10 Fun Ways To Become More Active – Every Day

You know you should be getting some sort of exercise, you know of all the health benefits that come with a more active lifestyle. You’ve tried the whole Gym thing, but it just wasn’t for you. The temptation to just sit in front of the TV, to curl up with a good book, or to spend a little extra time at your computer is just too big. Who wants to head to the gym right now anyway?

There are many other options to get more active that don’t include jogging, weight lifting or other “traditional” ways to work out. Here are a few ideas to get you moving

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1) Chase your Kids around the Yard
You’d be surprised at how much of a work out you’ll get playing catch with your kids. Time will fly while you are having fun and your children will enjoy the extra time with you. Just get out there and play.

2) Turn up the Music and Dance around the Living Room
While you’re dusting, putting up dishes, straightening up the kids’ rooms, or after you’ve been sitting around for too long, just play some of your favorite upbeat music and dance around in the house. Not only will you get your heart rate up, but you’ll also have more fun doing some of those chores.

3) Plant some Flowers
When the weather is nice, just get out there and plant some flowers. Or you could start a little vegetable garden, trim some hedges, cut the grass, or plant a tree. You get the idea. Just get out there, enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, and play in the dirt. Yes, this actually counts as exercise in our book.

4) Go for a Walk with a Friend
Take a walk and invite a friend to come along. I’ve had some of the best conversations while on a walk. Getting to chat with a friend makes the time fly by and before you know it you’ve been walking for 30 minutes.

5) Listen to some Music or an Audio Book while You Walk
Again, keeping your mind on something else will make the time fly by and you’ll get some extra fun out of your walk. You may even want to consider getting an MP3 Player. You can easily add what you want to listen to and go for your walk.

6) Sign up for a Yoga or Pilates Class
Consider starting a yoga or Pilates class. Both of these workouts are pretty low impact and won’t leave you sweaty and sore (mostly). You may also enjoy meeting some new people in the class.

7) Take some Dance Lessons with your Partner
Ok, here is the tough part: Convince your partner to take some dance lessons. Dancing will give you quite the workout and it’s just plain fun and of course romantic. Think about all your options here. You can pick from anything from Ball Room Dancing, to Line Dancing, to Latin etc. Pick something that sounds fun to you and go for it. You’ll enjoy the extra one on one time with your partner as well.

8) Go for a Swim at Your Local YMCA or Aquatic Center
Swimming makes for some great exercise. It is low impact and easy on your joints. Start by swimming a few laps, or play in the pool with your kids.

9) Go for a Bike Ride
Take the entire family on a bike ride. You can ride through your neighborhood in the evenings or plan a longer trip for the weekend. Pack a picnic for extra fun and start peddling.

10) Go for a Hike
Look for some hiking trails in your area and go for a hike. This could be a fun activity for you and a friend, or take the entire family along. Start with some easy trails and work yourself up to some longer or steeper trails.

Go ahead, pick one or two of the activities and get moving. I’m sure you’ll come up with plenty of versions of your own. The most important thing is to find something you enjoy, so you’ll stick with it. Get out there and get moving today.

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5 Action Ideas To Get Big Fast

Are you sick and tired of reading an online article or picking up that latest body building magazine off the shelve, opening it to the latest program on the current, big bodybuilding star and discovering that he is using a six day split program that has you in the gym for four hours and day!!

What it won’t tell you is that the guy is a professional and probably doesn’t have to hold down a steady job, pay off a mortgage or raise a couple of kids.

The thing is you don’t have to train like an athlete to put on muscle, all you need to do is follow these action ideas below and you will start making big gains fast without spending all your time in the Gym.

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Lets have a look:

1. Back to Basics – To build muscle you must train short and with intensity, you only have a limited amount of energy per session. Tests reveal that blood sugar levels drop dramatically after 20 minutes, so exercise selection is crucial.

Compound multi-joint movements have to be used as these offer more training stimulus, are more functional and heavier loads can be lifted. Examples of compound movements include squats, bench press, dips, and chin-ups. Performing three to four exercises with high intensity during a session are what is needed.
All the main structures of the body are worked hard during this time, remembering that as you get stronger in your upper body exercises i.e. Dips, Lat Pull downs, you will also add size to your upper arms as well as your shoulders.Working on these big compound movements has a knock-on effect throughout the whole body; there is no need for specialization techniques or isolation movements.

The thing is, the whole body is worked hard, rest and recuperation is allowed to take place and at the next exercise session we push out a few more reps than before with the same weight, then we have gotten stronger i.e. more muscle.

2. Perform One Set Per Body Part – Having performed one set of an exercise to total failure then it should be near on impossible to generate the same force and intensity for another set.

If you are able to generate the same force and intensity for this second set then the first set was not worked hard enough.If you give the first set 100% effort and work it to total failure (You cannot move the bar after the last rep) there is no more requirement for further stimulation.Therefore you need to do one set per exercise, remembering to complete the training session in 20 – 30 minutes so to have the most stimulus as possible and then move on to the next exercise. 

