Monthly Archives: July 2017

Health and Fitness For You

It’s happened to us all before. We’ve worked hard at the latest diet — the Mediterranean diet, the smoothie diet, the all protein diet, the all-carb diet, the cookie diet — losing 10 pounds, 15, even 20 pounds, only to gain it all back a few months later and then some. You’ve taken your health seriously. You’ve spent the time and money investing in all these diets and weight loss, fat burning pills, which work for a short time, but you can’t seem to keep the weight off and get the toned body that the celebrities have when they do the diets and take the pills. Why is that? I’ll tell you why…

It’s because you take your “health” seriously. You might be astonished at what you just read. You might be thinking I thought I was supposed to take my health seriously! What do you mean by that? Well, yes, you are supposed to be conscious about your health and what goes into your body, but what about your fitness? Many people will rather get on a starvation diet than take care of the fitness aspect of the equation. Health and fitness is like peanut butter and jelly — they just go together. Yes you can go on a diet to lose weight, but if you never exercise, and never put fitness in, you will never build muscle and be toned. Remember, having more muscle burns more calories. And yes you can work out at the gym every day or do cardio every day, but if you eat terribly that won’t exactly work either.

Working on both your health and fitness is a complete contribution to your body and your wellbeing. Not only will it benefit you now, but having the proper health and fitness plan will allow you to stave off diseases and ailments such as arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease, obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure and give you a pep in your step and as well as self-confidence. Focusing on your health and fitness is not jumping on some fad diet or taking a magic pill quick fix. It’s a life plan that will help you live a longer, healthier, fuller life.

Experts have always said that the best diet is the one you can stick to. And I agree. It’s not about eating any one, specific food to keep the pounds off. Health and fitness is about balancing your life. To get technical, say your goal is to lose weight. Well technically, it doesn’t really matter what you eat. For example, you can eat burgers and still lose weight. Yes, I just said that. The catch is you just have to eat it in moderation. An order of burger and fries from your favorite fast food joint though is considered fatty food. So the problem there is that even if you consume the more-than-1100 calories in a Big Mac combo and are satisfied for the moment, the fact is that these foods seem to make you want to eat more. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation showed that these foods up your appetite for days after eating fatty, greasy foods. That’s why experts say it’s better to eat well-rounded meals to improve on your health and fitness. All in all, the message is pretty simple. Prioritizing both your health and your fitness is the only way to go. It is the roadmap for a leaner, more toned, fitter and healthier you.

Diet and Workouts

Whether it’s because of hormone changes, heredity, or aging, as the years pass by many women will start to notice an increase in belly fat as they get older – even more so after menopause. Yes, its unfortunate that women tend to experience a larger fat percentage increase than males do.

As you get older your metabolism starts to slow down to a certain degree and one of the signs of this is that the amount of fat in your body gradually increases. After menopause (the time in a woman’s life when she stops having menstrual periods, the average age for the onset of menopause is 51 years), your body fat distribution will tend to shift. You will notice less fatty areas in your legs, arms and hips, and more in your abdomen (belly).

FACT: Body Mass Index is not an accurate measure of body fat percentage or fat distribution in women, particularly after menopause. Some women can actually experience an expanding waistline yet fail to see any weight gain on the scales. What is happening? Although you may not be gaining any extra fat, your actual abdominal fat is increasing as your hip area and limb fat decreases. This is where health problems can start to develop as abdomen fat is particularly unhealthy for both males and females.

1. What is Visceral fat?
Visceral fat is fat that is located inside your peritoneal cavity between internal organs, as opposed to subcutaneous fat which is found beneath the skin and intramuscular fat which is found in skeletal muscle. An excess of visceral fat leads to the “pot belly”, “spare tire”, or “beer belly” effect.

Sometimes heredity may be the cause of your belly fat, yes, you can blame your parents for that waistline! It is possible to lose and keep off that newly formed belly fat, but like everything else in life it does require some work, in this case exercise and diet control.

Some of the risks of Visceral fat (belly fat) in women include:
a) Diabetes
b) Metabolic syndrome
c) Gallbladder problems
d) Some types of cancers including breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
e) And in particular cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure and heart disease.

2. Can certain foods help you to lose belly fat?
Unfortunately no, there are no magic foods that will cause you to lose fat from your abdomen. However if you practice eating the right amount of calories for weight loss (calculator showing calories burned for various activities) you will eventually lose weight from all areas of your body including that problem belly area. Discipline yourself to eat a healthy diet, mix in some regular exercise or workouts and you’ll find yourself burning even more calories and toning your muscles at the same time.

Before beginning the exercises to lose belly fat you should properly measure your stomach or waist.

