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Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category


Spring Salads

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Spring is around the corner and with it comes fresh, local salad greens. Buying local produce offers fresher vegetables, which means a crisper salad with more flavor and nutrition. There’s a wide array of lettuce to add texture, taste, and interest along with increased nutritional value to your salads.
 
Here are some of the most commonly available varieties of lettuce that will really add a punch to your spring salads!
 
Arugula comes from the mustard family and has peppery flavor. Young, fresh leaves are lightly pungent and will add spice to your salads. Arugula is low in calories and contains fiber, vitamins A and C, and calcium. It is a good source of vitamin K, which helps blood clot properly.
 
Baby bok choy has a crunchy, celery-like texture and a refreshing taste. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K and a good source of B complex vitamins
 
Dandelion greens add a bitter, tangy taste to salad. One cup has 100% of the daily recommendation of the antioxidant, vitamin A. It is also a good way to get the calcium your bones need.
 
Endive is another low-calorie, high-fiber green that is rich in potassium. It comes in many varieties from the peppery frisee to the mild escarole. Add some red radiccio to brighten up your salad with some extra color!
 
Spinach is nutritious and flavorful, alone or mixed with other salad greens. It is rich in antioxidants, is a good source of vitamins A, B2, C and K, and also contains magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, calcium and potassium.
 
Watercress is also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium. It is an excellent source of the antioxidants beta-carotene and lutein along with glucosinolate, a compound which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties.
 
Not a big salad-eater? You should be, they’re great for losing or maintaining weight, while offering important nutritional benefits.
 
Add fiber to your diet which can help lower cholesterol levels and prevent constipation.
 
Increase blood levels of many powerful antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, folic acid, lycopene, and alpha- and beta-carotene … especially if your salad includes raw vegetables.
 
Enhance satiety with fewer calories! Studies show that eating a low-calorie first course of 150 calories or less reduces the total number of calories eaten during a meal.
 
Salads … refreshing, tasty and healthy. What a great way to greet the new season!
 
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Spring Into a New Walking Routine

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Walking has increased in popularity as a method of exercise and transportation over the past few years. Statistics show that if you’re going somewhere within a mile of your home, chances are that you’ll walk … especially if you have either sidewalks or paved roads. Unfortunately, we’re still not walking – or taking part in other physical activities – enough. Walking is the most popular aerobic activity with approximately 6 in 10 adults reporting that they walked for at least 10 minutes in the previous week. That’s something, but ten minutes is definitely not enough. It’s spring, what a beautiful time of the year to begin a new walking routine!
 
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh found that overweight people who walked briskly for 30 to 60 minutes a day lost weight even if they didn’t change any other lifestyle habits and researchers at the University of Colorado found that regular walking helped to prevent peripheral artery disease. Plus you get all the benefits of consistent aerobic exercise … and walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise. All you need is a good pair of shoes and the will to do it.
 
Where to start? A walking program is like any other activity, you need a plan to succeed. At the beginning you want to decide a basic goals for your walks and the methods you use to attain those goals. Then you can get to work!
 
Start slow. Walk for 10 minutes, and walk back every day for a week. If you’re comfortable after a week add five minutes to your walk. Continue adding 5 minutes to each walk until you reach your goal.
 
Hold your head up and eyes forward with your shoulders should be down and relaxed. Move forward with a natural stride.
 
Drink plenty of water before, during, and after walking. Start with a slow, warm -up pace, pause and do a few warm up / flexibilty stretches. Walk for the desired length of time or distance and end the walk with the slower cool down. After your walk, do some stretches.
 
Your walking pace should be fast enough that it’s hard to sing, yet slow enough that it’s to talk.
 
Make daily walking a habit. Walk fast enough to reach your target heart rate, but not so much that you are gasping and unable to breathe. Motivate yourself by keeping a journal.
 
According to the American Heart Association, walking for at least 30 minutes a day:
 
Reduces your risk of coronary heart disease.
Improves your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Improves your blood lipid profile.
Helps maintain your body weight and lower the risk of obesity.
Enhances your mental well being.
Reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Reduces the risk of developing breast and colon cancer.
Reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
 
Walking … it’s easy and so good for you!
 