Current research shows that single set training is as beneficial as multiple set training, decreasing the chances of over training and saving energy for other lifts required during the workout. Because you are doing one set per exercise, you will have to work it hard and to total failure.

3. Cycle Your Strength Training – The development of muscle and strength is interrelated so the exercise session will have to be designed so that increases in strength are equal to increases in functional muscle. Cycling intensity through changes in repetitions and poundage’s throughout your training program is an effective way to maintain progression and avoid training plateaus.

4. Don’t Train To Long – Training itself causes the breakdown of muscle tissue. When a person trains very intensely cortisol is released into the blood stream, which causes the breakdown of muscle tissue.
The amount of cortisol released is highly dependent upon the length of training time.

Therefore to minimize this effect training should be completed in the absolute minimum time required which is no longer than 20 to 30 minutes max. Your blood sugar levels are also dropping by this time, so do what you have to do in this time and get out of the gym, go home and grow.

5. Don’t Cheat – Do not cheat on your reps! Every strength-training trainee runs into this problem sooner or later and it will grind your gains to a stand still. There are many ways to increase the intensity of your sets and the weights used in order to maximize results.

Cheating to increase your weights actually takes strain off your muscles and places it on your joints, which is counterproductive.

Now that you are armed with this information, you wont need to spend all of your time in the gym, by all means workout hard while you are in there but when you are finished go home and grow and enjoy life.

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24 Good Reasons Why You May Need Vitamin Supplements

Many people believe that eating a well balanced diet provides all the vitamins and minerals necessary for good health. In ideal circumstances, this is the case, but in reality there are many reasons why you may need vitamin supplements to cope with living in the twentieth century environment. Taking vitamins when required is a safe method of optimizing your dietary sources of nutrients, providing you follow the instructions on product labels.

vitamin supplements

1. Poor Digestion

Even when your food intake is good, inefficient digestion can limit your body’s uptake of vitamins. Some common causes of inefficient digestion are not chewing well enough and eating too fast. Both of these result in larger than normal food particle size, too large to allow complete action of digestive enzymes. Many people with dentures are unable to chew as efficiently as those with a full set of original teeth.

2. Hot Coffee, Tea and Spices

Habitual drinking of liquids that are too hot, or consuming an excess of irritants such as coffee, tea or pickles and spices can cause inflammation of the digestive linings, resulting in a drop in secretion of digestive fluids and poorer extraction of vitamins and minerals from food.

3. Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol is known to damage the liver and pancreas which are vital to digestion and metabolism. It can also damage the lining of the intestinal tract and adversely affect the absorption of nutrients, leading to sub-clinical malnutrition. Regular heavy use of alcohol increases the body’s need for the B-group vitamins, particularly thiamine, niacin, pyrimidine, folic acid and vitamins B-12, A and C as well as the minerals zinc, magnesium and calcium. Alcohol affects availability, absorption and metabolism of nutrients.

4. Smoking

Smoking too much tobacco is also an irritant to the digestive tract and increases the metabolic requirements of Vitamin C, all else being equal, by at least 30mg per cigarette over and above the typical requirements of a non-smoker. Vitamin C which is normally present in such foods as paw paws, oranges and capsicums, oxidizes rapidly once these fruits are cut, juiced, cooked or stored in direct sunlight or near heat. Vitamin C is important to the immune function.

5. Laxatives

Overuse of laxatives can result in poor absorption of vitamins and minerals from food, by hastening the intestinal transit time. Paraffin and other mineral oils increase losses of fat soluble vitamins A, E and K. Other laxatives used to excess can cause large losses of minerals such as potassium, sodium and magnesium.

6. Fad Diets

Bizarre diets that miss out on whole groups of foods can be seriously lacking in vitamins. Even the popular low fat diets, if taken to an extreme, can be deficient in vitamins A, D and E. Vegetarian diets, which can exclude meat and other animal sources, must be very skillfully planned to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency, which may lead to anemia.

7. Overcooking

Lengthy cooking or reheating of meat and vegetables can oxidize and destroy heat susceptible vitamins such as the B-group, C and E. Boiling vegetables leaches the water soluble vitamins B-group and C as well as many minerals. Light steaming is preferable. Some vitamins, such as vitamin B6 can be destroyed by irradiation from microwaves.

8. Food Processing

Freezing food containing vitamin E can significantly reduce its levels once defrosted. Foods containing vitamin E exposed to heat and air can turn rancid. Many common sources of vitamin E, such as bread and oils are nowadays highly processed, so that the vitamin E content is significantly reduced or missing totally, which increases storage life but can lower nutrient levels. Vitamin E is an antioxidant which defensively inhibits oxidative damage to all tissues. Other vitamin losses from food processing include vitamin B1 and C.

