Exercise Archives

Run Five Minutes and Save Your Life

23453942_fa4ae17198_zf you can find even five to 10 minutes a day for running, a new study suggests your risk of premature death would be significantly lower than that of people who don’t run or engage in any type of strenuous exercise. These findings come from a review that examined data from 55,137 people between the ages of 18 and 100 who had check-ups at the Cooper Clinic and Cooper Institute in Dallas, during which they had fitness tests and responded to questionnaires about their exercise habits. The researchers found that the daily runners had a 30 percent lower risk of dying from any cause than non-runners and a 45 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease, even if they were overweight or smoked. All told, the runners lived three years longer than the non-runners. The report didn’t delve into the mechanisms behind the benefits of running and didn’t try to determine whether it was the only type of strenuous exercise that lowered the risk of premature death.

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Lyen_wong_wikiIf you work out at home, the thought of germ-infested elliptical machines and icy winter roads to the gym make your living room workout bliss that much better. Here are reasons why your home gym is where it’s at this season.

1. You Never Have to Face the Cold
All warm and cozy in your house? Good thing your gym is 10 feet in front of you.

2. Gym Schedules Don’t Dictate Your Routine
Gym closed because of a snowstorm? Shaun T is still waiting for you in your living room, shouting, “Let’s GOOOO!” You won’t have to miss a chance to “dig deeper”.

3. You Don’t Have to Care How You Look
Rocking polka dot leggings with a striped sports bra? Haven’t brushed your hair? Does it matter? Nope. (Unless you’re going to take an Instagram selfie later…then you might wanna do a booger check.)

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Exercise Photo by Keith AllisonToday sucked. You felt tense, stressed, and sulky.

Want tomorrow to be different? Want to be in a better mood the whole day? It’s easy: Work out early, for about 20 minutes, before you start your day.

You probably already know that exercise is energizing.

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The Unexpected Best Time of Day to Exercise

15252-a-young-woman-stretching-outdoors-before-exercising-pvIf you’re looking to lose weight or improve your health, you may be trying to do everything in your power to ensure your success: you eat right, sleep well, exercise daily. You may have even wondered whether exercising at a certain time of day could thwart or ensure your success.

Well, according to some researchers, there is a best time of day to exercise to keep your physique — especially if you’ve been hitting up the comfort foods. It may seem counterintuitive, but the best time to exercise is early in the morning, before breakfast.    

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Exercise May Tone Up Women’s Bodies and Minds

16958-a-group-of-women-doing-aerobics-pvYoung women who regularly exercise may have more oxygen circulating in their brains — and possibly sharper minds, a small study suggests.

The findings, from a study of 52 healthy young women, don’t prove that exercise makes you smarter, researchers said.

On the other hand, it’s “reasonable” to conclude that exercise likely boosts mental prowess even when people are young and healthy, said Liana Machado, of the University of Otago in New Zealand, the lead researcher on the study.

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Age Gracefully with Exercise

Image by Daniel CaseAging may be a fact of life, but with a graceful-aging plan based on a healthy, active lifestyle, you can counteract Mother Nature.

Aging is a fact of life. Loss of muscle tone and bone density, increased fat stores, skin aging and poor posture are all part of the aging process. However, this doesn’t mean you should just sit around and watch your body deteriorate. You can’t prevent aging, but with a graceful aging plan based on a healthy, active lifestyle, you can counteract Mother Nature.

It’s never too late to get started with an exercise routine and even a small amount of activity can help you to improve the way you feel. Staying active will allow your joints to stay mobile and if you include resistance exercises as part of your plan, you can retain muscular control and stability as you age.

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The Metabolism myth

Healthy Photo by artistlike

You eat less than your skinny friend but still put on weight – can that be true?

It is true that our metabolism – the rate at which we process the food we eat – varies from person to person.

What is not clear is why two people can appear to eat virtually the same amount of food, which causes one to be thin and the other to pile on the pounds.

We uncover some home truths…

Many of us have friends who seemingly can eat anything they want and never put on weight. Whereas there are some of us who can just look at a slice of cake and we can feel our waistline getting bigger by the second. Whilst metabolism may have some effect, the answer is not as simple as we may think.

The Test

In this test, two friends – Cindy and Michelle – were the volunteers. They both have very different shaped bodies. Cindy was very slim while Michelle was nearly 15kg over her desired weight.

They both thought that the amount that you ate was really down to your metabolic rate.

Over the course of ten days, both Cindy and Michelle were watched closely and also asked to record how much food they ate in their food diaries.

However, it wasn’t left entirely to chance, or the honesty of the two ladies! At the beginning of the test they were each given half a litre of doubly labelled water. This is water in which both the hydrogen and the oxygen have been partly replaced with an uncommon isotope of these elements, in this case a non-radioactive form of deuterium and oxygen 18.

