Friday, February 15th, 2013
In the previous two blog posts, we’ve discussed the many free ways to start an exercise program and how to choose a workout routine. Now we will discuss how to get the proverbial “more bang for your buck” with your workouts and how to make more changes toward a healthy lifestyle!
I’ve heard it said that for every pound lost, it is equal to multiple pounds of pressure off of your joints. Doesn’t that sound great? And if you think about the strain you take off of your body, all of its systems, with every pound lost you are giving yourself the wonderful gift of health! So keep it up! Stick to the workout plan and hold yourself accountable when you might feel motivation slipping.
It is just as important to gradually make some changes to your diet as it is to get your heart pumping. Good health has many facets and exercise is just one of them. Once accustomed to a regular workout routine, try adding in more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Choose whole grains over white refined flour. Request a cup vegetable soup instead of that side of fries with your sandwich. With every healthy food choice, you are giving your body a better chance of success with your workout routine.
Gradual and consistent are the keys with any lifestyle change. Too much dramatic change too soon could result in “giving up,” or a binge eating day…or three, or perhaps even skipping several afternoon walks. Just like with your workout routine, use the tools you already have. Make a set of diet goals for the week and put them in your phone calendar or tape them to your computer screen at work. Make 3-5 better choices in one week–a salad for lunch, an apple for snack instead of chocolate, or no snacking after dinner. At the end of the week evaluate your progress and repeat for the next week or add one of two more small goals.
The dynamic combo of exercise and a healthy diet can bring about some major improvements in your health, energy levels, and waistline. So what are you waiting for? Put down that sugary snack and get moving!
Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
Now that we’ve established in my previous blog post that one can exercise without spending a dime (well, maybe you should invest in some new sneakers), it’s time to make a plan. It’s hard to know where to start because the possibilities range from walking or running around the block to workout DVDs.
It’s truly a matter of personal choice. If you have never run more than a mile in your life, then starting with a 3 mile jog is probably not the best option. Excess weight is gained gradually over time and losing weight is the same way. It takes time, effort, and some lifestyle changes. Similarly, it is smart to plan to ease into exercise, gradually building up to higher difficulty levels and longer durations. Don’t expect to see dramatic results in just a few days or weeks.
Here are a few tips to finding and sticking to a work-out plan that fits your needs:
decide what cardiovascular activity is right for you: running, walking, biking, rollerblading, jogging on the treadmill, etc. Just get your heart pumping!
choose a reasonable goal: Do you want to run a 5K in 3 months? Do you want to walk your dog 2 miles per day? Would you like to bike to your friends house with ease?
Hold yourself accountable: Find a friend that will walk with you three times a week. Enter your goals into your smart phone calendar with reminders of what cardio-activity you need to do. Reward yourself with a small treat–a movie, a spa day, a new book, etc. Find what motivates you and stick with it.
use the Internet to find activities that you can do at home: sit-ups while watching TV or using light hand weights.
Once you have settled on a routine that fits your schedule and lifestyle, go for it! Try exercising at least 30 minutes three times a week and you are well on your way to not only trimming your waistline but to better heart health…and even better overall health! So go on, get moving!
Monday, February 11th, 2013
Exercise is on the forefront of my mind this morning for many reasons. One of them being that I can still feel some residual soreness from the 13.1 miles that I ran early Saturday morning. That’s right, I ran a half-marathon. While it was exhilerating and empowering to cross the finish line, I’ve been thinking about how I got to that point in my life–the point where I could run that far and live to tell about it.
There are many reasons why people don’t exercise the way they should. It’s hard, it’s expensive, it’s time consuming…the list goes on and on. I’m going to spend a few days on this subject because it’s near and dear to my heart and I firmly believe that anyone can get healthy through exercise.
One common misconception is that you must have a gym membership to exercise. While that might be the case on rainy days, everyone can find a public park or open space in which walk or run. A quick Internet search and some 5 or 10 pound weights and you can find a plethora of resistance exercises that can be done in the comfort of your own living room. Even it’s necessary to get in your car to drive to a park or walking trail, the payoff from exercising can be incalculable.
