Monday, February 15, 2010
**NOTE: This is an article that was in one of my news letters. I am not agreeing nor disagreeing with this article, I did not write it, I am just passing it along.**
By Barbara Robb
Medically reviewed by Niya Jones
Physical activity is defined as movement that involves contraction of your muscles. Any of the activities we do throughout the day that involve movement — housework, gardening, walking, climbing stairs — are examples of physical activity.
Exercise is a specific form of physical activity — planned, purposeful physical activity performed with the intention of acquiring fitness or other health benefits, says David Bassett, Jr., PhD, a professor in the department of exercise, sport, and leisure studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Working out at a health club, swimming, cycling, running, and sports, like golf and tennis, are all forms of exercise.
Physical Activity and Exercise: Understanding the Difference
Most daily physical activity is considered light to moderate in intensity. There are certain health benefits that can only be accomplished with more strenuous physical activity, however. Improvement in cardiovascular fitness is one example. Jogging or running provides greater cardiovascular benefit than walking at a leisurely pace, for instance. Additionally, enhanced fitness doesn't just depend of what physical activity you do, it also depends on how vigorously and for how long you continue the activity. That’s why it’s important to exercise within your target heart rate range when doing cardio, for example, to reach a certain level of intensity.
Physical Activity and Exercise: Understanding Intensity
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How can you tell if an activity is considered moderate or vigorous in intensity? If you can talk while performing it, it's moderate. If you need to stop to catch your breath after saying just a few words, it's vigorous. Depending on your fitness level, a game of doubles tennis would probably be moderate in intensity, while a singles game would be more vigorous. Likewise, ballroom dancing would be moderate, but aerobic dancing would be considered vigorous. Again, it's not just your choice of activity, it's how much exertion it requires.
Physical Activity and Exercise: Components of Physical Fitness
Ideally, an exercise program should include elements designed to improve each of these components:
* Cardio-respiratory endurance. Enhance your respiratory endurance — your ability to engage in aerobic exercise — through activities such as brisk walking, jogging, running, cycling, swimming, jumping rope, rowing, or cross-country skiing. As you reach distance or intensity goals, reset them higher or switch to a different activity to keep challenging yourself.
* Muscular strength. You can increase muscular strength most effectively by lifting weights, using either free weights like barbells and dumbbells or weight machines.
* Muscular endurance. Improve your endurance through calisthenics (conditioning exercises), weight training, and activities such as running or swimming.
* Flexibility. Work to increase your level of flexibility through stretching exercises that are done as part of your workout or through a discipline like yoga or pilates that incorporates stretching.
While it's possible to address all of these fitness components with a physically active lifestyle, an exercise program can help you achieve even greater benefits.
Increasing the amount of physical activity in your everyday life is a good start — like parking a few blocks from your destination to get in some walking. But to really achieve fitness goals, you’ll want to incorporate structured, vigorous activities into your schedule to help you attain even more of your fitness and health goals.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Another Anti-Valentine article. NO I don't plan to wear my brightest red shirt or pants (even though I don't own any) out to dinner tonight, I personally think this is absolutely crazy and absurd.
Sunday 14 February 2010 (29 Safar 1431)
Haia ‘sees red’ again
Laura Bashraheel I Arab News
JEDDAH/RIYADH: It’s that time of the year again when the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) “sees red” at shopkeepers selling Valentine things — or even strawberries on cakes.
“Customers ask us for cakes with strawberries on them, which we sell throughout the year,” said Samir, a sales clerk at a well-known Riyadh patisserie. “Then we are ordered not to sell them (around Valentine’s Day).”
Marth Sanluis, a Philippine worker at a flower shop on Jeddah’s Rawdah Street said his shop is avoiding any possible conflict by keeping red stuff off the shelves.
“If they (the Haia) see one heart-shaped item or red rose they will take the stuff and close the shop,” he said.
Another flower shop also in Rawdah however had many red teddy bears, roses, cards and heart shaped items. The worker at the shop, Aamir Habib, said that the commission had not visited them yet but if they did they would confiscate all red items.
The Haia editorialists have been out in full force in the days up to the annual holiday, publishing letters in local dailies warning florists, pastry shops, cosmetic stores and gift shops against selling red gift items and red roses for “un-Islamic activities.”
