Monday, April 30, 2007
Though every human wants to experience the good life not every member of society works hard enough to achieve the desirable goals. Some expect things to come their way effortlessly, and even more often they want others to do things for them -- maybe it is their parents, grandparents, uncles, spouses, siblings, friends, teachers, coaches, doctors or coworkers. The same people don't want to admit that the main reason for their failures is their own laziness and deep-rooted bad habits. At times, they seem to ignore this meaningful truth -- that life-long health and success can only be accomplished through a person's own initiative, skills, abilities and knowledge. There is no other way.
No one else can live your life for you. This also means that no one would ever do your work for you better than you would do it yourself. It is foolish to deceive yourself with fruitless expectations that someone will magically appear in front of you and take care of your life, your future, your plans and dreams in a more reliable manner than you could do it for yourself. Every person has to be in charge of his or her own destiny! Therefore, stop relying upon others and start being persistent. Show initiative. Be confident in the decisions you make. Don't treat yourself like a puppy. Feeling sorry for yourself when you have piles of work to do is an exercise in futility -- just do it!
It has been proven that bad thoughts can poison our well-being while destroying health; in contrast, good thoughts can improve the way we feel. That's why we must learn how to think in a positive, optimistic, productive way -- and not give in to fear, frustration or depression. It is wise to remember that there is an exit from every situation. To find that exit you have to have self-confidence and be a happy soul.
Start the new day with a smile. While standing in front of the mirror in the morning, recollect some pleasant events or people from previous days. After you fix a smile on your face, it can make it easier to be friendly with the people around you. People shy away from a frown, but are drawn to a smile. Now that you've put on a happy face, begin to hum your favorite tune. Make an effort to keep the signs of joy on your face throughout the day. Just as a person who is depressed has that dull look, a person who feels happy usually has a radiant shining in their eyes. The happy individual walks straight, breaths normally, and moves in a lively and expressive fashion. The outward appearance reflects the inner joy!
To be happy most of the time, stay away from the people who sow sadness and dissension. Don't get close to difficult people. Seek out cheerful people who may become your good friends. Keep focusing on the positive aspects of life and take positive action whenever possible. Get a good night's sleep. Laugh as much as you can. Be kind to others. Don't forget that love is your biggest need -- there is no substitute. So, put your life in your own hands, live according to these rules, and you will be able to change your life and start living as a new person.
Now, I'm much slower, and I'm usually pushing my two children in a running stroller, but the thoughts of breathtaking speed are still there. One of my greatest hopes is that my children will develop the same passion for track and field that I once held and still harbor somewhere in my aging body. In fact, as I was researching the Masters Track and Field site (http://www.masterstrack.com), I realized that, while I may not run quite so impetuously as I did when I was a child, I could still manage to compete in my current age group. The question is how to accomplish this without taking too much time away from the other aspects of my life such as motherhood, work, my marriage, etc.
To answer this, I've devised a simple formula of sorts that I'd like to share with you. Revise it as necessary to fit your life. To begin, I realized that I might need some support and encouragement to achieve my goal, so my first step was to discuss my plan with my husband and family. After all, I would need help not only with childcare while I'm training, but every so often I might need someone to jumpstart my motivation if I'm having a less-than-energetic day. This support can take many forms; so don't limit yourself to my solution.
Next, I came up with a concrete goal: to run more races. I plan to start with the shorter races such as the 5K and 10K. Once I feel comfortable with those and am in better shape, I will try a half-marathon and then the big one, the marathon. Since the big one is still several months ahead of me, I will concentrate on the first part of this goal.
To do this, I need to determine what kind of shape I am in currently. Because I try to run five days a week for anywhere from three to eight miles per run, I figure that I am in decent shape and ought to be able to handle a short race. So, I will choose my race, preferably one that is local and occurring within two to three weeks. There are many different places that I could check to find a race. Good suggestions include: a local specialty running shoe store (such as Fleet Feet), the Parks and Recreation office in my city, the Chamber of Commerce, a current edition of Runner's World Magazine, or a local running club.
While my current running schedule is sufficient for fun runs, should I decide to compete more seriously in races or other track and field events, there are a variety of places to find training tips and coaching. Many of these are easily accessed online. Check out the featured links on this Web site for some suggestions. And, good luck. May your feet be swift and may you feel like a child again.
Friday, April 27, 2007
The results have been astounding. Recent research has uncovered a simple truth that shatters our beliefs about growing old: Much of aging can be prevented, or even reversed, through strength training. In fact, when put on a regular strength program, even 85-year-old men and women can expect results comparable to those of their 25-year-old grandchildren.
It all became public news with a landmark study in 1994, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. One hundred frail nursing home residents, ages 72-98 were put on a 10-week strength program. As a result, muscular strength improved by 113 percent, walking speed increased 12 percent, and stair climbing power increased 28 percent. Several residents were even able to leave their canes behind. Around the same time, another study found that one year of strength training improved spinal bone density by six percent. This is a significant finding considering that bone density decreased by four percent in the control group.
Strength training and aging soon became a hot topic among exercise scientists, leading to a host of studies that, to date, boast the following incredible conclusions:
- Strength training can help prevent weight gain. In fact, it would be hard to keep weight off without it. Starting in midlife, we gain about 10 pounds each year. Much of this weight gain is due to a progressive loss of muscle and decrease in metabolism. Dieting can cause additional muscle loss, making the problem even worse! Strength training will boost metabolism and prevent the age-related decline in muscle, so that you can eat well, burn more calories (even at rest), and take off weight -- permanently.
- Strength training builds bone density in men and women. Along with dietary measures, it is the best thing you can do to prevent, or perhaps reverse, osteoporosis.
- Strength training improves balance and coordination, reducing the risk of falls.
- Strength training can lower blood pressure.
- Strength training improves glucose metabolism by increasing insulin activity.
- Strength training can preserve physical function in those with chronic conditions such as arthritis, hypertension and heart disease, and promote independent living.
- Strength training strengthens the joints and is essential for retaining flexibility, especially in arthritic joints.
- Strength training boosts self-confidence, alleviates stress and counteracts depression.
- Strength training improves the quality of sleep.
- Strength training can increase bowel transit time, which may reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Older adults can improve their health, reduce risk of disease and literally transform their lives through a program of strength training. The implications of these findings are strikingly significant; given that by the year 2010 people aged 55-74 will outnumber 25-34-year-olds by 18 million. Furthermore, according to a report by the National Institute on Aging, delaying nursing home stays by only one month would result in a savings of four billion dollars annually.
You don't have to become a "gym rat" to benefit. Twice weekly sessions that work all the major muscle groups in the body are sufficient to notably improve health. It's important to get your doctor's approval before you get started; there may be medical considerations that affect choice of exercises and intensity of training.
Here's an excellent exercise to get you started at home: the "Squat." This exercise will work the muscles in your legs and buttocks. Begin by standing with a chair or bench behind you. Squat down to sit in the chair, keeping back straight, looking straight ahead. As soon as you sit, immediately straighten up to standing position. Perform a set of about 15 repetitions. When you have perfected this exercise, you can try it without a chair, being certain to keep back straight, weight in the heels, knees over ankles. You may want to join a gym or see a personal trainer to learn appropriate exercises and their proper execution.
It's never too late to start, never! With a strength-training program you can turn back the hands of time, at least a little bit. And like Joe, you may be able to enjoy a productive life through advancing years, in excellent health.
In 1989, researchers from Tufts and Harvard Universities undertook a study of older people in their late 80s and 90s. The researchers worked with a group of frail elderly residents at Boston's Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for the Aged. These residents had multiple functional problems, chronic conditions and were very sedentary.
At the beginning of the project, the project participants, whose average age was 90, were tested to determine the heaviest weights that they could lift with their legs. Following this initial test, they began a program of weight training. They did three sets composed of eight weightlifting repetitions, each for three days a week. They worked out with weights that were 80 percent of the maximum weight that they could lift.
After two weeks, they were retested and the weights were increased. At the end of six weeks, the group had increased their muscle strength on average by 180 percent. What is more, none of the participants had reached a plateau. As a result of their increased muscle strength, their average walking speed increased 48 percent, two participants no longer needed their canes and one participant was able to rise from a chair without using the chair arms.
