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Archive for February, 2011

Livestrong.com is a great resource designed to help you reach your fitness goals.  When deciding to lose weight or become more active, it can be very hard to figure out how and where to start.

Livestrong.com is a great website designed to give you the knowledge and tools to help you accomplish your goals.  The goal of the site is to help you feel empowered and motivated to be healthy and fit.    I began playing around on livestrong.comand the first thing I noticed was a sense of comfort.  The site is highly built around having a sense of community (a support system).  Having a support system when trying to accomplish a fitness goal is probably the 2nd most important thing you can have.  There’s nothing worse than that friend who says, “oh come on it’s just one piece of cake”.

Here are 5 of my favorite tools that livestrong.com has that can help you achieve your goals:

1) MYPLATE– Myplate helps you set your own caloric goal and then tracks
your calories and fitness activities.  All you have to do is enter it in.  It
even has a bank of over 810,000 foods and 26 million tracked exercises so
so you can quickly enter your daily information.

2) LOOPS– Loops is a way for you to map out your route whether, running,
cycling, walking or hiking. You can share this info with other members on
the site too.  Loops is connected to the MYPLATE tool, so it is easy for you
to enter how many calories you burned.

3) DARES– One of my favorite tools is the dare tool.  Who doesn’t get more
motivated when someone dares them? Dare a friend to make a healthy
change-whether it be fitness, exercise, nutrition, addictions.  Try it out, I
dare you!

4) RECIPES– There are over 300,000 recipes available for you to search
through.  Readers can share cuisines along with nutritional info in this
section.  No more being bored with your eating.

5) SUCCESS STORIES– I love that readers can share their stories on this site.
Whether it is a big, small, accomplished or ongoing goal.
LIVESTRONG.COM wants to hear about it.  Writing something down gives
you a sense of accomplishment.  Sharing your experience may help
motivate somebody else.

Since life is so very busy, livestrong.com has created a calorie tracker APP.  That way, you can track everything immediately so you don’t forget.  (If you don’t track things right away you will forget and inaccurately record your info.  Leading to a great deal of frustration).  The APP is only $2.99 and is available for the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android smart-phones.  It has the same features as the MYPLATE tool giving you the large library of food as well as exercises.  You have no excuse not to use it if it is right on your phone.

Everyone needs a little motivation.  Some things might click differently for everyone.  Perhaps this will work for you!

Have a fun and fit day!

http://www.livestrong.com

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The Importance Of Stretching

We all have been told that we must stretch-stretch-stretch before and after every workout. Yet many of us have no idea what stretching does for us, and don’t bother to do it. Worse still, we rush through a quick stretching routine that is not only ineffective but sets us up for potential injuries. Proper stretching does play a very important role in both overall health and performance in workouts or sports.

The importance of stretching for our bodies?

One of the primary benefits of regular stretching is that it can help prevent muscular imbalances. Because no one has perfectly symmetrical muscular development, and we all tend to use one side of the body more than the other, we create a situation in which some muscles must overcompensate for others. This leads to muscular weaknesses and underdevelopment in some areas of the body. Stretching regularly helps to lengthen tight overused muscles and strengthen underused muscles. Correcting musculoskeletal imbalances can help ease everyday aches and pains, improve posture and alleviate lower back pain.

What is the best way to stretch?

It is possible to actually injure oneself form over-stretching, so it is very important to practice good form. Experts recommend that you stretch slowly, and only as deeply as you can comfortably go, and that you hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. It is important that you feel the stretch through the muscle and not in the joints.

Stretching cannot do directly improve sports performance. Rather, a regular routine of stretching will help to increase flexibility that offers a degree of protection from injury over time. Flexible muscles also recover quicker from injuries, and stretching gently can even help to speed the recovery process. Most fitness experts recommend that you only stretch after your muscles have warmed up.

Stretching incorrectly can cause injury in itself, so be certain to research some safe stretches for each muscle group. Additionally, when you are stretching, you should always move slowly and gently into the stretch. Remember, you should never feel any pain while stretching- if you do stop or reduce the intensity of the stretch immediately. When practiced correctly, stretching is an essential part of any fitness regimen and can help you to avoid injury, increase flexibility and better posture.

Make sure to check the fitness page for quick tips on how to stretch and some stretching ideas.

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New research studies have shown that a multivitamin could indeed help your waistline as well as your heart. Remember, a bottle of vitamins cannot replace or fill in the gaps of junk-food diet. Everyone has days when pizza is more tempting than a salad. Besides, some vital nutrients, such as vitamin D-3 are tough to get enough of from foods alone. That’s why doctors still recommend a multivitamin—insurance against an imbalance diet.

So why take a multivitamin, here are some reasons:

1. Losing weight:

If you’re a female and need to lose a little weight, listen to this: a recent study of overweight women lost an average of 8 lbs after taking a standard multi-vitamin for six months. The reason: because a multi can help your body slim down by filling tiny nutritional gaps that slow your metabolism.  The metabolism of takers increased by 6%, in turn, their bodies burned more calories per day.  Another study done indicated that dieters who took the multivitamin felt fuller between meals and 60% fewer hunger pangs in between.

