- The Importance of Rest
- How to Calculate Your Weight
- Review of Weight Loss Pills
- Changing Those Age-Old Rules: Part One
- Changing Those Age-Old Rules: Part Two
- Listen To Your Body Above All Else
- Keep A Journal
- The Importance of Stretching
- Tummy Flattening Exercises
- Walking The Weight Off
- Jogging For Weight Loss
- A Recipe to Rev You Up
Ladies, as you are well aware, our 30th class reunion is a mere four months away - smack dab in the middle of summer.
Ah summer! The beach, picnics, sweltering heat, tan lines, shorts, tank-tops and BATHING SUITS!!!
For a lot of us, it's been a long, cold winter and we are eagerly looking forward to the day when we can pack up our wool coats, hats and gloves for the season. But the end of winter also makes us painfully aware that we may have been a little over-indulgent in our diet and complacent with the few extra pounds that invariably crept on. We say to ourselves, "Oh, I'll work those five pounds off in no time," but as we get older, those five pounds become harder and harder to lose.
My goal for this exercise and fitness section of the reunion website is to encourage you to take an inventory of where you are in your life, including your diet, your lifestyle choices and habits that may adversely be affecting your health. If you are satisfied in all those areas after that assessment, my hat is off to you. However, if you feel that you do indeed need to make some changes, then join me as we begin our four-month journey together toward the reunion and more importantly, toward a healthier, happier US.
Mind you, I am not going to make any recommendations about any particular weight loss program currently out on the market. Likewise, I will not be promoting any particular local gym or fitness center. I will, however, provide information that will assist you in making those types of choices yourself, if you feel that is an area that you are interested in. I will offer tips on fitness, exercise and diet that I have discovered in my continuing quest to reshape my body as I look 50 squarely in the eye.
Before we begin, however, there are some general observations that I feel I need to make; most, if not all, of these you have heard before. However, they bear repeating.
- Before you start on any weight loss or exercise program, it is imperative that you consult your physician.
- It is recommended that you stop smoking or engaging in any other unhealthy “addiction.”
- Pick a realistic goal and write it down.
- Never measure yourself against “magazine covers.”
- Become an ardent note taker. Record the exercises you do, your calories and water intake and any supplements you may take.
- Listen to your body at all times during any workouts that you do. In the world of fitness training, pain is not something we need to work through. If you feel at any time that you have pushed yourself too far, discontinue the exercise immediately.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself if you have some setbacks. Shake it off, square your shoulders and begin fresh the next day.
- Find a workout buddy who will challenge you, support you and hold you accountable.
The Importance of Rest TOP
Listening To Your Body: The Importance of Rest
For most of us, it is hard to remember the last time we actually took a day off and did not feel guilty about it. This does not include days off from work that are packed with doctor’s appointments, children’s school activities and community commitments. A day off from work would mean a full day off where you indulge in guilty pleasures such as sleeping in, a massage, pedicure and manicure, or taking your favorite book to the park or beach.
I think we all understand the role that engaging in a day that is laid-back and commitment free plays on us mentally, but very few of us actually understand the importance of such rest days on our physical being. If we are really in tune to our bodies, we will discover that taking a day off from training and exercise will allow us to perform better when we go back to the gym. Taking a day off from work and engaging in guilty pleasures, will enable us to go back to our employer with a renewed sense of purpose.
For people who make athletics their life’s work, it is often very difficult to take those days of needed rest because they feel that they cannot afford to lose any time from exercise. However, studies have shown that rest days are important to reach the peak performance level that these athletes seek. And although most of us are not "athletes", we too can benefit from much needed rest.
We are inundated with every type of exercise program imaginable. There is an exercise program to lose that unsightly cellulite. There is an exercise program to help us achieve the goal of losing fat. If we wish to sculpt lean and long muscles, there’s probably an exercise program that can be added to our arsenal. But if we do not heed our body’s warnings to rest in between exercises, none of our fitness goals will be achieved and we will do more harm than good.
Another key to losing weight and seeing change in the gym is to understand exactly what happens when we exercise. As we perform the various exercises, small pieces of proteins within the cells of the muscles will breakdown and the more we exercise during a given workout, the more degradation of those muscles occurs. This is readily apparent as we become weaker as we continue to perform multiple repetitions of a particular exercise. Every individual is different and every individual’s muscles will breakdown at a different rate. This muscle cell degradation is also dependent on the intensity level of the individual’s workout as well as the individual’s strength. Therefore, the stronger and more in shape an individual is, the slower the rate of degradation. And when increased muscle degradation is experienced, it is partly due to the intensity level that the individual is exerting.