All of the participants resumed their sedentary lifestyles at the end of the program. The researchers then retested them and found a 32-percent loss in maximum strength after only four weeks of de-training. The moral of this story is, "If you don't use it, you'll lose it." The happy ending is that you can regain your fitness and strength at almost any age. This will help you to retain or regain your independence and freedom while adding to your good looks.
Weight training is as essential to good physical health in your later years as is aerobic exercise. It strengthens your muscles and bones, and there are indications that it is helpful in lowering cholesterol levels. Weight training also increases the strength of ligaments and tendons so that less stress is placed on your joints. In the past, people with high blood pressure, heart disease and conditions such as arthritis were warned to avoid using weights. But researchers in the Tufts and Harvard study found that weight training had no adverse effect on blood pressure or heart function. They advise that strengthening your muscles, tendons and ligaments actually helps to ease pressure on the joints.
Weight training can either be with free weights such as barbells and dumbbells, or with specially designed equipment that works various parts of the body. Weight training can be used to increase your muscle strength or your muscle endurance.
If you have not worked with weights before, be sure to have a qualified person instruct you in their use and have him or her set up a program of exercise that includes the specified number of repetitions to be done in each set as you progress toward your goal. Muscle strengthening exercises should be done for at least 20 minutes, three times a week.
A program of calisthenics, isometric and stretching exercises combined with dance will enable you to develop muscle strength and endurance as well as flexibility and cardio-pulmonary fitness. Joining a class or renting or buying videos made by qualified instructors (not just movie stars) is a good way to get in shape and to avoid mishaps. Many dance classes, especially those in ballet, modern and aerobic dance include calisthenics, isometric and stretching exercises as part of the routine.
Staying physically fit can give you a body that performs and looks like those of people years younger than your chronological age. At the VA Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, physically fit men in their mid-50s were compared to inactive men in their mid-20s. The results were astounding. Active older men had lower resting heart rates (64 beats per minute vs. 85 beats per minute for the younger men), in addition to higher oxygen uptake during maximum exercise and slower heart beats in the first minute after exercise than the men in their 20s who did not keep fit. What is more, the older men weighed an average of 166 pounds compared to 192 pounds for the younger sedentary men.
As we age, it is important to pay more attention to our exercise programs. We lose muscle mass more easily the older we get, yet through consistent weight training and other forms of exercise, we will be able to keep it rather than lose it.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
When medical science cannot find the cause for a patient's symptoms, she is very often sent to a therapist who can assist in seeking the mental and emotional causes for illness or pain in the body. In turn, many therapists now look at the client's sense of spiritual connection and expression as well as psychological phenomenon in order to help discover the causes for unease. And more often than not, somewhere along the line, one person in the professional team will find needs that are not being met in one or more of these aspects of a person's life.
In this fast-paced world we have created, it is the rare individual who manages to keep all the balls in the air all the time. Sooner or later one area of life demands more than its equal share of our time and attention, and as we turn our focus to our need to lose weight, our desire to be in better physical shape, our wish to feel healthy, well-balanced, contented and fulfilled, some other area of our being gets shortchanged. We drop one of the body, mind, spirit balls that we have been juggling.
If it is our body that has been shortchanged, it will often manifest pain or fatigue, giving us every chance to pay attention before it goes into all out illness. If we are neglecting our emotional or mental needs, our relationships will likely suffer or fail to help us feel fulfilled, and off we go for counseling to see what is the matter with the people in our lives. How can we handle them better? How can we meet our needs and theirs too on only 24 hours a day? And in increasing numbers, people have been sensing the need for spiritual connection and expression in order to know and live as their best and whole selves.
So, what is the best way to deal with this delicate balance of Body, Mind and Spirit that makes us the magnificent beings we are capable of being? Today there seem to be as many different paths to personal wisdom in this area as there are people on the planet. Some will attend class after class seeking what they feel is missing from their lives. Some will try every vitamin, herb and alternative care program out there in an attempt to feel fit and energetic but never stabilize on one. Others will go from ashram to Buddhist Temple to Kundalini workshops in search of some enlightened one who can show them a simple way to contentment and a sense of self-fulfillment.
But individuals in growing numbers are seeking ways to access a deeper part of themselves, to enrich their day-to-day experiences and to give attention to each part of their sacred being. Many have found their way to take this inner journey through a process called "journaling."
What exactly is journaling? The answer to that question is as unique as each one who undertakes this form of practice. It can be as simple as keeping a diary of daily events, lists of symptoms or feelings, or as complex as telling your story and becoming the central character of your own life. Journaling is a natural process that anyone can make available to themselves and use in whatever way they choose to help create self-understanding, self-honesty and awareness of their body, their mind and their spirit, the roles that each of these aspects wants to play in enriching the journaler's experience of life.
This form of self-exploration through journal writing is an inexpensive, portable, creative outlet in which there are no rights, no wrongs, no authority except oneself, no rules and no censors. It is one place where we can look at what our body is feeling and be honest about our fears without panicking everyone around us. It is where we can rage against the injustices in our lives, calm ourselves enough to be honest about the part we play in those events, and examine the effect our emotions are having on our behaviors and the people we are drawing into our lives. It is where we can come to know ourselves as having our own answers, or at least having direct access to wisdom that we were not even aware we possessed.
Journaling can be done anywhere, any time. And any thought, any pain, any satisfaction, any relationship, any vision, anything can serve as a source of inspiration. The journaling experience can be a journey into the Self, a discovery of Self as your own best expert, a taking charge of creating wellness in your life rather than becoming victim of illness that you need to then work to rid your body of, a record of the thrill of sculpting your body into a more accurate expression of the splendid creation that you are.
To get started you do not need any special writing talent, misspelling and incorrect grammar are all right. All you do need is paper, a writing instrument and a desire no matter how small to express or to know your Self, to create an enriching balance in our life. You will not need to rearrange your life to benefit from this creative self-expression You don't even need large blocks of time. And yet the rewards can be so great.
HOW THE BODY MOVES
The body moves when muscles contract. The muscles connect two or more bones that meet in articulating joints. One end of the muscle is attached by a tendon, a strong, rope-like cord made from collagen, to a bone at a point close to the center of the body. That point is referred to as the origin of the muscle. The other end of the muscle is attached by another tendon to a point on a bone further away from the center of the body. This point of attachment is called the insertion. The contracting muscle pulls the insertion point closer to the origin. The bones are used as levers to move the body and apply force to external objects. The bones are designed to fit together to provide ease of motion and stability. The ends of the bones are covered with articular cartilage that prevents friction from wearing down the parts of the bones that are in contact with each other. The bones are held together by ligaments and the joint capsule. Both are made of connective tissue, collagen fibers.
WHAT IS MUSCLE?
Muscles are comprised of long, thin cells collectively known as muscle fibers. The muscles contract when stimulated by a motor nerve. The motor nerve is comprised of bundles of cells called neurons that are designed to conduct changes in electrical charge along the surface of the cells. These charges are the result of the exchange of positive sodium ions on the outside of the cell membrane of the neuron for negatively charged potassium ions on the inside of the cell membrane of the neuron. Between each neuron are gaps called synapses through which the nerve impulse is conveyed via a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. When the receptor sites on the end of a cell are filled with acetylcholine molecules, the nerve impulse is conveyed along the surface of the neuron to the next nerve junction until the last neuron intersects the neuromuscular junction. The nerve impulse stimulates the receptor sites to release calcium into the muscle cells, causing them to contract. Each neuron stimulates a certain number of muscle fibers. The strength of the impulse is determined by the number of neurons conveying the command to contract, which determines the force of the contraction.
The contractile element of the muscle fiber is called the myofibril. The myofibrils are composed of a linear element called actin, which are linked to each other by cross-bridges called myosin. Under the electron microscope, the interior of the muscle fiber resembles an aerial view of rowing crews. The cross bridges pull together, shortening the cell. As the muscle fiber contracts, the cross-bridges unlink, then link to a position farther down the actin filament, creating greater contraction. Each cell is linked longitudinally to the next. The muscle cells become shorter and thicker around the middle as they contract. This makes the entire muscle change shape the same way.
