Posts Tagged ‘muscle’
We’ve all been told that we are supposed to exercise on a regular basis, since it’s healthy for us. But why should you and I exercise on a regular basis? Is the effort worth the sacrifice?
I am challenging each of you to make exercise a part of your life, and I suggest you check out some of the benefits that are associated with regular exercise.
Define “Regular Exercise”
In order to benefit from regular exercise, you need to start somewhere. What’s considered “regular exercise”? In general, adults need to exercise for about three to five times a week, for 20 – 40 minutes.
Health Benefits of Regular Exercise
There are plenty of reasons why you should take on this challenge of making exercise a part of your life. I will list some of the top benefits of exercise, just to give you some encouragement and to help you get started.
Do you notice that you are lethargic and too tired to exercise? If you are already tired, I don’t blame you for dreading exercise. Interestingly enough, if you just push through that first workout, you will notice an amazing boost of energy!
If you want to burn more fat in any given moment, you need to gain lean muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn which leads to less body fat.
According to a 20 year study, regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of dying prematurely. This isn’t a surprise considering all of the health benefits associated with exercise.
•Reduce The Risk of Breast Cancer
Studies show that when women exercise, two ovarian hormone (Progesterone and Estradiol) levels are lowered in the body. This is a very good thing, since an excess of these hormones have been linked to breast cancer tumor production. This means that by regular exercise, you can reduce the risk of breast cancer by up to 60% – if this isn’t a reason to exercise, I don’t know what is!
•Lose Excess Fat, and Keep it Off
Exercise increases your metabolism which helps you burn more calories throughout the day – long after your morning run (or whatever you decide to do). Exercise will help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Exercise is a great way to remove toxins from your body, which occurs when you sweat during exercise. Exercise is a natural detox for your skin, which helps you get rid of acne. Your skin increases the natural production of collagen, which is an all natural anti-aging benefit!
The stronger your heart is, the more blood can be pumped through your heart with less effort. This is a very good thing since strengthening your heart with regular exercise will decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease in the process.
•Lower Blood Pressure
If you need to reduce your blood pressure, you need to start an exercise program (which this challenge should be the perfect opportunity to start, right?). All forms of exercise has been shown to be effective in lowering blood pressure.
Increase your bone density by choosing an active lifestyle! If you include cardiovascular exercises and weight training (nothing too intense, mind you…), it will help promote bone formation which will delay bone loss. Increase bone mass has been shown to protect against osteoporosis, which is bone loss associated with aging. As you get older, keep on moving!
•Prevent (or cure) Depression
You don’t need (in my opinion) antidepressants to help with your depression. First of all, they don’t fix the problem. Second of all, they are actually harmful to you and your mental health. Thirdly, study after study has proven that exercise reduces the symptoms of depression and promotes mental health. Exercise for 30 minutes just three to five times a week to experience significant improvements. This is something the drug companies don’t want you to know…since we all know how exercise can be cheap or even free.
•Reduce Stress Hormones
Is stress affecting your health? Sounds like you need to exercise (and perhaps resolve the issues causing the stress!) . Sometimes we can’t easily resolve the cause of the stress, but it’s good to know that regular exercise has been prove to reduce the amount of stress hormones in your body. Less stress hormones means lower blood pressure and a healthier you.
• Prevents Illness
Are you sick all of the time? Maybe you need to jump start your immune system, which will help reduce the amount of illness you will have to experience. Regular exercise is a great way to rev up your immune system
•Reduce the Risk of a Stroke
Exercise may reduce the risk of total, hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes – according to research data.
•Better Night’s Rest
Exercise has been shown to help you get to sleep at night. So long sleep apnea!
•Increase New Brain Cells
Did you know that exercise actually stimulates the formation of new brain cells? Research has shown that the area of the brain that forms the new cells is responsible for learning and memory development.
•Lower Cholesterol Levels
Do you have high cholesterol, and need to lower it? Exercise has shown to have a direct effect with influencing blood cholesterol levels by decreasing LDL (bad) cholesterol and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
Studies have shown that exercise, combined with a healthy diet, can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by up to 60%! Considering how dangerous diabetes can be, exercise and a healthy lifestyle should be a no brainer.