The proper way to do this is – place a tape measure around your midsection at your navel level, don’t hold your tummy in, and don’t pull on the tape measure so tightly that it presses your skin in.
Properly targeted tummy exercises will most certainly help you to firm your abdominal muscles and flatten your belly. The key is to develop a routine of moderately intense exercise daily in order to lose weight and tone your muscles. As you progress with your exercise routine you will notice one of the first beneficial signs is that your belly fat will begin to shrink, often before you see fat loss in other body areas. As always you should speak with your doctor before starting any exercise programs.

3. Workouts – Lets start those Belly fat exercises.
FACT: Contrary to popular belief sit-ups are NOT the best way to firm up your tummy region. You should target your deeper and lower abdominal muscles.

Workouts for lower abdominal muscles:
Performing exercises known as pelvic lifts and pelvic tilts. Pelvic tilts are also great exercises for the lower back, abdominals, sacroiliac joint and adjacent structures.

Pelvic tilt exercise:
To perform pelvic tilts you should lay on your back on the floor with your knees bent upwards. While flattening your back against the floor tighten your abdominal muscles and bend your pelvis up a little. Hold this position for 8 – 10 seconds. Repeat at least 5 times and try to work up to 10 to 20 repetitions.

To perform pelvic lifts lay on your back on the floor with your knees bent toward your chest region, your arms should be relaxed by your sides. Tense or tighten your lower abdomen and slowly lift your bum up off the floor until you are aiming your knees toward the roof. Hold for 8 – 10 seconds and repeat at least five times. As you progress you should try to work up to 10 to 20 repetitions of this exercise.

Your deeper abdominal muscles can be toned by:
Pelvic lifts, also great for losing buttock fat and for bad or sore backs. Begin by getting down on all fours and allowing your tummy to hang down as you take in a deep breath. Then exhale, at the end of your exhalation, pull your belly button inward and upward toward your spine until you feel a slight tightening around your waist area.

Breathing normally hold this position for the count of ten without altering your back position. Then allow your belly to relax again for the count of ten, without moving your back. Repeat this exercise 10 – 12 times. As you become more proficient at this routine you can even perform it in the upright position where ever you are, waiting for a bus or in a check out line etc.

How to Young and Stay Young

Ben Douglas, professor at the University of Mississippi Medical School at Jackson, once said, “You’re as young as you think.”

Apparently, if you think you are young, you will stay young. Thinking young is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But the problem is: How to think young and stay young.

Aging is gradual, but inevitable. Aging has a direct debilitating effect on your brain. Free radicals can damage your brain over decades of changes: when you reach 65, your brain cells undergo many more mutations than they did in your younger years. These cumulative changes may bring about a neurological disease, such as dementia.

If that is the case, then how do you think young?

Firstly, you need to understand that age does not affect your intelligence. Intelligence is general cognitive power in processing new information and making logical decisions based on the information acquired. If your brain is healthy, it is capable of performing all these cognitive functions, and much more, because the potential of the human brain is never fully harnessed and utilized.

Research studies have demonstrated that your brain has the same amount of cognitive “reserves” even when you reach old age; in other words, your cognitive functions remain almost intact even if there is cumulative damage due to free radicals. However, when the cumulative damage reaches a certain “critical” point, then signs and symptoms of dementia may begin to surface.

The evident moral lesson: Prevent the onset of gradual cumulative damage; don’t wait till you have acquired some form of dementia before you take any positive action. Do something about it NOW!

Simply, thinking young makes you stay young.

Drugs (such as estrogen, testosterone and DHEA hormone replacement therapies) may slow down the mutations of brain cells, thereby keeping your brain healthy.

Brain exercises can promote “synaptic plasticity.” Synapses are unstable entities in your brain, and they can adapt to any change in neurons. Essentially, synaptic plasticity means “use it or lose it.” Inputting more information promotes synaptic plasticity; that is to say, it gives your brain more work to do, such as memorizing and processing information. Brain exercises, like any type of physical exercise, require consistency and regularity in order to be beneficial and effective. To achieve this, it is important to make your brain exercises interesting with variety. Just as cross-training of a variety of muscle groups will lead to overall physical fitness, cross-training of different cognitive functions of the brain will contribute to optimum brain fitness.

To increase cognitive functions of your brain, try learning a new language. Research has shown that bilinguals who regularly use two languages have better protection against the onset of dementia than those who use only one language. The reason is that learning a new language requires symbol decoding, memorizing, and even abstract reasoning – which are all important cognitive functions of a healthy brain.

Aside from learning a new language, taking up a new sport, such as tennis or golf, or playing a new musical instrument also contributes to optimum cognitive functioning, because these activities require concentration, memorization, and coordination of motor skills, which benefit your brain cells.

Other than brain exercises, the first line of defense against the demise of brain cells may include using antioxidants and supplements to combat free radicals, which damage brain cells over time. These antioxidants include beta carotene, carotenoids, vitamins E and C, glutathione, alpha lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, and pycnogenol.