Team USA enjoys Surf and Turf Gold Medals

by KB on August 10, 2012
in 2012 Olympics

Women’s water polo team finally comes up golden

Brenda Villa and Heather Petri both hung around long enough to experience the thrill of a lifetime.

Tournament MVP Maggie Steffens scored five goals, and the two four-time Olympians each scored once, to lift the U.S. women’s water polo team to an 8-5 win over Spain on Thursday at the London Games. It is the first Team USA gold medal in the sport since it debuted in 2000. Team USA had won silver in 2000 and 2008, adding a bronze medal in 2004.

And Villa and Petri were there for it all.

“They’ve been here so long,” said Jessica Steffens, a two-time Olympian. “They’ve gone through everything you can imagine. Obviously, we did this for our team. But we did this for them and for the history of USA water polo.”

Read the whole story on TeamUSA.org>>

Melissa Seidemann also scored for Team USA. Goalkeeper Betsey Armstrong made eight saves in the win, including a stop on a fourth-quarter penalty shot that may have saved the victory.

The last time Team USA won a gold medal in water polo was in 1904 when the men’s team won.

U.S. women’s soccer team continues its Olympic domination

Carli Lloyd scored the only two goals the Team USA women’s soccer team needed to take a thrilling 2-1 win over Japan and earn a third consecutive Olympic gold medal and fourth in the past five Games. The victory also avenged a U.S. loss to Japan in the World Cup final last year, which is widely considered to be the worst loss in program history. Read all about the impressive victory>>

In Other News from the Games

• Team USA’s Ashton Eaton is the “world’s greatest athlete” after holding off teammate Trey Hardee to win gold in the decathlon. Eaton accumulated 8,869 points over the two-day, 10-event competition, and Hardee took silver with a season best 8,671 points. It’s the first time in 56 years the U.S. has won decathlon gold and silver.

Christian Taylor of Team USA won gold in the men’s triple jump with a season-best leap of 17.81 meters (58 feet, 5¼ inches). Teammate Will Claye won silver after he finished a pretty distant second at 17.62 meters (57 feet, 9¾ inches). It was the first time since 1904 that the U.S. took first and second in this event.

Team USA is twice as nice on the track>>

Claressa Shields became the first American woman to win an Olympic boxing gold medal when she beat Nadezda Torlopova of Russia, 19-12, in the 75kg final. Marlen Esparza added a bronze to Team USA’s medal haul, but the men were shut out in London. See how much gold means to the Flint, Mich. teen>>

• Team USA’s Haley Anderson took the silver medal with a time of 1:57:38.6 in the women’s 10km marathon swim on Thursday, finishing right behind the 1:57:38.2 posted by gold medal winner Eva Risztov of Hungary. It’s Team USA’s first medal in the event, which debuted in 2008. Read all about Anderson’s two-hour swim into history>>

• Despite losing to the eventual champion in his very first match Thursday, Terrence Jennings will take home a taekwondo bronze medal for Team USA after battling back to score three points in the final second to beat Diogo Silva of Brazil 8-5 in a -68kg bronze medal match

Jordan Burroughs Wrestling for Gold

by KB on August 10, 2012
in 2012 Olympics

Burroughs to wrestle for Gold Medal tonight at ExCeL North Arena 2 at 6:45 p.m.
American Jordan Burroughs (Lincoln, Neb.) will wrestle for the gold medal tonight at ExCeL Exhibition Centre’s North Arena 2 in men’s freestyle wrestling at 74 kg/163 lbs. Burroughs defeated two-time World Champion Denis Tsargush of Russia 3-1, 0-2, 2-1. The finals will begin at 6:45 p.m. Local Time.

Burroughs will face Iran’s Sadegh Goudarzi in the final. Burroughs defeated Goudarzi in last year’s World Championship finals and has a win over him earlier this year at the World Cup. Goudarzi was second at the last two World Championships, losing to Tsargush in 2010.

USA Archery Announce Sponsorship with TRU

by KB on August 9, 2012
in 2012 Olympics

Colorado Springs, CO – Tomorrow’s Resources Unlimited, Inc. – manufacturer of T.R.U. Ball Archery Releases and AXCEL Archery Sights and Scopes – has inked a deal to become a bronze-level sponsor of USA Archery. Located in Madison Heights, Va., T.R.U., Inc. began with the formation of S&S Machine, Inc. by machinist Greg Summers, who began producing archery products in 1995.

T.R.U., Inc. has designed T.R.U. Ball Archery Releases since 1995, and began manufacturing AXCEL Archery Sights and Scopes in 2005, which have found their way onto the bows of top archers such as Olympian Brady Ellison and top compound archer Reo Wilde. Top bowhunters also making use of T.R.U. products include the Bone Collector Team of Michael Waddell, Travis “T-Bone” Turner, and Nick Mundt.

High-performing archers will benefit directly from the new agreement, as AXCEL Archery Sights and Scopes will be offering product and discounts beginning in 2013 to the Para, Senior, Junior and Cadet United States Archery Teams (USAT). Most recently, AXCEL Archery Sights and Scopes outfitted members of the U.S. Olympic Team for Archery with custom-dipped red, white and blue sights, helping the team to have an all-American presence on the field at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

Ben Summers, Director of Operations for T.R.U., Inc., commented: “For decades, USA Archery has coached athletes to be their best in the sport of archery and in their personal lives. The organization works hard from the grassroots JOAD level to the elite World Championship level to build champions in whom America can take pride. T.R.U., Inc. is proud to be a sponsor of this incredible organization.”

“We are very excited to announce this important partnership,” explained Denise Parker, USA Archery CEO. “High performance archers demand top-level equipment, and T.R.U. Inc. has produced a sight that will help our top archers to go further. We are very excited to have T.R.U., Inc.’s support of our teams and programs.”

Summers further noted: “We are especially proud to offer equipment made by some of America’s finest CNC machinists for use by America’s finest archery athletes. We realize the incredible effort that Coach KiSik Lee and his staff have taken to build world-class athletes of the caliber and character of this year’s team. It is an honor to offer a product that we have build entirely in our Virginia factory to USA Archery members at every level of competition.”

For more information about T.R.U., Inc., please visit http://www.truball.com and http://www.axcelsights.com. For more information on USA Archery, visit http://www.usarchery.org.

U.S. Entrants Fall in Men’s Sabre Quaterfinals

by KB on July 29, 2012
in 2012 Olympics

U.S. fencers Daryl Homer (New York, N.Y.) and Timothy Morehouse (New York, N.Y.) both lost their quarterfinal bouts in the individual men’s sabre competition at the ExCeL.

Homer lost to Romania’s Rares Dumitrescu, 15-13, while Morehouse fell to Diego Occhiuzzi, 15-9.

The U.S. men’s sabre side will compete in the team competition on Friday, Aug. 3, when they meet Russia in a quarterfinal match at 11:30 a.m. BST.

US Women Blitz Colombia 3-0 – Lead Group Play

by KB on July 28, 2012
in 2012 Olympics

The U.S. women’s soccer team remained undefeated in group play at the London 2012 Olympic Games, going to 2-0 with a 3-0 victory over Colombia at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

Team USA took a 1-0 lead into the halftime locker room on the strength of a goal in the 33rd minute by Megan Rapinoe (Redding, Calif.). That margin held until the 74th minute, when Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.) found the netting, followed by a tally by Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.) three minutes later.

The win puts the United States in control of its destiny in Group G. It would be assured advancement to the knockout phase if France were to win or tie in its match with North Korea later this evening. Team USA concludes Group G play against North Korea on Tuesday, July 31, at 5:15 at the fabled Old Trafford, home of Manchester United Football Club.

US Men Take Archery Silver – Italy Gold

by KB on July 28, 2012
in 2012 Olympics

The trio of Brady Ellison (Globe, Ariz.), Jake Kaminski (Elma, N.Y.) and Jacob Wukie (Oak Harbor, Ohio) won the silver medal in the London 2012 Olympic Games men’s archery team event after falling by the narrowest of margins to Italy, 219-218, in the the gold medal round at the Lord’s Cricket Ground in London.

The fate of the gold medal hung on the last arrow. Behind by nine points, Italy needed a 10 to win, and their final shot landed on the 10 ring, giving the Italians the win by the slimmest of margins.

The medal is the first for the United States in the event since the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, where they won the bronze. It was the first silver medal for the U.S. since the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games.

The bronze medal was won by Korea, which bounced back from the loss to the United States in the semifinals to post a 224-219 win over Mexico.

US Women Win Bronze in 4x100m Freestyle

by KB on July 28, 2012
in 2012 Olympics

The United States women won the bronze medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay Saturday evening at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park. The quartet of Missy Franklin (Centennial, Colo.), Jessica Hardy (Long Beach, Calif.), Lia Neal (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Allison Schmitt (Canton, MIch.) covered the course in an American record time of 3:34.24, which was 1.09 seconds off the Olympic record pace set by the team from Australia. The Netherlands took the silver medal in a time of 3:33.79.

Traveling for a triathlon: The Basics

 

 

If you’re itching to “get away,” but want to keep your vacation as active as your home life, consider a racing vacation.  Finishing a race in a favorite vacation spot can add a real sense of accomplishment to your trip.  When you’re traveling for a race, however, you have an extra level of planning over and above your usual vacation routine.

 

When you’re planning your vacation, you’ll have to choose whether to travel to a particular desired race or find your destination and start looking for a local race.  Triathlon publications and sites for training are great resources for finding races all over the world.  You can also talk to fellow triathletes to hunt down that perfect race and vacation spot.

 

It’s vital to register as soon as possible for the race in which you want to participate.  You don’t want to make travel plans and then discover that the race spots are full or you don’t meet the qualifications to race.

 

Races often have agreements with local hotels to provide special rates for athletes traveling to the competition.  There is a healthy network of hostels in many major cities throughout the world if you’re traveling “on the cheap.”  Check reviews to find the cleanest and best hostels – since they’re run independently, the quality does vary from place to place.

 

Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to acclimate before your race.  You don’t want jet lag to drag down your performance.  If possible, give yourself at least 24 hours before the race start to get rested and ready.  Light exercise and sunlight help the body recover from jet lag.

 

When packing, use a triathlon checklist, and use a separate bag specifically for race gear.  You don’t want to forget anything, since you won’t be familiar with the shops in the local race area.  Arriving prepared ensures a stress-free time before the race.

 

If you’re bringing your bike with you, be sure to pack it according to airline guidelines.  You don’t want bike damage before the race.  Hard-shelled cases are the best bet for your trip, and you might even be able to rent one at your local bike shop.

 

Stay hydrated while you travel.  Air travel is dehydrating to the body, so being mindful of this will help you as prepare for your race.  Avoid alcohol and caffeine, and don’t eat airline foods with a high salt content.

 

Above all, relax and have fun!  And be careful, traveling for triathlons may just turn into a habit.

“Superfoods” to add to your diet

by Matthew on August 1, 2011
in Health, Nutrition


Adding a “superfood” or two to your diet is guaranteed to ramp up your nutrition!  These vegetables and fruits don’t earn the moniker “super” for nothing.  They’re so named because they pack twice the nutrition of other fruits and vegetables.  When you add a superfood to your diet, you’re supercharging your day.

 

KALE

You’ll find kale in the lettuce section of your grocery store, and if you haven’t tried it, now is the time to start.  Kale has dark green and dense leaves, and leaves foods like spinach in the dust when it comes to nutrition.  Packed with vitamins A and C, phytonutrients, carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and calcium, kale is the wunderkind of the dark, leafy greens.  Jam-packed with anti-oxidants, kale is a fantastic addition to your dinner plate.

 

Kale is great in smoothies, and much like spinach, can be thrown into virtually any fruit combination.  Blend it with bananas and strawberries for a morning pick-me-up.

 

Work kale into your lettuce salad, for an extra burst of nutrition.  As you become more accustomed to the flavor, you can gradually replace traditional iceberg lettuce with this superfood.

 

You might even try cooking roughly torn kale into stews – Italian sausage, mushrooms, and kale make a fantastic and very flavorful stew.

 

QUINOA

 

If you’re saying, “Huh?  What’s that?!” then you’re not alone.  The popularity of this ancient food has exploded in recent years, trending upward alongside the increasing popularity of gluten-free diets.

 

Quinoa is delicious, with a nutty flavor that recalls popular grains.  Quinoa is really a seed, and originates in the Andes Mountains.  It’s considered a “superfood” because it is not only considered a whole grain, but it also has the amino acid profile of a protein.  It packs a big nutritional punch, with minerals aplenty, including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, zinc, magnesium, and iron.

 

Quinoa cooks up like rice, with a 2-1 ratio of water to quinoa.  Cook it with a meat or vegetable stock to add extra flavor, and combine it with your favorite steamed veggies for a delectable whole food treat.  In fact, you can use quinoa in pretty much any scenario when you might normally reach for rice.  Quinoa outpaces rice in every way when it comes to nutritional value.

 

Quinoa is very versatile, and you can eat it for breakfast in place of oatmeal.  Traditional oatmeal accompaniments like honey, nuts, or fruit all taste delicious in quinoa.

 

 

Finding a workout partner can improve your motivation

A workout partner is a great way to get and stay motivated.  Time and again researchers have found that exercising with a partner is the best way to improve your weight-loss results.  This underscores how important motivation is to the weight loss and fitness process.  Accepting that you might need a workout partner is the easy part; it’s finding a willing partner that is the trickier prospect.  Here are some ways to find an exercise partner.