9. Convenience Foods

A diet overly dependent on highly refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, white flour and white rice, places greater demand on additional sources of B-group vitamins to process these carbohydrates. An unbalanced diet contributes to such conditions as irritability, lethargy and sleep disorders.

10. Antibiotics

Some antibiotics although valuable in fighting infection, also kill off friendly bacteria in the gut, which would normally be producing B-group vitamins to be absorbed through the intestinal walls. Such deficiencies can result in a variety of nervous conditions, therefore it may be advisable to supplement with B-group vitamins when on a lengthy course of broad spectrum antibiotics.

11. Food Allergies

The omission of whole food groups from the diet, as in the case of individuals allergic to gluten or lactose, can mean the loss of significant dietary sources of nutrients such as thiamine, riboflavin or calcium.

12. Crop Nutrient Losses

Some agricultural soils are deficient in trace elements. Decades of intensive agriculture can overwork and deplete soils, unless all the soil nutrients, including trace elements, are regularly replaced. This means that food crops can be depleted of nutrients due to poor soil management. In one U.S Government survey, levels of essential minerals in crops were found to have declined by up to 68 per cent over a four year period in the 1970’s.

13. Accidents and Illness

Burns lead to a loss of protein and essential trace nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Surgery increases the need for zinc, vitamin E and other nutrients involved in the cellular repair mechanism. The repair of broken bones will be retarded by an inadequate supply of calcium and vitamin C and conversely enhanced by a full dietary supply. The challenge of infection places high demand on the nutritional resources of zinc, magnesium and vitamins B5, B6 and zinc.

14. Stress

Chemical, physical and emotional stresses can increase the body’s requirements for vitamins B2, B5, B6 and C. Air pollution increases the requirements for vitamin E.

15. P.M.T

Research has demonstrated that up to 60 per cent of women suffering from symptoms of premenstrual tension, such as headaches, irritability, bloated ness, breast tenderness, lethargy and depression can benefit from supplementation with vitamin B6.

16. Teenagers

Rapid growth spurts such as in the teenage years, particularly in girls, place high demands on nutritional resources to underwrite the accelerated physical, biochemical and emotional development in this age group. Data from the USA Ten State Nutrition Survey (in 1968-70 covering a total of 24,000 families and 86,000 individuals) showed that between 30-50 per cent of adolescents aged 12-16 had dietary intakes below two thirds of the recommended daily averages for Vitamin A, C, calcium and iron.

17. Pregnant Women

Pregnancy creates higher than average demands for nutrients, to ensure healthy growth of the baby and comfortable confinement for the mother. Nutrients which typically require increase during pregnancy are the B-group, especially B1, B2, B3, B6, folic acid and B12, A, D, E and the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and phosphorous.

The Ten State Nutrition Survey in the USA in 1968-70 showed that as many as 80 per cent of the pregnant women surveyed had dietary intakes below two thirds of recommended daily allowances. Professional assessment of nutrient requirements during pregnancy should be sought.

18. Oral Contraceptives

Oral Contraceptives can decrease absorption of folic acid and increase the need for vitamin B6, and possibly vitamin C, zinc and riboflavin. Approximately 22 per cent of Australian women aged 15-44 are believed to be on “the pill” at any one time.

19. Light Eaters

Some people eat very sparingly, even without weight reduction goals. US dietary surveys have shown that an average woman maintains her weight on 7560 kilojoules per day, at which level her diet is likely to be low in thiamine, calcium and iron.

20. The Elderly

The aged have been shown to have a low intake of vitamins and minerals, particularly iron, calcium and zinc. Folic acid deficiency is often found, in conjunction with vitamin C deficiency. Fiber intake is often low. Riboflavin (B2) and pyrimidine (B6) deficiencies have also been observed. Possible causes include impaired sense of taste and smell, reduced secretion of digestive enzymes, chronic disease and, maybe, physical impairment.

21. Lack of Sunlight

Invalids, shift workers and people whose exposure to sunlight may be minimal can suffer from insufficient amounts of vitamin D, which is required for calcium metabolism, without which rickets and osteoporosis (bone thinning) has been observed. Ultraviolet light is the stimulus to vitamin D formation in skin. It is blocked by cloud, fog, smog, smoke, ordinary window glass, curtains and clothing. The maximum recommended daily supplement intake of vitamin D is 400 i.u.

22. Bio-Individuality

Wide fluctuations in individual nutrient requirements from the official recommended average vitamin and mineral intakes are common, particularly for those in high physical demand vocations, such as athletics and manual labor, taking into account body weight and physical type. Protein intake influences the need for vitamin B6 and vitamin B1 is linked to kilo joule intake.

23. Low Body Reserves

Although the body is able to store reserves of certain vitamins such as A and E, Canadian autopsy data has shown that up to thirty percent of the population have reserves of vitamin A so low as to be judged “at risk”. Vitamin A is important to healthy skin and mucous membranes (including the sinus and lungs) and eyesight.