With this said, it should be apparent that in order for the muscles to repair themselves, they must not be continually strained. Repair requires both a replenishment of energy stores as well as proteins and if an individual does not wait the requisite amount of time before beginning another exercise program, the end result may be that the muscles in fact become smaller. For the dieter, smaller muscles equate to a loss of lean tissue, thereby lowering the dieter’s metabolism rate, creating a vicious cycle in which fewer calories are burned.
By allowing our bodies to rest after a strenuous exercise, we will in all likelihood experience a higher level of fitness and be able to train with greater efficiency and intensity and ultimately meet our fitness goal.
How to Calculate your Weight TOP
Before you begin any type of exercise program, it is important to have a starting point. Although your weight should not be the exact gauge by which you measure your success or failure on any type of exercise program, it can give you an idea if the changes you are making in your diet and exercise are having any effect.
Your weight is a measure of the mass of your body. It is usually measured in pounds and then categorized into underweight, normal, overweight, and obese. It can be calculated in several different ways, but the optimum weight for your body can be determined by using your height or these three key components: your body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and your risk factors for disease and other conditions associated with obesity. Your body weight is connected to your food choices, eating behaviors and disorders, regulation, and effects of disease.
1. For a quick and simple weight determination, your bathroom scale will give a measure of your body mass. Before stepping onto the scale, check to make sure the scale is “zeroed.” On a spring scale, move the needle until it rests over the zero. A digital scale should automatically display “0” once it has completed its start up process. Once it is “zeroed,” step up onto the scale with both feet flat on the surface. Stand still and do not lean or rest on anything near you to obtain an accurate reading. After a few seconds of calculating, the display should read your weight measurement.
2. You can compare your weight to an online weight calculator that uses a mathematical calculation using your height to compute an optimum bodyweight for you. A simple search for “weight calculator” will result in many options to use. Many sites will include directions for typing in the correct information but the main piece of information to provide is your height in feet and inches. Once you have provided the necessary information, press the “submit” or “calculate” button to produce your calculated optimum weight. You can then compare the weight you calculated to the online calculator.
3. A more complete weight calculation includes three key components, BMI, waist circumference, and assessing disease risk. Calculating your BMI can be completed by performing an internet search for body mass index which will ask you for your height and weight. It will then calculate a number which you can use to determine which category you fit in ranging from underweight to obesity.
4. After calculating your BMI, you can determine your waist circumference using a tape measure. Place the tape measure around your abdomen until it is firm. The measurement will tell you how much abdominal fat you are carrying which is one indicator of potential risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. You can then compare your BMI and waist to the Risks of Obesity-Associated diseases by BMI and Waist Circumference table. This table will help to determine your disease risk based on your calculations.
5. It is also important to keep family and personal medical history in mind when calculating a healthy weight for yourself. If there is a history of high blood pressure, cholesterol, and/or diabetes in your family history, it will become very important to maintain a healthy weight and create a healthy diet and exercise regime to keep these medical conditions from becoming worse or take preventative steps to reduce these conditions.
6. Monitoring your weight should be done with the guidance and supervision of your doctor or nutritionist. They will be able to help you create safe and manageable goals for your weight, diet, and exercise.
- Pick the same time each day to weigh yourself as your weight can fluctuate throughout the day based on food and water intake.
- Limit checking your weight to a couple times a week. Frequent scale stepping can become discouraging when normal fluctuations occur.
- Do not drink or eat a lot before weighing yourself as this will skew your true body mass.
- Keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat so your body mass may appear heavier than your comfortable with.
- Factors such as stress, lack of sleep, and illness can have major affects on your weight so these should be taken into account when designing a healthy diet and exercise schedule.
- Do not make major changes to your weight or routine without consulting a trained professional to reduce risk of injury or unhealthy reductions in weight.
- Inform your doctor of any personal and family medical history that may impact your weight.
A Review of Weight Loss Pills – Do They Live Up To the Hype? TOP
Ladies, if you are like any number of women who are trying to lose weight, there are times when frustration with the process sets in and we look for a quick fix or a jump start that will help us lose a few pounds initially to put us in the right direction. However, I’m sorry to tell you that there is no magic pill for weight loss. You would think so given the millions of dollars spent on advertising each year – advertisements that appear in print, radio and television ads. Every drugstore in America carries products that promise effortless weight loss. Fat burners, fat flushers, fat dissolvers, fat melters -- take your pick. Some of the products are practically household names thanks to massive advertising campaigns. I am going to cover a few of these products below – bearing in mind that this is by no means an endorsement of any of them.