 

FIND A PARTNER ONLINE

If you can find a date online, you can surely find a workout partner online.  There are a lot of great sites to facilitate new relationships.  One to check out is Meetup.com, a site that serves as a clearinghouse for all sorts of group meet-ups – not just fitness.  Meet-up features groups of all different kinds, from marathon training to boot camps in the park.  If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can start a Meet-up of your own.

 

ZogSports is a regional sports club (New York, New Jersey, DC) where you can sign up for various intramural leagues and play soccer, kickball, football, and other sports.  Check around to see if your city has a similar offering.

 

Findanexercisepartner.com is yet another site that helps connect two willing exercise partners.

 

MINE YOUR WORKPLACE FOR POSSIBLE PARTNERS

If you work somewhere with others, there is surely someone there who shares your desire to get fit and stay fit.  Post a message in the break room, or post to your work message board that you’re seeking an exercise partner.  Lunchtime workouts are easier on the waistline than a business lunch!

 

BARGAIN SERVICES/COUPON SERVICES

With local “daily deal” sites popping up everywhere, there is bound to be a few options for you to try locally.  From yoga and Pilates sessions, to boot camps and dance lesson, there are deals out there to be had where you can meet and greet possible partners for future workouts.

 

TALK TO A PERSONAL TRAINER

If you use a personal trainer, you might find out if your trainer has any clients looking for a workout buddy.  The trainer may have some insight as to a good partner for you.  You can be assured that your trainer has some insight as to the other person’s exercise motivation and fitness level, so hopefully s/he can be of some help.

Having a workout partner can really keep you motivated and raring to go when it comes to staying fit.  Give one of these options a try, and discover the power of workout out with a partner!

Stretching benefits you need to know about


Stretching:  we all know we need to do it, but if you’re like I once was, you may only have a vague idea as to why. Most of us know that stretching helps with range of motion and prevents injury, but there is more to it than just that!

 

Stretching comes naturally; just see newborn babies stretching their arms and flexing their feet in a stretch.  From the moment we’re in the world, we’re working those muscles.

 

Stretching helps improve your health and fitness in several ways.  It is ideal for improving circulation, posture, and range of motion.  Additionally, stretching decreases your muscle tension, any joint stiffness you may have, and improves relaxation and general athletic performance.

 

You can get a good stretching regimen finished in about 10 minutes.  After the workout warm-up, it’s time for stretching.  If you’re trying to improve your flexibility, you can do the bulk of those exercises after your workout is complete.  Muscles are completely warmed up, and there is ample time for relaxation post-workout.

 

When you’re stretching, stay balanced.  If you stretch muscles on the left side of your body, spend equal time on the right.

 

Don’t “overstretch.”  Unless you’re an aspiring gymnast, there is little reason to push your flexibility to the point of pain or discomfort.  If you feel some tension, that’s fine, just don’t overdo it!

 

Avoid any bouncing motions when stretching.  Bouncing can cause you to go too far, and actually cause injury.
Breathe easy when you’re stretching.  It’s pretty easy to lose track and hold in your breath when leaning into a stretch.  Be mindful, and take deep, cleansing breaths.

 

Some basic stretches include the hamstring stretch, the standing quad stretch and the standing calf stretch.

 

If you want some specific stretches to try, there are many options from which to choose.  The local library should have some volumes dedicated to stretching, and you can order DVDs online as well.  Sites online also have stretching tutorials, as do video hosting sites such as vimeo and YouTube.

 

There are a host of reasons to incorporate a good stretching routine into your workout.  Injury prevention and improved range of motion are just a few of the benefits you’ll see from a good stretching regimen.  One of the best benefits of a good stretching routine is the piece of mind and relaxation associated with a calming stretching routine.

The Paleo Primer: All About Paleo Dieting

by Matthew on July 13, 2011
in Health, Nutrition


If you’ve even been in a used bookstore or thrift store and visited the book section, you can see a graveyard of popular diet books.  It seems that at any given time, somewhere on the bestseller list there will be a diet book selling the next “big thing” in weight loss.  If you follow diet trends, you’ve probably heard of the Paleo Diet, and might be wondering why so many people think it’s so great.

 

The Paleo diet is similar to low and no-carb diets, but there is to be no consumption of grains or gluten.  Central to the eating plan is lean proteins (meat, fish), fruits and vegetables in season, and nuts, seeds, and oils.

 

Those who promote the Paleo way of eating argue that it is beneficial for the body, and especially good for preventing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  Paleo eaters contend that the general focus on reducing saturated fat in our diets is misguided, and that many of our health problems can be attributed to excessive carbohydrate consumption.

 

One research paper found that the Paleo diet reversed the symptoms of insulin resistant Type 2 diabetes in many patients, whereas the Mediterranean diet showed no symptom changes in participants.  This is not to say that the Mediterranean diet is an unhealthy way to eat, but it definitely says something interesting about the benefits of the Paleo diet.

 

Paleo eating can be modified to meet your needs, as long as you follow the basics of the diet.  Introducing grains, legumes, or gluten into your diet is definitely a no-go, but you can experiment with various fruits, vegetables, and proteins to find the right mix of foods for you.

 

Paleo dieters report a host of health benefits with the adoption of this eating plan.  Blood lipid number improvement, weight loss, fewer headaches and pains, better sleep, and improved autoimmunity are all reported benefits of Paleo eating.

 

Paleo dieting is ideal for athletes in training, with lean protein a part of every meal.  Healthy proteins such as lean beef, chicken, turkey, pork and seafood contain Branched Chain Amino Acids, which help in muscle recovery post-workout.  Adding a Paleo-friendly carbohydrate to your protein intake will aid in replenishing glycogen to the muscles.

 

The Paleo diet may be a good fit for you, and if it sounds intriguing, proponents encourage dedicating 30 days to a Paleo plan.  Within 30 days, you should be able to experience the many benefits of Paleo eating, and decide if it is right for you.

The brain is a muscle too!

by Matthew on July 7, 2011
in Health, Nutrition


With all the focus on the body, it’s easy to lose sight of keeping the brain healthy.  One of the things that researchers have learned about the brain is that it must be kept active over a lifetime to stay as sharp as possible.  If you’ve looking for new ways to stimulate your mind, there are plenty of things to try!

 

LEARN A NEW SKILL

 

One of the best ways to exercise your brain muscle is to challenge it with new things.  Learning a new skill is a fantastic way to give your brain a serious workout.

 

In your brain, there are millions of tiny neurons that make connections whenever you learn something new.  The more you repeat that activity, the more your brain becomes accustomed to it, and you gain the ability to go on autopilot, so to speak.  Think of when you learned to type on a keyboard, or how to ride a bike.  These are skills that you don’t have to think of step-by-step anymore, although at one time you most likely did.

 

If you don’t vary your activities, your brain doesn’t have an opportunity to forge new connections.  Combat this by taking up a musical instrument, painting, a new athletic skill, or even mental games like crossword puzzles.

 

EAT THE RIGHT FOODS

 

It almost goes without saying:  eat lots of fruits and vegetables to be sure you’re feeding your brain the nutrients it needs.  Be sure to eat lots of fish to get all your omega-3 fatty acids, and consider a multi-vitamin.

 

PICK UP THE CONTROLLER

 

That’s right; video games can be helpful to your brain health.  Choosing games that require quick thinking and problem solving really can give your mind a workout.  Even Halo requires strategic thinking.  Now, don’t go overboard, but don’t worry if you like to unwind with a little gameplay.

 

GET IN THE POOL

 

While all sports that get the body moving are valuable, running and swimming seem to be particularly stimulating to the brain.  When you’re planning your workout regimen, be sure to make time for these invigorating activities.

 

VISUALIZE YOUR WORLD

 

You may or may not be a visual learner at heart, but visualization can be great for good brain health.  You can improve spatial skills and reasoning by purposefully visualizing your ideas and your goals.  There is also evidence that this can help improve your memory as well.  Go ahead, close your eyes, and give it a try!

Boost your workout results in the pool


If your gym has a pool, you should be utilizing it as part of your workout.  A look at Michael Phelps or other elite swimmers should answer the question: can I get a good workout in the pool?

 

Swimming burns up to 750 calories per hour, so it’s very effective for fat burning and cardiovascular health.  A fully integrated swimming workout is remarkable for keeping in shape, and you may find that you may not even have to be as strict on your eating habits.

 

Each workout should take between 30 and 45 minutes, and you’ll want to be in the pool at least four times per week – preferably five, if you can swing it.

 

The stroke can vary according to your personal tastes.  Beginners might opt for the backstroke, and proceed onward to breaststroke, freestyle, or sidestroke.

 

For those just starting out, warm up either outside the pool and stretch out, or tread water for several minutes and get out of the pool to stretch.  Swim 10 lengths of the pool, taking 30 seconds between each lap.  Each week you can add 100 meters (or more, if you like) to start increasing your intensity.

 

As you grow more accustomed to your new workout, you can move on to something more challenging.  Start your workout with a 200-meter swim, after which you can stretch out.  Follow that with a 100-meter swim, and break up your workout with a set of push-ups and crunches.  Repeat for 10 sets.  Now THAT is a workout.

 

Professional trainers recommend starting your swimming workout after your weight lifting session, since your body will have already shifted into fat burning mode.

 

Swimming is a great workout.  It is low-impact, making it an ideal workout for those of any age, and particularly effective for those who suffer from chronic pain.

 

Swimming also has a mental health component.  It’s meditative in nature, because unlike other workout forms, you can’t listen to music or look at a magazine while doing it.  Concentrate on your strokes, think of a calming mantra, or just stay in the moment while you’re swimming, and you can experience the calming effects of regular meditation.

 

Hopefully, I’ve been able to convince you to add a swimming component to your overall workout regimen is worth considering.  While your workout plan probably isn’t complete with swimming alone, your workout without swimming is missing something pretty amazing.  Give it a try!

Feeling overstressed by urban life? Try these tips for de-stressing

by Matthew on June 27, 2011
in Health


There is something exciting about living in the city – a feeling that something is always happening and that you are somehow a part of it.  However, researchers are finding that while the urban lifestyle is stimulating, it can sometimes cause you to experience greater stress and anxiety than your counterparts in more rural locales.

 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and overstressed, there are some great things you can do to slow it down and relax a bit.

 

QUIET THE NOISE

 

The boisterousness of the city has the potential to really send your cortisol levels to the brink.  Loud sirens, blaring horns, and other ambient city noise can overwhelm the senses, leading to a feeling of being “on the edge.”

 

You can counteract this natural response in several ways.  Some find that meditation is the way to go.  Meditation is as simple as sitting in a quiet room in repose, clearing your mind for as long as it feels necessary.  You can try adding relaxing white noise to focus, as well.

 

CALM YOUR COMMUTE

If you have a commute that causes you tension, then you could definitely be sacrificing some quality of life.  While you can’t easily change where you live or work, you can change how you choose to conduct your commute.

 

Consider public transportation if that is an option for you.  Public transportation may not be right for everyone, but for some, it just works.  Your employer may defray some of the costs of a bus pass, and you’ll be able to read, snooze, or listen to music during your ride.

 

If public transportation just isn’t an option, consider biking or walking for a some or all of your commute.

 

GO OUTSIDE

Some lives are so busy that it is hard to get outside for even a bit.  From home to gym to work, and back again, there is often little time leftover to commune with nature.  Research is clear on the fact that we benefit greatly from getting out into nature, even if it is a walk around the block.

 

Check around your neighborhood and your workplace to find out if there are any parks or other nature preserves where you can spend some time.  Getting some time “in the green”, so to speak, will help you de-stress and get some of yourself back from your crazy life.

Food myths: facts and fiction

by Matthew on June 21, 2011
in Health, Nutrition

Run across any questionable information on the Internet lately?  Yeah, me too.  If there is one thing you can’t trust outright, it’s health claims made by shady sources.  So many people are looking for the “right” answers on how to live a healthy lifestyle – and how to lose weight – that it isn’t surprising incorrect myths that SOUND reasonable start to gain acceptance.

 

YOU’LL LOSE WEIGHT BY DRINKING A LOT OF WATER

 

You’ve probably heard this one a lot.  Even popular weight loss programs encourage drinking 8 glasses of water each day to encourage the weight loss process.  The problem?  In and of itself, water is not going to shrink your waistline.  Researchers have found that water’s weight loss effect may be that it fills your stomach, causing you to eat less at your meal.

 

If you drink a 16-ounce glass of water before your meals, you’re statistically more likely to lose more weight than those who drink nothing prior to their meal.  That water itself does nothing to promote weight loss.

 

YOU’LL GET ACNE BY EATING GREASY FOODS

 

Acne is typically caused by hormones or poorly formulated skin care products.  It is not the case that eating French fries will cause a breakout.  It’s possible to get some of the grease on your fingers, which could cause a breakout if you touch your face excessively.  So, if you’re eating a greasy meal – and let’s face it, you need one every once in a while – be sure to wipe your hands.

 

CARROTS IMPROVE YOUR VISION

 

Carrots have a lot of vitamin A, which is one of the vitamins necessary for good eye health.  However, other foods have a lot of vitamin A as well, like spinach and sweet potatoes.  As long as you’re eating a balanced diet with rich sources of vitamin A, you should be giving your eyes the vitamins they need.

 

TOO MUCH SUGAR WILL CAUSE DIABETES

 

There is a nugget of truth to the claim that sugar causes diabetes, but only insofar as consuming too much sugar causes weight gain.  Being overweight significantly increases your risk of diabetes, so managing your weight by eating sensibly and cutting out frequent sugary drinks and snacks is a wise choice.

