Tag Archives: Exercise

The Amazing Health Benefits of Water

Woman drinking more water
You may have noticed some pretty creative things being done with water lately. You may have seen pitchers of water on the counters of Trader Joe’s or Souplantation with cucumbers or strawberries floating in them. You may have seen ice cubes infused with black raspberries or kiwi slices. Maybe you’ve sucked on a water popsicle with a few frozen cherries inside, Tootsie Roll style. Let’s face it. Water is pretty great for us, but it can be kind of boring. Tom Ford, Lindsay Lohan and Jennifer Aniston agree, but they all drink it, and if they can do it, so can you. So whether you infuse it with fruit, fizz it up with bubbles, or down it straight, water is a crucial part of the human diet and here are some of the reasons.

1. It Helps to Balance Body Fluids
The human body is about 60% water. We use this water for saliva, digestion, absorption, maintenance of body temperature, circulation, the transportation of nutrients. When the fluids run low, your brain tells your body you’re thirsty, and when it does, you should listen. Get a drink of water, juice- as long as it’s not alcohol, you’ll be fine. Kaiser Permanents nephrologist , Steven Guest , MD, warns that “Alcohol interferes with brain and kidney communication and causes excess excretion of fluids which can lead to dehydration.”

2. Water Can Promote Weight Loss
Although pouring water through your system does not directly result in shedding pounds, it is a great substitution for higher calorie drinks, like soda and sugary fruit juice. You never have to check the sodium content on a water bottle.

As an added perk, food with high water content looks larger. Compare dry pasta to cooked, it puffs up like a balloon, and have you ever seen a prune in contrast with a plum? Water makes a big difference. Water- based foods also take longer to chew and help you feel full, perfect for those who like their portions generous.

Woman drinking water

3. Water Energizes Your Muscles
Imbalances in fluids and electrolytes can cause cells to shrivel up, causing muscle fatigue. To make sure you are getting enough water before and during exercise, look at the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines – which recommends the intake of 17 ounces of fluid two hours previous to physical activity with supplements at regular intervals.

4. Prevents Dehydration
Although water will not erase your wrinkles, dehydration can make them look worse, according to Atlanta dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD. “Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration. But once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids.” In other words, if you drink too much, you will only end up needing to run to the bathroom, so don’t overdo it.

5. Helps Your Kidneys
Blood urea nitrogen is the body’s main toxin. Guest says, “Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate.” If you take interest in your urination, you should know that free flowing, light colored, odorless urine is a sign that your body is getting enough fluids. Dehydration causes an increase in cold, odor and concentration of urine because the kidneys are working to trap fluids in order to maintain function. Chronic dehydration can cause kidney stones.

Maybe you still think its boring, but you have to agree, water does some pretty great things for us. Let us know how you jazz up for water or what you think of jazzing up water. You may provide some pretty good tips!

Improving Your After Work Routine

For a lot of American children, American sitcoms set the standards for what a normal life would look like. Take the Brady Bunch, for example. Now, the “Brady Bunch” parents were always busy, but they always had time for fun. After all, who would want to watch a TV show about a family that never has fun? Even while they were busy raising six kids and working, the Bradys still had time to go on vacation, talk about Marcia’s braces, put on plays, go on dates, take vacations, and have guests over. This is the stuff of the American Dream, in which every child would grow up and have a life with a healthy balance of work and fun.

Alas, for many of us, this is not the reality. We find our lives have become an endless series of going to work, coming home, eating on the couch in front of the TV and going to bed. Are you stuck in a rut? Looking forward to a day of fun that never seems to come? Well, there is an alternative. By making just a few changes to your after work routine, you can greatly improve your quality of life.

woman working from home 1. Compartmentalize Work
If your job is demanding, you may have to bring it home with you, but that doesn’t necessarily put the kibosh on everything else. Try to divide work into shifts, taking some breaks for family time. It might also help your productivity, sending you back to work with a new perspective.

2. Be Flexible
Schedules are important but they don’t have to be overly rigid. Time management expert Laura Vanderkam says, “People will say things like, ‘I can’t exercise in the evening because I have a family,’ but you could probably manage it one night a week.” Doing one activity does not necessarily cancel out any other. You can vary your after work activities each day.

3.Turn Off The TV
TV is great, but it really takes up a lot of time. I know you think you really need to see who gets booted off “Dancing with the Stars” every week so you can talk about it around the water cooler tomorrow, but you may find that you will find the trade-off is worth it when you realize how much more you can get done. You can always find out on the internet the next day.

