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Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

Winter Water Needs

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
Many people feel they need to drink less in the winter because they sweat less. It’s important to understand that our need to be hydrated isn’t less in winter. We still deplete our fluids. The clouds of steam we exhale when walking in the freezing weather is even more noticeable when sitting in a cold car watching windows quickly fog up. Indoors dry, heated air pulls moisture from our skin, adding to the risk that we may suffer from dehydration. Our view of winter water needs is further confused when our body’s thirst response is reduced substantially — up to 40 percent in cold weather — as our blood vessels constrict to conserve heat by limiting blood from flow to hands and feet to conserve heat! Remember, chapped lips and dry skin are the most common symptoms of dehydration in the winter.
Water makes up approximately 60 percent of our body weight and serves many important functions. It is vital for the proper function of all our organs and cells and moves nutrients to our body’s cells as it clears the body of toxins. Water lubricates our joints and keeps our ears, nose and throat moist. Water is needed for perspiration, which keeps body temperature in balance, and it moves the food we eat through the intestines, alleviating constipation and other digestive problems. Water is vital in the formation of saliva, mucus membranes and maintaining eye health. Consistent dehydration can severely reduce all these vital functions, possibly with lasting effects … and don’t forget the damage dehydration causes to your skin!
Pay attention to your water needs in winter, the basic rule is the same as during the summer — rink a minimum of eight glasses of water a day!
Start every day by drinking 1-2 glasses of water in the morning.
• Keep a water pitcher in the refrigerator.
• Drink water before you feel thirsty; if you feel thirsty, you’re already mildly dehydrated.
• Drink pure water — tap water is the bargain of the century. If water in your locality is questionable, there are plenty of excellent, reasonably priced filters.
• Avoid processed juices and sodas that are high in sugar content.
• For every eight ounces of a caffeinated beverage or alcohol you drink, supplement with an additional eight ounces of water.
• If your lips are dry or chapped you are dyhydrated, have a drink!
Water is vital for all our bodily functions helps keep us looking AND feeling good ALL year round!
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Weight-loss Math Made Simple

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
Thirty-eight percent of all New Year resolutions center on weight loss, making it the number one goal again for 2015! It’s no wonder, between 1980 and 2000, obesity rates doubled. By 2006, every state reported an obesity rate of at least 10 percent with 23 states reporting an obesity rate of over 25 percent! Currently, approximately sixty million adults in the U.S — thirty percent of the adult population — are obese. Whether you want to lose 5 pounds or 50, losing weight is a difficult challenge, but it can be done.
One pound of fat equals about 3,500 calories so if you cut 500 calories from your typical diet each day, or engage in enough physical activity to burn 500 calories a day, you’ll lose approximately one pound a week. The best method is a combination of both!
• Eat breakfast!
• Eat fish, especially mackerel and salmon, at least twice a week. These contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have a cholesterol-lowering effect. Fish generally provides fewer calories than red meat: 5.2 ounces of grilled hake has 165 calories while 4.6 ounces grilled sirloin steak has 235 calories!
• Bake, poach, steam or grill your food and skip the oil. If you need to use oil for a favorite dish, use olive, grapeseed or canola oils that contain less saturated fat.
• Eat ‘complex’ carbohydrates, like fruit, vegetables and whole-grain bread and cereals. The water and fiber content of fruit and vegetables gives one a sense of fullness with a low caloric overhead. Substitute fatty foods with plenty of fruit and vegetables and you’ll see a big change in your weight and how you feel. The vitamin C and beta-carotene in citrus fruit, cabbage, broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach will stimulate your immune function, protect you against colds and prevent the run-down feeling dieting can lead to.
• Chia seeds! They’re packed with antioxidants, have more omega 3 oil than salmon, contain both soluble and insoluble fiber and are a source of complete protein. Grind them up or use them whole in soups, salads, sauces, smoothies, and desserts. They’ll help keep you feeling full for hours, a definite plus when you have a few pounds to shed.
Boost your new, positive eating habits with a minimum of 10 minutes a day of of calorie-burning physical activity. A lot can be accomplished in ten minutes … especially when it comes to burning calories!
• Running for 10 minutes: 160 calories
• Swimming for 10 minutes: 110 calories
• Jogging for 10 minutes: 110 calories
• Cycling for 10 minutes: 99 calories
• Walking at 3.7 mph for 10 minutes: 44 calories

