Friday, July 3, 2009

The Benefits Of Protein

1) IT BUILDS, MAINTAINS AND REPAIRS CELLS:- Protein is referred to as your body’s building blocks for good reason. As you grow your body needs protein to construct every single cell including your bones, your muscles, your skin, your vital organs and your blood vessels. When you are fully grown your body still needs protein to maintain all these cells and also to replace any cells that fall off such as hair, nails and skin. Protein is also required to repair any cells that become damaged. For example, if one of your blood vessels burst or one of your bones break protein is required to repair them.

2) IT IS USED TO PRODUCE IMPORTANT CHEMICALS:- Your body uses protein to produce a number of important chemicals. Antibodies are built using protein and are a key part of your immune system which helps your body fight disease. Enzymes are also constructed from protein and act as a catalyst for many important reactions in your body including digestion. Protein is also used to create hormones which act as chemical messengers in your body and stimulate a specific response from certain cells. 

3) IT REGULATES IMPORTANT BODILY PROCESSES:- Protein is not just used by your body to produce cells and chemicals. It also regulates certain important processes in your body. One example of this is fluid balance. Your body’s cells cannot move fluid directly. Instead they produce proteins which attract water. These proteins can then be sent out to areas where fluid needs to be absorbed allowing a fluid balance to be maintained throughout the body.

4) IT HELPS YOUR BLOOD CLOT:- Your body also uses protein to prevent your wounds from bleeding continuously. When your skin gets cut and starts to bleed your body responds by producing fibrin, a stringy protein that forms a clot. Once the fibrin has clotted your body then produces another protein, collagen which forms scar tissue and permanently heals the cut.

5) IT CAN ASSIST WITH WEIGHT LOSS:- Not only does protein perform all the important roles listed above but it can also be a great food choice for people who are trying to lose weight. First, it has a greater thermic effect than carbohydrates. This means that by eating protein you burn more calories during digestion and boost your metabolism. Secondly, studies suggest that protein can suppress your appetite. Although more research needs to be done into exactly why protein has this effect this study suggests that the amino acid leucine has a huge effect on appetite.

The Disadvantages of Consuming Too Much Protein

Although protein is a fantastic macronutrient that acts as the building blocks for your body, protein is is not without its faults. Consuming too much protein can cause a number of health problems. In this article I will be discussing some of the potential problems associated with overdosing on protein in greater detail.

1) IT CAN CAUSE DEHYDRATION:- According to this study increasing your protein intake can also increase levels of dehydration. The study looked at five endurance athletes who consumed low, moderate and high levels of protein over a period of four weeks. The findings revealed that as protein intake went up, hydration levels went down. Dehydration can put you at risk for a number of health problems and heat related illnesses.

2) IT CAN INCREASE FAT STORAGE:- One of the common misconceptions surrounding protein is that you can eat as much as you like and you will not get fat. However, the simple truth is that if you eat too many calories (whether they be carbohydrate calories, protein calories or fat calories) any excess will be stored as body fat. Increasing your protein intake and reducing your carbohydrate intake whilst staying within the limits of your daily metabolism can stimulate fat burning in your body. However, increasing your overall caloric intake by eating more protein will ultimately lead to fat storage.
3) IT CAN CAUSE DIABETIC KETOACIDOSIS:- Eating high levels of protein and low levels of carbohydrates causes your body to enter a state of ketosis. This is a state where there is no glucose available in your blood in your blood to use for energy. Since there is no glucose available your liver starts to convert body fat into fatty acids and ketones which can then be used for energy. Whilst this is a popular fat loss method it can also be dangerous for diabetic people. Ketones are acidic and can therefore cause a number of problems including nausea, vomiting and even death. In non-diabetic people blood ketone levels are controlled by insulin. However, diabetic people struggle to produce adequate levels of insulin and ketosis can quickly turn into ketoacidosis, a state where the level of ketones in your blood is extremely high. This then leads to the problems discussed above.

4) IT CAN LEAD TO KIDNEY STONES:- Studies suggest that high protein diets (particularly those high in meat protein) may be partially to blame for kidney stones. The reason for this is that when you consume protein it is broken down into acids including uric acid. This then increases the overall acidity of your blood. Your responds by releasing the alkaline substance calcium phosphate from the bones into the bloodstream. Ultimately, this can then lead to an increase in urine levels of both uric acid and calcium. These substances may then form into insoluble crystals (kidney stones) which are excreted in the urine.