By doing this, it was possible to see exactly how many calories each of the girls were consuming, as well as the energy they were using just by moving around, by examining a urine sample each day.

It won’t be too much of a surprise that by the end of the week, the urine samples didn’t match the food diaries! The urine samples showed that although they did much the same amount of activity, Cindy actually ate 50% less each day than Michelle did.

Here is a simple but stark fact, and it may fly in the face of a lot of things that you understand, the fact is that the larger you are, the higher amount of energy your body will use, even at rest.

This means that your metabolic rate is higher as well. If you think about it, this is obvious, because even though you are at complete rest, larger people need more energy to pump the blood around the body and keep moving. You could use the analogy of a big car, having a big engine, so it uses more fuel to move itself around. In the same way, a bigger person uses more energy to move themselves around.

So the next time you’re tempted to blame your metabolism for your weight, remember, here’s the simple stark truth.

Some people eat less.

The other thing that should be pointed out is that whilst our two friends thought they both ate about the same, remember, Cindy ate 50% less than Michelle, and no-one was more surprised about that than her!

Now it is possible to make your metabolism work faster. One of the simplest ways of doing that is by exercising to the point where you start to be out of breath.

Once your body gets the message that it needs to ‘up’ the energy level – it will continue to do so even when the exercise has stopped.

That means you’ll be using up more calories even when you’re sleeping.

Exercise is More Effective on a Protein Rich Diet

Meat Photo by PublicDomainPictures
Most people know that a good weight-loss program combines diet and exercise, but a new University of Illinois study reports that exercise is much more effective when it’s coupled with a protein-rich diet.
“There’s an additive, interactive effect when a protein-rich diet is combined with exercise. The two work together to correct body composition; dieters lose more weight, and they lose fat, not muscle,” said Donald Layman, a U of I professor of food science and human nutrition.A higher-carbohydrate, lower-protein diet based on the USDA food guide pyramid actually reduced the effectiveness of exercise, Layman said.

Four Month Study

Forty-eight adult women participated in Layman’s 4-month study, published in the August 2005 issue of the Journal of Nutrition. One group ate a protein-rich diet designed to contain specific levels of leucine, one of the essential amino acids. A second group consumed a diet based on the food guide pyramid, which contained higher amounts of carbohydrates.

Both groups consumed the same number of calories, but the first group substituted high-quality protein foods, such as meats, dairy, eggs, and nuts, for foods high in carbohydrates, such as breads, rice, cereal, pasta, and potatoes.

“Both diets work because, when you restrict calories, you lose weight. But the people on the higher-protein diet lost more weight. Some people refer to this as the metabolic advantage of a protein-rich diet,” said Layman.

The study included two levels of exercise. “For one group, we recommended that they add walking to their lives. They usually walked two to three times a week, less than 100 minutes of added exercise,” the researcher said.

The other group was required to engage in five 30-minute walking sessions and two 30-minute weightlifting sessions per week. In both groups of dieters, the required exercise program helped spare lean muscle tissue and target fat loss. But, in the protein-rich, high-exercise group, Layman noted a statistically significant effect. That group lost even more weight, and almost 100 percent of the weight loss was fat, Layman said. In the high-carbohydrate, high-exercise group, as much as 25 to 30 percent of the weight lost was muscle.

While this protein-rich diet works for everyone, it seems to be even more effective for people who have high triglyceride levels and carry excess weight in their midsection–a combination of health problems known as Syndrome X.

“The protein-rich diet dramatically lowered triglycerides and had a statistically significant effect on trunk fat, both risk factors associated with heart disease,” he said. “Exercise helped dieters lose an even greater percentage of body fat from the abdominal area.”

Why the Protein Rich Diet Worked so Well

The protein-rich diet works so well because it contains a high level of the amino acid leucine. Leucine, working together with insulin, helps stimulate protein synthesis in muscle. “The diet works because the extra protein reduces muscle loss while the low-carbohydrate component gives you low insulin, allowing you to burn fat,” he said.

“We believe a diet based on the food guide pyramid actually does not provide enough leucine for adults to maintain healthy muscles. The average American diet contains 4 or 5 grams of leucine, but to get the metabolic effects we’re seeing, you need 9 or 10 grams,” he noted.

To achieve that leucine level, the researcher recommended adding dairy, meat, and eggs, all high-quality proteins, to the diet. According to Layman, losing weight doesn’t have to mean relying on supplements to fill in nutritional gaps in your diet. “If you use a high-quality protein approach to your diet, you can actually improve the overall quality of your diet while losing weight,” he said.

Comment by Mark

Many high-protein diets, such as the Atkins plan, have fallen from favour with consumers. Layman’s diet for the study was lower in fat and called for more fruits and vegetables than the Atkins diet.

However, other diets such as Barry Sears Zone Diet and the South Beach Diet are much closer to the target regime the dieters in the study followed.

