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2/21/2010

Heart Rate Monitors

Heart rate monitors used to be exclusively operated by physicians and nurses alone but that was soon rectified with today's multi-tasking generation. Every person seemed to want to know about everything that was related to them and that of course included monitoring their own heartbeats.

What is a Heart Monitor
Also known as a cardiac monitor, a heart monitor is a piece of electronic equipment that can be used to track or observe heart functions continuously. It allows people to place a numerical value on their healthiness based on their heart rate and have a target heart rate to work for. The more complex versions of the heart monitor allow physicians to see any signs of deterioration or improvement and make the necessary adjustments immediately.

Types of Heart Monitors
Today, heart monitors are produced by the millions and designed to cater specific types of individuals. Some heart monitors are primarily designed for weight loss programs while others are meant for the use of athletes or fitness programs. Some are wireless or come as a built-in feature of exercise equipment like a treadmill or an exercise bike. It can be strapped to your wrist or of considerable size. It may or may not emit any electromagnetic waves, depending on its purpose. A fetal heart monitor, for instance, must not produce any waves at all as this may affect the health of the baby.

Factors on Selecting the Best Heart Monitor for You

ECG-Accurate Monitors with Chest Straps - Heart monitors that come with chest straps are more often not the most accurate of heart monitors. The chest strap is strapped around your chest, a few centimeters below your breast. It contains a device that's able to detect electrical activity of your heart and transmit it to the brain of the machine - just like an ECG. The results are shown on the display monitor, which most of the times is attached to your wrist like a watch. Others however prefer results to be transmitted through audio messages via earphones.

Upon choosing heart monitors with chest straps, you need to remember to keep the strap constantly connected to your body lest you want the heart monitor to produce inaccurate readings.

Lastly, the only alternative against buying heart monitors with chest straps are the ones that rely on pulses on your fingertips. These however do not provide readings as accurate as those with chest straps.

Heart Monitor Features - Basic and lower end models tend to display only your heart rate and maybe the elapsed exercise time as well. This of course does not provide sufficient information if you want to know exactly how much you need to improve before you can be qualified as a completely healthy individual. Higher end models will naturally offer a wider range of features - for a price. Examples of such features are - but not limited to - heart rate zone alarms, timers and number of calories burned. It may also allow users to set pre-programmed workouts along with a targeted heart rate.

Ease of Use - Lastly, you must purchase a heart rate monitor that you will have no problems of using. What good would a high end heart monitor do if it takes you an hour to operate it? Are the numbers and words appearing in the heart rate monitor readable? Can it be used in no-light situations? Are buttons well-labeled and ergonomically positioned?

To Buy or Not to Buy a Heart Monitor
Heart monitors can be especially costly, more so if you are intent on purchasing higher-end models. If you have a limited budget, you should ask yourself whether or not you truly need to buy a heart monitor. You can of course purchase one of the lower-end models but low quality heart monitors can lead to inaccurate results and that sort of defeats the purpose of buying one.

If you are intent on purchasing a heart monitor, you need to ask yourself another question: do you need to make a solo purchase or is it alright with you to use the heart monitor that comes as a built-in feature of a treadmill? Lastly, you should remember as well that you can always pay your doctor regular visits and have him monitor your heart rate for you.

2/19/2010

Where To Find Exercises That Flatten The Stomach

When people think about the summer, for most, the first thing that comes to their mind is their stomach and how to make it flatter. This is normal; most people want to look their best. The question isn't whether or not a person wants a flatter stomach; it is usually a question on how to obtain one. The first thing that many people will wonder is where to find exercises that flatten the stomach.

There are many resources for finding exercises that flatten the stomach. The first source many people go to is the internet. From this source all a person has to do is type in "exercises that flatten the stomach" and a variety of sites will come up all in answer to this question. Some sites are paid sites that for a fee the website will give a detailed workout routine and usually eating program all in the hopes of flattening the stomach. Other sites will simply describe various exercises that flatten the stomach. Then there are the sites that sell videos that concentrate on these types of exercises. It may be a bit overwhelming for a person to decide on the best way to achieve their goal. For some people, the paid sites are wonderful since everything is laid out for them and is usually designed specifically for that individual based on their goals and current situation. For others, these types of sites are not an option; in that case the sites that offer free advice can be helpful. The videos are also excellent for people that like to exercise at home and do not want to rely on reading instructions in order to do the exercises correctly.