These fibers are grouped into bundles surrounded by a sheath of connective tissue. At each end, the muscle tapers to a tendon. The muscle contraction is comprised of the directed contraction of a however many of the muscle fibers as is necessary to perform the function required. The force of the contraction is directly proportional to the percentage of the muscle fibers that are contracting, and the amount of force each individual fiber can generate. Individual muscle fibers either contract completely, or not at all. That is called the all-or-none principle. In essence, the contraction of a muscle cell is like the state of an electric light. It is either on or it is off.
Most natural movements of the body are multi-joint and use a number of muscle groups working together. The muscle(s) that provides most of the function for a particular movement is known as prime movers. Muscles that assist the prime movers are called secondary movers. Muscles that oppose the prime movers are known as antagonists, muscles that statically hold the body in position are known as stabilizers.
MUSCLE FIBER TYPES AND FUNCTIONS
Muscles are comprised of two basic types of contractile fibers. Type I muscle fibers are also known as the oxidative type or slow-twitch fibers. They don't contract very fast or forcefully, but have great endurance. This high level of endurance is due to the abundance of fat-burning enzymes to help use fat as a fuel in moderate intensity, long-term exercise. It doesn't grow (hypertrophy) to any large degree. The other basic type of muscle fiber is the Type II or fast-twitch fibers. There are two subtypes of type I fiber. Muscle Fiber Type IIb contracts rapidly and with great force, growing large when subjected to high workloads. But, this type of fiber fatigues rapidly. Type IIb fibers have an abundance of glycolytic enzymes to burn sugar as fuel without oxygen. Muscle fiber type IIa has capabilities intermediate between the other type I and type IIb, but can convert to Type I with extensive and long-term endurance training. Type IIa and Type IIb fibers are collectively known as Fast-twitch fibers. Every muscle of every person has some of all three muscle fiber types. However, some muscles have a predominance of whatever type of fibers best fulfill the function of those muscles.
Weight Training with low resistance tends to develop strength of contraction in Type I fibers, while not stimulating any training effect on Type IIb fibers. Type I fibers are the first to contract in any movement. When the speed and force of contraction increases, Type IIa fibers contract as well as Type I fibers. Type IIb fibers only contract when the greatest amounts of speed and force are required.
Type I muscle fibers do not experience much hypertrophy (growth) in the contractile filaments when exercised, they primarily increase the number and size of the mitochondria. Mitochondria are subcellular structures responsible for oxidative production of energy in the muscle cell. Type IIa and IIb fibers respond to high intensity exercise by increasing the amount of contractile proteins in the cells and the intracellular fluid. Endurance exercise doesn't produce much muscular growth, while anaerobic and strength training does produce significant muscular growth. This is because the Type II muscle fibers, which are more likely to exhibit hypertrophy than Type I, are only used during high intensity exercise.
One can use the metaphor of electric lights in an office building to compare the operations of each muscle fiber type. Let us now suppose that there are three different types of lights. The emergency lights that illuminate the emergency exit signs are just bright enough to be seen, these lights are not very bright, but are always turned on first and they last for a very long time. These first lights are comparable to the Type I muscle fibers.
The second type of lights are normal florescent office lights. They are more powerful, but burn out more frequently than the emergency lights. These are turned on for usual workday use. Those lights are comparable to the Type IIa muscle fibers. Then there are powerful spotlights that are only used when an unusual amount of light is required. These are very powerful and produce 1,000,000 candlepower, but can only be used for a very short period of time before they burn out. The spotlights represent the Type IIb muscle fibers. The emergency exit lights are used first, and continue to be on whenever the lights are used. The fluorescent office lights are turned on next, with the emergency lights still burning. Finally, the spotlights are used only when the greatest amount of light is required, assisted by all the other lights still burning.
The average person has approximately 50% Type I fibers and 50% Type II fibers. Some people tend to have a predominance of one type and therefore have a greater potential to develop the performance characteristics possessed by that fiber type. Those who have a high percentage of Type I muscle fibers have an easier time developing endurance, while those who have a high percentage of Type II muscle fibers develop greater strength, speed and muscle size.
People with a high neuromuscular efficiency can contract a greater percentage of their muscle fibers with more synchronization than most other people. These people can generate more speed and force out of the fibers they possess. That can explain the unusually great strength seen in some average or small people. Other factors include leverages created by the insertion point of the muscle into the bone, and the relative lengths of limbs. These factors determine how much of the force is delivered in usable form to the object or body part on which the force is exerted.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
What are fad diets?
Fad diets are diets that emphasize a particular food or a type of food. This means that such diets put you on one kind of food for days at stretch. Hence a fad diet goes completely against the principles of good nutrition, which implies eating a wide variety of foods every day so as to include all the nutrients daily. Remember no one food is rich in a particular nutrient that helps you stay healthy. So deficiencies tend to set in if you are on a fad diet for a long period.
The success of fad diets
Fad diets work great in the beginning as initial results show a weight loss. However, no matter what the claims, fad diets can never make up for healthy eating habits. Fad diets require you to take in special pills and foods that are formulated to increase urination. In this way, a lot of water is lost from the body. But along with water you also lose a number of vital vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for the proper functioning of the body. The amount of weight you lose is proportional to the density of water. The density of water is 1g/cubic cm. So, if you lose 1 liter of water, you will lose 1 kg of weight.
Some fad diets, though unbalanced, work well in people but lack the taste and nutrition of a healthy diet. You may enjoy it initially and adhere to it strictly but soon you will find it difficult to maintain such an unappealing and boring diet. In due course of time you may find yourself weighing less, but the minute you start eating some goodies you will add on to the already existing fat cell and gain weight, which will not be easy to lose.
Fad diets are dangerous
Fad diets can lead to death. Shocking, isn't it? But it is the truth. This is because these diets lack the nutrients and the energy that the body needs. A diet too low in calories can lead to a feeling of tiredness, irritation and muscle cramps. Lack of proteins and carbohydrates also results in dizziness, fatigue and many other illnesses.
Hence the next time you want to lose weight, avoid fad diets and lose weight in a healthy and sustained manner.
Foods that improve brain functions
Brain cells start deteriorating when substances called free radicals increase. These can be combated by the increase in the levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants are food chemicals that are produced when there is an increased intake of foods rich in antioxidants. Foods such as cherries, prunes, grapes, apples, raisins and spinach are rich in antioxidants and hence beneficial for the brain. Consumption of these foods can reverse memory loss, improve motor coordination and balance.
Another food compound that has been found to affect brain functions is omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids also help to restore memory loss like antioxidants. Fishes such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Apart from these walnuts are also highly rich sources of these fatty acids.
Another food component that needs to be carefully selected is carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are of two types: simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are rapidly digested by the body resulting in a sharp rise in the blood sugar whereas complex carbs though digested well do not raise the blood sugar. An increased blood sugar adversely affects the brain function. So the emphasis should be on increasing the intake of complex carbohydrates. Foods such as peanuts, dried beans, whole pulses, oat bran and whole-wheat flour are among the few foods rich in complex carbohydrates.
Food that adversely affect
It's true that certain foods can result in the deterioration of brain functioning. Too much concentration on one type of food affects the functioning of the brain. One such food product is polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Research has pointed out that too much intake of oils rich in PUFA can result in inflammation of brain tissue and hence affect the blood supply in the brain. Oils such as sunflower oil, safflower oil and corn oil are rich sources of PUFA. These oils should be consumed in combination with other oils and ghee.
Another food that can affect the brain is sugar. Though the normal sugar intake does not affect the brain functioning but when sugar is taken in excess, it can result in building up insulin resistance and hence changes in the levels of blood sugar. This can result in permanent brain damage. This means the emphasis should again be on increasing the intake of complex carbs since simple carbohydrates are quickly converted to sugars.
Finally, then the health of your brain is dependent on proper nutrition. The key to a healthy brain lies in eating a well balanced diet as intake of one type of food can result in damaging the brain cells. Thus always eat a variety of foods. This will also help to take in a good amount of Vitamin B complex that is linked to the functioning of the brain. In addition, avoid stress and tension and exercise regularly.
