Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category


Tread on High Blood Pressure

 [Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Blood pressure worries? You might want to make a beeline for the nearest treadmill. Striding on the treadmill may be the most effective exercise for lowering blood pressure.
 
We’ve known for years that high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, heart, and kidney diseases. Blood pressure increases during physical activity but your overall blood pressure drops when the exercise is over. It’s what’s known as post exercise hypo-tension. Until recently we didn’t know how long the effect lasted.
 
A new study shows that 45-minutes on a treadmill reduces high blood pressure for a full 24-hours. That’s an excellent reason to set aside a little treadmill time every day. Your heart will thank you for it!
 
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Working Out With a Cold: It’s Nothing to Sneeze At

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
You feel it coming on, the sore throat, the sniffling. That first loud sneeze makes it official: you have a cold. You would really love to stay in bed and rest rather than go to the gym. Now rest is a great thing, no doubt about it. But sometimes it can cause you to lose your hard earned training groove. But you’ve also heard the advice not to work out with a cold. So what do you do? I’m going to help you take the guess work out of it right now.
 
The first thing you have to determine is whether you have just a cold or the flu. Numerous doctors say it’s okay to go ahead and work out, as long as you are only suffering with a cold. In fact a recent study sponsored by the American College of Sports Medicine found exercising moderately while you have a cold does not affect the severity or duration of the symptoms. During the study researchers injected 50 moderately fit volunteers with cold germs and divided them into two groups: exercising and non-exercising. Over a ten day period each volunteer kept a daily log of their physical activity. The exercise group worked out for 40 minutes every day by either running, using a stepper or biking, at no more than seventy percent of their maximum capacity. After the study, researchers looked at their symptom severity and mucus measurement. They found there was no significant difference in the symptom severity or duration in the exercise group compared to the group that did not exercise. The study determined that exercising at a moderate rate does not increase the intensity of cold symptoms or compromise the immune system.
 
BUT-previous studies have found that high intensity exercise such as weight lifting or high intensity aerobic exercise can have a negative impact on the immune system. Because it can be very difficult to tell whether you have the flu or just a cold, a small group of doctors still strictly advise you to avoid exercise completely while suffering with a cold. “We wouldn’t even think of suggesting that men who are sick should be vigorously exercising,” says Dr. David Neiman of Appalachian State University. Neiman cites lab studies showing that strenuous exercise can weaken the immune system. Yet no one has proven that minimal changes in the immune system will have a significant influence on the common cold. There does not, however, appear to be any studies on the healing rates of athletes suffering from colds who choose to work out, versus those who prescribe to a complete rest.
 
So how do you determine whether you’re too sick to exercise? Definitely if you’re suffering from more than just a cold, if you’re suffering with the flu, you should throw in the towel for now. The flu is a far different consideration for the man who exercises. The common cold more or less remains in the cells lining your nose, but the flu and flu-like viruses can invade muscles, and even invade the lining of your heart. Such heart infections can be very serious, even deadly.
 
So how do you know the difference? If your symptoms are all from the neck up, sneezing, scratchy throat, mucus free cough, slight sinus headache-you more than likely just have a cold. In that case, go to the gym as usual, but take caution. Don’t work out with maximum intensity. If you feel okay after the first ten minutes of exercise, continue your regimen in a moderate fashion. If you don’t feel great, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you do continue to exercise, make sure you drink plenty of fluids so you don’t dehydrate.
 
About 200 separate viruses can cause the common cold. But certain flu viruses can also cause cold-like symptoms. So it’s sometimes hard to determine whether you’re suffering with more than just a cold. Here’s a tip. Draw an imaginary line across your neck, you already know cold symptoms are from the neck up, if you have any symptoms below that line, from the neck down-especially vomiting, diarrhea, fever, muscle aches, loss of appetite or a cough that produces mucus-you could be suffering with the flu and should avoid exercise, until the infection is gone.
 
As a genuine exercise enthusiast, it’s time for you to confront the issue of colds versus workouts. Draw that imaginary line, carefully check your symptoms, make a realistic assessment of your condition and make a decision accordingly and most importantly, don’t over do it! Remember nothing is impossible, even good health. Because all I want for you and your family is to seize the moment of each and every day.
 
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Water

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Your recommended daily intake of water is _______ ounces (one half of your ideal body weight).
 
Water is the forgotten nutrient. It is crucial to every function in the body; temperature regulation, circulation, metabolism, immune system and waste elimination.
 
Don’t drink water 15 minutes prior to eating. Give your stomach up to one hour after eating to digest your foods undiluted by water. Mealtime is not the time to take in large amounts of liquid. Skim milk is the only beverage that serves as an exception, as it becomes a semi-solid in the stomach.
 
