Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

Teens, Loose Weight The Healthy Way

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

As young adults, concern for developing healthy habits falls somewhere behind homework, extra curriculars and what your friends think. You’re in the upper half of your formative years, but you are still adjusting daily to what the world expects of you. It can be a lot to carry at times. And when your metabolism begins slowing due to factors like genetics, body image comes into play. Body image, for teens and young adults, has always been a major source of stress, and with increasing access to media that projects what we are ‘supposed to look like,’  who can blame you taking it to heart.

The truth is, weight gain as young adults is an increasing trend that you should be concerned about. Studies have indicated a future of cardiovascular disease, various cancers, kidney stones, gout, hypertension and type 2 diabetes in those who consistently gain weight during teenage to early twenties development.

The most important step to take for your health, even if you area already overweight, is to stop and prevent weight gain.  Weight stabilization alone will help keep complications later in life at bay.

Important Questions To Ask Yourself

Stressed College StudentWhen approaching weight loss, there are a few important questions to ask yourself before deciding on a plan.

1. What are the main sources of stress in my life?

-Cotrisol is a hormone  produced by the body in times of stress. What cortisol does is stimulate and promote fat storage, especially in the abdominal area.

-Figuring out what is stressing you out, and finding a way to reduce that stress, is a huge step towards shedding excess fat as a teen. Life may seem a little out of control sometimes, but make sure you take a moment to relax and collect yourself.

2. What are my friends doing?

-Social influence plays a big part in developing a healthy routine. If your friends don’t take care of their bodies and what they put into them, you won’t have much motivation to do so either. Fad diets and quick cleanses are actually diuretics or laxatives in disguise, meaning that they will shed water weight temporarily, then as your body reacts it will come back, often multiplied. The actuality of it is, the more water you drink, the more water weight you lose by flushing your system.

-If all your friends do is complain about how the look, tell them to do something about it. Then develop better habits collectively. You are more likely to succeed together than alone.

3. What have I been eating?

-If the answer is pizza dipped in ranch for lunch and microwave dinners every day, you may want to reconsider. Mass manufactured foods tend to have a lot of preservatives added to them. Preservatives make the food last longer and look better, but also take a toll on your body, especially if your goal is healthy weight loss. Keep salts and sugars to a minimum by eating fresher items so you know exactly what you’re putting into you body.

-Cut out soda and replace it with water. With that alone, you will feel and see a difference.

-Snack. Fruit, unsalted nuts other proteins are all easy to carry with you, and great to snack on throughout the day. Don’t starve yourself, your brain and body need fuel. Snack so you’ll be able to have smaller portions at meal times. Food and calories aren’t bad, it’s the type of food adding the calories that should be your concern.

A Healthy Diet is Not Enough

However, a healthy diet is the base of a healthy lifestyle. You have to start moving to complete the picture, and get the results you want. Just walking an extra 10 minutes a few times a day will make a huge difference. They key is not to focus on one or two parts of your body that you don’t like, it’s to go for whole body improvement. Once you’re in that mindset, the parts you want to fix will improve more permanently.

Here are a few things to think about along the way:

What is Healthy? As much as we are bombarded with the image of boney women with pre-teen bodies, and men bursting with steroid muscle, in reality, not many people actually find those traits attractive. As the Cross Fit motto would say, “Strong is the New Skinny.” The preference towards a healthy, well taken care of body is only increasing. Lean muscle is mass, but it’s an appealing one.

Attitude is Everything. If you feel good, you look good to yourself and others. The more dedicated you are to growing as a person into a healthy adult, the more successful you are going to be. Depression has been singled out as a prominent cause of weight gain. Fight that by moving, even when you don’t want to. Exercise releases chemicals that improve mood. Getting discouraged and giving up just can’t be options for you anymore.

Don’t Let Stress Keep You From Living Your Life. The point of changing habits isn’t to give you anxiety over what you’re eating or if you are seeing any difference. Having pizza with your friends isn’t forbidden. It’s how much you consume and how often that you control. Give yourself a break and be human. Be positive about taking care of yourself, and know that worrying too much about it is a step backwards.

Preparing For A Marathon

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Philippides, the courier behind the legendary origin of the race, was reported to have run from Sparta to Athens and back bearing news of victory over the Persians in the Battle of Marathon.

A feat of endurance, to say the least. File:Phidippides.jpg

Today, there’s less patriotic urgency and a few more clothes involved, but we owe thanks to Philippides for what has now become a traditional challenge for the every-man/woman willing to take on the 26.2 mile race.

