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"!

Morning Exercise

To be healthy, exercise must become part of your overall daily lifestyle and starting the morning with exercise is the best habit of all. 

The key is getting exercise whenever you can, whether it's morning, afternoon, or evening, but by starting your morning with physical activity, you set the day's pace. You get your exercise in before other distractions can intrude. 

When you exercise early in the morning, it jump starts your metabolism and keeps it elevated for hours, sometimes up to 24 hours! That means you're burning more calories all day long just because you exercised in the morning! 

When you exercise in the morning, you'll find that because of the increased intake of oxygen and circulation of blood in your body, you'll stay energized for the whole day. It will automatically put you in a healthy frame of mind. Whatever other things you may have on your schedule, you will notice that you will be eager and energetic to handle them. 

Research has proven that people who exercise in the mornings tend to be the ones most consistent in their fitness regimes and diets.

Training Tips for Couples

So your lady wants to start going to the gym—and she wants you to show her what to do. It's the moment you've been waiting for. This is your chance to spend time together—in your element (rather than at the mall). It's your opportunity to flaunt your vast knowledge of weight training, and help her look even hotter! To keep you from screwing it up, we've developed a checklist for leading her through the weight room from Day One. 

1. Forget your own training. 
"If you're trying to show off by demonstrating how much you can lift, you're going to have problems," says Rachel Cosgrove, a strength and conditioning coach and co-owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, Calif. "She wants you to pay attention to her." This means concentrating on moves that she can do and enjoy (unless you want a dumbbell dropped on your foot). 

2. Say the right things. 
Feed her compliments—and try to ensure that she processes them as such. "Don't say, 'Wow, your arms are getting so big,' or, 'You're looking really buff!'" says Cosgrove. "If a woman hears that, she might never come back with you to the gym." Instead, reinforce her work by telling her that her arms are really "toned," or that her legs are "defined."

3. Know what she wants. 
Her goals are to burn calories and fat, and get more "shapely." So take it easy on the isolation exercises, use lighter weights and higher reps, and keep her moving. "Women are multitaskers," says Cosgrove. "They want combination exercises, compound movements, and circuit sets." In terms of body parts, she's concerned with her legs, glutes, and—most of all—abs. "As much as guys love the bench press, that's how much women love ab work," says Joe Stankowski, a trainer of pageant contestants in Wilmington, Del. So grab a Swiss ball and crunch! 

4. Disguise the workout. 
Women often fear weights, so hide weight training in moves like medicine-ball squats and med-ball overhead presses. You can also use those colored, plastic kettlebells for figure eights and swings. And here are always cable moves like wood chops. She will find these exercises more fun and less intimidating, and she won't feel like she's turning into the Incredible Hulkette. 

5. Think outside the gym. 
Stankowski has his female clients drag weighted sleds and flip tractor tires. "They love it, because it's so different that it's interesting," he says. "And it gives them confidence because they feel like they're doing something no other woman is doing." 

6. Play the metabolism card. 
"Girls tend to gravitate toward inner-thigh machines, leg extensions, and other machines and exercises that aren't so useful, " says Brian Grasso, a strength coach in Chicago. Rather, women should be doing squats and deadlifts because they involve a great deal of muscle recruitment, "which leads to a more aesthetically pleasing physique and increases their metabolic rate significantly," says Grasso. Tactfully point out these facts to leverage your girlfriend away from the inefficient machines and toward the free-weight movements. As much as she dislikes iron, she hates cellulite even more. 

7. Challenge her.
See who can do the most jump squats in a minute. Or who can lift the most proportionally, says Grasso, who regularly works out with his ex-figure-skater girlfriend. Start with Romanian deadlifts at 50% of your body weight and work your way up. The winner is the one who can lift the higher percentage. Grasso says battles like this push him, because he hates losing to a girl. "If you have a competitive girl and work body percentage into a friendly dare, you're both going to see massive gains."

Steps For a Successful Workout at Home

There are countless potential disruptions and obstacles between you and regular workout at home, including the tv, your kids, chores around the house and disruptive phone calls. That said, if you keep these 5 essential strategies in mind and insist that your loved ones cooperate it can be done.

