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12/27/2009

Walking in the UK

Walking in the UK and Walking holidays in the UK are becoming increasingly popular as a result of the huge diversity of the UK’s landscape and the good road and rail network that make the national parks easily accessible. All levels and types of walking are available from the stark and challenging mountains of the Inverness Highlands to the gentle rolling countryside of the Downs.

   
The most popular areas for walking in the UK are Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons, Cairngorms, Cheviot Hills, Chilterns, Cotswolds, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Grampians, Inverness, Lake District, Loch Lomond, Mendip Hills, Nevis Range, New Forest, North York Moors, Northumberland National Park, Peak District, Pennines , Ribble Valley,  Salisbury Plains, Snowdonia, Solway Coast, Thames Valley, The Downs, Yorkshire Dales.


The landscape in the different areas is as a result of thousands of years of changing climate. The most significant period that resulted in the current landscape was the last ice age where most of the area now known as Britain was covered in a huge ice sheet. As the ice sheet moved across the United Kingdom it cut great swathes through the landscape. These changes were then further developed as the receding melt water flooded down the newly cut glacial valleys cutting rivers, gorges and valleys. Big piles of rock that had been caught up in the ice sheet were also dropped back onto the landscape creating moraines which are a regular feature of the current British Landscape.


The UK has been exceptionally well mapped and various scales of map are available and cover the whole of the UK. The National Parks in particular are extremely well mapped. It is always advisable to carry a good local map when you go walking and a compass, whistle and waterproof jacket (British weather is famously changeable).


Footpaths are generally well signposted but in some more remote areas this may not be the case. For the best sign posted routes it is best to stick to the large national routes that are maintained by national government.

12/21/2009

Walking For Health And Friendship

Many studies show that walking is good for your health, but sometimes it helps to get out of the "around the block" rut and into something more challenging and fun.

Long-distance walking events help get you in shape--and if you walk for a good cause, your stroll can raise funds for groups that need it. An added bonus: Walking as part of a team can increase the enjoyment, keep you focused and build great friendships.

But what is a walking team? In the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, teams include two people or dozens-women and men, neighbors, colleagues, family, spouses or new acquaintances, from the same town or across the country-who share a commitment to taking personal steps (literally) in the fight against breast cancer.

One team that takes humor in stride is the "Back of the Pack Walkers." It consists of nearly 10 women who come together each year for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Washington, D.C. They walk in memory of a friend, Robyn Cain, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2004. Team Captain Candi Hoffman says that "after spending so much time together, training and at the Walk, I consider the girls on my team to be some of my closest friends."

"Team Maureen" is a fixture at the Avon Walk Chicago, with team members participating as walkers, volunteers and cheerleaders, all in bright green shirts. According to Donna Lahey, "Team Maureen" Walker Captain, the 2006 team has 64 members from age 1 to 81. The team is named for Maureen Buescher, who died of breast cancer in 2002. It includes family and friends who walk for their own health and the health of all women.

Mike McElduff has put a unique spin on the team concept by leading "Team Peggy's Spirit," named for his mother, at all eight Avon Walk events across the country from April to October. "Peggy's Spirit" includes McElduff's siblings, friends and solo walkers who are seeking camaraderie as they tackle the long walk.

12/19/2009

Breathing – an Important Factor in Fitness

With the exception – probably the only one – of pearl gatherers, who dive without any autonomous equipment, breathing counts in all sports – as well as in fitness. Each sport branch has imposed its own breathing style – according to efficiency, effort timing, meteorological conditions etc.

If we take breathing as a taxonomic criterion, sports can be divided in two big groups:

1. The first one includes all the sports that use the technique of respiratory stop or blocking. The most typical among these are force sports such as athletic weight throwing, weightlifting, body building, gymnastics etc. In short, we might say that here the anaerobic extreme is concerned – the one which imposes apnea (blocking the thorax and respiration). The main advantage of diaphragm blocking is the rising, for the moment, of the explosive force of the sportsman. A rise in execution speed for maximum force efforts has also been observed. The classic example is the snatch of weightlifting in which force and speed are simultaneously implied on the basis of respiratory blocking.

This respiratory blocking, inevitable in the above-mentioned sports, has also some disadvantages. Among these we could mention high pressure values in the thorax, abdomen and skull, high pressure on blood vessels with low feed-back through the veins etc. Thus, due to the rising of pressure inside the eyes the aggravation of previous short-sightedness is possible. Also, in the inferior limbs, varicose veins can either appear or worsen. Effort in exclusively anaerobic conditions increases rigidity both in the blood vessels and in the muscles.

2. The second big group is the one of sports that do not use respiratory stop. Here we enter the realm of purely aerobic effort. The typical examples are running races, swimming, cycling etc. - generally efforts on long and very long distances. In these events the muscular force implied is little - medium at most - the stress affecting the cardiovascular component and leading to increased cardiac frequency and pulmonary ventilation.

There is also a third category - mixed sports, both aerobic and anaerobic, in which the two techniques alternate. This is the case of sports games, contact sports, rhythm breaking in medium distance running races, etc. In the case of fitness, as both types of effort - aerobic and anaerobic - are present, apnea, as well as effort without respiratory blockage, is used. As far as correct respiration is concerned, there is a general rule stating that one should breath out during the most difficult part of the movement (the positive or concentric course) and breath in during come-back (the negative or eccentric course). Within these courses, we can have or not have a respiratory stop/ blockage. If we have it, it will occur at the critical point of the course.