Ephedrine Hydrochloride or Ephedrine Sulfate is a naturally occurring central nervous system stimulant obtained from the plant Ephedra equisetina. This is an over 5000 year old Chinese herb and was under extensive use for the treatment of weight loss or fat burning due to its excellent quality of enhancing the metabolism; reduce appetite and burning fat without damaging muscles. The US FDA banned these herbs after being found that its side effects led to death in some cases; however, a Utah state court judge declared the FDA ban on Ephedra, Ma-huang, as a drug illegal on August 18, 2006. What this meant was that the FDA could pose restrictions and/or limitations on sales of pills with Ephedra but they would only be considered a proposal which would then have to be voted on and passed through both the House of Representatives as well as the Senate.
Currently, this is only a recommendation since the FDA doesn't have legal control over the herb. For the moment, you can legally buy pills with Ephedra in the United States, however, that could change at any time.
Ephedra is as safe as, say, caffeine or alcohol - which is to say, anything can be unsafe if used irresponsibly. Ephedra has terrific benefits when used properly including shrinking mucous membranes that help dry the watery discharge and relax the blocked nasal passages often caused due to common colds or flu. Ephedrine and Pseudo-Ephedrine are plant alkaloids creating the medicinal values of Ephedra fat burners and are considered the two basic ingredients of Ephedra. By interacting neurotransmitter receptors alkaloids stimulate the central nervous system and dilate bronchial tubes, enhance blood pressure and raise the heart rates. These activities produce maximum thermogenesis that increase metabolism and stimulates weight loss.
To perk up the effect, Caffeine, Guarana and other ingredients are often compounded with Ephedra in Diet Supplements.
Ephedra is also produced by chemical synthesis, the synthetic product being marketed in the form of its salt, ephedrine sulfate; it occurs as a white crystalline powder with a bitter taste, soluble in water and very soluble in alcohol. Ephedrine is closely related in structure to methamphetamine, although its CNS actions are much less potent and also longer-acting than those of the amphetamines. Its stimulant actions are similar to but less powerful than those of epinephrine (also called adrenaline), a hormone produced in the body by the adrenal glands.
The typical adult dose range is 30-60 mg taken orally, three to four times per day, in the form of tablets.
Side effects of Ephedra, and which should not be discounted, include general weakness, high blood pressure, nervousness, sleeping difficulties, cardiac arrhythmias, poor digestion and heart disease. Ephedra's side effects may be even more pronounced in people with anxiety and restlessness, high blood pressure, glaucoma, impaired circulation, prostate adenoma, pheochromocytoma, and thyrotoxicosis. Additionally, excessive levels of Ephedra produce even more problems, including contracting the uterus, which means it should not be used during pregnancy.
Hoodia II is the new miracle plant used in supplements reported in the news. It has no reported side effects and has been reported as safe and effective for weight loss by numerous unbiased media authorities. Hoodia II gordonii is the botanical name for a cactus like plant that grows in Southern Africa. Scientists have recently isolated compounds in this amazing plant that are responsible for dramatic appetite suppressions and weight loss. This all-natural appetite suppressant is also being applauded for containing no dangerous stimulants that caused adverse side effects associated with other effective weight loss products such as Ephedra or Phentermine. In addition, Hoodia II gordonii is not a stimulant so taking Hoodia II should not cause you to feel hyper or jittery.
Reports show Hoodia II helps trick the brain into thinking that you're full. Reportedly the chemical constituents in Hoodia II work within the satiety center by releasing a chemical compound similar to glucose but much stronger. Moreover, these reports indicate that the hypothalamus in the brain receives this signal as an indication that enough food has been consumed and this in turn stunts the appetite.
There are no known reported adverse side effects as a result of taking Hoodia II in conjunction with prescription medications and other herbal supplements. However, if you are presently using any prescription medication and are under the care of a physician, you should always consult your physician before taking any supplement medication. Instructions for the use of Hoodia II include taking it twice daily with 8 ounces of water before each meal. The quickness and degree of results will vary depending on the frequency of use and other factors. However, preliminary reports indicate you may start to see the beginning of the weight loss process within two weeks with the use of Hoodia II.
Lipozene, a supplement containing the natural fiber glucomannan, has become a dominant presence on basic cable. Like other water-soluble fibers, glucomannan mixes with water to form an indigestible gel that could, in theory, create a feeling of fullness and suppress a person's appetite. According to television ads, Lipozene is a "weight-loss breakthrough" that will help users shed pounds even if they don't exercise or change their diet. These ads claim that Lipozene's fat-reducing power was "clinically proven" in a "recent major university double-blind study."
