Posts filed under Fitness

Muscle Strengthening And Aerobic Activity Reduce The Risk Of Diabetes In Women

woman weight trainingThe benefits of exercise in promoting and maintaining good health are widely known, particularly for women wishing to prevent or reduce the risk of diabetes.  Regular exercise helps to regulate blood sugar levels in your body and helps decrease the possibility of developing diabetes.  New studies show that muscle strengthening and conditioning, alone or in conjunction with aerobic activity, are also linked to a reduction of the risk in the development of diabetes.

There have been studies in the past that have shown that men who weight train have a decreased risk for developing diabetes.  This recent study is the first to show the same benefits for women.

As with aerobic exercise, the benefits of muscle strengthening and conditioning in the prevention of diabetes are many. Women who engage in these activities gain:

  • improved cholesterol profiles
  • increased heart function
  • decreased blood pressure
  • improved blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity
  • improved muscular strength and endurance
  • increased bone strength

For women who are at risk for developing diabetes, engaging in any type of exercise will help. Women who participate in muscle strengthening and conditioning, even without aerobic activity, will still considerably lessen their risk of developing diabetes. The conditioning exercises should focus on the upper and lower body with at least a moderate intensity, several times each week.  Some of these include:

  • arm curl
  • military press
  • bench press
  • squats
  • knee and back extensions
  • bent knee sit-ups
  • circuit weight training

Women who engage in both aerobic and strength training reaped the most benefits. For those who cannot engage in aerobic exercise, the muscle strengthening and conditioning exercises alone still offer plenty of benefits.

Women who are looking to reduce their risk of diabetes should speak to their physicians about incorporating these activities into their current physical activity plan. Incorporating muscle strengthening and conditioning with aerobic activity provides the most benefit.

Posted on January 27, 2014 and filed under Fitness.

Weight Training Has More Benefits Than Previously Thought

Woman Lifting WeightsMost of us know that weightlifting can improve the appearance of our body as well as our overall health. Recent research suggests that it can also provide variety of less talked about benefits. Here’s a brief outline of the benefits of weight training.

Reduce the Symptoms of Depression

According to a 2004 study published in the Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, weightlifting was just as effective as aerobic exercise in reducing the symptoms of depression.

Combat Osteoporosis

Our bodies naturally lose muscle and bone mass as we age, especially in women. Fortunately, there is a way to reverse this trend. Both our muscles and bones adapt to the stress of weightlifting by becoming stronger.

Lower the Risk of Diabetes

According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, lifting weights each week for 150 minutes (5 half-hour sessions) lowered the risk of diabetes in men by 34%. The risk was lowered by 59% for men who added regular cardiovascular exercise as well.

Improve Hearth Health

The College of Health Sciences at Appalachian State University conducted a study to determine the impact of 45 minutes of moderate strength training on arteries and blood flow. The result was a 20 percent decrease in blood pressure, which roughly equates to the benefit of anti-hypertension drugs.

Control Blood Sugar

In April 2013, the Natural Medicine website published a study demonstrating that lifting weights can regulate blood glucose levels. Researchers showed that weight training spurs the growth of white muscle, which helps lower blood glucose by using the glucose for energy.

Reduce Back Pain

Many office workers know the lower back pain that can be caused by sitting at a desk all day. Weight training can help strengthen the muscles that support your spine. These “core” muscles can lessen the discomfort and stiffness often associated with extended periods of sitting.

Improve Balance

In addition to our large muscle groups, our bodies have smaller groups called stabilizer muscles. Those little muscles help determine our ability to maintain our balance. Weight training can improve the stabilizer muscles that help keep us upright.

Stay Lean

A regimen of high volume weightlifting several times per week, plus lots of protein each day, will produce long and lean muscles. Ladies, don’t fear the masculine look of a big and bulky body. Proper weight training will help you stay slim.

Get Started

Sometimes it’s difficult to start, or stick to, a weight training routine. The key is to just show up and get going. Don’t overthink it. Surround yourself with supportive, like-minded people and the results will come.

Posted on December 27, 2013 and filed under Fitness.

Gym Etiquette: How To Avoid The Most Common Pet Peeves

gym etiquetteWhen you go to the local fitness center to work out, how conscious are you of proper gym etiquette? No one hands out a rule book as you walk through the door, but everyone is expected to have common sense and follow certain rules of courtesy. Find out how to avoid the most common pet peeves so you stay on good terms with gym staff members and your fellow fitness fanatics.