 

EATING AFTER DARK CAUSES WEIGHT GAIN

 

Eating too much any time of the day causes weight gain.  It’s not clear where the idea that you shouldn’t eat anything past a certain hour took hold, but as we’ve mentioned before on this site, eating past a certain hour doesn’t cause you to gain additional weight.  That is, unless you’re consuming more calories in your day than you should be in the first place.  Overeating at night is no different than overeating in the morning.  If you crave a snack at 11pm, go ahead, just make it one high in protein and low in sugar.

Increasing your mental toughness

by Matthew on June 20, 2011
in Fitness, Health


Whether you’re working out at the gym or trying to get ahead at the office, mental toughness is something that you need to be truly successful.  Mental toughness isn’t learning how to bully or run roughshod over others to get what you want.  Mental toughness is learning how to come face-to-face with adversity and overcome it with class and panache.

 

There are several things you can do to increase your own mental toughness, and ensure greater success in all areas of your life.

 

EMPHASIZE RESILIANCE

 

One key aspect of mental toughness is a healthy level of confidence.  With a sense of confidence, you’re able to understand that perfection is not a destination.  Many experience a sense of failure when things do not work out as expected.  Those who learn the concept of resilience will be able to evaluate failures for what they are, and figure out ways to leverage experience into success.

 

STAY AHEAD OF THE PACK

 

Those who experience great success, on the field or in the boardroom are at risk of drifting into complacence.  Even when things are going well, it is vital to protect and extend your successes.

 

CHALLENGE YOUR MIND

 

Staying sharp and ahead of the rest requires that you constantly nourish your mind, and challenge yourself to push forward.  Overcoming fatigue and mental exhaustion to finish a project will improve confidence and stretch your limits.

 

CHANGE UP YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE

 

Boredom is your enemy when it comes to physical fitness.  So much of a workout is simply showing up, so making sure that your routine is stimulating will ensure your commitment.  If you compete, try and bring the intensity of competition into your workout.

 

REFOCUS AFTER MISTAKES

 

Mental toughness means that when you’ve made mistakes, you can take those errors and learn from them.  The ability to regroup and make a new plan is absolutely vital if you’re to develop mental toughness.  The next time you face a personal mistake, focus on what you can learn, rather than what you’ve lost.

 

LEARN THE ZEN OF CALM

 

It’s not easy to be calm for some people.  Many may suffer from feelings of frustration and anger when failures arise, and have trouble turning these feelings in a positive direction.  Learning how to remain calm is a hallmark of mental toughness.  Maintaining calm is what will set you apart from the rest when difficult challenges arise.

Kettlebell Workouts – Introduction

by KB on June 16, 2011
in Fitness workouts

kettlebell

Kettlebells come in many weights to target your training.

Kettlebells are becoming one of the leading strength and cardio training regiments used by athletes, celebrities and even the military. Originated in Russia, the kettlebell is a cast iron weight which helps develop explosive power, endurance and burn calories at an astonishing rate.

 

Unlike traditional bodybuilding exercises that seek to isolate and sculpt one muscle, Kettlebell training involves compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, and consequently develop strength and muscular endurance throughout the entire body. Additionally, this type of training integrates one’s breathing, movement and alignment along with the ability to control and balance the weight. This multidimensional approach helps develop a healthy body that is flexible, strong, lean and well coordinated.

There are a host of kettlebell exercises you can perform. Just as with other free weights, the combinations and variations are endless. However, athletes should remember the principle of specificity. Pick kettlebell exercises that most closely match the movement patterns of your sport.

Kettlebell exercises may not be as effective as more traditional free weights for developing maximal strength – an important phase in the athlete’s overall program. The movement patterns and loads they incorporate makes them better suited to converting maximal strength into explosive power and / or strength endurance.

One great way to use kettlebells for working out your core is to perform kettlebell snatches. First off, you want to get a good grip on the kettlebell. With your hand on the kettlebell, lock your arm, squat down, then use your whole body to lift the kettelbell over your head. At the end of the exercise you should be standing with the weight over your head. To add to the difficulty you can swing up, than once standing you can lower the weight down to shoulder height than back up over your head. This momentum building you use by using your body to swing the weight replicates what is required by most sports, making it an ideal exercise.

Here is an example of this exercise:

Why a “bromance” is good for your health

by Matthew on June 10, 2011
in Health

Women frequently get together for drinks, dinner, and movie nights, whereas this is less common among men – especially straight men.  However, the tabloids and movie theaters are full of so-called “bromances” – strong, emotionally fulfilling friendships between two males.  While not all men are comfortable cultivating close friendships with their male acquaintances, it’s actually something that has real health benefits.

 

Social trends have swing in a more open direction in recent years, and men are becoming amenable to the idea of building close friendships with their male friends.  Though many aren’t absolutely comfortable expressing feelings for other men, it is ever more acceptable to communicate with each other in this manner.

 

If you’re not ready to fully embrace the “bromance,” it’s easy to take steps in the direction of building closer and more fulfilling relationships with your male friends.

 

Have your friend’s “back.”

Friends watch out for their friends – that’s pretty simple.  Pay attention to the things going on in the life of your male friends, and make sure they know that you have their back.  Knowing there is a friend you can call on in a time of need is indispensible, and being that person for another is good for the soul.

 

Men with close friends live longer lives.

Researchers confirm that cultivating close relationships improve the quality of life for men.  Men who have close friends live longer lives than those who do not.  In addition, those with several close friends are likelier to exercise and engage in other activities that increase overall level of health.

 

Close friends are stimulating.

 

Close friends stimulate us in many ways, emotionally, intellectually, and physically.  When seeking out recreational activities with others, we’re often asked to try new things that we might not otherwise experience.  Engaging in conversation over dinner, we talk about ideas we might not other wise have.

 

There are so many benefits to be derived from cultivating and growing your personal relationships, including those relationships with other men.  We are all seeking to live longer, happier, and more satisfying lives.  Without good friendships, it is unlikely that we’ll be able to live the ideal life.

 

If you haven’t been able to find a “bromance” of your own, don’t worry.  There is plenty of time to build a solid and satisfying friendship.  Get started by starting a monthly happy hour with one or two good friends.  Beer always gets things flowing, right?

 

How does the Nikon D3100 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera measure up?

by KB on June 1, 2011
in Products

The Nikon D3100 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens – How Does It Compare?
Your normal point and shoot digital camera is not going to always meet all your photography demands. An SLR camera might be just what you’ll need. These specific digital cameras resemble the old manual film cameras earlier made use of by professional photographers. You may find it tough to choose the ideal SLR digital camera. So, let’s examine the particular Nikon D3100 and its particular lens. At the moment, this is the most popular SLR camera on Amazon.com.

One of the nicest factors about this particular camera is not that it comes with a stabilization lens or that it is 14.2 mega pixels. One of the nicest points about this camera is that it features a video shooting feature. The incorporated “full 1080p HD Cinematic Video” feature offers automatic focus along with the ability for you to record sound. Individuals who are proficient in videography can tell you that often a still camera can give you a much clearer visual picture than a standard video camera. So this SLR camera will work very well for still shots and also videography. So it is not surprising that this camera is a bestseller.

Yet another positive feature about this camera is the split second auto focus shooting that it can do. Therefore, it’s really a fantastic camera for taking pictures of sports events or some other scenes with lots of movement. A great many other digital cameras say they will offer quality shooting of high activity scenes then they don’t come through in the end. This digital camera runs at a high shutter speed helping to make perfect shots all to easy to do with the correct photography experience. Of course, the drawback of sports shooting is that it can use up memory cards quite quickly.

One unsatisfying feature of this camera is actually its lack of internal memory other than what it needs to store image shooting software. This means that your storage device is really an additional purchase and the memory cards you will need for this camera (the sort with large amounts of memory) aren’t cheap. These types of memory cards can wind up costing you plenty of cash. This is an additional cost that you are going to need to add to the fairly high price of the camera alone. Consequently, this isn’t the best camera for you personally in case you are on a tight budget.

You will find a tremendous quantity of good reviews for this product. Most are inside the five star range which is a good sign, especially when you consider that hundreds of reviews have been posted for this camera. People love the camera simply because, even though they are amateurs, the camera can make them feel professional. You need to be aware that you must buy additional equipment such as spare batteries, more memory cards, and special lenses if you wish to make the most of this camera, and this can be a considerable expense. On the other hand, even though this digital camera is expensive it will serve you well for quite some time thus making the cost worthwhile.

Unhealthy habits you can break today

by Matthew on May 29, 2011
in Health, Nutrition

We all have habits that we want to break; after all, humans are creatures of habit.  Our habits really make us what we are, and since we all inevitably have a few bad ones, it’s natural to want to break out of our self-imposed ruts.  Here are a few common habits that you can break out of, starting today.

 

Social smoking

 

Social smoking is a habit that is easy to fall into, if you like to spend time out with friends having a cocktail.  Every group of friends seems to have at least one smoker, so it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to join in and take a few puffs yourself.  Next time you’re out, just pass on the cigarette.

 

Even one cigarette can have a detrimental impact on your health.  The immediate harm that comes from cigarette smoke starts with just one puff, so learn your triggers that causes you to want to smoke.  Chew on a straw, a toothpick, a stick of gum, or a even a peppermint to keep your hands busy while your friends take their smoke break.

 

Pass on the “binge” drinking

Busy during the workweek, some men will go out on the weekend and get crazy to blow off steam.  While there are health benefits to moderate drinking (2 or fewer drinks per day), binge drinking will undo those positive side effects.  Consider drinking a seltzer and lime for every cocktail or beer to slow down your alcohol intake, and to reduce your potential for a nasty hangover.

 

Kick the artificial sugar habit

Artificial sweeteners are a blessing and a curse.  By putting them in your coffee and other foods, your body might get a little confused.  See, your brain detects something sweet being ingested, and it expects calories.  When none materialize, you may experience hunger pangs to prompt you to eat even more.  When you want a drink, try black coffee, or just have some delicious ice water!

 

Cut out the diet soda

People are addicted to all sorts of things, and those diet soda drinkers seem to be really on the hook.  While the crisp flavor of diet soda is admittedly delicious to the taste, what really may have its hooks into you is the caffeine.  We associate caffeine with coffee and tea, but popular diet sodas have as much caffeine as a shot of espresso.  At the very least, switch to caffeine-free brands, or try limiting your diet soda intake to once per day.

 

 

Breaking out of your plateau

For the readers that are into pumping iron, it’s almost a certainty that you’ve at one time or another hit that brick wall.  You’ve been lifting for a few months, and the progress is slow and steady, and definitely noticeable.  And then one day – BOOM!  Suddenly you’re not experiencing any improvement at all, and your workouts feel like a waste of time.

 

If you’ve been here, know there is a way out.

 

Even the most experienced trainers find themselves in a rut from time to time.  The trick is to overcome the body’s natural tendency to adjust to the routines you set for it.

 

The body really is an amazing piece of machinery; finely tuned and responds to stimulus.  If you run every day for 2 miles on the same terrain, soon enough, this run will not challenge you.  We understand that we need to vary the distance we travel, the type of terrain we run on, and perhaps introduce intervals to keep the body guessing.  The idea works the same when you’re lifting.

 

The best place to start is by changing your set and rep plan, change the order in which you work out, taking shorter periods of rest, and tracking your progress.

 

Tracking in one area where you can really get tripped up.  Don’t check your maximum bench every week – try every month instead.

 

Another way to introduce some variety into your lifting is to keep your concentric – or upward movement – phase to a one-count, but experiment with the eccentric – or downward – movement.  If you take longer counts in your eccentric movement, you can increase the resistance your muscles experience, which can have a dramatic results.

 

Another way to change up your workout is to implement a box squat.  Box squats are when you sit down on a bench or box at knee-height when doing squat lifts.  By sitting mid-way through your rep, you erase the so-called “rebound effect.”  You don’t have the natural rubber band-like effect of the muscle to decrease your resistance, so your muscle has to work harder to complete the movement.

 

In addition to these ideas, there are others, including such ideas as doing external shoulder rotations to increase shoulder stability.  If you’re well and truly mystified after trying all of these different ideas, consult a trainer who can help you get back on track.  Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged!

Having trouble getting some shut-eye?

by Matthew on May 25, 2011
in Health

There are a variety of reasons why men suffer from sleeping problems.  Chronic sleep difficulties can result from stress, depression, and other “well being” issues, but there may be physical roots as well.  Two new studies even indicate that erectile dysfunction and incontinence may be associated with sleep difficulty.

 

Lack of sleep is not just bad for your health.  It can have all sorts of implications on your general well being.  For example, lack of sleep is associated with obesity, depression, and low mental functioning.

 

SLEEP APNEA

 

We talked about sleep apnea in another recent posting.  This is a condition where the sufferer wakes regularly and repeatedly throughout the night as a result of having had stopped breathing.  Those suffering from sleep apnea will often snore, which is one of the several warning signs.  Those suffering from sleep apnea have a greater risk of stroke and heart attack, in addition to high blood pressure.  If you suspect you’re suffering from sleep apnea, speak to your doctor.

 

INSOMNIA

 

The causes of insomnia are not always clear, but you know if you suffer from it.  Insomnia can be a short-term experience or a chronic problem.  You could be suffering from it if you wake in the night without the ability to go back to sleep, and you cannot trace your waking to “light sleep” or other general disturbances.

 

RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME

Those suffering from restless leg syndrome experience pain in their lower legs and calves.  While the name of the disorder might sound innocuous, it is actually quite painful.  One of the side effects of RLS is the propensity to wake often during the night due to involuntary movement of the legs.  RLS has several treatments that work quite well, so consult with your doctor if you suspect you need help.

