Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tips for Treadmill Running

Use a slight incline.
Set the treadmill inclination to 1% to 2%. Since there's no wind resistance indoors, a gentle uphill better simulates outdoor running. Of course, if you're just getting started with running, it's fine to leave the incline at 0% until you build up your fitness.


Don't make it too steep.
At the same time, don't set the incline too steep (more than 7%) -- this may lead to Achilles tendon or calf injuries. Also, don't run at an incline of more than 2% for your entire run.
Don't hold onto the handrail or console.
Some people assume that they need to hold onto the handrails when walking or running on a treadmill. The handrails are only there to help you safely get onto and off of the treadmill. When running on the treadmill, practice proper upper body form by keeping your arms at a 90 degree angle, just as you would if you were running outside.

Make sure you warm up.
Run or walk at a slow, easy pace for 5-10 minutes. It's tempting to just jump on the treadmill and start your workout, but you should allow time for a warm up.

Don't forget your cool down.
It's also easy to hop off the treadmill when your workout is done and your heart rate is elevated. Spend 5 minutes doing a slow jog or walk at the end of your run and allow your heart rate to go below 100 bpm before you get off. Cooling down will help prevent dizziness or the feeling that you're still moving when you step off the treadmill.

Don't lean forward.
Make sure to keep your body upright. It's not necessary to lean forward because the treadmill pulls your feet backward. You need to pull your feet from the belt before they are driven away by the belt.

Pay attention to your stride.
Keep your stride quick and short to help minimize the impact transferred to your legs. Try to maintain a mid-foot strike to make sure you're not heel striking and sending shock to your knees. You may need to exaggerate the heel lift because the lack of forward momentum means your feet won't be moving in a circular path.

Work on improving your stride count.
The more steps you take per minute, the more efficiently you'll run. Elite runners run about 180 steps per minute. Determine your stride count by counting how often one foot hits the belt in a minute and then doubling that number. Try to improve your stride count during your run by focusing on taking shorter, quicker strides and keeping your feet close to the belt. This exercise will help you deal with boredom on the treadmill and even improve your outdoor running.
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Listen to music.
Although using headphones while running outside is not safe, listening to music on the treadmill can be a great way to combat boredom and run longer. Choose motivating songs and create a playlist for your workout -– it will help prevent you from continually checking the clock to see how much more you have to go.
More: Beat Boredom on the Treadmill

Visualize a route.
Another trick to pass the time on a treadmill is to visualize an outdoor route that you frequently drive or run. Picture yourself running along and imagine the buildings and other landmarks you'd pass along the way. Change the incline setting at the time you'd be heading up a hill.

Don't forget to hydrate.
You can lose even more water running on a treadmill then you would if you were running outside, since there's little air resistance to help to keep you cool. Keep a bottle of water within easy reach.

Don't look down.
I know it's hard not to continually look to see how much time or distance you have left, but if you're looking down, your running form will suffer. Don’t stare at your feet either. You're likely to run hunched over, which could lead to back and neck pain. Looking straight ahead is the safest way to run, whether you're on the treadmill or running outside.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Holiday Weight Dos and Don'ts - Simple solutions to your holiday weight gain worries.

Just when you make it through Halloween without adding an entire bag of fun size candy bars to your hips, the holiday season throws you a real curve ball. Here's what to do -- and not do -- when it comes to holiday weight gain.


DO...

Keep fast, easy, healthful meals on-hand -- diet-friendly frozen dinners, pre-packaged salads, and sandwich makings -- for hectic days that could lead you to order pizza or stop for takeout.
Make healthy recipe ingredient substitutions in holiday baking. At parties, allow yourself small portions of regular sweets and baked goods, but only eat the ones you really want. By enjoying some treats rather than going "cold turkey" on your favorites, you will feel less deprived and be more likely to stay on track.

Try to center family entertainment around non-eating activities such as playing a game of football, viewing old family films, watching a holiday movie, or singing carols together.
Offer to bring your favorite diet-friendly dish to holiday parties or meals. Not only does that guarantee that there will be at least one diet-friendly item on offer, it will give other guests a chance to try a healthy dish that may become a favorite. (Bring the recipe!)
Keep walking regularly. Shopping is a great way to get some movement, but don't use that as an excuse not to get in a brisk 30-minute daily walk as well. If the weather is inclement, check out walking exercise videos at the library.

Have a small, healthful snack before leaving for a party or get-together to prevent over-indulging on the typical high-fat fare offered at holidays events.
Down at least one glass of water before each alcoholic beverage at parties or dinners. Not only will doing so help you drink less, water will lessen the effects of dehydration, which can easily be mistaken for hunger.


DON'T...

Try to diet during the holiday season. It's really hard to commit to a new diet this time of year with all the food around and the hustle-and-bustle. Instead, focus on maintaining rather than losing weight.

Drink on an empty stomach. Not only will the beverage have a greater effect on you, it can lead to overeating and overdrinking. Drinks are high in calories and an easy way to pack on extra weight. According to Calorie Count, for example, just one shot (one and a half ounces) of gin has nearly 100 calories.

Skip meals in anticipation of a party or holiday meal. You will only set yourself up for becoming overly-hungry which inevitably leads to overeating and paying little attention to portion control.

Stand next to the buffet at a holiday party. Serve yourself small portions and then make your way to the other side of the room. After all, parties are for mingling. If you get caught up in a good conversation, you may never return to the spread. But, if you're standing next to it while you're talking (or worse, not talking), you're sure to reach for more.

Eat quickly because you're in a rush. When you eat too quickly, you're likely to eat too much because you don't give your body time to register that you're no longer hungry. Remember, it takes about 20 minutes from the time you eat until your body "knows" it is full. Slow down and take a breather when it's time to eat.

Friday, October 14, 2011

How To Effectively Reduce Belly Fat

Jelly Belly. Love Handles. Dunlap Disease. Whatever you want to call it, the excess fat around your midsection that wiggles and jiggles in all the wrong places just isn't pretty. Not only is belly fat unattractive, it can be downright dangerous to your health. Extra fat carried around your abdomen can increase your risk of heart disease. With so many pills, potions and programs flooding the weight loss industry today, many people are left feeling just plain confused about how to effectively reduce belly fat.

The first thing you must know about how to effectively reduce belly fat is that there is no magic bullet when it comes to weight loss. Reducing body fat levels requires a three pronged approach that doesn't come from popping diet pills or gulping down foul tasting drinks. Belly fat also won't come off by trying to spot reduce only doing sit-ups or crunches. It's just not possible to spot reduce, so don't waste your time.

So, the question remains, how do you effectively reduce belly fat? Here is a safe, practical three pronged approach to get rid of belly fat.
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1. Healthy Meals. Notice the word diet isn't part of the equation. That's because the word diet conjures up visions of carrots and celery and not much else. The word diet gives us nightmares of deprivation and hunger, and that's not the image we're looking for with permanent weight loss. Just because the word diet isn't used does not mean you're free to gorge on junk food at will. Healthy meals consist of lean protein, lots of vegetables, whole grains and some fruit. Your should consistantly choose foods that are as close as possible to their natural state.

2. Cardiovascular Exercise. Regular cardiovascular exercise will reduce body fat levels. Where should you start? Wallking is great cardio! Put your shoes on and get moving for at least 30 minutes per day. It doesn't matter how fast or how far you walk in the beginning, the most important point is that you're moving your body aerobically on a regular basis. If you don't enjoy walking then ride a bike, rollerskate, jog, run. Participate in whatever aerobic activity you enjoy.

3. Lift Weights. Yes, you did read that correctly! If you're wondering what lifting weights has to do with effectively reducing belly fat, then read on. Regular weight lifting has several beneficial effects for those folks trying to reduce their body fat levels. Muscles burn extra calories. The more muscle you carry on your frame, the more calories you burn in a 24 hour period which translates into extra fat burning power. Muscles take up about one third less space than fat. Muscles give you the power to carry on your daily activities more effectively and with energy to spare.