Stay home if you don’t feel well

In general, it’s physically safe to exercise with above-the-neck cold symptoms, but that doesn’t mean it’s courteous to others. Opt for an at-home workout session this time around to prevent passing your illness around.

Follow cardio machine time limits

During peak hours, some gyms limit time on cardio equipment to 20 or 30 minutes. It simply isn’t fair to ignore the rule and keep the person in line behind you waiting. If you know you’re on a time limit, make every minute of that half hour on the elliptical worth it before you step off for the next customer.

Don’t hog the equipment

Even without strict time limits, you should be willing to give up equipment when you’ve been on it a while and someone else is waiting. A big no-no during peak gym hours is super-setting by bouncing between equipment frequently, preventing others from using them. On that note, hanging your towel on equipment doesn’t give you “dibs.”

Focus on yourself, not others

Pay attention to your own workout; don’t hover over someone else’s treadmill or make someone feel uncomfortable by staring at them. It takes enough confidence to work out in a public place without someone staring you down.

Wear appropriate clothing

Look for clothes that provide the right amount of coverage without being too long, too loose or too tight. The goal is to be able to move around freely without snagging on equipment or attracting unwanted attention.

Smell good, not great

Deodorant is fine for the gym, but perfume and cologne are not. Do not let your aroma – good or bad – enter the room before you do.

Keep your comments to yourself

No one wants unsolicited advice from a know-it-all stranger. If you see someone performing an action you think could cause an injury, flag down a trainer or staff member and tell them what you saw. The trainer will take it from there.

Use the drinking fountain politely

Don’t stand there guzzling water for a full minute. Also, when someone steps up behind you while you’re filling a water bottle, step aside and let them grab a drink.

Don’t talk on the phone

Other gym members don’t want to hear your conversation. Unless there’s a crisis at work or at home, stay off your phone. Even then, take your call outside the training area.

Clean up after yourself

This includes unloading the weight bar, re-racking dumbbells, and wiping down the bench when you switch to new equipment. Your mother isn’t there to pick up after you at the gym, and management is liable to get on your case if you continually inconvenience fellow gym members.

While these tips sound like common sense, most gyms have members breaking these etiquette guidelines every day. By being more courteous and perceptive, everyone can enjoy working out at the gym a little bit more.

Posted on October 28, 2013 and filed under Fitness.

Reduce Stomach Fat Simply by Running

belly fatCrunches, sit-ups and other abdominal workouts help tone and tighten tummy muscles, but they do little to reduce stomach fat. The key to total body weight loss, toned muscles, and reduced stomach fat is a combination of aerobic and strength training exercises. Here’s how it works.

You Body’s Energy Sources

When you burn more calories than you eat, your body turns to existing fat deposits for energy. Running is an ideal way to use up those calories, but you must run for controlled, sustained periods if you want to trim tummy fat.

Your primary source of immediate energy is carbohydrates, which your body converts to glycogen. This circulates in your bloodstream until you don’t need it anymore. Then, excess glycogen is stored in muscles where your body can access it easily in the future.

When you exercise for short periods, such as running from the parking lot to a store entrance, your body burns glycogen, but not oxygen. It’s not until your body uses oxygen for energy that it starts to burn fat deposits for fuel.

Fat-Burning Sweet Spot

To burn the most fat possible, shoot for a moderate-intensity aerobic exercise at around 70 percent of your maximum target heart rate. This usually includes activities like brisk walking or light jogging. If you exercise at a higher intensity than this, your body burns carbohydrates and you tire out faster.

One way to estimate your maximum target heart rate is to subtract your age from 220. Your specific maximum heart rate will depend on your weight, fitness level and existing medical conditions.

The Department of Health and Human Services suggests 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week to maintain your current weight. You will probably need more to actually reduce stomach fat and lose weight. For perspective, a 180-lb person can burn 820 calories by running at a consistent pace of 6 miles per hour for one hour.

Additional Fat-Burning Tips

The Mayo Clinic suggests engaging in strength training at least two times per week as well. Strength training is geared toward toning muscles, which accompanies fat loss to create a lean, tight appearance in your stomach and any other areas that you incorporate into your strength-training routine.

People with apple-shaped bodies store fat in the stomach area. People with pear-shaped bodies store fat in their hips, thighs and buttocks. No matter what your body shape is, you can expect running to reduce fat in these areas since aerobic exercise burns fat from wherever it’s stored. Just remember to talk to your doctor before you begin a running program to lose weight and reduce stomach fat.

