Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

Little Known Health Benefits of Exercise

We all know how exercise helps improve overall strength and heart health. But aside from strengthening those muscles and giving you stronger bones, it also provides little known benefits such as improved hearing and fewer cold episodes.

Exercising is a great way to keep us healthy and there’s no contesting that. But if you’re still searching for a little push then this little known health benefits is certainly a welcome. It can give that extra motivation the next time you find yourself too lazy to workout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Say Goodbye to Colds

Okay that is certainly an overstatement but people who exercise swear that they’re immune from colds or so they say. Exercises generally strengthen the body and in this case the immunity system. People who regularly exercise have good health habits and are more conscious of what they eat.

There is no direct link between fewer colds and exercise. However, studies have shown that between people who regularly exercise and those who don’t, the percentage of inactive participants suffering from colds are higher.

Prolonged, intense exercises however increase our risk for colds. This is because strenuous exercises increase the body’s levels of cortisol and adrenaline. Which can suppress the immune system thus increase the chances for cold.

Keep your Eyes Healthy

Exercises do not directly improve eyesight but it does lower your risk for developing eye problems such as cataracts. Exercising decreases inflammation which is a known cause for cataracts. Exercising regularly normalizes blood sugar levels. The eyes contain very fine blood vessels and abnormally high blood sugar levels can damage these blood vessels. This is why people with diabetes are at high risk for developing eye problems.

Better Hearing

No muscles to build here. Just like keeping your eyes healthy, exercise improve overall blood flow in the body. Better blood flow to the cochlea, the ear structure that converts sound into nerve signals that are sent to the brain can explain this. Overall, the body needs a healthy supply of all blood in order to function properly.

Listening to music during a workout or a quick run through the park is a good way to keep ourselves upbeat and in pace with our routine. But some go overboard and blast their ears with music which can have a damaging effect on hearing health. So keep those beats at a minimum and give your ears a break.

Sleep Better, Easier

Exercising is a great way to release stress and you don’t have to hit the gym to get this benefit. The home is an excellent place to workout. Simple home appliances and furniture can be excellent exercise equipment.

Sleep is never overrated. The body does not showdown instead goes into the process of repairing and recuperating after a hard day at work or a gruelling exercise routine. People who sleep better are more likely to perform better the following day.

Break a Sweat with this Office Workouts

The office is probably one of the most unlikely places to get healthy. Spending hours lurking in that office chair doesn’t do anybody any good except build those love handles. Taking care of our careers is one thing but keeping our body healthy is equally important.

Studies have shown that prolonged sitting can have a damaging effect on our health. Sitting in the office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. can be likened to a couch potato minus the TV. Some studies even showed that sitting for long periods of time can increase a person’s risk for cancer by 60%.

Starting your journey to a healthier life can be done with a few simple changes. Switching to a healthy snack or deciding to take a little more veggies during lunch is just one of those little things that all up to being healthy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking a sweat in the office is possible and it doesn’t involve bringing in gym equipment. So the next time you find yourself hitting a wall and just need to release stress why don’t you make this an opportunity to get those sleeping muscles working. Below is a few simple exercises that you can do in your downtime.

Stretching

  1. Back and Legs

Lean forward from a standing or sitting position bringing the chest towards the thighs. Try to straighten the legs slowly stretching the hamstrings.

  1. Arms and Shoulders

Pull the arms across the chest and hook the other arm around it to pull the tension out of the upper back and rear shoulders.

  1. Neck

Tilt the head slowly towards the shoulder and hold it for ten seconds on each side. Do this on a slow and easy pace.

  1. Calves

Stand and lean into the desk with the heels on the floor. Bend the knees slightly to stretch the Achilles tendons.

  1. Thighs

Sit on the left edge of the chair. Grab the left ankle and pull it upward towards the buttocks. Do it also on the other side.

10-Minute Office Cardio Workout

  • Push-Ups

Get into a plank position with feet firmly on the ground and hands on a chair. Bend the arms to go down and bring the body back up. Go as low as your body can reach and press the back up to a tall position. The core should be tight and the routine should continue for at least one minute.

