Thursday, February 23, 2017

Hot Peppers Make You Live Longer


Good news, spicy food lovers. You may outlive the rest of us.

 Hot peppers are the unofficial superfood we all need. They help you lose weight, jumpstart metabolism, and stimulate endorphins as a proven aphrodisiac. And based on a new study, they harness one more superpower: immortality.

Okay, it’s not that drastic, but hot peppers may be able to increase your lifespan. Researchers from the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont found that the consumption of hot red chili peppers (not to be confused with the Red Hot Chili Peppers) is associated with a 13 percent lower risk of death, especially concerning deaths caused by heart disease or stroke.


These findings are based on 23 years’ worth of data collected from more than 16,000 Americans. Those who ate any amount of hot red chili peppers, excluding ground chili peppers, were considered chili pepper consumers. After 23 years, the death rate of pepper-eaters (21.6 percent) was lower than the death rate of participants who did not eat the peppers at all (33.6 percent).
The authors behind this study aren’t sure why chili peppers could delay death, but it could have something do to with capsaicin (the primary component of chili peppers) and its receptors in the body called TRP channels. Capsaicin improves digestion, has antioxidant properties that fight infections, and may fight cardiovascular disease. Certain types of TRP channels may protect against obesity.
So the next time you’re debating what kind of salsa to buy, opt for the hottest flavor. It could give you some extra time on this lovely planet of ours.
                               From  Reader digest 
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Monday, February 20, 2017

Is too much sitting harmful?

    Sitting for long periods of time has been linked to a number of health concerns, including obesity, heart disease and even cancer. Don't believe it? Stand up and read on.
t’s time to step away from the computer and read this: According to one study, people who spend more than four hours a day in front of a screen have a higher risk of early death in general and a higher risk of events related to heart disease, such as chest pain or heart attack.But sitting in front of the TV isn't the only concern. Any extended sitting — such as behind a desk at work or behind the wheel — can be harmful. What's more, even fitting in some moderate or vigorous activity doesn't seem to significantly offset the risk of sitting most of the time.
The solution? Sit less and move more overall. You might start by simply standing rather than sitting whenever you have the chance.
For example:
  • Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch.
  • If you work at a desk for long periods of time, try a standing desk — or improvise with a high table or counter.

Better yet, think about ways to walk while you work:
  • Walk laps with your colleagues rather than gathering in a conference room for meetings.
  • Position your work surface above a treadmill — with a computer screen and keyboard on a stand or a specialized treadmill-ready vertical desk — so that you can be in motion throughout the day.

The impact of movement — even leisurely movement — can be profound. For starters, you'll burn more calories. This can lead to weight loss and increased energy.
Plus, the muscle activity needed for standing and other movement seems to trigger important reactions related to the breakdown of fats and sugars within the body. When you sit, these responses stall — and your health risks increase. When you're standing or actively moving, you kick the processes back into action.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The calorie breakdown

Read on to better understand how exercise impacts your calorie burn.  
 You most likely know this by now, but it’s worth repeating: Being active is an important part of any weight-loss or weight-maintenance program. When you're active, your body uses more energy — thus burning more calories. And when you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight.
Because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. So if you cut 500 calories from your diet each day, you'd lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories). Because of changes that occur in the body over time, however, calories may need to be decreased further to continue weight loss.
While diet has a stronger effect on weight loss than exercise does, physical activity has a stronger effect in preventing weight gain and maintaining weight loss.
For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines:
  • Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity. However, to effectively lose or maintain weight, some people may need up to 300 minutes a week of moderate physical activity. You also can do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week, and sessions of activity should be at least 10 minutes in duration.
  • Strength training. Do strength-training exercises at least twice a week. No specific amount of time for each strength-training session is included in the Department of Health and Human Services guidelines, but many suggest that two to three strength-training sessions a week for 20 to 30 minutes are enough for most people.

Moderate aerobic exercise includes such activities as brisk walking, swimming and mowing the lawn. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes such activities as running and aerobic dancing. Strength training can include use of weight machines or performing activities such as rock climbing or heavy gardening.
As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Check this chart to find out the estimated number of calories burned while doing various exercises for one hour. Specific calorie expenditures vary widely depending on the exercise, intensity level and your individual situation.
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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Weight loss: Try these walking tips

weight loss: Try these tips   
  Want to step it up a notch? Start with this walking schedule and keep building as you get more fit.
 Walking is a gentle, low-impact cardio exercise that can ease you into a higher level of fitness and health. It's safe and simple. And regular brisk walking can provide many of the benefits of more vigorous exercises, such as jogging.
Try this 10-week walking schedule
Not sure how to get started? This 10-week walking schedule can put you on the path to better fitness and health. Before starting this program, check with your doctor.
Week Walking schedule
(time, # of days a week)*
Weekly total
1 15 minutes, 2 days 30 minutes
2 15 minutes, 3 days 45 minutes
3 20 minutes, 3 days 60 minutes
4 25 minutes, 3 days 75 minutes
5 & 6 30 minutes, 3 days 90 minutes
7 & 8 30 minutes, 4 days 120 minutes
9 & 10 30 minutes, 5 days 150 minutes
*Doesn’t include warm-up and cool-down time.
Once you get started, follow these tips to prevent pain and injuries:
  • Start slow and easy. Unless you're a seasoned fitness walker, follow our schedule to give yourself several weeks to work up to 30 minutes or more five days a week.
  • Dress appropriately. Wear comfortable walking shoes that fit well, along with loose-fitting clothing and layers to adjust to changes in temperature.
  • Warm up. Spend five to 10 minutes walking slowly — or walk in place — to reduce your risk of injury.
  • Stretch. After warming up, stretch your muscles for about five minutes before walking. Don't stretch unless you've warmed up first.
  • Maintain good posture. Hold your head high, swing your arms naturally and gently tighten your stomach muscles.
  • Assess your intensity. If you're so out of breath that you can’t carry on a conversation, you're probably walking too fast.
  • Track your progress. Track how many steps or miles you walk and how long it takes — a pedometer is a great tool.
  • Make walking fun. Plan several different routes for variety. Listen to your favorite music. Invite friends or family to join you.
  • Cool it. After walking, cool down for five to 10 minutes. Walk slower than you were. Stretch your calf muscles, quadriceps (upper thighs), hamstrings and back. This after-workout stretch allows your heart rate and muscles to return to normal.