Learning how to effectively reduce belly fat isn't a difficult task. The three principle keys to getting rid of your gut rely on diet, cardiovascular exercise and weight lifting on a regular basis. Remember, you didn't sprout belly fat overnight and you can't get rid of belly fat in a day, but you can reduce belly fat if you're willing to put forth a bit of
effort.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

HOW TO RAISE YOUR CARDIO AT 54 YEARS OLD

There are a large number of benefits to participating in cardiovascular exercise -- including weight control, improved self-esteem and prevention of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoarthritis and some cancers. Cardiovascular exercise is important for individuals of all age and activity levels. Whether you are currently working out or looking to increase your fitness regimen, you can. Even at the age of 54, you can raise your cardio routine.

1. Check with your doctor. After age 40, the National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends you consult your doctor prior to beginning any new exercise routine. A physical exam can help ensure you are healthy enough for physical activity.

2. Stretch and warm up. To reduce your risk of injury, participate in a five- to 10-minute warm-up prior to exercising. Walk, jump rope or use a treadmill. Follow up with gentle stretching. Perform calf raises, hamstring stretches, neck circles and shoulder shrugs.
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3. Select one or multiple cardiovascular exercises you enjoy. Consider jogging, brisk walking, aerobics or dancing. If you experience joint pain, consider a low-impact form of cardiovascular exercise. Low-impact exercise provides you with the same benefits as cardiovascular workout while placing little to no stress on your joints. Consider swimming, using a rowing machine or an elliptical machine, riding a bike, or walking on a treadmill.

4. Work your way up to your desired cardiovascular activity level. The National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends increasing your routine by 10 percent each week until you reach your desired activity level. For example, if you want to run one mile a day, start with one-tenth a mile and add a tenth each week until you reach your goal.

5. Follow the American College of Sports Medicine's exercise guidelines. With permission of your doctor, aim to participate in 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day, five days per week.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How Much Protein & Carbs Do Runners Need?

How Much Protein & Carbs Do Runners Need?


Athletes need more carbohydrates and protein than sedentary people because of increased needs for energy and muscle tissue replacement. Runners, like all endurance athletes, must eat a diet that consists mostly of carbohydrates such as whole grains, vegetables and fruits. According to nutrition specialists at Colorado State University, a diet with up to 70 percent carbs for three days before a marathon or other endurance race may be beneficial. Runners don’t need quite as much protein as strength-training athletes, but their need for protein is greater than the average person's.

Calories
To determine how much protein and carbs you to eat each day, figure out your body’s caloric needs. Runners need an adequate amount of energy to perform their best. If you don’t consume enough calories each day, you may limit your overall performance. Calories come from carbs, protein and fats. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, active men and women may need to consume as much as 3,200 or 2,400 calories per day, respectively. Your specific needs may vary, so consult your doctor or dietitian.

Carbs
According to the International Association of Athletics Federations, runners who exercise at a moderate pace on a regular basis need about 5 grams to 7 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight per day. Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to convert to kilograms. If you exercise at a vigorous pace, or you run for long distances that take over an hour, your body may need 7 to 10 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight per day. These amounts will provide your body with an adequate amount of carbs to fuel the recovery process following a race or training session. Carbs convert to glycogen, the body’s main source of energy, once digested and absorbed.

Protein
Protein supplies your body with smaller amounts of energy when you run compared to carbs. However, it’s a vital nutrient necessary for muscle recovery. According to Colorado State University, endurance athletes may benefit by consuming 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. For example, a 150-pound runner would need about 82 to 95 grams of protein per day. Consume protein in small amounts throughout the day to improve absorption.

Meals
A pre-event meal that contains protein and easily digestible carbohydrates can help prepare your body for the upcoming work. A sample meal may include 2 ounces of chicken, one piece of fruit and two pieces of bread. Consume a similar meal one to three hours before training. After a run, it’s important to refuel your body within 30 minutes, according to Colorado State University. You can consume a snack rich in carbs and protein, such as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or glass of chocolate milk. Another option is to consume a protein shake after you work out, but check with your doctor before using protein supplements.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fruit - A healthy alternative to junk food

The contents of fruit

As the interest in nutrition increases and people are getting more and more conscious about what they eat, the interest in fruit and its contents also grows. But we still don't know that much about fruit and there is much to discover about the substances that fruit contains. We know it is healthy for us, and that people who are sick can be cured by a diet of raw fruits and vegetables. Even cancer can sometimes be cured by this diet but which substances fruit contains is a mystery. That a human being can live healthily on fruit alone has been proven by the fruitarians, they only consume fruit.
On this page we treat the following subjects:

Water in fruit;
The burning process & sugar in fruit;
Proteins.

Health:
Why fruit?
Sugar
Health food
Unhealthy food
Guava
Olive oil

Water in fruit
Planet earth is covered with water for 70%. The human body consists of 80% of water. So what should humans eat: food that contains 80% water.
If you think about it, it is very logical to have food that contains much water. Al right, you say, then I just drink 8 to 12 glasses of water each day, so I can have as much food that doesn't contain much water as I want. Bad luck, this won't work. You cannot cleanse your body by flooding it with water. Instead of drowning your body, you only have to eat food that is rich in water: fruit, fruit juices and vegetables are the nutrition that fit this definition.

Why is it better to consume food that has lots of water in it?
All the fixed substances that you consume have to be digested. A steak for instance can take 8-10 hours to digest, while a fruit salad only takes about 30 minutes! If you squeeze the fruit salad and drink the juice, your body can integrate the nutritious elements even faster. In this way your body can use its energy for other purposes than digesting. For example thinking or detoxifying.

Let's take a closer look at how our body extracts energy from food.

The burning process & sugar in fruit
Everything you eat or drink has to be digested to extract the energy from it.
Your body can extract energy from food in two ways:
Burning with oxygen, for sugar and fat (fruit);
Burning without oxygen, for proteins (meat/dairy).
- Burning with oxygen,for sugar and fat (fruit)
The energy fruit contains is in the form of sugars (glucose). Your body can easily turn this glucose into energy by using oxygen. When the body burns the sugars with the help of oxygen there are waste products produced.
The waste products of this chemical reaction are water and carbon-dioxide. Your body can use the water and disposes of the carbon-dioxide through the lungs by breathing.
It is a very quick, clean and easy way to extract energy.

Your body does an excellent job: it extracts 50% of the energy. A combustion engine about 10 to 20%, the rest is lost through heat.

Fruit juice takes only about 15 minutes and raw fruit about 30 minutes to digest!

- Burning without oxygen, for proteins (meat/dairy)
Proteins are burnt in a different way. The energy that for instance meat, milk and dairy contain consists of proteins and animal fat. The largest part consists of proteins and the conversion of proteins into energy is more difficult and costs more energy than the conversion of sugar and fat into energy.

When the body burns proteins other waste products are produced than with the burning of sugars. The waste product of the burning-process without oxygen is ammonia which is connected with carbon-dioxide and forms the less toxic ureum which is excreted by the kidneys. It's a more cumbersome way to extract energy.

A steak can take up to 8 or 10 hours to digest, especially when eaten in combination with potatoes. In comparison to fruit (30 minutes) a lot of energy is lost to the digestion of proteins and this means that you can't use that energy for other things. Thinking or the disposing of toxins for example.

