in the warm-up. Hold your head high, lower your shoulders, and concentrate on drawing your abs in tight. 4. Increase your speed for 5 minutes. Pump your arms with each stride and keep drawing in your abs. Your heart rate should now be elevated. You ought to be able to carry on a conversation, but only with a little effort. 5. Reduce your heart rate by gradually slowing your pace for 3 minutes. Focus on your breathing, and include some deep inhales and exhales through your nose. 6. Stretch out your calves by standing with your feet a couple of inches apart, right leg front and left leg back, toes pointing straight ahead, feet flat. Bend your right knee and keep your left knee straight, feeling the stretch in your left calf. Hold for 30 seconds without bouncing, then switch legs and repeat.
Tips: Parks recommends building up to 10,000 steps per day. A step-counting device will help you achieve your goal. Or try the NL-2000 Activity Monitor ($54.95;, which lets you plug in your age, height, and weight to get an accurate account of how many calories you’ve burned. * Wear supportive footwear as well as socks made of breathable fibers. * Drink water before and after your walk.
You’re Feeling: Frazzled
Got a million things to do and no time to do them? Most people, especially those balancing work and family, end up feeling frazzled several times a day. You need an exercise that provides mental clarity to help you focus on the task at hand. Qigong, an ancient Chinese healing art that offers unique breath-control techniques, can put you in a more centered frame of mind. The steady focus and concentration enable you to calm the chaos in your mind.

Monk Gazing At The Moon Find mental clarity–and a little peace in the chaos–with this standing meditation.  Kundalini Yog

1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Raise your arms in front of your chest, with your hands at eye level,  palms facing each other, and fingers spread. Maintaining a straight back, “sit” in a shallow stance (shown). Relax the back so it doesn’t arch. Keep your eyes open, gazing through your fingers. 2. Keeping your mouth closed and the tip of your tongue touching the roof of your mouth, begin to breathe through your nose. 3. Take 3 deep breaths. After the third one, inhale fully, then exhale 60 percent of your breath capacity. 4. Inhale fully, then exhale 100 percent. 5. Inhale fully again, then exhale 40 percent of your breath capacity. 6. Inhale fully, then exhale 100 percent. 7. Inhale fully once more, then exhale 20 percent of your breath. 8. Inhale fully, then exhale 100 percent. 9. Take 3 deep breaths, then hold the position for 3 to 5 minutes, breathing naturally.
Tip: To keep physically balanced, focus your attention on your lower abdomen, about 3 inches below your navel, which is the body’s natural center of gravity. The Chinese call this center the Tan Tien, or “Elixir Field,” where the qi, or life force, is nurtured.
You’re Feeling: Fried Energy Transformer: Kundalini Yoga
Is “deflated” your primary state? You need to pick yourself up and get on with your day. Kundalini yoga practitioners do repetitive movements while focusing on a word or the sound of the breath. This repetition stimulates the nervous system, allowing you to decompress, re-energize, and awaken your senses.

Kundalini Torso Twist Whenever you feel burned out, try this technique

1. Sit tall in a cotorso twistmfortable crossed-leg position, with your fingers spread and resting on your shoulders. Keep your elbows in line with your shoulders and your belly drawn in. Close your eyes. 2. As you inhale through your nose, twist your torso from your waist to the left, keeping your hips still and allowing your shoulders and head to follow your trunk. Then exhale through your nose and twist to the right. 3. Repeat this twisting motion for 1 minute without stopping, eventually working up to 2 minutes or more. Let your breath guide you into each side of the twist. 4. When you’ve completed your minute (or more), slow the movement gradually until you come to a complete stop, then lower your hands to your shins and take 3 deep breaths to get centered and bring yourself back to a restful state.
Tip: Focus on the sound of your breath to let go of any distractions. 10. End with 3 more deep breaths. On the third, exhale through your mouth, then lower your arms to your sides.
You’re Feeling: Forlorn Energy Transformer: Strength Training
It’s common to get the blues this time of year; you need a workout that will give you a much-needed boost of positivity. Getting your body into shape with strength training does just that. Strengthening your muscles improves your posture, making you look taller and slimmer–a great confidence booster. It also releases feel-good endorphins, putting you on the road to physical and emotional wellness.

