Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tips for Aerobic Exercise

Should I start out as a beginner or an intermediate?

If you have been exercising for less than 2 months you are a beginner. If you have been exercising between one and two months you should follow the beginner program for about a month before advancing to the intermediate level. If you start out as a beginner and find that the workouts are becoming too easy then you may try the intermediate level after 8 weeks at the beginner level. Most importantly, listen to your body and do not try to do too much too fast.

How Often?

All of our exercise programs provide a weekly goal for frequency of exercise. It is usually between four to five times a week. Don't forget to make the most out of every day and try to sneak some activity in even on the "off" days. This could be parking farther away from the front entrance to the mall or taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work.

How Long?

The duration of exercise is also important considering that the longer you workout the more calories you will burn. The goal in your 12- week exercise program is to gradually increase the time that you exercise.

How Hard?

Intensity is also extremely important in exercise training. Use your target heart rate to calculate your exercise intensity goals. You will burn more calories per minute as you increase exercise intensity. As you get more fit you want to gradually increase your exercise intensity but make sure that you are able to sustain that intensity. For example, it is better to go walking for 45 minutes than to run for 5 minutes. However, make sure that when you are walking you are keeping it at a comfortable but challenging pace and not stopping to talk to all of your neighbors along the way!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Choose Healthy

When faced with choices that may impact your health and the lives of those you love, it’s important to remember that there are options and resources to help you make healthy decisions.

You all know that cigarette smoking can cause cancer in smokers and in those who breathe in the air around them.
You also hear stories of how substance abuse can destroy a person's life—whether it leads to the loss of a job, marriage, or even an innocent life.
You are lucky—you have choices and can learn how to avoid risky situations, break unhealthy habits, and protect yourself and the lives of those you love.
You can also learn to prepare yourself against natural disasters and catastrophic events.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

10 easy steps to get fit and live longer

"He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything."
(Arabian Proverb)
1. Move More
Make it a daily challenge to find ways to move your body. Climb stairs if given a choice between that and escalators or elevators. Walk your dog; chase your kids; toss balls with friends, mow the lawn. Anything that moves your limbs is not only a fitness tool, it's a stress buster. Think 'move' in small increments of time. It doesn't have to be an hour in the gym or a 45-minute aerobic dance class or tai chi or kickboxing. But that's great when you're up to it. Meanwhile, move more. Thought for the day: Cha, Cha, Cha…. Then do it!
2. Cut Fat
Avoid the obvious such as fried foods, burgers and other fatty meats (i.e. pork, bacon, ham, salami, ribs and sausage). Dairy products such as cheese, cottage cheese, milk and cream should be eaten in low fat versions. Nuts and sandwich meats, mayonnaise, margarine, butter and sauces should be eaten in limited amounts. Most are available in lower fat versions such as substitute butter, fat free cheeses and mayonnaise. Thought for the day: Lean, mean, fat-burning machine…. Then be one!
3. Quit Smoking
The jury is definitely in on this verdict. Ever since 1960 when the Surgeon General announced that smoking was harmful to your health, Americans have been reducing their use of tobacco products that kill. Just recently, we've seen a surge in smoking in adolescents and teens. Could it be the Hollywood influence? It seems the stars in every movie of late smoke cigarettes. Beware. Warn your children of the false romance or 'tough guy' stance of Hollywood smokers. Thought for the day: Give up just one cigarette…. the next one.
4. Reduce Stress
Easier said than done, stress busters come in many forms. Some techniques recommended by experts are to think positive thoughts. Spend 30 minutes a day doing something you like. (i.e.,Soak in a hot tub; walk on the beach or in a park; read a good book; visit a friend; play with your dog; listen to soothing music; watch a funny movie. Get a massage, a facial or a haircut. Meditate. Count to ten before losing your temper or getting aggravated. Avoid difficult people when possible. Thought for the day: When seeing red, think pink clouds….then float on them.
5. Protect Yourself from Pollution
If you can't live in a smog-free environment, at least avoid smoke-filled rooms, high traffic areas, breathing in highway fumes and exercising near busy thoroughfares. Exercise outside when the smog rating is low. Exercise indoors in air conditioning when air quality is good. Plant lots of shrubbery in your yard. It's a good pollution and dirt from the street deterrent. Thought for the day: 'Smoke gets in your eyes'…and your mouth, and your nose and your lungs as do pollutants….hum the tune daily.
6. Wear Your Seat Belt
Statistics show that seat belts add to longevity and help alleviate potential injuries in car crashes. Thought for the day: Buckle down and buckle up.
7. Floss Your Teeth
Recent studies make a direct connection between longevity and teeth flossing. Nobody knows exactly why. Perhaps it's because people who floss tend to be more health conscious than people who don't? Thought for the day: Floss and be your body's boss.
8. Avoid Excessive Drinking
While recent studies show a glass of wine or one drink a day (two for men) can help protect against heart disease, more than that can cause other health problems such as liver and kidney disease and cancer. Thought for the day: A jug of wine should last a long time.
9. Keep a Positive Mental Outlook
There's a definitive connection between living well and healthfully and having a cheerful outlook on life. Thought for the day: You can't be unhappy when you're smiling or singing.
10. Choose Your Parents Well
The link between genetics and health is a powerful one. But just because one or both of your parents died young in ill health doesn't mean you cannot counteract the genetic pool handed you.
P.S. - Thought for the day:
Follow these basic tips for healthy living and you can better control your own destiny.
... And smile more often!

Get in shape for this summer

If you haven`t been keeping your New Year`s resolutions, there`s still time to shape up for summer. However, before you begin your exercise program get permission from your physician. Once you receive the go-ahead, decide which fitness activities are best suited for you and get moving!

Getting in shape for the summer season can be fun and easily accomplished at home, outdoors, and/or at a fitness center. Regardless of where you choose to exercise, your well-rounded fitness program should include:
- Developing and maintaining cardio respiratory fitness
- Muscular strength training and endurance
- Flexibility stretches

Every exercise session should begin with 5-10 minutes of light activity to prepare the body for more vigorous movement. After your body is warmed up, do flexibility stretches for all the large muscle groups. Make sure you do not bounce! Each stretch should be held for 10 - 30 seconds and repeated 3-4 times per muscle group.

After your warm-up, begin your cardiovascular or aerobic activity. Adopt an exercise program that allows you to perform cardiovascular activity (brisk walking, jogging, bicycling, group fitness classes, etc.) for at least 20 minutes per session, for a minimum of three times per week.
Your exercise program should also include strength or muscular training. Strength training equipment, free weights, and/or your own body weight can all be used to strengthen your body and achieve muscular fitness. Aim to perform between 8-12 repetitions per exercise until you reach momentary muscular fatigue. Be sure to include strength exercises for both the lower and upper body to achieve a balanced, strong body. Your strength training routine should be performed 2-3 days per week, with a day of rest in-between workouts.
Exercise sessions should end with a 5-10 minute cool-down period including light activity. This allows the body to gradually return to a near-normal temperature. Once again, flexibility exercises should be performed at the end of your workout. Remember, beginning a fitness program doesn`t have to be complicated. By following the above guidelines, you`ll be well on your way to shaping up for summer. Be creative with the activities you choose and vary your routine. Have fun with exercise because, after all, it will keep you motivated to stick with the program!

Only your personal physician or other health professional you consult can best advise you on matters of your health based on your medical history, your family medical history and your medication history.