Ok everyone – it’s time for you to take this challenge seriously. Do this for you. Do this for your own health, and take charge of your life. Make the choice today to make exercise a habit…you won’t regret it.
Your core provides the foundation for movement throughout your entire body. The core muscles consist of the abdominals, hips, and lower back.
Benefits of a Strong Core
In addition to having a firm midsection, there are plenty of reasons why you should work on developing your core muscles.
Lower back pain affects nearly 80% of the adult population, which often times is a result from having weak core muscles. It makes logical sense to assume that if you strengthen your core muscles, you will decrease back pain. According to researchers at the California State University, people who followed a ten week core workout program experienced 30% less back pain compared to before they started the program.
A stronger core means you can lift heavier weights. Your core helps to support your spine, which allows for your entire body to be more structurally sound and more stable for lifting heavy loads.
Weak core muscles will cause you to have a forward lean, so strengthening your core will help with creating better posture.
A Canadian study (with more than 8,000 participants!) showed that in over 13 years, those with the weakest abdominal muscles (part of the core!) had a death rate of more than twice that of the people with the strongest abdominals. Interesting.
Exercises to Strengthen your Core
I don’t recommend crunches, especially if you are trying to obtain a flat midsection. Researchers at the University of Virgina found that you would have to do 250,000 crunches to burn just one pound of fat. I’ll let you do that math on that one. Bottom line, crunches aren’t going to give you a six pack. For the midsection and strong core of your dreams, stick to core exercises that work multiple muscle groups for maximum results.
I have listed some exercises that will strengthen your core. Pick a couple of them to add to your exercise routine, and enjoy the benefits of a stronger core!
• Plank – Start to go in a pushup position, but bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms. Allow your body to form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles (don’t elevate your glutes). Hold this position for 30 seconds, as you contract your abdominals. You can also try doing the side plank for variation and strengthening side muscles.
• Prone Cobra – Lie down with your stomach on the floor with your legs straight and your arms next to your side with palms down. Raise your head, chest, arms (thumbs pointing up towards the ceiling), and legs off of the floor by activating your glutes and lower back muscles. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds.
• Leg Lowering Drill – Lie down on the floor, face up, with your arms straight out in a “T” shape. While keeping your feet together, raise your legs while slightly bending your knees. Slowly move your feet down as close to the floor as you can. Touch the floor and raise your feet back into the starting position and repeat for desired repetitions. Be sure to press your lower back into the floor as you perform the movement, to prevent arching your back.
• Russian Twist – Sit down on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold your arms straight out in front of your chest with your palms together. Lean back, so that your torso is at a 45 degree angle to the floor, or half way down to the ground. Rotate slowly as far as you can to the right, then slowly rotate as far as you can to the left. This is a great workout that emphasizes your obliques.
• Yoga- There are plenty of yoga positions to try, but most of the focus on strengthening your core.
• Overhead Dumbbell Side Bend – Stand up straight and hold a pair of dumbbells over your head, with your arms straight and in line with your shoulders. Slowly bend directly to your left side as far as you can, without twisting your upper body. Pause before returning to an upright position, then bend to your right side. Alternate back and forth for desired repetitions.
• Hip Crossover – Lay on the floor, face up with your arms straight out from your sides (palms facing up), making a “T” shape. Raise your legs off the floor so your hips and knee are bent 90 degrees. Slowly move your legs to the right as far as you can, without lifting your shoulders off of the floor. Slowly reverse the movement and move your legs to the left. Continue to alternate for desired repetitions.
Bonus Tip: To help promote a flat stomach, avoid processed sugars.
The heart symbolizes Valentine’s Day, and it’s no surprise that February is Heart Health Month. This year, learn how you can love your heart by taking care of it!
• Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and the #1 killer of women. It’s also one of the most preventable health concerns.
•Cocaine affects the heart’s electrical activity and causes spasm of the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke, even in healthy people.
•Three years after a person quits smoking, their chance of having a heart attack is the same as someone who has never smoked before.
•People that suffer from gum disease are twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack.
How to take care of your Heart
Heart disease is a serious health concern. Every 25 seconds, an American will have a (negative) coronary event. It’s a very common problem, yet very preventable.