4. Exercise
If you’re already super busy, why would you throw exercise into the mix? Because it is necessary for your health. Plan it in advance, consider scheduling it for after work. That way you will be less distracted at home.

family game night 5. Plan Fun Activities
Vanderkam says,” It sounds counterintuitive for a time-strapped family, but try having a goal of at least one enjoyable group activity so it’s not just a death march to dinner.” Try to keep in mind that sometimes the quality of time is more important than quantity. It could be a quick trip to the ice cream parlor or a night out. Start thinking of things you can do later on your commute from work,

6.Take Advantage Of The Internet
Online shopping is a definite advantage for the time-strapped. You also can sign up for regular deliveries and get online banking done.

7. Get Plenty Of Sleep
Vanderkam says, “Most people who say they get by on only 4 hours alight are probably lying. Successful people know they think better and make smarter decisions after getting enough sleep.”

We’re sure Mrs. Brady always got her 7-9 hours in. Make sure you do too.

Mid-Day Refreshers

The tradition of the siesta is common throughout Southern Europe and the Mediterranean.  It is derived form the Latin word “hora seta,”  or sixth hour, otherwise known as midday, or six hours after dawn.  It is a time in which businesses close down so workers and employers can take a snooze during the hottest hours of the day.  Einhard’s  “Life of Charlemagne” most charmingly refers to the emperor’s siestas as a time,”In summer, after his midday meal (when) he would eat some fruit, and take another drink; then he would remove his shoes and undress completely, just as he did at night, and rest for two or three hours.”  Sound good?  Well, good luck trying that in the middle of your office.

Apparently, the need to sleep starts growing as soon as you wake up. (Seems about right.) Harvard Professor of Sleep Medicine, (Did you know there was such a job?) Charles A.  Czeisler says, ” The circadian system is set up in a beautiful way the override the homeostatic need for sleep.”  However, sometimes there is a dip in the day when the need for sleep has built up and  the second wind has not yet kicked in, hence the mid-day  slump.  Maybe someday we will all have the luxury of a siesta, but until then, here are some suggestions to help get past it.

Woman drinking coffee

Sip Some Green Tea or Coffee
Green tea is a less caffeinated and alternative to coffee and is full of antioxidants, but if coffee is still the way you roll, it has its health benefits as well.

Exercise
Gets the blood flowing and definitely keeps you awake.  You are much likely to fall asleep in the middle of jumping jacks than you are with your head down on your desk.  If going to the gym is not time permitting, just do a few stretches or light aerobics at the desk.

Eat
Eating is always  a good way of restoring energy to your body.  If its not lunch time, keep a healthy snack handy at your desk.  String cheese, a handful of nuts, or a piece of fruit are all great options.  Jerky is  another high protein alternative that is easy to pack and keep fresh, but try to avoid brands with high levels of sodium.  Another tip?  Resist  sugar. It may perk you up in the short term, but you’ll be comatose on the drive home.

Woman listening to music

Chew Gum
Sugar free gum is a great way to keep your jaw moving and your teeth clean at the same time.  The rush of flavor is invigorating and it does involve some physical activity, plus all the cool kids chew gum!

Turn On Some Music
Have you ever seen “Risky Business?”  Have a Tom Cruise moment in the middle of the afternoon!  Just turn on whatever rocks you to life.  Headphones are recommended to avoid a midday office dance party, and try to keep your pants on.

Take A Nap
Sure, take a cue from our Mediterranean neighbors. If you can afford to, and your boss is liberal, go for a power nap in the middle of the day.  Try to keep it down to 20 minutes, an alarm clock with a snooze button may come in handy.

Brains, Bones & Brawn

Boxing

Why do so many people hate doing cardio?  It has been called monotonous; actor Stephen Moyer even said, “Cardiovascular is the devil.”  So what’s the deal with cardiovascular exercise?  If so many people hate doing it, why should we?  Maybe we should stick to toning.  Well, before you throw your Nikes in the trash, read this article.  Cardiovascular exercise is one of the most powerful ways of beating the clock and keeping your brain sharp.

Need proof? According to the Journals of Gerontology, a study was conducted in 2006 involving 59 participants between the ages of 60 and 79.  The group was split in half.  For six months, one-half of the group did cardiovascular exercise while the others did stretching and toning and guess what they found out?  The half that did the cardiovascular showed a significant increase in brain volume in both gray and white matter, while the half that did the toning and stretching showed no increase.  Shocking, isn’t it?  Although toning is not without its rewards, it was concluded from the study that cardiovascular exercise actually spares brain tissue and improves cognitive functioning.