The fine print at the bottom of the screen, however, says that subjects lost an average of 3.86 pounds over eight weeks. Viewers aren't told the name of the university, but they are assured that "78% of each pound lost was pure body fat." You can expect to pay about $30 for 60 capsules that each contain 750 milligrams of glucomannan. Users are instructed to take up to two capsules before a meal three times a day. At that rate, a one-month supply would cost about $90. In order to achieve substantial weight loss, it is estimated that it would take 20 to 30 grams of glucomannan each day which is enough to cause severe diarrhea and other gastrointestinal distress. Or, as one researcher put it, "your gut would explode."
The legal history of Lipozene's parent company doesn't inspire confidence. In 2005, the Obesity Research Institute agreed in a settlement to refund $1.5 million to customers after the Federal Trade Commission charged that ads for its glucomannan supplements Propolene and FiberThin were false and misleading. Among other things, ads for these products promised dramatic weight loss -- more than 2 pounds a week -- without diet or exercise.
One final note…if you have any doubts about taking any of these weight loss pills or any others that are available on the market, consultant your primary care physician. He or she is in a much better position to recommend the weight loss pill that would work with your individual needs. Above all else, weight loss pills, if used at all, must be taken in conjunction with a proper diet and an exercise program designed to meet your goals and objectives.
Nutrition: Changing Those Age-Old Rules - Part One TOP
Have you ever seriously thought about what constitutes good nutrition? What foods must you eat to truly meet your weight loss goal and what foods must you absolutely avoid. Think about those questions for a minute. Do you have a list in your mind about what rules you need to follow in order to achieve a body you are proud of as well as one that feels better? Now, think about those rules you’ve come up with and their origins.
Some of these rules are a product of your environment and how you were raised. Others come from personal dining experiences with family, friends and colleagues, perhaps at time we enjoyed “comfort foods”. The media has had a great impact on shaping our rules, whether it be from Got Milk! Commercials or episodes of Dr. Phil and Oprah. And lastly, our rules have also resulted from our own failed attempts at changing our bodies, the endless rounds of fad diets, “fat burners” and exercise regimes we’ve endured.
One thing that is missing from the influences of our nutrition rules is the advice of those who really know good nutrition. Well, it is time to change the rules because as you’ve no doubt discovered, those rules are not working for us. Changing those rules, like any habit, is going to be difficult; it’s going to be uncomfortable; and we’re not going to like it one bit. These changes require a desire to change – “I want to”, as well as a strategy for change – “How do I?”
The next series of articles cannot help you with the desire – you have to want to change and no amount of coaching, pleading, begging, or threatening is going to make you want to change. However, what this article can do is provide you the “How to,” and by following a few of the new rules found here, you will change your habits of eating and sleeping and in the process change the way you look, the way you feel and the way you perform both your day-to-day activities as well as activities associated with sports.
The “new” rules that you will follow are based on three components: (1) Simplicity – how easy are these rules to follow; (2) science – are these rules based on sound scientific principles; and (3) have these rules or will these rules produce success?
Think about the nutrition rules that you currently carry around with you. What criteria did you use when you created these rules? Are your rules based on any of the three components listed above? Have your rules produced a desired effect – a lean, healthy body that you’re able to maintain? A body that you’re happy with when looking in the mirror? Unless you can answer with an enthusiastic “yes” to those questions, perhaps its time to re-evaluate your rules and consider replacing them with ones that are found in the following articles.
Nutrition: Changing Those Age-Old Rules - Part Two TOP
Previously, we talked about good nutrition rules need to be based on there components:
- Simplicity – how easy are these rules to follow
- Science – are these rules based on sound scientific principles; and
- Success – have these rules or will these rules produce success?
The rules that will be presented here should help you re-evaluate the way you approach nutrition and they should provide you the groundwork with which to do so. These rules will quickly and safely help you move you’re your old body and mindset to a new body and healthier way of thinking about nutrition.
With that said, here are the ten rules to good nutrition:
- Eat every 2 to 3 hours – no matter what. You do not need to eat a full meal every two to three hours, but you do need to eat 6 to 8 meals and snacks that conform to the rules listed below
- Ingest complete, lean protein each time you eat. If you are not eating something that is animal or comes from animal every time you eat, then you are not following rule 2. If you are a vegetarian, the rule still applies.
- Ingest vegetables every time you eat. Yes, even for breakfast, every time you eat, every 2 to 3 hours. So what we have got so far is that you need to eat lean protein and a veggie with every meal.
- If you must absolutely have a carbohydrate that is not fruit or a vegetable, only do so after you have exercised. This includes rice, pasta, potatoes, etc. Carbohydrates seem to be a dietary staple; however, there is a direct relationship between over-consumption of this staple and heart disease, diabetes and cancer. So eat a carb if you must, but only do so as a reward after a good workout. Your body will tolerate carbohydrates best then.