That 500 calories per day reduction is as simple as cutting out one piece of pizza or it’s equivalent and ten minutes of running!
A healthy diet and consistent physical exercise, your best tools for your weight loss goals!
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How to Keep Track in the 2015 New Year

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
The new year is a time to reflect on our lives, to embrace the opportunity for change a new year brings. Millions of Americans will make New Year resolutions, if you’re one of them, try these helpful pointers to help reach your goal!
• Make realistic goals. Realistic goals can help you stay on track and reach your target. Weight control experts use the term ‘false-hope syndrome’ for unrealistic expectations about how long it will take to lose extra weight. Planning realistic goals can be applied to all situations, set a target that is attainable, reaching that will spur you on to greater heights.
• Devise a plan. Be specific. Whether you’re going to be counting calories, making more time to spend with your family or quitting smoking — give yourself a plan. How you will deal with the urge to skip a workout, have potato chips instead of celery, or have just one more cigarette? This can be as simple as breathing deeply while you count to ten, calling a friend, or having a list on-hand to remind you of the positive effects of sticking to your plan.
• Create a “pro” and “con” list. Writing and seeing a list of of the positive effects of keeping your resolution and the negative effects of continuing as you are on paper strengthens your resolution. Keep the list with you to help you through the rough periods.
• Practice mindfulfulness. Alan Marlatt, director of the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington, offers a quote from author and Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl. “Between stimulus and response, there’s a space, and in that space is our power to choose our response, and in our response lies our growth and freedom.” Recognizing the triggers to actions you want to stop gives you the choice to respond positively.
• Keep track of your progress. Remember, your larger goal is at the end of a road of small successes. Breaking a large goal into smaller segments or timeframes will help guide you, give you a ‘checking mechanism’ and keep you motivated. Break a weight-loss regimen into 5 pound segments, keep a work-out diary for your fitness regimen or a phone log for those old friends and family members you reach out to.
• Treat yourself to something special. Go out to a movie or sports event, have lunch with a friend … celebrate your success by treating yourself to something you enjoy that does not contradict your resolution!
• Be forgiving. Relapse is a common part of changing behavior. If you have an occasional slip, learn from it and keep going. Make the best of each day, and take each day as it comes. It takes about 21 days for a new activity to become a habit, and about 6 months for it to become part of your personality. With a little patience, new habits will become second-nature in no time.
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Get Fit with iFit