Proteins
When it comes to fruit and vegetables people tend to say: "But what about my proteins? I need them." We all know that we need proteins, because proteins are an important building material for our cells. We also know that meat, dairy and eggs contain many proteins, so we say that we have to eat meat, dairy and eggs to stay healthy.
We have three arguments that prove that the human body doesn't need that much proteins:

The fruitarians;
Babies;
Amino acids.
- The fruitarians
The vegetarians (no meat), vegans (no animal products) and fruitarians (only fruit) do not consume food that contain many proteins. They live a healthy life without big doses of proteins and look younger too!
Proteins are important though and the best source of protein is from the same raw fruits and vegetables that provide all the other nutrients: vitamins, minerals, enzymes and carbohydrates. Although fruit and vegetables contain less proteins than other nutrition, about 15 to 20 times less than for instance meat, the best way to get all these nutrients, including protein, is to eat a well-balanced variety of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables.
For the exact amount of proteins in fruit see: contents of fruit.

Babies
When a baby is lucky enough to receive the most natural food it can get babies will be breast fed for the first three to twelve months of their lives. Mother milk contains not only the necessary nutritional elements but also protects the child against allergies and infections. It consists only of about 1% of proteins though proteins are the most important material for building cells! Babies grow lots of cells so obviously it's not necessary to obtain much of proteins for the cell-building process. Fruit also only consists of 1% of proteins and that is obviously enough proteins for a human to obtain the amino acids required for building the cells. Fruit doesn't contain much proteins but has everything in it to make fully grown humans and babies grow.

Amino-acids
Proteins consist of amino acids and our body uses 20 different amino-acids. There are 8 amino-acids that our body cannot produce itself. They are called the essential amino-acids and our bodies have to obtain them through nutrition. There are many fruits and vegetables that contain all of the eight essential amino acids in the single fruit or veg. This means that it's not necessary to consume animal products to obtain the proteins that contain the essential amino acids our body needs. The following fruits and vegetables contain all 8 essential amino acids:
-Fruits: Bananas, tomatoes, cucumbers.
-Vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots (also good for the memory), corn, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, okra, peas, summer squash and kale.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Forget the chips and dip try red grapes for your healthy snack choice

Red Grapes Health Benefits

After the nutritional details, let us look at the various red grapes health benefits. I am sure you have heard that a glass of red wine is good for your heart. What you have heard is true. As you know, red wine is made from red grapes. All the nutritional value of the grapes make red wine good for your heart. So, how is red wine good for you? These grapes contain a lot of flavonoids and if the color of the grapes is strong, the stronger is the amount of flavonoids in them. These flavonoids include two chemical compounds which are called as quercetin and resveratrol. These chemicals help in reducing the formation of blood clots and also reduce the thickening of the blood platelets. This decreases the chances of heart attacks in human beings. Another red wine benefit is the reduction of the bad cholesterol in the blood. Red grapes also help in protecting the heart from fatty foods.

In addition to these, there are several other red wine benefits for the heart. After eating grapes, the nitric oxide levels in the blood increases. This is good as nitric oxide is responsible for reducing the blood clots in the body. Consumption of grapes and red wine has also proved to regulate the supply of oxygen to the heart, through the blood. The heart muscles are said to become healthy because of the grapes. There is a significant decrease in the blood pressure too as red grapes help to regulate the levels of blood pressure in human beings. There is also an increase in the levels of antioxidants and vitamin E in the body. These help in keeping the body energized. The huge amount of minerals and vitamins in these grapes help in detoxification of the body.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I know why I run - What makes you run?

You need to find your own reasons to run. There are many obvious reasons, health benefits, weight loss etc but only you can decide, because if you dont have a good reason to run you won't stick with it. If it's for the aforementioned reasons, they are not enough, any form of exercise will accomplish that. and maybe thats what you need, a variety, and running can be part of it. Running, especially competitive running, needs some other motivating factors. You can run recreationally to meet new people and exercise. You can race for new challenges and a sense of accomplishment (and charity reasons). It should be an inner drive reason.

Personally I run because I love running on city streets. I love the challenge of pushing myself and finding out how far I can go. It's also a form of stress relief and I enjoy the runner's high afterwards.

In running you are ultimately dependent only on yourself. It is your own discipline that makes you run, and that provides the benefits you reap. Running will increase your pride in yourself, and improve your relationship with your body. You will surprise yourself with your capabilities and reserves, achieve more than you thought possible.

Running gives you time to yourself. Even running with others you are essentially alone. You will be more in contact with the world around you, in all weathers and all lights, and more with yourself. Running gives you a space to yourself, a time to think, to muse, an active form of meditation. I originally started running for health reasons, I now run for all of the aforementioned reasons.

Running is the classical road to self-consciousness, self-awareness and self-reliance. Independence is the outstanding characteristic of the runner. I'm learning the harsh reality of my physical and mental limitations when I run. I've learned that personal commitment, sacrifice and determination are one of my means to betterment. I get my promotion through self-conquest.



Sunday, August 28, 2011

5 Easy, Low-Fat Cooking Methods and Recipes

Broiling

Why do it: Because it doesn't require cooking oil, broiling is a great way to cook healthfully. It works particularly well with thin, lean cuts of meat like chicken cutlets, thin cuts of pork, and fish, which cook through before they dry out. Low-fat cuts sometimes lack flavor, so you may want to compensate by using a marinade, a glaze, or a spice paste (try hoisin sauce or rice vinegar). A plus: Less than 10 minutes of a broiler's intense heat creates something that's too often lacking in low-fat cooking―a crispy crust.

What you need: A broiler pan. It has two parts: a slotted tray and a pan the tray rests on. The slots siphon off any fat that drips off the food. If you don't have a broiler pan, you can place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. To avoid hours of soaking and scrubbing, line the pan or sheet with foil.

Tip: To reinforce the flavor of the marinade or glaze, baste the food frequently during broiling using a pastry brush or a paintbrush (a new one, of course). If you're serving the liquid with the meal, be sure to set some aside before you baste so you don't contaminate the cooked food with bacteria from the raw meat.

Steaming

Why do it: Steaming has a nutritional advantage besides requiring no fat. "It retains among the highest amounts of nutrients of any cooking technique," nutrition specialist Wendy Bazilian, R.D., says. Steaming creates a closed environment that envelops the ingredients in moisture. It's the ideal technique for fish and vegetables, ingredients that tend to dry out easily. "Usually the paler and whiter the fish, the lower the fat," says Bazilian, who cites halibut, cod, snapper, and sole as examples. The trick is not to let the pan run dry. As a reminder of when to add more water, toss a few marbles or coins into the pan before you add the steamer. The force of the boiling water causes them to jangle; they'll quiet down when the pan dries out.

What you need: The standard steaming setup consists of a collapsible metal basket in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. For a makeshift version, place a small heatproof bowl upside down in a deep pot, add ½ inch of water, and balance a small heatproof plate on top. Place the food on the plate, then cover the pot with its lid. If you steam often and in large amounts, consider a bamboo steamer; its large, stackable trays allow you to steam fish on one layer, vegetables on another.

Tip: Drizzling a few drops of olive oil over steamed food just before serving will impart far more flavor than sautéing the ingredients in an entire tablespoon of fat.

Poaching

Why do it: When you poach, the liquid gives food an exceptionally tender texture, which in turn infuses the liquid with its own flavor. To poach, place chicken or fish in a large, shallow pan, add just enough water or broth to cover it, simmer gently so that only a stray bubble breaks the surface. (If you're making chicken, remove the skin before you poach it: "You immediately cut the fat grams by more than half," says Bazilian)

What you need: A saucepan that's deep enough to submerge the ingredients and a watchful eye, so that only an occasional bubble breaks the surface (otherwise, the meat may become tough).

Tip: Instead of pouring the cooking liquid down the drain, turn it into soup by adding vegetables and perhaps some pasta for substance. Recent research indicates that when people eat soup, they tend to fill up quickly due to the volume of liquid. As a result, they consume fewer calories overall without feeling deprived. "That psychological satisfaction," Bazilian says, "is very, very important."