- A good percentage of your diet – 25 to 35% must come from fat as long as it’s the right kind of fat. Fats are broken down into three types: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Eating all three kinds in a healthy balance can dramatically improve your health and assist with fat loss. Animal products should provide the saturated fat needed. Monounsaturated fats should come from mixed nuts, olives and olive oil. Flaxseed oil, fish oil and mixed nuts will provide the polyunsaturated fat that your body requires.
- Eliminate calorie-containing drinks, including fruit juices. Although difficult, consider doing away with all calorie containing beverages, including fruit juices, alcoholic beverages and sodas. Replace these with water and green tea.
- Focus on whole foods. Most of the food you will take in on a daily basis should come from whole foods and use supplements and shakes sparingly.
- Have 10% foods. Because the previous seven rules might be a little difficult to “digest” all at once, for a little bit of a reprieve, allow yourself 10% of foods that do not necessarily follow the rules above. However, these are foods that you are still allowed to eat and drink – only do so 10% of the time. If you do not allow yourself a break or if you are too strict, you will not succeed. However, if you go into this new diet following the 10% rule, you are guaranteed optimal success. To follow the 10% rule, consider this: If you are eating 6 meals per day for 7 days of the week – that is 42 meals, 10% of which is approximately 4. Therefore, you are allowed to break the rules 4 meals each week.
- Develop food preparation strategies. The hardest part about following the rules above is following them consistently whether you are eating out, having others cook for you, or enjoying weekend rituals. Regardless, these rules apply across the board.
- Balance daily food choices with healthy variety. Inevitably, during the week, when you are busy, you are less inclined to spend a lot of time creating gourmet meals. In that event, make sure that you have on hand tasty, easy to make foods that you can eat day in and day out. However, every few days or so, try something different – something unique.
And there you have it – 10 rules to follow, 10 rules to commit to memory that will get you on the fast track to the body you’ve so-long desired.
Listen To Your Body Above All Else TOP
We are inundated on a daily basis with self-help, quick and easy, “do as I do and you will see results” tips from people who appear to be experts. People, especially for whatever reason – women, are inclined to listen to and take the advice from someone else just because that person appears to know what they are talking about. Women flock to the gym and they watch others around them exercising; they see the machines that are being utilized and they estimate the number of repetitions as well as the amount of weight that is being used and they incorporate that information into their own exercise regime. So these women may go to the ab machine and do four sets of 30 reps every day and then wonder why they cannot lose the layer of “flab” from their midsection.
Another fitness myth is that in order to get in shape and stay in shape, we must devote 90 minutes a day to some form of strenuous exercise. As we envision our already, incredibly busy schedule, we determine that there is absolutely no way that we are going to have an extra 90 minutes to devote to exercise. Thus, we do not even attempt it. The truth of the matter is that an hour and a half of exercise is simply not mandatory in order to get the results we desire. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with doing that amount of exercise some days; however, it is not necessary on an everyday basis. In fact, it is possible to exercise only 15 to 20 minutes a day for five to six days per week to achieve discernible results.
Another example of some “expert” advice is when a celebrity stands up and declares that he or she achieved their incredible body by restricting the amount of carbs they eat. Really? It is a proven fact that without carbs, we cannot function. We cannot sustain the amount of energy needed to perform at levels that are needed say when we engage in a particularly strenuous exercise. In fact, the low carbs or no carb diets that were so popular a few years ago, have all but completely disappeared and that is simply because those type of diets are not sustainable. However, before you rush to the grocery store, purchase a loaf of bread and eat nothing but that for the next several days, it is important to note that even though our bodies require carbs, they must be the right type of carbs, carbs that have the proper amounts of fat and protein. Carbs provide the main energy source and are more often than not stored within your muscles.
The bottom line is that we must listen to our own bodies in order to determine what we need to be the best we can be. We must not allow the fitness and diet myths to stop us from action and to fool us into believing that we must spend a few hours every day to get undeniable results. A complete, effective and efficient exercise program can be done in the comfort and privacy of your own home, within our schedules. We must also not believe the internal voice saying that we are simply too busy to exercise. No one is ever too busy to protect and nurture the one body that we have been given. The key is to “Just do it.” One step at a time, one exercise at a time, one diet at a time.
Keep A Journal TOP
There is no better tool when it comes to starting any diet or exercise program than a food and fitness journal. By keeping a journal, you will have more power to impact your long-term habits. Studies have shown that dieters who regularly record what they eat and when they exercise have lost nearly twice as much weight as those who do not keep track. Dieters felt that when they started to crave something, they would look at their food log and see that they had already eaten enough, thus allowing them to work hard to resist the craving and move on. Seeing their meals in print helped them distinguish between true hunger (when their body physically needed food) and fake hunger (when something else such as boredom or stress was driving their desire to eat).