Never rush into a jog. In the beginning, it is best to limit yourself to fast walking interspersed with brief jogs. Make a progressive jogging plan and get used to the exercise gradually. Build up so that you can run 20 to 30 minutes a session, at least four times a week.
When to run
You should choose a time that fits in most easily with your schedule. However, avoid running within 2 hours after eating. In summer, jog in the early mornings or evenings to avoid heat-related problems like dehydration, heat exhaustion and cramps.
Where to run
You can begin and end at your own front door. But for most people running in circles takes away much of the fun. It's more fun to run in parks, dirt tracks or even the highway. Try and invent your own routes and vary them to lend variety to your routine.
Be careful of the surface on which you jog. The worst surface is concrete found on the pavements in cities like Delhi. A smooth grassy field or a dirt road is probably the best to run on, but be careful of the hidden potholes. Or else stick to the side-paths along the road. Pick a course which is fairly flat. A very hilly terrain may place too much strain on your legs and lungs unless you are a competitive runner.
Take care of hazards like traffic and movement of animals when jogging an the roads. Avoid accidents with automobiles at all costs. In fact, always try and run opposite the traffic.
Get proper gear to ensure comfort and safety. Shoes are the most important item in the jogger's kit. Here’s what you should look out in your shoe: Cushioning: The harder the surface more cushioning you need in your shoe. The cushioning should be of good quality material and retain its resiliency for 1,000 km, which is roughly the life-span of a good shoe. Avoid shoes with interior stitching that can cause blistering.
Stable heel: The shoe must have a heel counter which means that heel must be stable and wide.
Firm sole: The sole should not bend at the heel but should be flexible in the front part and bend freely at the ball of the foot.
Good fit: Your shoe should not be tight. Try wearing them with socks before you start running. The shoes should be wide enough to take the whole foot without any overhang.
Clothes: Your jogging pants need to be comfortable, reasonably loose and suitable for the time of the year. In summer, shorts and a T-shirt or a vest will be enough. Tracksuits are not essential and their use in hot weather may even trigger heat exhaustion apart from the discomfort they may cause. They are ideal for winters. If it is very cold, several layers of clothing are better than one or two thick layers because they help trap the heat.
What are you waiting for now that you have got everything you need for your jog? Get, set and go.
Avoid skipping meals: Have three healthy meals in the whole day. This will help you to remain full and help you control your food cravings. Skipping meals will make you hungry at odd times and give rise to food cravings. Hence you should avoid skipping meals.
Don't crash diet: Do not remain hungry in your effort to lose weight. You should always have a well-balanced meal with sufficient calories that are able to meet your body's requirements. You should avoid going on crash dieting as scientifically the weight loss should not be more than one per cent of your weight per week. Also, extreme hunger will lead to food cravings and should be avoided.
Have a positive attitude: Do not associate overindulgence with lack of will power or self-control. Take steps to control your cravings, rather than berating yourself for giving in to them. Think of cravings as a wave that starts gradually, then peaks and eventually subsides. Learn to cross this wave without drowning.
Eliminate problem foods: Understand that cravings are a normal response to living in a faulty-food environment. Eliminate the high fat foods from your house and environment. The sight of such foods can lead to food cravings. Similarly, avoid dining out as restaurants tend to pile up foods rich in fat.
Physically distance yourself: Put time, distance and any activity in between you and your food. Whenever the craving for some food arises, involve yourself in some constructive activity. This will help you to get your mind off the food and the urge to have the food will often disappear.
Start exercising: When you are stressed out and have an urge to eat, start exercising. The chemicals that are released when you eat fatty foods and are responsible for the pleasurable feelings are the same as those induced when you exercise.
Examine your life: Are you using food as a response to any emotional or psychological problems? Think about the situations in your life when you have the maximum urge to eat a food.
Try and avoid these situations and involve yourself in a different activity whenever you face such a situation. This way you will be able to control your food cravings.
If you follow these tips, you will definitely be able to lessen the lure of these demon desires and be successful in your weight-losing endeavour.
Don't skip breakfast: The body's metabolism slows down if there is a long gap between the last meal that you have at night and breakfast the next morning. Lower metabolic rate means lower rate of burning of calories and hence accumulation of calories. That is why breakfast is a must and will result in a faster burning of calories. Also remaining hungry for a very long time can result in overeating during other meals.
Stay away from the television: Don't eat while watching TV. You will not only enjoy your food more but also will be able to keep a check on your total intake and avoid overeating.
Have water: Drinking a glass or two of water along with meals will give you a feeling of fullness and help you in eating moderately. Besides, you will remain full for a longer time and not eat after seconds.
Start with soup: This is a good way to avoid overeating. Soups in themselves are great meals as they are quite filling and hence you eat less. But always take care to prepare soup at home and avoid packaged soups. Packaged soups are a very high source of sodium, which is bad for health and has been associated with heart problem.
Avoid starving: Never skip meals. You should always have some kind of nourishment that helps you keep going. Otherwise your body's defense mechanism comes into action and lowers the overall metabolism. To cope with this, the body starts depositing fat, which again is harmful for the body.
Do not overeat: You may think that because you are eating low fat, low calorie food you can overeat. But whether low fat or low calorie, all food has calories and all these total calories add on. If these are not burnt off, they accumulate in the body, adding to your weight.
Eat at a slow pace. This gives time to your brain to gauge that your stomach has received food. When you eat fast, you do not realise, how much you have already eaten and hence you tend to eat more. Eating slow will also help you enjoy your food.
Eat vegetables first: Always eat vegetables first as this will give you a feeling of fullness and help you eat moderately.
Besides these points, always remember to keep a check on the total fat intake and have at least six glasses of water. These dietary habits can help you stay healthy and fit and in good shape.
What is lactose intolerance?
To understand this, it is necessary to give a little bit of background. All foods that we eat contain sugars. These are present in different forms but the body can only utilize glucose. So all the sugars are first converted to glucose with the help of enzymes and then utilized by the body. The main sugar present in milk is lactose. When the digestive system is not able to breakdown this sugar present in milk, you are lactose intolerant. This happens due to deficiency of an enzyme called lactase.
In the normal process, the body breaks down the food, with the help of enzymes, into simple bits and pieces, which is then used to maintain bodily functions. Similarly when you drink milk, the body breaks down the complex milk sugar lactose to simpler sugar glucose, which is easily utilized but when the enzyme lactase is lacking, the body is unable to do this and you are lactose intolerant. Lactase is found in intestines and is deficient mostly because of certain digestive diseases and intestinal injuries. The deficiency starts developing over a period of time and symptoms appear only after reaching a certain age.
When lactose is not broken down to glucose it is not absorbed and starts fermenting in the intestines. This results in the production of gases and the following symptoms are observed:
Treating lactose intolerance
The simple treatment lies in avoiding the intake of lactose rich food. The levels of intolerance vary among different people. Some are able to digest certain milk products while other cannot digest any at all. So it is by trial and error that you are able to determine what to take and what to avoid. Those suffering from lactose intolerance can go for soyamilk, a good substitute for milk and comparable in terms of nutritional value. Even Lactase enzyme is available in liquid and tablet forms but should be taken only under medical supervision. Milk is a rich source of calcium. So to prevent calcium deficiency one should increase the intake of calcium rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, fish and other calcium rich foods free of lactose.
A carefully selected and planned diet along with proper intake of calcium supplements is the key to a healthy and milk-free future.
Health consequences of fever
- An increase in basal metabolic rate. The body metabolism increases by 13 per cent for every degree celsius rise in body temperature
- A decrease in body's glucose stores.
- Increased breakdown of proteins
- Excessive loss of body water due to increased perspiration
- Increased loss of body electrolytes- sodium and potassium
The diet in fever depends on the cause of the fever and the severity. In general, the following guidelines should be taken care of:
Energy: When body temperature rises the caloric requirements may be increased up to 50 per cent depending on the temperature. Initially the patient is able to ingest small quantities but these should be increased gradually. It is recommended that patients should eat bland and easily digestible foods such as dalia, khichri, boiled rice, freshly made chappati and bread to meet their energy requirements.
