Tuesday, May 29, 2012

ImproveYour Health and Fitness at Home - 10 Top Tips

10 Ways to stay Healthier at Home
Many people spend all or part of the week working from home, caring for children, parents and relatives, or keeping house. All of these things can be just as demanding and stressful as going to work each day. And you may need strategies to make your experience of home life healthier.
1. Fill house with healthy food and snacks for adults and children. Avoid snacking on treats bought for the kids, making sure your children eat healthy snacks such as raisins, fruit, rice crackers etc rather than sugary, salty or fatty snacks. Fill a container with strips of cucumber, peppers, celery and carrot, grapes, blueberries and strawberries, maybe a little cold salmon or hard-boiled eggs, ensuring there is always something to snack on if you find yourself staring into the fridge without quite knowing how you got there.
2. Have a glass of water every hour. Often the body mistakes thirst for hunger- you may automatically reach for food when you need a drink. Buy a filter jug, or some mineral water, drink with a slice of orange or lime, and encourage children to drink water or dilute fresh fruit juice. Limit yourself to one of two coffees or teas, and stock up on interesting herbal teas for variety.
3. Beat Boredom; hunger may result from boredom- your body is telling you to get up and get a change of scene. Go for frequent little walks, take small children to post a letter, buy a newspaper, have a stroll around the block, or go outside and pull some weeds up. Small changes will keep your brain stimulated. If you are working from home, get up for a couple of minutes every half an hour to keep the body mobile (avoiding back pain) and to refresh your brain. If you cannot leave the house, do something different for five minutes, open a window and get some fresh air, or put some music on.
4. Treat housework as a work out. Turn on the stereo, and perform each task with energy. Vacuuming, floor scrubbing, cleaning windows, gardening and sweeping for 30 minutes each day will keep you healthier.
5. Protect your family from environmental toxins. Safely dispose of dangerous and unpleasant chemical cleaners, go for old-fashioned alternatives (such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda) or eco-friendly brands, and use some elbow grease.
o Recent research has shown that household cleaning residues cross the placenta to your unborn baby (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4223984.stm).
o Cleaning products are linked to asthma in adults and children.
o The average household contains in excess of 20 gallons of hazardous chemicals- many in cleaning products.
o Most poisonings, particularly of children occur in the home. Children under the age of 6 are usually poisoned with cleaning products.
o Out of 70,000 synthetic chemicals in production, many are linked to cancer and other health problems, but only 600 have been adequately tested. (U.S. Office of Environmental Affairs).
o Many air fresheners contain chemicals harmful to your health, such as artificial musk. Avoid sprays, and swap for an oil burner and pure essential oils such as lavender- much cheaper in the long run.
6. Use the stairs as exercise equipment! When you come to the bottom step, jump off with both feet, and land with slightly bent knees. The impact with strengthen the bones of your ankles, legs and hips, guarding against future risk of osteoporosis. (Do not do this if you have existing bone problems or injuries).
7. Mums of young children- get out with that push chair! Pushing a child around (especially with all those bags kid-stuff) can be challenging exercise. Choose a push chair which does not encourage you to stoop and round your shoulders- many now have adjustable handles. Get out to parks and shops, take the hilly route, stand tall, pulling in your tummy and power along with that pram. Some instructors run push-chair workouts in local parks for new mums- keep your eyes peeled, or invite some friends and do it yourself.
8. Take care whilst preparing food. It can become habitual to finish off children's food and eat your own as well, or eat tea with kids and then later with a partner. This road leads to steady weight gain making many parents unhappy and unhealthy. Try to stay aware whilst preparing the endless drinks, meals and snacks demanded by children, that you are not falling into bad habits.
9. Stay organized. There is so much to do, and it can easily spiral into chaos, leaving you stressed and tired. Take a business-like overview of your week, making the most of your time and resources. For example, try to make several meals out of one cooking session. Prepare extra pasta, rice, green beans, roasted vegetables to be eaten cold as salads in lunchboxes or for snacks and meals, use the same ingredients for several meals- roast red peppers for sauces, soups, salads etc, if you are making one pie/lasagna/soup make two or three and freeze them, marking them with the date you made them. Prepare children's lunch boxes while you are making their tea- using the same ingredients- rice, veggie sausages, cherry tomatoes....
10. Make some time to exercise- reducing stress, achieving personal goals, improving fitness, losing baby weight, and having some time for yourself. If you have young children, look out for local health clubs with crèche facilities or mother-and-baby classes (many council facilities are very affordable). Some clubs also provide classes for older children, and you can use the free time to go for a swim or to the gym. Alternately, buy an exercise or yoga video, or some hand weights and a gym ball. Just 15 minutes of toning exercise a day will make a difference.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Coffee And Fitness