“Physically active people can save $500 per year on health care costs,” according to www.heart.org, a wonderful resource for those looking to make healthy lifestyle changes. So it’s feasible to save money on both health care costs and a gym membership, while still being active and getting healthy.
Take a walk around the block, toss the Frisbee at your local park, park farther away from the door while running errands, take the stairs instead of the elevator–and these are just some of the free and easy ways to take some steps toward a regular exercise routine.
Over the next few days we will explore how to formulate a exercise plan and how to mentally and physically prepare to GET MOVING!
Friday, February 8th, 2013
Tis the season…to sniffle and cough and rush to the doctor! Or is it? I don’t know about you, but where I live the weather is displaying it’s usual tendencies to snow and freeze on Monday; while showing signs of spring by Thursday. What this means for most of us is at least a bout or two of the sniffles, headaches, and coughs; at least until the weather chooses a season and sticks with it for a bit.
So how does one decide if their ailment is worth a trip to the doctor? According to www.CDC.gov, there are a few questions that could possibly save you from an unnecessary trip to your healthcare provider.
Do you have a cold?
Do you have a runny or congested nose?
Do you have a sore throat?
Are you coughing or wheezing?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be better served by staying home, getting some over-the-counter relief, and hovering over a bowl of grandma’s chicken soup.
But can’t the doctor DO something? The answer to that is…yes and no. A cold and all cold symptoms are the result of a viral infection, meaning that antibiotics will not help. A common misconception is that antibiotics can help you feel better or prevent others from getting sick. Unfortunately, with a viral infection, that is not the case.
So what can you do to get some relief when you have a cold or seasonal ailments? Instead of rushing off to the doctor–and taking the chance of picking up something worse–stay home and nurse yourself back to health the good old-fashioned way.
I should clarify that if you are very ill or feel that you should seek medical treatment, please do so. In the meantime, cough into your sleeves, wash your hands, and pack your hand sanitizer!
Wednesday, February 6th, 2013
I’m already raising my hand because I know I’m guilty. I admit, I have eaten many a chicken salad sandwich or ordered a “fruit smoothie” because it seemed to be the healthiest choice at the time. Fat-free, whole grain, made with real fruit…the choices can make your head swim, your grocery budget can swell, and yes, your waistline might do some swelling also.
So which sneaky culprit is lurking in the shadows of that lunch bag, disguised as “reduced calorie this” or “7 grain that”? Here’s a (not comprehensive) list of foods that could be secretly sabotoging your health:
1. Prepared salads
“Don’t assume that anything with the word “salad” in it must be healthy,” Katherine Brooking. Yikes! How many times have you ordered the tuna salad or chicken salad, justifying the mayo because it’s served on a bed of lettuce? I know I have!
2. Multi-Grain or Wheat Breads
Double check your bread packaging. If the first ingredient is a refined flour, you are not getting “whole grain”!
3. Reduced-fat peanut butter
Interestingly (and ironically), these spreads can contain more sugar that the full-fat version.
4. Energy Bars
With many brands tipping the scales around 350 calories, it’s best to make your own or go for a more natural energy source, like whole almonds.
Sounds innocent enough right? Most chain restaurants and food establishments add cream, sugar, and even (gasp!) ice cream.
6. Pre-packaged turkey
Watch for excessive sodium amounts–this ain’t your grandma’s roasted specialty. Choose a low sodium or fresh sliced brand.
7. “Fat-free” foods
Many times less fast translates to more sugar, more preservatives, or just less taste. Many times, the healthiest choice is moderation with the real thing.
8. Baked potatoes
Cheese! Sour cream! Bacon! Butter! Need I say more?
9. Sports drinks
Loaded with sugar and excessive amounts of sodium, save these for the times when you’re REALLY breaking a sweat, not just walking to your mailbox in July.
We should all be reading our labels carefully and remember, just because it sounds healthy doesn’t mean it is.
Monday, February 4th, 2013
Photo Credit: Fox News Health
It’s hard to visit any super market or drugstore without coming face to face with a new product that claims to be “heart healthy,” or “enriched with whole grains,” or “made with real fruit.” It’s hard to know in a world of choices, celebrity endorsers, diet crazes, and foreign “super foods” which ones are telling truth and which ones are just the newest fad.
