3 Shortcuts to Exercise Success

10/04/2011

from the Healthy Living area

Are you losing interest in physical activity because you’re not seeing quick results from your efforts?

While there are no magic pills for becoming more fit (and staying that way), some exercises are more effective in less time than others. Check out these three ideas for burning more calories and strengthening muscles faster:

  1. Switch back and forth: It’s called interval training, and it boosts your results by stepping up the intensity or duration of your activity, on and off, throughout your workout. Interval training works like this: Instead of walking for 10 minutes at your usual pace, start by walking at your normal exercise pace for the first two minutes, then increase your speed for the next two minutes, followed by two minutes of your usual pace, and so on. Adapt this system for any length walk. The interval time may vary as well. Your body goes into “active recovery” during the lower speed segments, so you can continue exercising with less risk of injury, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Yet you gain quicker benefits from the higher intensity intervals.
  2. Squat: Pear-shape alert!You’ll strengthen more muscles at one time by doing squats. This exercise works the major muscles in your lower body—the gluteals, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. When asked to list the most effective exercises, the majority of 17,000 ACE-certified fitness professionals put squats at number one. Make sure your form is correct: with feet at shoulder-width and back straight, bend your knees as you lower your bottom. Don’t let your knees move out over your ankles. If you are doing squats with weights on a barbell (which increases intensity), be sure to have a spotter or trainer check your form.
  3. Rev your engine: All activities are not created equal. For a 135-pound woman, 30 minutes of brisk walking burns 130 calories. In that same 30 minutes, you can lose 258 calories with freestyle swimming or 322 calories by running at a 6 mph pace. Include higher calorie-burning exercises in your activities to boost speedy results.

For more information on the health topics mentioned in this article visit the HealthyWomen.org areas below.

Fitness: www.healthywomen.org/ages-and-stages/healthy-living/fitness

Diet and Fitness Health Center: www.healthywomen.org/condition/stress

Weight Management: www.healthywomen.org/condition/weight-management

© 2011 HealthyWomen All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from HealthyWomen. 1-877-986-9472 (toll-free). On the Web at: www.HealthyWomen.org.

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De-Stress Your Environment

09/26/2011

from the Healthy Living area

by Pamela M. Peeke, MD, MPH

It’s usually easy to tune out the minor irritants our work and home environments throw our way. Most irritants aren’t major health risks. But, watch out. When minor environmental irritants turn toxic, your surroundings can make you more vulnerable to chronic stress.

Take a minute now to look around the room you are sitting in. Use all your senses to detect any of these common environmental stressors:

  • Clutter
  • Too much noise
  • Unpleasant odors
  • Uncomfortable furniture
  • Bad lighting
  • Poor ventilation

How many have you identified?

Now, look around for things you easily can change and do so.

Many of us can’t make significant changes in our surroundings, particularly at work. So, we need to use our stress-solving skills to buffer ourselves against toxic environmental stress.

Try these problem-solving suggestions for the following environmental stressors:

Climate Control-Your Office or Theirs?
If you have a client or co-worker who loves extreme temperatures -either freezing or tropical — that interfere with your productivity or attention span, suggest that you have meetings in your office.

Scent-sational?
If someone in the office consistently comes to work bathed in the latest perfume, anonymously suggest to the office manager that you adopt a “scent free” office (we have this policy and it works well).

Clutter Control
You are sure to feel overwhelmed if your surroundings are cluttered. To combat clutter, keep only your current project materials in view. You will feel more confident and be better able to concentrate.

Re-Arrange Stress
Consider rearranging the furniture so that you face away from the line of sight, if you work in an office cubicle. With your desk turned around you have more control over when people can catch your eye. Your co-workers may be less likely to needlessly interrupt you.

Ear Protection, Please
Bring earplugs to work, if your office is noisy, or try to escape to an empty conference room for a temporary “noise break.”

When de-stressing your surroundings, you can’t address all the stressors at one time. Carry a notebook with you and write down environmental sources of stress when you notice them. Just having that list will empower you. You might even enlist significant others in your life to help trouble shoot solutions with you.

