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Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category


Expand Your Fitness Regimen

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Expanding the variety while focusing on the quality of your fitness regimen is more important than adding on extra hours in the gym according to new research recently published in the The Journal of Applied Physiology. The study was authored by Paul J. Arciero DPE, the director of the Human Nutrition and Metabolism Laboratory at Skidmore College.
 
The sixteen-week study included fifty-seven participants, 36 women and 21 men, between the ages of 35 and 57 years old. The participants were obese or overweight and exercised less than 60 minutes each week. Participants were then randomly separated into three groups. One group was sedentary throughout the study, one group did intense resistance training four times per week, while the third group’s training sessions included resistance, interval sprints, stretching, and endurance exercises. All included the same amount of whey protein in their nutrition regimens.
 
At the end of the study all participants demonstrated a decrease in body fat, which is attributed to the addition of the whey protein to their diets. However, the group that followed the varied, multidimensional regimen had significantly more health improvements than the other two groups — the largest reduction in body weight, total fat and abdominal fat mass, smaller waist circumference, healthier blood glucose levels, and the largest increase in lean body mass.
 
This study indicates why you round out your fitness routine with:
 
• Resistance exercise or strength training to increase the strength and mass of muscles, bone strength and metabolism.
 
• Sprint interval workouts to help build endurance, increase your anaerobic threshold and burn more calories and fat both during and after your workout.
 
• Stretching exercises increase flexibility and improve the range of motion of joints.
 
• Endurance (aerobic) exercise to increase your breathing and heart rate and keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy while improving overall fitness.
 
A well-rounded exercise regimen can help you maintain interest in your fitness program while preventing injuries that can occur from overuse of the same muscles. Combine the four basic types of exercise in your fitness regimen; you’ll notice the difference … and feel it!
 
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Brain Workout

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
The benefits of exercise for brain health have long been accepted, but new research just added a big item to the long list of bonuses for the brain from physical fitness!
 
We know that the benefits of physical exercise, especially aerobic exercise, have effects on brain functions. A study done by the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Studies has shown that even 20 minutes of exercise will improve information processing and memory functions. Exercise increases heart rate and pumps more oxygen to the brain. It aids the release of a number of hormones which aid in and provide a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells. Exercise also stimulates the brain by boosting the growth of new connections between cells in cortical areas. Researchers also found that the antidepressant-like effects associated with “runner’s high” is caused by a drop in stress hormones which is associated with added cell growth in the hippocampus, an area of the brain responsible for learning and memory. This increase in brain activity increases the brain’s need for food.
 
Scientists used to believe that the brain absorbed glucose from the blood, but about 10 years ago, they found specialized cells in the brain, known as astrocytes, that act as support cells for neurons and contain stores of glycogen, or carbohydrates. Glycogen turned out to be critical for the health of cells throughout the brain. However, there was no way to measure the levels of the glycogen, in order to understand how it works to support brain health.
 
This spurred researchers to develop a method that could measure how much brain glycogen uses. Scientists at the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Neuroscience at the University of Tsukuba gathered two groups of adult male rats. One group was put on a daily treadmill running program, while the other group was sedentary for the same period of time each day. They discovered that prolonged exercise significantly lowered the brain’s stores of energy, particularly in the areas of the brain that are involved in thinking, memory, and movement. After a single session on the treadmill, the animals were allowed to rest and feed, then their brain glycogen levels were studied. The scientists found that the levels of glycogen had not only been restored to what they had been before the workout, but had increased by as much as a 60 percent in the frontal cortex and hippocampus. The astrocytes had overcompensated, resulting in a kind of brain carbo-loading. The levels returned to normal within about 24 hours.
 
However, when the animals continued the exercise program for four weeks, heightened levels became the new normal, with levels of glycogen showing substantial increases compared to the sedentary animals. These increases were especially notable in the parts of the brain critical to learning and memory formation — the cortex and the hippocampus. In other words, this energy balance affects how well the brain functions during exercise, and how well our thinking and memory work the rest of the time!
 
This is more proof of the overall importance of exercise for good health!
 
• Aerobic exercise is great for body and brain.
 
• Exercise in the morning before going to work. It prepares you for mental stresses of the day, and improves your reaction to complex situations.
 
