Showing posts with label fitness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fitness. Show all posts

May 3, 2010

Health Top Of The Week: The Benefits Of Stretching

There are plenty of advantages to stretching - provided you do it right. Stretching keeps your muscles flexible and healthy, and helps keep your body young. It even helps prevent certain kinds of muscular degeneration.

One of the primary components of keeping fit is to keep your muscles flexible. It dispenses with stiffness - which is a major obstacle to fitness. Stretching helps limber up muscles and keeps them in peak working conditions. They help reap the benefits of exercise and workouts. But as mentioned earlier - stretching should be done right - or you could end up hurting your muscles.

Here are a few basic facts about stretching:

It's a common misconception that you need to stretch before you warm up. Start off your day with a walk. This would provide the initial much needed warm up. When you take the trouble to warm up - the blood rushes to the muscles - making them more amenable to stretches and exercises. Stretching cold muscles is likely to hurt.

Start off with gentle stretches. Don't stiffen your limbs - but stretch them easily. Don't hold your stretches or stretch for too long. If it hurts - stop at once - you could injure a muscle if you continue. Stretching is never supposed to hurt.

Muscles tend to stiffen immediately after a vigorous workout. A stretching session after your exercise will keep your muscles lithe and supple.

Ideally, stretching is about moving a muscle to its full range - and holding it there for about 10 seconds before you relax. This should be repeated about 10 times for each part of the body. Do this at least 3 -4 times a week.

Stretching can benefit your mind too. That's why a lot of yogic exercises use different kinds of stretching. Focus on the muscles you are stretching. Slow repetitive movements done with controlled breathing are a sure way to bust stress.

Stretch the advantage of good health - with a few stretches.

Here are some helpful stretching charts to get you started!

March 22, 2010

Health Tip Of The Week: Burn 100 Calories in 10 Minutes

So I promised last week that I would have a good workout for you next week. So here it is!

While many of us think we're too busy to exercise, experts are busy taking that little excuse out of the mix. We now know that short workouts (2 or 3 10-minute workouts throughout the day) can be just as effective as longer workouts.

The key is to focus on intensity and use your time wisely. The sample workouts below offer a variety of cardio and strength ideas to get the most out of your exercise time. Substitute exercises to fit your fitness level and don't forget to cool-down and stretch after each workout.

Your 10-Minute Cardio Blast

To get the most out of 10-minute cardio workouts, you want to focus on working harder than usual. The following workout offers some ideas for how you can work hard during the time you have.

· 1 minute - Brisk walk or march in place
· 1 minute - Light jog outside, around the house or in place
· 1 minute - Jumping jacks
· 1 minute - Long jumps - jump forward, landing with both feet
· 1 minute - Light jog
· 1 minute - Jumping jacks
· 1 minute - Squat and kick, alternating legs
· 1 minute - Light jog
· 1 minute - Long jumps
· 1 minute - Brisk walk to cool down

If you're feeling creative, make your own workout using some of the activities listed below. Each exercise will burn about 100 calories (depending on your weight, fitness level, and intensity) in 10 minutes:

· Running - 1 mile
· Jumping rope
· Stepping - 30 steps per minute, 7 inch step
· Cycling - 13 mph
· High-impact aerobics
· Running up stairs
· Circuit training
· Calisthenics - pushups, jumping jacks, plyometric jumps and kickboxing-type moves


Here's a workout you can do that's a little fun too!

March 15, 2010

Health Tip of the Week: How Many Calories should I Eat?

I found a great website with a calorie calculator on it.

“This calculator gives an approximation. If your goal is to lose weight by burning off excess body fat, aim to eat 500 fewer calories per day than your daily caloric needs, and maintain or increase your exercise activity. Do not go below 1200 calories per day unless on a medically supervised weight loss program or after consultation with your doctor.” – quote from the site

I also found this great website that gives you the calorie count for almost all the different food products on the market.

