Tag Archives: Fitness

Natural Ingredients That Stimulate Healthy Cell Formation

These days, when the word “cell” is mentioned, most of us are likely to think “phone.” While many of us may argue that cell phones are vital to our well being, there are other kinds of cells that are probably just a little more important. These are the cells in your body; the fundamental units of life form which all your organs and tissues are made.

Like most of our cell phones, the cells of the body are in constant communication with one another, responding to the signals they receive from your environment. If the cells cannot operate efficiently, tissues and organs can breakdown, resulting in a host of health conditions. In order to keep these cells functioning properly you need to keep yourself well nourished. Here are some healthy ingredients you need to ensure that these very important cells continue to serve you well.

whole grains

Whole Grain
Whole foods contain the fullest variety of nutrients, which makes whole grains one of the most complete food sources for healthy cell formation. The three main parts of the whole grain each serve a different purpose, and provide a different complement of vitamins and minerals. The protective bran guards the sprout from sun damage; the germ contains a high level of micronutrients from the vitamin E family, while the endosperm contains the lowest level of nutrients and serves mostly to provide calories for the sprout. While all three parts are used in whole grain food, refined products, such as white bread, use only the endosperm, or starch component of the grain.

Fats and Cell Formation
The fats you eat have a major influence on your cells. As a matter of fact, they become your cell membranes. Unsaturated fats, like the omega-3s in fish and nuts, are needed to give your cell membranes their shape and the ability to communicate with one another. While trans fatty acids, or saturated fats, also become part of your cells membrane, they are less able to respond to signals and can cause cell membranes to become brittle.

Cereals, vegetables, fruits, and grains also have fats to protect cell membrane from damage. These include tocopherals and are found in highest amounts in wheat germ oil, carotenoids, such as beta-carotene in carrots, vitamin C from citrus fruits, and lycopene in tomatoes.

eggs and meat

DNA
DNA is the part of your cell which stores your genetic information, and it is vital that you take steps to make sure its integrity is not compromised. When the structure of DNA breaks down, the body becomes not only unable to produce proteins for proper cell function, but it may cause mutations that lead to cancer. While fats are an integral part of protecting the DNA, it is also important to maintain adequate levels of protein, choline, inositol, carotenoids, and antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E.

Healthy DNA also requires an adequate intakes of vitamin B12 and folate, which are involved with repair and replication of DNA. Eggs, meat, fish and dairy are all rich in vitamin B12, while high levels of folate are found in eggs, grains, and green vegetables.

Organic Foods
Since agricultural chemicals are know to damage the function and structure if cells, organically grown foods are recommended to promote healthy cell formation. Studies show that pesticides can overstimulate enzymes which can be a cause of inflammation, and a contributing factor to psoriasis and atherosclerosis,
Organic foods can also minimize DNA degradation. Test tube studies show that agricultural chemicals can lead to genetic mutations leading to the development of cancer and have a negative effect on the production of energy.

Are you keeping your cells healthy? Let us know what you’re eating to keep your cells in tip top shape!

Work Out To Relieve Anxiety

Anxiety and excess weight have a lot in common. They are both dreaded first world problems, they are both unhealthy, and they are both difficult to avoid. While it sometimes appears that there is no escape from either, there is one more thing that the two have in common: an enemy. Although it is true that stress and obesity are formidable contenders, there is one thing that has been proven capable of taking down both of them in one fell swoop. What is this thing of which we speak? The Workout. Find out why working out may be your best ally in the constant battle to remain stress and fat-free.

Woman running

How does exercise help relieve anxiety?
Exercise releases feel-good brain chemicals, reduces immune system chemicals, and increases body temperature, all of which may have calming effects and have been shown to improve mood and boost confidence. Meeting exercise goals can make you feel better about yourself and looking better increases confidence in your appearance.

Exercise can also distract you from your worries and give you the chance to socialize with others. You may find friends at a gym, in an exercise class, or simply strolling the neighborhood. Physical activity is also a healthy coping activity, and a healthier alternative to dwelling on problems.

Physical Activity Vs. Structured Exercise
While the phrases physical activity and exercise are often used interchangeably, there is a slight difference between the two. Physical activity is defined as any activity that expends energy and contracts muscles, and can be applied to household work and leisurely activities. Exercise refers to a more structured repetitive plan done with the sole aim of improving fitness.

Although we generally think of lifting weights and running as ways to get in shape, less intense physical activities, such as walking or gardening are equally capable of improving your mood and helping to maintain physical health.

Family cycling

How to Get Started

Pinpoint What You Enjoy Doing
Pick out something you can envision yourself sticking with and try to make a plan that you’ll be likely to follow through with.

Set A Reasonable Goal
Find a plan that meets your abilities and schedule. While 30 minutes a day three to five days a week is the recommended amount, as little as 10 to 15 minutes of physical activity can be enough to make a difference. Also, keep in mind, more vigorous activities can improve your mood and meet your workout requirements in less time.

Avoid Thinking of It As A Chore
If you think of exercise as something in your life that you need to live up to, you’re likely to associate it with failure. Try instead to think of it as a therapy session to help you feel better.

Find Out What’s Stopping You
Try and think of what may be preventing you from working out. Do you feel self-conscious? If so, you may want to exercise at home. Maybe you would prefer to work with a partner. Find out what it is that’s causing you to hesitate and try to find an alternative.

Know Your Limits
Remember to pat yourself on the back every once in a while and forgive yourself for small slip-ups. Just because you miss a day, doesn’t mean you can’t get right back on the horse.