24. Athletes

Athletes consume large amounts of food and experience considerable stress. These factors affect their needs for B-group vitamins, vitamin C and iron in particular. Tests on Australian Olympic athletes and A-grade football players, for example, have shown wide ranging vitamin deficiencies.

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11 Top Secrets for Dieting Success

If dieting were easy, I suppose we would all be thin. As we are not, here are 11 tips that successful people use to lose weight. They can help you succeed too.

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SUCCESS TIP NO. 1: DRINK 8-10 GLASSES OF WATER A DAY

Okay, for many people this is a big problem. Water doesn’t taste all that great generally because water doesn’t really taste like anything. Drinking water 8 to 10 times each day gets easier the more you actually do it. It is simply a matter of conditioning your taste buds, and yourself, so that it becomes easier to do. Once you get started, you will begin to crave water. To begin with, you should drink a glass of water in the morning first thing, before you eat. This is probably the easiest glass you will drink all day and it will help you remember to drink water all day long. Better yet, why not drink two glasses? If you really cannot bear the taste of water, try using a water purifying pitcher or filter. You can also add a few drops of lemon or lime to your water, but no sugar or sweetener! Ice also helps. Check out flavored waters on the market, too. Just keep an eye out for additives.

SUCCESS TIP NO. 2: EAT BREAKFAST

Do not skip breakfast. If you need to go to bed a little earlier so that you can get up 20 minutes earlier each morning, do it! Breakfast is so important to your good health and to weight control. According to Dr. Barbara Rolls a professor of nutrition at Penn State University, “Your metabolism slows while you sleep, and it doesn’t rev back up until you eat again.”  Eating breakfast is not only good for overall weight loss, it will help you stay on track with your diet the rest of the day. You are more likely to binge on something sweet, if you skip breakfast.  You can always keep a couple of hard-boiled eggs in the fridge or some high-fiber, low starch fruit around. If you plan to eat fruit at all during the day, breakfast is the perfect time to do it.

SUCCESS TIP NO. 3: EAT AT LEAST 3 MEALS AND 2 SNACKS EACH DAY

This can be one of the hardest adjustments to make. After all, you are busy! You already have a full-plate. When do you have time to worry about filling your plate with more frequent meals?
Just like eating breakfast will increase your metabolism, so will eating more often. This will also help you curb your bad-carb intake by making sure that your snacks are planned and occur regularly throughout the day. Really, it will just take a minimal investment of planning time at the grocery store and at home each morning before you head out for the day to make some healthy food choices and prepare a few healthy snacks and meals. For suggestions, just see the handy list of snacks and appetizers listed later.

SUCCESS TIP NO. 4: AVOID WHITE FOODS

This is one easy way to remember what not to eat. If it is made from sugar, flour, potatoes, rice or corn – just say no. Remembering this rule of thumb will make it easier to recognize those rice cakes as an unhealthy high-carb snack. Always look for colorful fruits and veggies to substitute for the white ones. Buy broccoli, lettuce, bell peppers, green beans and peas, brown rice in moderation, leafy greens like kale and spinach, apples, melons, oranges and grapes. These foods are not only colorful they are also high in fiber, nutrients and important antioxidants. Eating colorful fruits and vegetables will give your diet variety as well as give you added health benefits.

SUCCESS TIP NO. 5: EAT YOUR VEGETABLES

It is so easy to use a low-carb diet as an excuse for poor nutrition. Resist this temptation. If the only vegetable you have eaten in the last 5 years has been the potato, now is a good time to begin experimenting with other vegetables. This is important for your overall health and to avoid some nasty side effects of not getting enough fiber in your diet. If you try hard enough, you will find vegetables that you enjoy eating. Experiment with grilling vegetables and cooking with real butter to add flavor. You can also search for new recipes on the Internet or in cookbooks. Remember, if you are only eating 40 grams of carb a day or less, two cups of plain salad greens contain only about 5 grams of carbohydrate. You have no excuse not to eat your vegetables.

SUCCESS TIP NO. 6: PREPARE YOUR OWN FOOD AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

While more and more restaurants are offering low-carb friendly menu items, many of them are still not ideal low-carb fare. There are many recipes for quick and easy meals that you can prepare yourself at home. Try to do this as often as possible. If you cook your own foods, you know exactly what the contents are and you will be able to better control for hidden sugar and otherwise processed foods. Another benefit is the cost savings over the long run. Even if you must go to the grocery store more often, you will save a significant amount per meal as opposed to eating at restaurants and fast food establishments. It will also be easier to maintain your diet with your own favorite fresh food selections on hand.