Drinking enough water is the best treatment for fluid retention. When the body is not getting enough water, it perceives a threat to its survival and tries to hold on the every drop. The best way to overcome this problem is to give the body what it needs, plenty of water. Only then will stored water be released. Water suppresses the appetite naturally and helps the body metabolize stored fats. An overweight person needs more water than a person at their ideal/healthy weight.
 
Water helps aid the body in waste removal. During weight loss, the body has more waste to get rid of. All the metabolized fat must be shed. Adequate water intake helps to flush out the waste. The average person loses two cups of water daily through the respiratory process. An additional two cups are lost through perspiration, even when no strenuous activity is being performed. The intestines and kidneys combined lose another six cups daily. Therefore, taking into consideration that approximately four cups are provided by food metabolism and ten are lost through normal functions; a person needs to drink between six and eight cups of water daily to keep the functioning properly.
 
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Ways To Add Exercise

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Tease-so you say you don’t have time to exercise. Baloney!
 
I’m peter nielsen and i’ll tell you 3 easy ways to add exercise to you day-in peter’s princples.
 
Brian from ferndale emails asking how he can fit in exercise when his day is already too full.
 
It’s simple.
 
You won’t believe how much exercise time is in your day.
 
Here are 3 things you can do to help you get 30-60 minutes of exercise each day.
 
One-walk! When you go out to the supermarket, post office, even out to eat-park far away. Those extra steps add up.
 
Two-make the most of your “down time”. Do leg lifts 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.
 
Three-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 and you just added a half hour of exercise to your day-not to mention your house looks great!
 
Need some more housekeeping tips to help you stay fit? Go to petersprinciples.com and send me an email.
 
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Taking Your Workout Indoors

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
“What is the best machine for me to get rid of my belly?”  This is probably the most common question I get from clients and members of my health clubs.  You should see the looks on their faces when I point them to the cardio area.
 
It is important to know that we can’t spot reduce.  Meaning that doing crunches and other exercises for the abs will not burn fat around your waist.  However, you still need to do them for your health, performance and ultimately for when you get your body fat percentage low enough for them to shine.
 
There are three major components to fat loss.  Nutrition is paramount.  If you are not eating right, you will never get the best results from your hard work.  Resistance training is also extremely important.  This builds lean tissue, which in turn increases our metabolism.  To get lean, you have to burn more calories than you take in.  Which brings us to the area I want to focus on.  Cardio burns calories. It also helps to strengthen the most important muscle in the body…your heart.
 
I have written before about all the ways we can get cardio into our lifestyle.  You can ride a bike, go for a swim, paddle a kayak or go for a hike, just to name a few.  However, what do you do when the weather forces you inside?  Living in Michigan, I unfortunately have to prepare for extended stretches where I can’t get outside to workout.  Since I don’t want to hibernate for the Winter I do my cardio indoors.  At my health clubs, the most popular machine is the treadmill.  It makes sense.  Walking and jogging are a great way to burn a lot of calories.  The average adult will burn over 100 calories per mile.  Treadmills can allow you to go for miles at a time without taking up a lot of space.
 
My personal favorite is the elliptical.  It combines the best attributes of several pieces of equipment.  It has a gliding motion similar to cross country skiing, the circular motion of a bicycle and the stepping motion of a treadmill.  Combine all of this with the fact that it has almost zero impact.  Your feet never leave the pedals so there is no jarring on your joints.  Since there is no pounding from running, the elliptical allows you to work at a faster pace than you might when you walk or jog.
 
Now the next question might be “What is the best piece of cardio equipment?” Again, my answer may surprise you.  It’s the one you will use.  If you don’t like it, you won’t use it.  Go to you local Dunhams and try them out.  Find the one that’s right for you and make it a part of your regular routine.  Let’s make this your healthiest holiday season ever.
 
Cardio Guidelines:
 
3-5 days each week
30+ Minutes each day
70-80% of your max heart rate
To determine your max heart rate, subtract your age from 220.  Then use 70-80% of that number as you target HR.
 
Example:
45 year old
220 – 45 = 175
175 x .7 = 122
175 x .8 = 140
Target Range 122 – 140 beats per minute.
 
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Working Out While Sick

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Steve from West Bloomfield emails me wondering if he should workout when he has a cold?
 
That’s a great question Steve, one that I get asked all the time, especially at this time of year.  A recent study sponsored by the American College of Sports Medicine found exercising moderately while you have a cold does not affect the severity or duration of the symptoms.  But, previous studies found high intensity exercise such as weight lifting or high intensity aerobic exercise can have a negative impact on the immune system for a person with a cold.
 