  • Broad Jumps

From squat position, bend down and jump forward landing again in a squat. Turn around and hop the other way. Continue hopping back and forth for one minute focusing on the distance instead of the height.

  • Tricep Dips

Facing away from the chair with the hands gripping the edge, place the feet out in front of you with knees bent at ninety degrees. You should feel the effect on the shoulders and triceps as you dip down and back up. Do the routine for one minute.

  • Squats

From wide stance, squat down and tap the butt to the chair, then come up. The pace should be fast to get the heart rate up. Extend the body as you rise up and squeeze at the top to engage the muscles.

  • Walk Lunges

Bend the knees in an alternate pace as you lunge-walk through the hallway. Do it in a nice and low position so that the quads with feel it by the end.

Five Minute Fixes

Tired of feeling like the path to health and wellness is a long, drawn out path?  Then start small!  Use these quick five minute fixes to boost your health and to reach your goals one step at a time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Wear a pedometer to determine the distance you walk each day.  Shoot for 10,000 steps per day.  If you aren’t reaching that goal, add an extra mile to your routine or take the steps instead of the escalator whenever possible.
  • Add jumping to your exercise routine – also known as plyometric moves – to build muscle and improve your bone density.  Try jump squats or scissor lunges in your next routine.
  • Spend the extra money to purchase good work out necessities – clothing, shoes, bras, supports, etc.  Purchasing the better brands versus going the cheaper route will ensure that you use them and that they are the best for your workout.
  • Don’t be a creature of habit.  Switch up your routines, walking routes, gym machines and even what days you do specific workouts. Change is good when it comes to exercise and fitness.
  • Consider the other ways that you can lose weight without really trying – clean the house and burn 200 calories or work in the garden and burn 272 calories.
  • Even if you have to travel or spend all day in a car or on a plane, still try to fit in physical activity. Take advantage of bathroom breaks by stretching and doing some light exercise.  Walk briskly through the airport in between flights if traveling by plane.
  • Build better bones and as much bone density as you can by doing weight-bearing activities like running or jumping as much as you can in your twenties and thirties.
  • Yoga has many healthy benefits for your body and your mind.  Even if you are a novice, take a class and try something different.
  • Work out with your significant other or a friend or family member.  This allows you to be a spotting partner for one another or just spend some quality time together working out.

It’s Swimming Season

With the warm weather comes the opening up of public pools and home pools and people break out the bathing suit for another season of swimming. For many people, swimming is a good way to wind down after a long day.  But others are using swimming as another means of exercise and they are finding that exercise in the spring and summertime can be fun!

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Swimming is an excellent way to lose weight and strength train all the while enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

Exercise experts recommend swimming as a form of exercise because of the great cardiovascular workout you get from swimming.  It is considered a great aerobic exercise because by definition it is an action that maintains an elevated heartbeat for a minimum of 20 minutes.

You can simply add swimming to your pre-existing aerobic workout to help switch things up and keep your workouts fresh.  Alternate days that you decide to use swimming as your cardio for that day, so you don’t get bored with any one workout.

Like any exercise, you should also start any swimming workout routine by stretching first. You may not realize the affect swimming has on your entire body until it is too late, so be sure to stretch appropriately before you begin. Then start off slow by swimming strides and gradually increasing your speed in the pool.  This will help to elevate your heart rate at a safe pace and help you to last longer during your workout.

Swimming, and using swimming as your key workout, is more about endurance than quickness.  Experts suggest starting out swimming laps for approximately 20 minutes for women and 30 minutes for men.  You can begin to increase your time as necessary and as you continue your workout over the course of weeks or months.

Again, this will prevent you from getting too tired, too sore, wore out or disappointed in your swimming workout. Try out different strokes when you are swimming, too.  Do some laps using the breaststroke, then switch up and do the backstroke, or even the doggy paddle.  Each swimming stroke using a different variety of muscles and therefore will give you the best overall workout.