SUCCESS TIP NO. 7: INVEST IN A GOOD SET OF FOOD STORAGE CONTAINERS

Having food storage containers of various sizes on hand will make it so much easier for you to plan your meals and snacks. When you buy nuts, fruits and vegetables in bulk you can simply prepare, separate and store them for easy use later. For instance, you can pre-slice your apples and snack on them over several days. Simply cut them, rinse them in pineapple or lemon juice and store. This will make a quick and easy snack for later. Fix your lunch and take it with you to work. Better yet, fix your lunch and 2 snacks for work.

SUCCESS TIP NO. 8: EAT SOME PROTEIN AT EACH MEAL & AS A SNACK

In addition to everything that’s been discussed before, eating protein helps you burn more calories. Protein is made up mainly of amino acids, which are harder for your body to breakdown, so you burn more calories getting rid of them. Just think, eating a protein rich snack can help you lose weight. How about a few slices of turkey or ham or some string cheese? Eating protein will also help you feel full so that you are less likely to crave unhealthy snacks.

SUCCESS TIP NO. 9: DRINK A GLASS OF WATER AFTER EACH SNACK

This will help you get in your 8 to 10 glasses of water each day but it can also have other benefits. Ever feel hungry after eating a handful or standard serving of nuts? Try drinking water afterwards. The water will help you feel full and prevent overindulgence. Drinking water after a snack will also help remove the aftertaste from your mouth and can help curb your desire for more.

SUCCESS TIP NO. 10: EAT SLOWLY & ENJOY YOUR FOOD

You will feel full and more satisfied if you take the time to savor your food and chew it slower. Don’t get in the habit of eating while standing or eating quickly. Sit down and chew. Eating slower will help you enjoy your food more, pay attention to what it is you are actually eating and get a better sense of when you are actually full.

SUCCESS TIP NO. 11: EAT YOUR LARGER MEALS EARLY AND SMALLER MEALS LATER

You will feel better and lose weight quicker if you eat a large breakfast and eat a smaller dinner. You may also want to eat the majority of your carbs earlier in the day, saving a salad and lean meat protein for dinner. Eating larger meals during the part of the day when you are most active will help you to feel satisfied throughout the day and curb cravings for unhealthy snacks.

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3 Principles For Overcoming Fitness Obstacles

If you’re like me, the quest to be in shape and manage weight feels overwhelming. And, as if the quest to be fit isn’t hard enough, there’s often other obstacles to overcome: health issues, time management, mustering up courage or energy. Even if you’ve been exercising for a long time, there’s always new barriers to be broken. So, how to put all of this into perspective?

According to Tom Turner, executive liaison for the Spina Bifida Association that’s exactly it: Perspective. And also, according to him, there’s no mountain too high to climb. Tom would know. Paralyzed from the waist down since birth he’s now 35 and trains about three times a week. In fact, he tells me, he just couldn’t get along without exercise.

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So in my quest for the last word on overcoming barriers in fitness, Tom sat down with me and together we came up with 3 basic principles that will help break-down fears and intimidation when striving to reach fitness goals. (After all, if he can exercise on a regular basis, shouldn’t that be encouragement enough for anyone to give it a  shot?)

Principle #1 Move Into The Fear.

“Train you mind to believe no mountain is too high or any goal is too difficult to attain,” Tom tells me. Basically, it’s all about meeting your fears and facing them head-on. In this principle, aim to recognize your fears, acknowledge them and then move through them. Ask yourself what is it that makes you uncomfortable? Have you let yourself get out of shape and are afraid you’ll never get back? Do you have an injury that’s caused you to be afraid of your body? If you can visualize creatively, then you can put your fears in check. See your self as you’d like to be. Remember: your body loves you and has the potential to heal itself to perfection. Your only job is to trust it and listen.

Q: What is your body saying to you?

Principle #2 Trust Your Intuition.

It is important when overcoming obstacles and learning to break through barriers that you begin to listen to the still small voice of your body. In most cases, we all want the comfort of having someone telling us what we can and cannot do. However, our highest truth lies within us. This is not to say that the good opinion of others is not important, but ultimately the decision making comes from within.

When facing a challenge or an obstacle look to how you feel. What are your instincts telling you? Often it is simply your instinct that will move you into a new mindset and raise your consciousness. “I wasn’t about to let the wheelchair stand in my way,” Tom tells me. In fact, he says he had to merely change his perspective about it. He says he first had to learn about what his restrictions were then, create a boundary for himself. “We all have boundaries,” he tells me. “Regardless if a person can walk or not, obstacles are as unique as people themselves. Therefore, it’s first best to know your boundaries.”

Next, Tom tells me he aims to meet those boundaries.  “I first reach as high as I can within the confines of what I am able to do. Whether it be more sets, reps or greater endurance, I allow myself as much time as necessary to accomplish my small goals. It always surprises me, with small steps, how quickly I can reach a Big goal.”

Principle #3 Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.

