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Health And Fitness Tips
Health and Fitness Make the Difference Between Living Well and Living. Quality of life is what we all want. Good health helps us achieve a high quality of life. Fitness makes us want to live it every day.
Last Updated - 19th September 2005
Make it a daily challenge to find ways to move your body. Climb stairs if given a choice between that and escalators or elevators. Walk your dog; chase your kids; toss balls with friends, mow the lawn. Anything that moves your limbs is not only a fitness tool, it's a stress buster. Think 'move' in small increments of time. It doesn't have to be an hour in the gym or a 45-minute aerobic dance class or tai chi or kickboxing. But that's great when you're up to it. Meanwhile, move more.
Avoid the obvious such as fried foods, burgers and other fatty meats (i.e. pork, bacon, ham, salami, ribs and sausage). Dairy products such as cheese, cottage cheese, milk and cream should be eaten in low fat versions. Nuts and sandwich meats, mayonnaise, margarine, butter and sauces should be eaten in limited amounts. Most are available in lower fat versions such as substitute butter, fat free cheeses and mayonnaise.
The jury is definitely in on this verdict. Ever since 1960 when the Surgeon General announced that smoking was harmful to your health, Americans have been reducing their use of tobacco products that kill. Just recently, we've seen a surge in smoking in adolescents and teens. Could it be the Hollywood influence? It seems the stars in every movie of late smoke cigarettes. Beware. Warn your children of the false romance or 'tough guy' stance of Hollywood smokers.
Easier said than done, stress busters come in many forms. Some techniques recommended by experts are to think positive thoughts. Spend 30 minutes a day doing something you like. (i.e.,Soak in a hot tub; walk on the beach or in a park; read a good book; visit a friend; play with your dog; listen to soothing music; watch a funny movie. Get a massage, a facial or a haircut. Meditate. Count to ten before losing your temper or getting aggravated. Avoid difficult people when possible.
Protect Yourself from Pollution
If you can't live in a smog-free environment, at least avoid smoke-filled rooms, high traffic areas, breathing in highway fumes and exercising near busy thoroughfares. Exercise outside when the smog rating is low. Exercise indoors in air conditioning when air quality is good. Plant lots of shrubbery in your yard. It's a good pollution and dirt from the street deterrent. Thought for the day: 'Smoke gets in your eyes' and your mouth, and your nose and your lungs as do pollutants .hum the tune daily.
Floss Your Teeth
Recent studies make a direct connection between longevity and teeth flossing. Nobody knows exactly why. Perhaps it's because people who floss tend to be more health conscious than people who don't?
Avoid Excessive Drinking
While recent studies show a glass of wine or one drink a day (two for men) can help protect against heart disease, more than that can cause other health problems such as liver and kidney disease and cancer. Thought for the day: A jug of wine should last a long time.
Keep a Positive Mental Outlook
There's a definitive connection between living well and healthfully and having a cheerful outlook on life. Thought for the day: You can't be unhappy when you're smiling or singing.
Water Works for Weight Loss
Nothing quells the appetite like water, lots and lots of water. Start out with two quart bottles in the morning and carry one with you to work or wherever you go. If you like, divide the 64 ounces of water into eight (8-ounce) bottles or four pint (16-ounce) bottles to carry around with you all day. Freeze half of them the night before and they will last all day, even in a hot car. Keep some unfrozen so they will be ready to drink immediately.
Yes. You will have to make more frequent bathroom trips, but it is worth it. Drink your 64 ounces of water before dinner, if possible, so you're not up half the night going to the bathroom.
Water not only fills you up and lessens your appetite, it prevents those "hungry horrors" we all encounter when our blood sugar drops and we reach for cookies, candy, ice cream, fries or other high-calorie treats. Water also flushes out the system, rids the body of bloat and toxins and rosies up the complexion.
For a Total Workout, Include Body, Mind and Spirit
The best workout, according to top trainers and fitness experts, is one that includes the mind and spirit as well as the body. Consider some alternatives to your regular weight and cardio training. For a change of pace, try yoga, Pilates or tai chi, all of which engage your mind, body and spirit. Include these alternative mind/body disciplines on a regular basis. Add them to your workout regime and feel the difference.
Take Your Vitamin E Supplement Even if You Think You Don't Need it.
Recent research concludes that antioxidants such as vitamin E may indeed be protection against free radicals that contribute to diseases such as cancer and even arthritis. Exact RDA's are still in contention but it's safe to take 400 International Units daily.
Weight Training Tips
- To build strong, muscular calves, try the 'step up' exercise. Stand on a step or stairway on the balls of your feet, leaving the rest of your foot off. Use a wall to balance yourself so you don't fall. Rise onto your toes slowly as high as you can and hold for the count of three. Lower your heels below the step. Using your calf muscles, push up onto your toes again and lower. Repeat 10 to 12 times. Add another set as you get stronger.
- Proper breathing technique is extremely important during training. Breathing supplies oxygen to the muscle cells, which is essential for muscle contraction, and helps deliver energy and build the muscle. Make sure to exhale when you lift the weight and inhale when you lower it
- Set realistic training goals and track your workouts in a journal. If you bench-pressed 120 pounds on February 12 and 150 pounds on March 27, that's significant progress and you should be proud of yourself. When you can see where you have come from, you can really appreciate where you are now.