1. Schedule your workout time. Being consistent is a great way to protect you from distractions. This tells others that this time is is to be protected. Make sure you alert everyone to this time and make sure it's not broken. Accept no phone calls, answer emails or plan social activities during this time unless, of course, there is an emergency.

2. Drop a heap of money on equipment as a motivational strategy. If money is your motivation, maybe investing in expensive home gym equipment could put you over the top.

3. Buddy up in the battle of the bulge. Having someone counting on you might be all it takes to sustain your commitment to a workout at home. This person might also be able to split some of the costs on home gym equipment.

4. Make it interesting. Just because you love running today that doesn't guarantee you will later on. If you want to keep your body and your mind interested both of which could get bored with monotony, make sure you are prepared to do at least two to three different at home workouts every week.

5. Try all there is before you commit to a regime. Not liking your workout at home regime is a surefire way to stop your workout plans dead in their tracks. Consider getting a trial membership to a local gym and try out every piece of equipment and exercise they offer before you buy a piece of equipment that will become a coat rack or injure yourself and vow never to exercise again. It likely will cost you little to nothing and you'll even have the opportunity to speak with if not work with one of their personal trainers This homework can help you make sure your success when you strike out on your own.

Exercises That Help Lose Body Fat

Looking for ways to help lose body fat? Does the thought of exercise fill you with dread? I have great news for you! I have done the research and come up with the very best exercises to do to help you lose body fat effectively without tears.

The following exercises will not only benefit you by providing a way to help lose body fat but they will also help to improve your lifestyle by changing your mindset when it comes to exercise. What do I mean? Well, when you think of exercise what comes to mind? Perhaps, you think of sweaty, wet clothes and loss of breath or maybe endless repetitions of painful actions come to mind. This does not have to be the case.

Exercise should be something that is pleasant and looked forward to. How can we achieve this? The following exercises will help to open your mind to what exercise really is.

1. Walking! Take a daily walk. It doesn't have to be 5 miles or anything like that. Take a short, leisurely walk and you will burn fat. As an added benefit, you will lose stress as well. Try to concentrate on your surroundings such as the trees, flowers or beautiful sky. My guess is you will probably end up walking further than you intended. After a while you will more than likely begin to look forward to these leisurely walks.

2. Cycling! I love to ride my bike. It is wonderful, fat burning exercise that gets me where I want to go faster than walking. The feel of the wind blowing through my hair and going downhill are my favorite parts. How about a ride around the block? Again, just like walking, you don't have to go miles upon miles! Just ride and enjoy.

3. Squats! Your thigh muscles are the largest muscles in your body. It doesn't take alot of squats to burn a fair amount of fat. When you do them. make sure your spine is straight and your arms are parallel to the floor to help you with balance. Don't kick your own butt by doing too many. Start out with enough to feel it in your legs and add more daily.

Take your time when exercising. Enjoy each session!

Benefits of an Everyday 30-Minute Walk

Walking 30 minutes daily is one of the simplest, cheapest, and most effective forms of exercise. What could be simpler than walking? Everybody can walk, and walking is actually a fun thing to do especially that you get to explore your surroundings, meet people, and of course reduce the risks of certain diseases. Take a look at some of the benefits of an everyday 30-minute walk:

1. It helps in losing weight. Since physical activity combined with a well balanced meal results to weight control, walking is an activity that is perfect for weight watchers. It helps burn calories and boost metabolism. Not only that, an early walk would also give you the energy you need to start your day. A 30-minute stroll would actually burn 150 calories, so go ahead and exercise.

2. It lowers blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, you are prone to having a heart attack or stroke. Medical experts say that strolling in a park for 30 minutes a day can actually lower blood pressure. Even walking for 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in afternoon, and 10 minutes in the early evening will help you prevent having heart problems.

3. It protects your bones. Osteoporosis is a bone condition that can be helped by the simplest exercise. Walking can help build bone density without the bad effects on the spine.