Another breathing rule is the one that takes into consideration the dilatation of the thorax. In this case, breathing in is done on the course which allows thorax expansion, and breathing out on the movement that contracts it. In both cases, breathing in is done through the nose - in order to filter and warm up the air flow and breathing out is done through the mouth in order to be faster and more efficient.

It is interesting to know that the 'shouting' that we hear in many weightlifting training sessions or contests, is actually the sound of forced breathing out.

12/14/2009

Use Caution When Exercising in the Heat

It is the dog days of summer, and here in North Carolina it is Hot and Steamy. I'm talking Tarzan jungle hot. It is hot enough that I am making several adjustments to my exercise routine. I normally run outside every day, but this is the time of the year when I least appreciate it. Consequently I am using the elliptical trainer a few days a week, and the other days I head out for a real good sweat.

I’m one of those people who sweat profusely. By the time I am done my body and my gym clothes are soaked. This means I am draining some serious fluids, which is not a problem as long as I adequately replace them, and I monitor any abnormal physical symptoms.

Heat related illnesses are usually due to people ignoring the warning symptoms. They include weakness, dizziness, headaches, muscle cramps and nausea. This means you need to be aware of your mental state. What appears to be fatigue can progress to unconsciousness.

So I have been doing my research and have come up with a list of valuable suggestions to make certain you summer outdoor workouts are healthy and rewarding:

Stay Hydrated

Even in cooler temperatures, there is a tendency not to adequately replace expended body fluids. In the summer it is an absolute necessity. It is important to drink water or sports beverages before and after your workout. If you are engaging in extended outdoor exercise (running, walking, bicycling), replace fluids periodically. For runners, consider a hydration pack. If you do not maintain your fluid levels you risk circulatory failure.

If you are exercising for an hour or less, water is sufficient. Longer than an hour and you need to replace carbohydrates. Warmer weather metabolizes these substances faster. Consider one of the popular sports drinks that contain carbs.

Time of Day

When they are predicting some scourging weather, schedule your workout early in the morning or later in the evening. Avoid the mid-day heat and humidity. Workout indoors if that is the only time you have to exercise

Humidity

Be aware of the relative humidity. The body responds to overheating by the evaporation of moisture through perspiration. When the humidity is high, the air is less capable of evaporating excess moisture. Consequently your natural cooling mechanism is compromised. Monitor your vitals. If you start to feel light headed, or you feel completely drain, immediately stop, find a place to cool off and once again replace those vital fluids.

Cool Clothing

No, I am not talking about the latest fashions. When exercising in heat you do not want clothing that will retain heat. That includes cotton apparel. Go for synthetic breathable fabrics that release moisture from your body and allow efficient airflow. Hats are good for preventing the sun from heating up the blood vessels lining your scalp. But remove the hat occasionally to let the heat escape.
Problems of Pollution

Due to some misguided political policies and our desire to drive gas-guzzling vehicles, the air quality in urban environments in the summer often sucks. During days when there are orange, red or even purple alerts it is best to limit your outdoor activities. And air pollution is not limited to just cities. For example, the air quality in the mountains of North Carolina during the summer can be equivalent to the air in Los Angeles. The trees are actually dying in the high altitudes. Furthermore, the air quality in a number of our national parks and beaches can be potentially hazardous during the summer months. Excessive physical exertion in areas of poor air quality can be detrimental to your health.

The summer offers an incredible opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature while you exercise. A walk or run on a tree-lined trail or sandy beach surely beats the congestion of a health club. But when it heats up outside use common sense and caution. And if those dog days of summer start barking consider heading indoors.

12/11/2009

Benefits of Stretching

The body is flexible. It is supposed to be flexible. You must be able to bend and reach that something you dropped on the floor. You must be able to zip the back of your favorite dress on your own. You must be able to reach that book you need to read at the top shelf.

These are simple activities. Nothing grand about them, you merely stretched out a bit. However, if there are difficulties in doing such simple motions, then you have to stretch your limits. You already need a stretching program.

What Is Stretching?

Stretching is simply the act of extending to full length the body or simply a part of it. This activity involves straightening or stretching the structure or the limbs.

How Does One Do the Stretching?

Stretching is fairly easy. As mentioned in the introduction, it is involved in the normal activities. It can be done by any people, regardless of age.

However the extent of stretching and flexing differs. The muscles tighten as a person ages. The range of joint movements can be minimized. This can very well obstruct an on-the-go lifestyle. That is why as the person grows older, bending or flexing becomes more limited. This is why stretching regularly, as part of a routine is very important.

Simple stretches can be done everyday. It can be incorporated in the lifestyle and the daily activities. It does not require much of your time.

Stretching exercises can also be done while training. Actually, stretching is an essential part of any training or sport. It must be done first before anything else. Stretching the body and the limbs is a good preparation for a more rigorous activity.

Most athletes would do the sit and reach, wherein they position on the floor, extend their legs and reach the tip of their foot with the tip of their hand. Actually, most trainers actually require their athletes to really do the stretching before playing.

