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Category Archives: Fitness

Physical Activity and Cholesterol Level

So what is physical activity? It is defined as participation in any form of regular exercise or sports for at least 30 minutes per day on most days of the week. It is broadly agreed that regular exercise reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and may slow the progression of established coronary artery disease. Regular and vigorous exercise can increase the metabolic demand of the body. This causes favorable alterations in the levels of LDL (low-density lipoproteins) cholesterol, HDL (high-density lipoproteins) cholesterol, and triglycerides. As such, exercise is always recommended to people with hypercholesterolemia, other lipid abnormalities, and in cardiovascular rehabilitation.

Study showed that exercise ability could be a more powerful predictor of mortality among men than other established risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Men with higher exercise ability during treadmill exercise testing confer more favorable improvement in survival rate. Other studies also reported that less fit or less active people could improve their survival rate if they could increase their level of fitness or physical activity. As such, physical activity can be considered as an integral part of a healthy lifestyle to reduce cardiovascular mortality and morbidity.

High blood cholesterol level has been considered as a risk factor for heart disease. The National Heart, Lungs and Blood Institute of USA recognize the casual association between high serum cholesterol levels and the incidence and severity of coronary artery disease. Many evidences have shown that reduction in cholesterol level could lead to a significant risk reduction in the prevention of coronary artery disease. For example, a 1 percent reduction in total cholesterol level can yield 2 to 3 percent reduction in the risk of coronary artery disease.

As demonstrated in many studies, physical activity and exercise training can effectively alter lipid metabolism. As a result of this, significant lowering of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels with increase in HDL cholesterol levels can be observed.

Physical activity improves our well being both physically and physiologically. Safe and convenient physical activities keep our weight under control, improve blood cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. In short, physical activity helps us to live a longer and healthier life.

 

Tips to Improve Your Health

It is very important for a person to assess his or her physical health. You can see the external problems but you should also know your body from within. If you have some external problem you always go to the doctor to have it checked. But at times when you do not feel good from within and find no symptoms of ill health you do not make an effort to go for a check up. It is here when we create problems for us.

Whenever you feel weak or low visit your doctor. You could be facing some health problems which could be tackled easily rather than delaying and making it worse. Your body starts showing symptoms if it is unwell. The symptom could be physical as well as emotional. Never ignore the symptoms your body gives such as falling of the hair, often feeling weak and lethargic and getting irritated fast. These could be indications of serious problems.

Give time to yourself and improve healthcare. There are different ways of improving your health and it only requires a little of your time. You have to learn to be cautious towards your health.

How to improve health?

It is not very difficult. You have to see to what you are eating. Are you eating healthy food or only junk food? Do you take juices, fruits and vegetables in your diet? Is your diet balanced with all the vitamins, minerals and proteins? These are the questions you should often ask yourself and include that food which you do not have at all. You should avoid any kind of deficiency. At times you avoid certain food out of lack of interest and as a result facing health problems.

Overeating is also a factor responsible for an unhealthy body. Obesity is one of the main problems today. To avoid obesity you have to have a controlled diet. Avoid too much of fatty food. Again include juices in your diet. Vegetables juices give you a lot of energy as and at the same time they contain fewer calories. You should include fruits and vegetables in your food.

Exercises are a good way of health care. Exercises keep you physically fit and active. The muscles are strengthened when you exercise and there is proper circulation of blood. You could do any type of exercise such as aerobics, yoga exercise or just do some basic exercises. They not only keep you physically fit but also relieve you from stress.

To improve your health it is very important to improve your lifestyle. What you eat? How you eat? When do you eat? How much do you sleep? These questions tell you much about your lifestyle. When people do not eat healthy, that is they take too much of fatty food, they skip meals, do not have proper timings to eat, do not take much of vegetables and fruits and they do not take proper sleep then we can say that their way of lifestyle is unhealthy. They are the people who often face health problems.

So for a healthy living eat well, sleep well and exercise well.

 

Effective Thigh Exercises

Here’s an example of one of the most effective thigh exercises that you can do. I’m sure you have done some variation of lunges before. There’s probably about 20 different versions that you can try and they all kick butt!