Wrapping

Why do it: A combination of steaming and baking, this cooking method works splendidly with fish and chicken, which dry out easily, because the paper pouch traps the moisture and the juices. Just place food on a piece of paper, wrap it up, and put it in the oven. When it's ready, as you pull away the crinkly, slightly burnished edges of the parcels, you'll feel almost as if you're unwrapping a healthy gift.

What you need: Waterproof and oven-safe, parchment paper is the perfect packaging for this cooking method (look for it near the plastic wrap). Don't substitute wax paper, which shouldn't be directly exposed to heat. If the seams start to unfold as soon as you let go, use a lemon half or a carrot as a paperweight.

Tip: The ingredients for a parchment package are limited only by your imagination. Use a different fish. Add some olives. Try asparagus instead of fennel, potatoes in place of beans. Whatever your creation, include a variety of colors as well as some fresh herbs, finely chopped garlic, or thinly sliced fresh ginger.


Pureeing

Why do it: When you puree vegetables, they go from ordinary to velvety with the touch of a button. Pureeing involves two basic steps: simmering the vegetables (say, squash or broccoli, sweet potatoes or cauliflower) until they're tender, and blending them with broth until they're smooth. Adjusting the amount of broth determines whether you end up with a soup or a side dish. If you want to put a little olive oil in your puree, fine. Bazilian explains that eating low-fat isn't just about avoiding fat. "It's about choosing fats intelligently," she says.

What you need: Food processors are terrific for chopping, but for a really smooth puree you'll need to pull out the blender. If you're using a traditional countertop model, whir hot vegetables in batches, filling the jar only halfway―unless you want to spend the night cleaning the ceiling. A time-saving alternative is an immersion blender. Basically a blender on a stick, it can be placed directly into a pot of hot liquid.

Tip: Add a garnish―choose something with a contrasting texture and color, like pumpkin seeds or fresh herbs. Chopping the seeds distributes the crunch and makes a small sprinkle seem like an abundance; heating the seeds brings out their flavor and aroma.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Should I Run Everyday?

Should I Run Every Day?

Most runners need at least one, even two, days off from running. Research has shown that taking at least one day off a week reduces the frequency of overuse injuries. If you take at least one day off, your body will have a chance to recover and repair itself. You'll find that you'll actually feel better during your runs.

The best days for rest will depend on what type of runner you are and if you're training for a specific event. If you tend to run a lot of miles on the weekends, then Monday might be a good rest day for you. If you're training for a long distance event like a marathon and you do your long runs on Saturday, you may want to rest on Friday, so you have fresh legs for your long run.

Beginner runners may want to start out running every other day, to give themselves sufficient recovery time while still building a running habit. You can either take a complete rest day or do a cross-training activity on your days off from running.

If you're a more experienced runner, one or two rest days should be sufficient for injury prevention and recovery. Be careful that you don't let rest be an excuse for not running . You'll need to stick to a consistent schedule of running if you want to achieve your training goals and reach your desired fitness level.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Six Pain-fighting Foods


Got knee pain? Drink some soy milk. Sore back? Eat salmon. The right foods can ease your aches: Recent research suggests that some pack as much pain-fighting power as common pain medications like ibuprofen. "What we eat has a dramatic impact on levels of pain in the body," says Beth Reardon, M.S., R.D., a nutritionist at Duke Integrative Medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.


Red Grapes

This deeply hued fruit contains resveratrol, a powerful compound that blocks the enzymes that contribute to tissue degeneration. The evidence: In lab experiments at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, resveratrol protected against the kind of cartilage damage that causes back pain.

Although the research is preliminary, it can't hurt to fill up on foods rich in resveratrol, including blueberries and cranberries, which contain other powerful antioxidants as well. Or have a glass of wine. "Resveratrol in red wine is far more easily absorbed due to the form it is in," says researcher Xin Li, M.D., Ph.D., a biochemistry instructor at Rush.

Ginger

Long used as a digestive aid, ginger is also an effective painkiller. Almost two-thirds of patients with chronic knee pain reported less soreness upon standing after taking a ginger extract, according to a six-week study from the University of Miami. Those who consumed ginger also reported less pain after walking 50 feet than those taking a placebo — and they needed less pain medication. And new research suggests ginger may also help tackle post-workout pain.

"Ginger relieves pain by blocking an enzyme that's a key component of the inflammatory process," says investigator Christopher D. Black, Ph.D., assistant professor of kinesiology at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia. Two to three teaspoons a day should do the trick. "That's not an overwhelming amount," he says. "You could easily add that to a stir-fry or soup." Other options include ginger tea and beverages made with fresh ginger.

Soy

Want to cut your osteoarthritis knee pain by 30 percent or more? Add some soy to your diet. An Oklahoma State University study found that consuming 40 grams of soy protein daily for three months slashed patients' use of pain medication in half. The secret lies in soy's isoflavones — plant hormones with anti-inflammatory properties, says main study author Bahram H. Arjmandi, Ph.D., R.D., now professor of nutrition, food, and exercise sciences at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Tofu, soy milk, burgers, edamame: All are good options. But be patient. "It takes two or three weeks for it to take effect," Arjmandi says.

Turmeric

A recent Thai study found that the spice common in many Indian foods fights the pain of rheumatoid arthritis as effectively as ibuprofen. Turmeric also seems to inhibit the destruction of joints from arthritis, according to National Institutes of Health – supported research on rats at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Turmeric inhibits a protein called NF-kB; when turned on, this protein activates the body's inflammatory response, leading to achy joints. Investigator Janet L. Funk, M.D., and others are still working out the optimal dose, but "using turmeric as a spice in cooking is safe," she says.

Cherries

High amounts of antioxidants called anthocyanins are the key to cherries' pain-fighting power. In a U.S. Department of Agriculture study, participants who ate 45 Bing cherries a day for 28 days reduced their inflammation levels significantly. And a Johns Hopkins study of rats given cherry anthocyanins hinted that anthocyanins might also protect against arthritis pain. Unpublished preliminary data from the Baylor Research Institute in Dallas further showed that a tart-cherry pill reduced pain and improved function in more than 50 percent of osteoarthritis patients over an eight-week period. A cherry-juice drink likewise reduced symptoms of muscle damage among exercising men in a University of Vermont study: Their pain scores dropped significantly compared with the scores of those who did not drink the juice. Pain-calming anthocyanins are also found in blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

Fish

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish that help keep your ticker in top shape may also tame the pain or inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, and some autoimmune diseases, including Crohn's disease. Even chronic neck- and back-pain patients can benefit: In an open trial at the University of Pittsburgh, 60 percent of respondents experienced some relief after taking fish oil for three months, and almost as many dropped their pain drugs altogether. "We found we could substitute fish oil in place of drugs — an anti-inflammatory with no side effects in place of pharmaceuticals with side effects," says Joseph C. Maroon, M.D., clinical professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the study's coauthor.

Aim for two to four meals a week of fatty fish such as salmon, Atlantic mackerel, sardines, or trout — all top omega-3 sources. Halibut, light tuna, snapper, and striped bass are good, too. Not a fan of the fin? Consider a daily supplement containing both EPA and DHA — the key omega-3 fats — suggests Maroon. If you are taking a blood thinner, check with your doctor first; omega-3s may increase that drug's effects.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Mighty Seed - Flax Seed

It may be tiny, but it’s mighty: The flax seed carries one of the biggest nutrient payloads on the planet. And while it’s not technically a grain, it has a similar vitamin and mineral profile to grains, while the amount of fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids in flax leaves grains in the dust.
Additionally, flax seed is very low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for people who limit their intake of starches and sugars. And its combination of healthy fat and high fiber content make it a great food for weight loss and maintenance -- many dieters have found that flax seed has been a key to keeping them feeling satisfied.