What is telling though is the fact that the USDA food pyramid has been shown scientifically not to be adequate and that by following the USDA recommended dietary proportions you are actually decreasing the effectiveness of the diet and exercise.

How is that for vindication of the low carb diet?

While the study was carried out using female participants, there are excellent indications that similar results would be obtained for men. Particularly when you realise that most men carry their excess weight around the mid section in the infamous beer belly.

Note too, that the high carb group lost muscle mass while in the high protein group the losses were almost entirely FAT.

Other researchers involved in the study are Ellen Evans, Jamie I. Baum, Jennifer Seyler, Donna J. Erickson, and Richard A. Boileau, all of the University of Illinois. The study was funded by the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research (C-FAR), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Beef Board, and Kraft Foods.

P Picklesimer
University of Illanois at Urbanna

 

Daily Choices Matter

Daily Choices Matter

Studies have shown that each day we make as many as 200 food choices.

Those choices are influenced by many things, even the people we are eating with. While the individually choices may be quite small When you add them together their actual contribution to our health and well being can make a huge difference.

You’ll probably notice that many of our members questions are about small things. They seem to hone in on the details. Yet quite often people say – “Surely, if I just take care of the big things then I don’t really need to worry about the small things?”

Which on the dace of it seems fine. But when you analyse anything, the big things are made up of lots of small things. Meaning that If you take care of the detail in your diet, then each of those things that you take care of will add up and make the big things far more effective.

Here’s a just some of those small things that you might like to consider:

Check the Ingredients

Firstly, when you go to the supermarket or your local shop to stock up, look down the ingredients list to make sure you avoid eating foods that have got artificial sweeteners, MSG and a whole range of additives and colorants. These are the things that many manufacturers have to put into their food in order to put back the flavour and vitamin content that their processing has processed out.

Secondly, try as much as possible to use organically sourced and grown produce.

By sticking to organic (from a reputable producer), you know that you are not going to be eating and digesting pesticides, phosphates, all kinds of hormones and all the other things that commercial food producers use in order to overcome the problems that their fast-food production line cause.

It’s making those healthy choices, the small ones, that all add up to a much healthier lifestyle.

And it’s not just what you eat!

It’s Not Just What You Eat

A small choice you can make every day is just to take the elevator to get up two floors, or take the stairs. Taking two flights of stairs briskly will do far more for your heart than taking the elevator, that’s for sure.

Doing that five or six times a day, is just like jogging to the top of a ten-storey building!

It’s those type of small changes that I’m talking about, those small changes can make a really big difference.

The reason for making those choices is clear.

In Europe, the U.S.. Australia and in fact most of what would be considered the western world, its poor lifestyle choices that (e.g. what we choose to eat, to exercise, etc) account for the leading causes of death. Things like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and the rest.

In fact, the WHO (World Health Organization), in one it’s previous World Cancer Report, have said that the rates of cancer would increase by 50 percent over the next 15 years. Statistics like that are cause for concern.

However, all is not doom and gloom as WHO also suggests that at least a third of the cases could be prevented by folk making better lifestyle choices.

No Need to Make Huge Sacrifices

Some folk think that in order to make these changes they have to make a lot of sacrifices. But in reality, this is just not so.

If you think about it, it won’t cost you much at all to take the stairs (often times it’s quicker than taking the lift). In fact just 20 or so minutes of exercise a day can make the difference .

And to eat organic may cost you a little more each month, but these are all a small price to pay in exchange for a long, healthy, active and sickness free life.

Exercise Cheats That Blow Your Calorie Burn

exercise-86200_640You put in the time and effort, show up at the gym, and pride yourself in not taking shortcuts. So why is the scale not budging? Chances are, poor exercise form or bad workout habits are costing you precious calories. Fitness experts reveal the most common ways people cheat at their workouts without even realizing it, and offer ways to kick those saboteurs to the curb.

You’re a swinger

Momentum comes in handy when you’re attempting a long jump, but not if you’re lifting weights. Each exercise involves two phases: a concentric (contracting) move and an eccentric (stretch) phase. “Building momentum by swinging your arms when doing a move like a bicep curl or a tricep push-down sacrifices results by not controlling the eccentric phase, and also increases your risk of injury,” says Irv Rubenstein, PhD, exercise physiologist and founder of STEPS Fitness, a science-based fitness facility in Nashville, Tenn. Practice a two-second count on the concentric move and four to five count on the eccentric.

You hold on for dear life

Grasping the sidebars when walking on the treadmill or hanging on tight to the handles of the elliptical trainer cheats you out of the largest possible calorie burn, says Rubenstein. “In addition, if you’re using your arms to make it easier on your legs, you’ll tire faster, because your arms can’t work as hard as your legs,” he says. Instead, use the rails only as a guide, keeping your fingertips lightly on them. If you find it impossible to maintain proper form without clutching the bars, try lowering the incline or slowing down your pace.

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