Many of us fitness enthusiasts love to have ourselves a cup o' Joe. It smells good, it tastes good, it makes you feel good. It's a morning ritual for some and a social way to catch up with friends, for others. Some like it black, some like it nonfat with caramel on top. Whatever your coffee preferences are, coffee lovers can all agree that they really enjoy their caffeine!
Is it good for fitness though?
Caffeine is a drug, a stimulant and a supplement.
Effects of caffeine include:
-Increased heart rate
-Increased blood pressure
-Increased dopamine
-Improves Alertness
-Improves Concentration
-Feeling frazzled
-May effect ability to fall asleep
Caffeine is an "anti-nutrient." This means that it prevents the vitamins and minerals you eat from being absorbed. This is especially bad news for your bones because coffee steals calcium from them. If you are at risk for (or have) osteoporosis, then you really need to cut back!
It's also a diuretic. Caffeine takes water from your body and dehydrates you. This can lead to a bunch of unpleasant conditions, such as constipation. When you are dehydrated, your body holds on to water. This is commonly known as "water weight" and it seems to give you an unsightly extra layer of fat.
Dehydration is also bad news for putting on muscle. You need water to carry nutrients to the working muscles. They need to be "fed" for growth. In combination with the fluids lost through sweat you need to make sure you are drinking lots of water, if you are a coffee drinker. Caffeine also blunts the effects of creatine. So there is a chance your supplements are not working as effectively as they could be!
For a weight loss program you need to be aware that like any drink, there is the potential "empty calories." If you drink in the morning have coffee with low fat cream and without sugar. Do you really need sugar first thing in the morning? Be careful of those delicious lattes. A whole milk latte is over 200 calories! One of those everyday will really slow your progress. Think of fancy coffees as a dessert and treat yourself once in a while.
The good news is that coffee is considered a fitness supplement. It is proven to be endurance enhancing. So much so that the international Olympic committee has placed a ban leading to disqualification for athletes with a urinary limits exceeding 12 mg/ml. This is approximately 4-7 cups of coffee. Coffee in the morning can really clear the cobwebs and make you feel alert and ready to take on the day.
The benefits of coffee as a fitness supplement can be achieved through proper nutrition and exercise. I don't think it's necessary for any fitness program. However, moderate coffee drinking (1-2 cups/day) doesn't have any known long term effects on health. So enjoy a coffee once in a while but don't count on it to give you a great physique.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Health and Happiness

Whatever you think about your health and level of happiness determines how healthy and happy you actually feel.
In his famous book, As A Man Thinketh, James Allen quoted the Bible when he stated, "As a man thinketh in his heart so shall he be.""Henry Ford reiterated that point in simpler language saying, "If you think you can or if you think you can't you're right."
What pictures do you hold of yourself in terms of health and happiness? You may or may not know, actually. You see, your early caretakers, your parents, siblings, teachers, friends and society created the picture you have inside you out of your awareness telling you who you can and cannot be, what you can and cannot do, and what you can and cannot have when you were too young to filter out their messages.
Consequently, the limiting picture you live by now, your self image, only allows you to accomplish actions that fit that narrow definition of you. The good news is nothing about your self image is set in stone.
You can change many aspects of who and what you are simply by deciding who and how you want to be in life. You just need to know that fact, really believe it in your heart, and live from that truth. Decide then act in the new way, the way a person who lives that way, the life you desire to live, acts.
How do you do that? Ask yourself, "What would a person who leads that kind of life have to do to be that way and have what they have?" Then work backwards. Ask yourself, "What kind of actions would he have to take to get where he is now?" Next ask, "What would such a person have to think that leads him to take those particular actions?" Finally, ask, "What kind of person takes those actions?"
Okay, so now you have some answers to some of those questions. Now what?
You cold make yourself crazy trying to figure out all the how to make it happen OR you could ask the Universe, God, Source, Creator (whatever term you use) to show you how to become like that person who already lives that other life style to which you'd like to become accustomed.
OR you can find someone who already lives that way and ask him or her to mentor you.
Actually you don't really need mentoring, per say, you really just want to follow that person around for a few days, note what they say and do, then do as they do.
When you duplicate the actions of a successful person and you know, in your heart of hearts that you deserve that same success, then you have to achieve that goal. Period.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Connection Between Child Obesity And Fitness