Resistance Band Workout

If you are looking for something different to do to change your typical workout routine, pick up a set of resistance bands and give some of these exercises a try!

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Front SquatStand on a tube band with the feet slightly wider than your shoulders and center of the band between the feet. Holding a handle in each hand, bring the top of the band over each shoulder, securing the band in place by crossing your arms at your chest. Sit straight down, chest up, abs firm, pressing your knees out over your toes. Rise back up to start position and repeat for 8-12 reps.

Bent Over RowStand over the center of the band with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend slightly at the knees and hinge at the waist, keeping your hips back. Grasp each handle with hands facing the outside of your knees. With elbows bent, pull the band up toward your hips, squeezing your shoulder blades together until your elbows form a 90-degree angle. Lower and row for 10-12 reps.

Bench Press – Anchor a tube band on the bench legs, and lie on the bench, face up. Grabbing a handle in each hand. position them at shoulder height (so your thumbs touch the front of your shoulders). Extend the arms straight up overhead to full extension, moving your hands toward each other at the top. Lower back down and repeat for 10-12 reps.

Overhead PressStand over the center of a tube band with feet shoulder-width apart. Grip each handle, positioning your hands at shoulder level with palms facing each other so your thumbs touch your shoulders. Press straight up, rotating your palms forward as you fully extend your arms. Lower back down slowly and repeat for 8-10 reps.

Russian Twist – Sit on the floor with legs extended, wrapping the center of the band around the bottom of your feet. Hold the free ends in each hand. Slightly bend your knees, keeping your feet on the floor, and lean back at a 45-degree angle. Rotate the band right by bringing your left hand across your body and your right hand down by your right hip. Contracting your oblique muscles, bring the band toward your right hip while keeping your middle and low back neutral. Return to starting position and rotate left then right for a total of 10-12 reps on each side.

Walk Off that Easter Candy

Feeling a little guilty after learning how many calories are in your favorite Easter treats? (See “Food for Thought section of this newsletter.)

Don’t worry!  Just use this handy guide to determine how much walking you need to do to work those calories off!

Editor’s Note:  Mileage is based upon eating only one serving of each of the following candies.  Should you eat more than one serving (according to package) or a combination of any of the following then your mileage will need adjusted.

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Jelly Beans: 1.4 miles

Peeps: 1.6 miles

Robin Eggs: 1.7 miles

Small Chocolate Bunny: 1.4 miles

Medium Hollow Bunny: 2.6 miles

Large Chocolate Bunny: 10.5 miles (!!!!!!)

Chocolate-covered Marshmallow Bunny: .6 miles

Chocolate-covered Marshmallow Egg: 1 mile

Cadbury Crème Egg: 1.7 miles

Cadbury Caramel Egg: 1.9 miles

Lindt Chocolate Carrots: 2.1 miles

Prefer real eggs over chocolate eggs?  You may need to do some walking, too.  One hardboiled egg requires .76 of a mile to walk it off and a half of a deviled egg takes .73 of a mile to burn!

It’s the Spring Cleaning Workout!

Sure, you would be hard-pressed to find a woman or a man who says that they actually enjoy the thoughts of spring cleaning…

But, if you just take into consideration how many calories are burned while you are doing your spring cleaning, then you may be a little more excited when spring rolls around this year.

The actual amount of calories burned will depend on your weight, gender and age, but there calculators that you can find online (FitDay or NutriStrategy) that will help you to calculate your actual calories burned.

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So dust off your mops, break out the cleaner and begin to sweat off the weight!

Gardening: 226 calories

Window washing: 226 calories

Scrubbing floors (on hands and knees): 291 calories

Laundry, ironing: 84 calories

Sewing repairs: 36 calories

Dusting: 97 calories

Scrubbing toilets, tub: 246 calories

Vacuuming: 317 calories

Cleaning gutters: 258 calories

Moving furniture, household items: 387 calories

Painting, papering, plastering: 317 calories

Sweeping: 194 calories

Mopping: 153 calories

Mowing the lawn: 148 calories

Washing dishes: 77 calories

Getting More Out of Your Elliptical Workout

Its winter and more and more people are choosing to move their workout to the gym.  If the one machine that is your go-to machine when you are at your public or home gym is the elliptical, then you need to make sure that you are getting the most out of your workout at all times.