Fitness band make it easier to achieve your fitness goal.
I enjoy exercising, always have. When weather and workload permit, I find great enjoyment in riding my bike, walking the neighborhood or my favorite golf course, working out with weights, etc. When the temperatures dip (October-April or so), you’re likely to find me at my town’s recreation center. I also tend to watch what I eat, so I’m in pretty good shape. Yet I always wonder if I could be in even better health. Could I be keeping better track of my caloric intake and output? Would a personal trainer ensure the exercises I do are ideally suited for my goals and would he or she push me to achieve more? To find out, I’m considering purchasing the iFit Active from my local Dunham’s Sports store.
A number of people at the gym, as well as some friends and relatives, have already beaten me to the punch. They’ve purchased the 3-in-1 activity wrist bands and are using them religiously.
“Unlike other activity trackers, our iFit Active tracks you to your goals. It allows you to put in your goal and you can see your progress toward that goal throughout the day, either on the device or on our iFit App,” said Joe Killpack, ICON Health and Fitness, iFit’s parent company.
Keeping Track
The iFit Active makes it easier to track calories. They can be entered on the wearable device in increments of 50 or via the app, where users can search for the food item or a similar item. A bar scanner feature on the app further increases convenience and accuracy.
“What’s really cool about the app is that it provides you with a wealth of information: calories, proteins, sugars, saturated fat. Once people understand their behaviors during the day, including what they’re consuming, they can then see where they’re struggling and adjust their activities for a healthier lifestyle,” Killpack added.
That healthier lifestyle can begin by ensuring we expend more calories than we take in and the iFit Active does that for you by recording your activities: steps taken, distance moved, calories burned. It shows your net calories in real time and your progress percentage toward your goals. It then prescribes customized workouts to help you reach your daily goals. The iFit Active even tracks your sleep and sleep patterns as well as sends and receives messages to keep you motivated.
The iFit app is available for Android and iOS platforms.
Your Personal Trainer
“If everyone could afford a personal trainer, I believe they would have one. If everyone had someone who walked them through what they could eat and how much, everyone would be healthier. Since most people don’t have that luxury, we are trying to become the next best thing,” Killpack said.
Via an additional membership, the program looks at your day (calories taken in and calories spent) and provides you with a personalized workout for your exercise equipment (assuming it’s iFit compatible).
The membership enables you to access your iFit profile from anywhere, track your progress and train with Jillian Michaels, formerly from TV’s Biggest Loser. The fitness program adjusts with your progress, so you’ll stay inspired and avoid the dreaded plateau.
“Through our relationship with Google Maps and National Geographic, iFit members can virtually run or bike in their hometown, past their home or through their favorite vacation spot,” he added.
Since it uses the GPS feature, the treadmill will incline or decline, based on the chosen terrain’s topography. The images are displayed on the exercise equipment’s video screen, significantly increasing the enjoyment factor.
iFit Act
Dunham’s also carries the less-expensive iFit Act. It does all of the things the iFit Active does: tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, sleep and syncs wirelessly and automatically to everything iFit.
“With its ability to seamlessly connect to all of iFit, you can easily access your information anywhere, anytime through multiple platforms,” Killpack said.
The difference between iFit Active and iFit Act is that the latter does not include an LCD digital display. Both devices can be worn as wrist bands or as clip ons. Both come in standard black bands while the iFit Active offers optional colors: white, coral and blue for an additional fee.
iFit Active and iFit Act feature Bluetooth 4.0 communication, a water-resistant design, battery life up to seven days and convenient USB charging.
Dunham’s Sports also carries the Garmin VivoFit fitness band, the Polar Loop fitness tracker and more. Be sure to check them out in person at your local Dunham’s Sports store or online at
If you are serious about getting – and staying – fit, you owe it to yourself to check out the iFit Active and iFit Act bands. Let’s be honest, it’s difficult to track how many calories we consume and how many we expend. Being able to do so easily and conveniently – and having Jillian Michaels motivate us – can make a world of difference in achieving our goals.
-Fitness Fanatic
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Exercise and Happiness

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
We all know that exercise comes with great benefits that go beyond a small wast or sleek arms. The most apparent benefits are great protection against :
• Heart disease and stroke
• High blood pressure
• Type 2 diabetes
• Obesity
• Back pain
• Osteoporosis
Beyond these excellent physical benefits,eExercise also elevates mood, and induces happiness! It does that in many ways:
• Releases dopamine, an important neurotransmitter that supports fillings of happiness and pleasure.
• Relieves stress.
• Increases energy.
• Relieves anxiety.
• Wins the fight against insomnia.
Many studies have found that the happiness gained from dopamine is temporary, and recent research supports those findings. In fact, the long-term value of exercise is that it actually trains your brain to be be optimistic!
Additionally, in a recent study from the Penn State University, researchers tracked the amount and level of physical activity, the amount of sleep, and feelings of well being of 190 college-age students for eight days. The participants who were more physically active had more positive feelings than people who are less active, particularly on days when they were more physically active than usual.
How important is this in the long term? Another expansive study in held in 2007 followed more than 6,000 people between the ages of 25 and 74 for 20 years, it found happiness and a sense of hope, involvement in activities, and the ability to deal with life’s stresses with emotional balance may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
So get out and exercise for healthy and happy holidays leading into the Happy New Year!
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Christmas Health Tips