Proteins: In a prolonged fever the protein intake should be about 100 grams per day. This is better utilized when the calories intake is sufficient. Drinking high protein supplements can increase the protein intake. Homemade cottage cheese, soft-cooked egg, pulses, and milk should be taken in to replenish protein requirements.
Carbohydrates: The decreasing glucose stores are replenished by increasing the intake of the carbohydrates. Any sugar such as glucose, cane sugar etc may be taken.
Fat: The energy intake is increased rapidly with an increased intake of fat. Butter toasts, creamed soups or fruit cream can meet this. However, excessive of fried foods retards the digestion process.
Minerals: The extensive loss of minerals should be replenished by liberal intake of salty foods. Generally all foods are a rich source of potassium. Since the dietary intake reduces in fever, there is a depletion of this mineral. However, with an increase in intake the supply is again maintained. Fruit juices are a particularly rich source of this mineral.
Vitamins: Fever medications interfere with the synthesis of some B complex vitamins. As a result the requirements increase during fever. A short-term supplementation therapy should be followed as per the doctor's advice.
Fluids: The fluid intake should be increased to compensate for the excessive losses from the skin. Increasing the intake of beverages, soups, juices and water can take care of this.
To facilitate the digestion and absorption process, bland and easily-digestible foods should be given to the patient. Increase the frequency of the intake and give in small quantities every two to three hours. This permits adequate nutrition without overtaxing the digestive system. Besides, the diet should be rich in milk, protein rich foods, fruits and vegetables. A slight awareness of the importance of diet in fever can help in safeguarding your health.
Does your child often complain of a stomach ache? Is he often constipated? And to top it all, the so-called laxatives and medicines that do the trick on your television screen, fail to produce the desired results at home. What is the source of your little one's problem?
Fibre: Is it slowly disappearing from our lives?
You are giving your child a healthy, nutritious diet but he often prefers the burgers and chips available at the fast food joint next door. Blame it on the booming media industry, where television ads shamelessly offer toys as incentives for visiting such food joints or show kids ordering pizza while the parents are away. With the age of pizzas and burgers, who wants to eat simple home cooked food? Even you are tired of the constant bickering. And admit it, a visit to a fast food joint saves you time and energy from cooking elaborate meals which are not even appreciated.
Such kind of meals may give your child energy and proteins, but they are sorely lacking in dietary fibre. Surveys conducted worldwide have shown that only about 40 per cent of children consumed the recommended amount of fibre. This data is valid for children under 10 of age. The figures may be alarming for adolescents since they are independent and dislike interference regarding their habits.
Lack of fibre: The leading problems
A diet deficient in fibre can cause not only constipation and stomach aches but can also lead to numerous other long-term implications. The food habits your child formulates now is a reflection of his eating habits as an adult. In adults, eating more fibre is associated with lower risks of obesity, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and colon cancer.
Increasing fibre: Getting started
Increasing the fibre content of your child's diet is not difficult. All you need is a little bit of awareness.
Include plenty of cereals and vegetables, as these are the main sources of fibre in the diet. Vegetables are a problem but studies have shown that if veggies are served in a colourful and attractive manner, children enjoy them.
Make a choice from whole wheat bread, whole grain cereals and prefer fruits as snacks. Children love fruits, so let them munch on apples and bananas rather than chips and biscuits.
A half-cup of cooked oatmeal has about four grams fibre in it. This meets about half the fibre requirement of a three-year-old.
Add wheat bran to cutlets and you increase the fibre content of the snack.
Try and incorporate these changes in your child's diet and you will find him free from all kinds of stomach problems. Moreover, this will improve his food habits and make him a healthy adult.
Foods/ drinks causing insomnia
Certain drinks and food components have been related to sleep.
Caffeine: If you have been enjoying your after-dinner cup of coffee, beware that it may be the real cause of your sleeplessness. Coffee is considered to be a brain stimulator as its main constituent is caffeine. Being a stimulant means that it increases alertness and has wake up properties. Studies have shown that caffeine increases the amount of time that is needed to fall asleep and also results in disturbed sleep. Caffeine is present not only in coffee, tea, chocolate but also in cola drinks.
Alcohol: This is another constituent that has been related to disturbed sleep. You may find yourself sleeping easily after a drink or two but will eventually find yourself sleeping less soundly and waking up tired. The reason for this lies in the depressant property of alcohol that results in suppressing the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep. Most of the dreams occur in this phase of sleep. Less REM has been associated with more night awakenings and restlessness.
Spicy foods: Sleeplessness has also been associated with spicy foods. Excess intake of spices result in heartburn that gets aggravated once you lie down. As a result you may find sleeping a problem. Moreover, heartburn can also awaken you in the middle of the night.
High fat foods: Eating a heavy meal comprising highly fatty foods before sleeping can also cause insomnia. This is because the body needs time to digest the heavy meal. So when you lie down to sleep, your body is actually busy in digestion and hence you are not able to sleep.
Tips for a healthy sleep
A peaceful sound sleep is necessary for increased productivity and general well being of an individual. The following tips can help you to have a good night's sleep.
Restrict intake: Of coffee and other caffeine rich products such a chocolate, just before dinner or after dinner.
Avoid alcohol before sleeping: Alcohol snatches away sleep and dehydrates your body thus taxing both your mind and body.
Do not eat excess before bedtime: This will help you digest the food well before you sleep and will help you sleep well. Also, this is good for your general health.
Avoid nicotine: Nicotine is the main constituent of cigarette and interferes with the sleeping process besides being injurious to health. Thus smoking should be avoided.
Do not skip dinner: If you are hungry, the body will send signals to the brain as a result of which sleep will be disturbed.
Exercise regularly: Exercise helps to relieve stress and anxiety that contribute to sleeplessness, thus these should be resolved before sleeping.
Establish a pattern: Follow regular bedtime and wake up time and stick to these religiously. This will help you sleep better.
Sleep is essential for enhanced productivity and good health. After a day's hard work, your body needs to rest and relax before it can start off again. So follow these simple tips, avoid those foods that can cause insomnia and get a good night's sleep.
High blood cholesterol is the most clearly established risk factor for heart disease. Research has pointed out that lowering the elevated blood cholesterol levels reduces the risk of heart attacks. Cholesterol deposits in the body when the intake through diet exceeds the requirements of the body. Thus faulty dietary habits are the prime cause for heart disease. There is no doubt that appropriate changes in your diet can reduce blood cholesterol.
Heart disease and cholesterol
A number of genetic and experimental studies point out a relation between heart disease and cholesterol. The cholesterol that enters the body through foods is carried in the blood by special molecules called lipoproteins. The lipoprotein molecules are of different kinds -- the low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and the high-density lipoprotein (HDL). In human beings, specific LDL carries the blood cholesterol. HDL also carries some cholesterol in the blood. The LDL regulator plays a critical role in regulating blood cholesterol levels but when due to excess dietary intake of fatty foods, the LDL increases in blood the control is lost. At this time the LDL particles start depositing in the tissues and form a major part of the build up in the artery or the blood vessel wall, clotting the artery by forming cholesterol deposits, which are referred to as plaque. The developing plaques narrow down the channels of the vessels that furnish major blood supply to the heart muscle.
The first step in the treatment of raised blood cholesterol is diet therapy. This involves modifying the diet to lower cholesterol levels as well as controlling excess weight in overweight patients. Excess weight is also associated with high cholesterol, so weight loss can play a role in reducing cholesterol and a moderate level of physical exercise may also help in lowering the cholesterol. The dietary approach involves lowering total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol consumption. Fat should comprise a total of 30 per cent of the calories. An essential consideration is the reduction of saturated fat to 10 per cent of the total calories. This can be attained without altering the proteins and carbohydrate content in the diet.
Dietary tips that can help you limit your total fat intake:
- Avoid whole milk and have skimmed milk and milk products.
- Avoid fried foods such as samosa, pakora, parantha etc.
- Avoid the intake of red meat and restrict to chicken and fish.
- Avoid cream and pure ghee.