“The presence of Haia officials near places where Valentine’s Day is likely to be celebrated is quite natural and it occurs every year,” said Turki Al-Shelail, spokesman for the Haia in Riyadh, to the newspaper Al-Riyadh. “Our aim is to enlighten people so that they will not take part in such un-Islamic activities.”
Mohammad (who didn’t want his family name published) said that after three years of working as a florist in Riyadh, the perennial crackdown on red roses perplexes him.
“Red roses are used for many other occasions,” he said. “Yet a few days before and a few days after the occasion we are ordered to remove even the plastic ones.”
Mohammad also pointed out that the demand for red roses increases noticeably around the time of Valentine’s Day because, in his opinion, the Haia “make a big deal out of it.”
Indeed, while most Saudis don’t recognize this imported tradition, some have made it an annual local tradition to flaunt the rules. For their part, shopkeepers are more than happy to indulge the demand for red hearts and roses — for a premium; prices for red roses on the black market more than triple this time of year. Some shops offer pre-Valentine’s Day services, where the items are prepared for delivery prior to the annual crackdown to be delivered on Feb. 14.
Reem Hassan, a 27-year-old, university graduate, said that Valentine’s Day is not even worth the Haia’s efforts.
“Saudis do not celebrate Valentine’s Day like in the past, people now are more aware of the fact that this is just a matter of giving something red on a certain day,” said Reem as she was wrapping a gift at a shop on Jeddah’s Tahlia Street — it was for her sister who had just given birth.
For those who do indulge in the annual cat-and-mouse game, some simply wear red fashion items or accessorize in red as a small gesture of defiance.
On Saturday in a posh Jeddah boutique, young men were seen snapping pictures of red fashion items and sending the pictures by SMS, presumably to their dear ones to ensure they’re buying the right gift. One local newspaper lampooned the crackdown on red by questioning whether it was OK to wear the red-and-white Saudi man’s headdress (shumaq), prompting the Haia to reply that the shimag is allowed.
— With input from Walaa Hawari
Saturday, February 13, 2010
An article from a newsletter I got from The South Beach Diet site
3 More Reasons to Love Dark Chocolate
As if you need another reason to eat chocolate! We know dark chocolate is one of a number of foods containing antioxidant-rich compounds known as flavonoids, which have been shown to improve heart health. Well, three studies now show that eating dark chocolate has even more health benefits. Here’s the scoop:
Reason 1: Dark chocolate can decrease blood pressure and lower the risk of developing diabetes in healthy individuals.
The research: A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating dark chocolate reduced insulin resistance and significantly lowered blood pressure. Doctors don't know exactly how much dark chocolate you need to reap these health benefits, but if you’re following the South Beach Diet, it's best not to overdo it. Starting on Phase 2, try dipping four to five strawberries in dark chocolate, or limit yourself to one or two dark chocolate wedges as an occasional treat.
Reason 2: Dark chocolate may be an anti-inflammatory.
The research: A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that dark chocolate improves health, including heart health. It significantly reduced levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a substance that is an indicator of inflammation in the body, which helps determine the risk for developing coronary disease. Thus, dark chocolate may have "anti-inflammatory" properties.
Reason 3: Dark chocolate may keep you feeling fuller, longer.
The research: A University of Copenhagen study found that dark chocolate gives people more of a feeling of satiety than milk chocolate. Two and a half hours after eating the chocolate, the participants were instructed to eat as much pizza as they liked until they felt comfortably full. As it turned out, the calorie intake from the pizza was 15 percent lower on the day they ate the dark chocolate. And it gets better! The participants also stated their cravings for sweet, salty, or fatty foods had lessened as well.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
This is an article that is in Today's Arab News paper in Saudi Arabia. Don't dare get caught celebrating the day here!
When the color is red
Tariq A. Al-Maeena I Arab News
TOMORROW (Feb. 14) means something special for a lot of people around the Western world. It is Valentine’s Day, a day on which the tradition of honoring your loved one has become a social custom in societies that celebrate such events. Tokens of affection are often transmitted through the exchange of red roses or gifts ensconced in red wrapping.
