Thursday, 20 September 2007

How much exercise is enough exercise?

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If you're at all involved in the health and fitness world and follow the news then you're probably confused on an almost daily basis -- I know I am! It seems like everything contradicts everything else, and when it comes to figuring out how much exercise is enough exercise (or how much is too much, for that matter) it's nearly impossible. Check five different sources and you'll get five different answers.

Sadly there is no flat black and white answer that will be best for everybody because we're all so different. What you need to do is ask yourself two things: how much can I exercise every week while keeping consistent? And how much exercise makes you feel the best and gets you the results you want? Seek out help and advice, but ultimately you're the only one who can really determine the perfect amount of exercise for you.

Like the clocks, fall back ... into fitness

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Now that the leaves are falling, it's time to trade in summer laziness for hard work -- whether at the office, at school or at the gym. But getting back into a routine can be difficult; Here are some tips from eDiets:
  • Find the time: Or, if you have to, make the time. Whether you work out in the morning, noon or night, the important thing is to work it into your schedule -- and stick to it.
  • Create a habit: Get out your calendar and make a routine. On Mondays, I do yoga; On Tuesdays, I do weights; on Wednesdays, I run ... you get the picture.
  • Try something new: Now is the time, when you're getting back into it.
  • Refresh your memory: You used to be pretty up on healthy living news and information, but that's fallen to the wayside. Do some research and remember why you were exercising in the first place. Reading That's Fit is a great start!
  • Join a club: There's no better way to kickstart a routine than by joining other people in it. They'll keep you motivated.
How do you get back into fitness?

Hand sanitizer labeling warning issued by the FDA

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It's not the first time, but a new warning from the FDA to maker-of-everything Procter & Gamble says that the company should stop mis-labeling some of its hand sanitizer products that are marketed towards children (umm, to their parents, in all reality).

Procter and Gamble says that its Vicks Early Defense Foaming Hand Sanitizer prevents colds and provides up to three hours of antimicrobial activity. Problem is that those kind of claims are not allowed under FDA regulations for such a product.

Those sound like medical claims to me, not cosmetic claims. Parents concerned about the constant hand sanitizing by children (for some reason) are, of course, attracted to the claims.

In general, clinical studies and loads of data are required by manufacturers to make claims like this on non-drug-products (and even on OTC drug products), so that kind of labeling will most likely be banished soon.

Take back your vacation

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Work at a job for a year and receive three weeks vacation. Most of us slave full-time 3-5 years before we ever see three weeks. Pathetically, only 14 percent of Americans will vacation two weeks or longer this year. Vacations are hardly a party, they're good for your health. For annual vacation-takers, the risk of death by heart disease is reduced by 50 percent in women and 32 percent in men.

Take Back Your Time is a joint U.S. and Canadian initiative challenging the time famine and culture of overwork undermining our health and relationships. They have launched a campaign to pass an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act entitled The Minimum Leave Protection, Family Bonding and Personal Well-Being Act of 2007.

Did you know 127 other countries have minimum-paid leave laws? Australia guarantees four weeks and even Japan requires two weeks. What is wrong with our workaholic country? Beyond providing the minimum three weeks of vacation, this amendment would also protect you from employer retaliation for taking a vacation, prevent chronic vacation cancellations, and allow you to keep those three weeks if you start a new job. Join Take Back's grassroots effort to save an endangered species.

How to fill up without filling out

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A rumbling tummy is a dangerous thing. It can cause you to make bizarre, unhealthy choices in your quest for food. But in order to avoid the damage to your waistline, not to mention the guilt and shame, that comes with a bad-food binge, here are some tips on how to fill up without de-railing your diet, courtesy of Women's Health Magazine:
  • Make a date: Studies show that women eat less on dates. Though I think this is more true of first or second dates.
  • Fill up on berries: They're healthy and tastier enough to be binge-worthy.
  • Eat high-fiber foods: They're shown to keep you fuller longer
  • Take multi-vitamin: Studies show that when your body lacks nutrients, it makes up for it in hunger
  • Eat with your left hand (or right-hand for lefties): It will challenge your brain and lead you to eat more slowly
For more great tips,

Ample supply of flu vaccine, says CDC

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We're not quire there yet, but when flu season approaches in a few months, will you be out of luck trying to find a vaccination? According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, there should be plenty of flu vaccines to go around this fall.

The estimate stands at 132 million doses ready to go, and the CDC suggests anyone not wanting to spend a week in bed to get a shot this fall, not just those with higher risks. It's been years and years since I had the flu, but no shot this year for me.

Why? Well, keeping immune systems in tip-top shape through wholesome nutrition and natural methods is the path I generally go down. It's not easy, but the side effect is excellent health, which I can handle. There's nothing wrong with vaccinations though, so if you're a habitual flu catcher, rest easy this fall.