5) IT CAN CAUSE OSTEOPOROSIS:- As I mentioned above eating high levels of protein can ultimately cause your body to release calcium phosphate from the bones. A lack of calcium in the bones can then lead to a condition called osteoporosis where your bone density becomes reduced. Osteoporosis causes your bones to bend, break and fracture much more easily than someone without the condition.

10 Ways to Stick to Your Exercise Program

1. Know your goals.
2. Work out on the same days and same times each week.
3. Think about past exercise routines that didn’t work. Use this experience to hep you make necessary adjustments in your new routine.
4. Anticipate setbacks.
5. Don’t measure success with weight scales. As you burn fat, you also build muscle.
6. Make changes. It is advantageous to every once in a while set a new exercise routine.
7. Make it fun.
8. Pay attention to the food you eat. Have a realistic and healthy diet and stick to it.
9. Run or walk as much as you can and make this part of your exercise routine.
10. Distract yourself. Listen to your mp3 player, read, or do other things to keep your mind occupied.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fitness Tips - 10 Exercise Myths

Although some old fitness fictions, such as "no pain, no gain" and "spot reducing" are fading fast, plenty of popular exercise misconceptions still exist. Here are some of the most common myths as well as the not-so-common facts based on current exercise research. 

1. You Will Burn More Fat If You Exercise Longer at a Lower Intensity. The most important focus in exercise and fat weight control is not the percentage of exercise energy coming from fat but the total energy cost, or how many calories are burned during the activity. The faster you walk, step or run, for example, the more calories you use per minute. However, high-intensity exercise is difficult to sustain if you are just beginning or returning to exercise, so you may not exercise very long at this level. It is safer, and more practical, to start out at a lower intensity and work your way up gradually. 

2. If Youre Not Going to Work Out Hard and Often, Exercise Is a Waste of Time. This kind of thinking keeps a lot of people from maintaining or even starting an exercise program. Research continues to show that any exercise is better than none. For example, regular walking or gardening for as little as an hour a week has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. 

3. Yoga Is a Completely Gentle and Safe Exercise. Yoga is an excellent form of exercise, but some styles are quite rigorous and demanding both physically and mentally. As with any form of exercise, qualified, careful instruction is necessary for a safe, effective workout. 

4. If You Exercise Long and Hard Enough, You Will Always Get the Results You Want. In reality, genetics plays an important role in how people respond to exercise. Studies have shown a wide variation in how different exercisers respond to the same training program. Your development of strength, speed and endurance may be very different from that of other people you know. 

5. Exercise Is One Sure Way to Lose All the Weight You Desire. As with all responses to exercise, weight gain or loss is impacted by many factors, including dietary intake and genetics. All individuals will not lose the same amount of weight on the same exercise program. It is possible to be active and overweight. However, although exercise alone cannot guarantee your ideal weight, regular physical activity is one of the most important factors for successful long-term weight management. 

6. If You Want to Lose Weight, Stay Away From Strength Training Because You Will Bulk Up. Most exercise experts believe that cardiovascular exercise and strength training are both valuable for maintaining a healthy weight. Strength training helps maintain muscle mass and decrease body fat percentage. 

7. Water Fitness Programs Are Primarily for Older People or Exercisers With Injuries. Recent research has shown that water fitness programs can be highly challenging and effective for both improving fitness and losing weight. Even top athletes integrate water fitness workouts into their training programs. 

8. The Health and Fitness Benefits of Mind-Body Exercise Like Tai Chi and Yoga Are Questionable. In fact, research showing the benefits of these exercises continues to grow. Tai chi, for example, has been shown to help treat low-back pain and fibromyalgia. Improved flexibility, balance, coordination, posture, strength and stress management are just some of the potential results of mind-body exercise. 

9. Overweight People Are Unlikely to Benefit Much From Exercise. Studies show that obese people who participate in regular exercise programs have a lower risk of all-cause mortality than sedentary individuals, regardless of weight. Both men and women of all sizes and fitness levels can improve their health with modest increases in activity. 

10. Home Workouts Are Fine, But Going to a Gym Is the Best Way to Get Fit. Research has shown that some people find it easier to stick to a home-based fitness program. In spite of all the hype on trendy exercise programs and facilities, the "best" program for you is the one you will participate in consistently.