Still not convinced? Physical therapist and fitness expert Maureen Hagan says, “Fitness is a youth serum.” U.S. guidelines suggest the average person get 150 minutes of cardio per week, but Hagan’s research suggests that 240 minutes is best for optimal heart health.

(Yeah, that’s 4 hrs. – sorry)  But, just think, aerobic exercise increases the mitochondrial function, associated with energy production, which can decrease with age.(No kidding!)

So, now that you have resigned yourself to the fact that cardio is necessary, you will need to pick your poison. According to Hagan, memorizing choreographed dance steps involves working your brain as well as your body. Consider kickboxing, dancing, or rumba for those.  And be sure to keep those arms and legs in motion.  Hagan says that crossing your legs and arms over the middle of your body actually increases communication between the right and left brain hemispheres and  prevents lapses in short term memory!

“But”, you say in a final attempt at denial, “I heard that high impact workouts can be harmful.”  Well, you are not wrong.  Cardio can be dangerous to muscles, ligaments and cartilage, whereas toning will  actually protect bones from impact and increase bone density, while reducing the risk of osteoporosis.  Toning will also preserve muscle mass as you age and improve flexibility, stability and balance and strong bones. An added bonus:  by  improving your balance, you reduce your risk of falling.  Imagine that: not only will you decrease your chance of falling, but you also increase your chance of coming out of the fall in one piece!  No wonder toning is also credited with building confidence! Good examples of toning exercises include dumbbell reps, squats and pilates.

In conclusion, to lose body fat, it takes three things : cardio, strength training, and a low-calorie diet. So, get that heart pumping and keep that back straight and keep those muscles toned, and, the next time you are running on your treadmill or doing those reps and wishing you were doing anything else but, just remember,  you are doing yourself a world of good, so keep it up and we salute you!

Vine Vera Reports: Exercise Can Keep Us Young – Vine Vera Reviews

Biking to stay in shape and stay youthful Aging has always been an extremely mysterious process and despite the wealth of scientific research, this mystery doesn’t show signs of getting solved in the near future. The research conducted around aging has shown that a number of cellular and body functions change in very undesirable ways as a person becomes older. Science hasn’t been able to determine whether these changes are due to the passage of time (which makes them inevitable) or due to a person’s lifestyle (which makes them mutable). Vine Vera Skincare reviewed a new study which determined that older people can physiologically resemble people much younger to them due to the effects that exercise has on aging.

The findings of this study also show that how a person ages is entirely up to the person and that the inevitability of physical decline might actually be incorrect. Most of the older people are known to be very sedentary nowadays and this ends up affecting their health, thereby making it difficult to separate the effects that sedentary lifestyles have on aging. This study was conducted by researchers working for the University of Birmingham, England and the King’s College London and published in The Journal of Physiology.

The researchers removed inactivity as a factor in this study and concentrated on studying the health of aged people who were actually quite active. According to the director of Centre of Human and Aerospace Physiological Science at King’s College London, Stephen Harridge, the researchers wanted to determine what happens to the functioning of the human body as the body ages in the best-case scenario. Thus, they recruited a total of 41 women and 85 men in the age group 55 to 79. All of these volunteers were serious recreational riders, but they were not competitive athletes.

To qualify for this study, the men had to complete 62 miles within 6.5 hours and the women had to complete 37 miles within 5.5 hours. The researchers also ran each volunteer through a number of cognitive and physical tests and determined the muscular mass, the endurance capacity, the metabolic health, memory function, pedaling power, muscular strength, memory function, reflexes and bone density for each volunteer. Moreover, each and every participant was also made to complete the Timed Up and Go test. To complete this test, they had to stand up from a chair without support, brisk walk for about 10 feet, walk all the way back to the chair and sit down. The results of the study were compared for each participant against the standard benchmarks and against each other.

As it turned out, the physical functioning of all cyclists remained to be stable across ages and that their performance was closer to people from a younger age bracket. The Timed Up and Go test results for most participants were also found to be exemplary. Most of the group required just 7 seconds to complete the task and even the oldest cyclists averaged just 5 seconds, which is considered to be within the norm for young adults. This study clearly goes on to indicate how important regular exercise is to ensure that you age properly and stay and mobile even in your old age.