Can you overcome shyness?

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Shyness is something that affects many people. And while it doesn't seem like a big deal to extroverts to enter a room filled with people, for shy people, it is terrifying. I know because I've struggled with shyness my whole life. And while I don't know that shy people can ever be completely cured of their social anxiety (I know I still get the sweats when I have to face a crowd,) you can learn to overcome shyness. Here are some suggestions from eDiets:
  • Change your focus: Don't become obsessed with what negative things people are saying or thinking about you -- think about things you like about yourself.
  • Become familiar: We're most shy when we're in unfamiliar surroundings or with new people. Next time you have a blind date or go to a party, bring a friend.
  • Take small steps: Make small conversations daily, and work your way up to long ones
  • Shift blame: Don't blame yourself when things go awry. Blame the situation and move on.
  • Plan ahead: Think of questions to ask or topics to bring up.
Speaking as a shy person, I've done all of these things and they work ... with practice. What do you think?

How your man is making you fat (and what to do about it!)

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Is your man making you fat? I think we'd all like to answer 'yes' to that question and call the nation's obesity problem solved, and although it's not that simple for the world in your case it is likely that your guy is contributing to your weight gain. It's been found in studies that women gain weight when they move in with a man, which is likely due to the fact that couples tend to adopt each others eating habits and men burn an average of 26% more calories in a day than women do. Those extra calories burn away on him, but on you they park on your hips and settle in for the long haul.

Guy-proofing your diet isn't completely effortless, but it is easier than you probably think. Take a look at these tips, which address all of his worst habits (like skipping veggies and drinking a beer every night with dinner) and give easy advice on how to deal. And please share if you have any tricks of your own! Us ladies got to stick to together.

Low glycemic-index breakfasts best for kids

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If you serve your child a low-glycemic breakfast every morning, chances are he or she will not eat that many calories during the coming day, according to new research.

Can you say whole-grain oatmeal, organic cane sugar and perhaps a little yogurt? That is an example of a low-glycemic breakfast, and won't spike energy levels (and hunger pains) like refined-carb pancakes and biscuits (and many junk food cereals).

A quick and easy way to assure a low-glycemic breakfast is to have plenty of whole-grain hot and cold cereals stocked. It doesn't sound filling to many kids (it even may sound disgusting), but it is, by far, a better choice than pancakes, bacon and sausage.

Or, try whole-grain pancakes with fresh fruit on top. It goes over well, trust me!

Muscles 101: Knowledge is power

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I like how this article opens with the line "knowledge is power, literally," because when it comes to health and fitness that really is the case. Although you can make progress by simply following an exercise plan outlined by someone else, you'll make much better progress if you understand why you're doing what you're doing.

If you're not sure then you may need a refresher course on your body and your muscles and this is a great read. It has info on everything from the different types of muscle in your body to why you get sore after a hard workout.

Even if you think you already know it all I'd suggest checking it out, because sometimes we can all use a few good reminders!

'Bush Tucker', the traditional Aboriginal Australian diet, even healthier than superfoods

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When it comes to superfoods, blueberries are generally considered as good as it gets as they're full of cancer-fighting antioxidants. But according to a study done in Australia, the super berry has noting on many of the fruits that the country's Aboriginal peoples have been consuming for thousands of years.

Known as 'bush tucker', fruits like Kakadu plums and Brudekin plums have got nearly five times more antioxidants than blueberries, according to scientists, as do other foods like the Tasmanian pepper, red and yellow finger limes, brush cherries and Molucca raspberries. Many of these also contain massive amounts of vitamin C.

Unfortunately, it has taken some time for non-Aboriginal Australians to embrace the food so it is not widely available in that country or any others. So for now, if you really want to try out these superfruits, you'll have to seek them out Down Under.

Your testicles might save your brain

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Scientists have discovered a new place to look for potentially life-saving stem cells -- your testicles.

Apparently a team of researchers has figured out how to identify stem cells in the testicles of adult mice, that they can then manipulate into brain cells, muscle cells, heart cells and blood cells They hope that this information will one day allow them to replicate the same procedure on humans, which could be incredibly helpful in fighting the brain damage caused by Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease.

It's long be speculated that such treatment would be possible with embryonic stem cells, but -- in light of the controversy surround embryonic stem cell research -- scientists around the world have been looking for adult stem cells in other parts of the body (like the testicles, for instance) that can be coaxed back into an embryonic (and therefore far more mailable) state.

While more research needs to be conducted before this technology will find a practical application, the prospects are certainly exciting.