There is actually an ideal length of time in stretching. It is best to do it in 10 minutes. This will give the body enough opportunity to move and flex the muscles, thus preparing it for more complicated and strenuous movements.

Experts however would frown upon going way beyond 10 minutes. Stretching the exercise to 30 minutes or more will already wear out the body. This will not be favorable if one is preparing for a game.

What Are the Benefits of Stretching?

1. Increase the Range of Movement
As one constantly do the stretching exercises, the length of the muscles and the tendons are also increased. This will help in increasing the range of your movement. Thus, the limbs and joints will be able to move, way before an injury can take place. You are definitely physically fit.

2. Increased Ability to Perform Skills
When you have a wide range of movement, the more you will be able to do more things. For example, you can jump high without feeling any pain when you land back on the floor. This will also help you start a new sport or improve more if you are in one. Stretching in this aspect also allows you to have a more active lifestyle.

3. Injury Prevention
One can prevent injury to joints, tendons and muscles with stretching. When the muscles and tendons are well-flexed, they are considered in good working order. This will help in a faster recovery and decreased soreness. The muscles of the body will be able to take more exhausting and rigorous movements with less probability of being injured.

4. Reduce Muscle Tension
If the muscles are given their regular exercises and stretching, it is less likely that they will contract. This will definitely relieve you of any muscle pain or problems.

5. Enhance Energy
Being able to move more will also give you more energy. Stretching will also help enhance your awareness, like knowing that you have a body that is capable of doing many things. As such, you are going to be more driven to move rather than sulk in the corner.

6. Reduces Cholesterol
Research also shows that doing prolonged stretching exercises, like yoga, will help reduce the cholesterol in the body. This of course must be done with a healthy diet at hand. This could prevent and even reverse the hardening of the arteries, allowing you to avoid coronary diseases.

Incorporate stretching in your everyday lifestyle. It has benefits you can not say no to. It also does not require much. It can be your usual activities, bending and flexing every now and then. After all, your fitness is everything so do what it takes to keep the body healthy.

12/07/2009

Benefits of Boxing Training for Fitness

You may improve your health and have a physically fit body by getting into boxing training fitness programs. This is the best way for you to have a stronger body and gain confidence. Boxing workouts can help you to be at your best fighting form as well.

Many people see positive results from boxing trainings. You may build stronger and more defined arms and legs. These programs and classes also help you to gain a sense of inner strength and emotional balance.

Boxing training classes got across to the mainstream of physical fitness training a few years back. They have seen the benefits on the cardiovascular and toning of the muscles by these boxing training workouts. Tae bo work out videos also popularized these boxing and kickboxing exercises.

Cardio boxing training classes and the innovative variations of the sparring jabs, power punches, defense, and fitness has all blends of aerobics exercises. You will learn the proper execution of the punch and kick combinations for a more intensive workout that can help you become stronger and more confident.

The combinations you perform on the blocks, jabs, and kicks are executed to an imagined opponent. You may see classes where participants throw punches and kicks on the air. You will also find training camps that have quality equipment such as punching bags and you may also have the option of getting a partner that has padded hands.

You may also enjoy more benefits aside from the physical aspects of boxing trainings. Cardio kick boxing workouts allow you to burn out 350 to 500 calories in just an hour. It also helps maintaining the heart rate at 75 percent to 85 percent regular beat. This has been proven to be good and is the recommended range if you are exercising or into training.

Moreover, these boxing training classes improve your speed, resistance, and strength. Flexibility and the reflexes of the muscles are also enhanced. Repetitive motion on arms by sparring and jogging while you punch helps your arms and legs gain strength and power.

These workouts also enable your joint movements to build very efficient fitness results.
These movements require you to develop balance and coordination that enables your body to be stable and maintain a good form.

These physical benefits you gain from boxing and kickboxing are just few of the many benefits that they can provide. You will be able to learn more about defense mechanism skills, which you may use in case of unwanted instances. You will also feel the satisfaction when you punch or kick. Relaxation and self-motivation is also developed.

You will feel a sigh of relief and feel that you are released from stressed. It also helps you to get rid of that anger that is inside of you. Once these things are releases, you may feel lightness into your body and peace of mind as well.

Many aerobic and fitness experts recommend boxing training lessons for beginners. It allows you to workout on your desired pace and body condition. Boxing classes let you to push yourself to the limit as long as you are safe and well conditioned.

Positive results await you with boxing training. You will enjoy a physically fit body and will keep you in better shape. You have the option working out and exercising at your preferred level and skill. Enjoy the fun of these boxing training programs.

12/05/2009

Walk 10,000 Steps to Improve Health and Fitness

It’s a fact, America is becoming obese at an alarming rate and the rest of the world is following close behind. We are eating more (and more of the wrong stuff) and exercising less or getting no exercise at all. Our health is in steep decline and doctor and hospital visits are at all time highs. Just a brisk 30-minute walk a day can begin to turn that around.

You name it, we have it, and it’s getting worse. Heart and cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, out of control blood sugar levels, diabetes, obesity, and more. The U.S. Surgeon General recommends getting at least 20-30 minutes of moderate activity each day and many of us are falling far short of even that.