While making healthy choices can be confusing to the newbie, as with any new endeavor, taking the time to do a little research can be very rewarding. It seems that being healthy and looking and feeling younger can be very simple. There is research that proves that making a few changes to your weekly grocery list can not only trim your waistline, but fight signs of aging.
Among these simple changes is to steer your shopping cart to the produce section and grab some blueberries. While you’re at it, get some tomatoes, garlic, and broccoli. Since we are focusing on simple changes, grab the fresh produce version of these age-fighting foods instead of the canned or frozen versions. It’s been proven that fresh produce retains it’s nutritive value longer than it’s processed relatives.
Following our theme of fresh and simple, let’s get salmon for dinner instead of red meat and almonds instead of crackers for a midday snack. Both of these foods pack a nutritional punch–fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and much more.
“To maintain your youthful glow, include these anti-aging super foods in your diet.” Dr. Landa, www.foxnews.com/health. My great-grandmother lived into her 80′s and my grandmother is living a healthy life well into her 70′s. I am certain that my grandmother has never eaten a new, mysterious super-berry just discovered in the rain forest. However, I am certain that her good health is in large part because she eats simply and makes healthy choices. So let’s aim our grocery carts at the fresh food and fight wrinkles while we’re at it.
photo credit: foxnews.com/health
Friday, February 1st, 2013
- Photo Credit: www.ct.gov
I’ve often heard it said that “it’s flu season.” Well, yes, I suppose there are times of year when flu is more rampant. But, from where I stand, people get sick all year round. This is especially true for people with children. Walking little petri dishes bring home all sorts of germy goodies on a weekly basis. I’ll venture to say, if we actually thought about the number of germs we encounter on a daily basis, we’d all be a little batty.
In fact, I do believe this is a subject we’ve touched on before.
“We all know viruses exist (and I don’t mean the electronic kind). I think we can consider two hundred years of science 100% conclusive. Today, we have some good strategiesfor preventing infection. We wash our hands, stay home with a fever, cover our mouths when we sneeze, and get vaccinated. We know these strategies work. Infectious diseases are held at bay in populations with good hygiene and sensible action-plans during outbreaks. Still, it astounds me how comfortable we have become with the invisible dangers that surround us.”
One of the most important things we can do to protect our health is to practice commen sense preventative measures. Wash your hands, cover your mouth, carry santizer, boost your immunity…
Here’s what the CDC says:
“1. Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
2. Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
3. Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
4. Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
6. Practice other good health habits.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.”
Some stories about the “season” can be scary. Thus, I am standing by prior opinions…
“I suppose a healthy person simply rolls with the epidemiological punches. But it has become so difficult, even for the well adjusted, to sift through the scare tactics and sensationalizing to get at the real threat, the legitimate precautions. I suppose it depends on the outlet, but I try to get my information directly from the CDC website. Any sensationalizing, I do on my own.”
Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
Photo Credit: ssrehab.com
I’m going to be honest, for the longest time, I didn’t know the Sacroiliac joint was a real thing. I just thought it was something from that old song, “Rub it In” from way back in the day.
Well, I’m no stranger to back pain — which could be sad of most people these days. What with sitting at the computer, wide-spread poor posture, and the lack of muscular development in the American culture, people seem to experience back pain younger and younger.
Still, my back pain became too much not long ago. It seemed no matter what I did, my lower back hurt. I decided to go visit my massage therapist, and instead of hearing what I expected, “Oh you’re very tense…” I heard something I did NOT expect, “I believe this is a Sacroiliac joint issue…”
Really? Who knew that was a real thing?
My therapist went about his work, but went on to tell me that this pain could very well become a part of my life, and that I’d have to keep on top of maintenance if the pain proved chronic.
Naturally, this is not an answer that made me happy, so I set about my research.