Here’s an example of a couple that I was sort of surprised about:

1 tbsp Salted Butter -100 calories
1 cup of Scrambled Eggs – 367 calories
2 Chips Ahoy! Cookies – 160 calories
A handful of Dill Pickle Flavored Potato Chips- 160 Calories

Check back next week for some great calorie burning exercises!

February 22, 2010

Health Tip Of The Week: Olive oil's health benefits

The greatest exponent of monounsaturated fat is olive oil. Olive oil is a natural juice which preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and properties of the olive fruit. Olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is - freshly pressed from the fruit.

The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the "good" cholesterol) levels. No other naturally produced oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated as olive oil -mainly oleic acid.

Olive oil's protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs. Consequently, it lowers the incidence of gallstone formation.

Olive Oil & Heart Disease
Studies have shown that people who consumed 25 milliliters (mL) - about 2 tablespoons - of virgin olive oil daily for 1 week showed less oxidation of LDL cholesterol and higher levels of antioxidant compounds, particularly phenols, in the blood.

But while all types of olive oil are sources of monounsaturated fat, EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil, from the first pressing of the olives, contains higher levels of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E and phenols, because it is less processed.

Olive oil is clearly one of the good oils, one of the healing fats. Most people do quite well with it since it does not upset the critical omega 6 to omega 3 ratio and most of the fatty acids in olive oil are actually an omega-9 oil which is monounsaturated.

Types of Olive Oils:
Extra virgin - considered the best, least processed, comprising the oil from the first pressing of the olives.

Virgin - from the second pressing.

Pure - undergoes some processing, such as filtering and refining.

Extra light - undergoes considerable processing and only retains a very mild olive flavour.

How to Care for your Olive Oil
Heat and light are the #1 enemy. Keep your olive oil in a cool, dark place, tightly sealed. Oxygen promotes rancidity.

Tip: For frying do not use olive oil (it turns rancid with the heat). As an alternative use butter or coconut oil.

Info found at: Healing Daily

January 25, 2010

Health Tip Of The Week: Good News Chocoholics!

The British Medical Journal reported in 1998 that dark chocolate consumption is linked to longer life. It has been shown to reduce blood pressure and bad cholesterol. It opens blood vessels and allows blood to circulate more freely, which is good for heart health.

Cocoa beans are high in antioxidants. Chocolate has more antioxidants than fruits, vegetables, tea, and wine. One study showed that people that ate 3 ounces of dark chocolate everyday for 3 weeks had lower blood sugar and increased insulin sensitivity.

Provided you do not have a weight problem, eating 1 to 3 ounces per day is good for you!

Eat only chocolate that has:

-Low sugar levels
-60% or higher cocoa content
-All organic ingredients
-No dairy content

January 18, 2010

Health Tip Of The Week: Benefits of Tea Part 2

With all the information on tea being so good for you here are some tips to figure out which teas are really the ones that carry the health benefits.

Tea: Black, Green, White or Oolong?
Green tea and white tea are the least processed tea. They are simply steamed quickly. Regardless of the processing method, black, green, white and oolong teas all contain polyphenols. In fact, tea ranks as high as or higher than many fruits and vegetables in the ORAC score, a score that measures antioxidant potential of plant-based foods.

What about Herbal Tea and Red Rooibos Tea?
Herbal tea is not derived from the leaves of the Camellia plant and so does not have the particular health-promoting properties. Indeed, most herbal teas in the market are NOT tea at all. They are only infusions made with herbs, flowers, roots, spices or other parts of some plants. The proper term for this type of beverage is "tisane."
The recently popular South African red Rooibos tea also falls within the herbal tea or tisane category. Red Rooibos tea is not really tea as it is not derived from the Camellia plant. No scientific evidence has yet shown the health benefits of red Rooibos tea.

Although tisane does not contain as any polyphenols, it does promote other various health qualities such as relaxation and calming effects.

Tea Caffeine content
According to the American Dietetic Association, a cup of tea contains an average of 40 mg of caffeine, compared to 85 mg as found in a cup of freshly brewed coffee.