Studies show the average person takes about 3000 to 5000 steps a day, and some even much less. Let’s face it, we just do not get the exercise our ancestors did a hundred or so years ago and we tend to eat more refined foods. For some of us, most of steps we take are from the easy chair in front of the TV to the fridge so we can fill up on snacks. For others, like me, we sit at a computer all day as part of our jobs.

Many fitness experts recommend we walk 10,000 steps a day to maintain our weight and overall good health. 10,000 steps are approximately 5 miles, give or take depending on the length of your stride. You will need to purchase and wear a pedometer to count how many steps you take each day. Follow the directions that usually come with the pedometer. Do this for a week or two and you will get a good average step count. Your goal is to reach 10,000 or more steps each day. There is nothing magical about 10,000, but it will put you in the right ballpark.

As a general rule, a person will burn about 100 calories walking a mile, depending on age, size, and fitness level. The heavier you are, the more calories you will burn.

Become creative on ways to increase your steps. At work, go for walks at lunchtime. Go for walks with your spouse or children. Walk the dog. Walk to the store instead of driving, or park at the far end of the parking lot. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. For me, I take brisk 2-mile walks around the neighborhood twice a day everyday (aerobic walking). Just do whatever works best for you, but do it! You will need good walking shoes and socks to prevent injury when walking for exercise (like aerobic walking).

Go to your favorite search engine and type in “10,000 steps” to learn more about this life saving, life changing program. The information is abundant.

11/27/2009

Water Exercise for Arthritis Relief - Fun and Effective

Everybody knows exercise is a significant part of staying healthy. As anyone with arthritis can tell you, though, when your joints say no to play, exercise goes from pleasurable and stimulating activity into a trial of how much pain you can tolerate.

The tendency when suffering from arthritis is to keep your joints as motionless as possible. The problem is that this leads to weakening of the muscles and tendons and a stiffening of joints, which makes the pain worse over time. It is a self-feeding cycle difficult to break out of.

One solution comes in the form of The Arthritis Foundation Aquatics Program, a warm water exercise program designed by the Arthritis Foundation. Why warm water exercise? The warmth offered by hot water allows muscles to relax and intensifies circulation of blood to the joints. In fact, ever since the discovery of the first hot springs, humans have used the miracle of warm water baths to fight aching joints.

Besides reducing the pain in your joints, exercising in water permits body weight to be supported. This makes exercising in water easier, safer and more relaxing. Not only that, but the resistance that water provides as your body moves in it helps strengthen muscles

These days, what with spas, health clubs and backyard hot tubs, just about anyone has access to a pool of hot water to relax in. Not only does this bring some immediate relief of arthritis symptoms, but it also provides us with a great environment in which we can exercise.

You should consult your doctor before beginning water exercise. Water exercise is completely safe for most people, with a few exceptions. If you’ve have suffered serious joint damage or replacement surgery you may be among them. Your doctor will know what’s right for you. Also be aware of temperature. Water between 83 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for exercise. Anything over 100 degrees may be relaxing, but can lead to overheating. After you’ve gotten the doctor go ahead, it’s time to get started.

The Arthritis Foundation Aquatics Program exercises can be found in the free brochure "Water Exercise: Pools, Spas and Arthritis” from the Arthritis Foundation. Classes are also offered at local pools nationwide—contact your local Arthritis Foundation office for information. The classes are lead by a trained instructor, usually last between 45 minutes to an hour and are scheduled 2 to 3 times a week.

With a doctor’s guidance, whether at a local pool or at home, a water exercise program is a fun and effective way to combat arthritis and keep joints and muscles healthy.

11/23/2009

Can a 30 Minute Workout Really Work?

If you talk to almost anyone who goes to the gym to workout and ask them how long a good workout usually takes, they will often answer with; “it takes a good hour to get in a good workout”, or even; “if I don’t spend 1 ½ to 2 hours in the gym, I just don’t get enough from my workout”.

Based on these kinds of typical responses, you can imagine how surprised many of these same people appear to be when I tell them that I only workout for 30 minutes a day, yet still get the kind of results that they do! Many of them will say, no way you only workout for 30 minutes a day! How can you ever get results doing that?

The plain fact is there are a lot of people who have such busy schedules that finding more than 30 minutes to dedicate to a workout is just impossible. It’s not that they don’t want to do it; there just aren’t enough hours in the day to be in the gym for 1 to 2 hours at a time.

If there was a way to get an effective workout in 30 minutes however, then perhaps they could spend half of their lunch hour in the gym, and the other half eating their lunch. That would be perfect, wouldn’t it? But is it really possible to do a workout in 30 minutes that will bring real results? The answer is a definite yes, but you will need a few simple strategies to make it happen.
 Here are some tips on how to make your workouts really work in only 30 minutes a day.

To start with, make sure you have a plan for each day. Write down all of the exercises you will be doing for that day and write down all of the weights you will be using for each exercise. Write down how many sets you will be doing for each exercise and how many repetitions you will be doing during each set.

Do split body part routines. For example, on Monday and Thursday, do legs, arms and abs. On Tuesday and Friday, do chest, back and shoulders. This way you only have half of your body parts to work on each day cutting down significantly on time spent in the gym.

Upon arriving at the gym, set up as many things as you can in advance so that when you get started, you can keep moving from one exercise to the other without wasting time getting the next piece of equipment set up. This way, you can go strait through each exercise without stopping, take 1-2 minutes rest, and then simply repeat until you finish all of your sets.