So how do you determine if you’re too sick to exercise? If your symptoms are all from the neck up, sneezing, scratchy throat, mucus free cough, slight sinus headache-you more than likely just have a cold. In that case, go to the gym as usual, but take caution.  Don’t work out with maximum intensity.  If you feel okay after the first ten minutes of exercise, continue your regimen in a moderate fashion.  If you don’t feel great, it’s better to be safe than sorry-stop exercising! If you do continue to exercise, make sure you drink plenty of fluids so you don’t dehydrate.
 
When should you stay home?  “If you have an elevated temperature, a bad cough and/or the inability to function normally at work,” advises Dr. Dr. Adil Arabbo of Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital. You could have the flu. If you have any symptoms from the neck down-especially vomiting, diarrhea, fever, muscle aches, loss of appetite or a cough that produces mucus-stay home! Avoid exercise, until the infection is gone.
 
As a genuine exercise enthusiast, it’s time for you to confront the issue of colds versus workouts.  Carefully check your symptoms, make a realistic assessment of your condition and make a decision accordingly and most importantly, don’t over do it!  Remember nothing is impossible, even good health. Because all I want for you and your family is to seize the moment of each and every day.
 
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TREADMILLS AROUND THE WORLD

Yesterday I jogged through Central Park in New York. Today I’m going to the Grand Canyon. Tomorrow I’ll hit the trail at the Great Wall of China.
 
All from the comfort of my basement.
 
What, you say? Do I have nine gazillion frequent flyer miles? Do I own my own airline? Nothing that complicated. I’ve just got a VERY smart treadmill.
 
IFit LIVE
 
The Pro-Form treadmill uses a program called IFit Live, manufactured by Icon Fitness of Logan, Utah, and is the first exercise equipment to be connected directly to the Internet. That allows you to customize your route to anywhere in the world. Yesterday I programmed in Central Park. It’s a 3-mile course and as I’m plodding along I see the sites of Central Park on my laptop screen (I could just as well hook it up to my big screen television). When I hit a hill on the course, the machine automatically adjusts and programs that grade into my own course. I see the roads in Central Park, complete with taxis, pedestrians, and park scenery, just like I was there.
 
Icon Fitness has partnered with Google® Maps to provide courses literally anywhere in the world. And, it’s not just pre-programmed courses. It’s the middle of January, there’s two feet of snow on the ground, but you still want to run around the neighborhood? No problem. Just call up your address on the computer and then program in your route — whatever streets you want or don’t want to run. The course will then adjust your course accordingly, with appropriate inclines. Plus, you’ll see where you’re running.
 
An Evolution of Technology
 
Icon Fitness began experimenting with these interactive courses a decade ago. The first products included VHS tapes that showed a particular course, and then adjusted the treadmill program to match the geography. DVDs came later, but these products had only limited success because people found it cumbersome. Another problem was price. “Too many people didn’t want to pay $20 and then just have one course on a video,” says Icon.
 
The new technology has no such limits. If the area is on Google Maps, it can be a course for you. There are a number of pre-programmed courses, such as Central Park, Death Valley, Grand Canyon and other exotic locales, but the courses are really infinite. You can chart a course wherever you want to go in the world.
 
A Lot More than a Map
 
This treadmill offers a lot more than just map programming. Besides the usual tracking of calories, miles, incline and the like, the treadmill will also provide custom profiles for you, tracking your progress over any period you want. Training for a certain event? You can program the computer to get you ready and to monitor your progress.
 
The “world’s toughest trainer” — Jillian Michaels of Biggest Loser fame — is also part of the application. She will ‘coach’ you as you run. There are also programs to help you keep track of your diet.
 
The computer module is sold separately from the actual treadmill. It can also be installed on Icon Fitness elliptical, where the voice of Jillian Michaels and the diet and activity tracking are available.
 
Are you the competitive type? You can set the treadmill on ‘compete’ mode and go up against pre-programmed competitors. Or you can have a friend enter their data and then compete against them on any course you want.
 
And in keeping with the “high tech, high touch” environment, you can even receive motivating text messages and e-mails to spur you to improve your workouts. There’s also a music port for your iPod®.
 
Six inches of snow outside? Nothing on television? Why not run the beach at Waikiki? From your home, of course.
 
-Fitness Fanatic
 
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Managing Your Stress Levels

[Written byPeter Nielsen].
 
Stress levels have shot up  with 44 percent of people reporting that their level of stress has increased over the past five years. Finances, work and family concerns are considered leading causes of this rise, causing a wide range of health issues, from obesity and fatigue to indigestion and headaches.
 