Posted on September 26, 2013 and filed under Fitness.

Sedentary Lifestyle: Too Much Time Sitting Down Puts Your Health at Risk

Sedentary Lifestyle: Too Much Time Sitting Down Puts Your Health at Risk“Sitting disease” refers to the ill effects of living a sedentary lifestyle. Do you have a desk job, commute to work in your car, and watch TV to unwind at night? Such a lifestyle, with no exercising in between, could put your health at risk.

New research shows that consistent inactivity, or simply being seated too long each day, raises your risk of developing health problems, such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even cancer. Try making a few simple changes in your daily routine to help fight sitting disease without quitting your desk job, selling your car or getting rid of your TV.

  • Adopt a whole-day approach to activity: Even if you get one hour of exercise in every morning, you could still spend the rest of your day sitting. It’s time to think beyond your structured workout.
  • Add activity to your day: Try to be on your feet for 10 minutes of each hour. This could mean pacing while on the phone, stretching, or taking a walk down the hall.
  • Shift between sitting and standing: Sitting isn’t the root of all evil; standing still for too long has its problems, too, such as causing a bad back or tired feet. The best approach is to balance sitting and standing throughout the day to experience both in moderation.
  • Make changes a little at a time: Perhaps you know inactivity makes you prone to health problems, but you don’t have the motivation to exercise. Try adding little things throughout your day, such as taking the stairs, going for a walk on your lunch break, and stretching cramped muscles. Little changes make a big difference.
  • Avoid emailing when possible: If you have a question for a co-worker a few rooms down, don’t send an email; walk over to her and ask the question face to face. This gets you on your feet with a productive purpose in mind and gets you away from the computer screen, if only for a few moments.
  • Change the way the office works: Encourage yourself to get up more by rearranging your work space. Place the trash can away from your desk so you have to walk to throw things away; suggest walk-and-talk meetings to your boss in place of conference room meetings; and ask if the water cooler can be relocated to the window so you can enjoy gazing outside during brief water breaks.
  • Allow technology to release you from your desk: Do work remotely from the park on a sunny day or walk around during conference calls. Allow mobile devices to help you be more mobile.
  • Increase your productivity: A brisk, 15-minute walk may be all you need to pump up productivity in your last two hours at work. If you’re not sure you have time, give it a try once and see how much you’re able to accomplish afterwards.
  • Exercise in the car: There’s no other option than to remain seated, but try clenching your abs at every stoplight and do calf raises while the cruise control is on. If you take mass transit to work, stand during the ride and consider getting off one stop early and walking the rest of the way.
  • Watch TV actively: Break out the dust-covered treadmill, do sit-ups and crunches on commercial breaks, or tidy the room while you watch – just don’t be a couch potato.

These tips can help you lead a more active lifestyle and keep the ill effects of sitting disease at bay.

Posted on August 30, 2013 and filed under Fitness.

How to Choose the Best Workout Shoes

How to Choose the Best Workout Shoes1

Which exercise routine is your favorite? Whether you lay claim to aerobics, running, hiking, basketball or tennis, there’s one piece of workout gear you can’t live without. It’s not the heart rate monitor watch, sweat bands, water bottle, or even a supportive sports bra. It’s your shoes. Here are some tips to keep in mind for your next shoe purchase.

Don’t simply opt for whatever’s handy

An old pair of tennis shoes may be comfortably worn in, but chances are good they no longer provide the support you need. It’s also likely that the shoes are not intended for the precise exercise you have in mind.

Understand that different workouts need different shoes

The science behind quality running shoes is quite different from superior tennis or basketball shoes. For example, since running shoe-makers know you only move forward when running, there’s no lateral support built in, a feature you need when playing tennis or basketball.

Even walking shoes are different from running shoes. A runner wants more support in the forefoot while those who prefer to walk need stiffer rubber in the heel.

Then there are cross-trainers. If you enjoy a few different workouts in moderation, you might choose one pair of cross-trainers to lighten the required investment. Just remember, these shoes are a Jack of all trades, so they’re decent at providing lateral support, forefoot cushioning and a thicker rubber heel, but they’re not designed to excel above and beyond other shoes in any category.

Buy dedicated workout shoes

The shoes you exercise in shouldn’t be the ones you wear to run errands. This causes the expensive workout shoe to break down much sooner doing non-strenuous activities.  Buy sneakers that look great for everyday use and save your quality workout shoes for exercising.