What about Decaf Tea?
We do not know whether decaf teas have the same polyphenols, and thus the same health benefits. It is not yet known if removing caffeine also removes polyphenols in the decaffeinating process.

January 4, 2010

Health Tip Of The Week: How To Cure Dry Skin

Do you know that there are some harmful ingredients that can irritate and cause allergic reactions and actually make your dry skin worse? The fact is there are dangerous toxins amongst many makeup and skincare solutions.

For example there are parabens used that can prolong the shelf-life of a product. But unfortunately, paraben is a major cause of cancer in later years of your life.

There are many other bad ingredients in most skin care (just try and read the labels and see how many of them aren’t chemicals!) but instead of listing them all here are some options:

I would strongly recommend you opt only for natural ingredients such as those that come from plant roots, herbs, flowers, trees or seeds in them.

Some examples of the best pure, botanical oils include almond, camphor, lime, avocado, olive and juniper oil. Research has shown that these powerful plants extracts can help to make your skin become smoother, younger and fresh looking.

Some sites with good options:

Tips: If you want wanting to up the moisture in your skin but putting on lotions isn’t enough try taking a bath but put a bite of olive oil or almond oil in the water with you!

December 21, 2009

Health Tip Of The Week: Why We Eat the Wrong Foods

There are many causes for unhealthy eating habits. Some are biological and some are psychological. Here are the most common ones:

1. It's a habit to eat bad foods. Some people are raised on regional/ethnic cooking that isn't always healthy.

2. It's convenient to eat bad foods. Can you name any health-food-drive-through chain restaurants in Canada?

3. It's a vicious cycle. People fall into a cycle of eating sugar, and the cycle perpetuates itself. When you eat sugar, you get a sugar rush, but a few hours later your blood sugar level drops and you crave a sweet or starchy pick me-up.

4. Hormones make bad foods look good. The changes in hormone levels during pregnancy, PMS and menopause can cause women to crave sweets and chocolate.

5. It's comforting to eat bad foods. Excessive stress elevates cortisol, which leads to cravings and often what is called 'emotional eating.' When people are stressed, depressed, anxious, or just low in serotonin, norepinephrine or dopamine, they often reach for foods that pump up these feel-good chemicals. Too often, however, these foods are junk foods, processed foods, and foods high in sugar, making them unhealthy choices.

Taken from the book “Eat This And Live” by Dr. Colbert

December 11, 2009

Health Tip Of The Week: The Benefits Of Infrared Sauna

We had an infrared sauna when I lived at my mom’s and she still had a house. I was about 20lbs over weight, had bad skin, bad digestion and headaches. I went in the sauna, 4 times a week, for around 3 months and I lost the weight (along with swimming and eating better), my skin got better, and so did my digestion and the headaches went away completely!

Infrared saunas are different then steam sauna and have different health benifits. They aren't as common (yet) but if you can find one to use I would strongly suggest it!

Did you know that using an infrared sauna:

- Causes weight loss (without having to lift a finger)
- Helps treat cellulites
- Improves your immune system
- Improves your strength and vitality
- Helps cure several skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis and acne
- Strengthens the cardio-vascular system
- Helps control your blood pressure
Detoxifies your body
- Gives you more energy and relieves stress
- Helps treat burns and scars
- Relieves pain (joint pain, sore muscles, arthritis)
- Helps control your cholesterol level
- Helps treat bronchitis
- Helps treat hives (urticaria), gout, tissue damage, prostate hypertrophy

If you want to know more about these saunas go to

December 7, 2009

Health Tip Of The Week: What You Need To Know About Water

How Much Should I Drink?
Take your weight in pounds and divide it by 2. The result is how many ounces of water you should drink each day.

Dasani and Aquafina waters, two of the biggest brands in America are reprocessed tap water from cities around the country. One of Aquafina's sources is the Detroit River!!