What then, about fear? I wanted to know. If we move into the fear and meet it eye to eye what if fear meets us there? “So,” I asked Tom: “are you ever afraid? “After 19 operations in my life, I’ve really come to terms with fear,” he says. “It really comes down to our most primal fear; fear of death. Once you realize that death is all part of the divine plan, it’s liberating, you can let it go and, instead, choose how to live. So instead of being afraid of death I decided to choose how to live.”

So what’s the take away message? Talking to Tom, I’m reminded of the poem by Dylan Thomas who said: “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.” It seems appropriate here. The bottom line: Staying afraid often keeps us from truly living. Tom reminds me that a positive attitude is key, “Life is all about attitude.” He also says he could let fear beat him down, yet he doesn’t. “I wouldn’t want to miss being part of tomorrow,” he concludes. That said, what fears are getting in your way? Make today the right time to face them.

In conclusion: Life Beyond The Boundaries.

When you’ve faced your fears and pushed your boundaries to the edges, what then? I wanted to know. Tom smiles. “Find a new mountain to climb,” he says matter-of-factly. “It’s what makes life fun. I know I have considerations. I know that there will be days that I’ll need to stay in bed and rest while my braces are getting tuned up. It’s those times when I am with my thoughts that I decide what I am going to set my sights on.”

Author’s Note: In my personal quest to live beyond the boundaries I’ve chosen Tom as my role model (lucky for me, he’s my brother). We so often look to the media for these sources and so often they are illusory. There are “real” people everywhere doing great things…look around you; angels are everywhere! Learn from them. Choose someone you look up to, admire or of whom you appreciate their values. Set goals, climb mountains! Set intention in motion and enjoy the healthy process.

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Easy Health and Fitness Tips

The US has seen an enormous increase in the number of people considered obese by the medical community. In fact many call it an obesity epidemic. To combat this we find all sorts of pharmaceutical companies selling the “quick fix” health pills, powders, and lotions that do nothing to actually help people take the fat off and keep it off.

Of course the same could be said of the diet industry as well. There are so many different diets going around now you could pick one a month and in a years time still have more to choose from.

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What is truely needed are some sensible proven weight loss tips that people can implement no matter what their present physical condition is. That said let’s dive right in.

#1 Drink more water. All too often Americans are borderline dehydrated and so their bodies are working on the water starvation reflex and not flushing the toxins and junk out.

#2 Eat more often. I bet you thought I was going to say eat less. While it is true that to lose weight you need to eat less calories than you expend…you need to eat more often to get the metabolic furnace stoked up and burning right. Get it out of starvation mode. So start the day off with breakfast. Even an instant breakfast drink and a piece of fruit as we head out the door in the morning.

#3 Move more. Depending on your physical condition you need to be moving more. Use the stairs rather than the elevator, park farther out from the office or the store, go for a walk around the block, go dancing, play with your kids. Make it fun. Running is not the only way to burn more calories.

#4 Finally, determine your “Why”. Decide why you want to discard fat. Make your reason big enough to motivate you through the slumps that invariably happen.

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How to Prepare for a Pilates Class

Are you planning to soon join a Pilates class? Be warned that walking into any Pilates studio could be daunting, especially if it is your first time. You would notice a variety of very odd-looking contraptions, which you could logically infer as ‘Pilates machines.’ Never worry. Whichever studio you go to, there surely would be a knowledgeable and friendly staff or personnel who would accommodate and orient you to Pilates sessions.

So how could you prepare for your first ever Pilates class? You might be truly excited. There is no need to be nervous or to be embarrassed. Beginners are always welcome to join such classes. Here are practical tips that would help you overcome your first-time jitters.

Pilates

What you should bring

Remember that you do not need to take with you much when you drop by any Pilates studio. Generally, the studio provides every equipment and material you would need for the workout. However, you may prefer to workout using your own mat.

Pilates mats are commercially available in various stores. You should be lucky enough to learn that your studio might actually be selling such items. Take note that such mats are usually made a bit thicker than any conventional yoga mat. Ask your instructor about his recommendations before you purchase your Pilates mat.

It is important to make yourself properly hydrated prior to starting the workout. Thus, you would still need to carry with you a water bottle. You would not need to guzzle water during the workout just like what you usually do on your aerobic and cardiovascular workouts. But you certainly would feel a little thirsty at the middle of the session so keep a water bottle handy.

What to wear

You should not dress to impress when attending a Pilates class. It is very important that you make sure your clothes are comfortable. Wear outfits that would enable you to make movements and to fully stretch. Loose clothes are fine, but keep away from baggy clothes. The instructor should be able to see your body during the workout to see if your alignment is correct during movements.

Baggy clothes may tend to be too revealing especially because there are certain movements that are very complicated. As for the footwear, take note that Pilates should be done barefoot. There is no need to buy and wear fancy and fashionable shoes.