Does working out relieve your anxiety? Let us know you’re best workouts for helping to get through your day!

Staying Active Defends Against Aging

Vine vera Staying Active Defends Against Aging

Mick Jagger became a father again at the age of 70. While some spend their golden years in recliners in front of the TV, Jagger prances across stages and impregnates women half his age. If that isn’t proof positive that staying active keeps you young, I don’t know what is. Of course, while touring the world is not on the agenda for most of us who qualify for the senior discount at Souplantation, there are certain steps we can take to make sure we don’t resign ourselves to a fate of stagnation and inactivity. Here’s the low down of how staying active can defend against aging.

Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

Less Grumpiness
We have all heard the stereotypes about grumpy older people, and we certainly wouldn’t want to turn into one. A study in the Cognition and Emotion journal found that, when exposed to negative emotional stimuli, active people bounced back far more easily than sedentary ones. So stay active and stay positive!

Less Brain Fog
A study published in the journal PLOS One concluded aerobic activity can improve mental clarity, as well as mood. According to the study, it is not the amount of intensity or activity that makes the brain sharper, but the fitness of the lungs and heart. So you don’t have to commit yourself to a rigorous workout, just focus on keeping those organs pumping! Studies show that just you can cut risks of mental confusion in half by simply gardening or dancing.

Doctors have also found that aerobic exercise can improve the “executive function” of the brain, which is the cognitive ability controlling flexibility, attention, and working memory to help you focus and get through your day.

Woman stretching

Benefits of Resistance Training

Stronger Bones
Weak and brittle bones are one of the most common problems associated with aging. Studies show that just six months of resistance training can lead to significant increase in bone density, while one year can lead to even greater benefits. Researchers found increased levels of osteocalcin, a bone-building protein, in subjects who participated in resistance training for one year.

Liver Health
Your liver is detox central for your body. It sorts out toxins, cholesterol, and more. When fat builds up in the liver, it becomes less effective and toxins begin to attack other organs.

Israeli researchers found that resistance training 3 days a week can lower levels of fat and cholesterol in the liver of subjects. This means lower risk of disease and better overall bodily function.

How Much Exercise Should You Get?
Healthy adults should aim to get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. You can do it in exercise classes, but brisk walks can be just as effective. Include movements that work your major muscle groups twice a week and do a range of motion exercises 2 to 3 days per week to improve flexibility.

If 150 minutes sounds a bit overwhelming, do it in small chunks. A ten-minute walk or even cleaning the house for ten minutes can make a dent. The simple goal is to try and include a half hour of moderate exercise on most days.

Remember, we can’t all be “Stones,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t get “rolling.” Tell us what you do to stay active and stave off aging!

Ways To Exercise Your Body and Mind

Jenna can burn 300 calories per hour on the elliptical trainer and 530 calories per hour on the stair master at moderate intensity. If she works on the elliptical for 45 minutes and on the stair master for one and a half hours, how long will it take her to burn the calories in a Boston Cream Donut?

While most of us know that exercise is smart for our bodies, we don’t always think of the ways exercise benefits our mind. Maybe we don’t need to use the Pythagorean theorem to determine the distance between our bodies and the floor when we do a push-up, but it is important to acknowledge the positive effects that push-up may be having on our mental well-being. Here are some ways to do just that.

Brain-exercise link

The Brain-Exercise Link
John J. Ratey MD and associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School compares the effects of exercise to “taking a little Prozac or a little Ritalin at just the right moment,” adding, “(Exercise) affects mood, vitality, alertness, and feelings of well-being.”

In fact, MEd Stephen C. Putnam took up canoeing as a way to combat adult ADHD and wrote “Nature’s Ritalin for the Marathon Mind,” a book documenting the benefits of exercise on brain disorders. He cites one study involving children who ran around for 15 to 45 minutes before school and found them to exhibit calm behavior for two to four hours after the exercise, cutting unruly behavior by half.

How Does Exercise Train the Brian
According to Christin Anderson, MS, exercise effects places in the nervous system causing it to send out pleasure chemicals like dopamine and serotonin which leading to happiness and calmness. She says, “When one exercises, one can think more clearly, perform better, and raise morale. This is pure science-stimulate your nervous system and function at a higher level.”

Exercise and Depression
A study cited in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, tested 80 young female and male volunteers for mood and depression. The 52 that were found to be depressed before the exercise reported a decrease in fatigue, anger, and tension and an increase in vigor following the workout.

Another study done at Duke University compared the effects of exercise with antidepressant drugs. The study involved 150 people, 50 of whom had been diagnosed with depression. These people were divided into three groups, one of which was given the antidepressant, Zoloft, another of which were treated with exercise, and the third of which was given a combination of the two. Results found that while all three experienced short-term improvement, the exercise group relapsed at lower rates than the Zoloft and combination groups. in fact, scientists even felt that the Zoloft may have undermined the effects of the exercise, and the combination group may have faired better without the pill.

Exercise as a Brain Trainer
Do you want to try and use exercise to train your brain? If so, try doing low to moderate forms of exercise, as more intense exercise may have less immediate results. Ratey suggests 8 to 12 minutes of perspiration and heavy breathing activity per day for training the mind.

Anderson recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise such as swimming or walking three times a week. “Swim for 20 minutes in the morning, then walk at night,” she advises. “Right after hard, intense exercise, you may not be as acute. Overtraining can set off enzymes that can lead to fatigue, which is the enemy of alertness.” She also cites yoga as a way to improve mental acuity and meditation as an ideal complement to physical activity.

Are you feeling the mental burn? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Let us know how you keep your mind and body fit.

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!