Diet choices and fitness have been proven to have a huge effect on stress levels. Whether by providing a sense of well-being or increasing hormone level in the body that fight stress, working out and eating well provide you with tools to manage your response to the hurdles we face each day.  We can’t always avoid stress factors, but we can prevent stress from taking over our lives. Diet and exercise are the first big step!
 
Diet tips for a stressful day. Carb up. Carbohydrates produce serotonin, the chemical that controls the brains stress-management system that makes us feel calm and in control. Go for whole grains, start off the morning with a bowl of oatmeal! Eat your salmon.  Fatty fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.  The omega-3 acids in fatty fish have also been found to ease depression by improving neve cell communication. Other fish rich if omega3 fatty acids include tuna, sardines, halibut, herring, mackerel, and lake trout.
 
Go nuts! Nuts are an excellent source of B vitamins and healthy fatty acids which play an important role in a healthy diet and can help to reduce stress. Pistachios in particular have been found to have a role aid in reducing stress levels.
 
Take your C. Studies have found that high levels of vitamin C help ease stress levels.  Start by eating citrus fruits — oranges, grapefruits, and strawberries.
 
Relax with a cup of tea.  Drinking warm tea, particularly herbal teas like ginger or chamomile, have a soothing effect.
 
Don’t forget warm milk!  Warm milk has been used for generations as a sleeping aid. Rich in calcium and vitamin D, it helps to muscles relax and calm the mind.
 
Have a chocolate treat!  Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, and can lower the level of stress hormones. And it’s an wonderful indulgence!  Indulgence is a key word here, don’t overdo it!
 
Exercise increases your overall health, improves sense of well-being, and offers also has some serious support for stress control. It works in some very specific ways:
 
Work-outs increase the production of the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, endorphins. Each  exercise session results in up to 90 to 120 minutes of ‘relaxation response’ afterwards.
 
Physical activity improves blood flow to your brain, supporting brain health and improving your response to stressful situations.
 
Exercise improves your self-image and improves your mood, can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety.
 
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Joint Pain

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Joint pain can have a debilitating effect on your everyday life.  Whether it appears as a discomfort when touched, swelling or inflammation of an area, or limited  movement, there are several possible causes. Extended discomfort should be seen by a doctor.  If you already know what causes your joint pain, you may have a standard treatment you use.  The most common causes of joint pain are:
 

  • Injuries such as broken bones, sprains and strains can all cause pain in the affected joint which can bother you long after the injury has healed. Stress caused by overuse may lead to joint pain.  For instance, excessive force on the knee, overuse, or injury, may lead to degeneration of the cartilage beneath the kneecap, a condition that commonly causes joint pain in adolescents and young adults. Careful attention to safety when participating in sports or a fitness regimen is the best preventative measure against sports-related injuries that lead to joint pain.
  • Up to 22 million Americans have autoimmune disorders. Nearly 80% of them are women — many in their childbearing years, and the numbers are growing. Severe autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues in your body. Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive, inflammatory disease that attacks the joints, while lupus is a chronic disease that causes inflammation of the joints, kidneys, blood cells, skin, lungs and heart — both may cause severe joint pain. An anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce the discomfort and flare-ups caused by this disease.
  • Arthritis causes progressive, chronic joint pain. The most common form is osteoarthritis, which causes pain in the joints of the hips, knees, hands or spine. Septic arthritis is an infection that has spread from another location of the body to one joint, causing severe pain. Gout is a type of arthritis that causes severe attacks of pain in the joints–usually in the big toe. A heathy diet and exercise will help maintain joint health. 
  • Bursitis is characterized by swelling of fluid-filled sacs, called bursae, found between tendons and skin or bone. It can cause acute or chronic pain in the joints, especially with movement.

 
Autoimmune disease, arthritis, buristis and gout all have shown to be alleviated by anti-inflamatory diets.  Try colorful fruits and vegetables, such as berries, leafy greens and broccoli, for rich amounts of antioxidants to promote strong immune system function, and fiber and water, which support appetite control. Vitamin C, prevalent in bell peppers, citrus fruits and tomatoes, may enhance tissue repair and healing from bursitis. Additional sources of fiber and glucose — your body’s main dietary source of energy, include oatmeal, whole-grain breads, brown rice and legumes.  Although research is limited, switching from a meat-rich diet to a plant-based diet may improve symptoms of gout and rheumatoid arthritis. Cold-water fish, such as salmon, herring, halibut and mackerel; flaxseed; walnuts; and canola oil contain omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce inflammation.
 
Joint pain can seriously hamper your ability to enjoy all life has to offer, there are many options, eat healthy, stay active and see your doctor if the pain persists!
 
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