Avoid wearing excess accessories. Belts, long necklaces, and dangling bracelets are not only distracting; they could also pose dangers especially if they get caught up in the Pilates equipment. You surely would not want to strangle yourself. Also make sure your hair is tied back so it would not fall into your face and cause discomfort. You may also opt to wear hair bands. There would be no problem if your hair is cut short.

One last advice: do not wear strong perfumes and deodorants before going to the Pilates class. This is because many people are simply sensitive to strong scents. You need to be considerate of others.

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Benefits of Using a Stability Ball in Your Training

If there is one equipment you should not miss in your training, it is the stability ball. The market comes up with new training tools every now and then. Yet you are not sure if they do work and if they are safe. So for one that is guaranteed to work, use the stability ball.

What Is a Stability Ball?

stability ball

This is a large and inflatable ball used as an exercise equipment. Despite being air-filled, it is generally heavy-duty and capable to hold 600 to 700 pounds of weight. It is comfortable and gives good support. It perfectly suits the trainee as it easily goes with the structure of the body.

This exercise tool is also sometimes called as the physioball or the Swiss Ball.

The good thing about using the stability ball is it reduces the perception of ‘working’ in training, especially for beginners. It gives some element of ‘play’ as you get rough with the training. It adds some fun and excitement as you advance in the movements and techniques.

Another good point with the ball is that it can be used by anybody. No fitness level is required. It is very portable and light weight, easy to bring along even when traveling. It is also inexpensive compared to other exercise equipment and it could last for a very long time.

How Stability Balls Came About?

The use of the stability balls for training can be traced in rehabilitation. As early as the 1900’s, physical therapists have been using balls in addressing the neurological disorders of their patients.

Then, in the early 1960’s, Aquilino Cosani, an Italian toy maker, made the ball and sold it, known then as the ‘Gymnastik.’ Two decades after, Cosani came up with a company called Gymnic and became the major supplier of the stability ball to most rehabilitation programs and centers.

The ball then shifted from the rehabilitation to the athletic area, in the 90’s. It was used to condition the body of professional athletes. From then on, the ball became very prominent in the fitness community.

At present medical specialists and fitness professionals very much recommend the use of the stability ball by the public. It serves more than solving physical problems. It is good in preventing you from having one.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Stability Ball?

The stability ball definitely is best to improve the strength of the abs and the lower-backs. It improves as well the functional strength, balance and flexibility of the body.

 Proper Alignment

Using the ball during training will test the body to make use of the different parts to maintain the proper balance. The dynamic movements during exercise will improve the natural motor reflexes of the body as different muscles are utilized in movement, especially the ones that are not usually used. The challenge posed by the ball is to maintain balance. As one aims to get the proper balance, the alignment of the body parts is also improved.

Great Abs

For people working out to achieve great abs, this ball can definitely target the abdominal areas. The abs and the back muscles are simultaneously moved as you work in your balance. Just imagine the good feeling of having a flat stomach area and you will definitely love this ball.

Muscle Strength and Endurance

The stability ball can help in alleviating any back pain and preventing one in the future. As all the major muscle groups are exercised, the muscle tone, strength and endurance are also improved. Thus it gives the body flexibility, stability and resistance.

Core Stability

This concerns the major muscles that helps stabilize and support all of the body movements. This is made up of back and the deep abdominal muscles. With the ball, no matter how ‘deep’ or ‘into the core’ these muscles are, they are still exercised. This is something only the stability ball can guarantee.

Stretching

The ball is a good companion during stretching exercises. With this, you can easily move into and move out of different stretching positions.

Losing Weight

Of course, with all the good benefits of using the ball, you will not miss out on the aspect of losing weight. With regular exercises and training done with the stability ball, a person can lose some unwanted pounds as the body is firmed.

Health is definitely your most important asset. So do your regular exercises and maintain a healthy diet. Furthermore, have a happy and fun training with the stability ball.

 

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Benefits of resistance training

Do you want to have a stronger and more beautiful body? Then the best thing to do is get on your feet and start doing the resistance training.

What Is Resistance Training?

resistance training

Resistance training involves activities that use weights, machines and even body weight to work out the muscles properly. It is also known as strength training or weight training. This can be very helpful in achieving a healthier body.

This kind of training is usually associated with athletes who have to build up their bodies. Most people would think that when resistance training is done, the body will grow bigger. Actually it will not. Resistance training is simply about increasing the strength of the body, not its size.

Actually, this can be practiced by anyone. It basically builds and tones the muscle to give the body a better look. This training program is even very much advisable to the elders. The usual training programs undergone by the elders are standing free-weights resistance or the moderate-intensity seated machine training.

How Does Resistance Training Work?

A resistance training program will include the use of various exercise equipment and machines like the bench press, dumbbell or barbell. When the equipment is used, the muscles of the body will be pitted against the weight. The cells of the body will then adapt to the extra weight. This will then result to hypertrophy or the enlarging and increasing of the nerve cells to help in the muscle contraction.