- Alcohol can add hundreds of calories to your daily intake, which can make the difference between weight loss, maintaining your current weight, or gaining weight. A single glass of beer or wine can contain at least 100 calories. Having a few drinks 3-4 nights a week could be adding 1,000 unforeseen calories to your diet. Alcohol also acts as an appetite stimulant, and can lead you to eat or crave foods that are not within with your weight-loss plan. If you are dieting or are simply having trouble getting rid of that last little bit of fat, keep your alcohol intake to a minimum.
- If you are looking for a slimmer waistline, avoid training your abs with heavy loads. You should shoot for a weight that you can achieve at least 15 repetitions per set. Between sets, keep your rests to 60 seconds or less. You can also use your own bodyweight as resistance. Make sure to concentrate on contracting your abs on each repetition.
- While bicep curls with free weights seem relatively easy to do, it's important to keep a straight back and unlocked knees (soft but not locked or bent.) These are two of the most common mistakes made while performing free-weight bicep curls.
- Consistency is the most important component in building strength. Training two or three times a week every week is far better than training with heavier weights whenever you get around to it.
- To pick a qualified personal trainer for weight training, be sure he or she is certified by any of the top three fitness organizations: the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the American Council on Exercise or the American College of Sports Medicine.
Stress Management Tips
- Pick one thing you have been putting off such as scheduling an appointment, running an errand, or returning a phone call, and do it immediately. Taking care of one nagging responsibility can be revitalizing and can improve your overall attitude.
- Spend 20 minutes a day doing something that is relaxing and not work related. Try taking a walk, stretching, reading a book, or doing yoga. These activities can help you keep your energy level up and feel better longer than eating a candy bar, drinking a soda, or eating a bag of chips.
- For every one hour of work, take a five minute break and stretch, walk, or meditate. With just a few minutes of relaxation (or doing something other than work), you'll increase your physical activity as well as productivity and feel better through out the day.
- Make today your focal point. You can't change yesterday, and you need not worry about tomorrow's challenges. Also, don't be concerned about what may never happen again.
- Manage your time more effectively. Make an achievable "to do" list, and set priorities. Break tasks into smaller-sized chunks. Delegate as much as you possibly can. Remember that tomorrow is another day-and come to terms with the fact that you may not get everything done today.
Daily Exercise Suggestions
- Walk 10 Minutes a Day and Increase Your Fitness Level Old thinking was to work out in a sweat-filled gym for hours a day. No pain, no gain. New studies show that even short bouts of activity can increase your fitness level, especially if you're new at working out.
- Whenever you have an errand, park your car as far away as you can handle and walk to the store. At the mall, park at the farthest end and walk the length of the mall. Use every opportunity to walk. At the end of the day, it all adds up to better fitness.
- Before you even get out of bed in the morning, do 10 stomach crunches while lying flat on your mattress. Increase daily by one until you get up to 100. Think you'll never get there? Try it. You may eventually have to set your clock to wake up 15 minutes earlier, a small price to pay for a flatter stomach.
Daily Health Task Lists
- Activity should be a daily occurrence. Walk, run or jump for a minimum total of 20 minutes a day.
- Protect your skin. Sun block should be applied on face, neck, arms and hands even in the dead of winter. It protects against climatic toxins too. Moisturize skin daily.
- Eat fruits, vegetables, grains, low-fat dairy products and small amounts of protein. Avoid sweets and other processed foods.
- Meditate or spend a minimum of five minutes daily in quiet time.
- Find your spiritual self. Discover what inspires you, raises your level of consciousness, motivates you, and satisfies your soul.
- Exercise your brain. Read, study, solve problems, and learn new skills. As does the body, the brain atrophies with lack of use.
- Hug somebody.
Tracking Your Fitness Levels
- In this high-tech world we live in, we sometimes forget the simple ways to do things. If youve already started a workout program and cant seem to see results, check the way your pants fit. Are they slightly loose around the waist, not as tight as they were? Sometimes clothes can show you results that the scale cannot. Weight variations are subtle. Strength-training exercises can sometimes produce a temporary weight gain in the beginning due to muscles retaining more fluid. After a week or so, it quickly readjusts and the excess fluid disappears.
- To get the most out of your workouts, you need to reach 80% of your heart rate training zone. There are three ways to measure your heart rate. Stop your exercise, hold your index finger to the pulse in your neck and count the beats per minute. The second way is to measure your pulse rate. The third is to use a high tech device called a Heart Rate Monitor. It consists of a chest strap and a wristwatch type band that automatically measures your beats. You can pre-set it to beep when you reach your desired training zone. If you dont want to bother with mathematical equations to figure your proper heart rate training zone, buy a Heart Rate Monitor. It may set you back upwards of $100 but it will guarantee to measure your heart rate. Most Sports Specialty stores have them. Bicycle shops usually carry them and they can be ordered through fitness catalogues and magazines.
- Incorporate circuit training into your fitness routine for a surefire way to reach the next level of endurance, strength and weight loss. Instead of spending 30-60 minutes doing aerobics and another 30-60 minutes doing strength training, combine the two for a more robust workout. Take the boredom out of your routine by spending five minutes on aerobics (standard machines such as treadmill, stair stepper, stair climber, bicycle, elliptical trainer, cross trainer) then alternate with five minutes of strength training (free weights, weight machines, rubber bands.)
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