Flax Seed Nutrition

Yes, flax seed is high in most of the B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese, but this little seed is just getting started. There are three additional nutrient groups which flax seed has in abundance, and each has many benefits.

Flax Seed is Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are a key force against inflammation in our bodies. Mounting evidence shows that inflammation plays a part in many chronic diseases including heart disease, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and even some cancers. This inflammation is enhanced by having too little Omega-3 intake (such as in fish, flax, and walnuts), especially in relation to Omega-6 fatty acid intake (in oils such as soy and corn oil). In the quest to equalize the ratio of these two kinds of oils, flax seed can be a real help.

Most of the oil in flax seeds is alpha linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is an Omega-3 that is a precursor to the fatty acids found in salmon and other fatty cold-water fish (called EPA and DHA). Because not everyone is able to easily convert ALA into EPA and (especially) DHA, it is best not to rely solely on flax for your Omega-3 intake. However, ALA also has good effects of its own, and definitely helps in the Omega 3/6 balance.

Flax Seed is High in Fiber: You’d be hard-pressed to find a food higher in fiber -- both soluble and insoluble -- than flax. This fiber is probably mainly responsible for the cholesterol-lowering effects of flax. Fiber in the diet also helps stabilize blood sugar, and, of course, promotes proper functioning of the intestines.

Flax Seed is High in Phytochemicals: Flax seed is high in phytochemicals, including many antioxidants. It is perhaps our best source of lignans, which convert in our intestines to substances that tend to balance female hormones. There is evidence that lignans may promote fertility, reduce peri-menopausal symptoms, and possibly help prevent breast cancer. In addition, lignans may help prevent Type 2 diabetes.

Note that a) flax seeds need to be ground to make the nutrients available (otherwise they just “pass through”) and b) flax seed oil alone contains neither the fiber nor the phytochemicals of whole flax seed meal.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Benefits Of Fish Oil Supplements

Do you know that there is one single supplement that can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack, support a healthy mind and help to support healthy child development? These benefits come from taking fish oil supplements.

People take fish oil supplements for a variety of reasons. Some believe that fish oil helps prevent conditions such as Alzheimer's or kidney diseases. Others believe that fish oil supplements will help everything from premenstrual syndrome to seasonal allergies. While fish oil supplements are still under research, none of the above ailments has been proved to be helped by taking fish oil. However, there are many reasons why taking fish oil supplements may be healthy for you.

Key Ingredients
Fish oil supplements contain key elements called omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial to the body in many ways. They contain both DHA and EPA, which are found naturally in fatty fish sources such as salmon, tuna, anchovies, catfish, halibut, herring, mackerel and whitefish. As the human body doesn't manufacture these important chemicals, omega-3 fatty acids must be ingested from fish sources or acquired through dietary supplementation, by taking fish oil capsules.

Heart Health Benefits
Perhaps the most amazing set of results on the positive effects of fish oil supplements involve their amazing effect on heart health. Several studies have produced sufficient evidence that DHA and EPA in the form of fish oil supplements lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels, decrease the risk of irregular heartbeat and slow the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Fish oil also improves the functioning properties of blood vessels and is associated with a lowered resting heart rate. According to The Mayo Clinic research facility in Rochester, Minnesota, taking fish oil supplements has ultimately shown to reduce the risk of heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms, stroke, and sudden heart related death.

Pregnancy Benefits
Due to an increased risk of bleeding, taking high doses of fish oil supplements during pregnancy is not recommended, and any dietary supplementation should be monitored by your physician. Nevertheless, taken in moderate amounts, fish oil supplements have several benefits for the mother and her unborn or breastfeeding infant.

Fish oil supplements taken during pregnancy may help speed up development of the infant's immune system. Fish oil may also positively affect the proper functioning of white blood cells. As DHA has been shown to be important to a healthy pregnancy, it is often added to prenatal vitamins as well as infant foods and formulas to support brain and eye development after the child is born. According to studies conducted by The Mayo Clinic, infants who have received DHA through their mother during pregnancy have shown to have higher problem-solving abilities.

Mental Health Benefits
As having low levels of omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to depression, a few studies have been conducted to see if supplementing omega 3 with fish oil capsules will help. Results showed that taken regularly, fish oil supplements may decrease suicidal behavior. They were also shown to improve symptoms of both postpartum and childhood depression.

Rounding out the benefits that fish oil supplements can have on mental health, evidence suggests that they may even help improve symptoms of schizophrenia, as well as helping ADHD related problems such as an inability to concentrate, and a tendency to be hyperactive and impulsive.

Side Effects
Even though fish oil supplements are classified as safe by the Food and Drug Administration, ask your doctor if they are right for you. Due to potential increases in blood sugar levels, diabetics or those who are at risk for abnormal bleeding, caution should be taken when taking fish oil supplements. Gastrointestinal upset is common when taking fish oil supplements. Fish oil supplements should not be taken by children unless advised by a physician.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A 12 Step Eating Program

The 12-Step Eating Program

Actually, what follows is just an example. You can use as many steps as you want, making whatever changes you want. This is just a sample of what can be done, to give you some ideas.
The rules:

1. Eat fruits for snacks If you snack on junk food during the day, have some fruits by your side at all times. When you’re feeling hungry for a snack, eat a fruit. One of those bags of small apples is a handy thing — you can’t go wrong with apples.

2. Drink water instead of soda The only thing I drink (besides an occasional beer) is water. I’m not saying you need to do that, but try to cut out sugary drinks a bit at a time, replacing them with water.

3. Eat whole grain bread If you eat white bread or bagels or whatever, replace them with whole-grain versions. Be sure to look at the ingredients — it shouldn’t say enriched wheat flour, but whole grain. Also try to avoid breads with high-fructose corn syrup (actually, avoid that ingredient in anything).

4. Add fresh veggies to dinner If you don’t already, have some steamed greens with dinner. Cut out a less healthy side dish if you usually eat something else.

5. Cut out red meat You can still eat poultry and seafood for now. You can later cut those out too if you want.

6. Make pizza instead of ordering Homemade pizza is the best, and if you haven’t made it yet, you should. The simple way is to get a ready-made whole-wheat crust, although making your own tastes even better. Start with the simple version, though, as you don’t want to make things too difficult. For the simple version, just add some gourmet spaghetti sauce (not Ragu), cut up some veggies (I like tomatoes and mushrooms and spinach and olives, but you can use anything, even potatoes). Brush the veggies with some olive oil. You can add grated cheese or soy cheese if you want, though it’s not necessary. Bake till it looks cooked. Mmmm.

7. Nuts instead of chips If you normally snack on chips, try unsalted peanuts or raw almonds.

8. Almond milk instead of whole milk Whole milk is fatty (not to mention the suffering done by the cows in modern dairy factories). Almond milk is much healthier. You get used to it after awhile, like all the changes on this list, but if almond milk is a problem at least drink 1% milk.

9. Whole grain cereal If you eat sugary cereal, try a whole-grain cereal instead.

10. Berries instead of candy This is a recent change of mine, and it’s actually been much easier than I thought. I used to snack on chocolate candy all the time, but now I try to eat berries to satisfy my sweet cravings and it works!

11. Scrambled tofu instead of fried eggs Scrambled tofu is a secret vegan wonder. Try a new recipe.

12. Try some great veggie dinners There are so many good ones out there if you haven’t tried them. Try soup or chili.

If you implement 12 changes, you’ll probably be eating healthier than you ever have before. A great thing is that once you’ve done this, you’ll probably keep going, to 20 steps and beyond.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Strength Training - A must to build a better body

Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier

Strength training is an important part of an overall fitness program. Here's what strength training can do for you — and how to get started.