Now that you know that this major health concern is in your control, what are you going to do about it?
Here’s some tips that can help you – and your heart – become healthier.
Exercise – Regular physical exercise has been proven to positively effect the body, including one’s heart. If you want to have a healthier heart, exercise is a great way to use your hardest working muscle. When the heart is healthy and strong, it has a positive impact on the rest of your body.
Healthy Foods - Nutrition plays a big role in helping your heart become healthy. To help with nutrition that targets heart health, enjoy foods like Wild Salmon, tomatoes, avocados, squash, and carrots.
Avoid Tobacco – Whether your smoking or chewing it, tobacco is very dangerous for your heart and overall health. If you currently smoke, successfully quitting would be one of the healthiest things you could do for your overall health.
Avoid Stress – I know first hand how trying to avoid stress is easier said than done. I also know first hand how stress can negatively effect you, and it’s important that you do everything you can do minimize the stress in your life, and learn how to manage the stress you can’t quite get rid of.
Sleep - It’s important to get enough rest, which helps your body recover from everything it has to accomplish during the day. Getting enough sleep would be something that could help you manage your stress effectively. A lack of sleep never helped anyone.
Is Hollywood Allowing Weight Gain?
Here’s something you don’t hear very often in Hollywood: “Gain Weight!”
Yes, occasionally, there will be a role in Hollywood where the actor or actress is asked to gain weight for the part, rather than loosing weight. As this may be viewed by some as a positive move within the Entertainment Industry, is it a step in the right direction?
Among the actors who are gaining weight for a movie role, Hugh Jackman is one of them.
In 2009 Hugh Jackman, who is 6’3″, weighed 190 pounds when he filmed X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The Director asked Hugh Jackman to add muscle to his frame, since he wasn’t muscular enough to really be the “Wolverine” we all know in the comics. He needed to look more “thick” and was asked to ”bulk up” for the upcoming film.
In a recent interview, Hugh Jackman stated that he now eats 6,000 calories a day, which he states is “rough” do keep up.
In addition to eating more, he had to ramp up his exercise routine as well.
“I do an hour and a half a day in the gym and eat a thousand calories more a day than I would normally. And I train really hard.” -Hugh Jackman
Is this Healthy?
First, are those 6,000 calories a day coming from healthy sources or from sugar and processed junk food? Not all calories are created equal. If the calories are from healthier sources, it won’t have a negative impact on his health like the junk food will.
Second, is Hugh over training himself to add muscle? A huge concern with trying to gain weight in such a limited amount of time is the possibility to injure yourself! I hope he is working with a Certified Personal Trainer (which I am sure he is), which would be able to help him workout effectively, prevent injury, and allow for proper recovery.
Image Credit: Examiner.com
It’s never too early to exercise, right? Your baby will benefit from exercise, just as much as you do! Babies need to work on building strength, and your little bundle of joy is going to need your help getting there.
This helps your baby build a strong core, which strengthens your baby’s stomach, back, and neck muscles.
Why it’s Important: It’s important that your baby’s core muscles are strengthened so that if your baby is ever in a dangerous situation (such as face down and not getting enough oxygen), your baby will have the ability to roll over.
Let your baby learn how to lift objects with varying weight and size, such a baby’s rattle, toy keys, or Alphabet blocks. It will be a fun way for your baby to learn how to hold objects as well as build strength in the arms.
Why it’s Important: Building strength in the arms is an important step for your baby, which helps your little one push up and eventually crawl!
Kicks and Swatting
This is a fun way for your baby to build flexibility and coordination. Babies are naturally flexible, but it still takes work to build dexterity and stability. Kicking a targeted object is a good way to help your baby understand depth perception as well as cause and effect.
Why it’s Important: Kicking and swatting helps to increase leg strength and muscle control which eventually leads to crawling.
Twisting and Bending
Allow your baby to gently stretch since this is a great way for baby to gain flexibility and coordination which helps provide precise movement.
Why it’s Important: This will help your baby roll over from one side to the other.
Your baby is just like you when it comes to getting bored with the same workouts. Switch things up and keep it interesting and fun for your baby!