- Avoid rich cream based desserts such as ice creams, fruit creams etc.
- Increase the intake of fibre as fibre has a role in lowering cholesterol. Increasing the intake of whole cereals and pulses, and raw fruits and vegetables can help you do so.
That is why it is imperative that you keep a check on your diet from the very beginning, eat a diet low in cholesterol to keep your heart in fine shape.
Naturally-occurring sodium in foods
Meat: The natural sodium content of animal foods is very high. Hence meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and cheese are fairly high in sodium and should be taken in moderation, especially if you are on a sodium-restricted diet. Organ meats are richer in sodium compared to muscle meats. Among fishes, shellfish is a very rich source of sodium whereas other saltwater fish contain no more sodium than freshwater fish.
Vegetables: Plant foods such as spinach, tomatoes contain significant amounts of sodium and hence should be avoided on a low-salt diet. Fruits, vegetables, cereals, fats, sugar, unsalted butter and margarine are insignificant sources of sodium.
Water: Drinking water may also contribute to the sodium content. This may be present naturally or through the use of softeners that are added in the process of filtration to make drinking water safe. When the sodium content is in excess of 20 mg per litre, the daily intake of sodium through water is significant.
Sodium added to food
Table salt is not the only source of sodium that you add to your food. Unknowingly you add many ingredients that might be adding to the total sodium content.
Salt is added in preservation of foods, as a preservative in pickles and chutneys and in all the canned foods, making them all high in sodium.
Baking powder and baking soda are widely used in baking procedures but these products are also compounds of sodium.
Numerous other sodium compounds are used in food manufacture like sodium benzoate. This is the most commonly used preservative.
The most widely used seasoning in Chinese food is monosodium glutamate or ajino moto. This again raises the sodium content of food.
All breads and cakes use a compound of sodium called sodium propionate to retard the growth of mould. If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, bread should be taken in minimal amounts.
Sodium in pharmaceutical drugs
Many drugs such as laxatives, antibiotics, cough syrups and sedatives are high in sodium. Hence you should avoid self medication and take medicines as per the physician's advise only.
Simply avoiding salt puts you on a low sodium diet but consuming other foods rich in sodium can cause a rise in sodium levels. So watch out for these hidden sources of sodium and only then will you be able to control your hypertension.
In Butterfly, your hands enter the water about shoulder width apart, in front of the head. Make sure that your elbows are held high and enter the water only after the wrists. Make sure that your face is already underwater as the hands enter.
Pull and Push
Once in water your hands turn outwards just below the surface with firm wrists, and move out and then pull inwards towards the centre line beneath the stomach. Remember your elbows should remain high throughout the pull, with the hands fixed as they press back on the water like paddles. See that your hands sweep out close to the thighs, pushing the water back towards the feet. Keep in mind that at this point your head should come up to breathe. Don't forget that in this pull and push your hands follow a smooth and continuous movement, in spite of the bending path.
Make sure that when your hands reach the thighs, they are whipped out of the water without any pause and must swing rhythmically back to the point of entry. But remember the palms should face downwards and the elbows should be held relatively high and slightly bent.
Practice for the Arm Action
Bend forward and practise the arm movements in front of a mirror. Move your arms deliberately and slowly. Think about the entry, the pull and the recovery.
Walk in the water, with your shoulders just breaking the surface of the water. Put your face in the water and practise the arm action.
Do the same practice again, this time using four leg beats followed by a glide and one arm pull. Try to keep this going, concentrating on the pull. Think about pressing the hands in towards the centre line beneath the body. Later you can reduce the number of kicks.
Now try to make the arm stroke continuous and leave out the glide. Aim to kick your legs twice during each complete arm cycle. Hold your breath as you do these practices, but try to increase arm strokes every time. Just concentrate on pulling.
Master the arm technique and you will be able to swim the butterfly perfectly.
And think of all the creativity that you need, to rustle up excuses, day after day.
Nah, exercise is for loonies with nothing to do, for rich women to drool over male trainers, for brawny men who have no brains and for flaky dolls who parade on catwalks.
Now do I have your attention? This one is for all those who agree with any or all of the above!
Never give up because:
- Fitness does not happen one fine day, but heart attacks do
- You lose 1 per cent of your muscle mass every year because of non-activity
- You add a few extra minutes to your life span with every 10 minutes you put in daily.
- Your bones won't turn to brittle bits
- Your brain (both left and right side) needs the stimulation and the increase of oxygen it receives from exercise and then works for you by reacting faster and sharper
- Heart diseases, cancers of the prostate and colon and breast and ovaries won't single you out
- Your heart will beat faster only when you're on the run or when you've seen that hot number walk past
- Blood pressure's going to be on your side
- Your little black number will continue to look good on you rather than on your dog
- Your T-shirt will continue to show the ripples you have worked hard towards
- You'll outshine your best friend and workout partner sooner than you think
- Your wrinkles show up much later than Anita's
- Any activity wipes years off your face
- Holidaying in a little bikini (or trunks) will be something you look forward to
- Climbing up the staircase will not leave you panting like your colleagues
- You can have one ice cream/ bag of chips/ pizza every week without having to worry about where it will show
- Beats the life out of stress
- Perks your libido and sexual performance
- Sends out positive vibes about you
- Gives you a sensory keenness
- Enhances your creativity enough to come up with 1000 more excuses for not wanting to!!!
If all of this doesn't work to convert you, as a final and parting shot, dwell on this:
Imagine a punching bag hitting you back. I mean it's sane, legal and politically correct to vent your spleen on it. Try hitting your spouse, your partner, the guy who overtook you on the road, your next-door neighbour or your boss for exactly the same reason. Ouch!
Brown sugar: Cake recipes often call for brown sugar. This consists of sugar crystals coated with molasses, while retaining the natural colour and flavour. Dark and light brown sugars are available in the market. Dark brown sugar has a stronger colour and flavour as compared to light brown sugar.
Fructose: This is fruit sugar. It is the naturally occurring sugar in the fruits and honey. It is one and a half times as sweet as sucrose but has the same caloric content. It is absorbed very slowly and hence does not result in a rapid rise in blood sugar.
Glucose: This is another naturally occurring sugar. It is found in fruits, some vegetables and honey. It results in a quick and significant rise in blood sugar. All the sugars taken in the food are converted to glucose in the body after digestion and the body uses it as a source of energy.
Honey: It is a naturally produced form, which varies in sweetness and the flavour. It contains about 35 per cent glucose, 40 per cent sucrose and 25 per cent water.
Invert sugar: Inversion or chemical breakdown of sucrose results in invert sugar. Invert sugar is a combination of glucose and fructose in equal proportions. Invert sugar is sweeter than granulated sugar. It is mainly used to retard crystallization of sugar and retain moisture.
Lactose: This is the naturally present sugar in the milk. So you cannot skip this sugar if you are drinking milk.
Maltose: Maltose is the breakdown product of the starches. It is formed when two molecules of glucose combine. It is taken in as food and rapidly breaks down into glucose in the intestine.
Mannitol: This is a lesser-known form of sugar. It is present naturally attached to an alcohol, hence called sugar alcohol. It causes less rise of blood sugar than sucrose or glucose but it is used in lesser amounts since excess intake causes diarrhoea.
Molasses: Also referred to as the golden syrup and is often listed in the list of ingredients for making cakes. It is a syrup that is obtained when raw sugar is processed to get sucrose. The total sugar content varies from 50 to 75 per cent, hence diabetics should be aware of this syrupy sugar.
Sorbitol: Another sugar alcohol, which is present naturally in fruits. It is more slowly absorbed than glucose and causes a very small rise in blood sugar in diabetics with well-controlled diabetes.
Sucrose: It is also known as table sugar, white sugar, granulated sugar and powdered or confectioner's sugar. It is a naturally occurring sugar that is made from sugarcane or sugar beets. It is this form of sugar that we normally consume. It is made of equal quantities of glucose and fructose. In uncontrolled diabetes, sucrose can lead to a rapid increase in blood sugar.
Xylitol: It is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol, which acts as a sweetener. It is found in plants and is used as a substitute for sugar. It is less slowly absorbed than glucose and sucrose but its safety is still a controversial issue. Thus it has a very limited use.