One of the best variations of lunges are walking lunges (and a couple ways to do these slightly different to change the emphasis). Instead of standing lunges where you either lunge forward or lunge backward for 1 step and come back, with walking lunges you keep traveling forward on each step for anywhere from 10-30 steps, and then you turn around and come back that same distance.

A couple ways to improve on these and get better results over time is to increase your distance each time or start carrying dumbbells to increase the resistance. Walking lunges done right are a real thigh-burner!

Here’s a couple tips to keep in mind when performing walking lunges:

1) Step far enough forward so that your front shin stays approximately vertical and your front thigh is approximately parallel to the floor at the bottom of the lunge.

2) Your leg behind you while lunging should have a bend in the knee at the bottom but your knee should come just short of touching the floor. Try not to touch the back knee to the ground during walking lunges.

3) Pause for a second at the top of each step before you lunge forward again for your next step.

Ok, now that you’ve mastered the basic walking lunge, let me give you a couple ideas for lunge variations that change the emphasis a little bit for working the outer thighs, inner thighs, and buttocks in a slightly different manner.

One variety is to step at an angle outward on each forward step. A second variation is to step at a slight angle inward on each forward step. The inward stepping version of the walking lunge is also called a cross-over lunge, and it really stretches out the buttocks and hips.

Go ahead and give these lunge variations a try and I guarantee that you will be firming up those thighs in no time. Whatever you do, just please say no to the fancy thigh machines and inner thigh squeezers, and use these more effective bodyweight exercises and free weight exercises, and you’ll be much better off for it.

 

Child’s Fitness and Exercise

One of the benefits of fitness and exercise, as any physician will tell you, it that fitness and exercise help control blood sugar. A diabetic who takes medication daily may find that less medication is needed with a regular fitness and exercise program. Many diabetics who stay with fitness and exercise programs find that they are able to quit the medication and get their diabetes under control in a totally natural way.

Triglycerides

Triglycerides are also too high for many people in the western world. High triglycerides are linked to heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes. A great natural way to reduce your level of triglycerides is to simply begin and stick with a fitness and exercise program, while eating a sensible diet. Triglycerides at too high a level are also linked to high blood sugar, and it is common for diabetics to have high triglyceride levels. Therefore, in this case fitness and exercise can take care of two potential health risks at the same time.

Contributory Factors

Being over weight has become a way of life for far too many people and there have been many investigations into what has caused it:

– Sedentary lifestyles.
– Working in front of computers.
– Watching too much television.
– Diets high in fat and carbohydrates.
– All shown to be contributory factors.

But whatever the root causes, taking part in fitness and exercise programme is a significant part of the cure for the problem. Engaging in physical activity, increasing the heart rate, and just getting active can help a person loose weight, control triglyceride levels and reduce the problems caused by diabetes.

Exercise and fitness cannot be ignored and must become an habitual part peoples lifestyles.

Parents should monitor and restrict time spent by children using computer games or watching television. They must encourage children to engage in fitness and exercise the way children in past generations have, playing games like baseball, basketball and jump rope. Leading by example and taking part themselves. It really does not matter if you are any good, it is more important to enjoy doing it and having that all important quality time with your kids. Doing it regular helps it become a habit and also maximises the benefits.

Children who learn the benefits of fitness and exercise at an early age are more likely to continue the habit into adulthood. They will lead healthier lifestyles and tend to live longer, healthier and obviously happier lives.

 

Are You Exercise Junkies?

A true exercise junkie is someone who is addicted to exercise, whether it is to attain the perfect body or because they are hooked on the high they get from the endorphins that the body produces when exercising.

To be a junkie is to have your life taken over.

Moderation in all respects.

Try telling that to an exercise maniac. It’s like telling someone they’re an alcoholic. They won’t believe you or at least they won’t admit to being addicted.

How do you recognize someone who has let keeping fit take them over?

