Fit For The Holidays

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
Maintaining healthy habits during the busy holiday season is a challenge we should all accept! A study from the National Health Research Institutes in Zhunan, Taiwan confirmed that even short bursts of physical exertion as part of a fitness regimen can lengthen your lifespan by three years. A mere 15 minutes of daily exercise reduces death rates by 14 percent and each additional 15 minutes of activity cuts the rate by another four percent — for up to 100 minutes a day! This eight-year study was part of a medical screening program and included more than 400,000 people, aged 20 and above. Use these busy times to your health advantage, the health benefits are the best present you could give yourself and your loved ones.
• Don’t Skip Meals. Skipping meals is the road to disaster. Stay on your normal regimen and you’ll eat significantly less food — especially those dangerous holiday treats!
• Eat Healthy. If you are hungry, fill up on protein and veggies. Protein increases your metabolism by up to 20% and veggies take more calories to digest than what they contain. Protein and veggies are a dietary dynamic duo that will lessen your desire for cookies and egg nog!
• Limit Alcohol Consumption. Excess alcohol just contributes too much to fat gain.
• Drink Water. Make sure that your water intake is adequate. You’ll stay hydrated and water gives you a sense of fullness so you will eat less.
• Put the Holiday Treats Away. It’s easier to resist those treats when when you can’t see them. Bring the goodies out for company and away in the cupboard otherwise!
• Turn Off the TV. Take a walk around the neighborhood and enjoy the holiday decorations! Have a snowball fight with the kids!
The gift of health will last a lifetime!
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Belly Fat and Your Health

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
Awareness of the health risks brought on by belly fat — visceral fat that expands in deep into the abdomen among vital organs — has increased significantly since 2005 when only forty percent of Americans knew of the increased dangers posed by growing waistlines. Belly fat is a primary symptom for metabolic syndrome, a collection of risk factors that increase the risks of heart disease and stroke. Research shows that visceral (belly) fat breaks down into fatty acids which then moves quickly into the liver and into muscle. It increases the risks of type 2 diabetes and heart disease and raises the production of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol and triglycerides.
There are, of course, steps you can take to reduce that extra belly fat and reverse the effects it has on your health!
• Aerobics. Visceral fat reacts strongly to aerobic exercise. Get your heartrate up! A study published in the American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism found that participants who did aerobic exercise lost 20 times as much visceral fat as those who only lifted weights! Don’t drop that strength training though! A number of studies have linked greater muscle strength and muscle mass to lower rates of metabolic syndrome, because it increase the body’s resting metabolic rate.
• Eat you protein. Protein builds and preserves lean muscle tissue and uses a higher number of calories for digestion, which helps burn off that fat! Protein also helps ward off hunger, helping the battle against extra snacking.
• Watch Your Fats. Research from Uppsala University demonstrated that saturated fat builds more fat and less muscle than polyunsaturated fat. The study, published in the journal Diabetes, found that the fat composition of food we eat determines where the fat will be stored in our bodies. Saturated fat also negatively effects cholesterol levels in the blood and raises the risk of cardiovascular disease! Add nuts, seeds, and fish to your daily nutritional regimen!
• Sleep! Try to sleep eight hours per day. According to a 2010 Wake Forest University study, sleeping five hours or less each day increases visceral fat levels.
• Green Tea. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010 found that the moderate exercisers who consumed green tea were more likely to lose abdominal fat while exercising than those who didn’t — thanks to the antioxidants found in green tea called catechins.
Take these five steps to heart … you’ll look better, and you’ll be A LOT HEALTHIER!
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Changing with the Season

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
The cooler temperatures of late summer bring new opportunities and new challenges for expanding our fitness programs. The 5 to 10 mile bike ride that seemed so easy suddenly becomes an endurance trek when riding into the wind. Meanwhile, cooler weather energizes your runs, pushing you further. Soon children and many young adults will be returning to school and our professional lives shift into high gear. This period of changing seasons is a good time to let that excitement extend into our personal lives and workout regimens.
Exercise and nutrition, of course, are the keys to positive health outcomes. Try these tips to get started.
• Expand your aerobic regimen. Aerobic exercise reduces health risks, helps you lose or maintain weight and is great for the heart. Engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity per week — 11 or 22 minutes a day. Aerobic exercises include walking, running, cycling, swimming, aerobic classes, hiking, and stair climbing, among other things. Work up a sweat and get your heart pumping!
• Don’t forget weight training! Regular resistance training will maximize fat loss while boosting bone density. It improves posture, develops muscle tone, and even slows down the aging process!
• Stay active throughout the day. Walk a few extra blocks, take the stairs instead of the elevator, try dancing through your household chores! The calories you burn will really make a difference!
• Add some interval training to your aerobic routines! Start small. Warm up by walking at a moderately brisk rate for five minutes. After warming up, alternate walking briskly for four blocks with a block of power walking; repeat 6 times. You can apply the same method to biking or running. It’s a great way to challenge yourself, and you’ll see the results quickly!
• Drink at least eight glasses of water every day! The weather may be cooler, but your body still needs to be hydrated!
• Eat small meals throughout the day. Your appetite increases in cooler weather; eating smaller meals or snacks every two to three hours during the day will help suppress hunger and will help control your appetite and maintain a balanced blood sugar level throughout the day. Think a hand full of nuts, a piece of fruit or a salad!
• Eat healthy! Consume five helpings of vegetables and three fruit servings every day. Fruits and vegetables are nutrient rich with high water content and low fat and calories overhead. Fill up with fruits and vegetables and you won’t have room for the junk food! Choose healthy proteins and concentrate on using only healthy monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
• Keep a daily fitness journal. Taking note of the food you eat and your daily fitness regimen will help you make better fitness and nutrition choices.
Break your personal goals down into daily goals. Your long-term goal may be to lose 20 pounds, or run a marathon. Your daily goals could be to exercise for 20 minutes, drink 8 glasses of water and eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables or add a block onto your running regimen. If you don’t meet all the goals one day, pick it up again the next … daily goals give your results you can measure and will help you achieve your long term goals!
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