Besides the internet, there are also resources where are person can find exercises that flatten the stomach. For those that are truly dedicated to this goal, and has the time and money, sometimes a gym or fitness club is the way to go. It is at these places that a person can get one on one help from trainers and have access to different types of equipment all geared at flattening the stomach. This option however is not for everyone. Many people can not afford the membership fees and even if they can, it takes time to travel back and forth from the club, this is time that many people do not have. It may also be inconvenient for people who would have to find babysitters for children while they are working out.

The library is a great and often times overlooked place to find exercises that flatten the stomach. At the library a person has access to many books that are written on this topic along with videos that can be borrowed and magazines that can either be borrowed or read while at the library. Besides the information that can be found at the library, another advantage is that the books and videos are not purchased, so if a person does not like that particular selection, all the person has to do is return it, and try another one without investing large amounts of money to find just the right exercise. When a person does find what they like, they can then buy the video, book or magazine and know that they are getting what they want. 

These are just a few sources a person can go to when looking for exercises that flatten the stomach. A person may want to try several different sources and decide which one works best for them given their own circumstance and then remember to follow through in order to achieve their goals.

Why Women Should Train Different Than Men

It’s no big secret that a women’s idea of what the perfect body is for her is vastly different from what a man’s idea of what the perfect body for him is. Men and women store fat differently, and because women are predisposed to naturally maintain higher body fat levels than men, most women have a harder time trying to keep extra fat off.

Most women also do not go to the gym to workout with the notion of wanting to get big muscles like a lot of men do nor do they have the desire to look like any of the men in the gym. So then, why would most women want to do the same kind of workouts as most men do?

The fact is, a lot of women go to the gym only to end up doing the same kind of exercises and routines as the men do because that’s the way they’ve been taught to do it by their boyfriends and husbands. The problem usually is, the men are lifting heavier weights and doing fewer repetitions in order to increase muscle mass.

Now while women do not have near the testosterone levels as men, meaning they do not have the same muscle growth potential, they can still see some major increases in their muscle size if they always train that way. Everyone, man or woman, will respond to lifting heavy with low repetitions with muscle growth. That is your muscles trying to adapt to the heavy loads placed upon them. They need to get stronger for the next time, and a bigger muscle is a stronger muscle.

When a woman weight trains to get firm and toned but does not want to body build, there are some things she can do that will get her the results she wants without the extra mass. Remember, it is not the particular exercises men do that create mass, but the way they do them. If you do all the same exercises only you use somewhat lighter weight, and instead of the 8-10 repetitions most men do, you do 15-20 reps, you will tone up with no bulky side effects.

There are circuit training programs that utilize aerobics and resistance training all in one, and these programs are perfect for women. These programs are designed to give you a fat burning workout while at the same time giving you a muscle toning workout without adding extra muscle size.

 You should be doing these routines 4-6 days per week because unlike muscle building routines, you do not need as much recovery time. Once you get to where you want to be, doing these routines 2-3 times per week is usually plenty to maintain your results.

The bottom line is, if you want to lose fat, increase muscle tone without adding size, and you want to flatten your tummy and lift your rear, than don’t train like a man, train like a woman.

Why Should I Exercise?!

For some, exercise is a passion. For others, it seems to be a four-lettered word, or in this case an eight-letter word. But, it doesn’t have to be a dreaded event. Exercise can be fun. It can mean more than running for hours on the treadmill or climbing the stair master until your legs feel like Jell-O. You can get in shape by doing things that you love to do. Take sports for example—when you’re playing a heated game of basketball with your buddies, it doesn’t feel like exercise, but more like just a good time between friends. A good tennis match on a Saturday afternoon can help to relieve stress just as much as a good run around the track would.