You know exercise is good for you. Ideally, you're looking for ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. If your aerobic workouts aren't balanced by a proper dose of strength training, though, you're missing out on a key component of overall health and fitness. Despite its reputation as a "guy" or "jock" thing, strength training is important for everyone. With a regular strength training program, you can reduce your body fat, increase your lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently.

Use it or lose it

Muscle mass naturally diminishes with age. "If you don't do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose, you'll increase the percentage of fat in your body," says Edward Laskowski, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center. "But strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass — at any age."

Strength training also helps you

Develop strong bones. By stressing your bones, strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
Control your weight. As you gain muscle, your body gains a bigger "engine" to burn calories more efficiently — which can result in weight loss. The more toned your muscles, the easier it is to control your weight.

Reduce your risk of injury

Building muscle helps protect your joints from injury. It also contributes to better balance, which can help you maintain independence as you age.

Boost your stamina

As you get stronger, you won't fatigue as easily.

Manage chronic conditions

Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, including arthritis, back pain, depression, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis.
Sharpen your focus. Some research suggests that regular strength training helps improve attention for older adults.

Strength training can be done at home or in the gym.

Consider the following options:


Body weight

You can do many exercises with little or no equipment. Try push-ups, pull-ups, abdominal crunches and leg squats.

Resistance tubing

Resistance tubing is inexpensive, lightweight tubing that provides resistance when stretched. You can choose from many types of resistance tubes in nearly any sporting goods store.

Free weights

Barbells and dumbbells are classic strength training tools.

Weight machines

Most fitness centers offer various resistance machines. You can also invest in weight machines for use at home.

You don't need to spend hours a day lifting weights to benefit from strength training. Two to three strength training sessions a week lasting just 20 to 30 minutes are sufficient for most people. You may enjoy noticeable improvements in your strength and stamina in just a few weeks. With regular strength training, you'll continue to increase your strength — even if you're not in shape when you begin.

Strength training can do wonders for your physical and emotional well-being. Make it part of your quest for better health.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Diet and Nutrition for Runners

Diet and Nutrition for Runners

As a runner, your diet is important not only for maintaining good health, but also to promote peak performance. Proper nutrition and hydration can make or break a workout or race, and also greatly affects how runners feel, work and think.
A balanced diet for healthy runners should include these essentials: carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Here are some basic guidelines for a nutritious, healthy balance:

Carbohydrates

As a runner, carbohydrates should make up about 60 - 65% of your total calorie intake. Without a doubt, carbs are the best source of energy for athletes. Research has shown that for both quick and long-lasting energy, our bodies work more efficiently with carbs than they do with proteins or fats. Whole grain pasta, steamed or boiled rice, potatoes, fruits, starchy vegetables, and whole grain breads are good carb sources.

Protein

Protein is used for some energy and to repair tissue damaged during training. In addition to being an essential nutrient, protein keeps you feeling full longer, which helps if you're trying to lose weight. Protein should make up about 15% - 20% of your daily intake. Runners, especially those running long distances, should consume .5 to .75 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Try to concentrate on protein sources that are low in fat and cholesterol such as lean meats, fish, low-fat dairy products, poultry, whole grains, and beans.
More: Sports Nutrition Mistake: Not Getting Enough Protein

Fat

A high fat diet can quickly pack on the pounds, so try to make sure that no more than 20 - 25% of your total diet comes from fats. Stick to foods low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Foods such as nuts, oils, and cold-water fish provide essential fats called omega-3s, which are vital for good health and can help prevent certain diseases. Most experts recommend getting about 3,000 mg of omega-3 fat a day.

Vitamins

Runners don't get energy from vitamins, but they are still an important part of their diet. Exercise may produce compounds called free radicals, which can damage cells. Vitamins C, E, and A are antioxidants and can neutralize free radicals. Getting your vitamins from whole foods is preferable to supplementation; there's no strong evidence that taking supplements improves either health or athletic performance.

Minerals

Calcium: A calcium-rich diet is essential for runners to prevent osteoporosis and stress fractures. Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products, calcium-fortified juices, dark leafy vegetables, beans, and eggs. Your goal should be 1,000 to 1,300 mg of calcium per day.

Iron

You need this nutrient to deliver oxygen to your cells. If you have an iron-poor diet, you'll feel weak and fatigued, especially when you run. Men should aim for 8 mg of iron a day, and women need 18 mg. Good natural sources of iron include lean meats, leafy green vegetables, nuts, shrimp, and scallops.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

SIX REASONS TO TRAIN LIKE AN ATHLETE


1. BURN MORE CALORIES DURING AND AFTER YOUR WORKOUT

Research from the Journal of Strength & Conditioning shows that super sets (two exercises in a row that affect opposing muscles, such as biceps and triceps) and multiple sets both increase energy expenditure during and after the exercise period. This increase in workout intensity means you increase the calories you burn during your workout as well as the calories you burn once your workout is over (also known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which boosts your metabolic rate due to a hormonal response).

2. CURB YOUR CRAVINGS

A recent study from the Technical University of Munich found that people who worked out at low intensity levels felt hungrier after exercising than those who engaged in more demanding workout programs. Researchers say HITT decreases the secretion of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates your appetite. Put another way: The harder you work out, the less you will eat.

3. INCREASE YOUR STRENGTH

Training like an athlete means gaining strength, but you have to challenge youself. When lifting weights, make sure that the last rep is hard to perform; if it isn't, increase the weight you are lifting. A study from Georgia Southern University found that heavy resistance training (two sets of eight reps) burned more calories than lifting two sets of 15 reps of a lighter load. Females don’t worry about bulking up female testosterone levels are one-tenth of the male levels, which makes it very hard to add muscle mass to our frames.

4. DEVELOP POWER AND AGILITY

HITT will add more spring to your step and help you in everyday functional movements. Research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning says that power and agility-oriented moves, such as depth jumps, jump squats and back squats, show more potential for increasing bone mass density than traditional athletic activities like walking or jogging.

5. EAT LIKE AN ATHLETE

Repeat after me: You’re not dieting; you’re learning to fuel your body. If your relationship with food is often rocky, working out like an athlete will have you eating like one. Athletes do not consider the way they eat as a diet per se. They simply learn that some foods are far more effective than others as fuel for their bodies and eat healthily without going on deprivation diets (a common mistake associated with fad weight-loss strategies). With practice, adequate nutrition becomes second nature, and you’ll never again feel like you’re making a sacrifice with every meal.

6. SLEEP BETTER

A Taiwanese study that analyzed sleep quality among female student-athletes found that the group that was subjected to regular high-intensity training sessions reported better scores in sleep quality tests than the students who engaged in normal exercise programs.
My background and experience as an exercise physiologist, strength and conditioning coach, and certified trainer has allowed me to witness how effective this approach can be, to the point that I ended up creating my own training method (MM21) based on sports-oriented fitness techniques.
Sports training applies to every exercise program, regardless of your fitness level or how long you’ve been training. If I’ve learned something from my own training, it’s that you don’t have to be an athlete to train like one, or to enjoy the rewards of a great workout. I’ll see you at the gym!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Top 10 cardio exercises that burn the most calories in 30 minutes.