• The best brain health workouts involve routines that integrate different parts of the brain such as coordination, rhythm, and strategy. Try a new activity that incorporates coordination along with cardiovascular exercise, such as a dance or zumba.
 
Keep these tips in mind when designing your fitness regimen. They give ‘work smarter’ a new meaning!
 
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Incline Walking

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Looking for a workout that will let you burn the maximum amount of calories in a minimum amount of time? Treadmill walking or walking up an incline might be the solution. The benefits are impressive!
 
• Increase Your Calorie Burn Rate. It’s simple, walk for 30 minutes at 4 miles per hour and you’ll burn 145 calories… raise the incline for the same distance and time and you’ll burn 345 calories!
 
• Improve Cardiovascular Health. Walking on an incline increases the workload on your system, and increases your the heart rate!
 
• Burn Fat. When you walk on an incline, your body uses a greater percentage of fat. Studies have shown that walking 3 miles per hour on an inclined raised between 16 and 18 percent will burn 70 percent more fat than running on a flat surface.
 
Treadmill walking on an incline works the muscles of the calves, hamstrings and glutes. For optimal benefits increase the incline fifteen percent or more!
 
Incline walking is stunningly effective! A one hundred and sixty pound man walking a treadmill at just two and a half miles per hour burns around four calories a minute. That burn amount surges up to seven calories a minute when walking up a ten percent grade and ten calories a minute when walking up a twenty percent grade! Help yourself succeed. Start off slowly and work your way up! If you use your treadmill effectively and gradually increase the incline, it could give you just the kind of lift you’ve been dreaming about to help shed those unwanted pounds!
 
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Winter Roots

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
The humble beet, often used as a colorful garnish on the table, is a terrific source of nutrients for your winter diet. Rich in natural sugar, sodium, sulphur, chlorine, iodine, copper, it’s also a terrific source of vitamins B1, B2, C and bioflavonoids. This tasteful root vegetable’s health benefits have been known for generations. A fibrous root, it’s also an excellent source of bulk fiber, and the fresh beet offers all this for 30-58 calories per cup! Are you interested yet? The beet is also high in folic acid, potassium, calcium and antioxidants, and that’s just the beet roots, the leafy beet greens can also be used for juicing, or cooking as you would any other green. In fact the beet greens contain significantly more iron, vitamin A, potassium and calcium than the roots!
 
Beets are not only delicious, they offer excellent health benefits:
 
• Detoxification – The Encyclopedia of Healing Juices states that the beet is a blood-building herb. It detoxifies blood and renews it with minerals and natural sugars.
 
• Fighting Cancer – Early research in Hungary indicated that beet juice slows the development of tumors. It’s thought that betaine, an amino acid in beet root, has significant anti-cancer properties. Studies show that beet juice inhibits formation of cancer-causing compounds and is protective against colon and stomach cancer.
 
• Blood Building – The high content of iron in beets regenerates and reactivates the red blood cells and supplies fresh oxygen to the body, while the copper content in assists in iron absorption, helping in the fight against anemia.
 
• Lowering Cholesterol – Beets help to keep bad cholesterol at bay. Studies show that eating beets on a regular basis can lower LDL cholesterol by as much as 30 percent.
 
• Regulating Blood Pressure – In a British study of 14 healthy volunteers, half drank 2 cups beet juice and half drank 2 cups of water within 30 minutes. Their blood pressure was checked every 15 minutes for one hour before and every 15 minutes for three hours after drinking the beet juice. They were also checked every hour for six hours with a final check at 24 hours after drinking the juice. The results were amazing! Compared with the water drinkers, blood pressure dropped one hour after the volunteers drank the beet juice. It reached its lowest point 2-1/2 to 3 hours after ingestion and continued to have an effect for up to 24 hours.
 
Roasted, boiled or juiced, beets are great winter superfood!
 
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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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Aerobic Fitness

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Aerobic exercise pumps oxygenated blood from the heart to working muscles. To accomplish that, it stimulates the heart and breathing rates throughout your exercise session. As a rule aerobic exercise can be light-to-medium intensity activities that can be performed for extended periods of time, such as walking, jogging or biking. Whatever your age, weight or athletic ability, aerobic activity is a health booster that gains efficiency as your body adapts and gets stronger and fitter!
 