Avoid socializing. While being friendly is ok, don’t let yourself get distracted by having a conversation with others in the gym. Remember, you only have so much time and 5 minutes spent talking rather than exercising is 5 minutes wasted. Explain to people wishing to talk to you that you are on limited time and you just can’t stop what you are doing at the moment or better yet, put on a pair of headphones before you begin your workout; they’ll get the clue.

Always do your weight training and cardio training separately. On days you are not doing weight training, you can spend 30 minutes on the treadmill or on the stair climber. This way you are still only working out for 30 minutes. Combining the two only means you will have to spend more time in the gym and time spent in the gym is what you are trying to cut down on.

In summary, just remember to write out a plan for each day, split those body parts on different days, keep moving during your routine, don’t socialize, and don’t do weights and cardio on the same day and you will see excellent results in only 30 minutes a day.

11/20/2009

Excessive Exercise and Eating Disorders

In our society, the perceived perfect image of women falls right in line with the slenderness of girls 10 to 12 years old. This unrealistic perception spawned by the supermodels seen today in ads for popular clothing and undergarment makers such as Victoria’s secret has caused many women to become obsessed with their own images.

 In our society, women are ten times more likely to develop eating disorders and compulsive exercise habits that can be life threatening and often do prove to be fatal.
Here are the most commonly developed eating disorders:

“Anorexia nervosa” is a life threatening disorder that occurs when you eat very little food and become obsessed about your weight even when you are badly underweight. An anorexic person will often see themselves as being fat when they look at themselves in the mirror even though they appear very skinny to everyone else. People with this disorder often turn to laxatives and various diet aids such as fat burning pills to bring their weight down to dangerous levels.

“Bulimia” is a disorder that occurs when you go on an eating binge, and then immediately purge it all out. You will eat a large amount of food, even junk food, and then get it all back out of your system by both self-induced vomiting and laxative use. This practice may throw off your body’s mineral balance in the blood and put the health of your heart at risk.

“Compulsive overeating” followed by “compulsive over exercising” is a pattern that is not as dangerous as anorexia and bulimia but still can lead to both physical and psychological problems. This is a pattern in which you will eat a large amount of food followed up immediately by exercising excessively hard and for a long period of time.

It is estimated that more than one out of three collage female athletes may at one time develop an eating disorder. If you suffer from an eating disorder, seek medical help as soon as possible because if left untreated, these disorders can cause permanent health problems and even death.

11/18/2009

Dumbbell Exercises That Suit Beginners

The aim for beginners to weight training must be to lay the foundations for the intensive workouts that their bodies will eventually be subjected to. Obviously successful bodybuilding involves bringing together disparate elements such as nutrition and rest but choosing the right exercises is crucial. In this article we'll outline the dumbbell exercises that will enable new bodybuilders to develop the general strength and body conditioning needed.

Initially beginners should aim to complete two sets of ten to twelve reps but after a few weeks, when you have developed sufficient control and basic strength, experiment with one set of six to eight reps to failure. This will maximize your muscle growth and give you the impetus to move on to the next stage of development. Before long you'll find the use of this single piece of equipment restricting, so later in this series of articles we'll pull together a muscle boosting program that utilizes other equipment to take you to the intermediate level. In the meantime, get to work with these exercises in order to get used to working your muscles.

Start off training four days per week and work body parts on the following basis not forgetting to incorporate rest days:

Day 1 - Biceps, Back, Abs

Day 2- Hamstrings, Shoulders, Abs

Day 3 - Quads, Forearms, Calves

Day 4 - Triceps, Chest, Abs

The exercises recommended for beginners are as follows:

CHEST: Bench press, flyes

UPPER BACK: Prone reverse flye, seated reverse flye, bent over row, pullover

SHOULDER: Lateral raise, shoulder press, upright row

TRICEPS: Lying triceps extension

BICEPS: Curl, concentration curl

FOREARMS: Wrist curl, wrist extension

LEGS: Squat, leg curl, calf raise

11/15/2009

Aerobic Exercise for Weight Loss Can Be Fun

The word aerobic literally means "with oxygen" or "in the presence of oxygen." Aerobic exercise is any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously for a long period of time and is rhythmic in nature. Aerobic exercises utilize oxygen as the major fuel for sustaining activity for relatively long periods.

In general, aerobic exercises are those activities that require large muscle work, elevate the heart rate to between 60 percent and 80 percent of maximal heart rate, are continuous in nature and are of 15 to 60 minutes in duration. An aerobically fit individual can work longer, more vigorously and achieve a quicker recovery at the end of the aerobic session.

Aerobic exercises fall in two categories:

Low to Moderate Impact aerobics – These include walking, swimming, stair climbing, step classes, light water aerobics, rowing and cross-country skiing. Nearly anyone in reasonable health can engage in some low- to moderate-impact exercise. Brisk walking burns more calories than jogging for the same distance because it takes more time to walk than jog that distance and poses less risk for injury to muscle and bone.

High-Impact aerobics – Activities that belong to this group include running, dance exercise, tennis, racquetball and squash. High-impact aerobics should be performed on alternate days. People who are overweight, elderly, out of condition or have an injury or other medical problem should do them even less frequently and only with clearance from their doctor.