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While the elliptical is a great cardio machine, if you keep your routine at a slow, steady pace every single time, then you are not getting the most effective workout that you can.

One of the major things that you can do is practice interval training on the elliptical.  Interval training focuses on constantly changing the speed and intensity of the exercise.

Most experts suggest coming up with an exercise plan before you start on the elliptical.  For example, you can start out by going at your normal, slow and steady pace for a solid minute.

Then switch it up and go at a faster, more intense pace for 30 seconds.  You can continue switching between your slow and steady pace and your faster pace for the entire length of your workout.

Some other suggestions to get the most out of your elliptical routine include:

  • Choose an adequate resistance.  Instead of allowing momentum to do all of the work for you, change the resistance to a higher number and make sure that you are actually using your legs to propel the blades.
  • Lean back on your heels.  Make sure that you aren’t putting all of your weight on your toes while you are on the elliptical.  By being up on your toes, your legs will go numb and will shorten your workout prematurely.

Burning Calories in the Snow

Let’s face it.  Most of us don’t have the luxury of living in a climate where it is warm and sunny 12 months out of the year.  Instead we must learn to deal with all four seasons …including the dreaded winter.

But, thinking positively, there are plenty of things to do outdoors in the winter where you can burn calories – lots of them!  So, try one of these high-intensity, fun winter activities today:

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  • Cross country skiing
  • Downhill skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Hiking
  • Dog-sledding
  • Zip lining
  • Sled riding – especially if you find a really steep hill!
  • Snow tubing

It’s important to keep in mind that whatever winter outdoor activity you decide to take part in, it’s necessary to dress in layers, remain hydrated and watch for signs of hypothermia.

Remember to warm up first.  Just like you were working out indoors, warming up first before you get started working out outdoors is definitely important.  Colder temperatures can cause your muscles to tighten up, so a proper warm up session will help prevent injury.

When you come in from out of the cold, it’s also important to NOT strip down and remove all of your layers.  Give your body time to adjust from your outdoor workout.  Post-exercise hypothermia is possible, so be sure to let your body adjust before taking off all of those layers.

Staying hydrated is also a big one, so be sure to have plenty of water on hand for whatever outdoor activity you choose.

Fitness for All: New Year! New Workout!

Try these quick and easy ways to jump start your new workout regimen in 2017!

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  • Wear a pedometer to determine the distance you walk each day. Shoot for 10,000 steps per day.  If you aren’t reaching that goal, add an extra mile to your routine or take the steps instead of the escalator whenever possible.
  • Add jumping to your exercise routine – also known as plyometric moves – to build muscle and improve your bone density. Try jump squats or scissor lunges in your next routine.
  • Spend the extra money to purchase good work out necessities – clothing, shoes, bras, supports, etc. Purchasing the better brands versus going the cheaper route will ensure that you use them and that they are the best for your workout.
  • Don’t spread germs. Always wipe down gym equipment before and after using them to protect yourself and others from germs and bacteria that can be passed from unclean gym equipment.
  • Consider the other ways that you can lose weight without really trying – clean the house and burn 200 calories or work in the garden and burn 272 calories.
  • Even if you have to travel or spend all day in a car or on a plane, still try to fit in physical activity. Take advantage of bathroom breaks by stretching and doing some light exercise. Walk briskly through the airport in between flights if traveling by plane.
  • Build better bones and as much bone density as you can by doing weight-bearing activities like running or jumping as much as you can in your twenties and thirties.
  • Yoga has many healthy benefits for your body and your mind. Even if you are a novice, take a class and try something different.
  • Work out with your significant other or a friend or family member. This allows you to be a spotting partner for one another or just spend some quality time together working out.