1. Step Aerobics - One of the most favorite cardio exercises preferred by women. Step Aerobics mainly target your legs, hips and glutes, and can burn approx. 400 calories in 30 minutes. 
2. Bicycling - Stationary or outdoors is a great cardio exercises, depending on resistance and speed can but 250 to 500 calories in 30 minutes. 
3. Swimming - Like cross-country skiing is an excellent cardio exercises as it is a full body exercises. Swimming is a great cross-training for other cardio activities. Doing the breast stroke can burn approx. 400 calories in 30 minutes. 
4. Racquetball - Side to side sprinting makes racquetball and excellent cardio exercises. A 145-lb person burns over 400 calories in 30 minutes. 
5. Rock Climbing - Is not only a cardio exercises, but also uses arm and leg strength and power. Rock Climbing can burn up to 380 calories in 30 minutes. 
6. Cross-Country Skiing - Whether on a machine or outdoors on snow, is an incredible cardio exercises as it involves both upper and lower body. A 145 lb person can burn approx 330 calories in 30 minutes. 
7. Running - Running is an excellent cardio exercises because all you need is a pair of quality running shoes. Running burns serious calories. A 145 LB person can easily burn 300 calories in 30 minutes. 
8. Elliptical Trainer - Is an excellent cardio exercises and a great way to build endurance. A 145 LB person can burn about 300 calories in 30 minutes. 
9. Rowing - Is both a cardio exercises as well as giving your arms an incredible workout. 145 LB person can burn about 300 calories in 30 minutes. 
10. Walking - Brisk walking is a less strenuous form of cardio exercises. Walking can burn up to 180 calories in 30 minutes. Sprinting, adding hills or an incline can increase amount of calories burned.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Run for your health

Running is very good for your health. It provides a great cardiovascular workout, strengthens and tones your muscles. Regular jogging gives better overall physical condition as well as some other health benefits, including mental benefits such as relaxation and reduction of anxiety. Most importantly for many, running is a good way to lose belly fat and generally get fitter.

Regular Running and Jogging

Regular running and jogging is a good way to improve your health and fitness. You do not need to become a marathon runner to benefit greatly from running. Many people are concerned about long term damage to joints such as knees, ankles and hips, as a result of running. However, with good quality running shoes and a sensible approach, the risks are minimal, and the benefits of being fitter outweigh those possible risks.
Jogging makes the heart stronger. It increases the capacity of the blood circulation and of the respiratory system. This is essential for maintaining good fitness. It also speeds up the digestive system and can help to relieve digestive problems. Many people that live a sedentary lifestyle develop digestive problems that can be improved with a healthier diet and some regular exercise.

Running and Mental Health

Running can counteract depression, as all forms of exercise can help people cope with depression. It increases the capacity to work and lead an active life. The fitter you are, the more active you can be. There are so many more opportunities available to people that are healthier and fitter.
There are several beneficial effects of adding running to your weight loss program:



Does jogging help you to lose weight?

Jogging makes you burn fat and thereby helps to lose weight. In addition to increasing metabolism, jogging is an effective way to burn more calories, which helps you lose weight. If calories consumed in food are less than calories spent during exercise and other daily activities, you will lose weight. It is impossible not to! Many people have learned how to lose belly fat by starting a running program.

Jogging helps to reduce stubborn belly fat. Stubborn fat can be very hard to shift, but a running program can really help to cut down on the last of your stubborn fat.
If you suffer from poor appetite, jogging will improve your appetite. Along with all other forms of exercise – the harder you work, the more you need to eat to repair your muscles and refuel them. When you start to run longer distances you will start to eat to fuel your body, and may even find that you need to eat more food everyday, than you did when you were overweight.
Jogging will strengthen the muscles and bone density of your legs, hips and back. Long distance runners have very strong legs, even though they often look very thin and weak. Running does not produce bulky muscles, like weight training or even circuit training does, but it does increase leg strength. Also, the constant impact caused during running can increase bone density, so long as you follow a healthy diet.



Jogging makes you sleep better. Also, if you exercise well, sleep comes much easier. One of the most important factors for improving fitness after exercise and diet is getting adequate sleep. Overtraining can occur if you do not rest properly.

Learning to Enjoy Running

Running can give you both physical and mental joy, so long you do not exhaust yourself! When jogging is done correctly, you will actually feel less tired after you have finished a tour than before you began. You may even start to enjoy the feelings in your muscles during the jogging and afterwards.
Running is a great way of getting away from your usual daily environment. Running outside is often much more pleasurable than exercising in a gym. Even running in the rain can be refreshing and pleasurable. While running some people also get an euphoric mental feeling – a runners high!

Jogging Routes and Sessions

Jogging may be performed in a lot of ways. Long distance jogging generally covers 6-20km, at a moderate speed on even roads or paths. Short distance jogging covers 3-6km in a faster pace. Jogging upwards in a steep terrain 3-4km, in a speed adjusted to the steepness. Jogging in a hilly terrain with paths going both up and down 4-8 km. It is advisable to vary the type of jogging from day to day, and to find several different routes to run. By running different routes you create more variety, which helps to keep you motivated. Also, by having a set of routes of varying distance, you can develop a weekly running schedule, which includes both short fast runs and longer slower runs.

Planning a Running Session

You should start out at a slower pace for a few minutes if you have not warmed up already. Then you gradually increase to a comfortable speed. Once you become familiar with a few different routes, you will quickly learn the best pace for you, and also will know when to push yourself a little harder. Timing each run is a great way to monitor improvements. Some days you may feel that you have not run so well, but the time on the clock may show that you have actually matched your personal best.




Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Few Health Benefits of Eating Eggs

Eggs are a good source of low-cost high-quality protein, providing 5.5 grams of protein (11.1% of the daily value for protein) in one egg for a caloric cost of only 68 calories. The structure of humans and animals is built on protein. We rely on animal and vegetable protein for our supply of amino acids, and then our bodies rearrange the nitrogen to create the pattern of amino acids we require.

Boost Brain Health with Eggs' Choline
Another health benefit of eggs is their contribution to the diet as a source of choline. Although our bodies can produce some choline, we cannot make enough to make up for an inadequate supply in our diets, and choline deficiency can also cause deficiency of another B vitamin critically important for health, folic acid.
Choline is definitely a nutrient needed in good supply for good health. Choline is a key component of many fat-containing structures in cell membranes, whose flexibility and integrity depend on adequate supplies of choline. Two fat-like molecules in the brain, phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin, account for an unusually high percentage of the brain's total mass, so choline is particularly important for brain function and health.
In addition, choline is a highly important molecule in a cellular process called methylation. Many important chemical events in the body are made possible by methylation, in which methyl groups are transferred from one place to another. For example, genes in the body can be switched on or turned off in this way, and cells use methylation to send messages back and forth. Choline, which contains three methyl groups, is highly active in this process.
Choline is also a key component of acetylcholine. A neurotrasmitter that carries messages from and to nerves, acetylcholine is the body's primary chemical means of sending messages between nerves and muscles.\

An Egg Breakfast Helps Promote Weight Loss
In a randomized controlled trial, 160 overweight or obese men and women were divided into 2 groups, one of which ate a breakfast including 2 eggs, while the other consumed a bagel breakfast supplying the same amount of calories and weight mass (an important control factor in satiety and weight loss studies). Participants ate their assigned breakfast at least 5 days a week for 8 weeks as part of a low-fat diet with a 1,000 calorie deficit. (Dhurandhar N, Vander Wal J, et al, FASEB Journal)
Compared to those on the bagel breakfast, egg eaters:
  • Lost almost twice as much weight -- egg eaters lost an average of 6.0 pounds compared to bagel eaters' 3.5 pound loss.
  • Had an 83% greater decrease in waist circumference
  • Reported greater improvements in energy
No significant differences were seen between blood levels of total, HDL and LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides in either group, confirming what other studies (Ballesteros MN, Cabrera RM, Am J Clin Nutr) have shown, including a relative risk study presented at the Experimental Biology meeting: healthy people can safely enjoy eggs without increasing their heart attack risk. The relative risk study, a thorough scientific review of the major studies concerning heart disease causation, which was conducted by Washington, DC-based scientific consulting firm, Exponent, found that eggs contribute just 0.6 percent of men's and 0.4 percent of women's coronary heart disease risk.