Fitness still fine as you age, of course

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Is a feeling of weakness and old age setting in to those of you in your mid-40s? It shouldn't be, but those gray hairs and work stresses start piling up, along with a lack of time to boot. It all combines to make us feel old.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Working out and exercise is not just for twenty-somethings or high school athletes. I know a few people in their 40s that would give any 18 year-old a run for their money, odd as that may sound.

It's never to late to exercise, eat right and feel like you're 21 again. All that stamina, strength and energy is still there, but life's changes have suppressed it. But, don't make that a reason to give up. Sure, it's hard to find the time, but is it worth it to prioritize your health and well-being in middle age? Heck, it should be the top priority for many of us.

Make smarter protein choices today!

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Protein is an important part your diet, but protein can also be the most unhealthy part of your diet, particularly if your main protein sources include bacon double cheeseburgers. Mark's Daily Apple has put together this list of bad and good protein choices:
  • Instead of hamburger meat, choose grass-fed beef
  • Instead of frozen chicken, choose organic chicken
  • Instead of farmed salmon, choose wild salmon
  • Instead of fish sticks, choose tuna
  • Instead of regular eggs, choose organic DHA-enhanced eggs
  • Instead of regular yogurt, choose organic or Greek yogurt
  • Instead of tofu, choose Tempeh
  • Instead of regular beans, choose high-protein legumes and quinoa
  • Instead of peanuts and peanut butter, choose almonds and almond butter
What do you think about these choices? I agree with most of them, but I still think that tofu, beans and natural peanut butter can be a good addition to your diet.

Turn off the TV and sit down with the family for National Eat Dinner Together Week

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When was the last time you sat down for dinner (at the table and not in front of the television) with your family? What used to be a regular part of most families' day, is now for many, at best a weekly event. While dinnertime was once one of the best times to sit down and hear about each family member's day, it is now an opportunity to sit and watch TV or catch up on work. I think that with the busy schedules that many parents and kids juggle, it's probably not realistic to expect everyone to eat together all of the time, but it is a nice idea to try to make it work a few times a week.

Why not start this week? It is, after all, National Eat Dinner Together Week. As Marisa McClellan at Slashfood points out, eating together with either family or friends is good for you and is great for helping you communicate with loved ones. So even if your family has got a bunch of activities planned for this week, try to take the time out to eat dinner together and, if possible, make it a regular event at your home.

Man boobs on the rise

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Maybe you don't mind carrying a little extra. Maybe you don't care about the ramifications for your health, and have stopped worrying about that third beer, extra slice of pizza, or second piece of cake. Maybe you're letting you're letting yourself go.

But whatever your rationale, you might not be so excited about the other parts of your body that are growing along with your expanding waistline. Namely, your breasts.

As the number of obese men around the world continues to climb, so the number of men with gynecomastia -- or, more plainly, man boobs. While the condition is often caused by low testosterone, drugs, or medical disorders, obesity can also lead to this unfortunate enlargement.

The good news, however, is that while many men don't seem to mind growing a little belly (after all, that's normal, right?), it turns out they become significantly more alarmed when they're faced with the prospect of wearing a "bro" or "manssiere" (the male bra so famously invented by Kramer and George Costanza on an episode of Seinfeld).

So watch those pounds, guys. They might wind up someplace you'd really rather they didn't.

Immigrant children succumb to junk food

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If you've ever been to Europe, the lack of fast food restaurants and junk foods on grocery shelves would amaze you. That is, unless things have changed recently. Things like McDonalds and Doritos are uniquely American, and as the saying goes, you are what you eat.

When families emigrate to the U.S., so many of them adopt the unhealthy food habits prevalent in this country? Sure -- that is what is pushed by junk food makers day in and day out. It's sad, but true.

Cheap fast food is plentiful to anyone in the U.S., and the on-the-go lifestyle many of us lead precludes us to these types of foods. Add to that undeniable tastiness of modern, processed foods (chemicals, anyone?) and you have a complete menu that's hard to resist for old citizens and new ones alike. This is a great country, and it's too bad much of the food isn't even close to the same level.

Are you a night owl? Here are some tips to wake up early

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I am a life-long night owl. When I was in school, I loved summertime because it meant that I could stay up later without having to drag myself out of bed in the morning, still half-asleep and dreaming of settling back in between my comfortable covers. It's not that I wanted to stay up late partying, it's just that I get a major burst of energy around 10pm and often can't fall asleep until well after midnight. It's like torture on days when I have to get up at 6am to get to work.

Life would definitely be easier if I were a morning person. Recently Rigel Gregg posted some tips on getting up earlier and Francesca Clarke at DIY Life also wrote about an article that offers 24 tips for becoming an early-riser. One of the suggestions that Francesca highlights is heading outside as soon as you get up as it will help you feel more awake. Some of the other tips in the piece include sleeping with the windows open for fresh air and planning events in the morning so that you have to get up.