It becomes an all-embracing compulsion. The true junkie will eat, sleep and breathe exercise and if he or she recognizes that they have a problem the chances are that they are likely to be a member of several gyms, in order to try and hide their obsession.

They have to feel in control of their lives and bodies and of course strenuous exercise drives all the usual daily worries out of the mind.

Self-esteem and body image play a great part in this particular neurosis. Young girls can easily become hooked in order to compete with their peers. Parents or sports coaches often unwittingly encourage children by pushing their offspring into bigger and better achievements.

However if a young girl has an addictive personality or suffers from low self esteem becoming an exercise junkie could be a preferable alternative to becoming anorexic or bulimic

Often a food and an exercise addiction are combined. Watching every calorie you consume can be as much of an obsession as constantly measuring your biceps.

As the exercise junkie continues to grow into adulthood the daily round of trips to the gym or sports hall can take its toll on normal everyday relationships, jobs and finally health can be adversely affected.

It’s not unusual to find fitness fanatics with strained muscles, torn tendons, stress fractures all due to over exercising. And when they miss their exercise sessions they suffer depression because they are missing out on their fitness and endorphin hit

How to avoid becoming a junkie

Ask yourself these questions

Do I exercise every day? Do I belong to more than one gym? Has anyone told me that I’m looking gaunt and thin? Do my muscles ache a lot? Do I feel I’ve let myself down if I miss a workout? Do I prefer to go to the gym rather than go out with my friends? Have I hidden exercise machines in my basement?

If you answer truthfully you should easily be able to tell whether or not you have a problem

Just remember you will never be truly happy unless you adopt a rounded lifestyle and put things into perspective. Never let one thing dominate your life to the exclusion of all else. If you do you’re on the downward slope to addiction.

 

Anytime Anywhere Exercises

Circuit Training At Home

Circuit training involves doing a mix of aerobic, resistance and flexibility exercises in quick succession to work the various muscle groups. It helps to improve your muscles and stretches them after about of exercise. There are modified exercises we can do at home.

For cardiovascular benefits, you can try vacuuming, or dancing in invigorating music. Or you can stimulate a boxing match by wrapping towels around your fists, and punching into a pillow held up by a partner.

For strength training or resistance exercises, fill up your water bottle with water or sand and do some bicep or tricep curls while watching television. Or, you can sit down and clamp a pillow between your ankles, lifting it up and down. This exercise is good for abdominal training.

To stretch your muscles, lie down in front of television, if you cannot miss the program you watch, with one leg straight and the other leg bent. Draw the knee of the bent leg close to your chest with the help of a towel wrapped around the calves. This is good for stretching your hamstrings.

Commuting to Work and at Home

Learn to activate your abdominals through sit-ups and crunches, so when you are on the trains or buses, you can lightly contract your abdominal muscles. The correct way is the reflex action of tightening your midsection when someone is about to punch you in the stomach.

Working with Computer

When you are working on the computer, twist your trunk to the sides slowly for eight to ten times. This movement increases mobility in your oblique, or side abdominal muscles.

Driving

When driving, keep the shoulder relaxed and at the same time, do deep abdominal breathing. With each exhalation, contract the abdominal muscles. This exercise prevents tight shoulders and a stiff neck.

If you force yourself doing something you don’t enjoy, you will probably end up not doing it again. So pick up those exercises you feel fun or easy and start doing them.

 

Home Exercise

At home, you can train at your own time. You are unaffected by the timings of your gym or your trainer. This is an excellent solution for stay-at-home moms, individuals who work from home, and individuals with an erratic work schedule. It’s nice not to have to pay for a gym membership.

Personally, I enjoy exercising at home, because that’s how I started. It’s fun and convenient. I have a treadmill that faces a large TV, some dumbbells and a never-say-die attitude. That’s all it takes. With the number of tools available today, it is simple to set up a gym atmosphere in the comforts of your own home. I train most of my clients in their own home. To get results at home, you need self-motivation and discipline, since you are going to be on your own. It’s not as hard as you think and can be enjoyable and beneficial. When you are committed mentally to pursue a leaner, energized and dynamic fitness level, changes happen much faster.