4. It helps reduce depression, stress, and back pain. It can also help prevent certain types of cancer. It strengthens the joints, bones, and immunity.

Just imagine all the benefits that this simple exercise can do to your health. The key, however, lies on how determined you are to spare a few minutes of your time to do it. Once you start doing it, you would definitely see the results. This makes you look forward to your walk the next day.

Now you want to live longer, look younger, and be healthy, right?

Benefits of Yoga

At the outset, we must understand what we can gain out of this wonderful practice  

At the physical level, yoga and its cleansing practices have proven to be extremely effective for various disorders.

More importantly, yoga is extremely effective in:  
1. Increasing Flexibility – yoga has positions that act upon the various joints of the body including those joints that are never really on the ‘radar screen’ let alone exercised. 
2. Increasing lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons – likewise, the well-researched yoga positions exercise the different tendons and ligaments of the body.

Surprisingly it has been found that the body which may have been quite rigid starts experiencing a remarkable flexibility in even those parts which have not been consciously work upon. Why? It is here that the remarkable research behind yoga positions proves its mettle. Seemingly unrelated “non strenuous” yoga positions act upon certain parts of the body in an interrelated manner. When done together, they work in harmony to create a situation where flexibility is attained relatively easily.
3. Massaging of ALL Organs of the Body – Yoga is perhaps the only form of activity which massages all the internal glands and organs of the body in a thorough manner, including those – such as the prostate - that hardly get externally stimulated during our entire lifetime. Yoga acts in a wholesome manner on the various body parts. This stimulation and massage of the organs in turn benefits us by keeping away disease and providing a forewarning at the first possible instance of a likely onset of disease or disorder. 
4. Complete Detoxification – By gently stretching muscles and joints as well as massaging the various organs, yoga ensures the optimum blood supply to various parts of the body. This helps in the flushing out of toxins from every nook and cranny as well as providing nourishment up to the last point. This leads to benefits such as delayed ageing, energy and a remarkable zest for life. 
5. Excellent toning of the muscles – Muscles that have become flaccid, weak or slothy are stimulated repeatedly to shed excess flab and flaccidity.

What Is Yoga?

Yoga means 'Oneness' and constitutes the essence of every possible religion, the gist of every creed and the core of every spiritual path. 

In ancient India, yoga was practised by such sages as Shiva, Rama, Krishna and Vyasa. What Krishna teaches Arjuna is not Krishnaism, but just Yoga! The root of Jainism is Yoga, since Mahavira practised Hatha Yoga. Jesus Christ even carried out a lengthy pilgrimage with the purpose of studying yoga. Gautama Buddha studied Yoga throughout his life. Bodhidharma brought Buddha's raja yoga from India to China. 

In the Middle East countries this practice is known as SUFA or ZUF (hbr).
As the Bible teaches, such men as Samuel or David the prophets, were related to the sufi school (rish).

In Tibet, people do not call themselves the Buddhists but the yoga practitioners. Padmasambhava is a yogi as well. 

Yoga comes from connecting to God, just as the word religion means in a western context. There are many schools or even called sampradajas with different forms of yoga. 
All teachings guide an embodied spirit in a (non)-personal relationship to God. The supreme godhead resides in every being in its heart. 

The native yoga-paths are a part of the vedic-culture we refer to today as hinduism, but the real importance of vedic culture seems to be that it has enabled native yoga-paths to stay in the Indian sub-continent unchanged longer than they have in other locations. It seems as if these philosophies were once known all over the world. 

Eight Stages of Yoga

The following are the eight stages in Yoga, known as 'Ashtanga Yoga'. One needs to practice and master each of these eight stages in order to reunite with the divine energy in the universe.

Yama: These are eternal, universal moral commandments. Perpetual Yama curbs the tendency toward violence and possessiveness. It inspires truthfulness, purity, conscience, trustworthiness, goodness and honesty.

Niyama: This is the restraint of the mind by means of its own rules and regulations. It is self-purification through discipline, self-contentment, self-study and above all, the surrender of the self to God. It is also the study of scripts and holy texts.

Asanas: These are body postures, which develop inner awareness and aid in calming the mind.