 

LIFESTYLE AND STRESS

It’s well known that your lifestyle can have a profound effect on your ability to sleep.  For those who work in high stress professions, the tension can cause great difficulty in settling down to sleep at night.  In addition, one may wake up, and find their mind overflowing with thoughts, worries, and concerns that keep him or her from returning to sleep.

 

Reducing stress is difficult, but possible.  Consider adding exercise to your routine, including yoga or Pilates.  Add a stretching routine before bed.   Get some regular massage.  If possible, find ways to reduce your stress on the job by taking breaks to recharge and refocus.

 

Get healthier by ousting the germs!

by Matthew on May 23, 2011
in Grooming, Health

At the University of Arizona, one enterprising researcher, in cooperation with The Clorox Company, decided to test the levels of bacteria present in the homes of single men and single women.  The researcher intended to find out whether or not the amount of bacteria present in the homes would be dramatically different.

 

We all know that men have the reputation for being less clean than the ladies, and the study did find that single men’s homes indeed had more bacteria than those of the women.  However, the ladies’ homes were pretty dirty too!  Men’s homes had about 15x the amount of bacteria as found in the homes of women, and some surfaces were about the same in the levels of bacteria.

 

If you’re looking to clean up your place, but don’t want to buy expensive products with harsh ingredients, look no further!  Here are a couple of easy ways you can clean up your place without breaking the bank.

 

Cleaning your doorknobs

Since doorknobs and handles don’t get dirty like a floor or dishes, it often slips our minds to clean them.  Yet, it is one of those few things in your home that everyone touches regularly, and before there is an opportunity to wash hands.  Once a week, wipe down all your knobs with an antibacterial solution.

 

Household surface wipes are the easiest way to do this, but you can also use 1 cup of water mixed with about 20 drops of an essential oil like tea tree, lemongrass, or lavender.

 

Get those feet off the coffee table

70% of the coffee tables studied in the research done on singles’ homes contained coliform bacteria.  This type of bacteria is found in the fecal matter of animals – so how did it get on the coffee table?

 

Think about where those feet go when you sit on the couch to watch TV.  Propping your shoes up on the coffee table spreads germs!  Many of these single guys eat in front of the TV too, and their food ends up on this germ-infested surface.

 

Wipe down coffee tables with antibacterial wipes, or a simple wood cleaning solution made of white vinegar, water, liquid soap, and olive oil.  Recipes are easily found online!

 

These are just a few places to start in your journey to clean up your place.  There are some great homemade cleaners that are cheap and easy, and will get your place cleaner than it has ever been before!

Bladder health and you: what do you need to know?

by Matthew on May 22, 2011
in Health

When you think about bladder problems, admit it:  you think about older folks.  People who buy Depends undergarments and have specialized equipment in the bathroom.  Surprise, surprise, though, people of any age can experience bladder issues.

 

We may not often think about our bathroom habits, but we usually notice when there are significant changes.  Going more often, less often, experiencing pain or other unpleasant sensations during urination; all can be potential signs of problems with the urinary tract or pelvic organs.  But, they can also be signs of OTHER potential illnesses.  If you are having bladder problems, it may not just be the bladder!

 

DIABETES

 

If you have to use the bathroom frequently, much more than usual, without any apparent explanation, or you have inexplicably wet yourself because you had no sensation that you had to urinate, you might be experiencing symptoms of diabetes.  This occurs because nerve damage can result when blood sugar is improperly regulated.

 

Speak to your doctor if you are having these symptoms.  It isn’t intuitive to link urination problems with blood sugar problems, so talking to your doctor is a good first step.

 

SLEEP APNEA

 

Sleep apnea is a disorder where sufferers stop breathing during sleep, which causes them to wake.  Urologists often diagnose sleep apnea, since their patients report night urination.  Doctors think that night wakings followed by an urge to urinate is attributable to sleep apnea more so than it is to some kind of bladder issue causing frequent urination.

 

If you are wondering why you’re awakening often, let your doctor know.

 

HYPOTHYROIDISM

 

Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid.  The urge to go to the bathroom, with or without an actual need can be one symptom of hypothyroidism.  In addition to bladder problems, those suffering from hypothyroidism may experience hair loss, weight gain, dry skin, and extreme fatigue.

 

PROSTATE PROBLEMS

 

If you are experiencing sudden and urgent sensations that you need to go to the bathroom, difficulty getting your urination started, or frequent urination, then you could have issues with your prostate.  This is more common in men over 50 than in younger men, but if you’re having symptoms, report them to your doctor immediately.

 

There are more health problems where urinary issues are a symptom, including chronic urinary tract infection, dehydration, falling organs, and more.  If you are experiencing unusual urinary symptoms, talk to your doctor!

Running Shoes Go Minimalist

by Matthew on May 18, 2011
in Fitness, Health

One interesting trend in the world of running is minimalist running shoes.  The idea behind this trend is that humans evolved for thousands of years without sophisticated running shoes.  Surely, they didn’t run for sport – rather, they ran for necessity.  For this reason, runners have experimented with barefoot running.

 

Barefoot running isn’t ideal in many locales, though.  For those who run in urban settings, there is danger of broken glass, sharp rocks, and other painful debris.  There are options for minimalist shoes that will give a close approximation of barefoot running, and it is worth investigating for those who just can’t commit to true barefoot running.

 

Toe Shoes

Toe shoes look very much like toe socks.  They’re shoes made of thin, stretchy material, with a sole made of thin tough material.  There is minimal cushioning, so you still get the barefoot effect, without risking injury to your feet.  Toe shoes allow your toes to splay out, which avoids the problem of a shoe constraining the foot.  In addition, the heel is not lifted in any way, which allows the foot to stay in its natural, neutral position.

 

You may ask, are toe pockets needed in order to be the most “foot-friendly”?  Well, they’re certainly useful.  The foot is actually a very refined piece of machinery, and the toes perform an important function.  Feet know their place in the world, and perceive how to balance the weight of the body instantly.  We don’t have to think about it; it just happens.  Shoes that account for the natural design and function of the foot are ideal.

 

Huaraches

No, we’re not talking about the ‘80s yuppie fashion sandal; we mean sandals patterned after those of the famous running Tarahumara Indians.  These simple sandals are the closest you can get to running barefoot, and also are a lot cheaper than other options.  At Invisible Shoe, you can order a kit to make your own for under $20.  Also, how fun is it to make your own shoes?!

 

More expensive options, like Luna Sandals have less of a DIY aesthetic, but will run upwards of $100 or more for some models.

 

Soft-soled moccasins

If you don’t like your foot exposed to the elements, but still want a natural barefoot walk/run, then consider moccasins.  These cover the feet, while also featuring a soft rubber sole that has no support or drop.  If you prefer the aesthetic look of a full-coverage shoe, than the moccasin is for you!

Aspiring Marathon Runners: Pay Attention!

There seems to be something in the water.  Does it feel like everyone you know is suddenly running half or full marathons?  Maybe it is where I live, but it sure feels like there is some kind of marathon-craze afoot, and hopefully you’ve jumped on board too.

Marathons represent a great challenge to people who love to make and achieve goals.  It’s one thing to run a 5K or 10K, but entirely another to run 13 or 26 miles.  The training requirements are quite different; as is the strategy you use to run the actual marathon.  Every newbie needs to be fully educated before attempting to run a marathon.

In the first three weeks of training, your main struggle will probably to simply get started.  Unsurprisingly, 80% of marathon running is showing up for training, so getting a good start to your regimen is pretty important.  There is a strong mental component to running marathons, so overcoming any ideas of failure is monumental.

Getting your hands on a good running schedule is ideal.  The work is done for you, and there are a ton of different plans and options – not to mention timelines – that will help you get on track for your marathon.  Make modifications as necessary, and set realistic goals about training.  You need longer than a month to train for a marathon.

Once you’ve been training for about a month, the most important aspect of training is to stay committed.  When your friends are headed out to happy hour and you have a 7-mile run ahead, it’s so easy to just skip your training.  Seeing past momentary pleasures is going to be hard, so stay mentally tough as you continue training.

A few months into your training, you will start to want to “gear up.”  Marathoners use Body Glide to prevent unpleasant and painful chafing.  Some men even cover their nipples with bandages to avoid “runner’s chest.”

Start experimenting with your nutritional needs.  You should do some trial-and-error with your meals, finding out which sources of energy will work best for you.  You will want to stay away from anything with high fiber content, and you might consider power gels or energy beans.

As you come into the final weeks before your race, be sure you’re sleeping enough and that you’re stretching properly.  Massage, ice baths, or other ways to soothe pain and injury will help keep you feeling good.  Scheduling a sports massage a few days before your race can help stave off injury.

Say Goodbye to Your Headache!

by Matthew on May 15, 2011
in Health

Headaches are a common malady, one with which we’re all acquainted.  Some are more prone to headaches than others, and you can definitely do things to alleviate your pain.  Headaches affect everyone differently, and there are several varieties of headaches from which you can suffer at any given time.

MIGRAINES

Migraines are more than just an ordinary headache.  If you suffer from migraine headaches, you won’t wonder about it; you’ll know.  Typically migraine headache symptoms include sharp, intense pain on one side of the head.  In addition to the pain, one can also experience sensitivity to light and sound, as well as overwhelming feelings of nausea.  Migraines have “triggers”; things that will set-off the migraine headache.

Some triggers include:

  • Too much or too little sleep
  • Bright lights, strong odors
  • Stress, anxiety
  • Hormones
  • Weather changes
  • Alcohol

Preventing a migraine is best achieved if you can identify your triggers.  Unfortunately, this means you have a process of elimination ahead of you.  You can treat your migraine with over the counter pain relief medications (Excedrin is a popular remedy for sufferers).  If that doesn’t help, consult with your doctor.

TENSION HEADACHE

Having pain on both sides of your head identifies tension headaches.  These types of headaches are common to up to 70% of men.  Stress and neck strain will be the primary cause of this type of headache.  If you have a tension headache, the good news is that you can easily treat them with over the counter pain medications.  Whether you use aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen, you’re likely to find relief quickly.  Also, regular massage to alleviate stress and neck pain will help stave off future headaches.

In addition to massage, you can also be sure that you’re sitting with proper posture.  Sitting on a fitness ball may look silly, but it can do wonders for your posture.  Also, take frequent walks if your job allows.

CLUSTER HEADACHE

If you experience sharp pains right behind your eye, which then seem to go away without cause, you could be experiencing cluster headaches.  These are quite rare, but they do occur.

You’ll want to talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing this type of headache.  Oxygen therapy seems to be the top treatment, in addition to determining if there is an accompanying diagnosis of sleep apnea.  Researchers have found that cluster headache suffers also suffer from sleep apnea at a rate up to 80%.

Multivitamins and you: are the benefits really there?

by Matthew on May 10, 2011
in Health, Nutrition

Many recent studies have thrown cold water on the idea that taking vitamins is beneficial to our health.  Studies conducted by universities around the world continue to come up with results that indicate that maybe all the supplementation that we do isn’t worth it after all.

Alzheimer’s disease benefits from vitamin E?   Studies indicate no.  Vitamin B doesn’t help prevent heart disease, and you can’t expect cancer protection from vitamins A, C, or E.

Not only are there many findings showing a dearth of benefits, but also there are some that indicate over supplementation is harmful.  As far back as 1994, there was a study that showed that high beta carotene intake could lead to a greater chance of lung cancer in male smokers.  Additionally, recent studies cast high folic acid intake in a dangerous light as well.

Megadosing in any form is unwise, unless you’re being directed by your physician and monitored for possible side effects.

Randomized trials performed on vitamins seem to have indicated that the benefits – whether they be reduced chance of disease or otherwise – are likely oversold when it comes to individual vitamins.  That isn’t to say, however, that you should not take a well-rounded multivitamin.  What it does say, however, is that you should be realistic about what benefits you can expect from your multivitamin.

Randomized trials are the “gold standard” in research, but they can have some blind spots when it comes to their results.  For example, for diseases that develop over long periods of time, randomized trials simply can’t “see” these eventualities.  In addition, due to their nature, randomized trials must be restricted to a subset of a population:  women over 65, men between 20 and 40, and so forth.

A 2005 study of vitamin E in women found no cardiovascular benefits from taking vitamin E, but when an analysis of 65+-year-old women was done, there was a 26% reduced chance of cardiovascular occurrences.

So, at the end of the day, it is hard to say for certain that there is any definite benefit to taking vitamins in pill form.  The research isn’t all that promising, but that doesn’t mean that you need to throw your multivitamin in the trash.  Indeed, your doctor likely still recommends that you pop your multi with your breakfast in the morning.  It certainly doesn’t hurt you, and science may yet confirm unknown benefits from supplementation.  Just don’t expect any miracles.

Is It Time To Give Hot Yoga a Try?

by KB on May 1, 2011
in Fitness workouts

If you’re interested in hot yoga, but are not exactly sure what it is, then you’re in the right place.  Hot yoga is pretty simple; the name is very descriptive.  It’s yoga done in a hot room – a room heated to 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit.  There you go!  The question is:  why?  Why do complicated yoga poses in a room designed to make you sweat bullets?  In short, it makes the body more pliable and flexible for posing.

Hot yoga is known as Bikram Yoga, a style innovated by master Bikram Choudhury.  Born in 1946 in Calcutta, India, he and his wife Rajashree were both champions of yoga in India, and brought their talents to the United States.  This famous yoga master founded the Yoga College of India located in Beverly Hills. He developed a series of 26 poses that are to be performed in hot rooms.