In the Kingdom, some things remain unchanged. Writing for the Associated Press, Abdullah Al-Shehri stated that “the Saudi religious police” (Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice) had “launched last Thursday a nationwide crackdown on stores selling items that are red or in any other way allude to the banned celebrations of Valentine’s Day.”
According to his report, “Each year, the religious police mobilize ahead of Feb. 14 and descend on gift and flower shops, confiscating all red items, including flowers. Members of the commission inspect shops for red roses, heart-shaped products or gifts wrapped in red, and order store owners to get rid of them.”
The report goes on to say that “A statement by the religious police, informally known as the muttawa, was published in Saudi newspapers, warning shop owners against any violations. ‘Those who don’t comply will be punished,’ the statement said, without spelling out what measures would befall the offenders.”
With the youth across the Arab world increasingly embracing the concept of such an event to express their love and affection, it irks the more devout Muslims who oppose the celebration of this particular holiday as “a Western celebration of romantic love that corrupts Muslim youth.”
In contrast, in some Arab capitals the celebrations are going full steam ahead. According to Al-Shehri, “the Egyptian capital, Cairo, is a sharp contrast to the Saudi restrictions, with shops and restaurants going overboard in red ribbon and heart decorations.” He continues, “Dubai, a conservative Muslim city-state with a Western outlook, is every year taken over by a Valentine craze. Luxury hotels are draped in red, offering romantic dinner specials. Malls and cafes are decorated with giant hearts and flower shops offer promotional deals on roses and fancy bouquets.”
So how do some people here view this particular day?
Dave, an American who has been a resident in the Kingdom for the past 17 years had this to say: “It’s better to hand out roses than grenades. It is far more peaceful and does not carry out the message of violence. I don’t understand what the fuss is all about?”
Ahmed, a Saudi working at a local bank admits that this year is special. He was recently engaged and has prepared bushels of gifts for his fiancee, all decked in red. He does not attach any religious significance to Valentine’s Day, but instead sees it as an opportunity for expressing his affections. “I don’t even know who or what Valentine was”, he admits. “All I want to do is be extra attentive to my wife-to-be.”
Mona, a Saudi schoolteacher, laments the craze among our youth in following Western mores. “What next? Shall we be coerced into buying and decorating Christmas trees? Why our young are so easily attracted to the less significant aspects of Western culture? Why cannot they adopt the more serious characteristics of those societies like hard work, discipline, and proper work ethics? This is a lost generation”, she concludes.
Mario, a Filipino architect, plans to celebrate Sunday with his wife who is a nurse at a local hospital, albeit in a subtle manner. “We will not go out publicly in red, but we will certainly exchange gifts and love notes among ourselves. We have been advised to be careful.”
Faisal, a conservative Saudi and a father of five agrees with the commission’s goals of banning such celebrations. “We are embracing Western culture at the expense of our religious teachings, and that is very dangerous. It will erode aspects of our culture and stray us from our religion. Even music and those who trade in it must be banned.”
Nadia, a Saudi college student disagrees. She is emphatic when she says her plans for Valentine’s Day include partying with her girlfriends. “This day doesn’t stop me from praying or reading the Qur’an. What makes it even more special is that it is falling during the school break and we can go out and stay up pretty late.” And yes, she is going out in red. She had a new abaya tailored for the occasion, with the color red being prominently patterned around her cloak.
Yes, tomorrow is different to some. And depending on which side of the fence you sit, the color red will definitely have some say.
Friday, February 12, 2010
WTF? All of a sudden 1/2 the full title of this blog disappeared! It WAS titled "I got a "FREE" DVD" then all that was there was I got a the rest was missing! SparkPeople messing up again!
Yesterday I bought a $3.50 box of Special K cereal and got a "Free" Stott Pilates DVD called The Secret To Weight Loss Volume 1. It shows the different techniques of pilates moves and how to do them, breathing, positioning and it has some exercise demos. It's not a bad DVD but now I gotta try to watch for more of these DVDS. I thought that was neat. I don't know if it is available in the USA or other countries, I bought my box of cereal in Saudi Arabia.
I was wrong yesterday when I said I had 8 people join in 2 days, 9 people joined in 2 days using my name as their "Sparker" !!! I hope they become active! I posted on a Quality Health page or a Diabetic connect page that I belonged here so they must have checked it out.
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