090913 Tired of doing the same old same routine?

Tired of doing the same old same routine?

One of the nice things about being fit and healthy is the ability to do what you want to do when it comes to choosing a physical activity. Those who have included physical activity in their daily life have found that it has increased their breathing and heart rate during the exercise period thereby improving the health of their lungs, heart, and circulatory system. The combination of these three working together has increased their stamina for doing daily activities.

Not only does physical activity increase your ability to do daily activities easier it also helps improve your balance and coordination. And being able to move about without the fear of falling is one of the many results of being physically active.

However, if you have found yourself frequently missing a workout now more than in the past, perhaps it is time to take a break.

Taking a break does not mean ceasing all physical activity. It may mean changing up your exercise program in a dramatically different fashion. For example, if you are a hard-core runner and are experiencing ankle, knee, or hip problems you need a break from the constant pounding on your joints. One of the ways to maintain your cardio fitness and at the same time give a joint to break is by riding a bicycle or some other cardio piece of equipment. On the other hand, if you do not want to go to the gym then start walking.

Walking, as has been mentioned numerous times in the media, is an excellent way to increase your physical health. It is also much kinder to your joints than running. Walking, as can be expected, strengthens your leg muscles as well as improving your balance especially if you consistently walk over uneven terrain.

According to the Mayo Clinic “the more you walk, the better your balance will be, and the more practice you get at catching yourself when you trip or quickly change directions.” These are two good reasons to walk, particularly if you are older.

060913 Increase your diabetes protection by lifting weights – part two

Increase your diabetes protection by lifting weights – part two

If you are one who is overweight and/or physically inactive, before beginning any type of exercise program talk to your doctor first because this activity is going to challenge your heart. After you have talked to your doctor and mutually agree that physical exercise is going to benefit you, find a certified trainer to get you started in the right direction.

Certified trainer’s from the NSCA and ACSM know how to demonstrate and instruct you how to do the exercises correctly and have the professional expertise to correctly setup physical fitness programs, including strength training that will take into consideration your present physical fitness. It is easy to be injured and if you are older it is correspondingly harder to recover from an injury suffered in the weight room.

The Dr. Rimm ends by saying it is “not necessary to focus on the number of minutes of weight training to take on each week.” He says, “you don’t have to do 150 minutes a week, although that is a good target. Anything will help. In terms of the biology, building some muscle is better than none at all because that will lower your blood glucose levels. So modest amounts of weightlifting will help retain lean muscle mass.”

When lifting, begin your program exercising the large muscle groups rather than smaller ones such as your biceps. These large muscles burn more energy and make a larger contribution to increases in your lean muscle mass. Exercises such as the military press, pull downs, bench presses, barbell rows, squats and dead lifts will not only increase your strength levels but will also burn calories long after the session is over. Unlike aerobics, which quickly lose their calorie burning after effects within a short time span, resistance training continues to burn the calories substantially longer.

040913 Increase your diabetes protection by lifting weights-part one

Increase your diabetes protection by lifting weights

In a joint study conducted by Harvard and the University of Southern Denmark was found that men who lifted weights were able to significantly cut their risk of developing diabetes. Simply put, if you are unable to do aerobic exercise, then start hitting the gym and begin building up your lean muscle mass.

Our body relies on glucose, a basic fuel that originates from the starches and sugars we eat, to function. Once in our system, insulin transports glucose from your blood into the cells of your body. However, if the pancreas is not producing enough insulin or if your cells, for some reason, are ignoring the insulin you may develop type II diabetes.

The biggest a known risk factor of type II diabetes is being overweight. And being overweight, in the majority of cases, boils down to the deadly trio of too much food, too much drink and too little physical activity. For a long time we have known that aerobic activity uses up a lot of energy which in turn can be used to help weight loss and lower diabetes risk.

One study found that men doing 150 minutes a week of aerobics were able to reduce or diabetes risk by 52%. It would be no stretch to apply similar findings to women. Yet there are some who are unable to do aerobics and for them lifting weights may be the answer.

A new study found that men who strength trained 150 minutes a week realized a 34% risk reduction for diabetes even if they did no aerobics.

Dr. Eric Rimm, an associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard school of Public health, explains how lifting weights and building muscle mass works to reduce your risk of diabetes. “Your muscles use glucose. By creating more muscle that needs more glucose when you exercise, you reduce glucose levels remaining in the blood.” He goes on to say that by combining aerobic exercise with lifting, you are providing an even greater risk reduction of up to 59%.

020913 Pharmacological interventions, depression and your heart health

Pharmacological interventions, depression and your heart health

Pharmacological intervention may be necessary to prevent a heart attack and one of the simplest may be taking a dose aspirin a day. Before you do this discuss with your doctor the pros and cons of aspirin therapy.

Current research finds that an aspirin a day is effective at reducing heart attacks for men under 65 and reducing strokes for women. For women over 65, particularly for those with coronary risk factors, a low-dose daily aspirin could potentially prevent heart attacks and reduce their risk for strokes. For women who are under 65, they should consider an aspirin a day only if they are already at high risk for cardiovascular disease. This recommendation brings with it the caveat of some potential side effects of aspirin, notably bleeding in the gastrointestinal areas.

Even if you have successfully managed to change your habits and included all of these suggestions above you still may have high cholesterol. In that case, you may have to consider using statin drugs. Since these are prescription drugs, you will have to talk with your doctor about them.

Alcohol, self-medicated usage excluded, used in moderation of no more than one drink a day for a woman, may actually reduce the risk of having a heart attack. The definition of one drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80 proof liquor. However, alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer in women along with other cancers and some additional serious health risks. This does not mean that you can drink your way to better heart health because you can reduce your risk without drinking alcohol.

In the past, hormones such as estrogen and progestin were used because it was thought they prevented heart attacks. We now know otherwise. A study in 2002 resulting from the Women’s Health initiative that found that this type of hormone therapy actually increased the risk of heart attacks, along with stroke, blood clots, breast cancer in older women. Hormone replacement therapy is still used for women with severe hot flashes and other problems resulting from menopause however, these are normally at the lowest possible dosages and for the shortest time.

Depression and stress both have adverse effects on your heart health. You must do what you have to do if you are chronically depressed.

See your doctor, talk with a counselor; do not let it continue because it is not normal to feel miserable most of the time. The treatment of depression can be a successful and you will benefit from the success of your treatment.

If it is your job is demanding more of your life than you want to give to it, it may be time to move on, especially if you have little control and are consistently unhappy in doing it. Life is too short to be doing something you do not want to do. Find that passion and live a happier life.

One final thing you need to know is your family history. Notably so if your father or brother before they turned fifty-five or your mother or sister before they turned sixty-five had a heart attack since this increases your risk of having one too. Obviously, you won’t be able to change your pre-existing genetics, but knowing this is a part of your family history gives you a heads up and should cause you to start paying closer attention to your heart health.

It all boils down to keeping your cholesterol and blood sugar levels in the medically recommended ranges, exercising daily and watching over your diet to make sure you are eating cleanly each day.