Here are some of the many aerobic exercises you can do and because of the variety you have to choose from, it can not only take the bordum out of doing it, it can make doing it downright fun as well.


    1. Walking
        Walking is a popular form of exercise because it requires little in terms of equipment or facilities. Walking an extra 20 minutes each day will burn off 7 pounds of body fat per year. Longer, moderately-paced daily walks are best for losing weight.
   

    2. Jogging/Running
        In jogging or running, an individual is able to cover greater distances in a shorter period of time. Therefore, greater numbers of calories can be burned per time spent.

    3. Choreographed Aerobic Exercise
        Choreographed aerobic dance is a very popular form of exercise throughout the world. Aerobic dance helps in toning up the muscles of the body and many people find it fun to do as well.

    4. Step Aerobics
        Step aerobics incorporates the use of a step or bench typically about one foot wide and three feet long and about six inches high. Instructors use many moves that require participants to step up and down from the platform. This way, the activity will not be boring and tiring, but will be lively and motivating.

    5. Water Aerobics
        Water aerobics incorporates a variety of movements from both swimming and land aerobics to develop vigorous routines that are aerobic in nature. It utilizes the resistance to movement that water creates to elevate heart rates and also helps you if balancing yourself on land is difficult. It is a good way to lose weight.

    6. Swimming
        Swimming is a very popular form of regular exercise. Due to the resistance of water, the amount of energy required to swim a certain distance is greater than that needed to run or walk the same distance. In other words, swimming can burn more calories than running per time spent.

    7. Stationary Cycling/Bicycling
        Stationary cycling or bicycling are excellent forms of aerobic exercise when done continuously. Like swimming, cycling is a non weight bearing activity that builds muscular endurance and strength and improved flexibility of selected muscles of the legs and thighs.

    8. Jumping Rope
        Jumping rope can be a great aerobic workout as long as it is performed at     a slow to moderate pace and is done continuously for a relatively long period of time (15 minutes or more).

    The key to effective weight loss is through use of a healthy exercise program which is performed on a regular basis while following a healthy dieting & nutritional plan. Aerobic exercise is good for weight loss because it uses more calories than other activities and helps raise your metabolic rate.

This helps your body burn calories at a faster rate. It is an effective way to lose fat only if you are motivated enough to do it frequently. Aerobics only burns fat during the workout itself. So if you want encouraging results you need to be able to exercise daily and for longer periods.

11/09/2009

10 Things You Should Know About Stretching

Before fitness training, one must give importance to doing warm-up or stretching exercises to prevent accidents or to enhance the output during the training. There are also a number of precautionary measures and tips to serve as guidelines when doing fitness exercises. Here are some of them.

1. To increase your flexibility and to avoid injuries, stretch before and after workout. Almost everyone knows that stretching before workout prevents injuries during the exercises, but only few people know that stretching after workout, when muscles are still warm, can increase flexibility.

2. Hold your stretching position for more than 60 seconds to increase flexibility. While holding your position for 20 seconds is enough for warm ups, holding each position for at least 60 seconds will develop the body's flexibility.

3. Do not go into a stretching position then immediately return to the relaxed position, and do it repeatedly. This is more appropriately termed as bouncing while in a position. When stretching, hold that position for several seconds, and then slowly relax. You may do this exercise repeatedly this way. Bouncing or forcing yourself into a position during stretching can strain or damage some joints or muscles.

4. Work slowly in increments instead of immediately proceeding to doing the hardest exercise or position.

5. Make sure that you have stretched or warmed up all muscle groups. For some people, even if they have strong bodies, they tend to neglect the neck when working out of stretching. Stretching the neck muscles can be as simple as placing the palm of one's hand against the front of the head and pushing it. Then, do the same to the sides and the back of the head.

6. Stretch regularly to continually increase your range of movements and your level of flexibility and strength.

7. Workout considering only your capabilities and not of others. Do not force yourself to do exercises that you are not yet capable of just because there are people who can do it. Increase your limits slowly. Listen to your body. There are days when your body may be too tired that you may have to consider reducing your range of motion.

8. Learn to rest. Rest in between sets and stations to make sure that the body has enough time to recover its energy. Also, it is advisable that you don't work the same muscle groups consecutively for two days. The muscles grow during the period when you rest and not when you are working out.

9. Do aerobic exercises to strengthen your heart. Aerobic exercises are those physical activities that much oxygen for fuel. This includes cardiovascular exercises such as skipping rope, running or swimming.

10. Music may help you when you want to train for longer periods or to increase your intensity. You can use mp3 players, CD players or lightweight am radio receivers for this. Just make sure that you brought your headset with you so you wouldn't disturb people who don't prefer music while exercising.

Apart from preventing injuries and increasing one's limit, it is also said that stretching is good for a tired body and also for a stressed mind and spirit.

11/06/2009

Benefits of Pilates

Pilates is one of the most rewarding types of exercise because it encompasses stretch, strength and improves flexibility in the safest way while avoiding injury.

Pilates started as a way of rehabilitating athletes and dancers but is now used by millions of people across the globe because it is one of the safest forms of exercise.