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Stress

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
The American Psychological Association recently published their Stress in America™ survey. This annual survey was conducted from August 4th to the 29th of 2014 and included 3,068 adults ages 18 and older. It found that 75 percent of Americans experienced at least one symptom of stress in the past month. Twenty-five percent of those surveyed said stress has a’ very strong’ or ‘strong’ impact on their physical or mental health. That is a stunning number!
 
Causes of stress include finances, work, family concerns and health issues. Whatever the concern, studies have shown that stress can negatively affect your health! It is common for stress to lead to sleep deprivation, headaches, anxiety and depression, and the long-term effects of stress can go much further than that.
 
Heart health. In 2013, the Oxford Journal published an analyses of 7268 men and women from the British Whitehall II study that included 18 years of follow-up. The study found that participants who reported that stress has affected their health ‘a’ lot or ‘extremely’ had a 2.12 times higher risk of coronary incidents, including death, when compared with those who reported no effect of stress on their health. Other studies, from different respected organizations, have come to the same conclusion.
 
Diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, stress may alter blood glucose levels and increase risks for diabetes in two ways.
 
Stress effects people’s activities, including alcohol consumption, exercise levels and dietary planning.
 
Stress hormones may directly alter blood glucose levels.
 
Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease affects 1 in 20 people aged 65 and over, a number that increases to approximately half of people aged 85 and older! The University of California – Irvine has devoted much research to investigating the effect of stress on Alzheimer’s disease. They found that patients with Alzheimer’s disease have elevated levels of cortisol in their blood streams … cortisol levels are increased by stress. Additionally, a study has also shown that people with stressful lives are around 2-3 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than others.
 
Decreasing the stress in our lives and managing our reaction to stressful situations is vita. Reducing stress is difficult, we are busy, worried about day-to-day problems with work, our families and our communities, but there are some steps you can take to significantly reduce the physical and emotional effect it has on your life.
 
Ask yourself what you can do about the sources of your stress. You can’t control everything, but you can control how you respond.
 
Learn and use relaxation techniques. Try breathing exercises, prayer and/or meditation.
 
Exercise regularly. You’ll feel better and be more prepared to handle problems.
 
Eat healthy. Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Avoid sugar or junk foods.
 
Teach yourself to say no when confronted with a stress-inducing situation.
 
Take the time for personal interests.
 
Get enough rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.
 
Spend time with people you love.
 
If stress is making life difficult, and you need help, talk with a counselor or take a stress management class.
 
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Calorie Needs

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Understanding your personal caloric needs and the effect of physical activity on those needs is important, it can also be unnecessarily confusing. Basically, the number of calories you need to eat each day is derived from many factors including your age, weight, height, gender, lifestyle, and overall health and fitness. It is common sense that a physically active 6 feet tall, 20 year-old man or woman needs more calories than a less active, 5-foot, 75 year-old man or woman … but how does a person find out how many calories they need based on their lifestyle and metabolism? It’s really not that hard.
 
You’ve probably heard of BMR or basal metabolic rate. Your basal metabolic rate is the minimum number of calories you would need to perform all bodily functions while sleeping for an entire day. Those functions include keeping the heart beating, respiration, digestion, creation of new blood cells, temperature maintenance and metabolic processes. It does not include physical activities, still these basic functions can require as much as 70 percent of the total calories burned in a single day for some individuals. The first step for any individual who has a fitness goal to lose, maintain or gain weight is to determine the total number of calories that their body uses for basic functioning – their BMR- and daily activities per day.
 
A common method for measuring daily calorie usage is the Harris-Benedict equation. It estimates your basal metabolic rate, which is then multiplied by your level of activity. The result is your recommended daily calorie intake.
 
The method is simple. First calculate your basal metabolism rate using the formula below
 
• For adult women: 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) – ( 4.7 x age in years ) = BMR
 
• For adult men: 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) – ( 6.8 x age in year ) =BMR
 
As an example, if you are a 25 year-old adult woman who weighs 130 pounds, is 5’4″ tall, and your fitness regimen includes moderate exercise three to five days per week, the steps to calcluate your BMR and calorie requirement calculations would be:
 
First, use your weight, height and age to find the basal metabolic rate.
 