Knowledge about the different kinds of sugars is necessary for both non-diabetics as well as diabetics and will go a long way in controlling their blood sugar.
Types of Proteins
Proteins are of two kinds – structural and functional.
Structural proteins are found in the material of muscle, bone, hair, nails, skin, blood, connective tissue and other areas,
Functional proteins are required in the formation and function of a variety of hormones, digestive enzymes and antibodies. Proteins are also found in the nuclei of cells, which transmit hereditary characteristics and so are responsible for continued protein synthesis within the cell. Thus proteins and the amino-acids that make up proteins, are at the very core of our existence.
Where do Proteins come from?
Proteins are composed of long chains of building blocks called amino-acids. The sequence of these amino-acids determines the job a particular protein does, and its character. There are 20 or so amino-acids. About 12 of them can be synthesised by the body and are classified as the non-essential types. The remaining eight have to come from the food we cat and these are the essential types.
Your body can get these essential proteins by eating a diet rich in meat, fish and dairy products. Vegetables and pulses provide relatively low quality protein, supplying only a proportion of the eight essential amino-acids. It is possible, though, to combine two vegetable foods so that they form the eight essential amino-acids. A high protein diet can also be achieved by a combination of meat and vegetables.
Dangers of a High Protein Diet
But if you think stuffing yourself only with chicken, fish, meat and eggs will result in a high protein diet, think again. These diets work by totally eliminating the intake of carbohydrates. This means that the body does not have enough fat to break down, (both protein and fat are broken down to sustain the life process), thereby throwing it out of gear. Incomplete oxidation or burning of fatty acids and certain proteins results in the formation of acidic ketone bodies. This condition is referred to as ketosis. No one can live for very long in a continuous ketotic state because ketosis produces nausea and limits the intake of food.
Remember that moderation is the key to healthy eating.
Tones your muscles
Swimming is one sport that works all your major muscle groups. Very few sports can do this. Although it may appear that you are using only your shoulders, arms and legs while swimming but in reality almost all large muscle groups play a part. Since most of the power, which you need for swimming, comes from the upper half of your body except during butterfly where it is equal to the lower half, you see changes in your chest, shoulders and arms more quickly. However your lower half also plays an important part. The breaststroke kick is especially good for your inner and outer thigh muscles. Swimming is one sport and workout where your body fat actually helps you as it adds to your buoyancy and makes swimming easy.
Calorie burning and swimming
Although swimming is not considered as the best calorie burner but there is no doubt that you actually burn calories while swimming. If you are aiming for weight loss by burning calories then land-based exercises like tread mill, running and weight training are better and less cumbersome. However, experts estimate that if your weight is 150 pounds and you swim at a moderate pace freestyle than you will lose 600 calories in an hour. Interestingly, your calories burned will increase slightly in cold water, as your body has to do some extra work to keep itself warm in the cold water.
You can get dehydrated in water
You may not feel it while swimming, or even otherwise, but swimming can dehydrate you. Swimming is a good whole body workout and if done at a good pace can break a lot of sweat. However since you are in water, which acts as a coolant, you may not feel thirsty. A vigorous and continuous swimming for about 45 minutes is enough to take a drink break. Just get out of the pool for five minutes to drink some water or keep your water bottle ready by the side of the pool. Unlike land workouts you may not get sweaty or feel thirsty but after swimming you need some water so don't ignore it or you may fall ill.
Swimming is a good physical training pursuit but remember it is different from all land exercises and has its own set of precautions and benefits that should be adhered to get the most out of your swim.
Three Buddy Benefits
Running, in many ways, is all about patience and perseverance and more so if you are a beginner. This is when you need loads of support and encouragement as after the initial enthusiasm wears off it becomes hard to continue. It is at this period when a partner can keep you on track.
Running with a partner can also cross check your performance. You may not be able to push yourself up to the required limit or conversely may exert more than required. A partner can always check your performance, apart from offering healthy competition.
A partner can help you stay disciplined and focused on your fitness goals. What's more, you may also discover that you develop lasting friendship with your running mate. Isn't that an added bonus?
Choosing a good partner
A good partner is a boon with whom you can scale new heights and reach your goals. However, the key lies in being able to find a companion who is able to motivate you, push and prod you successfully and help you stay on track.
So before choosing a running mate, asses your own ability and decide your goal and than search for a partner with a similar ability and goal. This is really important because running with someone of a higher caliber may result in discouragement. You may strain yourself quickly and quit the running programme with a big question mark on your abilities. Conversely if your partner is far inferior in capability than you may not actually benefit and eventually your level may fall instead of rising.
It would be useful to take advice from a personal trainer who can easily match you up with someone who has compatible goals and abilities. Also, remember your partner should be reliable, committed and available at the same time when you want to run. Make sure that he/she is genuinely interested in running otherwise your run may not last too long.
Remember to keep these points in mind before deciding whether you want to run solo or with a mate and above all, always keep your goals in sight.
Now however, there is good news for nut lovers. According to recent studies nuts are in fact heart healthy and cardio protective. It is believed that the incidence of heart troubles is lower in populations where nuts are consumed as a part of the daily diet. In fact even weight watchers need not shy of nuts as like any other food, nuts will only add to your waistline if you consume them in excess.
So enjoy nuts but always remember moderation is the key to the healthy heart.
Heart benefits of nuts
The most crucial nutrient for the heart is fat. The kind of fat that is taken in affects the heart. Certain fats are good for the heart while some others can result in clogged blood vessels and hence reduced blood supply to the heart resulting in heart troubles. Nuts contain unsaturated fats that are good for the heart as compared to meats, milk, cheese that are rich in saturated fat and thus bad for the heart. Cashews, almonds, and peanuts are rich in monounsaturated fats, and walnuts are rich in a form of omega 3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fats similar to the oils found in fish.
Studies have shown that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated forms of fat result in lowering of the LDL cholesterol, which is the bad cholesterol for the heart. At the same time they help in keeping the arteries flexible, which improves the blood supply to the heart.
Apart from the fat content, nuts are rich in certain nutrients, which are healthy for heart. All nuts are rich in Vitamin E, which has been related to reduced incidences of heart disease. At the same time, all nuts are rich in proteins, which are, in general, good for overall health. However, the nut protein is rich in amino acid arginine, which is also linked to the health of the heart. It is because of this amino acid that the nitric oxide is synthesized, which plays a role in the widening and relaxing of blood vessels to the heart. This results in reduced incidence of formation of blood clots and hence, lowered incidence of heart disease.
Nuts are also a very rich source of dietary fiber, which plays a role in lowering cholesterol. Moreover, they are rich in selenium, which plays a role in the health of the heart, while at the same time, provides protection against cancer. Hazelnuts and almonds contain a good amount of folate, which is also cardio protective.
To warp up then, increasing knowledge and newer studies are confirming the importance of nuts in protecting heart disease. Studies suggest that about 30 grams serving of any nut or a mixture of nuts is sufficient for keeping a check on the incidence on heart disease. So start munching on nuts today and provide a healthy protection to your heart.
1. You cannot lose weight. Gained weight can be lost but it happens at a very slow pace. You should always remember that if you do something right, then it happens. Lose weight by following a scientifically planned controlled diet and not through crash dieting.
2. You should weigh yourself everyday. This is a wrong notion that can demotivate. Your body undergoes a number of changes everyday such as fluid retention, hormonal changes etc. As a result of this you may weigh more and find it very discouraging if you weigh everyday. You should weigh yourself only once a week.
3. Exercise makes you feel hungry. The fact is that moderate exercise helps you in decreasing your appetite. Exercise boosts your metabolism as you burn more calories than usual.
4. Standing while eating helps you to burn more calories. There is no scientific basis for this. Instead if you stand and eat, you tend to eat more and hence gain weight.
5. Vitamins supplements give you energy. This is totally wrong since vitamins are required for boosting up your system and for various other body functions. Carbohydrates are the main energy source for the body. So when on a diet, concentrate on power packed foods more, which give you more energy by a lesser intake.