Bottled? Tap? Filtered?
Water distillers are extremely effective at removing everything - unfortunately even good minerals - from water. The water is mineral free. A growing body of evidence suggests that completely mineral free water is worse for your body than water with dissolved minerals in it.
A distiller is halfway to your goal. You won't have anything bad in your water, but it can adversely affect your health in other ways.

Best Times to Drink Water? Here's a typical timetable for healthy water consumption:

8-16 oz before breakfast (it will help you know if you are really hungry because often you think you’re hungry when it’s either fatigue or thirst)

8-16oz before lunch and 8-16oz before supper.

This might not sound like a lot of water, or to some people who don’t drink water at all it might sound a lot of water to fit in one day!

Try having a little every 20 minutes. Keep of a mug of water at your desk and sip at it throughout the day. Know how much the cup holds and set yourself a goal; “I will have 5 mugs full during my word day”. I keep a mug of water and also a litre bottle at my desk so I don’t always have to get up to refill the mug (it might sounds silly but I know I won’t get in my goal if I don’t do it this way)

If you try this out for a few weeks (or better yet make it a permanent habit!) you`ll find you`ll have more energy, be more alert, eat less (because you`ll figure out what is true hungry and what is thirst) and you`ll probably even see your skin glow a little!

November 30, 2009

Health Tip Of The Week: Conquer Your Cravings

Here are a few practical tips to help curb unhealthy food cravings!

1. Never go anywhere without packing a healthy snack, like fruit or nuts.

2. Keep water with you at all times. Drinking water can often curb hunger pangs.

3. Think of a healthy alternative. Instead of ice cream, choose frozen yogurt, instead of chips and dip, choose baked chips and salsa. Any healthy change is a change in the right direction.

4. Control your portions. Take small amts at a time and go back only if you need to. (Even go so far as to take a smaller plate if you have to. It will make you feel like you are eating lots, and also keep you from taking too much)

5. Eat well balanced meals 3 times a day. Make sure they are high-fibre content meals. Fibre helps curb sugar cravings.
6. Distract yourself. Go for a walk, call a friend, etc.

November 23, 2009

Health Tip Of The Week: 20 Ways Sugar Can Ruin Your Health

Seeing as I am doing a series on baking it might seem a little odd that my health tip for this week would be one about sugar! BUT speaking from experience having too much sugar in your system can cause some serious problems! Now baking and snacks are all good and wonderful, but everything in moderation! So here are some things to think about before going overboard on the sugar...

In addition to throwing off the body's homeostasis, excess sugar may result in a number of other significant consequences. The following is a listing of some of sugar's metabolic consequences from a variety of medical journals and other scientific publications.

1) Excess sugar can suppress your immune system and impair your defences against infectious disease.

2) Excess sugar upsets the mineral relationships in your body: causes chromium and copper deficiencies and interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.

3) Excess sugar can cause can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline, hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children.

4) Excess sugar can produce a significant rise in total cholesterol, triglycerides and bad cholesterol and a decrease in good cholesterol.

5) Excess sugar causes a loss of tissue elasticity and function.

6) Sugar feeds cancer cells and has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, lung, gallbladder and stomach.

7) Sugar can increase fasting levels of glucose and can cause reactive hypoglycaemia.

8) Sugar can weaken eyesight.

9) Sugar can cause premature aging.

10) Excess sugar can cause your saliva to become acidic, tooth decay, and periodontal disease.

11) Sugar can cause autoimmune diseases such as: arthritis, asthma, multiple sclerosis.

12) Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections).

13) Excess sugar can cause gallstones.

14) Excess sugar can cause varicose veins.

15) Excess sugar can cause a decrease in your insulin sensitivity thereby causing an abnormally high insulin levels and eventually diabetes.

16) Sugar can lower your Vitamin E levels.

17) Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children.

18) Sugar can interfere with your absorption of protein.

19) Excess Sugar causes food allergies.

20) Sugar can contribute to eczema in children.

There was a total of 76 points on the negative effects of sugar!! That’s a lot of reasons to watch your sugar but I think the 20 I listed should be enough proof that we really should watch it with how much sugar we take in daily. A little goes a long way!