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Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

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 +300.8150 =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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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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