Fortunately for us, we have a little more time for planning and preparing our bodies than he did, when it comes to that long haul. Marathons require commitment and dedication from us. But what exactly does that mean when it comes to training, nutrition and all together health? Theories and opinions always seem to be changing as more research is taken into account by nutritionist, biologists and running trainers. More sports drinks, high-fat diets and low carb loading, specific fats and high carb diets. What’s worth paying attention to? For every runner, especially first time marathoners, the advice across the board can become very confusing to interpret.

That’s why we recommend sticking with the tried and true basics when it comes to the foundation of your training.

The Basics of Marathon Training

Runners cross the finish line of the 35th Marine Corps Marathon
Make sure you are healthy.

    • Before taking on any large challenge, talk to a doctor and make sure your body (heart, lungs, liver etc.) can handle it. If there’s a problem, that should be your priority, not intensive training. If you’re given the green light, make a conscious effort to stay that way. Be conscious of the weather to stay dry and warm after a workout. If this means grabbing a dry shirt before leaving the gym to avoid a chill, do it.
    • Listen to your body. Your body is going to signal you if something is wrong. Toes bleeding? Back aching? If it hurts now, imagine how that pain will inhibit you at mile 20. You may need new shoes, or more core work to support your weight.
  • Protect your body when training.
    • Everything that can chafe will. Inner thighs, under arms, nipples. The least bit of friction, from skin against skin or poorly planned clothing, can cause a whole range of discomfort. Talk to someone about prevention methods, such as lubricating products, strategically placed bandages and choosing breathable material over cotton, BEFORE you experience chafing, not after.
  • Monitor your sleep.
    • On average, doctors now recommend between 7-9 hours of sleep for a healthy body. But you are in training, so your body needs longer to rest and heal. For aerobic, or endurance, training at least 8 hours, if not 9-10, is essential for a body to recover mentally and physically.
    • It’s not enough to get a good night sleep the night before the race, it’s probably not going to happen anyway, you are too excited. Sleep needs to be regular and restorative in the days and weeks prior.

Have a Flexible Training Plan

    • Set a plan and goals for yourself that you can follow the weeks and months before the race. Make sure the goals are realistic, and the plan has the ability to be adjusted to your personal needs. No schedule is ever going to be perfect, so being able to fidget with schedules and timing a bit will reduce stress and help you stay on a productive track without feeling defeated.
  • Use Periodization.
    • Periodization, or training cycles, are incredibly important in endurance training. Upping intensity daily without rest or variation, is going to overwhelm your body. Here’s an example of how to used periodization in your weekly training:

  • Practice Negative Splits.
    • What this means is train yourself to start off slow for your long runs. The event you are training for is a marathon, not a sprint. Cover the second half of your distance for the day at a faster pace than the first half.
    • Stay relaxed and pay attention to your form. How you run is just as important as the pace you keep. Shoulders down, arms relaxed, and body upright.
  • Taper down intensity 4 weeks before the race.
    • The general recommendation, after periodic training, is to taper down the intensity of your workouts by a percentage each week, allowing your body to rest before the big event.
    • The last 4 weeks before a race should taper from your normal pace (100%) as follows: week 4= 80%, week 3= 60%, week 2= 40%, week 1= 25%
  • Remember stretching and core training.
    • Studies show that yoga adds core strength and flexibility that can reduce injuries and improve a runners performance.
    • Be gentle, and don’t over-stretch, especially before running, which can have a negative effect on a runner.

Eat Consciously

    • What a proper training diet consists of has been widely debated. High carbohydrates, low carbohydrates? There will always be differing opinions. Regardless of method choice, what’s important is maintaining balanced physical health.
  • Weight is a factor.
    • Maintaining low body fat percentage is essential to boosting pace and endurance.
    • If the percentage of carbs you consume is too high and from a negative source (fried foods, sweets etc.) the more weight from fat your legs and back are going to have to manage as you run. There’s a reason the record-setting runners are lean. They don’t have any unnecessary body mass holding them back.
    • Most trainers agree that your BMI (body mass index) should be on the lower side of normal for ideal running fitness.
  • Artichoke, artichoke flower, peppers, cabage, DSCF1617