This is what I found:
The sacroiliac (SI) joints are formed by the connection of the sacrum and the right and left iliac bones. The sacrum is the triangular-shaped bone in the lower portion of the spine, below the lumbar spine. While most of the bones (vertebrae) of the spine are mobile, the sacrum is made up of five vertebrae that are fused together and do not move. The iliac bones are the two large bones that make up the pelvis. As a result, the SI joints connect the spine to the pelvis. The sacrum and the iliac bones (ileum) are held together by a collection of strong ligaments. There is relatively little motion at the SI joints. There are normally less than 4 degrees of rotation and 2 mm of translation at these joints. Most of the motion in the area of the pelvis occurs either at the hips or the lumbar spine. These joints do need to support the entire weight of the upper body when we are erect, which places a large amount of stress across them. This can lead to wearing of the cartilage of the SI joints and arthritis (Medicinenet)
As I continued reading, I learned that the SI joint, like any other joint, can experience a loss of cartilage. As most people know, cartilage loss usually happens as we age unless we’re proactive about it. Given the level of pain associated with my possible SI joint issue, I will happily do everything I can to prevent this problem from becoming chonic.
I have now learned that joint support supplements can play a big role in the prevention of joint pain. And I, for one, am all for that.
Monday, January 28th, 2013
Photo Credit: functiontofitness.com
As you all probably know by now, WebMD is one of my favorite resources for online info in the health and wellness realm. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t take everything I read to the bank — from ANY site, including my old faithful. But, when they publish information I consider to be cutting edge, I almost feel it’s my obligation to bring it to you.
Bone health is important for every aging person (and we’re all aging). Unfortunately, it seems to be a greater concern for women because of the rate with which we suffer bone loss. Osteoporosis is a very real concern, but it’s possible to avoid degenerative bone issues with the right proactive care.
For years, we’ve thought we understood osteoporosis: it’s a disease in which the bones become more and more fragile as they lose density, usually due to aging, menopause, and other factors like lack of calcium and vitamin D in the diet.
But today, advances in research are shedding new light on osteoporosis, which is predicted to affect as many as half of all Americans over age 50 by the year 2020. From diagnosis to prevention to osteoporosis treatment, new research is turning our old understanding of osteoporosis upside down.
Khosla compares the human skeleton to a bridge made of metal. “You could have two bridges with the same amount of metal in them, but one could be more sturdy, just because of the way it’s constructed,” he says. “Similarly, because the microarchitecture of one person’s bones is different from another’s, their actual strength may be quite different.” (Gina Shaw)
Apparently, this field of medicine is still relatively young. And, as per usual, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I encourage all of you to take measures to prevent bone loss and weakness before it starts. The right, quality (I reiterate QUALITY) supplements can help you on your way.
Friday, January 25th, 2013
Photo Credit: lajollasportsclub.com
I realize this post is a bit of a left turn. Most of my time is spent focused on internal and overall health. But, as of late I’ve become increasingly self-conscious of my appearance. The aging process is so unfair. As men age, they become more distinguished (in most cases) and women have different challenges. With that being said, as we know, beauty comes from the inside. Yet at the very same time it is okay to take good care of ourselves. And some of us may feel that part of taking good care of ourselves is to take good care of our skin.
Physically, I can hold off the aging process with exercise. BUT that typically stops at the neck! I have been researching the plethora of anti-aging procedures and I’ve decided on a multi-faceted approach.
I’ve heard of micro current facials, facial exercise, and even injectable treatments like Botox. But maybe there is another approach so I have spent a lot of time looking into supplements for a youthful appearance.
On that front, there’s TONS of information. Here’s some of what I’ve found:
Discovery Health ran a special on this very thing entitled, 5 Anti-aging Supplements That Really Work.
In cages at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario sit a group of mice who don’t act their age. Unbelievably, they don’t seem to be aging at all. For several years, the Canadian mice have been drinking a cocktail of 30 dietary supplements and vitamins. The concoction seems to be keeping the rodents young [source: Food & Fitness Advisor].
On the list were Fish Oil, Carnitine, and Coenzyme Q-10! Also, included were aspirin (oddly) and human growth hormone.
But what about WRINKLES? What about skincare, which is my primary concern at this point?
Guess what? A supplement containing Vitamins A, C, D, and E is the magic potion for wrinkles! So, if top of the line products contain ALL of the above (minus the aspirin and HGH of course), we’re in business!