Anything trendy among the trendsetters in Beverly Hills is sure to spread, and Bikram Yoga was not exception.  In an effort to stop others from doing his poses in hot rooms and calling it Bikram Yoga, Choudhury has made efforts to copyright the Bikram Yoga experience.  According to Choudhury, there is but one correct way to practice Bikram Yoga, and he wants to certify all those purporting to teach it.

Some claim you can “sweat out toxins”  in their hot yoga class, and that is technically correct.  However, there is a little more to the story.  The body is a very sophisticated piece of machinery, and it has many avenues by which it rids the body of toxins.  When you sweat, you can excrete some materials –  alcohol is one substance that readily expels via sweat.

People who are not sweating profusely each day are still able to rid the body of toxic substances that pass through it.  Oftentimes, people feel cleansed when they combine profuse sweating with an invigorating workout.  This may be why some swear by “sweating out” toxins.

If you’re going to try hot yoga, you need to be sure you have a yoga mat.  This is an important courtesy to your fellow students.  Additionally, be sure you are properly hydrated before going to class, for obvious reasons.  Dress comfortably, as the room will be toasty.  Tight and small is probably better than loose and bulky!  If you are interested in doing true Bikram Yoga, be sure to check ahead of time that your studio has a Bikram-trained instructor.

Hot Yoga For Health and Vitality

If you’re interested in giving hot yoga a try, then there are few things you’ll want to know ahead of time.  Hot yoga is simply certain yoga poses done in a room heated to about 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit.  Simple right?  Wait, why does anyone want to do this in the first place?!

The primary reasons people enjoy hot yoga is because it allows for greater flexibility for posing, and working out and sweating profusely gives a sense of invigoration.

The practice of hot yoga was originated by Bikram Choudhury, who came up with 26 specific yoga poses to be performed in a certain order in a hot room.  You may have heard of Bikram Yoga, originated at The Yoga College of India in Beverly Hills.  Choudhury is fiercely protective of his method, and has sued to ensure that those purporting to teach Bikram are trained in the Bikram method.

Whether you’re taking true Bikram Yoga or doing generic hot yoga, be sure you have a yoga mat (you’ll be sweating!) and light clothing.  You’ll love the feeling of invigoration and vitality when you’re done!

Hot Yoga:  Your Pathway to Better Health

Hot Yoga is exactly what it sounds like:  yoga poses done in a hot room, usually heated to about 95-100 degree Fahrenheit.  Those who do currently do yoga in a more standard form might be interested in taking part in this invigorating style of yoga.  Not only does it help make the yoga experience more intense and refreshing, it also is just something different to try and perk up a workout routine.

Bikram Choudhury, a yoga master from Calcutta, India, first popularized this type of yoga.  He made his way to Beverly Hills, where he founded The Yoga College of India.  Bikram Yoga is a specific set of 26 poses to be performed in a certain way at a certain temperature.  Choudhury is fiercely protective of his name and yoga style, and not all hot yoga is certified Bikram Yoga.

Whether or not you are taking a true Bikram class or not, you can still feel benefits from performing hot yoga.  If you are planning on attending a class, be sure to take with you a yoga mat and clothes that will be of comfort in a hot workout setting.  Once you’re done with the class, we’re sure you’ll be back for more!

The hidden benefits of Vitamin D

by Matthew on April 30, 2011
in Health, Nutrition

Vitamin D is a great way to jump-start your plan to improve your diet.  In a previous blog post, we talked a bit about how Vitamin  D can go far to improve your energy levels.  But there is even more to the story.  Vitamin  D does far more for our bodies than scientists have even imagined.

One of the main problems with our Vitamin  D intake is that we simply don’t get enough.  Vitamin  D deficiencies are responsible for any number of individual maladies, and the only solution is to try and get enough – whether that be through supplementation or just getting out in the sun more.

Vitamin  D is known for helping bone and joint health and assisting the body in absorbing calcium.  Those with low levels of vitamin D are prone to such diseases as osteoporosis and pain in the joints.  Sufferers of arthritis and back pain may find that correct levels of vitamin D help alleviate discomfort.

The main source for vitamin D is sunlight.  If you suspect you are deficient in Vitamin D, start making efforts to get yourself in the sun for about 15 minutes per day.  The rule-of-thumb is about an hour per week, if possible, and many people don’t even get that.

Instead of working out at the gym, consider taking a walk or run through the neighborhood on a sunny evening.  Eat your lunch outside.

Even if you get plenty of face time in the sun, you still could be deficient in Vitamin D.  As you age, your body is less proficient at processing vitamin D, and when that happens, it is time for supplementation.

You probably already know that your milk is fortified with vitamin D.  Be sure you’re drinking the recommended amount of milk, or take a vitamin supplement.  You can get vitamin D in omega-3 fatty acid rich foods, like fish.  The old standy-by of cod liver oil is another way that you can make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D.

As in anything, you never want to take too much.  With the surge in vitamin D attention lately, people have been super supplementing; taking in far more vitamin D than is necessary to stay healthy and happy.  This can be harmful to the body.  Whatever has power to help the body also has the potential to hurt.  Consult with your doctor to be sure that you are taking an appropriate dosage of vitamin D.

Give your energy a BOOST

by Matthew on April 30, 2011
in Health, Nutrition

If you’re feeling like a drag in the energy department, you’re not alone.  One of the chief complaints as we grow older is our lack of energy and verve.  If you’re looking for ways to boost your energy, you’re in the right place.  Today we have a long list of ways that you can jump-start your energy levels, giving you that feeling you’re so eager to recapture.

EAT FISH

Fish is a healthy animal protein packed with omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3’s have many benefits, including alleviating symptoms of depression, and spurring on an energetic and happy feeling.  Fish alternatives with the same benefits include flaxseed, walnuts, or fish oil supplements.

CHECK YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE

Those men with chronically elevated blood pressure are prone to sustained fatigue.  Getting your blood pressure treated by a physician can help you to regain your energy and joie de vive.

HYDRATE!

Drinking plenty of fluids is a way to supply the body with plenty of energy.  If you grow dehydrated, you are prone to feelings of tiredness.  If you are “dry,” then so is one of your prime sources of energy.

INCREASE YOUR FIBER INTAKE

Researchers have discovered a link between fiber intake and your energy levels.  For those who eat more fiber, they experience more energy and vitality.  Fiber is also good for so many other aspects of your health; you really can’t go wrong when you increase your fiber.

SNACK REGULARLY

Choosing healthy snacks throughout the day can help fuel your body.  People experience fatigue when they allow their blood sugar to dip too low.  Food fuels the body; eating fruits, vegetables, and other snacks like whole-grain crackers or nutrition bars are a prime way to keep your energy levels high.

ENSURE YOUR THYROID IS HEALTHY

A malfunctioning thyroid may be the culprit if you’re experiencing chronic fatigue.  If you suspect your low energy isn’t just a function of a poor diet or insufficient exercise, you may want to rule out thyroid problems with your doctor.

FIRE UP THE SUNLIGHT

Perhaps you live in a part of the country that doesn’t get much sunshine.  Those who live in parts of the world that don’t get much sunshine sometimes experience fatigue as a result of having a low Vitamin D intake.  Be sure to take a Vitamin D supplement, if needed, and consider getting a sunlamp and follow recommended exposure times each day.

Jobs that help you stay fit

by Matthew on April 29, 2011
in Fitness, Health

There are a huge number of jobs out there that don’t promote an active lifestyle.  Sedentary work tends to be in the information sector – a growing field.  Those who have these jobs are always encouraged to find other ways to stay fit.  One of the greatest advantages of having a job that requires a lot of physical work is that it helps to keep you fit and healthy.  You’ll burn plenty of calories during the day, which contributes to a healthy lifestyle.

DELIVERY DRIVER

Delivering goods requires a lot of speedy movement, lifting, and other taxing physical work.  Some companies like UPS are unionized, and pay good wages to their workers.  Spending 6-8 hours delivering packages will go a long way to burning calories and keeping you fit.

PERSONAL TRAINER

Getting into the field of personal training is another option.  Personal trainers can make a good wage, whether working in a gym or consulting with clients privately.  If you are going to become a personal trainer, it is a good idea to investigate the various organizations that certify trainers.  Get a widely respected and recognized certification (NSCA, NASM, ACSM, or ISSA), and you could go far helping others stay in shape, while you stay in shape yourself.

LIFEGUARD

Lifeguarding is a great line of work for those who are looking for something on a more part-time basis.  Lifeguarding typically pays just north of minimum wage, but the work is exciting and often is accompanied by gorgeous weather.  In order to certify for lifeguarding, you must be able to swim 500 yards without stopping, and be able to swim to the bottom of a 10-foot pool to retrieve a weight.

FIREFIGHTER

Becoming a firefighter is perhaps one of the most physically demanding jobs out there, short of some military professions.  In order to qualify to become a firefighter, you must be in top physical condition.  There is a taxing written exam, testing on all aspects of the job of firefighting.  In addition, you have to climb 180 steps in just three minutes, and 50 pounds will weigh you down.  Add to that dragging around a 165-pound weight on an obstacle course, and you have just the minimal physical requirements for firefighting.

All of these jobs require you to be in top physical condition, and all are rewarding as well.  If you’re looking for a change of job scenery, look into one of these great professions!

Focus on eye health: what you need to know

by Matthew on April 27, 2011
in Health, Nutrition

A treatment for blindness could be on the horizon.  Researchers, in their pursuit to treat people with eye ailments, have discovered a source of hope from an unlikely place:  the ocean.  That’s right; algae, that green plumage of the sea, recently made an appearance in an issue of Molecular Therapy as a treatment for blindness.

In rats, that is.

Researchers at the University of Southern California extracted a gene existing in green algae, and inserted it into a harmless virus.  That was then injected into the eyes of mice that had gone blind.  Those who had received this injection soon were running a maze with the same skill as sighted mice left untreated.

The reason that many go blind is due to degeneration in photorecepters in the eye.  This can be due to illness or age-related factors.  Without a sensitivity to light, the eyes simply cannot work correctly; it is as though you’re always in a darkened room.

Algae, dependent on photosynthesis to make light, work very much like the photorecepters in our eyes.

Researchers at USC hope to have human subjects within two to three years, and they are confident that this promising therapy will work in humans as well as they have worked on mice.

Now, if you’re interested in protecting your eyes, there are many things that you can do today that don’t require algae injections.

High-glycemic diets are shown to elevate risk for age-related eye ailments by a whopping 49%.  Take a look at your diet, and figure out where you can cut the sugar.  Consult the Internet to find low-glycemic index foods to replace your high sugar snacks.

Two important nutrients, called zeaxanthin and lutein, are shown to prevent damaging blue light from the sun.  Spinach is a rich and delicious source of these two amazing nutrients.  Cook the spinach to get the lutein; raw spinach doesn’t release lutein.

Mangoes are another source of eye-supporting nutrients.  Packed full of beta-carotene, along with vitamin C and E, mangoes have carrots beat for eye-supporting power.  If you’re not a big fan of mangoes, throw one in your smoothie and mask the flavor with another delicious fruit.

Supporting your eye health may not jump to mind when you’re thinking about your diet, but you can help keep your vision sharp by making a few small changes.  Think about your eye health; you won’t be sorry!

Family friendly Coleman Instant 14 by 10 Foot 8 Person Two Room Tent

by KB on April 26, 2011
in Products

Setting up this tent is a breeze

Camping with 3 kids under the age of eight seems like a chore rather than fun especially when you consider all the sleeping bags,gear, clothes, and objects found during your nature hikes.  Weather can not be a factor; you’ve brought everybody this far, you need to feel secure you can stay the night (or the week) dry and comfortable.  You don’t want to be fighting your way through the tent set up; you want it done so the fun can begin!  The Coleman Instant 14- by 10- Foot 8- Person Two Room Tent is what you need.

Do I really need a tent this big?

Camping tents are rated by the number of people they can accommodate. But these ratings are like how many peanuts my six year old can eat at once because his older brother thought it would be cool… ridiculous.  When they say it’s a 4-person tent, they mean 4 people and nothing else, no gear, noting but 4 closely placed sleeping bags. If you’re not back packing with it, think bigger.

This tent "sleeps" 8 and can fit a couple of queen sized air mattresses

Consider going 1-2 sizes bigger than what you need for a smaller camping tent or divide the “person rating” by 2 so you’ll have a decent amount of room if you have to stay inside due to nasty weather. Dry people, dry gear means good times can still be had even if it rains. Plus, “kid stuff” always takes up more space even though it’s smaller than our stuff.

Space for it all

Yes Dad, you can actually stand up comfortably in this tent.  With a center height of 6 feet 5 inches and vertical walls, you can live in this tent, not crawl and slouch through your day.  The base measurement of 14 by 10 feet ensures room for everyone and everything (fits two queen airbeds easily– an important note for this city gal).  You have a choice of sleeping in one large room with enough space for eight, or dropping down the divider and turning the tent into two rooms. Two doors and seven windows means plenty of ventilation and  practically a 360-degree view.

Rain, rain, stay away – but if you come I’m not worried!

Wind and rain is everyone’s worry when planning a camping trip.  Mother Nature makes no guarantees you so need to be ready.  The Coleman Instant 14- by 10- Foot 8- Person Two Room Tent has Coleman’s exclusive WeatherTec system with thick waterproof walls and welded floor.  What does this mean?  The tent’s exterior is tough and long-lasting, with heavy-duty 150D construction that’s twice as thick as Coleman’s standard tent fabric. Coated polyester (weather resistant) fabric combined with anti-wicking thread, webbing and zippers all designed to keep you dry. Protected, leak-free seams plus hidden needle holes inside the tent on all floor seams to keep elements out and dramatically increase weather resistance.  When combined with the fully taped rain fly seams, the tent can even keep you dry without requiring a separate rain fly.   The use of welding technology rather than needle holes in the floor give it strength and worry-free water-proofing.  A strong, wind-responsive frame plus redesigned anchors increase it’s performance that Coleman exposes its WeatherTec tents to a rain room that simulates nasty downpours, and to a wind machine capable of blowing hurricane force gusts.