Are you a reformed night owl? How did you teach yourself to get up earlier?

Long lifespans set health cost soaring in Japan

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Japan has some of the longest lifespans in the world. And while this is a sign that they are healthier on average than the rest of the world, longer lifespans are putting a strain on the healthcare system in Japan.

New studies are showing that spending on healthcare in Japan is lower than in US, and there just aren't enough resources to keep up with the needs of patients, so many of whom are elderly. And the result? Doctors and other healthcare professionals are cutting corners where ever they can -- yikes! Apparently longevity isn't always a good thing, at least as far as the healthcare system is concerned. Still, a country whose patients are just too healthy is far better off than one in which people would rather die young than eat healthy.

If your allergies are killing you, read this

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As Brian noted last week, health officials think Texans could be facing their worst allergy season decades. I live in Texas, and can verify that those officials are absolutely right. I've been so sneezy, snotty, and completely exhausted the past couple weeks, that it feels like my nasal passageways have been deep fried. Every morning I wake up to the feeling of five or six large men punching me, repeatedly, in the face, while I stumble through the apartment, blowing my nose, trying desperately to find my utterly worthless hay fever pills.

It sucks.

If this sounds familiar, check out these tips from the Mayo Clinic on how you can reduce your suffering.

1. Stay away from irritants. This may sound obvious (like you'd be so stupid as to go rub your face in a field of ragweed), but other stuff -- like cigarette smoke, or even a dramatic change in temperature -- can send you into a sneezing fit, so be extra careful.

2. Stay hydrated. It'll help with the gunk in the back of your throat.

3. Use a humidifier. That'll keep the air moist, which helps thin the goop.

4. Get a Neti Pot. I know it looks gross, but these saltwater rinses are great for clearing out irritants.

5. Talk to your doctor. You ever know, they may have invented some nuclear-strength antihistamine since last allergy season.

[via Fitsugar]

Women: The things you should be telling your doctor ... but aren't

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Ok women, 'fess up. Often when we're at the doctors, we don't bring up certain things that we wanted to, either because we're embarrassed, we don't want to waste the doctor's time or ... we're scared. But our doctors are there to help and it's important that we bring up what's bugging us before it's too late.

Shape Magazine has put together this list of the top things that you should tell your MD:
  • What herbal remedies or vitamins you're taking: So-called 'natural' remedies may seem harmless but they might not mix with other medications you're taking
  • That you're planning to get pregnant: Your doctor can help make sure you're physically ready for pregnancy and can make suggestions
  • That you're a social smoker: You doctor needs to know this to be able to properly screen and treat you
  • If sex is painful: It shouldn't be ... try to be specific about the pain so your doctor can get to the bottom of it
  • Whether or not you use tanning beds: Your doctor will be able to better screen you for skin cancer
  • That your knees are stiff when you get out of bed: It could indicate something more than just an intense workout or old age
Are there things you're afraid to tell your doctor?

Trying to avoid embarrassing gas? Some tips

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Ahh, flatulence. Such a basic but embarrassing part of life. I'll admit that I've been know to let a few slip, and my doctor assures me that it's due to my healthy diet full of fruits and veggies -- so I guess I'll have to live with the consequences. Are you wondering just what causes gas and how to avoid it? I have bad news ... many foods are responsible for gas, so it's not as simple as cutting out one of two according to this article from eDiets. Legumes, veggies, fruits, dairy products, cereals, breads, fried foods, cream sauces and carbonated beverages can all contribute to gas; for a full list click here.

If gasiness is becoming a serious problem for you, consider seeing a gastroenterologist, who can recommend certain foods to cut out or treatments to consider. Or try eliminating soy, dairy, gluten and processed foods from your diet, then introducing them back in one at a time to see what your worst offender is. For me, it's a surprising one: Rice! What's about you?

FitBeauty: Handmade workout gear? Oh hell yes.

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So we're working on dressing in a way that suits our own styles, in clothes that fit our own beautiful bodies and in spending our money wisely on items that we will wear and will support the lives we want to live. If we want to be active, a way to support that is having workout wear that we want to put on and put to use. If we want to spend smart, we are not buying any old pair of ill-fitting spandex pants from the junior section clearance rack at KMart just because they are cheap and well, on the clearance rack. That means we need to find smart and fun ways to shop that will support all of our good habits and ease out the old tendencies.

This week, I suggest you choose to buy something that's handmade. Handmade workout wear? Why, yes, kittens, it's possible to find clothes, accessories and gear that is unique, competitively priced and possibly customized just for you.