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
The holidays are upon us, the hustle and bustle of the season fills us with anticipation and happiness as we prepare for days of celebration with family and friends. Dinners and parties with all the special treats and dishes that evoke joyous memories from years past and fill us with eagerness for the coming year. However, along with all the festivities there is one gift you may want to refuse … the extra pounds we are left with!
You can enjoy the festivities and get a handle on that weight gain! Just keep these suggestions in mind.
• Start your day off with a healthy breakfast! Many studies have shown that eating breakfast each day helps maintain a healthy weight.
• Eat a handful of walnuts or pecans before going out to your holiday celebrations, the protein and fiber will help manage your appetite. Dress up those walnuts with some dried cranberries, a study published in The Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology found no difference in dried vs. fresh fruit when it comes to antioxidant activity, which will help keep those free radicals at bay during the busy holiday season.
• Choose your appetizers carefully and opt for the veggies and fruits.
• Studies have found that the first three food items chosen from a buffet make up 66 percent of the total meal, so start filling your plate at the end of the table with salad!
• Resist the urge to fill your plate to overflowing.
• Find someplace to stand away from your favorite treats — they’re easier to resist and enjoy in moderation from a distance!
• Even though your schedule is crowded, take the time to exercise. It will help maintain your weight and relieve holiday stress.
Enjoy your family and friends, indulge (moderately) in your favorite seasonal delicacies … and follow these simple tips to support your overall goals throughout the holidays into the new year!
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Good News for Cold Weather

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
There no mistaking recent weather changes … the beginning of winter is here. Many of us have conflicting feelings about the coldest season. Winter brings the opportunity form many favorite pastimes — skiing, sledding and skating. There is the beauty of snow hanging on tree branches, warming up in front of the fireplace, but there’s also snow shoveling, layers of clothes and winter driving!
Now, according to researchers from the University of the Kentucky School of Medicine, we’re aware of another winter plus! It has to do with body fats.
First, you may be aware that we have two main types of fat:
• Brown fat is composed of small droplets of organic compounds(also referred to as lipid droplets or adiposomes) and many iron-containing mitochondria – specialized structures in which the processes of respiration and energy production occur. The iron, and a large number of tiny blood vessels in brown fat, give it a brownish appearance. It is usually found in the front and back of the neck and upper back and is derived from muscle tissue. Brown fat generates heat and is found in newborns and hibernating animals. Adults with more brown fat tend to be younger, weigh less, and have healthy blood sugar levels. In other words, this is the good fat.
• White fat is composed of a single lipid droplet and a greatly reduced amount of mitochondria and blood vessels, giving it a white or yellow appearance. It is the most common form of fat in the body. White fat does provide our largest energy reserve. It also acts as insulation and protects our internal organs. It is a major endocrine organ with receptors for insulin, growth hormone, adrenaline, and cortisol. Excess white fat in the belly is associated with metabolic syndrome, while extra fat throughout the body raises risks for breast, colon, esophageal, gall bladder, and pancreatic cancer.
What does this have to do with the University of Kentucky School of Medicine? In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism researchers from the university compared belly fat taken from fifty-five people during the summer and and again in the winter. The belly fat taken from people in the winter had higher levels of two genetic markers for brown fat than that collected in the summer. Additionally, they examined thigh fat collected from 16 people after holding ice packs on their thighs for 30 minutes, it had higher levels of three genetic markers that are linked with brown fat.
In other words, cold temperatures may actually turn some unhealthy white fat in your thighs and belly into brown fat that burns calories for body heat!
However, you don’t have to stand out in the cold to increase your levels of brown fat! Studies presented of the American Diabetes Association demonstrated that both exercise can also impart brown fat characteristics to the white fat that slowly accumulates from sedentary behavior.
It’s important to note that the cold weather effects were lessened for obese people, and while this is a promising study, more people die from heart-disease during the winter months than at any other time.
Exercise, dress warm, and when you thighs begin to tingle think about the possible positive effects and … smile!
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Protection Against Viruses