What are the benefits offered by aerobic exercise?
 
• Reduces Fat: A study published in the American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism found that vigorous aerobic exercise such as jogging or brisk walking beats weight or resistance training for reducing belly and visceral fat.
 
• Increases Stamina: Increased stamina improves your overall physical health and the power to endure disease, fatigue, and illness.
 
• Protects the Brain: A new study from the University of Washington School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System finds that regular aerobic exercise can protect the brain and even improve cognitive performance in older adults showing signs of mental decline. It’s important to note that the study found that memory gains may take 6 months or longer to emerge.
 
• Boosts the Immune System: Aerobic exercise activates your immune system. This leaves you less susceptible to minor viral illnesses, such as colds and flu. Aerobic exercise may accomplish this by flushing bacteria out from the lungs, and may even flush out cancer-causing cells by increasing output of wastes, such as urine and sweat. It also sends antibodies and white blood cells through the body at a faster rate, allowing them to detect illnesses earlier than they might normally. Additionally, the temporary rise in body temperature may inhibit bacterial growth, allowing the body to fight the infection more effectively.
 
• Strengthens Bones: In a new study, step aerobics offered the greatest gains in leg, spine, and heel bone density, while hip bones health was heightened most with weight training.
 
• Reduces Health Risks: Aerobic exercise reduces the risk of many conditions, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer.
 
• Strengthens the Heart. Regular aerobic exercise increases the heart’s efficiency,leading to a reduced risk of developing heart disease. When a person is aerobically active, more capillaries develop as the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange between blood and cells increases. If for any reason an artery is damaged or blood flow is blocked, the blood can easily be rerouted to deliver the necessary oxygen.
 
• Increases Good Cholesterol, Burns the Bad: Research shows that moderate aerobic exercise increases the number of HDLs in the bloodstream and reduces the number of LDLs by increasing lipid metabolism. Like fat, cholesterol is a lipid that can be oxidized, or broken down, for energy.
 
• Supports Mental Health: Aerobic exercise relieves depression, and promotes relaxation. Exercise also slows down the release of stress-related hormones.
 
Remember, if you’ve been inactive for a long time or if you have a chronic health condition, talk to your doctor before you start. Begin slowly and build each day.Try walking five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening and add a few minutes each day. Pick up the pace and soon you’ll be enjoying all the benefits of regular aerobic activity!
 
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Cold Weather Workout Tips

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Winter weather can wreak havoc on your workout schedule, but don’t give up! That winter weight gain isn’t all tied to eating more or lack of exercise. New research shows how important exercise is … especially in the winter. In this study, researchers from the University of Colorado followed a group of twelve women and six men in both summer and winter. They discovered that their production of ATLPL (Adipose Tissue Lipoprotein Lipase), the chemical that promotes fat storage, almost doubles during the winter and dropped during the summer. They also found that the increase of muscle enzymes gained from exercising can help to counter the increase of ATLPL, and help the battle against those extra winter pounds.
 
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 barrier rather than 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. It is believed that between 50 and 70 percent of body heat is lost when your head is unprotected in cold weather. Wearing a hat can help your 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. To keep your feet warm, make sure your torso is properly insulated and keep feet dry with winter athletic socks that have an inner layer that moves moisture away from the skin to an outer absorbent layer.
 
• 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, which we’ve seen this winter, move your workout indoors to the gym. Can’t make it to the gym? Develop a workout regimen you can do at home, take the stairs at work or speed walk through the mall!
 
• Finally, consider some traditional warming foods. Ancient Chinese medicine advised 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.
 
It may seem more difficult to exercise when the weather gets cold and days seem shorter, but it’s important to work against the natural increase in fat storage that occurs during the winter months!
 
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Keeping Your New Year Resolutions

[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 and to look forward with hope to the future. With hope for the future in mind, millions of Americans make New Year resolutions. If you’re one of them, try these seven helpful pointers to help reach your goal!
 
1. Decide on 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
 
2. Make 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.
 
3. Write down 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.
 
4. Practice mindfulness. 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.
 
5. 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.
 
