Archive for November, 2012

Winter weather can deter even the most dedicated exercisers. Less daylight, colder temperatures, and the temptation to curl up under warm blankets makes keeping up with your exercise routine exponentially more difficult. However, just because the temperature outside has dropped doesn’t mean you have to drop your outdoor exercise regimen. There are some simple ways to burn calories outdoors even while the weather is frightful. To be successful, you’ll want to make outdoor exercise as easy and fun as possible.

Stay Safe Out There

Take note of the weather conditions and wind chill factor before you plan your outdoor activities, and dress appropriately for the weather. Your best bet is to dress in layers–this allows you to remove outerwear as you get warm and start to sweat and then put them back on as you get cold.

 

Be sure to protect your hands, feet, and ears from the elements. When it gets cold outside, your body’s blood flow concentrates in your core, and this increases the risk of your getting frostbite on these areas. Wear thick gloves and socks as well as earmuffs or a hat or headband that covers your ears.

If you plan to exercise outside in the dark, you need to dress in reflective clothing. To prevent falls on the ice and snow, opt for shoes with plenty of traction.

Additionally, take care to stay adequately hydrated. You may not feel as though you need to drink as much as you would during the hot summer months, but you’ll likely still be sweating and will need to replenish the fluids lost through perspiration and breathing. If your exercise will last only an hour or less, water should be your first choice. If you’re going to be doing vigorous exercise that lasts longer than an hour, choose beverages with electrolytes, such as sports drinks.

Extend Your Warm-Up Exercises

When the weather turns cold, your body gets cold, too. You will need more time to warm up your tight muscles and get the blood flowing to prevent injuries. You can even do your warm-up exercises indoors and then head outside for the remainder of your workout.

Outdoor Exercises

Aside from the usual outdoor exercises such as walking, running, hiking, etc., there are other winter-specific ways to incinerate calories. Shoveling snow is an excellent total body workout, and it takes care of all that snow that’s been piling up in your driveway and on the sidewalk! Be sure to take frequent breaks, however, because the strenuous exercise can raise your heart rate so quickly that it increases risk of cardiac arrest.

ss

If you have children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews, playing with them in the snow is a fun way to squeeze in some physical activity while also enjoying the company of your loved ones. Build snowmen or snow caves, have snowball fights, go sledding (or snowboarding if the kids are a little older), make snow angels–just get creative out there! You’ll likely have so much fun that you’ll forget how chilly it is outside.

snow

Skiing and snowboarding are a couple of outdoor exercises that you could try. Of course, these require that you live in or visit an area that is conducive to these types of exercise. Even if you are a beginner, most places have instructors that can assist you, and there are usually specific areas where beginners can safely practice their new sport.

Now get outside and torch some calories!

 

As you may know, not fueling up with the right
nutrients can affect how well your body performs
and your overall fitness benefits. Even though
healthy eating is important, there are myths that
hinder your performance if you listen to them.

Below, you’ll find some myth busters on healthy
eating.

1. Working out on an empty stomach.
If you hear a rumbling noise in your stomach, the
rumbling is trying to tell you something. Without
listening to them, you are forcing your body to
run without any fuel. Before you exercise or do
any physical activity, always eat a light snack
such as an apple.

 

2. Relying on energy bars and drinks.
Although they are fine every once in a while, they
don’t deliver the antioxidants you need to prevent
cancer. Fruits and vegetables are your best bets,
as they are loaded in vitamins, minerals, fluid,
and fiber.

3. Skipping breakfast.
Skipping breakfast is never a good idea, as
breakfast starts the day. Your body needs fuel
as soon as possible, and without it, you’ll be
hungry throughout the day.

4. Low carb diets.
Your body needs carbohydrates for your muscles and
the storing of energy.

5. Eating what you want.
Eating healthy and exercising doesn’t give you an
all access pass to eat anything you want. Everyone
needs the same nutrients whether they exercise or
not, as well as fruits and vegetables.