Because of its ability to shed light on the daily habits that can hold you back, a diet and exercise journal is the ideal companion to help you achieve your weight loss goals. By engaging in a daily and weekly practice of writing it all down, you will dramatically increase your awareness of your relationship with food and exercise, thereby enabling you to see patterns you are not aware of; patterns, for example, that may be sabotaging your success. It is impossible to change these patterns, if you are not aware of them at the outset.
Rest assured that the main goal of a journal is not to police yourself – rather, it’s to learn about yourself. At the end of any given week, you will be able to look back and see how successful (or unsuccessful) you were in meeting your diet and exercise goals. After a few weeks of journaling, you will be able to see and fully comprehend how everyday choices you make can help you get closer and closer to your fitness and food goals.
There is no science to how a journal works. Every day, record your exercise in the Workout Log and note how it went. Remember to write down which routines you do each day, the time you start your workout and how long you exercise, including warm-ups and cool-downs. Finally, at the end of the day, tally up how much you exercised. This is also a good time to plan for when you will fit in your next day’s workouts. Also remember to rate your energy and self-confidence levels for the day as well.
On the Food Log, write down the foods you eat and your portion sizes. This record will also help you make sure you are getting good nutrition – enough fiber, calcium, fats and protein to keep your engine running, as well as enough water and green tea.
Use the Daily Nutrition Goals row to check off the number of servings of each group you consume throughout the day: grains and starches, dairy products, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats.
At the end of the week, use the Weekly Measurements Log to track your progress. All you need is a bathroom scale and a measuring tape. Try to weigh and measure yourself around the same time on the same scale each week.
Good luck and record away!
The Importance of Stretching TOP
Stretching is important for every work out. It allows the muscles to warm up, fending off unnecessary strain, cramping, and other dangers that can occur when cold muscles are worked too quickly. Stretching your muscles helps you maximize the range of motion of your joints, thus allowing you to fully contract your muscles.
The common mistakes committed by people before going through with their exercise regimen are not stretching before undertaking any exercise routine. The purpose of stretching is to prepare muscles and prevent sustaining injuries while doing one’s workout. When we workout, we develop muscles. This development would tend to restrict range and motion due to the stiffening of muscles. We can prevent it by stretching since it reverses the process of the stiffening of muscles due to exercise. The good thing about this is that the effect of stretching and strengthening can very well complement each other.
Stretching can also prevent little tears in a muscle or tendon that occur when you force a joint to go through its full range of motion when the tissues are too tight.” However, stretching itself can be dangerous if not performed properly.
Stretching without a small warm up can be dangerous. A quick, easy, light-footed walk is sufficient to warm up the legs. Moving the arms in a slightly exaggerated motion during this walk will warm up the arms as well. Swaying slowly or shifting weight from side to side also eases the body into a stretch. If muscles have been at rest for a while, they are cold and harder to flex. Trying to stretch out a colder muscle is sometimes painful, feels too tight, and can lead to tearing, pulling, or straining.
Static stretches are the most beneficial stretches. These stretches isolate specific muscles for a few breaths. Bouncing during stretching, called ballistic stretching, can be detrimental and does not lead to more permanent stretching. Instead of holding the muscle in a stretch position, the body bounces, stretching the muscle further with every bounce. This activity can be dangerous because it causes stress on the joints and can lead to hyper-extending a muscle by not being able to judge just how far a stretch is possible. It also may engage the natural reflex of the golgi tendon which takes over the bouncing and does not offer any benefits to flexibility. Static stretches, when held at least thirty seconds, work to lengthen muscles and lead to flexibility. When stretches are held, the involuntary reflex most likely will not be engaged.
The areas of the body more prone to injury are joints like the knees and the rotator cuff (shoulder). Sudden movements or twisting can cause tears in tendons or ligaments that take months to heal. Therefore, during a stretching session, focus on different stretches at each joint. Try stretching the arm across the chest and then behind the head to stretch out different muscles in and around the shoulder. Also, stretch the calves, hamstrings, and quads in the legs to support the knee joint.
People with poor coordination are more likely to be injured because they may lose balance or not be able to stand in the proper position for a stretch. Also, people who do not lead active lifestyles or beginners are more likely to injure themselves than those familiar with physical fitness routines. Tight people are likely to injure muscles. Tight people are people whose muscle is tight all the time because of weight training. Finally, age plays a factor. Typically, an increased age equals an increased risk for injury simply because the body ages.