Take advantage of your geographic location. If you’re lucky enough to live in a mountainess region, hiking and rock climbing can be a great form of exercise that doesn’t have to feel it. Getting out into nature and climbing a mountain filled with beautiful trees, rocks and birds can do wonders for the body and the soul. There’s just something about being outdoors that makes your body feel alive. Maybe you live away from the mountains, but close to the beach. There are endless opportunities to work out there. From strolling through the sandy beaches to fun-filled beach volleyball games, you can be shaping up without being stuck inside a gym. And, if you’re the water-type try your hand at surfing, wake boarding, water skiing or any other water sport that gets you out of your beach chair and into the activities that can help your health and your figure.

Some other fun ideas to get active without the dread that you feel when you hear the word exercise are bike riding, swimming or dancing. Get a group of friends together, hop on your bikes and head out on a groomed city trail. You’ll be riding, chatting, laughing and…exercising. Or, take the kids to the local swimming pool. Not only will they love it, you’ll be burning calories right and left as you chase the kids around, attend underwater tea parties and teach them how to dive. Swimming is a great way to get a good work out, without feeling the pain of a good work out. Dancing is another fabulous way to sneak in some exercise. Whether you take a ballroom dancing class, enjoy tapping or just hit the clubs with your friends to dance the night away—you’ll be sure to reap the benefits of shaping up.

Getting in shape can be fun, so don’t let your negative connotation of exercise inhibit your body from the benefits of daily activity.

You Need More Than Aerobic Exercise

Getting in shape takes more than aerobic exercise. While aerobics are an important component to overall fitness, you also need to incorporate muscle building workouts several times a week to achieve a well balanced exercise program.

The benefits of aerobics are well known. When you exercise aerobically you strengthen your heart muscle as well as your entire cardiovascular system. Muscle building workouts fine tune the body and make it better able to function and burn away fat.

There are two types of muscle building workouts that will either allow you to gain muscle mass or tone your existing muscle. The goal of a low rep, high weight muscle building workout is to increase muscle mass, or plump up the muscle to its greatest volume. Lifting heavy weight causes the muscle fibers to swell and you will notice a significant increase in the mass of muscle under your skin. The goal of high rep, low weight muscle building workouts is to tone the muscle and make it stronger without a significant noticeable change in mass. Women often perform toning workouts in order to sculpt their muscles and make them appear more defined and bodybuilders select programs that allow them to increase mass.

When people begin new muscle building workouts they expect results quickly. This is fine if your body is lean to begin with. But if you have a high ratio of body fat to lean muscle, you will have to do aerobic cardiovascular exercises to burn off fat in combination with muscle building workouts to build muscle in order to see the desired results. Eating a low fat diet composed of lean proteins and low carbohydrates is also helpful in building muscle and reducing fat.

One of the benefits of muscle building workouts, aside from larger and more toned muscles, is an increase in your body’s ability to burn fat. Even when you are not exercising, your muscles continue to burn fat more effectively when you perform a regular fitness program that includes muscle building workouts. Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and improves the function of the cardiovascular system which is important in delivering blood to your muscles. But to continuously burn fat you need a combination of both aerobic training and muscle building.

It is a misconception that by working out you are actually building additional muscle tissue. We are born with the highest number of muscle fibers we will ever have and that will never change. What you are trying to change through muscle building workouts is the appearance of the muscle tissue, bulking it up and making the fibers larger and more defined.

2/17/2010

Are Treadmills the Perfect Piece Of Exercise Equipment

Oh treadmill, how I love thee.  I can always depend on my treadmill to achieve weight loss and muscle tone.  I have had a couple of different treadmills through the years and I have always been able to attain my goals with this outstanding piece of equipment.  I have gone from a dedicated runner, to couch potato, to overweight and back and the only variable that did not work all the time was me! 

There is a reason the first piece of equipment you see on “Biggest Loser” is a treadmill, or why there is a line at the gym waiting for this coveted piece of equipment.  They work!  The act of running itself is fantastic, but with running you have many variables, (i.e. rain, potholes, stranger danger, and the occasional scary animal).  Many people associate running with injuries and joint issues, and unfortunately this can be true of running outside due to the high impact on your joints and muscles. With a treadmill, you are able to take all of those variables away, and still have the purest form of cardiovascular exercise in your own home. Running on a treadmill allows you to control your environment with cushioned and flat running surface. Treadmills also are able to accommodate any fitness level from the first day you begin, to training for a 5k.  There is no learning curve involved at any time with exercising on a treadmill.  That fact alone makes this a perfect machine.  Many people will get frustrated quickly with a piece of equipment they are uncomfortable or unable to use.  On a treadmill, all you must do is walk and you are “working out”.  No need for a trainer, instructions, or nerves.