6. 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!
 
7. 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.
 
Good luck on your resolutions! Wishing you a Healthy and Happy New Year!
 
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Get a Better View of Your Fitness Level with iFIT Vue

Put a Fitness Band on your Holiday List for a Fitter 2016.
 
The holidays are approaching and for many of us, that means a little extra food and drink. With so many events vying for our time, it can be difficult to stay on our fitness goal. It’s at times like these that we need a little incentive to get moving, whether in the form of a friendly competition or simply setting a target and monitoring your progress. Many have found the additional impetus to exercise by purchasing and constantly wearing fitness bands, including the iFit Vue. These devices have turned once passive exercisers into fitness enthusiasts who are making a concerted effort to get fitter.
 
What I like about the iFit Vue is that it allows you to track your goals and check your progress toward that goal throughout the day. For example, you may wish to walk 10,000 steps or run five miles. You can check your progress at any time during the day and adjust your activities – such as going for an after-dinner walk or getting on the treadmill – accordingly.
 
Keeping Track
 
The iFit Vue features MoveReady technology that, in addition to detecting your specific types of movement patterns, it also knows when you switch activities, such as if you’re walking versus running or swimming versus sleeping. This means you’ll get accurate data and feedback that’s meaningful to you. By the way, yes, you may wear the iFit Vue while swimming without fear of damaging the product.
 
In addition to tracking activity, the iFit Vue can help you track calories. They can be entered on the wearable device using the built-in calorie counter, allowing you to quickly log your meals when you’re at home or on the go. Since at its most basic level a healthy lifestyle requires expending more calories than we take in, the iFit Vue provides you with your net calories (calories taken in minus calories burned). It shows your net calories in real time and your progress percentage toward your goals. The iFit Vue even tracks your sleep and sleep patterns and sends and receives message to keep you motivated.
 
One really nice feature is the ability to sync your smartphone to the iFit Vue, allowing you to see caller ID and read text messages on your fitness band. Another bonus is exceptional battery life. According to the company, the battery in the iFit Vue will last through seven days of continuous use and can be recharged using the included USB charger.
 
The iFit Vue can also be connected to an optional Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) strap, enabling you to constantly monitor your heart rate right on your wrist.
 
The various data are shown via an organic light emitting diode (OLED) display. The use of OLED technology ensures the data is visible even under the most difficult light conditions. Touch the screen to toggle through the data, such as the amount of calories consumed and steps taken.
 
The iFit Vue even sends you quick and friendly messages, reminding you when to move or when it’s time to wake up. A gentle vibration and the OLED display provides you with the motivation you need to achieve your goals.
 
Get the App
 
There’s an app for nearly everything nowadays and the free iFit app greatly enhances the iFit Vue experience. For example, you can use the app to enter your meals, snacks and drinks from a wide-ranging food library or by using the built-in barcode scanner, ensuring greater accuracy and convenience.
 
The app provides a wealth of information: calories, proteins, sugars, saturated fat. Once wearers 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.
 
You can also use the app to set your goals and get notifications when those goals are achieved. The app further provides in-depth details of your day, as well as easy-to-read charts of your activity.
The iFit app is available for Android and iOS platforms.
 
Other iFit Products
 
The iFit Vue is one of many iFit products available at your local Dunham’s Sports, including the less-expensive iFit Link. Think of the iFit Link as the minimalist version of the iFit Vue. Rather than numerals shown on an OLED display, for example, iFit Link uses four lights to display your progress. As you reach 25 percent of your goal, the first light illuminates. When you reach 50 percent, the second one lights up and so on.
 
For optimal convenience, iFit Link can be worn a wristband or as a clip on. The wristband is ideal for most situations, while the clip on option is handy for those times when you want to be more discreet. Either way, the choice is yours.
 
Every year, millions of Americans make a resolution to get fit. Go beyond promises by actually doing something about it. In addition to healthier eating choices, exercising will deliver the most benefits toward that goal. One way to get motivated is with an iFit band available at your local Dunham’s Sports store. Visit with one of our knowledgeable fitness representatives and take the first step (or 10,000 steps) toward a healthier you.
 
Happy Holidays.
 
-Fitness Fanatic
 
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