Luckily, one of my favorite sites, Etsy, is devoted to handmade items and their creators. Here are few fabulous finds that top my list of workout wear that will slip beautifully from the artists' hands to yours. Now, doesn't that feel good all the way around?

Continue reading FitBeauty: Handmade workout gear? Oh hell yes.

Daily Fit Tip: Eat like a kid!

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Here's a new idea on how to cute calories: eat like a kid! Kids don't have adult-sized appetites, so their snacks and meals always come in smaller packages -- and ordering from the kids menu is an instant, painless way to control your portions. And let's face it -- portion control is a problem for many of us adults. Children don't have the same issue -- they just stop eating when their full.

Say, for instance, you're on a road trip and find yourself with no other option but the local fast-food joint. Instead of super-sizing, downsize by ordering from the kids menu. You'll cut out a ton of calories and you'll have eaten just enough food to be satisfied. And your local supermarket is bound to offer lots of awesome kids' snacks that you can carry in your purse for a quick energy fix. Prevention Magazine list some here.

What's your favourite pint-sized snack?

The Daily Turn On! Relaxation Response

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Life is too short not to be fully "turned on." The Daily Turn On! energizes all aspects of "you." Everyday The Daily Turn On! with That's Fit Life Fit expert Laura Lewis will awaken your mind, your body and your life!

Did you know ... Nine out of ten Americans say they experience some form of stress one to two times per week, and one in four estimates stress happens every day. According to a study by the American Institute of Stress, 75 percent to 90 percent of all doctor visits are somehow related to stress! There are those that seem to let things slide right off their backs, while others might get tense if a line in a grocery store is moving a little too slowly. This is the big difference.

The natural nemesis ... Feelings of anxiety, tension and stress have their roots in the beginning of mankind. If early man was faced with a life-threatening situation, these feelings would allow him to get the heck out of there! If these feelings did not exist, well, maybe man would not have survived. The problem is that modern man has these primitive stress responses in a modern society that does not accommodate a natural reaction or release of these feelings. The analogy of feeling bottled up is so appropriate for many! Some people deal with stress productively, using exercise, creative outlets or just plain zoning out as tools. Others might constantly experience the highs and lows of emotions such as anger and fear. When these feelings are experienced, blood pressure is elevated. This elevation is the number one cause of heart attacks and stroke. Stress can also weaken your immune system. Relaxation techniques help you to have more energy, increase your alertness, and make you less likely to use destructive means of stress release such as drugs, alcohol and other debilitating behaviors.

Meditation, yoga, mental visualizations--these are all proven methods of warding off the mental, physical and spiritual damage caused by stress.

Action Tips:
  • Turn off the TV and read positive books and magazines.
  • Walk the dog; or,
  • Take a walk with your spouse or significant other.
  • Enjoy long, hot showers or baths.
  • Take an evening swim when you come how from work and let the soothing power of water wash over you.
Allow your body to release stress through mentally and emotionally healthy methods. You will look and feel better!
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Life Fit Chat with Laura Lewis: Create a little resistance in your life

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Life Fit Chat with That's Fit Life Fit Expert Laura Lewis brings conversation provoking tidbits to your table, served up with a touch of spice! Byte-sized information that pack some punch, brought to you every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday!

Did you know ... The easiest way to keep your metabolism revved, improve the health of your heart and lungs, keep your bones strong and healthy, and to keep your mind sharp is to create a little resistance in your life!

Resistance training is also known as strength or weight training, The importance of aerobic exercise and how it relates to health has been emphasized dramatically over the past two decades with resistance training taking a back seat ... until the American College of Sports Medicine actually set up guidelines for balanced fitness. Balanced fitness includes regular aerobic exercise at least three times per week for a minimum of thirty minutes, in addition to two resistance-training sessions of moderate intensity per week.

A study was conducted in Sweden in 1971 that compared the bone strength of professional and world-class athletes, recreational athletes, and folks who just did not exercise at all. They were divided into groups according to the type of exercises performed. The exercises included running, swimming, weight lifting, and soccer. The professionals had stronger bones than the recreational and non-exercising groups. The recreational group had stronger bones than the inactive group. And guess who had the strongest bones of all: the weight lifters!

Structure in flux ... Our bones are not dead material. Old bone cells are constantly dying and new ones are being created. As we get older, especially as we get on up to our senior years, bone loss, or osteoporosis, is common and is mostly due to lessened activity levels. The typical pattern: We get older, a little stiffer and less mobile. Therefore, less force is placed upon the bones, making them weaker. The results of the Swedish study and many others that followed have concluded that some form of resistance training will make your bones stronger, even when you are in your eighties!