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
A group of viruses called ‘entovirus’ has been the focus of attention lately, and for good reason! It is a serious virus and many children in the United states have been hospitalized a form of it.
Many health professionals cite strict hygienic practices, including thorough hand-washing and avoiding contaminated surfaces, are often cited as the best ways to prevent spread of these infections. Those are tried and true methods! However, employing them can be very difficult when everyday life includes work, school, shopping and a wide assortment of social activities. It’s important to remember: you don’t get sick just because you’ve been exposed to germs. That’s a good thing, because it’s nearly impossible to avoid all germs!
New research published in the PLOS journal found that when 17 healthy people were exposed to a flu virus, only half of them got sick. Your immune system’s response to the flu virus is also an important factor in whether or not you get sick and the depth of that illness!
So get those immune systems into peak shape for winter and protect yourself and your loved ones with these four rules.
• Add Antioxidant-Rich Foods to Your Menus: A diet rich diet in antioxidants prevent free radical damage and optimizes the immune system. Add a broad range of fruits and vegetables to the menu to create the greatest benefits for the immune health. Remember, the three major antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E, which are found in colorful fruits and vegetables, especially those with purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow hues.
• Get Enough Vitamin D: Seventy percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, which helps activate the immune system! New research shows that when the body is exposed to a pathogen, T cells ‘search’ for vitamin D, if the T cells do not find enough vitamin D, they cannot activate the immune system! Get vitamin D from safe exposure to the sun, salmon, tuna and fortified foods.
• Get Fit: Regular physical activity enhances antibody and natural T cell response. Multiple studies have shown that people who exercise are half as likely to catch a cold as those who do not!
• Sleep: Sleep is an important factor in maintaining a healthy immune system. Much research has indicated that health risks rise significantly when individuals sleep less than seven hours a night. Part of this is due to the reduced levels of melatonin, a hormone necessary for a healthy immune system which is produced while we sleep. A lack of sleep also reduces T cells and impacts levels of proteins called cytokines, which act as mediators between cells.
Call you doctor for help with any serious respiratory illness.
But follow these important rules and there is a good chance your immune system will keep you healthy all fall and winter!
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Strength Training

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
Strength training is an important part of any fitness program. It helps you reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass and burn calories! The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults should add moderate to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week in addition to a daily aerobic regimen. Unfortunately, a 2013 study of 450,000 adults by the Center for Diesease Control found that while 52 percent of surveyed adults met the aerobic activity guidelines and 29 percent met the strength-training guidelines, less that 21 percent of adults in the United States meet the total combined guidelines! Incorporating those two days of strength training add a host of benefits!
• Stronger Bones. Strength training is known to increase bone mass. A recent study from Ontario’s McMaster University found that a year-long strength training program increased the spinal bone mass of postmenopausal women by nine percent. Additionally, weight-bearing activities put stress on your bones which builds bone density.
• Sharper Memory. Researchers at the University of British Columbia found that for robust brain health, it is best to incorporate both aerobic and strength training. Each type of activity targets different aspects of cognition by initiating the release of different proteins. In an earlier study the same researchers found that older women who strength-trained twice a week for six months had better memory, better attention spans and improved executive brain functions compared to those engaged in a strictly cardio fitness regimen.
• Weight Control. According to the Center for Disease Control, strength training offers an increase of up to 15% in the metabolic rate, an important aid for weight control. Researchers from Southern Illinois University found that participants burned 100 extra calories a day for three days after a fifteen minute resistance routine. And don’t forget: each pound of muscle burns 7 to 10 calories compared to 2 or 3 calories for a pound of fat.
• Improve Balance and Posture. For a study published in Age, people over the age of 90 participated inof strength training two days a week 12 weeks. The study found an increase in walking speed, an improvement in balance, and a significant reduction in the incidence of falls.
• Disease Prevention. Strength training can be an important aid against arthritis pain, reduces the risk of bone fractures can help improve glucose control for sufferers of type 2 diabetes.
• Mood Elevator. A 2005 study published in The Harvard Mental Health Letter compared exercise with antidepressant drugs or a combination of the exercise and antidepressant drugs in patients suffering from major depression. They found that after 16 weeks, 60 to 70 percent of participants in all three groups had recovered from the depression, but the positive effects of exercise last longer. After ten months participants who worked out had lower rates of depression than those who took only medication.
Strength training … stronger muscles and a lot more!
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