Quick set up so play can happen!

Tired of tents that promise a quick setup, but still have you cursing over ropes and poles while the kids are whining about wanting to hit the lake?  How about a 5 minute set up can a collapse time of a minute or less? The Coleman Instant 14- by 10- Foot 8- Person Two Room Tent is the answer for you.  The pole system is pre-attached to the tent for a seamless process.  Here’s how the assembly works: unfold the tent, spread it out, extend the poles, click them together and lock them in place.  Yes, that is it.  It will take you longer to settle the argument over who gets the first s’more that night.

This great tent becomes perfect with this…

You'll want to upgrade the stakes to handle blustery weather

If you read a lot of reviews for this tent,  one “minus” pops up frequently – the included tent pegs.  Do the included tent pegs work?  Yes.  However, if the weather gets super bad, you will feel more secure if the pegs are more substantial than metal ones provided.  Upgrade the pegs for anywhere from $3-$8 dollars (for a pack of 6) and you are good to go.  Consider COGHLANS Tent Stakes / Pegs 9″ ABS Tent Pegs Md: 9309. or Coghlan’s Ltd Tent Pegs 12In Abs 6Pk 9312

Where to get this tent?

You can buy the Coleman Instant 14- by 10- Foot 8- Person Two Room Tent on Amazon.  It is eligible for free shipping with Amazon Prime and price compares favorably at the other sites I checked.  Click here to view it on Amazon.

How about other reviews?

Amazon has great reviews of this tent.  Click here to see them all.

Men’s Health Issues You Need to Know About

by Matthew on April 25, 2011
in Uncategorized

There are several significant risks to men’s health that can fly under the radar.  If you know from the start what it is that is a major threat to your health, you can make the appropriate changes to your lifestyle to lower your risks.

The top threat to male health is heart disease.  Luckily, there are many ways to reduce your risk of contracting heart disease.  Reducing smoking, eating a diet of healthy foods including fruits and vegetables, and integrating physical activity into your day are just a few easy things that will change your life.  Naturally, you want to maintain a healthy weight, and avoid high amounts of stress.  Obesity and stress are two risk factors for heart disease.

Cancer is another major risk to men’s health.  Cancer does strike without warning, but there are risk factors that increase your chances of contracting the disease.  Smoking is a major driver of lung cancer, for example.  All forms of tobacco can put you in danger of cancers.  Like heart disease, maintaining healthy weight reduces cancer risk factors.  Wearing sunscreen reduces your risk for skin cancer, and limiting alcohol intake protects your colon, lung, kidneys, and liver.

The number three cause of death for men isn’t health-related.  In fact, it is motor vehicle accidents.  When taking to the road, consider staying at the speed limit, always wearing your safety belt, and never drinking and driving.

Chronic lower respiratory disease is another danger point for men.  Clearly, smoking is one major contributing factor to developing chronic lower respiratory disease.  Washing hands properly and using hand sanitizer where appropriate can help prevent getting sick with such things as pneumonia.

Men are also in danger of having a stroke, which risks are lowered when engaging in a healthy lifestyle.  By limiting foods high in salt, saturated fat and cholesterol, men can more easily eat a diet that helps prevent disease.

Some men are prone to depression, and suicide is one unfortunate result of untreated depression.  If you feel hopeless, have lost interest in normal activities, or are unhappy without the ability or will to “snap out of it,” then it might be worth investigating these feelings with a health professional.  Treatment is available practically anywhere, and help and support exists.

These are just a few of the health risks that can plague men.  As you can see, by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can reduce your risk for contracting one of these unfortunate diseases.

Improving your fitness while on the job

If you’re like many Americans, you have a job that is sedentary in nature.  Whether you work in an office, out of your home, or out of a vehicle, you spend most of your days on your posterior.  Technological advances in the last 30 years have eliminated about 2,000 calories that office workers of yesteryear burned in the course of the day.  So, how can you start burning a few more calories without changing the type of work that you do?

1) Modify your office space.

Even if you work in a cubicle or shared space, you can alter your area to burn more calories throughout the day.  Getting a fitness ball is a great replacement for your office chair.   Fitness balls promote proper posture, and engage your core as you sit at your desk.  You’ll make many small movements throughout the day when sitting on a fitness ball, and you’ll definitely burn more calories than sitting in a chair.

You can also inquire with your facilities manager about stand-up desks.  These are desks that taller, not designed for use with a chair.  This option will definitely burn more calories throughout the day than a traditional desk!

2) Meetings “on the go.”

For one-on-one meetings, consider discussing business while walking around the block a few times.  For informal meetings that don’t require PowerPoint or note taking, an on the go meeting is perfect.  Recommended for brainstorming, since movement fuels creative juices!

3) Lunchtime workouts with a partner.

If you have a fitness center at or near your work place, find a partner and start making your lunch hour a calorie-burning enterprise.  Finding time to workout is difficult, so lunchtime is perfect.  An hour is long enough for a 30-minute intensive workout and a shower.  Eat at your desk instead.  Another benefit of lunchtime workouts:  forget the 3 o’ clock doldrums; you’ll be too invigorated.

4) Take control of takeout.

If work will provide lunches for upcoming meetings or conferences, consider volunteering to handle the catering arrangements.  If you are in charge of ordering the food, you can ensure that there are plenty of healthy options to eat.

5) Keep healthy snacks in your drawer.

Preparation is the best way to avoid bad choices.  Forget getting snacks at the vending machine; start packing your own healthy options and keep them in your desk.  There are a bunch of choices:  whole grain, high fiber cereals, tuna packets in foil, nutrition/protein bars, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Low-Carb Dieting: Passé dieting fad or path to weight loss?

by KB on April 20, 2011
in Nutrition

In the years since the low-carb dieting made a comeback in the late ‘90s, it’s popularity as the “it”  diet of choice has waned.  Other plans placing more emphasis on a balance of carbs, proteins, and fats have grown more popular, with their focus on controlling calorie intake.  Diets in general have a low incidence of success, and many of those who lose pounds regain them within one year.  Inquiring minds wonder, were we too quick to dismiss low-carb dieting?

Low-carb diets come in many forms.  Atkins, The Zone Diet, South Beach, Sugar Busters and other diets that rely on restricted carbohydrates make their claims based on the idea that too many carbs prevents the body from burning fat for energy.  This idea flies in the face of the typical low-fat, high-carb plans, which rely on a restricted calorie model for weight loss.

Hardcore low-carb dieting puts the body into a state of ketosis, where the body has exhausted its glycogen stores and burns fat exclusively.  Some doctors claim this is harmful, but the science is not settled.  Claims that those in extended ketosis will experience liver problems abound, but recent science indicates that periodic dietary ketosis is completely natural.

If you’ve struggled with traditional low-calorie diets and can’t seem to get your weight loss moving, then low-carb dieting is a viable option.  All diets (yes, including Atkins) do allow for some carbohydrates, usually after a 2-week period at the beginning of the diet meant to get the body into fat-burning gear.  Adding back carbohydrates is done by increasing vegetable intake and consuming exclusively whole-grain products.  Consuming sugars and products made from white flour can halt progress of a low-carb diet, so there is some willpower involved in low–carb dieting.  In fact, many low-carb dieters find they have to “detox” from the powerful cravings they experience from sugar and white flour “addictions.”

In 2003, a meta-analysis found that low-carb diets are at least as successful as typical low-fat, calorie-restricted diets for losing weight.  A 2007 JAMA study actually found women experienced greater success than women following the Zone, Ornish, or LEARN diets.  This isn’t to say that everyone who goes on Atkins will experience great success, but there is reason to believe that low-carb dieting has the potential to be successful.

When considering the low-carb lifestyle, learn as much as you can about the various options.  You don’t necessarily have to give up bread forever, but you will have to drastically cut back.  On the flip side, you may find that after a while, you feel satisfied and full, but you’re still losing the weight.  Now THAT is success.

Remember Low-Carb Dieting?  It Still Works!

If you’re trying to lose weight, you have probably considered the low-carb lifestyle.  Low-carb dieting is touted as the “easy” way to lose weight, because it allows for greater calorie consumption in addition to greater protein and meat consumption.  This indicates that people will feel fuller and more satisfied when eating low-carb.  In fact, this is one of the best reasons to try low-carb dieting.  You can eat to satisfaction, which helps keep willpower to lose high.

Low-carb diets come in different forms, with Atkins, The Zone Diet, and South Beach being quite popular.  A low-carb diet does not necessarily mean eschewing all breads and sugars, but typically the carbs in a low-carb diet come exclusively from whole grains and vegetables – emphasis on the vegetables.  It isn’t the case that low-carb dieting doesn’t take any willpower – in fact, many who go the low-carb route described struggles as they “detox” from sugar and white flours.

The low-carb way is a viable option for those who’ve failed with low-calorie and low-fat diets.

Low-Carb Dieting is No Worn-Out Fad!

Low-carb dieting has lost some of its cachet in recent years, after quite a run in the late 1990’s.  Despite its waning popularity in an industry famous for “the next big thing,” low-carb dieting has quietly helped many people lose weight effectively.

Low-carb dieting is a great option for those who’ve struggled with hunger when engaging in typical low-fat, calorie restricted diets.  The need for willpower to ignore hunger is a weak point in the low-fat diet ethos, a point that causes failure among many.  The statistics for losing weight and keeping it off are sobering; enough to cause people to throw up their hands and not try at all.  This doesn’t need to be – you should try low-carb before giving up.

Low-carb dieting does not mean you have to eschew carbs all together.  Carbs are usually included in all diet plans in the form of vegetables and whole grains.  This food is delicious and satisfying, and combined with healthy proteins, causes quick and relatively painless weight loss.

Fasting to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease?

by Matthew on April 20, 2011
in Nutrition

People often fast before surgeries and medical procedures, for religious reasons, and unwillingly when sick.  However, some researchers are beginning to wonder if there is a health benefit to a weekly 24-hour fast.  You may be surprised that a doctor would recommend 24-hours without food, but some men report a greater sense of health and well being, as well as rapid fat loss with the addition of a weekly fast.

A fast is simply abstaining from food for 24 hours.  You still can drink anything non-caloric, leaving your diet soda, tea, black coffee, and ice water as safe to drink.  That’s it!  Depending on your personal willpower, this may or may not be a good option for you.

Two studies were conducted that sought to investigate the health benefits of fasting.  In the first study, scientists surveyed 200 people on whether or not they engaged in regular fasting.  Those who did had a 12% less chance of having diabetes and heart disease than those who did not fast.

A second study was conducted with 30 individuals who were not fasters prior to the study.  These participants were asked to abstain from food for 24 hours, and then have a day of regular eating.  Researchers collected blood samples from both days, and found that the men had elevated levels of human growth hormone (HGH) – about 20 times higher – on their day of fasting.

Having elevated levels of HGH is a good thing!  Your body becomes aware it is out of food, and the signal goes to the pituitary to release HGH.  In turn, the body starts using fat for energy instead of turning to muscle.  This is the ideal way to burn energy, since losing muscle is counterproductive to any fitness program.

Researchers posit that greater surges of HGH in fasters cause them to have a lower body mass index (BMI), which in turn reduces their chances for heart disease and diabetes.

Researchers still need to find a way to study fasting over the long-term, since these studies are strictly observing fasting benefits in the short term.  There is no way to know yet if these HGH benefits have lasting power.

While experts don’t typically recommend fasting, it is because of the belief that the body will resort to muscle stores to replenish energy.  Other fitness advocates disagree, saying that implementing a fast each week can be very beneficial to a high-quality fitness routine.

Is it Time to Hire a Personal Trainer?

by KB on April 18, 2011
in Fitness workouts

Deciding whether or not to hire a personal trainer is a question mainly of money. After all, they can be expensive relative to a regular gym membership.  Personal training, though, is a great way to jump-start your workout routine, and to learn proper technique if you haven’t worked out much in the past.

Personal trainers are typically certified by some variety of national fitness organization.  There are different organizations, and some are more reputable than others.  It is recommended that you do some research to make sure that the certifying organization meets your expectations for quality and reputation.

Personal training typically runs anywhere from $50/hour and up.  Upscale gyms tend to charge more for their services, and you may be able to find someone to work with you for less.

Personal trainers should provide a certain baseline of services for you, including outlining a training plan with specific goals and benchmarks, providing accountability, encouragement to reach your goals, and basics about strength training, cardio and nutrition.

Typically, personal training sessions last about an hour, and your first meeting will include a session of assessing your current fitness level.  You’ll probably get weighed, have your body fat measured, and run down your individual fitness goals.

When you’re evaluating prospective trainers, as we mentioned, you’ll want to check their certifications.  It isn’t necessary for your trainer to have a 4-year degree in exercise science or some related field, but it certainly can’t hurt.  However, it is important to stress that there are some great trainers out there without a degree.  Hopefully your trainer is up-to-date on his or her CPR and first aid certifications as well.

Depending on your goals, you may want to find a trainer that specializes in your particular need.  For example, bodybuilders have a different focus and set of needs than do those aiming for weight loss.  Still others are training for marathons and other athletic events, and require a different kind of training regimen.  Whatever the case may be, you’ll want to find a trainer who can meet your individual needs effectively, and has the experience to get results.

Don’t forget to find someone with a friendly personality who can also “crack the whip.”  One of the benefits of having a trainer is having someone keeping you on track.