To ensure safety, anyone who wants to begin a fitness program should consult with a doctor. Then ask a medical or fitness professional the best course of action. No matter what kind of exercise they choose, a good stretch is important to increase safety and overall flexibility.
Tummy Flattening Exercises TOP
The best tummy exercises are always the ones that you actually do. If a particular exercise bores you to tears, you are just not going to do it. The thought of endless tummy crunches can be rather tedious; however, they are certainly effective.
For any tummy flattening exercises to be effective, they must be performed correctly. To perform a crunch, one of the most effective exercises for the abdominal area, it should be done as follows:
1.Make sure to do at least 10 crunches on a daily basis, initially. Then, slowly increase the number. Lie down on your back and bend your legs at the knee. Place your hands on the either side of your head. Slowly raise your head and upper torso towards your knee. Try to go as close to the knee as possible and then, come back to the original position. Make sure to exhale while going up and inhale while coming back.
2.You can also go for reverse crunches. Lie down on the floor and bend your legs a little. Now putting the pressure on your back, raise your legs and bring them as close to the knee as possible. Hold on as long as you can and then, come back to the original position. Start with a set of 10 raises and gradually increase the number. Make sure to exhale raising your legs and inhale while lowering them.
One of the best stomach exercises and workouts is cross crunches. To perform these, lie down on your back and bend your legs at the knee. Place your hands on the either side of your head. Now, instead of crunching forwards and backwards, crunch diagonally. In other words, first raise your torso towards your left knee, come back and then, raise it towards the right knee. Start with a set of 10 repetitions and slowly increase the number. Make sure to exhale while going up and inhale while coming back.
The next best exercise for flattening the stomach comprises of toe touching. Stand with your feet joined with each other. Raise your hands above your head, in a straight line. Now, bend down and try to touch your toes. Come back to the original position and bend again. Start with a set of 10 repetitions and slowly increase the number. Make sure to exhale while going down and inhale while coming back up.
Cross toe-touching also helps in removing the flab off the tummy. Stand straight and spread your legs apart, forming an inverted V. Raise you arms and spread them by your side. Now, bend diagonally, in such a way that your left hand touches your right toe. Come back to the original position and repeat the procedure, this time with your right hand and left toe. Start with a set of 10 repetitions and slowly increase the number. Make sure to exhale while going down and inhale while coming back up.
Another exercise that will help you flatten your tummy comprises of leg raises. Lie down on the floor, with your hands (palms up) placed under your butt. Join your legs and raise them off the floor, at a 45 deg angle, putting the pressure on your back. Hold on as long as you can and then come back to the original position. Start with a set of 10 raises and gradually increase the number. Make sure to exhale raising your legs and inhale while lowering them.
Walking The Weight Off TOP
Ladies, I hope you have had a chance to look around our No Boys Allowed section that has been created with only you in mind. As you are well aware, women come in all shapes and sizes and likewise no two women think the same about their appearance. The prospect of having our fellow classmates see us carrying around a little excess weight may be a little nerve wracking for some of us. For others of us, the notion that we are rapidly approaching FIFTY is mind-boggling. It seems that our ability to fit into our skinny jeans or to wear those figure flattering skirts that we loved in our 30s and early 40s is more than an effort now.
With that said, there is certainly no reason why we can't hold back Father Time for a little longer and engage in a little "Me" time. Women do so much for their families, friends and peers and often do not have enough time left in the day to go to the gym or do some exercises at home. However, it's now our turn to concentrate on "Me, Myself and I." As I have been working on this section, I have come across some crazy, innovative exercises. I will never put anything on the website that I haven't tried myself and let me assure you that you will definitely feel some of the exercises that you will be seeing pop up here over the next several months.
There is absolutely no reason why you can't start an exercise program. The word "program" is just a misnomer by the way. You do not have to do anything fancy, buy loads of equipment or join a gym to start a "program". You can achieve the same kind of effective work out by just using your own body weight.
One of the easiest and least expensive ways to exercise is to walk. I have spent literally half of my adult life trying to regain the shape that I thought I had when I was in my early 20s and I believe that I am in the best shape now than I have ever been (and I'm still not satisfied). One of the most enduring (and effective) ways I have found to stay in shape was to just put on a pair of good walking shoes and go outside (and trust me when I tell you this - I have tried just about every type of workout there is and I have been a member of virtually every fitness club on the Eastern Shore).