Pranayama: This is the rhythmic control, prolongation and restraint of the breath. Its aim is to discover a subtle psychic force or a subtle cosmic element.

Pratyahara: This entails control of the senses of the human body. It is important to give up all emotions, sentiments and pleasures. The mind must be completely withdrawn from external attractions and objects.

Dharana: This is the Sanskrit word for "to hold". It is an intense, deep concentration which enhances the selected mental state. 

Dhyana: This is meditation, contemplation and poised awareness.

Samadhi: Profound Meditation leads to a state of superconsciousness. This state is called Samadhi. It is the union of the individual aspirant (Sadhaka) with the object of his meditation Paramatma or the Supreme Universal Spirit - the all pervasive truth.

This is sometimes referred to as your potential or destiny. Living up to attributes of this number may not be easy, but it is your goal in the here and now. It is your life's purpose, spiritual mission, and your field of opportunity.

5-Step Guide to Basic Weight Training

Convinced by the benefits of strength (or weight) training, you've decided to give it a go.

There are several options to work with depending on your individual needs and circumstances. You may decide to join a gym or buy some equipment.

You needn’t go out and spend a small fortune equipping your home gym. If you choose the home option, purchasing some dumbbells, exercise tubing, a mat and a ball is more than enough to get you started.

Here some basic guidelines for resistance training:

1. Never a bad idea to get some help. 
A qualified trainer who is proficient at postural analysis can design a basic program to fit into your goals and needs. If this isn’t an option for you, there are some good websites that provide videos of various exercises. Link.

2. Aim to weight train at least 2 times per week. 
Work all major muscle groups such as; legs, back, chest, shoulders and the core.

3. Perform 1-2 sets of 10-15 repetitions of each exercise to start. 
Perform exercises in either a circuit (perform all exercises and then repeat) or back to back (do one set, rest). There are also options to perform exercises in pairs or triples (do 2/3 exercises, rest, repeat).

Perform repetitions until you feel fatigued. The last 2-3 repetitions should be challenging.

4. Always breathe while training with weights
(always breathe, period!). Try blowing the air out on the exertion phase of the movement.

5. Keep exercises as functional as possible.
Functional exercise entails performing movements in a free, minimally obstructed movement. Functional exercises tend to mimic daily movements and require several muscles and joints to activate harmoniously. Some of the basic movements you can start with are:
-Bent-over dumbbell
-Tabletops (or plank)

What's Good About Swimming

Swimming is good exercise (that's obvious). Swimming is a lifetime sport that benefits the body and the whole person! But what is it that makes swimming good, specifically? That depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

1. Swimming is a healthy activity that can be continued for a lifetime - and the health benefits swimming offers for a lifetime are worth the effort it takes to get to the pool.
2. Why do you swim? For the health benefits to your heart and lungs? For the chance to be with some of your friends at the pool? Because, in your case, running everyday hurts? Because you like the feeling of floating and sliding through the water? Or is it something else?If you are looking for a break from the heat of the summer, then a dip in the water is exactly what you need; swimming is a way for you to cool off. It fills a wonderful recreational need for individuals and families, from beach and pool fun to water parks.
3. Maybe you are a runner, training on a regular basis, and want to find an activity that keeps your heart rate up but takes some of the impact stress off of your body. Perhaps you have been doing some other form of land exercise, and now an injury prevents you from putting weight on a knee or ankle. Swimming can help you. Kicking workouts, water aerobics, pool running, or a regular swimming workout can all give you a great exercise session without the weight of your body pounding you with each move.
4. Regular swimming builds endurance, muscle strength and cardio-vascular fitness. It can serve as a cross-training element to your regular workouts. Before a land workout, you can use the pool for a warm-up session. Swimming with increasing effort to gradually increase your heart rate and stimulate your muscle activity is easily accomplished in the water. After a land workout, swimming a few laps can help you cool-down, move blood through your muscles to help them recover, and help you relax as you glide through the water.
5. Swimming does burn calories at a rate of about 3 calories a mile per pound of bodyweight. If you weigh 150 lbs. and it takes you 30 minutes to swim one mile (1,760 yards or 1,609 meters), then you will be using about 900 calories in one hour. However, many swimmers do not swim that quickly, and many cannot swim for that distance or duration.
6. Spending time in a group workout, whether water aerobics or a master's swim practice, is a great social outlet. Exchanging stories, challenging each other, and sharing in the hard work make swimming with others a rewarding experience.
7. There are other psychological benefit to swimming, if you allow it to occur. Relax and swim with a very low effort. Let your mind wander, focusing on nothing but the rhythm of your stroke. This form of meditation can help you gain a feeling of well-being, leaving your water session refreshed and ready to go on with the rest of your day. Many swimmers find an in-direct benefit form swimming. They develop life skills such as sportsmanship, time-management, self-discipline, goal-setting, and an increased sense of self-worth through their participation in the sport. Swimmers seem to do better in school, in general terms, than non-swimmers as a group.