Check out your local gym for a list of available trainers or check online for that perfect person to help you meet your fitness goals.

Is it Time to Hire a Personal Trainer to Get in Shape?

Most people would love to have a personal trainer by their side for every workout.  The main obstacle is, of course, the expense of doing so.  If you’re weighing whether or not it is time to hire a personal trainer, then it’s important to know the benefits you’ll realize by doing so.

The right personal trainer is accredited by a reputable fitness organization.  They provide guidance as you seek to make fitness goals, they educate you on the proper way to perform exercises, and they provide accountability as you progress toward your fitness goals.

Training typically runs about $50/hour and up, though that will vary widely depending on your locale.  The expense is a good motivator for some, as it is an investment in fitness.

Finding a trainer is not difficult, with plenty of options right at your local gym.  Give it a try, and you might surprise yourself with your progress!

Personal Training May Be The Right Choice For You

If you’ve been struggling to get in shape, then the idea of hiring a personal trainer has likely crossed your mind.  Hiring a personal trainer isn’t just for the wealthy; anyone can experience the great benefits of a trainer, even if it is for a short time.

Personal training is beneficial for many reasons, not least of which that they provide good education and support to individuals struggling with some aspect of fitness.  Trainers are there to help instruct people on an effective training regimen, proper form and technique, and to provide accountability.

Typically trainers are certified by some recognized fitness organization.  Researching your trainer’s education and experience can give you a good idea of whether or not they’re equipped to help you meet your goals.

Finding a trainer is as easy as stopping at your local gym, and interviewing some of the trainers on hand.  You can also check the Internet for local trainers with a particular specialty.

Male-pattern baldness: what to do about it?

by Matthew on April 16, 2011
in Uncategorized

Hair loss is one of the most distressing health issues for men.  Sure, it isn’t something that actually affects day-to-day health, but it certainly has an effect on how men view themselves.  Having a feeling of confidence and well-being is necessary for good health, so feeling comfortable about one’s own hair is important.

On a typical scalp, there are about 100,000 follicles, which have about a two to three year growth cycle.  Once that cycle is complete, there is a span of time called “involution,” a period of rest, which lasts about 3 months.  When this occurs, some follicles die, which is why we lose hairs.  At some point, the follicle starts growing hair anew, but not always.

Male-patterned baldness is common; about ½ of all men have it by age 50, and it is a consequence of hormones and genes.  It begins with a receding hairline or a bald spot, possibly both.  Some unfortunate men have this begin in their teen years, while others don’t see symptoms until age 50.  The resulting hair could just be thinner, or it could be completely gone.

Scientists believe that a single gene creates male-patterned baldness, with varied penetration, which is why severity varies from man to man.  The gene can be present in both men and women, but it’s the male hormone testosterone that “activates” it.

There are two medications used to treat baldness, minoxidil and finasteride.  Minoxidil is marketed as Rogaine, a nonprescription lotion.  The medication extends the period of growth for hair follicles, and must be used regularly to have its effect.  Men using Rogaine have found that it is most effective at treating bald spots.  About 36% of men felt the product was worth the time and energy after several years of use.

Finasteride is an oral tablet, which acts by blocking the hormonal process that causes baldness to occur.  You may have heard it called Propecia.  Propecia also has moderate success among users, with 50% of men taking the pill noticing a positive difference in hair growth.

In addition to these medicinal options, there are of course surgeries and hair transplants, and the old standby toupee.  There are ways to reverse hair loss, though they are certainly not full proof.  For those seeking a solution to male pattern baldness, start simple, and progress toward more extreme options.  In other words, don’t start with surgery; give minoxidil or finasteride a try before getting expensive surgical treatments.

Aromatherapy Basics: Enhancing Your Life With Invigorating Aromas

by KB on April 13, 2011
in Uncategorized

If you’ve ever wondered what aromatherapy is, you’re not alone.  It sounds a little “woo woo” to those who don’t usually try alternative therapies, but chances are, you’ve already experienced a form of aromatherapy.  Do you enjoy a scented candle?  How about breathing in some fresh flower blooms at the store?  This is aromatherapy.  As natural lifestyles have become more and more popular, aromatherapy has also increased in acceptance.

Oils used in aromatherapy come from all over the world, including the US, South America, Europe, Africa, and more.  Spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health can all benefit from the use of aromatherapy.  It can influence your emotional outlook in profound ways, since the sense of smell is one of the most powerful senses we have.

Think back to a time when you smelled something that stopped you in your tracks.  Smell is extremely effective at conjuring up memories, which is why aromatherapy can be very useful in promoting good emotional well-being.

You don’t need any special tools to engage with aromatherapy, and you can take it with you wherever you happen to be going.  Keeping some of your favorite oils in your purse or at the office can help to keep you feeling fresh and alert while away from home.  Putting oils into your bath at home can give you that extra sense of relaxation.  You can also put car diffusers in your vehicle to get that feeling of calm no matter where you are going.

A great way to try out aromatherapy is to get a few basic oils for common problems.  Lavender is the perfect way to soothe yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed.  If you’re feeling draggy and need a pick-me-up, a spritz of peppermint might be the perfect way to feel back on track.

Essential oils are the foundation of aromatherapy.  Each essential oil has its own characteristics and use, so consulting with someone experienced with aromatherapy is recommended.  Along with lavender and peppermint, eucalyptus, tangerine, and sandalwood are some other popular essential oils.  There are hundreds of different options, so there is sure to be a scent that appeals to you.

If you want to rub the oils into your skin, you should mix a few drops of essential oil with ”carrier oil”  – usually sweet almond or rosehip seed oil.  At this point, you can just rub it in!

Aromatherapy is worth exploring if you’re looking for a natural way to enhance your lifestyle.  It takes very little effort to get started, and the gift to your senses is worth the investment!

Aromatherapy Basics for the Absolute Beginner

Aromatherapy is extremely beneficial, and it’s worth exploring if you haven’t made it part of your life.  Essential oils are useful for such things as awakening the senses, invigorating the mind, and promoting a sense of relaxation.  With thousands of options when it comes to essential oils, there is certainly an aroma that will appeal to practically anyone.

Smell is, arguably, the most powerful sense.  Smelling a familiar smell can cause instant recall, bringing the mind instantly to a specific point in time.  A sense this powerful can be used very effectively to promote any number of healthy states of mind.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, a whiff or two of lavender can calm the nerves.  For those feeling draggy, peppermint essential oil may be the ticket to feeling re-energized.

Aromatherapy is easy to get into; all you need to begin is some essential oil, and perhaps a spray bottle and some carrier oil.  From there, you can start making your own personal concoctions to enjoy the full benefits of aromatherapy.

Getting Started With Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a beneficial way to experience the great power of the senses.  One of the most potent of the senses is the sense of smell.  Think about it:  ever been out, smelled a familiar smell, and instantly been transported to a moment in your past?  While aromatherapy isn’t an avenue to remembering your past, it can be an avenue to almost instant emotional well-being – at least for a time.

Getting started in aromatherapy is incredibly easy.  There aren’t any special tools needed; most people just start with a few essential oils they like, a spray bottle or mixing bottle, and a “carrier oil” to aid in essential oil absorption.    Lavender is a great option if you’re looking for greater relaxation.  For those seeking a pick-me-up, consider peppermint oil for a try.

As you grow more experienced with aromatherapy, you can research recipes and experiment with your own oil mixtures.  Forget buying expensive name-brand fragrances; you can make your own!

Great workouts on a tight budget

It’s been several years since the economic crisis exploded into our lives, and for many people, it’s been a time of cutting back.  If you’ve dumped your gym membership in an effort to save money, you’re not alone.  Just because you don’t have the money in the monthly budget to belong to a gym, that doesn’t mean you can’t get an effective workout and stay in shape.  There are several ways you can workout “on the cheap.”

Walking

Walking is the perfect beginner’s exercise; if you’re not accustomed to working out yet, chances are that walking will be the perfect starting point.  Experts recommend starting out with an easy 10-minute brisk walk.  Working your way up to 30 minutes or more is ideal, and you’ll want to get that heart rate up as you’re walking.  Attach a pedometer to your hip, and try getting in at least 8,000-10,000 steps each day, and you’ll start seeing some great fitness benefits.

Running

Jogging and running are another classic cheap workout.  Getting started in running is more intensive than walking, and looking into a program like Couch To 5K is the perfect way to integrate running into your daily grind.  We’re warning you; running is very addictive!  Once you get started, it’s very possible you’ll catch the bug.  Marathons are exploding in popularity, with thousands of new runners each year getting in on the action.

Exercise DVDs from the Public Library

If you have a DVD player, you can get a wide variety of workouts using DVDs.  The library is a terrific resource for workout DVDs, and it’s hard to get tired of a workout when you’re constantly trying new ones.  If you find a DVD you really like, chances are you can get it used on sites like eBay or Amazon at a great savings.  All of this is a fraction of the monthly cost of most gyms.

Free Weights

Now, getting a set of free weights is not exactly “cheap,” but it certainly pays for itself in a few months as compared to a monthly gym membership or buying an elliptical machine for your garage.  You don’t need an extensive set unless you’re a bodybuilder, and let’s face it; bodybuilders pretty much have to belong to a gym anyway.

You can get a wide-ranging and complete resistance workout with a modest set of free weights.  Consider searching Craigslist for locals looking to get rid of theirs at a cut-rate price.  Exercise equipment ends up taking space in a lot of homes, collecting dust.  You can benefit from someone else’s clutter purge!

Once you have some free weights, you can get a variety of training books from the local library to design a program you can implement right at home.

Dealing with Tennis Elbow: Should you consider surgery?

by KB on March 1, 2011
in Uncategorized

A large percentage of tennis players suffer from tennis elbow which is actually a painful condition. Tenderness at the joints and weakening of the muscles are often felt by the person who experiences tennis elbow conditions. In most cases, doctors prescribe over the counter medicines such as NSAIDs to reduce inflammation and discomfort.

Temporary solutions include applying ice on the affected area can minimize swelling and pain. Rest is also advisable to prevent further complications from tennis elbow. Tennis elbow surgery is the last option when all other interventions have failed to address the condition.

When to consider the surgical option

Tennis elbow surgery is advisable when symptoms such as soreness and pain persists for at least 6 months and all other measures have been exhausted. Because of such situation, the individual is unproductive due to inability to perform simple tasks such as lifting or carrying objects. There are also instances where doctors have administered corticosteroid injections which resulted to failure. Tennis elbow surgery would then be the last option.

There are two types of tennis elbow surgery, namely, traditional open surgery or arthroscopic surgery that uses special instruments to repair the tendons. Usually, an overnight stay at the hospital is required for full recovery. Local or general anesthesia can be applied depending on the doctor’s evaluation. Arm movement should be minimized and patient needs to be very comfortable.

Cons of tennis elbow surgery

After tennis elbow surgery, you may feel certain loss of ability to straighten the arm. Sometimes, elbow pain can still be felt.Like any surgery, infection, blood loss or nerve damage is very possible. Anesthesia may also have some side effects after surgery. For certain, the muscle strength is decreased after tennis elbow surgery.

Recovery from tennis elbow surgery-

If one wants to enhance recover from tennis elbow surgery, then the following advice are useful:
1. Avoid smoking since this delays the healing process of the wound
2. Get into a physical rehabilitation program
3. Make some changes in activities or even avoid doing things that makes use of the arm.

Truly, tennis elbow surgery such be the last resort for a person with tennis elbow. It is a very invasive procedure with potential risks. Tennis elbow can be prevented by stretching and spacing break between practice days.

Make Room For HIIT Training In Your Schedule

by KB on February 15, 2011
in Fitness workouts

Do you find that you have trouble working in that workout?  One way to get better workout results in much less time is to give high-intensity interval training (HIIT) a try.  This exercise strategy aims to produce the best results in the absolute minimum amount of time and training sessions.   Considering the benefits of HIIT training, it is really surprising that more athletes don’t engage this type of training!

HIIT training is cardiovascular in nature, and one session can last between about 10 and 20 total minutes.    The techniques for HIIT training vary.   One example is a runner sprinting full out at maximum exertion for 15 seconds, and then lightly jogging for 15 seconds.   HIIT athletes will repeat these cycles anywhere from 6 to 10 times, depending on their personal training goals.

The trick behind HIIT is really to treat the high intensity portions of the workout as absolutely all-out effort expended.   In other words, get as close to the maximum exertion your body will allow for those time periods of high intensity movement.  Medium intensity portions go to about 50% of possible total effort.   If you are keeping true to the training methods that make up HIIT, then you are going to be amazed at the results.

A popular method of HIIT training is called the Tabata Method, which was devised based on a 1996 academic study.   This method calls for the exerciser to work out for 20 seconds at highest intensity, and then take a 10 second recovery period.  This process repeats continuously for 4 minutes, or 8 total cycles.  The study found that Tabata exercisers experienced increased “maximum oxygen consumption” and anaerobic capacity in less time than the control group exercising using conventional methods.  Professional or serious amateur athletes are ideal candidates for this method.

A newer method, based on a 2009 study prescribes 60 seconds of intensity followed by 75 seconds of rest.  The session lasts 8 to 12 cycles, completing the workout.  When using the Little Method, participants experienced similar gains in 3 days that conventional workout methods produced in 5.  This method is accessible for most exercisers, and can be done on an exercise bike or treadmill with relative ease.

The biggest benefit of HIIT training is effectiveness at burning fat while during a cardiovascular workout.   Perhaps even more importantly, this great benefit is occurring in much less time than typical workouts take.  Combined with well-documented training benefits for serious athletes, it is a good reason to give HIIT training a try.