Here are more stress-busting ideas to use to de-stress your environment:

  • In the office, take breaks to look out the window. Don’t have one nearby? Take a break once an hour, find a window and look outside. Focusing your eyes at a distant view will cause your eye muscle to relax. Looking at nature also has a proven calming effect.
  • At home and work, use calming pictures and muted pastel colors to soothe you.
  • Play soft music in the background — whatever you like. It’s quite calming and can act as “white noise” to neutralize toxic noises in your environment.
  • Personalize your office space with family photos and pictures of pets and favorite vacation spots. Look at them often.
  • Combat clutter. At home, if you haven’t used something within the past year consider tossing, selling or giving it away.
  • At home, impose a TV-time limit on yourself (and others). TVs in the living room are the ultimate noise pollution. Try moving the TV to a new location where you don’t see (and turn it on) so readily. Definitely get the TV out of the bedroom – watching TV in bed can interfere with your sleep patterns and cause you to develop sleep-related problems.
  • Decorate with soothing objects to look at — things that give you pleasure to see every day. These things are important to have in your living and working space.

Choose low-end ways to de-stress your surroundings if high-priced solutions are out of reach. If that $500 ergonomically correct chair isn’t realistic, what about a beautiful $10 pillow to sit up against? Or, a small stool to support your feet and ease your lower back? Do you have a comforting screen-saver? A beach view or the universe works nicely.

Be creative! See if you can make your surroundings a bit less stressful today.

For more information on the health topics mentioned in this article visit the HealthyWomen.org areas below.

Managing Stress: www.healthywomen.org/ages-and-stages/healthy-living/managing-stress

Stress: www.healthywomen.org/condition/stress

Anxiety and Depression Center: www.healthywomen.org/healthcenter/anxiety-and-depression

Mental Health Center: www.healthywomen.org/healthcenter/mental-health

© 2011 HealthyWomen All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from HealthyWomen. 1-877-986-9472 (toll-free). On the Web at: www.HealthyWomen.org.


Water Wisdom

08/14/2011

from the Healthy Living area

You’ve heard all the advice: Drink eight glasses of water a day. Stay properly hydrated while exercising. Sports drinks aren’t just for professional athletes.

Yet you’re still unsure whether you’re drinking the right amount for good health.
How much fluid should you really be taking in daily? Do you need to add extra when you’re physically active? And is too much water dangerous?

Everyone’s body needs water. We lose it by sweating, excretion, or simply not taking in enough through foods—like fruits and vegetables—and drinks. Mild dehydration (losing less than two percent of your body weight due to inadequate fluids) can cause health problems, including dizziness and headache.

To keep your body supplied with the fluid it needs, especially when exercising, follow these tips:

  • Get the basics. Most women need eight to nine cups of total fluids a day, including all beverages and the water in foods.
  • Increase according to the weather. High temperatures or humidity outside, heated indoor air and high altitudes all cause you to need more fluids.
  • Add when exercising. Drink one cup of fluids every 15 minutes during physical activity, advises Werner W.K. Hoeger, Ed.D., FACSM, professor of kinesiology and director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Boise State University. He recommends sports drinks over water when exercising because they contain electrolytes—important to provide the minerals necessary for proper cellular metabolism—which is disrupted during physical exertion. Electrolyte replacement also helps maintain proper muscle contraction and cardiac function.
  • Add more for big events. If you’re going to be in a race or charity walk, make sure you drink enough to be well-hydrated the day before, Hoeger adds. Also, drink a glass of fluids an hour before the event.
  • Drinking for two? Pregnant and nursing women need additional fluids. Talk with your health care professional about what’s best for you.
  • Still thirsty? If drinking fluids doesn’t relieve your thirst, you may have a health condition such as diabetes. See your health care professional right away.
  • Too much of a good thing. In very rare cases—chiefly among marathon runners—drinking too much fluid leads to a life-threatening illness, hyponatremia. This occurs when sodium levels in the blood fall too low. It happens chiefly to athletes who have run for more than four hours and gained a lot of weight during the race from drinking.

For more information on the health topics mentioned in this article visit

the HealthyWomen.org areas below.