Participate in Beginner Cardio Exercises

Step 1
Stretch long and slow. This is true for beginner cardio exercises as well as more advanced workouts. Never jump directly into an exercise without stretching.
Step 2
Visualize your muscles long and lean. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then repeat. Gradually increase the length of each stretch.
Step 3
Warm up for at least 5 minutes. Warm up to stimulate blood flow, stretch muscles and give your body time to adjust.
Step 4
Focus on your breathing. This is especially important in beginner cardio exercises because your body may have trouble adjusting to the increased strain and your muscles will require more oxygen. A good recommendation is to take a few yoga or Pilates classes as part of your cardio workout regimen to learn proper breathing techniques.
Step 5
Swim laps. Swimming is the perfect beginner's cardio exercise because it provides a cardio workout as well as overall body and muscle toning and is extremely low impact.
Step 6
Try a spinning class. Spinning is another excellent beginner cardio workout to participate in because it is lower impact than running and it burns a lot of calories. Spinning can burn upwards of 600 calories per hour while toning you thighs, calves and buttocks. Learn more about spinning at iVillage Total Health (see Resources below).
Step 7
Hit your target heart range, about 60 to 70 percent of your maximum for fat burning purposes, and keep it there. Beginners should keep do this for about 30 minutes at least three times per week, then gradually increase it to 60 minutes as fitness improves.
Step 8
Let your body cool down. Slow down gradually and let your heart rate decrease for about 5 minutes before stopping, then finish off the workout by stretching.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

10 Top Exercises to Lose Weight

1. Step Aerobics …Calories Burnt: 800 cal/hr
This mainly targets your legs, hips and bum, which are often the areas that women most want to tone. Doing an hour a day, split into two half an hour sessions, will ensure that you see results within 2 weeks.

2. Bicycling …Calories Burnt: 500 – 1000 cal/hr
Depending on how fast you go, this can be a real calorie burner. Riding outside is always enjoyable, but if you’re a little more time restricted, invest in a good quality exercise bike.
This is my favorite calorie burner, because it’s so easy to do. How about riding while watching the TV? I find that cycling through Eastenders keeps me distracted, but working hard.
In case you prefer to ride outside, make sure you take a look at this post called How to Not Get Hit by Cars When Bicycling. Just in case…

3. Swimming …Calories Burnt: 800 cals/hr
Doing lengths up and down the pool for an hour will burn off 800 calories, and also tone almost all of your body. Stay motivated by giving yourself half an hour extra to make use of the Jacuzzi when you’ve finished!

4. Racquetball …Calories Burnt: 800 cals/hr
The side to side running involved in this is a great cardio workout, and will also help to tone your thighs and legs. I also find this to be much more sociable, which keeps me working out for longer and stops me skiving my gym sessions!

5. Elliptical Burner …Calories Burnt: 600 cals/hr
This is brilliant cardio, and also helps to build strong muscles, as well as toning the stomach. I personally find Elliptical Burner really boring, so I split my session into ten minute bursts and do them throughout the day, and I find that listening to some upbeat music really helps as well.