In my personal experience, I have become to depend on my treadmill almost as much as my Doctor.  I am able to lower my blood pressure, heighten my lung capacity, tone and build muscles, lose weight, and motivate myself to move. 

Make an investment in yourself

When you are ready to make this wise investment, there are a few pointers to consider when purchasing a treadmill.  It is always a good idea to talk to a friend or relative about their treadmill, and what they like and don’t about the features they have on their home or commercial equipment.  Also, go to several gyms and fitness stores and actually walk or run on several of the treadmills available to get a true feel for the structure and performance of each piece of equipment.  Listed below are the top 10 questions you need to ask yourself and a sales person prior to choosing the perfect treadmill for you.


1.  What Kind of Weight capacity does the treadmill offer?
2.  What type of features are you interested in for your workouts?  Are you interested in a heart rate monitor?  Do you need different workout programs to vary your workouts?
3.  What kind of space are you willing to allot for storage?  Do you need to be able to fold the equipment, or can you have a traditional style.
4.  What is the speed on the treadmill?  How fast and slow does the machine move, and what is the speed that you require?
5.  What type of warranty does the treadmill offer, and what type of ongoing maintenance does it need?
6.  What is the “continuous duty” of the treadmill?  You really need to look for a 1.5 to 2.5 HP to insure you are getting a solid motor.
7.  What price are you willing to pay for a treadmill? 
8.  Noise, do you need a quite model due to children in home, or a sleeping spouse?  Do you want to hear a TV over the sound of the treadmill?  DC motors are usually the more quite option.
9.  Are you comfortable with the length and width of the treadmill?  Can you move your arms freely, and is the deck long enough to accommodate your stride?
10.  Is there a safety key, or an emergency shut off?  If you have children this is an important option to have available.

All of these questions, if answered correctly by you and your salesperson, will begin a beautiful relationship with the right treadmill.

The Best Exercise for Tight Schedule

This day and age it can be very difficult indeed to go to the gym.  Life is very hectic and busy, which will create a serious challenge for remaining  consistent with exercise each day.  Exercise is  however, just what we all need to reduce stress, and give the body the extra energy it needs to carry out normal living.

i found that P90X programs seems very helpful for those who have a tight schedule,The best results of exercise are achieved through the use of refined techniques, functional exercises, cardio, the right nutrition, variety, awareness,  consistency, and motivation over a period of time.

The P90X program are refined techniques mean correct form to isolate muscles or to target areas of the body and having a better shape in 90 day. Efficiency is need to ensure stimulation of the muscles. With weight lift training, which is also known as  resistance training, you'll need to eliminate any type of momentum.  

It is also important to move the weight about using a full range of motion.  Full range of motion causes the muscle to contract for the right amount of time and help to ensure the right length of the tendons. The goal here is to strengthen the joints of your body by stimulating the muscles.

Even though you may think your schedule is simply too busy to maintain a schedule for working out, you'll find that adding Power 90 Master Series exercise will actually add more time, as you'll have a lot more energy in your normal everyday life.  You can think of exercise as the batteries that will help to give your life power.

2/08/2010

Why Dance Lessons are Good for your Heart

Keeping our hearts healthy is important.  Cardiovascular exercises, which increase heart rate, keep our hearts in shape.  Regular exercise has also been shown to lower blood pressure, freeing our heart from some of the effort in moving blood through our system and also it helps to cure  Depression in women.

But many people don’t get much enjoyment from disciplined workouts.  They know they need regular cardiovascular exercise to stay heart-healthy, but what activities are there to steer clear of tedious typical exercise programs?