Benefits Of Exercise (2)


Exercise burns calories and can help individuals fight obesity. If caloric intake remains constant, regular workouts lead to weight loss. Be forewarned, however, that the pounds won't melt off magically. It takes 35 miles of walking or jogging to consume the calories in one pound of fat. Effective weight loss means a long-term commitment to a regular program of vigorous exercise. One recent study indicated that for obese patients, a few daily sessions for as short as 10 minutes each was effective in helping the patients adhere to an exercise program. Abdominal crunches may help replace abdominal fat with muscle. To perform this exercise, the individual lies on the back with the head and shoulders raised; he or she contracts the stomach muscles, curling the torso slightly forward. Abdominal fat is a particular danger to the heart, although it is unknown whether doing crunches will specifically protect against heart disease. Swimming is less effective than walking or cycling in reducing body fat, but overall regular aerobic exercise is a good way to shed pounds. Contrary to popular belief, exercise does not increase appetite in people who want to lose weight; oddly enough, however, exercise improves appetite in people who are already lean. 
People should be warned that without dieting, weight loss may be minimal with exercise alone, because dense muscle mass replaces fat as the body gets more fit. Nonetheless, a fit body will look more toned and be healthier. 


Aerobic exercise is linked with improved mental vigor, including reaction time, acuity, and math skills. Exercising may even enhance creativity and imagination. According to one study, older people who are physically fit respond to mental challenges just as quickly as unfit young adults. (Stretching and weight training appear to have no such effects.) Both aerobic and nonaerobic workouts have been shown to reduce depression. According to one study, exercise was as effective for improving mood in people with clinical depression as some common forms of psychotherapy. Either brief periods of intense training or prolonged aerobic workouts can raise levels of important chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine, that produce feelings of pleasure, causing the so-called runner's high. One study found that teenagers who were active in sports have a much better sense of well being than their sedentary peers; the more vigorously they exercised, the better was their emotional health. In one study, regular brisk walking cut in half the incidence of sleep disturbances in people who suffer from them. It should be noted that exercise in the evening, however, can cause sleep disturbances. Rhythmic aerobic and yoga exercises may be particularly helpful for combating stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness.

Benefits Of Exercise (1)


Exercise, even after age 50, can add healthy and active years to one's life. Studies continue to show that it is never too late to start exercising and that even small improvements in physical fitness can significantly lower the risk of death. Simply walking regularly can prolong life in the elderly. Moderately fit people, even if they smoke or have high blood pressure, have a lower mortality rate than the least fit. Resistance training is important for the elderly, because it is the only form of exercise that can slow and even reverse the decline in muscle mass, bone density, and strength. Adding workouts that focus on speed and agility may be even more protective for older people. Flexibility exercises help reduce the stiffness and loss of balance that accompanies aging. 

CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH(Heart Disease and Stroke) 

General Guidelines. Inactivity is one of the four major risk factors for heart disease, on par with smoking, unhealthy cholesterol, and even high blood pressure. Like all muscles, the heart becomes stronger and larger as a result of exercise so it can pump more blood through the body with every beat. Exercise does not increase the maximum heart rate, but a fit heart can pump more blood at this maximum level and can sustain it longer with less strain. The resting heart rate of those who exercise is also slower, because less effort is needed to pump blood. For preventing heart disease frequency of exercises may be more important than duration. Exercise even helps reverse some of the effects of smoking. Children should be especially encouraged to exercise every day to prevent heart disease later in life. 

Effect on Coronary Artery Disease and Cholesterol Levels. People who maintain an active lifestyle have a 45% lower risk of developing coronary heart disease than do sedentary people. A recent study reported that moderate dietary changes improve cholesterol levels and so lower the risk for coronary artery disease only when an aerobic exercise program is also followed. Regular aerobic exercises -- brisk walking, jogging, swimming, biking, aerobic dance, and racquet sports -- are the best forms of exercise for lowering LDL and raising HDL cholesterol levels. It may take up to a year of sustained exercise for HDL levels to show significant improvement. Burning at least 250 calories a day (the equivalent of about 45 minutes of brisk walking or 25 minutes of jogging) seems to confer the greatest protection against coronary artery disease. Even moderate exercise, however, reduces the risk of heart attack, but in terms of raising HDL levels, more is better. Resistance (weight) training offers a complementary benefit by reducing LDL levels. Triglycerides, which rise after a high-fat meal, can be lowered either with a single, prolonged (about 90 minutes) aerobic session or by several shorter sessions during the day. One study indicates, however, that short-bursts of exercise actually increase LDL oxidation -- the process that makes LDL dangerous to the heart -- so individuals should always aim for a consistency in their exercise program. Before engaging in any strenuous exercise, it is advisable to consult a physician. 