655 + (4.35 x 130) + (4.7 x 64) – (6.8 x 25)
 
or 655 + 565.6 +300.8- 150 =1371.4
 
Then calculate your estimated daily caloric requirements by multiplying the basal metabolic rate (in this example, 1,371.4) by the appropriate physical activity item in the list below.
 
• Sedentary lifestyle: little or no physical activity – BMR x 1.2
• Slightly active lifestyle: light exercise between once and three times per week – BMR x 1.375
• Moderately active lifestyle: moderate exercise three to five days per week – BMR x 1.55
• Active lifestyle: intense exercise six to seven times per week – BMR x 1.725
• Very active lifestyle: heavy/intense exercise twice a day – BMR x 1.9
 
Using this method, a 25 year-old adult woman who weighs 130 pounds and is 5’4″ tall who maintains a moderate exercise regimen three to five days per week has an estimated basic calorie requirements of 1646.1 x 1.55 or 2,126 calories per day.
 
Unfortunately, the Harris Benedict equation does not take body mass or density into consideration, so remember, muscle burns more energy than fat, so you may need to tweak your intake needs.
 
This is a great tool to help you design your fitness and nutrition needs throughout our adult life!
 
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Nutrition, Exercise and Depression

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Nearly fifteen million adults in the U.S. suffer from depression, and the number is increasing every year and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry estimates that one in 20 children and adolescents are depressed! Sadly, more than 80% of the people who show symptoms of clinical depression receive no treatment.
 
Recently, the links between nutrition, exercise and depression have become more understood and accepted; both can play key roles in helping to prevent the onset and severity of depression. One of the most comprehensive studies that link diet, inflammation and depression was published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, women who consume a high amount of foods that trigger inflammation –sugar, refined grains, red meat, and soft drinks — have up to a 41% greater risk of being diagnosed with depression than people who eat a less inflammatory diet.
 
While a diet that specifically addresses the issue of depression hasn’t been developed yet, we do know that including certain healthy foods in your daily dietary regimen will help protect against depression. Here are a few of them:
 
• Antioxidants. Beta-carotene and vitamins C and E combat the effects of free radicals and reduce the damage they cause. Studies have shown that the brain is especially vulnerable to free radical damage. You can get your beta-carotene from apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, collards, pumpkin, spinach and sweet potatoes; your vitamin C from blueberries, broccoli, grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, peppers, strawberries, and tomato and your vitamin E from nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, wheat germ.
 
• Healthy Carbohydrates. Carbohydrate craving may be related to decreased levels of the mood-elevating serotonin, so be smart about your carb intake! Drop the sugars and go for whole grains and with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and legumes for your healthy carbs and fiber.
 
• Protein. Protein-rich foods, such as fish, beans, turkey, and chicken, are rich in an amino acid called tyrosine which may help boost levels of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. This boost helps you feel alert and makes it easier to concentrate.
 
• Folate and Vitamin B12. A Spanish study found that rates of depression increased in men and women as folate intake lessened, particularly if they were smokers! Legumes, nuts, and dark green vegetables are excellent sources of folate.
 
• Vitamin D. Research has found a higher risk of depression for people with vitamin D deficiency. A study from the University of Toronto found that people who suffer from depression – especially seasonal affective disorder – improve as their levels of vitamin D increased over the course of a year. Supplement your sunlight-derived vitamin D with fatty fish.
 
Different studies have also mentioned selenium and omega-3 fatty acids as important dietary additions to prevent depression, but more research is needed!
 
Research has shown that exercise is also an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression. Exercise prompts the body to release endorphins, chemicals that interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling.
 
Additionally, regular exercise has been proven to:
 
• Reduce anxiety
• Lessen stress
• Boost self-esteem
• Improve sleep
 
It’s an important equation to remember … a healthy diet and fitness regimen equals a longer, happier life!
 
