Thursday, January 24, 2013
More exercise – more brain
A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that regular sweat sessions can increase the size of a region of the brain called the hippocampus--a part of the brain that begins to decline around age 30 in most adults. The hippocampus is tucked deep in the brain and plays an important role in learning and memory. According to researchers, a larger hippocampus is associated with better performance on spatial reasoning and other cognitive tasks.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Numbers and facts
How to measure progress
There are several reasons why the scale can be the least reliable measure of your progress. For most people, the goal isn't really losing weight at all—it's losing fat. It's very common, for example, to gain or maintain weight, even if you're actually losing fat. This is especially true during the first few weeks of a big change in diet and exercise. (The inverse is also true: you can lose weight without losing much fat at all, and this is what often happens when you try to lose weight too quickly.) Simply put, your body doesn’t work like a bank account. Your calorie "deposits" (eating) and "withdrawals" (exercising) don’t always affect the "balance" (weight) the way you'd expect because many other factors can affect your weight. The scale is just one of many things to look at, and usually not as useful as other things like body fat percentage, the fit of your clothes, how you're feeling about the changes you're making, and the progress you're making in your fitness and health. One of the worst things you can do is let a disappointing result on the scale convince you that all your efforts are wasted—that's just not the case.
How much fat to lose in a week
If your calorie deficit (the difference between how many calories you eat vs. how many you burn) becomes too large, your body will start cannibalizing muscle and organ tissue for fuel. There are a lot of "rules" that govern how your body uses energy. For example, your brain can't use stored fat for energy, and your muscles will only burn significant amounts of fat when they are working at medium intensity. So if you want to lose fat, you’ve got to play by your body’s rules: Aim to lose one-half and two pounds per week, through a combination of moderate calorie reduction and increased exercise. If you only have 10 pounds or less to lose, aim for the lower end of that range (one pound or less each week); if you have more than 50 to lose, you can aim for the high end (one to two pounds per week).
Studies have shown that aiming to lose 2 pounds per week can cause problems for people whose current BMI is less than 30. But once your BMI falls below 30, reducing calories to lose 2 pounds per week is probably going to put you below the minimum amount you need to stay healthy. Instead, set up your program to lose about 1 pound per week (or half a pound, once you’re within about 10 pounds of goal).
What exercise to track..
All physical activity does burn calories, and the more of it you can include in your daily life, the better off you'll be. But there are several reasons why you should use only use the Fitness Tracker to record actual exercise that gets your heart rate up to at least 55-60% of your maximum and keeps it there for at least 10 minutes at a time. Your calorie range already assumes you'll do a moderate amount of daily activity (walking here and there, straightening up the house, working, etc.), so adding things like daily chores or all the steps you take during an entire day will count the calories you burned twice. That means that you're misleading yourself if you think you're burning enough calories to lose weight by doing everyday things that SparkPeople's formulas already assume you're doing. So, to make sure you’re not overestimating how many calories you’re burning, the best bet is to use the tracker to record only the planned, higher-intensity activity that is actually considered exercise.
Why do I not loose weight..
The most common problem is underestimating how much you're actually eating, and/or overestimating how many calories you're burning. It’s very easy to be off on your portion sizes if you're not precisely measuring or if you forget to track a few "little" things you popped into your mouth during the day. It's also very common to assume you're working hard enough during your workouts to burn calories at the rate of 600-700+ per hour when realistically, you're not. So, if you're not getting the results you want on the scale for several weeks in a row, the first thing to do is go back and double check your food and exercise tracking to make sure your numbers are right.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Which Fitness Class is Right for You?
Quiz by Nicole Nichols, Certified Fitness Instructor
Group fitness classes offer social support, expert instruction and fun! If you're curious about classes, find out which fitness classes suit your workout style. Not into group fitness? Your results will also recommend fitness DVDs that you can try.
Looking for Functional Training
For you, exercise serves a preventive, therapeutic purpose. You want to maintain a strong core, decrease pain, and stay active and limber as you age so that you can live a healthy, independent life. You're more interested in maintaining long, lean muscles and good posture than running a marathon or benching heavy weights. There are many group fitness options for exercisers like you who want functional strength and an overall healthy body.
Try these fitness classes: Mat Pilates, Reformer Pilates, Ballet Workouts, Functional Training, BOSU, Abs classes, Core Strength, Yogilates, Balance Ball, or Balance Training. All Pilates classes focus on the core muscles (abs, obliques, hips, back), which help you balance and maintain good posture. Functional training classes mimic movements that you do in real life, helping you stay strong and limber, while BOSU, Abs, Core, and Balance classes all focus on the core, balance, posture, and proper body mechanics. Overall these types of classes tend to be low-impact and focus on balancing the body.
Workout videos to try: Balance Ball Beginner's Workout, Pilates Powerhouse, New York City Ballet Workout, Crunch Super SlimDown Pilates Yoga Blend, Stott Pilates Essential BOSU, Core Secrets
Saturday, January 12, 2013
How Healthy is Your Relationship with Food?
Almost everyone knows that a healthful diet can help you manage your weight and decrease your risk of disease. Although making healthy food choices should rank near the top of your priority list, many people resort to extremes. Are you obsessed with food and eating? Find out how healthy your relationship with food is by taking this quiz.
A Healthy Balance
You have achieved healthy balance with food. Although you get disappointed when you get off track, you keep a realistic mindset and know that it one mistake won't make or break your success. You're concerned about making healthy food choices, but instead of letting food control you, you practice moderation. Be sure to set goals and reward yourself when you reach them; doing so will remind you that you’re making positive progress and help you continue to put your lifestyle choices into perspective.
Saturday, December 08, 2012
Since your body releases triglycerides into the bloodstream from your stored fat, the less fat you have available, the lower your triglycerides will be. You don't have to lose a lot of weight to see a benefit either. Losing just 7-10% of your body weight (just 14-20 pounds for a 200-pound person) can make a difference in your triglycerides—and for your heart!
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