Many find dancing to be one such activity.  Dancing allows you to get your heart pumping and your limbs moving without having to endure the monotony of exercising on a treadmill or at a gym. Dancing regularly keeping not only keeps ones heart healthy, it also helps maintain balance and coordination. Plus, of course, dance lessons and events let you get you out of the house regularly and make and meet friends.

Local organizations, universities, community and, sometimes, churches hold dancing lessons and events that are open to people of all abilities and skill levels.  If you haven’t danced in awhile, or even if you’ve never tried it before, it’s never too late to learn.  Adding another skill to your list never hurts, and dancing is an ability that comes in handy mighty often.  Dance lessons are typically offered by style (ballroom, folk, Latin, swing, et cetera) and ability level (beginner, intermediate, advanced, competitive).  Most dances that you’re probably familiar with fall into the category of “ballroom dancing.”

Ballroom dancing is performed with a partner (don’t worry; there are typically a number of “singles” taking lessons.  You’ll be able to pair off when you go to the lesson).  Everything from the internationally renowned waltz, to the classic American Foxtrot, to the Latin salsa and cha-cha, fall into the category of ballroom dance.

Folk dancing typically refers to square dancing, contra dancing, or one of several Irish, Scottish, or English styles of dance.  Folk dances can sometimes be more social than ballroom dances (since partners typically split up and join with others during the course of the dance).  Other popular styles of dance include swing, Latin, traditional and many others.  Feel free to explore.

Books and videos can also be found online, if you just need a refresher, or would rather get the basics in the comfort of your own home.

If you’re looking for a great way to be heart-smart, stays fit, and meet new people, try dancing.  Dance lessons allow us to try something new, exercise, and take part in a social activity all at the same time.  Find a style that interests you, pick the appropriate skill level, find a place, and dance!

2/05/2010

Why Women Need To Exercise

Women know they need exercise, but who has the time? Balancing a career, a family and everything in between often causes women’s personal needs to take a back seat to other concerns. There are numerous reasons why women need to include exercise into their daily routines. Of course, there is the obvious benefit of shaping a slimmer body but did you know that exercise for women has also been proven to alleviate depression, help prevent colon cancer and boost your immune system?

In addition, regular exercise for women helps prevent osteoporosis by strengthening their bones. Many women find that exercise relieves the symptoms of premenstrual tension (PMT), painful periods as well as pre- and post-menopausal symptoms.

Women who are physically fit before and during pregnancy often have less severe back and labor pain and experience easier deliveries than women who are unfit. Further, fit mothers-to-be are less apt to become overweight and regain their pre-pregnancy figures much more quickly after giving birth.

In addition to improving their appearance and overall health, many women say that exercise helps to boost their self-confidence in all aspects of their lives. Mary McElroy, professor of kinesiology at Kansas State University says, "Exercising gives women a sense of accomplishment, which is related to self-esteem. It can have a powerful effect on self-image. I would take the benefits of exercise beyond health. Exercise is an important component of one's quality of life."

In recent years, there has been a boom in the variety of workouts for women as well as an increased availability of exercise and physical recreational options, including online fitness programs--primarily because more and more women are taking a serious interest in keeping themselves fit and strong. Studies have shown that a combination of cardio and strength and flexibility training including walking, running, climbing stairs, kickboxing, yoga, cycling at a moderate pace and other recreational pursuits help women to stay healthier, happier and more productive as compared to their sedentary counterparts.

Note: Always consult with a professional health care advisor before beginning any physical fitness program.

You Need More Than Aerobic Exercise

Getting in shape takes more than aerobic exercise. While aerobics are an important component to overall fitness, you also need to incorporate muscle building workouts several times a week to achieve a well balanced exercise program.

The benefits of aerobics are well known. When you exercise aerobically you strengthen your heart muscle as well as your entire cardiovascular system. Muscle building workouts fine tune the body and make it better able to function and burn away fat.

There are two types of muscle building workouts that will either allow you to gain muscle mass or tone your existing muscle. The goal of a low rep, high weight muscle building workout is to increase muscle mass, or plump up the muscle to its greatest volume. Lifting heavy weight causes the muscle fibers to swell and you will notice a significant increase in the mass of muscle under your skin. The goal of high rep, low weight muscle building workouts is to tone the muscle and make it stronger without a significant noticeable change in mass. Women often perform toning workouts in order to sculpt their muscles and make them appear more defined and bodybuilders select programs that allow them to increase mass.