6. Not enough calories
Although losing weight involves calories, losing
it too quickly is never safe. What you should do,
is aim for 1 – 2 pounds a week. Always make sure
that you are getting enough calories to keep your
body operating smoothly. If you start dropping
weight too fast, eat a bit more food.

7. Skip soda and alcohol.
Water, milk, and juice is the best to drink for
active people. You should drink often, and not
require on thirst to be an indicator. By the time
you get thirsty, your body is already running a
bit too low.

Changing how you eat is always a great step
towards healthy eating and it will affect how your
body performs. The healthier you eat, you better
you’ll feel. No matter how old you may be, healthy
eating is something you should strive for. Once
you give it a chance, you’ll see in no time at
all just how much it can change your life – for the
better.

 

If you are looking for one very efficient piece of exercise, look no further than the kettlebell. Kettlebell workouts are famous for burning fat by increasing lean muscle while building balance and grace. Plus it is an amazing stress-reliever that relieves tension in both the muscles and the mind. The exercises are simple, yet effective.

When used correctly, kettleballs are wonderful conditioning tools. They can be used for various purposes such as:

  • Cardiovascular conditioning
  • Fat loss
  • Strength and stamina
  • Muscular endurance, especially the legs, buttocks and lower back

Choosing the Correctly Sized Kettlebell
When first starting out, choosing the correct size kettlebell to train with is very important. You need to pick a weight that is easy enough to handle but heavy enough to make you use your hips explosively to drive the kettlebell in to its correct position, depending upon the exercise that you are doing.

Most ladies would normally start with either a 5-10 pound kettlebell, while men would normally start with a 15-20 pound kettlebell. The size depends on the condition of the person exercising, so don’t be afraid to drop down a size to keep proper form. Initially, more repetitions are better than more weight.

Kettlebell Basic Exercises
Before you can start on a basic routine, you must first master the three basic exercises with the kettlebell. These are:

  1. The Swing
  2. The Clean
  3. The Snatch

1. The Swing
This is a simple exercise, but extremely effective using the whole body. Standing with your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart, hold a kettlebell with knees bent. Grip the kettlebell with both hands and lift to groin height. Ensure that your back is arched and that your head is upright. Keep the weight on your heels, bending at the knees, back straight and head looking up and forwards (as if you are going to sit down in a chair). Swing the kettlebell to the rear backwards, between the legs. The weight should remain on your heels and the shins should be vertical.

swing

It is essential that you perfect this movement because without it, you will never have the leverage to get your hips into the movement. You should feel the kettlebell pulling you backwards and your hamstrings contracting. Pushing through your feet and legs, quickly snap/thrust the hips forward tightening the glutes and abs (This motion is similar to jumping up vertically.) Do this quick snap of the hips motion while at the same time projecting the kettlebell forwards and away from the body. Keep the arms relatively straight and bring the kettlebell to waist, chest or head height, then allow the kettlebell to freely return to the start position and repeat.

2. The Clean
Hold the kettlebell in one hand. Swing it through the legs, bring it forward, and push up through the legs from the feet. As the kettlebell comes over the top of your hand to hit your forearm, grip the handle tight and also dip at the knees. This will assist you in absorbing the impact of the kettlebell. The kettlebell should lie on the forearm with your elbow tucked into the side. The wrist should be flat, and your palm should be facing inwards towards the body.

clean

The Swing will test your stamina, grip, and body coordination. The entire exercise can be carried out using one hand, switching at the top or bottom of the drill. It is important to keep core muscles tight to control the kettlebell at all times.

3. The ‘One-Arm’ Snatch
Swing the kettlebell back through the legs as you push through the feet and legs. Bring it up, snapping at the hips, sucking the floor up with your glutes. At this point, the body should be locked; the power of your drill should now have the kettlebell well on its way up. Remember: as the kettlebell comes over, dip at the knees and grip the handle to slow the kettlebell and avoid the impact on the forearm. The entire body should be locked with total tension that includes a strong core.

snatch

Kettlebells can make a huge difference in your strength, core, muscle tone and stamina. The exercises are simple but effective. Losing weight is an added bonus! Enjoy!