The most important part of any exercise plan is making sure you stick with it. To stay motivated, be patient and flexible. If you don't meet your daily goal, do the best you can, and get back to your regular walking routine the next day. Remember how good it feels after you've had a refreshing walk. Plan several different routes for variety, and make walking a social event — invite friends or family to join you. Once you take that first step, you'll be on your way to an important destination — better health.
From the Mayo Clinic

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Why focus on your core



5 reasons to focus on your core

You know core exercises are good for you — but do they have a place in your fitness routine? Here's why they should.

Your incentive to do regular core exercises should be more than skin deep! A strong core — the muscles around your trunk and pelvis — helps prevent injuries and allows you to enjoy physical activity and perform everyday tasks with ease. Read on to learn more about why you shouldn’t neglect this vital area of your body.
Core exercises improve your balance and stability
Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony. This leads to better balance and stability, whether on the playing field or in daily activities. In fact, most sports and other physical activities depend on stable core muscles.
Core exercises don't require specialized equipment or a gym membership
Any exercise that involves the use of your abdominal and back muscles in a coordinated fashion counts as a core exercise. Examples of a classic core exercises are bridge, front plank and pushup.
Core exercises can help tone your abs
Want more-defined abdominal muscles? Core exercises are important. Although it takes aerobic activity to burn abdominal fat, core exercises can strengthen and tone the underlying muscles.
Strong core muscles make it easier to do most physical activities
Strong core muscles make it easier to do everything from swinging a golf club to getting a glass from the top shelf or bending down to tie your shoes. Weak core muscles leave you susceptible to poor posture, lower-back pain and muscle injuries.
Core exercises can help you reach your fitness goals
Cardio exercise and muscular fitness are the primary elements of most fitness programs. But a truly well-rounded fitness program includes core exercises in the mix as well. Whether you're a novice taking the first steps toward fitness or a committed exerciser hoping to optimize your results, a well-rounded fitness program is the best way to reach your goals.
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Monday, February 6, 2017

Tips for staying fit and active

Balance basics: Tips for staying fit and active

 our ability to balance is key for maintaining a healthy, functioning body. Here's why — and how you can improve your balance.

Balance exercises can help you maintain your balance — and confidence — at any age. Nearly any activity that keeps you on your feet and moving, such as walking, can help you maintain good balance. You can also try balancing on one foot while waiting in line, or stand up and sit down without using your hands. Read on for more about what you should know about improving your balance:
  • There are two main types of balance. Static balance is your ability to control your posture while standing still. Dynamic balance describes how well you can hold your posture when your body moves.
  • If you're an older adult, balance exercises are especially important because they can help you prevent falls and maintain your independence.
  • Problems with balance can affect the athletic performance of younger people, too.
  • You can improve your balance by doing progressively more difficult balance exercises at least twice a week. Tai chi has been shown to be helpful for improving balance.
  • Standing on a balance pillow, foam square, balance disc or half of a stability ball can help improve balance.

If you have severe balance problems or an orthopedic condition, get your doctor's OK before doing balance exercises.
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Thursday, February 2, 2017

What is Functional fitness


 Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to help you do everyday activities safely and efficiently. Find out what it can do for you.


Do you live to exercise? Unless you're an elite athlete, you probably answered no to that question. Most people, in fact, would say they exercise to improve their quality of life.
What is functional fitness training?
Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability. For example, a dead lift is a functional exercise because it trains the muscles used when you pick up an object from the floor. By training your muscles to work the way they do in everyday tasks, you prepare your body to move efficiently in a variety of common situations.

Functional fitness exercises can be done at home or at the gym. Gyms may offer functional fitness classes or incorporate functional fitness into boot camps or other types of classes. Exercise tools, such as fitness balls, kettlebells and weights, are often used in functional fitness workouts.
What are the benefits of functional fitness training?
Functional exercises tend to be multijoint, multimuscle exercises. Instead of only moving the elbows, for example, a functional exercise might involve the elbows, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles. This type of training, properly applied, can make everyday activities easier, reduce your risk of injury and improve your quality of life.

What are examples of functional fitness exercises?
Functional fitness exercises use multiple joints and muscles at once to train your whole body. Examples include:

  • Dead lift
  • Assisted lunge with press
  • Resisted squat with overhead press

Are functional fitness exercises for everyone?
If you're over age 40, haven't exercised for some time or have health problems, it's a good idea to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. Similarly, women who are pregnant should check with their doctors.
It's also a good idea to start with exercises that use only your own body weight for resistance. As you become more fit and are ready for more challenge, you can increase resistance by using weights or resistance tubing or performing movements in the water.
The functional fitness payoff
As you add more functional exercises to your workouts, you should see improvements in your ability to perform your everyday activities. That's quite a return on your exercise investment.


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