  • Choose the right foods.
    • Easily digested carbs are where the power is. If you’re on a carb-free diet, and plan to run a marathon without energy depletion or “hitting a wall” before the last 5-6 miles, you’re not being realistic. The amount of carbs needed daily, is going to be dependent on the amount of training done. So be careful not to overload when it’s not necessary.
    • The most common cause of “hitting a wall” in the last stretches of the race is glycogen depletion. Glycogen is a fuel derived from dietary carbs which is stored in small amounts in the muscles and liver. It is essential to endurance challenges, and should be stored and conserved through good pacing and high quality food consumption.
      • High-quality foods: fresh, non-starchy vegetables such as quinoa and artichokes. Fruits, as with veggies, fresh not frozen. Also stick to lean meats and fish, Greek yogurts, whole grains, nuts (almonds over peanuts) and seeds.
  • Hydrate.
    • There’s nothing more important than keeping your body hydrated as you train. Dehydration will not only decrease your energy drastically, but can lead to heat-related injury to your body. It’s a marathon, you are outdoors running and you are sweating. Replacing bodily fluids is essential to avoid exhaustion and possible heatstroke.
    • Learn to drink and run. You will need those little Dixie cups, so your body needs to know how to handle fluids on the go. Start practicing.
    • Alcohol and caffeine aren’t the greatest ideas during training. The first dehydrates you while the second raises your heart rate, and they both disrupt sleep patterns.
  • Nothing new before the race.
    • The last thing you want to do is eat something your body isn’t entirely comfortable with the night before a race. Your body should be in rest mode, which includes your intestinal tract. Grabbing a spicy tuna roll or hitting your favorite Mexican restaurant can wait a few days. Nothings worse than attempting 26.2 miles with an angry stomach. Stick to what you know you can handle.

source: 2009-01-20 00:33 Hammer of the Gods27 721Ă—451Ă— (45336 bytes)Now, if you haven’t already done so, start planning and training! And above all else, remember that getting through this challenge is all about attitude. Stressing out, losing sleep and pushing yourself too hard isn’t worth it. Running a marathon today is about personal achievement, and if you can’t find joy in your daily accomplishments, what else is there? Even Philippides was carrying good news.

10 Fitness Apps You Can’t Miss

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

If your schedule is already tough, and still seems to get busier every day, most likely you rely on technology to keep yourself going. When and where do health and fitness fit? You squeeze it in when and where you can. Fitness experts understand how busy we are, so they decided to work with us by building a variety of health and fitness apps we can access from out mobile devices, with the goal of keeping us motivated and on track.

According the MobileHealthNews.com, the mobile fitness app market is quickly growing, and will quadruple by 2016! Here are some of the best and brightest out there right now.

UP from Jawbone

UP, now for both Android and iPhone, is a holistic approach to fitness. You are encouraged to wear your wristband as much as possible (even when sleeping) for the most accurate welness tracking. Not only does it cover diet and exercise, but it also monitors how you sleep, when you’ve been sitting too long, and sends every step you take back to the app on your phone. The wrist band has a 10 day battery, so don’t worry about it losing power midday. The program can also be integrated with other fitness apps on the market like MyFitnessPal (see below). The whole package adds up to $129.99, which is pricey compared to the dozens of free apps out there, but after using it, many fitness professionals reported they couldn’t live without it.

Fitbit

Fitbit puts logging calories and activities in the palm of your hand, and provides a giant food database (plus room for additions) for you to choose from. The app also allows you to program your own personal fitness goals and keeps you on track. Although the app is free, if you would like to upgrade and add one of their tracking devices, similar to the UP system, the price will range from $60-$100.


My Fitness Pal

My Fitness Pal is a very popular fitness and diet app. Not only is it free, but it also boasts a searchable food database of 3,256,00 different items, room to add personal recipes and is flexible enough to work with you on any diet plan. It also has interactive discussion forums to share support and motivation with other like minded individuals.

Lose It

Lose It is a basic, free app for mobile devices that has one goal. Weight loss. Using the app, you are guided through a personalized weight loss program that tracks not only calories, but carbs, fats and protein, as well as exercise. Over time it creates a graph based on personal data to give you a look at how you are progressing.

Fitness Builder

Fitness Builder is seriously intense. If you want a good workout, there are 200 different options that the program can be prompted to pick automatically, in order to build the optimal workout to reach your goals. Beside the 5 fitness timers and multiple calculators (BMI etc.), you also have the option to contact professionals with any personal fitness questions. For $9.99, it’s like having a personal trainer everywhere you go.

C25K (Couch to 5K)

If nothing else, you have to love the name Couch to 5K, and really the program is just that. Ideal for beginning joggers/ runners, for $2.99 an individual is taken through a nine week endurance building program. As you progress, the program will prompt you to warm up, cool down, walk and run. By the end of those nine weeks, you won’t believe how far you’ve come.