2. Heart defense:

After tracking 34,000 women for over a decade, researchers found that taking a daily multivitamin for 5 years makes you 41% less likely to have a heart attack—that is if you don’t have signs of heart disease to begin with. It can protect the heart in many ways such as: vitamin C, niacin, vitamin B2, and vitamin B5 can help decreasing the heart-threatening plaque. Magnesium can help keep your arteries flexible and fight body wide inflammation.

Getting the right multivitamin is important. Here are some facts to keep in mind:

1. Plenty of evidence has shown that we flush most of the excess from high-dose supplements out of our system. In fact high doses of certain vitamins can be toxic ad being stored in your body might lead to an increase of risk for some health problems.

2. A good multivitamin should meet the DRI, daily recommended intake. Scan the label to see if it has close to 100% of the Daily Value for everything.

—If you are a menopausal woman, talk to you OB/GYN

3. Women need 1,000 to 2,000 mg of calcium per day but should be able to get half of that from food. However, men may want to limit that intake to 500 mg due to some links to prostate cancer. A smart choice for women would be 600 mg calcium supplements with 200 mg of magnesium (the magnesium helps keeping the calcium from constipating you).

4. Most people need at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day. Vitamin D3 helps make the form when the sun hits your skin. If you’re multivitamin has less than that, make up the difference with a vitamin D3 supplement.

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The 2010 Dietary Guidelines are different from previous reports in that this one addresses an American public of whom the majority are overweight or obese and yet under-nourished in several major nutrients. It may sound strange, but it is very  to be overweight and under nourished at the same time.

This Dietary Guidelines also focuses more on children because primary prevention of obesity must begin in childhood. They say this is the single most powerful public health approach to combating and reversing America’s obesity epidemic over the long term.

To reduce the incidence of overweight and obesity in our country they recommend that we:

  • Shift food intake patterns to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. In addition, increase the intake of seafood and fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products and consume only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry, and eggs.
  • Significantly reduce intake of foods containing added sugars and solid fats because these dietary components contribute excess calories and few, if any, nutrients. In addition, reduce sodium intake and intake of refined grains.Daily sodium intake be 1,500 mg, (down from 2,300mg in the 2005 recommendations).
  • Eliminate Trans-fatty acids from the diet, and seeking to increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in diet.
  • Increase physical activity: adults should get at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, such as brisk walking, or 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity, such as jogging or swimming laps, or a combination of the two types. Kids and teens should do an hour or more of moderate-intensity to vigorous physical activity each day.

While I strongly support these recommendations, there are several things that must be changed about our food environment so that eating healthy is easy, accessible and affordable. Hopefully initiatives will be launched in orde

r to improve the following points:

  • Improve nutrition literacy and cooking skills, including safe food handling skills, and empower and motivate the population, especially families with children, to prepare and consume healthy foods at home.
  • Increase comprehensive health, nutrition, and physical education programs and curricula in US schools and preschools, including food preparation, food safety, cooking, and physical education classes and improved quality of recess.
  • For all Americans, especially those with low income, create greater financial incentives to purchase, prepare, and consume vegetables and fruit, whole grains, seafood, fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products, lean meats, and other healthy foods.
  • Improve the availability of affordable fresh produce through greater access to grocery stores, produce trucks, and farmers’ markets.
  • Increase environmentally sustainable production of vegetables, fruits, and fiber-rich whole grains.
  • Encourage restaurants and the food industry to offer health-promoting foods that are low in sodium; limited in added sugars, refined grains, and solid fats; and served in smaller portions.

With over two thirds of our population either overweight or obese, this has a huge impact on the healthcare syste

m, and our entire nation. On average, Americans of all ages consume too few vegetables, fruits, high-fiber who

le grains, low-fat milk and milk products, and seafood and they eat too much added sugars, solid fats, refined grains, and sodium. Added sugar and fat contribute approximately to 35 percent of calories in one’s diet. The current food environment is loaded with excess sodium, sugar, fat and refined grains, making it harder for the average consumer to eat healthy. We have to seek out healthy foods and do some detective work when eating out.

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Is It Swimsuit Time?

46 days till Spring!

How would you feel if you put your swimsuit on at this moment? Would you look in the mirror and think “I’m glad swimsuit season is still three months away” or would you think, “I’m so glad I’ve been keeping up with my new years resolutions?”.  For most, the answer is probably the former.

Being that it is the middle of winter and most of the country is battling with massive amounts of snow, I’m sure most of you haven’t even thought about trying on your swimsuit.  But you should—Put it on today.  For the most part, we live in a country where the seasons dictate most of our clothing items we need to keep us warm, which means we could go months without really seeing what shape our body is in.

Don’t wait until swimsuit season.  You have plenty of time now to get your body healthy and in the shape you want.  If you’re not happy with the way you look in that swimsuit, take your first step and do something about it.  Use that moment to either reevaluate your goals or set new ones.  It will only help you.

Go ahead and try it on, I dare you.

 

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