Please, see your health professional if symptoms of depression persist.
 
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Winter Workout Checklist

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Cold temperatures and heavy snow can raise the challenge of your outdoor fitness routines, but the payoff is worth it! New research shows how important that exercise is … especially in the winter. Increasing your exposure to sunlight helps reduce seasonal affective disorder, the depression linked to the change in seasons that commonly occurs in the last two months of winter. Notably, a recent study from the University of Tampere in Finland found that working out in nature leads to greater emotional well-being and better sleep than exercising indoors.
 
Additionally, when you’re cold, your body has to work harder to keep your core temperature up and when you shiver, you burn five times the number of calories compare to when you are at rest. Cold also activates the brown fat which burns energy, rather than stores it.
 
Winter workouts carry their own dangers, here are a few tips to protect you on the coldest days.
 
• Wear layers. Insulate yourself against the wind and cold with a layered clothing instead of a single, bulky garment. The first layer that’s directly touching your skin should be a lightweight synthetic or polyester material. It will dry quickly and wick away moisture. The second layer should be wool or polyester fleece. The outermost layer — worn in the rain, snow, or wind — should be lighter weight and water-repellent to help you stay dry.
 
• Keep your head covered. Between 50 and 70 percent of body heat may be lost when your head is unprotected in cold weather. Wearing a hat helps your whole body retain heat.
 
• Protect your feet and hands. Keeping hands and feet warm is vital. Your body concentrates on keeping your internal organs warm in cold weather. Gloves also help prevent skin damage and frostbite. Keep your feet warm by being sure your torso is properly insulated and your feet dry. Wear winter athletic socks with an inner layer that moves moisture away from the skin to an outer absorbent layer. If you run or engage in ice or snow-related activities, select an athletic shoe with a thick tread on the bottom or footwear designed specifically for icy conditions. Thick socks, or multiple layers of socks, can add a to your winter workout shoes, be sure you’re comfortable!
 
• Wear a face mask or scarf in frigid temperatures. A loose layer over your nose and mouth can warm cold air before you inhale and protect your lungs.
 
• Drink Water. You don’t feel as sweaty as you do in the summer, but water is just as important in winter months. It even keeps you warm by helping the body retain heat!
 
In extreme cold move your workout indoors to the gym or develop a workout regimen you can do at home, take the stairs at work or speed walk through the mall! Try adding fresh ginger, garlic and cayenne to your food as a way to boost the immune system! Eucalyptus and juniper also stimulate the circulation and help protect the immune system.
 
Winter workouts have a different set of challenges than summer exercise, but but they offer some special benefits too!
 
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Sitting – A Dangerous Inactivity

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
We sit too much. On the average, we log in 9.3 hours a day sitting each day, more than we sleep! We sit in front of our computers, in front of the television and if we have a desk job we sit at work most of the day. According to a new research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, more than half of an average person’s day is spent being sedentary, resulting in higher risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and death, whether or not we regularly exercise. Sitting also adds to your belly fat!
 
The study also found that the negative effects of sitting time on health is greater for those who do little or no exercise compared to those who exercise regularly. The findings stress that reducing sitting time and getting regular exercise are vital for improving health. The authors suggestions? Reduce your sitting time from 1 to three hours a day in a 12-hour period.
 
Monitor your sitting times and set up achievable goals.
 
Whether you’re at work or at home, stand up and move for one or three minutes every half hour.
 
If your watching television, stand up and exercise during commercials.
 
There are many everyday activities that you can incorporate into your daily routines that will help cut your sitting time and keep moving!
 
• Walk! When you go out to the supermarket, post office, or even out to eat, park far away because all of those extra steps really add up!
 
• Make the most of your “down time.” Do leg lifts or bends while talking on the phone or put a stationary bike in front of the television. Jog in place while waiting for that pot of water to boil for dinner.
 
• Do a little bit of housework. Vacuuming, sweeping, and raking all work your arm and leg muscles. Just 10 minutes of each can burn almost 200 calories. You just added a half hour of exercise to your day — and your house will look great!
 
Get moving! Your life depends on it.
 
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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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