Run Keeper

Run Keeper (free), and Run Keeper Pro ($9.99), make tracking your workouts an interactive social activity. The app uses your GPS to track route, elevation, and speed and then uploads it to the Run Keeper website to review and share. The pro version even shouts updates through your headphones every five minutes to keep you going.

Good Food Near You

The Good Food Near You app is ideal for road trips or traveling for work, because no matter where you are, it works together with your GPS to guide you to the nearest healthy food options. No more roadside greasy burgers necessary. Download now while still in Beta.

Fooducate

A fantastic app to take shopping, Fooducate uses your smart phone’s camera to scan barcodes on different food, and returns with a grade (A, C-, etc) based on ingredients and nutritional value. Wouldn’t it be great to know which foods actually pass? And what a great way to explain to kids what they should be eating. The basic version is free on Android and iPhone, but more specialized versions targeting diabetes or gluten allergies, may cost a few bucks.

InRFood

Did you know that in Japan, the most popular topping for pizza at Domino’s Pizza is Squid? We didn’t before checking InRFood today. The app and website have an enormous amount of information about food. It keeps detailed track of ingredients and nutrition values, as well as product recalls and health news worldwide. The app is still in Beta, so check it out before a price tag appears.

10 Activities That Don’t Feel Like a Workout

Monday, June 24th, 2013

There are people that can go to the gym and enjoy exercising just for exercise sake. If you are not one of those people, dragging extra clothes around and altering your schedule just to end up running in place or climbing stairs to nowhere, may not your idea of a good time. Treadmills and ellipticals are not engaging. Even when there are little TVs attached to everything, how long can you expect someone to watch the Kardashians before jumping head first off the equipment?

We aren’t lazy, just bored with the lack of stimulation available when it comes to a traditional workout. So here’s a thought, lets ditch the mind-numbing stairs to nowhere and actually have fun. How? I’m glad you asked.

1.The simplest thing you can do is ditch your car.

Walking or grabbing your bike and getting out, exercises something other than your right foot on the gas pedal. Plus, it’s probably beautiful out and your vehicle is blocking the view. A fifteen minute walk to work in the morning will get your blood pumping and metabolism started for the day.

If you absolutely need your ride, stop looking for the closest parking spot. You don’t need it. When you go out to lunch, take the longer way around the block. Also, ignore the crowded elevator and make taking the stairs a habit.

Get active without exercise

2. Spend quality time.

Dogs are so much fun to get out and be active with. There is no one more appreciative than your k9 friend when he gets the chance to play with his favorite person. Grab a frisbee or a favorite ball and hit the park. You will both wear yourselves out and benefit from the activity.

3. Explore.

Find a hiking trail nearby, or pack a picnic, grab a friend and head to the nearest wooded area. Spending time getting to the top of a hill or the end of a hiking trail is more of a shared adventure than monotonous exercise. You’ll be too busy enjoying the company and nature around you to notice the effort.

4. Spend some time in the water.

Get in the water for exercise

The resistance water provides gives your entire body a low impact workout. Hit the pool or focus on your upper body and core by renting a kayak or going river rafting. Check out the wildlife (getting this close is not recommended. Otters like to try and climb aboard not realizing they could hurt you or vice versa). You’ll have fun, stay cool, and definitely feel the results later on.

5. Dance.

Going out and dancing is often just as good as taking a class at the gym. You’re body is constantly moving and burning off calories while you finally develop a social life by spending time with your friends or partner.

6. Join a team.

Adult sports leagues are everywhere. Indulge your competitive spirit and get involved in a kickball or softball league. Look online for a local organization near you, it’s not just for the kids anymore.

7. Volunteer.

Parks, animal shelters, Habitat for Humanity and many others are always looking for help. Picking up trash at the park, planting a few trees, or building a home will not only work up a sweat and burn calories, it will improve the world around you.

8. Get off the couch and go garden.

If you’re stuck at home, stop snacking because you’re bored. Spending an hour pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, or planting new flowers counts as being active. You are using your body, and burning calories while improving your yard.

9. Clean.

The house probably needs it, and cleaning is a whole body activity. Sweeping, mopping, and organizing your mess wears you out. Why? Because all that lifting, pushing and scrubbing is engaging your body in its own personalized workout.

10. Bring out the Wii.

Whether you are bowling, boxing or playing tennis you are making an effort to win. Involve your kids and friends to make it an event. Just 30 minutes of Wii boxing can burn over 200 calories.