Not just for bones ... Aerobic exercise is commonly known to lead to improved heart health and function. New research suggests weightlifting alone promotes healthy hearts. Harvard University researchers studied the role different types of exercise play on heart disease risk. Among more than 44,000 men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, those who lifted weights for thirty minutes or more, at least once a week, showed cardiac risk reduction of 23 percent.

"GET" those hormones revved ... We lose muscle mass as we age due to reduction in circulating hormones that facilitate the building of muscle. Anabolic hormones make our muscles strong and reduce body fat. The top three hormones that decline dramatically throughout our life cycle are: growth hormones, estrogen and testosterone (GET hormones). The GET hormones skyrocketed when you were in your teens and gave you that youthful feeling. You GET excited, energized and happy when these hormones are at an all-time high! Our body naturally produces these hormones, yet, for some reason, they diminish as we age. Keeping hormones at a more youthful level is possible. Resistance exercise has been shown to increase the magical GET mix of hormones leading to an increase in your lean muscle. Fat stores are reduced too, regardless of your age.

So, put a little resistance in your life and enjoy a stronger bones, more muscle mass and more energy!
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Celebrity Fitzness Report: UFC Octagon Announcer Bruce Buffer

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Curious to know how celebrities squeeze fitness into their daily lives? Want to know the secrets of the stars? Bi-weekly our That's Fit fitness expert Fitz sits down with the celebs we want to know more about, and digs out their great and not-so-great methods to staying healthy.

Bruce Buffer is known worldwide as the Voice of the Octagon as he announces for the UFC. If you're not familiar, UFC and mixed martial arts is the hottest sport in the world earning fanatics by the millisecond. So is Bruce. He's got a pretty face, hot body, big voice and the business savvy most millionaires still wish for.

By day, the man is President and CEO of Buffer Enterprises, managing not only his career, but the career of his big brother Michael Buffer. If you've ever heard the phrase "Let's get ready to ruuuuuumble!",(Michael's below) which I'm positive you have....Bruce made some money off of your listening pleasure. He's turned a phrase into an empire and he's not done yet. By night, Bruce stands amongst some of the most athletic, aggressive and entertaining athletes in the world. He starts the UFC action with his infamous phrase, "It's time....to begin", and all hell breaks loose. Definitely a guy to keep tabs on.

Fitz: You spend so much time surrounded by some of the most elite athletes in the world at events, how does that motivate you?

Bruce Buffer: I have always approached life with an athletic winning attitude and being surrounded by superior athletes only motivates me more to keep it all together.

Fitz: Do you ever train with any of the competitors you announce for?

Bruce Buffer: I rolled with Randy Couture years ago in which was an eye opener.

Fitz: Who is the last person you'd ever want to be struck by?

Bruce Buffer: Bas Rutten, Chuck Lidell and most any 200 lb. or heavier striker.

Fitz: Sometimes UFC fights get gory. Do you flinch much? Look away?

Bruce Buffer: No, it's all part of the job.

Fitz: Even though it' your voice people pay attention to and value, you're in show business. Besides staying fit, what measures do you take to stay so 'pretty'?

Bruce Buffer: Vanity and personal pride... thanks for the compliment.

Fitz: Where is your favorite vacation spot? Do you workout on vacation?

Bruce Buffer: The south of France or any place tropical with waves. Yes, I workout on vacation by surfing or at the very least 30 or more minutes of cardio.

Continue reading Celebrity Fitzness Report: UFC Octagon Announcer Bruce Buffer

Ditch the sugar, watch your kids thrive

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I've become quite the anti-sugar nut. I don't want any part of sugar and find myself closely examining every food label I come across. The lower the sugar, the happier I get. Sugar-free? Even better.

It's been fairly easy for me to wean myself off sugar. Cutting it from my kids' diets is more of a challenge. They want it, crave it, beg for it. Slow and steady is my plan for them. In time, I hope to have them choosing fresh fruit for snacks, instead of Chips Ahoy cookies.

Christina Sbarro
over at ParentDish wrote on September 15 about some sugary new research which makes me more convinced my kids are better off without the refined white stuff.

Continue reading Ditch the sugar, watch your kids thrive

Skin cancer puts stop to exercise program

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Need another reason to stay out of the sun? Here' s one: it might prevent you from exercising. This may be good news for those looking for any reason to avoid physical activity (note: this is an extremely unhealthy reason). But for those committed to huffing and puffing, sun bathing should be stricken from your to-do list.

My sister is about to have a second basal cell skin cancer surgically removed from her chest. The first came off a few weeks ago. The whole process was painful, uncomfortable, and a little scary too. The discomfort went away, though, and she is feeling fine. What troubles her now is the fact that she can't exercise. It would cause too much trauma to the surgery site and could compromise the effectiveness of her stitches. Sweat is not such a good thing for healing wounds either.