Before doing any resistance training, it will be best to consult first with the doctor. This goes especially for people who have medical conditions or are overweight. This kind of training is not something that you can explore on your own. You have to know the proper equipment for the needs of your body. The body must also be conditioned first before taking in the weights.

Resistance training can also be done without resorting to the equipment. Doing push-ups is one good example. You can do it just about anywhere where there is enough space for you to move. This time it is your own body weight that will be pitted against the muscles. So those who are a bit constrained in the budget can still do resistance trainings.

What Are the Benefits of Resistance Training?

  1. Increase Bone Mineral Density
    Bones are constantly remodeling, meaning the tissues break down at the same time they build up. The peak of remodeling takes place during puberty. However, as a person ages, there may be problems with the bone mineral density as the remodeling may not be as active anymore. This is especially a problem to post-menopausal women.

Bone mineral density is usually supported by the hormones. To address the problem of not having the hormones to maintain the bone mineral density, physical activity is the next best option. Resistance training is one physical activity that can address this.

  1. Increase Strength
    Strong bones and strong muscles will be developed as you undergo the resistance training program.

  2. Increase the Range of Activities
    When your body is strong enough to carry some considerable weight, then definitely you will also be capable of doing more strenuous activities. You are less likely to be lazy and you can live a more active lifestyle.

  3. Reduce the Body Fat
    Pitting the weights on your muscle will definitely give it the body the exercise it needs and get rid of the undesirable fats. Thus expect the tone of the body to improve. Even more, expect the body to look better, to be leaner.

  4. Improve State of the Elders
    For the elderly, undergoing a resistance training program will help improve their health and decrease the risks brought about by the age. They can be more independent, without needing to rely on other people for doing simple things. Being able to do so will also decrease the risk of injuries in the elders

  5. Improve Heart Condition
    Regularly doing resistance training can result to a lowered heart rate and lowered blood pressure, especially after exercise. The risk of heart diseases is reduced to a considerable extent.

This kind of training however must be properly done. It requires commitment and consistency. It will have to be done in a regular basis, following a schedule that the doctor or the physical trainer would recommend. If done incorrectly, the benefits of the program may not be enjoyed and it can even result the injury.

The key here is to simply take your time. Do things one step at a time correctly. As your body condition improves, then move on to more challenging tasks. The strength of the body and its overall look are at stake in the resistance training. So you better be sure to do it properly.

 

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nutrition

A rejuvenating 5-day body detox plan to keep you going

Tips and reasons for a good detox. In the present condition, you can no longer survive a single day without encountering pollution. At work, you may not at all be so sure of the cleanliness of the water you drink or of the food you eat. When dealing with people, you can hardly get away from air pollution, be it from smokers, all sorts of sprays or from the exhaust of vehicles. This greatly affects the health in one way or another. Don’t be so sure that when your body does not visibly react, it’s alright.

For these reasons, detoxification is necessary in order to keep a healthy body which also results to healthy mind and healthy relationship with people.

detox

Our body has its own means of healing and detoxifying. However, when pollutants that enter our body had been accumulated more than the capacity of self cleansing, we are giving our inside mechanisms a hard time. Then the tissues are stressed and therefore lead to malfunction. And because they are weakened, the cleansing process is also affected.

We definitely want a clean body. But we also need to help our system in regulating the body processes. However, you should not wait for your body organs to be stressed out and overworked before doing something. In times when the body lacks the command to keep the systems working, the person must supplement. The 5-day detox plan will do a great help in keeping the body systems at work. The 5-day detox plan will rejuvenate the body as well as the spirit, keeping it clean and toned.

Detoxification diet is a part of the 5-day detox plan. During the period of detoxification, certain foods are avoided. Your meals consist mostly of fresh fruits and green, leafy vegetables. Fats, oil, preservatives and food additives are a big no when undergoing the process of detoxification. Also, meat should be kept off because they are hard to digest. For a day or two, eating meat in any form is dropped off from the diet.

Ideal foods that can be part of your diet are as follow: garlic, broccoli, beets, and beans or nuts. Only fresh fruit extracts can be taken as beverages except for grapefruit. And since water is a universal solvent, six to eight glasses of this should be recommended daily. Water is also a major factor in the detoxification process. It flushes out the toxins in the forms of perspiration, urine, or stool.

Although you seem to eat less when detoxifying, you are assured that you will not starve, and ironically, you will even boost your stamina. It is because your intake is limited only to foods which are healthy and are good to the digestive system.

Detoxification plan should be done at least quarterly. To ensure that you get an efficient one, it will be best to consult a nutritionist or a professional. You should also seek for a doctor’s advice to ensure that what you will do is a detoxification and not addition of toxins to your body.

Through the process of detoxification, the toxins are flushed out in your body and a new set of energy is supplied to the body providing you both physical and mental alertness.

Cleanliness should be maintained not only in the outside, but more so in the inside.

 

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