Eggs and Heart Health
In addition to its significant effects on brain function and the nervous system, choline also has an impact on cardiovascular health since it is one of the B vitamins that helps converthomocysteine, a molecule that can damage blood vessels, into other benign substances. Eggs are also a good source of vitamin B12, another B vitamin that is of major importance in the process of converting homocysteine into safe molecules.
Eggs are high in cholesterol, and health experts in the past counseled people to therefore avoid this food. (All of the cholesterol in the egg is in the yolk.) However, nutrition experts have now determined people on a low-fat diet can eat one or two eggs a day without measurable changes in their blood cholesterol levels. This information is supported by a statistical analysis of 224 dietary studies carried out over the past 25 years that investigated the relationship between diet and blood cholesterol levels in over 8,000 subjects. What investigators in this study found was that saturated fat in the diet, not dietary cholesterol, is what influences blood cholesterol levels the most.

Helping to Prevent Blood Clots
Eating eggs may help lower risk of a heart attack or stroke by helping to prevent blood clots. A study published in Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin demonstrated that proteins in egg yolk are not only potent inhibitors of human platelet aggregation, but also prolong the time it takes for fibrinogen, a protein present in blood, to be converted into fibrin. Fibrin serves as the scaffolding upon which clumps of platelets along with red and white blood cells are deposited to form a blood clot. These anti-clotting egg yolk proteins inhibit clot formation in a dose-dependent manner—the more egg yolks eaten, the more clot preventing action.(That being said, it's still important to only eat the amount of eggs that fits within your own personal Healthiest Way of Eating.)

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Amazing Herb Black Seed

The Black Seed (botanical name “Nigella Sativa”), known as Black Cumin, Black Caraway Seed, and the Blessed Seed is a popular natural cure in Asia, Middle East and Africa. This seed has found traditional use in the cure for a wide range of ailments and conditions for the fast 14000 years, and tradition in these places consider the Black Seed as a "healing for all diseases except death."


The Black Seed herb and oil has been traditionally used to treat diseases related to the respiratory system, circulatory and immune system, stomach and intestines, parasitic infections, kidney, livers, asthma, bronchitis, rheumatism, common cold, and also skin conditions such as allergies, eczema and boils. Consumption of the Black Seed also contributes to other general health benefits such as increasing body tone, stimulating the menstrual period, increasing milk production in nursing mothers, increasing the flow of breast milk. Black Seed Oil calms the nervous system, quells colic pain, stimulates excretion of urine, helps pertussis, and improves digestion.


The black seed helps against all types of cold ailments and helps introduce the effective ingredients of cold medications to the areas affected by hot and dry ailments, as it helps the body absorb the medicine quickly when taken in small dosages.

Black seed is hot and dry in the third degree, eliminates, flatulence, extracts the helminthes (worm), relieves leprosy and phlegm fevers, opens clogs, decomposes accumulating gas and excess moisture in the stomach.

When it is ground, blended with honey and drunk with some warm water, it will dissolve the stones that appear in the kidney and the prostate and it is also diuretic.

It increases the flow during menstruation and the production of milk

When it is heated with vinegar and placed on the stomach, it will eliminate helminthes (worms) and when it is blended with wet or cooked colocynth water, it is more effective in removing worms.

It also cleans up, decomposes and relieves cold symptoms when it is ground in a rag and inhaled through the nose on a regular basis until the ailment is cured.

Black seeds oil helps against snakebites, hemorrhoids and spots. When around 25grams of it is drunk with water it will help against gasping and hard breathing.

When the black seeds are cooked in vinegar and then one rinses his mouth with it, it will relieve toothache resulting from sensitivity to cold. When one inhales powered black seed, it will help against water that accumulates in the eye. When it is used in a bandage while blended with vinegar, it heals spots and exposed skin ulcers and decomposes the acute mucus tumors and also hard tumors.

The oil of black seed also helps against facial paralysis when administered by the nose. When one drinks about 25grams of its oil, it helps against spider bite. When it is ground finely and blended with the oil of the green seed and used as ear drops, only up to three drops, it helps against symptoms, flatulence and various clogs.

When the Black Seed is fried and finely ground, soaked in oil and then drops are administered in the nose, it will help against cold conditions accompanied by intensive sneezing.

When it is burned and mixed with melted wax along with henna or iris oil, it helps remove the ulcers that appear on the skin of the legs, after washing the skin with vinegar.

When the black seeds are crushed in vinegar and laid on leprous skin, the skin affected by black pigmentation and on the head that is affected by dandruff, it helps relieve these aliments.

When the Black Seeds are ground finely and one swallows around 25grams of it each day with cold water, it instantly helps against the bit of rabid dogs, and might prevent death as a result of hydrophobia. 


The health benefits of Black Seed are not limited to curative purpose alone. Regular consumption of a teaspoon of Black Seed Oil mixed with honey after each meal contributes to better health and strong immunity to diseases.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mental Benefits of Exercise

Mental Benefits of Exercise


Few can deny the physical upside of working out regularly, but there are also several important mental benefits of exercise. This article examines some of the more obvious as well as perhaps lesser known reasons for hitting the jogging trail or gym a couple times a week.
By MKDanielsson

Five Mental Benefits of Exercise

These mental benefits of exercise intersect to some degree, and there are more fringe benefits not listed, but here are five big ones:

Stress Relief

Insufferable coworkers, a pompous boss, and escapees from Bob's Driving School for the Blind on your way home is enough to get you in a state where you'd rather just punch someone. Give all this negative energy a positive outlet by pushing iron for a while. Afterwards, you can interact with family and friends like a human being again, which is just as important as the physical health benefits in the big picture.

Depression Prevention

These days, clinically depressed patients are almost always prescribed plenty of exercise. Sure, "happy pills" can take the edge off a bad depression, but it also comes with side effects -- the exact opposite of the impact of exercise-based treatment. You don't have to be truly depressed to reap these benefits, though. In fact, if you're merely feeling a bit blue and can't seem to snap out of your funk, odds are a brisk walk through the forest or a few hard sets of tennis will hit the reset button quite nicely.

Confidence Boost

Being active inevitably builds certain confidence in your physical abilities. If you get stronger in the gym, or shave a couple minutes off your jog, you have hard proof that you're capable of meeting and surpassing real goals. If you are able to pull this off in the gym, you can probably do it elsewhere, too. Likewise, you will experience temporary setbacks and disappointments, and learn to overcome them the next time around. This is another area that translates well from the field of exercise to social life or the professional world.

Improved Sleep

Insomnia and poor sleep are often related to residual stress that didn't get the needed outlet. You can't fix an overdue credit card or revive missed opportunities at work by obsessing about them at 2 AM, yet that is often what people end up doing. Not only does exercise provide a direct outlet for that pent-up stress as outlined earlier, but you also get the immediate, tangible effect of physical tiredness. If you spent the day in an office chair and the evening on the couch, your body never enjoyed real movement. Swim a few dozen laps after work, and at least you will be physically tired when hitting the sack.

Better Energy

Continuing on the previous point, it may seem like a paradox, but you actually get more energized the more energy you use. Not short-term, of course, but over the span of months and years. It's kind of like the old chestnut of having to spend money to make money -- but it's true, as your body is remarkably adaptive and soon adjusts to a certain activity level once you've made it a habit. This energy is as much mental as physical, making it a win-win scenario all around.


There are more mental benefits of exercise to boot, although they overlap what has already been mentioned here. For example, those who exercise regularly tend to be more fit and better looking -- a distinct social advantage that quickly builds self-esteem beyond what is already covered in the Confidence Boost point above. You can also discuss the social aspect of playing sports or going to exercise classes with friends, but the bottom line is clear enough: practically everyone stands to gain from regular exercise, both physically and mentally. Good luck!