Forget going for a run, pounding on pavement with the potential risk of getting shin splints, a knee injury or worse, falling and getting an even more severe injury. Pilates is one of the safest exercise systems in existence. The only equipment used is a floor mat. But for more advanced pilates exercise enthusiasts, other equipment can be added to simple routines. Nevertheless, once you begin this solid workout regimen, you will begin to notice healthy improvements in your body.

Regardless of whether you are 20 or 60 years of age, Pilates can work for anyone – male or female, old or young. No matter what condition you’re in, the health and fitness benefits are endless. Pilates improves flexibility, core strength and range of motion. It is also known to help alleviate chronic health ailments as well as fight back pain.

But the best part about Pilates is it’s fun!

It’s an exercise that bonds the mind and body allowing them to work together to establish balance. But the biggest benefit is Pilates improves overall body alignment, making it less prone to injury.

Here are some more benefits of Pilates:

• Improves breathing
• Corrects spinal and pelvic alignment through the concentration of slow, flowing, smooth movements with maximum power.
• Builds long, lean muscles that are less prone to injury, while building strength - without the bulk.
• Improves flexibility and range of motion.
• Improves back and abdominal strength.
• Creates balance between muscles - as weak muscles become stronger and the strong muscles also gain more strength never over training or under training any particular muscle group. This balance makes it easier to enjoy daily activities with less risk of injury. Pilates allows you to retrain your body to move in smoother safer, more efficient patterns of motion, which is essential in optimal performance and overall health.
• There is no pounding or bouncing in Pilates. It is the safest form of exercise. This is why it began as a rehabilitation exercise system for sports athletes and dancers. It is an intense exercise system working all muscle groups but still sustaining and improving overall balance.
If you are looking for a fitness routine that’s safe and easy to do - and that doesn’t involve a lot of heavy equipment, Pilates is an excellent choice. But best of all, with the popularity of this system, it can be performed in the comfort of your own home! Many videos and DVD’s are available for rent at your local video store as well as for sale at your local supermarket.
Need the right exercise system? Pilates may be just the right thing for you. Fun, easy and relaxing exercise that strengthens and restores flexibility… Doesn’t get much better than this!

11/04/2009

20 Minute Home Work Out

If you are busy, not able to get up early morning or have no time for gym just follow this 20 minute home work out to stay healthy and fit.

1) Jog : in one place for 3 minutes

2) Jumping jacks: 25 repeats
When landing, bend your knees slightly to reduce the impact on knee joints.

3) Crunches : 15 repeats
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Place your hands behind your head with elbows pointing outwards. Support your neck with your hands. Keep your neck in a straight line with your spine. Flex your waist to raise the upper torso from the mat. Lower yourself until the back of your shoulders touches the mat.
Muscle worked: rectus abdominis

4) Hip Bridges : 10 repeats
Lie on your back. With your hands at a 90 degree angle to the floor, lift your body off the floor to form a straight line, a sort of a bridge, from the shoulders to the knee. The position should resemble a table … your hands and legs as the legs of the table and your upper body to your knees as the surface. Hold this position for two seconds. Squeeze your gluteus (butt muscles) and then lower yourself.
Muscle worked: Lower back, hamstrings and gluteus.

5) Step – up’s : 1 minute
You will need a stepper for this.
Muscle worked: hamstrings, gluteus, quards.

6) Reverse crunches: 15 repeats
Lie on your back with your hands on your sides. Keep you knees bent. Bring your knees towards your head, till your hips come slightly off the floor. Hold this position for a second, and then lower your knees.
Muscle worked: lower abs and obliques.

7) Mountain climbers : 1 minute
Get your hands and knees and raise your knees like a starting block sprinter. Run in that position, supporting your upper body with the palms of your hands. Keep your back straight.
Muscle worked: triceps, deltoid muscle, gluteus, quards, hamstrings, calves.

8) Push – ups : 15 repeats
Muscle worked: triceps, deltoids, pectorals.

9) Squat thrusts: 1 minute
Stand straight. Now, drop to a crouch position. Immediately thrust your legs out straight behind on your toes, in push up position, now jump to pull legs back to the chest, in crouching position , then stand up straight,
Muscle worked: arms, legs, chest, and lower back.

Cool down by walking around, till your heart rate starts getting back to normal, stretch.

A minutes rest is needed in between exercise. Proper form is important. Do not hold breath. Sip water during the workout. This workout targets the whole body, improves cardiovascular efficiency and tones and strengthens the body.

10/28/2009

Can Diet and Exercise Help Prevent Cancer?

While everyone is well aware that proper diet and exercise are paramount to good health, still many people find it too much of an inconvenience to watch what they eat and to exercise. These people may feel that the benefits that they may get from all that effort is not worth the hassles of watching calories, cutting fat, running about, and moving weights around. But what if there was a benefit, and I mean a real good benefit, associated with proper diet and exercise? Maybe that would at least make those who don’t worry about diet and exercise give a little more thought to it.

Well, as if the already known benefits of proper diet and exercise aren’t enough to make some people want to incorporate them into their lives, perhaps the following information from Purdue University and Science Daily will be enough incentive to get them off their duff’s and give it a try.

According to Dennis Savaiano, dean of Purdue’s school of consumer and family sciences and professor of foods and nutrition, poor diet and lack of exercise are responsible for just as many cases of cancer as cigarette smoking.
He says, “approximately one third of cancer cases are related to smoking, one third are related to poor diet and lack of exercise, and one third are related to genetic or other factors”.