No matter what you do, the point is to get up and do something. The more you’re moving around the healthier you’ll be. Spending time at the gym isn’t necessary, in fact many gyms promote getting outside and provide ideas and excursions for their members. Discover the opportunities available and take advantage of them. Engage your mind and body together for a happier you.

For more helpful tips and suggestions, come visit us at Advanced Physical Medicine.

3 Beach Exercises For Everyone

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

It’s beach season, and most of us have been pretending to prepare ourselves both physically and mentally for stepping out onto the sand and not flashing back to the extra slice/ entire pumpkin pie we ate last winter.

Even if you haven’t met your goals, the beach is a great place to keep reaching for and maintaining your ideal fitness level this the summer. No matter your desired intensity, there are a variety of beach friendly exercises to suit your personal needs. Here are three exercises that benefit from this beautiful location.

Running

Running in soft sad expends 1.5 times the energy it takes to run on a road or path. Due to the sinking of every step, more effort is required to propel you forward. It also promotes increased stability and overall strengthening in the lower half of your body.

Variations:

  • To utilize sometimes neglected inner and outer thigh muscles, run in an extended zigzag pattern on the beach. Running at angles and slightly changing directions will challenge your body. Plus, it won’t get boring.
  • If running in the soft sand becomes too much for you, alternate between soft sand and hard wet sand to give yourself a break while keeping your heart rate up.
  • If you have problems with weak ankles be sure to wear shoes that meet your support needs. Otherwise, kick off those shoes and get going. Running barefoot will strengthen your ankle stability and engage the muscles in your feet.

best beach exercises

Circuit Training

Circuit training is also another great way to take advantage of what’s around you.

  • Develop a series of exercises that keep you moving.

For example:

10 walking lunges: 10 pushups: 10 walking lunges: 10 crunches/situps: 10 plyo lunges (jumping in place between individual lunges: plank hold for 30 seconds and rest. Repeat in other direction.

  • Use what’s around you. Do you see a bench, a hill, some stairs. These are great tools to integrate into your workout.

 

Pilates

Pilates is a great no hassle way to work out on the beach. Promoting body awareness and control, pilates creates a lean strong body through basic conscious movement and controlled breathing (exhale with effort, inhale on return) while engaging your core. Pilates’ exercises are meant to be modified to fit the fitness level of an individual, so work at your own pace.

Some basic exercises to build on:

  • Beginning on your back with legs bent and feet in line with your sits bones, place your hands behind your head (elbows wide) to support it. Keeping a neutral pelvis, exhale and use your stomach muscles to pull your belly button in and raise your shoulder blades off the floor. Hold for 10 seconds and release. Rest a moment and Repeat.

  • Exhale again lifting your shoulder blades, keeping your shoulder blades off the ground, pulse 10 times with small contractions of your stomach muscles and release. Rest and Repeat.
  • After release, keep your back neutral, raise your legs and bend them 90 degrees. With arms out for stability
    only, keeping yourshoulder blades on the ground and legs together, move your legs from side to side
    while engaging your abs 10 times and return to neutral. Rest andRepeat.
  • From the same relaxed position on your back, bring your feet together and raise your hips off the floorcreating a straight
    line between shoulders and knees and hold for 10 seconds.From here you can straighten one leg at a time keeping your
    thighs together 5 times each leg. Rest and Repeat.

Another fantastic thing to do, especially if you have trouble with motivation or need a little guidance, is to join a class. There are tons of groups that meet out on the beach for runs, circuit training, pilates, and much more. Look up what’s going on locally and find a class that’s right for you.

Tips For Beach Workouts

  • Avoid peak hours. Do your workouts in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is not at its hottest. Anywhere between 11am and 2pm can be dangerous when it comes to dehydration and exhaustion.
  • Bring a water bottle. You will be sweating if you’re doing it right, replenishing your body with water will keep you from feeling awful or getting sick. Make sure you’re drinking every 10 to 15 minutes to keep up. Plus you can use it as extra weight in your workout activities. Crunches anyone?
  • Wear sunscreen. Exposure to the sun can be incredibly harmful to your body. We do need the vitamin D it gives us, but we don’t want damaged leathery skin that can turn cancerous later on. The tan is just not worth it.
  • Warm up before anything else. Take a short walk to get your muscles warm and stretch them out to avoid strain or injury.

Now you have no excuse. Beaches are not just for tanning and light reading anymore. Get active, take care of yourself and have fun!

 

For more great exercises and fitness tips visit Advanced Physical Medicine.