There are some reasons that home exercise can fail. It’s likely your hectic schedule or a long commute discourages you from exercise. Sometimes, an individual can get intimidated by the social atmosphere of a health club. After all, if a club is a place where people flirt more and exercise less, you might find yourself less inclined to go! It could also be crowded, and many people do not like waiting in line for the equipment. With home exercise, there is not waiting period. Despite the popularity of health clubs, many individuals are now exercising at home. In fact, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported a study conducted by Stanford University. The study said exercising at home is just as beneficial as working out at a health club. Interestingly, the study also found people who trained at home were more likely to stick with their program than those who exercised at a club.

The advantages of working out at home include convenience, cost effectiveness and control over the atmosphere and timing. You don’t have to wait in line for any equipment, and can pace yourself. There is no fear of embarrassment, or feeling of incompetence On the other hand, there may be some minor drawbacks to home exercise. Working out in solitude may affect your long-term compliance, it’s easy to get distracted, bored or lackluster in your efforts. If you follow the same routine for each and every workout, chances are you will give up at some point. The body adjusts to an exercise routine very quickly. It’s important to change up your routine every 3-4 weeks. If you don’t know what you are doing, you may get injured.

Strength Training Exercises At Home For The Upper Body and Abdominals.

For best results, warm up for 10-15 minutes with light aerobic exercise (walking, cycling, jogging). Deep breathing and stretching for 3-5 minutes before you begin strength training helps the muscles relax and rejuvenate.

The following exercises do not require any equipment, other than a pair of dumbbells. This is a unique method that I have developed on my own, and it has helped thousands of clients get results.

Push-ups, seated rows, triceps dips, shoulder raises, overhead shoulder presses, lateral shoulder raises, biceps curls, regular abdominal crunches. reverse abdominal crunches, standing trunk twists.

 

Jump Rope Workout

When starting an exercise program, it’s important that you work your way into it. If you have been doing aerobic exercise for some time, you’ll be able to “jump” into a fitness jump rope workout easily. Once you’re comfortable with the motion, you can increase your speed and incorporate different jumps.

For those new to aerobic exercise or for those resuming an exercise program after some time off, it’s very important to take it slow as your body adjusts. In addition, because jump roping is a high impact exercise, meaning that both feet leave the ground simultaneously, there is a greater risk of injury.

Even if you were a star jump roper as a child, chances are you may need to practice jumping as an adult. Go easy on yourself as you become accustomed to the movement. Even basic jumping requires a high level of coordination.

As you become accustomed to the movement, you can increase the length of time you exercise, the speed at which you jump, and the types of moves you incorporate into your routine.

Warm Up

For both experienced and new exercisers, it is vital to warm up before beginning a fitness jump rope workout. Warming up slowly raises your heart rate gradually, allowing your muscles time to adjust to the increased workload placed on them.

A good warm up for jump roping could be walking briskly for a few minutes, stepping in place, light bouncing on one’s feet, and eventually slow jumping as you start your workout.

Once your muscles are warm and loose, consider stretching the primary muscles involved. This includes your legs, calves, shoulders, wrists, and ankles. Ease into jumping slowly.

Add Variety

As you become used to the movement and to exercise, your fitness jump rope workout will become easier. This is a signal that it is time to make some changes. Just as your mind needs variety to stay engaged, so too does your body. When an exercise program becomes too routine, your body adjusts and the workout is no longer as effective.

There are a number of ways that you can change a jump rope fitness workout to ensure that you continue to challenge yourself and improve your cardiovascular health.

One way is to learn new jumping styles. Crossing your arms in front, or spinning the rope to alternating sides of your body are just two ways you can mix up the style. Consult a jump-rope book for new techniques.

Alternately, see if there’s a jump rope club in your area. You can learn new techniques and meet people with similar interests, which is also a great motivator.

Vary your speed. As your cardiovascular health improves, you’ll be able to jump faster for longer periods. Keep in mind that this can also increase your chances of injury. One method to help offset this risk is to incorporate interval training.