Selecting The Perfect Athletic Shoe

by KB on February 7, 2011
in Fitness Equipment

ASICS Men's GEL-Kayano 16 Running Shoe

ASICS Men's GEL-Kayano 16 Running Shoe

Selecting and purchasing the perfect athletic shoe is a challenge, especially for serious athletes who need high performance. It’s always an option to head to a specialty store for experienced help, but having in mind a few simple essentials will help in finding the ideal shoe.

The first step is to figuring out what type of shoe works best for your primary sport. While the aesthetics of a running shoe, a walking shoe, a cross-trainer, and a basketball shoe are, on a surface level, somewhat similar, they are designed to perform quite differently. Once you’ve made your buying determination, don’t leave the section stocking that type of shoe. If you engage in several different sports, it is a wise choice to have an appropriate pair for each one, instead of relying on only one pair of shoes.

Feet should be measured. Most of us know our shoe size, but it never hurts to measure again if it has been a long while since your last measurement. While you won’t experience bone growth, it is possible for a foot to become longer and wider with age. Ligaments and muscles can experience small transformations over time, resulting in an increased foot size.

Wear the correct type of sock for the sport the day you try on shoes. Whether you require thick socks or thin anklets, be sure to have them handy for shopping.

Fully lace, tie, and be sure to put both shoes on your feet. You’re checking for comfort, snug fit, and room for toes. You don’t want to feel slipping of the heel when you’re moving about, and sliding should never happen. When you’re taking steps, move as you do when you’re active. Jog, leap, squat and move about right there in the store so you can really know you’re selecting the ideal shoe.

Don’t stop when you’ve found the first pair of shoes that feel good on your feet. There are lots of great brands of shoes, many with subtle differences you can only discern by trying many different pairs. Take your time, and enjoy the process.

Contrary to popular opinion, athletic shoes don’t need breaking in; if the shoe doesn’t feel good on your foot, just move on to the next pair.

By keeping true to some simple steps, you’ll be certain to choose a comfortable and attractive shoe that will be ideal for your athletic needs. While researchers have discovered no shoe can help prevent or reduce sport injuries, but a properly fitted shoe can increase your injury odds. Choose wisely!

Common Allergies And Symptoms For Allergy Sufferers

by KB on February 2, 2011
in Uncategorized

Are you typically bothered by a runny nose, watery eyes, headaches, tiredness, itchy throat, and similar signs and symptoms? Then you might be most likely struggling the effects of an allergy. There are several causes of allergies, ranging from food to insect bites. Oftentimes allergy symptoms may be misdiagnosed as the common cold. However, when these symptoms persist, it really is important to attempt to identify the allergen, or even the cause of the allergic reaction.

No one understands for certain why 1 person has an allergic response to a specific substance, while yet another individual doesn’t. However, it has long been found that youngsters, whose dad and mom have allergic reactions, tend to be predisposed to allergies. Of interest, is the fact that a child will not necessarily be affected by the same allergen that has an effect on their parent.

Allergens can enter the physique by various approaches, they can be breathed in, touched, eaten, or injected. However they enter, they are seen from the physique as becoming dangerous, and like a outcome, the immune program produces histamines and other chemicals, to overcome the invasion. These would be the early stages of an allergy. The response is going to be the same, every time you’re exposed towards the allergen within the long run.

Allergies can be triggered by breathing in particular irritants. Some on the extra typical ones are pollen, animal dander, mold, and dust mites. These airborne allergens are very tough to battle since they’re all about within the atmosphere. In the case of pollen, these are continually released to the air by trees, flowers, and grasses, and are especially prevalent during the summer, spring, and fall seasons.

In terms of touch, substances like latex can trigger allergic reactions. Latex is made of rubber, which contains substantial levels of protein. Latex products include rubber bands, gloves, and balloons. The allergic response is as a result of the response of the immune system, when an individual arrives in contact using the organic rubber latex. Symptoms of this type of allergy can include runny nose, sneezing, hives, and an itchy throat.

Certain meals can trigger allergic reactions. Some of the more popular ones are: eggs and milk, peanuts, wheat, soy, shellfish, and tree nuts. It is the proteins in food that is normally the cause of allergies. These are typically not broken down throughout cooking, or by digestive enzymes, and as being a outcome, they precipitate allergic reactions inside the physique. Common symptoms of food allergy include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

An allergic reaction to medication can also occur. One from the medicines that individuals have a tendency to be specifically allergic to is penicillin, or antibiotics which are penicillin primarily based. Painkillers such as codeine and morphine are also known to cause allergic reactions. Reactions can range from mild symptoms like rashes, to life threatening symptoms that can affect vital organ systems.

Insect stings can also cause an allergic response once the body overreacts towards the insect venom. The insects that typically cause this response are honeybees, ants, and wasps. These all have a venom sac on their tail, which they use to inject the venom into a victim.

In rare cases, a serious allergic reaction known as Anaphylactic shock can occur, this can lead to dizziness, unconsciousness, difficulty breathing and sometimes death, and therefore requires immediate treatment. As we have now mentioned, the leads to of allergies are many. However, as soon as identified, every single energy should be made to possibly stay away from the allergen, or deal with the symptoms on the condition.

Looking for a heart rate monitor?

by KB on September 30, 2010
in Fitness workouts

If you purchase nothing else to support your new exercise regime, be sure to invest in a reliable heart rate monitor. We’re not talking about the top-of-the-line model with all of the bells and whistles; a basic model will work just fine.

How a Heart Monitor Works
A traditional unit has two parts: a chest strap and a wrist watch. The strap fits comfortably around your chest and registers your heart beats, sending this information (wirelessly) to a display on the watch. The watch will show your heart rate, exercise time, and average rate. You will be able to set the monitor to alert you when your rate goes below or above your desired range.

This simple device can act as your personal training by helping you:

Accurately Measure your Heart Rate
As you work out, it is critical to gradually increase your heart rate, maintain it at a steady and appropriate level, and decrease it slowly. The best way to make sure your heart is beating as it should during exercise is to view it on the watch display. The only other way to get this information is to manually take your pulse which can be difficult to get right; especially for beginners.

Moderate Exercise Intensity
It is important to not over-do it when you first begin exercising. A monitor will let you know if your training is too strenuous for your fitness level. On the flip side, it will also tell you if you are not training hard enough.

Get Motivated and Track your Progress
Having goals is one of the best ways to stay motivated with an exercise routine. The monitor will allow you to set straightforward goals such as maintaining a defined rate for a set amount of time. You will be able to judge your improvement over time by recording your heart rate data after each workout (some more advanced monitors will let you download this information to your computer). Your successes will motivate you to work harder and you will know when you need to reset your goals.

How to Interpret the Numbers
The changing number on the display represents your current heart rate, i.e. the number of times your heart will beat in one minute’s time. A beat is technically a contraction of the lower ventricles of the heart. You’ll want to learn what these numbers mean to you. To find your maximum heart rate take 220 and subtract your age. Your target zone is between 50% and 80% of this number. For example, if you are 36 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 184 (220-34). Your heart rate range will be between 92 (50%) and 147 (80%) as you are working out. As your fitness improves your heart will slow down while doing the same amount of exercise. This will encourage you to work harder to maintain the same rate.

Before you splurge for the latest and greatest running shoe or fashionable workout wear, pick up a heart rate monitor and start using it from day one of your new exercise routine.

Elizabeth Dennis has been writing health and beauty articles for three years. She regularly contributes to the hair removal surgery guide and the cough treatments guide.

The Seven Points of All Natural Weight Loss

by KB on October 6, 2009
in Uncategorized

 

The Seven Points of All Natural Weight Loss

Fad diets are everywhere!  It is easy to say, “I’m on a diet!” on any day you decide to try (again and again) losing some of that weight.  Getting yourself on another crash diet will only take you once again in a yo-yo cycle.  You are doing your body more harm than good.    

It is time that you give your one and only body a favor.  Embark on an all natural weight loss journey and you will be amazed at how your body will respond… naturally.

 

What is All Natural Weight Loss?

 

All natural weight loss is achieved by constructing your own calorie controlled diet from normal, natural foods. It’s simply knowing what your body needs to keep it healthy in terms of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and then supplying the right amount in a well balanced, measured way.

 

Natural weight loss is actually also the most effective weight loss program.  It is slow and controlled.  The main reason that crash diets don’t work is that you simply get so darned hungry.  As soon as you take the brakes off again, you’ll start wolfing down food, and before you know it, you’ll be back to where you started from. 

With an all natural weight loss program, you just let nature take its course. 

Here are seven points to guide you as you take your first step towards achieving successful natural weight loss:

 

1. Establish your real motivation.

Why do you want to lose weight and get thin?  Dig the reason from the bottom of your heart.  Your decision should be based upon your true desire and passion, and not by anyone else’s.

2. Stand firmly by your decision – no matter what.

To go on an all natural weight loss diet means adopting a strict set of regimen and requires a strong sense of commitment.  Allowing yourself to falter will only lead you to ultimately fail.

3. Set achievable natural weight loss goals.

Don’t try and shoot for the moon.  Set realistic goals.  A one pound a week target is achievable if you will include exercise in your program and cut down at least 500 calories per day. Slowly but surely, you will get enormous encouragement that will spur you to go on.

4. Write your weight loss goals.

Putting your goals on paper affirms your motivation.  Start with writing these seven points and focus on them briefly everyday and you’ll be surprised at how well this simple task can help you keep your resolve for natural weight loss, hard and firm.

5. Visualize your goals.

Go ahead, no one’s stopping you from picturing yourself – imagine a slimmer, healthier, more energetic YOU.  Envision yourself after you have achieved successful natural weight loss.  Visualization inspires you more to reach your goals.  So indulge yourself in this harmless and helpful fantasy.

6. Believe in yourself.

Have faith in yourself – in what you can do and what you can achieve.  Remember that you can do anything you set your mind to.  Believe that weight loss is within your reach. 

7. Stay focus and be positive.

Keeping your focus and staying positive on your weight loss goal strengthen your commitment to succeed.  Don’t lose sight of the target.  Your willpower will be put to the test along the way, but if you remain focus and positive, any feelings of doubt or negativity will ultimately fade and stay away from you.

Now is always the right time to start your natural weight loss plan.  Although we often find the need as we get a little older, when the kids have grown and you have more time to focus on yourself. 

So don’t wait for another day, get your figure back in shape, recharge your energy, and revitalize your life through effective natural weight loss. 

You have everything to gain and nothing to lose but pounds!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: all natural weight loss | natural weight loss | weight loss

Nursing Shortage Helped by Recession

by KB on August 13, 2009
in Uncategorized

As America’s economy continues to falter, more and more workers are looking at the eventualities of layoffs, and are planning accordingly. Many of these workers are heading to one of the only industries that continue to grow: the healthcare sector.

While America has been laying off its workers, hospitals have been hiring them. Though there has always been a shortage of nurses in American hospitals, the current vacancy rate, 16.3% as noted by the American Health Care Association in 2008, is the worst reported since the sixties. This shortage, according to Health Affairs, a policy journal, started about a decade ago in 1998 and peaked in 2001 with an average vacancy rate of 13%. The same researchers have extrapolated that the shortage will grow to 260,000 registered nurses in the next fifteen years, as baby boomers grow older and need additional medical care.

The nursing shortage itself has been driving nurses out of the workforce. Dissatisfaction with long hours and understaffing has caused many nurses to look into alternate employment opportunities. This has exacerbated the problem even further, as the nurses that make it through crowded nursing schools don’t necessarily enter hospitals after graduation.

Lay offs and cut backs are sending these nurses back to hospitals. Because of the hazards of employment in other fields, many nurses are deciding to stay in hospitals, thankful to be working at all. Sadly, the recession may be responsible for the filling in of the nursing shortage in the short term, since nurses of retirement age are forced to continue working in order to provide income and health benefits for their families. Long term effects will doubtlessly show a shortage increase again when these nurses are finally able to resign.

Researchers are finding that the nursing shortage has decreased slightly, as nurses reenter the workforce, and current nurses work more hours to increase pay and work for years rather than retiring, due to spouse’s lost job and a lack of health insurance. This could actually conclude the nursing shortage in some parts of the United States, as small towns and rural areas are hardest hit by the shortage.

Almost 250,000 nurses entered hospitals and health care facilities last year, increasing the number of nurses in the workforce by more than any other year in the last two decades, according to Health Affairs. For example, Truman Medical Centers has seen a 13% drop in vacancy rates from 20% to 7% in the last year alone. By applying efficient recruitment, retention policies and acceptance of online nursing degree programs, other hospitals could experience similar results.

The recession favors older nurses over young nurses, which can be disappointing for new graduates. Though positions in hospitals are open, many administrators prefer experienced workers, and will wait to hire a nurse reentering the field, rather than a new nurse on his or her first assignment. These hires will eventually find placements, but the process may take longer than they had originally expected based on the economic climate.

This is only a temporary fix for the long-term nursing shortage, as about 125,000 of the nurses entering the workforce in the last year are over 50 years old, and only 30% between 21 and 34. Also adding to the short-term influx is the effect of advertisements in other countries. Almost twice as many nurses are foreign born today compared to the numbers from twenty years ago, and 10% of these foreign born nurses moved to the United States in the years since the shortage peaked.

Tags: nursing shortage and the recession | nursing shortage and the recession | nurse practitioner | nurse practitioner | nurse recruitment | nurse recruitment | nursing shortage | licensed nurse | licensed nurse | nurses salary | nurses salary | nurse jobs | nurse jobs | recessions | recessions | recession

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