 

Recent dietary research has uncovered 14 different nutrient-dense foods that time and again promote good overall health.  Coined “superfoods,” they tend to have fewer calories, higher levels of vitamins and minerals, and many disease-fighting antioxidants.

Beans (legumes), berries (especially blueberries), broccoli, green tea, nuts (especially walnuts), oranges, pumpkin, salmon. soy, spinach, tomatoes, turkey, whole grains and oats, and yogurt can all help stop and even reverse diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and some forms of cancer. And where one might have an effect on a certain part of the body, it can also affect the health of other body functions and performance, since the whole body is connected.  With these 14 foods as the base of a balanced, solid diet, weight loss gimmicks and other fly-by-night programs can become a thing of the past in your life.

Conversely, the ill-effects of an unbalanced diet are several and varied. Low energy levels, mood swings, tired all the time, weight change, uncomfortable with body are just a few signs that your diet is unbalanced.  An unbalanced diet can cause problems with maintenance of body tissues, growth and development, brain and nervous system function, as well as problems with bone and muscle systems.

Symptoms of malnutrition include lack of energy, irritability, a weakened immune system leading to frequent colds or allergies, and mineral depletion that can trigger a variety of health concerns including anemia.

And since the body is connected, realizing that an unhealthy body will result in an unhealthy spirit only makes sense.  When we nourish our body with these superfoods and complement them with other nutrient-dense and healthy fresh foods, our spirit will be vitalized and healthy as a direct result.

Many modern diets based on prepackaged convenience foods are sorely lacking in many vitamins and minerals, which can affect our mental capacities as well, and cause irritability, confusion, and the feeling of ‘being in a fog’ all the time.

Superfoods can be the basis of a sound, healthy, nutritious solution to curing many of these ailments and more.

Nine Facts About Fiber

If you’ve been looking for a way towards a high
octane diet, you’ll find fiber to be exactly what
you need. Even though research has shown fiber to
be powerful, many people aren’t taking this nutrient
seriously.

To help you fuel your health with fiber, here are
10 facts to help.

1. Fiber fights diseases. A diet high in fiber can
help to prevent colon cancer and heart disease. High
fiber helps the body to eliminate cholesterol by
binding it in the digestive tract. For thousands of
years, fiber has been used to stop constipation.

2. Fiber can actually help with overeating. All high
fiber foods will take longer to chew and digest,
making you feel satisfied longer

3. Most popular foods don’t have enough fiber. If
you like the more popular foods, you probably need
to increase your intake of fiber.

4. Grains offer the most fiber. Dietary fiber is
actually plant matter that we cannot digest. The best
sources are whole grains and concentrated grain
products.

5. Kids need fiber as well. Children that are older
than 2 years of age should consume a daily intake of
fiber. Kids are most receptive to fiber found in
fruits, vegetables, and even fortified breakfast
cereals.

6. More fiber needs more water. In order to keep
fiber moving through your digestive tract, you’ll
need to consume a lot of water. With your diet of
fiber, you’ll need eight or more glasses of water
every day.

7. Fiber cannot be cooked out. When you cook
your fruits and vegetables, don’t worry about cooking
the fiber out, as it stays. The fiber found in
fruits and vegetables aren’t just in the skin or
in the peel.

8. You can get enough fiber. If you eat more than
50 grams of fiber in a day, you can get diarrhea
and bloating, which can interfere with your body’s
absorption of other key minerals.

9. Getting the right amount of fiber in your diet
doesn’t have to be hard. Even though you may think
so, getting the amount of fiber you need isn’t very
hard to do. All you have to do is eat the right
foods and you’ll be well on your way to a fiber
rich lifestyle.