With interval training, you alternate between easy, moderate, or difficult levels of jumping. You can do this by changing your speed from slower to faster. Interval training has shown to be very effective, and because you’re not going full-steam throughout the entire workout, your chances of injury are less.

 

Why Exercise Programs Fail?

Jumping in with both feet – Jumping into a fitness program with both feet is very common. Many times people get all ho-hum with their goals and exercise program and have a do-or-die attitude. Granted, it’s a good attitude to have, but it can also be a legacy.

Begin your program slowly by taking small successful steps each day, week, and month rather than just diving into the program and hitting rock bottom suddenly. You must have elbow room to ensure success. The body does respond to small amounts of exercise and those who begin by doing too much too quickly end up on the sidelines due to burnout.

Carrying all your eggs in one basket – All too often, many people begin their fitness endeavors by cutting calories, adding endless hours of cardio, and popping weight loss supplements left and right. Your body adapts very quickly and if you use all your resources at one time, you won’t have anything to fall back on when you hit a stalling point.

Begin lowering calories slowly and adding cardio slowly. Keep harmony and balance. After a few weeks you can incorporate the supplement of your choice to help give the body a boost.

Not knowing where to begin – Not knowing where to begin is not uncommon. Many people don’t have a starting point or know how to create one. Establishing a starting point is crucial and can be a significant factor in your success.

A quality starting point should include your current body status (weight and body fat percentage). This will allow you to determine your caloric base and macro nutrient intake. In addition to your stats, you need to make a fitness plan to include resistance training and cardio to build lean muscle and decrease body fat.

Not following the fitness plan – Many create wonderful fitness programs, yet fail to follow it properly. This can be anything from not doing it at all or simply doing too much. Most of the time my focus is on those not following it, but in this case I want to tap on those who do follow it, but in excess.

If you create a plan of weight training four days a week for 45 to 60 minutes and cardio for four days a week for 30 minutes for the first week and cardio 40 minutes the second week, then do that. Don’t overstate your cardio before it’s time. More is not better. It’s how you implement it.

Improper nutrition – You can exercise until you are blue in the face and you won’t see desired results until your nutrition is in order. Many venturing onto a fitness program choose poor quality food rather than whole food that nourishes the body.

For continual success in your fitness endeavors, set short and long-term goals, pace yourself, create a fitness program and follow it as prescribed. Staying consistent on your program will ensure success.

 

Why Exercise On The Cardiovascular System is Important?

Doing exercise has more importance than just to lose weight; it also keeps your cardiovascular system healthy. The cardiovascular system consists of the veins, arteries, capillaries and the heart.

Exercise helps to improve your blood circulation because when you exercise the heart pumps the blood to the outer limbs for example the hands and feet. Exercise also helps to oxygenate your blood and so carry a good supply oxygen to your organs in your body.

It also helps strengthen your heart, because the heart is a muscle just like your triceps and biceps, although it never tires, and as you exercise the heart gets stronger. The fitter you are the less your heart has to work because your blood vessels will work better, as exercise will help the blood vessel linings to be more flexible.

The fitter you are the lower your blood pressure will be as a stronger heart can beat slower but still pump large volumes of blood around the body. On the other hand a weak heart needs to work harder to do the same work.

Your resting heart rate is also lower if you are fitter because the heart does not need to pump so often, it is found that athletes can have a very low resting heart rate.

One simple way to improve your cardiovascular system is by walking, although you do need to walk briskly because if you only walk slowly than there will be no benefit for you. Walking briskly just twenty minutes per day can help to achieve fitness and for an added benefit if you walk and tense your stomach muscles, it will help strengthen those muscles as well. It is quite a good idea to incorporate into your walk a hill or so, it does not have to be that steep to get the benefit, but it will get your heart pumping.

If you do not like the idea of walking than you could try some other form of exercise such as cycling, jump on a mini trampoline or swimming.

It does not really matter what you do as long as you do something, you need to get your heart pumping and the only way you can do that is to do some sort of exercise. Your body will be thankful that you have and your benefit will be that you have a stronger cardiovascular system.