Most people are already well aware of the ill health effects of cigarette smoking, but the percentage of obesity and the rate of poor diet in America is a cause for serious concern. It is estimated that 65% of Americans are overweight with 30% being at least clinically obese. This is further escalated by the fact that 15 to 20% of the children in America are considered overweight. The main reason for this alarming statistic overall is the rate of poor diet seen in America.

Savaiano, who is chairman of the Food and Nutrition Science Alliance, along with several other members of the organization, recently reviewed scientific studies on diet and cancer. The group has since issued a statement urging Americans to change their diets in order to help reduce the number of cancer related deaths.

While Savaiano notes that some types of cancer are influenced more by diet than others, nutrition and food scientists agree that these four methods are practical ways to lower the risk of cancer:

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.

Avoid highly processed foods that are high in fat and sugar.

Limit or avoid consumption of alcohol.

Get in some moderate or vigorous exercise daily.

Much of the reason why people have trouble getting into a healthy lifestyle can be attributed to lack of knowledge on how to start with exercise programs and proper diet plans, and to marketing which is mostly geared toward foods that are high in fat and excess calories and low in nutritional value. Not much marketing is done to promote fruits and vegetables or whole grains.

Long hours at work also attribute to less meal preparation and more fast food and takeout food purchases. It will take some effort on your part, but making healthier food choices and exercise a part of your life can and most likely will give you rewards that no amount of money can buy.

10/22/2009

Combat the Fat and Tailor Your Supermarket Habits For the New You!

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is the perfect body.

The weightlifting’s going great. You have a challenging, but not completely sadistic trainer.

You’ve carved time out of your schedule hit the gym. (You even remember to run your workout clothes through the wash...hopefully!)

You’ll grow huge, buff, and polished in no time… unless you eat junk.

Everyone’s got to eat. And if your goal is to build lean muscle without the fat, YOU have to eat wiser than the rest.

Get sloppy and you’ll be fighting on both sides in the battle of the bulge.

Restrict your diet too much and yeah, you’ll lose fat; but, you’ll also probably lose interest and head right for some greasy fries and a chocolate shake.

Let’s look at what you can get at your friendly neighborhood supermarket.

Frankly, there are a few aisles no self-respecting bodybuilder will be seen in. (And I don’t mean the adult diaper aisle.)

The bad news? Cross off your list the following aisles: sodas, chips, cookies, candy, pasta, and kiddie cereals.

The good news? Well, you can also cross off the catfood and dogfood aisle. Protein is great, but you don’t have to get crazy.

What’s left? Lean proteins, including fish, turkey, and chicken. Eggs are a great source of whole protein, as is skim milk and low-fat cottage cheese.

Tofu – the mystery “meat” of champions is another great option, especially for vegetarian bodybuilders.

These are all found around the perimeter of the store, which is great because you’ll get some walking in, too.

Now, head down the organic or health food aisle.

If you have a great store, you’ll find some products here that are mainstays of the ultimate bodybuilding diet: whey protein and soy protein products, nuts, whole grain cereals, and soy beans.

10/20/2009

Chidren And Exercise

If you have a child of 6 to 8 years old that wants to start exercising and lifting weights, you may find yourself wondering what you should do. While some think it is perfectly fine for children to exercise, there are others that think differently.

The long and short of it is that yes, it is beneficial for your child to partake in exercise or a weight training regimen although there are a few things that you should keep in mind once this starts to happen.

No matter how you look at it, children aren't minature adults and therefore you can't use the same methods with growing children that you can use with adults, as children are different from adults emotionally, anatomically, and physiologically.

All children have immature skeletons, as their bones don't mature until they get 14 - 22 years of age. With girls, exercise during childhood can have very critical effects on bone health that can last for their entire lives.

Children are often times vulnerable to growth related overuse injuries such as Osgood schlatter disease. Children have immature temperature regulation systems due to their having a large surface area compared to their muscle mass which will cause them to be more susceptible to injury when they aren't properly warmed up.

Children don't sweat as much as adults do, so they will be more susceptible to heat exhaustion as well as a heat stroke. Due to their low muscle mass and immature hormone system, it makes it harder for them to develop strength and speed. Their breathing and heart response during exercise are also different from an adults, which will affect their capacity for exercise.

On the other hand, young boys and girls can drastically improve their strength with weight training although opposed to adults, neurological factors instead of muscle growth factors are mostly responsible.

When you consider programs for children, first and foremost you should obtain a medical clearance. The first approach to designing a program is to establish a repetition range of 8 - 12 and keep the work load appropriate for the range.

You should ensure that workouts are spread out enough to have at least 1 - 2 full days of rest between workouts. The main focus when working out should be on the form of every exercise performed, and not on the amount of weight being lifted.

Before weight training, warm up and stretching should be done. Start your children off with light loads and then make adjustments accordingly. No more than 3 non consecutive exercise sessions should be done in a week. You should also see to it that they drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise. Getting enough water is very important with exercise, as it is often times very easy to get dehydrated - especially with children.
Dr. Ernest C. Wong, DDS, MS, a premier dental office near San Diego
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