There are so many benefits to walking, including: (a) it's easy; (b) it's cheap; (c) it's body friendly; (d) it's flexible and (e) it feels good. And if those were not enough reasons to get you motivated, here is another: the Harvard Nurses' Health Study, which has tracked the health behaviors of nearly 200,000 women for the past 30 years, found that women who engage in moderate walking for an average of 30 minutes a day can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes by 30 to 40% and the risk of breast cancer by 20%.
If you get out and walk, your mind will be sharper, you will boost your moods, you will fight off colds, rev up your energy level, improve your sleep, reduce aches and pains; live longer and curb your food cravings. Oh and you may even lose some weight! So what are you waiting for?
I'm not going to lie to you; however. YOU DO NOT need to walk or engage in any form of exercise in order to lose weight. Most people will drop more pounds by dieting than by working out because of simple math. It is easier to cut calories from our diets than to burn them off by exercising (and a whole heck of a lot easier!) But if you want to look and feel better, be healthier, improve your odds of maintaining your new trim figure for the next several decades, a combination of diet AND EXERCISE is key.
Oh and before I forget, inn addition to promoting health and fitness, it is important that we promote, encourage and lift up our fellow female entrepreneurs that have devoted their lives to making women beautiful. As the reunion weekend approaches, I am sure any number of our classmates' businesses will welcome you for a little pampering. We will be providing the names and contact information of the businesses; and, if any of you know of any businesses that are owned by our classmates or their respective families, please shoot me a line and we will see that the contact information is listed on our website.
Take care and I'll see you at the "Gym"
Jogging for Weight Loss TOP
Many people start running because they want to lose weight. As one of the most vigorous exercises out there, running is an extremely efficient way to burn calories and drop pounds. If you hope to lose weight by running, keep in mind that you'll only shed pounds if you burn more calories than you consume. To lose a pound, you have to burn, through exercise or life functions, about 3600 calories. So you'll need to combine running with a healthy diet. Runners do have special nutrition needs, but the basic principles for healthy eating still apply.
One common eating mistake among runners is that they overcompensate for the calories burned by exercise with extra calories from more food and beverages. Some runners even find that they gain weight, despite their regular training. One way to prevent "stealth calorie" consumption is to write everything you're eating in a journal for a few weeks. Seeing a record of your food intake will help you see where your diet needs improvement.
If you want to lose weight, you're not going to get it off by running once a week. It's best to get some activity every day but, if that's not possible, try to shoot for at least 3-4 times per week.
Incorporating speed work or interval training (running at a very fast speed for short intervals of time) into your running routine can also help your weight loss efforts. Speed work burns a great amount of calories in a short period of time. You'll also increase your muscle mass and improve your resting metabolism, causing you to burn more calories throughout the day.
If you're running regularly and you're training for a long-distance event, proper nutrition is especially critical for your performance. Skipping meals doesn't allow you to train with adequately fueled muscles. You shouldn't skimp on calories before, during (when necessary), and immediately after your very intense and long workouts. These are crucial times when nutrition is important to performance and recovery.
How can jogging actually be a weight-loss exercise? In jogging, just like any form of aerobic exercise, your muscles are at work. The excess fat in your body is being burned. As you jog constantly, your metabolism will increase, which means that your body is slowly being transformed into an effective fat burning machine. This then means that you will lose excess weight gradually, and as soon as you reach your target weight, keep the extra weight off.
In jogging, one can still get injured if he/she does not have the proper form, or is just a beginner in exercising but overexerts himself. Therefore, the proper thing to do is to start out slowly and pace yourself deliberately. As you get used to jogging various distances, you may start picking up your pace until you reach a target speed.
Jogging can be a very effective form of exercise and weight loss routine. It is not too strenuous, yet effective enough for you to be able to reach your desired weight.
A Recipe To Rev You Up TOP
Servings Per Recipe: 16
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
A single calorie-dense square of this bar packs a punch of readily usable carbohydrates from whole grains and natural sweeteners, along with a moderate dose of healthy fat, fiber and protein from flax seeds and sesame tahini. Best of all, they’re small so you won’t feel too full while you’re running. Try one about 60 minutes before your workout and then go burn it up!!
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups rolled oats
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup real maple syrup
½ cup safflower or canola oil
½ cup sesame tahini
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 cup grated carrots
¼ cup whole flax seeds
½ cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the flour, oats cinnamon, allspice and salt in a large bowl.
- Combine the maple syrup, oil, tahini and ginger in a separate bowl and mix well.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly to remove any lumps of flour.
- Fold in the carrots, flax, walnuts and raisins until mixed evenly throughout.
- Oil an 8”x8” baking dish and pour batter into dish, being sure to distribute it evenly in all areas.
- Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Verify doneness by sticking with a toothpick – it should come out clean. Cool completely in the pan (about 1 hour) before cutting into squares.