Fitness: www.healthywomen.org/condition/fitness

Healthy Living: www.healthywomen.org/ages-and-stages/healthy-living/diet-and-nutrition

Diet and FitnessHealthCenter: www.healthywomen.org/healthcenter/diet-and-fitness

© 2011 HealthyWomen. All rights reserved. Reprinted withpermission from HealthyWomen. 1-877-986-9472 (toll free). On the Web at:http://www.HealthyWomen.org.


Healthy Holiday Tips

12/07/2010

With more parties, productions, baking, and shopping going on during the holiday season than any other, it’s hard to not get caught up in all the festivities. Before you know it you are feeling more stressed than relaxed and grouchy than cheerful, as the hustle and bustle begins to take its toll on your body. But before you go out and buy those last minute gifts, take a moment to think about how you can give yourself the gift of health during the holidays.

Eat Wisely
With the cold weather come layers of clothing which make it harder to catch those extra few pounds sneaking up on your waistline. But you don’t have to deprive yourself of the holiday dishes you’ve been looking forward to all year, just don’t overindulge in them. Think portion control and remember that it’s better to try a little of everything than eat too much of one thing. It’s also important to be aware of mindless snacking at parties, by choosing your foods wisely and limiting your grazing time. If you make selections from the veggie plate rather than the chip bowl at the appetizers table, it is not only better for your waistline, but your overall health. And while one or two Christmas cookies won’t kill you, too many treats can cause sugar overload not only affecting your energy levels but quickly packing on the pounds.

Keep Your (Workout) Routine
With more to do and less time to do it in, it’s easy to let trips to the gym slip to the end of your to do list. Still, you should make exercise a priority during the holiday season, and I’m not just talking about mall walking. Engaging in physical activity for at least 30 minutes on three days out of the week or more will keep your energy levels up, mood stable, stress reduced, and of course, weight controlled. This doesn’t mean picking an aerobics class over your best friend’s Christmas party, you should enjoy the festivities of the season, but just try to keep up your regular exercise routine in the process. Trust me, come New Year’s Day you’ll be glad you did.

Limit Alcohol
While spiked eggnog might be one of your favorite things about holiday gatherings, overindulging can not only get you in trouble at this year’s company party but leave you unable to go to work the next day. When celebrating at an event, limit your alcohol intake to only one or two drinks and choose beverages with low alcohol content. Remember that alcoholic drinks are full of empty calories, meaning that they contain no nutrients that are beneficial to your health. Excessive drinking can significantly increase your calorie intake and take a toll on your body leaving you feeling drained and dehydrated. It can also increase health risks associated with high blood pressure, liver damage, and digestive problems. 

Pace Yourself
Even though you may love being involved in holiday cheer, you don’t have to plan your kid’s school Christmas party, organize the gift exchange at work, and help direct your church’s live nativity. Pace yourself when it comes to responsibilities and realize that if you don’t do it someone else will. If you are too busy running around everywhere making sure that every event goes exactly as planned, you’ll be too stressed out and exhausted to actually enjoy them.

By-line:
Alvina Lopez regularly writes on the topic of accredited online schools <http://www.accreditedonlinecolleges.com/>. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez @gmail.com. http://www.accreditedonlinecolleges.com/


The Power of the Tomato

12/22/2009

We wanted to tell you about a new website Tomato Products Wellness Council at www.tomatowellness.com. You can download recipes (the Chili Colorado sounds very good – I plan to try this very soon), nutritional information, scientific studies and the latest research findings about processed tomato products.

More than 200 scientific studies have demonstrated the power of tomato products in promoting good health and preventing cardiovascular disease, various forms of cancer, osteoporosis, sun damage while reducing inflammation levels and more.  Processed tomatoes are the number one source for the powerful antioxidant lycopene in the American diet.  Tomato products are healthy, affordable and popular in a variety of cuisines making consuming tomato products one of the easiest and most effective steps you can take to improve your health.  Add more red to your meals with soup, juice, salsa, sauce, paste, ketchup, diced and whole canned tomatoes.

The Tomato Products Wellness Council is a voluntary council of growers, processors and well-known brands that leads the tomato industry effort on scientific research. The Council has identified nearly 500 scientific studies that demonstrate the health benefits of a diet rich in tomato products.

For more heart healthy info visit www.heart-strong.com


Healthy Holiday Tips

12/12/2009


You Are What You Drink Blog Talk Radio Show

11/23/2009