As one of the key ingredients to healthy eating,
fiber is something you don’t want to skip. Fiber can
serve many different purposes, which were covered
above. If you aren’t getting enough fiber in your
diet – you should do something about now instead
of waiting until it is too late.

Even though a lot of people don’t actually realize it, a lot of antioxidant foods that we consume are from vegetables. Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, and peppers are all excellent choices with some great benefits for your body. When consuming vegetables, you should always go for those that are rich in color, as they are high in what is known as phytonutrients.

Phytonutrients are nutrients found in the skins of several fruits and vegetables, which give the food color as well as flavor and scent. Phytonutrients are quite simply the best types of antioxidant foods that you can find anywhere. If you are looking for a supplement value, the coq10 offers you a high level of antioxidant value.

Although fruits and vegetables are the best sources for antioxidants, the problem with them is that they are produced by the use of chemical herbicides, pesticides, and different types of fertilizers. Over the years, studies have shown that fruits and vegetables which are organically grown are high in antioxidants, and boast a much higher concentration than those that have been produced commercially.

In the busy world of today, it can be very tough to eat like we should, nor can we eat organic fruits and vegetables all the time. If you can’t or don’t have access to organic fruits or other sources of antioxidant foods, you should look into nutritional supplements that offer you the phytonutrients you need in your diet.

Supplements that contain phytonutrients do have advantages when compared to certain fruits, such as carrots – which can elevate your blood sugar level to a very high level. Phytonutrients found in supplements are the extract of pigments where nutrients are concentrated, meaning that they draw the best from antioxidant foods, leaving the calories and sugar behind.

Don’t get the wrong idea here, fruits and vegetables are indeed good for you. They are high in antioxidants, although those that are produced commercially generally come with chemicals and such that aren’t so good for you. Canned fruits and vegetables come with high levels of sugars and calories, which antioxidant supplements don’t have. The supplements offer you the levels you need, without any chemicals, sugars, or calories. This way, you don’t have to worry about consuming anything that isn’t good for you.

No matter how you look at it, healthy eating for your body starts and end with foods that contain antioxidants. There are several types of foods that contain antioxidants, although fruits and vegetables contain the most amounts. Steak and meat are also great sources of antioxidants, along with other great benefits, such as protein. Anytime you can’t get foods that contain antioxidants – you can count on supplements to deliver the amount you need to stay healthy.

I saw an interesting article about starvation in which the comment was made that there are really two types of starvation. One, of course, is caused by too little or no food at all. But there is another type of starvation caused by serious malnutrition, and even though the U.S. is the fattest nation on the planet, our bodies are starved for important nutrients and enzymes. It’s partly why we’re so fat, because we keep eating and eating, but we’re eating highly processed, cooked foods that have the essential components burned out of them. Cooking removes up to 80% of food’s important amino acids, fibers and vitamins.

It’s one reason why switching to a raw foods diet makes such compelling sense. When you start eating raw foods, you’re suddenly getting all the nutrition from food that nature intended you to get. It’s the way our bodies were meant to eat, in balance with the planet.

We suddenly become the vibrant, healthy animals we’re supposed to be.

But we still live in the modern world, with all its pressures and time constraints. It’s one reason why getting your whole foods from juicing is a good idea. You can still get all the fiber you need without taking the time to cut, peel or slice the food. Raw foods do take a little more time to chew and swallow and that’s a good thing. But if you don’t have the time for that, then you should consider using juices for at least a portion of your raw foods intake.

You do need to invest in a good juicer though, and that’s different from a blender. A blender can’t process the fruit peels that contain most a fruit or vegetables vitamins and enzymes. A juicer is a more high-powered appliance that will process everything – seeds and stems, peels and pulp. It’s designed to do it quickly and efficiently. They can be expensive, but there are many more options today than there used to be as this concept has gained in popularity.Image