Our modern society is one that is, unfortunately, plagued by weight issues. Our poor diets fueled by convenience foods and our sedentary lifestyle exacerbated by computers and televisions, have spawned a culture that battles obesity more than ever. It should be no surprise, therefore, that our children are fighting similar battles. Childhood obesity continues to be one of the most dangerous conditions facing children today. A childhood spent battling weight is often a predicator of an adulthood spent battling weight. That's why it's so important to face child obesity head on, implementing lifestyle changes that can have a profound impact on future health. Obviously diet is a large component of child obesity. But the connection between child obesity and fitness is just as strong.
Poor choices in food along with a skewed concept of appropriate portions can undoubtedly fuel child obesity. Clearly, part of making lifestyle changes with children who are battling obesity involves critical diet modifications. This includes minimizing highly processed foods that often contain large amounts of saturated fat, sugar, and salt. Rather, there should be a transition to a diet focused on whole, natural foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. High sugar juices and soft drinks should be immediately eliminated and replaced with water or low-fat milk.
But just as important is the link between child obesity and fitness. In this modern world, children are often more inclined to play on their computer and watch television than play outside. It is absolutely essential to integrate physical activity into a daily routine. Part of laying the groundwork for a healthy adulthood is instilling healthy habits in the lives of children.
Child obesity and fitness is just one component in the quest to get healthy. An overall lifestyle change that will mean a future spent at a healthy weight requires a fundamental commitment on all levels - in diet, exercise, and emotional dedication. The good news is that if you create a healthy connection between child obesity and fitness - in that an increase in physical activity has the child experiencing positive physical changes - you will forever instill that connection in them. The result can be a lifetime of health and vitality.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Health and Nutrition

For hundreds of years many health enthusiasts have been claiming to have the answer to everyone on the planet's question; How do I live a long healthy life? Sorry to break the news to you but its no different today in 21st. century. We still have health enthusiasts making claims then shifting blame toward various sources when their ideologies are debunked. Just like you, I am a proponent for knowing the truth about health, nutrition, and fitness, so lets begin to winnow out fact from fallacy.
The first thing we need to come to terms with is our ever-increasing knowledge in the scientific arena. Over the past decade alone, our advances in science has brought tremendous illumination regarding many of the health topics in question for the past century. We definitely need to embrace this data and learn about our own personal health's past, present, and future. Of course, not all scientific revelation can pertain to every individual (the element of the unknown) but we can still use this great tool to our advance as individuals.
Food selection and maintaining a consistent fitness regimen is obviously very important but what degree is their importance, and how do we translate these principals into a healthy workable lifestyle. The answer is complex yet simple. We always need to start with a commitment to learn and implement. As we practice application and health-minded consistency, we should then practice tracking, balancing, and controlling our time, the foods we eat (including nutrient content and sources), and our physical expenditure (our fitness regimen). It is very important to stay consistent with these crucial principals that play synergistic roles in our health's development. We need to look outside ourselves to discover the things that are deep within us (abilities, passion, desire, emotions, reasoning, etc.). As life progresses being health conscious, we notice we begin to experience the rewards for health stewardship.
Ask yourself this one question, am I doing everything I can to be healthy? As you think about the answer to that question, let me ask you a few more questions to stimulate your thinking about the matter. Are you confident the information you know has a positive effect on your health? Lastly, do you have realistic goals to achieve your desired outcome for your efforts? As much as I would like to answer these questions for you, I can only answer for myself.
In light of the questions posed in the beginning summary of the article, I will quickly answer these questions myself to illuminate my own responses. First, YES, I am up for this challenge to learn, grow, and implement new techniques to advance my own health. Second, I do need to be selective with the foods I choose to eat, and when. Third, I do need to discipline myself to adhere to a consistent yet effective physical fitness regimen. (No one can do it for me.) Fourth, what we can health today is extremely important, but we definitely need to fine tune and apply basic principals for individual success. We must continue to explore then exhaust all avenues to incorporate health, nutrition, and fitness into a habitual daily practice.