6. Saunas can help you lose kilograms. Going to saunas every now and then is not a very pleasurable experience. What you lose in sauna is just the water weight and there is no fat burnout. So once you drink water it starts coming back.
7. Jogging a mile helps you burn more calories than walking a mile. Whether you are jogging or walking, the calories burnt are 62 per 100 pounds weight. However, when jogging you cover more distance in a short span of time and hence you burn more calories in a given time.
8. You burn more calories while exercising on an exercise machines. The calories expended are directly related to the amount of effort put in doing an activity. The more you work out, the more calories are burnt. An easy exercise results in burning out fewer calories. So don't give in to fancy looking machines. Just remember the harder you work the more you lose.
Following these myths can make you gain weight instead of losing it. So follow a professionally planned method of weight loss and lose weight sensibly and keep it off.
Minerals have multiple functions. They provide structure in the formation of bones and teeth, maintain normal heart rhythm, are essential for the synthesis of major biological nutrients and play a regulatory role in cellular metabolism. But what needs to be remembered is that minerals can be obtained solely from a well-balanced diet and are not produced by the body.
The Big Four minerals are calcium, phosphorous, iron and iodine.
Calcium helps to builds strong bones and teeth, it is important for proper contractions of the muscles, helps in blood clotting, stimulates enzymes in the digestive process and assists in transmission of nerve impulses. If you are lacking in calcium, drink plenty of milk and milk products such as buttermilk, yogurt, cheese, paneer etc or eat green leafy vegetables and fruits such as oranges, lemons, almonds and walnuts.
Phosphorous is necessary for the growth of bones and teeth and in the formation of nerve cells. Besides this, Phosphorous also supports muscular activity. Intake of this mineral is not just a matter of how much, but in what proportion. The calcium-phosphorous teamwork is so delicately balanced, that an excess of either mineral leads to the excretion of the other. Phosphorous is found in cereals, pulses, nuts, egg yolk, fruit juices and milk.
Iron is necessary for maintaining hemoglobin and its deficiency can lead to anemia. Iron needs get increased in children and in pregnant and lactating women. The chief sources of iron are meat, liver, eggs, grapes, raisins, spinach, all leafy vegetables and dark color fruits like dates.
Iodine is part of the big four though it is required in traces. It is necessary for the formation of the thyroid hormone which regulates physical and mental activity. The most common result of an iodine deficiency is goiter, usually a visible swelling on the neck. By adding iodized salt in your diet, goiter can be prevented. Other sources of iodine are seafood, lettuce, turnip garlic, citrus fruits and egg yolk.
Besides the big four, there are other minerals too such as zinc, sodium, and chlorine which are needed by your body. You need to eat a well-balanced diet which will provide you with an abundance of minerals.
The health benefits of running are enormous as it can shield you from something as simple as the common cold to the dreaded disease of cancer. However, the benefits of running are more than just physical. Running provides an ideal opportunity for thought and reflection, boosts confidence and imparts discipline. At many occasions your own body may surprise you by exceeding your own expectations. As a sport, running offers much more than what you can think of. Read on:
Running best for cardiovascular fitness.
Running four times a week for half an hour can yield good level of fitness and is perfect for CV fitness.
Can do easily almost anywhere
You don't have to look for a perfect place, or need heavy and costly equipment. What you need is a good pair of running shoes and some space to run which you can always find almost everywhere.
Inexpensive and simple to learn.
Running is a simple sport. We all know how to run and hence don't require basic training. A good pair of shoes and comfortable clothing is just enough to get you going. Specialized information is easily available from any trainer.
An effective stress buster
There's no escaping stress in today's life. It has become a part and parcel of our daily life. And there's nothing like a good run to get rid of your stress.
A good way to lose weight
Running is an excellent activity if you are overweight and want to get rid of that extra mass. Remember there are only few activities, which actually burn calories more quickly than running. Running can also strengthen your legs, develop your endurance, ease tension, boost your energy, and burn 585-700 calories an hour, depending on your speed and size.
Boosts morale and confidence
Running can lift your spirits and boost your confidence. It's an effective way to explore and develop innate positive qualities such as self-esteem.
Makes you socially active
Running can help you make new friends and activate your social life. Your running mate can become your best friend and for all you know may form an important place in your life apart from motivating you towards a fitter self.
No wonder then, running is highly recommended as the benefits are far reaching and numerous. So put your best foot forward and go!
How can you prevent this from happening? The key is not to focus on your weight alone as a criteria for good health. Concentrate on staying fit, not thin and create a well-balanced body. Have you noticed that those who follow quick weight loss programmes succeed in losing weight, but they also lose their good looks and temper. They look drawn and haggard, feel irritable, tired and cranky. Their skin does not get sufficient underlying tissue and consequently, gets wrinkled, losing its elasticity and shine.
Nutritionists believe that metabolic or aerobic fitness is a better indicator of physical health than body weight. This means that regardless of what you weigh, your blood pressure, blood glucose and blood cholesterol levels are within normal levels – this puts you at low risk for developing heart disease, the leading killer of both men and women today. Aerobic fitness is also a better indicator of health than body weight. Recent studies have found that it is better to be fat and fit than skinny and unfit. One study followed 10,000 men for eight years and found that overweight men who were aerobically fit had a much lower death rate than the thin guys who were unfit.
Another study found that obese women who walked on a treadmill for 45 minutes for 6 months reduced their blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose to normal levels without actually losing weight. They were still fat at the end of the study but were aerobically and metabolically fit.
A golden rule to remember is that being obese is not your fault. Obesity is a disease and not a question of overeating or lack of exercise. It is because of medical ignorance and a lack of nutritional knowledge that you are fat, which may have accumulated over the years. How can you expect to lose it instantly? Concentrate on the long-term goal of achieving a fit and active lifestyle, rather than the short-term one of shedding excess fat.
Feeling good and positive about yourself is another aspect of good health. Unfortunately chronic dieting and an obsession with weight control makes it hard to have a positive self image. After all, don’t most diets aim to cut your "ugly flab" or reduce your "thunder thighs." Using adjectives like this make you feel ashamed of your body and project a negative self-image. Remember that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes and learning to like the way you are is the best remedy for staying healthy. So don’t let the scales dictate your life. Finally, it’s up to you to be healthy and happy.
Obesity is a disease in itself. You may not realize it at a young age but yes, it is true, that obesity is associated with an increased risk to a number of diseases and hence increased mortality. Studies have pointed out that people who are obese tend to die at a younger age than people who have an ideal body weight. Obesity reduces life expectancy because it increases the risk of many other health disorders.
Health risks of obesity
Obesity is a risk factor for a number of chronic diseases that include heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and some forms of cancer. The health risks begin to appear even from a mild degree of overweight (BMI 25kg/sq.mt) and increase as the weight increases.
Obesity and heart disease: Excess weight puts an excess strain on the heart and hence an obese person is bound to suffer from angina. Nearly 70 per cent of all detected cases of heart disease are related to obesity. A waist circumference of above 100 cm in men and above 90 cm in women is associated with increased levels of triglycerides and low levels of good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol).
Obesity and diabetes: Studies have shown that nearly 80 per cent individuals with non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus are obese. Middle-aged obese people are more bound to get diabetes compared to there lean partners.
Obesity and hypertension: Obesity is very strongly associated with high blood pressure and this further results in heart problems.
Obesity and cancer: Obese women are more prone to cancer of the uterus, cervix, ovary, gall bladder and breast. Obese men are more prone to cancer of the prostate, colon and rectum. In fact, 24 per cent of all cancers are related to obesity.
Other problems: Surgery poses a risk on obese patients due to associated anaesthetic and postoperative complications. Obesity is also associated with infertility. It also contributes to joint problems and problems of breathing. These problems limit the individual's capability for manual work. Also, obesity is related to a higher degree of depression and mental illness.
Considering all the numerous risks associated with obesity, one should try to avoid it and maintain normal weight. For the underweight, this means that you have to gain weight but under expert guidance and not simply by compulsive overeating. Concentrate on energy dense foods and not on high fat foods and slowly increase the quantity of food that you eat. This way you will be able to meet your ideal weight and also stay away from the silent killer obesity.