It's been a few weeks since the first surgery, and now my sister is headed for more. Had her cancer appeared in only one spot, she'd be just about set to hit the treadmill and pump some iron. But skin cancer doesn't allow for such tidy plans. It's unpredictable and unforgiving. And it's a sure exercise stopper. Need I say more?
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How effective is sex as an exercise?

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Wouldn't it be great is sex was the ultimate workout, and doing it once a day could constitute your workout? Yeah, dream on. Unless you're a porn star, sex probably isn't going to get you in shape, but that doesn't mean it doesn't burn a bunch of calories. Want to know just how many?

eDiets has the answers you've been looking for
. A 30-minute session burns between and 100 calories. So it shouldn't be the only exercise in your life, but you'll be pleased to know that those who are healthy and exercise on a regular basis enjoy better sex lives -- not only do they have extra energy to get it on, but they're more aroused than couch potatoes.

So, to sum up: Sex is good for exercise, but exercise is even better for sex!

On workplace health incentives, punishments

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I wrote the other day about employers offering financial incentives to staff members for losing weight. And while washing dishes Tuesday night after eating an experimental homemade pizza with fat-free cheese -- it was pretty good -- I stumbled upon NBC Nightly News and a commentary about this very weight-loss reward system. It went beyond the discussion of monetary prizes for shedding pounds, though. It addressed the fact that some employers are punishing employees for unhealthy lifestyle choices.

It was like listening to a parenting expert discuss rewarding and punishing kids for poor behavior. I'm always stuck on the topic -- do I go overboard with praise and ignore defiant outbursts so my kids realize only positive behavior gets attention? Or do I punish my kiddos for poor choices so they learn not to repeat them? Like my confusion on this topic, I'm not so sure about the workplace health scenario.

So some employers are raising insurance premiums for the overweight, for those who won't consent to health assessments, and for those who choose to smoke. It's all in an attempt to lower health care costs, minimize absenteeism, and promote wellness. The whole punishment approach seems harsh. It makes sense too. See how I'm wavering?

What do you think?

In a choice between laziness and dying, dying is winning

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People in Britain would rather die than make healthy changes to their life, a new study shows. The majority of overweight and obese people are unwilling to become healthy, even face with certain death. In a poll, only 38% said they would exercise more if their life depended on it. And believe me -- their lives do depend on it. Exercise and a healthy diet are essential for longevity.

I think these statistics are shocking -- don't you? I'm appalled that people would choose laziness over life.

Only 4% said that they found exercise fun -- perhaps that's the reason why they're so unwilling to do it? But I'm the opposite -- I don't think laziness is fun; I'd much rather go for a run or a yoga session than lounge on the couch all day. Would you?

Floating poop leads to weight loss

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Dr. Oz was once again on Oprah this week. As usual, he had a ton of new and interesting, traditionally gross-ish research to share. Floating poop ranks right up there in all three categories.

Recently a study was conducted where the subjects were placed on a highly controlled yet moderate diet, which was low in calcium for one week. At the end of the week, each subject 'contributed' some doo in a jar as their sample to be analyzed. (Imagine doing that!) The next week, subjects were placed on the exact diet except this time tweaked it to provide the subjects with 1200 mg of calcium each day, which is ideal for adults. At the end of the week, once again they had the pleasure of providing a sample.

The poo samples were frozen, dried, turned into a pill, and then crushed (hate to be that scientist). The samples were then analyzed. The study showed that by the end of week two, the high calcium week...the subjects samples contained 100% more fat than the previous week. Which means, calcium is an excellent transporter of fat. Ideally, we'd prefer to expel the fat we consume rather than absorb it. This in the long run, will help lead to weight loss.

Continue reading Floating poop leads to weight loss

What women want: Priorities of females according to Prevention

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Prevention Magazine recently posted the results of a series of polls they did on women and their health. According to the results 67% of women rate 'Happiness' and the top aspect that affects their overall health, followed by stress levels, weight, energy levels and relationship with spouse. I don't know about you, but I would have thought that one's relationship with their spouse would rank higher in importance. Other surprising finds?
  • 86% of women who are dieting are going about it on their own, without help from a weight-loss program or dieting buddy
  • Yet on average, women say they lose 5 lbs more when they diet with a friend
  • 58% of women would rather be 10 lbs slimmer than look 10 years younger
  • 74% would rather be given a million dollars than be their ideal weight for the rest if their lives.
What do you think about these results? I think I would prefer to be a healthy weight no matter what I ate than a millionaire, but that's just me.

To read the full results, click here.