6. Rowing …Calories Burnt: 500 – 600 cals/hr
Rowing is a brilliant way to tone your arms, and is also very good fun. Get involved with the local rowing club and you’ll get to try it for free, or simply use the rowing machine at the gym. As well as building arm muscle, you’ll also burn calories and get an incredible workout.

7. Walking …Calories Burnt: 360 cals/hr
The easiest exercise, brisk walking is a great cardio workout and will also help to tone legs, stomach and hips. Sprinting, walking across hills or walking uphill will add to the amount of calories burnt, and walking tends to be very easy to fit into daily life. Just walking to the train station has made me so much fitter, and it really wakes me up going for a brisk walk in the morning.
Check out Hate Running? Get Fit Walking! for the detailed walking workout!

8. Dancing …Calories Burnt: 600/800 cal/hr
This targets all over your body, and is an excellent work out. I frequently put a music channel on and dance around, as well as burning calories I also find that it’s a great stress reliever! Just make sure you stay active, and try and keep going for at least an hour!
If you want to learn some new sexy moves while you are at it, you might want to check out Dancing DVDs reviewed in this post: Do Your Dance Moves Need A Makeover?

9. Exercise DVDs …Calories Burnt: 300/500 cals/hr
While these come under a lot of different headings, some exercise DVDs do actually help you to lose weight and tone up. Find a high energy one, and try and do it once a day. As well as burning calories and toning up, you’ll also feel much fitter. My personal favourite is “Pump It Up”, because the music keeps me motivated!

10. Horse Riding …Calories Burnt: 200-600 cal/hr
This one may be slightly harder to arrange, but going horse riding once a week is one of the best ways to stay fit, healthy and enjoy nature. The view from up there is so amazing, you won’t notice that your toning your bum, abs and thighs, and burning calories while your at it! You’d be surprised at how cheap it can be to arrange a session once a weekend, and if your feeling extra fit you could even cycle to the stables!

10 Reasons To Exercise

Walking, running, swimming and cycling are the antidote to everything from stress and low self esteem to Y2K. Anyway, they are powerful and life-changing. Here's how:
1. Quality of Life.
There's no guarantee you'll live longer by adopting a fitness lifestyle, but chances are you will live better. It's the ultimate revenge: a full, healthy, happy life.
2. Fun.
Even if you hated sports as a kid-picked last for the softball team, creamed in dodgeball-remember that walking, running, swimming, and cycling are different. No one screams at or slams into you, you compete as much or as little as you want, you're outdoors, and you set the pace. It's play, not work.
3. Confidence Booster.
By setting an exercise goal-however modest-and progressing toward it, you become more self-assured. As you begin to feel and look fitter and healthier, you gain confidence.
4. Forget Dieting.
Working out burns lots of calories-and raises your metabolism so you consume them at a higher rate than a sedentary person even when you're not exercising. Bottom line: You can control your weight without starving yourself by eating a healthy, balanced diet (including the occasional chocolate sundae).
5. Stress Relief.
Feeling tense? Overwhelmed? Unappreciated? Taking regular exercise breaks, as short as 30 minutes a day, can refresh and relax you. Use the time to calm yourself, regain perspective on what's important, or even figure out a solution to a problem.
6. Fat-Be-Gone.
By working out, you're losing fat and gaining muscle. Regular exercisers often have body fat levels at least 5% lower than the average person. You'll probably go down a clothing size or two, because muscle, though heavier than fat, takes up less space.
7. Instant Friends.
Everybody tends to loosen up when they're sweaty and out of breath. Participatory sports provide an accessible, non-threatening, casual atmosphere for meeting people. Opportunities abound: fun runs, a swim workout or lesson, a group bike ride, an organized hike.
8. A Spring in Your Step.
Working out can raise your VO2 max (the amount of oxygen your muscles can use) by up to 40%. That means you have more energy and everyday tasks become easier.
9. Cold-Killer.
Aerobic exercise bolsters your immune system. You're better prepared to fight off viruses and other nasty stuff.
10. A Tougher Ticker.
Endurance sports such as running, walking, swimming and cycling strengthen your cardiovascular system. Your heart becomes more efficient and less susceptible to disease.