Twisting Walking Lunge This multi-muscle exercise utilizes not only the upper and lower body, but also the abdominals, making it a fast way to shape up all over. Adding in the balance challenge forces your muscles to work harder to stay upright and stable.twisting walking lunge
1. Warm up by walking on a treadmill or outside for 5 minutes, pumping your arms as you go. 2. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, holding a ball in front of your chest. Keep your elbows bent and close to your ribs, and your abs pulled in. (If you’re new to strength training, use a volleyball or other lightweight ball until you are comfortable with your balance and stability. Those who are more advanced can use a 3- to 5-pound medicine ball; find one at 3. Take a step forward with your left leg, bending both knees to 90 degrees. Your front knee should stay over your ankle as your back knee approaches the floor. When you are in a full lunge, rotate your torso and shoulders to the left, taking the ball to your left hip as you draw your abs in tight [A]. 4. Rotate back to center, then push off the back foot and lift your right knee to hip height as you raise the ball above your head [B]. Keeping the right knee lifted, toss the ball up in the air and catch it. 5. Take a step forward with your right leg to repeat the sequence on the opposite side. 6. Continue lunging forward, alternating sides. Start with 1 to 2 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions, building up to 15; add a set when you’re ready.
Tip: Hold your gaze steady–don’t let it wander. Keep your posture erect and your abs drawn in to stabilize your balance as you perform this exercise.

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

Health and Wellness With a Cherry on Top – The New Superfruit

Before a workout

Runner who drank a glass twice a day for a week before a strenuous race had significally less muscle soreness afterward than those who drank a placebo juice. Previous research has suggested that drinking cherry juice helps muscles recover better from a strength-training workout.

Before Bed

A new study in the European Journal of Nutrition found that adults who had two daily glasses of tart cherry juice slept 39 minutes longer, on average, and spent significantly less time awake in bed compared to those who drank a non-cherry based fruit cocktail. For better zzz’z, researchers advise having a glass 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime.

Any OMG time

Cherries and their juice are a rich souce of powerful class of antioxidants called anthocyanins, “Studies suggest that eating cherries has the potential to lower heart disease risk.

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

A Natural Approach to Autumn Arthritis

As the autumn weather fast approaches, a lot of people will assert that they can feel the twinge in their joints. Whatever your age, a small ache now could become arthritis – or worse – down the road, so start taking care of your joints today. You don’t have to be one of the more than 40 million Americans who suffer from arthritis and joint pain. Take these tips to protect your joints well into the future.

Caring Curry
Curry, a staple spice combo in Southeast Asian cuisine, contains turmeric, the yellow spice that gives curry its distinctive color. The active component in turmeric is called curcumin. If you are a fan of curry, you will be happy to know that this substance is associated with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and has been associated with relief for joint pain. In one randomized control study, 107 patients with knee osteoarthritis received either 800 mg per day ibuprofen or 2 grams per day Curcuma domestica extract. Both groups showed improvement in pain during level walking and climbing stairs.

Helpful Herbal Therapy
The traditional Chinese remedy for back and joint pain is the herb eucommia, which strengthens bones, tendons and ligaments. A western study confirmed that both the leaves and the bark of eucommia contain a compound that encourages the development of collagen, an important part of connective tissues such as skin, tendons and ligaments.   

Exciting Exercises
One of the best ways to protect your joints is regular exercise. Exercise circulates blood flow to your joints, stimulating the body’s regeneration mechanisms. Regular exercise also strengthens the muscles surrounding your joints, preventing them from rubbing against one another and wearing down cartilage. One more bonus: Exercise also helps you maintain your ideal body weight. The more you weigh, the more stress you are putting on your joints, especially your hips, back, knees and feet – so that is a major consideration.

Gentle on the joints, tai chi and qigong exercises improve overall flexibility and strengthen the joints. In my clinic, I teach a simple 30-minute daily practice called Eight Treasures qigong, which has been passed down through my family. It has been clinically shown to strengthen bones and joints and prevent arthritis. Best of all, it is far less stressful and strenuous than other types of physical exercise, and particularly emphasizes stretching and the strengthening of joints, tendons and muscles. Most licensed practitioners of Chinese medicine are able to teach some form of qigong and tai chi exercises, or you can learn from an instructional DVD.

Posture Perfect
You don’t have to walk around with a book on your head, but if you value your joints, do make an effort to stand up straight. Good posture protects the joints in your neck, back, hips and knees. Over time, gravity will make sure that slump shows up as joint problems.
Once you’re used to standing and sitting up straight, your muscles will feel an overall ease in stress because they won’t be in constant use to maintain an unsupported off-center body form. To get proper posture, pull your chin inward and pretend there is a string pulling straight up from the top of your head.

Source: Mao Shing Ni, L.Ac., D.O.M., PhD

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