Replace your shoes before they start looking bad

If you wait until your shoes start falling apart, you know the support has broken down months or even years ago. Plan to replace your shoes every 300 to 500 miles. If you don’t count your miles then replace your shoes every six months to a year, depending on how often you exercise.

The sign that you’ve waited too long between replacements is a strange pain in your hips, knees and back. Don’t let it get to that point before you replace your workout shoes.

If your feet and joints hurt no matter what type of shoes you wear then consider wearing an insole. Orthotics are popular because they are highly customized, but if you don’t think you have a specific gait problem then over-the-counter generic insoles will probably do the trick.

Seek a professional opinion

Unless you’re an experienced sportsman and have found the perfect shoe, it’s not wise to just visit a shoe store, try on a few pairs, and leave with what you think is the best choice. Instead, go to an athletic shoe specialty store and sit down with an expert. They will give you a proper fitting, evaluate your foot, and take your athletic activities of choice into account when helping you find the right shoe. Be sure to ask about return policies as well. Name brand athletic shoes are quite expensive so many retailers have liberal return policies to ensure your satisfaction.

The post How to Choose the Best Workout Shoes appeared first on RemedyPress.

Posted on July 28, 2013 and filed under Fitness.

Interval Training Can Boost Fitness and Shrink the Waistline

Interval-Training-Can-Boost-Fitness-and-Shrink-the-WaistlineIt’s difficult to make working out a priority when your schedule is already cram packed with activities and meetings and work. However, new findings about interval training are turning this into a poor excuse. Everyone – even the most preoccupied small business owner, mother of five, or full-time college student – has 2.5 minutes to spare every day.

Benefits of Interval Training

Interval training is all about providing benefits that improve overall health, such as:

  • Increased glucose tolerance
  • Increased insulin sensitivity
  • Improved heart health, both in healthy individuals and those with heart disease

What hasn’t been thoroughly researched is whether interval training burns more calories than traditional exercises. The following study is early evidence that interval training helps you burn more calories in less time, thus helping you maintain a healthy weight and a smaller waistline.

Get Your Sweat On

A study performed by Kyle Sevits, a Colorado State University physiology graduate student, shows that even high-intensity segments lasting only 2.5 minutes are enough to boost fitness levels and shrink the waistline. Sevits’ team demonstrated this by giving it their all on an exercise bike for that meager 2.5 minutes. The results showed 220 calories burned.

Of course, to get the most from such a short amount of time exerting yourself, you need more than just a commercial break to do your workout. Sevits suggests dividing the 2.5 minutes into five 30-second intervals surrounded by four minutes of less exerting exercise, such as resistance-free pedaling if riding a bike. All in all, that’s still less than 25 minutes, which, by using this technique, burns more than a 30-minute session of moderate cycling.

The Interval Training Workout

Sevits recruited 10 healthy male participants averaging 25 years old for his study. The participants ate a strict diet based on their specific caloric needs for three days leading up to the study. Then, for two days, the participants stayed in rooms with equipment that allowed researchers to measure how many calories each participant burned during the study. The strict diet applied to these two study days as well.

The participants warmed up on stationary bikes for two minutes, then pedaled as fast and hard as they could for 30 seconds. Next came four minutes of low-resistance pedaling. Then, another half-minute, all-out pedaling session followed. In all, each participant completed five bursts of exertion totaling approximately 220 calories burned. These calories were burned primarily in the 2.5-minute span of intense physical exertion during the 25-minute exercise.

Precautions

Interval training has the potential to help you shed pounds and shrink your waistline while making it possible to fit exercise into your busy schedule. However, everyone’s body is different. To burn the most calories, you really want to get moving, but you don’t want to injure yourself. Cycling is a great, low-impact exercise, but be careful if you choose running or another higher impact exercise for your interval training.

While it’s tempting to cram all 2.5 minutes into a single, high intensity workout, the rest periods are just as important for your body as the exertion. Feel free to do something productive during the recommended four-minute break, such as checking your email.

Sevits also cautions that people need to work their way into interval training. You need to build up endurance, confidence and a level you feel comfortable with on whatever machine you choose to do your training. Start by tossing a few high intensity sprints into your regular workout. Even if they’re not quite 30 seconds, you’ll still reap the benefits of pushing your body to the limit.

The post Interval Training Can Boost Fitness and Shrink the Waistline appeared first on RemedyPress.

Posted on June 28, 2013 and filed under Fitness.