When people begin new muscle building workouts they expect results quickly. This is fine if your body is lean to begin with. But if you have a high ratio of body fat to lean muscle, you will have to do aerobic cardiovascular exercises to burn off fat in combination with muscle building workouts to build muscle in order to see the desired results. Eating a low fat diet composed of lean proteins and low carbohydrates is also helpful in building muscle and reducing fat.

One of the benefits of muscle building workouts, aside from larger and more toned muscles, is an increase in your body’s ability to burn fat. Even when you are not exercising, your muscles continue to burn fat more effectively when you perform a regular fitness program that includes muscle building workouts. Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and improves the function of the cardiovascular system which is important in delivering blood to your muscles. But to continuously burn fat you need a combination of both aerobic training and muscle building.

It is a misconception that by working out you are actually building additional muscle tissue. We are born with the highest number of muscle fibers we will ever have and that will never change. What you are trying to change through muscle building workouts is the appearance of the muscle tissue, bulking it up and making the fibers larger and more defined.

2/01/2010

A Home Gym and Walking = a Great Exercise Program

With the busy lifestyles today few adults with families can afford to take the time necessary to go the health club or neighborhood gym on a regular basis.  Heck, even if it's within a short distance, we're talking about several hours commitment per session.  Who has time for that!?

Still, we all recognize that exercise is just downright good for you.  If you name any random 10 medical conditions and diseases, I'm willing to bet money that some form of frequent exercise is a good treatment or preventative measure for at least 9 of them.  Diet and exercise pop up as treatments and preventative measures in so many of the diseases that ail us today, and both of these areas are a good place to focus on if your concerned about your health.  Even just some simple walking for exercise can go a long way to improving your health.  Walking for exercise is fun, easy, and is a great stress reducer but more on that in a minute.

Another idea is that of home gym equipment.  now we're not talking about enough equipment to fill up the basement or several bedrooms.  What you want is something that you enjoy that can be done in the privacy of your home whenever you desire.  My son, who's working on his muscle tone has a resistance weight training program with 1 piece of equipment.  The wife likes the aerobic action of a small trampoline and treadmill.  The idea of home gym equipment need not be a daunting enterprise, just something that will save hours and allow the exercise program that your desire right from your own home.  Another great workout however is simply walking! 



The great thing about walking for exercise is that you can do it anywhere.  You have absolutely no excuse for not getting up and walking around for at least 30 minutes a day.  So it’s raining out?  Take an umbrella!  Seriously, just get out for a short walk around the block a couple times and you'll thank yourself for it later.  If its absolutely miserable out, just walking around your house or apartment a while is better than nothing.

Walking for exercise is extremely low impact, and so anyone of any age can do it safely and frequently without worrying about damaging themselves.  Running and other more strenuous forms of exercise can cause all kinds of joint pain and soreness, and isn't recommended unless you are in otherwise good shape. 

A lot of recent studies into different forms of exercise are showing that walking is every bit as good for you as running or other more vigorous exercises, you just need to do it longer.  If you are walking for exercise, go for at least 30 minutes or even an hour.  The more the better, as you can't hurt yourself by walking too much. 

There are a lot of exercise programs that are beginning to realize the benefits of walking for exercise.  As it is something virtually anyone that can walk can do, there is a huge target market for walking programs.  I'd recommend any program that motivates you to walk frequently.  Even without one, there are hiking and walking clubs all over the place to join.  Not only can walking for exercise be a way to maintain good health, but it can be a good way to meet new people and form new networks. 

With so many benefits and virtually no cons, you can't go wrong with walking for exercise.  Its only drawback is that it takes time to do, but it is time well spent.  What is the value of good health and longevity?  Add on a favorite piece of gym equipment and you have everything needed to develop a healthy workout and exercise program without the inconvenience of going to the gym all the time.
Dr. Ernest C. Wong, DDS, MS, a premier dental office near San Diego
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