High Blood Pressure. Studies indicate that regular exercise helps keep arteries elastic, even in older people, which in turn keeps blood flowing and blood pressure low. Sedentary people have a 35% greater risk of developing hypertension than athletes do. No person with high blood pressure should start an exercise program without consulting a physician. Studies have shown that high-intensity exercise may not lower blood pressure as effectively as moderate intensity exercise. In one study, for example, moderate exercise (jogging two miles a day) controlled hypertension so well that more than half the patients who had been taking drugs for high blood pressure were able to discontinue their medication. Studies have indicated that T'ai Chi, an ancient Chinese exercise involving slow, relaxing movements may lower blood pressure almost as well as moderate-intensity aerobic exercises. Before exercising, people with hypertension should avoid caffeinated beverages, which increase heart rate, the workload of the heart, and blood pressure during physical activity. 

Stroke. The benefits of exercise on stroke are uncertain. According to one analysis, a group of 11,000 men, men who burned between 2,000 and 3,000 calories a week (about an hour of brisk walking five days a week) cut their risk of stroke in half. Groups who burned between 1,000 and 2,000 calories or more than 3,000 calories per week also gained some protection against stroke but to a lesser degree. In the same study, exercise that involved recreation was more protective than exercise routines consisting simply of walking or climbing. 

Heart Failure. Traditionally, heart failure patients have been discouraged from exercising. Now, exercise is proving to be helpful for many of these patients and, when performed under medical supervision, does not pose a risk for a heart attack. In one study, patients between the ages of 61 and 91 increased their oxygen consumption by 20% after six months by engaging in supervised treadmill and stationary bicycle exercises. Performing daily hand grip exercises may improve blood flow through the arteries of patients with heart failure.

Finding the Right Athletic Shoes

When it comes to shoes for exercise, the choices are overwhelming. But the bottom-line is simple: Shoes should fit well and feel comfortable. The right shoes offer both support and flexibility where you need it. And, they protect your bones, joints, and muscles--from the toes to the top, keeping your feet in healthy positions and absorbing shock. 

Walking shoes? Running shoes? Sports shoes? What's the difference? Walking shoes are the most rigid and durable. But even for walking, many people prefer running shoes. That's no problem. Running shoes provide plenty of cushioning, which can feel good to walkers. In fact, if you have high arches in your feet, running shoes may even be better because of their extra flexibility in the front (toe) half of the shoe. 

More tips for runners: If you have low arches, look for hefty arch support and a fairly straight cut along the inside edge of the sole. If you have high arches, look for tame arch support and greater curve along the inside edge. 

Specialty shoes are designed according to the way your feet move. Running shoes are geared for heel-to-toe movement. Shoes designed for tennis and related sports offer maximum support from side-to-side. If you engage in a variety of athletic activities, you may be looking for a pair of cross-training or general purpose athletic shoes. 

Regardless of your sport, some general guidelines apply to all shoe shopping: 
1. Shop for shoes in the afternoon, when your feet are at maximum size. (They swell during the day). 
2. Wear the socks you normally wear with athletic shoes to assure the right fit. 
3. Try on both shoes. Most people's feet vary a bit in size from each other, so you should be sure the shoes fit your largest foot comfortably. 
4. Check for space at the end of your longest toe. There should be enough to let you move without pinching. Some experts recommend the length of a thumbnail. 
5. If you're a woman and your feet are wide, try men's shoes. These are usually cut wider. To find a size for starters, start with your own size, and subtract two. 
6. Move around in the shoes, and insist that they feel like a perfect fit right away. If they don't, keep looking. 
7. Use the "feel" test for any high-tech gimmicks. Some may help. Some may be hype. Your feet will know! 
8. Don't shop by price alone, but do look for materials that breathe and good workmanship. 

When should you replace shoes? Even if they feel OK, they may be losing their ability to cushion and support your feet after prolonged use. Rules of thumb: Replace running shoes after 500 miles, walking shoes after 1,000 miles, and aerobics shoes after about a year of regular use. 

Choose shoes that feel terrific, and replace them regularly. If you do this, you'll be able to call your shoe-savvy one of your best athletic "feets"!