Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Getting the proper amount of vitamins is important to your overall health. One often overlooked vitamin is Vitamin A. Vitamin A's benefits include good eyesight, healthy skin, protection against infections by boosting the immune system, and protecting against many forms of cancer.
To get adequate daily amounts of vitamin A, there are a lot of options available to you. They include carrots, cabbage, squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, tomatoes, broccoli, greens (such as collards and kale), apricots, and carrots. These foods are good on their own or as part of a larger dish or casserole.
Some signs you are not getting sufficient amounts of vitamin A are dry skin, rough or blemished skin; dandruff; frequent colds; bad night vision, dry eyes, or other eye irritation; frequent respiration problems; or urinary tract problems. Having any of these things doesnít necessarily indicate a vitamin A deficiency; however it could be sign and you should bring them to the attention of your doctor.
For further information on vitamin A, review the following:
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Many of us have various routines when it comes to fitness and exercise. Some go on bike rides for miles, others go on long marathon runs. But one of the easiest and least stressful on your tendons and joints is walking. Walking has many benefits; however, in order to reap the most benefit from walking, there are some simple tips to help ensure your success. Here are my top four.
First, proper walking begins with the right shoe. It is important you pay close attention to how the shoe fits. You want to be sure it is snug against your feet and donít cause any pinching. If you usually wear a size 8 Ĺ shoe, donít just buy them without first trying them on. Many people make the mistake of not trying them on. They think that since they have always worn shoes that were a size 8 Ĺ that all the shoes they buy should be that size. Thatís the wrong way of thinking. I wear a size 10, however based on the design, style and cut of the shoe, that can vary by as much as a half a shoe size up or down. Therefore, you want to try them on and walk around the store to make sure they fit and feel comfortable.
Second, do your stretching and warm-up exercises. Warming-up is a pivotal part to your fitness routine. Most people think about warming up as a means to prevent physical injuries to muscles and joints. While that is true, there is another equally important reason to warm up. Making a shift from a motionless position to rapid movement, even movement as subtle as a brisk walk, can cause unhealthy changes to your heart rate, your blood pressure, and other physiological changes. So you definitely want to take a few minutes to warm up. At the end, please see the article on warm-up exercises.
Third, maintaining the proper posture can enhance the impact of your walking. In the book, ďAthletic Training and Sports Medicine,Ē by Robert C. Schenck, good walking posture is described as briskly swinging your arms, feet pointed straight in front of you (as opposed to pointed inward or outward), spine is straight, and head held upright. Although this book was published nearly 10 years ago, these tips for good posture are tried and true and will help give you the best results with minimal injury.
Finally, make sure you slowly cool down. Just as warm-up is important when you begin your routine, cooling down is important too. This can help reduce the likelihood of your heart beating irregularly. Slowing down gradually helps to protect your heart and will keep you from feeling dizzy or even passing out.
Whether youíre a beginning exercise walker or have been doing it for years, these tips should help you strengthen your exercise walking program. There are many tips out there to help walkers. If you have some of your own, feel free to share.
Warm up exercises:
* Photo courtesy of the Women's Heart Foundation, at www.womensheart.org
Monday, November 24, 2008
Itís that time of year again. I know you feel like youíre being hounded by all kinds of messages not to overeat. Thanksgiving is a time to fellowship with friends and family, but itís also a time many look forward to a hearty meal. Well here is one more reminder filled with strategies to help you, and hopefully the many tips you receive will keep you on course. You will likely find dozens of tips as the big day gets closer; but these are my top five for the season:
1. Have healthy snacks early in the day so that when dinner comes, you won't be too hungry.
2. Be mindful of portions. Of course that casserole or that pie or cake taste good. So does that cornbread dressing. There is no need to eat half of the pan. Having two or three spoonfuls will do. If youíre really eyeing that pound cake and the homemade ice cream, go easy on the candied yams and cranberry sauce saving your calories for dessert.
3. Space yourself out. Take a break from the table and go back later for more.
4. After dinner, donít plop down on the sofa or lay back in that recliner chair. Remain active and burn off some of those calories.
5. When the meal is over donít look back on the day and get mad at yourself if you couldnít find your willpower and you had 3 pieces of cake or you had more dressing than you should have or too many dinner rolls. When itís over and done with, you canít take it back. Once itís gone, itís gone. Itís just one day. Start fresh with a new day.
Thanksgiving is a time for sharing with others. If you have too much to eat, donít focus on that too much. Focus your energy on what is really most important: your loved ones.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Osteoporosis is quickly becoming more prevalent among men. We used to think it only affected women. But according to the Surgeon General of the United States, by the year 2020, half of all middle-aged men will be plagued with the disease.
So, what is osteoporosis? Well, osteoporosis is a disease that is marked by low bone mass and a loss of bone tissue; this often causes bones to become weak. You just never know what will hit you or when.
The risk factors for osteoporosis include:
Certain medications, like heparin, corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, thyroid replacement and related drugs, certain cancer therapies
Diseases of the kidneys, lungs, stomach, and intestines
Low calcium intake (see Osteoporosis and Calcium)
Lack of physical exercise, and
Osteoporosis is one of those silent diseases, as there are seldom outward signs to indicate a problem. Usually by the time you notice the signs, you may already be suffering from it. These signs include loss of height, change in posture, sudden or unexplained back pain, or broken or fractured bones without any obvious trauma.
This information may be useful to you or your significant other, a friend, or loved one. Some resources are below, including a short video.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
We all know that one of the best ways to jump start your diet and kick your weight loss into gear is regular exercise. But there is another important reason to exercise. Exercise is a great way to release tension and steam. Did your boss give you a rough time today? Has your spouse been an especially big putz lately? Do the kids seem as if they have forgotten all their home training? If so, then a little exercise can make you feel better.
Donít scream at anybody. Donít open that bottle of wine. Donít have a slice of cheesecake. Do a little exercise. If you donít have time to go to the gym, do some things right at home. The first thing you need to master is breathing. Breathing exercises are pivotal in not only reducing stress, but also as part of maintain an overall healthy body. Breathing exercises can be done at any place and at any time.
Next, get yourself two 5 or 10-pound barbells, turn on some music, and move away. Aerobic movements will melt that anxiety away. If you donít have the barbells, donít worry. You donít need them. You can do some dance moves to the beat of the music Ė anything that will get the blood pumping harder and raise that heart rate. If you need to get out of the house, put on your running shoes and go for a walk around the block. Even a light walk or jog can do wonders for reducing your stress level.
If youíre feeling stressed at your desk and canít get away, do some exercises right there. Try doing some leg lifts. Start with five on each leg, increasing to 10, then 15, and so on. In addition, barbells can come in handy here. Do 5 repetitions with each hand to start, working your way up to 20 or 25 (depending on the weight). You can also try this neat exercise that I happen to like. From a seated position, stand up and sit down repeatedly for 10 repetitions. If 10 is too many for you, do 5 to start.
In addition to these, try using your own imagination to come up with your own. Exercise can help to immensely relieve your stress level. But more than that, the exercise you do will help shed not just your stress, but your pounds as well as an added bonus.
For additional tips on exercise and stress, exercising at your desk, and breathing exercises, see the links below:
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