You don't have to binge to purge

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Purging disorder is not yet officially classified as an eating disorder by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), but it is a very real problem for some women. People suffering from purging disorder do not binge on large amounts of food. Rather, they feel the urge to vomit after eating a small or normal-sized meal.

Iowa researcher and psychology professor, Pamela Keel, studied 90 women from 2001-05, published in this month's Archives of General Psychiatry. Twenty had symptoms of purging disorder, 37 were bulimic and 33 ate normally. Turns out women with purging disorder reported feeling significantly more full after a test meal and had more stomach discomfort than women with bulimia and normal eaters. They also were challenged by the anxiety, depression and body image problems faced by women with bulimia.

Many eating disorders do not fulfill all the APA's criteria for anorexia and builimia, which impacts diagnosis, treatment and eligibility for insurance reimbursement. Keel is embarking on another study examining the disorder. This study only examined women. I wonder if purging disorder strikes men?

Starbucks one of many companies marketing to your kids

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I remember taking a class in university where we discussed the history of marketing products to children. Giants like Disney and McDonald's got in the business early, convincing kids that their toys and burgers were must-haves. Since the start, many other companies have gotten on board, realizing the money-making potential that lies in advertising products to easily-influenced and hard-to-ignore (by weary parents anyway) kids.

Is it ethical? I suppose it depends on your personal point of view. At the very least I can understand why a company like Disney, whose brand focuses on kid-friendly products, would market to children. I'm not so sure what to think though when a company like Starbucks admits that kids and teens are a part of their client base.

As Heather Craven at ParentDish points out, most Starbucks beverages are chock full of sugar and caffeine, neither of which need to be ingested by kids on a regular basis. It may be hard to refuse your children when they're begging for a giant-sized white chocolate beverage, but Craven pledges to save her money and deny her children.

What would you do? Do you thi it's unethical of Starbucks to market caffeine-filled drinks to kids?

Top 10 Low-Cal cereals

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Cereal is one of those things that seems to be universally loved. But cereal's is also one of the most deceptively unhealthy things. It's usually full of sugar and refined carbs and devoid of any sort of nutrition. But there are some good cereals out there -- you just have to search a bit for them. Food Review has come up with this list of the best low-cal cereals out there:
  1. Kashi Mighty Bites
  2. Kashi Organic Promise Strawberry Fields
  3. Lucky Charms
  4. Natures Promise Honey Whole Grain Cereal
  5. Kelloggs All Bran Yogurt Bites
  6. Post Honey Nut Shredded Wheat
  7. Honey Bunches of Oats with Strawberries
  8. Special K Fruit & Yogurt
  9. Yogurt Burst Cheerios
  10. Kashi Go Lean Crunch
I must say, I'm surprised by some of these. Lucky Charms? Really? And I always though those fruit and yogurt cereals had lots of extra sugar and fat. Remember that it's important to buy a cereal that has around 5 g of fibre per serving.

What's your favourite cereal?

(Via Diet Blog)

Making "the plank" more interesting

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The "plank," which is a move where you keep your body stick straight and support it only on your feet and hands, is a great core toning and all-over body strengthening move but lets face it, it's pretty boring. So Women's Health is hoping to help with that boredom problem by offering up some variations on the traditional plank to make things a little more interesting. By doing all of the variations in a series you'll end up with a nice little workout that keeps your attention and gets you moving. So if you've always liked the plank but were wishing for more, or if you're just looking to try something new, give this routine a try.

Valerie did it!

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Well, after much scrutiny and a little doubt, Valerie Bertinelli has reached her goal and lost the 30 pounds she set out to lose, with a little help from co-spokesperson Kirstie Alley and a lot of help from Jenny Craig. Good for her! She's done what so many are struggling to do -- she's re-vamped her life, became healthier and lost a lot of weight in the process. Now the question is: Will she be going on Oprah in her bikini too?

I've known a few people who've done Jenny Craig with no success, but this is proof that it can work. Have you done Jenny Craig? Did it work for you? Or is her success down to the pressure of TV, paparazzi and a lucrative contract?

Americans are drinking themselves fat with soda

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Is there a single reason for the obesity epidemic in America? Nope, but there are a few top causes. One of the top ones is probably right down the hall in a vending machine or in the fridge at home: the soft drink.

I was a soft drink addict for many, many years, but then quit cold turkey about four years ago. Result? Almost instant weight loss and a much better sense of well being. Still, it was tough -- very tough.

Now, with all the artificial colorings, sugar, caffeine and other icky ingredients in there, I can see why the addiction still runs rampant these days. And make no mistake -- it is an addiction.

The only bad part besides that is the fact you're drinking calories without ever feeling "full." According to nutritionists, that is a primary reason many of us are overweight. Can you stop? It's mind over matter, just like sticking to a diet.